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Syria’s Air Defenses Vulnerable to Air Attack: RAND

by Kris Osborn on September 3, 2013

SA-6A prominent think tank in Washington D.C. outlined U.S options for a potential strike on Syria in a recent report and detailed the flaws of the Syrian integrated air defense system (IADS).

The lead author of the report by RAND corporation, Karl Mueller, explained in an interview with Military​.com that Syrian IADS are something the U.S. military would clearly want to take seriously as a threat — but they are not as formidable as some have suggested.

“Both Iraq and Syria are cases where you have air defenses that are based on Soviet hardware –  with a smaller number of newer systems – they are significantly less modern than what the Russians or Chinese have,” Mueller explained. “This is exactly the type of air-defense system that the Air Force and Navy have been preparing to fight against for decades.”

The study, titled “Airpower Options for Syria: Assessing Objectives and Missions for Aerial Intervention,” details consequences for five courses of action in Syria: establishing a “no-fly-zone,” attacking and neutralizing Syria’s (IADS), creating “safe-zones” for Syrian civilians, enabling opposition forces to defeat the Assad regime, and attacking Assad’s chemical weapons stockpiles.

Syria’s Cold War-era, Russian-built air-defense systems were a large focus of the research – as disabling or destroying them would figure prominently in most of the options entertained by the study.

“We considered how air defenses had fared in previous conflicts such as Kosovo and Libya – and we did a lot of qualitative work about issues impacting the order of battle such as how proficient the people operating the air defenses are – which makes a huge difference,” Mueller said.

Rand broke Syria’s air defenses into large fixed systems and smaller mobile surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems such as the SA-6 and its successors, the SA-11 and SA-17. Rand’s research team estimates the U.S. could easily knock out Syria’s larger systems early in any intervention.

Regarding mobile SAMs, Mueller said the Syrians could use the same tactics the Serbians used during the 1999 NATO action in Kosovo. The Serbians at times kept their mobile SAMs shut off and moved around in order to stay hidden, he explained.

However, Mueller pointed out the risks of Russia transferring modern, long-range S-300 (SA-10) missile systems to Syria.

“These are highly capable SAM systems that could destroy aircraft deep within Turkish or Israeli airspace,” the study writes.

“Russia appears to be using the threat of delivery as a means of deterring a Western military intervention in Syria. In the past, it has made similar threats to transfer S-300s to Iran without following through. Thus far, Moscow has calibrated its support to Damascus based on the levels of assistance Western countries are providing the opposition. Should the pro-opposition camp ratchet up its support for the FSA (Free Syria Army), it could find itself in a tit-for-tat dynamic in which Russia responds by escalating the levels of assistance it provides the Assad regime,” the study writes.

A campaign against Syrian air defenses would begin with an intense air operation attacking SAAF air bases and targets associated with the Syrian IADS, the study states.

“This would involve several hundred strike and defense suppression aircraft and hundreds of sea– and air-launched cruise missiles supported by manned and unmanned surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft; long range bombers; substantial CSAR forces; and a large contingent of intelligence analysts, targeters, and other personnel involved in campaign planning and management at the air operations center and other locations,” the report says.

Mueller said the authors carefully considered ISR technologies as a key part of the equation when it comes to attacking the Syrian air defenses.

“It would be a carefully choreographed combination of systems. For the first wave, you would rely upon Tomahawks and other sorts of stand-off weapons such as air launched cruise missiles. Also stealthy aircraft are attractive because they can get closer to enemy air defenses without being detected or effectively shot at,” Mueller said.

When it comes to destroying Assad’s stockpiles of chemical weapons, the report’s authors say while weapons could be effective from the air, a ground operation would be needed to ensure all of the hidden stockpiles were identified and destroyed.

“When you are dealing with a large chemical weapons arsenal, if you really wanted to eliminate it in a through way, you would have to do it on the ground because there are so many facilities and stuff can be hidden on the ground,” Mueller said.

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{ 97 comments… read them below or add one }

Musson September 3, 2013 at 9:31 am

Apparently, we know everything about the Syrian Air Defenses and their Chemical Weapons usage. But, we still don't know what went on at our own embassy in Benghazi.

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matt September 3, 2013 at 10:23 am

YOU don't know what we on in Benghazi. I'm sure the government has all the videos and information that it needs to make a determined conclusion.

We will NEVER know. They already do.

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hibeam September 3, 2013 at 12:39 pm

Was it a spontaneous Rodeo Clown riot? Thats my theory.

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Rest Pal September 3, 2013 at 12:57 pm

We do know this: it happened well AFTER the US-NATO-supported rebels took over Libya and murdered many former govt officials and civilians.

Perhaps the rebels found out, as former leader Gaddafi had long before, that the US and NATO were just a bunch of ruthless criminals scheming to control Libya and its resources.

What go around comes around.

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Free America September 18, 2013 at 2:15 pm

Once again showing your complete and utter stupidity.

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Rest Pal September 18, 2013 at 2:52 pm

How so, Freek America?

Jose September 3, 2013 at 10:24 am
hibeam September 3, 2013 at 12:38 pm

We suspect that someone was not completely happy with their apology. We might have to re-apologize in some critical areas.

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Bernard September 3, 2013 at 3:53 pm

How is Benghazi any more of a scandal than 9/11 was?

Why are people so desperate for a scandal that they have to make up false outrage?

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Charles James Haas September 4, 2013 at 4:39 pm

Since 9/11 was a surprise attack and was responded to in a matter of days – Afghanistan invasion – there was really no scandal. As the President went to bed (for all we know) as the Ambassador was being murdered, yes, that was a scandal. You can tell it was a scandal as they had to lie about the attack as being an unorganized demonstration, instead of what it clearly was – terrorism. Also, it was scandalous that the whole issue was swept under the rug due to the election. Getting re-elected was clearly more important that a timely response to save lives in Benghazi.

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Bernard September 4, 2013 at 6:03 pm
Rest Pal September 4, 2013 at 6:10 pm

9/11 was an inside job.

the PBS cannot be relied upon for accurate information, be it JFK or 9/11.

txzen September 8, 2013 at 7:56 pm

txzen September 8, 2013 at 7:56 pm

txzen September 8, 2013 at 7:57 pm

Charles James Haas September 10, 2013 at 12:55 am

As the Intel was not given to any offical that could have acted on it, it was still a surprize. Intel not acted on is not intel. The problem with Intel is that people have to act on it, and more often than not, it is neglected as being to risky to act on. That has happened hundreds of times in history. Inept, likely, scandalous, not really. Scandals are made mostly of decisions made for political reasons to protect a politian. That has Benghazi written all over it.

Bernard September 4, 2013 at 6:03 pm
Bernard September 4, 2013 at 8:47 pm
Bernard September 4, 2013 at 8:48 pm
Bernard September 4, 2013 at 8:49 pm
Bernard September 5, 2013 at 9:10 am

I need to stop using my cell phone on this site when I have bad reception… :-

votsbh September 5, 2013 at 11:19 pm

Bernard,
Desperate and disapointing are responses as yours and Hillary's.Your questions reveal that you never served anyone but yourself. Nothing to brag about and a sad pattern to guide you through life. For above mentionned reasons it would be difficult if not impossible for you to aknowledge that this scandal is mostly about knowingly failing a sworn duty which people in service as well as their leaders hold as sacred.as life itself. In similar encounters you will find examples of performances beyond the call of duty. Failure driven by political convenience trashed a torment, hopelessness of abandonment , and eventually lives. Think of it as yourself under deadly attack for over seven hours calling for help — answered by "stand down" orders from your top
commanders. It is not something you can easily grasp sitting comfy by your computer. If it still is to you an event which can be cynically shrugged off and forgotten, don't be surprised you may be responded to with disgust by many.

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Bernard September 9, 2013 at 4:08 pm

I was in Iraq for an entire year of my life in the Army. I know sacrifice, I joined knowing what the risks were. The people in the twin towers did not sign up for war.

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Bearpants28 September 9, 2013 at 3:48 pm

Since one of my close friends died there, I'd say my outrage is both real and justified.

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Bernard September 9, 2013 at 4:12 pm

Your outrage be real, but your justifications are imagined. This isn't about what happened in Libya, this outrage is all about who the POTUS is. I lost friends in war too, this the cost of service.

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votsbh September 9, 2013 at 5:52 pm

Bernard,
Next you will suspect "racist hate speach" motivations against POTUS.
There is a new liberal definition for that.
According to liberals "racist hate speach" is telling the inconvenient truth.
You may be correct that the outrage is enhanced by who the POTUS is.
It is not the color of his skin but it very well may be his cowardice demonstrated during Benghazi events.

Sev September 5, 2013 at 2:02 pm

"What difference does it make?"
-Hillary Clinton (2016)

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Rest Pal September 12, 2013 at 12:25 am

a remark about her botox relief?

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Grand1 September 10, 2013 at 10:01 pm

OMG Get a grip. Musson. Benghazi is just a ploy to discredit Hillary Clinton and you are being used as a pawn.

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Rest Pal September 12, 2013 at 2:17 pm

nobody discredits Hillary Clinton better then Hillary Clinton herself.

Of course one has to be informed, intelligent, and perceptive to see that Hillary Clinton is just another career politician (aka puppet) and a joke.

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Dfens September 3, 2013 at 9:55 am

Has there ever been a military action that Rand hasn't been all for? Why don't they just call themselves the "Rubber Stamp of Approval for Defense Contractors"? Is there any question they will come up with whatever "findings" they are paid to pull out of their ass? What a useless piece of crap that bunch has become!

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blight_ September 3, 2013 at 10:27 am

It won't be long before RAND is simply paid to produce analysis by the defense industry.

"If you're invading Syria in a couple of years, don't forget your Raytheon products!"

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Dfens September 4, 2013 at 11:01 pm

"They are wussies…" This chart brought to you by Lockheed Martin. We never forget who we are working for!

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Charles James Haas September 10, 2013 at 1:12 am

It is not whether RAND is for it or against it, they are a think tank that provides analysis for decision makers. As you sre a decision maker, this does appear to be useless, but I am sure it has value to some.

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Rest Pal September 11, 2013 at 3:03 am

BS.

RAND is not a think tank, but a propaganda arm of the shadow government operating under the guise of private research institution.

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TDS September 10, 2013 at 10:59 pm

Good point Dfens. I feel safe to say that not once has RAND been against a military action. The people in charge of RAND are comparable to lawyers advising a mafia boss.

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weston September 3, 2013 at 10:56 am

“… RAND corporation, Karl Mueller, explained in an interview with Military.com that Syrian IADS are something the U.S. military would clearly want to take seriously as a threat — but they are not as formidable as some have suggested. ”

.

A trivial and worthless ‘explanation’ by RAND — but it’s posted here primarily to plug Military.com, of course.

RAND’s classified version of that IADS study is likely much more substantive, but merely appends many better internal studies by USAF/DOD. RAND cranks out lots of studies that nobody pays any attention to … but they keep RAND on the Pentagon gravy-train, decade after decade.

RAND is a direct part of DOD, though nominally a private company. That’s how the infamous military-industrial-complex works.

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Rufus Frazier September 3, 2013 at 3:25 pm

As a former RAND employee, I can understand the animosity of the ignorant and conspiracy minded. That's how the least common denominator internet rolls. In actuality, of course, the military recognizes that if RAND were a rubber stamp it's usefulness would be zilch.

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blight_ September 3, 2013 at 4:18 pm

Indeed; to push for the invasion of Iraq they bypassed RAND entirely and relied on Curveball and yellowcake.

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barney September 3, 2013 at 11:29 pm

Oh. The govt would never keep paying someone who is useless. I suppose you're going to tell us next that you earned every dollar you took.

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votsbh September 5, 2013 at 11:55 pm

Good post Rufus,
Animosity of the ignorant is a pretentious posturing. I don't know where they
find this report being an encouragement for military action ?
If I were in charge of planning the strike a possibility of facing long range
SA-10 missile systems in addition to required complexity of necessary
steps, would be more of a disouragement than not.

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Tribulationtime September 3, 2013 at 12:12 pm

Flaws?. Meaning no-existent?. 2007 IAF goes to walk around over Syria to bomb a Nuke site and nothing happens to F-15s. Very impresive defense.

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Jay September 4, 2013 at 9:57 am

The Israelis also got choppers to the site to bring back samples to prove it was a nuke reactor.
We have even better capabilities than the IAF, so certainly we could walk all over Syria. The question is only one of political will and competency.

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Palma September 3, 2013 at 1:38 pm
Lance September 3, 2013 at 1:47 pm

Im still puzzled by this writer Everyone in the White House and press said this will be a missile attack only as a retaliation over WMD use. Some here are too gung ho over war to help AL Qaeda and think this will be a NFZ over Syria which we like always win in one night. I think Syria will be a harder nut to crack and think people are too TOOOO over confident about it being easy to control Syrian air space. Lets wait and see Mr Osborn and I hope you like Al Qaeda your cheering there forces on.

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Bernard September 3, 2013 at 3:57 pm

I wonder how the Syrian people who supposedly being gassed feel about the US invading. Do they want to be test subjects for American weapons programs or would they rather keep things as they are? Does anyone even care what they think?

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Rest Pal September 13, 2013 at 3:03 am

It's obvious that Obama doesn't care what they think.

Suppose the Syrians tell the US to mind its own business, would you listen?

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extreme_one September 3, 2013 at 6:14 pm

A few years ago you couldn't say anything negative about US or US military operations here. Just look at my stat =)

Nowadays I read the website and things have changed. People are starting to understand that maybe there are false flags.

Maybe US doesn't care about dictators and human right anyway and that only thing that matters is a US foreign policy that benefits a few filthy people no matter how many are killed.

Maybe people are starting to understand why more and more countries consider to be the most evil country in the world right now.
You think I am wrong? Why don't you travel overseas(only 9% americans have passport) and ask people what they think about US foreign policy.
No matter how heroic others thinks US is, facts are US has been involved in a new war every 40 months.

Mutilated born infants in Iraq are still looking for those WMD's.

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Rob C. September 3, 2013 at 8:25 pm

It will be interesting how US will get its cruise missiles through without being short down. From what I've been hearing on NPR, their saying with limited air surveillance, its suspected that old style pre-planned flight cruise missiles will be used hit Syria if the strike does goes down. I hope not, with all the delay tactics going on in political circles, I’m sure Syria moving all their important stuff and people out the way and ending up putting allot innocent people at risk. Hope US Intelligence gets it right.

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JDMCV September 5, 2013 at 10:39 am

The cruise missiles will make it through and hit targets just fine. As we know, it's one thing to have the technology to shoot down aircraft, but shooting a cruise missle down is another matter. Don't forget, we have stealth missiles also that can evade even the best the Russian "missile shield" has to offer. If we launch at night – even better. The United States has demonstrated time and time again that when it comes to conventional warefare, we are unchallenged. Russian/Chinese made equipment (of all kinds) looks great on paper, but the US has more experience of actually using our equipment with great success. In Iraq, we had absolutely NO problem taking out Russian made equipment and armor. All this being said, I am NOT in favor of a strike against Syria – let the Muslim nations take care of their own issues and I do NOT think the US should be the world's moral police.

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Charles James Haas September 10, 2013 at 1:24 am

Honestly, you think the Syrians are adept at shooting down cruise missiles? It wouldn't surprize me if two or three were shot down, but malfunctions are more likely to cause a target from not being hit than missiles being shot down. It 150 are fired, my guess is that 5-8 would not get through for all reasons.

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dudeintheknow September 4, 2013 at 3:05 am

I dont post very often, and for good reason (yeah, so much meaning and intelligent dialogue to be had on internet forums, right…), but I do check this site as one of my news feeds, and every so often I am compelled to set the record straight when it seems theres no good viewpoint amidst the half-digested, every-man-gets-a-say typical chatter. (sorry if that sounds arrogant, but lets be frank here…)

1st issue- "Americanz r evul impeerialistz!"

America is far from perfect. I know, because im an immigrant transplant (Brazil) who came here as a kid, and Ive been living here ever since, so I have the outside perspective as well as the inside, and I consider myself American just as much as I do Brazilian. I love this country as much as anybody else because of what IT WAS FOUNDED ON, essentially boot-kicking the world out of the dark ages (renaissance, classical period, whatever same difference), and also for some great features, moments and people of this wild ride called America weve seen since then. But with my love also comes intense criticism and a desire to see it improved, and believe me much improvement is sorely needed, in all arenas of our society, because that criticism goes hand in hand with love and true patriotism. And yes, our goverment and military do have many a corrupt element, this is true, its unfortunately endemic to our system in its current state.

However… let me pose a few questions to settle this issue: wherever youre from, is there a police force in your town? Yes, there is. And even if one or two of the police officers are corrupt, sadistic a$$holes, does the police force as a whole more or less follow the law (assuming you dont live in a third world country)? Yes, they do. And as a result, is your town livable and peaceful because of this law-abiding police force, even if they occasionally shoot the wrong person or persecute this other innocent person? (tragic victims of an imperfect world, lets call them) Yes, it is. And would you personally like to invite a random police officer to have a drink with, and invite in to your home for dinner with your family? No, you wouldnt, unless you already knew one of them as a personal friend. Would I? Uhh, no. Nobody would.

Do you see? Do you see yet?? Its right there in front of you, grab it., see it already!

No, cant see it? Ok, ill spell it out for you anyway, poor average internet denizen that you are, why make it hard on you, poor thing…

Ya see, the fact that you dont personally like your local police force, or even if they make mistakes sometimes, or even if some of them are awful human beings, doesnt mean they arent necessary. I know they are, and you know it too. And who else is going to act as an intimidating enforcer of modern international law and global democratic values? (again, not perfect, and often corrupt, but its better than not having one at all…) Europe? No, politically hamstrung and globally deficient military, even if combining all Eurozone armed forces. China? Umm, I believe "lmao" was a term invented for just this occasion. Rus… not even going to finish that one. Lets see whos left? ahh, that would be nobody.

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oblatt1 September 4, 2013 at 4:19 am

And that folks is why Brazil is the mess it is today. LOL

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Andy September 9, 2013 at 7:48 am

who gave you the right to appoint USA as the world Police? Assad killed 100 000 in 2 years, USA killed 100 000 Japanese in 2 days (using Nukes)…Saddam killed 1000 Iraqi each year in prisons, USA killed 150 000 CIVILIANS in 2003 in search for WMD that do not even exist. USA did not sign any treaty concerning Chemical, Nuclear and Biological weapons, not event for Anti-Personnel mines…..come on man, are sure that USA is the best choice. Okay, you say "sometime" cops do bad things, OK, u r right, but with USA it is EVERYTIME. EVERY TIME USA do bad things and shoot the wrong persons…You have some robbers that have hostages in a bank, you DO NOT BOMB the bank to kill the robbers. got it?

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dudeintheknow September 4, 2013 at 3:06 am

So let me be clear just in case you think Im just another biased American: I really dont like American society at the current moment, we are a bunch of cultureless emotionally deranged weirdos. i live here i know. And Brasil is a shithole in terms of crime rate, infrastructure, government and economy (getting slowly better though…) but the people and culture there are phenomenal. Guess I cant have it all in one magical happy cake and get to eat it too.

But let me equally clear: thanks to the often-hated but still strongest and most popular kid on the block that is America and its willingness to step in and actually stand up for modern laws and values in the world, despite its ungodly list of imperfections ill be the first to admit to, the world has enjoyed its longest running period of peace between major superpowers in more than 500 years. Thats a fact. I didnt say any conflict, I mean major wars between major powers. Like 50mil+ dead WW2 kind of war. No offense to anyones lost relatives, but in comparison everything else is inconsequential next to something on that scale.

Listen, anytime any country or ruling body anywhere in the world, this could mean Syria, China, the Congo or Madagascar (Mada-who? Dont lie, you know the name because you watched the animated movie with your suburban rugrats), anytime ANYONE thinks of doing anything evil in the world, whats one of their first strategic thoughts? Thats right, its "will America find out about this, and will they come after us for it??"

Wow, well that is a great question to have on the minds of primitive evil doers in backwater $hithole nations as well as prominent but still unpredictable superpowers like China and Russia. Hmm, if I commit a horrible enough crime, will the local police find out about it, and will they come after me? You see, the prevention of 99% of all crime happens on a large scale not so much by physically preventing it after it happens, but by having it never happen in the first place because of the psychological deterrent of trying to avoid the consequences of getting caught. Apparently this works for your run of the mill local thief just as much as your average rogue nation out there. Same principle.

I dont like it either, but this is the truth of the world you currently live in: no america, no global police force. No global police force, no modern stability to further develop human civilization without the constant fear of major wars/atrocities like we have seen constantly throughout history.

I sure dont personally like police officers, even though some of them may be swell guys, but man do i feel safe living in a city (Seattle) where I see low crime and police cruisers driving by. Its not a perfect world, but its a necessary temporary solution along the road to making stuff better and eventually handing our descendants a star trek like utopia 500 years from now (hopefully).

The end of issue #1. you have been formally educated, here is your degree. Go now, go find a job with it and make some money to buy yourself more bobble-heads for your car's dashboard.

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dudeintheknow September 4, 2013 at 3:50 am

2nd issue- Syrian military considerations.

It turns out this issue is a little easier to dissect and wrap up. First we need to recognize that Obama is actually somewhat hawkish. He reminds me of one of the mid-20th century presidents like Roosevelt or Ike (who we still like) who generally liked to stay out of the worlds conflicts, except that they felt a need to intervene should the need arise, and secretly planned for it. Obama takes his police commissioner duties very seriously, and will occasionally assist Batman if needed. So, in line with this logic, his administration as well as the Pentagon has been eyeing Syria for a couple years now (i mean, lets face it, theyve had the entire Mideast under an eager microscope for decades now, but with the Arab Spring it suddenly feels like they have willing allies everywhere in the region clammoring for support and military assistance in order to topple their own despots in me-too revolutions, like a garden full of thirsty flowers all screaming for water, at the same time! Merry Christmas, DOD.) Its just that this latest extremely, INCREDIBLY stupid strategic move by Assad to deploy Sarin gas has given the hawksies more green light to bomb his ass into submission than a techno rave.

So heres how its going to go down:

1. Congress will meet and approve this bad boy, because whatever credibility the GOP still has to their own voters, let alone to city-dwelling, vote-controlling Americans in general who grow increasingly skeptical of them, relies on their need to appear somewhat strong on foreign affairs and not like willy-nilly pacifists which is what theyve always accused the Dems of being. So Obama will get his legally, congress-stamped official USAF and SPEC-OPS war against Syria, and he already knew he would. the whole "oh wait, this is a democracy, I know lets vote on it!" ploy is really just fantastic PR, textbook politico play to earn legitimacy points at home and abroad.

2. Shock and Awe, part Deux. Thats right, its going to be that first unforgettable opening ceremony to operation Iraqi Freedom all over again, except diffused over an entire nation, although youll definitely see some sparks fly in Damascus. Like Rand suggested, this will be using cruise missiles and F-22's popping their $200 mil high maintenance femme fetale cherries and other stealth fighters. Once major SAM and other AA sites are gone, in come the carrier launched FA-18s and other stock workhorse birds to mop up other lower priority sites and continue the air war.

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dudeintheknow September 4, 2013 at 3:51 am

3. CIA and SOCOM get their hands wet. Once Assad is hiding in his overturned bathtub in the favorite palace of his choosing with the safety blankie his granny sowed for him, were gonna need to get in touch with them rebels yonder. And theyre a pitifully scattered, only partially structured and highly untrained ragtag bunch composed of a sizable portion of zealoty islamists bent on recreating Taliban-land a few clicks north of Israel (which Mossad cant wait to have as a playtime buddy). HOWEVER, theyre all we have to count on as the "opposition". so then its up to our spooks to contact them and establish comms ties and secret backdoor supply routes to give them huge stockpiles of soviet era US weaponry we STILL havent fully disposed of or sold yet (but damn it that doesnt stop us from trying!), as well as an easy excuse to let our zerodark30 boys in to access really whatever stinkin targets they want to get their hands on, and they will, because with a no-fly zone and total air support, easy chopper access from Mediterranean-parked amphibs and ever friendly Israel (lovable paranoid Jews, we love thee), theyre gonna be in, through and every which way up in and around Syrias belly faster than Tiger Woods in a Thailand brothel. Theyre gonna be gunning for the obvious chem sites, but also a whos who list of military VIPs to assassinate, call it the Syrian "most wanted deck of cards" ala Iraq, intel sites, busting out critical POW from stanky dungeous, sabotaging military infrastructure, you know the usual. Just SEALS and DELTA and Rangers as well as the whole extended cozy JSOC family doing what they do best, another day at the office.

4. Resolution. And like in Lybia, the war will go on until the rebs eventually storm a very whittled down and thoroughly gutted Damascus and officially take over the government and claim victory, of course with Assad nowhere to be found and half of the "deck" still missing. This will take about 3-5 months, and then Obama gets to declare victory and get another American badass notch under his WWF heavyweight wrestling president champion of the world belt. The US and world news media can then spend another 5-10 years criticizing the Obama administration, the Syrian intervention and American foreign policy in general for how utterly disastrous the post-war reconstruction and failed attempts at yet another islamacized pseudo-democracy-in-the-Mideast experiment gone wrong that it will become. however, it will still be better than letting Assad remain in power, and again, it sets that important precedent in the world, that whoever you are, wherever you are, if you do bad $hit, America the police man will come and arrest you. And you will not like it when you are either in jail getting regular deliveries up the Hershey Highway or being hung from the nearest tree. just a fair warning.

The end of Issue #2. Please stop insinuating all these issues! i have to get to bed at some point!!

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LesG007 September 4, 2013 at 9:35 am

Beautiful, just beautiful! Couldn't have said it better myself!!
Bravo "Dude", bravo!!!

Ciao', and get some sleep.

It will be an interesting few weeks coming up…

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Rest Pal September 4, 2013 at 1:08 pm

America is not a police man, but an armed criminal and terrorist.

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Steve-O September 5, 2013 at 11:17 am

Nice analysis, Dudeintheknow. I agree with a lot of what you say, but I'm not sure about your ultimate prediction that Obama will hit hard enough to cause regime change. I think Obama is looking to use enough force so that his "Red Line" comments don't prove empty, but I think he's very wary of us getting entangled in another mess. My guess is that he hits Syria with more than token force (i.e., more force than a few cruise missiles into empty warehouses ala Sudan) but nothing too major that will get us overly entangled.

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Oswald Spengler September 4, 2013 at 8:42 am

The Rand thought that thermo nuclear war would be a good option.These people are crazies.The Dr.Strangeloves – walking over Millions and Millions of Corpses to reach their sick goal of world domination.

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Oswald Spengler September 4, 2013 at 8:46 am

What the analyst leaves out is a counterattack on american air bases,ships,operation centers by Hezbollah,Iran,Iraq,Syria.The Russians and Chinese will for sure supply the shiite axis with intelligence,supplies,training.Libya and Kosovo where petty small countries.In Kosovo the air campaign left the serbian army mostly untouched.It was a desaster.

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yogiberra111 September 4, 2013 at 10:20 am

The Balkan air campaign was a "disaster" (yes, its spelled with an i not an e)? Let's see. The Serbians forced back into Serbia. The ethnic cleansing and other fighting stopped. Kosovo given its de facto independence. Various war criminals killed or apprehended and tried. The region has been peaceful for a decade. In other words, all of NATO's goals were achieved and with a relatively small loss of life. That is called a total success. As for the Serbian military, haven't heard of it doing anything over the past decade. Why do you suppose that is the case?

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blight_ September 4, 2013 at 12:12 pm

You mean the Serbian government withdrew and the province partitioned into Serbs near the north and Albanians to the south? It was also where the KLA turned out to be AQ affiliated, but that's okay, the bad guys were Slavs and the Muslims hadn't exhausted all their goodwill with the American people.

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oblatt1 September 4, 2013 at 9:10 am

The folly of reusing Bush's national security people should now be dawning on Obama.

For Assad and attack would be welcomed, such a clear demonstration that the rebels are US puppets will greatly increase the stability of his regime and even bring some of the rebel groups over to his side.

The Russian navy is in position to pass early warning information to the Syrians on any attack and the newer generations of soviet SAMs are designed to shoot down relatively slow flying cruise missiles. They can expect sales to skyrocket if a good number of missiles are shot down.

A longer shot is that they might just use the fleet they have to shoot down the missiles as they are launched as a violation of international law while pushing for Obama to be tried as a war criminal.

There are so many ways our enemies will benefit from an attack you have to wonder what is holding Obama up ? Just take the gun son and shoot yourself.

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joe September 4, 2013 at 10:30 am

wrong war wrong time. no money to fight it nor will to win.

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Rest Pal September 10, 2013 at 12:36 pm

wrong reasons, too. But then, it's obvious to me that the Obama admin. had already decided a long time ago to find an excuse for illegal military intervention. Just look at the amount of time and effort US mainstream media have devoted to the negative propaganda campaign against Syria over the past year or two.

With all the unemployment, out-of-control debt, prolonged recession, and all kinds of crisis – the dilapidated infrastructure, the housing bubble, the decimation of the middle class, the outlandish money printing etc – that are threatening the livelihood of Americans young and old, this freaking Obama administration is devoting so much time, money and effort to assist rebels in Syria!!!

Isn't that mind-boggling?

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TDS September 10, 2013 at 10:43 pm

It's Obama's second term. With no worries about reelection, he can afford to go against the American public and pay his dues to his political sponsors and donors from the military industrial complex. Additionally, the Syrian drama helps divert Americans' attention from the worsening economic woes and other domestic crisis.

Obama has become yet another exhibit of the illusory nature of the American electoral process. It doesn't matter who comes to power. The White House and the US Congress are merely handles of Wall Street and the military industrial complex.

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tempeAZ September 17, 2013 at 9:46 pm

Agree. I'd note that even if Obama was allowed to make his own decisions, he's not smart enough to do it well. Like most duds in Congress, he's just a lawyer, and bad one at that.

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anthony September 4, 2013 at 10:33 am

Like said a few days ago if Syria gets attacked their neighbor Iran will back them so lets not think lightlly on this matter,chemicalwarefare,somany people leaving to were? Isreal will gladlly take out all missles, lets stop talking or worrying about wallets we cant heal a wound with a dollar bill!

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anthony September 4, 2013 at 10:35 am

Lets get the war of all wars and aitrmissles out and finally see who is the strongest. Thats what its all about.

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d.epperson September 5, 2013 at 7:43 am

yes indeed. usa would man handle Russia, that's why Russia is crying. The missle defense system first installing at your local count Draculas castle, as Russia admits, will cripple their lobbying power against the west.

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Rest Pal September 10, 2013 at 12:22 pm

LOL. Considering the ultra-lame performance of the US military in the Vietnam War and the Korean War, it's simply delusional to think that the US can man-handle Vietnam and North Korea, much less the nuclear-armed Russia.

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frank September 4, 2013 at 12:29 pm

It's Israel's neighbor. Let them deal with it. Isn't that what Germany and the US taxpayers give them over 15 billion dollars a year for!

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joe September 5, 2013 at 8:14 am

to be sure.

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Charles James Haas September 10, 2013 at 1:34 am

They have already done so many times tis year and in the years past. Many SAMs bound for Hezbollah and anti-ship cruise missiles have already gone up in smoke. But, as I doubt Israel want chemical weapons falling on them, nor are they interested in taking sides between dumb (Assad gov't) and dumber (Islamist rebels), they are not likely to interfer unless they are threatened. They are not our mercenaries though, so you better get that out of your head. We will work together when it is mutually benefitial, this is not likely that time.

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Rest Pal September 4, 2013 at 1:04 pm

RAND is making RANDom war propaganda again.

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Styxx September 4, 2013 at 2:56 pm

If the US bombs Syria I just hope the Russians bomb Saudi Arabia back into the stone age

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hibeam September 4, 2013 at 4:16 pm

Not much bombing required for that.

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LPF September 5, 2013 at 3:46 am

Let me get this straight , you think bombing the most holy place n the muslim world will be a ood thing for the russians to do ? SERIOUSLY ?? Just how stupid are you? You do realise that most of the people on all sides in the regions are muslims don't you ?

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Rest Pal September 12, 2013 at 1:49 am

quote: "Let me get this straight , you think bombing the most holy place n the muslim world will be a ood thing for the russians to do ?"

You do realize that the Muslims have been fighting among themselves for hundreds of years, don't you?

As for bombing the so-called "most holy place", you need to understand that after the bombing, it will be still be "most holy place". The place won't go away. From a GPS stand point, the place will have the exact same coordinates before, during and after the bombing. Yes? Neither American nor Russian bombs are powerful enough to change the coordinates of the place.

Granted, it will look different after the bombing … with a lot of holes, i.e., a "holely place" or perhaps "the most holely place" in the Muslim world.

However, please notice that "holy" and "holely" have the same pronunciation, and the two words look almost identical. In fact, in some contexts, "ho" and "hole" are interchangeable in meaning.

So your argument isn't really persuasive in my humble opinion.

The Russians, however, might want to take a page out of Americans' playbook – repaint the bombers and put US / NATO / Israeli insignias on them.

What do you think?

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tempeAZ September 17, 2013 at 9:43 pm

Very funny.

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Charles James Haas September 10, 2013 at 1:47 am

Not sure that the Russians would be very successful, short of nuclear ballistic missiles. Just getting around Turkey, Israel, Iraq, Kuwait, Eygpt and Jordan would be a challenge. Hmmm, how do you think a 13 Tu-160s would fair against dozens of F-15s or Eurofighter Typhoons? Better check your calculus on this one. Of course, you are not even considering the USS Nimitz in the Red Sea or the 5th Fleet in the Persian Gulf. LOL, even little Georgia shot down a Tu-22M Backfire bomber. Please, tell us all how they would pull this one off?

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Rest Pal September 12, 2013 at 2:13 pm

LOL. Russia can bomb the US itself if it finally comes down to it.

Spare us of your ignorant babble, please.

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hibeam September 4, 2013 at 4:15 pm

Syria’s Air Defenses Vulnerable to Air Attack: RAND. Thanks RAND. We never would have guessed. We were thinking submarine borne commandos. How much do we owe you?

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Bill September 5, 2013 at 7:24 am

The Russians are very good at playing chess. What would we do if the Russian Fleet decided to dock in Syria and park their ships for a year?

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JDMCV September 5, 2013 at 10:51 am

Avoid hitting them, only go for Syrian targets. Try to work with Russia and perhaps we can show them our intelligence outlining who used chemical weapons in Syria. Destroy all Russian anti-missile assets near our primary targets first. – No problem. Easily done. Russia knows they are not match for our 6th fleet. This is all just political posturing. Our Arleigh Burk Class Guided Missile Destroyers are more advanced than anything the Russian Navy has to protect Syria. The United States has a very good history of destroying the best the Russians have through our operations in Bosnia, Iraq, and other places.

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Stratege September 5, 2013 at 12:10 pm

Serbia, Iraq and others never had the best Russia's assets.

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BTK September 5, 2013 at 4:32 pm

The Soviet Union submarine that was in Grenada got underway just before the attack there.

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Charles James Haas September 10, 2013 at 1:53 am

Appearently you are not familiar with precision guided bombs. And what fleet are you talking about anyways? At best they can muster 5 or six ships of little significance. There are really no targets anywhere near their coast. It would be pretty funny getting photos of cruise missiles flying over their ships though.

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ABDELKADER HAMDAOUI September 5, 2013 at 10:15 am

Make sure we target the Russian and the Chinese embassies just as we did in Yugoslavia. Embarking upon a belligerent act on false pretenses again and getting away with it just because as a big bully we can on behalf of our paymasters the Saudis. A bunch of gangsters that's what we have become.

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Charles James Haas September 10, 2013 at 2:08 am

Seeing as we didn't attack the Russian embassy, you are starting out with inaccurate statements. Seems the section of the Chiese embassy was filled with spys helping Serbia. The Chinese should have evacuated their embassy if they didn't want to get involved in the war. And I suppose you were in favor of the Serbs slaughtering the Muslims in a genocidal war. So, to get this straight, Mr. Hamdaoui prefers genocide against Muslims over US intervention. And we are the problem?

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Bernard September 9, 2013 at 5:58 pm

Just stop, every time the man takes a vacation it's a "scandal." At some point you're going to have to get tired calling wolf because the rest of the world has already stopped listening. It's a running gag at this point that only tea partiers aren't in on… :-

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Charles James Haas September 10, 2013 at 1:02 am

We had F-16s in Aviano that could have launched in minutes. They could have recovered at Sigonella or Brindizi if needed to refuel. They had operated over Libya just a few months before, so it is hard to imagine they forgot how to do something they had just done effectively a little earlier. Frankly, any general or admiral that would not be prepared to support our missions abroad should be fired. But, they are not problem as they were never called upon to act. Please show me any written order the President made to act to defend our people? But their was none.

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Charles James Haas September 10, 2013 at 1:10 am

Well, he has demonstrated his great skill at golfing and sending Air Force planes for his dog. I'm just glad he managed to break away from his game of spades to make the photo op for the Osama Bin Laden raid. But, where is the photo of him monitoring the events during Benghazi? Well, I guess a shot of him in bed would have been pretty embarrassing. Those campaign stops were very taxing on him, the death of an Ambassador was really just too much for him to deal with.

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Charles James Haas September 10, 2013 at 2:01 am

Well, those Russians and Iranians are known for their truth and honesty in this situation, aren't they. You age is the only one in question here. Both Russian and Iran are allies of Syria, and would readily lie on Syria's behalf. You seem to think the least democratic nations are the ones to follow.

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Rest Pal September 10, 2013 at 12:10 pm

Far more truth and honesty than most American politicians. Only idiots (rebels included) would trust an American politician.

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