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Member since Nov-17-05

My wrap of our Chessgames Challenge: The World vs A Nickel, 2006 against ICCF Grandmaster Arno Nickel is at User: World Team Tribute.


>> Click here to see twinlark's game collections. Full Member

   twinlark has kibitzed 17283 times to chessgames   [more...]
   Nov-26-15 twinlark chessforum (replies)
twinlark: <visayanbraindoctor> Putin's promise to not respond with military force against Turkey is technically true, while his promise that there will be serious consquences is completely true. Soon after the jet was downed, Russia launched heavy attacks all along the border, ...
   Nov-13-15 OhioChessFan chessforum (replies)
twinlark: <Ohio> Thanks for the suggested amendments. All done.
   Oct-08-15 Biographer Bistro (replies)
twinlark: <Tabanus> Thanks for the response. I wouldn't want to take you away from your historical work.
   Sep-20-15 World Cup (2015) (replies)
twinlark: <Why? Because the players are paid directly based on their performance and are not being promised anything if they don't perform well (like the appearance fee they get for RRs).> The performance they're getting paid for is based purely on outcomes which <always> produce
   Sep-19-15 John M Burke (replies)
twinlark: <Whitemouse> Burke was a 2200 a couple of months ago but his reaching 2600 is as much of a quirk of the new rating formula for young players as an outstanding effort on his part. Without denigrating this kid's talent, his results for producing a 2600 rating were far fewer ...
   Sep-16-15 Wei Yi (replies)
twinlark: You gotta be an Aussie with a moniker like that.
   Aug-25-15 Aleksandra Goryachkina
twinlark: That seems to be the case, although with a possible caveat. Any games to be deleted from a 9+ round event have to be won games. Hence if we delete Goryachkina's wins against Ovod (2321) and Savina (2429), the average ratings of her opponents rises from 2460 to 2477, just squeezing ...
   Aug-25-15 Li Chao (replies)
twinlark: <sonia91> Those changes have been made. I must say it's nice to see someone noticing and reporting such details. I'd like to suggest though that if you find more amendments that need to be made to a bio, then post the details where biographers hang out at the Biographer ...
   Aug-21-15 Parham Maghsoodloo (replies)
twinlark: <cro777: <twinlark> Thanks for clearing that up.> Thanks for being diplomatic. Just noticed that Nakamura and Caruana can't both be finalists as they're on the same side of the draw, which is bad news for Tomashevsky. Jakovenko will obviously be cheering for them.
   Aug-19-15 chessforum (replies)
twinlark: <ceegee> Ta.
(replies) indicates a reply to the comment.

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 262 OF 262 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Nov-20-15  visayanbraindoctor: Take two!

<November 20, The Russian Caspian flotilla warships on Friday launched 18 cruise missiles at terrorist positions in Syria hitting seven targets>

That's probably an underestimate because it does not include the bombings from the Ruaf Lattakia base. Nor the operations of the SAA and SAAF.

<Russian Tu-22M3 bombers flew 60 sorties in 4 days against Islamic State targets in Syria>

Workhorse of the Ruaf heavy bomber fleet.

<Around 27 people were reported dead on Friday after Malian commandos stormed a hotel seized by Islamist gunmen to rescue 170 people, many of them foreigners, trapped in the building.>

'Koran - seek the idolaters wherever you may find them and slay them'. What the media does not say is that in such hostage killing attacks, jihadists typically ask the religion of the hostages and kill the unbelievers (non-Sunni) only, with Buddhist and Hindus (Koran - 'slay the idolaters') and Jews (Koran- 'your most obstinate opponents will be Jews', 'the Jews have perverted the Scriptures') getting killed first, Christians next (Koran- 'Do not say three, God is but one, God forbid that He should have a son'). Jihadi sympathizing commenters say the attackers spared anyone who could recite verses from the Koran 'to preserve the sanctity of Muslim blood' in the above attack.

There have been a spate of terrorist attacks in the past year, but the western media typically focuses only on those that target Westerners, such as the Paris attack and now this one in a hotel frequented by Westerners.

After 9-11, sooner or later one will occur again in the US. If a hostage situation occurs, then one will see the attackers killing off all non-Sunni hostages, an act that will surely infuriate the ordinary American. What's worrying is that if one occurs now, US warmongers might use it to justify putting boots on the ground and securing a 'safe no fly zone' in northern Syria as planned for together with Turkey. And the ignorant US public will agree, not knowing that such a safe zone actually is planned to be a safe haven for US favored jihadists, in order to protect them from air strikes. Then the Syrian war will never end. Russia will see its economy bleed, and might not be able to sustain the war indefinitely.

It's one reason why I believe that Russia should jump in before US-Turkey can. Using 3 to 9 ton bombs in the area planned to become the safe zone (the corridor between Kurdish held Kobane to Afrin) might be one way of discouraging such a plan. The best way is naturally for the SAA to do a blitzkrieg and seize this area ASAP, but it seems to lack competence or manpower to do so. An alternative is for Russian mobile computerized artillery to join in the fight, even if limited only in this important area, so that it can be captured ASAP.

What about Iranian troops? I believe it might prove to be counter productive, as US can propagandize against it, and the ordinary American is typically anti Iranian to various degrees. Best to use Syrian troops supported by Russian 'smart artillery' and of course the Ruaf.

If Russian military detects any mobilization of Turkish troops across the border, it may portend an attempt to implement a no fly zone. Turkey under Erdogan and his party will definitely try to do so if they think they can get away with it. See below:

<Mr. Hakan Fidan, Turkish President's staunchest ally, condemned Russian military intervention in Syria, accusing Moscow of trying to 'smother' Syria's Islamist revolution and serious breach of United Nations law.

“ISIS is a reality and we have to accept that we cannot eradicate a well-organized and popular establishment such as the Islamic State; therefore I urge my western colleagues to revise their mindset about Islamic political currents, put aside their cynical mentalité and thwart Vladimir Putin's plans to crush Syrian Islamist revolutionaries.. Fidan further added that in order to deal with the vast number of foreign Jihadists craving to travel to Syria, it is imperative that ISIS must set up a consulate or at least a political office in Istanbul.”>

Nov-20-15  visayanbraindoctor: Pravda looks almost as if it's warmongering against Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia.

<Russia can no longer ignore the fact that the conflicts in Syria and Iraq affect its most important interests. Russia can not let terrorists kill Russian citizens. Developing the special operation inside and outside Syria, Russia must emphasize that it is building an "open coalition."

It is worthy of note that the center to coordinate air operations led by the US and the US-led coalition - al-Udeid air base - is located in Qatar. Is it time to raise the issue at the United Nations to organize an international tribunal for the governments of Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia for their involvement in terrorism?>

Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <visayanbraindoctor>

Not sure if you've seen this, but it's a chart displaying the disposition of Russian forces supporting the Syrian operation.:

<Pravda looks almost as if it's warmongering against Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia.>

I think it's a deliberate red herring. What is real is Putin's solemn promise to find the perpetrators of the airline massacre and eliminate them. Some of these will be in high positions, and the countries named are the most likely suspects that harbour the miscreants as these countries are the most supportive of ISIS's aims.

The planners of the aircraft bombing will never know a restful night's sleep, as Russian special forces have been extremely adept at eliminating perpetrators of terrorist attacks, for example, there is no one left who planned Beslan.

Nov-21-15  visayanbraindoctor: <twinlark> Thanks for the link.

<Russia is launching a new national defense facility, which is meant to monitor threats to national security in peacetime, but would take control of the entire country in case of war.

The new top-security, fortified facility in Moscow includes several large war rooms, a brand new supercomputer in the heart of a state-of-the-art data processing center, underground facilities, secret transport routes for emergency evacuation and a helicopter pad, which was deployed for the first time on Nov. 24 on the Moscow River. The Defense Ministry won’t disclose the price tag for the site, but it is estimated at the equivalent of several billion dollars.

The new National Defense Control Center (NDCC) is a major upgrade on what was previously called the Central Command of the General Staff>

Impressive looking facility. Will this be Russia's Pentagon?

It's clear from this that Russia has been looking with fear at NATO encroachment for quite some time.

<Army map suggests presence of Russian artillery unit in central Syria>

This article claims that Russia has sent an artillery unit to a town outside Tartous-Lattakia.

<Spotted by an eagle-eyed Russian military blogger, the map featured a dot near to the settlement of Sadad, between the cities of Homs and Damascus, accompanied by the words: "5 Gabatr 120th ABR 2A65 Msta B, six pieces from 14:00 06.11."

"Gabatr" is an acronym commonly used in the Russian military for "Howitzer Battery." The acronym "ABR" stands for "Artillery Brigade". The designation "2A65 Msta B" describes a type of howitzer in use by the Russian military.>

I do know from Syrian commenters a few weeks ago that they feared the worst in Sadad. They said that it was about to fall to a terrorist offensive. It's not only a strategically located town beside a major highway between Homs and Damascus, the Syrians say it's peopled by Orthodox Christians who are going to get massacred once Salafi-Wahabbi militants get in. The Syrians were urgently calling for Russian intervention here.

Russian military has essentially gone to the 'neither confirm nor deny' mode on this one.

If true then perhaps Russia does occasionally send artillery units out of their bases in emergency situations. Nothing would move the Russian leadership to do so more than a threatened massacre of their Orthodox brethren, so I suspect the above Reuters claim is true (even if it's slanted to make it look like a bad decision, typical rag tabloid propaganda that seems to be the fate of Reuters nowadays).

The article also has a picture of the inside of one of the halls of the National Defense Control Center.

Unfortunately this is just an exception case. There isn't any evidence that Russia is lending its artillery units to major crucial offensives in Aleppo and Idlib.

Nov-23-15  visayanbraindoctor: RT is now reporting it.

<A Russian submarine operating in the Mediterranean also delivered missile strike on ISIS, also using Kalibr cruise missiles.>

The article also implies that Ruaf is giving close air support to SAA on the battlefield.

<The Russian Air Force has eliminated 472 terrorist targets in Syria over the last 48 hours, making 141 sorties. The airstrikes were carried out in the provinces of Aleppo, Damascus, Deir ez-Zor, Hama, Homs, Idlib, Latakia and Raqqa.

All Russian aircraft have successfully returned to the Khmeimim airbase near Latakia, Major General Igor Konashenkov, spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry, said in a daily briefing.

In the last two days, Russian warplanes have been conducting active supplemental reconnaissance, inflicting pinpoint airstrikes on newly exposed targets, he added.>

Below is a disturbing article on Kurds, although I cannot help but suspect it has an Arab's bias. The article gives the impression that Kurds are expelling Assyrians from their homes in Northeast Syria.

Note though that the article cites only a single clear example. Most articles I have read have it the other way around- Kurds protect the Assyrian minority against ISIS. So what's true?

The article also starts with the headline <Questioning Kurdish Secularism>. Yet the Assyrians questioned indicated that they were not being bullied because of their Christian religion, saying that they could become Kurdish Christians and that's OK with the Kurds but not OK with them since they lose their Assyrian ethnic identity.

First let me point out that there is some truth to the general behavior that when a minority group begins gaining more autonomy, it often also suppresses the ethnic identities of the smaller minorities within its region, consciously or not. I have seen it happen in my setting.

One problem is that pro-minority movements historically lack a holistic ideology, confining themselves to a drive solely for independence. One solution is that minority groups that aspire to more autonomy or independence should create a more holistic and generally applicable ideology that also recognizes the smaller minorities within their region. In other words the Kurds should ink a an agreement with Assyrians that they will recognize the Assyrian people as a protected ethnic group, with local autonomy in their own autonomous or independent region. Better yet, make a Constitution with the above provisions for their planned autonomous region.

Going back to the above, a specific problem is probably the notion by some Kurds that Assyrians are Arabized. AFAIK most Assyrians in the middle east use Arabic as their every day tongue, and use Aramaic only in their churches' liturgy. They probably can't speak Kurdish and would end up always speaking Arabic to Kurds, which could offend some of the Kurds, who might see them as some kind of Arab wannabe. (For instance, if those Assyrian farmers mentioned in the article spoke in Kurdish to the Kurdish bullies, I doubt if the bullies would have bullied them. It's almost a certainty that they spoke in Arabic to the Kurds, the language of what the Kurds regard as their oppressors in Syria.)

One solution is for the leadership of both communities to agree (ink an MOA or Constitution) that the autonomous region that they would form recognizes both Kurdish and Aramaic as official languages and a pledge by the Assyrian leaders to encourage their people to speak Kurdish to Kurds (they'll have to learn it of course). Aramaic could be another problem because AFAIK, it has been a dead language for centuries except in two or three towns and in the Assyrian church liturgy. Anyway, the Kurds should just give it official status in order to solve some of the inter ethnic problems; it would not harm their own aspirations for self determination and it would gain them an ally in the Assyrians.

Nov-24-15  visayanbraindoctor: Very disturbing news. Apparently Turkish sources are saying that the Turkish airforce shot down a Russian Su 24 Fencer near the border with Turkey after it was warned several times that it was crossing into Turkish airspace. Russia claims it was in Syrian airspace all the time.

<A Russian Su-24 fighter has been shot down in Syria, the Russian Defense Ministry said, adding the plane hadn’t violated Turkish airspace and was flying at an altitude of 6,000 meters.

“During the flight, the aircraft was flying within the borders of Syria, which was registered by objective monitoring data,” the ministry said, adding that the aircraft was "supposedly shot down from the ground.”>

<Turkish military added the plane had been warned at least 10 times over a period of five minutes before being shot down by two Turkish F-16 fighter jets. He said the plane had violated Turkish airspace.>

If the Turkish claims are true, this indicates a problem- if Turkey has unilaterally moved its borders several kilometers into Syria. Ruaf would be using the Syrian perspective on border delineation.

It could have been shot down by a terrorist MANPAD, which would be the less serious scenario. If the Turkish airforce did shoot it down, it would plummet Russian Turkish relations to a sub level below ground zero.

Nov-24-15  visayanbraindoctor: <flying at an altitude of 6,000 meters>

AFAIK Manpads are not so accurate at hitting planes at that height. Russian MOD is implying that a Turkish SAM shot it down.

Turkey as expected turns to NATO for protection. Or was this a calculated provocation to trigger a NATO vs Russia war?

<The meeting of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization will be held at 5 pm (4 pm GMT) at Turkey's request>

Russia could use this event as justification to begin using its 3 to 9 ton bombs and FOABs, and involving its mobile computerized artillery systems. Begin carpet bombing and carpet shelling. It has not done the above yet, but such actions may be needed to end the war quickly.

Nov-24-15  visayanbraindoctor:

More news. Putin has come up in public, saying that the Su 24 was shot down by a Turkish F-16, 1 kilometer inside Syrian airspace.

<"The Russian bomber was shot down over Syria by an air-to-air surface fired from a Turkish F-16 plane when the bomber was at an altitude of 6,000 meters at a distance of 1 km from the Turkish bomber." Putin said.>

That was quick. I thought the Russian leadership would take days to announce exactly what happened.

<The Russian leader said that instead of immediately establishing contacts with Russia after the bomber incident, "the Turkish side applied to its NATO partners to discuss this issue, as far as we know."

"It seems as if we have shot down a Turkish plane and not vice versa," the Russian president said.

"So, does this mean that they want NATO to serve the Islamic State?" Putin noted.>

I wonder what happens next. One thing sure, the Turkish gas stream project is a dead duck sinking. What Turkey did was an overt act of war.

If Russia does retaliate against Turkey, I hope the other NATO European countries have the common sense to stay out of it, or we will be facing WW3.

Nov-24-15  visayanbraindoctor: Russian military announces that a Mil 8 helicopter trying to rescue the pilots of the downed Su 24 also got shot down. A Russian marine in the copter was killed.

IMO the best way that Russia can respond is to take all gloves off in the Syrian war. Use the Ruaf 3 to 9 ton bombs and even the FOAB, bring in mobile computerized GLONASS linked artillery, carpet bomb and carpet shell.

1. It should satisfy the Russian public's expectation for a response.

2. It would bring an end to the Syrian war more quickly.

3. It avoids the possibility of a wider war with NATO which a direct strike on Turkish soil can risk.

Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: Deeply alarming news especially as the Turkish government wasted no time in claiming credit for shooting down the Russian plane and then running off to NATO rather than having a discussion with Russia.

The murder of at least one of the pilots by Syrian Turkmen is twisting the knife.

As far as I can see, Turkey (and possibly NATO) is seeing how far it can push Russia. Russia's response will have to be highly nuanced as any hostile action by Russia, in retaliation, could be viewed by Erdogan as an act of war and justify revoking the agreement that allows Russia access through the Bosphorus.

Therefore the logical response is to ratchet up the diplomatic response with Turkey, and as you say, take off the gloves in northern Syria.

This incident is deeply disturbing. It seems that Turkey and/or NATO are deliberately provoking Russia.

Nov-24-15  visayanbraindoctor: <It seems that Turkey and/or NATO are deliberately provoking Russia.>

I have been reading comments by Syrians that many of the trucks that Ruaf destroyed carrying off oil to Turkey from Syria were owned by Erodgan's son. Nothing official though.

So far the Russian leadership have kept their cool. The only active response thus far is to prohibit Russian citizens from going to Turkey (similar to the prohibition in Egypt), and this.

<Russian guided missile cruiser Moskva, equipped with the ‘Fort’ air defense system, similar to the S-300, will be deployed off Latakia province's coast.>

More info in the above article.

<Rudskoy said the Russian warplane did not violate Turkish airspace. Additionally, according to the Hmeymim airfield radar, it was the Turkish fighter jet that actually entered Syrian airspace as it attacked the Russian bomber.>

I am not sure what is preventing Ruaf from dropping 9 ton bombs in the area where the Turkmen militia executed the Russian pilots and shot down the Mil 8 rescue helicopter thus killing another Russian serviceman (a Russian marine). Syrian commenters have always claimed that these Turkmen militias are either Nusra or contain many embedded Turkish servicemen illegally inside Syria helping Nusra and other terrorists.

Russia could use this incident to drop off all gloves in Syria and end the war more quickly.

<revoking the agreement that allows Russia access through the Bosphorus.>

In this case, Russia will probably go to war.

Nov-24-15  visayanbraindoctor: <twinlark> I wonder if the black out in Crimea that happened just a few days ago is orchestrated with the Su 24 shoot down? If so, it would be a provocation for a NATO vs Russia conflict that is being engineered from somewhere high up in the war hawk camp of the US leadership.

The simpler explanation is related to posts by Syrian commenters in the internet saying that Turkmen militias (affiliated with Nusra but at the front projected to be 'FSA') have been asking for direct Turkish intervention in response to Ruaf bombing. These Turkmen are essentially Turks who so happened to be born inside Syria, and their co-ethnics in the Tukish government and military probably trust them more than any other terrorist group. The Turkish leadership may have promised them protection when they got recruited into Nusra (FSA or whatever the heck they call it). The action is an independent one from the Turks, and US the rest of NATO were unaware of it until it happened.

By downing the Ruaf Su 24, the Turkish government has sent a clear message to these groups. You can trust us. It would do a lot to boost their morale, which is one of the main keys in prolonging the conflict.

In brief, Turkey got to its short term objectives in one sharp move. One, boost the morale of the terrorist groups it supports and encouraging more individuals to join them. Two, bait Russia into a war with NATO.

I believe that Russia can thwart the above goals simply by warring on the terrorist groups with gloves off its bear paws and claws.

Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <visayaabraindoctor>

<In this case, Russia will probably go to war.>

Not on the cards. The Bosphorus, backed up by the NATO alliance, means Turkey holds all the keys to the region. Russia has to tread extremely carefully. As annoyed as NATO may be with Erdogan and his shenanigans they will back Turkey under the treaty against any overt military action by Russia.

The actions by the Crimean Tatars against the power supply to Crimea is clearly orchestrated with this action, and is designed to keep Russia occupied on all fronts.

This is an extremely complex middlegame through which Russia has to pick its way, as all the odds are stacked with Turkey and its Western backers. They following article succinctly sums up the hurdles facing Russia.

The fact that the Russian plane was clearly ambushed in Syrian space is a clear message by Turkey to Russia to cease and desist its activities in the north of Iraq. Further military action by Russia in this area will invite more aggressive responses by Turkey who cannot be punished in the short term by Russia, regardless of gas supplies, tourism etc.

Nov-25-15  visayanbraindoctor: <Damascus, SANA – A unit of the Syrian army special forces, in cooperation with the Russian special forces, carried out Tuesday night a special operation in which they penetrated 4.5 km deep into the terrorists’ lines and rescued one of the two pilots of the Russian jet downed yesterday by the Turkish army, a military source said on Wednesday.>

That's a relief. Many Syrians believe that these Turkmen Nusra or FSA units are made of not only Turkmen Syrians but also of Turks from Turkey. Whatever they do is probably strongly influenced or outrightly controlled by Turkish MIT. They have already executed one pilot, killed a Russian marine during the rescue Mil 8 helicopter shoot down (again turning in the screw), and had they caught and executed the second Russian pilot, it would have made the Russians more furious.

Below is how the Syrian government officially sees the incident.

<The Ministry confirmed that the plane hadn’t violated Turkish airspace and was flying at an altitude of 6,000 meters.

In a statement to SANA, the military source condemned Turkey’s downing of the Russian aircraft, which took place at 9:23 am, as a “gross violation of the Syrian sovereignty.>

Sana confirms the destruction of the oil tankers just before the Su 24 shoot down.

<Meanwhile, a military source told SANA that the Russian Air Force, in cooperation with Syrian Air Force, carried out a series of airstrikes in Syria which resulted in destroying 1,000 oil tanker trucks used by ISIS to smuggle oil during the last five days.>

Syrian commenters say this was a gigantic blow to the Erdogan family's shady business dealing as many of those trucks are owned by Erdogan's son.

<As annoyed as NATO may be with Erdogan and his shenanigans they will back Turkey under the treaty against any overt military action by Russia.>

How will Turkey block the Bosphorus? By sinking Russian Navy ships passing through it? Yet if Erdogan really wants a NATO war against Russia, he might risk just doing that. However, I don't think it would come to that. Here is what I see.

I do not agree with the article's assumption that NATO will fight Russia in behalf of Turkey.

US and the European NATO countries (even the usually vociferous anti Russian Poland and Baltic nations) are relatively silent over the Su 24 shoot down, which leads me to believe that they are in a rather confused and ambiguous state of mind over it. If Turkey ups the ante, say by sinking a Russian ship, I believe that the Russians will retaliate, and that most NATO members would be unwilling to fight Turkey's war for it. It's almost a certainty that NATO countries like Greece, Hungary, Italy, Czech Republic will oppose going to war against Russia, while all the rest including Germany will remain neutral. US will have to back down. NATO will either break up or expel Turkey. Notice that NATO officials have remained unusually silent except for the occasional politically correct statements in the line of 'we support Turkey' that is expected of them.

I think that NATO officials have been hit by a reality strike. They know in their guts that Russia, and not only the leadership but the whole collective lot of them, is genuinely furious over the Su 24 shoot down, coming as it is a month after the Sinai shoot down of the Russian civilian plane, and the Mali hostage incident where more Russians were killed than any other nationality. That if they meddle in the wrong way, it would only be a few steps away from a scenario wherein their own cities and families might end up getting incinerated in nuclear fire. Why in the world would they risk that fighting a war that is not theirs?

Turkey probably sees it's not getting the support it hoped for. So it would probably begin to back down slowly.

There could be something good out of this. Personally I think that present day Turkey and Russia have incompatible fundamental differences. Under Erdogan's party, Turkey is well on its way to becoming a fundamentalist theocracy and a nationalistic imperial power. Leaders of such a culture will always yearn for the old Ottoman Empire, and it so happens that much of present day Russia used to be provincial holdings and fiefdoms of that Empire. It's only a matter of time when the two polities will clash again. At least now, we clearly see Erdogan's real intentions, not hidden behind a smiling face. ('Present a smiling face to your enemy, but when he leaves your tent, wage war on him'.) Russia will be more prepared in the future.

How can such a future be avoided? If the present day Turkish ruling party gets voted out of power. Unfortunately, the least snap election has shown that it has now dug in its claws into many of Turkey's important and controlling institutions.

Nov-25-15  visayanbraindoctor: Has Holande had a sincere change of heart? He has been behaving like a complete idiot regarding Syria since he got into office, but finally he suggests something commonsensical- close the Turkish border.

<"Going back to the news conference of Presidents of France and the United States Francois Hollande and Barack Obama in Washington, I noticed that the French president suggested taking steps to close the Turkish-Syrian border to stop both the flow of militants and terrorist financing," the Russian minister said. "It is significant that President Obama did not respond to this in any way, but I think it’s the right suggestion.">

If France sincerely allies itself with Russia in Syria it would be a gamer changer. Turkey would not dare do more shenanigans in the future designed to pit NATO against Russia. NATO's most powerful and influential European members are Germany and France. I believe NATO would not go to war against Russia if France opposes it.

Nov-25-15  visayanbraindoctor: Info about the slain and wounded Russian servicemen.

<Lieutenant Colonel Oleg Peshkov, commander of the ill-fated Su-24, was posthumously awarded the title Hero of Russia>

<Captain Konstantin Murahtin, co-pilot of the Su-24 bomber which was downed by Turkish forces in Syria, was one of the winners of Aviadarts-2014, an international military aviation contest.

According to media reports, Murahtin and his pilot ranked first in the “tactical bombers” category of the competition, surpassing the skill of many other Russian, Belarusian and Chinese pilots taking part in the contest.

Prior to his assignment in Syria, Captain Murahtin served with the 4th Center of Combat Application and Conversion of Frontline Aviation in Lipetsk – Russia’s Top Gun school since the 1960s.>

<Naval Infantry Soldier Alexandr Pozynich, who was killed during the rescue operation, was presented a similar award posthumously- Order of Courage>

The two slain servicemen apparently are the first official Russian KIAs in Syria, and the co-pilot the first official WIA.

Nov-25-15  visayanbraindoctor: <MOSCOW, November 26. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet with his French counterpart Francois Hollande in Moscow on Thursday to discuss coordination of efforts to rebuff the Islamic State terrorist group and a number of other topical issues of the international agenda, the Kremlin press service said.>

Wow, is Hollande and France now aligning with Russia?

If Hollande is really sincere, IMO the best thing he can do is just allow Russia to continue with its anti terrorist operations in Syria, while countering the US-UK-NATO MSM propaganda against Russia, and telling NATO leaders he isn't going to allow France to be drawn into a Turk-triggered war against Russia. He could also privately contact other NATO leaders who seem to be sympathetic to Russia in Greece, Hungary, Italy, Czech Republic and encourage them to align with Russia as well on the Syrian conflict. For instance France and these countries can send a few token aircraft bombers to Syria. The Syrian government can provide another airport for them. They are not expected to do much or even engage in actual bombing sorties, but will be there as symbols.

If this happens, US won't be able to maintain its Assad must go rhetoric, considering that it is President Assad that is hosting warplanes from NATO nations in Syria.

Turkey would be caught in a fix if it tries another sucker punch against a Ruaf that is now flying with aircraft from other NATO nations.

Nov-25-15  visayanbraindoctor:

The above is interesting info. It's anther indication that at least several NATO members will oppose going to war against Russia in a Turk-triggered incident. Erdogan isn't getting the support he hoped for.

Every one of the leaders there know that in a full nuclear exchange, Russia would turn all their cities into radioactive glass. Every one of them knows that the Russians are genuinely furious. Every one of them knows that Turkey is playing them for fools.

The Su 24 incident clearly shows how fundamentally dangerous NATO has become. Even if most of its members are peace loving nations, a single rogue member can theoretically drag them into a destructive war not of their own making.

This organization should have been dismantled two decades ago. The world would have been a much safer and more peaceful place.

Nov-25-15  visayanbraindoctor: <US imposes sanctions against World Chess Federation chief for support to Syrian government>

Or how the Syrian conflict can affect even the chess world. Instead of focusing on fighting terrorists, US hardliners are still on the Assad must go stupidity and that everyone with him must be sanctioned.

Nov-25-15  visayanbraindoctor: The murder of the Russian pilot while he was parachuting down is all over the internet, and many commenters are seething furious at it, not just Russians.

Then comes the US Department spokesman Toner trying to justify it.

Seems US State Department has lost all sense of shame.

Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <Seems US State Department has lost all sense of shame.>

They had to have had some in the first place for that to be possible.

I notice that the journalist asking the question, Matt Lee, also appeared in this classic exchange at a briefing by the Pentagon's Press Secretary about Chuck Hagel's comment concerning the Russian army being on NATO's doorstep:

Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <visayanbraindoctor>

Putin's promise to not respond with military force against Turkey is technically true, while his promise that there will be serious consquences is completely true.

Soon after the jet was downed, Russia launched heavy attacks all along the border, including against the Turkmen, and also destroyed a convoy from Turkey at the Syrian outpost of Azaz that had been bringing supplies to rebels. https://translate.googleusercontent...

The message is clear: if Turkey puts a big toe over the border of Syria it will be blown off.

Nov-26-15  visayanbraindoctor: <Matt Lee, also appeared in this classic exchange at a briefing by the Pentagon's Press Secretary about Chuck Hagel's comment concerning the Russian army being on NATO's doorstep>

A brave journalist who dares to ask the unaskable questions. Aside from the RT lady reporter, he seems to be the only American who questions the State Department's official line. When I was younger I had the notion that most American journalists are like him, always asking critical questions and steering perspectives to the noble and righteous.

More details on the Su 24 rescue. I believe one of the Russian producers will sooner or later make a film on this.

The article links to an ANNA video news report. Amazingly, there happened to be Abkhazian - Russian journalists embedded in the SAA frontline units who saw the whole thing unfold and managed to document it, including the smoke trail of the missile fired by the Turkish F-16.

Noteworthy is the determination that SAA soldiers evinced in the rescue mission. One can see that they are willing to lay down their lives in order to save the pilot.

More news on the Azaz bombing.

<The nature of the ‘humanitarian aid’ is also in question. Turkish media and the IHH say the trucks were transporting humanitarian aid to refugees in Azaz.

However, the Turkish Cumhuriyet newspaper cited sources close to the Syrian government saying the convoy was delivering weapons to terrorist organizations.>

Finally, Ruaf seems to be bombing every unauthorized convoy crossing the border in an effort to cut off supplies to terrorists. I was wondering why they were not doing this before. Perhaps so as not to anger Turkey. After the Su 24 downing, the Russians now don't care much for the feelings of the Turks.

Russian MOD announces that the retaliation has begun directed specifically on the terrorists who murdered their parachuting pilot and then killed a rescue soldier, although there are no details in the article.

<Russian and Syrian military have killed terrorists in the search area of the downed Russian Su-24 jet, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Thursday.

The moment our pilot was in safety the area was heavily bombed by the Russian Air Force and shelled by Syrian government forces artillery,” ministry spokesman General-Major Igor Konashenkov told a media briefing.

He stressed that terrorists and other “mysterious groups” were killed in the assault.>

What does the last cryptic sentence mean? That they hit Turkish servicemen and MIT covertly embedded with the terrorists?

<Erdogan: We’ll continue shooting down planes violating our airspace>

The Turkish leadership shows no sign of remorse, and sticks to its line that Ruaf violated Turkey airspace.

<"We still haven't heard any apologies from the leadership of Turkey, nor have we heard any proposal to compensate damages or to hold those responsible for this heinous crimes to account," said Vladimir Putin during an official address in Moscow.>

Obviously ill-will and tempers are up on both sides.

Nov-26-15  visayanbraindoctor: More details on the rescue mission and the <“mysterious groups”> that the Ruaf and SAA targeted in the Su 24 crash site.

<"Terrorists and other mysterious groups acting in the area were destroyed," he said.

The spokesman added that militants and other armed units equipped with advanced devices tried to hunt down the navigator of the downed Russian Sukhoi-24M jet.

"I’d like to stress that apart from our search teams, the militants and other armed units equipped with devices for bearings were actively searching for the Russian pilot [who had managed to eject - TASS]," Gen Konashenkov said.>

<After the downing of the Russian fighter jet, the Russian helicopters took off immediately to save the pilot but they faced the heavy fire power of FSA (or the so-called moderate opposition, the Free Syrian Army, supported by the West) and the Turkey-back Turkmens who targeted the helicopter with missiles and advanced weapons that they have gained recently. During the operations one Russian aid worker was killed.

Credible information was obtained that a number of special Turkish units had been sent to the scene to take the Russian pilot captive to blackmail Russia later. While the Russians were planning for another operations to free the pilot immediately,

After tracing the place of the Russian pilot using his GPS, it was revealed that the pilot was being kept in a place 6km behind the frontline of the clashes between the Syrian army and the opposition.

Six fighters of Hezbollah's special operation unit and 18 Syrian commandos approached the frontline to carry out the operations and the Russian air force and helicopters concurrently created hellfire in the region and destroyed the terrorists' headquarters in a way that most of the enemy forces deployed in the region fled the scene and the ground was paved for the special unit's advance.

The Syrian officer added that every move of the special units was monitored and covered precisely by the Russian satellites in a way that the slightest moves made 100 meters away from the area of operation was reported to them and every moment of the operation was reported to a very high-raking official in the Kremlin (that he thinks was president Putin) and it was clear that he was monitoring the entire operations through satellites from Moscow.

According to the officer who called for anonymity, the operation later turned into a hunt of the terrorists in the operation zone by the Russian air force from the sky and by Brigadier General Soleimani's operations units on the ground.

The Syrian officer believed that the Russians also launched strong electronic warfare immediately to blind all enemies' satellites and communication equipment in areas several kilometers away from the operational zone and when the enemies came to realize something was underway, the operations had ended. The electronic warfare was launched since the Russians were concerned that the western satellites would leak the operation to the terrorists.

Finally, the special unit saved the pilot after infiltrating 6km behind the enemy lines, killing the terrorists operating in there and destroying their hi-tech equipment.

According to the senior Syrian officer, one of the reasons for the success of these operations was the difference between Turkey and the terrorists over the fate of the Russian pilot as the Turks wanted him alive to use him for political blackmailing against the Russia. While the terrorists stationed in the region intended to burn him alive like what did to the Jordanian pilot to fill the hearts of other Russian pilots with fright. And this rift paved the ground for rescue operations some golden hours.

Most of the FSA's Syrian members had withdrawn from the region after they came under Russia's airstrikes and the commandos fought non-Syrian forces who were using classic military tactics and not guerilla warfare and therefore, they could well be Turkish militaries or army forces of other countries. The commandos, of course, had no other choice but to kill them.

The terrorists present in the region possessed very modern and advanced military equipment for ground-to-ground and ground-to-air warfare which are not even supplied to a large number of countries which are Washington's NATO allies.>

So the Iranians believe that the mysterious groups were Turkish commandos. If true it confirms that the shoot down was a planned ambush by Turkey with one of the aims being to capture a Ruaf pilot and holding him hostage. It would have involved months of mass media hugging negotiations which would have surely embarrassed the Russians, probably ending with the decapitation of the pilot anyway.

Nov-26-15  visayanbraindoctor: My thoughts:

Among the terrorist groups on the ground, the Turkmen militias were probably the only ones that the Turks trusted not to kill the pilot immediately. So they sent Turkish special operations commandos with the most advanced equipment to help the Turkmens get to the pilot first.

There must have been some conflict between the Turkish groups (composed of both Syrian citizen Turkmens and Turkish citizen commando units) who wanted to capture and hold as hostage the pilot, and the assorted Nusra-FSA groups in the area who wanted to burn the pilot alive. This hampered and delayed their movements. This allowed the joint SAA-Hezbollah commando team, protected by Ruaf covering fire, to infiltrate and extract the pilot successfully. Meanwhile Russian electronic warfare equipment was jamming all other electronic devices in the area, providing more protective cover.

Once the pilot was extracted, the Ruaf promptly bombed all the groups on the ground, Nusra - FSA - Turkmen militia - Turkish commandos, with the help of Russian satellites and electronic spy devices, and human intel provided by the SAA-Hezbollah rescue team and other SAA support units in the area. (Farsi often exaggerates. I doubt its claim that the small rescue platoon went around the whole area killing the Turkic commandos. The TASS - RT report probably is the more correct one. Ruaf, SAA, and possibly Russian navy warships simply obliterated them with bombs, artillery, and missiles.)

The Syrian-Iranian speculation that the high ranking Russian officer who seemed to have been supervising everything on the Russian side may have been Putin himself. I believe that Putin has the technical skills to do it, as he was the effective commanding officer of the KGB for East Germany back in the Cold War era. It must have worried him no end that the Turks would get to the pilot first; the hostage scenario that would follow would have been a major problem. For instance, the Turks would probably force the pilot to publicly announce he bombed civilians on orders of Putin himself, or anything else that the Turks wanted announced. The MSM circus that would follow would have been a disaster for Russian PR and an irresistible bait for more jihadist recruits to join in.

For the Russian side, the whole event must look like a most despicable plan hatched from the hearts of the evillest of men. From the Turkish side who hatched the plan, it must be a most frustrating failure, and the most painful of wounds, seeing their co-ethnic favorite Turkmen militias get blasted by Ruaf bombs and their most highly trained and motivated army commandos get KIA. Powerful people on both sides would be craving for revenge. Under these circumstances, it might take some time to cool things off slowly. The opposite, more confrontation and escalation, may also happen, and if so, it could happen quite rapidly.

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