Tuesday, March 20, 2018

US has 25 Military Facilities in NW Syria "Russia/Iran/Assad Don't Stand a Chance.."

Saved this article the other day. It featured quotations from Tony Badran a claimed “Syria expert at the Foundation for Defence of Democracies”  Headlined: "Why Russia, Assad, and Iran combined don't stand a chance against just 2,000 US troops in Syria"
  • Two thousand or so US forces remain in control of Syria’s rich eastern oil fields.
  • Iran, Syria’s government, and Russia openly oppose the US presence, but there’s not much they can do about it.
  • An expert explains why it would be a losing battle to take on the US.
“I think the cruise-missile attack in April showed, and the ongoing Israeli incursions show, the Russian position and their systems are quite vulnerable,” said Badran, referring to the US’s April 2017 strike on a Syrian airfield.
Let's refer back to today's earlier post where the April 2017 strikes on the Syrian airfield were discussed : Russian Diplomat Calls on the US to Unconditionally Abandon Plans to Attack Damascus And it was reported that Russia had brought in some new equipment. 
Noticing that Tony Badran is glossing over the fact that many, many missiles missed their target last year.
Russia has just a few dozen jets in Syria, mostly suited for ground-attack roles with some air-supremacy fighters. The US has several large bases in the area from which it can launch a variety of strike and fighter aircraft, including the world’s greatest fighter jet, the F-22.

Iran has a large inventory of rockets in and around Syria, according to Badran, but an Iranian rocket attack on US forces would be met by a much larger US retaliation.

“It’s vulnerable,” Badran said of Iran’s military presence in Syria. “It’s exposed to direct US fire, just like it’s exposed to direct Israeli fire.”

If Iran fired a single missile at US forces, “then the bases and depot and crew will be destroyed after that,” said Badran, who added that Iranian forces in Syria had poor supply lines that would make them ill-suited to fight the US, which has airpower and regional assets to move in virtually limitless supplies.
“Everybody poses this question as though the US is Luxembourg,” Badran said, comparing the US, which has the most powerful military in the world, to Luxembourg, which has a few hundred troops and only some diplomatic or economic leverage to play with while conducting foreign policy.

For now, the US has announced its intentions to stay in Syria and sit on the oil fields as a way of denying the government the funds to reconstruct the country.
That is exactly what the US has/is doing:


Erection of a new military base for U.S. militaries and Washington’s partners is underway in Syrian Deir Ez-Zor governorate.

The site is unlikely to be chosen accidentally, since the province is extremely rich in oil. The base is being built to the east from Mejadin city near the al-Omar, the largest oil field in Syria.

To be reminded is that the U.S. has set up 25 military facilities in northwest Syria.

Russian Diplomat Calls on the US to Unconditionally Abandon Plans to Attack Damascus

Diplomat calls on US to unconditionally abandon plans of attacking Damascus
MOSCOW, March 20. /TASS/.Moscow calls on Washington to unconditionally abandon plans to attack Damascus, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told reporters on Tuesday.

"We have been warning the United States about the need to abandon these plans unconditionally," he said.

"Any illegal use of force, like the air attack on the Shayrat air base about a year ago, would be an act of aggression against a sovereign state, in accordance with the United Nations Charter," the senior Russian diplomat pointed out.

The Russian diplomat has also told TASS he doesn’t rule out further fake reports about Damascus’ using chemical weapons.

"Fake reports continued and may continue further on, especially taking into account Syrian government forces’ successes in exterminating terrorist groups in Eastern Ghouta (Damascus’ neighborhood)," Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabov said.
Attack on Shayrat airbase

On April 7, 2017, US President Donald Trump ordered a strike on Syria’s Shayrat military air base located in the Homs Governorate. The attack, involving 59 Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles, came as a response to the alleged use of chemical weapons in the Idlib Governorate on April 4. The Pentagon said that the airstrike on Idlib had been launched from the Shayrat air base.
I covered the strike at the time it occurred in Syria- albeit on April 6 due to time zone differences ( No special psychic capabilities on my part) US Launches Airstrikes Against Syria- Military Intervention Begins

At the time of the airstrikes in 2017 many of the Tomahawks didn't strike their targets;

The reasoning for stray missiles was mentioned in this post: 
 A myriad of jamming devices that Russia had at their ready were mentioned:
"Airborne forces are being re-equipped with Infauna complexes. These are installed on armoured vehicles or other military vehicles and can locate and jam enemy’s radio connection in short wave and ultra-short wave frequencies, and “put out” remotely-controlled land-bombs. They will explode but only after the Russian troops have passed by and are far enough to be safe.
Infauna has another function: the optic sensors installed on both sides of the vehicle spot flashes of discharges and command laying smokes-screen to protect convoys from fire.
The Lesochek device fulfils the same functions as Infauna but is portable and can fit into a backpack or a suitcase.  It can be useful at important talks for protection against most advanced security services interception systems.
The Borisoglebsk-2 is the core of the radio-electronic warfare of the tactical units of the Russian army. It comprises an automated command point and four types of jamming stations – they use a single algorithm to identify and jam the sources of hostile activity on the air.
The Zhitel device locates and blocks satellite and mobile phones, subscription complexes of GPS-navigation. It proved efficient during the conflict in South Ossetia by misleading Georgian drone aircraft."
Today this information comes across my desk:
Killer of electronics: Mi-8 helicopter with the Rychag-AV warfare system first seen in Syria

A photo of what looked like the Russian Mi-8MTPR-1 helicopter equipped with the radio electronic warfare system Rychag-AV in Syria has emerged on Twitter, reported by Russia’s newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta.
Known as one of the most effective jammers in the world, the Russian helicopter-based radio electronic warfare system Rychag-AV is capable of protecting the entire vehicle by “blinding” all enemy warplanes and missiles within several hundred kilometers.
The Rychag-AV is considered one of the world’s most powerful jammers when it comes to disrupting the electronics of combat aircraft and cruise missiles.
Russia’s newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta cited military experts as saying that the Rychag-AV jammers added significantly to reducing the effectiveness of the US air strike on Syria’s Ash Sha’irat airbase in April 2017Russian sources reported at the time that only 23 Tomahawk cruise missiles hit the targets, while the remaining 36 flew off course.
The system is typically installed on Mi-8MTPR-1 helicopters and can completely “blind” the enemy up to 400 kilometers (about 248 miles) away.
Additionally, Rychag-AV elements can be installed on ground-based mobile air defense systems. The unique development of Russian scientists can also be used in the interests of the Navy.
Speaking of the April 7/17 US airstrikes on Syria, a response to an alleged chemical attack on civilians. The airstrikes on Khan Shakoun go full circle back to Porton Down

Chemical weapons scientists at Porton Down, in the United Kingdom, have analyzed samples obtained from Khan Sheikhoun, and these have tested positive for the nerve agent sarin, or a sarin-like substance,"
Porton Down takes us back to Salisbury and the UK/Theresa May Ultimatum drama that looks to have been concocted to provide the convenient pretext for yet another attack on Syria

 - A strike on Syria- because ya know... Russia "bears responsibility" for alleged chemical weapons use

 And lookie, lookie were right back to the very beginning of this very post 

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Ghouta: Assad Visits/ Terrorists Negotiate with UN/Deadline for Terrorist Exit has Passed

Today was really a Tale of Two Cities in Syria.

Covered Afrin earlier today-   Afrin: Freshly Evicted YPG/PKK Will Now Switch to Guerilla Warfare Tactics

Now to Ghouta:

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Syrian state TV said the Syrian army had given rebels in the Harasta pocket of opposition-held eastern Ghouta till 3pm local time on Sunday to withdraw, citing its own correspondent.

In a month-long assault, pro-Syrian government forces have marched into much of eastern Ghouta, the last major insurgent bastion around Damascus. They have splintered it into three besieged zones, the smallest of which is the Harasta pocket
In a month-long offensive on Eastern Ghouta, pro-government forces are seeking to liberate the last major terrorist stronghold, squeezing insurgents and opening humanitarian corridors in order to guarantee the safety of civilians.

Bashar Assad Visited Troops in Ghouta as Terrorists Negotiated Their Exit with the UN
Syrian President Bashar Assad visited troops Sunday on the front line in the newly captured areas of eastern Ghouta, near the capital Damascus, hailing their recent advances as a part of a larger battle against global terrorism.

Standing in a neighbourhood street, Assad congratulated his troops during the visit broadcast on state-run Al-Ikhbariya TV. “We are proud of you,” he said.

He told the soldiers that they are not only fighting for the region but also to rid the world of terrorism.

“With every bullet you fire at a terrorist, you change the balance in the world,” Assad said. 
Assad stood near a tank and was surrounded by soldiers on a street in eastern Ghouta, the region near Damascus where a government offensive has been underway over the past month. The soldiers cheered and pumped fists in the air. Assad, who wore a suit with no tie, flashed smiles and stopped for chats with soldiers. Some Soldiers posed with him, taking selfies. It was not clear where in eastern Ghouta Assad was.
Assad visiting Troops in Ghouta
Assad then climbed on top of a tank and looked around, before stepping down, also surrounded by soldiers. He told them the residents of the capital, who have come under repeated fire and shelling from the rebel-held areas, appreciate the soldiers’ advances.
UN Negotiating With Terrorists to Allow Medical Aid and Evacuation

Figures close to the two main rebel groups – Failaq al-Rahman in the south and Jaish al-Islam in the north – said discussions were under way for the transfer of Failaq al-Rahman and Jaish al-Islam fighters to opposition held areas in northern and southern Syria respectively.
Earliest reports seem to be suggesting that heavy fighting is ongoing in Ghouta presently. However the reports are only coming from SOHR and need to be validated.

From earlier

Update: Putin Leading Presidential Election, Wins According to Polls

And yesterday:

10 Years After- An Anniversary. A Milestone

Update: Putin Leading Presidential Election, Wins According to Polls


 Russian nationals are electing the country's head of state among eight contenders: Sergei Baburin from the All-People's Union party; Communist Party candidate Pavel Grudinin; incumbent Russian President Vladimir Putin; Civil Initiative party candidate Ksenia Sobchak; Communists of Russia party chairman Maxim Suraykin; Presidential Commissioner for Entrepreneurs' Rights Boris Titov; co-founder of the Yabloko party Grigory Yavlinsky, and head of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia Vladimir Zhirinovsky.
Voter turnout is currently 59.93%
From earlier today:

Afrin: Freshly Evicted YPG/PKK Will Now Switch to Guerilla Warfare Tactics


10 Years After- An Anniversary. A Milestone

Afrin: Freshly Evicted YPG/PKK Will Now Switch to Guerilla Warfare Tactics

  The initial news reports this morning stated that Turkish military and their proxies had taken Afrin city center and the PKK/YPG had fled the vicinity. I awaited verification. It has come in the form of a signal to switch to guerilla warfare against Turkish forces. 
We now know with certainty that the USrael backed terrorists of PKK/YPG have been forced out of Afrin- Be mindful that this aspect of the Syrian conflict is not yet over.

Kurds signal move to new phase of guerrilla war on Turkish forces in Afrin

The Kurdish administration of Syria’s Afrin region indicated on Sunday that Kurdish-dominated forces fighting Turkey-backed groups in the area will shift from direct confrontation to guerrilla tactics.
“Our forces are present all over Afrin’s geography. These forces will strike the positions of the Turkish enemy and its mercenaries at every opportunity,” Othman Sheikh Issa, co-chair of the Afrin executive council, said in a televised statement.
“Our forces all over Afrin will become a constant nightmare for them.”
Read the next bit of unbelievable spin from the fearless Kurdish fighters...

Issa said Kurdish fighters had shown “unparalleled steadfastness and resistance” in the fight, but that Kurdish authorities had decided to evacuate civilians from Afrin “to avoid a worse humanitarian catastrophe”.
 Kurdish authorities decided to evacuate civilians to avoid a worse humanitarian catastrophe? Unadulterated rubbish! 

 What more sensibly occurred was the 'brave' Kurdish fighters took some human shields along with them to reduce the likelihood of them being killed as they fled in a cowardly fashion from Afrin.

Earlier reports:
Turkish-led forces have captured the northern Syrian town of Afrin from Kurdish fighters, Turkey’s president said Sunday, in a potential turning point for his two-month-old campaign to expel U.S.-backed Kurdish forces from the border area.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a speech the flags of Turkey and its Free Syrian Army allies had been raised in the center of Afrin as the “terrorists have fled”. "As of 0830 this morning, the Free Syrian Army, with the support of the Turkish Armed Forces, have gained total control over Afrin town center,” Erdogan said on Twitter.
My hope is that the Syrian flag will, once again, fly over the area. But for the time being there is no possibility of that occurring. For the simple, obvious reason that SAA cannot keep the US backed Kurdish proxies away from the Turkish border.
The capture of Afrin could propel Erdogan to expand the offensive to push the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia from the border and quash aspirations of Kurdish self-rule. Turkish authorities see the YPG as an extension of PKK militants who have been battling for Kurdish autonomy in Turkey for decades. Turkish commandos have also been fighting PKK militants in northern Iraq since last week, state-run TRT television reported Sunday.
There was no immediate comment from the YPG or the Syrian government.
No Handover
Turkey has already said it had no intention of handing over Afrin to the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad and the area would be ruled by locals.
I'm still looking for a complete quotation of the statement made regarding Afrin by Turkish authorities. Out of context doesn't count. Nor do eye catching headlines.
Ali Serdar Erdurmaz, an analyst with Hasan Kalyoncu University based in Gaziantep province near the Syrian border, said the victory would embolden Erdogan, who has urged the U.S. to ensure the YPG also withdraws from the town of Manbij, further east.
If that happens, Turkey would control a large chunk of northern Syria from the Euphrates River to the Mediterranean coast, in effect blocking the formation of a Kurdish statelet in the area, Erdurmaz said. The capture of Afrin ensures that Turkey will have a say in its future,” he said.
Turkish authorities have stated clearly, concisely and repeatedly this route to the Mediterranean was their red line. I'm pretty sure Iran is ok with this too.
Turkish troops are now sweeping Afrin for booby-traps and explosives, believed to have been planted by fleeing Kurdish fighters, CNN-Turk television said Sunday. Civilians welcomed the Free Syrian Army as they entered Afrin. Television footage showed residents showering them with rice from balconies while some rebels kissed the ground and fired into the air in celebration.
Daily Sabah

 Daily Sabah- link under image
Turkish forces took complete control of Afrin town center early Sunday morning as part of Operation Olive Branch.
Civilians waved to the Turkish and FSA troops and chanted slogans in their support.
Many drove their cars to the town center where they gathered and honked to celebrate the victory.

Anadolu Agency correspondents in the region saw several buildings and vehicles which had been set ablaze by terrorists.

Security forces are searching houses to capture any terrorists who are hiding among civilians.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

10 Years After- An Anniversary. A Milestone

It was ten years ago this very date I published the first post on this here weblog.
Whew, what a whole lot of learning along the way! I'm not kidding. There are 4,410 published posts.
I'm unsure of how many news articles, interviews, book reviews, enlightening shows  etc., have been gathered in this one place? Or just how much information has been consumed over this past decade that has enlightened me personally as well as you all over this time period?
When I think back, it's certain that is has been quite a lot! 
Take a gander at the first post - Looking back I realize both myself, personally, and this blog have come a very long way. 
I've definitely honed my logic, writing and investigative skills along the way.
I truly feel more aware of the real world. No longer accepting the unreasonable facsimile that has been long presented as reality.
Thanks to my hubby for helping me along the way.
Thanks to my fellow bloggers who have been such great support
Thanks to all the readers and commenters who've shared the journey. Quiet and otherwise. 
It just wouldn't have been the same without you all!

I'd love to change the world
But I don't know what to do
So I'll leave it up to you
Will there be another ten? Who can really say. Certainly I'll be here for as long as I am able.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Food For Thought? Here's A Feast For You All !

I really need to clear some of my  many bookmarked news articles- All topical. All related to events that are regularly covered here at the blog. And you know what? There's still more to post, but for now, plenty below.

Inside Porton Down: Britain's controversial top secret defence lab where VX nerve agent was developed and human 'guinea pigs' were tested.

It is one of Britain's most secretive sites, remaining shrouded in mystery for more than 100 years.
But this week Porton Down found itself at the centre of one of the biggest diplomatic crises the UK has faced in recent years.

 Skripal the guinea pig? The sacrificial lamb to burn Russia? Entirely possible.

Scientists from Porton were among the first to create biological weapons as well as one of the world's most lethal chemical weapons.

Porton Down opened in 1916 as the War Department Experimental Station for testing chemical weapons during WW1.
Scientists at the lab researched and developed weapons agents used by the British military during the war such as chlorine, mustard gas and phosgene.
 My, oh my how interesting phosgene..
After the war the government decided that work should continue at the site and by 1930 it had grown and developed into the Chemical Defence Experimental Station.
During WW2 research concentrated on chemical weapons like nitrogen mustard and nerve agents such as sarin.
It then led to the development of CS - or tear gas- and VX nerve agent in 1952, one of the most lethal substances ever created which results in a painful death.
Interesting? Britain is quite the chemical weapons king. Or queen? Whichever? 
The base was later named the Chemical Defence Experimental Establishment.
Chemical weapons were tested on site. Scientists built cannisters full of poison gas that could be released by a timer and they also filled shells with it and released them at targets.

Since 1916 more than 20,000 people have taken part in studies at the base.
Porton Down's experiments on humans have been widely criticised as it is alleged some human 'guinea pigs' were duped into taking part in tests.
Tests were carried out on servicemen to try and determine the effects of nerve agents on humans - with one recorded death due to a nerve gas experiment.
Leading Aircraftman Ronald Maddison died aged 20 in 1953 after taking part in sarin nerve agent toxicity tests.
Only 20,000? Or only the 20,000 that defence industry was forced to admit to? 
How many tests were done on the populace without their knowledge? 
From 1945 to 1989 the base exposed more than 3,400 people to nerve gas - testing more human subjects with the chemical than anywhere else in the world.


Initial samples of the Ebola virus were sent to the Porton Down lab in 1976.
Read more at the link above- Certainly provides one with plenty of food for thought. 

 "The chemical structures of the main weaponised novichok agents were made public in 2008 by Vil Mirzayanov"
Made public ten years ago---

Turkey:Why NATO's Intervention in Syria Wouldn't Play Into Turkey's Hands
Turkish troops take control of Bursayah hill

For his part, Cahit Armagan Dilek, director of the Ankara-based 21st Century Turkey Institute, expressed concerns over NATO's potential involvement in Syrian affairs.
"In my opinion, NATO's intervention in Syria will only facilitate the implementation of US plans," Dilek said. "Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan probably wants NATO to oppose the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and Kurdish self-defense units (YPG). However, NATO does not consider the PKK as a threat, and therefore does not intend to take action against it. Therefore, it is futile to expect that NATO will oppose the PKK and the Democratic Union Party (PYD), which virtually no country in the world recognizes as a terrorist organization."
The Turkish scholar emphasized that if NATO intervenes in Syria it would most likely occupy the territories previously cleared of terrorists by the Turks during the Euphrates Shield and the Olive Branch operations. As a result, the alliance would seek to implement Washington's plans in the region, not those of Turkey, he stressed.
"Turkey cooperates with Russia in the area west of the Euphrates. America wants to invade this area by hook or by crook. In fact, America is seeking to extend its control to the entire territory of northern Syria," the Turkish scholar suggested.
 Syria: US-Turkey meeting 'postponed' after Tillerson fired

 - The meeting on Syria scheduled next Monday in Washington between the diplomatic chiefs of Turkey and the US could be postponed in order for Mike Pompeo to take office as the new US Secretary of State, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told a press conference in Moscow with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.

The summit had been very much anticipated in Ankara, which hoped to define an agreement on the Washington-backed Kurdish YPG to be driven away from Manbij.

Rex Tillerson's firing however reportedly froze negotiations.

 Tillerson’s Firing Had Been Expected, but It Still Stunned Observers
Some critics raised the prospects of what they called a more hawkish and rightward turn in United States foreign policy.
Despite the way the announcement was handled, many conservatives viewed Mr. Pompeo’s ascendance as an enormous opportunity.
“Tillerson firing may open the floodgates for more conservatives to enter the admin,” Jordan Schachtel, national security correspondent for The Conservative Review, wrote on Twitter. “Peace Through Strength is making its grand return.”
And then there's Gina Haspel- Evil Woman
Gina Haspel, had been named to replace him, given her role in coercive interrogations of terrorism suspects in the years after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Gina Haspel, who helped destroy evidence of agency waterboarding, to become the first-ever woman tapped for the senior post.

Trump has no problem with women in positions of power. The choice of Haspel makes that abundantly clear- So all you pussy hat protestors were played for fools!  

Time of Israel
Haspel, who has extensive overseas experience, briefly ran a secret CIA prison where accused terrorists Abu Zubayadah and Abd al Rahim al-Nashiri were waterboarded in 2002.