Friday, 30 October 2015

Russians "south of Damascus"

I have been baffled by some of the comments of the likes of contrarian Jon Helleweg who seems to have decided, on the basis of being frozen out of commenting by RT to have decided that Putin is the enemy and RT controlled by the Fifth Column.

Jon Hellevig
Putin is spending billions and billions on media, and yet his RT is controlled by the 5th column, the enemies that want to have him killed like Gaddafi and Hussein.


Then we have the contrarian, Vladimir Suchan who these days seems have only one them these days - of criticising Putin because of his following a traditional line of diplomacy while simultaneously working on the military front.

Interestingly, I can't think of the last time that Vladimir was asked by ANYONE for comment - he used to appear regularly on the likes of RT (no doubt because they are controlled, like Putin, by the Fifth Column - sic) - (1 year ago, it seems).

The latest is the following where, as part of Putin's alleged move to Minsk 111 he has reached an agreement with the Americans and the Israelis not to touch anything south of Damascus.

Here are comments from Vladimir Suchan who, for those who don't know him is a former Czech diplomat and professional commenter on Facebook:

"This set of analytical maps from Syria reveals the scope and significance of the ongoing ISIS offensive around Aleppo and between Aleppo and Damascus, which cut off the last land connection between the Aleppo group of the Syrian Army with the rest. It also confirms the reported agreement between Russia, on the one hand, and the US and Israel, on the other, that Russia will restrain from bombing south of Damascus, where the anti-government forces are overtly sponsored and organized by the US (i.e. Israel). The maps also show or expose the traditional weakness of Moscow's PR and the nurtured cult of Putin, the Superman--there are no quick, easy, magical fixes and tricks and false bombastic triumphalism at odds with true realism, but replete with exaggerations and self-delusions, is counter-productive--however attractive, flattering, or reinforcing the need for in-crowd addictive emotional opiate these are."

I do not have the impeccable level of knowledge and analyis of Vladimir Suchan so all I can do is to bring to the table articles that suggest that the Russians may, indeed, not only be operating "south of Damascus" but have effectively frozen the Israelis out of Syrian skies.

Russians Bomb Israeli Supported Terrorist Base on Golan Heights


27 October, 2015

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Russian air force hit rebel positions in Southern Syria, near the Golan Heights, for the first time since it began its air campaign against the Takfiri terrorists last month.

The Russian airstrikes targeted positions of the ISIL and al-Nusra Front in the Golan Heights in Quneitra province near the border with Israel.

Russia’s airstrikes were the closest to the occupied Palestinian territories since it started its airstrikes in late September.

Earlier today, the Russian air force also struck terrorists’ positions in Daraa province for the first time in the past month.

Russia’s fighter jets hit the Takfiri terrorists’ positions in the strategic hilltops of Tal al-Harra and Tal Antar near Deir al-Adas in the Northern countryside of Daraa late Monday.

The Syrian army also carried out attacks on the strategic hilltop of Tal al-Alaqiya in Daraa countryside and managed to fully destroy the terrorists’ positions in the region.

The Tal al-Alaqiya hilltop is surrounded by three other strategic areas of Deir al-Adas, Kafar Nasej and Kafar Shams in Northern Daraa.

Political observers believe that he Russian fighter jets’ attacks have an important message for Israel while Tal Aviv is trying to pretend that it has reached an agreement with Moscow on Syria’s Southern skies.

Also on Monday, Russian fighter jets razed to the ground a number of the positions of the terrorist groups in the Syrian Province of Aleppo.

The Russian airstrikes hit positions of al-Nusra Front and ISIL terrorist groups in the vicinity of Khanasser-Ithriyah road in the Southern parts of the city of Aleppo.

Reports also said the clashes continue between the Syrian troops and ISIL terrorists on the Khanasser-Ithriyah road.

The Russian air raids also hit positions of terrorists from The Levant Front or Jabhat al-Shamiyya in al-Sheikh Saeed neighborhood in Southern Aleppo and al-Sheikh Issa in the Southern countryside of Aleppo.

Russian warplanes also pounded Takfiri militants’ positions in the vicinity of the Air Force Academy in Kuweires airport in the Eastern countryside of Aleppo.

If you don't want to believe Veteran's Today, here's the Israeli media



For the first time since Russia began its direct military involvement in Syria, Russian aircrafts attacked Syrian Rebel targets near the border with Israel. According to the Iranian report, the strike was meant to disprove Israeli claims that the two countries had reached an agreement regarding airstrikes in Southern Syria.

The Iranian Fars News Agency reported that Russian fighter jets attacked several targets belonging to the Syrian Rebels yesterday (Monday) near Quneitra in the Syrian Golan Heights, close to the border with Israel.

According to the Iranian report, the Russian attacks focused on two strategic strongholds held by the rebels, Tal al-Harra and Tal Antar. Sources affiliated with the Syrian Rebels also confirmed that their targets were hit by Russia.


Political analysts in Iran claimed that the aim of the Russian strike, amongst others, was to send a clear message to Israel, “which is trying to claim that it reached an agreement with Moscow with regards to the use of airspace in southern Syria.”


International Military Review - Syria-Iraq Battlespace, Oct. 28, 2015





Russian no-fly zone effectively blocks US, UK and Israeli forces from bombing Syria




© RIA Novosti/Vitaliy Ankov    Moskva missile cruiser

28 October, 2015


It appears that, after a few weeks of Russian bombing in Syria, a new kind of "no-fly zone" seems to have been established. However, this "no-fly zone" is not focused on preventing Syrian planes and military forces from operating inside the country. Instead, it functions as a barrier to Israeli and American air forces seeking to enter Syria through the Mediterranean Sea in order to support terrorists and jihadists against the secular government of Bashar al-Assad.

This is because of Russia's Naval presence in the port of Tartus and its new presence just off the coast of Latakia, particularly with ships like the guided missile cruiser 
Moscow. The ship left Crimea on September 24 and is part of what Russian media is referring to as training exercises.

The Russian Ministry of Defense has stated,
In the course of the training activity, the Russian ships will practice organization of anti-submarine, anti-ship, and air defense, as well as search-and-rescue activities and rendering assistance to distressed vessels.

During the exercise, the military seamen are to perform over 40 different combat, tasks including missile and artillery firings at surface and aerial targets.
Clearly, the ship is in the Mediterranean for more than simple maneuvers. But its presence is also being bemoaned by the obsessively pro-Israeli, pro-NATO, and pro-war crowds howling in the pages of mainstream media outlets about being prevented from being able to cross national borders at will and rain death and destruction down upon innocent civilians and the primary force fighting ISIS and other jihadists in Syria.

As pro-Israeli writer "Eli" from SOFREP wrote in an article that was reposted by Business Insider,
By positioning the Moskva, a cruiser armed with S300 missiles, west of Latakia, the Russians have endangered the IAF's favorite corridor of flight into Syria. The IAF has no stealth capabilities to circumvent this anti-access/area denial — A2/AD — bubble, nor any other air force in the area.Russian President Vladimir Putin managed to do in several days what US President Barack Obama failed to do in the last three years: He's created a true no-fly zone. Putin's actions suggest, in my opinion, that he's willing to force the coalition and the Israel air force into reporting and coordinating their flights in the region — an act I'm sure no one is in favor of or willing to comply with.

The Moskva carries an estimated 64 S-300 missiles, according to foreign sources), and could intercept multiple targets up to 150 miles away, making it a serious threat in addition to other Russian assets in the region.
The presence of the Moskva essentially locks down British air assets in Cyprus, American F-16s in the southern part of Turkey, and the Israeli air force, which likes to use that particular flight corridor for penetration into Syria, or alternatively when flying over the western part of Lebanon. Any flights in or around the country will now be tricky for the IAF to accomplish.
"Eli" has made an astute observation. Unless the Israelis and NATO powers are truly willing to risk World War 3, the ability to simply fly in through and over the Mediterranean has been severely hampered by the Russian presence. NATO and Israel could indeed identify themselves and their intentions but they could be denied overflight permission to do so. They would then be forced with the choice between simply stepping back or risking a direct confrontation with Russian jets in the air.

Furthermore, "Eli" concludes that danger is indeed present. He writes,
So what happens to coalition surveillance flights? What about airdrops to parties in the region supported by the coalition? This will become another complicated situation which will require the precision of a surgeon and the creativity of artists. One thing is certain: The Kremlin's recent move is dangerous and places us all in danger. It may be time to dust off the old Cold War books.
Yet, while "Eli" laments the Russian presence in the Mediterranean and Syria and attempts to suggest that Russia is simply expanding its empire, his thesis is concerning for three reasons.First, it is perhaps the case that the United States and Israel have violated human rights and national borders for so long that neither their citizens nor their cheerleaders have any grasp of the difference between imperialism and self-defense.

Second, "Eli" is lamenting the Russian presence because he views the Western support of savages raping and beheading their way across Syria as legitimate and justified. He implicitly argues that the Israeli Air Force, along with the U.S. Air Force, has and should continue to have the divine right to cross national borders at will, drop bombs on civilians and national governments as they choose, and be free from any and all consequences of doing so. The "exceptional" people and the "chosen" people thus make a very good team, complete with the blessings of God and the rest of the world. There is one major problem, however - the fact that Israel and the United States no longer have the blessing of the world to continue their slaughter unabated. Russia has had enough and so have many other nations.Which brings us to the most concerning aspect of "Eli's" position - that he and those he represents are willing to risk World War 3 to continue settlement and colonization of the Middle East and other "non-compliant" nations.

"Eli's" article would not be so concerning if it were not for the fact that it represents the viewpoint of a ruling elite that is so committed to world hegemony that it very well might risk the literal destruction of the world in search of those aims. While "Eli" describes the "Kremlin's recent moves" as "dangerous" and having placed us all in danger, the Kremlin is only acting in a way that defends its own self-interests.

If "Eli" is concerned with the danger that we all face, he would do well to warn the White House and the Knesset.


From Business Insider – not exactly a flunky of Mr. Putin’s.

Russian warships may be shutting out Israel's air-force access to Syria



26 October, 2015


The Israeli air force has an impressive reputation. As a son of an IAF veteran, I grew up hearing stories and watching runways.

I was told tales of daring dogfights against the Egyptian spitfires in the early days, or the overwhelming casualties the IAF caused to the Egyptian air force during the Six-Day War in 1967 — a total of 452 Arab aircraft were destroyed, 49 of which were aerial victories.

Over the years, the IAF has become more technologically advanced and is now an important part of our national security.

But above all, it has become an important element of our special operations, providing our forces with the ability to reach far, silently and in deadly fashion.

Operations such as OP Babylon — bombing an Iraqi nuclear plant — or Operation Orchardwere important milestones in IAF progression and development. Its reputation has since helped the Jewish country rule the sky in a manner that offers us freedom of action, even in such a complex conflict as the Syrian Civil War.

But with the recent developments in Syria, the Russians working to establish a stronger presence in the region, it is likely that the era of the IAF crossing borders as if merely walking over a sidewalk is nearly over.

The Russian navy's Black Sea flagship, the guided missile cruiser Moscow — or Moskva "glory"— left from Sevastopol in Crimea September 24, according to Russian state-controlled media. It is currently located to the west of Latakia, in western Syria.
map syria latakiaGoogle Earth/Amanda Macias/Business Insider

According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, "In the course of the training activity, the Russian ships will practice organization of anti-submarine, anti-ship, and air defense, as well as search-and-rescue activities and rendering assistance to distressed vessels.

"During the exercise, the military seamen are to perform over 40 different combat, tasks including missile and artillery firings at surface and aerial targets."

By positioning the Moskva, a cruiser armed with S300 missiles, west of Latakia, the Russians have endangered the IAF's favorite corridor of flight into Syria. The IAF has no stealth capabilities to circumvent this anti-access/area denial — A2/AD — bubble, nor any other air force in the area.

Russian President Vladimir Putin managed to do in several days what US President Barack Obama failed to do in the last three years: He's created a true no-fly zone. Putin's actions suggest, in my opinion, that he's willing to force the coalition and the Israel air force into reporting and coordinating their flights in the region — an act I’m sure no one is in favor of or willing to comply with.

The Moskva carries an estimated 64 S-300 missiles, according to foreign sources), and could intercept multiple targets up to 150 miles away, making it a serious threat in addition to other Russian assets in the region.

The presence of the Moskva essentially locks down British air assets in Cyprus, American F-16s in the southern part of Turkey, and the Israeli air force, which likes to use that particular flight corridor for penetration into Syria, or alternatively when flying over the western part of Lebanon. Any flights in or around the country will now be tricky for the IAF to accomplish.

Currently, there's a great deal of disinformation and propaganda on the web pertaining to Russian activities in the region and their ostensibly benevolent operations to rid the region of the likes of ISIS. A lot of false information is circulating and PSYOPS are in full effect.

But one may not ignore reality. Russian activities on the diplomatic field suggest that the Russians have intentionally established their own no-fly zones, creating A2/AD bubbles in Syria through which no aircraft, unless stealth-capable, can travel.

The Russian navy has reestablished its old Cold War base, Tartus, on the western coast of Syria. That, along with a Russian airbase in northwestern Syria, ensures that Russia can maintain steady supply routes into Syria to support its military actions.

Considering this and the sophisticated air-defense capabilities the Russians have already deployed in Syria, perhaps the entire operation is about more than merely buoying Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime in the short term. As the saying goes, "Russia is not just a country, it's a mentality."

Russia SyriaInstitute for the Study of War

Concerning aspects of Russia's presence in Syria

  1. The Israeli policy in Syria was to indirectly support rebels and entities on our eastern border (in the Golan Heights region) in order to counter Iranian attempts to support their proxy war branches. The current Russian campaign has made the region easier for the Iranian 'advisors' (read: Quds Force) and the Kuntar militias (Hezbollah proxy) to assume their positions and launch future operations. With the previous IAF airstrikes in the area, Hezbollah and the Iranians were forced to think twice before moving their tools. With that region being protected by a sophisticated air defense like the one Russia has introduced, operated by personnel who can actually read what's written on the keyboard, the IAF's influence has essentially been counteracted.

  2. When the US moved into Iraq, they did it the way they know best: with tons of troops and equipment in a big and impressive way. The problem is, when the US left, military bases and vast amounts of military equipment were left behind, mostly to save the expense of bringing it back home. Now the Russians are mirroring this approach — dumping major hardware into the conflict — which may result in a similar situation to that of Iraq. The Israeli government was the first to recognize this horrifying possibility. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, "If anybody wants to use Syrian territory to transfer nuclear weapons to Hezbollah, we'll take action."
So what happens to coalition surveillance flights? What about airdrops to parties in the regionsupported by the coalition? This will become another complicated situation which will require the precision of a surgeon and the creativity of artists. One thing is certain: The Kremlin's recent move is dangerous and places us all in danger. It may be time to dust off the old Cold War books.

syria airspaceThis map color codes the different nationalities of planes currently operating in Syria.

Conclusion

In an attempt to establish a no-fly zone, Russia has created a roadblock for current and future actions by coalition forces in the region. I have no idea what tomorrow will bring. I don't know how many corners the Syrian table has, but I do know one thing: Too many airplanes belonging to rival factions flying in the same airspace should be a wake-up call to do a home check.

The proposed American no-fly zone idea was meant to protect civilians. The Russian no-fly zone does the opposite and poses complications in lands beyond Syria. It protects the Assad regime as it continues to kill civilians. The more Obama allows the Russian military to become involved in Syria, the more I suspect that Obama has reconsidered forcing Assad out of the game.

UPDATE: As of October 7, for the first time, four Russian navy ships used surface-to-surface, long-range missiles in an "operational" setting. The bombardment struck 26 targets in Syria. According to Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, 11 hits were confirmed. Shoigu also said that the strikes were launched from the Caspian Sea using long-range missiles (Klub series) that flew 1,500 kilometers (930 miles) to their targets.

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