Syria

@scalieback , you are going to enter the stupid and useless circle "Russia guilty. Putin guilty." Cancel it.
As much as you go round your silly merry go round believing your agitprop.
Tell me your own opinion. Do you really think, that JIT gathered all possible and aviable facts about poisoning in Khan Shaykhun?
JIT refers to MH17. JIM refers to Syria. I understand the confusion. In accordance with their agreed remit and terms of reference I agree with the JIM’s findings. That’s why I posted the link.
 
Do you believe, that JIM gathered all possible information?
If you was chief of JIM, was you searching a possibility to examine death bodies and live poisoned person? Send some of live victims in the Switzerland clinics? Try to examine hole in the road by itself, to find micro amounts of paint, metal or plastic of the "falled container"? Was you searching for remains of container?
 
Do you believe, that JIM gathered all possible information?
If you was chief of JIM, was you searching a possibility to examine death bodies and live poisoned person? Send some of live victims in the Switzerland clinics? Try to examine hole in the road by itself, to find micro amounts of paint, metal or plastic of the "falled container"? Was you searching for remains of container?
Which part of “In accordance with their agreed remit and terms of reference I agree with the JIM’s findings. That’s why I posted the link.” do you not understand?
 
Wave of strikes hits Syria's last rebel-held bastion
Meanwhile, it looks like the aerial assault on Idlib, an area near Aleppo and part of Hama (those areas still in rebel hands) has begun. Assad’s state tv is reported as saying:
Syrian state news agency SANA reported that the Syrian army carried out operations against “terrorist groups”, its term for the rebels, in northern Hama countryside, destroying several of their headquarters and killing and wounding an unspecified number.
Which appears to be confirmed by SOHR:
The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said dozens of strikes from helicopters and war planes had hit parts of Hama, Idlib and Aleppo provinces, killing at least 29 people.
One of the rebel leaders in between the rhetoric on ‘massacres’ says Idlib will be a much tougher nut to crack. They are ‘ready to repel any possible attack by regime forces. They will be taught a lesson they won’t forget: Idlib is different to other regions’:
Abu al-Baraa al-Hamawi, a rebel leader in northern Hama, said a “massacre” had resulted from strikes in western Aleppo on the town of Urem al-Kubra. Pro-opposition television Orient News said at least 20 people were killed there and the Observatory said at least 18 had died.

On Thursday the Syrian army had dropped leaflets over Idlib province, urging people to agree to a return of state rule and telling them the seven-year war was nearing its end.

Al-Hamawi said Friday’s attacks - the heaviest in months - appeared part of a “psychological media war against the people”.

Rebels were “ready to repel any possible attack by regime forces. They will be taught a lesson they won’t forget: Idlib is different to other regions,” he added.
 
Syrian rebels build an army with Turkish help, face challenges
Article on Turkey’s sponsored FSA and their training along with setting up a ‘National Army’. Quite a few problems with its training and CoC, but their remit is ‘anti Assad, PKK and IS’. They’ve been ‘trained’ by Turkish forces and occupy the areas taken in Ops ‘Euphrates Shield’ and ‘Olive Branch’ and are prepared to reinforce some of the groups in Idlib.

Turkey still has troops in the 12 OPs surrounding the ‘de-escalation zone’ around Idlib and in the areas taken in the Ops above. Assad has said on numerous occasions he wants to retake ‘every inch’ of Syria

The inter group rivalry is obviously one of the issues to be overcome:
A “National Army” being set up by Syrian rebels with Turkey’s help could become a long-term obstacle to President Bashar al-Assad’s recovery of the northwest - if they can end factional rivalries that have long blighted the opposition.

The effort is at the heart of plans by the Turkish-backed opposition to secure and govern a strip of territory that forms part of the last big rebel stronghold in Syria.

The presence of Turkish forces on the ground has helped to shield it from government attack.
Turkey is also helping with the reconstruction of the regions including opening Post Offices and rebuilding schools and Hospitals:
Turkey’s role has gone beyond supporting allied Syrian forces to rebuilding schools and hospitals. At least five branches of the Turkish post office have opened in the area.
Col Afisi mentions some of the problems with establishing the ‘National Army’ including ‘randomly opening fire’, wearing uniforms and to cooperate with the local MilPol:
Colonel Haitham Afisi, head of the National Army, says setting up the force has been no easy task over the last year.

“We are at the beginning. We face many difficulties but we are working to overcome them,” Afisi told Reuters in an interview in the town of Azaz near the Turkish border.

Recently, he had to issue an order instructing fighters to stop “randomly opening fire”, wear uniforms and cooperate with a newly established military police that represents “the force of law and justice and not a rival to any other faction”.
Other problems mean stopping setting up their own jails and Courts along with ‘extra-judicial arrests’. Also recruits were recently shelled by ‘enemies of the revolution’:
Factions have also been banned from operating their own jails and courts and from carrying out extra-judicial arrests.

The project has also faced attack: a number of recruits were wounded on Aug. 5 when their graduation ceremony in the city of al-Bab was shelled. Afisi said it was the work of an “enemy of the revolution, be they internal or external”. The perpetrator had been identified, but he declined to say it who was.
A reported 35,000 members including some of the biggest groups. As above, we can see some of the problems which arise when training such units in the area. But Tr troops on the ground may help them initially:
The National Army compromises some 35,000 fighters from some of the biggest factions in the war that has killed hundreds of thousands of people and forced some 11 million people from their homes over the last seven years.

Many previous efforts to unite the rebels have failed, obstructed by local rivalries and at times by the competing agendas of foreign states that once backed many of the rebels in the Syrian war.

The National Army could be different because of Turkey’s presence on the ground.
Turkey obviously believes the area is important because of the YPG and their reported links to the PKK. Apparently only Turkey is involved in the project according to Col Afisi mentioned above. In addition to training, Turkey is providing wages and ‘weapons if necessary. As above the enemies are Assad, the PKK and IS:
The area is important to Turkey because of what it views as the national security threat posed by the YPG, which it sees as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has waged a three-decade insurgency in Turkey.

Assad says Turkey is illegally occupying Syrian land.

“All the support for the National Army is from Turkey, there are no other states partnering in this matter,” Afisi said.

The Turkish foreign ministry did not respond to questions from Reuters.

Turkish support includes fighters’ wages, logistical support “and weapons if necessary”. He listed three enemies: Assad, the PKK and Islamic State.
Idlib widely reported as next and the ‘National Army’ is apparently ready to support Tr sponsored rebels in Idlib and ‘extend our hand to all groups that represent the goals of the revolution’
Assad has indicated Idlib could be his next target.

Afisi said the National Army could be quickly merged with Turkish-backed rebels in Idlib if necessary.

The situation in Idlib is complicated by the presence of well-armed jihadists that have fought with the other groups.

“We are ready and extend our hand to all groups that represent the goals of the revolution,” he said.
 
A large explosion in northern Syria has reportedly killed at least 36, including 21 women and children, and wounded many others. It took place in the town of Sarmada, near the Turkish border.
Blast in northern Syria kills at least 36, opposition activists say | CBC News
An explosion in northern Syria killed at least 36 people Sunday and wounded many others, but the cause of the blast wasn't immediately known, opposition activists said. (...)

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights put the death toll at 39, including 21 women and children.
"Opposition activists" have said the cause of the explosion is unknown at this time, but SOHR say that a rebel arms depot in a built up residential area exploded.
The Observatory said an arms depot in the basement of a building had detonated. It said the depot was run by an arms dealer close to the Levant Liberation Committee.


In other news, government forces fighting rebels in Idlib have received more reinforcements prior to launching a large scale offensive.
The pro-government Al-Watan daily said Sunday that huge military reinforcements have reached the outskirts of Idlib province as a preliminary step to launch a wide-scale offensive.
The objective is reportedly to capture Idlib City.
The paper said that the battle would be "comprehensive" starting from Hama's northern countryside to the southern countryside of Aleppo, adding that the target of the battle is to seize Idlib City.
Other reports have claimed that the government "Tiger Force" arrived to head what is being called "Dawn of Idlib" operation.
Pro-government activists said on social media that the elite Tiger Force, led by Brig.-Gen. Suheil al-Hassan, arrived in northern Syria to spearhead what they called the "Dawn of Idlib" operation.
There has been widespread speculation that Idlib is the next target. However, I would take reports of timing and objectives with a grain of salt. That the government is moving forces north would be difficult to hide, but the government may want to publish misleading information to demoralise the rebels and to obscure the details of their own intentions.
 
With Operation Roundup at the start of May coalition forces have continued operations against daesh in Iraq and Syria. Particular attention to the Middle Euphrates River Valley and Iraq-Syria border region with strikes by fighter, attack, bomber, rotary-wing or remotely piloted aircraft; rocket-propelled artillery; and ground-based tactical artillery.

Durning August the 6th to the 12th there were twelcve strikes and seventeen engagements in Iraq and Syria against the terrorists in offensive operations and precision coalition strike support.
Strikes continue against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria
 
Trump adviser Bolton says Russia 'stuck' in Syria, Iran must leave
Bolton whilst in Israel on Syria, saying Russia is ‘stuck’ there and ‘frenetically’ trying to get somebody else to pay for reconstruction, this could be used as a bargaining chip to stop Iranian influence in the country, no knowledge of an impending attack on Idlib but reiterating the warning on CW and BW use.

Sidestepping support for the SDF he mentions the US is in Syria to defeat IS and their declared caliphate, their continuing threat and to stop Iranian influence. He also supports Israeli strikes on Iranian targets in Syria and their deployment of ‘threatening weapons’:
“Our interests in Syria are to finish the destruction of the ISIS (Islamic State) territorial caliphate and deal with the continuing threat of ISIS terrorism and to worry about the presence of Iranian militias and regular forces,” he said in an interview.

At a news conference in Jerusalem on Wednesday, Bolton voiced support for Israeli strikes in recent months on sites in Syria where he said Iranian-supplied missiles and other “threatening weapons” had been deployed.

“I think that’s a legitimate act of self-defense on the part of Israel,” he said.
He says Putin has said he has no influence on Iranian deployments in Syria and that some of their (Russia’s and Iran’s) interests differ. They’re going to talk (with Russia), about what influence they can exert to prevent Iranian influence in Syria:
Bolton said that Russian President Vladimir Putin, who met Trump in Helsinki on July 16, had told the United States that Moscow could not compel the Iranians to leave Syria.

“But he also told us that his interest and Iran’s were not exactly the same. So we’re obviously going to talk to him about what role they can play,” said Bolton, who meets his Russian counterpart, Nikolai Patrushev, in Geneva on Thursday.

“We’re going see what we and others can agree in terms of resolving the conflict in Syria. But the one prerequisite there is the withdrawal of all Iranian forces back in Iran.”
He believes Russia is ‘stuck’ in Syria and their ‘frenetic diplomatic activity’ in Europe is a sign they don’t want to be ‘stuck’ there:
Washington wields leverage in its talks with Moscow because “the Russians are stuck there at the moment,” Bolton said.

“And I don’t think they want to be stuck there. I think their frenetic diplomatic activity in Europe indicates that they’d like to find somebody else, for example, to bear the cost of reconstructing Syria - which they may or may not succeed in doing.”
On Idlib, no knowledge of an impending Op, but warns Assad’s govt about the use of CW or BW:
Asked if there was any U.S.-Russian understanding about such an operation, Bolton said: “No. But we’re very concerned as we look at the military situation and we want to be unmistakably clear to Assad that we expect there will be no use of chemical weapons or biological weapons if there are any additional military hostilities in Idlib.”
Asked about such use and any US response will be ‘strongly’ and they really ought to think about it for a long time:
Asked how the United States might respond should there be a chemical or biological attack on Idlib, Bolton said only: “strongly”.

Repeating that warning at the news conference, he added: “They (the Syrians) really ought to think about this a long time before they come to any decision.”
 
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Trump adviser Bolton says Russia 'stuck' in Syria, Iran must leave
Bolton whilst in Israel on Syria, saying Russia is ‘stuck’ there and ‘frenetically’ trying to get somebody else to pay for reconstruction, this could be used as a bargaining chip to stop Iranian influence in the country, no knowledge of an impending attack on Idlib but reiterating the warning on CW and BW use.

Sidestepping support for the SDF he mentions the US is in Syria to defeat IS and their declared caliphate, their continuing threat and to stop Iranian influence. He also supports Israeli strikes on Iranian targets in Syria and their deployment of ‘threatening weapons’:

He says Putin has said he has no influence on Iranian deployments in Syria and that some of their (Russia’s and Iran’s) interests differ. They’re going to talk (with Russia), about what influence they can exert to prevent Iranian influence in Syria:

He believes Russia is ‘stuck’ in Syria and their ‘frenetic diplomatic activity’ in Europe is a sign they don’t want to be ‘stuck’ there:

On Idlib, no knowledge of an impending Op, but warns Assad’s govt about the use of CW or BW:
Interesting articles.
Fwiw, I don't think Russia is stuck in Syria. It has a limted domestic political problem about the extent and duration of the commitment to Syria but, in terms of gaining influence and power in the region, intervention in Syria seems a success for Russia.
 
Interesting articles.
Fwiw, I don't think Russia is stuck in Syria. It has a limted domestic political problem about the extent and duration of the commitment to Syria but, in terms of gaining influence and power in the region, intervention in Syria seems a success for Russia.
Militarily, I agree. If that’s your ‘benchmark’ they could go now (again), or after Idlib or after the Tr sponsored FSA areas or after the SDF areas etc. However, the phrase ‘winning the peace’ springs to mind as we all know.

If they leave now what is in place to prevent IS resurgence? To stop the rebellion starting again? A massive reconstruction programme ($400Bn according to Assad) is required and Russia doesn’t appear to want to pay for it.

If people have no water (one of the reasons it all kicked off over seven years ago), food, have to step across rubble to their destroyed house for months if not years, they’re not going to be happy bunnies, despite a multitude of Assad posters lining the streets.

I’m not sure ‘stuck’ is the right word but they seem to be realising (as they did when reconstructing Grozny and installing their hard man), that simply ‘defeating’ the rebellion is just one part of keeping Syria compliant and their bases on lease continuing.
 
Interesting articles.
Fwiw, I don't think Russia is stuck in Syria. It has a limted domestic political problem about the extent and duration of the commitment to Syria but, in terms of gaining influence and power in the region, intervention in Syria seems a success for Russia.
In the recent Reuters interview with Bolton, the full text of what Bolton said was not provided, but the Reuters paraphrasing suggests that Bolton may have been responding to a question about whether the US was stuck in Syria.
Trump adviser Bolton says Russia 'stuck' in Syria, Iran must leave
Here's the Reuters paraphrase of the prelude to Bolton's statements:
Under President Donald Trump, the United States has sought to disengage from Syria, where the previous administration deployed some troops and gave limited support to rebel Kurdish forces over the objections of NATO partner Turkey.

Bolton sidestepped a question on whether these measures would continue, saying the U.S. was staying in Syria to carry out some specific objectives.
Note the claim that "Bolton sidestepped a question" and the reminder that "under President Donald Trump, the United States has sought to disengage from Syria".

This is followed by Bolton's statement that “the Russians are stuck there at the moment”. Note he did not say the Russians are stuck in Syria, but that they are stuck with respect to making any progress.
Washington wields leverage in its talks with Moscow because “the Russians are stuck there at the moment,” Bolton said.

“And I don’t think they want to be stuck there. I think their frenetic diplomatic activity in Europe indicates that they’d like to find somebody else, for example, to bear the cost of reconstructing Syria - which they may or may not succeed in doing.”
Whether Russian objectives involve their withdrawal from Syria is a good question, but many people seem to think the Russians intend to stay there indefinitely. Where they may be "stuck" is with respect to getting to the next stage of winding up the war, which would likely involve coming to some sort of arrangement with the US backed Kurdish forces in Syria.

The US under the current government on the other hand does not have a long term interest in remaining in Syria, so the question becomes under what terms will the US agree to withdraw their support from their proxies in Syria. The news story notes that this US support is the cause of some friction with Turkey. See the first quote above for this.

Bolton said the US has been conducting a series of discussions over Syria with Russia. He stated that one of the US requirements for "resolving the conflict in Syria" is the withdrawal of Iranian forces. Putin of course replied that this is out of his hands, but the follow-up suggests that this is being perceived by the US as being a negotiating tactic and the US is continuing to talk to Russia to see what the Russians want in return for using their influence to get the Iranians to withdraw.
Bolton said that Russian President Vladimir Putin, who met Trump in Helsinki on July 16, had told the United States that Moscow could not compel the Iranians to leave Syria.

“But he also told us that his interest and Iran’s were not exactly the same. So we’re obviously going to talk to him about what role they can play,” said Bolton, who meets his Russian counterpart, Nikolai Patrushev, in Geneva on Thursday.

“We’re going see what we and others can agree in terms of resolving the conflict in Syria. But the one prerequisite there is the withdrawal of all Iranian forces back in Iran.”
Again, note that Bolton said the US was in Syria to achieve certain specific objectives. This implies that they do not intend to stay indefinitely.
Bolton (...) the U.S. was staying in Syria to carry out some specific objectives.

“Our interests in Syria are to finish the destruction of the ISIS (Islamic State) territorial caliphate and deal with the continuing threat of ISIS terrorism and to worry about the presence of Iranian militias and regular forces,” he said in an interview.
So to summarize the situation, Bolton was being asked about under what conditions the US would leave Syria and whether the US was effectively stuck there. Bolton replied, more or less, that the US was only staying until they achieved certain objectives, one of those being the withdrawal of Iranian forces. They are talking to Moscow about what influence the Russians could use there. Bolton said the US was in a good bargaining position because the Russians couldn't make progress on their own goals without the US agreeing to withdraw (effectively, "no we're not stuck, it's the Russians who are stuck until we get what we want").

All of this suggests that US diplomatic efforts at present are focused on getting the Iranians out of Syria, and that they see the road to this goal as passing through Moscow. Note the not inconsequential fact that this interview took place during Bolton's visit to Israel and that the Israeli government's own priorities are centred around the Iranian presence in Syria.
 
@scalieback , you are going to enter the stupid and useless circle "Russia guilty. Putin guilty." Cancel it.
Tell me your own opinion. Do you really think, that JIT gathered all possible and aviable facts about poisoning in Khan Shaykhun?
Well, there is always more evidence to find to prove Russia's and Syrian guilt, but knowing the shoe size of the corporal who drove the ammunition truck won't alter the underlying truth.
Russia and Putin guilty.

You are a rapist. You are guilty as well.

QED.
 
In the recent Reuters interview with Bolton, the full text of what Bolton said was not provided, but the Reuters paraphrasing suggests that Bolton may have been responding to a question about whether the US was stuck in Syria.
Trump adviser Bolton says Russia 'stuck' in Syria, Iran must leave
Here's the Reuters paraphrase of the prelude to Bolton's statements:


Note the claim that "Bolton sidestepped a question" and the reminder that "under President Donald Trump, the United States has sought to disengage from Syria".

This is followed by Bolton's statement that “the Russians are stuck there at the moment”. Note he did not say the Russians are stuck in Syria, but that they are stuck with respect to making any progress.


Whether Russian objectives involve their withdrawal from Syria is a good question, but many people seem to think the Russians intend to stay there indefinitely. Where they may be "stuck" is with respect to getting to the next stage of winding up the war, which would likely involve coming to some sort of arrangement with the US backed Kurdish forces in Syria.

The US under the current government on the other hand does not have a long term interest in remaining in Syria, so the question becomes under what terms will the US agree to withdraw their support from their proxies in Syria. The news story notes that this US support is the cause of some friction with Turkey. See the first quote above for this.

Bolton said the US has been conducting a series of discussions over Syria with Russia. He stated that one of the US requirements for "resolving the conflict in Syria" is the withdrawal of Iranian forces. Putin of course replied that this is out of his hands, but the follow-up suggests that this is being perceived by the US as being a negotiating tactic and the US is continuing to talk to Russia to see what the Russians want in return for using their influence to get the Iranians to withdraw.


Again, note that Bolton said the US was in Syria to achieve certain specific objectives. This implies that they do not intend to stay indefinitely.


So to summarize the situation, Bolton was being asked about under what conditions the US would leave Syria and whether the US was effectively stuck there. Bolton replied, more or less, that the US was only staying until they achieved certain objectives, one of those being the withdrawal of Iranian forces. They are talking to Moscow about what influence the Russians could use there. Bolton said the US was in a good bargaining position because the Russians couldn't make progress on their own goals without the US agreeing to withdraw (effectively, "no we're not stuck, it's the Russians who are stuck until we get what we want").

All of this suggests that US diplomatic efforts at present are focused on getting the Iranians out of Syria, and that they see the road to this goal as passing through Moscow. Note the not inconsequential fact that this interview took place during Bolton's visit to Israel and that the Israeli government's own priorities are centred around the Iranian presence in Syria.
The fable about Fox and grapes springs in mind. Of course, Washington has far-reaching objectives in the ME. In short it is absolute control and domination. But Syria looks as an exception. There are unpleasant realities on the ground. Of course mr.Bolton can not recognize it openly... though his 'struck' looks as indirect recognition.
Note, that slogan - Assad must go - is forgotten as unrealistic and substituted by - Iran must go. However, it also doesn't look as viable.
Israel awaits hard times. Technically it is in the state of war with Syria that could receive thousands Iranian missiles as Hezbollah has received. Just now Assad has to eliminate the last stronghold of terrorism/insurgency in Idlib province and resolve this or that way problem of Syrian Kurdistan. But later... The Golan Heights are internationally recognised part of Syria and soon it could become a hot point. Though Assad needs Russia's support and mr.Putin as I suspect has informal accord with the Israelis.
But new Russian president could support Assad unconditionally and it could end by full Russian control over the Golan Heights with formidable military base there ... in name of peace, of course.
 
The fable about Fox and grapes springs in mind. Of course, Washington has far-reaching objectives in the ME. In short it is absolute control and domination. But Syria looks as an exception. There are unpleasant realities on the ground. Of course mr.Bolton can not recognize it openly... though his 'struck' looks as indirect recognition.
Trump has no direct interest in Syria and unlike most of his immediate predecessors he has little interest in long term strategic consequences.

Obama was ready to dive in, but not on his own and US allies held back when the UK parliament voted against it.

At this stage any opportunity to overthrow Assad at minimal cost has long gone by. It is probably just as well because the previous interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya are still ongoing disasters and adding yet another one to the list isn't going to help the west in any way.

Note, that slogan - Assad must go - is forgotten as unrealistic and substituted by - Iran must go. However, it also doesn't look as viable.
It depends on what "Iran must go" means. If it means that Iranian forces go back home after the fighting in Syria is done, then that is quite a viable option so far as all sides are concerned. Those Iranian forces will have achieved their objective of sustaining the Syrian government in power and they can go home for victory parades and medals.

If it means the removal of all Iranian influence in Syria however, then that doesn't look like a viable option. Trade, investment, and diplomatic, and other cooperation will continue. The alternative for Syria would have to be close relations with the west, and that is ruled out by the west at this time.

Israel awaits hard times. Technically it is in the state of war with Syria that could receive thousands Iranian missiles as Hezbollah has received. Just now Assad has to eliminate the last stronghold of terrorism/insurgency in Idlib province and resolve this or that way problem of Syrian Kurdistan. But later... The Golan Heights are internationally recognised part of Syria and soon it could become a hot point. Though Assad needs Russia's support and mr.Putin as I suspect has informal accord with the Israelis.
See this article previously posted by History_Man. Assad is back for good in Syria – and with Trump’s blessing | The Spectator

Israel's main concern is getting the Iranians and Hezbollah to go home. Netanyahu can live with Assad as a neighbour.
Days before the Helsinki summit, Benjamin Netanyahu dropped his own diplomatic bombshell following yet another meeting with Putin in Moscow (they have met at least nine times during the past 18 months). Israel, he said, would have no problem working with an Assad regime in Syria in the future. This is despite his repeated calls for regime change, and the Israeli air force bombing military targets inside the country dozens of times over the past few years.

So why is Bibi now keen on Assad? Because his main concern is routing the Iranian forces who have been settling down in Syria — often with Russian connivance. Israel also wants fighters from Hezbollah to return to Lebanon, and for Syria’s own forces to stay away from the border areas with Israel. If Russia would agree to this, Israel would be content to accept that Syria is under Russian management — and that the Kremlin has its own naval base on the Mediterranean.
Putin appears to have convinced Netanyahu that he can arrange this. The Iranians have been promised a sweetener in the form of Russian investment in the Iranian gas industry.
Putin seems to have convinced Netanyahu that he would do everything in his power to see off the Iranians, and keep everyone far from the Israeli border. Given the almighty mess inside Syria, that is as much as Israel should reasonably expect of Putin in the short term. And what do the Iranians get in return? In what appears to be compensation for selling them out, Putin announced $50 billion in direct Russian investment in Iran’s oil and gas sectors — up from precisely nada the day before. Hezbollah can now retreat to southern Lebanon and Iran can even save face by saying its revolutionary guard has seen off Assad’s enemies.
Israel has annexed the occupied Golan Heights. Nobody else recognizes this, but it would be a huge loss of face domestically if Israel were to back away from that annexation by ceding control of the territory to any international peacekeepers, including those of Russia.
But new Russian president could support Assad unconditionally and it could end by full Russian control over the Golan Heights with formidable military base there ... in name of peace, of course.
For Russia, international recognition of Israel's annexation of the Golan Heights would be a great boon as it would act to legitimize Russia's annexation of Crimea. As such I suspect that Russia would see their own interests as being to maintain the status quo while waiting patiently to see what happens.
 
Trump has no direct interest in Syria and unlike most of his immediate predecessors he has little interest in long term strategic consequences.

Obama was ready to dive in, but not on his own and US allies held back when the UK parliament voted against it.
It doesn't matter who is now US president. Washington has (slowly changing, almost constant) geopolitical interests. In fact each POTUS is politically dependent from pro-Israeli lobby. Yes, the USA soon could be self-sufficient in oil and gas but most of US allies are dependent. So the ME remains one of the most important regions for Washington.
At this stage any opportunity to overthrow Assad at minimal cost has long gone by. It is probably just as well because the previous interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya are still ongoing disasters and adding yet another one to the list isn't going to help the west in any way.
Couldn't agree more. And Washington's planners understand it. There are unpleasant realities on the ground. It appears that US is not that almighty.
It depends on what "Iran must go" means. If it means that Iranian forces go back home after the fighting in Syria is done, then that is quite a viable option so far as all sides are concerned. Those Iranian forces will have achieved their objective of sustaining the Syrian government in power and they can go home for victory parades and medals.
If it means the removal of all Iranian influence in Syria however, then that doesn't look like a viable option. Trade, investment, and diplomatic, and other cooperation will continue. The alternative for Syria would have to be close relations with the west, and that is ruled out by the west at this time.
I suppose that military and geoplitical presence of Iran in Syria is meant. How it is possible? Stick is useless and Assad is not shown by Carrot. So "Iran must go" slogan remains only slogan.
The article contains exotic cocktail of facts, fantasies, allegations and suggestions. Some fragments look funny.
The summit agreed on the need for a permanent ceasefire between Syria and Israel (the two countries have been in a state of war since 1948 ) and the Syrian government will offer guarantees regarding the Jewish state’s security. With Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates said to be behind Israel...
KSA and UAE behind Israel? It is something new (at least for me).
I doubt that anything like agreement about future of Syria was reached. Anyway, soon we will see how it goes.
Israel's main concern is getting the Iranians and Hezbollah to go home. Netanyahu can live with Assad as a neighboeur.
But there is a problem with the Golan Heights. Of course Israel will preserve overwhelming military superiority. But Assad could be armed with thousands of missiles that could cause unacceptable damage to Israel. The threat of unacceptable damage in the case of military conflict could force Israel to agree with compomise decision. For eample Israeli settlers and civil administration remain on the Golan Heights during 20-30 years but military control goes to Russia. This solution would be acceptable to Assad.
 
It doesn't matter who is now US president. Washington has (slowly changing, almost constant) geopolitical interests. In fact each POTUS is politically dependent from pro-Israeli lobby. Yes, the USA soon could be self-sufficient in oil and gas but most of US allies are dependent. So the ME remains one of the most important regions for Washington.
Whilst the West is still dependent on oil, of course it’s an important region. The idea (futile I know) is for stability.
Couldn't agree more. And Washington's planners understand it. There are unpleasant realities on the ground. It appears that US is not that almighty.
How short memories are of the ‘glorious’ Soviet ‘triumph’ in Afghanistan.

Syria is a good example of what happens when the west stands by imho
I suppose that military and geoplitical presence of Iran in Syria is meant. How it is possible? Stick is useless and Assad is not shown by Carrot. So "Iran must go" slogan remains only slogan.
Bolton and Patrushev have just finished their chat in Geneva. I missed the bit about Iran, so I await the news reports.

Russia guarantees they won’t get within 50 miles of the current border, but says they have no influence on Iran in Syria
The article contains exotic cocktail of facts, fantasies, allegations and suggestions. Some fragments look funny.
Indeed, it’s the Spectator and has a bias and reading his earlier articles you see his bias.
KSA and UAE behind Israel? It is something new (at least for me).

I doubt that anything like agreement about future of Syria was reached. Anyway, soon we will see how it goes.
Stranger things have happened at sea. Cooperation with Istrael to stop Iranian influence is obvious.
But there is a problem with the Golan Heights.
Has he changed his view on the current cease fire line?
Of course Israel will preserve overwhelming military superiority. But Assad could be armed with thousands of missiles that could cause unacceptable damage to Israel.
Assad would launch S2S missiles on Israel? Like Hezbollah and Hamas and Iran? Interesting.... He still has a 7 + year civil war to finish and an estimated (according to Assad) $400Bn reconstruction programme to implement and find the money for.
The threat of unacceptable damage in the case of military conflict could force Israel to agree with compomise decision.
I’ve never known Israel bow to external military pressure. Have you?
For eample Israeli settlers and civil administration remain on the Golan Heights during 20-30 years but military control goes to Russia. This solution would be acceptable to Assad.
If it is agreed, it should be an extension of the current U.N. remit.
 
Putin appears to have convinced Netanyahu that he can arrange this. The Iranians have been promised a sweetener in the form of Russian investment in the Iranian gas industry.
I also think that mr.Putin reached an informal agreement with mr.Netanyahu. But as it is apparently informal, then the new Russian president will not have to followi t.
Israel has annexed the occupied Golan Heights. Nobody else recognizes this, but it would be a huge loss of face domestically if Israel were to back away from that annexation by ceding control of the territory to any international peacekeepers, including those of Russia.
There could be hard choice between face saving and unacceptable damage. New military conflict could begin in a way that the last Lebanese war began. That time using its military superiority IAF bombed Beirut without fear of retaliatory strike. But what is the Syrians would have such an option - to hit main Israeli cities as a retaliation?
For Russia, international recognition of Israel's annexation of the Golan Heights would be a great boon as it would act to legitimize Russia's annexation of Crimea. As such I suspect that Russia would see their own interests as being to maintain the status quo while waiting patiently to see what happens.
Moscow will not recognise annexation of the Golan Heights for many reasons. There was referendum in Crimea and 2/3 of population are Russians. By contrast there were no Jews on the Golan Heights and there was no any referendum.
Just now, mr.Putin prefers to have good relations with Israel and it is right but only God knows what will happen in the future. Escalation of (in fact) the second cold war could lead to proxi wars where Israel would be targetted.
 
Bolton and Patrushev have just finished their chat in Geneva. I missed the bit about Iran, so I await the news reports.
The joint statement was not signed. It's interesting how US/Russian main agitprop outlets explain the cause.
Bolton Says He Warned Russia Against Meddling in November Elections
U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton says he warned his Russian counterpart not to interfere in the U.S. mid-term elections in November.
Bolton said the issue prevented the issuance of a joint statement at the conclusion of the meeting
Do you understand anything? No? Let's read RT.
John Bolton touts ‘considerable progress’ after 5-hour US-Russia security meeting
According to the head of Russia’s Security Council, the US demanded that the communiqué read that “Russia interfered in US elections, but denies it.” Patrushev said that Moscow agreed to include the sentence if in turn, the statement would also say that “the US mustn’t meddle in the affairs of other nations,” at which point Bolton’s team gave up on the whole idea.
As for Reuters then talks between Bolton and Patrushev have not been covered. Most likely because they are fruitless.
 
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The joint statement was not signed. It's interesting how US/Russian main agitprop outlets explain the cause.
Bolton Says He Warned Russia Against Meddling in November Elections
That’s what I heard him say and mentioned below. I believe RT is agitprop. Peskov calls Reuters a ‘respected news agency’.
Do you understand anything. No?
I understand many things, like you (and others) being a willing (‘Highly likely’ in your case) or unwilling (highly unlikely in your case), tool of Putin’s agitprop.
They have the quotes, what RT alleges though I’m not sure and would need to see it from a reliable source.
As for Reuters then talks between Bolton and Patrushev have not been covered. Most likely because they are fruitless.
I think some progress was made, not a great deal but better than nothing.
Bolton says warned Russian envoy against election meddling in 2018
This is what I heard him say re election meddling:
“I made it clear we wouldn’t tolerate (election) meddling in 2018 and that we were prepared to take necessary steps to prevent it from happening,” Bolton told a news conference after more than five hours of talks with Patrushev in Geneva
He did mention about some possible actions from memory as well.

Probably better on your ‘dedicated’ thread, but lines of communication are always good:
“I think we made a lot of progress, we identified certain areas where lines of communication could be restored and more work done by the affected agencies - State Dept, Defense Department, other agencies as well,” Bolton said.
He also mentioned what is meant by ‘Iranian influence’ in Syria ie the return of all forces to Iran:
Commenting on Iran’s role in Syria’s long-running conflict, Bolton said: “Our objective is that all Iranian forces return to Iran ... And we talked about a variety of ways in which it might be accomplished through a series of steps.”
And on START due to expire in 2021:
“We are very very early in the process of considering what we are going to do with New START or the INF treaty,” he said, referring to the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces pact.
All in all not great but at least they’re talking.
 
(...) KSA and UAE behind Israel? It is something new (at least for me).
I doubt that anything like agreement about future of Syria was reached. Anyway, soon we will see how it goes.
An alliance of convenience which will last only as long as both sides see Iran as the greatest threat.

But there is a problem with the Golan Heights. Of course Israel will preserve overwhelming military superiority. But Assad could be armed with thousands of missiles that could cause unacceptable damage to Israel. The threat of unacceptable damage in the case of military conflict could force Israel to agree with compomise decision. For eample Israeli settlers and civil administration remain on the Golan Heights during 20-30 years but military control goes to Russia. This solution would be acceptable to Assad.
I don't think Israel cares what Assad thinks with regards to the Golan Heights. Israel has annexed it and has no more intention of giving it back to Syria than Russia has of returning Crimea to Ukraine.

The Golan Heights are a domestic political symbol, they are militarily advantageous high ground, and perhaps most importantly, they are an important source of water which is redistributed to Israel.

Coordinated action by the west could force Israel to cease their occupation of the Golan Heights, but there is no political will to do so in the west.

As I said previously, I could imagine that Russia could see Israeli occupation and claimed annexation of the Golan Heights as being a useful precedent with respect to Crimea. If Israel can claim to have annexed the Golan Heights indefinitely and act on it and suffer not serious consequences for it, then Russia can imagine that what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

Given the above, Russia comes out ahead regardless of what happens to the Golan Heights. If Israel reverses their illegal annexation of the Golan Heights, then one of Russia's allies has benefited while under Russia's umbrella. If the Israeli occupation of the Golan Heights is recognized by other states, then this legitimizes Russia's annexation of Crimea and any other bits of territory on their periphery.

Israel has been pressing the US to recognize their annexation of the Golan Heights. Here are a few examples.

Exclusive: Israeli minister says U.S. may soon recognize Israel's...
Bolton: U.S. not discussing recognition of Israel's Golan hold
Netanyahu hopes US will recognize Israel's claim on Golan Heights
 

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