Israel to Voice Concerns About Russian Deployment in Syria.

Russian moves to dominate Moscow meeting between Benjamin Netanyahu, Vladimir Putin

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arriving to chair the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem on Sunday.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arriving to chair the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem on Sunday.

JERUSALEM—Israel joined the U.S. in expressing concerns about Russia’s military buildup in Syria ahead of a planned meeting in Moscow on Monday between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahuand Russian President Vladimir Putin, Israeli officials said.

“Once we understand exactly what Russia intends to do in the arena and exactly what it plans to move into it, whether infantry or air forces, or others…we’ll know what needs to be done,” Yossi Cohen, Mr. Netanyahu’s national security adviser, told Israel Radio on Friday.

He said senior Israeli army officers would be part of the Israeli delegation to Moscow.

The Israeli government has sought to avoid taking sides in the Syrian conflict, saying it is solely concerned with the effect of the fighting on Israel’s security.

Israeli officials have repeatedly voiced concern that advanced Russian weapons supplied to Syria could end up in the hands of militant groups involved in the fighting there.

Israel conducts routine surveillance missions over Lebanon to monitor the activities of Iran-backed Hezbollah, which along with Russia supports President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

Mr. Cohen added that the Israeli team wanted “to clarify with the Russian side their intentions and possible implications for Israel, and the required coordination between us in the future, should it be necessary.”

In a major military escalation in the region, Russia has moved jet fighters to a base in Syria for the first time, U.S. defense officials said on Friday. The deployment came hours before U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter spoke with his Russian counterpart, a conversation designed in part to help avert a confrontation between American and Russian forces.

In London on Saturday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry also raised questions about Russia’s intentions in Syria, and urged Moscow to help bring Mr. Assad to the table for serious negotiations about a political transition as world powers seek a solution to the crisis. Mr. Kerry added that the U.S. would accept a resolution to the Syrian war that allowed Mr. Assad to remain in place for a period before stepping down. Previously, Washington had insisted Mr. Assad should step down before a transition government takes over, leading eventually to free and fair elections.

A U.S.-led coalition has been carrying out airstrikes against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq for a year. Like the U.S., Israel is worried the positioning of Russian fighter jets and surface-to-air missiles in Syria could lead to inadvertent confrontations with its own missions over Lebanon and Syria, where Israel enjoys overwhelming air superiority.

Israeli aircraft have also bombed targets in Syria described as stockpiles or convoys of advanced weapons, including sophisticated Russian-made surface-to-air missiles thought to have been be destined for Hezbollah in Lebanon. Israeli officials have described the advanced antiaircraft systems as “game-changing” because they would challenge Israel’s air superiority in the region.

An announcement last week of Mr. Netanyahu’s visit to Moscow said he would raise “the threats posed to Israel by the increased flow of advanced war materiel to the Syrian arena, and the transfer of deadly weapons to Hezbollah and other terror organizations.”

Along with combat aircraft and an air-defense system, the Russian buildup at a base near Latakia, Syria, has included tanks, armored personnel carriers and artillery, American officials said. Russian officials have described the buildup as defensive and part of Moscow’s routine military support for the Syrian government.

Israeli forces have on several occasions struck Syrian army positions near the Israeli-held Golan Heights after rockets fired by militants and errant shells from the fighting in Syria have landed in Israeli-controlled territory.

Hundreds of Syrians wounded in fighting between rebels and Syrian government forces near the Golan Heights frontier have been taken to Israel for hospital treatment, in what has been described as a purely humanitarian effort.

While Israel’s former defense minister, Ehud Barak, welcomed the prospect of Mr. Assad’s ouster in the early stages of the Syrian conflict, Israeli leaders have since avoided commenting on what Mr. Assad’s fate should be in any future political solution.

US and Russia hold Syria talks as Moscow hints at combat role against ISIS.

 

An Airbus Defence and Space satellite image courtesy of Stratfor, a geopolitical intelligence and advisory firm in Austin, Texas, shows the air base at Latakia, Syria on September 15, 2015. U.S. officials said on Wednesday the United States had identified a small number of Russian helicopters at a Syrian airfield, the latest addition to what Washington believes is a significant Russian military buildup in the country. Russia has been sending about two military cargo flights a day to an air base at Latakia on the government-controlled Syrian coast, U.S. officials say. REUTERS/www.Stratfor.com/Airbus Defense and Space/Handout

A satellite image shows the air base at Latakia where the US had identified a small number of Russian helicopters

US secretary of state John Kerry said on Saturday that the US was prepared to negotiate the timing and conditions for Syrian president Bashar al-Assad to step down from power.

Speaking in London, Mr Kerry repeated the US position that Mr Assad needed to step down as part of any effort to bring the country’s civil war to an end, but he indicated greater US flexibility about the way that the Syrian leader might leave office.

Mr Kerry also called on Iran and Russia, which has significantly stepped up its military presence in Syria in recent weeks, to push Mr Assad to the negotiating table.

“We’ve said for some period of time that it doesn’t have to be on day one or month one or whatever,” he said. “We’re not being doctrinaire about the specific date or time. But right now, Assad has refused to have a serious discussion.”

He added: “Is Assad prepared to negotiate? Really negotiate? Is Russia prepared to bring him to the table and actually find the solution to this violence?”
His comments came after Ashton Carter, US secretary of defence, held direct talks with his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu on Friday to discuss the war in Syria, amid mounting concern in the west over Russia’s growing military support for the Assad regime.
The talks started as Moscow indicated it could send combat troops to Syria to support the Syrian military.
The flurry of communications and diplomatic messaging follows a sharp build-up of Russian military presence in Syria in recent weeks that has put the Obama administration on the back foot at a time when its own strategy in Syria is coming under renewed criticism.
However, amid the uncertainty over Russia’s plans in Syria there is also the possibility that Moscow’s increased intervention could also open space for an international effort at finding a political settlement to the four year-old civil war.

The Friday phone call with Mr Shoigu was the first time Mr Carter had spoken to the Russian defence minister since he assumed office in March and ended a long period of almost no communication between the two militaries as the result of the conflict in Ukraine.

The Pentagon said the two ministers talked about ways to “deconflict” their respective operations in Syria, including the risk that planes from both countries could be flying in close proximity, and that both nations were focused on defeating the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, the jihadi group known as Isis.

Coalition frets over lack of progress in fight against Isis

Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighters pose fo...Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighters pose for a photo next to a military vehicle bearing the Kurdish flag after they reportedly captured several villages from Islamic State (IS) group jihadistst in the district of Daquq, south of the northern city of Kirkuk on September 11, 2015. An Iraqi officer said that the operation was launched in the morning with support from international coalition aircraft, and has succeeded in retaking ten villages from IS. AFP PHOTO / MARWAN IBRAHIMMARWAN IBRAHIM/AFP/Getty Images

Slow progress raises doubts about the timeframe of what the US said would be a ‘multiyear’ campaign

The Kremlin said on Friday that Russia was prepared to consider supporting the Assad regime with troops in combat if the Syrian government asked for that, in the clearest indication so far that it is prepared to step up its military involvement in the Syrian conflict.

“If such a request comes, then it will, in the framework of our bilateral contacts and our bilateral dialogue, naturally be discussed and looked at,” said Dmitry Peskov, spokesman of President Vladimir Putin.

He was commenting on remarks by Syria’s foreign minister, Walid Muallem, that Damascus would request Russian troops to fight alongside the Syrian army if the need arose.

In an interview with Syrian television on Thursday, Mr Muallem said there were no Russian combat troops in Syria at the moment but confirmed that Russia had “escalated the pace of supplies to our army with weapons and ammunition”.
According to US military officials, however, Russia has significantly ramped up its presence of both support and combat troops in Syria in the past few days. The Pentagon estimates Russia to have troop numbers in the “high hundreds” or “low thousands” in the country. Analysts say they appear to be deployed primarily for defensive purposes so far.

In depth

Syria crisis

An increasingly complicated armed conflict is pitting rebel groups not only against the regime and its allies, but also against each other

Russia has long co-operated militarily with the Assad regime, supplying arms and experts who help with installation and training. It also has a radio-electronic listening post to gather intelligence on the Middle East and eastern Mediterranean. The Kremlin insists that Russian soldiers now in Syria continue to be advisers linked to arms supplies.

But satellite pictures, Syrian battle footage and Russian social media posts as well as US intelligence suggest that Moscow has been drastically stepping up those supplies since late August and could be preparing for more.
In the latest sign of increased Russian involvement, a US official said, Russian fighter jets had been observed in recent days at the airfield in western Syria near Latakia where the Pentagon believes Moscow is developing a forward-operating air base.
Dmitri Trenin, head of the Moscow Carnegie Center, said that while Russia had no intention of deploying ground combat forces to Syria, it might consider sending pilots and flying air attacks.

The Russian government presents its increased military involvement as part of an effort to build a broad coalition against Isis. Despite its denials of combat forces on the ground, the Kremlin has been much less secretive about Syria than its involvement in the Ukraine war.
But as the US launches air attacks as part of its own coalition against Isis, military experts fear a separate Russian involvement could lead to dangerous incidents, especially as western governments doubt whether Moscow, in a potential air campaign, might target opposition forces other than Isis which are also fighting Mr Assad’s army.
On Friday, two Russian news outlets reported that contract soldiers from the eastern military district were being sent to Syria on secret missions, and some were refusing to go after finding out about their destination.

Mr Peskov said the Kremlin was not aware of this. The military district command denied that some of its servicemen were being sent to Syria.

Analysts Detail Claims That Reports on ISIS Were Distorted – You mean a dishonest Politician? NO!

WASHINGTON — A group of intelligence analysts have provided investigators with documents they say show that senior military officers manipulated the conclusions of reports on the war against the Islamic State, according to several government officials, as lawmakers from both parties voiced growing anger that they may have received a distorted picture about the military campaign’s progress.

The Pentagon’s inspector general, who is examining the claims, is focusing on senior intelligence officials who supervise dozens of military and civilian analysts at United States Central Command, or Centcom, which oversees American military operations against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Bridget Serchak, a spokeswoman for the Pentagon’s inspector general, confirmed that the investigation is focused on Centcom’s intelligence command. “The investigation will address whether there was any falsification, distortion, delay, suppression or improper modification of intelligence information,” she said in an emailed statement on Tuesday.

She added that the inquiry would examine any “personal accountability for any misconduct or failure to follow established processes.”

The New York Times reported last month that investigation had begun, but the scope of the inquiry and the specific focus of the allegations were unclear. The officials now say that the analysts at the center of the investigation allege that their superiors within Centcom’s intelligence operation changed conclusions about a number of topics, including the readiness of Iraqi security forces and the success of the bombing campaign in Iraq and Syria.

The revisions presented a more positive picture to the White House, Congress and other intelligence agencies, the officials said.

“The senior intelligence officers are flipping everything on its head,” said one government intelligence analyst, who like others spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. The analyst said that the complaints involve the highest-ranking officials in Centcom’s intelligence unit, run by Army Maj. Gen. Steven R. Grove.

The Pentagon’s inspector general would not examine disputes over routine differences among analysts, and so it is highly unusual that an investigation would be opened about the intelligence conclusions in an ongoing war. The allegations raise the prospect that military officials were presenting skewed assessments to the White House and lawmakers that were in sharp contrast with the conclusions of other intelligence agencies.

The issue is expected to come up Wednesday when Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, commander of Central Command, is expected to testify before a Senate panel about the military campaign against the Islamic State.

“We do take seriously any allegations of the mishandling or manipulation of intelligence information for purposes other than getting to ground truth,” Representative Adam Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said Tuesday. “In the wake of the flawed intelligence prior to the Iraq war, we must make sure that all voices are appropriately considered and that assessments are never again politicized.”

Last week, Mr. Schiff said that the intelligence presentations that lawmakers get from spy agencies are in general far better than they were in the period leading up to the start of the Iraq war in 2003, when dissenting views about Iraq’s weapons programs were often buried in intelligence reports or ignored altogether. Today, he said, dissenting views are given much more prominence in reports.

Disagreements over analytical conclusions are both commonplace and encouraged. Just as in the peer review process in academia, the government wants analysts to consider opposing viewpoints and revise reports as necessary. Analysts who disagree are encouraged to publish rival papers, but changing someone else’s conclusion is forbidden.

The matter is complicated because the analysts who made the complaint work for the Defense Intelligence Agency — it was created to be immune from the pressures and biases of the officers leading the war — but are supervised by officers at Centcom. At least one analyst complained to the inspector general in July. Last week, The Daily Beast reported that those complaints were supported by a cadre of more than 50 intelligence agents.

Col. Patrick S. Ryder, a Centcom spokesman, on Tuesday reiterated several points he had made when news of the investigation broke last month. The inspector general has a responsibility to investigate all allegations, he said, and he cannot comment on an ongoing investigation.

But Colonel Ryder said that because many different intelligence agencies provide assessments to policy makers — all derived from a wide range of sources — the system is structured to guard against “any single report or opinion unduly influencing leaders and decision makers.”

On Friday, Pentagon investigators held a conference call with members of Congress as a growing, bipartisan chorus of lawmakers expressed concerns about the dispute. One official who listened to the call said it was intended to assure lawmakers that investigators were taking the allegations seriously.

That same afternoon, both the Republican chairman of the House oversight committee, Representative Jason Chaffetz of Utah, and one of his colleagues sent letters to Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter and John T. Rymer, the Pentagon inspector general, asking that Pentagon officials brief his committee about the scope of the inquiry and its findings.

“We are deeply concerned about these allegations and want to ensure that intelligence provided to key decision makers properly reflect the expert analysis produced by our Intelligence Community (IC) professionals,” the letter said.

Last summer President Obama authorized a bombing campaign against the Islamic State, a Sunni terrorist group that spun off from Al Qaeda and now controls large swaths of land in Iraq and Syria. Roughly 3,400 American troops are in Iraq advising and training Iraqi forces. The White House has been reluctant, though, to recommit large numbers of ground troops to Iraq after announcing an end to the Iraq war in 2009.

The bombing campaign over the past year has had some success in allowing Iraqi forces to reclaim parts of the country formerly under the Islamic State’s control, but important cities like Mosul and Ramadi remain under the sway of the group, also known as ISIS or ISIL There has been little progress in loosening the group’s hold over large parts of Syria, where the United States has conducted limited airstrikes.

Critics have argued that the bombing alone cannot defeat the Islamic State and have called on the Obama administration to send in more troops. It is not clear, however, if Defense Intelligence Agency analysts have concluded that more American troops would make an appreciable difference.

In testimony on Capitol Hill this year, Lt. Gen. Vincent R. Stewart, the agency’s director, said sending ground troops back into Iraq risked transforming the conflict into one between the West and the Islamic State, which would be “the best propaganda victory that we could give.”

Who would win in a war between Russia and the U.S.?

And there shall be upon every high mountain, and upon every high hill, rivers and streams of waters in the day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall. “Quotation from Revelations”

sap

sa2

Towers have been falling, Russia warns U.S.A. Israel to be Split, Iran deal, Britton that was Great is bowing down. All Nations are in conflict. Ha! Listen to me, I’m not even a Religious Zealot.  Here is what It may look like using modern pictures.

Sa1

The Russian nuclear forces are dependent upon her ICBM’s.  Her boomer subs and air force wouldn’t get much launched (her bombers wouldn’t make it to American airspace and her max of two deployed nuke boomers are trailed at all times by at least one American and one other NATO attack sub — they’d never make it to launch depth).  But that doesn’t matter.  Even if only the two modern MIRV equipped ICBMs work (the very advanced, RS-24 Yars; and the reasonably advanced RT-2UTTKh Topol-M), that would be a total of about 125 ICBM’s.  (trust that the aging RT-2pms, UR-100Ns and R-36 still have some bite).

All things considered, that means that the minimal (stress on the “minimal”) strike would look something like this:

  • There are approximately 40-50 RS ICBMs. Each has between 4-8 warheads, with between 100-300kt explosive blast each warhead.  Assume the average — 6 MIRVs at 150kt blast each (7x Nagasaki), would mean 270 strikes.
  • There are approximately 80 RT-2UTTKh ICBMs.  Each has only one warhead, but at a devastating 800kt. (40x Nagasaki), total of 80 strikes.

syria

The total number of warhead blasts in the US would be no less than 350 nuclear strikes (that’s NO LESS than, but highly likely much higher when older warheads are added in).  Even if only 350 nuclear strikes occurred, and only 100 highly important targets were selected (doubling or trippling up on important locations), easily the top 80 largest cities (every major metro area) + the 20 most important military targets were struck, the US would be wiped off the face of the map.  The entire nation would end.  Most people would be dead in six months due to disease and starvation.   If ONLY the Russians struck (with no retaliation from the US), humanity might survive such an attack.
===Total yield: 3,500 times Nagasaki (this excludes many other older nukes that, if they worked appropriately, would push this number way beyond 10,000 times Nagasaki).

Syria1

The American strike would be more thorough both for Russia and possibly for humanity.  The US’s nuclear triad (ICBMs, Air Force and Navy) would have more successful launches due to the larger nature of the American forces and the more modern equipment.   The Ballistic Missile Submarines (boomers) would do the trick, 14 total with nukes, seven deployed at any given time.  They’re beyond deadly.  Their nuclear payloads capable of being launched in under 30 minutes.

  • Each Ohio Class boomer has 24 Trident II SLBM that are MIRV’ed with between 6-8 W76 110kt nuclear warhead (5.5 times Nagasaki).  Even if we went with the average (7 warheads), that’s 1,176 nuclear strikes from the Ohio Class nuclear payload.
  • The US also operates 450 Minuteman III ICBMs that are MIRV’ed with 3 nuclear warheads (in the process if not concluded, the downgrade to 1 MIRV each).  The exact type of warhead is classified, but the warheads are either the W78 or W87, with no less than 300kt of explosive yield (15x Nagasaki).  That’s a total maximum of 1,350 nuclear warheads, minimum of 450.

Syria2

The total number of blasts would be insane, no less than 2,526.  We haven’t even counted any Air Force method, presuming that the Russians could/would destroy them in flight.  Nevertheless, even if strikes were doubled and/or tripled up on cities, it would mean that no less than 1,000 locations would be wiped out by more than one (some with three or four) nuclear blasts.  The destruction would be absolute.
===Total yield: no less than 30,000 times Nagasaki

sa4

Russia warns US of ‘unintended incidents’ over Syria. Armageddon has arrived!!! 

The growing rift between the United States and Russia over concerns that Moscow is employing its military to protect Syria’s embattled president appeared to widen Friday when a Russian official called for military cooperation with Washington in order to avoid “unintended incidents.”

The comments were made after Western intelligence sources told Fox News that Russia escalated its presence in the Middle East country days after a secret Moscow meeting in late July between Iran’s Quds Force commander — their chief exporter of terror — and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Officials who have monitored the build-up say they’ve seen more than 1,000 Russian combatants — some of them from the same plainclothes Special Forces units who were sent to Crimea and Ukraine. Some of these Russian troops are logistical specialists and needed for security at the expanding Russian bases.

President Obama warned Russia on Friday against “doubling down” on sending support for Syrian President Bashar Assad, calling the pursuit a “mistake.”

“But we are going to be engaging Russia to let them know that you can’t continue to double-down on a strategy that is doomed to failure,” Obama said at a Maryland event.

Russia denies allegations that it is helping to build Assad’s military. Moscow claimed its increased military presence is part of an international effort to help defeat the Islamic State. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called on world powers to join Russia in that pursuit, arguing that Syria’s army is the most efficient force to fight extremists in the Middle East.

“You cannot defeat Islamic State with air strikes only,” Lavrov said, a clear dig at the White House’s strategy. “It’s necessary to cooperate with ground troops and the Syrian army is the most efficient and powerful ground force to fight the IS.”

Reuters reported that Russia also called for military-to-military cooperation with the U.S. to avert “unintended incidents.”

Moscow’s recent support of Assad has dampened U.S. hopes that Moscow was tiring of the Syrian president. Syria has been gripped by civil war for more than four years, a conflict that has claimed more than 250,000 lives and created a vacuum for extremism to thrive.

U.S. officials have been gauging Russia’s willingness to help restart a political process to remove Assad from power.

Secretary of State John Kerry has lashed out at Russia’s presence in Syria, warning the recent buildup could lead to an escalation of the bloody conflict.

Despite the warnings from the U.S., Lavrov said Russia would continue to supply Assad with weapons that he said will help defeat Islamic State fighters.

“I can only say, once again, that our servicemen and military experts are there to service Russian military hardware, to assist the Syrian army in using this hardware,” he said at a news conference in Moscow. “And we will continue to supply it to the Syrian government in order to ensure its proper combat readiness in its fight against terrorism.”