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War Against ISIS

Discussion in 'Geostrategic Issues' started by spikehades, Jun 1, 2013.

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  1. STURM

    STURM Active Member

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    Although it's common knowledge that various Arab countries have back channel dealings or communications with Israel; members of the American Israeli lobby publicly praising Arab countries is not something we regularly hear about. Then again I suppose circumstances have brought these unlikely allies togerther in order to deal with a common enemy : Iran.

    AIPAC speakers praise Saudi Arabia and UAE leadership

    ''Stephen Greenberg told the annual conference, under way here in the US capital, on Monday that he visited both countries and was encouraged by the leaders of the UAE for their "tolerance" and "commitment to fight terrorism".

    ''Danny Ayalon, former Israeli deputy foreign minister, who also spoke at the conference, told Al Jazeera that he has "good relations with Saudi leaders" and that Israel has a lot in common with the Arab Gulf states of Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain, especially in countering Iran's rising power in the region.''

    We tend to forget that in addition to wanting Assad to remain in power for their long term self interests the Russians were also very aware and worried that an IS victory in Syria would eventually lead to jihadists turning in the Caucasus.

    To Putin, Assad’s enemies in Syria are the same as Russia’s in Chechnya

    ''The Russians know exactly who they are fighting in Syria, which is why Russian pilot Roman Filipov blew himself up with his own grenade rather than be captured by Islamists. For Putin, those Chechens who resisted his firepower inside Russia are merely continuing their struggle inside a Russian ally further to the south.''

    ''For him, Assad’s enemies today were Russia’s enemies in Chechnya – in a few cases, the very same individuals – and, however much horror we express at the outrageous killing of civilians, we should not be surprised. Once superpowers become involved in Middle East wars, “terms and conditions” do not apply. Until it’s over. Did anyone mention Iraq?''
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2018
  2. Ranger25

    Ranger25 Member

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  3. Feanor

    Feanor Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Update.

    The pocket in Eastern Ghouta has been split into 3 by advancing Syrian forces. It appears that over half of the area of the pocket is now under government control. After the difficulties that have been had with this area in the past, this is remarkable progress. Likely the end of major fighting on other fronts has allowed the Syrians and Russia to concentrate significantly greater resources on eliminating this pocket of resistance. Offers have been made to the rebels of evacuation to Idlib with small arms and personal belongings, and there are some reports that a few of the rebels have taken the offer.

    Also the actions in this area have cause significant political reaction from the US. Amid Russo-Syrian claims that rebels in Eastern Ghouta are planning a false flag attack using chemical weapons, the US has stated that they may carry out strikes against the Syrians if chemical weapons are used. There are also reports that the Syrians have captured chemical materials used for weapons and even a lab for their manufacture, from the rebels in Eastern Ghouta. This comes as Russia has accused the US of trying to save terrorists from Russo-Syrian efforts, for future use. Russia has also threatened retaliation against the US if strikes against Damascus hit Russian personnel. It's important to note that Russian personnel are deployed in multiple areas around Damascus, including Russian MPs at checkpoints in Eastern Ghouta and in support of humanitarian operations there.

    Another side note, there is a UN resolution for a ceasefire in Syria but the ceasefire excludes "terrorists" which the Turks have interpreted to include the Kurds, including US-backed groups, and Russia-Syria-Iran includes the fighters in Eastern Ghouta in that. If the information regarding chemical weapons found there turns out to be true, then they have a strong case for that.

    There are also reports that there was a US planned operation to send fighters from At Tanf to Eastern Ghouta to halt the Syrian offensive and continue to threaten the capital. The operation was allegedly foiled by a Russian missile strike against the rebel column.

    Finally, there is unconfirmed information that two Saudi and one British military officers were captured in Eastern Ghouta. While this seems incredible, it's not impossible that the Brits, or especially the Saudis, have intelligence officers working within various rebel groups.

    Нормализация обстановки продолжается
    МИД Сирии заявил о подготовке "инсценировки" химатаки в Восточной Гуте
    https://colonelcassad.livejournal.com/4043403.html
    http://classic.newsru.com/world/09mar2018/eghuta.html
    http://classic.newsru.com/russia/06mar2018/gutidea.html
    http://classic.newsru.com/world/06mar2018/syria.html
    https://aftershock.news/?q=node/623465
    https://imp-navigator.livejournal.com/712448.html
    https://vk.com/milinfolive?w=wall-123538639_636242
    http://classic.newsru.com/world/04mar2018/bashar.html
    https://diana-mihailova.livejournal.com/1737225.html
    https://diana-mihailova.livejournal.com/1722839.html
    https://vk.com/milinfolive?z=photo-123538639_456315427/wall-123538639_614135
    https://diana-mihailova.livejournal.com/1680437.html
    http://classic.newsru.com/world/24feb2018/uniteddecision.html

    The Afrin pocket is rapidly collapsing. The Turks are a couple of kilometers from Afrin itself, and reports indicated thousands, possibly tens of thousands, of civilians leaving the area for Assad-controlled territory. Meanwhile the Kurdish-Turkish line at the Menagh airbase to Tel Rifaat remains quiet. There's a good chance that those areas will be occupied by the SAA. Republican Guard and NDF forces are concentrated near there. The third link has a list of Turkish formations allegedly taking part in operation Olive Branch.

    Meanwhile Erdogan has lashed out against the US for supporting the Kurds, and threatened mobilization.

    https://colonelcassad.livejournal.com/4041850.html
    https://colonelcassad.livejournal.com/4046734.html
    https://diana-mihailova.livejournal.com/1708302.html
    https://aftershock.news/?q=node/620567

    An interesting map with an overview of the Egyptian operations against ISIS, on the Sinai peninsula. While the Caliphate is all but gone in Syria and Iraq, they remain rather active on the Sinai peninsula, carrying out attacks, and ambushing government military and law enforcement.

    https://colonelcassad.livejournal.com/4038314.html

    Apparently the Su-57 was deployed to Syria for 2 days, and only 2 aircraft despite previous reports indicating 3 or 4 aircraft. They completed a testing program there, and have returned to Russia.

    https://twower.livejournal.com/2236082.html
    https://bmpd.livejournal.com/3108956.html
    https://sdelanounas.ru/blogs/104366/

    Updated satellite images of Khmeimeem. It appears barriers have been deployed at Khmeimeem to protect aircraft from mortar attacks. Better late then never, I suppose.

    https://colonelcassad.livejournal.com/4041563.html
    https://bmpd.livejournal.com/3102657.html

    A Czech expert, Petr Markvart, claims that the White Helmets were created by British intelligence to attack the Assad regime.

    https://diana-mihailova.livejournal.com/1663316.html
     
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  4. Todjaeger

    Todjaeger Potstirrer

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    At this point, I question the accuracy/honesty/integrity of the source linked, and I am reaching out to Czech contacts for further background information on Petr Markvart.

    In the translations of the (scant) information I have come across, he has been described as engaged in political analysis of Mideast & North African countries, and had lived/worked in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq for a long time, until the mid-1990's.

    I am particularly interested in the statement which was translated as the following:

    If I were to encounter a native English (or more likely, American...) speaker saying the above, then I would likely consider them a candidate for the tinfoil-hat brigade. That or they are most appropriately dressed with a nice, long-sleeved white jacket that ties in the back.

    Also consider this article about the White Helmets being the target of a Russian-backed conspiracy theory campaign. Having followed the Livejournal link, the translation as I read it was basically just a claim being made about the White Helmets, without any information being offered to support the claim. Given that it is on Livejournal... IMO anything presented should be treated with an abundance of caution absent reliable supporting information.

    For those interested, there is a ~40 minute short documentary film released in 2016 titled The White Helmets, which is available to stream on Netflix (in the US at least) which shows at least some of what life in the contested areas are like, as well as what the White Helmets do. I make no claim on any USAR (Urban Search and Rescue) expertise, though I do have some familiarity with the discipline. Having said that, from what I noticed in the documentary, what the White Helmets engage in amounts to USAR/EMS and HADR operations. As a side note, the White Helmets are not, to my knowledge, a recognized and protected non-combatant organization under the Geneva Conventions like the various Red Cross/Red Crescent organizations. At present, I have to question claims made about the White Helmets, as well as who is making such claims and why.
     
  5. Feanor

    Feanor Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Honestly it's hard to for me to say much. I'll wait on what your query turns up and would appreciate it if you shared the results here.

    True. On the flip side, information about overlap between various rebel groups and the White Helmets has been cropping up pretty consistently. While it makes sense that a Syrian rebel would also be a member of the White Helmets, it certainly casts them in a slightly different light. Iirc Bellingcat actually did a piece on the efforts to demonize the White Helmets by Russia, which doesn't change the fact that any organization that operates across so many different rebel held areas, including some held by open and proud jihadis, is a questionable organization under the best of circumstances. What would one have to do to set up an organization like the White Helmets in an area held by Al-Nusra for example? And does one turn away Al-Nusra fighters who want to join in their off time? On the whole the White Helmets remain rather mysterious. They have a great media image, especially in the west, they seem to be rather pervasive across a country that is otherwise so divided between various groups that it's often hard to sort them out, and yet they're notably absent in regime-held areas.

    Add to this that most main stream media has selectively covered the devastation of the Syrian war, creating the public image that it's mostly Assad and Russia, though the rebels have done quite a bit too with improvised arty and mortar systems being fired indiscriminately into urban areas, and the Coalition air campaign against Raqqa took quite a toll as well. The White Helmets fit nicely into this narrative which makes me wonder what the real organization looks like the ground, versus their image in the media.

    Also, what happened when members of the White Helmets tried to come to the US? Shows how much faith the Department of Homeland Security has in them.

    Thank you for the info, I think I've heard of this film, though I haven't seen it myself. I'll have to dedicate some time on my next day off.

    EDIT: Consider how little media attention has been heaped on Syria's actual Civil Defense force. The one that's a founding ICDO member.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2018
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  6. Todjaeger

    Todjaeger Potstirrer

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    The video is only 40 minutes long, so it should not take too much time. It also might be worthwhile searching for other USAR videos, to get a better grasp of the potential hazards and difficulties in a 'normal' USAR operating environment, which is already very dangerous due to the potential for hazmat incidents, environmental threats (water, electrical, gases, etc.) as well as the need for confined space rescue of entrapped subjects.

    Something I feel people also need to consider, is that normal people are still living (or perhaps stuck/trapped) in the areas held by non-Assad & allied forces. In a normal, functioning society with some degree of social services, one would normally expect certain services to be available and functioning like police, fire and EMS, as well as hospital or medical facilities. Given the historic control the Assad regime has had in Syria, as well as the track record of other despotic regimes worldwide, I would have to question a few things. The first is whether those services under governmental control would be allowed, by the government, to enter rebel-held areas to perform rescue work. Relating to that is whether those in the rebel-held areas would allow & trust governmental services to come in to perform the still needed civil services, never mind the increased demand due to being contested areas. From what I have read about the allegations regarding the White Helmets, as snopes.com pointed out, articles tend to imply terrorist ties due to the areas where the White Helmets operate, basically asserting or automatically assuming that anyone/everyone in a rebel-held area is a rebel/terrorist.

    With respect to denying members of the White Helmets entry into the US, are you referring to when the cinematographer who filmed, "The White Helmets" documentary I recommend people watch, was denied entry into the US for the Oscars last February? If so, I have some specific thoughts on that which I will not share in an open forum aside from stating that I believe a significant part of the decision-making process had little to do with security assessments.

    As for the media attention paid to Syria's official civil defence/emergency services, I would have to question both the amount of involvement by these services, compared to the degree of difficulty for the White Helmets (there are vast training and equipment issues) as well as the amount of access the media, especially Western media, would be permitted by the Assad gov't.
     
  7. Feanor

    Feanor Super Moderator Staff Member

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    It's a tricky subject. I'll dig around but I've seen a number of photos matching rebel fighters to White Helmet members. It's also hard to believe that they can operate in a jihadi controlled area and have literally no relationship with the jihadis. It's also surprising how pervasive their reach is and how ever-present they are in rebel held areas. If they really are just a grass-roots local civil defense organization, then that's very impressive, to the point of incredulity. And my question stands. In a predominantly jihadi-controlled area (and areas like that exist) can you realistically tell the armed gunmen who have a habit of murdering people that you would deny them membership in your civil defense organization, if they should want to join?

    Fair enough. And yes, this is what I was referring to. Whatever the reason, the message it sends is not one of confidence in the organization. And perhaps that was part of the intent, though the "why" of it boggles my mind.

    That's a good question, but if a western media outlet came to Assad and said "we want to do a story on the heroic efforts of the Syrian Civil Defense", I doubt the regime would respond with "nah, we don't need positive publicity". On the flip side, is there much interest in western media outlets for telling these kinds of stories? Selectively covering some things and not others is a well established pattern both in the War in Syria specifically, and recent foreign affairs more broadly.
     
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  8. ngatimozart

    ngatimozart Super Moderator Staff Member Verified Defense Pro

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    I have seen multiple USAR teams at work here in Christchurch for which we are forever grateful. The white helmets aren't qualified USAR teams, but they are doing similar work. Not all jihadis are terrorists; to define all as such is painting with a very broad brush. Just because a rebel fighter may or may not either be a white helmet or work with white helmets doesn't make them a "terrorist". How do you define who is or isn't a terrorist in Syria? Is not a rebel fighting an oppressive govt that bombs indiscriminately, deliberately targeting hospitals and uses chemical weapons upon its' own population a freedom fighter? I would agree that the likes of Daesh and Al Nusra are terrorists, but the Kurds; are they not freedom fighters as well?
     
  9. Feanor

    Feanor Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Sorry if there is any confusion but you seem to be debating with someone other then me. I have not at any point labeled the White Helmets as terrorists. What I suggest is that there are questionable moments regarding this organization. And given the amount of dirty games being played in Syria, a healthy dose of skepticism about the heroic (and I use this unironically) image of the White Helmets in the media is warranted, at least in my opinion. I have no doubt that there are large quantities of remarkably brave men and women doing USAR work under the auspices of the White Helmets, but I don't think their heroism is lessened by taking a closer look at various aspects of this organization.
     
  10. ngatimozart

    ngatimozart Super Moderator Staff Member Verified Defense Pro

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    No I'm not, just trying to seek some clarity around the definition of a terrorist, thanks.
     
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  11. Feanor

    Feanor Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Personally, I consider anyone intentionally targeting civilians as a terrorist. Given that the White Helmets as an organization do not engage in combat, they're out. Some of the governments in the Middle East might be in though. ;)
     
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  12. Todjaeger

    Todjaeger Potstirrer

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    I do feel obligated to point out that providing a link to a Livejournal blog with a blog post that is translated into English as:

    tends to imply that one considers the content of the blog post credible.

    Further in the translation of the blog post

    Now I am certain that parts of the blog post have not translated neatly, but so far everything amounts to statements, claims, or allegations, but not evidence or even examples which could credibly tie the White Helmets to MI6, or other intelligence or special operations agencies. At this point, the credibility of the claims rests on just how credible the Czech "expert" Petr Markvart is on the Mideast (or anything else for that matter).

    With what little writings/postings I have been able to find attributed to him, the impression I personally have formed is that of someone who is claiming to be a SME, as opposed to someone who is an actual SME. In point of fact, there are a couple of public figures in the US and Australia who he specifically makes me think of.

    I am still awaiting further information from my friend but so far the basic gist I have received is, "I do not recognize the name," which makes me think that the supposed "expert" is someone who is a fringe personality within Czech political, diplomatic and defence commentary. That or they largely operate outside of Czech and have little activity or presence within the Czech Republic.

    With respect to the White Helmets cinematographer's visa cancellation and denial of entry to the US for the 2017 Oscars, look at this CBS News report which had indications that the Syrian gov't had cancelled his passport. Such actions by the Assad gov't could prevent Syrians from engaging in international travel
    unless they get issued some form of supranational travel document like the UN can issue to stateless persons, refugees, etc.

    Also consider what had been happening in the US in the five weeks immediately preceding the denial of entry. If you do not understand what I am referring to, PM me.

    Honestly IMO, any belief that the Assad regime would be welcoming to Western media is naive, at best. The Syrian gov't, as well as other autocratic gov'ts within the Mideast were not known for their freedoms of the press prior to the Arab Spring in 2011. Now that the Syrian Civil War has dragged on for several years, the situation in Assad-controlled areas would not have improved in terms of what media is allowed to access, never mind publish or broadcast. Also, people generally should remember that the greater the amount of propaganda a gov't puts out, the less the amount of real 'news' independent (as in non-gov't controlled) media is typically allowed or able to put out, as the narratives coming from non-governmental sources can and likely will clash with the official narrative.
     
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  13. Strannik

    Strannik Member

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    Interesting theory based on few assumptions, and some very weak assumptions at that.
    Like: autocratic regime would not welcome foreign media, in the best of times and especially in the times of war.

    That heavily depends.
    If the story, regime wants to convey, correlate to large extent to the reality, then, of cause, your assumption is wrong. Please take a note, fundamentally, there is no reason why autocratic regime unable to find itself in situation like this.

    However, if foreign media took side in the conflict, than it would actively search for an excuse not to report certain facts, and whole stories. To blame uncooperative autocratic regime, would be prime example of such an excuse, I would think.
     
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  14. STURM

    STURM Active Member

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    A Western journalist who regularly reports from the Syrian army's side is Robert Fisk. His detractors would claim he's pro-Assad but he's been equally critical of both Assad [as well as other dictators] and those fighting Assad.

    On the front line it seems as if Syria’s war against Islamists is far from over

    An audience with ‘the Tiger’ – Bashar al-Assad’s favourite

    Secret Russian-Kurdish-Syrian military cooperation in Syria

    As my recent trip to Syria proved, wars can be at their most dangerous when they're coming to an end

    On the front line in Syria, a confusing conversation with a YPG doctor

    A famous journalist who was killed in Syria [whilst reporting from the rebel side] was Yves Debay, back in 2013.
     
  15. Feanor

    Feanor Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Which they, mostly, have been. I'd caution at taking diana-mihailova.livejournal as the truth with a capital T, but it's a good source, provided it's not your only source. That having been said, the blog didn't make the claims, the blog merely state that the Czech gentlemen in question made the claims. So unless we think he didn't say, what he's being quoted as having said, the contents of the blog are accurate. As for the expertise, or lack thereof, of Petr Markvart, like I said, I will stand by on your query. I'm not familiar with him or his work.

    Fair enough.

    It's a tricky question. Are there any instances of western media wanting to do a story favorable to Assad, and still being denied? Remember, our hypothetical here is not an attack on Assad, but material that outlines the work of heroic (again unironically) civil defense members. In other words, what is more likely, in your opinion; a major western media outlet reached out to the Syrian government to do a story on the Syrian Civil Defense force and was denied access? Or that this isn't a story that major western media outlets are interested in telling?
     
  16. Todjaeger

    Todjaeger Potstirrer

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    No, indeed the blog did not make the unsupported claims, it merely repeated them without providing any further input or context. However, such behavior still reflects poorly on the blog (the platform is a whole other issue) as that would be like a blog re-posting the views of a flat-Earther, ancient aliens believer, or other similar content with the expectation that the blog would not held to account for the content, since the blog was not the original author. It does not work that way.

    AND

    Both manage to overlook or ignore the roles of news media, propaganda, censors/censorship, and governmental control over what is being said. Governmental control of 'speech' is particularly common for autocratic regimes.

    If a media outlet approached a regime (not just the Assad government) with the intent to do a favourable story, that rapidly starts to look like propaganda and not news, as the objective of the narrative is set and it becomes a matter of finding/showing the 'facts' which support the narrative which has already been pre-determined.

    Now if a media outlet instead went about finding and collecting facts/information and then either reported that, or extrapolated based upon the findings, that is quite different from having a preset outcome (good or bad).

    In both cases though, a government, particularly an autocratic one, is going to exercise editorial/censor control to the extent that it can over the content which comes out, to show the government favourably. This can also lead to content not coming out, if the government deems little or nothing favourable, or content being changed to the point that it bears little or no resemblance to the actual facts and information. Most Western media outlets tend to reject submitting to such conditions when broadcasting or publishing, which is why many countries have little to no foreign media presence. It is also why a few non-English speaking countries have established their own English language "news" media operations whose target audience is external as opposed to domestic.

    As for the comments regarding weak assumptions about autocratic regimes... I would suggest looking at the histories of various autocratic regimes from the last two centuries and how they tended to interact with the press. One might also look at how the Arab Spring was able to have the impact it did, and why.
     
  17. Feanor

    Feanor Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Updates.

    Afrin has fallen to the Turks, without much of a fight. It appears that after covering a mass exodus of civilians, the Kurd fighters left the city. While the Turkish military took possession of munitions and weapons captured, the Turkish-backed Arab fighters proceeded to loot the city, proudly displaying their "trophies".

    Турки взяли Африн
    Падение Африна

    Meanwhile the rebel pockets in Eastern Ghouta continue to shrink. With the situation on others fronts quiet, the pro-Assad forces have been able to concentrate on this dangerous pocket. The humanitarian corridors have seen mass exodus of civilians, with Russian military setting up cameras to show the exodus. There are also reports that local civilian demonstrations convinced the rebels to give up many towns without a fight. Interestingly enough some of the images of SAA fighters showed Russian-style cammies, including the rare Gorka-pattern uniform, as well as modern flak and kevlar.

    To celebrate the victory, Assad personally visited one of the recently taken towns to meet with the troops.

    Освобождены Сакба и Кафр-Батна
    Асад на фронте
    Асад едет в Гуту
    https://twower.livejournal.com/2240841.html
    http://gurkhan.blogspot.com/2018/03/blog-post_46.html

    Rebels in Northern Hama attempted an offensive titled "Fury of Ghouta". However after minor initial success, their offensive has been fought off. It's far too little to require pulling troops off of the offensive in Eastern Ghouta.

    https://colonelcassad.livejournal.com/4051080.html

    Russian MinDef released a statement accusing the US of preparing for a strike on Damascus, following a false flag chemical weapons incident. In light of claims that a chemical weapons laboratory had been found in Eastern Ghouta, these claims appear less outlandish, and there are also reports that Russia has beefed up their air defenses in Syria with an additional S-400 btln, as well as extra aircraft, and SoF teams. Whatever the case is regarding chemical weapons, it's possible that Russia believes that the US is planning a strike and is preparing accordingly. An important reminder, Russian military personnel are on the ground around Eastern Ghouta, including MPs escorting humanitarian aid convoys.

    https://colonelcassad.livejournal.com/4057281.html
    https://www.newsli.ru/news/world/politika/28776

    There are reports the SAA is experiencing a deficit of spare ERA tiles.

    http://gurkhan.blogspot.com/2018/03/blog-post_86.html

    The FSB reports having arretsed 60 ISIS members that were involved in funneling fighters from Russia to the Middle East.

    http://classic.newsru.com/russia/13mar2018/channel.html

    Footage of the T4 airbase after the Israeli air strike. It appears that only a control vehicle for UAVs was destroyed, with no major damage to the base itself.

    https://imp-navigator.livejournal.com/714323.html

    A Syrian jet was shot down over Eastern Kalamoun. Rebel sources claim it was a Su-24 but it might have been a MiG-29 , as the type is based nearby, or even a MiG-23.

    https://imp-navigator.livejournal.com/714186.html
    https://diana-mihailova.livejournal.com/1761091.html

    Public statements coming from the Turks indicate that a Kurdish-held part of northern Iraq may be the next target for a Turkish offensive.

    https://www.rbc.ru/rbcfreenews/5aafecf79a79477c84d0365e
     
  18. gazzzwp

    gazzzwp Member

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    Turkey claiming that operations have begun in Sinjar, Irag against the PKK who allegedly established themselves there. Iraq denies the claim.

    Yet why would Turkey make such a claim knowing that this would be a blatant violation of Iraqi sovereignty?

    It's an intriguing question. Are they trying to bait the US?

    Turkey boasts of military 'operations' in Iraq. Baghdad denies it.

    upload_2018-3-26_17-38-53.png
     
  19. STURM

    STURM Active Member

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    If indeed the Turks are really in Iraq and operating against the Kurds; it could be with the full approval of the Iraqi government. I fail to see what the Turks would hope to gain by baiting the U.S. If however the Turks are in Iraq without the approval of the Iraqi government [whom like other countries has issues with the Kurds]; violating Iraqi sovereignty will be the least of their concerns; especially if they're convinced [like other countries] that violating someone's territory is in their national interests.

    Erdogan: Turkey to do 'what is necessary' if Iraq fails in Sinjar
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2018
  20. Feanor

    Feanor Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Location:
    Under your bed. No seriously, take a look.
    Given how the clouds gathered around Iraqi Kurdistan right before the Kuridsh referendum, I suspect the Iraqis, Turks, and Iranians, are on the same page when it comes to the fate of Iraqi Kurdistan. And if not entirely on the same page, certainly jointly opposed to it's independence de jure or de facto.