Two things already accomplished by Russia's military campaign in Syria are 1) Turkish fantasies of a no-fly/no-go zone maintained by NATO have been dashed; and 2) the U.S-air-war-against-ISIS kabuki has been exposed as an Obama administration ploy to support the Army of Conquest, an Islamist coalition, the main components of which are Ahrar al-Sham and Jabhat al-Nusra.
Turkey, the GCC and the West have been trying to copy the no-fly/no-go model applied to Saddam Hussein's Iraq at least since the false flag sarin attack in Ghouta the summer of 2013. This past summer Erdogan moved forcefully to get his wish when he broke the ceasefire with the Kurdistan Workers Party and opened Incirlik Air Base to U.S. air power. But Russia's sorties into Turkish air space are a loud and clear signal that there will no such repeat of Iraq in Syria. According to a story by Tim Arango, "Russia Military’s Actions in Syria Cause Rift With Turkey," yesterday,
Mr. Erdogan, in Brussels this week for talks with European leaders over the migrant crisis convulsing Europe, continued to push for a safe zone in northern Syria as the only acceptable way to create stability in Syria and discourage refugees who are increasingly leaving Turkey on perilous sea journeys for Europe.
“The polite reply here was that this is U.N. business and not for the E.U. to entertain,” Mr. Pierini said. “The idea is dead in the water.”
Underscoring the degree of Turkish concern about Russia’s military involvement in Syria, which seemed to expand this week when Russian officials in Moscow suggested Russian “volunteer” fighters would be sent to Syria, officials in Ankara, the Turkish capital, predicted a new influx of refugees. Speaking to the Turkish daily Hurriyet, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said that up to one million more Syrians could arrive in Turkey, which is already straining under the weight of nearly two million Syrian refugees.
At first Russia suggested that its priority was fighting the Sunni militants of the Islamic State, an aim shared by the United States, which is leading an international coalition that for more than a year has waged an air campaign against the group in Iraq and Syria. But Russia has deployed military equipment, such as ground-to-air missiles and interceptor jets, that has no use against militant groups that do not have an air force. This made clear that Russia’s priority is to buck up Mr. Assad, and it has raised concerns that if a no-fly zone or safe zone were established, as Turkey has pushed for, it could be challenged by Russia.
“The Russian presence has changed the entire parameters in Syria, including a safe zone,” said Mensur Akgun, director of the Global Political Trends Center, a research organization in Turkey. “No one will dare confront Russia.”But even more worrisome for the Obama administration is the sunshine the Russian military campaign brings to bear on the dark, dank ruse which is the raison d'être of the U.S. warfare state: the United States is allied with the forces the country is officially at war with; in this case, Al Qaeda affiliate al-Nusra Front.
Russia, working with ground forces of the Syrian Arab Army, went on the offensive yesterday. Anne Barnard and Andrew Kramer report ("Russian Cruise Missiles Help Syrians Go on the Offensive") that
Russia has focused its earliest operations on the insurgent coalition known as the Army of Conquest, or Jaish al-Fatah, rather than on the Islamic State, according to the official from the pro-government alliance, because it is the Army of Conquest’s positions that most urgently threaten the crucial government-held coastal province of Latakia, while Islamic State forces are farther to the east and can later be isolated and hit. Latakia is Mr. Assad’s family’s ancestral home and the heartland of his fellow Alawites, who provide a critical bloc of support.
Wednesday was the first time since the spring that the government’s forces had moved “from defense to offense,” the official said.
The assault seemed to focus on an area straddling northern Hama Province and southern Idlib Province, where insurgent command of high ground threatens the coast. The initial ground attacks took place around three villages that insurgents consider the first line of defense of the strategic Jebel al-Zawiyah area.
The bombardment appeared to reach new levels of intensity in some places. One video showed white smoke rising far above a village’s minarets, while another appeared to show at least a dozen explosions — the person filming described the weapons as rockets — in less than five minutes.
A number of times in Wednesday’s fighting, insurgents fired advanced TOW antitank missiles, supplied covertly by the C.I.A., at Syria’s Russian-made tanks, leaving the impression of a proxy war between Russia and the United States. Rebel groups, including two that have received American aid, Division 13 and Suqour al-Ghab, posted videos that showed the guided missiles sailing toward approaching tanks and destroying them.
The main thrust of the offensive was aimed at areas held by insurgent groups that oppose both Mr. Assad and the Islamic State, including the Nusra Front, Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate. But there were airstrikes elsewhere in Syria, according to SANA, the state news agency, which said that Syrian and Russian warplanes had worked together to attack targets in Al Bab, a city in eastern Aleppo Province long held by the Islamic State.Now we are regularly treated to sickening bleats from U.S. SecDef Ash Carter complaining about Russia's attack on the foreign jihadis of Jabhat al-Nusra as Assad's ruthless attacks on his own people:
When asked at a news conference in Rome about the ground offensive, Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter lamented “the Assad regime’s use of violence against its own people.”
Mr. Carter added, “To the extent that Russia enables that, that’s the fundamental reason we believe Russia is making a mistake in their actions in Syria.”To which Russia has a deft reply: If there is indeed a secular, non-jihadi opposition, let us know who they are and we won't target them. According to Helene Cooper, "A Semantic Downgrade for U.S.-Russian Talks About Operations in Syria,"
On Wednesday, the Pentagon dropped deconfliction from its lexicon after Russian officials said they had received no answer when they asked the United States to identify armed groups other than units of the Syrian Army that were fighting the Islamic State — so as to avoid them in airstrikes.
“If there are some forces — that also have weapons in their hands and are on the ground fighting, as the coalition says — with the Islamic State and they should not be touched, then wonderful,” said Maria Zakharova, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman. “Give the list, give the call signs of these people, tell us where are they located, explain why they shouldn’t be touched. Indeed, this information is not provided.”Lies might be contained and managed if your steady state is solid and you are just resorting to an occasional lie to maintain a tactical advantage. But when your entire strategy is built on a ruse, once that ruse is exposed you are in deep trouble. And that is where the United States is today. Lies are everywhere, discarded here and there and picked back up willy-nilly like a drunk searching empty bottles for more to drink the morning after the big party.