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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 17284 times to chessgames   [more...]
   Nov-27-15 twinlark chessforum (replies)
twinlark: <Does this mean that RUAF will stop sharing its flight plans to US? That would increase the possibility of an accidental encounter between Ruaf and USAAF> Don't think it means that. Russia announced that it will simply take additional precautions like ensuring that bombers ...
   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.

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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.

Nov-27-15  visayanbraindoctor: Commander in Chief of the Russian air force, Viktor Bondarev, has made an official statement describing the details of the Su 24 shoot down. We already knwo from previous reports tht it was a planned ambush. The details are quite disturbing. In brief, Ruaf submitted the flight plan itinerary of their aircraft to US military, in accordance with the agreement to coordinate the aircraft movements of both sides in Syria, and that the Americans passed on the info to the Turks which allowed the ambush to occur.

<a pair of tactical bombers took off from Khmeimim airbase in Latakia at 06:15 GMT, with an assignment to carry out airstrikes in the vicinity of the settlements of Kepir, Mortlu and Zahia, all in the north of Syria. Each bomber was carrying four OFAB-250 high-explosive fragmentation bombs.

Ten minutes later, the bombers entered the range of Turkish radars and took positions in the target area, patrolling airspace at predetermined heights of 5,800 meters and 5,650 meters respectively. Both aircraft remained in the area for 34 minutes. During this time there was no contact between the crews of the Russian bombers and the Turkish military authorities or warplanes.

Some 20 minutes after arriving at the designated area, the crews received the coordinates of groups of terrorists in the region. After making a first run, the bombers performed a maneuver and then delivered a second strike.

Immediately after that, the bomber crewed by Lieutenant-Colonel Oleg Peshkov and Captain Konstantin Murakhtin was attacked by a Turkish F-16 fighter jet operating from the Diyarbak?r airfield in Turkey. The time needed to get the aircraft ready at the Diyarbak?r airfield and travel to the attack zone is an estimated 46 minutes.>

<"The radar surveillance data confirms that two F-16 fighter jets were patrolling the flight zone for an hour an 45 minutes at an altitude of 2,400 meters [some 7,800 feet], which speaks of a deliberate action and their readiness to attack from an ambush over the Turkish territory," Bondarev told reporter.

In order to attack the Russian Su-24 with a close-range air-to-air missile, Bondarev said that the Turkish fighter jet had to enter Syrian airspace, where it remained for about 40 seconds. "According to radar tracking data, it was the Turkish warplane that crossed into the Syrian airspace for about 40 seconds to a depth of 2 kilometers [6,560 feet], while the Russian fighter-bomber never violated the Turkish border", he said.>

<Having launched its missile from a distance of 5-7 kilometers, the F-16 immediately turned towards the Turkish border, simultaneously dropping its altitude sharply and disappearing from the range of Russian radars at the Khmeimim airbase.>

<The Russian general again reiterated that at no point preceding the attack did the Russian bomber violated Turkish airspace.

One of Turkish F-16Cs stopped its maneuvers and began to approach the Su-24M bomber about 100 seconds before the Russian aircraft came closest to the Turkish border, which also confirms the attack was pre-planned, said Bondarev.>

Nov-27-15  visayanbraindoctor: <Furthermore, it appears that the jihadist groups on the ground were anticipating an event of this kind playing out above them.

Bondarev called attention to the readiness of the Turkish media, which released a professionally-made video of the incident recorded from an area controlled by extremists a mere 1.5 hours after the Su-24 was downed.

Furthermore, the operation to rescue the surviving navigator took several hours and eventually recovered Konstantin Murakhtin, although one Russian Marine in the team was killed when the rescue helicopter was destroyed by a US-made tank missile launched by the extremists – an incident they filmed and published online within hours of the attack.

He also mentioned the memorandum of understanding regarding the campaign in Syria, signed by Moscow and Washington on October 26. In accordance with this agreement, the Russian side informed its American counterparts about the mission of the two bombers in the north of Syria on November 24, including the zones and heights of operation.

"Taking this into account, the Turkish authorities' statement on not knowing which aircraft were operating in the area raises eyebrows.">

<Finally, Bondarev also mentioned the memorandum of understanding regarding the campaign in Syria, signed by Moscow and Washington on October 26. In accordance with this agreement, the Russian side informed its American counterparts about the mission of the two bombers in the north of Syria on November 24, including the zones and heights of operation.

This is perhaps the most important accusation, as it ties in with the incendiary remark lobbed by Putin at US "protocols" yesterday:

We told our US partners in advance where, when at what altitudes our pilots were going to operate. The US-led coalition, which includes Turkey, was aware of the time and place where our planes would operate. And this is exactly where and when we were attacked. Why did we share this information with the Americans? Either they don't control their allies, or they just pass this information left and right without realizing what the consequences of such actions might be. We will have to have a serious talk with our US partners.

To summarize, here is what Russia has implied: the US shared the flight path details of the Russian Su-24 with Turkey in advance of the flight, which then Turkey used to ambush and take down the Russian bomber, with the implicit blessing of the Pentagon. Turkey may have further shared data with "Syria Free Army" US-armed jihadists on the ground, who not only recorded the downing of the bomber and the execution of its parachuting pilot, but also were prepared to attack a Russian rescue helicopter (with US weapons) which led to a second casualty - an attack which was also captured on clip and promptly uploaded!>

Does this mean that RUAF will stop sharing its flight plans to US? That would increase the possibility of an accidental encounter between Ruaf and USAAF

Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <Does this mean that RUAF will stop sharing its flight plans to US? That would increase the possibility of an accidental encounter between Ruaf and USAAF>

Don't think it means that. Russia announced that it will simply take additional precautions like ensuring that bombers are accompanied by fighters, and that they will shoot down anything threatening with their s400s. Add electronic warfare into the mix.

Erdogan has done no one a favour here. Russia didn't want this sort of escalation, including the economic loss its sanctions will incur. Moreover, I doubt that NATO and surrounding hostiles will be grateful to Turkey for providing Russia with a reason to bring in S400s and possibly SU35s.

However, Russia has announced that if another event like this occurs, or is attempted, then Russia will cooperate with no-one from the West.

Nov-29-15  visayanbraindoctor: Upon reading reports of US and Turkish plans to seal the border, I immediately thought it's opening the option of actually invading Syria. The article below thinks the same.

<Washington estimates that a 30,000 strong force will be able to seal off the border. Interestingly, the same number of troops is needed to create a safe zone in Syria, according to the Pentagon's fall assessment. This is not a coincidence, Cartalucci believes, and if so, it could point to a possible and troubling scenario.

"In all likelihood, the West would like to attempt to make an incursion into Syria under the guise of having been provoked at the border, and then 'needing' to cross over into Syria to pursue the provocateurs">

There is absolutely no doubt that Turkey will invade northern Syria if it thinks it can get away with it. I think it will if US gives the go ahead signal, and promises to back it up.

This is why Russia and Syria should try to take control of the border ASAP, in order to preclude this possibility. Failing in that, Ruaf should begin dropping its monster bombs along the border in order to intimidate anyone planning an invasion. For instance, a couple of FOABs dropped near the border probably would be so intimidating that Turkey would immediately shove out any plan for potential invasion. US and MSM would kick an uproar, but US-Turkey would probably be so shocked that they would withdraw any invasion plan.

If 30 thousand Turkish army troops do cross the border, it would be a worse scenario. Syria would feel obliged to kick them out but how to do that? Turkey, backed up US, would simply claim they have the right to self defense against ISIS, and again threaten to implement article 5 if SAA attacks them. Furthermore, the Turkish army is probably much better than the SAA, while the the Russians can't easily bring in troops and equipment in order to aid the Syrians. If Iran and Hezbollah send in reinforcements, Turkey will probably claim that it's evidence of Iranian and Hezbollah support for ISIS in order to attack Turkish troops (never mind that they are in Syria illegally). Then US military can enter after citing article 5.

Nov-29-15  visayanbraindoctor: If Turkey backed by US invades into northern Syria, whatever the pretext used, it's almost a certainty that Turkish troops will directly clash with Syrian soldiers. It's a scary scenario, because the Ruaf is giving close air support to the SAA every day at present. It would probably continue doing so in the above scenario, and so end up bombing Turkish soldiers directly on a wide scale.

I will assume that Obama is sane enough not to even entertain sending in US troops in case Turkey invades. They will inevitably clash with Ruaf bombers and Russian marines now scattered all over Lattakia and Tartous. It could well lead to WW3.

I will try to analyze what could happen if only Turkish troops invade, with US publicly backing them up, but not lending overt troop support.

The SAA will be duty bound to react and attack these Turkish soldiers probably with Ruaf close air support. Now this could lead to an outright Russo Turkic war, but again let us assume that both Putin and Erdogan are sane enough not to declare war on each other. What will happen is an undeclared conventional war between Syria and Turkey.

SAA will be at a great disadvantage for obvious reasons, and will be relying on Ruaf air support. Would Ruaf be enough to turn the tide? Probably not. (Unless Ruaf uses FOABs, but that could well led to an outright Russo Turkic war, and possibly WW3.)

As Turkish troops advance, I think Iran will see it as an obligation to intervene overtly. It knows that geo-politically, it has to prevent Syria from falling and becoming a hostile Sunni fundamentalist state, or it inevitably will soon be directly attacked.

(A little zwichenzug. How to motivate Iran's religious troops? I suspect that Iranian clerics will interpret Koranic passages that depict the 'Greeks' as the good guys battling the idolaters (in a historical 7th century context probably the Greek speaking Orthodox Christian Byzantine Empire vs Persian Zoroastrians) as a divine command that mandates true Muslims to ally themselves with the Russians as these Orthodox Christians now represent the Koran's 'Greeks', to fight Wahabbis, who have been deceived into following the bloodthirsty sacrifice demanding pre-islamic gods of ancient Arabia. Jihad is a pillar of Islam in Shiite theology, and the bloody practices of modern-day Kharijite like groups make it easy to depict them as idolaters who are engaging in blood sacrifice to ancient gods, against which a religious man must wage his jihad duty.)

If Iran does send in tens of thousands of soldiers, supported by Ruaf, then the Turkish advance will probably be halted and even reversed. Once again, the US can use this opportunity to bomb the Iranians or even send in ground troops too, but I classify such a decision as 'insane' because it would surely lead to direct clashes with the Russian military, and perhaps on to WW3.

Thus far I have depicted a straight path. Turkey invades. The armies of Syria and Turkey engage in a conventional albeit undeclared war. Ruaf provides air support for Syria. Not enough to stop Turkish army advance. Iranian solders enter the undeclared war. Probably enough to reverse the Turkish advance.

Unfortunately the above scenario is beset by wide open side roads every few kilometers that lead to US direct intervention and WW3.

Let's hope Erdogan and his party are sane enough not to invade at all. News such as Turkish army soldiers or tanks (see being sent to the border are worrisome.

Nov-29-15  visayanbraindoctor: <Turkey to give body of Russia's Sukhoi Su-24M bomber pilot to Russian diplomats on Sunday>

This should diffuse some tension. The Russians must have been demanding it since day 1, and growing more impatient as each day passes. Hopefully the body was not dismembered or beheaded, in which case it could fuel more outrage.

For Turkey to be able to obtain the body, it must exert some influence or control over the various groups in the area.

Nov-29-15  visayanbraindoctor: Unverified news of Russian troops being deployed in Lattakia.

<Russian forces stormed rebel positions in Sakhl al-Gab, between Latakia and Idlib in northern Syria.

The assault involved Russian forces in up to battalion strength. The rebel-held heights were subjected to heavy artillery bombardment using howitzers and rocket artillery. Russian forces also had air cover in the form of Su-25M attack aircraft.

The ground operation involved Russian Naval Infantry supported by T-90 MBTs and BTR-80 [BTR-82?] APCs.>

I believe this report is probably true, but is a limited action by the Russian military in order to secure Lattakia. Theoretically, if Nusra/FSA or more likely Turkish MIT and army commandos, emplace long range artillery on those heights, they will be able to reach Russian defensive outposts in Lattakia. Perhaps Turkish commandos were already beginning to implement such an operation, necessitating the now typical Russian symmetrical reaction. (You use regular servicemen, we use regular servicemen.) The last thing the Russians need is a terrorist shell or missile landing on their airbase crowded with personnel. In the Saudi Yemen war, a single scud type missile landing on a crowded Saudi Bahrain base caused hundreds of KIAs, including high ranking officers,

<This development would be consistent with preparations reported in the weekly Russia Military Map status updates and the fact that the Syrian army is averse to conducting shock action assaults which reduces the effects of the Russian air/artillery bombardment. One or a few reinforced battalion battlegroups could operate as the “extraordinary force” on selected sectors of the front and have an effect on the overall situation out of all proportion to their numbers (and in fact we have seen something similar during the winter 2014/15 fighting on the Donbass), whereas the Syrian army, the “ordinary force”, would hold territory, conduct defensive operations, and create conditions suitable for the employment of Russian shock units.>

I keep on reading these type of comments. SAA regular units are (badly) reputed to be hesitant in assaulting terrorist positions, and if they do, they don't know how to use artillery. Often Ruaf softens up the field by heavy bombing only to find out that SAA troops won't advance or advance into ambushes. The advances, although steady, have been painfully slow.

The article above essentially claims that for the taking of the critical heights on the Lattakia Idlib border (and possibly as partial payback for the Su 24 shoot down) Russian marines equipped with the latest armor and artillery were used. These are probably computerized and GLONASS linked, and so able to deliver highly accurate strikes. T-90 tanks, safe behind their reactive armor and active defenses, would then mop up the survivors from close range. Finally regular SAA infantry can move in on the blasted terrorist positions without resistance.

Now if only the Russian military would repeat this kind of operation on a more massive scale on the Afrin - Kobane corridor, totally securing the border (before Turkey can think of more safe zone invasions). Then the Russian military can go home. SAA should be able to take it from there.

<SIMFEROPOL, November 29. /TASS/. The so-called ‘energy bridge" from Russia’s southern Krasnodar Territory to Crimea that has been cut off electricity supplies from Ukraine will be commissioned before December 20, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Sunday.>

This should stabilize the Crimean black out crisis.

<Cairo asked Moscow to provide it with a list of goods recently prohibited or restricted for import to Russia from Turkey to replace them Egyptian goods, Egypt's Ministry of Industry and Foreign Trade said in a statement Sunday.>

A logical development.

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