Monday, October 12, 2015

Russians and Saudis Agree On Common Goals

Russia has ramped up its presence in Syria, allegedly in order to fight ISIS, but also to prop up the Assad regime. Obama and his pro Muslim Brotherhood policies have made the West an irrelevant force in the Middle East. 

UPDATE: The West's traditional allies are jumping the sinking ship of the Coalition of the Willing. Putin's star is rising. The damage Obama has done will take years to undo.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Arabia’s defense minister have agreed that Moscow and Riyadh should pursue common goals in Syria, including national reconciliation and combating terrorists, Russian FM Sergey Lavrov said. “First of all, they are to prevent a terrorist caliphate from getting the upper hand in Syria.” The second goal that we share with Riyadh is “ensuring the triumph of national reconciliation in Syria so that all Syrians, regardless of their nationality or religion, will feel masters of their land,” he said. 
In the meantime a new opposition coalition has been forged. Its goal is not to fight ISIS (there's another coalition to do that), but to combat the Assad-Russia-Iran axis.

Oct. 4, 2015

Russian Action in Syria Marks A New Era

Oct 4, 2015 RT's Murad Gazdiev has been taking a closer look at the fighter jets at a Russian air base in Syria.

The positioning of Russian aircraft in Syria gives the Kremlin an ability to shape and control U.S. and Western operations in both Syria and Iraq out of all proportion to the size of the Russian force. It can compel the U.S. to accept a de facto combined coalition with Russia, Syria, Iran, and Lebanese Hezbollah, possibly in support of indiscriminate operations against any and all regime opponents, not just ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra. It may portend the establishment of a permanent Russian air and naval base in the Eastern Mediterranean. Russian forces have prepared and trained to conduct close air support and possibly special operations in Syria, and may begin doing so within days. (Source)

Sep 30, 2015


Well, it seems like the guessing game is over! The Russians are serious when it comes to foreign policy. Whatever is about to follow, will be the result of the West's Arab Spring policy, make no mistake about it!

Sep. 10, 2015

Russia Keeps West Guessing About Build Up In Syria

By refusing to clarify the scale of its military presence in Syria, Russia keeps the West fearing a considerable build-up to win a stronger bargaining position when world powers sit down to talks on the conflict, Western diplomats in Moscow said. Those discussions could take place as soon as this month, when Russian President Vladimir Putin comes to the U.S. for the first time in some eight years, to speak at the annual United Nations General Assembly. Russia's central demand now is that its long-time ally, Syrian President Bashar Assad, should be included in international efforts to contain the militants who have called themselves Islamic State and control large tracts of Syria. U.S. officials said on Wednesday Russia had sent two tank landing ships and additional aircraft to Syria and deployed a small number of forces there. In Lebanon, sources said Russian forces are taking part in combat in Syria, where Assad has come under increasing pressure. (...) (Source)

Sep. 6, 2015

Putin Confims Russian Build Up In Syria

As fast as intel watchers were to latch on to the sightings of the Russians in Syria, just as fast are anti Assad sources to deny them. Perhaps it's wishful thinking, perhaps the news is just bad for their cause, or they genuinely don't believe it. It's true that the naval base in Tartous is nothing new. But Putin meanwhile has confirmed the uptick in Russian involvement against ISIS.

Sep. 3, 2015

Syrian State TV Reporting Russian Deployment

The British Telegraph is now also reporting the sightings of Russian aircraft in the sky over Syria. Indeed, even Syrian state television has reported on the Russian deployment, making it as good as official.
Russian troops are fighting alongside pro-Assad forces in Syria, state television in Damascus and several reports have claimed. The video footage claimed to show troops and a Russian armoured vehicle fighting Syrian rebels alongside President Bashar al-Assad's troops in Latakia. It is reportedly possible to hear Russian being spoken by the troops in the footage. In further indications of Russian "mission creep" in Syria, a Twitter account linked to Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda's Syrian branch, published images of what appeared to be Russian planes and drones flying over Idlib. (Source)

Russia Joins Battle Against ISIS

This is the end of the West's adventure with the Muslim Brotherhood called the Arab Spring. In a choice between a secular dictator and a theocratic tyranny, choose the secular! < no brainer! More commentary shortly on the mother file: Obama Policy in the Middle East Backfiring Sensationally.
Russia has begun its military intervention in Syria, deploying an aerial contingent to a permanent Syrian base, in order to launch attacks against ISIS and Islamist rebels; US stays silent. Russian fighter pilots are expected to begin arriving in Syria in the coming days, and will fly their Russian air force fighter jets and attack helicopters against ISIS and rebel-aligned targets within the failing state. According to Western diplomats, a Russian expeditionary force has already arrived in Syria and set up camp in an Assad-controlled airbase. The base is said to be in area surrounding Damascus, and will serve, for all intents and purposes, as a Russian forward operating base. 
In the coming weeks thousands of Russian military personnel are set to touch down in Syria, including advisors, instructors, logistics personnel, technical personnel, members of the aerial protection division, and the pilots who will operate the aircraft. Past reports have stated that the Russians were in talks to sell the Syrians a package of MiG-29 fighter jets, and Yak-130 trainer jets (which can also serve as attack aircraft.) The current makeup of the expeditionary force is still unknown, but there is no doubt that Russian pilots flying combat missions in Syrian skies will definitely change the existing dynamics in the Middle East. The Russians do not harbor offensive intentions towards Israel or other sovereign states in the area, and their main stated goal is battling ISIS and preserving Assad's rule. 
However, their presence will represent a challenge to the Israeli Air Force's freedom of operation in the skies above the Middle East. Western diplomatic sources recently reported that a series of negotiations had been held between the Russians and the Iranians, mainly focusing on ISIS and the threat it poses to the Assad regime. The infamous Iranian Quds Force commander Major General Qasem Soleimani recently visited Moscow in the framework of these talks. As a result the Russians and the Iranians reached a strategic decision: Make any effort necessary to preserve Assad's seat of power, so that Syria may act as a barrier, and prevent the spread of ISIS and Islamist backed militias into the former Soviet Islamic republics. (...) (Source)
H/t @EmilyGoyaars @GROLSCHnl @WretchardTheCat

Sep. 2, 2015

Russian Air Force Deployed in Syria

Provided the pictures are genuine and taken in Syria in the last couple of days, they would really prove a Russian expeditionary force has already arrived in the country and started flying from an Assad-controlled airbase near Damascus as reported by some Israeli media outlets. During the past days, has exposed several flights of a Russian Air Force Il-76 airlifter (caught by means of its Mode-S transponder) flying to and from Damascus using radio callsign “Manny 6”, most probably supporting the deployment of the Russian expeditionary force. Recent reports claimed Russia was in talks to sell Damascus some MiG-29s but the rumors were refuted by MiG CEO Sergei Korotkov. If the pictures are real, the current makeup of the Russian detachment would include attack planes (Su-34), as well as some air-superiority ones (MiG-29 and Su-27) and UAVs (Pchela 1T – a drone with a of range 60 km). Whether the Russian Air Force operations against ISIS in Syria are coordinated with the U.S.-led coalition that daily conducts air strikes in the country is unclear. (...) (Source)

Reports: Russia Building Up Presence in Syria

Though the images tweeted  by the Syrian al-Qaeda spin-off group Jabhat Al-Nusra account are unverifiable, the account stated that the aircraft were seen over Idlib province—an area that has seen heavy fighting and steady advances by Syrian opposition fighters. While the tweeted images have no landmarks on the ground as reference points, the Iranian state-sponsored FARS news agency released a report that Syrian aircraft bombed opposition forces in Idlib, including al-Nusra fighters on Wednesday. The possible sighting of Russian aircraft in Syrian skies comes just two days after the Jerusalem-based newspaper YNET released a report indicating that Russian pilots and aircraft would be arriving in Syria in “the coming days” with the purported mission of flying airstrikes against the Islamic State and opposition forces that are threatening the Assad regime.

While Russian fighter aircraft would be a new development, Russian drones have frequently been seen in Syrian skies in the now four year-old war. The presence of Russian jets in the skies above Syria, where United States and coalition forces have been waging an air campaign since August of last year, could make managing the airspace an even more daunting task than it is already.

When queried about the possibility of Russian aircraft in Syria, Pentagon spokeswoman Navy Cmdr. Elissa Smith said she had “nothing on this,” but recent reporting by the Daily Beast’s Michael Weiss states that the Pentagon is being “unusually cagey” about a bolstered Russian presence in Syria.

While Russia’s ties with Syria has been long known—Russia operates a naval base out of the coast city of Tartous—there have been additional sightings of newer Russian military equipment in the province of Latakia and Syrian news reports of a new Russian military base under construction in the city of Jablah. In October 2014, Syrian opposition fighters supposedly also overran a joint Syrian-Russian intelligence center that monitored signals intelligence. 

Oryx Blog, a site that monitors military equipment and activity in the region, has reported extensively on these developments and has managed to provide solid evidence of recent Russia equipment shipments to Syria—from infantry fighting vehicles to machine guns—as well as the presence of Russian personnel operating some of this equipment.

An Oryx post from Aug. 24 highlights the presence of a Russian BTR-82A, an armored personnel carrier, in Latakia province. The BTR is remarkable for two reasons, the report points out. The first being that the BTR-82A is a newer variant than what as been seen in the hands of the Assad regime in the past and the second that the tactical markings on the rear of the vehicle are consistent with how the Russian military marks its vehicles as opposed to the Assad regime.

Oryx’s report follows an Aug. 20 sighting from the Bosphorus Naval News showing the Russian landing ship—the Nikolay Filchenkov—packed to the gunnels with military equipment. What stood out to Naval News was the fact that the Filchenkov had a large amount of cargo on deck, most of which was covered by camouflage netting and tarps. This indicates that ship’s interior cargo hold were already full. According to both Naval News and Oryx, the tarps appeared to be covering a number of BTRs, though what variant is not distinguishable.

The Daily Beast report on Russian buildup quotes an unnamed intelligence official as saying that while no one is “surprised to see reports of new Russian military equipment in the region—which would also suggest Russian forces training on that equipment—the line between training and taking part in combat is fuzzy. But the intelligence community also hasn’t seen anything to indicate that Russians are not taking part in the fight.” 

Oryx seems to reaffirm this in a blog post that identifies what distinctly sounds like a Russian speaker in the background of a Syrian National Defense Force news report. The speaker, hard to make out over the sound of cannon fire, can be heard saying they are “moving out” in Russian, according to Oryx.