Tuesday, February 16


SYRIA ROUND-UP: The "Crazies in the Basement" vs the Reality on the Ground
By Patrick BAHZAD
February 16, 2016
Sic Semper Tyrannis

"Crazies from the basement" is an expression that was coined originally by some unknown member of George W's administration. It used to designate the small clique of Neo-Cons who had found their way into Bush junior's team of advisors, before they rose to dubious fame after the 9/11 attacks. Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, at the time Colin Powell's chief of staff, described their status enhancement from "lunatic fringe" to top-execs in the White House with a certain Southern sense of humour, adding that they had become almost overnight what was henceforth called the Cheney "Gestapo". And what happened over the weekend in the Middle-East – and in D.C. – certainly looked like a distant but distinct reminder of that period in the early 2000s when "crazies" coming right out of a dark basement take over the policy agenda on questions that would require adult supervision.
 What had happened that caused for this wave of schyzophrenic hysteria taking over large portions of the mainstream media, think tanks, political analysts and pseudo-military experts ? To be honest, if you want to get to the bottom of that question, you would have to dig real deep into the pool of strategic mediocrity combined with PR-spin doctoring that has taken over most of the Western world since the start of the Syrian civil war (and actually way before).
The ISSG communique
Let's try and keep things simple though. It all started on Friday when the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) announced an agreement had been reached regarding the Syrian conflict, providing for key measures to be implemented as far as humanitarian aid, cessation of hostilities and political transition were concerned. Kerry and Lavrov had worked hard to achieve this result and all of a sudden, it looked like years of efforts and resources aimed at removing Assad had been wasted and were actually going down the drain.
The announcement of the so-called "cessation of hostilities" agreement did not go down well with the sponsors of the Syrian rebels (and Salafi or Jihadi groups) which were committed to overthrow Assad at any cost. In particular, the ISSG communique specified that terrorist groups recognized as such by the UN were specifically excluded from any form of cease-fire. In other words, not only would ISIS continue to be targeted by the Western Coalition (CJTF "Inherent Resolve), but so would the Nusra Front as well as smaller Jihadi groups present in North-Western Syria and any "Joint Operations Room" in which any of these groups featured prominently.
Basically, it meant that most of the groups fighting Assad in that area were still "fair game" to both the RuAF, the SAA and their allies. Factually, it was a recognition that there is almost no "moderate" insurgency left in Syria, for reasons that can be debated of course, but in the end, there is no hiding from this fact, despite the massive PR-effort and spinning the public in the Western world is being subjected to, day in, day out.
Following the ISSG statement, the sponsors of the armed insurrection against Assad – whether they were in Ryiadh, Ankara, Washington or Paris – panicked and went into over-drive. If the road map that was the "cessation of hostilities" agreement was implemented, even in parts, chances were, their regime change strategy would face total failure and their proxies in Syria would contemplate assured destruction at the hands of the Russian lead military campaign on the ground.
I assure you Patrick is just getting warmed up. Read the rest at SST and have a very happy day! On second thought I want to highlight these passages from his sitrep:
What is interesting from a purely military point of view is that Aleppo itself will not be subject to the scenes of urban combat and carnage that are being conjured by spin doctors in the Gulf and in the West. Most of the city is already under government control.
The large power plant east of the city was retaken earlier today by the SAA's "Tiger Force", the spearhead of the "4th Assault Corps" that has been formed, trained and equipped by Russia since October of last year. Fighting and combat in Aleppo will die down as the more radical rebels fighters will follow the call to arms in Idlib province and what will be left of their splintered groups will not be able to offer more than sporadic fighting and terrorist attacks.

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