Russian missiles 'hit IS in Syria from Caspian Sea'
- 3 hours ago
- Middle East Jump media player
Russia says it has launched rocket strikes on Islamic State group targets in Syria from warships in the Caspian Sea - about 1,500km (930 miles) away.
Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said four warships fired 26 sea-based cruise missiles at 11 targets, destroying them and causing no civilian casualties.
Meanwhile, Syrian ground troops have launched an offensive under Russian air cover, Syrian officials say.
Russia denies claims that its week of strikes have mainly hit non-IS targets.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported "the most intense fighting in months" in Hama and Idlib provinces. The clashes followed a wave of Russian air strikes in the same areas, it said.
It appears to be the first co-ordinated offensive since the air campaign by Russia - a staunch ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad - began on 30 September.
Russia says it is targeting "all terrorists", but at least some of its air strikes have reportedly hit civilians and Western-backed rebels.
In a separate development, Russia's foreign ministry has said Moscow is willing to establish contact with a Western-backed rebel group, the Free Syrian Army, to discuss fighting IS "and other terrorist groups", and "preparing the ground for a political settlement in Syria".
US Defence Secretary Ash Carter said that coalition forces fighting IS in Syria would not co-operate with Russia.
"We believe Russia has the wrong strategy," he said. "They continue to hit targets that are not IS. We believe this is a fundamental mistake."
Pentagon officials later revealed they had had to carry out at least one "safe separation" manoeuvre to avoid a US jet coming too close to a Russian aircraft over Syria. They said this happened after 1 October, without giving a specific date.
New twist: By BBC defence correspondent Jonathan Marcus
Russia's decision to attack what it claims to be IS targets in Syria with cruise missiles fired from warships in the Caspian Sea represents a new twist to Moscow's growing involvement in the crisis.
It is not clear yet why these particular weapons were chosen in preference to air strikes - but the missiles would have had to fly a considerable distance over Iran and then Iraq to reach Syria.
Sea-launched cruise missiles have long been a weapon of choice in US interventions overseas, so there may be an element of Russia demonstrating that it has the full military panoply of any other "superpower".
But it adds yet a further complication to the air campaign in the skies over Syria. Of more significance may be early signs of Syrian government counter-offensives - aided by their allies - which could be linked to the Russian air campaign.
More from Jonathan Marcus:
High-stakes gamble - Russia's two Turkish incursions highlight the risk of a potential clash
What can Russia's military achieve? Why should Russia do any better than the US-led coalition?
During a televised meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Mr Shoigu said the cruise missiles had destroyed all targets - including command-and-control centres and ammunition depots - and that there had been no damage to civilian installations.
The Kalibr-Nk terrain-following missiles were fired overnight from the south-western Caspian, and approached their targets at the altitude of up to 50m (160ft) over an "uninhabited area", the defence ministry said.
The Russian defence ministry's Twitter feed showed footage of cruise missiles being launched, saying they "successfully hit all assigned #ISIS [IS] targets with high accuracy".
A media outlet linked to IS published images of what it said were the remains of a Scud missile bearing Russian writing that hit the outskirts of the city of Tabqa - about 55km west of the IS-held northern city of Raqqa on Wednesday morning.
During the meeting with President Putin, Mr Shoigu said 112 targets had been hit since the Russian bombing began.
Russia's Caspian fleet
- The Caspian Flotilla - together with the Black Sea Fleet - is a maritime part of Russia's Southern Military District, stationed in the port city of Astrakhan. According to the Russian defence ministry, the flotilla consists of several brigades and divisions of surface ships and coastal troop units
- The Russian navy announced in 2011 that the Caspian Flotilla would receive 16 new warships and missile-carrying vessels by 2020. Two missile-carrying boats were sent there in the same year
- In 2014, the Caspian states signed a treaty banning any military deployment by a non-Caspian state there, ruling out any possible deployment of Nato forces there
- The Caspian Sea is the largest completely enclosed body of salt water in the world. But there is disagreement among surrounding states over whether it is a sea or a lake, which would have legal consequences for territorial waters and the exploitation of natural resources
Obama probably isn't the smartest guy in the world, but he may well be the luckiest.ReplyDelete
Putin is full of surprises.ReplyDelete
Like I said,Delete
"I just can't see the downside."
Neither can I.Delete
But...but....what about all the dead innocents???
You have always expressed concern for the dead innocents before...
Pooty is no more full of surprises than matter flowing into a vacuum.Delete
But uncle Bob, who manufactured the weapons ISIS is using? Was Isis spawned in Russian prisons in Iraq? Did not General Clark let the cat out of the bag on the Neocon plan? The architects of the killing and suffering was your team Bob.Delete
...but maybe not, let’s go back in time:ReplyDelete
November 19, 2014 2:17 PM
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that his country wanted a relationship with the United States based on "respect," a day after accusing the U.S. of seeking to "subdue" Russia.
Speaking at a Kremlin ceremony during which a group of new ambassadors to Russia presented their credentials, Putin said Russia was ready for "practical cooperation" with the United States based on respect for each other's interests, equal rights and noninterference in internal affairs.
He said the two countries have "special responsibility" for upholding international security and stability and countering global challenges and threats.
The new U.S. ambassador to Russia, John Tefft, was among diplomats who presented credentials to the Russian leader.
On Tuesday, Putin told a meeting of supporters in Moscow that the United States was trying to bring Russia under its control and solve its problems "at our expense."
The difference seems to be that when Putin says something, he means it. From a geo-political strategist point of view, he can show brilliance.Delete
CASE IN POINT
On Monday, October 5 (three days ago). This was the story:
Acting Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu vowed Monday to take all necessary measures to protect Turkey’s borders from violation after a Russian fighter jet entered its airspace over the weekend, prompting Turkey to scramble jets and summon the Russian ambassador in protest.
Russia admitted the plane had entered Turkey "by mistake" and assured Ankara it would not happen again, Davutoğlu said.
Russia’s defense ministry also said on Monday that the jet briefly entered Turkish air space on Saturday along the border with Syria.
"A Russian Su-30 fighter jet briefly, for a few seconds, entered Turkish air space," the ministry said in a statement.
But a senior US official said the Obama administration does not believe the incursion was an accident, and officials are in urgent talks with allies about what to do.
The official was not authorized to publicly discuss sensitive military matters and spoke on condition of anonymity.
US Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Washington was conferring with Turkey about the incursion. Speaking during a trip to Spain, he also compared Moscow’s effort to bolster Assad to tethering itself to a sinking ship.
“By taking military action in Syria against moderate group targets, Russia has escalated the civil war,” Carter said in a speech in Madrid.
I think Turkey may be slightly more inclined to extend some minor accommodations to Russian war planes making air strikes from Syria against Syrian terrorist groups.Delete
THE TURKS THREE DAYS AGODelete
Turkey, which has the second-largest army in NATO, scrambled two F-16 jets on Saturday after a Russian warplane crossed into its airspace near the province of Hatay, which borders Syria, the foreign ministry said.
Also on Monday, Turkey's military said a MIG-29 jet had harassed two Turkish F-16s for five minutes and 40 seconds on Sunday by locking its radar on them. In a brief statement, the military said the incident occurred while 10 F-16s were patrolling the Turkish-Syrian border. The military said it did not know to which country the MIG-29 belonged.
Speaking in a live interview on HaberTürk TV, Davutoğlu accused Moscow of escalating the Syrian crisis by entering the conflict.
Russian air strikes in Syria, initiated last week, have wrong-footed both the United States and its allies including Turkey, which says lasting peace can only be achieved with the removal of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Moscow says its intervention aims to weaken Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants, but Ankara and Western powers see it as support for Assad.
"What we received from Russia this morning indicates that this was a mistake, that they respect Turkey's borders and that this will not happen again," Davutoğlu said of Saturday's airspace violation, making it clear that Turkey would respond if provoked.
"Turkey's rules of engagement apply to all planes, be they Syrian, Russian or from elsewhere. Turkey's armed forces have very clear instructions. The necessary steps will be taken against whoever violates Turkey's borders, even if it's a bird," he said in the interview.
"For Russia, which long opposed foreign intervention in Syria and blocked UN Security Council [UNSC] resolutions, to be actively involved in Syria is both a contradiction and a move that has escalated the crisis."
"The Turkish Armed Forces [TSK] have their orders," he said. "What is necessary will be done, even if it's a bird that violates Turkey's border... Our rules of engagement are clear,” Davutoğlu said.
What you wantDelete
(Ooh) Baby, I got
(Ooh) What you need
(Ooh) Do you know I've got it
(Ooh) All I'm askin'
(Ooh) Is for a little respect when you come home (just a little bit)
Hey baby (just a little bit) when you get home
(Just a little bit) mister (just a little bit)
Ash Carter needs to shut up, and find a corner to sit in, and Obama needs to hop on AF-1, and go have another talk with Putin.Delete
Oh, you can believe that they are talking. The first time Obama was all hell bent on going into Syria, Putin saved him. Obama let the Neocons play cute and fast. Now Obama has been given a “What the fuck are you going to do about it?” moment.Delete
If that wasn’t bad enough, some asshole reminded the US that we are still fucking up by the numbers in Afghanistan.Delete
Putin is blasting the living shit out of ISIS and every other John McCain terrorist ally in Syria and Obama’s team is bombing a hospital “IDF/Gaza style” killing doctors, nurses and patients.
You can’t make this shit up. Putin just took Obama’s queen.
OH WAIT, THERE’S MOREReplyDelete
ROME — It seems there is a conflict with “deconfliction.” So, hello, “basic technical discussions.”
The Obama administration on Wednesday rejected the notion that the United States and Russia were coordinating their side-by-side military campaigns in Syria, as American officials took pains to distance themselves from a combined ground and air offensive undertaken by the Syrian government and backed by Russian warplanes.
Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter sharply took issue with suggestions, particularly in the Arab world, that the United States was cooperating with Russia, and he insisted that the only exchanges that the Pentagon and the Russian military could have on Syria at the moment were technical talks on how to steer clear of each other in the skies above the country.
All last week, senior defense officials had described such discussions as “deconfliction” talks, but on Wednesday, as Russian jets pounded groups opposed to Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, and as Mr. Assad’s government embarked on a ground offensive, Mr. Carter downgraded even the semantics used to describe any Russian and American information-sharing.
Instead, Mr. Carter called the conversations — which aren’t really even taking place yet — “basic technical discussions on safety procedures for our pilots over Syria.”
He added pointedly, “That’s it.”
His remarks came at a news conference in Rome with the Italian defense minister, Roberta Pinotti, before he flew to Brussels to confer with NATO partners on Russia and Syria. The remarks underscored an increased frustration within the administration, and particularly at the Pentagon, over what defense officials say has been Russian intransigence in responding to a Pentagon proposal on how American and Russian pilots can avoid each other in the skies over Syria.
Last week, the administration used the terms “deconflict” and “deconfliction” again and again, after Russia began airstrikes in Syria — where the United States and members of an American-led coalition have long been conducting their own air campaign against the Islamic State.
But OH WAIT, THERE IS MORE:ReplyDelete
Baghdad: Iraq may request Russian air strikes against IS militant group on its soil soon and wants Moscow to have a bigger role than the United States in the war against the militant group, the head of parliament’s defence and security committee said on Wednesday.
"In the upcoming few days or weeks, I think Iraq will be forced to ask Russia to launch air strikes, and that depends on their success in Syria," Hakim Al Zamili, a leading politician, told Reuters in an interview.
The comments were the clearest signal yet that Baghdad intends to lean on Russia in the war on IS after US-led coalition airstrikes produced limited results.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi has said he would welcome Russian air strikes on IS militants in Iraq and powerful militias hope for a partnership with Russia.
"We are seeking to see Russia have a bigger role in Iraq.... Yes, definitely a bigger role than the Americans," Zamili said.
"The Russian intervention came at the right time and right place and we think it will change all rules of the game not only in Syria but in Iraq also," said Muen Al Kadhimi, an aide to Hadi Al Amiri, the most powerful militia leader.
"The government has been relying heavily on an untrustworthy ally and this fault should be fixed."
Russia's drive for more clout in the Middle East includes a new security and intelligence-sharing agreement with a command centre in Baghdad.
"We believe that this centre will develop in the near future to be a joint operation command to lead the war against IS in Iraq," said Zamili.
Washington has been pressuring Abadi to rein in militias, angering forces seen as a bulwark against the ultra-hardline IS, the biggest security threat to oil producer Iraq since 2003.
“The sort of support for us, or all other resistance groups for that matter, should be on the level of training, providing weapons and also serious air support," said Jaafar Hussaini, spokesman of the Kata'ib force.
Abadi has threatened to march on Baghdad and wants to redraw the map of the Middle East.
Military sources said army commanders complained in a letter sent to Abadi in early September of inadequate support in the battle for Iraq's biggest refinery near the town of Baiji, a focal point in the campaign to disolodge IS.
Abadi was incensed by tough accusations by US officials that Iraqi government troops lacked the will to fight the militants, government sources said.
Delayed delivery of arms was one of the factors that pushed Abadi to strike a security deal with Russia, the sources said.
"We are still losing lives and losing billions of dollars in oil revenues by purchasing arms from United States, but what we really got from them was only promises and dozens of delayed arms deals," said Zamili.
"After a whole year, IS is still growing and thousands of fighters are still flowing to both Iraq and Syria and it is controlling more areas. That's clear evidence the United States has no clear plan or a real strategy."
Baghdad-based analyst and former army general Jasim Al Bahadli said tensions with the United States were one of the reasons why Abadi turned to Moscow for help.
"Abadi, it seems, succeeded in sending a clear message to the American administration, which repeatedly blamed Abadi's forces for recent setbacks, that there is another alternative for Iraq to resort to in the fight against IS if you are not willing to show real support," he said.
"There's a need to create a new coalition and force that is actually effective on the ground and performs the actual goal of fighting IS," said Mohammed Naji, another aide to Amiri.
“There is a serious discussion and inquiry into requesting the Russian air forces to conduct air strikes against IS positions in Iraq.”
NOW SPORTS FANS, LET ME ASK A QUESTIONReplyDelete
Given the geo-political shift that is taking place tonight, do you think anyone, even the GOP Likuds Force still think it is a good idea to give Israel some B52s or bunker busting bombs so that they can go fuck-up Iran?
Uncle Bob, let’s hear your studied opinion. It will give us some insight into the minds of the Republican Neocon Brain Trust.
Uncle Bob likes the idea of arming Israel with anything they want.Delete
They are the only sane society in the middle east.
Uncle Bob does not like the idea of an Iranian theological apocalyptic suicide cult armed with nuclear weapons.
Your problem is you have an irrational hatred of Jews, Israel, and all things Judaic.
And for the life of me I can't figure where it comes from, and, thankfully, don't care.
I hope it doesn't carry over to your next life, but these things do, so you should strive to rid yourself of it now.
You "Asked Uncle Bob" - Uncle Bob answered.
”In a devastating blow to US influence in the country it occupied in 2003, Iraq’s government has called for Russian assistance against ISIS. Meanwhile, Iraqis in the streets are celebrating Vladimir Putin." Wall Street Journal in Russia TodayReplyDelete
Can you imagine ... the government and citizens of a country that the rulers of the United States totally devastated turning to Russia for help against ISIS?
This raises a few questions.
Is the Obama administration pulling its punches in the fight against ISIS?
Has the administration exaggerated the effectiveness of the much-publicized campaign against ISIS?
Are Turkish complaints about Russian violations of its air space just a smoke screen to hide the effectiveness of Russia's efforts in Syria?
Why are the rulers of the U.S. complaining about Russia attacking "U.S. backed rebels" when Russia is attacking Al Qaeda aligned groups?
Will the fake elections of 2016 give us a carbon copy replacement for the current neoconservative-War Party commander in chief? (Rhetorical question).
The Iraqis, like others who pay attention, know that U.S. missions against ISIS produced spotty results. In the WSJ article, one Iraqi parliamentarian refers to the effort as "small help."
Iraqis and others know that U.S. partner, Turkey, has done little to combat ISIS and simply used the effort to mask its attacks on the Kurds, one of the few effective anti-ISIS fighting force on the ground.
Also, Iraqis and others know that Turkey has allowed and facilitated the transfer of Al Qaeda aligned fighters and weapons from its southern border directly into Syria including members of the Islamic State.
Given the nature and effectiveness of the U.S.-Turkey anti ISIS partnership, why would anyone take the effort seriously? It took weeks to start the bombing campaign against ISIS based out of the Incirlik Air Base in southern Turkey. Russian planes landed Latakia, Syria and were flying bombing missions just days later against the Al Qaeda affiliates attacking Syria.
Conservative author and former Nixon aid Pat Buchanan makes the point directly:
"What Vladimir Putin is up to in Syria makes far more sense than what Barack Obama and John Kerry appear to be up to in Syria."
President Obama insists that the defeat of ISIS is somehow tied to the eviction of Bashar Al Assad as the president of Syria. (Of course, Obama and the rest of the blowhards never mention giving the Syrian people a choice of leaders.)
President Putin insists that to defeat ISIS you have to attack ISIS in league with President Al Assad's Syrian forces that have fought Al Qaeda aligned rebels for years, rebel factions that include ISIS and its predecessors.
If you live in the Middle East and your life depends on it, which super power would you ask for help?
Wed Oct 7, 2015 10:22am EDT
UPDATE 3-Iraq leans toward Russia in war on Islamic State
* Parliament official says Iraq may seek Russian help soon
* Wants Moscow to have bigger role in Iraq than Washington
* Russia will change rules of game in region-militia leader (Adds quotes, details)
By Ahmed Rasheed and Saif Hameed
BAGHDAD, Oct 7 (Reuters) - Iraq may request Russian air strikes against Islamic State on its soil soon and wants Moscow to have a bigger role than the United States in the war against the militant group, the head of parliament's defence and security committee said on Wednesday.
"In the upcoming few days or weeks, I think Iraq will be forced to ask Russia to launch air strikes, and that depends on their success in Syria," Hakim al-Zamili, a leading Shi'ite politician, told Reuters in an interview.
The comments were the clearest signal yet that Baghdad intends to lean on Russia in the war on Islamic State after U.S.-led coalition airstrikes produced limited results.
Russian military action in Iraq would deepen U.S. fears that it is losing more strategic ground to rivals in one of the world's most critical regions.
Russia is weighing in behind President Bashar al-Assad with air strikes in Syria while its ally Iran holds deep sway in Iraq, including military advisors who help direct the battle against Islamic State.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has said he would welcome Russian air strikes on Islamic State militants in Iraq and powerful Iranian-backed Shi'ite militias hope for a partnership with Russia to counter U.S. influence.
"We are seeking to see Russia have a bigger role in Iraq. ... Yes, definitely a bigger role than the Americans," Zamili said.
Shi'ite militias, long mistrustful of the United States, see Russia's intervention as an opportunity to turn the tables.
"The Russian intervention came at the right time and right place and we think it will change all rules of the game not only in Syria but in Iraq also," said Muen al-Kadhimi, an aide to Hadi al-Amiri, the most powerful Shi'ite militia leader.
"The government has been relying heavily on an untrustworthy ally, which is the United States, and this fault should be fixed."
MESSAGE TO WASHINGTONDelete
Russia's drive for more clout in the Middle East includes a new security and intelligence-sharing agreement with Iran, Iraq and Syria with a command centre in Baghdad.
"We believe that this centre will develop in the near future to be a joint operation command to lead the war against Daesh in Iraq," said Zamili, using a derogatory Arabic acronym for Islamic State, which is also known as ISIS or ISIL.
Washington has been pressuring Abadi to rein in Shi'ite militias, angering forces seen as a bulwark against the ultra-hardline Sunni Islamic State, the biggest security threat to oil producer Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein since 2003.
"The sort of support for us, or all other resistance groups for that matter, should be on the level of training, providing weapons and also serious air support," said Jaafar Hussaini, spokesman of the Kata'ib Hezbollah Shi'ite force.
Abadi was frustrated by the U.S.-led coalition's performance against Islamic State, which has threatened to march on Baghdad and wants to redraw the map of the Middle East.
Military sources said army commanders complained in a letter sent to Abadi in early September of inadequate U.S. support in the battle for Iraq's biggest refinery near the town of Baiji, a focal point in the campaign to disolodge Islamic State.
Abadi was incensed by tough accusations by U.S. officials that Iraqi government troops lacked the will to fight the militants, government sources said.
Delayed delivery of U.S. arms was one of the factors that pushed Abadi to strike a security deal with Russia, the sources said.
"We are still losing lives and losing billions of dollars in oil revenues by purchasing arms from United States, but what we really got from them was only promises and dozens of delayed arms deals," said Zamili.
"After a whole year, Daesh is still growing and thousands of fighters are still flowing to both Iraq and Syria and it is controlling more areas. That's clear evidence the United States has no clear plan or a real strategy."
Baghdad-based analyst and former army general Jasim al-Bahadli said tensions with the United States were one of the reasons why Abadi turned to Moscow for help.
"Abadi, it seems, succeeded in sending a clear message to the American administration, which repeatedly blamed Abadi's forces for recent setbacks, that there is another alternative for Iraq to resort to in the fight against Daesh if you are not willing to show real support," he said.
"The United States has been worried by the growing influence of Iran in Iraq and worries should be doubled after the Russians took the lead in Iraq and Syria."
Despite his frustrations with Washington, Abadi risks becoming isolated by a new dynamic dominated by Russia.
He has depended heavily on U.S. support and is at odds with the militias and their Iranian backers.
But with Islamic State showing no signs of weakening, the priority will be finding a formula for stability and key players are embracing Russia.
"There's a need to create a new coalition and force that is actually effective on the ground and performs the actual goal of fighting Daesh," said Mohammed Naji, another aide to Amiri.
"There is a serious discussion and inquiry into requesting the Russian air forces to conduct air strikes against Daesh positions in Iraq." (Additional reporting by Stephen Kalin; Writing by Michael Georgy; editing by Philippa Fletcher)
Gentlemen, this is an extraordinary historic moment. Vladimir Putin just may be undoing the Neocon dream. In that, he will be doing all of us a favor.ReplyDelete
Pooty is going to create a giant pile of rubble strewn with uncounted dead (without any civilian casualties).Delete
The 'Neo-Con Dream' of a stable democratic Iraq with some human rights came crashing down when Obama took the troops out.
Congratulations to you, Sir Gentleman, and to the Russians and the Iranians.
And congratulations to Obama and the other Neo-Traitors in the Democratic Party.Delete
War Party Targets Putin and AssadReplyDelete
Patrick J. Buchanan | Tuesday Oct 6, 2015 12:01 AM
Having established a base on the Syrian coast, Vladimir Putin last week began air strikes on ISIS and other rebel forces seeking to overthrow Bashar Assad.
A longtime ally of Syria, Russia wants to preserve its toehold on the Mediterranean, help Assad repel the threat, and keep the Islamic terrorists out of Damascus.
Russia is also fearful that the fall of Assad would free up the Chechen terrorists in Syria to return to Russia.
In intervening to save Assad, Putin is doing exactly what we are doing to save our imperiled allies in Baghdad and Kabul.
Yet Putin’s intervention has ignited an almost berserk reaction.
John McCain has called for sending the Free Syrian Army surface-to-air missiles to bring down Russian planes. Not only could this lead to a U.S.-Russia clash, but U.S.-backed Syrian rebels have a record of transferring weapons to the al-Qaida affiliate.
The end result of McCain’s initiative, sending Stingers to Syria, could be airliners blown out of the sky across the Middle East.
Hillary Clinton wants the U.S. to create a no-fly zone. And Friday’s Wall Street Journal endorsed the idea:
“Mr. Obama could make Mr. Putin pay a price. … In Syria the U.S. could set up a no-fly zone to create a safe haven for refugees against … Mr. Assad’s barrel bombs. He could say U.S. planes will fly wherever they want, and if one is attacked the U.S. will respond in kind.”
U.S.-Russian dogfights over Syria are just fine with the Journal.
Saturday’s Washington Post seconded the motion, admonishing Obama: “Carve out safe zones. Destroy the helicopter fleet Mr. Assad uses for his war crimes.”
HAS THE WAR PARTY THOUGHT THIS THROUGH?Delete
Establishing a no-fly zone over Syria, which means shooting down Syrian fighter-bombers and helicopters, is an act of war. But when did Congress authorize the president to go to war with Syria?
When last Obama requested such authority — in 2013, when chemical weapons were used — the American people arose as one to say no to U.S. intervention. Congress backed away without even voting.
Unprovoked air strikes on Syrian government forces would represent an unauthorized and unconstitutional American war. Does the Party of the Constitution no longer care about the Constitution?
Is a Republican Congress really willing to give Barack Obama a blank check to take us to war with Syria, should he choose to do so?
IS THIS WHAT AMERICA VOTED FOR IN 2014?
A no-fly zone means U.S. warplanes downing Syrian planes and helicopters and bombing antiaircraft defenses at Syrian airfields.
To Damascus this would mean the Americans have committed to the defeat of their armed forces and downfall of their regime.
The Syrians would fight — and not only the Syrian army. For Russia, Hezbollah and Iran are all allied to the Damascus regime, as all believe they have a vital interest in its survival.
How would Russia, Iran and Hezbollah respond to U.S. air strikes on their ally? Would they pack it in and leave? Is that our experience with these folks?
Today, the U.S. is conducting strikes on ISIS, and the al-Qaida affiliate. But if we begin to attack the Syrian army or air force, we will be in a new war where the entire Shiite Crescent of Iran, Baghdad, Damascus and Hezbollah, backed by Russia, will be on the other side.
We will have taken the Sunni side in the Sunni-Shiite sectarian long war.
How long such a war would last, and how it would end, no one knows.
Whatever one thinks of Putin’s policy in Syria, at least it makes sense. He is supporting an ally, the Assad regime, against its enemies, who seek to overthrow that regime.
It is U.S. policy in Syria that makes no sense.
We train rebels at immense cost to fight Assad, who cannot or will not fight. We attack ISIS, which also seeks to bring down the Assad regime. And we, too, want to bring down Assad.
Who do we think will rise if Assad falls?
Do we have a “government in a box” that we think we can fly to Damascus and put into power if the Syrian army collapses, the regime falls and ISIS approaches the capital?
Have we forgotten the lesson of “Animal Farm”? When the animals revolt and take over the farm, the pigs wind up in charge.
For months, Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia has called on Congress to debate and decide before we launch any new war in the Middle East.
One wishes him well. For it is obvious that the same blockheads who told us that if the Taliban and Saddam and Gadhafi fell, liberal democracy would arise and flourish, are now clamoring for another American war in Syria to bring down Assad.
And who says stay out? Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, both of whom also opposed the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
There is something to be said for outsiders.
I can't imagine a more wonderful turn of events.ReplyDelete
Please, Jeebus, keep it comin'.
Now, children, gather 'round; I'm gonna tell you a secret. Come close, now, I don't want to strain my old vocal cords. Here it is:ReplyDelete
Russia doesn't have the logistical ability to do all that's being discussed.
Planes can only fly so often. Military jets have a lot of down-time for maintenance, etc. They are limited in the number of airfields that they can use, and they Don't have aircraft carriers such as ours.
The Bear just might be swimming sans skivvies. :)
The question came up, why did Russia use those cruise missiles?ReplyDelete
They did it because they didn't have enough planes on station to do it with aircraft, alone.
Now, it's true, they have a lot of planes - but, there's a big difference between having a lot of planes, and having the ability to fly thirty or forty missions / day in a country 2,000 miles away.
This comment has been removed by the author.Delete
No, this is a high inside pitch to bitch-slap Turkey and to send a message to the US and Nato that Russia does not have to worry about flight interference from Nato aircraft. It also lets the Saudis and other usual suspects that Russia can operate in the Middle East without concern for the US carriers in the Gulf.Delete
How and Why Russia Launched Its Cruise Missiles Against ISISReplyDelete
AN IMPRESSIVE - AND UNEXPECTED - DISPLAY OF MILITARY CAPABILITY, INCREASING THE MILITARY PRESSURE ON THE ISLAMIC STATE
The Russian Defence Ministry has just confirmed that Islamic State positions in Syria have been attacked with 26 long range cruise missiles launched by four Russian warships in the Caspian Sea.
The missiles would have been the long range subsonic land attack version of the Klub cruise missile family.
The Klub family is a modular family of different cruise missiles tasked for different roles depending on their motors and guidance systems.
Some members of this family of missiles are used for attacking surface warships, and others for attacking submarines. Those that are used to attack surface warships typically skim close to the sea, but have a supersonic terminal phase. Those used to attack submarines are short range, sometimes supersonic, and launch a light anti-submarine torpedo into the sea near the point where the submarine has been spotted.
The land attack version of the Klub used in this attack uses a combination of inertial and satellite guidance and in order to achieve a longer range (up to 2,500 km is claimed) uses a turbojet as opposed to a rocket engine to fly subsonically at Mach 0.8.
It is exactly analogous to the subsonic long range cruise missiles the US has regularly used in conflicts starting with the 1990 Gulf war.
The Russians have not identified the warships that were used to launch the missiles.
The key point about the Klub missile family is however that it is modular. This means that different versions of the missile can be launched from the same launcher.
Russia’s Caspian Sea Flotilla is known to possess two Gepard class frigates and six Buyan class missile corvettes, all of which would be capable of launching these missiles.
In order to strike Islamic State targets in Syria, the Russians will have needed to obtain permission from Iran and Iraq through whose airspace the missiles would have had to fly.
The missile strike therefore confirms two things (1) that the Russians again have demonstrated a capability that previously only the US had demonstrated; and (2) that the coalition they have created with Syria, Iran and Iraq is a fully operating reality, that is able to confer and agree on missile strikes.
MISSILE STRIKES HAVE CERTAIN ADVANTAGES OVER AIR ATTACKS.Delete
They limit the risk of casualties, making it easier to attack fixed targets that are more likely to have strong anti-aircraft defences.
The Islamic State is known to possess man portable short range surface to air missiles including Russian made Strela and Igla missiles. They are also known to have anti-aircraft cannon.
Whilst their air defence systems are unlikely to be very strong or sophisticated, and the Russians have well developed methods to protect their aircraft from such systems, there is no reason why the Russians should risk their aircraft and pilots when an entirely safe alternative exists.
In addition, supplementing the aircraft strike force with long range missiles greatly increases tactical flexibility, enabling a greater number of targets to be attacked. For obvious reasons, cruise missiles are suitable for attacking fixed targets, such as weapons depots or headquarters. Using them to do so frees the aircraft to attack mobile targets, such as artillery or tanks.
Subsonic cruise missiles are exceptionally difficult to observe and track - and shoot down - so the element of surprise is increased. The Islamic State now knows it can be attacked anywhere and at any time - day or night - without warning.
Lastly, it is significant that the Russians have chosen to launch their missiles from the Caspian Sea rather than the Mediterranean (land based versions of long range cruise missiles are prohibited by the 1987 Intermediate Nuclear Forces (“INF”) Treaty).
The choice of the Caspian Sea is dictated by the political situation. The US has very powerful fleet and intelligence assets in the Mediterranean - as do US allies such as Israel. Launching their missiles from the Caspian Sea enables the Russians to do so without outside observation or interference.
This is probably the opening shot of Russian action against ISIL in Iraq.Delete
Russia is negotiating with The Pentagon about attack flight coordination and The Pentagon was playing hide the wienie about technical coordinations and scheduling. Moscow decided to help them simplify and elevate their thinking.
CASE IN POINTReplyDelete
The Russian and US military have agreed in principle with the proposals on coordinating military flights, the Russian Defense Ministry said.
“The Russian Defense Ministry has responded to the Pentagon’s request and promptly considered the American proposal on coordination of actions in the framework of the fight against the terror group ISIS,” Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov was quoted by TASS news agency.
Moscow has said it is working on a “US document” of agreement.
“The Americans have handed us a document, which we are working on. The general staff supports the document in principle,” said Russia’s deputy defense minister, Anatoly Antonov.
“To our regret, the Americans are for now saying that our co-operation should be limited to technical questions concerning our pilots when they carry our their missions,” said Antonov.
The Russian Defence Ministry had earlier clarified that an SU-30 warplane had entered Turkish air space along the border with Syria “for a few seconds” on Saturday, a mistake caused by bad weather. Nato has rejected Russia’s explanation.
Russian Minister Antonov on Tuesday also referred to a video conference between the US and Russian defense ministries had taken place on October 1 to discuss the “safe use of air forces” in Syria. A second is planned within “the next few days”.
“But it would be better if our colleagues came to us and we discussed all the problems eye to eye here, at the Defense Ministry headquarters,” Antonov said.
The US and Russia are both bombarding Syrian territory to defeat terrorist forces, although their aerial campaigns are uncoordinated.
An intense wave of Russian air strikes hit the Syrian province of Hama and nearby areas in the neighboring province of Idlib on Wednesday, according to a conflict-monitor group that is sympathetic to the Syrian opposition.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said there were also heavy surface-to-surface missile bombardments.
Moscow launched its military operation against Islamic State and other terrorist groups at the request of the Syrian government on September 30 and has already targeted a number of IS infrastructure units, hitting command centers, ammunition depots and explosive production sites, among others military facilities.
Russia says it has launched rocket strikes on Islamic State group targets in Syria from warships in the Caspian Sea - about 1,500km (930 miles) away.ReplyDelete
Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said four warships fired 26 sea-based cruise missiles at 11 targets, destroying them and causing no civilian casualties.
The Rooskies are truly marvelous.
26 cruise missiles from 930 miles away and nary a civilian casualty.
When the Rooskies leveled Grozny (In Russian, "Grozny" means "fearsome", "awesome", or "redoubtable", the same word as in Ivan Grozny or Ivan the Terrible) they didn't cause any civilian casualties either.
They must have been studying the body count theory of William Westmoreland where every dead body was a VC. Westmoreland was into attrition and body counts so the troops complied and counted everything dead as VC. Obama’s generals don’t do attrition and haven’t since Clinton, but Obama was into reporting numbers of ISIS killed.Delete
Uncle Bob, Putin just finessed the Neocon Dream. As they used to say in the day, Sorry about that.Delete
It is less than ten days since Moscow launched its military operation against ISIS and other terrorist groups at the request of the Syrian government. I think in fairness, there is an awful lot of shock and awe for their rubles and a lot less casualties.Delete
A few days ago, in a Politico story by Nick Gass, the increasingly unstable Ziggy Brzezinski was quoted as saying, “The Russian naval and air presences in Syria are vulnerable, isolated geographically from their homeland,” and furthermore “they could be ‘disarmed’ if they persist in provoking the US.”
Perhaps not Ziggy.
Zig and Deuce both should give up politics and spend the remainder of their lives in the Big Brother programs, and do some good to somebody.ReplyDelete
Uncle Bob, this is your best stuff?Delete
So you realize what your team has done?Delete
See above -Delete
And if you don't believe Uncle Bob, take it from Garry Kasparov.
You need to get into the Big Brother program.
Think.....you could take your young guy on trips to Europe.
Seriously, it would be the chance of a lifetime for some young kid.
I don’t do young guys uncle Bob. My cut-off is good looking smart women 45 and above.Delete
In heartening news, the FBI has seized four of Hillary's computers.ReplyDelete
She may be looking at an obstruction of justice charge one of these days.
Put down the bottle for a sec Uncle Bob. Check this out:ReplyDelete
Former US national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski’s assertion that Washington should retaliate against Moscow for Russian airstrikes against US assets in Syria is a “stunning admission” of the role America has played in the Syrian crisis, an American scholar in Wisconsin says.
Dr. Kevin Barrett, a founding member of the Muslim-Jewish-Christian Alliance, made the remarks in a phone interview with Press TV on Tuesday while commenting on Brzezinski’s latest article about Russia in the Financial Times.
Brzezinski advised President Barack Obama to attempt to disarm the Russians if they keep attacking the CIA-trained militants in Syria.
“The Russian naval and air presences in Syria are vulnerable, isolated geographically from their homeland,” Brzezinski wrote on Sunday. “They could be ‘disarmed’ if they persist in provoking the US.”
Dr. Barrett said that it is “a stunning admission from a senior high-level policy advisor here in the US that the US in fact using al-Qaeda, or perhaps the Islamic State [the Daesh/ISIL terrorist group] as well, as assets.”
“This is not something that is normally admitted by officials from Washington, DC, that is that al-Qaeda in Syria, the al-Nusra Front, is actually a US ally,” he added.
Brzezinski wrote that Moscow’s apparent decision to strike CIA’s militants “at best” reflects “Russian military incompetence,” and worst, “evidence of a dangerous desire to highlight American political impotence.” He added that if Moscow continues to target these people, then Washington should retaliate against Russians.
Commenting to Press TV, Dr. Barrett said that “the American people will be very interested to hear that just 14 years after the attacks of September 11th, 2001, which were officially blamed on al-Qaeda – which even then was called by some people al-CIA-duh, having had relationships with the US in the Afghan jihad against the Soviet Union – that this supposedly demonized enemy group that we were told was responsible for killing 3,000 Americans on September 11th, 2001 is now our ally in Syria, and we should to go war with Russia and risk a nuclear war that could end life on the planet in order to punish Russia for fighting against al-Qaeda.”
“It’s kind of mind-boggling that anyone could even imagine the US retaliating against Russia for Russia’s attacks on al-Qaeda, but that’s precisely what Brzezinski said,” he stated.Delete
“And Brzezinski, for better or worse, is actually considered one of the more sensible and level-headed people in Washington, DC which tells you something about other people around him, the neoconservatives who are much crazier than even he is,” said Dr. Barrett, the author of Questioning the War on Terror.
“I guess to explain this, we have just to note Brzezinski’s background; he is from a Polish nobility kind of family background which explains why he hates Russia so much, and has been trying to push aggressive policies against Russia throughout his whole life,” he pointed out.
“But it’s still stunning and disgraceful that when Russia has intervened at the behest of the Syrian government, which is fully legitimate under international law, to shore up that government against these [terrorist] groups like al-Nusra and the Islamic State in order to try to stabilize the situation and lay the groundwork for a kind of peaceful solution, that the response from Brzezinski would be that we need to attack Russia,” Dr. Barrett observed.
We never had any business in Syria. The American and British people made that very clear to our rulers and masters three years ago, but the Neocons must be master manipulators of the autocrats. They didn’t listen. They got cute and chummed up with our enemies and it has blown up in their smug faces, again.ReplyDelete
Look what they have done.
In their failure and collapse, they have nearly united Syria, Iraq, Iran and Russia. ISIS will have to take it’s Caliphate to Saudi Arabia and Jordan.
You are Zig are both nuts, what can one say ?ReplyDelete
Couple of old buffoons.
If not the Big Brother program, surely you should join the Adopt a Syrian Refugee Program.
After all, you want 4 million of them in the USA.
You've got the room. You've got the assets.
You must do your part.
Your Uncle Bob
Good night uncle Bob. Brush your teeth and please put on some clean jammies.Delete
MOSCOW — Russia’s Caspian Sea fleet on Wednesday launched a complex cruise missile strike against Syrian rebels from nearly 1,000 miles away, a potent exhibition of Moscow’s firepower as it backs a government offensive in Syria’s multi-faction civil war.
The bombardment was the first naval salvo of Russia’s week-old military intervention in Syria, where it has already launched more than 100 airstrikes against the Islamic State and factions of Islamist and U.S.-backed rebel forces opposed to President Bashar al-Assad.
The attack showcased Russia’s advanced military capabilities and closer coordination with the governments of Iran and Iraq, whose airspace the missiles traversed before striking targets in Syria held by the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra, an affiliate of al-Qaeda.
Like Russia, Iran is a key backer of Assad. Iraq’s leadership has close ties with Iran but also depends on support from the United States and Western allies.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said in a nationally televised briefing that the ships launched 26 cruise missiles, destroying 11 targets and killing no civilians. He also said that Russian planes continued to carry out airstrikes Wednesday.
The naval strikes on Wednesday were the first known operational use of state-of-the-art SSN-30A Kalibr cruise missiles, which were still being tested by the Russian navy in August.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said the strikes spoke to the professionalism of Russia’s revamped army.
“We know how difficult it is to carry out this kind of anti-terrorist operation,” Putin told Shoigu. “Of course, it is early to draw conclusions. But what has been done so far deserves a highly positive assessment.”
The strikes came as Syrian troops backed by Russian air power launched their first major ground offensive since Moscow began its intervention in the conflict Sept. 30.
News reports and video of fighting uploaded to the Internet on Wednesday showed that the Syrian army was moving from the city of Hama toward Idlib, a stronghold held by a coalition of mostly Islamist rebels.Delete
While the Kremlin’s stated aim in the conflict is to fight the Islamic State in Syria, the United States and its allies say Russia is concentrating its firepower against other rebel groups to prevent Assad from being overrun. One video on Wednesday appeared to show the Free Syrian Army, a moderate force backed by the West, firing antitank missiles at government troops advancing with Russian air support.
“Russia is targeting civilians and the Free Syrian Army brigades that are supported by America. They are not targeting the Islamic State as they claimed,” said Raed Fares, a Syrian activist in Idlib. “Russia is here to keep Assad in power, so they will strike what Assad strikes.”
In televised remarks on Wednesday, Putin encouraged the Free Syrian Army to join an alliance with Assad’s troops against the Islamic State. At the same time, he belittled the influence of moderate rebels on the conflict.
“True, we don’t currently know where it is and who is leading it,” Putin said of the Free Syrian Army.
Russian news reports Wednesday said Syrian forces launched a heavy artillery bombardment and were moving toward Idlib, but they added that it was not yet clear how far the Syrian troops had advanced.Delete
The news reports also said Syrian troops used advanced rocket-launch systems similar to the ones that Western officials say Moscow shipped to Syria last week.
In a video posted to YouTube from the town of Kafranboudah, in the western part of the Hama countryside, a Syrian rebel commander said government forces began shelling his unit’s position on the front line early Wednesday. Kafranboudah is about 16 miles east of Latakia province, a Syrian regime stronghold. More than a dozen rebel groups formed a coalition to oust government forces from Hama in August.
Regime soldiers on Wednesday stormed the town from three sides with Russian air support, the rebel commander said, and the fighting has extended nearly 20 miles southeast to the town of Maan. He did not say whether his fighters suffered any losses but said Syrian rebels destroyed at least four regime tanks with antitank missiles.
The West, which has launched more than 7,000 airstrikes against the Islamic State in the past year, has bristled at Moscow’s military buildup in Syria. Russia has deployed surface-to-air missiles, fighter jets and radar-jamming equipment that officials say is meant to interfere with Western forces.
On Tuesday, U.S. and Russian officials tentatively agreed to resume talks on how to coordinate in the skies over Syria. Turkey, a NATO member that shares a border with Syria, has already accused Russia of violating its airspace.
In Rome, Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter did not respond directly when asked by reporters about the Russian military’s apparent support for the Syrian government’s ground offensive.Delete
But the Pentagon chief for the first time ruled out any cooperation with Moscow in the fight against the Islamic State, saying that Russia’s strategy was clearly just to support Assad and his government.
“We believe Russia has the wrong strategy. They continue to hit targets that are not ISIL. This is a fundamental mistake,” Carter said, using one of the acronyms for the Islamic State.
In the past, the Obama administration has publicly held out hope — however faint — that Moscow might cooperate in the military campaign against the Islamic State.
In his most hard-line comments to date about Russia, Carter rejected the possibility of teaming up with the Russians in that regard. He said the Pentagon still wanted to talk with Moscow about finding ways to manage the crowded airspace above Syria and avoid any hostile or inadvertent encounters. “That’s it,” he said flatly.
There have been no reported close encounters or unsafe incidents involving U.S. and Russian warplanes so far in Syria, according to a senior U.S. defense official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss military operations.
Russian aircraft have “come closer” to U.S. drones on at least one occasion, the official said, but it was not a dangerous incident.
“Certainly they are in similar battle space, so they see each other and they are aware of each other,” the official said of Russian and U.S. warplanes.Delete
Pentagon officials have said the Russian intervention in Syria has not forced the U.S. military or its coalition partners to alter the rate or location of their surveillance missions and airstrikes against the Islamic State.
The two sides have jousted in recent days over the conditions for holding another round of talks. Washington wants to limit the discussion to technical factors about aviation safety, while Moscow has said it wants a broader conversation about possibly coordinating military operations — something the Pentagon steadfastly opposes.
The senior U.S. defense official said the Pentagon drafted a document last week for the Russians that lays out “basic rules of flight conduct,” such as what language and radio frequencies pilots would use in a hostile or inadvertent encounter.
The Russians have not responded to any of the particulars, the official said.
Cunningham reported from Beirut. Craig Whitlock in Rome, Hussam Alrefaie in Beirut, Heba Habib in Cairo, and Thomas Gibbons-Neff and Brian Murphy in Washington contributed to this report.