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Here’s what you need to know about ‘The Great Battle of Aleppo’

The fighting in Aleppo, which the rebels call ‘The Great Battle of Aleppo’, is not in stalemate. The rebel counter-offensive has stalled leading to a battle of attrition the rebels cannot afford.

Alexander Mercouris

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The recent fighting in and around southern Aleppo has attracted an enormous of attention, with those fascinated by military affairs now familiar with places like the apartment building complex 1070, the cement factory, Al-Ramousseh roundabout, the “artillery base” (actually a complex of military schools and technical colleges) etc.  Scholars of the fighting in Stalingrad in 1942 will be very familiar with this sort of thing.

Whenever battles like the one currently being fought in and around Aleppo are discussed it is essential however to keep in mind the big picture and to focus too much on the fighting for particular strongpoints. 

Briefly, by the middle of last year the rebels controlled roughly a quarter of Aleppo, had captured the thermal plant cutting off electricity to most of the city, and had cut the city off from the rest of the  government controlled areas of the country by cutting the roads leading to it.

A series of government offensives, which began in the autumn of last year, and which relied heavily on Russian air support, gradually reopened the roads.  Progress was slow because the Syrian army lacks manpower.  Also the offensives had to repel repeated rebel counter-attacks and were interrupted by ceasefires negotiated by the US and the Russians. 

These ceasefires have come in for much criticism, including by Iran. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has now admitted in a news conference following his talks in Yekaterinburg with German Foreign Minister Steinmeier that the rebels took advantage of the ceasefires to rearm and regroup. 

However the Syrian army also may have needed the ceasefires to rest and regroup given how severely it is overstretched and what a heavy strain fighting places on the troops.

By late July the Syrian army backed by the Russian air force and its Iranian and Hezbollah allies succeeded in ending the siege and encircled the 5-10,000 rebel fighters holding eastern Aleppo, by capturing the Castello road, which was the main rebel supply route to Turkey.  At that point the besiegers became the besieged.

The rebels then counter-attack by attacking south-western Aleppo. The militant Jihadi group Jabhat Al-Nusra led the counter-attack.  The purpose of the counter-attack was to break the siege of the rebels in eastern Aleppo.  However it seems also to have been intended to recapture the main road to Damascus. Some rebel leaders have spoken in even more wildly ambitious terms of capturing the whole city. 

The total rebel force appears to have numbered upward of 7,000 fighters (an unprecedentedly large concentration of rebel fighters in this war in such a small area) brought together from various rebel groups but led by Jabhat Al-Nusra.  It appears to be coordinated by a joint headquarters, located in the southern Turkish city of Antikiya (“Antioch”).

It has used large numbers of captured armoured vehicles including tanks, as well as anti-tank and shoulder fired anti-aircraft missiles (“MANPADS”) provided by the Gulf states and ultimately by the US.

The rebel counter-attack succeeded in storming the Syrian army’s defences in a small area of southwestern Aleppo, capturing the so-called “artillery base”.  A narrow corridor was thereby opened to the rebels in eastern Aleppo.  The counter-attack has however since stalled. 

No significant further advances have been made in the last 2 weeks.  Latest indications speak of the Syrian army and its Hezbollah allies regaining some of the ground they lost in the initial attacks.  The fog of war however lies heavy over Aleppo and such claims of advances should be treated with caution. 

The small corridor the rebels punched through the Syrian army’s defences has however proved of no real value to the rebels since it is too narrow and too heavily contested for the rebels to be able to send large numbers of men and supplies through it. 

As for the claim that the seizure by the rebels of their narrow corridor means that the government controlled areas of Aleppo are cut off from resupply, that is simply untrue. 

With the government in control of all of the main roads leading to Aleppo – including the Castello road where the Syrian army’s best units continue to be concentrated – the Syrian government can still send supplies by road to the city, and is in fact doing so.

This is not a stalemate.  It is a battle attrition.  Though the fighting in southwestern Aleppo is very intense with only very small movements achieved by either side in the last 2 weeks, in a battle of attrition such as this is it is the rebels who are losing. 

In order to sustain their offensive they have concentrated large numbers of men and equipment in a small area outside Aleppo where they are ready targets for the Russian air force. 

The large majority of rebel fighters who are being killed are being killed there, in the bombing outside Aleppo, not on the front line where bombing cannot place and where the number of casualties suffered by each side seems to be roughly even. 

Though the number of rebel fighters who have been killed can only be estimated even the rebels now admit that their losses are very heavy.  The Russians, who are probably the best informed about the state of the battle because of the means of surveillance at their disposal, said a few days ago that the rebels had lost 1,000 men killed in the course of just 4 days.

In a battle of this sort the only chance the rebels would have had of victory would have been if they had achieved it quickly and decisively. 

The one thing the rebels cannot afford is to suffer heavy losses by battering themselves to pieces at the gates of Aleppo.  With their advance stalled on the outskirts of Aleppo that however is precisely the prospect the rebels are now facing.

The question is what do the rebels do next?  One option is to try to send even more men and supplies to try to get the advance into Aleppo restarted.  The risk that runs is that the Russians are intensifying their bombing, deploying heavy TU22M3s bombers to bomb rebel positions near Aleppo. 

There are reports that the Russian fleet is also being readied to launch more cruise missile strikes on the rebel forces concentrated near Aleppo. 

Ultimately the Russians can always far outmatch whatever level of escalation the rebels attempt, and that is what we are seeing happening now. 

Doubling down on a failing counter-offensive risks increasing rebel losses even further, reducing the rebels’ future ability to defend such places as Idlib. 

Nonetheless, with the alternative option of retreat apparently ruled out, doubling down appears to be what the rebels intend to do. 

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US media suffers panic attack after Mueller fails to deliver on much-anticipated Trump indictment

Internet mogul Kim Dotcom said it all: “Mueller – The name that ended all mainstream media credibility.”

RT

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Via RT


Important pundits and news networks have served up an impressive display of denials, evasions and on-air strokes after learning that Robert Mueller has ended his probe without issuing a single collusion-related indictment.

The Special Counsel delivered his final report to Attorney General William Barr for review on Friday, with the Justice Department confirming that there will be no further indictments related to the probe. The news dealt a devastating blow to the sensational prophesies of journalists, analysts and entire news networks, who for nearly two years reported ad nauseam that President Donald Trump and his inner circle were just days away from being carted off to prison for conspiring with the Kremlin to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

Showing true integrity, journalists and television anchors took to Twitter and the airwaves on Friday night to acknowledge that the media severely misreported Donald Trump’s alleged ties to Russia, as well as what Mueller’s probe was likely to find. They are, after all, true professionals.

“How could they let Trump off the hook?” an inconsolable Chris Matthews asked NBC reporter Ken Dilanian during a segment on CNN’s ‘Hardball’.

Dilanian tried to comfort the CNN host with some of his signature NBC punditry.

“My only conclusion is that the president transmitted to Mueller that he would take the Fifth. He would never talk to him and therefore, Mueller decided it wasn’t worth the subpoena fight,” he expertly mused.

Actually, there were several Serious Journalists who used their unsurpassed analytical abilities to conjure up a reason why Mueller didn’t throw the book at Trump, even though the president is clearly a Putin puppet.

“It’s certainly possible that Trump may emerge from this better than many anticipated. However! Consensus has been that Mueller would follow DOJ rules and not indict a sitting president. I.e. it’s also possible his report could be very bad for Trump, despite ‘no more indictments,'” concluded Mark Follman, national affairs editor at Mother Jones, who presumably, and very sadly, was not being facetious.

Revered news organs were quick to artfully modify their expectations regarding Mueller’s findings.

“What is collusion and why is Robert Mueller unlikely to mention it in his report on Trump and Russia?” a Newsweek headline asked following Friday’s tragic announcement.

Three months earlier, Newsweek had meticulously documented all the terrible “collusion” committed by Donald Trump and his inner circle.

But perhaps the most sobering reactions to the no-indictment news came from those who seemed completely unfazed by the fact that Mueller’s investigation, aimed at uncovering a criminal conspiracy between Trump and the Kremlin, ended without digging up a single case of “collusion.”

The denials, evasions and bizarre hot takes are made even more poignant by the fact that just days ago, there was still serious talk about Trump’s entire family being hauled off to prison.

“You can’t blame MSNBC viewers for being confused. They largely kept dissenters from their Trump/Russia spy tale off the air for 2 years. As recently as 2 weeks ago, they had @JohnBrennan strongly suggesting Mueller would indict Trump family members on collusion as his last act,” journalist Glenn Greenwald tweeted.

While the Mueller report has yet to be released to the public, the lack of indictments makes it clear that whatever was found, nothing came close to the vast criminal conspiracy alleged by virtually the entire American media establishment.

“You have been lied to for 2 years by the MSM. No Russian collusion by Trump or anyone else. Who lied? Head of the CIA, NSA,FBI,DOJ, every pundit every anchor. All lies,” wrote conservative activist Chuck Woolery.

Internet mogul Kim Dotcom was more blunt, but said it all: “Mueller – The name that ended all mainstream media credibility.”

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Canadian Lawmaker Accuses Trudeau Of Being A “Fake Feminist” (Video)

Rempel segued to Trudeau’s push to quash an investigation into allegations that he once groped a young journalist early in his political career

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Via Zerohedge

Canada’s feminist-in-chief Justin Trudeau wants to support and empower women…but his support stops at the point where said women start creating problems for his political agenda.

That was the criticism levied against the prime minister on Friday by a conservative lawmaker, who took the PM to task for “muzzling strong, principled women” during a debate in the House of Commons.

“He asked for strong women, and this is what they look like!” said conservative MP Michelle Rempel, referring to the former justice minister and attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould, who has accused Trudeau and his cronies of pushing her out of the cabinet after she refused to grant a deferred prosecution agreement to a Quebec-based engineering firm.

She then accused Trudeau of being a “fake feminist”.

“That’s not what a feminist looks like…Every day that he refuses to allow the attorney general to testify and tell her story is another day he’s a fake feminist!”

Trudeau was so taken aback by Rempel’s tirade, that he apparently forgot which language he should respond in.

But Rempel wasn’t finished. She then segued to Trudeau’s push to quash an investigation into allegations that he once groped a young journalist early in his political career. This from a man who once objected to the continued use of the word “mankind” (suggesting we use “peoplekind” instead).

The conservative opposition then tried to summon Wilson-Raybould to appear before the Commons for another hearing (during her last appearance, she shared her account of how the PM and employees in the PM’s office and privy council barraged her with demands that she quash the government’s pursuit of SNC-Lavalin over charges that the firm bribed Libyan government officials). Wilson-Raybould left the Trudeau cabinet after she was abruptly moved to a different ministerial post – a move that was widely seen as a demotion.

Trudeau has acknowledged that he put in a good word on the firm’s behalf with Wilson-Raybould, but insists that he always maintained the final decision on the case was hers and hers alone.

Fortunately for Canadians who agree with Rempel, it’s very possible that Trudeau – who has so far resisted calls to resign – won’t be in power much longer, as the scandal has cost Trudeau’s liberals the lead in the polls for the October election.

 

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Why Joe May be Courting Stacey

Joe Biden has a history on compulsory integration dating back to the 1970s that Sen. Jesse Helms called “enlightened.”

Patrick J. Buchanan

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Authored by Patrick Buchanan via The Unz Review:


Of 895 slots in the freshman class of Stuyvesant High in New York City, seven were offered this year to black students, down from 10 last year and 13 the year before.

In the freshman class of 803 at The Bronx High School of Science, 12 students are black, down from last year’s 25.

Of 303 students admitted to Staten Island Technical High School, one is African-American.

According to The New York Times, similar patterns of admission apply at the other five most elite high schools in the city.

Whites and Asians are 30 percent of middle school students, but 83 percent of the freshman at Bronx High School of Science, 88 percent at Staten Island Technical and 90 percent at Stuyvesant.

What do these numbers tell us?

They reveal the racial composition of the cohort of scientists and technicians who will lead America in the 21st century. And they tell us which races will not be well represented in that vanguard.

They identify a fault line that runs through the Democratic Party, separating leftists who believe in equality of results for all races and ethnic groups, and those who believe in a meritocracy.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has expressed anger and frustration at the under-representation of blacks and Hispanics in the elite schools. But Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state legislature have ignored his pleas to change the way students are admitted.

Currently, the same test, of English and math, is given to middle school applicants. And admission to the elite eight is offered to those who get the highest scores.

Moreover, Asians, not whites, are predominant.

Though 15 percent of all middle school students, Asians make up two-thirds of the student body at Stuyvesant, with 80 times as many slots as their African-American classmates.

The egalitarian wing of the Democratic Party sees this as inherently unjust. And what gives this issue national import are these factors:

First, the recent scandal where rich parents paid huge bribes to criminal consultants to get their kids into elite colleges, by falsifying records of athletic achievement and cheating on Scholastic Aptitude Tests, has caused a wave of populist resentment.

Second, Harvard is being sued for systemic reverse racism, as black and Hispanic students are admitted with test scores hundreds of points below those that would disqualify Asians and whites.

Third, Joe Biden has a history on compulsory integration dating back to the 1970s that Sen. Jesse Helms called “enlightened.”

Here are Biden’s quotes, unearthed by The Washington Post, that reflect his beliefs about forced busing for racial balance in public schools:

“The new integration plans being offered are really just quota systems to assure a certain number of blacks, Chicanos, or whatever in each school. That, to me, is the most racist concept you can come up with.

“What it says is, ‘In order for your child with curly black hair, brown eyes, and dark skin to be able to learn anything, he needs to sit next to my blond-haired, blue-eyed son.’ That’s racist!

“Who the hell do we think we are, that the only way a black man or woman can learn is if they rub shoulders with my white child?

“I am philosophically opposed to quota systems. They insure mediocrity.”

That was 44 years ago. While those views were the thinking of many Democrats, and perhaps of most Americans, in the mid-’70s, they will be problematic in the 2020 primaries, where African-Americans could be decisive in the contests that follow Iowa and New Hampshire.

Biden knows that just as Bernie Sanders, another white male, fell short in crucial South Carolina because of a lack of support among black voters, he, too, has a problem with that most loyal element in the Democratic coalition.

In 1991, Biden failed to rise to the defense of Anita Hill when she charged future Justice Clarence Thomas with sexual harassment. In the Senate Judiciary Committee, he was a law-and-order champion responsible for tough anti-crime legislation that is now regarded as discriminatory.

And he has a record on busing for racial balance that made him a de facto ally of Louise Day Hicks of the Boston busing case fame.

How, with a record like this, does Biden inoculate himself against attacks by rival candidates, especially candidates of color, in his run for the nomination?

One way would be to signal to his party that he has grown, he has changed, and his 2020 running mate will be a person of color. Perhaps he’ll run with a woman of color such as Stacey Abrams, who narrowly lost the 2018 governor’s race in Georgia.

An ancillary benefit would be that Abrams on the ticket would help him carry Georgia, a state Donald Trump probably cannot lose and win re-election.

Wrote Axios this morning:

“Close advisers to former Vice President Joe Biden are debating the idea of packaging his presidential campaign announcement with a pledge to choose Stacey Abrams as his vice president.”


Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of “Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.”

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