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Author: TriSec    Date: 03/14/2017 12:55:51

Good Morning.

Since it seems that's going to be our next war, we'll take a closer look at Syria today. Some weeks ago now, I noted that Russia had called for peace talks, as it seems that the power vacuum in Washington has made such a thing possible.


Unfortunately, the Kremlin was no better at this than any such trumpian talks would have been, and the process has recently collapsed.


MOSCOW/ASTANA (Reuters) - Russian-led peace talks on Syria were derailed on Tuesday as rebels backed by Turkey boycotted a third round of meetings in Kazakhstan and the Kremlin indicated there were international divisions over the process.

Russia, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's most powerful ally, said the rebels' reasons for staying away were unconvincing and their decision came as a surprise. Describing the rebels as Turkish proxies, the Syrian government envoy said Ankara had broken "its commitments" to the Astana process.

The rebels said on Tuesday they would not attend the talks, scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, because of what they called Russia's unwillingness to end air strikes on rebel-held areas and its failure to get the Syrian army and Iranian-backed militia to abide by a ceasefire.

Russia has sought to revive diplomacy over Syria since its air force helped government forces defeat rebel groups in eastern Aleppo in December, Assad's biggest victory of the war.

The cooperation of Turkey, one of the main backers of rebel groups fighting in northern Syria, has been crucial to the Russian diplomatic effort, helping to broker a ceasefire in December after the rebels' Aleppo defeat.

Two previous rounds of Astana talks have sought to consolidate that ceasefire, reflecting an improvement in Russian-Turkish ties that had been strained to breaking point by the Syrian war.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the Russian Defence Ministry was in touch with Syrian rebel leaders who boycotted the talks, the Interfax news agency reported. He said Russia was dealing with the situation.

The Kremlin spokesman described the talks as hugely complex. "Sometimes the situation at these talks is really complicated because of substantial differences in approaches of various countries," Dmitry Peskov said during a conference call.

"The work continues," he said.


You're probably aware that we recently sent a few hundred Marines into Syria for whatever reason. Predictably, Bashir Al-Assad has called them invaders. But reading the story, something gave me pause - he said it's still a possibility for us to work together against ISIS. That should give you pause as well. He's calling us invaders, but even ISIS is still that vile.


Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has called US forces deployed in Syria "invaders" but said he saw promise in US President Donald Trump's vow to prioritise the fight against ISIL.

About 500 US troops are in Syria in support of the campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS).

The US-led coalition is currently backing a campaign by its Syrian militia allies to encircle and ultimately capture Raqqa, ISIL's base of operations in Syria.

Assad, in an interview with Chinese TV station Phoenix that was published by Syria's state television SANA on Saturday, said Trump's "rhetoric" has not resulted in "anything concrete yet".

"We have hopes that this administration in the United States is going to implement what we have heard," he said.

Asked about a deployment of US forces near the northern city of Manbij that is held by US-backed rebels, Assad said: "Any foreign troops coming to Syria without our invitation ... are invaders. We don't think this is going to help."

Assad dismissed the US-backed military campaign against ISIL in Syria as "only a few raids", and said a more comprehensive approach was needed.

The president noted the Russian-backed Syrian army was now "very close" to Raqqa city after advancing to the western banks of the Euphrates River this week - a rapid gain that has brought it to the frontier of areas held by US-backed forces.


But of course, we're also teetering on the brink of something much larger here. The last time US and Russian (nee Soviet) troops were in the same city was at Torgau in Germany. Who knows what might 'accidentally' happen here?


WASHINGTON — The U.S. military's "reassurance and deterrence" mission in the Syrian city of Manbij is achieving its goal of preventing key American allies from battling one another, the Pentagon said Monday, but what's already a tense situation could become more complicated with the arrival of Russian troops and continued advances by Turkish-backed rebels.

Fewer than 100 elite Army Rangers are in Manbij to keep the peace between Syrian Kurdish forces and those loyal to Turkey, said Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman. Russian troops are there providing security for humanitarian convoys that have entered the war-torn city, a development he called unsurprising in light of last week's high-level talks between the senior-most military commanders from Russia, Turkey and the U.S.

The Americans and Russians have had no close interaction on the ground, Davis said. Moscow, he added, has "kept us abreast of their operations" in Manbij, but the two militaries do not coordinate in Syria. Rather, the Pentagon prefers the term "deconflict."

The dynamic in Syria is deeply complex. U.S. troops there are focused on training and assisting local forces fighting the Islamic State. Their presence has swelled to around 1,000 in recent weeks with the addition of a Marine Corps artillery unit focused on the ISIS capital of Raqqa and the Army Rangers sent to Manbij. The Russians are backing Syrian President Bashar al Assad, whose military continues to battle rebel groups seeking to oust him from power.

Meanwhile, Turkey's president has called for the liberation of Manbij from the Kurds. Ankara considers the Kurds to be terrorists linked to a militant group responsible for carrying out deadly attacks across the border.

Video posted to social media from Manbij shows the Americans' armored vehicles — a mix of Strykers, humvees and mine-resistant tactical trucks — sitting idle or traveling in convoys. "They tend to find a place to park, and look out and watch," Davis said of the Rangers' mission. "They are, for the most part, static, but they do move."


So, we're already in survival mode with this rapidly-fizzling "Nonstorm" today; I guess we could survive for a few days after a near-miss of a low-yield weapon. With Mr. Trump in charge - anything is possible.


 

44 comments (Latest Comment: 03/14/2017 21:28:46 by Raine)
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Comment by trojanrabbit on 03/14/2017 13:05:26
Good morning.

We aren't digging out yet. Harcourt Fenton Mudd's wife is just getting here. The worst comes between 10 and 2. Possible change to rain in the afternoon. Yuk.

Comment by Raine on 03/14/2017 13:07:24



This was the awesome from Seth Myers!





Comment by trojanrabbit on 03/14/2017 13:36:57
The office is closed and we're expected to work from home. Not much I can do here, except maybe some cleanup of files and what-not. Sophie doesn't want anything to do with me, not used to having me around during the day.

Comment by Mondobubba on 03/14/2017 13:44:47
In other weather news, it is just flat out raw and nasty here. Rained all day yesterday, it is clearing off today with unseasonably cool temps. This means I get to watch people act that 59 is the end of the friggin' world. I will see teenage girls in a shorts, flip flops and hoodie whine about how cold it is!

Comment by Mondobubba on 03/14/2017 14:10:32
So, who has found an appliance spying on them?

Comment by trojanrabbit on 03/14/2017 14:19:47
Quote by Mondobubba:
So, who has found an appliance spying on them?


It's always been known that the early TiVo's (the Philips ones with the IR "eye" on the front) spied on its users.

Even though Amazon says their Echo and Dot only "spy" on you when it hears its name (Alexa), would you trust Jeff Bezos?

Microwave ovens operate on the same frequency as wi-fi. They now contain special circuitry to log on to your ISP and when you talk you modulate the microwaves in the oven by speaking near it. VOILA.....Obama and George Soros hear everything you say.

Comment by Mondobubba on 03/14/2017 14:27:53
Quote by trojanrabbit:
Quote by Mondobubba:
So, who has found an appliance spying on them?


It's always been known that the early TiVo's (the Philips ones with the IR "eye" on the front) spied on its users.

Even though Amazon says their Echo and Dot only "spy" on you when it hears its name (Alexa), would you trust Jeff Bezos?

Microwave ovens operate on the same frequency as wi-fi. They now contain special circuitry to log on to your ISP and when you talk you modulate the microwaves in the oven by speaking near it. VOILA.....Obama and George Soros hear everything you say.


I'm getting suspicious of my Roku.

Comment by trojanrabbit on 03/14/2017 14:37:08
I mean...would you trust THIS???

http://i137.photobucket.com/albums/q225/trojanrabbit74/philips%20tivo_zps4nccjp2c.jpg


Comment by Mondobubba on 03/14/2017 14:41:01
Quote by trojanrabbit:
I mean...would you trust THIS???

http://i137.photobucket.com/albums/q225/trojanrabbit74/philips%20tivo_zps4nccjp2c.jpg



That is one shifty looking appliance.

Comment by Mondobubba on 03/14/2017 14:41:38
I know my cable box is spying on me. It turns on and off in the middle of the night.

Comment by Raine on 03/14/2017 14:52:56


Comment by Raine on 03/14/2017 14:56:20



Comment by Raine on 03/14/2017 14:57:31





Comment by TriSec on 03/14/2017 15:00:33
Well, they have moved on to towing cars now. Given that our mayor declares a snow emergency anytime the temperature drops below 40, I am continually surprised that anyone has left their car out there. We haven't figured this out yet?



Comment by TriSec on 03/14/2017 15:01:10
Quote by Mondobubba:
So, who has found an appliance spying on them?


I once screamed at a lightbulb because I thought it was rigged.


Comment by Mondobubba on 03/14/2017 15:07:43
Quote by Raine:



Wear the black shoes, git. Also, invest in some shoe polish for the brown ones. I'm sure there is shoe shine stand in the Trump hotel up the street.
Also also, who is your tailor? They committed a crime against pants break there, Bunny Spice.

Comment by Mondobubba on 03/14/2017 15:51:37
Comment by Will in Chicago on 03/14/2017 16:06:57
Hello, bloggers!!

I am home today. We are getting about 10 inches of snow in Northwest Indiana. I had to run out earlier. The snow is up to my ankles already.

I think that Trump is finding that wanting the presidency and having it are two very different things.

Comment by Raine on 03/14/2017 16:19:23

This is hysterical!

Comment by Mondobubba on 03/14/2017 16:22:39
Quote by Raine:

This is hysterical!


My inner 12-year old is giggling.

Comment by TriSec on 03/14/2017 16:24:12
Comment by BobR on 03/14/2017 16:27:38

but they only plow for 5 minutes before moving on...

Comment by BobR on 03/14/2017 16:29:28
Quote by TriSec:
And in an Ask a Vet bonus click, we've got a baseball bat near a hornet's nest right now.

Are they going to shoot it out of the air? That should go over well with les enfant terribles

Comment by Mondobubba on 03/14/2017 16:30:43
Quote by BobR:

but they only plow for 5 minutes before moving on...





Comment by Scoopster on 03/14/2017 16:35:45
THIS IS PVD BASE REPORTING

This is some ugly lookin stuff. Probably gonna all turn to ice.

Comment by Scoopster on 03/14/2017 16:40:07
Comment by trojanrabbit on 03/14/2017 16:47:27
I find it incredibly amusing that The "Weather" Channel waves their arms and hypes themselves as they name winter storms, while their iPhone app DOESN'T WORK

Useless asses.


Comment by TriSec on 03/14/2017 17:06:21


So? Fuck them.

The 2016 United States presidential election in Montana was won by Republican Donald Trump and running mate Mike Pence, on November 8, 2016, with 56.6% of the vote, as part of the 2016 general election. Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine received 33.2% of the vote

Comment by wickedpam on 03/14/2017 17:11:42
Afternoon all


Comment by TriSec on 03/14/2017 17:48:16
Ready for a 2pm showing at the TriSec Compound!

http://images.mentalfloss.com/sites/default/files/styles/insert_main_wide_image/public/579875huk.png


Comment by Raine on 03/14/2017 17:49:32
Quote by wickedpam:
Afternoon all

Hi MAla!

Are you at work today?

Comment by trojanrabbit on 03/14/2017 17:57:37
Round 1 of snow removal complete.

Maybe 4", mostly sleet now.

Comment by Mondobubba on 03/14/2017 18:03:12
Comment by Raine on 03/14/2017 18:09:16

I should make a diorama honouring the Bowlingf green massacre.

Comment by Raine on 03/14/2017 18:09:38
Or peeps punching nazi's.

Comment by Mondobubba on 03/14/2017 18:11:02
Quote by Raine:
Or peeps punching nazi's.


Oh an Indiana Peep thing...

Comment by Raine on 03/14/2017 18:15:54
Quote by Mondobubba:
Quote by Raine:
Or peeps punching nazi's.


Oh an Indiana Peep thing...

I was thinking of Spencer coming out of his building in Old Town


Comment by Mondobubba on 03/14/2017 18:24:59
Quote by Raine:
Quote by Mondobubba:
Quote by Raine:
Or peeps punching nazi's.


Oh an Indiana Peep thing...

I was thinking of Spencer coming out of his building in Old Town


Or that! Yes, that.


Comment by Raine on 03/14/2017 18:32:07



Comment by Raine on 03/14/2017 18:55:25



Comment by Mondobubba on 03/14/2017 19:02:58
Quote by Raine:



John Oliver pointed that on on Sundee. No insurance company has taken up the offer in the three states that allow it. Because it cost a crap ton of money to set up a network of doctors, hospitals, labs and other things involved.

Comment by livingonli on 03/14/2017 19:28:51
So the storm track of move so instead of a foot and a half of snow, we are going to end up with 6 inches of a slushy mess. It's actually been above freezing the last few hours, although the wind still makes if feel cold in here even with the heat on.

Comment by TriSec on 03/14/2017 20:42:55
Meh. A "Trained Spotter" has measured 10 inches in Waltham. By my observation, it looks more like about 5 or 6, plus it feels warm out.

File under "Fizzle".



Comment by Raine on 03/14/2017 21:28:46
Quote by TriSec:
Meh. A "Trained Spotter" has measured 10 inches in Waltham. By my observation, it looks more like about 5 or 6, plus it feels warm out.

File under "Fizzle".

My sisters and friends got (getting) slammed in the Hudson Valley and the Berkshires.