Monthly Archives: November 2015

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 . . .

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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.

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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”