WW4/Middle East Files: Aftermath of Turkey downing Russian warplane near Syrian border: PM Erdogan refuses to apologize for Nov. 24 shootdown: “Those who violated our airspace are the ones who need to apologize”; Kremlin retaliates by preparing economic sanctions, may scrap Turkish Stream pipeline project, Rosatom’s plan to build Turkey’s first NPP; Ankara claims Su-24 tactical bomber flew inside Turkish airspace for 17 seconds, passing through thin strip of territory protruding S. into Syria, received 10 warnings from Turkish Air Force; pilot, navigator bail, parachute to ground, Lt. Col. Peshkov shot dead by Syrian Turkmen, Capt. Murakhtin eludes rebels for 12 hours, rescued by Russian, Syrian commandos, later on Russian TV insists “there were no warnings — not via the radio, not visually,” while Russian FM Lavrov refers to downing of “Fencer” as “planned provocation”; Turkey deploys 20 tanks to Syrian border, 18 fighter jets patrol border with war-torn neighbor, while Russia announces deployment of S-400 air defense units to Syria, 10-12 more fighter jets to Latakia air base, escort strategic bombers; Free Syrian Army’s 1st Coastal Division reportedly used US-made TOW anti-tank missile to destroy Russian Mi-8 helo on mission to rescue Peskov, Murakhtin, 1 Russian marine killed

WW4 File: UKRAINE-RUSSIA WAR: Ukraine responds to Moscow’s food embargo by halting gas purchases from neighbor, closes airspace to commercial flights from Russia, PM Yatsenyuk: “This is an issue of our country’s national security — a response to the Russian Federation and its aggressive actions. Russia might use Ukrainian airspace to stage provocations”; Kiev also terminates trade with Russian-occupied Crimea, paralyzed by 4-day power outage after pylon bombings; meanwhile, persecuted Tatars secure support of Ukraine’s state-run energy company, Ukrenergo repair crew suspends work on 4 damaged pylons of 220 kV Kakhovka-Titan power grid; Ukrainian MP, Tatar rep Mustafa Dzhemilev presents ultimatum to Crimea’s illegitimate, pro-Moscow government, demands release of Ahtem Chiygoz, deputy head of Mejlis (ethnic assembly), other key Tatar leaders in exchange for restoration of power to peninsula; Russian FSB/KGB (operating illegally on Ukrainian soil) arrested Chiygoz in Jan. 2015, charged with “organizing mass disorder” on eve of Russian invasion (Feb. 2014); Simferopol backs Russia in conflict with Turkey over downed Su-24 tactical bomber in Syria, freezes 30 Turkish investment projects worth US$500 million

WW4 File: UKRAINE-RUSSIA WAR: Russian-occupied Crimea enters fourth day without permanent power supply after Ukraine halts energy transmission due to Nov. 20/22 electrical tower bombings in Kherson Oblast, state-run Ukrenergo repairs one downed pylon on Nov. 25; Russian FSB/KGB, Crimea’s illegitimate pro-Moscow government open “criminal proceedings” of sabotage against organizers of electrical blockade, Kremlin-backed prosecutor: “Suspects may be put on the international wanted list”; Russian general contractor SGM Group working 24/7 to build 19-km bridge over Kerch Strait, target date for road link 2018 but 400 MW electrical line from S. Russia’s energy grid to be activated by Dec. 25, 2015; Putin judo partner Arkady Rotenberg awarded contract to build multi-functional Kerch Strait Bridge, Rotenberg’s SGM Group has no previous experience in bridge building; latest Russian military build-up in Crimea apparent response to pylon bombings, Russian Ground Forces deploy 12 tanks at “line of contact” between Crimea, mainland Ukraine

WW4 File: UKRAINE-RUSSIA WAR: Confrontation between Turkey, Russia over downing of latter’s warplane near Syrian border redirects world’s attention from “frozen conflict” in Ukraine, further Russian military build-up on occupied peninsula; Crimea without power after saboteurs bomb electrical pylons in Ukraine’s neighboring Kherson Oblast on Nov. 20, “Ukrainian activists” (i.e., nationalists) and Crimean Tatars try to prevent repairs next day, clash with police, towers hit by new explosions after midnight on Nov. 22, 2 million Crimeans affected by blackout; Russia reports electricity restored to Crimea’s main cities by Sun. afternoon, using mobile gas turbine generators; Ukraine’s NSDC reveals 5 Russian IL-76 cargo planes landed two paratrooper battalions from Ivanovo to Crimea’s Dzhankoi on Nov. 24, Russia also deploys 97th Regiment of 7th Alpine Assault Division from Black Sea port of Novorossiysk to Kalynivka, 3 km N of Dzhankoi, NSDC: “This considerably increases the attack potential of the Russian troops in Crimea”; Moscow promptly terminates gas supply to Ukraine, citing failure to pay up front, threatens to halt coal supply over pylon bombings

Don’t feel sorry for Russia . . .

source 1 source 2 source 3

WW4/Middle East Files: Aftermath of Turkey downing Russian warplane near Syrian border: Russian Navy’s Moskva missile cruiser sailing off Syrian coast, ordered to “destroy any target posing danger,” Russian Defense Ministry suspends mil co-op with Turkey, summons Turkey’s military attache in Moscow, presents official protest calling shootdown “unfriendly action,” reiterates contention Su-24 did not violate Turkish airspace; head of Just Russia party in State Duma requests Federal Air Transport Agency to “immediately stop all flights to Turkey due to the increased risk of terrorist attacks on Russian aircraft”; Russia Today admits: “The letter was made public soon after the crash on Tuesday of a Russian Sukhoi 24 fighter jet near the Turkey-Syria border”; analysis: If Russia responds to this incident by launching military reprisals against Turkey and/or other NATO states, Russian airliners will have to be grounded under some pretext; French Pres. Hollande at White House for ISIS talks with Obama, joining forces with Russia against Islamic State now greatly complicated by tense situation between Ankara, Moscow, Obama avoids alarm: “Turkey, like every country, has the right to defend its territory and its airspace”; Russian capital Hollande’s next stop

WW4/Middle East Files: North Atlantic Council (NATO) calls extraordinary meeting after Turkish Air Force shoots down Russian warplane near Syrian border; Putin in Sochi, preparing to host Jordan’s King Abdullah, castigates Turkish government, calls downing of two-man Su-24 “stab in the back carried out by accomplices of terrorists,” Kremlin spokesman Peskov refers to shootdown as “very serious incident”; conflicting versions of event: Ankara’s Anadolu Agency says downed Russian fighter jet was engaged by two Turkish F16s after “Fencer” violated Turkish airspace, received warning, video from Anadolu Agency shows two crew parachuting out of plane; Russian Defense Ministry rejects Turkey’s explanation, while Putin, as quoted by Reuters, insists Russian plane was attacked 1 km south of Turkish border, crashed 4 km inside Syria; Free Syrian Army’s 1st Coastal Division reportedly retrieved body of dead Russian airman, offered to exchange for prisoners held by Assad regime, rebel spokesman: “This is the body of a Russian member of the military who was killing Syrian people”; FSA conducting search to find second Russian airman; last time NATO state shot down Soviet/Russian plane during Korean War

So, since November 17 Russia’s Blackjack and Bear bombers have been carrying out their first-ever combat missions in Syria, including flight paths over Iran and Iraq, as well as more unusual ones over the Altantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea.

Got CD? Probably not. After all, we are told, the Cold War “ended” 24 years ago.

source 1 source 2 source 3

Meanwhile, Portugal, like Greece, is embracing the anti-austerity hard left, but hand-wringing over the new Socialist-Communist-Left Bloc government in Lisbon will definitely be eclipsed by fears of war between Russia and the West.

WW4/Middle East Files: Russian Blackjack bombers intercepted by Royal Air Force over Atlantic Ocean carrying out 8,000-mile combat mission to Syria, Tu-160s circumnavigate W. Europe from Olenegorsk air base on Kola Peninsula to E. Med. Sea via Gibraltar, launch cruise missiles (probably Kh-101s) at ISIS targets; The Aviationist website: Russian Defense Ministry video shows Tehran’s F-14 fighter jets escorting Tu-95 Bear from S. Russian base through Iranian airspace en route to Syrian bombing run; Russian Navy’s Caspian Flotilla once again hurls missiles at Islamic State in Syria, ship-launched land attack Klubs presumably fly over N. Iran, N. Iraq to targets, Nov. 20 barrage consists of 18 missiles, 7 militant targets; Baghdad reportedly not given advance notice of Oct. 7 missile launches from Caspian Sea, which traversed Iraqi airspace; our analysis: Russian strategic aviation is preparing to fight NATO under guise of Syrian op

WW4/Middle East Files: Russian Air Force’s Tu-160, Tu-95 strategic bombers make historic combat debuts in Syrian theater as Putin challenges West with image of post-Soviet Russia as revived superpower; 5 Blackjacks, 6 Bears, 14 Tu-22M3s carry out third day of missile strikes against ISIS strongholds in N. Syria, 12 cruise missiles hit Sunni militants’ fuel depots, oil refineries, ammo depot, explosives factory, previous 2 days of bombing destroyed 500 ISIS fuel trucks; meanwhile, Royal Air Force scrambled out of Lossiemouth to intercept 2 Blackjacks over Atlantic Ocean, MoD: “At no time did the Russian military aircraft cross into UK sovereign airspace”; post-Soviet Russia proves ability to simultaneously deploy at least 7 Tu-160s in 2 theaters, follows DM Shoigu’s April 2015 order to resume production of world’s largest combat aircraft, 50 Tu-160Ms to feature improved electronics, avionics, hypersonic Kh-90 missiles; Russia’s new stealth PAK-DA bomber also slated for maiden flight in 2019; Tu-16 Badgers carpet bombed Mujahideen during Soviet-Afghan War, Tu-22M introduced to Afghan air war in 1987, Tu-22M3 conducted bombing raids over Chechnya in 1995, Tu-22MR shot down by Georgian air defenses during Aug. 2008 war

WW4/Middle East Files: Russia unleashes second wave of long-range bombers over Syria, Blackjacks, Backfires pound ISIS stronghold of Raqqa with 12 cruise missiles, munitions on Nov. 18, follows initial barrage of 34 missiles previous day; Kremlin-run Sputnik after Nov. 17 bombardment: “This marks a truly historic moment for the Russian Air Force. Now, the Bear and the Blackjack have taken part in an actual battle for the first time in their history” [!]; Western mil analysts say Kremlin’s war against Syrian rebels largest air campaign since Soviet-Afghan War (1979-1989), speculate on Moscow’s strategy, tactics; US Navy Cmdr. (ret.) Chris Harmer: “In the aftermath of the Paris attacks – Putin saw some opportunity for propaganda strikes so that is what he did . . .their number one priority is preserving the Assad regime”; Col. Steve Warren, Baghdad-based spokesman for Op Inherent Resolve: “We don’t even use those type of tactics anymore. The idea of putting, you know, ten ships [i.e., planes] in the air at one time, or 12 or even more, is very old fashioned . . . The Russians have not bombed Raqqa [before] . . . it’s been coalition planes bombing Raqqa”; France’s, Russia’s top generals discuss by phone joint anti-terror ops in Syria, follows departure of France’s sole aircraft carrier from Toulon, Russian General Staff: “With the arrival of the Charles de Gaulle warship to the Syrian shore we will organize joint military operations”

Gray Terror File: France confirms suspected mastermind behind Nov. 13 mass shooting/bombing rampages in Paris, Morocco-born Belgian resident Abdelhamid Abaaoud (27 or 28), died during police raid in suburb of St.-Denis on Nov. 18; Abaaoud “suddenly” moved to Aleppo, Syria, in 2014, joined jihadist cause, returned to Belgium, organized terrorist cell in Verviers, police broke up org in Jan. 2015 raid, two associates killed, sentenced in absentia in July 2015 to 20 years in prison in connection with plot targeting Belgian security but eluded LE; French intel believes Abaaoud involved in at least 4 of 6 terrorist plots in France foiled since spring 2015; woman also died in Nov. 18 raid, Abaaoud’s cousin Hasna Aitboulahcen (26) detonated explosive vest; 3 suspected ISIS supporters on 2 scooters drive up to Jewish teacher on Marseilles street, insult, threaten, stab victim several times, flee, pedestrian survives with non-life threatening wounds; ISIS possibly infiltrating USA as border agents confirm apprehension on Nov. 16 of 8 Syrian nationals traveling in “2 family units” over Juarez Lincoln Bridge at Laredo, Texas, Breitbart refers to “reports from other federal agents about Syrians illegally entering the country in the Laredo Sector”

WW4/Middle East Files: FSB/KGB confirms downing of Russian Metrojet airliner over Egypt result of on-board ISIS bomb, Putin responds with another punishing round of cruise missile strikes, 25 strategic bombers based out of Mozdok air base in N. Ossetia attack Islamic State positions in Syria’s Aleppo, Idlib provs., ISIS’ de facto capital of Raqqa; Nov. 17 sorties include 5 Tu-160 Blackjacks, 6 Tu-95MS Bears, 14 Tu-22M3 Backfires, Russian DM Shoigu says long-range bomber missions among 2,300 carried out by Russian warplanes over past 48 days, Moscow politely notifies Washington of missile strikes per newly drafted bilateral air safety protocol; Russian warships sailing in Med. Sea also launch missiles against ISIS targets, Putin drives wedge into NATO, instructs Russian Navy to treat France as ally, steps up mil, intel cooperation after Hollande phone call; France supports Russia’s assault on Raqqa, 10 Rafale, Mirage 2000 fighters drop 16 bombs; French DM Le Drian invokes EU’s mutual assistance clause for first time since 2009 Lisbon Treaty, mobilizes 115,000 personnel for domestic security following Nov. 13 terror attacks in Paris; Russia’s intervention in Syria showcasing military might, sending not-so-subtle message to NATO

EU File: Coalition of Portugal’s Socialists, Communists, Left Bloc poised to assume power following Nov. 10 no-confidence vote, collapse of minority center-right government, accuse pro-austerity PM Passos Coelho of staging “constitutional coup”; country anticipating Pres. Cavaco Silva to appoint leftist regime, Constitution forbids holding another vote for 6 months, head of Communist-backed 700,000-member CGTP union meets Portuguese head of state, warns of revolution in Reuters interview: “The president cannot impose himself above the will of the people and the majority in parliament. If he did, it would create a serious institutional conflict that could lead to a dangerous radicalization of society”; Portuguese communists tried to seize power following Carnation Revolution, found key backers in left-wing Armed Forces Movement, “Comrade” Gen. Vasco dos Santos Gonçalves briefly PM between July 1974, Aug. 1975, died 2005; eurozone countries once again extend deadline to dispense more bailouts to debt-stricken Greece, amid ongoing deadlock between ruling Syriza party, Athens’ creditors

Gray Terror File: Aftermath of ISIS terrorist attacks in Paris: Pres. Hollande addresses France’s National Assembly, Senate, announces plans to visit Washington, Moscow, urge Europe, Russia, USA to unite forces against ISIS, vows “intensification” of French air campaign in Syria; Obama, Putin meet on sidelines of G20 summit in Antalya, Turkey, discuss Syria’s civil war, Obama Admin believes Putin “coming around” on necessity of Assad’s departure from power, White House official says US, Russian presidents agreed on “Syrian-led and Syrian-owned political transition, which would be proceeded by UN-mediated negotiations between the Syrian opposition and regime as well a ceasefire”; ISIS implicated in 3 mass-casualty terror attacks over past 6 weeks: 1) Ankara Central railway station suicide bombings on Oct. 10, 102 killed during demo protesting conflict between Turkish military, Kurdistan Workers’ Party, Turkish Pres. Erdogan blames conspiracy of ISIS, PKK, Syrian Kurdish militias, Syrian intel; 2) crash of Russian Metrojet Flight 9268 over Sinai Peninsula on Oct. 31, 224 crew, passengers perish, ISIS’ Egyptian affiliate claims downing of airliner, Western govs strongly suspect on-board bomb; 3) Paris shooting/bombing rampages on Nov. 13, 129 killed, ISIS claims responsibility

WW4/Middle East Files: Aftermath of ISIS terrorist attacks in Paris: French military makes good on Pres. Hollande’s vow to “ruthlessly” punish Islamic State for Nov. 13 bloodshed, fighter jets based out of Jordan, UAE pound ISIS positions around Syrian stronghold of Raqqa 2 days later, drop 20 bombs, destroy command post, training camp; French police conduct 168 raids over weekend, place 104 people under house arrest; French official names Belgian resident Abdelhamid Abaaoud as one of masterminds behind carnage, also reportedly implicated in foiled attack on high-speed Paris-Brussels train in Aug., believed to be in Syria; names of dead terror cell members: Omar Ismaïl Mostefaï, 29, French citizen, blew up self inside Bataclan theater; Samy Amimour, 28, blew up self inside Bataclan; Ahmad al-Mohammad, 24 (or 25), Syrian citizen, blew up self outside Stade de France; Bilal Hadfi, 20, lived in Belgium, blew up self outside stadium; Brahim Abdeslam, French citizen, blew up self outside café on Boulevard Voltaire, no victims; status of other attackers: Salah Abdeslam, 26, French citizen born in Brussels, brother of previous, ON THE RUN; Mohammed Abdeslam, third brother, involvement in plot unclear, RELEASED by Belgian police on Nov. 16

Gray Terror File: Aftermath of ISIS terrorist attacks in Paris: 3 teams of Islamic gunmen/bombers killed 129 civilians, wounded 352 more at 6 sites throughout French capital, striking Stade de France, Bataclan concert hall, popular night spots, promenades; French media partially identified 2 attackers as Ismail M., Abbdul Akbak B., brother and father of former taken into custody; Syrian passport on body of suicide bomber near Stade de France, entered EU via Greece posing as refugee; ISIS militant wearing explosive vest presented a ticket, tried to enter Stade de France, suggesting possible assassination attempt against Pres. Hollande, attending football match inside with German FM; stadium security found explosive device after frisking man, Islamic militant bolted, detonating vest, 2 accomplices immediately blew up more devices near Stade de France, blasts heard by spectators; German players’ hotel subject to bomb threat, spend night at stadium, return to Frankfurt on Nov. 15; Bataclan hostage: “There were shots everywhere, in waves. I lay down on the floor. I saw at least two shooters, but I heard others talk. They cried, ‘It’s Hollande’s fault,’ ‘Allahu Akbar!’”; Paris think tank: France to review invoking NATO’s collective defense clause

Gray Terror File: France rocked by coordinated terror attacks in Paris overnight, civilians targeted as gunmen, bombers storm at least 6 public venues across capital, death toll mounts to 127, France 24: “Deadliest violence to strike France since World War II”: targets include Bataclan concert hall where terrorists massacre 87 concert goers in hail of gunfire, explosions, elite police force storms building, kills 4 attackers; 11 patrons killed at Carillon bar in 10th arrondissement; 18 people gunned down on Boulevard de Charonne, 1 on Boulevard Voltaire, 5 on Rue de la Fontaine-au-Roi near République; at least 3 dead when bombs explode outside Stade de France, inside stadium Pres. Hollande attending football match with German FM Steinmeier; French leader declares state of emergency in Paris region, announces closure of France’s borders, blames ISIS, vows “ruthless” response; Bataclan lies 200 metres from former offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine, one of several targets of Al Qaeda’s January 2015 attacks; French airstrikes against ISIS in Syria underway, French Navy’s Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier sailing to region; pro-Moscow National Front leader Marine Le Pen ahead in polls for presidential bid, tweets “Islamic terrorism” after Paris bloodshed

EU File: Fascism resurgent amidst Eurocrisis: Emboldened by rightist election victory, Polish ultranationalists hijack Independence Day commemoration, National Rebirth of Poland march draws up to 50,000 supporters, foreign neo-fascists, amid heavy police presence, protesters burn EU flag, denounce immigrants, Islam, praise Catholicism, Italy’s New Force, Hungary’s Jobbik attend rally; meanwhile “national conservative” Law and Justice (PiS) party secures first-ever absolute majorities in post-1989 Sejm, Senate, opposition parties also right wing as Left collapses, socialists, ex-communists completely shut out of parliament; PiS chief Jarosław Kaczyński’s brother died in air force Tu-154 crash over Smolensk, Russia in 2010, Lech president of Poland at time of demise, official probes in both countries denied foul play; “anti-communist crusader” appointed DM, Macierewicz criticized for: 1) publishing list of secret police informants, Soviet agents in early 1990s, accused Lech Walesa of collaborationism; 2) allegedly praising notorious forgery Protocols of Elders of Zion in 2002: “Experience shows that there are such groups in Jewish circles”; and 3) while dep. DM in previous PiS government, disbanding post-communist Military Information Services in 2006, citing links to Russian GRU; Kremlin media pours contempt on incoming DM Macierewicz, FM designate Waszczykowski

WW4/Middle East Files: Syrian troops, backed by Russian airstrikes, launch “large-scale offensive” in Aleppo prov. on Nov. 10, break siege by ISIS over Kweiras air base, 1,000 soldiers holed up since 2013, bodies of “hundreds of dead extremists” litter area around military compound, AP: “first major achievement” by Assad’s forces since Russia instigated air campaign on Sept. 30; French airstrike hits Islamic State oil delivery depot in Deir Ezzor, on Syrian-Iraqi border, PM Hollande announces nuke-powered Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier to be soon deployed in region “to increase the French military’s capacity for strikes in Syria and Iraq”; Russian warplanes reportedly bombed targets in Damascus suburb on Nov. 8, 24 killed in Douma district’s Kouatly market; pro-regime, opposition media reports Israeli Air Force conducted pre-dawn airstrikes at “military sites” near Damascus International Airport on Nov. 11, “loud explosions at the airport,” “rising pillars of smoke,” “electricity went out completely,” 2nd wave of Israeli airstrikes against Syrian targets in as many weeks; coalition of 7,500 Iraqi Kurdish troops, 1000s of Yazidi fighters seize strategic highway in bid to reclaim town of Sinjar from ISIS, succeed in severing Islamic State’s key transportation corridor between Syria, city of Mosul in N. Iraq, PKK makes similar claims re. disrupting ISIS supply routes; US State Dept. salvages relationship with fellow NATO member Turkey, denies supplying ammo to Syrian Kurdish YPG militias, Toner: “We will not and we cannot … tolerate any help to any PKK-related groups in Syria or in Iraq”

WW4/Middle East Files: Syrian civil war spark for regional war as Turkish FM announces army to begin ground operations against ISIS in N. Syria “within next few days,” follows Oct. 31 airstrikes by Turkish Air Force; Turkey’s widening intervention in Syria motivated by: 1) carnage of Oct. 10 suicide bombings in Ankara, ISIS blamed, 2) Syrian Kurds declaring town of Tal Abyad part of autonomous “Rojava” region in N. Syria, 3) Kurdistan Workers’ Party scrapping month-old cease-fire in response to ruling Justice and Development Party’s re-election, Pres. Erdogan’s vow to “liquidate” PKK; Turkey launched airstrikes against PKK positions in N. Iraq in July following 4-year hiatus, also ISIS positions in N. Syria, initially denied targeting PKK-affiliated PYD/YPG after tanks shelled Kurdish-held Tal Abyad; PM Davutoglu finally admits in Oct. 26 interview army attacked Syrian Kurds because YPG seized town from ISIS, Syrian Kurds insist Turkish forces have hit their positions in Tal Abyad as recently as Oct. 24-25; NYT notes Kremlin’s hand in confusing international alliances: “Russia’s ties to the P.K.K. and the P.Y.D. date to the days of the Soviet Union, and it is believed to be offering support to Syrian Kurds”; PYD leader Salih Muslim confirms: “We have had relations with Russia for the past three years. We go back and forth to Russia, to Moscow”

WW4/Middle East Files: Syrian troops drive back ISIS, recapture key supply route heading to Aleppo, Sunni militants seized checkpoint on Oct. 23, still control “large swathe of territory to the east and north-east of the city”; 1,000 fighters from US-armed Syrian Arab Coalition capture 200 sq km of territory from ISIS in NE Syria, 80 Islamic State guerrillas killed; Russian Air Force’s top cmdr admits shipping anti-aircraft missiles to Syria to support campaign against anti-Assad forces, refuses to comment on type, quantity, but could potentially shoot down US, NATO warplanes in spite of safety protocols; US spy sats, ELINT, HUMINT: Number of Russian mil personnel in Syria has doubled since airstrikes launched on Sept. 30, now 4,000; Pentagon official: “Russian aircraft are now operating out of four bases, but [MRLS] . . . crews and long-range artillery batteries are deployed outside the facilities”; Russia’s main base for 34 fixed-wing aircraft at Bassel al-Assad International Airport near Latakia, helicopter gunships deployed to Hama, Sharyat, Tiyas; USA says on-board bomb likely downed Russian airliner, en route to St. Petersburg from Sharm el-Sheikh on Oct. 30, killing 224 over Sinai Peninsula; ISIS’ Egyptian affiliate claimed responsibility, but Kremlin dismisses bomb claim; follows threats by Syria’s Islamic rebels to attack Russian “occupiers,” previous threats by ISIS in 2014 to “liberate Chechnya,” assassinate Putin

Communist Bloc Military Updates: Russia reasserts Soviet-era military presence in polar region, positions troops near Finland, Alaska, preps for oil grab on Arctic Ocean floor; developments include: 1) establishing fifth military district “Arctic Joint Strategic Command” in 2014, 2) doubling troop presence in Novaya Zemlya archipelago by 2020, Soviets tested nuke bombs in island chain during Cold War; 3) constructing permanent military base on Alexandra Land Island in Franz Josef Land archipelago, 150,000-square-foot “Arctic Trefoil” ready to house 150 soldiers, 18-month fuel/food stocks; 4) building second base, known as “Northern Shamrock,” on Kotelny Island in Novosibirsk archipelago, slated to house Russian Navy’s 99th Arctic Tactical Group; 5) planning to build 10 air-defense radar stations, 10 search-and-rescue stations, 13 airfields, 16 deep-water ports across Arctic, total of 57,700 tons of building materials delivered to sites in first half of 2015; 6) Russian Navy’s Pacific Fleet builds 34-structure base on Wrangel Island, near NW Alaska; Finnish military inspects Russia’s 3,600-man 80th Motorized Rifle Brigade at Alakurtti base in bilateral confidence-building mission, town located 50 km from common border, belonged to Finland before Winter War (1939)

WW4/Middle East Files: SRCC-affiliated Ahrar ash-Sham rebels use landmines, rockets, artillery to halt ISIS advance in countryside N. of Aleppo city, even as strategic town in west-central Syria, near Homs-Damascus hwy., falls to ISIS, Sunni militants raid army depot at Mahin, push NW toward Sadad; majority of next town’s residents Assyrian Christians, face slaughter unless they flee (or the men stand and fight), ISIS beheaded 12 Christians, including boy, outside Aleppo city on Aug. 28; Putin’s air campaign over Syria continues to promote ISIS victories by pummeling US-backed rebel groups, not to mention civilians, Doctors without Borders (MSF) accuses Russia of bombing at least 1 hospital; tally of dead, wounded from Oct. 30 regime missile attack on Damascus market bumped up to 70 people killed, 550 wounded, MSF doctor: “This was an extremely violent bombing. The wounds were worse than anything we’ve seen before, and there were large numbers of dead. We had to do many amputations. And a lot of the wounded had massive blood-loss . . .”; Syrian Ba’athist says USA guilty of “aggression” in wake of special forces deployment: “When America sends ground forces into Syrian territories without an agreement with the Syrian government it becomes an intervention and aggression”

WW4/Middle East Files: Lebanese media report Israeli Air Force sortie attacked Hezbollah missile convoy in Qalamoun Mtns. in W. Syria, stories vary on “exact targets and location of strikes”; Syria’s state media claims Israeli warplanes hit “several Hezbollah targets in S. Syria,” opposition claims IAF conducted 2 strikes against Hezbollah, pro-Assad forces near Damascus (city or prov. unclear); Israeli Defense Ministry tight-lipped (as usual) over news of strikes, first since Russia began air campaign against Assad’s enemies on Sept 30; IAF repulsed by Russian warplanes while flying over N. Lebanon on Oct. 1, follows deal by Putin, Netanyahu to set up military hotline, avoid clashes over war-torn Syria; Fox News cites “Western intelligence sources” in exclusive report: Russian cargo planes helped Iran deliver weapons to Syria‘s Assad, landed twice a day in Latakia during last 10 days of Oct., unregistered flights personally coordinated by Quds Force cmdr. Qassem Soulimeini, Putin, Russian DM Shoigu; Iranian airliner Mahan Air (as reported in previous posts) flying military personnel from Tehran to Latakia “several times a day”

WW4/Middle East Files: US, Russian showdown in Syria comes into sharper focus as Moscow reacts to White House announcement re. deployment of 50 US mil advisers to N. Syria to aid Arabs, Kurds fighting ISIS; FM Lavrov: “I am not sure that neither the United States nor Russia want [the conflict] to become a so-called proxy war”; Kosachev, head of Duma’s foreign affairs cmte: “Any operations – air based operations, ground based operations – in Syria by American forces will be illegal”; previous reports over past month reveal Kremlin’s deployment of Spetsnaz units to Syria, super-secret Zaslon unit lately redeployed from SE Ukraine, likely tasked with flushing out “terrorists” (i.e., US-backed rebels) ahead of airstrikes, VIP security (Assad?), assassinations, hostage rescues, etc.; NATO’s top cmdr, US Gen. Breedlove, reminds West of Russian strategy: “Folks have taken their eye off of Ukraine . . . . because of what’s happening in Syria. It’s technique they’ve employed in the past, a couple of times. Invade Crimea. Take the world’s eyes off of Crimea by invading Donbas. Take the world’s eyes off of Donbas by getting involved in Syria. This is part of a larger construct by Russia and we need to be thinking holistically about our response . . . these are connected”

WW4/Middle East Files: Syrian army launches missile barrage against rebel-held district of Damascus, kills 40 civilians, US-backed Syrian National Council blames Russian airstrikes on Douma “massacre,” alleging as many as 55 noncombatants perished; meanwhile, Iran for first time joins peace/transition talks in Vienna, summit also includes diplomats from UN, Russia, USA, UK, France, Germany, Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Egypt; Iran no longer able to hide war dead in Syria, state media admits generals, more than 400 “volunteers” from Iran, including Afghan refugees, have died in Syria; US DIA confirms since 2013 Iran has lost 8 sr. cmdrs. in Syria, including at least 6 generals, chairman of US Joint Chiefs of Staff Dunford estimates Iran has less than 2,000 troops in Syria, 1,000 in Iraq; Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami, dep. cmdr. of IRGC, responds to losses, reveals “Iran is increasing the quality and quantity of its presence in Syria”; London’s Sharq al Awsat newspaper: Hezbollah casualties in Syria top 1,280, Lebanese analyst: “Hezbollah’s losses in Syria exceeded expectations … and its elite Al-Radwan battalion has been greatly exhausted to the extent of disintegration after the loss of its commanders and professional fighters in the Zabadani battle” (July 3 -Sept. 24, 2015)

Communist Bloc Military Updates: USS Ronald Reagan scrambles fighter jets to intercept approaching Russian Tu-145 ASW planes over Sea of Japan on Oct. 27, aircraft carrier carrying out exercise with S. Korean warships amid tensions with Moscow over Syrian crisis, Pentagon soothes: “There was nothing to indicate they were posing a direct threat”; Russian Navy holds “repel strikes” in Crimea, practices thwarting invasion of occupied Ukrainian region, drill includes guided missile hovercraft, Su-24 attack bombers, cruise missile launch; Washington worried by Russian subs lurking near underwater data cables, including N. Sea, near shores of NE Asia, CONUS, no evidence of cable cutting yet but US mil, intel officials “monitoring significantly increased Russian activity along the known routes of the cables”; Rear Adm. Roegge, cmdr of US Navy’s sub fleet in Pacific: “I’m worried every day about what the Russians may be doing,” sr. Euro diplomat: “The level of activity is comparable to what we saw in the Cold War”; Tokyo outraged by construction of Russian mil base on S. Kurils, Soviets seized islands at end of WW2, expelled Japanese residents, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary: “[We] . . . will strongly protest it. We are unchanged in our stance that the islands are Japanese sovereign territories”

WW4/Middle East Files: ISIS consolidates hold on countryside around Syria’s largest city, chokes supply line to Assad’s troops in Aleppo by seizing 19 checkpoints, blocking Aleppo-Hama highway, also killing 20 fighters of pro-Assad Liwaa al-Quds Palestinian refugee group, prices of fuel, food in regime-held parts of Aleppo soar; meanwhile, Russian warplanes hit record 118 rebel targets throughout Syria over 24 hours, pound ISIS, Nusra Front positions in Israel-occupied Golan Heights, Iranian state media gloats: “Russian . . . attacks have an important message for Israel while Tel Aviv is trying to pretend that it has reached an agreement with Moscow on Syria’s southern skies”; Russia redeploys special forces from Donbass to Syria (where Spetsnaz have already been sighted), dissident Syrian media quotes rebel cmdr: “The special forces were pulled out of Ukraine and sent to Syria in a bid to coordinate with Iranian military advisers against rebels”; Def. Sec. Carter suggest US ground troops coming to Syria: “We won’t hold back from supporting capable partners in opportunistic attacks against ISIL, or conducting such missions directly whether by strikes from the air or direct action on the ground”; Russian lawmakers have “Damascus road conversion” after meeting Syrian dictator, Communist Duma deputy Yushchenko: “He [Assad] is ready to conduct elections with the participation of all political forces who want Syria to prosper”; follows Assad’s surprise Oct. 20 visit to Moscow, tete-a-tete with Putin, Oct. 23 Vienna conference between US State Sec. Kerry, Russian FM Lavrov

WW4/Middle East Files: Algeria shows “gesture of friendship towards Syria and Russia,” “discreetly” airlifts Polisario Front militiamen from Tindouf to Havana via Algiers, Cuba gives SADR insurgents “accelerated military training based on guerrilla techniques,” Russia flies Polisario militiamen aboard mil aircraft to Syria to fight “under the banner of Cuban troops [themselves] fighting alongside loyalists to President Bashar Al-Assad”; even as Damascus/ Latakia reiterates Havana’s denials concerning reported presence of Cuban special forces in Syria; meanwhile, ISIS advances in E. part of Aleppo prov., seizes “several key positions” near al-Sufeira, assumes control of mil bases in Tel Aran after “fierce clashes” with army, employs car bombs to wrest Khanasser-Othreya highway S. of Aleppo city from pro-regime forces, severs supply line to Assad’s troops in Syria’s largest city; Kremlin says Russian Air Force flew 164 sorties against ISIS, Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front over past 72 hours, hitting nearly 300 rebel targets in 6 provs., including Damascus; Russia out-maneuvers USA on issue of destroying ISIS in Iraq as Baghdad authorizes Moscow to launch airstrikes against “Daesh” convoys, follows Oct. 22 airstrike in which Russian warplanes destroyed bridge ISIS using to transport supplies into Syria from Iraq; chairman of US Joint Chiefs of Staff meets Iraqi PM, DM on Oct. 20, Dunford delivers démarche: “I said it would make it very difficult for us to be able to provide the kind of support you need if the Russians were here conducting operations as well”

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Nothing to see here folks . . . just a little revitalization of Cold War-era friendships in support of Assad, i.e., Russia, Iran, Cuba, Algeria, Hezbollah, Polisario Front, etc. and now Iraq is being drawn into this unholy alliance.

Even though Washington, Havana and Damascus/Latakia have all denied the presence of Cuban troops in Syria, the University of Miami’s Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies stood by its initial report, which was picked up by some outlets in the MSM and social media. This new report, which originates with Sahara News, which is based in Laayoune in Morocco-occupied Western Sahara, not only asserts that Polisario Front militiamen are fighting for Assad, but corroborates the earlier ICCAS report that Raul Castro has deployed special forces to Syria. However, if Russian military aircraft are shipping both Cuban and Polisario Front troops into Syria from Cuba, then this must be a highly secretive operation, which is probably why the MSM for the most part is not touching the story with a 10-foot pole.

WW4/Middle East Files: Pentagon deploys at least 6 A-10 Thunderbolts at Incirlik, bolsters West’s anti-ISIS air war, USAF F-16s conducting bombing runs over Syria from Turkish air base since Aug.; NATO launches biggest exercise in more than a decade, 36,000 troops from 30 member states to hold drills over next 3 weeks, Dep. Sec. Gen. Vershbow : “We are very concerned about the Russian military build-up. The increasing concentration of forces in Kaliningrad, the Black Sea and now in the eastern Mediterranean . . .”; Oct. 23 summit in Vienna to resolve Syrian crisis off to bad start after USA, Turkey condemn Putin’s “red carpet welcome” for Assad, Turkish PM remarks: “If only he could stay in Moscow longer, to give the people of Syria some relief; in fact he should stay there so the transition can begin”; meanwhile, Qatar threatens to invade Syria in cooperation with Turkey, Saudi Arabia “to protect the Syrian people from the brutality of the regime,” Syrian dep. FM retorts angrily: “If Qatar carries out its threat to militarily intervene in Syria, then we will consider this a direct aggression … Our response will be very harsh”

WW4/Middle East/End Times Files: Assad makes surprise visit to Moscow on Oct. 20, thanks Putin for military intervention, discusses coordinated action against rebels as Syrian army, Iranian troops, Hezbollah guerrillas, Russian Air Force prosecute offensive against rebel-held districts of Aleppo; sr. analyst at Carnegie Middle East Center: “The Russian move has allowed the regime to go on the offensive and made some limited gains possible, but it hasn’t turned the tide in terms of winning the war”; video from Russian UAV reveals shocking devastation in Jobar after Syrian warplanes, tanks pound rebel-held suburb of Damascus, hotly contested district in one of world’s oldest cities now described as “highway to hell” (see Isaiah 17:1-3); Turkish president accuses Syria’s Mukhabarat of masterminding Oct. 10 suicide bombings that killed nearly 100 peace activists in Ankara, alleges Assad’s henchmen collaborated with well-known terrorist orgs, Erdogan: “This was a collective terrorist action. ISIL [i.e., ISIS], the PKK, al-Mukhabarat and the PYD . . . in N. Syria, were involved in it. All of them jointly planned this action”; unclear which Mukhabarat Erdogan fingering since 3 Syrian agencies sport this name in their title, e.g., Military, Air Force and General Intelligence Directorates

USSR2/Middle East Files: France sells Mistral-class helicopter carriers to Egypt for €950 million after Russia deal falls through in wake of Ukraine invasion, never-deployed warships to be delivered to Egyptian Navy (world’s 7th most powerful) in March-April 2016; HOWEVER Kremlin-run Russian Helicopters cuts US$1 billion deal with new/old “strategic partner” Egypt to equip Mistrals with Kamov Ka-52K combat helos, Russian-designed flight guidance system for “Alligators” to remain on board; French PM Valls in Cairo to sign Mistral deal with General/President Sisi on Oct. 10, follows previous deals to purchase 24 French-built Dassault Rafale fighter jets, Hammer air-to-ground missiles for Egyptian Air Force, 4 Gowind corvettes for Egyptian Navy; Sisi paid state visit to Russia (Sochi) in Aug. 2014, after Putin’s forces grabbed Crimea, Putin returned favor by showing up in Egypt in Feb. 2015 to promote economic, military coop, Russian, Egyptian navies held 8-day joint drill off Alexandria in June, Reuters: “Putin has been cultivating ties with Egypt, a Soviet ally for much of the Cold War and traditional export market for Russian arms”

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The French-Egypt Mistral warship deal is fishy (pun intended). Although the Egyptian Navy is the seventh most powerful in the world and the most powerful in Africa and the Middle East, it’s hard to understand why the quasi-military regime in Cairo would want these vessels, which aren’t cheap, unless it intends to attack its neighbors, like Israel, with which it is technically at peace.

On the other hand, we must consider another angle. Is it possible the Kremlin is using new/old strategic partner Egypt to surreptitiously prepare the Mistral warships for the Russian Navy after all, and then use them to launch an amphibious assault on Syria in support of the embattled Assad regime? The Egyptian Navy HQ at Alexandria isn’t located too far away from Russia’s naval maintenance base in Tartus, Syria.

The scheduled arrival of the Mistrals in Egypt next spring bears scrutiny, especially if the Ba’athist regime in Latakia/Damascus is still clinging to power and in need of still more Russian military intervention. The Kremlin has already used the Russian Navy (from the Caspian Sea) to attack Syrian rebels and indicated that it will use its Mediterranean task force do so as well.

Perhaps Sisi will suddently discover that he’s bit off more than he can chew with this large expenditure and offer to resell the Mistrals to Russia (if the fine print with Paris permits). We must remember, too, that the neo-Leninists in Moscow are masters of maskirovka (deception).

WW4/Middle East Files: Russian airstrikes kill rebel cmdr in Syria’s Latakia prov., 4 other insurgents, at least 15 civilians, First Coastal Div. affiliated with Free Syrian Army, one of several CIA-trained groups that received Saudi mil support, i.e., US-made TOW anti-tank missiles; Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says Russian air campaign has killed 370 people since launch on Sept. 30, 1/3 dead being civilians; Pentagon once again urges US Air Force pilots to avoid Russian warplanes over Syria, Kremlin pilots increasingly aggressive over war-torn ME country, lately coming within 500 and 1,500 ft. of US fighter jets; Russian General Staff boasts navy’s Mediterranean task force can “deliver strikes” against ISIS positions in Syria, just as Caspian flotilla did with muscle-flexing cruise missile barrage on Oct. 7; Turkish PM says UAV shot down by air force Russian made, but possibly operated by Syrian regime or PKK-linked Syrian Kurdish PYD militia; Miami-based Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies shrugs off Havana’s denial of report re. Cuban troops in Syria, think tank director: “I wouldn’t expect anything different from Cuba,” urges Cuba watchers to wait for “further statements from US intelligence or secretary of defense”; Senate Judiciary Cmte chairman reacts to ICCAS report, Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) pens letter to Pres. Obama: “It’s disconcerting that in light of your new relationship with Cuba, the Castro regime has chosen to align with Russia and Iran in supporting Assad in Syria”

WW4/Middle East Files: Cuba refutes reports of troop deployment to bolster embattled Assad regime; U. of Miami think tank published original story on Oct. 13, Fox News picked up report next day, story circulated in social media; Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps loses 4th officer in Syria, Tehran admits adviser presence in Syria but, like Havana, denies involvement of combat troops, US officials insist Iran has at least 2,000 soldiers fighting for Assad, but no evidence for Cuban participation; Hezbollah chief Nasrallah says Lebanese militia’s presence in Syria “is larger than ever before — qualitatively, quantitatively, and in equipment, because we are in a critical and definitive battle”; Russian fighter jets based out of Latakia, Syria intercepted IAF warplanes flying over N. Lebanon on Oct. 1, under orders to shoot down Israelis, pro-Hezbollah As Safir quotes source: “The Russians immediately sent a clear warning to the Israelis that entering Syrian airspace would be a pretext for opening fire”; Russia-Israeli hotline designed to prevent such aerial clashes over Syria as Israeli DM Ya’alon reveals Russian air campaign will not interfere with Israel’s “freedom to act” in Syrian airspace; IDF to carry out annual drill in occupied Golan Heights Oct. 19-22

WW4/Middle East Files: Turkey shoots down unidentified UAV in sovereign airspace, US official says drone probably Russian but Moscow denies claim; meanwhile Syrian army, backed by Iranian troops, Hezbollah, Russian Air Force, open new front against ISIS, Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front S. of Aleppo, Syria’s largest city divided between regime, rebel forces; Assad’s troops, with Russian air cover, also press offensives against US-backed rebels in Latakia, Homs, Hama provs.; Russian General Staff: Air force has flown more than 600 sorties since campaign began on Sept. 30; Putin lauds “impressive” results of airstrikes, says “Dozens of control facilities and ammunition depots, hundreds of terrorists and a large number of weapons have been destroyed,” alleges 5,000 to 7,000 militants from FSU fighting for Islamic State, blasts US “weakness,” “lack of any kind of agenda” vis-à-vis ISIS; Twitter pics show Iran’s Quds Force cmdr Maj. Gen. Soleimani rallying Iranian troops, Hezbollah in Syria’s Latakia prov.; White House expresses doubts about reports of Cuban troops in Syria, Kremlin’s Sputnik News agrees, cites Cuban embassy staff in Damascus, even as Capitol Hill Cubans website reminds readers of ties between Putin, Assad, Castro; Red China denies rumors of plans to send warships to defend embattled Assad regime

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Historic Flashback: Fidel Castro Deployed 4,000 Troops to Syria during Yom Kippur War, Cubans Reportedly Engaged in Combat against IDF (source)

WW4/Middle East Files: Chief of Cuba’s Revolutionary Armed Forces reportedly in Syria, Gen. Leopoldo Cintra Frías leading 300 special forces to support Syrian-Iranian-Hezbollah-Russian offensive against ISIS, US-backed rebels; Cuban troops apparently arrived on Russian aircraft via Damascus International Airport (itself under Spetsnaz control for at least 4 weeks), intend to man Syrian Arab Army’s Soviet/Russian-made tanks; Russia intensifies airstrikes on Oct. 13, announces 88 sorties from Latakia air base over previous 24 hours, “one of the heaviest days of bombardment of its campaign so far”; ISIS battles rival groups near hotly contested city of Aleppo as Free Syrian Army stations 12 TOW anti-tank missile platforms (out of recent shipment of 500 from Saudi Arabia) along 30 km defensive line in Hama province, hopes to contain regime advance

And so it begins . . . the International Communist/Shia Islam Terrorist Nexus is rushing to save what’s left of the Ba’athist regime in Syria. If the USA persists in intervening in the Syrian civil war, it should watch its backside (i.e., security of North American continent). Unconfirmed reports of Red China’s military involvement in defense of Assad have been circulating on the Internet for weeks. The situation in the ME is evolving fast and leaving Western policymakers without a strategy for freedom’s victory.

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WW4/Middle East Files: Tehran terror chief, Quds Force leader, Putin ally Soleimani arrives in Syria to bolster embattled Assad regime, command 1000s of Iranian troops in Syrian-Iranian-Hezbollah-Russian offensive against ISIS-held portions of Aleppo city, prov.; Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps loses 1 more general, another officer in Syrian civil war, former CIA officer on earlier demise of Brig. Gen. Hamedani outside Aleppo: “He was in charge of [Iranian] operations inside Syria . . . it’s probably a fairly significant loss. There’s no doubt that it is a psychological blow to pro-regime forces in Syria”; Iraqi Air Force begins bombing ISIS targets with help of Russian, Syrian, Iranian intel staff, new coordination center in Baghdad’s Green Zone, former HQ for US occupation forces, hosts 2 one-star Russian generals, Iraqi official: “The idea is to formalize the relationship with Iran, Russia and Syria. We wanted a full-blown military alliance”; Turkish police ID 2 suspects allegedly behind horrific Oct. 10 suicide bombings in Ankara: 1) Yunus Emre Alagöz, older brother of Sheikh Abdurrahman Alagöz, suspected ISIS member who in July 2015 killed 33 Kurdish, Turkish activists in similar attack near Turkish-Syrian border; 2) Ömer Deniz Dündar, who in 2013 joined Islamist unit affiliated with Al Qaeda

WW4/Middle East Files: USA, NATO, Sunni allies engaged in confusing proxy war against Assad, Nasrallah, Khamenei, Putin as Syrian army, with Hezbollah guerrillas, 1000s of Iranian troops, close air support from Russian Air Force contingent in Latakia, muster to retake Aleppo from ISIS; Iranian fighters flying (presumably via Tehran’s Mahan Airlines) into Damascus International (which is under control of Russian officers, i.e., Spetsnaz), trucked to mil base in Latakia, deployed throughout Hama, Aleppo provinces; Washington, Moscow to hold talks after warplanes on Syrian bombing runs come within 20 miles of each other; US-backed Free Syrian Army to infiltrate Assad’s forces, find embedded Russian units and kill them; ISIS declares “holy war” against Russia after 2 weeks of Kremlin airstrikes (mostly against other rebel groups): ”The war in Syria will make the Russians forget the horrors that they found in Afghanistan [during the 1980s]”; Al Qaeda’s Syrian branch urges militants to attack Shia Alawite sect, Nusra Front condemns Russia’s “new Christian crusade” in defense of Assad: “There is no choice but to escalate the battle and to target Alawite towns and villages in Latakia . . .”; NATO member Turkey summons US ambassador, expresses opposition to arming Syrian branch of terrorist PKK, including Kurds in anti-ISIS Syrian Arab Coalition

Keep shopping folks. Just another world war in the works, not to mention some big cracks in NATO.

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WW4/Middle East Files: US Air Force C-17s, with fighter escorts, drop 50 tons of small arms ammo, grenades in Syria’s N. prov. of Hasakah, newly formed Syrian Arab Coalition to use US weapons to mount assault against ISIS stronghold of Raqqa, 3,200-man insurgent army includes Kurds, opponents of Assad regime; meanwhile Pentagon terminates disastrous training program for anti-Assad forces; Turkey did not shoot down Russian MiG-29 fighter jet near Syrian border on Oct. 10, says Aviationist website, debunking unconfirmed news reports; Russian Air Force contingent based out of Latakia using Sukhois, not MiGs, to attack ISIS, other Syrian rebels; rebel shells once again hit Russian embassy in Damascus as 100s of pro-Assad supporters rally outside compound in support of Russian airstrikes; Turkish PM Davutoglu blames Islamic State, far-left PKK for twin suicide bombings that killed nearly 100 peace activists in Ankara on Oct. 10; Russia’s FSB/KGB raids Moscow apartment, seizes bomb components, occupants reportedly trained at Islamic State camp in Syria, planned to attack public transit in Russian capital; Israeli artillery hits 2 Syrian army positions in Golan Heights after Assad’s forces trade fire with rebels, shells go astray; Tehran’s Mahan Airlines funneling arms, Iranian, Hezbollah troops to Assad, landing at Damascus, Latakia, flying without transponders, airliner under US, but not EU, sanctions

WW4/Middle East Files: Russia’s deceptive air campaign against “terrorism” in Syria leaves ISIS mostly unscathed in Aleppo prov., wipes/drives out US-backed, other Islamist groups, permitting Islamic State to seize 5 villages near country’s largest city, within 1 mile of territory held by Assad’s troops; rebel cmdr to Reuters: “Daesh has exploited the Russian air strikes and the preoccupation of the Free Syrian Army in its battles in Hama, and advanced in Aleppo”; terrorism expert: “I’m sure ISIS has sleeper cells in Aleppo. If they pushed, if they held their ground then that would be … a big win for them”; ISIS kills Iranian general advising Assad regime near Aleppo, Tehran’s Shia regime considers Islamic State, other Sunnis as “apostates”; French airstrikes near ISIS stronghold of Raqqa take out training camp; Saudi Arabia responds to Russian intervention on Assad’s behalf by increasing arms shipments to rebels, e.g., FSA, Army of Conquest, Southern Front; Pentagon pulls USS Theodore Roosevelt out of Persian Gulf for maintenance, to be replaced by USS Harry Truman by winter 2015, US Navy has no carrier presence in region until then (i.e., even as Russia fires cruise missiles across ME)

WW4/Middle East Files: Pentagon avoids confrontation with Russian warplanes on bombing runs in Syria, diverts 2 F-16s en route from Turkey’s Incirlik air base to ISIS stronghold of Raqqa, US Air Force pilots under orders to alter flight path (i.e., “turn tail”) if Russian plane(s) within 20 nautical miles; US-backed, Islamist rebels in Hama province resist combined offensive by Assad’s troops and Russian airstrikes, down 2 combat helos; MSM uncertain whether choppers Syrian or Russian but UK-based al-Araby website reports downed helos probably Russian, Kremlin based at least 6 Mi-24s in Latakia last month, although Syrians also fly “Hinds”; Syrian Chief of Staff Gen. Ayoub describes army ops as “a vast offensive to defeat the terrorist groups,” “weaken the fighting capabilities of Daesh [ISIS],” but does not specify locations; meanwhile, 500-700 ISIS militants “making gains” in Israeli-occupied Golan Heights as Free Syrian Army faces weaponry, ammo shortages; Washington insists more than 90% of Russian airstrikes have targeted Syria’s “moderate opposition”; DC-based think tank describes Russia’s cruise missile attack against Syrian rebels as “bravado,” “chest-thumping,” first time supersonic “Klubs” used in warfare, highlights Moscow’s alliance with Tehran, growing influence in Baghdad

WW4/Middle East Files: Russian warplanes intercept, but refrain from shooting down US Predator drones over ISIS-held territory in Syria as Moscow escalates its week-old air war against anti-Assad forces, Caspian Fleet launches 26 long-range missiles at 11 Islamic State targets in Syria, missiles travel at least 930 miles over N. Iran and Iraq; Russian DM Shoigu says Islamic State assets destroyed include command centre, ammo depots, “no damage to civilian installations,” denies Western accusations Russia not really going after ISIS; Turkish PM Davutoglu: “These air raids are not against ISIS. There were 57 air raids by Russian air forces. Fifty-five of them were against moderate opposition and only two were against Daesh [ISIS] . . .”; collateral benefit for Kremlin includes demonstrating Russia’s resolve, might to politically divided West, sectarian-divided Islamic world; following 2 airspace violations by Russian Sukhois flying combat missions in Syria, Turkish President Erdogan reminds Moscow that any “attack on Turkey means an attack on Nato”; meanwhile, Syrian army, under cover of Russian airstrikes, prosecutes new ground offensive against US-backed and Islamist rebels in Hama, Idlib provinces; Royal Australian Air Force, fearing confrontation with Russian warplanes, suspends anti-ISIS airstrikes

Putin’s throwing everything’s he got at the Syrian crisis, all in an effort to maintain and expand Russia’s military presence outside the FSU.

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WW4/Middle East Files: Syrian pro-rebel website reveals Russian officers (Spetsnaz?) running Damascus International Airport, All4Syria’s says “It is Russian officers who are directing air operations and issuing instructions”; meanwhile Russia expands air campaign to national capital region for first time, Oct. 6 raids reportedly destroyed ISIS command center, comm hub in mountainous area of Damascus province; UK tabloid reports Putin deploys Spetsnaz to guard Russian air base at Latakia, lead Syrian-Russian-Iranian-Hezbollah offensive against regime opponents, appears to confirm Sept. 8 report in NYT: “There have also been unconfirmed sightings of Russian Spetsnaz special forces at the Syrian Naval Academy”; Russia’s Federation Council speaker Matviyenko on airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq: “In case of an official address from Iraq to the Russian Federation, [we] . . . would study the political and military expediency of our Air Force’s participation in an air operation. Presently we have not received such an address”; Iranian missile commander: All US bases in ME within range of arsenal; Russia begins deliveries of S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems to Tehran

Some successful Spetsnaz actions took place during the invasions of Czechoslovakia in 1968 (Operation Danube) and Afghanistan in 1979 (Operation Storm 333). In both cases, Soviet special forces targeted the leader of the country: Alexander Dubcek was kidnapped to Moscow, while Hafizullah Amin was poisoned in Kabul.

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WW4/Middle East Files: Turkish Air Force responds to 2nd airspace violation in as many days by Russian warplane bombing Syrian rebels, NATO Sec. Gen.: “Intelligence that we have received provides me with reason to say it doesn’t look like an accident”; unidentified fighter jet flying along Syrian side of border with Turkey on Sept. 5 placed 8 Turkish F-16s patrolling region on “radar lock” (i.e., for target shootdown); Stoltenberg comments on Assad’s, Putin’s plans for ground offensive against US-backed factions: “[There is a] substantial buildup of Russian forces in Syria,” including “ground troops in connection with the air base they have”; US intel IDs at least 6 Russian artillery pieces in port of Latakia, 4 BM-30 MLRSs between Homs and Idlib, W. of Idlib, observes truck-, aircraft-mounted EW equipment that can potentially jam NATO electronics; head of Russia’s Duma Defense Cmte reveals “volunteers” (i.e., mercs who aided 2014 Crimean takeover) heading for Syria to fight for Assad, Komoyedov also said Black Sea Fleet could blockade Syrian coast, shell rebels; senior US official tells WSJ that Russia purposely attacking CIA-trained anti-regime forces: “On day one, you can say it was a one-time mistake. But on day three and day four, there’s no question it’s intentional”; 41 insurgent groups in Syria release manifesto urging defeat of Russian “occupiers”: “The Russian military aggression on Syria is considered a blatant occupation of the country . . . [and] is a legitimate target”

Syrian Civil War Map_9-27-15

Map of Syrian civil war, showing regime, rebel, US and Russian positions as of September 27, 2015.

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WW4/Middle East Files: Russia threatens to impose blockade along Syrian coast in support of Assad, head of Duma Defense Cmte, former cmdr of Black Sea Fleet says: “Regarding the large-scale use of the Black Sea Fleet in . . . a coastal blockade, I think that it’s quite [possible]. The delivery of artillery strikes hasn’t been excluded; the ships are ready for this . . .”; Baltic Fleet sends spy ship Vasily Tatishchev to support Russian naval group near Syria, task force already consists of missile cruiser Moskva, destroyer Smetlivy, landing ship Saratov, second landing ship Casear Kunikov spotted sailing through Bosphorus, en route to E. Med.; Russian warplane bombing Syrian rebels strays into Turkish airspace, Ankara scrambles air force to repel intruder, Moscow insists violation “navigational mistake,” Turkish Foreign Ministry warns against repeat incidents, NATO Sec. Gen. Stoltenberg: “I call on Russia to fully respect NATO airspace and to avoid escalating tensions with the Alliance”; Russian Defense Ministry reports 9 ISIS targets hit in Hama, Homs, Idlib, Latakia provinces over Sept. 4-5, Kremlin media says Russian Air Force using “smart weapons” for “surgical strikes” (i.e., KAB-250/500 laser-guided bombs), not only “dumb bombs” as alleged by W. media; Russian FM Lavrov labels US-backed Free Syrian Army “phantom group,” “No one has told us where the Free Syrian Army operates or where and how the other units of the moderate opposition act”

WW4/Middle East Files: Russian warplanes based in Alawite stronghold of Latakia bomb rebel targets in W. provinces of Homs, Hama on Oct. 4, 5th consecutive day of air campaign over Syria, at least 5 people killed near city of Homs; Syrian dictator Assad interviewed by Iranian TV, says “Russian attacks must succeed or the whole region could be destroyed”; West, ME divided on Russia’s intervention, Assad’s role in country’s future; Israeli PM Netanyahu rejects West’s criticism of Russia, “I went to Moscow to make it clear that we should avoid a clash between Russian forces and Israeli forces”; Germany’s Chancellor Merkel urges Assad’s involvement in “political solution” to civil war; Egyptian FM says: “Russia’s entrance . . . is going to have an effect on limiting terrorism in Syria and eradicating it”; meanwhile, US Pres. Obama remarks: “We’re not going to co-operate with a Russian campaign to destroy anyone who is disgusted and fed up with Assad”; British PM Cameron: “They [Moscow] are backing the butcher Assad, which is a terrible mistake for them and for the world”; Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Gulf states angered by Russia’s bombing of Syria’s Sunni rebels, “likely to increase military aid to anti-Assad groups”

WW4/Middle East Files: Russia’s air campaign against Syrian rebels continues into 4th day, “decimating” 50 ISIS positions, including stronghold in Raqqa, Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front, Sukhoi combat aircraft fly 60 sorties from base in Latakia since Sept. 30, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman boasts: “Our intelligence shows that militants are leaving areas under their control. Panic and desertion have started in their ranks. We will not only continue attacks by our airplanes but will increase their intensity”; US-backed rebels appeal to Washington for SAMs to shoot down Russian warplanes attacking their positions: “We need one of two things. Either a clear policy from the United States to prevent Russia and the regime from bombing Syrians, or otherwise they should send us anti-aircraft missiles so that we can confront the Russian planes”; Inherent Resolve spokesman: No change in coalition ops in spite of Russia’s intervention; WSJ re. Iran’s invasion/infiltration of Syria in defense of Assad: “Experts believe Iran has some 7,000 IRGC members and Iranian paramilitary volunteers operating in Syria already”

WW4/Middle East/USSR2 Files: East-West showdown looming over Syria as senior Pentagon officials, brass debate whether force should be employed to protect US-backed/trained rebels from Russian air strikes, White House refers to Russia’s “indiscriminate military operations against the Syrian opposition,” while Sec. of State Kerry cautions: “What is important is Russia has to not be engaged in any activities against anybody but ISIL [ISIS]. That’s clear. We have made that very clear”; Fox News: “At worst, if Russia bombs rebels trained by the U.S. and American fighter jets intercede to protect the Syrians, the exchange could trigger an all-out confrontation with Russia — a potential disaster the[Obama] administration would like to avoid”; senior US Air Force intel officer says Russian Air Force using “dumb bombs” to hit Syrian rebels, lending credence to reports of civilian deaths, Lt. Gen. Robert P. Otto: “I think precision matters. If they approach this with indiscriminate bombing, then I think it’s going to create second or third effects for them”; meanwhile, Russian Ground Forces sneak new weapon into rebel-held zone of Ukraine’s Donbass, TOS-1 mobile missile system equipped with thermobaric warheads, can wipe out several city blocks in one strike, wreak “indiscriminate damage”

Extra-large whistlin’ emoticon needed here.

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Soviet/Russian TOS-1 Heavy Flamethrower System

WW4/Middle East/USSR2 Files: Russian warplanes based in Assad’s coastal stronghold of Latakia launch 3rd day of strikes against Army of Conquest rebels in Idlib prov., Free Syrian Army positions in Hama prov., notwithstanding Kremlin’s lies about targeting ISIS, affirmation of US-backed FSA as “non-terrorist”; Cpt. Jameel a-Salih of FSA’s Tajammua al-Izza Brigade tells Syria Direct news: “Russia’s intervention in Syria is intended to exterminate the Free Syrian Army—no, the Syrian people”; Russian Communist Party (CPRF) boss Zyuganov applauds “ex”-CPSU cadre Putin’s air campaign in Syria, praises Ba’athist regime in Damascus (which governs in coalition with Syrian Communist Party), urges West to lift sanctions against Russia, alleges US-led anti-ISIS crusade tied to “Big Oil”: “Today, when the US sensed that huge oil and gas reserves could fall into the hands of terrorists, who will not use them in the ways that the State Dept. might like, this frightened them. Now they are looking for a way out. Without Russia, no issue in the Middle East has ever been resolved”; meanwhile, CPRF unseats United Russia in gubernatorial race for Siberia’s Irkutsk oblast, follows 2014 victory for Communists in mayoral run for Russia’s 3rd largest city, Novosibirsk, reflects growing popular support for Russia’s “former” rulers

WW4/Middle East Files: Iraqi PM Abadi interviewed by France 24, welcomes Russian air strikes against ISIS-held territory in Iraq, “It’s a possibility, if we get the offer we’ll consider it”; Russia not averse to Iraqi intervention, Foreign Ministry: “If we get such a request from the Iraqi government or a [UN] Security Council resolution . . .”; follows est. of intel-gathering agreement between Baghdad, Moscow, Tehran, Damascus, US Dep. Def. Sec. Work admits White House “surprised” by Iraq’s shifting alliances: “[W]e are in the process of working to try and find out exactly what Iraq has said”; USA initially learned of Kremlin’s imminent air campaign in Syria when Russian 3-star general approached US embassy in Baghdad, issued demarche: “If you have forces in the area we request they leave”; Russian air base in Latakia supports total of 34 fixed-wing combat aircraft, 20 sorties launched against anti-Assad rebels over Sept. 30-Oct. 1; Russian Navy to defend Alawite heartland, hold 40 drills in E. Med., warns civilian aviation to avoid flights between Cyprus, Syrian coast during Oct.

Things unravelling fast in ME. Got whistlin’ emoticon?

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WW4/Middle East Files: US Def. Sec. Carter accuses Moscow of “pouring gasoline” on Syrian civil war, East-West relations, as Russia launches second day of air strikes against US-backed Free Syrian Army, CIA-trained Liwa Suqour al-Jabal group, Al Qaeda-linked Army of Conquest, insists 12 ISIS positions targeted instead; BBC News reports Russian warplanes bombed strategic town of Jisr al-Shughour, areas in Idlib, Hama provinces, rebels also reported strikes at Ghantu in Homs prov., close to initial attacks on Sept. 30; US Sen. McCain lambastes Russia for attacking FSA: “Their initial strikes were . . . an incredible flaunting of any kind of co-operation or effort to conceal what Putin’s first priority is, and that is of course to prop up Bashar al-Assad”; Reuters, citing Lebanese sources, Fox News, citing Pentagon sources, confirm Iran’s Quds Force, Hezbollah guerrillas (equipped with 75 ex-Syrian army, Soviet-built tanks) to bolster regime ground offensive, Russian air campaign against rebels; Turkey, Saudi Arabia oppose Russian intervention in Syria, demand end to mil ops