DEFENCE COUNCIL MEETING. Putin's and Shoygu's statements. Putin: Russia in Syria for self defence; some "Free Syrian Army" fighters cooperating; Russian forces instructed to cooperate with the US coalition and with Israel; any threats to Russian operations to be "destroyed immediately". Shoygu describes improvements, changes and equipping of the Armed Forces. The take-away point: Russia is preparing for war either nuclear or conventional. Not that it wants war: 17 years later, we come to what George Kennan warned us about: "The Russians will gradually react quite adversely... I think it is a tragic mistake. There was no reason for this whatsoever. No one was threatening anybody else". We've made them our enemy and a far more capable one than was assumed when NATO was so casually expanded.
MUST READ. Results of many meetings and discussions with Russians. Long but informative on many levels. Unfortunately consumers of the WMSM's trash will never hear of it.
HAVE A LAUGH. RT amuses itself with a witty video exposing how it really works (if you believe Western officials, that is). Also laughs at the latest manifestation of Putin Derangement Syndrome.
ASSAD. Kerry has just said that Washington doesn't seek regime change; so is that the end of "Assad must go" and victory for Moscow? Or will it dissolve away in the ungoverned confusion of Washington?
UNGOVERNED CONFUSION? Consider what US officials say about oil smuggling. Some smuggling, but government not involved, "can't speak to credibility of Russian satellite images". Yes into Turkey, but not much. Well maybe the Russian photos are accurate, but haven't seen the Russian videos of trucks actually crossing the border. Assad buys the oil. Are they just making it up as they go?
"FREE SYRIAN ARMY". Is collapsing, reports the US Army paper. Read the comments: not many of them, but all see the FSA for the fake it was. The official story, endless blatted forth is not believed any more.
ATTACK ON SYRIAN BASE. Damascus says 4 aircraft from the US coalition attacked an army base in Deir ez-Zor province. The US spokesman denies. Russia did it says Mr Unnamed Official. Russians and Syrians stick to the assertion. Not necessarily US aircraft – see this from a rather excitable source. Anyone who believes US statements these days, hasn't been paying attention: vide the ever-changing accounts of the Kunduz hospital strike. (And changed again since that account). Stay tuned.
MH17. I told you the DSB report was a "limited hangout". As always, the hangout is falling apart. John Helmer reports: "The Australian Federal Police and Dutch police and prosecutors investigating the cause of the crash of Malaysian Airlines MH17 believe the Dutch Safety Board (DSB) has failed to provide 'conclusive evidence' of what type of munition destroyed the aircraft". (Note, by the way, the evidence of tampering shown in the two photos). As always, they try to keep the deception going. Personally, I'm coming around to the idea it was shot down by an air-to-air missile – there simply aren't enough lethal fragments in the wreckage or bodies to be from any type of Buk warhead; they all have about 6000.
SOMEONE THE WMSM DOESN'T MENTION MUCH. General Michael Flynn, former head of the US Defense Intelligence Agency. Interview here. More here: he leads a revolt in the US intelligence structure.
TURKEY. Early this month a Turkish battle group moved into Iraq. Baghdad protested; Erdoğan pretended it had been invited; Ayatollah Sistani instructed Baghdad to get them out; Baghdad went to the UNSC; UNSC (USA is the current president) in no hurry. But, it is reported that some or all have left. Meanwhile, the US F-15s are leaving. A Turkish MP says ISIS received Sarin (GB) from Turkey (remember Ghouta? Almost went to war on that one.)
QUESTION. The Varshavyanka class submarine, Rostov-on-Don, fired cruise missiles from the Med. It is now (back?) in the Black Sea. Do the Turks know it (twice?) passed through? As far as I can discover, it could get through the shallowest part of the Straits and the sub is famously silent. One may be certain that Russia has the subsurface route thoroughly mapped and rehearsed.