Syria Daily, March 12: Rebels Attack in Latakia in West




Starting School at 6:30 a.m….So Children Are Not Killed by Airstrikes

After a Wednesday of battles with regime forces, rebels appear to have captured a mountain in Latakia in western Syria.

Rebel outlets say that control has been established over Mount Dourin in northern Latakia in an offensive involving several factions.

There are conflicting claims over the fight for the village of Dourin. Opposition sources said during Wednesday that they had captured the village; however, pro-regime acocunts said the attack had been repelled with 45 rebels killed. Another activist said that the opposition had pulled out of Dourin but would continue “guerrilla warfare”.

Dourin is close to Salma, which has been held by the rebels despite sustained aerial assaults by Syrian forces.

Located on the Mediterranean, Latakia Province has been considered a base of support for the regime throughout the four-year Syrian conflict. Rebels control part of the north, however, and have launched regular attacks on Latakia city, Qardaha — the ancestral home of President Assad — and other towns throughout the province.

(Featured Photo: Free Syrian Army sniper near Mount Dourin, March 2014 — Reuters)

Russia “Outraged” That Assad Regime Blamed for Chlorine Attacks

The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday that Moscow is outraged over Western attempts to blame the Assad regime for use of chemical weapons in Syria.

“Statements by Western officials and commentaries in foreign newspapers had emerged blaming, uncorroborated, the Syrian government for incidents involving the use of chlorine gas in Syria,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The UN adopted a resolution last week that expressed concern over chlorine attacks and said those responsible “must be held accountable”. The measure followed an investigation by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons that documented the use of chlorine — dropped from helicopters inside barrel bombs — in spring 2014 on several occasions in April and May 2014 in Hama and Idlib Province, killing at least 14 people and wounding hundreds.

See Syria Feature: UN Security Council Condemns Chlorine Gas Attacks

The Russian Foreign Ministry insisted:

[Western governments] claim that the UN’s latest Resolution 2209 amounts to a warning to the Syrian government that punitive measures are likely in the future under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, which is an irksome matter….[This is] a biased reading….

Had nailing down culprits in the issue been that easy, there would be no point in the OPCW mission probing the use of chlorine continuing its work.

The Ministry did not acknowledge the 32 witnesses who told the OPCW of the dropping of the chlorine from helicopters, nor did it explain that the OPCW is barred by Security Council mandate from attributing blame for the attacks.

UN: 14 Million Children Suffering from Wars in Syria and Iraq

The UN children’s agency UNICEF said on Thursday that about 14 million children are suffering hardship and trauma from the wars in Syria and Iraq.

The UNICEF report cited 5.6 million children in Syria and two million more who have fled as refugees, almost 3 million children in Iraq, and 3.6 million children in neighboring countries.

Across Syria, an estimated 2.8 million children are still struggling to pursue some form of learning, the agency said.

Aid Agencies Criticize UN Security Council Over Failure to Implement Resolutions

More than 20 international aid organisations have criticized the UN Security Council over the failure to implement three resolutions passed last year to ensure humanitarian assistance to Syrian civilians.

The 21 aid groups say the resolutions have been “ignored or undermined by the parties to the conflict, other UN member states, and even by members of the UNSC itself”. They also challenged the body over “chronically underfunded” pledges of aid.

A UN-backed report on Wednesday said the war had plunged 80% of Syrian people into poverty, reduced life expectancy by 20 years, and led to more than $200 billion in economic losses since 2011.

The Syrian Center for Policy Research detailed the “systematic collapse and destruction” of Syria’s economic foundations, saying the nation’s wealth, infrastructure, institutions and much of its workforce have been “obliterated”.

The head of the UN refugee agency, António Guterres, said:

This worst humanitarian crisis of our era should be galvanizing a global outcry of support, but instead, help is dwindling….

With humanitarian appeals systematically underfunded, there just isn’t enough aid to meet the colossal needs — nor enough development support to the hosting countries creaking under the strain of so many refugees.

Head of Opposition Coalition: “No Will From Our Allies — A Pact of Cardboard v. Assad’s Pact of Steel with Russia and Iran”

Khaled Khoja, the head of the opposition Syrian National Coalition, has denounced purported foreign allies in an interview in France.

“The Americans don’t want to coordinate with the FSA [Free Syrian Army],” Khoja told the Guardian. “There is no will from our allies. We have a lot of allies and a lot of promises compared with what the regime has received.”

Khoja said only two countries — Russia and Iran — backed the Assad regime, while 114 nominally supported the Syrian opposition. However, referring to the 1939 alliance between Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, he said, “They have forged a ‘Pact of Steel’…[versus] our ‘Pact of Cardboard’.”

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    Regime trolls are always telling us about how Assad has previously “won” two battles in Latakia, a line they must take to spin such things positively. They know just as well as you and I that two previous rebel offensives caught the regime by surprise at critical moments, had limited goals to be pursued as far as the regime’s reaction allowed and achieved those limited goals 100%.

    The reality is this: Every time Assad attempts to put on the pressure somewhere, the rebels hit Latakia, If they’ve chosen to do so again when just when the regime is overstretched in Aleppo and Daraa Province and Iranian proxies tied up in a major battle in Iraq, should we be surprised?

    Assad has been shipping troops to the south and possibly to Aleppo as quickly as he can assemble them and Khamenei can pay for them. In an act of desperation he’s been grabbing Sunnis off the street to keep the house from crashing and, hating the regime, they’ve performed as you would expect.

    I suspect the rebels will push this offensive as far as the regime allows, as usual. Meanwhile it could put the brakes on the regime’s efforts in the south or any hope of relief in Aleppo. What an interesting time!

    This raises another question. Will Obama lighten up on attacking JAN as the latter moves from fighting rebels to attacking the regime near the coast? Assuming he wants Assad gone (I’m not so sure of that) but doesn’t want to offend the object of his courtship in Iran, he could refrain from action and let events proceed on their own

    Obama’s unpredictable attitude also will play a part in what happens in northern Syria and how he reacts to the choices ISIS makes there. I started looking at what ISIS may be up to there yesterday and would like to respond to what James wrote. But the big news today could affect Syria greatly and concerns another Big Guy rumor, this time in Russia. I’ll be posting something on that soon.

    • Well the offensive were limited but even as such they did failed. Just as regime offensive in Allepo couple of weeks ago did failed. You now use the same narative as the very one you critiitized. As for current it looks more like local battles then full scale offensive on any side but we must wait and see

      • Anyone with an ounce of military sense knows that “success is defined in terms of objectives achieved, and never in terms of objective that never existed. It is understandable that you, as a fan of the party who got doodled, would prefer self-deception of the latter sort. Which was the following was a rebel objective?

        A. To interfere with regime offensives elsewhere and force the regime to divert resources. DONE!
        B. In addition to take whatever else the regime gives them and hold on as long as possible, withdrawing as classic insurrectionary war strategy dictates, when the enemy arrived in overwhelming force (thereby accomplishing objective A. DONE!
        C. To inflict maximum loses on the regime while going so in the original offensive then by forcing the reigime into costly counteroffensives? . DONE!
        D. To demonstrate to loyalists rebels could strike in the regime’s heartland. DONE
        E. To conquer all of Latakkia. (not done, never attempted)

        Only if E had been an objective did the rebels “fail.” However, If only goals A through D existed, the rebels succeeded on each one beyond their wildest dreams. Didn’t both offensives surprise the regime with pants down? Didn’t rebels advance far beyond their minimum goals? Didn’t they hold on longer than expected? Isn’t it true that when the regime arrived in sufficient force the rebels slipped away as planned, rather than playing into regime hands? Isn’t it true that the regime never did manage to drive the rebels out of Latakia and totally undo their gains? So where in the world did the rebels fail? I’ve rarely seen such overwhelming strategic successes.

        • Sorry man but you maybe are rebel fun , but I personally like nor regime nor rebels For me from what I have seen totally the same.
          So let me see. By your standard regime offensive in Allepo was success , since they (according to regime) wanted to get only Buskoy village.
          I think that neither YOU nor ME do not know what really was rebel or regime objectives in some of this offensives. But according to what could be seen in those battles no rebel did not plan to withdraw. I agree that very possible they wanted to relax regime pressure on other fronts. So A yes done. B sorry but I did not see as such. They even still hold land from first offensive C: also suffer a lot was it worth it? We don’t have exact numbers . Sorry man but as much regime lies so do rebels. D: yes of course. E I dont think they are that stupid. to try that.

          Any way possible scenario for second latakia offensive was to create buffer zone between turkey and regime. It’s already known that Turkey did help them. Maybe they hoped for some one else to jump in and create no fly zone ..

          • Bad analogy. Rebels weren’t after taking territory and holding it except to the extent necessary vis-a-vis objectives stated above.

            As for the regime in the north, it had two objectives and failed badly in both as every analysis I’ve seen agrees: 1) to cut off rebel supply line to the north (done or not done?), and 2) to link up with trapped forces in Nubl and Zahraa (done or not done?)

            Taking Bashkoy, along with others was merely one of several things essential to those two regime objectives. By itself,like Aleppo Prison, it leads nowhere. Worse yet, it has become a trap for regime forces stuck and cut off there. It’s the only town the regime managed to take in its offensive and still “hold” if such a word can apply to a trap. To be strategically valuable an objective must enable further victories. Meanwhile the regime lost far more than it gained.

            Rebel objectives in previous offensives were as stated and all were accomplished beyond question. The first was the most important of all and you even admit rebels pulled that off.

            • This is analogy: part of what they wanted they achieve. Again rebel only manage some parts to do. As I stated before I have no problem to admit if something is true. Why would I. What I argue is that 2nd rebel off as whole failed. Partially they had success.
              And one more time : You do not know neither rebel nor regime plans (neither any one else here) and for now all this is just our discussion and our opinion. Also prison was victory if for nothing else it was huge propaganda victory and huge blow to rebels as such. And right now lead nowhere but if regime can not mange non of their Allepo plan without it.

  2. Playing “What If?”


    I’d like to start this piece by mentioning one interestingly timed development this morning. First thing I did was to go to sources with independent reporting on Russia: The Interpreter and the Moscow Times. The first hasn’t updated yesterday, the second has the following message:

    “This page ( is currently offline. However, because the site uses CloudFlare’s Always Online™ technology you can continue to surf a snapshot of the site. We will keep checking in the background and, as soon as the site comes back, you will automatically be served the live version.”

    For the second time in a week we’ve had major rumors of one of the top Bad Guys dying or falling seriously ill. There is no doubt Khanenei is having health problems and has had for some time but he didn’t die yet in spite of widespread rumors in Iran, where people were prematurely getting ready to pop the champagne. Two things are different in Russia’s case. First, there was no previous expectation of health problems on the contrary. Secondly, unlike in Iran, there have been many strange developments. That’s why even Michael Weiss and James Miller aren’t dismissing this out of hand.

    So I’m going to write this in two sub posts. The first, assembled last night, will look at the rumors and why they’ve spread. The second will jump the gun by dealing with potential consequnces giving the timing. Since no one else has done so, I’ll like to jump into that pool. Even if Putin shows up bare naked and doing pushups, doing so will have been worthwhile.

    • BACKGROUND: The situation As of Last Night

      1. Putin has missed two meetings and his attendance at one appears to have been faked.
      2. Hackers report panic at Moscow embassy, especially among military and FBU types.
      3. There had been rumors floating around of a potential coup, in which hard hit oligarchs would try to oust Putin whose circle has narrowed to the hard line sloviki made of military and intelligence thugs. Yesterday a posted a link reporting on talk of a possible coup attempt and why.

      Michael Weiss wrote “rumors of demise/illness spread all the time. But this coincides with equally weird rumor that Sechin is ousted.
      Igor Sechin is reportedly the second most important man in Russia and the head of the Siloviki faction, Readers need to know something of Sechen’s biography, so here’s a link:

      For info on strokes, check out the link below but–as we all know–Putin’s regime has become notorious for finding interest ways to make folks “sick.” It would be bitter irony if Putin were to become victim of his own medicine. The guy is becoming a menace who, like Laurentia Beria, is becoming intolerable to insiders. Beria was a notorious sadist who use to kidnap teenage girls off the street, tie them to a bed and rape them for a few days before dumping them out on the street. No parent dared complain.

      However, the real problem for insiders, as with Stalin as well, is that insiders were major targets and the biggest victims of purges. should Beria move to take over right after Stalin’s death. Party and army moved against Beria and MKVD forces to get the jump. Beria was arrested and executed–the last political execution in Russia. Afterwards, came “de-Stalinization” in Khrushchev’s famous speech which is often misunderstood in the West. It was not an attempt to liberalize for the common folk or discredit gulags, but to protect insiders from purges by making sure no one man would ever be as powerful as Stalin had been. Hence, collective leadership, centered in the Politburo, replaced Stalinism. From now on, losing a cabinet post or a Politburo slot wouldn’t mean death.

      On strokes, see the following article. One interesting detail bears special attention. The article mentions that about half the people who have a stroke die within one year. Recall Woodrow Wilson’s last years when his wife and chief of staff blocked access to the president.

      The Interpreter, not updated as I write this, describes some of the strange things that have been happening in Russia since the rumors first started, and that’s the reason why, in spite of what happened in Iran within the last week, even serious analysts aren’t ruling out for certain the possibility of something serious occurring.

      In an online twitter, James Miller of the Interpreter writes, “I’d be very surprised if Putin had a stroke, but there’s definitely something going on. This is bizarre behavior even for the Kremlin… OK, I’m going to bed confident that by the time I wake up Putin will have either giving a speech or I know what our top story is going to be.” (And so the hesitation)


        Even as I write this, Putin could reappear but something will have been learned from this and some thought induced. Let’s assume however, that Putin has not yet appeared or his condition is bad and consider consequences.

        Immediate Short Term:

        If Putin is healthy, he must appear publicly without delaying further lest the economy and ruble take a huge nosedive at the worst possible time. The rumors themselves show up a major downside to unchecked rule by a strong man rule who can be exception if you get lucky (Augustus, Marcus Aurelius) but too often a disaster (Caligula, Honorious).. You never know what you get. Worse yet, as with the Roman Empire the =lack of legitimate means of succession can produce highly destructive civil wars between rival claimants or factions.

        Assuming Putin only as the flu, as reported, why has he not shown himself? Why a phony picture and faked news of attending a meeting that turns out not to have occurred? The situation must be clarified quickly because market hates uncertainty and Russia’s economy is especially vulnerable unlike the US economy in Wilson’s time. Is there a struggle going on behind the scenes, as in Beria’s case? Can Russia handle that now? If Putin had in mind another immediate offensive in the Ukraine it will have to be deferred until someone comes out on top. Any sign of indecision and any lack of clarity will also affect Iran as well as Assad in Syria.

        Subsequent Alternatives:

        It is the immediate economic effects and fear of worsening consequences which could swing any post-Putin struggle in favor of the democratic factions.

        1. Putin turns out to be healthy. Even in this case, there may be repercussions as the implications from this scare or any drastic market downturn, even temporary, could lead Russians to consider the downsides of strong man rule as described above. No one wants a “time of troubles.”

        2. A prolonged clash between hard line nationalists and siloviki on one hand and advocates of democracy, openness and western-style economies.

        3. If Russians think things are bad now, should the hard liners prevail, present lousy prospects for the Russian economy will get far worse. What makes it worse is they’ll have no well-know figure with the standing to replace Putin and manufacturing one won’t be easy. At best Russia would wind up with some equivalent to the unesteemed Brezhnev Era or to Septimus Severus and Rome’s military emperors. On his deathbed, Severus reportedly gave this Putin-like advice to his successor: “Just take care of the army and forget about the rest.” Iran is headed in the same direction.

        4. If pro-democracy types take over but without having to go through option two, the Russian market and the ruble will rise spectacularly.

  3. Corax: the regime would be expected to play things down as you attempt here.

    However, the move makes sense and any sign of success on the rebels’ part will have the same effect as in the two previous offensives. That is, they expand and take what they can get until the regime can stop them. That’s what I’d do.

    Assad must stop them with resoucrces on hand. If he can’t, he must draw on forces elsewhere. That’s the whole idea, isn’t it?

    • I attempted what? I just said last tow rebels offensive in latakia did failed. Like it or not.
      Ok I guess you would do it but war attrition the way you suggest works both ways. Rebels also lost a lot. If they want that better fiind something smarter. Just throw man in battle to the last one is a little bit….. Agree that Assad can’t bring new forces there must use what is already there .

      • Re: attrition. Anything close to equality of casualties works in favor of the side with far more experienced and MOTIVATED forces. That means–thanks to Assad’s crimes (the perfect motivator) rebels have a huge edge.

        Among Syrians, the gap is biggest of all, since Assad’s forces are at least half foreigners and foreign led and any figures on native Syrians are misleading when you consider regime hating conscripts grabbed off the street with plenty of motive not to fight and lots of motive to surrender, defect or even frag their officers given the opportunity (I’d be glad to do so in their shoes). Rebels are well over 90% Syrian. Even JAN Is mostly Syrian with some foreigners.

        • Not that simple. Rebel and ISIS also done enough to prevent regime soldiers from defecting. We even see i last couple of days soliders defecting from FSA to NDF.. And dont forget that it is civil war, lot of “fog of war” , lot of propaganda from both side. Simply put one side does not beleive other nothing. And I would not aggree that rebel are any more experienced then regime. Most of offcieres are EX REGIME that means absolutlu no better than regime soldiders/officers. And if we agree that most are sirians and ,most with non combat expirence from before we actualy get what :)

          • Re: Rebels and ISIS als have defections.

            True but half truth as well as fallacy of degree. Rebel defections to the regime have been outnumbered 100 to 1 compared to regime defections to rebels. Most rebel defections have been to ISIS, partly in response to Obama’s betrayals. As for ISIS defections, when such occur they are never to the regime and most often to JAN or rebels both of whom fight the regime.

          • Corax, you are forgetting a very important point:

            Syrian army before the war was a conscript army and military service was mandatory for all males. So every single rebel over the age of 25 has military training, which is equal to that of the troops they are facing. Even better perhaps, as Alawis with good connections often got admin positions or even dodged the draft completely.

            • Ivan I said battle no military experience. I think we agree not quite the same in their case, Any way my point is that quality of common soldiers in rebel and regime ranks are close.

            • Good point, Ivan really brought up, but you when people say Aliwites benefited really on about a quarter or so did (give or take) many are still living in the peasant villages in Tartous and Latikia. But is ironic that the side with the best jobs would try to weasel their sons out of conscription and now said sons are godsend to coffin industry thanks to daddy’s high rank.

  4. The scenario unfolding in Iraq will have big repercussions in the future in Syria’s civil war and maybe even bring an end to it one day. Once IS will be delt in iraq its easy to understand were all remaining Daesh fighters will run too. Syria. I have no doubts that they will be followed right inside Syria by the thousands iraqi and iranian shia militias. And i doubt they will stop to IS…..changing drammatically the balance of power towards Assad.

    • If Obama and certain advisors are not Iranian moles, they are doing a great imitation. Your scenario only works if Mr. Dithers (the Appeasment King, Khamenei’s foot kisser) is president of the USA. If any other likely successor, Republican or Democrat werre in office, you’d stand no chance.

      Either Obama is too blockheaded to see the danger or shares Iran’s goal. It is clear he favors Iranian supremacy over the Mideast with Sunnis as virtual slaves.

        • You do know Daesh support is mostly based on its success, I think when thing go pare shaped all but the most die hard will abandon the ship before it sinks with the rats. Also keep in mind the high command is all Iraqi, not Syrian or other, so loses Iraq lose the leaders. In world war 2 when it was clear the Allies were going to win all the European Axis powers tried to chuck out there fascist leaders and try to turn on Germany (Romania and Italy succeeded Hungry tried but failed) . I think when it goes bad most will ditch it and run. This is especially likely if they make a deal it if you join us and fight them we’ll let you go to the lower members it could unravel quite fast.


    This is a continuation of a discussion I had with James yesterday. You may want to start there.

    We’d both agree that ISIS needs a quick and easy victory followed by further propganda triumphs for two reasons: internal morale and potential recruitment consequences.

    So that’s the yardstick. The question becomes where to find one. The one place in Syria where ISIS had been building up forces is east and northeast of Aleppo and it can only be doing so for a reason. Given the above yardstick and assuming ISIS is rationale when it comes to strategy. Where is the best opportunity to achieve the goals that ISIS must achieve?

    ALLIES: Strategically the Kurds would have good reasons to ally with the rebels against ISIS.

    SUPPLY AND REINFORCEMENT: Regime can be cut off far more easily than the rebels (Thanks, Erdogan!)

    GROUND COMBAT CAPABILITY: Big edge to experienced rebels who don’t relay on conscripts or mercenaries. Many hate the regime so badly they’ll gladly blow themselves up if they can kill a few dozen Bad Guys in the process.

    DANGER OF AIR ATTACK: ISIS would rather face the Syrian Air Force than the Coalition Air Force any day.

    THE BENEFITS OF DELAY SO FAR. While rebels knock off regime manpower and equipment, ISIS continues to build up forces to Assad’s east. Think about that.


    James suggests the regime could withdraw forces from the north in the hope ISIS will then attack the rebels thee. We’d both agree such a move would make strategic sense because the regime’s situation looks so bad there. I’ve already argued the case against an ISIS attack on the rebels but you never know. I’m not sure the regime can afford it for the reasons below.

    1. Exit routes are closing fast in Handarat. They’ve already closed further north in Zaraa and Nubl.

    2. To abandon the above would have serious morale consequences on regime troops and loyalists elsewhere.

    3. In any retreat southward, regime forces would be at risk from rebels in the rear and from ISIS to the east.

    4. Large scale withdrawals tend to be costly in manpower and equipment. How much more can the regime afford to lose in Aleppo?

    Should ISIS threaten to overwhelm Assad’s forces, they would in theory have the option comrades in Tabqa and Division 17 would have appreciated–surrender to the rebels. The problem with that is that commanders and troops have committed war crimes might not allow it and have executed troops who attempted surrender or defection to the rebels in the past. Hezbollah and Iranian commanders might object as well.

    • One more scenario: ISIS do not attack . Yes they need something but they pull lot of soliders to Iraq and so far in Siria mostly attack Kurds in Hasaka region since they have to.

    • It’s been lamented on this site that ISIS needs a victory fast for propaganda reasons. This lamentation has been going on for two months now. Obviously, ISIS disagrees with these lamentations.

      ISIS may be insane, but not foolish. They can’t throw troops they need away for propaganda purposes. Just as strong a motivator as invincibility is the motivator of a desperate last stand.

      “Caliphate in peril! All true Muslims, come help!”

      It can, sadly, work. Just remember the Alamo.

    • I was wondering when Genome would show up. Lacking any glimmer of hope lately. He grasps at straws. If you follow his link, you’ll find Reuters is not the source of anything, except second hand. It admits to drawing on two “primary sources (the regime and Syiran Observatory) both with poor records, especially the first. Also Durin has been a seasaw battle: regime had it until a few days ago when rebels took it. Regime retook it, then rebels.

      I haven’t checked further this morning and would not rely on regime sources or secondary sources that draw on same in any case.

      • A back and forth battle but at the moment the regime are winning as it has been confirmed the regime retook Mount Doreen and Doreen town. I expect the rebels to push back a little though as the regime are getting close to Salma.

        • I’m amused by Genome’s reference to a “heavy” defeat to rebels in what has been a back-and-forth battle so far. Regime needs to manufacture good news somehow. We are supposed to assume the regime’s offensive and defensive efforts have been “casualty free” rather than “casualty heavy,” which is more likely.

          If either (not both) of the following were unavailable (air monopoly, massive foreign troops) would the regime last a month? Its ground forces are no match for the rebels on their own. Not even a contest.

          • Regime supports do summersaults with hope when if in one day 3 rebels die, even with on that same day they lost 3 platoons, and one those rebel’s death was caused by a snake bite. Its like when the Hitler Gang believed they could win and reconquer all of Germany while trapped in the bunker because FDR died of natural causes on 12/04/45. Cute really.


    See my previous post on what happened when you try to access the above site. Now it’s changed. You get this message: “DB query error.”

    So I checked out his question on Yahoo: “What happens when you get a “web DB query error message?

    The answer: “Something is wrong with the website you are trying to access. The problem should be resolved once the web admin notices the issue. Just try the website again another time.

    Given the timing and the certainty that the Moscow Times would have something to say about developments, it’s likely the regime has interfered with the site and that adds to suspicions that something may have happened to Putin. Otherwise, why go to such extremes when Putin could easily remove all suspicions via a public appearance.

    Putin’s failure to do so and the above “coincidence” is OMINOUS given the urgency of doing so.

    Meanwhile check out the following from the Interpreter

    Where Is Vladimir Putin?

    14:13 (GMT)

    • As punishment for an interview with a Russian soldier in the Ukraine, Novaya Gazeta may be shut down in May.–Michael Weiss

      • Putin is the immortal father of the New Russia.

        His legacy will last for centuries in Russia a the man who rebuild Russia greatness after 70 years of communism and 10 years of chaos, robbery , and submission to USA.

        The rescue and return of Crimea to Russia sealed the deal. Iff Novorossyia become a perenial independant state, it would be even better.

        • You mean “the new fascist Russia.” Putin has been doing for his country what Assad has done for Syria, taking away freedom, enriching himself and cronies, steal the country blind, destroying the economy. Similar empire seeking is going to create increasing havoc for Iran as well.

          Economic prospects: awful. Military prospects: Poor, given an Italy-sized GNP and shrinking revenues. EU and USA are being forced to up military spending they woundn’t have done otherwise and they can outmatch Russia 10 to 1. Russia is half minority, most of whom hate the cranky, oppressive and aging Russian majority. And when has the US dominated Russia or even western Europe, a voluntary economic union formed by Europeans. NATO is also voluntary. Recall when France withdrew. Did US use force?

          In contrast, like the Warsaw Pact, union with Russia economically or militarily is non-voluntary: the critical difference. People beat down the doors to join the EU and NATO and plead to get in. The opposite is so in Russia’s case. Meanwhile, as in Iran, the best and brightest “vote with their feet” where they see an opportunity to escape.

        • “His legacy will last for centuries in Russia a the man who rebuild Russia greatness…”

          Yeah that’s what they said about Stalin too.

      • A Devil’s Dozen of Development in Putin’s Russia


        The Iran/Assad/Putin goal (backed by Obama) is to make Syrians suffer in order to break them, an ingredient of Chechnya Strategy invented by Putin. One method is to assure that medical care is available to regime loyalists only.

        ” YOU DESERVE RAPE,” Quran teacher tells children in Turkish school

    • Tried again to access Moscow Times

      Latest message: “The website cannot display the page”

      Obviously something must be up.


    U.S. military and intelligence officials are voicing increasing pessimism about a key tenet of the Obama administration’s strategy to dislodge the Islamic State group and stabilize Iraq.

    They say they are seeing little sign of any political accommodation between the country’s Shiite-led government and an alienated Sunni population from which the extremist force is drawing money and personnel.


    Every strategy to defeat ISIS is a bad strategy unless it takes the post-ISIS scenario into consideration; that is, Iran is here to stay because that is how Obama wants it.

    Key Excerpt:

    But Iranians will not lose, simply because they won’t be fighting on the ground. What Iran is looking forward to is the following: a deal with the US that will see sanctions lifted (or at least a significant part of the sanctions), a blind eye to its growing influence in the region, and eventually a supremacy that allows it to make major changes to the current geopolitical map of the Middle East.

    Any resistance to Iran in the region will not really stop it, because it simply will not be fighting with and losing Iranian lives. Iranian lives, it would seem, are too valuable to be wasted in sectarian clashes. These sacrifices are rather for Arab Shiites gathered from all over the Middle East and Asia to help Iran build its realm. Arab Sunnis will fight Arab Shiites until the whole region is destabilized. Why should Iran care? A destabilized Lebanon has always played to its advantage, and a destabilized region will pay dividends—Iran has nothing to lose.

    If the Iranian economy recovers after the deal, the region will drown in yet more blood and state institutions will be further undermined and weakened. Iran will have the financial means to boost its militias in the region. The reality imposed by Iran on the ground contradicts all assurances given by the US to its regional allies. Iran is an occupying force by proxy, and will not abandon its ongoing pursuit of hegemony.

    (In other words, the underhanded Obama proposes to help finance Iran’s occupation even as he lies to the Sunnis and the world by pretending to object to it).

    • Iran’s Sunni Arab on Shiite Arab is clearly motivated by revenge on Iraq for invading and slaughtering them in the 1980s. What better way to appeal to the less pious, than nationalism? I met an Iranian Professor at the train station and when told him I study law and that his country invented human rights, he said that felt the USA picked and chose to whom they apply too. E.G. When they invaded Iraq and I came up with this great response, “Hey look on the bright side, at least we hanged the guys who invaded your country and slaughtered your people.” He couldn’t help but smile at what I said. And this is a guy who told me he thinks Ahmadinejad is “A sad little man….who is impossible to reason with”.
      So I think part of this motivated to appeal to nationalist leaning Aryans who dream of the glory days of the Sassanid Empire.

    • Putin really looks sick in recent photos and I noticed that prior to the recent hullaballoo. I had dismissed it as nothing. Now I’m not so sure. Is it possible he was doused with polonium or something similar? Meanwhile there is this:

      Nemtsov killing exposes cracks in Kremlin unity

      At a time when Russia’s growing economic problems along with its political isolation and pariah status, Putin has recently had to turn to North Korea for allies) and Russia leadership is growing increasingly divided because of unhappiness with both trends and the regime’s use of Stalin-like assassinations.

      Divisions in the leadership are likely to get worse as those two trends continue. If you missed it yesterday, you need to see the link I provided to another story which threatens to keep oil prices low–a development which could be even bigger than shale oil. That’ll hurt Iran too as it continues to alienate Sunnis in its quest for a force-based Iranian Empire achieved via Sunni genocide.

      • only people carrying out actual genocides for a long long long time in the ME are the poor Sunnis you mention, from turks to arabs and beyond

        • I am astonished by the fact that some americans lament the “poor sunnis” who are the one committing the biggest massacres and are the one who are the most intolerent.

          Shia extremists are angel compared to sunnis extremists (islamic state, al qeada, boko haram) and generally this is the sunnis who have a record of opressing the others (Iraq, Syria before Baath, Afghanistan, Egypt and the list is very long).

          In fact, I would go on saying that sunnis are causing problems everywhere they are a minority, and are opressing others every time they are the majority. They even opress the majority when being a minority (central african republic, Bahrein, Iraq).

          How any one could lament and have pity for the most intolerent, backward and terrorists people in the world ?

          • @Gnome45

            Your logic is so childish…

            Considering islamic state, al qeada, boko haram to be the same as the average sunni muslim and therefore stating:

            “How any one could lament and have pity for the most intolerent, backward and terrorists people in the world ?”

            This clame is so stupid that I´m suprised you posted this hebephrenic garbage. Also ranting like Mother Teresa about opressing others while supporting a 40 year old dictatorship denotes a serious case of cognitive dissonance, will you next start talking about cannibal rats like Ziad “on bath salts” Fadel?.

          • If your stupid Shiite Ayatoliets had not hijacked Iran there would be no al-Qeada , Daesh, or 9/11 pretty much all Sunni loons were inspired greatly by that rat Khomeini if it wasn’t for him it Islamic loonism would died with Qutab. Or what about his Lebanese invention Hezballs who were 1st Muslims to use Kamikaze attacks(whom they learnt of the Japanese Red Army)? Also I guess when the Ayatollah slaughtered 30,000 prisoners in 1988 was just a drop in the Ocean (30 years of Irish terrorism killed barely more than a tenth that number on all sides) or there repression of the Balla’ullah’s, but since Adolf Khamenei says their beliefs mean they do not qualify as humans it ok to treat them like dirt (Cyrus the Great is rolling in his grave thanks to theses idiots).

            Also rubbish about repression in Syria? The only people repressed in Syria before the Baath Party (who’s two founders were a Sunni and Christen who converted to Sunnism and believed it proof of the genius of Arab culture), were the Druze under Shishakli in the second half of his 4 year rule and he was Kurd. Unless you are talking about Syria under French or Turkish rule. From 1946-63 the only repression I think of was Shishakli shelling Druze villages in 1953, I don’t know how many he killed but I bet its less than the 847+ killed by Baathist in less than their first six months in power, then time the number killed in Night of the Long Knives.

            Also if you logic that Sunnis desver no sympathy for there crimes, do you Genome believe that, after WW2 if the Poles, Russians, Jews and Czechs reopened Auschwitch and Dachau stared to gas Germans in millions and dissect German babies while still alive, would that be justifiable because since the Germans had committed Genocide to them would it be OK for the Slavs and Jews to kill 6 million Germans in revenge? Would that make it right?

            Or are going to tell me al-Qeada is worse than Hitler?

          • “Shia extremists are angel compared to sunnis extremists ”

            I’m sure that will come as a great comfort to, for example, the Sunni women repeatedly pack-raped in front of their husbands then forced to watch as their husband’s eyes and genetials are burnt off with acid.

            • lol you guys are just soo fucking dumb its quite sad at this point

              ayatollah made the sunnis fly several planes into buildings in the US
              ayatollah made them bomb london
              ayatollah made them bomb madrid
              ayatollah made them throw gays/spies/etc. of roof tops
              ayatollah made them behead prisonners for fun
              ayatollah made them ethnically cleanse every undesirable sect, from alawites, yazidis, asyrians

              damm that hitler ayatollah

              • Sorry Ali but Bin Laden WAS inspired by your Ayatoilet master, just as much as Lenin was inspired by Marx deal with it. If not Khamenie then Islamic loonacism would of snapped with Qutab’s neck

              • Well Iran hangs gays check, they killed 30000 prisoners for fun in 1988 check, persecute Balluhla’s and political opponents check, bomb Argentina check, bomb US troops in Lebanon with stooges Hezballs check, execute kids check, support terrorist that bomb Israel check. Use Hezballs to suicide bomb people you bet ya
                This is like a communist claiming Hitler was worse than Stalin.

                Lets we have the leader of an Aryan Nation who wants build up his nations military to reclaim its former glory and blames it problems on the west and the Jews and seeks their extinction for made crimes they did not commit, where I heard that before Mr Ali Garden.

          • “How any one could lament and have pity for the most intolerent, backward and terrorists people in the world ?”

            If only there were a Final Solution to the Sunni Problem.

  8. FOREIGN AFFAIRS QUARTERLY: The crackdown on civil society is a huge threat to global stability and prosperity.


    Archivilians reports that Jabhat Akrad (Kurdish rebels) are attacking regime forces in Bustan Pasha, just south of Sheik Masoud in Aleppo. He posts a map of the location at his twitter site below. You can see how gains here would widen the pro-rebel bap between eastern and western Aleppo. Note that Aleppo’s citadel, also endangered recently is almost directly to the south.

    The same Kurdish group is responsible for killing 16 Genocide Army forces in Aleppo whose photos archicivilians provides at his site.


    Interesting paragraph: The Russian stock market, the ruble and Russian bonds are all up today, as if Putin’s absence from the radars were good news for the economy. In Ukraine, many are watching the news with bated breath, wishing the hated Russian leader would somehow disappear for good. “Apparently, someone else controls the situation in Russia now, if anyone controls it at all,” Ivan Yakovina wrote on the Ukrainian website

    • Jabhat Al-Akrad is an FSA unit, and I really don’t see how taking Bustan Pasha would widen this “gap”. All it would do is open the path to taking the strategic Midan district, and that’s about it.

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