Russia says US is “pretending to fight ISIS”

Russian defense ministry spokesman Maj.-General Igor Konashenkov Tuesday accused the United States of deliberately reducing air strikes in Iraq, to allow the jihadists to stream across into eastern Syria and slow the Russian-backed advance of the Syrian army. As a result, ISIS in large numbers had reached Deir ez-Zour and were digging in on the left bank of the River Euphrates. The Russian spokesman said Syrian troops were in the midst of trying to push Islamic State out of the city of al-Mayadin, southeast of Deir al-Zor, but that ISIS was reinforcing its ranks there with “foreign mercenaries” pouring in from Iraq. Continue reading

The Turkish-US visa spat was triggered by Kurdish dispute, Ankara’s flight from NATO to the Russian-Iranian fold

 

As of Monday, Oct. 9, US missions in Turkey have suspended non-immigrant visa services and closed their doors to the public, while Turkish consulates in the United States have suspended “all visa services” to Americans. The Turkish currency immediately plummeted on world markets. The ostensible cause of the visa spat was the arrest in Turkey of a local US consulate employee on suspicion of links to Fethullah Gulen, the Turkish cleric living in exile in America, whom President Tayyip Erdogan accuses of orchestrating the failed coup against him in 2016. Washington says the charge is baseless and damaging bilateral relations. Continue reading

NATO Splinters: Germany Completes Withdrawal From Turkey’s Incirlik Airbase

 

Several months after an unprecedented collapse in relations between two NATO member states, on Thursday Germany’s military announced it has finished its withdrawal from Turkey’s strategic airbase Incirlik, which as a reminder was prompted by Ankara’s refusal to allow visits by German parliamentarians. Going forward, Bundeswehr planes will instead be based in Jordan. Continue reading

Russia Releases Photos Showing US Special Ops At ISIS Positions In Syria

 

 

The Russian Defense Ministry has released aerial images allegedly showing ISIS, the SDF, and US special forces working side-by-side on the battlefield against Syrian and Russian forces in Dier ez-Zor, Syria.

As Adam Garrie reports, via The Duran, it has long been thought that the US proxy militia SDF is operating in collusion with ISIS in various parts of Syria. This has especially been the case in respect of Deir ez-Zor. In Deir ez-Zor, the Russian Defense Ministry has previously stated that the Syrian Arab Army and their allies are fired on most intensely from positions known to be held by the SDF.

Furthermore, Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov recently stated,

“SDF militants work to the same objectives as Daesh terrorists. Russian drones and intelligence have not recorded any confrontations between Daesh and the ‘third force’, SDF”.

He added that Russia will not hesitate to target SDF forces that threaten the battle field progress and personal safety of Russia’s allies, namely the Syrian Arab Army. Continue reading

Syrian/Hizballah may call up Russian air strikes as cooperation deepens

 

Russian air crews in Syria are under new orders to respond directly and immediately to Iranian and Syrian demands for air bombardments, without confirmation from the high commands in Latakia or Moscow.

This has enormously empowered Syrian and Hizballah officers on the ground for taking the war into their own hands. It led directly to Russian planes suddenly bombing a pro-US Syrian force in the Deir ez-Zour province of eastern Syria on Saturday, Sept. 16, and accounts for Moscow’s repudiation of the attack after its confirmation by the Pentagon. Continue reading

Syria is a ‘Laboratory’ for the Air War of the Future

A boom operator, assigned to the 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron, prepares to refuel an aircraft from a KC-135 Stratotanker above Southwest Asia, July 20, 2017.

 

US airmen are rapidly developing and remixing new technologies and techniques in the fight against ISIS, but sometimes you can’t beat the tried and true.

ISIS doesn’t have an Air Force, but the Syrian skies are nevertheless a rapidly evolving “laboratory” for air warfare, said U.S. military leaders, who described how the U.S. is fusing cyber attacks with real bombs and using open-source intelligence to find and strike targets.

Continue reading

Iran, Hezbollah Now in Syrian Golan

Iran, Hezbollah Now in Syrian Golan

Russia has moved Iranian and Hezbollah military officials into an administrative center a little more than a mile form the Israeli border in the Golan Heights.

 

As if thumbing his nose at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Russian President Vladimir Putin has moved Iranian and Hezbollah officers into Quneitra, a little more than a mile from Israel’s border in the Syrian Golan. Continue reading

Less than half of the US bomber fleet is ready to ‘fight tonight’

A U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer prepares to take off for a 10-hour mission from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, into Japanese airspace and over the Korean Peninsula, July 30, 2017. (Tech. Sgt. Richard P. Ebensberger/Air Force)

 

WASHINGTON – Less than half of the bombers President Donald Trump would rely upon to be “locked and loaded” against North Korea could launch today if needed, according to the latest Air Force figures available.

That’s not a surprise to the bomb squadrons who have seen firsthand the combined effects of aircraft age, the demand of 15 years of air war operations and reduced budgets. But the numbers can be stark. Of the nation’s 75 conventional and nuclear B-52s, only about 33 are ready to fly at any given time, according to Air Force statistics. Of the 62 conventional B-1s, only about 25 are ready. With the 20 nuclear B-2 stealth bombers, the number drops further. Seven or eight bombers are available, according to the Air Force.

On a nominal basis you don’t have more than single digits of B-2s available to do anything,” said retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Dave Deptula, currently the dean of the Mitchell Institute of Aerospace.

“If anything good comes out of the North Korea crisis,” it should be a wake-up call, he said.

“It’s not just the nation’s bomber force,” that is so stretched, Deptula said. “It’s the military writ large. The U.S. Air Force is the smallest and least ready it’s ever been in history – that should get people’s attention.”

Continue reading

Russia flies 2,000 mercenary troops into Syria

 

Russia is engaged in a major buildup in Syria, both in support of the de-escalation zones established in conjunction with the United States, and in order to solidify its military control of the country.

debkafile’s military and intelligence sources reported exclusively on Wednesday, August 2, that 2,000 mercenaries had just been airlifted into the country, boosting to a total of 5,000 the number of mercenaries on hire from the Wagner Group private contractors for service under the Russian flag in Syria. They are all retirees from elite units of the Russian ground forces, air force or navy. Continue reading

Russia posts troops 8km from the Israeli Golan

 

Russia has quietly moved troops to a point in southern Syria that is 8km from Israel’s Golan border, in the face of Israeli objections, DEBKAfile reports exclusively. Moscow used the uproar over the Temple Mount standoff and the diplomatic crisis between Israel and Jordan to cover its creeping troop deployment almost up do Syria’s borders with Israel and Jordan.

Tuesday, July 15, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Avidor Lieberman and Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gady Eisenkott visited Bashan Division headquarters on the Golan for a rundown on the Russian deployment just opposite. (see photo) Continue reading

The IRGC—Terrorism’s Goliath

ISIS has captivated Western attention for so long with its gruesome beheadings, stabbings, vehicular homicides, shootings and bombings in Europe and the United States, the horrific aftermaths deservedly the focus of television news, that virtually forgotten is the world’s biggest terror threat – Iran’s IRGC, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

The IRGC, often misidentified in Western press as the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps dwarfs ISIS by any measure.

ISIS never had more than about 30,000 fighters, equipped mostly with small arms, with very little access to high-tech weaponry.

In contrast, the IRGC has about 125,000 fighters. It is the only terror organization in the world with an army, navy, and special forces.

Continue reading

The Sectarian Divide in the Middle East

(click to enlarge)

 

July 7, 2017 Transnational issues like religion and ethnicity have long bedeviled the countries of the modern Middle East. Major Arab states like Egypt, Syria and Iraq began to flirt with pan-Arabism – a secular, left-leaning ideology that sought political unity of the Arab world – not long after they were founded. Continue reading

Britain prepared to use air strikes or send in troops as retaliation against future cyber attack

A strike on UK systems “could invite a response from any domain – air, land, sea or cyberspace”, said the Defence Secretary

 

Britain could launch military retaliation such as air strikes against a future cyber attack, the Defence Secretary has suggested.

Sir Michael Fallon warned potential attackers that a strike on UK systems “could invite a response from any domain – air, land, sea or cyberspace”.

The Defence Secretary said the UK’s ability to carry out its own cyber attacks against Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (Isil), also known as Daesh, had saved lives during the battle for Mosul in Iraq and the capability was also being used in the fight for Raqqa in Syria. Continue reading

Anti-Trump Leak Campaign Damaging U.S. and Allied Operations

Getty Images

 

U.S. official: Leaks of classified info by former Obama officials endanger American security operations

A new wave of leaks targeting the Trump administration has actively endangered ongoing intelligence and military operations being conducted by the United States and its allies, sparking anger and concern inside and outside the White House, according to multiple conversations with senior U.S. officials intimately familiar with the situation.

The classified leaks, which are being handed to sympathetic journalists by former Obama administration officials who left the government and by holdovers still serving in the Trump administration, have damaged a number of ongoing operations, ranging from American efforts to prevent Russian infiltration of the United States to Israeli efforts against ISIS, sources said. Continue reading

Pentagon Responds: “US Pilots Will Defend Themselves If Attacked By Russians”

One wouldn’t know it by looking at the market, but the biggest developing story today was Russia’s threat to intercept any aircraft – including US – flying in the area of operations of the Russian Aerospace Forces in Syria, and “be followed as targets” after yesterday’s downing by a US F-18 of a Syrian Su-22 fighter jet. Moments ago the US responded to this unmistakable deterioration in relations between the two nations, when a Pentagon spokesman said U.S. pilots over Syria will defend themselves if attacked by Russians. Continue reading