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StateBoiler
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« Reply #700 on: October 02, 2015, 10:01:00 am »
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At this point, the only reasonable thing for the US to do would be to pressure Assad and Putin that in exchange for the US and the Kurds not attacking Assad or funding those that attack Assad that the Kurds be left alone in an autonomous region.

And what army will be on the ground guaranteed to uphold that?

Putin's action here has exposed American, European, and UN maneuvers in Syria as worthless. So yeah, "provide the Kurds autonomy", because once that is threatened it's not like anyone is coming to help.




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« Reply #701 on: October 02, 2015, 11:01:53 am »
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At this point, the only reasonable thing for the US to do would be to pressure Assad and Putin that in exchange for the US and the Kurds not attacking Assad or funding those that attack Assad that the Kurds be left alone in an autonomous region.

And what army will be on the ground guaranteed to uphold that?

Putin's action here has exposed American, European, and UN maneuvers in Syria as worthless. So yeah, "provide the Kurds autonomy", because once that is threatened it's not like anyone is coming to help.




You would need proper independence for the Kurds in Syria and Iraq for this to work. Autonomy would be a mess, always gives whoever controls the central government an excuse to interfere.
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« Reply #702 on: October 02, 2015, 11:26:35 am »
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Gentlemen, relax. These are the early days. Russians can be counted on making a bloody mess of anything they touch. Give them a bit more time Smiley
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« Reply #703 on: October 02, 2015, 12:19:33 pm »
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I guess we'll see Russia supporting a joint ground effort by Hizz\Iran\Assad in retaking lots of ground to create a ISIS vs Assad 1 on 1 game that will force the west to accept the survival of the old regime. US moves are very much limited now

Let's see what USA get:

They avoid a Islamist regime in Syria.
They avoid a genocide, through not a general mass murder.
American ME allies who have supported anti-western terrorism, waste their money and young men in Syria.
Russia and Iran get the blame and get to pay for it.

I personally think Obama have played his cards very quite well.

I'm not so sure of that.  While the Assad regime may have been given another reprieve by its Russian and Iranian allies, it will never reclaim the bulk of the territory it lost to the rebels (including the Islamic State).  The Sunni-dominated areas will either see continued chaos or rule by Islamists. Much like the situation in Iraq.   

ISIS will not survive in the long term, the question are whether the local tribes rebel and replace them, or some kind of Lebanon-style unity government are created between the regime, "FSA" (likely as representants of some of the Sunni tribes) and Kurds, who afterward destroy ISIS. I think the former are the most likely scenario
JAN, the Salafi and the Muslim Brotherhood are better off, as they can slide back into the background and become part of the FSA coalition.
Any Islamist groups who going through the peace process and comes out alive on the other side, will change their skin like a snake and sell themselves as some kind "Islam Democrats" party (with their own army like Hezbollah) in post-civil war Syria. JAN will likely break their bond with Al Qaeda in such a scenario.
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ingemann
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« Reply #704 on: October 04, 2015, 01:10:10 pm »
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Map with Russian Airstrikes until now



The only thing I do find surprising are that the Russians have bombed ISIS
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« Reply #705 on: October 04, 2015, 04:08:53 pm »
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Interesting to see the Russians able again to perform (small) force projection, not so many years ago the general consensus in the military "world" was that their army is in shambles and unable to deploy. So I see the modernization process is starting to pay off
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« Reply #706 on: October 05, 2015, 10:09:41 pm »
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I guess ISIS will just have to settle for fighting Russian 'crusaders' as opposed to the Americans that they craved:

Russian Soldiers to Join Fight in Syria

By ANDREW E. KRAMER and ANNE BARNARD
OCT. 5, 2015


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MOSCOW — Ratcheting up the confrontation over the Syria war, Russia said Monday that its “volunteer” ground forces would join the fight, and NATO warned the Kremlin after at least one Russian warplane trespassed into Turkey’s airspace.

The saber-rattling on both sides reflected a dangerous new big-power entanglement in the war, as longstanding differences between Russia and the United States over President Bashar al-Assad of Syria and his opponents increasingly play out not only in the halls of the United Nations but on the battlefield in Syria. (...)

A Russian ground force could fundamentally alter the conflict, which has left 250,000 people dead and displaced half the country’s population since it started in 2011.

Although President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia said he would not put troops in Syria, the plan for so-called volunteers was disclosed Monday by his top military liaison to the Parliament, Adm. Vladimir Komoyedov. It seemed similar to Russia’s stealth tactic in using soldiers to seize Crimea from Ukraine in March of 2014 and to aid pro-Moscow rebels in eastern Ukraine.

Moreover, American military officials said they believed that more than 600 Russian military personnel were already on the ground in Syria, not counting aircrews, and that tents for nearly 2,000 people had been seen at Russia’s air base near Latakia, in northwest Syria near the Turkish border.
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ingemann
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« Reply #707 on: October 06, 2015, 03:27:06 pm »
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Interesting to see the Russians able again to perform (small) force projection, not so many years ago the general consensus in the military "world" was that their army is in shambles and unable to deploy. So I see the modernization process is starting to pay off

It's not really that impressive, Russia have had bases in Syria for decades, so what we see is a expansion of existing infrastructure. Also they have reformed their army: They have chosen a twofold strategy; the bulk of the army are conscripts with little ability to be force projected, but who can defend the homeland and invade near neighbours, quality-wise they seem to be below most western armies, but above most developing countries, of course we have only seem them in use against Georgians and Ukrainians, who both have done well against them, but both of those are better than we would think at first (the Ukrainian morale have been incredible). Beside that they have a "relative" small force which be used to force projection.

I think it will be interesting if the Russians decides to use their infantry offensive in Syria, I wouldn't be surprised if we see a rebel collapse and the rebels reduced to asymmetric warfare like in the American occupation of Iraq. Of course I doubt we will see a long term survival of their forces, when dealing with SAA brutality while the Russian army keep any large scale uprising down.
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« Reply #708 on: October 08, 2015, 11:36:09 am »
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Interesting to see the Russians able again to perform (small) force projection, not so many years ago the general consensus in the military "world" was that their army is in shambles and unable to deploy. So I see the modernization process is starting to pay off

A few cruise missiles - even if I believe it is the first time the Russians have fired those in anger - don't mean that much.
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« Reply #709 on: October 08, 2015, 11:52:33 am »
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they have morale issues

How that plays out is anybody's guess. 
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« Reply #710 on: October 08, 2015, 01:07:42 pm »
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they have morale issues

How that plays out is anybody's guess. 

I doubt it's a major issue, the threat to Putin have always been the mothers to soldiers movement, not the soldiers, Russian soldiers have shown themselves willing to die for their land, no matter how moronic a conflict they enter. Of course the conflict with Ukraine is a problem simply because how Russians and Ukrainians see each others, but in Syria (in general positive). But in Syria everybody can defend intervention, they will likely send relative few troops and it can easily be sold to crush Islamic terrorist abroad rather than in Russia.
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(CT) The Free North
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« Reply #711 on: October 08, 2015, 01:20:27 pm »
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Its so cute watching Russia trying to be a hegemonic power again.


I maintain the US needs to stay out of this completely. Picking winners does nothing for us, and we will ultimately just fuel more anti-americanism regardless of what position we take. If Putin wants to experiment with absurd adventurism in the Middle East....thats his prerogative. At the end of the day, Russia doesn't have the economy nor the popular support to sustain a prolonged military campaign in the region regardless of how many times O'Reilly suggests they are going to 'take over the Middle East'.

 
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« Reply #712 on: October 08, 2015, 02:41:19 pm »
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Its so cute watching Russia trying to be a hegemonic power again.


I maintain the US needs to stay out of this completely. Picking winners does nothing for us, and we will ultimately just fuel more anti-americanism regardless of what position we take. If Putin wants to experiment with absurd adventurism in the Middle East....thats his prerogative. At the end of the day, Russia doesn't have the economy nor the popular support to sustain a prolonged military campaign in the region regardless of how many times O'Reilly suggests they are going to 'take over the Middle East'.

This is a little more complex than this. The Russian intervention may seem like a attempt "to be a hegemonic power again", and to some point that's correct. But there's also other aspects, Syria have for decades been a Russian allied, Russia's main one in the Middle East. Syria was also before the war home to a large Russian community. The rebels also get support from terrorist organisation which also active in Russia, and at last Russia need this conflict to either end or be clearly in the regime favour before January 20, 2017. The regime, while not in danger of collapse, was not making gain. So it made sense for Russia to intervene and do it now.
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ingemann
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« Reply #713 on: October 20, 2015, 02:53:15 pm »
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Interesting article from the Independent.

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/with-russias-help-the-syrian-army-is-back-on-its-feet-and-fiercer-than-ever-a6698866.html
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« Reply #714 on: October 20, 2015, 10:48:26 pm »
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It is all clear with the Arab world. Those who don`t follow your branch are aliens, those who support them are aliens as well.  Sunnis are in minority, so almost the whole world is against Sunnis and Assad
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« Reply #715 on: December 07, 2015, 01:09:29 pm »
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Sadly enough, this thread should probably be stickied for the foreseeable future.
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ingemann
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« Reply #716 on: December 07, 2015, 04:55:19 pm »
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Syria and Iraq 30 November 2015



http://www.imagopyrenaei.eu/portfolio/military-situation-syria-iraq-kurdistan/

The most interesting factors right now:

FSA and JAN have attacked YPG at Afrin/Efrin, PYD is beating them and gaining ground, there's rumour that the Turks have ordered FSA (which is Turkmen militias in the area) to attack, there's also rumour that Russia support YPG with bombings.

FSA (this time a Arab moderate Islamist group) is also attacking the Kurdish enclave in Aleppo with the usual lack of results.

YPG are also pushing forward against ISIS in the east in Hasakah.

Rumours tell that the Kurds want to cross the Euphrates, but Turkey threaten with war if the Kurds attack ISIS territories there.

The regime are making small but important gains in northern Latakia, Aleppo, Homs and Daraa against FSA/JAN, while they have also pushed against ISIS at Palmyra and eastern Aleppo.

The Turks have after "suggestions" by Washington stopped taking part in bombings in Syria.

Turks are claiming they're setting up a base in the Mosul area in Iraq (on Kurdish territory, but with the local Kurds blessing... there's a long explanation for that, let's leave it with that), the Iraqi government call for them to leave the area again.
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« Reply #717 on: December 07, 2015, 08:25:11 pm »
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That map doesn't distinguish al-Nusra from the other rebels, but perhaps any such distinction would be a dubious notion in the first place.
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« Reply #718 on: December 09, 2015, 05:34:37 am »
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The idea that al-Nusra should be distinguished from the other rebels came up about one year ago when there were violent clashes between al-Nusra and rival rebel groups like the SRF and the Hazzm Movement.

Many observers at that point thought that al-Nusra was trying to establish an IS-like mini-caliphate in the province of Idlib.

But after al-Nusra's victory against SRF and Hazzm, it went on to form a military alliance together with the other remaining rebel groups. In my view a territorial distinction between the different components of this alliance has become close to impossible.

Many surviving members of SRF and Hazzm have either become members of groups like the Levant Front which is cooperating with al-Nusra, or have fled and then regrouped and are now fighting under the SDF banner together with the Kurds. For example the clashes in the Afrin/Azaz area mentioned by ingemann are not only between FSA/JAN and the Kurdish YPG, but an Arab SDF group called Army of Revolutionaries is also fighting against FSA/JAN in this area.
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« Reply #719 on: December 09, 2015, 03:08:01 pm »
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That map doesn't distinguish al-Nusra from the other rebels, but perhaps any such distinction would be a dubious notion in the first place.

Not dubious, Al-Nusra are clearly not part of FSA, which is just a common term for groups which seek western support, and their claimed territory is not meaningless. But as FSA group are more likely to fight each other than JAN, it makes sense to just call them rebels on some maps. There's also other distinctions, JAN are more a party, while FSA are mostly local groups of militias, who just use FSA as common term. But if you want to know their territory, you can use Wikipedias map.
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ingemann
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« Reply #720 on: December 09, 2015, 03:21:00 pm »
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The idea that al-Nusra should be distinguished from the other rebels came up about one year ago when there were violent clashes between al-Nusra and rival rebel groups like the SRF and the Hazzm Movement.

Many observers at that point thought that al-Nusra was trying to establish an IS-like mini-caliphate in the province of Idlib.

But after al-Nusra's victory against SRF and Hazzm, it went on to form a military alliance together with the other remaining rebel groups. In my view a territorial distinction between the different components of this alliance has become close to impossible.

Yes to some degree, but the "Turkmen" rebels are one of the more interesting "new" groups, as they clearly have direct Turkish support. They're mostly Islamist and local Turkmens are part of them (they're mostly a Turkmen-Arab mix). Of course the difference between Turkmen and Arabs are often unclear, they share faith, practice intermarriage with each others and as a border population theyu're usual bilingual in Arab and Turkish, which is why the number Turkmens lies between a few hundred thousand to the Turkish number of 3-4 millions.

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Many surviving members of SRF and Hazzm have either become members of groups like the Levant Front which is cooperating with al-Nusra, or have fled and then regrouped and are now fighting under the SDF banner together with the Kurds. For example the clashes in the Afrin/Azaz area mentioned by ingemann are not only between FSA/JAN and the Kurdish YPG, but an Arab SDF group called Army of Revolutionaries is also fighting against FSA/JAN in this area.

I'm a little careful about the whole SDF thing, I'm not sure how much it's independent Arab groups, or simply a few Arabs backed by Kurds for PR purposes. We should also remember that many Syrian "Arabs" in the north are simply Kurds who have adopted the Arab language, and as they lack connections with Arab tribes and are connected to Kurdish tribes, this makes the identities of Kurds, Turkmen and Arab very fluid.
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« Reply #721 on: December 09, 2015, 03:54:04 pm »
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That map doesn't distinguish al-Nusra from the other rebels, but perhaps any such distinction would be a dubious notion in the first place.

Not dubious, Al-Nusra are clearly not part of FSA, which is just a common term for groups which seek western support, and their claimed territory is not meaningless. But as FSA group are more likely to fight each other than JAN, it makes sense to just call them rebels on some maps. There's also other distinctions, JAN are more a party, while FSA are mostly local groups of militias, who just use FSA as common term. But if you want to know their territory, you can use Wikipedias map.
You are right that Al-Nusra is not part of FSA. At the same time different rebel groups (including Al-Nusra) are fighting side on side and often share control of places. That is why from a military/territorial point of view distinguishing between all the rebel groups (including al-Nusra) turns out to be difficult. That's also the reason why I think that distinguishing between Syrian Army and Hezbollah is impractical, although some maps make this distinction.
[...]
Yes to some degree, but the "Turkmen" rebels are one of the more interesting "new" groups, as they clearly have direct Turkish support. They're mostly Islamist and local Turkmens are part of them (they're mostly a Turkmen-Arab mix). Of course the difference between Turkmen and Arabs are often unclear, they share faith, practice intermarriage with each others and as a border population they're usual bilingual in Arab and Turkish, which is why the number Turkmens lies between a few hundred thousand to the Turkish number of 3-4 millions.
Yes, the "Turkmen" rebels are a very interesting phenomenon, but not one that is as easily depicted on a map as the frontline between rebels and loyalists.
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I'm a little careful about the whole SDF thing, I'm not sure how much it's independent Arab groups, or simply a few Arabs backed by Kurds for PR purposes. We should also remember that many Syrian "Arabs" in the north are simply Kurds who have adopted the Arab language, and as they lack connections with Arab tribes and are connected to Kurdish tribes, this makes the identities of Kurds, Turkmen and Arab very fluid.
The SDF still stands and falls with the Kurds. At the same time some of its Arab components are somehow relevant militarily, although much weaker than the YPG:
- Shammar tribal militias have been backing the YPG in Hasakah province almost since the beginning, and the Shammar tribe is quite powerful.
- The anti-IS rebels in Raqqa province might fit your description.
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ingemann
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« Reply #722 on: December 09, 2015, 05:17:43 pm »
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That map doesn't distinguish al-Nusra from the other rebels, but perhaps any such distinction would be a dubious notion in the first place.

Not dubious, Al-Nusra are clearly not part of FSA, which is just a common term for groups which seek western support, and their claimed territory is not meaningless. But as FSA group are more likely to fight each other than JAN, it makes sense to just call them rebels on some maps. There's also other distinctions, JAN are more a party, while FSA are mostly local groups of militias, who just use FSA as common term. But if you want to know their territory, you can use Wikipedias map.
You are right that Al-Nusra is not part of FSA. At the same time different rebel groups (including Al-Nusra) are fighting side on side and often share control of places. That is why from a military/territorial point of view distinguishing between all the rebel groups (including al-Nusra) turns out to be difficult. That's also the reason why I think that distinguishing between Syrian Army and Hezbollah is impractical, although some maps make this distinction.

Yes the Hezbollah-SAA distinction is just weird, NDF-SAA would make more sense, but it's impossible to show.

I'm a little careful about the whole SDF thing, I'm not sure how much it's independent Arab groups, or simply a few Arabs backed by Kurds for PR purposes. We should also remember that many Syrian "Arabs" in the north are simply Kurds who have adopted the Arab language, and as they lack connections with Arab tribes and are connected to Kurdish tribes, this makes the identities of Kurds, Turkmen and Arab very fluid.
The SDF still stands and falls with the Kurds. At the same time some of its Arab components are somehow relevant militarily, although much weaker than the YPG:
- Shammar tribal militias have been backing the YPG in Hasakah province almost since the beginning, and the Shammar tribe is quite powerful.
- The anti-IS rebels in Raqqa province might fit your description.

I know Shammar are official part of SDF, but I wouldn't count them, there's really not many other SDF forces in that part of the country, and most of the Arab SDF around Kobane are remnants of FSA groups, which ISIS drove out, Shammar on the other hand I'm rather sure if the regime had been stronger in Hasakah and the Kurds weaker, they would have joined the regime. I'm sure they don't really have a problem with Kurdish autonomy (especially because in that case they can share the sweat oil and gas money with the Kurds), but they're seem weird to include in SDF, as their militias are a major force on their own.
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« Reply #723 on: December 10, 2015, 03:41:51 pm »
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Alleged e-mail of El Chapo threatening ISIS in an e-mail for disrupting his drug shipments. No comment on how the Trump campaign will react to this:

http://www.torontosun.com/2015/12/10/drug-lord-el-chapo-threatens-to-destroy-isis-in-e-mail
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Drug lord 'El Chapo' threatens to destroy ISIS in e-mail

BY TED RATH, POSTMEDIA NETWORK
FIRST POSTED: THURSDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2015 01:51 PM EST | UPDATED: THURSDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2015 02:07 PM EST
Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman
In this Feb. 22, 2014 file photo, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is escorted to a helicopter in handcuffs by Mexican Navy marines at a navy hanger in Mexico City. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo, File)

Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, the Sinaloa cartel boss and world's most wanted drug lord, has threatened ISIS with retaliation if it continues to destroy his drug shipments to the Middle East that go through the terror group's "caliphate."

And he's not mincing words.

"I pity the next son of a whore who tries to interfere with the business of the Sinaloa cartel. I will have their hearts and tongues torn from them," El Chapo reportedly wrote ISIS in an e-mail leaked to a Mexican blogger with ties to the cartel.
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« Reply #724 on: December 10, 2015, 07:40:11 pm »
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Putin seems to be proving Obama right as he sinks deeper into the quagmire, and it looks like Iran is beginning to view Syria as a lost cause as it steadily withdraws its troops:

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Western sources said there are indications that Iran—which has taken significant casualties including the deaths of several senior IRGC commanders—has withdrawn more than half of its forces in a sign of frustration—and perhaps mounting tension with Moscow over strategy.

Officials said Putin’s own frustration with the battlefield effectiveness of Assad's forces and their allies on the ground helps explain his willingness to join peace talks that have convened twice in Vienna this fall. Obama and Kerry hope that an agreement among the many countries that are party to the conflict—including Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey—will begin a process that removes Assad from power, something they call a prerequisite to ending the wider Syrian conflict and allowing for the defeat of ISIL.

“The lack of significant military progress by pro-regime forces only emphasizes the failure of Assad's leadership, which explains why Putin has been so willing to publicly back the idea of Assad's departure as part of a political settlement,” said one U.S. intelligence official.

Kerry hopes to discuss those topics with Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov when he goes to to Moscow, the latest in a stepped-up pace of meetings between the two countries: Putin and Obama held two informal meetings in November and a formal session at the United Nations in late September. That suggests that an administration debate about whether to isolate or engage the Russian leader diplomatically has tilted decisively toward the latter option.

Kerry will also cajole Russia to join another round of the Syria peace talks the Obama administration wants to convene in New York City on December 18. On Tuesday, Russia's U.N. envoy said more preparatory work needed to be done before they will agree to such a meeting.

http://www.politico.com/story/2015/12/vladimir-putin-russia-syria-216609
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