Aleppo — Drifting Toward Disaster

Aleppo, Big Red Car?

Big Red Car here on a glorious Texas sunshine fest. Ahhh, on Earth as it is in Texas!

So, the world is watching the death throes of Aleppo as the Russians and the Syrians of Bashar al-Assad destroy a modern city building by building. The Russians intend to level the eastern half of the city and destroy it using bunker busting bombs against hospitals in the process. This is destruction of the ghastly quality of the Allied efforts against Germany (well-deserved, mind you) in World War II. It is brutal, barbaric, horrific, real, and happening right now.

How did this happen, Big Red Car?

Aleppo

Aleppo was once the capital of the largest Syrian political subdivision. Now, the capital is Damascus.

Aleppo was the largest city in Syria before the Civil War broke out, amongst the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world.  It was on the Silk Road (a terminus) and thrived until the building of the Suez Canal whereafter commerce moved by water.

The city is cut in half. The forces of the government (the Assad government) hold the west and the east is held by the rebels, many of which are supported by the United States. The US supported and encouraged these rebels as part of its misguided “regime change” strategy but did it halfheartedly and thus we have a mess.

For the last two years, since the Russians have jumped in to assist the Syrians, it has been the scene of continuous, bloody conflict.

Russia in Syria

Recall that the Russians held a client state relationship with both Egypt and Syria which gave rise to the 1973 Yom Kippur War wherein they both attacked Israel in an unprovoked invasion.

The Syrians attacked in a massive tank assault through the Golan while the Egyptians (in a brilliant feat of combat engineering) crossed the Suez Canal and attacked the Israelis through the desert, the Negev.

The Golan became a tank battle of gargantuan proportions in which the outnumbered Israelis used unparalleled courage, superior gunnery, and maneuver to ultimately defeat a substantially larger force. The Syrians should have wiped the Israelis out.

In the desert, the Israelis were surprised by the Egyptian anti-aircraft (Russian SAMs) which almost blew them out of the skies leaving their tank forces to fight against the Egyptians without controlling the skies for some period of time. The Egyptians unveiled excellent anti-tank weapons making a man with a rocket equal to a tank. A very good trade, indeed.

It was a close call but the Israelis finally rallied and defeated both armies in a very, very, very close call which motivated Golda Meir (Prime Minister) and Moshe Dayan (Defense Minister) to arm and unmask their nuclear rockets. They were resigned to launching a nuclear attack against Damascus as a final defense of Israel which had lost most of its tanks in the Golan. Only America’s immediate resupply allowed the Israelis to prevail. (Ahhh, the days when the US took sides and acted like an ally.)

At the eleventh hour, when the Egyptians were on the verge of defeat, the Russians threatened to send six airborne divisions into the conflict to intervene. The Americans and the Israelis called their bluff. [Paratroopers against tanks? Favor the tanks, y’all.]

Thereafter, the Russians were ejected from Egypt in a brilliant bit of diplomacy by Henry Kissinger but Syria stayed in the Russian fold, though with a very bloody lip and a growing anger against the Russians who they felt failed them in the Yom Kippur War.

The Russians have had a leased naval facility in Syria from before the Yom Kippur War. It is located at Tartus and has two operational floating piers which can refuel, rearm, refit, maintain Russian vessels.

It is too small for big Russian vessels or Russia’s single aircraft carrier. Still, it is a warm water refuge and it allows the Russians to patrol the Med without having to retreat as far as the Crimea for maintenance. It is a big pain in the strategic ass of NATO.

Russia in Syria Today

Today, the Russians — Putin — have gone all in to support the murderous regime of Bashar al-Assad (son of Hafez al-Assad who ruled Syria from 1970 to 2000).

Putin and Assad pic

The Russians have been able to build a new Axis of Evil rolling into bed with Syria, Iran, Iraq (which is becoming an Iranian colony with the absence of American influence), Hamas, Hezbollah. Look for Turkey, a NATO member, to be in play, shortly.

The Russians are trying out all of their new weapon systems in much the same way that Hitler did during the Spanish Civil War prior to World War II. The Russians have routinely fired naval launched cruise missiles, as an example. They have also deployed gobs of artillery and air power.

Today, they are using horrific bunker buster bombs to attack the eastern portion of Aleppo where the rebels are holed up. A “bunker buster” is a bomb which is capable of penetrating as much as six meters of hardened concrete before detonating. The Americans have a full array of such weapons while the Russians have been late to the party. They are testing theirs in Aleppo.

To give you an idea of how sophisticated these bombs can be, they can be rigged to sense how many floors they have penetrated and set to explode only when they encounter a void within the structure. This is some very bad shit.

The rebels

The rebels against which the Russians and the Syrians are warring are those who the US has supported in the past as an element of its regime change objective to rid the world of Bashar al-Assad. Needless to say, it is not working.

The rebels are not moving forward anywhere and it is only a matter of time until Aleppo is blown from the face of the earth, the rebels have no place to hide, and the Russians/Syrians prevail.

Aleppo, The Ceasefire

The United States tried to broker a cease fire with the Russians (and the Syrians but let’s be clear here, the Russians are the ones calling the shots). The Russians pretended to cooperate but used the time to move Syrian and Russian forces into better positions from which to deliver the coup de grace to the Aleppo rebels.

Both the President and Secretary of State Kerry have given the Russians a tongue lashing but Putin doesn’t respond well to being denied entry to Disneyland or tongue lashings.

The Americans publicly pulled out of the negotiations and then called Putin up for a dinner date thereafter leaving him a little bewildered, perhaps, but not changing anything on his dance card. The Russians continue to bomb the rebel strongholds into dust.

Here’s the big thing — the Russians told the Americans to go to Hell.

Putin picture middle finger

Yeah, well, it’s a little subtle. But who knows “subtle” like a former Russian KGB guy?

The Americans keep mumbling about “no fly zones” and “refugee safe zones” but that isn’t going to happen.

The Americans have air assets in the region (bombing ISIS) and the Russians are quite capable of blowing our planes from the sky if we try to intervene in Aleppo. This is how regional wars start. This is some very dangerous stuff. This is a reflection of how the Russians regard America.

The Chance for a Bigger War

There is nothing as odd as our Nobel Peace Prize Laureate President’s record of war. Since before and after receiving the Peace Prize, President Obama has kept us continuously at war. Huh?

Yes, dear reader, our Peace Prize winner has delivered a continuous stream of war. When he got out of Iraq, he created even more war by the manner in which he failed to obtain a SOFA (status of forces agreement, which would have allowed American forces to remain in the country). When he was receiving the prize, he was getting ready to “surge” 30,000 additional troops in Afghanistan.

During his tenure, he has thrown Libya, Egypt, Syria, Yemen into the insatiable maw of war either directly or by our feckless foreign policy which draws imaginary red lines, erases them, tries to negotiate with no leverage, and uses Disneyland tickets as foreign policy.

Meanwhile, the Russians have eaten the Crimea, engaged in a violent war in the Ukraine, taken off the gloves in Syria, and have emerged as the “go to” guys for the bad boys in the Middle East.

WTF, Big Red Car? Bottom line it, BRC

Dear reader, here’s the bottom line. The Bashar al-Assad regime will take Aleppo. They will kill all the US supported rebels. The Russians will have a substantial foothold in the region. Syria will become a Russian colony and the cooperation of Russian, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Turkey (perhaps), Hamas, Hezbollah will soon be looking for its next meal.

Where?

There is a very real chance, the Russians will use the proximity of the US and Russian forces to test American resolve in a little regional shooting war. They may also decide to even the score with Israel.

This is what happens when you have a feckless, weak foreign policy which is propounded by incompetent leaders.

This is a very, very dangerous time in the history of the world.

It gets worse?

Yes, dear reader, it does. The Obama administration has not only driven the world into war after war, it has also lorded over the contraction of the US military to pre-WWII levels.

This compounds the danger. We are shrinking when we should be expanding.

Good luck to all of us. God, please spare Aleppo.

Reset button

Haha, RESET? Reset my ass, Madame Secretary.

But, hey, what the Hell do I really know anyway? I’m just a Big Red Car. Hey, hasn’t that “reset” thing worked out well with Russia? Be kind to yourself. You deserve it.cropped-LTFD-illust_300.png

 

 

  • sigmaalgebra

    Obama? To put it delicately, although there’s no good way to put it delicately, my guess is that long ago he concluded that the US was the world’s big bully and wanted to stop that, wanted the US to be weaker, wanted some parts of one-world, world-government, globalism as part of the solution. I’m trying to put this delicately.

    I get the distinct and strong impression that, except for golf courses, Obama doesn’t much like the US.

    I’m trying to put this delicately.

    Of course, I’m against essentially everything Obama has said, wants, or has done.

    But, neither do I want more like we had with LBJ, Dean Rusk, Nixon, W, Cheney, Gulf War II, and especially, IMHO, the totally botched Gulf War II occupation.

    Some points:

    (A) Simple rule: If want to make a change, then have a really good idea that things will be better after the change. That idea is not too difficult, right, Virginia? (B) In particular, if want to dump a government, then have a really good idea that things will be better after the dumping. (C) More specifically, even if the current government is run by some Stalinist brutal dictator, that does NOT mean that any change will be an improvement. Instead, some changes can be still worse. (D) Still more specifically, this running around the world eager for regime change is delusional, destructive, dangerous, brain-dead stuff.

    E.g., when my HP laser printer seriously quit and I gave up on it, I bought a Brother laser printer. It works great! It’s made in Viet Nam. Fine with me.

    In Viet Nam how many million people did we kill? Why? Because Ho got some free meals in Moscow and Peking, and we saw another Axis much like the one we defeated in the 1940s?

    In fact, in Viet Nam, we couldn’t have lost much worse than we did, and so far what’s gone wrong for us or anyone in Viet Nam? Nothing serious I can see.

    We went to war in Viet Nam based on total BS thinking and apparently even worse execution.

    We went to war in Gulf War II based on total BS thinking and apparently even worse execution.

    From those two, sorry, but I’m a bit skeptical about more wars based on the threats of falling dominoes and on less than really brilliant, totally compelling thinking, and I don’t see a lot of that.

    Yup, the Aleppo situation, the Syrian civil war, ISIS, what’s left of Iraq, Iran, what the Kurds are going through — bad stuff, very bloody, often medieval, barbaric, pointless, etc.

    The desert sands of the Mideast are being soaked with blood. IIRC, this is not nearly the first time.

    It’s bad. Is it worse than it was/is under Saddam, Hafez Assad, ISIS, the Iran-Iraq war, the Armenians, the Ottoman Turks and the Arabs, the Muslims and the Hindus, etc.? Not in all cases. I.e., the Syrian war is not the worst thing to happen in the Mideast desert.

    So, right, the Russians are in Syria and on the way to getting the Syrian rebels out of Aleppo and letting the Assad side own Aleppo. Own it again?

    And, with that position there in Syria, the Russians could, might, would, …, take over Iran, Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Israel, Egypt, the rest of North Africa, Greece, Cyprus, Sicily, Sardinia, Monaco, the Baltics, the Balkans, Italy, Scandinavia, Iceland, Newfoundland, …, NYC. Even Texas? Dominoes falling all across the Atlantic? Might?

    Somehow I’m skeptical.

    I don’t want to put any lipstick on any Mideast pigs, but maybe some reality might be useful:

    It seems to me that the most legitimate = least illegitmate candidate leader of Syria is Assad. So, I start to be reluctant to urge regime change in Syria.

    Now I understand that Assad is essentially Shiite Islam and that his rebels are Sunni Islam.

    And IIRC Shiite Assad and his Sunnis have not gotten along well and, instead, it is almost or just like each side would love to subject the other — including men, women, children, cats, dogs, sheep, and camels — to the worst medieval forms of torture and death they could recall.

    Then, IIRC for some interval of time, Assad, father or son, and the Sunnis got along without many bullets being fired, but for some reason those times ended with the outbreak of a full scale civil war.

    Then, presto, bingo, I start to conclude that the war in Syria, really, has been yet another chapter in the 1000+ year war between Shiite and Sunni Muslims.

    Then I leap to the conclusion that getting in the middle of a Shiite-Sunni war is a grand definition of totally brain-dead stupid “with a grand new definition of pain and suffering as we are slowly digested over 1000 years.”

    I suspect that the usual way Shiites and Sunnis lived in peace is that their wars killed off enough of both until there was a lot of empty land between the ones left. Or Shiite-Sunni wars were like forest fires — in time they burned themselves out.

    And as a special case, I have to suspect that the only way the Shiite-Sunni war in Syria will end is when one side is out of Syria, either because they left or because they were all killed off — men, women, children, dogs, cats, sheep, and camels. In particular, my guess is that in this case the Shiites will win.

    Thus, it would seem to me that the only peace in Syria will be when there are no more Sunnis in Syria, or their dogs, cats, …. In particular, there will be no more Sunnis in Aleppo.

    Look, I didn’t invent or cause that 1000+ year medieval war between Shiites and Sunnis. Honest. I wasn’t there. It wasn’t me. But at this point, (A) there is nothing good we can do for that war; (B) we should stay the heck out of that war and, really, just let the war burn itself out the traditional way, (C) if we get involved, we will just prolong the situation and make it worse while wasting precious US blood and treasure and risking more fighting with more dead Syrians; and (D) otherwise we need to defend ourselves, try to be smart, and maybe play a small role that is BENEFICIAL for all involved.

    For (D), after Viet Nam and Gulf War II, I doubt that we know how to do that. Until it is clear we do know how, I hope we don’t try.

    So, at this point? For just now, on Aleppo, just let the Russians and the Assad side go ahead and get all the Sunnis out of Aleppo. If the Sunnis in Aleppo don’t like the environment there, then maybe they should consider moving, say, to the east.

    Otherwise we should watch the situation and, then, try very hard not to get involved.

    For the Russians killing off the Sunnis in Aleppo leading to the Russians knocking over dominoes all the way to Texas, I will delay getting worried about that one.

    In particular, scare stuff about “The Russians are coming!” sounds to me like an excuse, a cover story, to hide some hidden agendas as in the common, wise advice, “Always look for the hidden agenda.”.

    Or just what the heck is it why some people in DC are so super-eager to see Assad deposed, run out of town, strung up, knocked off, whatever?

    I know; I know; I know; after Assad is gone, the US and the UN will come in and stop the aggression and the nasty stuff, and everyone will sit down together and sing Kumbayah like we have wiped away all the hatreds. Right — dream on one-worlder sophomores. We’d bring a lot of water with Prozac and Thorazine, right?

    Virginia: But, but, but Assad is a brutal dictator who dropped barrel bombs and used chemical weapons on his own people! He crossed Obama’s red line! He is in with Putin! That’s why we need to dump Assad, so that we can bring in a good, constitutional, parliamentary, representative, democratic government with freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of association, freedom of the press, gender equality, racial diversity, social justice, and a shining city on a hill!

    I hear you, Virginia. And how many people, how many MILLIONS of people, are you willing to kill trying to do that before you give up and leave with, net, lots of US blood and treasure wasted and MILLIONS of Syrians dead? How many?

    Virginia: But, but, but, they will be singing Kumbayah.

    Wake up, Virginia — like HELL they will.

    Instead, Virginia, as in Iraq after Gulf War II, about 90% of common thieves, common criminals, street thugs, street gang leaders, ambitious clerics, ambitious politicians, entrepreneurial smugglers, various embezzlers, big time organized crime leaders in and near Syria, and international opportunists, etc. will see your efforts as a grand opportunity and rush in and make a mess out of Syria, a much bigger mess than just in Aleppo or in Syria now.

    Virginia, the more humane way to pursue your nonsense is to occupy Syria, go in with 1 million, maybe 2-3 million well trained US troops to police the place. We’re talking lots of US blood and treasure, time, and effort for ballpark 20 years. There will be lots of nationalist guerrilla movements resisting us, and we will have to kill them off — maybe some hundreds of thousands of Syrian lives.

    Then after 20 years when everything looks good we will leave? Okay. Leave.

    Then what? In a few months, they will be right back to where they want to be — in a Shiite-Sunni war waiting for at least one strong man dictator, much like Saddam, Assad, or Gaddafi, to take over and, for the losing side, push them out or just kill them off.

    Likely the Shiites will win, and the Sunnis will join ISIS.

    And we can have all that now, for doing exactly nothing.

    Look, Virginia, it took lots of blood, treasure, luck, and 1000+ years for Europe to get to the Age of Reason and democracies. And Europe had its rivers running with blood again as recently as 1945. Since then they tried again in the Balkans.

    Something like what there is in the US, Canada, the British Isles, France, and Germany is very rare on this planet and does NOT transplant easily. To see this, notice that everyone else in the world has plenty of access to books, etc. on how the US, …, Germany work and are fully free to create local copies. But where has that been done? Can you name one? I can’t.

    Virginia, let me suggest you take on another effort to save the world — improve the situation in many US dog and cat shelters!

  • Taliban holds more territory than before (after 2001) and is growing- a result symptomatic of winning the battles but forgetting about Wars and attrition. The templates of post WW2 Japan and Germany seem to have been forgotten. What is worse that there are other countries (non-Mid East) which make this polarization even more dangerous.

    • JLM

      .
      The long term damage is both psychological and physical. Potential allies will not rally to the Americans, enemies will not fear us, we will not be thoughtful as to what is really happening.

      BRC
      http://www.themusingsofthebigredcar.com

  • It is sad. And the world is just watching, clueless.

  • Andrew Cashion

    If they push too hard we can go conventional on The Kremlin’s ass by lasering down their satellites and then dropping Tungsten rods on it.

    We will blame the aliens.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f629b3aab3f09cc961c52b1157f2d11f09bbaa812d5bdb46357258e300c407dd.jpg

    • JLM

      .
      Something tells me Pres Obama would announce it ahead of time, John Kerry would try to negotiate with them, and they would hack into HRC’s computer, read her emails, an be ready with their tin foil hats before we could tungsten rod them.

      He name is Rodman, right?

      BRC
      http://www.themusingsofthebigredcar.com

      • Andrew Cashion

        19181.7mph / 670616629.38mph = 0.0000283 % of the speed of light that the rod will be moving.
        vs. speed of electron 299792458 m/s which is faster! Quite a nice sized crater. The Kremlin Lake a new Vodka?

        So you’re right they could hack us right before they die.

        Back to our regularly scheduled fluid mechanics.

  • Tim Bates

    Yes all very boring but what America wants to know is what is Kim Kardashian thinking and how can we use the wisdom of Kanye West to bring unicorns and big data flowers to others who do not have FaceBook?

  • JLM

    .
    Aleppo — the barbaric destruction of one of the oldest continuously occupied cities in the history of man.

    Russian bunker busters v hospitals?

    http://themusingsofthebigredcar.com/aleppo-drifting-toward-disaster/

    This is the result of feckless foreign policy and erased red lines.

    God, please help Aleppo.

    BRC
    http://www.themusingsofthebigredcar.com