Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Czar Wars

 

King-World-News-Paul-Craig-Roberts-Putins-Ultimate-Move-To-Crush-The-EU-And-NATO1-1728x800_c-840x420I don’t mean to ruin anyone’s morale, but I’m going to, anyway. I understand that some of you may be thinking, “Why not let Putin fight ISIS? Better him than us, wouldn’t you say? Especially since all we seem to be able to do is make more of them. Right?”

Well, sure, if that’s what he were doing. But it’s not.

MiG-31 Foxhound interceptor fighter jets, Su-30 fighters, Su-25 attack planes, Su-24 bombers, Su-34 bombers, Su-27 Flanker interceptor fighter jets, an Il-20 spy plane, armored vehicles, and SA-15 and SA-22 surface-to-air missiles? As David Axe puts it (understatedly) that’s “not really optimal for attacking lightly armed insurgent fighters.” And as he further notes, correctly, “Surface-to-air missiles are only good for destroying enemy aircraft, which Syrian rebels do not possess. And the Su-30s are best suited for tangling with other high-tech forces.”

In other words, folks, Putin’s there to wage war on us, not ISIS. Get it?

Or at the very least, he’s there to make sure there won’t be a safe zone along the border from Jarablus to Azaz. Sending interceptor fighter jets to Syria makes no sense unless you’re planning to intercept jets. ISIS, Nusra, and Ahrar al-Sham don’t have jets to intercept. QED.

It gets worse. David Ropkoth is right about this:

When Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, met with journalists in New York last Friday, he took pains to note that Iran and Russia were not joining together in a “coalition” in Syria. They were sharing intelligence. They were discussing strategy. They were in constant communication. But a coalition? No.

Two days later, the Iraqi government announced it too was sharing intelligence with Russia, Iran, and Syria. So perhaps Rouhani was being literal in a different way when he disavowed being in a coalition with Russia — because what he was actually involved in was a coalition with Russia, Iraq, and Syria.

And it gets worse still if you imagine what logically comes next. What if Iran decides to openly sprint for a Bomb? What if they just throw off all pretense of compliance and go for it? And why wouldn’t they, given that Putin’s now declared himself Czar and Protector of the Shia axis? Think even the next president would try to stop that? Direct conflict with Iran and Russia? As Trump might say, “I’m the most militaristic person there is” — but that wouldn’t be militaristic, that would be stupid. And suicidal.

And also by the way, that above-linked DHS report is full of cheering news:

Despite a year of U.S. and allied airstrikes, the group has held most of its territory and continues to replenish its ranks with outside recruits. Military officials estimate airstrikes have killed around 10,000 extremists, but new foreign fighters replace them almost as quickly as they are killed. ISIS has also grown from a single terrorist sanctuary to having a direct presence, affiliates, or groups pledging support in 18 countries. The organization is believed to have inspired or directed nearly 60 terrorist plots or attacks against Western countries, including 15 in the United States. Some of these were masterminded by foreign fighters based in Syria, while others were carried out by returnees themselves or homegrown extremists. … When the strikes began, counterterrorism officials estimated the total number of extremists was around 15,000. .. Today the figure stands at 25,000-plus foreign fighters.

Also, as you’ve probably heard, Kunduz fell to the Taliban. First provincial capital to fall to them since 2001.

And sorry to be just a complete Daisy Downer, but it gets even worse. Because Congress can’t pass a budget. (You had one job.) So the military might have to operate under last year’s spending plan.

According to Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook, “hope remains that lawmakers will strike a deal to fund the government when the fiscal year ends Sept. 30.” He “insisted the situation was not yet dire enough to warn defense employees of the potential fallout.” Well, that’s what he should say, we hardly want him shrieking hysterically for the whole world to hear, but we can read between the lines, I reckon:

… So, Mr. President, kind of looks to me like we are rapidly approaching a moment of truth both for ourselves as human beings and for the life of our nation. Now, truth is not always a pleasant thing. But it is necessary now to make a choice, to choose between two admittedly regrettable, but nevertheless *distinguishable*, postwar environments: one where you got twenty million people killed, and the other where you got a hundred and fifty million people killed. … Mr. President, I’m not saying we wouldn’t get our hair mussed. But I do say no more than ten to twenty million killed, tops. Uh, depending on the breaks. …

If you think I’m being unduly pessimistic, feel free to correct me. I’d love to feel better about this, but I just can’t see why I should.

 

 

There are 165 comments.

  1. Marion Evans Inactive

    ISIS and al Nusra don’t have jets but the Sunni arc that opposes Assad certainly does: Qatar, Turkey, Saudi. Vlado is just planning ahead, just in case.

    • #1
    • September 30, 2015, at 5:49 AM PDT
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  2. The (apathetic) King Prawn Inactive

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: If you think I’m being unduly pessimistic, feel free to correct me. I’d love to feel better about this, but I just can’t see why I should.

    Today is September 30th. The congress.gov website has taken down the appropriations status website. Your pessimism is justified.

    The lack of a budget and stopgap measures to continue funding of government has become so routine (the last actual budget signed has George W. Bush’s signature on it) that defense specific news agencies are the only ones reporting on it today. This is the new normal, including increased Middle East instability and Russian adventurism/power expansion. But, you live in Paris, so at least the wine is good.

    • #2
    • September 30, 2015, at 5:54 AM PDT
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  3. David Knights Member

    Ms. Berlinski, nothing you say is incorrect, though I do think there is more than one way to look at some of the facts you cite.

    No intelligent military planner would insert troops and ground attack aircraft into a country without providing for air defense. Heck, when we went into Afghanistan, we brought in fighters as well as helicopters and ground attack aircraft, and lets face it, the Taliban didn’t have an air force. You do these things not because of what you plan to do, but because you want to be able to react to things you didn’t plan for.

    (Surface to Air Missiles, SAMs are a bit of a special case since Russian air defense doctrine relies on them heavily where the doctrine of the US is more centered on using aircraft to dominate the air space.)

    Now, I do not doubt that when Vlad is done propping us baby Assad, he plans on staying and using Syria as a power base. But, to do that he will have to kill off ISIS, and I have no doubt that is what his force in Syria are planning to do.

    • #3
    • September 30, 2015, at 5:56 AM PDT
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  4. Richard Anderson Member

    Scary yes. Dr Strangelove territory? Not quite.

    • #4
    • September 30, 2015, at 6:07 AM PDT
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  5. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.

    The King Prawn: But, you live in Paris, so at least the wine is good.

    There’s that. Good cheese, too. But I miss the days when the French press was full of articles quivering with indignation about our dangerous, overconfident hyperpusissance instead of this almost pitying tone they take now.

    • #5
    • September 30, 2015, at 6:10 AM PDT
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  6. The (apathetic) King Prawn Inactive

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:

    The King Prawn: But, you live in Paris, so at least the wine is good.

    There’s that. Good cheese, too. But I miss the days when the French press was full of articles quivering with indignation about our dangerous, overconfident hyperpusissance instead of this almost pitying tone they take now.

    It is more appropriate.

    • #6
    • September 30, 2015, at 6:12 AM PDT
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  7. Austin Murrey Inactive

    David Knights: Now, I do not doubt that when Vlad is done propping us baby Assad, he plans on staying and using Syria as a power base. But, to do that he will have to kill off ISIS, and I have no doubt that is what his force in Syria are planning to do.

    I concur with this but I also think he’s trying to demonstrate Russian hardware to a potential buying audience in order to prove to the increasingly conflict-torn region that Russian military equipment and military advice is a good buy (as opposed to Chinese, European or American-derived equipment).

    Arab states will want to counteract Israeli air strikes or Iranian nuclear-armed bombers and showing off Russian planes in Syria could help push Russian arms back into the minds of cash-rich states to help revive the Russian arms industry.

    • #7
    • September 30, 2015, at 6:15 AM PDT
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  8. Brian McMenomy Inactive

    To buttress what Claire is saying, Dr. K on “Special Report” talked about how Russian drone operations are focused in non-ISIS areas (at least for now). Yes, Vlad the Impaler will likely kill off some ISIS fighters, but his focus is turning Syria into the modern-day East Germany; a distant client state that is nominally independent but in reality serves Russian strategic interests alone. Putin doesn’t care about Assad; Assad is a useful stick to beat the US & Israel. Our President may understand this, but he is so force-averse that he won’t reverse the damage this does to our interests.

    • #8
    • September 30, 2015, at 6:15 AM PDT
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  9. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.

    David Knights: I have no doubt that is what his force in Syria are planning to do.

    I wish him the best, and hope I’m wrong, but I don’t believe there’s any getting rid of ISIS without getting rid of Assad. We’ve dropped 5,000 bombs on them and managed only to double their ranks.

    But if the Russians want to give it their best shot, maybe it will keep them out of more trouble in Europe.

    • #9
    • September 30, 2015, at 6:16 AM PDT
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  10. ctlaw Coolidge

    Claire,

    What do the Turks and Saudis think of this?

    Turkey has seemed to be courting Iran for quite some time.

    Since Obama supported the MB in Egypt and sold out to Iran, it seems the Sunni Arabs have thought of the US as an unreliable ally and have warmed up to Russia.

    • #10
    • September 30, 2015, at 6:19 AM PDT
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  11. David Knights Member

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:

    David Knights: I have no doubt that is what his force in Syria are planning to do.

    I wish him the best, and hope I’m wrong, but I don’t believe there’s any getting rid of ISIS without getting rid of Assad. We’ve dropped 5,000 bombs on them and managed only to double their ranks.

    But if the Russians want to give it their best shot, maybe it will keep them out of more trouble in Europe.

    Given the limitations of the Russian economy, I doubt they’ll be able to fight several conflicts simultaneously. That may give Ukraine some breathing room and give the Baltics and Georgia some time to strengthen their positions. We can only hope they use the time wisely.

    The Russians aren’t subtle when it comes to military ops. I doubt they are going to just drop bombs. Do I think they can defeat ISIS in Syria? Probably, but not guaranteed. Will it take time and Russian treasure and kill a lot of Russians and Islamic extremists? Yes. Do I hope it takes a long time and kills a lot of each? Yes, yes I do. Do I feel sorry for the poor slobs caught in the fighting? Yes. Is there anything we can/should do about that? No.

    • #11
    • September 30, 2015, at 6:25 AM PDT
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  12. Larry3435 Member

    Given the power vacuum that Obama’s withdrawal in the Middle East has created, I’m not entirely sure that the Soviet Union, er, excuse me, Russia, is the worst country to take over. As bad as Putin is, he is not as bad as the Mad Mullahs of Tehran. He is not going to blow up the entire region as part of a religious jihad. The Soviets, er, Russians, at least understand the concepts of balance of power and strategic interests. If Syria winds up as a Russian client state, rather than an Iranian client state, I can think of worse outcomes.

    Maybe, even, the Turks will finally wake up and realize that they have much more dangerous enemies on their borders than just the Kurds.

    • #12
    • September 30, 2015, at 6:26 AM PDT
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  13. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.

    ctlaw: What do the Turks and Saudis think of this?

    The Turks hate the Russians in an even more primitive, deep-down way than we do — after all, they were repeatedly invaded by them. (Although frankly, crimea river. If they didn’t have the sense to see this coming, they deserve it.) I suspect the Saudis have the same general sentiment — a holdover from the Cold War (atheism didn’t really work for their founding ideology, you know?) — and are probably double freaked out by the Iran-Russia alliance in evidence.

    Turkey has seemed to be courting Iran for quite some time.

    In trade, yes; in trying to manage a reasonably stable relationship, yes; but I don’t think they were counting on the Iran Deal — and I’m sure that’s plunged their thinking into chaos. Also, they staked everything on the idea that Assad would fall and fall quickly, so they’re really in trouble now.

    Maybe. No one has great memories of the Russians, either. Most of these states have long years of experience of playing us off against each other, and do it very skillfully. Deeply sad to see history repeating itself like this without even the slightest suggestion that any party to any of these conflicts has learned a damned thing — except how to master the entire nuclear fuel cycle.

    Since Obama supported the MB in Egypt and sold out to Iran, it seems the Sunni Arabs have thought of the US as an unreliable ally and have warmed up to Russia.

    • #13
    • September 30, 2015, at 6:33 AM PDT
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  14. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.

    Larry3435: realize that they have much more dangerous enemies on their borders than just the Kurds.`

    They think the Russians created and funded the PKK, and frankly, I suspect they’re right.

    • #14
    • September 30, 2015, at 6:35 AM PDT
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  15. Instugator Thatcher
    Instugator Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:

    The King Prawn: But, you live in Paris, so at least the wine is good.

    There’s that. Good cheese, too. But I miss the days when the French press was full of articles quivering with indignation about our dangerous, overconfident hyperpusissance instead of this almost pitying tone they take now.

    You can remember that? You aren’t that old.

    • #15
    • September 30, 2015, at 6:36 AM PDT
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  16. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.

    Instugator: You can remember that? You aren’t that old.

    I am, and indeed, it hardly seems all that long ago …

    • #16
    • September 30, 2015, at 6:39 AM PDT
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  17. Fred Cole Member

    Does anyone know how to tell an SU-27 and an SU-34 apart? My understanding is that the latter is the ground attack variant of the former. These interceptors that people are fretting about could just be misidentified SU-34s.

    That being said, if I were deploying forces, I’d include interceptors and SAMs. Not only are there other nations flying aircraft in the area, but I’ve seen reports of Isis operating captured aircraft.

    • #17
    • September 30, 2015, at 6:45 AM PDT
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  18. Dan Hanson Thatcher
    Dan Hanson Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I think it’s as bad as Claire says, and then some.

    Putin is setting himself up to be the power broker of the middle east. If he digs in like a tick in Syria and keeps Assad under his thumb as a puppet, he will have the ability to dictate events in the Middle East. He can deny Israel the ability to fly to Iran. He can influence OPEC. He can use his power in the Middle East to spread Russian influence and power throughout the region. He can break embargoes and threaten to smash blockades. And of course, he can sell a ton of weaponry to his friends and build up his influence in countries that buy it and need Russians to train and maintain the equipment.

    You know, the kinds of things the U.S. used to do, before it had a foreign policy designed by left-wing ideologues and clueless academics and implemented by a pusillanimous lightweight.

    The relative size of Russia’s economy is not really relevant – the Soviet Union’s economy was but a small fraction of the U.S.’s but it managed to be a geopolitical power broker and major threat to freedom for many decades. North Korea manages to maintain a credible threat to South Korea despite having 1/15 the per-capita GDP. Nuclear weapons are the great equalizer, and Russia’s got a lot of them.

    Putin does not deserve the benefit of the doubt here – he has proven himself to be a bad actor on the world stage who will exploit any advantages he can find. He’s just been handed the role of power broker for the middle east, and that’s going to be very painful for the west in the next few years – and very dangerous.

    • #18
    • September 30, 2015, at 6:49 AM PDT
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  19. Tom Meyer, Common Citizen Contributor

    Yeep.

    • #19
    • September 30, 2015, at 6:53 AM PDT
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  20. Valiuth Member
    Valiuth Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I think your take on Russia’s intentions are exactly correct. In fact according to reports Russia is already trying to muscle the US air force out of Syrian Air space. Their top priority will be to destroy and retake any area still held by elements of the Free Syrian Army. I think they will then try to contain ISIS, but destroying it actually looses them leverage. As long as ISIS is there Assad can claim to be the lesser of two evils, and Russia has an argument for their continued presence.

    I think Obama as has been his want will give way to Putin on this. Over the next few months Obama will stop US airstrikes on ISIS in Syria. We will see Obama talking more and more about a peace process, while Assad and Putin focus most of their military operations against non-ISIS targets in the coastal regions of Syria and around Aleppo. ISIS will remain mostly unaffected. Putin will also use his operations in Syria as a means of forestalling further out rages at what will surly be further pushes into Ukraine by his “little green men” and the militias they support.

    Obama by the end of his presidency will have overseen the largest collapse in credible American hard power since…well maybe ever. This will mean that the next president to be taken seriously by anyone will surely have to commit to actually engaging in more military escapades than would otherwise be necessary.

    • #20
    • September 30, 2015, at 6:53 AM PDT
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  21. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.

    Valiuth: Obama by the end of his presidency will have overseen the largest collapse in credible American hard power since…well maybe ever. This will mean that the next president to be taken seriously by anyone will surely have to commit to actually engaging in more military escapades than would otherwise be necessary.

    I agree, but pushing “like” seems wrong.

    • #21
    • September 30, 2015, at 6:54 AM PDT
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  22. billy Inactive

    Fred Cole:Does anyone know how to tell an SU-27 and an SU-34 apart?My understanding is that the latter is the ground attack variant of the former. These interceptors that people are fretting about could just be misidentified SU-34s.

    That being said, if I were deploying forces, I’d include interceptors and SAMs. Not only are there other nations flying aircraft in the area, but I’ve seen reports of Isis operating captured aircraft.

    So nothing to see here, move along.

    • #22
    • September 30, 2015, at 6:58 AM PDT
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  23. Valiuth Member
    Valiuth Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Brian McMenomy:To buttress what Claire is saying, Dr. K on “Special Report” talked about how Russian drone operations are focused in non-ISIS areas (at least for now). Yes, Vlad the Impaler will likely kill off some ISIS fighters, but his focus is turning Syria into the modern-day East Germany; a distant client state that is nominally independent but in reality serves Russian strategic interests alone. Putin doesn’t care about Assad; Assad is a useful stick to beat the US & Israel. Our President may understand this, but he is so force-averse that he won’t reverse the damage this does to our interests.

    Hey! As a Romanian I object to having Vladimir Putin equated with Vlad Tepes. In fact I kind of object to having people call Putin “Vlad”. Mostly because Vlad to me is a Romanian name. I”m a Vlad, various relatives of mine are Vlad…Putin is a Vladimir.

    • #23
    • September 30, 2015, at 7:01 AM PDT
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  24. Valiuth Member
    Valiuth Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:

    Valiuth: Obama by the end of his presidency will have overseen the largest collapse in credible American hard power since…well maybe ever. This will mean that the next president to be taken seriously by anyone will surely have to commit to actually engaging in more military escapades than would otherwise be necessary.

    I agree, but pushing “like” seems wrong.

    Well they can just like your comment if they agree. This is why for me the Republican nomination has become a contest to see who has the clearest and most serious Foreign Policy agenda and footing. I think we can keep botching along on the domestic front, and really the best way to fix our domestic issues is to stop trying to fix things, and just let the darn economy run. But, in foreign affairs eight years of hands off and neglect have left us, our allies, and the world in a precarious situation. We need to get serious about this fast, or we are going to find ourselves forced in to some cosmically regrettable situations. This is why I can’t wrap my brain around Trump supporters. Have they heard his answers on Syria and Putin! Does that sound remotely educated to them?

    • #24
    • September 30, 2015, at 7:06 AM PDT
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  25. Fred Cole Member

    billy:

    Fred Cole:Does anyone know how to tell an SU-27 and an SU-34 apart?My understanding is that the latter is the ground attack variant of the former. These interceptors that people are fretting about could just be misidentified SU-34s.

    That being said, if I were deploying forces, I’d include interceptors and SAMs. Not only are there other nations flying aircraft in the area, but I’ve seen reports of Isis operating captured aircraft.

    So nothing to see here, move along.

    You know, there’s more than enough things that the Russians do to take issue with. We don’t need to make up extra stuff.

    • #25
    • September 30, 2015, at 7:22 AM PDT
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  26. Larry3435 Member

    Valiuth:I think your take on Russia’s intentions are exactly correct. In fact according to reports Russia is already trying to muscle the US air force out of Syrian Air space. Their top priority will be to destroy and retake any area still held by elements of the Free Syrian Army.

    The “Free Syrian Army”? Are those the five guys we “trained” who are still alive?

    • #26
    • September 30, 2015, at 7:30 AM PDT
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  27. Marion Evans Inactive

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:

    David Knights: I have no doubt that is what his force in Syria are planning to do.

    I wish him the best, and hope I’m wrong, but I don’t believe there’s any getting rid of ISIS without getting rid of Assad. We’ve dropped 5,000 bombs on them and managed only to double their ranks.

    But if the Russians want to give it their best shot, maybe it will keep them out of more trouble in Europe.

    The Russians do it differently. They “assume” a much larger number of civilian casualties. The end justifies the means. Remember the 2nd Chechnya war. Remember the Moscow theater hostage crisis. Don’t buy any real estate in Raqqa. Pray for the civilians.

    • #27
    • September 30, 2015, at 7:36 AM PDT
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  28. Zafar Member

    From the ABC:

    Russian warplanes carried out air strikes in three Syrian provinces along with regime aircraft on Wednesday (local time), a Syrian security source told news agency AFP.

    “Russian and Syrian airplanes carried out numerous strikes today against terrorist positions in Hama, Homs and Latakia provinces,” the source said.

    More from the BBC, including a map which indicates the strikes were nowhere near ISIS held territory:

    _85835148_syria_control_map_624_v6

    • #28
    • September 30, 2015, at 7:45 AM PDT
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  29. cirby Member

    Fred Cole:Does anyone know how to tell an SU-27 and an SU-34 apart?My understanding is that the latter is the ground attack variant of the former. These interceptors that people are fretting about could just be misidentified SU-34s.

    That being said, if I were deploying forces, I’d include interceptors and SAMs. Not only are there other nations flying aircraft in the area, but I’ve seen reports of Isis operating captured aircraft.

    One seat versus two seat. Easy enough to tell the difference when looking at the cockpit profile. In practical terms, the SU-34 is slower at the top end, but can carry a lot of different armaments that the SU-27 can’t.

    Having a mix of -30 and -34 is pretty reasonable, but the question is “what mix?”

    Lots of -34 ground attack planes and a few -30 interceptors? Okay, that’s typical.

    Lots of -30 interceptors and a few -34 ground attack planes? That’s… interesting, to say the least. In this case, they supposedly have four interceptors out of a total of 35 aircraft. It’s a tossup. If they start deploying more -30s, watch out.

    Of course, the big thing to keep in mind is that the Russians may not have a lot of choice when it comes to interceptor/multirole aircraft to deploy. These might be the only actual operational ones they can spare…

    • #29
    • September 30, 2015, at 7:50 AM PDT
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  30. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Republicans will remain powerless to do anything about Putin’s involvement until 2017.

    What might the general situation look like then?

    What options will be left available for a (possible) Republican President and legislature?

    • #30
    • September 30, 2015, at 7:56 AM PDT
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