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Rockets on Golan, Pentagon flouts Obama, no truce

DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis September 17, 2016, 9:29 PM (IDT)


Tags: Barack Obama, Vladimir Putin, Bashar Assad, Aleppo, Israel, IDF, Russian military
operations in Syria, US, US Air Force, US special forces, Golan, Syrian army, Syrian air
force, Syrian rebels, Ashton Carter, US chief of staff,

The Pentagon and US army are not following the orders of their Commander-in-Chief Barack
Obama in the execution of the military cooperation accord in Syria concluded by US Secretary
of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Geneva on Sept. 12.
Five days after the truce they agreed would go into effect Monday, fighting was still raging
Saturday, Sept. 17.
debkafile was the only Western publication to foresee this eventuality in an article published on
July 18.
It was already evident then that any military cooperation agreement between the two powers
would be contingent on America exposing its intelligence-gathering methods to Russia - not just
in Syria but worldwide.
As our military sources predicted, this new intelligence sharing arrangement would necessarily
extend to the Syrian Air Force as a third partner.
In advance of the deal, Moscow deployed its aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kutzenov, post haste to
Syrian waters, to make sure that the Joint Implementation Center set up by the Kerry-Lavrov
deal for intelligence-sharing would also apply to the warplanes and cruise missiles on the
carriers decks and its escort of missile cruisers.

This deal was perceived in Moscow as an opportunity to study the combat methods and tactics
practiced by the US Navy and Air force in real battlefield conditions.
But this eventuality was far from the intentions of US security and intelligence chiefs at a time of
deepening adversity between Washington and Moscow.
The remarks of State Department spokesman Mark Toner on Thursday, Sept. 5 hinted at these
conflicting perceptions: I dont think anyone in the US government is necessarily taking at face
value Russias or certainly not the Syrian regimes commitment to this arrangement. He
went on to say: What really matters here is that the president of the United States supports this
agreement, and our system of government works in such a way that everyone follows what the
president says.
Is that really so?
The fact that Kerrys spokesman found it necessary to emphasize that everyone follows what
the president says, strongly indicated that not everyone in Washington was in fact obeying the
president.
Such disobedience is almost unheard of and would never be admitted publicly. In this case, it is
being kept carefully under wraps.
Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and Chairman of the US Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph F. Dunford
will never on any account admit that, in the execution of military collaboration with Russia in the
Syrian conflict, they are not exactly carrying out the presidents precise instructions.

But Washington sources report that Defense Secretary Carter maintains that he cant act against a
law enacted by Congress. He was referring to the law that prohibits all military-to-military
relations with Russia as a result of Moscows annexation of the Crimea region of Ukraine.
According to debkafiles military sources, they are simply dragging their feet in ground
operations. This is driving Vladimir Putin and his generals into fits of rage.
Friday, Sept 16, Lavrov accused the US of stalling on its promise to separate moderate rebel
groups in Syria from terrorists, adding, US progress in delivering on the promise is slow.
Saturday, Putin himself burst out that the rebels were regrouping under the ceasefire. He put
the blame on those rebels for the failure of the agreed truce to take effect after five days.
Our military and intelligence sources see a connection between Putins angry outburst and the
rising tensions on the Syrian-Israeli border in the past week, culminating in the two Syrian
rockets that were shot down Saturday over the Golan by Israels Iron Dome batteries.
For some time, the Russians and Syrians have made no bones about their objection to Israels
policy of supporting a motley assortment of Syrian rebel groups in southern Syria close to its
border. Among these groups is Al Qaedas Syrian arm Jabhat Al-Nusra (the Nusra Front) that has
renamed itself Jahat Fath Al-Sham.
Whatever Assad, Iran or Hizballah may accept or reject, President Putin utterly refuses to tolerate

Israel allowing the Nusra Front to control parts of this border sector.
Therefore, the rockets and missiles apparently straying across the border onto the Golan may
well multiply in the coming days.
Yet another complication raised its head over the weekend when the US-backed rebel militia, the
Free Syrian Army, vented its fury over the Kerry-Lavrov truce deal by driving away American
Special Operations troops helping them in the battle for Al-Rai and abusing them as infidels.
The US blames the Russian leader for failing to force Bashar Assad to hold his fire and to let
emergency supplies reach the beleaguered population in Aleppo, thereby undermining their
ceasefire accord.
But it is becoming