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Russia Is Preparing for War

2016 October 18
by Ian Welsh

I don’t think there’s much question about it. Even if they think it’s unlikely, Russia thinks war is possible enough that preparatory steps are required.

Citing routine drills, Russia has even moved missiles within striking range of NATO targets, into the Kaliningrad enclave bordering Poland and Lithuania.

Meanwhile, CNN informs us that:

“Moscow abruptly left a nuclear security pact, citing U.S. aggression, and moved nuclear-capable Iskandar missiles to the edge of NATO territory in Europe. Its officials have openly raised the possible use of nuclear weapons.”


This tension is spilling out into territory beyond the U.S. as well, as reports show the  European Union is less likely to ease sanctions on Moscow over Ukraine, now that Russia has intensified air strikes on E.U. and U.S.-friendly rebels in Syria. They are even considering more punitive steps.

…Press Secretary Josh Earnest said this week the U.S. was considering a “range” of “proportional” responses to alleged Russian hacking of U.S. political groups like the DNC. The accusation from Washington, CNN reports, came after the Syrian ceasefire talks broke down when U.S. officials suggested Russia should be investigated for war crimes.


This is all profoundly stupid and unnecessary. Crimea and the Ukraine are not worth a war with Russia. (Especially Crimea, which was part of Russia for centuries, and whose population, as best I can tell, genuinely did want to join Russia.)

Unlike everyone else in Syria, Russia was invited by the recognized Syrian government. And no Western nation should have much of an interest in destabilizing Syria. There are reasons for the Gulf Arabs, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Turkey have such an interest, but not the West. Furthermore, to note the blitheringly obvious, there are NO “moderate” rebels of any significance in Syria. If Assad, nasty as he is, loses, an awful Islamic state will be set up in Syria.

The evidence of Russian interference in the US election is circumstantial at best, and even if they have given Wikileaks some documents, so the fuck what? All the documents released by Wikileaks are real documents, the information they reveal is what matters. The US has interfered far more extensively in a long list of other countries’ elections, including in Russia’s.

Let us remember, Russia still has enough nuclear weapons to destroy civilization multiple times over. So does the US. The Russians have been quite explicit that if they start losing a conventional war, they WILL use tac nukes, and it is a short step up from there to strategic nukes.

Over Syria? Over the Ukraine and Crimea, which were part of Russia for centuries and are clearly in their sphere of influence?

Clinton is an uber-hawk. Hillary has said that Putin is echoing Hitler in the 30s. She also called for a no-fly zone in Syria, after Russia was there.

Apropos of “rhetoric,” if you sincerely say someone is Hitler in the 30s, gobbling up territory, you are saying “only force can stop him.”

This is deranged. This is insane. This is potentially genocidally insane.

I hope that Clinton and other Western leaders are just spewing rhetoric, but I also know that that rhetoric is leading to real, concrete actions, like moving weapons and men to the borders of NATO; real sanctions which are doing real harm, and so on.

Contrary to what many seem to think, you can back yourself into a war (see World War I). We can’t afford to back into a war with Russia.

(Update: the “return of officials story” is wrong and I have removed it.)

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61 Responses
  1. Lisa permalink
    October 18, 2016

    Oh yes. This is now far worse than in 1983 when the balloon so nearly went up.
    That was so scary then, it was the motivation to move to Australia for me.

    So we are sitting on a timebomb as the majority of the US political , intelligence and military elites want a confrontation, ignoring Montgomery’s first maxim ‘never attack Russia’.

    The levels of wishful thinking is now pathological, little different to Hitler before he invaded in ’41. That an attack will cause Russia to implode, right well that has never happened. There is actually more chance some western nations will go under first….

    The best hope is that it stays conventional, the second best that it stays tactical nuclear (goodbye much of Europe though). Trouble is (check the map) a NATO tactical nuke strike is little different from the Russian point of view to a strategic one.

    So I expect a (attempted at least) dual attack in Syria (using those ISIS force being moved from Mosul) and the Ukraine (the Kiev forces have been building up on the border with the eastern Ukraine), along with a ‘no fly zone’. When it all turns to custard then more US/NATO troops (etc) will be fed in to shore up the ISIS (etc) and Kiev collapses..and then it is on, full scale war on two fronts. When NATO (etc) get thumped then they will go nuclear.

    The UK, French and German elites are all united on this (though some in Germany are quailing at the thought).

    Can it be stopped ..maybe, but the odds are not good. I’ve never seen the western elites so determined to have war with Russia. In 1983 they were actually clueless, they didn’t actually want war with the USSR but were playing to domestic audiences and trying to pressure it. They miscalculated badly as the USSR took it as a prelude to war.

    There is a third, risky, option that Russia can take out all the tactical nukes in Europe..that might stop it escalating. But to do so with a 100% guarantee means using nukes themselves, a conventional attack ‘might’ do it, but it most likely won’t.

  2. Ghostwheel permalink
    October 18, 2016

    Something is like the pre-WWII era: the level of propaganda gone mainstream and the enormity of elite delusion. All that’s missing is Hillary leading a 21st century American version of the Nuremberg rallies. Inauguration day is January 20th, so I guess that’s coming soon enough. Or do you think we just can’t wait even that long?

    Someone should write a paper comparing the drum-beating zeitgeist of Germany of that era to our own right now. There’s a read.

  3. anonone permalink
    October 18, 2016

    So? America is always preparing for war.

  4. V. Arnold permalink
    October 18, 2016

    The out-right lies pouring out of this administration regarding Putin and Russia, represent a pathology infecting all levels of government.
    Gayane Chichakyan and Matt (?) make it obvious that the state department shills are liars as well as the Pentagon spokes shills.
    I have never, in my 71 years, seen such blatant deception and outright lies.
    That said, where the hell are the Usian citizens? This couldn’t happen without their tacit approval.
    The U.S. is dead; it just doesn’t quite know it, but obviously is beginning to see it…

  5. Katherine Calkin permalink
    October 18, 2016

    Ian: I have been beside myself with fear over nuclear war for weeks now. Nobody seems concerned about it, I guess, because it has not received much mainstream coverage. I cannot begin to understand what Obama and Hillary are thinking. Maybe they’re “sure” that Russia will back down and become a good little US toady. This brinksmanship is several orders of magnitude more insane than all of the corrupt neoliberal governance that has led up to it.

  6. V. Arnold permalink
    October 18, 2016

    Gilbert Doctorow (noted Russia expert);

    The U.S. has a psychotic need to get Russia to back down in Syria (it ain’t going to happen). It would be nice if the U.S. had one qualified Russia expert as a diplomat; but they have a sychophant, no nothing, John Kerry; who likewise spouts anti-Russian lies and misinformation. .
    I have the horrible thought that the U.S. is very scared of Russia’s AA missile systems; the S-300 varients along with the S-400’s and has this obsesive desire to test their own systems in real combat. This is the first time since Vietnam the U.S. is up against a capable foreign military. The temtations inherent there should scare the holy shit out of everybody.

  7. October 18, 2016

    We actually won in Ukraine – but we wanted more.

  8. S Brennan permalink
    October 18, 2016

    I almost agree with Katherine’s conjecture.

    I altered one word to bring myself into full agreement:

    “I cannot begin to understand what Obama and Hillary are thinking…they’re “sure” that Russia will back down and become a good little US toady. This brinksmanship is several orders of magnitude more insane than all of the corrupt neoliberal governance that has led up to it.”

  9. V. Arnold permalink
    October 19, 2016

    @ October 18, 2016 post above; know nothing and temptations.
    Shame on me for those ridiculous errors…

  10. Tom permalink
    October 19, 2016

    Push comes to shove, Putin will abandon Assad especially as Turkey’s supported Rebel Groups now have the initiative in North Aleppo having cleared Dabiq and Sawran and are ready to sweep south. Assad is still losing and Iranian and Iraqi Mercenaries make up the bulk of his troops while the FSA Alliance is growing and getting stronger in the north despite initial setbacks. Erdogan and Putin have way more to lose than gain from spatting over who runs Syria and push comes to shove Erdogan can throw more troops into Syria than Putin can, especially after the Coup Failure and reforms that followed.

    It is also wrong to say an FSA victory means a Sharia State in Syria. One Erdogan since launching Euphrates Shield has established the Syrian National Council in Jarabulus and since his advance isn’t destroying every house, bakery, hospital, and school like the US backed SDF advance, refugees are swarming back to Syria now and resettling. Erdogan is also jump starting new infrastructure projects as well to services going. SDF hasn’t done one thing on that score and instead has demolished entire villages just because one person there joined IS and has yet to fix one building in Kobane. So an FSA Victory doesn’t equal an Islamic State, it does equal a Democratic State that decides its own fate. If they vote a Sharia State, then we have to accept the Election Result or be hypocrites who don’t honor election results.

    Crimea and Ukraine, on the other hand, Putin will indeed fight as unlike Syria these places have Russians in them and in case of the Ukraine, valuable minerals and defense factories. Here Putin will draw his line, Syria is just icing and not very good icing at that given how incompetent the Assad Regime is.

  11. V. Arnold permalink
    October 19, 2016

    October 19, 2016

    Me thinks you do not understand Russia or Pres. Putin, to wit; Putin is not being altruistic in Syria, but rather strategic.
    Russia does not have a Mediterranean sea port except for Syria and, IMO, will not easily give it up.
    It also occurs that Russia/Putin is fed up with the U.S. raping and pillaging the M.E. at every turn.
    Some good analysts at Sputnik and Russia Insider indicate that if the U.S. loses Syria, then it’s finished as a M.E. hegemon and I agree with that.

  12. Ché Pasa permalink
    October 19, 2016

    Ah, the Imperial Project marches on. Once begun, apparently it cannot be stopped by any human agency. It has a momentum of its own, and it must win and keep on winning against any and all opposition.

    This is baked in. Much of its motivation, planning and targets were laid out fairly coherently by the “Project for the New American Century” that we all learned about many years ago, and very little has changed since then. That little neoCon brain trust may have dissolved itself, but its program and many of its personnel have been absorbed and integrated into the governments of the United States of America and its Western allies almost in its entirety. And here we are.

    Knuckle to knuckle with the Stalin’s Soviet Union — erm, Putin’s Russia — arm wrestling over the next phase of Imperial Will to Power.

    The Hegemon must prevail.

    The Hegemon will prevail according to the precepts of the Program. Nothing can thwart it.

    Certainly not a third-rate power like the Stalin’s Soviet Union. Correction: Putin’s Russia.

    Much of the current fear of nuclear annihilation is being driven by an unexpressed belief that Putin is a (Stalinist) Madman, and that he would respond to Anglo-American-neoImperial pressure with nuclear weapons. The calculation in the marble halls of power where Imperial strategies are prepared and set in motion, however, appear to indicate he will not. He might not “back down” as such, but he will …”bend.” The Will of the Hegemon must prevail, and according to those calculations, it will prevail. Even against Stalin… erm, Putin.

    If you believe that Putin will engage in nuclear war with the United States/NATO, first strike, then I shake my head. Brinkmanship, oh yes. But pushing the button? Then you must really think he is a Madman. You must really think he believes sacrificing Mother Russia will save his country and his people. That is utter madness. And I don’t think he’s crazy.

    A dangerous form of Brinkmanship is being played out right now to be sure. There are crazy people in the mix, insane Russia-haters among them. They drive themselves to a frenzy of bloodlust, and some of them clearly believe that nuclear annihilation is the preferable outcome, and that it would be survivable by enough of the Right People to be worthwhile. They don’t have the upper hand yet, and they probably never will, but they are there and they are rattling their cages loudly and persistently.

    I was quite certain that the installation of the Bush-Cheney Regime would lead directly — and quickly — to war, and sure enough it did. That war for Imperial hegemony is still under way, and Russia is in the crosshairs, but at no point have the Imperial warriors been willing to risk the triumph of the Project in a direct confrontation with any nuclear armed power.

    Neither will they do so in confrontation with Russia, nor will Russia risk its national survival in confrontation with the Imperial Juggernaut.

    Whether Russia will “bend” is a matter of propaganda at this point — the perception is likely to be that “Putin blinked” but I suspect the outcome will be some sort of accommodation with Russian interests… while declaring Victory over the Soviets once again.

    Madness of a kind, most certainly, but not what we are being led to fear.

    (The fear of instant incineration during the Cold War was very useful for keeping domestic populations in line, just as it is today….)

  13. V. Arnold permalink
    October 19, 2016

    Ché Pasa
    October 19, 2016

    Wow, rather hubristic, no?
    Russia bend? I don’t think so, and that is the U.S.’s mistaken judgement.
    Do you know just how large Russia is? I’m talking geographical area; look at a map.
    The U.S. wants a piece of that; the natural resources are immense.
    Russia, IMO, has drawn a line in the sand.
    I do not think the U.S. is willing to cross that line; it means annihilation of the U.S.; not Russia.
    Think about that…
    Russia effectively won WWII in Europe; 27 million dead; they know war and do not want it!
    But, they will not yield to a bully, period.
    The U.S. is grossly over confident in their hubristic, hegemonic march, in today’s world: Quite succinctly, the U.S. does not rule the world!!!!

  14. EmilianoZ permalink
    October 19, 2016

    Also of interest, what a $hillary presidency would mean for China:

  15. Ché Pasa permalink
    October 19, 2016

    @V. Arnold

    The Soviet Union, as you know, was MUCH larger than the current truncated Russian Federation, and its hold over Eastern Europe made it even more formidable. At least in appearance. I think Our Rulers — and theirs as well — knew how fragile a construct it was, however. The devastation of WWII was never truly recovered from, though I think it may have been in sight when the whole thing imploded. First the periphery claimed independence, then the center collapsed. Of course with a nudge or two from the West, but it was mostly an internal disintegration, not something caused by the outside.

    It was made worse by the impositions and privations caused by outside forces, however, and that’s what Putin and the Russian people have been battling ever since. The recovery from the disaster following the collapse of the Soviet Union is close to fruition. Much still needs doing, but the worst of what happened is over. (Can’t say that for most Americans or Europeans vis a vis the economic crisis of the last decade or so; certainly can’t say that for the torn to pieces Middle East…)

    But Russia is not a rival to the United States and NATO; certainly it’s not the kind of rival it’s pumped up to be by our propagandists. Its interests are mostly internal, mostly centered on recovery from the disasters of the past, consolidating the present and protecting the future. For all the trash talking he endures, Putin has demonstrated to his own people that he’s a Good Czar.

    The rapaciousness of the Anglo/NATO-American Imperial Project complicates matters. But as has been seen over and over again, the March of Empire is thwartable — without engaging in nuclear annihilation.

    You think Putin doesn’t know that? Of course he does. I have no doubt that the entire Kremlin staff is well aware of the fragility and weak points of the Imperial Project, and are quite capable of exploiting them. None of this requires the kind of warfare and carnage we’re being jiggered up to fear.

    Neither side in this current round of Brinkmanship is actually going to launch a nuclear first strike. Putin wants the West to know that Russia is fully prepared to defend itself, but I think the ruling faction never doubted it.

    To be clear, the Imperial Project has never gone mano a mano against any nuclear armed power, and I see no indication it is prepared to do so against Russia. Not gonna happen. Putin, for his part, is not about to launch a first strike, either. Stalemate? I see it as mostly a show leading to eventual accommodation.

    On the other hand, we know — or should know — what the end game is, as it was formulated quite a long time ago: the dismemberment of the Russian Federation, and the exploitation of its parts by the Empire for profit. So even if this episode of Brinkmanship peters out, there will be another and another and another until either the Russian Federation disintegrates — or the Empire does.

    Which do you think is the more fragile?

  16. DMC permalink
    October 19, 2016

    The Fig-leaf Syrian Army? Seriously Tom? There’s more than 10 guys cashing those checks? Perhaps you should have a glance over at Col. Lang’s blog about who it is we’re giving training and support to. Spoiler: They are Sunni jihadis, if not actually ISIL/Da’esh at the moment they are being trained. The special forces doing the training are WELL aware of this and are deliberately not doing a good job with said training. These are people on the ground, not some pro-Assad propogandists. Assad may be a bloody handed tyrant but as we’ve seen repeatedly now, a secular tyrant is preferable to the religious anarchy that springs up when we knock such tyrants off(cf Saddam and Gaddafi).

  17. Gaianne permalink
    October 19, 2016

    War is inevitable: It is what declining empires do.

    The most dangerous period is right now, while the US is still strong enough that it is hard for the non-imperial powers to manage. If the war can be delayed, the strategic advantage shifts to the non-imperial powers, and the war can be managed with a better chance of avoiding the use of nuclear weapons.

    Unfortunately, all sides recognize this, which is why the US wants to launch or provoke a generalized (global) war as soon as possible.

    Americas elites are incompetent, corrupt, depraved, and insane–typical for the last days of empires.

    Make your plans accordingly!

    Good luck, everybody!


  18. Peter* permalink
    October 19, 2016


    You probably don’t recognize the inherent Western Exceptionalism in your statement about ‘a secular tyrant being preferable to whatever ‘springs up’ in the MENA. The people of Egypt elected an Islamist leader and government and that decision was deemed unacceptable by the tyrants you support and many people have died and suffered because of that view.

  19. October 19, 2016

    Any time the U.S. Government does something that doesn’t appear to be in its best interests … and U.S. Big Business isn’t pushing for it … you can be fairly sure that Israel see it in theirs.


  20. different clue permalink
    October 19, 2016

    If Clinton gets itself elected President and starts the Nuclear War with Russia that it wants so very badly, let us pray that only Clinton supporters perish in the Thermonuclear Air Bursts.

  21. Ché Pasa permalink
    October 19, 2016

    Why do you think the US has essentially no national civil defense infrastructure at all and can hardly cope with natural disasters?

    Why, if there really is a threat of nuclear annihilation, has nothing been done to prepare?

  22. V. Arnold permalink
    October 19, 2016

    Ché Pasa
    October 19, 2016

    Probably for the same reason the U.S. infrastructure is falling apart.
    Neo-con, neo-liberal economic policies…
    As to civil defense; the U.S. will be destroyed, totally, effectively, in a nuclear exchange. Rumors have it that the ultra-rich have underground shelters, but they will not be fit to survive because they are spoiled pussies.

  23. V. Arnold permalink
    October 19, 2016

    Ché Pasa
    October 19, 2016
    Which do you think is the more fragile?

    The U.S. by far. Mentally unhinged leadership with no adults in the room. S.E. Asia is turning away from the U.S. and towards Russia and China. India is playing both the U.S. and Russia, as is Pakistan. And then there is the entirety of South and Central America.
    As the U.S. loses its influence it will become increasingly desperate/dangerous and dare I say, unpredictable. There are some psychotic (IMO) players in the deep state who actually believe they have the God given right to the planet; and only those who exist in subservience to the hegemon will be allowed to exist in relative peace.
    Check out The Devil’s Chessboard by Allen Dulles and remind yourself of the policy of Full Spectrum Dominance. When baby doesn’t get its way it starts throwing and destroying its toys…

  24. VietnamVet permalink
    October 20, 2016

    This is the most dangerous confrontation since the Cuban Missile Crisis. What makes it surreal is that it is only three years old and already Vladimir Putin has humiliated President Barrack Obama three times. The fate of western citizens is of absolutely no concern. Indeed, white males in the USA are publicly declared to be irredeemable. At the heart of the crisis is corruption. The USA is at war with Islamic State in Iraq but supporting Moderate Jihadists in Syria in order assure that the Shiite overland supply line to Hezbollah stays cut at the request by the Gulf Monarchs and Israel supporters who have paid off America’s politicians. One attempt to challenge Russia’s no fly zone to attack Syrian Arab Army would start World War III when the first pilot is killed or naval ship sunk. The war with Russia will inevitably escalate into a nuclear holocaust.

  25. Lisa permalink
    October 20, 2016


    “white males in the USA are publicly declared to be irredeemable.” Nope check your class structure only poor lower and working class males were called that …welcome to being classed with the long hated blacks, women, LGBTI and others… Note not long before that Republican ‘elites’ were basically calling for all them to ‘all die off’… so you have no allies there either.

    ” The USA is at war with Islamic State in Iraq but supporting Moderate Jihadists in Syria ” Bahahaha…you are kidding and trying satire aren’t you?

    The US only wants to contain and direct ISIS, pushing it where it wants the moment Syria.

    “Moderate Jihadists ” is an oxymoron, Al-Nasra ( like ISIS a child of Al Qaeda in Iraq) is the favoured child and the dominant force and leader of the Wahabbi Jihadists in Syria.

    The ‘unicorn’ moderate rebels don’t exist and never have. The Coalition of the Terminally Insane (CoTI) the US, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey, Qatar, the UK and France have long funded, pushed, supported, trained and armed those jihadists. Sod all the moderate Sunnis, Alawiites, Shiites and of course Christians in Syria that will all be killed if the jihadists get in power.

    The US has never seen an extremist religious group is hasn’t liked and supported Afghanistan all those ‘freedom loving’ Mujahideen who then became Al Qaeda and the Taliban…. The US fighting diplomatically for Al Qaeda (all while the rest of the CoTI supply, support, arm and train it) on and around the anniversary of 9/11 is one of those wonderful ironies you only get to see so often.

    I write on this here ages ago, sure the rise of ISIS shocked them all into panic at first, but after they settled down the CoTI have then has tried to channel them. Al-Nasra in Syria has been a gift to them in their endless desire to make the Middle East a Wahabbi dominated area for their Saudi Arabian ‘mates’ with everyone else killed or driven out ..and for some daft reason Israel is going along with this (but I long gave up on expecting any intelligence or ‘grand strategy’ from Israel ages ago as it seems bent on self destruction).

    I also love the irony of all the so called US ‘christians’ who support those dedicated to eliminating Christians in the Middle East … as happened in Iraq… and more quietly Israel….

  26. V. Arnold permalink
    October 20, 2016

    October 20, 2016

    The war with Russia will “inevitably” escalate into a nuclear holocaust.

    Inevitability is not baked into this; MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) still applies.
    War is inevitable, IMO; unless…, the U.S. backs off. Where and how fast it will escalate, is anybodies guess.
    Clinton is the real problem because I see/have seen evidence, she’s an unhinged war hawk; and calling for a “no fly zone” in Syria defies the reality on the ground there.
    We’ll see…

  27. Ché Pasa permalink
    October 20, 2016

    Interesting. Hillary moderated her No Fly Zone saber rattling last night by turning it into an “agreement” with Russia… in other words, not a unilateral Imperial imposition, and therefore a declaration of war on the Russkis, oh no, but an agreed-upon means of protecting civilians trying to flee the conflict.

    Of course, I don’t take her at her word, but something tells me that what she mentioned is what is already in process. It’s the oddest thing, but throughout the clusterfuck of Syria, Washington and the Kremlin have been in fairly close communication and constant negotiation even when they’re hurling brick-bats at one another for the latest set of atrocities and war-crimes. It seems to me that Russia has the upper hand, and Assad’s support among the Syrian people is stronger by far than that of the rag-tag collection of rebels serving as proxies of the Empire while chopping heads off children and otherwise behaving badly. A resolution of sorts is at hand.

    Putin has demonstrated any number of times that he is perfectly willing to work with the criminal cabal in Washington on mutual objectives, and he follows through, whereas the criminal cabal and their military brass are a mess, making and breaking agreements right and left, causing untold suffering while proclaiming their snow-white innocence, and flailing wildly against shadows.

    Empire of Chaos indeed.

    So. She may have just been blowing smoke, but I suspect not. She hedged the way she does, of course, but don’t be surprised if what she was yapping about is what comes to pass.

  28. Ivory Bill Woodpecker permalink
    October 20, 2016

    What Che Pasa said.

    Wait three weeks, and either:

    Trump will win, and start toadying to his idol Putin, ratcheting down the tensions.

    Or, and right now the likelier prospect:

    Clinton will win, and will no longer need Putin as a punching bag to deflect attention from *yawn* THE MOSTEST DEVASTATINGEST IMPORTANTEST E-MAILS EVAH!!! from VladiLeaks *yawn again*, and so she will start ratcheting down the tensions.

    Either way, domestic politics is governing foreign affairs, as often happens. I expect Putin is smart enough about the USA to recognize that.

    Putin thought he saw a good, cheap opportunity to exploit a unique situation in U. S. politics to install someone friendly to him and to Mother Russia in the White House. It doesn’t look likely to pan out for him any longer, so the ever-shrewd Putin will trim his sails accordingly.

    Likewise, I think Clinton is too smart to make foreign policy on the basis of a grudge. The retaliation will be quiet, and too small to provoke WW3.

    And the beat goes on…

  29. Peter* permalink
    October 20, 2016


    I’m sure you can provide examples of Syrians dancing at pro-Assad rallies once they bury their dead from his latest barrel bomb attack and the Russians must be viewed as saviors after the people experience their fuel-air, from Russia with love, armaments.

    I’m certain that most Syrians want the war and suffering to end and some of them do support their police state leader but tens of thousands of rebels couldn’t operate as effectively as they have without local support and assistance.

    The hardline position on Putin and Assad displayed by Clinton has had the same goal as Obama’s weaker stance, to force Assad and Putin to agree and implement the UN plan of a transitional government sans Assad. The problem is that Putin doesn’t seem to have much influence with Assad who knows he is a dead man walking anywhere but in his Alawite stronghold.

  30. VietnamVet permalink
    October 20, 2016

    V. Arnold
    October 20, 2016
    Quote from William R. Polk “Ukraine War A Reverse Cuban Missile Crisis”:
    “there was no such thing as a “limited” nuclear war if both sides were armed with nuclear weapons. Limited nuclear actions inevitably ended in all-out war.”
    The Ukraine and Syria confrontations are one mistake away from a shooting war between nuclear powers that will inevitably escalate to a nuclear holocaust.
    October 20, 2016
    There are over 5000 American soldiers and military contractors serving in a war zone in Iraq and getting killed or maimed if they are in the wrong place at the wrong time. They are at great risk if the Iraq Army falls apart once again. Yes, it is insane to be at war with Jihadists in Iraq but supporting them in Syria to keep the Shiite Crescent severed at the bequest of Israel and the Gulf Monarchs. And, yes, identity politics is tearing America apart. Finally, if disaster capitalism and rising inequality isn’t stopped; “short miserable lives” will the new normal in the West.

    p.s. Yahoo News “Duterte aligns Philippines with China, says U.S. has lost”.

  31. tsisageya permalink
    October 20, 2016

    I’m so scared. Where’s my desk to duck under? Whatever shall I do?

  32. tsisageya permalink
    October 20, 2016

    Oh gosh. WARWARWARWARWARWARWAR. Go fuck yourself.

  33. tsisageya permalink
    October 20, 2016

    Sorry, I won’t even read you. Your clickbait is enough for me. I’m gone from you.

  34. Merasmus permalink
    October 20, 2016


    The ‘rebels’ have never operated particularly effectively. They managed to capture one part of one city, East Aleppo, and that was their biggest gain of the entire war. They’re mostly kept afloat with copious amounts of foreign aid and, especially, fighters. Assad may not be particularly popular either (certainly millions of people have chosen to flee the country entirely rather than fight for either side); the SAA is now heavily reinforced with Iranian and Palestinian support, but it still manages to recruit and train new soldiers by the thousands.

    And yes, I can find pictures of happy demonstrators holding Assad pictures. Here are some right here:

    Your barrel bomb attack is bizarre as well as insultingly stupid. It’s always been a point loved by the media, as if an improvised hunk of metal filled with explosives is massively worse than a purpose built hunk of metal filled with explosives, but it’s been an inaccurate one for the better part of a year. The Russians are certainly supplying the SAA with much better munitions. The latest idiocy on the subject I’ve seen was the media claiming the SAA was using barrel bombs to deliver chlorine gas. All the evidence is that chlorine is being used by the opposition in an attempt to frame the Syrian government, which voluntarily gave up all its stockpiles of chemical weapons. Chlorine is exactly the kind of crappy, made-in-a-garage weapon you would expect rebels to create, it’s ill suited for use in combat, and you certainly wouldn’t deliver it with something like a barrel.

  35. V. Arnold permalink
    October 21, 2016

    October 20, 2016
    The war with Russia will inevitably escalate into a nuclear holocaust.

    Your words. Your reading comprehension leaves something to be desired.
    Go back and read what I said. You obviously mis-understood what I said.

  36. Peter* permalink
    October 21, 2016


    Thanks for the reply, I do enjoy examining some of the weak propaganda produced by supporters of the Assad police state. Al Masdar News is the go to source for encouragement if you are easily led and don’t read their product too closely. They appear to be a slick and informed source but there is no information as to who they are or where their funding comes from and even their named editor has no listed background only a name and title. This lack of identification and the slant of their reporting led me to try to discover who AMN actually is when they first appeared. They do a fairly thorough job of masking their background and source of funding but I did manage to trace them back to Iran which their propaganda line seems to originate from.

    The AMN pictures you linked to may encourage people who want to believe in Assad but we don’t know where exactly these pictures were taken, it doesn’t appear to be in the contested areas where the rebels were located because those areas have been bombed into rubble.

    Assad uses barrel bombs and gas because they are effective terror weapons aimed at the civilian populations that harbor the rebels and the UN Chemical Weapons Group verified their use of chlorine not the western media. They also stated that the IS had used chlorine but that fact does not excuse Assad’s use of these proscribed chemical terror tools.

  37. Merasmus permalink
    October 21, 2016


    I use Al Masdar for their daily battlefield updates, something they are extremely reliable on.

    It’s like you didn’t even read the linked report. The pictures were taken in the Damascus suburb of Qudsiyah, where the ‘rebels’ withdrew without a fight, partly because of pressure from the civilian population. Your belief that it couldn’t possibly be a rebel held area because it wasn’t bombed out shows just how much you’ve bought into the propaganda that the Syrian government just carpet bombs everything in sight.

    What makes you think the UN is trustworthy on this issue? The Syrian government doesn’t use gas. They also have no reason to, certainly not something as tactically useless as chlorine. I again remind you: they voluntarily gave up their entire chemical weapon stockpile.

  38. Peter* permalink
    October 21, 2016


    If you swallow the hyperbole printed about these battles by AMN you might believe the Axis forces are and have been on the cusp of victory for some time now for they never fail and any actual defeat and retreat are merely redeployments. With the near constant hammering of Russian air power they have made small gains but most rebel forces are holding their ground and even advancing occasionally as we have seen.

    I wonder if you know that the OPCW is not an agency of the UN but works with and does report to them. Russia is a member and was required to sigh off on this Syria chemical weapon investigation although they delayed the investigation as long as they could and demanded their own investigators be included, which they were. The OPCW conclusions were reported to the UN verifying that Assad continued to gas his citizens with chlorine.

    Claiming that Assad voluntarily gave up his chemical weapons is hilarious when he never even admitted he had them. Putin convinced him that his survival depended on him letting the Russians and the OPCW remove his stockpiles and destroy his production facilities which was an admission that he had used them in the attack on Ghouta.

  39. Merasmus permalink
    October 21, 2016

    You are extremely ignorant about the current state of the conflict. Let me break it down for you: the ‘rebels’ in East Aleppo are done, finished. Cut off from all resupply they are being ground into dust one neighborhood at a time. 150 members of Ahrar al-Sham handed over their territory in east Aleppo just a couple days ago (in exchange for passage to Idlib). The major push to break the siege in august (which western media trumpeted to no end) failed to establish a safe corridor and amounted to a killing field for al-Qaeda. It was sealed the better part of two months ago. Militants outside the city have amassed 1,200 men in an attempt to punch another hole, but Russia intelligence is well aware of this and the offensive will fail even more miserably than the last.

    Meanwhile in the Damascus suburbs the militants have been surrendering their pockets at a steady pace for weeks. In Hama their minor gains in a surprise offensive have already been largely rolled back. And despite the ‘accidental’ US bombing the SAA continues to hold steady in Deir Ezzor and around Palmyra. The Russia air force is currently running scores of sorties to bomb ISIS as its troops flee Mosul into eastern Syria. Curious how the USAF seems completely incapable of bombing them…

    As for the supposed government gas attack in Ghouta, Obama was forced to back off his ‘red line’ nonsense after James Clapper literally burst into the room waving a report and saying the intelligence wasn’t clear. Just how bad it was has become apparent over time. Oh, and the OPCW report doesn’t actually assign blame. Assad gave up his chemical stockpiles because a. he didn’t need them, and b. they would have been an excuse for the US to directly invade.

  40. V. Arnold permalink
    October 22, 2016

    October 21, 2016

    Thanks Merasmus for stating reality on the ground. This isn’t the first time Asterix has carried the propaganda baggage.
    Most of us ignore the western media in favor of the true situation from reliable foreign sources.
    Every point you made is verifiable as factual, were as Asterix spouts bullshit.

  41. V. Arnold permalink
    October 22, 2016

    Oops, where as; not were as… ;-(

  42. Peter* permalink
    October 22, 2016


    I see from your links that you are a big fan of fantasy writers and the post-truth meme of repeating rumors as if they were facts. Sy Hersh has become the wizard of rumors from unverified and unidentified fantastic sources. ‘Kitchen Sarin’ is probably the best example of his creative but somewhat warped mind.

    If you can escape these fabulist’s view of Syria and concentrate on the mundane reality on the ground a clearer picture emerges. Since Putin started to pound Syrians into bloody bugsplat the great combined forces of Assad’s army, Iranian, Iraqi and Afghani militias with Hezbollah all foreign forces have failed to deliver the decisive victories that were announced as imminent by their propagandists at the beginning of this phase of the conflict.

    The first major Axis force’s offensive push was to the south where AMN and others announced victory even before the battles began and every captured hilltop was proof of certain victory. That offensive stalled and is not even mentioned anymore. The next big Axis push was to the north aimed at those pesky Turkmen rebels and their Turkish backers but that grand campaign only led to a Russian bomber and a helicopter being blasted to bits and another stalemate.

    The Axis then turned to Palmira the IS stronghold that was defended by a couple hundred Hajjis who soon slipped away to fight another day. Then began the Race to al-Raqqah that soon ended with a NASCAR like pileup not far down the road where the IS waited in ambush and blew the wheels off that mechanized thrust. I haven’t heard anything about that race starting anytime soon again.

    Now after a year of Russian intervention and failures the target is Aleppo where after the most intense bombing campaign of the war has occurred the rebels just rejected the Axis begging them to just leave and have taunted them with ‘Come and Get Us’

    Assad hasn’t even been able to defeat the small groups of rebels around Damascus, there has been no rebel group surrender only a negotiated withdrawal and they will fight another day.

  43. Merasmus permalink
    October 22, 2016


    Wow. You literally have no idea what’s going on in Syria. Either that or you’re intentionally presenting nonsense. The first objective was to clear Latakia province, that was accomplished. Aleppo was always a primary target, to such an extent that western media was (and still is) constantly whining that Russia isn’t serious about fighting ISIS because they focus mostly on AQ/’rebels’. The push for Raqqa was interrupted by events in Aleppo. Eastern Aleppo was the biggest prize for the FSA of the entire war, when they lose it it will be a massive blow to their morale and credibility.

  44. Merasmus permalink
    October 22, 2016

    Double post, but I’ll also add that your mocking of the strategy of allowing militants to leave (with their small arms and provided with transport to Idlib) reveals you to either be completely intellectually bankrupt, or a very poor propagandist. Counter to what you keep claiming, the Syrian government would prefer to not turn every pocket of resistance into a sea of rubble and civilian corpses. They’ve made offering to let fighters leave into a very successful strategy. By your reasoning they should be just ‘barrel bombing’ and MLRSing every cauldron into ruin.

    As for ‘begging’ the fighters in Eastern Aleppo to leave, that’s mostly a PR exercise. They’ve opened humanitarian evacuation corridors, which the diehard al-Qaeda fighters that make up the bulk of the ‘rebels’ have responded to by targeting with artillery. The ceasefire (at least it is on the part of the ‘Axis’) is an excellent antidote to the claims of the Russians being war criminals, as well as giving the SAA and its allies a chance to rest. In the end it will amount to little and the offensive will resume.

    You’re basically pointing at a battle (Eastern Aleppo) that is seeing the completely surrounded militants lose territory on an almost daily basis and going “Ahah! See, the ineffectual SAA is on the ropes!”. Ridiculous.

  45. hidflect permalink
    October 22, 2016

    Every time I recall Hillary has been comparing Putin to Hitler, I cringe. How many of Putin’s ancestors are buried in the snow thanks to Der Fuhrer? She can’t walk that back. And what does she gain? My guess is it’s a play not to the domestic audience, 95% of whom never heard this or quickly forgot, bit to a strategic and vocal set of backers who need to see Russia curtailed before their plans for greater nationhood can proceed.

  46. Peter* permalink
    October 23, 2016


    I’ve followed your type of wishful thinking, projection and cheerleading for the Assad police state and their Axis forces at the sites your rhetoric seems to come from and they have been consistently wrong about their predictions for this conflict. Much like TFH nutters they rarely reexamine their failures but ignore reality and find new kettles to beat on. Complete denial has given way to apologia for the Axis forces inability to effectively fight on more than one front at a time but this seems to be a call for more Russian or Iranian troops to prop up the regime. Some of these morons even think the Chinese are going to jump into this meatgrinder and save the day.
    Assad may have been ‘on the ropes’ before Putin intervened but I’ve only described their current condition as a stalemate or stalled so there is no need for you to exaggerate my words or project your own fears. With the Red Queen’s Shock and Awe policies soon to be enacted there won’t even be any ropes left for Assad to cling to.

    Latakia province has always been Assad controlled territory except for the northeast border region around the peninsula of Turkish territory that projects into Syria. I checked the wiki template map and it remains opposition held territory although the Axis forces did narrow it somewhat before the present stalemate. The rebels control the Turkish border crossings that the Axis offensive tried and failed to close.

    Repeating Syrian, Iranian and Russian propaganda about who most of the rebels are, they are Syrians, may illustrate Gobbel’s maxim about repeating lies until they are believed but the group once called al Nusra represents at most half of the rebels defending eastern Aleppo and they are mostly Syrians themselves who fought the US occupation in Iraq with AQ before returning to their home and are now leading the Army of Conquest’s fight against the many foreign forces assisting Assad along with the SAA.

  47. Ivory Bill Woodpecker permalink
    October 23, 2016

    Asterisk Dude and Merasmus are just so adorable

    Oh, why don’t you two just get a room already? ^_^

  48. DMC permalink
    October 23, 2016


    So who’s picking up your checks, the Saudis or the Israelis? Nobody is this interested unless their getting paid or have personal “skin in the game” like relatives still in country. Oh and about Morsi…don’t strain yourself with that red herring. The cases are heavy.

  49. Merasmus permalink
    October 23, 2016

    @Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    Hah, I remember that show. I recall Konata would be the type down for it, Kagami less so.

  50. Ivory Bill Woodpecker permalink
    October 23, 2016

    @Merasmus: I’m not using it right now, but this is my favorite computer wallpaper ever. 😀

  51. V. Arnold permalink
    October 23, 2016

    October 23, 2016

    Asterix likes to carry water for TPTB. He acts like a government troll, intentionally diseminating false and mis-leading information, aka, propaganda.

  52. Peter* permalink
    October 24, 2016


    At least Merasmus tried to defend his positions from my reality check and review of the facts on the ground in Syria. You and others just sit on the sidelines sulking waiting for your chance to spew some spittle flecked vomitus because you have nothing else to offer. This is the condition you inhabit by needing to be led by the nose and letting others do your thinking for you. When they’re not around to feed you fresh BS, designed for useful idiots, you flounder and revert to churlish accusations to cover your lack the skills to debate the reality of the Syria conflict.

    I mentioned the US twice in this exchange referring to the change in policy the Red Queen will bring about using force directly against Assad which is an observation/prediction not an endorsement. Beyond that the US still doesn’t appear to want the rebels to win the conflict only keep the pressure on forcing everyone left into a transitional government including the core of the Syrian government sans Assad. This is the only outcome that might allow the US to maintain some influence in the new government but this is probably wishful thinking on their part.

  53. Merasmus permalink
    October 24, 2016

    “Now I admit the rebels are getting their asses kicked. Well, uh, obviously this just means the US doesn’t really want them to win, not that the Syrian government has the upper hand. Yeah, that’s the ticket.”


  54. Peter* permalink
    October 25, 2016


    You might want to reduce your vodka consumption, Tovarich you seem to be hallucinating fantasy propaganda again.

    The rebels have certainly taken a lot of punishing abuse and have lost some ground since Putin sent his jets to attack the Islamic State in Syria but they are dug in and holding most of their positions. They are still capable of staging counterattacks as we have seen and may soon see again in Aleppo.

    The heavy weapons, including MANPADS, the rebels need to defeat the Axis forces have never been offered or supplied by the US and they have blocked the Saudis from supplying them. This along with the US determination to separate ‘their’ rebels from al Nusra shows their true intent.

  55. Merasmus permalink
    October 25, 2016

    You’re displaying your ignorance, yet again. Holding steady? They’re surrounded in an ever shrinking pocket in Eastern Aleppo, and steadily losing ground in West Ghouta and Hama. They launched an attack today from outside Aleppo City. It ended in complete failure. They had their last big push two months ago, they lost a thousand men in the process and a load of armored vehicles and other heavy equipment that won’t be easily replaced.

    MANPADS aren’t of much use against jets. The most they can do is prevent helicopters from operating in an area, which is what happened during the fighting around the Artillery Academy. Not that it helped much; they failed to even widen their corridor enough to make the center safe from artillery, let alone airstrikes.

    The US has no desire to separate the ‘moderates’ from al-Qaeda. Not only are their few if any fighters left who aren’t fellow travelers of the head-choppers, but the claim that there are and that they’re too intermingled is used as an excuse to shield jihadis from airstrikes.

  56. tsisageya permalink
    October 25, 2016

    Preparing for war. Russia is preparing for war. Let’s see…music…

  57. Peter* permalink
    October 25, 2016


    I know better than to try predicting the future but if we return our attention to Aleppo in two weeks or even two months I doubt much will have changed. The battle for Aleppo has lasted five years already and the resistance of the rebels and civilians there have reduced the Axis to a medieval siege plan and war of attrition. I could be wrong but if not I’m sure you will have a whole new line of BS to explain the stalemate or new apologia for the Axis forces failure.

    Putin doesn’t agree with you about the threat of MANPADS to his air force and he threatened to attack any Gulf country that supplied them to the rebels. The brave Russian airmen are too terrified already to fly below 20,000 feet and face what limited AA the rebels possess.

  58. Plenue permalink
    October 25, 2016

    It is impressive to see someone reaffirm their complete ignorance about something so many times. Have you even seen a recent battle map of Aleppo City?

  59. Ivory Bill Woodpecker permalink
    October 25, 2016

    Nah, this is the music for Russia preparing for war… 😛

  60. Ditegen permalink
    October 31, 2016

    “Over the Ukraine and Crimea, which were part of Russia for centuries and are clearly in their sphere of influence?” – It’s like neighbors who don’t report an abuse: “Oh, it does not matter much, she’s being raped by him since childhood anyway.”

    Ian, just a single question: Why die for Danzig?

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