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Showing posts from July 6, 2017

Russia-China Tandem Shifts Global Power

By Ray McGovern Top Russian and Chinese leaders are busy comparing notes, coordinating their approach to President Donald Trump at the G20 summit in Hamburg this weekend. Both sides are heralding the degree to which ties between the two countries have improved in recent years, as Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visits Moscow on his way to the G20. And, they are not just blowing smoke; there is ample substance behind the rhetoric. President Donald Trump welcomes Chinese President Xi Jinping to a state dinner during their summit at Mar-a-Lago, Florida, on April 6, 2017. (Screen shot from whitehouse.gov) Whether or not Official Washington fully appreciates the gradual – but profound – change in America’s triangular relationship with Russia and China over recent decades, what is clear is that the U.S. has made itself into the big loser. Gone are the days when Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger skillfully took advantage of the Sino-Soviet rivalry and played the two countries off against eac…

Fake News? US-backed Forces Blast Through 8th Century Syrian Wall to Fight ISIS

ISIS’s last holdout in Syria is in Raqqa; its forces have been backed into an ancient wall that surrounds the old city of Raqqa on three sides. The Rafiqah Wall, first constructed in the 8th century by the Abbasid dynasty, is reported to be over 12 feet high, over a meter thick and stretches over 3 miles around the old city. FILE IMAGE While the wall had been described as an important fortification for ISIS, the advancement of Syrian troops made the wall a trap that could have allowed the ISIS fighters to be completely wiped out. According to a July 3, 2017 TIME article(1), ISIS fighters had taken positions there “to defend the city [sic]” and planted explosive devices at what the article described as “breaks in the wall.” Under the circumstances, the point to planting explosive devices in the wall would only have been to create escape routes. It was apparent from the next day’s news, however, that the “breaks in the wall” were not adequate for escape. The US-backed forces, fronted b…

Russian Tu-95 Strategic Bombers Strike ISIS With Cruise Missiles

Tu-95 On Wednesday, Russian Tu-95MS strutegic bombers struck ISIS targets in Syria with X-101 cruise missiles. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the cruise missile strike destroyed three large arms and ammunition depots, and a terrorist command center near the city of Uqayribat in the province of Hama. The strike was made from the range of about 1,000 kilometers. The Tu-95MS bombers took off from an airfield in Russia. The Russian Aerospace Forces’ Su-30 fighters based in Syria prvided air cover for the strategic bombers.

Syrian Army Upgrates T-55 Battle Tanks With Thermal Sights And Fire Control Systems

New images published on social media revealed that the Syrian T-55MV tank was upgraded with a thermal sight and a Fire Control System. The Syrian Scientific Research Center (SSRC) upgraded the Belarusian 1K13 sight from BELOMO Company by adding a thermal camera with the range of 8 km and a high resolution. It seems that the camera and the sight 1K13 were connected to each other and into an LCD instead of the traditional sight. The sight is also connected to a ballistic computer with the possibility of inserting other information such as wind speed and direction making it a Syrian made semi-automatic fire control system. It is not clear if the tank is also equipped with other sensors to support the ballistic computer and increase accuracy. Moreover, it seems that the tank is equipped with the Syrian-made active protection system Sarab-1. It is not known whether Belarus has assisted the Syrian Scientific Research Center to develop this system. However, the center has already implemente…