Road to Mosul: Iraq in Review

The Islamic State organization has been on the losing side for the last year in Syria and Iraq. Pentagon estimated in August that over 25,000 ISIS operators have been killed…

The Islamic State organization has been on the losing side for the last year in Syria and Iraq. Pentagon estimated in August that over 25,000 ISIS operators have been killed in the last 11 months, with additional estimate of 20,000 killed in the year before. General MacFarland said estimates for the overall remaining strength of ISIS vary from about 15,000 to 30,000 but said the jihadists are having increasing difficulties replenishing their ranks. Besides heavy casualties, the big losses were also accounted as territory, funds, maneuverability and oil industry.

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Mission Accomplished: Border Security à la Ankara

The following is an operational review focused on Operation Euphrates Shield, launched, coordinated by the Turkish Armed Forces and spearheaded by the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and allies. Preface On…

The following is an operational review focused on Operation Euphrates Shield, launched, coordinated by the Turkish Armed Forces and spearheaded by the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and allies.

Preface

On 24th July 2016, limited Turkish tanks assets alongside Special Operators have passed the border into Syria, also assisting hundreds of Free Syrian Army (FSA) rebels to liberate the Syrian border city of Jarabulus (Operation Euphrates Shield). Located in NE Aleppo Governorate, on the north-eastern banks of the Syrian Euphrates river, the city has been under Da’esh (ISIS) control for over 2 years. Besides the internal security threat posed by Da’esh a more prioritized liability is presented by the PKK that operates inside Turkey since the 80’s and its Allies in Syria and Iraq. The PYD political groups from northern Syria has established military wings – YPG/ YPJ – since 2013 and are leading the US-backed multi-ethnic military organization Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Recent success of this group, lead and populated 60% by Kurdish forces, was translate on the ground by territorial advancements in Manbij and intentions towards Al-Bab and Jarabulus; the later city being right at the Turkish border. After this developments, Ankara has threatened and acted upon it’s words:

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Tango Down: Major Da’esh leader killed

Da’esh said on Tuesday, August 30th that one of its most prominent and longest-serving leaders was killed in what appeared to be an American air strike in Syria, depriving the…

Da’esh said on Tuesday, August 30th that one of its most prominent and longest-serving leaders was killed in what appeared to be an American air strike in Syria, depriving the militant group of the man in charge of directing attacks overseas. A U.S. defense official told Reuters the United States targeted Abu Muhammad al-Adnani in a Tuesday strike on a vehicle traveling in the Syrian town of al-Bab. The official stopped short of confirming Adnani’s death, however.

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Towards an Ankara-Damascus endgame in Syria?

The recent developments in northern Syria have reconfigured again the chessboard of the Syrian Civil War. Turks have crossed the border in Jarabulus alongside FSA groups to free the city…

The recent developments in northern Syria have reconfigured again the chessboard of the Syrian Civil War. Turks have crossed the border in Jarabulus alongside FSA groups to free the city from Da’esh, and then extended its effort towards ousting the YPG, and even Kurdish elements from SDF, towards east of Euphrates; the mentioned groups also planned to free Jarabulus from ISIS thereby extending Kurdish land grab to the Turkish border – from Ankara’s perspective. The US, who was believed to be in the middle of a fall out with Ankara, has not only supported the Euphrates Shield Operation in Jarabulus, but the White House publicly threatened that if the Kurds don’t retreat to the other side of the river, they will lose US support[1]. (VIDEO Briefing on the Turkish invasion in Syria here)

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Turkey enters Syria: Operation Euphrates Shield (VIDEO)

As prospected by Transylvania Intelligence since August 2015, and announced on 1 am 24 august 2016, Turkey enters Syria in a limited cross-border operation, with tanks and special forces, empowering…

As prospected by Transylvania Intelligence since August 2015, and announced on 1 am 24 august 2016, Turkey enters Syria in a limited cross-border operation, with tanks and special forces, empowering FSA groups in freeing Jarabulus from ISIS rule. With US air support, this Turkish intervention is barley just an anti-Da’esh op as it is also focused in deterring #Kurdish advancements in the west of Euphrates. Take a look at this briefing to see raw footage, battlefield context and #geopolitical explanations.

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Retrospective from an August 2015 (successful?) Forecast: Turkey enters Syria!

The news is out, Turkey has crossed the border into Syria with tanks and special operators in order to enforce a FSA-operation against ISIS in Jarabulus. While the territory has…

The news is out, Turkey has crossed the border into Syria with tanks and special operators in order to enforce a FSA-operation against ISIS in Jarabulus. While the territory has held by Da’esh for years, Ankara has moved just now because the YPG-led SDF has showed it’s aspirations to free the City. And given Turkey’s Kurdish Independence phobia this was the only pragmatic way to claim the city for itself.

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Danger Close for US Operators in Hasakah

Close call between Syrian and American forcesin north-eastern Syria after two Syrian Arab Army fighter jets dropped bombs on Kurdish positions in Hasakah, where US Special Forces were also present….

Close call between Syrian and American forcesin north-eastern Syria after two Syrian Arab Army fighter jets dropped bombs on Kurdish positions in Hasakah, where US Special Forces were also present. In response, U.S. planes were scrambled in the area, making it one of the most critical US-Syria episodes since the War broke out[1]. Hasakah is in the Kurdish proclaimed Roajava federation which incorporates most of the northern Syrian lands, and has the YPG-led, US backed SDF as its officially army.

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U.S. moves nuclear weapons from Turkey to Romania? (+Updates)

In the context of degrading ties between Ankara and Washington, two independent sources told EurActiv.com that the United States has started transferring nuclear weapons stationed in Turkey to Romania. The…

In the context of degrading ties between Ankara and Washington, two independent sources told EurActiv.com that the United States has started transferring nuclear weapons stationed in Turkey to Romania. The geopolitical implications, Romania’s rising role, the nuke’s technical details and whether there’s truth behind it, will be the main explored topics of this analysis.
 The nuclear weapons were stationed in Incirlik Air Base near Adana in Turkey, just 100 km from the Syrian border. The precise location had a great strategic depth as the nukes were close to Iran, Russia and other possible hostile threats from Asia, or even Africa. But given the current Turkish state of affairs, the safest decision was to move them. Nukes cannot be activated without having the cryptic system, which is actually a code of which pieces need to be provided by different individuals from the Government, including the US President. But the nuclear assets can be compromised in case the need to use them. After the Coup, Incirlik was shut down, power cut off and US soldiers were forbidden to leave. Turkish officers were supervising them, while the commander of the base through many high commanding officers were arrested for supporting the Coup.
Moreover, yesterday the rumor of the nukes being moved to Romania began flowing in the Romanian Press. Even ex-President Traian Basescu has been asked about such a possible scenario. Today the Romanian Minister of Foreign Affairs has denied the rumors, but then again, that’s the playbook. There’s never ever going to be a confirmation.
Not even the nukes in Incirlik Air Base were confirmed. But being stationed there for such a long time, information got leaked and independent studies were undertaken, so things got clear . It could be months, years, until we get a similar feeling about the US nukes being stationed in Romania. But following recent tensions between the US and Turkey, such a move was more than expected.

Aegis Shield System located in Deveselu, Romania

The same site, EurActiv.com has informed that the new home for the nukes is the Deveselu base, located in southern Romania. The base also shelters an Aegies anti-shield system build by the US to intercept any ballistic missile, especially those containing warheads.  At this year’s Warsaw Summit, the Aegis system got incorporated in NATO’s anti-missiles defense infrastructure. Having underground silos and a modern state of the art infrastructure to secure it, such a location is perfect to hide nukes. NATO’s nuclear capacity is heavily dependent on the US deposit thereby such a move is critical for Alliance defense also.
But what about other geopolitical implications? Well.. Strategically, this is a setback for the US, the location of Incirlik gave access to the Mediterranean Sea, Caucasus and the Middle East (even bordering Iran) while keeping a reasonable distance to the Black Sea. It was a textbook geo-strategic placement. But in the given situation, the Pentagon’s contingency planners pointed that Romania was the closes stable Ally to place the nukes in that hold all the necessary ingredients for become a nuclear host.. Romania has no nationalist movement, no extremists parties going mainstream, while not a successful economy, it is nonetheless a stable one, with even the biggest economical growth in the EU 2016 in Q2, and it’s currently undergoing a military modernization. It has access to the Black Sea, a huge interests in deterring Russia and also in protecting the Republic of Moldova from any Russian incursions. It also benefits from the US-funded Aegis Ashore anti-missile shield system, which is one of the most modern pieces of equipment that NATO holds. In the past, Romania has also hosted a CIA black site where Al-Qaeda operatives were interrogated and detained.
The rumor could also be a black swan thrown into the internet by a Russian disinformation campaign to damage the image of the Deveselu Air Base, which even so has retained a lot of negative and threatening reactions from Moscow when it was opened or during its construction.
However, if proven true, this move transforms Romania from a stable regional partner with Eastern European security ramifications, into an international strategic ally. Poland and Romania were considered by the Pentagon as being America’s greatest security allies in Eastern Europe, but under this circumstances, the later gets a bigger boost. Romania became a nuclear host country which indeed makes it a double target for Russia in case of a war, but then again, why wouldn’t it be a target for Moscow? Romania is one of the hardest accessible countries for Russia; Hungary is in good relations, especially economical, with Russia, Bulgarian institutions are compromised as showed when Sofia vetoed the Romanian-initiative NATO fleet in the Black Sea; while Moldova is rotten by Russian influence, even if recently it began shifting away from it under Romanian patronage.

Technicalities

The US nuclear arsenal based in Europe is mostly comprised of B61 warheads, also referred to it as “silver bullet”. It is an intermediate-yield strategic and tactical nuclear weapon featuring a two-stage radiation implosion design. However these bombs are designed to be drooped by bombers and fighter jets (aerial assets), not launched from silos. The Deveselu Aegis Ashore System from Romania doesn’t have any  runways for air assets to land or take-off. The system was designed to work in co-op with an installation in Poland, a US Navy ship in the Mediterranean and an Early Warning System in Turkey, in order to intercept hostile threats. The system from its making is purely defensive and has no offensive capacity. So if the nukes are to be stationed in Deveselu, Romania, then the purpose is to deposite (no data on nuclear security capacity in Deveselu) them for a short term. The missiles could never be launched from that base.

End Notes

  • Be advised, this report/ rumor should be taken with a grain of salt as Romanian officials denies it and it’s reported just by one source (although trustworthy) that is quoting anonymous sources.
  • However, even if it’s actually true, it should also be expected that the location of nukes will never ever be confirmed or revealed. It will be total deniability.
  • Russia will begin it’s informational attack on Romania in the following days; internet trolls, fake accounts and huge amount of spam will invade Romanian online pages with anti-US/ anti-NATO messages. It is expected that the Russians will have a very aggressive and flooding approach as this is a majorly important issue for them.
  • While the US lost a great geo-strategic placement moving it out of Incirlik, the new host country, Romania, is not only close to Ukraine where Russia annexed Crimea and invaded Donbas, but also to Transdnister, where Russian troops with a de facto separatists Government also operates. Another Kremlin-response could come from these parts.
  • More US-investments in Romanian defense infrastructure are expected in order to enhance every details for securing nuclear assets. However, if this placement is temporarily or on long term, it remains to be seen.

UPDATE #1: It seems that there is another confirmation. Israeli Private Intelligence and Security News Service “DEBKA File” also confirms that the US has began moving its nukes to Romania after the Turks requested to take control of the arsenal. They also inform that Russian jets could also use the Incirlik Air Base.

UPDATE #2: There are currently 3 hypothesis: a Russian disinformation campaign (they’ve been trying to discredit the defense-only Deveselu base for years), a true report but just a temporary storage, or a total-complete lie.

UPDATE #3: Romanian officials continue to firmly deny this story. NATO said however that US allies must ensure that “all components of NATO’s nuclear deterrent remain safe, secure, and effective”. While the Pentagon stated that the US policy is to not infirm or confirm any news of its nuclear weapons.

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After Manbij, SDF eyes al-Bab

The next operational step in SDF’s (Syrian Democratic Forces) successful campaign of ousting ISIS from Rojava (Kurdish for “West”; name for northern Syria) was under debate after the liberation of…

The next operational step in SDF’s (Syrian Democratic Forces) successful campaign of ousting ISIS from Rojava (Kurdish for “West”; name for northern Syria) was under debate after the liberation of Manbij from the terrorist occupation. One option was advancing towards the north, where Da’esh still has villages under control, and then continue to Jarabalus and free a major Turkish border checkpoint.

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Another Bear Attack?

Moscow and Kiev are putting their armies on high alert after Russia accused Ukrainian forces of launching raids into Crimea. Moreover, Russian troops at the de facto Crimean-Ukrainian border have…

Moscow and Kiev are putting their armies on high alert after Russia accused Ukrainian forces of launching raids into Crimea. Moreover, Russian troops at the de facto Crimean-Ukrainian border have open fired. Not only does Kiev dismisses this accusation, but there’s also proof of a recent Russian build up in Crimea that could point out of a possible new incursion into Ukrainian territory. More to say, that Russia has refused access of OSCE monitors and other organizations could not confirm an allegedly “Ukrainian incursion into Crimea”.

Could this be a sign that Russia’s hybrid warfare is ready to re-intensify in Ukraine?

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