Gen Khalifa Haftar in apparent good health

On Thursday, April 26, his private plane landed in the eastern city of Benghazi and Gen Khalifa Haftar emerged onto the runway in apparent good health.
His Libyan National Army (LNA) controls the bulk of Libya’s oilfields as well as the four export terminals in the oil crescent helping the Libyan National Oil Corporation to produce more than 1m barrels a day.
Gen Haftar has won the support of Russia, Egypt and the UAE by presenting himself as a reliable ally against Libya’s Islamist factions.

 

[ September 12 2014  Libya breaking up into fiefdoms   ]

For their survival, the uprooted parliament and the army forces in Benghazi have allied themselves with retired general Khalifa Haftar, whom the government had previously accused of trying to stage a coup.

With the army and police existing mainly on paper, parliament needs Haftar, who commands air bases in the east, to confront Ansar al-Sharia and the Misrata-led armed factions. There is a likelihood of Libya breaking up into fiefdoms run by competing factions — a Misrata-led one in the west, an Islamist-dominated east and a powerless rump government in the far-east. In the south September 11, the Tabu ethnic group declared its backing for the Tobruk government after rival Arab tribes in the area gave their support to the Tripoli government.

[September 4 Missing Libyan Airlines fleet a security matter]

Sabha, Libya International Airport

Sabha, Libya International Airport

sabha, libya

sabha, libya

Agadez Niger Airport AGY

Agadez Niger Airport AGY

“There are a number of commercial airliners in Libya that are missing,” said one U.S. official. “We found out on September 11 what can happen with hijacked planes.”Intelligence reports of the stolen jetliners were distributed within the U.S. government over the past two weeks and included a warning that one or more of the aircraft could be used in an attack in September 2014 on the date marking the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks against New York and Washington, said U.S. officials familiar with the reports.
The state-owned Libyan Airlines fleet until this summer included 14 passenger and cargo jetliners, including seven Airbus 320s, one Airbus 330, two French ATR-42 turboprop aircraft, and four Bombardier CJR-900s. Libyan state-owned Afriqiyah Airways fleet is made up of 13 aircraft, including three Airbus 319s, seven Airbus 320s, two Airbus 330s, and one Airbus 340.

The aircraft were reportedly taken in late August following the takeover of Tripoli International Airport, located about 20 miles south of the capital, by Libyan Dawn.

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Sharif: “aliens”, the military, to blame

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Imram Khan

While no-one is suggesting the army wants to outright seize power again, PML-N insiders say Sharif’s relationship with the generals is in tatters and accuse shadowy military networks of working with the judiciary to weaken the party.

Sharif on Thursday said “aliens”, a typical coded reference to the military establishment, had been calling PML-N lawmakers and pushing them to abandon the party or join PTI. The lawmakers were threatened with corruption cases being opened against them if they disobeyed, he said.

The former army chief announced that his political party will take part in upcoming local bodies election in the country.

 

[ May 6 Bhutto-Zardari prayed for Iqbal interior minister’s speedy recovery.  ]

Screenshot 2018-05-06 at 11.53.30 AM

Narowal

Pakistan’s Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal was wounded in an apparent assassination attempt. Iqbal was hit by a bullet in his arm in the attack in Narowal district, his constituency in central Punjab province. Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairman chairman Bhutto-Zardari condemned the attack and prayed for the interior minister’s speedy recovery. Iqbal is a senior member of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party and a staunch ally of ousted premier Nawaz Sharif.
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said on April 9 that the politics of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) stood finished with former prime minister Nawaz Sharif sent packing. Bilawal said the PML-N had now become Pakistan Muslim League-Shehbaz (PML-S). He added that the PPP will contest the forthcoming general elections against both, the “PML-S” and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

The attacker has been identified as 21-year-old Abid Hussain

[July 29 2017   Bilawal Bhutto on Nawaz Sharif: no comment ]

Nawaz Sharif

Nawaz Sharif

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the Leader of the centre-left Pakistan Peoples Party.“ I am neither a lawyer nor a judge that’s why I am not commenting it whether PM Nawaz Sharif was disqualified by SC on strong or weak ground” he added.

He further added that rule of law is supreme concern of his party and we will continue our struggle in this regard for the ensuring the law in the country. Pakistan’s Supreme Court disqualified Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from office on July 28 over undeclared assets, plunging the nuclear-armed South Asian nation into political turmoil after a period of relative stability.

Sharif swiftly resigned, his party is planning to bring in an interim prime minister for a few weeks before electing Nawaz’s younger brother Shehbaz Sharif to the post.

The military establishment has alternatively used constitutional manipulation and direct takeovers to keep the civilian leaders in line. In this, it has invariably been supported by the top judiciary.
During this period, the military has developed a huge business and industrial empire which it runs from within, with little or no interference from the state authority.
Many believe this empire can only last as long as the military is able to control some crucial domestic and foreign policy areas, such as relations with India, Afghanistan and the West, or the political narrative and propagation of a particular type of patriotism at home.
For this, they say, the military has often raised and protected politicians who agree with its world view.
But politics has its own dynamics. Once leaders have entered the mainstream, they feel more compelled to increase economic and other opportunities for their voters. This has often forced successive Pakistani leaders to try to normalise relations with India and other neighbours in the region.

[January 30 Bilawal will contest parliamentary by-election ]

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PPP Co-chairman Bilawal Bhutto will contest a by-election for a parliamentary seat from Larkana, the hometown of the Bhutto family in Sindh province.

“Bhutto will be the leader of the opposition and I will assist him as his adviser while his father will also guide him on parliamentary politics,” Khursheed Shah, 64, told journalists in Sukkur, Sindh province January 26.

Bilawal is the son of former President Asif Ali Zardari and the slain prime minister Benazir Bhutto, and the grandson of late prime minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.

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Updated: Jan 25, 2017,:Pakistan’s former Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Zaheerul Islam today claimed that there is no proof of Jamaat-ud-Dawa’s involvement in the 2008 Mumbai attacks that led to the killings of over 150 people
Appointed on the recommendation of then President Asif Ali Zardari in March 2012, Islam became the 18th director general of the ISI. He has remained mostly out of the spotlight and yet, he manages to cast a shadow over many major events in the last few years
Islam has a strong military background; his father, brothers and brother-in-law had also served in the army. His uncle, Shah Nawaz, was a major general in the Indian National Army, led by Subhas Chandra Bose, and was captured and detained by the British briefly in the early 1940s.

August 10 2015 Bilawal convoy visits Sukkur Barrage ]

ISLAMABAD: The dictatorship of former president General (retd) Pervez Musharraf was better than the democracy of Nawaz Sharif, said PTI Chairman Imran Khan,
Imran khan chairman pti speech in pti azadi march Islamabad 11 september 2014.

[September 9 Hearing adjourned to October 13

Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao, Aftab’s elder brother, Hayat Khan Sherpao, was one of the founding members of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and a close lieutenant of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. Hayat Khan was killed in 1975 in a bomb blast in University of Peshawar.   After the 2008 elections, Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao decided to break away from his PPP legacy and formed the Qaumi Watan Party by merging his party with disgruntled leftists and Pakhtun nationalists.

Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao
, Aftab’s elder brother, Hayat Khan Sherpao, was one of the founding members of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and a close lieutenant of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. Hayat Khan was killed in 1975 in a bomb blast in University of Peshawar. After the 2008 elections, Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao decided to break away from his PPP legacy and formed the Qaumi Watan Party by merging his party with disgruntled leftists and Pakhtun nationalists.

Pervez Musharraf on September 8 did not appear before an anti-terrorism court in a case relating to the 2006 murder of elderly Baloch leader Nawab Akbar Bugti, citing poor health.
Gen. Musharraf’s lawyer told reporters that his client was not keeping good health and could not travel to Quetta for the hearing.While Gen. Musharraf did not appear for the hearing, two of his guarantors — former Interior Minister Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao and former Home Minister Balochistan Shoaib Nowsherwani — did.

Judge of ATC-1 Nazeer Ahmed Langove adjourned the hearing for October 13.

September 9 viewing the volatility of the situation in the federal capital, Court postponed hearing ]

Pakistani Protesters Ransack State Television Headquarters.

Pakistani Protesters Ransack State Television Headquarters.

The hearing of high treason case against former president General (r) Pervez Musharraf was adjourned on September 2 until September 9.

It should be mentioned here that the judges, viewing the volatility of the situation in the federal capital, postponed the hearing without being solicited to do so.

According to sources, the prosecution and Musharraf’s counsels were formally informed about the decision.

[July 21 Military leadership as a whole not hostile to legal action against Musharraf?]

 Special Assistant to prime minister on National Affairs Irfan Siddiqui

Special Assistant to prime minister on National Affairs Irfan Siddiqui

Special Assistant to prime minister on National Affairs Irfan Siddiqui has said that the military leadership as a whole was not hostile to legal action against Musharraf. “Only few people, who are close associates of Musharraf, want to give him a safe passage,” he said, adding that countries cannot be run on the personal whims of a few individuals.

[June 29 Sindh High Court: General Pervez Musharraf on the Exit Control List struck down but order stayed]

Special Anti Terrorism Court (ATC) Islamabad June 27 directed the defense counsel to submit medical report of former military ruler Pervez Musharraf before the court on July 11 in judges’ detention case.

[june 12]

Presiding judge Muhammad Ali Mazhar of the Sindh High Court in Karachi said the ban ‘placing the name of retired General Pervez Musharraf on the Exit Control List is struck down’. A two-member high court bench comprising Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar and Justice Shahnawaz announced the decision on Musharraf’s plea.
“The operation of the judgement is suspended for 15 days so that the respondent (the government) may file appeal before the Supreme Court.”
Musharraf has said he wants the travel ban lifted so that he can visit his sick mother in Dubai, but many in Pakistan see it as a ruse to flee the country and avoid the litany of criminal cases dating back to his 1999-2008 rule.

[June 10]

The Islamabad police have completed the challan in the murder of Allama Abdul Rashid Ghazi, Naib Khateeb (deputy cleric) Lal Mosque, and his mother, and submitted it in the court of Additional Sessions Judge Wajid Ali. . It was written in the challan that there was no direct evidence of Musharraf’s involvement in Lal Masjid operation. “On a point of principle one would support the trial of Gen Musharraf for acting extra-constitutionally (but definitely not for his action against militants who had taken over the capital’s Lal Masjid).”Dawn

[April 13]
Since Defence Minister Khawaja Mohammad Asif and Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafiq made some hard-hitting comments about Mr Musharraf, their colleagues in the cabinet have been clarifying that they had not uttered “a word against the army”.

Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid also dismissed the reports about any differences between the Nawaz government and the army. As the All Pakistan Muslim League demanded resignation of Khawaja Asif for his diatribe against Mr Musharraf, the information minister said there was no demand from the army to send the defence minister packing.

PML-Q chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain has called for action under the Constitution against the PML-N ministers for what he called defaming the army.

March 31]

In

In the southern port city of Karachi, the financial capital of Pakistan, many among the educated and liberal are nostalgic about Musharraf’s rule.

cabinet have been clarifying that they had not uttered “a word against the army”.Pervez Musharraf, former Pakistani president and Chief of the Army Staff was charged with issuing an unconstitutional and unlawful order on November, 3, 2007 at Rawalpindi as Chief of the Army Staff, called the “Proclamation of Emergency Order, 2007” which held the Constitution in abeyance. He subverted the Constitution and committed the offence of high treason punishable under section 2 of the High Treason (Punishment) Act, 1973. Musharraf has also been charged with issuing the Provisional Constitution Order No.1 of 2007 which empowered the President to amend the Constitution from time to time, apart from suspending Fundamental Rights enshrined in Articles 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 19 and 25 of the Constitution. On the same day he issued an Oath of Office (Judges) Order, 2007 whereby an oath was introduced in the Schedule which required a judge to abide by the provisions of the Proclamation of Emergency dated November 3, 2007 and the Provisional Constitutional Order of the same date. This order resulted in the removal of numerous judges of the superior courts including the Chief Justice of Pakistan. Musharraf is also being charged for amending the Constitution and some of its provisions and subverting it.
The general became a target of ire for Islamist groups when he allied with the US in its “war on terror” and invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 – but he has loyal supporters in Pakistan, as well. They say that during Musharraf’s time in power, Pakistan’s economy prospered and enjoyed better security. In the southern port city of Karachi, which is also the “financial capital” of Pakistan, many among the educated and liberal are nostalgic about Musharraf’s rule.
The indictment on treason charges is historic for Pakistan, marking the first time that a military ruler of the country has been investigated or indicted on such charges. The special court has held several hearings since being constituted in November 2013, and its investigations have now culminated in Monday’s indictment. Pervez Musharraf will face the death penalty if found guilty.

In the court room in Islamabad on Monday, Musharraf was read the indictment by the three-member bench, led by Justice Faisal Arab. The special court has been hearing arguments pertaining to the dismissal of judges and suspension of the constitution by Musharraf on November 3, 2007. Musharraf has denied all the charges, alleging that the case is politically motivated.

His lawyers asked the court to authorise travel to the United Arab Emirates so he could visit his mother and travel to the US for medical treatment. The court dismissed the request, saying it was up to the government to decide whether Musharraf could leave the country. Musharraf came to power in a bloodless coup in 1999, deposing then-prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

[March 24]

Akram Sheikh, the chief prosecutor in a high treason case against General (retd) Pervez Musharraf maintains the court would have to frame charges against Musharraf in his presence and then he might be exempted from appearance. Musharraf said he would not appear on March 31 and the court would frame charges against the accused in his absence. After finally getting Musharraf in court 18 February 2014, the judge refused demands by the prosecutor Akram Sheikh for an immediate indictment. Instead the court will rule whether it has jurisdiction to hear the case. That means Musharraf will have to return to court, potentially creating another period of uncertainty about whether he will turn up.

Many legal experts believe Musharraf will struggle to defend himself and is hoping the case will become mired in controversy, forcing the government to either drop the charges or agree to some face-saving deal that will allow him to return to a life in exile abroad.

[January 5]
Indian prime minister, Manmohan Singh, in his press conference January 3, said: “At one time, it appeared that an important breakthrough was in sight.” After a meeting in New Delhi in 2005, India and Pakistan, in a joint statement, had said that the peace process between the two countries was “irreversible”.

“Events in Pakistan, for example, the fact that General Musharraf had to make way for a different set-up, I think that led to the process not moving further.”
“The prime minister said there was almost an agreement on Kashmir. When Pervez Musharraf said this, we did not believe him… but now the prime minister has said so.”

Musharraf’s wife yesterday filed a request before the government, asking his name to be removed from the Exit Control List that will enable him to travel abroad for treatment even as Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif made it clear that his fate will be decided by the Court.

The reports of the medical tests of Musharraf have been sent to the experts for further examination in the UK. There is intense speculation that Musharraf is likely to be flown out of the country for treatment. His detractors say the military is supporting him though there has not been any public support by the armed forces.
[January 4]
`Now the ball is in the court of the doctors.If they allowed him then Musharraf will appear before the court on Jan 6, otherwise their medical certificate will be presented,` he said.

According to AFP, Mr Kasuri said: `No one can challenge the doctors` report -if the doctors advise to take him abroad for medical treatment then the doctors` opinion will be carried out.
[January 3]
Doctors will decide whether Pakistan’s former military ruler Pervez Musharraf must go abroad for treatment after suffering a heart problem on the way to his treason trial,

on December 2 one newspaper reported that the foreign minister of Saudi Arabia was arriving to discuss this issue with the government.

The government did not help quell the rumours. While its representatives kept insisting that it had not given Musharraf the permission to travel abroad (hisname is still placed on the exit control list), some of them also pointed out that the former dictator was in the custody of the courts and not the government.

`The ball is in the adalat`s court,` said a cabinet member in a primetime talk show.

[July 10]

Authorities said initial investigations showed it was a suicide attack.

Security forces cordoned off the area in the Guru Mandir neighbourhood in central Karachi, following Wednesday’s bombing.

A police escort was accompanying Mr Sheikh’s white armoured car when the attack took place.

Officials said the bomber was thought to have followed the vehicles and detonated the explosives when the security chief stopped to get out of his car.

“It seems that the suicide attacker walked up to Sheikh’s vehicle and blew himself up outside the front passenger seat of the vehicle where Sheikh was seated,” police officer Raja Umar Khattab said.

[May 31]

Shahzada Iftikharuddin, present MNA Chitral, son of Shahzada Muhiuddin, great-grand son of Mehtar Shuja-ul-Mulk.

Shahzada Iftikharuddin, present MNA Chitral, son of Shahzada Muhiuddin, great-grand son of Mehtar Shuja-ul-Mulk.

APML candidate Ghulam Mohammad won the PK-90 Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assembly seat.

APML candidate Ghulam Mohammad won the PK-90 Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assembly seat.

Former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf’s party, the All Pakistan Muslim League (APML), managed to win one seat each – its first since it was formed – in the National Assembly and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial assembly.

Despite the party announcing a boycott of the elections, APML candidate Shehzada Iftikhar-ud-Din the party’s candidates from Chitral decided to stay in the fray and won the NA-32 Chitral seat by around 20,000 votes,. APML candidate Ghulam Mohammad won the PK-90 Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assembly seat.

Shot dead from a motorbike, multiple gunshots

APML Shehzada Iftikhar-ud-Din from Chitral

All Party Muslim League , the party of former Pakistani military ruler Pervez Musharraf, on May 3 announced it will boycott next week’s historic election. “We think that under the present election commission, conduct of free and fair election is not possible, so we have decided to boycott it,” a spokesperson said, adding that 170 party candidates had withdrawn.

Pervez Musharraf detained at his farmhouse at Chak Shahzad on the outskirts of Islamabad

Pervez Musharraf detained at his farmhouse at Chak Shahzad on the outskirts of Islamabad

A lawyer leading the effort to prosecute Pakistan’s former military dictator, Pervez Musharraf, over the murder of Benazir Bhutto has been shot dead in Islamabad as he was driving to court.

Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali, a state prosecutor for the Federal Investigation Agency, died in a hail of bullets on Friday when his car was attacked by unidentified gunmen riding on motorbikes as he was travelling through a busy street in the Pakistani capital, police said.

He was rushed to a nearby hospital where he died of his injuries.

Ali had been acting as a state prosecutor in one of the cases against Musharraf, the former coup leader who returned to Pakistan in March for what has been a disastrous bid to contest seats in the country’s general elections.

Ali argued in court that Musharraf, who is under house arrest, should not be allowed bail in a case where he is accused of conspiring to murder Bhutto, the former two-time prime minister of Pakistan who was killed in a gun and suicide attack at an election rally in 2007.

Musharraf, it is claimed, failed to use his powers as president at the time to provide sufficient security for Bhutto.

Ali was due to appear at the anti-terrorism court in the nearby city of Rawalpindi on Friday in connection with the case.
[April 22]
Musharraf’s lawyer Qamar Afzal argued that his client should be kept in judicial custody as there were serious threats to his life.
Sources told PTI that authorities had asked for Musharraf to be placed in judicial custody as this would allow the administration of Islamabad to declare his farmhouse at Chak Shahzad a ‘sub-jail’ and detain him there.
Authorities have been focussing on this measure as officials are not keen on holding Musharraf at a jail due to threats to his life.

[March 24]

ISI Chief Zaheer ul Islam

ISI Chief Zaheer ul Islam

Ahmed Shuja Pasha, Pervez Musharraf

Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has arrived back in Pakistan, ending four years of self-imposed exile and defying death threats.

A protection detail of heavily armed commandos met him after his plane from Dubai touched down in Karachi airport. A mass rally in the city was cancelled.
[March 23]
Pervez Musharraf plans to fly on a commercial airline into Karachi on March 24, then attend a rally that will include Pakistani expatriates from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates, he has said in a statement. He plans to lead his political party into Pakistan’s general elections slated for May.

Tehrik-i-Taliban will send out a “death squad” to kill him, a spokesman for the terrorist group said March 23. In 1999, the then-chief of Pakistan’s army became its president in a bloodless military coup. He remained in power until resigning in 2008 — a period that included the U.S.-led invasion of neighboring Afghanistan.
Lieutenant-General Zaheer ul-Islam (Urdu: ﻇﻬﻴﺮ ﺍﻹﺳﻼﻡ‎)HI(M) is the current Director-General of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI); he was appointed to the position on 9 March 2012. Islam took over the position from his predecessor Ahmed Shuja Pasha, who left on 18 March
[January 24 2012]
Pakistan’s ISI chief Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha held a secret meeting with former military ruler Pervez Musharraf in Dubai and advised him not to return to the country, according to a media report.
“Gen Pasha… held a meeting with (Musharraf) in Dubai and advised him not to return to the country as the situation is not conducive for his return,”
The channel quoted its sour­ces as saying that Pasha “strictly advised” Musharraf not to return to Pakistan from self-exile. The report said it was not clear whether the meeting was held on the directions of the Pakistan People’s Party-led government or if it was a private meeting.

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IS too beneficial to Assad, allowing him to appear as lesser of two evils

mayadin damascus

 

“We remain concerned for any that are moving onto the western Euphrates River, where ISIS retains some freedom of action, as their regimes seem either unwilling or unable to effectively deal and finally defeat ISIS on the west of the river. we remain concerned about ISIS freedom west of the River Euphrates, where it seems they have some freedom of action still, because they have not been properly defeated by the pro-regime forces.”

.[12/28/17] “there were no plans for U.S. or coalition forces to stop remaining ISIS fighters moving into the west of Syria as they migrate along the Euphrates River Valley in Syria. “We are seeing the movement of limited numbers of ISIS militants westward,” Gedney said. “They seem to be moving with impunity through regime-held territory showing that the regime is either unwilling or unable to to defeat [ISIS] within their borders,” he added.

U.K. Army Maj. Gen. Felix Gedney, Deputy Commander, Strategy and Support, Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve

 

[September 2 2017]

In Syria, IS is still holding on to the fertile and densely populated Euphrates valley between the city of Deir al-Zor and the Iraqi border, an area to which many IS leaders are thought to have withdrawn.

The narrow valley would actually be easier to conquer than the cities, but it is located far from where Kurdish militias are operating as they attack Raqqa with U.S. support. Furthermore, the topography of the valley is advantageous for IS: Both sides are flanked by steppe land and desert, making it easy for the terrorist group to quickly pull back.

Perhaps most importantly, though, fighting Islamic State is well down on the agenda of Syrian ruler Bashar Assad and his Russian and Iranian allies, despite all their claims to the contrary. The jihadists have simply been too beneficial to Assad, allowing him to appear as the lesser of two evils in the eyes of the world.

In Iraq, too, the terrorist army continues to maintain its hold on a vast territory beyond the now embattled stronghold of Tal Afar: the district of Hawija, a region of more than 40 square kilometers of fertile land located southwest of Kirkuk, home to several towns, around 100 villages and tens of thousands of residents.

Hawija was one of Islamic State’s first strongholds in Iraq — and will likely be the last one to fall.

[July 20 2017IS insurgents have infiltrated south of Q-West Airfield from Hawija

636359868903825544-iraq1

Q=West July 19

* Centcom July 20: “Near Qayyarah, four strikes engaged three ISIS tactical units, destroyed a boat, damaged an ISIS-held building and suppressed an ISIS tactical unit.”

Nineveh – 9:20 PM Wednesday 19 07 2017

1- [Iraqi] Military source: Our powerful troops cleansed the village of Imam, west of the south of Al-Qayyarah and took it back from the control of IS forces.

On July 16,near Qayyarah, two strikes engaged two ISIS tactical units and destroyed two ISIS-held buildings.

[July 12 ]

[Centcom July 12] Near Qayyarah, two strikes engaged two ISIS tactical units and destroyed two mortar systems and two vehicles.[Turkish} Five Iraqi soldiers were killed July 11 in clashes with the Daesh terrorist group in Qayyarah district, south of Mosul, according to a military officer.
Army Captain Mohannad al-Shewili said the clashes continued overnight in the Daesh-held Imam Gharbi village. The Islamic State executed on July 11 three fighters belonging to al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces) in the Imam Gharbi village in al-Qayara neighborhood, southern Mosul, a local source told Shafaaq News. Militants, armed with machine guns and mortars, have now seized more than 75 percent of Imam Gharbi, a village on the western bank of the Tigris river some 70 km (44 miles) south of Mosul, and reinforcements are expected, the Iraqi army officer said.[Reuters].

[July 10]

al-Qayara imam gharbi

Reports continue to come in of an ISIS diversionary offensive in a small town south , near Mosul, where the U.S. has a set up Qayyarah Airfield West. The assault on Imam Gharbi village appeared to be the sort of diversionary, guerrilla-style strike Security sources said IS insurgents had infiltrated , some 70 km (44 miles) south of Mosul on the western bank of the Tigris river, on July 5 evening from a pocket of territory still under their control on the eastern bank.

Two Iraqi journalists were reported killed and two others wounded as they covered the security forces’ counter-attack to take back the village on July 7. Islamic State still controls 60% of the Imam Gharbi village in al-Qayara neighborhood located in southern Mosul, which was liberated several months ago.

“Joint military units have managed to liberate 40% only of the Imam Gharbi village after six days from the IS seizure of the village,” the source said.An unknown number of civilians and military were also killed or wounded.

The fighting forced the U.N.-affiliated International Organization for Migration to suspend relief operations at two sites where it houses nearly 80,000 people near Qayyara, just north of Imam Gharbi, a U.N. statement said.

With water trucks no longer able to reach the sites, the displaced people could run short of water at a time of midsummer temperatures well over 40 Celsius (104 Fahrenheit), it said.

The insurgents were still in control of half the village by July 7 evening, security sources said. The offensive was launched from Hawija. Hawija, a backwater to be sure but one encircled by canals which offer some formidable natural defences.

There is also the countryside around Hawija and the open desert along the Syrian border, dotted with villages on the banks of the Euphrates river leading to al Qa’im, a city as big as Hawija and Tal Afar combined, all under ISIS control

[June 21 Next Year, in Mosul ]

161022-a-mf745-019

Q-West airbase

Additional forces from the 82nd Airborne Division will head to the Qayyarah Airfield West, or “Q-West” as the soldiers call it, the official said. U.S. forces have occupied the former Iraqi military base since the summer. Currently, Apache gunships and GPS-guided rocket systems called HIMARS are based there roughly 40 miles south of Mosul to support the ongoing battle for Iraq’s second largest city.

In Hamam al-Alil, 15 miles south of Mosul, a U.S. Army artillery battery has also been supporting the Iraqi-led operation into West Mosul in recent months.

[August 24 2016 Next Year, in Mosul ]

image

Lt. Gen. Townsend

August 22, 2016 @ 12:14 pm WASHINGTON (AP) — The top U.S. commander for the fight against the Islamic State group said August 21 that he is skeptical of any additional military cooperation with Russia in Syria. And he said he believes he can get the mission done without it, outlining new plans to accelerate the pace and scope of the U.S.-led coalition operations to retake the key Islamic State-held cities of Raqqa and Mosul within the next year.

Iraqi officials have suggested they plan to begin the effort to retake Mosul later this fall, and the fight for Raqqa could also start within that timeline. Now they’re just a couple of kilometers away from the town center and about 60 kilometers from Mosul. By the end of the year, they say, they will liberate Iraq’s second-largest metropolitan area seized by ISIS two years ago. Townsend’s vow to have both retaken in the next year only underscores how difficult U.S. commanders believe it will be to drive Islamic State insurgents from those larger, heavily populated strongholds. Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan and commander of the XVIII Airborne Corps based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina,

[April 12 Nothing more from U.S. for Mosul, no,no,no
sunni-shia-kurd_state_crop

United States will not send additional troops and equipment to help the Iraqi Security Forces retake the city of Mosul from the Islamic State without Iraq first addressing sectarian divisions that could threaten to divide the country into Kurdish, Sunni and Shiite territories. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, speaking to press April 11 during a visit to the Goa state in India. Lt. Gen. Sean MacFarland, the commander of the international operation against Islamic State, has said that Iraqi generals do not think they will be able to recapture Mosul until the end of 2016 or early 2017 at the earliest.

Too dum hot

[March 16 Equipment moving from Camp Taji in Baghdad towards Mosul ]

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Iraqi security forces ride in vehicles travelling to Mosul to fight against militants of Islamic State at an Iraqi army base in Camp Taji in Baghdad, February 21, 2016.

[March 6 Northern Iraq is littered with U.S. special operation units ]

March 5
An advanced U.S. Army reconnaissance aircraft crash-landed in a field outside of Irbil in Iraqi Kurdistan on morning of March 4.

. Pictures posted to social media show the downed aircraft surrounded by what appears to be well-armed special operations forces. It is outfitted with the Enhanced Medium Altitude Reconnaissance and Surveillance System, or EMARSS.

The Army flies a small fleet of fixed-wing aircraft that is broken down into three categories: Special Electronic Mission Aircraft, or SEMA, transport aircraft and mission support aircraft. EMARSS-equipped aircraft fall under SEMA.

The EMARSS system consists of a King Air 350ER aircraft equipped with an electro-optic/infra-red (EO/IR) sensor, communications intelligence collection system, an aerial precision geolocation system, line-of-site tactical and beyond line-of-site communications suites, two Distributed Common Ground System-Army (DCGS-A) workstations and a self-protection suite.

It is unclear what the EMARSS-equipped aircraft was doing before the crash. However, northern Iraq is littered with U.S. special operation units, including the Expeditionary Targeting Force, an elite commando unit dispatched to the region to capture and kill Islamic State fighters. While unable to stay in the air as long as drones, manned surveillance aircraft like the MC-12 are integral for missions, such as special operations raids, that require rapid intelligence gathering.

March 1 IS in Iraq “drawing to a close”? ]

 U.S.-led coalition instructors monitor as they train Iraqi soldiers from the army's 72nd infantry brigade while participating in a joint live ammunition exercise at Besmaya military base in south of Baghdad, Iraq, Jan. 27, 2016.


U.S.-led coalition instructors monitor as they train Iraqi soldiers from the army’s 72nd infantry brigade while participating in a joint live ammunition exercise at Besmaya military base in south of Baghdad, Iraq, Jan. 27, 2016.

The Islamic State group’s existence in Iraq looks to be drawing to a close as Pentagon officials confirmed February 29 that U.S.-led coalition forces had commenced operations aimed at driving the terror organization out of its last remaining stronghold in Mosul.
CHRISTOPHER HARRESS @CHARRESS ON 03/01/16

Around 200 U.S. Delta Force troops, in coordination with the Iraqi military, are said to be conducting raids, seizing territory and plotting to rescue hostages and prisoners.
The CIA and other intelligence agencies still use contractors like the former Blackwater or $2.2 billion firm DynCorp and other for paramilitary services. That number of military contractors represents just a fraction of the contractors employed by the U.S. in Iraq. In addition to the 2,028 Pentagon contractors, another 5,800 are employed by other agencies, including the State Department. Many of the contractors in Iraq and neighboring countries are from well known warzone companies like KBR and Fluor Corporation,

Even though Mosul is the final stronghold, the Islamic terror group continues to have small pockets of its fighters dotted across the country, but will no longer have a main base of operations if U.S Special Forces are successful in their current operations. IS currently occupies the city of Fallujah in Anbar province, only 65 kilometers (40 miles) from Baghdad. However, the group is under siege by local Sunni tribesmen who enlisted to help push the group out of the city. United States Defense Department statistics released earlier this month indicate that the number of IS militants in Iraq and Syria had fallen to between 19,000 and 25,000, down from earlier estimates of up to more than 30,000 fighters. It is suspected that IS, commanders especially, are seeking safety in Libya.

[June 10 2015 Extreme summer heat makes retaking Mosul before the fall unlikely ]

[April 16]


IRAQ AND SYRIA: ISIL’S REDUCED OPERATING AREAS AS OF APRIL 2015

Hot in Mosul

Near Bayji, nine airstrikes struck two large and six smaller tactical units, destroyed two ISIL fighting positions and an ISIL heavy machine gun. A U.S. military official said recently the extreme summer heat after Ramadan made any effort to retake Mosul before the fall unlikely.

[April 4 Assault on Tikrit without U.S. planning participation, officials admit]

A vehicle belonging to Shi’ite militia fighters pulls the body of an Islamic State fighter, who was killed during clashes with Iraqi forces, in Tikrit April 1, 2015.

A vehicle belonging to Shi’ite militia fighters pulls the body of an Islamic State fighter, who was killed during clashes with Iraqi forces, in Tikrit April 1, 2015.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi ordered the arrest of looters and for the Shi’ite paramilitaries to withdraw to positions outside of Tikrit Saturday after meeting with officials from Salahuddin province. Government officials have reportedly blamed the looting and violence on local Sunni tribal fighters.
The U.S. military has publicly earmarked Mosul as the next target of the offensive against Islamic State in Iraq. Pentagon officials in February predicted the assault would begin by April or May – a disclosure that should not have been made, U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter later said.
Sunni lawmakers who visited Tikrit complained that events have spun out of control since the security forces and militias retook the city. Parliamentarian Mutashar al-Samarrai credited the government with orchestrating a smooth entrance into Tikrit. But he said that some Shi’ite paramilitary factions had exploited the situation. “I believe this happened on purpose to disrupt the government’s achievement in Tikrit,” Samarrai said. “This is a struggle between the (paramilitaries) and the government for control.” The assault on Tikrit was launched without any planning participation by Washington, U.S. officials have admitted.

[March 30 Tikrit: U.S. denies airstrikes March 22-24]

US soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 22nd Regiment of the 4th Infantry Division, ride on a military vehicle as they leave their base on a mission in Tikrit, 180 Kilometers north of Iraqi capital Baghdad, 30 December 2003.

US soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 22nd Regiment of the 4th Infantry Division, ride on a military vehicle as they leave their base on a mission in Tikrit, 180 Kilometers north of Iraqi capital Baghdad, 30 December 2003.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard says a U.S. drone strike killed two of its advisers near the Iraqi city of Tikrit, where a major offensive is underway against the Islamic State group, but the U.S. said March 30 its coalition conducted no airstrikes in the area during the time of the incident.

[March 27 Washington demanded the withdrawal of Shi’ite militias]
Iraqi special forces advanced on central Tikrit on March 26 as U.S.-led coalition planes joined the largest offensive yet against Islamic State militants holding out in Saddam Hussein’s home city. Coalition jets launched their first air strikes against Islamic State targets in Tikrit on March 25, coming off the sidelines to aid Iraqi forces against the Sunni Islamist militants.
Underlying the complex web of loyalties behind the conflict, a senior U.S. general said Washington had demanded the withdrawal of Iranian-backed Shi’ite militias fighting alongside Iraq’s government before agreeing to take part.

List of former U.S bases near Tikrit 2093 -2006
Camp Buffalo (Tikrit)
Camp Cougar (Tikrit)
Camp Ironhorse / FOB Danger (Tikrit)
Camp Raider / FOB Dagger (Tikrit)
FOB Omaha Tikrit
FOB Packhorse Tikrit
OB Remagen Tikrit Tikrit South Air Base
COB Speicher, located near Tikrit, Iraq

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French in Manbij from Army Times

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the U.S. troops are seen in Oshkosh M-ATVs and regular Humvees, while their French counterparts appear to be driving Nexter Aravis infantry mobility vehicles. Additionally, one of the French trucks is spotted with a satellite communications antenna flared out on top of the roof.

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U.S. in Yemen:“limited non-combat support, such as intelligence sharing”

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Twelve Green Berets were deployed to the border in December 2017 “helping locate and destroy” training sites and missiles of the Houthis. The operation includes “limited non-combat support, such as intelligence sharing,” according to Major Adrian Rankine-Galloway. There are also US intelligence experts in the southern Saudi city of Najran that have been working with Saudi troops.

[October 13 2016   Yemen’s Chinese-made C-801 missiles answered by Tomahawk cruise missiles   ]

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Chinese copy of Exocet

 

Sea-launched Tomahawk cruise missiles were fired and originated in a direct response to situations that threaten freedom of navigation from the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Nitze, but the number of missiles fired were not confirmed , citing security reasons    The original Yemeni attacks appeared to target the Arleigh-Burke class destroyer USS Mason, which has been patrolling near the Bab-el-Mandeb strait, and the amphibious transport dock USS Ponce, also in the region.
Ansar Allah, the Yemeni group that ousted the country’s president last year, claimed on 26 October 2015 that it had sunk a naval vessel off the coast of Taizz province using an anti-ship missile. Al-Masirah’s footage of the missile being launched was shot at night, making it impossible to identify the system involved. However, it did appear to show a booster motor dropping away from the missile after the launch, which is consistent with the Chinese-made C-801 missile [ said to be derived from the French Exocet missile] that is in service with the Yemeni Navy.

 

The anti-ship missile attack on USS Mason October 9 while it patrolled the southern Red Sea was answered. in total, by two SM-2 Standard surface-to-air missiles and an Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) during the engagement. It also popped off Nulka decoys.

 

[March 8 Yemen: Peace talks – “85 percent of Yemen free of Houthi militia control”]

On March 8, Brigadier-General Masoud Jazayeri, deputy chief of staff of the Iranian armed forces, suggested Iran could support the Houthis in a similar way it has backed President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in Syria.
“The Islamic Republic felt its duty to help the Syrian government and nation. It also feels its duty to help the people of Yemen in any way it can, and to any level necessary.”
A delegation from the Houthi group is in Saudi Arabia for talks on ending Yemen’s war, two senior officials say, in what appears to be the most serious attempt to date to end the conflict. The visit, reported on March 8,is the first of its kind since the war began in March last year between Iran-allied Houthi forces and an Arab military coalition led by Saudi Arabia. The visit began on March 7 at the invitation of Saudi authorities, following a week of secret preparatory talks, said the two senior officials from the administrative body that runs parts of Yemen controlled by the Houthis
Army and resistance of the people of Yemen has freed more than 85 percent of Yemen Houthi militia control. Yemeni President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi said in an exclusive interview with Saudi Gazette newspaper, Thursday (03/03/2016) The President expressed confidence that Sanaa, taken by Houthi, will be released after the liberation of Taiz and Hudaidah.
[February 12 2011 Yemen: Students march in Sanaa, “After Mubarak, it’s Ali’s turn.”

President Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen

President Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen

Major General Ahmed al-Ashwal, Yemeni Army's Chief of Staff

Major General Ahmed al-Ashwal, Yemeni Army’s Chief of Staff

On February 2, 2011, President Field Marshall Ali Abdullah Saleh announced that he will not seek reelection in 2013
A February 12 march in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, calling Saleh to leave office was attacked by government supporters,
of President Field Marshall Saleh, who has been in power since 1978, who forced anti-government protesters from the centre of Sanaa.

Several thousand protesters had gathered chanting: “After Mubarak, it’s Ali’s turn.”

Supporters of the president, armed with traditional Yemeni knives and sticks, turned up and forced the protesters, many of them students, to flee.

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Syria: U.S. to Liberate Hajin, Middle Euphrates Valley

The Kurdish fighters have been returning to the SDF since Turkey seized Afrin, Pentagon officials have said.

“We are encouraged by the return of some Syrian Democratic Force partners to the Middle Euphrates River Valley,” coalition spokesman Col. Ryan Dillon told reporters last week. “I will not go into details on how many and where there will be a raid, but there are some encouraging signs to see that more combat power is returning to the Middle Euphrates River Valley to really turn it on to the ISIS element, those two locations that finally remain.” On Tuesday, April 24 U.S. Army Colonel and Coalition spokesman Ryan Dillon told reporters that most of those are confined to two small towns—Hajin and Dashisha—which are surrounded by Kurdish forces.

 

[ April 25  Iraqi airstrike near Hajin   ]

 

deirezzor hajin

Hajin

“We have put obstacles into place and have constructed, you know, things to contain ISIS in the two areas where we are currently supporting our forces to defeat the remaining locations where they hold territory.

And that is in Dashisha, along the Iraq-Syria border, and in Abu Kamal — north of Abu Kamal, on the eastern side of the Euphrates River, in a town called Hajin.”
This week, the Iraqi Air Force conducted a strike on a known ISIS headquarters in Syria that was being used to smuggle ISIS terrorists. This complex operation was planned and conducted by Iraqi security forces, with support provided by coalition. This strike demonstrated Iraq’s willingness to do what is necessary to secure its citizens, as well as their role as an important partner in the global coalition to defeat ISIS.
On April 19 The Iraqi air force conducted an airstrike near Hajin, Syria, against Islamic State of Iraq and Syria terrorists operating near the Iraq-Syria border.
The strike was approved by the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, the commander in chief of Iraq’s armed forces.

[ February 8  U.S. airstrikes in Khusham where the Turkish forces are accompanied by U.S. troops   ]

The Wagner Group also known as PMC Wagner, ChVK Wagner, or CHVK Vagner is a Russian paramilitary organisation. Some have described it as a private military company (or a private military contracting agency), whose contractors have reportedly taken part in various conflicts

The Syrian Democratic Forces have managed to capture much of Syria’s oil and gas infrastructure after ejecting ISIS from those areas. US officials believe that the regime, strapped for cash after a nearly eight-year-long civil war, hopes to recapture the oil fields and simultaneously deny the Syrian Democratic Forces a source of revenue and legitimacy.
The US-led coalition said in a statement that they assessed that Wednesday’s attack by pro-regime forces was aimed at recapturing some of these oil fields.
To complicate matters, two US defense officials told CNN that the US military now assesses that Russian contractors, believed to be funded by the Russian government, participated in Wednesday’s assault.

 

Screenshot 2018-02-08 at 11.03.28 AM

America launched airstrikes on Syrian government-backed troops February 7 after they attacked Syrian opposition forces who were accompanied by U.S. advisers in Deir el-Zour Province.   The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), aided by coalition support, are battling Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants east of the Euphrates River. Syrian government forces are active on the other side of the river around the city of Deir el-Zour.

The U.S. coalition launched the strikes after as many as 500 attackers began what appeared to be a coordinated assault on an SDF headquarters, where the Turkish forces are accompanied by U.S. troops.

 

[September 30 in operations against ISIS in Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor province, U.S. retains right of self-defense at all times. ]

Screenshot 2017-09-30 at 7.53.13 PM - Edited

Mayadeen, Boukamal, Bouleil, Bouomar and Mushassan

Airstrikes on villages and towns held by the Islamic State group in eastern Syria have killed and wounded dozens a day after an attack by the extremists killed more than 120 pro-government fighters and briefly cut off the highway linking the capital Damascus with eastern Syria, opposition activists said September 30.

It was not immediately clear if the airstrikes on areas including Mayadeen, Boukamal, Bouleil, Bouomar and Mushassan were carried out by the Russians or the U.S.-led coalition.

 

 

deirezzor

Deir ez-Zur to Al-Suwar

In Deir ez-Zor province, the SDF continued deliberate movement towards the Syria-Iraq border and have reached the town of Al-Suwar, liberating more than 1,000 square kilometers along the way, said Major Adrian Rankine-Galloway, Pentagon Spokesman on September 28.

The flow of displaced civilians traveling north and west fluctuates from 500 to over 2,000 per day as the fighting in the province intensifies. The SDF prioritizes IDP safe passage to camps in Ar-Rashi, Mabrouka and as far away as Ayn Issa.

Checkpoints along main travel ways ensure roads are clear from common criminals, as well as ISIS fighters attempting to harm or infiltrate these group of evacuees.

On September 25, Russian-backed Syrian regime forces conducted artillery strike in the vicinity of SDF fighting position northeast of Deir ez-Zor. The SDF immediately reported the impacts in their area, and later announced casualties. This week, our coalition mourned the loss of one of our own, a master sergeant from the French army’s 13th Dragoons Parachute Regiment was killed during combat operations in support of our fight against ISIS.

Coalition officials immediately passed SDF and impact locations to the Russians through the de-confliction line, with the intent to inform Syrian regime forces of impacts on or near SDF positions.

The coalition and its partners remain committed to the defeat of ISIS, and we will continue to use the de-confliction line as a means to prevent accidental targeting and to ease tensions.

The coalition is committed to our SDF partners in their operations against ISIS in Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor province, and we retain the right of self-defense at all times.

A Marine MV-22B made a hard landing September 29 in Syria. The downing resulted in non-life-threatening injuries to two unidentified service member. It was operating from a coalition ground base and was destroyed following the hard landing.    U.S. military officials and SDF commanders told VOA on March 21 that an airbase in Kobani will be the headquarters for U.S.-led coalition operations to retake Raqqa.

Screenshot 2017-09-30 at 9.09.11 AM

Mayadin to Ashara, Syria

 

On September 14, two airstrikes in Syria targeted IS drone developer Abu Salman near Mayadin and destroyed his research lab in Ashara, Syria.

Salman and “a terrorist associate” were killed while traveling in a vehicle from Mayadin to Ashara.

 

 

September 21 SDF warns against Assad advances on eastern Euphrates riverbank,has twice opened fire on Russian special forces.]

hasakah

Raqqah to Al Hasakah

The Russian Defence Ministry said the SDF had taken up positions on the eastern banks of the Euphrates with U.S. special forces, and had twice opened fire with mortars and artillery on Syrian troops who were working alongside Russian special forces.

“A representative of the U.S. military command in Al Udeid (the U.S. operations center in Qatar) was told in no uncertain terms that any attempts to open fire from areas where SDF fighters are located would be quickly shut down,” Major-General Igor Konashenkov said in a statement.

[September 20]

The Syrian army, backed by Russian and Syrian war planes, has made wide advances along the Euphrates’ western riverbank.    Syrian troops also crossed to the eastern side of the river on September 18.

The SDF’s advances have been on the eastern bank of the river.

The convergence of the two rival offensives has increased tensions in Deir al-Zor. On Monday, the US-backed militia warned against any further Syrian army advances on the eastern riverbank.

On September 19, Russia’s defence ministry said the Euphrates had risen as soon as the Syrian army began crossing it. The only way that could have happened was if upstream dams held by the US-backed opposition had been opened, it said.

[September 15 U.S. to press on southbound around Deir Ezzor ]

Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve has decided to press on southbound around Deir Ezzor which could end up isolating ISIS militants trapped between the western Syrian military front and the country’s eastern border with Iraq, where forces supported by both the U.S. and Iran are also battling ISIS. Army Colonel Ryan Dillon, a spokesman for the anti-ISIS Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve, said September 15 that the U.S.-led coalition had decided not to enter the eastern city of Deir Ezzor, where Syrian troops recently broke an ISIS siege against comrades trapped behind enemy lines for three years. A separate campaign by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces has also pierced through ISIS territory toward Deir Ezzor, but will reportedly stop at the city’s limits “so as not to complicate” the already crowded conflict.

Bassem Aziz, a spokesman for the US-backed and Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, said they have taken control of an industrial area on the eastern bank of the river, a few miles from the government troops.   Mr Aziz said they were about four miles away from the city’s eastern entrance.

“The convergence of military forces in this area calls for increased awareness and de-confliction,” Dillon said.    Two Russian submarines launched seven Kalibr cruise missiles September 15 targeting ISIS positions in Deir Ezzor, The submarines were the Kilo-class  diesel-electric Velikiy Novgorod and Kolpino boats.

vasili

Velikiy Novgorod

 

[September 14 SDF and the Syrian troops to clash? ]

RUSSIAN air strikes have killed 34 civilians on ferries fleeing violence in Syria’s eastern province of Deir Ezzor, where jihadists face separate assaults by US-backed forces and Russian-backed government troops, a monitor said. The Observatory relies on a network of sources inside Syria, and says it determines whose planes carry out raids according to type, location, flight patterns and munitions used

Deir Ezzor (Syria News) US-led coalition warplanes bombarded, September 10, a military convoy belonging to the Syrian army, east of Deir Ezzor.

Qasioun News reported that the international coalition warplanes bombarded a military convoy belonging to the Syrian army and allied militia, near al-Tayem oil field, east of Deir Ezzor,

The United States and Russia are interested in avoiding a confrontation between the SDF and the Syrian forces and can devise a strategy that will allow both sides to share control over the vast province.

United States officials have suggested they do not seek a confrontation with Assad’s forces.

“We are in the destruction-ISIS activity, and this is what we want to do, and if the Syrian regime wants to do it … and show that they do it exactly at Abu Kamal or Deir el-Zour or elsewhere, this means we do not have to do it in these places, “said coalition spokesman Col. Ryan Dillon in June, referring to a city on the Iraqi border and using a different acronym for IS.

The only way left for the SDF to enter the eastern province appears to be from the northeastern province of Hassakeh, where Syrian activists say the U.S.-backed fighters have been gathering and stepping up preparations for an attack.

A U.S.-trained group, the Deir el-Zour Military Council, which is part of the SDF, is expected to launch the attack against IS in Deir el-Zour under the cover of airstrikes by the U.S.-led coalition within days. SDF officials say the imminent attack is not related to government forces reaching the city earlier this week, and was planned months in advance.

Syrian Kurdish official Nawaf Khalil, who is in Germany but frequently visits northern Syria, said the SDF attack on Deir el-Zour could begin at any moment, adding that the battle for Raqqa now no longer needs a large number of fighters.

The US-led coalition in struggle against IS said in an email to The Associated Press that the SDF “will decide when conditions are good for an offensive.”

Asked about concerns over possible confrontation between the SDF and the Syrian troops, the coalition said: “We urge all forces to focus on our common enemy.”

[September 8 Stately Balloon: SFA to capture Lower Euphrates Valley ]

 

syria humvee

 

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson appears to working with Russia to stabilize Syria.   Tillerson believes he’s making some quiet progress on  Syria.   The real danger to Russian interests is increasing Iranian power there, especially as Bashar Assad’s regime regains control of Deir el-Zour in eastern Syria. To counter the Iranians, Tillerson supports a quick move by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces to capture the Lower Euphrates Valley.

This bilateral approach creates more room for spoilers to enter the fray, especially with militias active on both sides of the conflict such as the Lebanese Hezbollah or the Iraqi Abu Fadl al-Abbas Brigades and Asaib Ahl al-Haq backing the regime and multinational groups fighting against it. Competing interests between the different parties on the ground mean that those not benefitting from local arrangements have an incentive to undermine them.

  • Syrian Democratic Forces
  • قوات سوريا الديمقراطية‎
  • Hêzên Sûriya Demokratîk
  • ܚܝ̈ܠܘܬܐ ܕܣܘܪܝܐ ܕܝܡܩܪܛܝܬܐ
  • Participant in the Syrian Civil War

 

[10/06/16 Putin pressing his advantage in Syria]

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North Aleppo situation

 

 

 

Mr. Obama has repeatedly refused to involve US forces in the Mideast more robustly, and even if he’s had a change of heart, his administration is drawing to a close. Mr. Putin appears to recognize those facts and is pressing his advantage in Syria while it remains.
“At this point, the US doesn’t have it in its power to offer the Russians anything in Syria that they would find worthwhile,” Yezid Sayigh, senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment’s Middle East Center in Beirut. says. “There just is nothing that will get the two [powers] back on track anytime soon.”

 

[June 3 2015 Syria: government mood is black ]

A diplomat who tracks Syria said the tone reflected a new government willingness to admit vulnerability.
“It’s a change in their attitude,” the diplomat said. “The general mood is black.”
The deputy head of Israel’s armed forces said this week the Syrian military had “ceased to exist, de facto”, while Hezbollah was investing in thousands of its fighters in Syria. The previous assumptions that Assad could not be defeated due to his superior military strength underpinned by the air force were no longer valid, the diplomat said. The insurgents were building on their momentum and had more recruits.
“For every 100 soldiers lost by the regime, there are not 100 more coming in,” the diplomat said.

June 2 Assad regime is disintegrating: Russia has evacuated 100 of its senior officials]

Russia has evacuated 100 of its senior officials and their families from Syria via the airport in Latakia. They said that those leaving include experts who worked in the war room in Damascus, along with the Iranian experts and Hezbollah officials. According to the report, they have not been replaced. Syrian opposition sources say that Hezbollah and Iranian military experts have left Assad’s war room in Damascus, along with Russian experts.
There have been increasing signs in recent days that the Assad regime is disintegrating, four years into the civil war that has engulfed Syria. Last week, the Syrian president lost control of another province, which comes on the heels of previous reports that Islamic State already controls more than 50% of the country. here has been a noticeable change in the Russian position toward Syria that Moscow is for the first time willing to discuss with the Americans the exact details of a transition period for the country, and even raise the names of individual military and political officials to oversee it.
After four years of war, the regime controls less than 8% percent of the country’s oil and gas fields, while Islamic State controls more than 80% percent.

http://wp.me/p1kUZv-3U

[June 27 2013 Syria: Damascus Christian area bomb]

French mandate 1920-26 partitions

French mandate 1920-26 partitions

A suicide attacker blew himself up near one of the main churches in Damascus,the Syrian capital June 27, killing at least four people.
The blast struck in the vicinity of the Greek Orthodox Virgin Mary Church in the predominantly Christian neighborhood of Bab Sharqi in central Damascus. Is partition coming.

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Drones to Greece?

 

 

 

lafrisa ab

American Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), or drones, are expected to start operating at the Larissa Air Force base within the month of May, after nearly five years of diplomatic and military discussions.

 

[April 16 Not used in strike:’we could move out of Incirlik tomorrow’ ]

 

 

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Informal restrictions by the Turkish military that make using the runway at Incirlik difficult, along with a deteriorating relationship between the two governments, have contributed to a decision to scale back operations at the base, officials say. Permanent cutbacks could be in the works. In 2007, “Seventy percent of the air cargo, American air cargo, going into Iraq goes through Turkey. Seventy percent of the fuel that goes in for our forces goes in … through Turkey …
“For those who are concerned that we get as many of these mine-resistant ambush-protected heavy vehicles into Iraq as possible, 95 percent of those vehicles today are being flown into Iraq through Turkey.”

[April 15]

Continuing tension puts in doubt Centcom’s ability to use its airbase in Turkey near the Syrian border at Incirlik.   Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said the strikes had not been launched via Turkey’s southern Incirlik air base.

“Turkey was informed ahead of the attack,” he wrote on Twitter. “The Incirlik base was not used in the attack.”

“This relationship was born in the Cold War, and they’ve spent 25 years after the fall of the Soviet Union looking for a new rationale,” Bulent Aliriza, director of the Turkey project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington said, October 10, 2017. “But we could move out of Incirlik tomorrow. It is far less important in the fight against ISIS than it was during the Gulf War.”

 

In a statement on Saturday, April 14, the Foreign Ministry termed the airstrikes as an “appropriate response”.

“We welcome this operation which has eased humanity’s conscience in the face of the attack in Douma, largely suspected to have been carried out by the regime,” the ministry said.

[July 21 2017 US deployed 3 more A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft to Incirlik airbase, Turkey]

a10cockpit

A-10 cockpit

US deployed 3 more A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft to Incirlik airbase, Turkey from Georgia. The total number rises from 12 to 15. “With the U2 we’re able to get out there, find those guys and track them,” said another pilot, Maj. Matt. “Then we get that information back to the fighters and bombers, so that way when they go out there they’ve got the best intel, the best information about where they are and can do what needs to be done.” Drones also play a major role. From the massive Global Hawk that can stay in the air for well over 24 hours to the smaller predator and reaper unmanned aerial vehicles, all these platforms contribute to what is a gigantic airborne surveillance

 

[July 19 U.S. to Turks: “very concerned if officials from a NATO ally would” …release sensitive information.” ]

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Anadolu Agency published a map Wednesday July 19 showing 10 locations where it says U.S. troops are located. The posts span a stretch of northern Syria controlled by Syrian Kurdish forces that the U.S. supports but Turkey considers terrorists.
The U.S. doesn’t disclose where U.S.-led coalition forces in Syria are, for security reasons. The Pentagon says it can’t independently determine where Anadolu got the information. But spokesman Eric Pahon says the U.S. would be “very concerned if officials from a NATO ally would purposefully endanger our forces by releasing sensitive information.”
Pahon says that can disrupt efforts to defeat the Islamic State group.

[July 20} The news article that contained the map was based on the agency’s “own newsgathering network,” insisting that the government had not given “the information or directed the agency.”
Kalin says Turkey has no “thought or intention that would endanger the lives of our allies’ soldiers.”

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