Like World War II in Spring 1943, the 21st Century Petrodollar War's Outcome is All But Decided -- but the Battles will Rage On
So much is happening each day that we find it very difficult to even follow, much less provide a sweeping overview of every geopolitically and dollar death significant event for the RogueMoney team (including events sure to be minor footnotes when the history of the late great American Empire is written in the mid-21st century like the Canadians pulling out of the anti-ISIS coalition). As many readers noticed, it was getting to the point last week where we were cranking out between 2 and 4,000 word pieces analyzing events every day. That pace of writing, given the full time job and other commitments, was clearly not sustainable. What will follow is likely to be a less wordy, and probably more 'typical' output of two items per week.
The best we can say at this point regarding TeamRM's 'investment thesis': the petrodollar empire is doomed, but like the Axis powers in the spring of 1943 it isn't ready to surrender without many bloody battles. As RogueMoney commenter Mlytle0 wrote to us beneath the last post, while the City of London and Dubai can switch sides, there is no chance psychopathic New York banksters and their Beltway bandit minions will go quietly into the night, accepting a post-petrodollar world without major bloodshed (as long as it's not their blood, of course). Whether those fights can avoid escalating into direct shooting confrontations between the U.S. on one side and Russia/China on the other remains to be seen.
Andre Fursov: the Western world is preparing its populations for a world war against Russia and China. All world wars start with information war
Can the World Rely on the Tools and Structures Established During Cold War 1.0 to prevent Cold War 2.0 from 'Going Hot'?
Prior to the Ukraine conflict we believed there was little chance of any hot World War III, as the U.S. and Russia managed to avoid it through the darkest days of the Cold War. On 08/08/08, Russian and U.S. commanders also did a good job of 'deconflicting' to avoid any accidental engagements in the South Ossetia war when a few dozen U.S. Marine trainers were in Georgia.
A techno song about a man who believed in peaceful Ukraine, and that 'they' would never go so far as to deliberately shell kids and babushkas...or start a bloody civil war in Russia's next door neighbor and the place where Russian civilization originated (Kievan Rus)
Then Ukraine happened, with its U.S./NATO mercenary boots on the ground deployed to fight Russian advisers who were also 'never there', and as a video the Saker published said, "I was wrong." Whatever the antagonisms between the Kremlin and the White House, one could (at least since the Cuban Missile Crisis) rely on hot lines and cool-headed military professionals to prevent a global conflagration. But can we count on those today? Will there always be steady hands to reign in the excesses of politicians in uniform like Gen. (Strange)Breedlove or the mercurial ex-NATO Supreme Commander Wesley Clark, who could've according to his retired British colleague Gen. Jackson 'started WW3' by opening fire on Russian peacekeepers in 1999?
Part 1 of 1983: The Brink of the Apocalypse
As we will analyze in an upcoming piece, with the decks obviously being cleared for a Hillary Clinton coronation for the Democrat Party presidential nomination, and very little chance any Republican even the 'anti-Establishment' guys Carson and Trump can defeat her, mid-2017 to summer 2018 appears to be the most dangerous year for the human race since 1983. That was the year the U.S. and NATO conducted very realistic exercises preparing for global thermonuclear war with the Soviet Union, called Able Archer. By coincidence (or perhaps out of silent protest against the dangers of Cold War 2.0 'going hot'?) a group of scholars affiliated with the George Washington University (GWU) in D.C. released declassified assessments of Soviet reactions to Able Archer this past week.
The conclusion of the top secret report titled "The Soviet War Scare" convened in 1990 after the Cold War had ended? The U.S. leadership had badly underestimated Soviet fears of an American first strike. It was only belatedly after the defection of British MI-6 agent Oleg Gordievsky that President Ronald Reagan and his team realized how close the world had come to nuclear war. Reagan would later ask sardonically what the Soviets had that America would want, but also admit in his diary that he had undervalued historically rooted Russian fears of surprise attack dating back to Napoleon and Hitler's campaigns of 1812 and 1941.
The Menace of Western Russia Watching Pundits Unreality and How Absence of Empathy with Opponents Leads to Policy Failure
Today we see a U.S. foreign policy Establishment making far worse blunders than Reagan's highly competent team did in the 1980s. Not only are modern Russia and the speeches of Vladimir Putin vastly more accessible than were the pronouncements of Brezhnev/Andropov's Soviet Union, but the 'mysterious' and 'unpredictable' Putin has been very open about what he wants from the U.S. at the United Nations or in the Valdai conferences. This is a deliberate contrast on Putin's part to the secrecy obsessed Politburo and old KGB that much of the time left many young patriotic chekists like himself in the dark. The caveats and excuses Kremlinologists could make during the dark days of the Cold War and the Iron Curtain keeping a great deal of information about Russian economics, social trends and above all intentions secret no longer apply in the Internet age.
Thanks to Zerohedge, RT, Sputnik, Ft. Russ, Vineyard of the Saker, or Russia Insider, even the language/Cyrillic alphabet barrier doesn't prevent foreigners from at least reading how the Russians and well-wishing expats see Russia and wish the world to see its intentions! Again, even if you believe RT is 'Kremlin propaganda' that 'trolls the West' with 'whataboutism', you can still watch or read these outlets and learn things in much the same way Kremlinologists once poured over Pravda and Izvestia in the 1940s, 50s and 60s.
The problem, as the Rogue Money braintrust 'godfather' W has observed, is that many Westerners have become so lazy or steeped in their own rigid thinking that they cannot even allow for the possibility that an adversary genuinely sees the world differently. Why for example many Western analysts can try to empathize with Salafist/Takfiri jihadists who love ISIS and hate America, but cannot comprehend the mentality of a Donbass Cossack who fights for Motherland and Orthodoxy alongside a devout Communist who misses the USSR is a mystery to us. Agent 'W' mentioned this several weeks ago in the context of a discussion he had with a friend about Putin, who was dismissing the Russian President with the usual tropes about a villainous KGB agent. 'W' was telling his friend something to the effect that he might not believe in Putin's KGB shaped views of Western treachery, but he'd better at least try to understand where Putin was coming from as an opponent. After all Sun Tzu's Art of War said if you know yourself but not the enemy you can only expect to win half the time, but if you now yourself and the adversary you need not fear a thousand battles.
The Kremlin and Russians Understand Western Societies and 'Logic' Far Better Than We and Our Leaders 'Get' Them
W's example matches very well with our own thoughts about historically, from the early Cold War days of George Frost Kennan aka 'Mr. X' all the way up to Reagan, American thinkers and leaders at least gave the Soviets the credit of taking their ideas seriously.
However flawed Marxism-Leninism was or regardless how George Kennan writing in 1948 could predict its contradictions unraveling decades hence, serious American analysts sought to deal with it as a reality. In our increasingly nihilistic postmodern America, we're told Russia could not possibly pose an ideological challenge to the West again, with essays like this about 'Putin's Orthodox Jihad' being the exception that proves the rule. Despite the Internet, despite millions of Westerners visiting Russia after the forbidding mystique of the Iron Curtain was gone, despite all the cultural and NGO exchanges...the Kremlin and the Russians know vastly more about how Western societies work and our weaknesses than we and our leaders understand their mentality or problems. That is today with Marxism-Leninism gone it's overwhelmingly Westerners looking at Russia, rather than the Russians looking at the postmodern West, who see the world through false, rose-colored ideological lenses.
"...in a Russian's heart, it's always winter". And one could add the addendum: every war is the first (1812) or second (1941) Great Patriotic War
We're told that every patriotic bit on Russian TV is simply manufactured, and Russia is a country where 'nothing is true and everything is possible' (to use ex-Russian TV executive turned anti-Kremlin information warrior Peter Pomerantsev's phrase). As we've written more than once here at RogueMoney, Pomerantsev's catch phrase is far more applicable to the Ukraine or even the decadent United States under the Big Zero than it is to modern Russia. The Russians, for all their faults, are a re-emerging with the old imperial trinity of Orthodoxy, Tsar (or State), and (now Eurasian rather than Tsarist or Communist) Empire. Those who hate that old troika, unlike during the Soviet era, are free to emigrate to Germany or some other place that better suits them. Those who love it, on the other hand, representing a substantial segment of Russian society, are reinvigorating the warrior and Cossack spirit.
This social shift was amply demonstrated in the Donbass with the humiliating defeat of a US.-backed Ukrainian military by a numerically outnumbered, if not materially-inferior Russian proxy force, the Novorossiya Armed Forces (NAF). Technological advances and Internet atomization aside -- Russia, for good or bad, is reverting to what it was for centuries before the failed 70 year experiment of an imported, Western ideology warped it. In fact, if it weren't for the Internet, we doubt the Russian Orthodox Church, Eurasianism and neo-Tsarist ideas would reach nearly as many people in Russia and abroad as they have.
NAF Victory Day parade in Donetsk, 9 May 2015. A highly motivated if not most modern equipped proxy force that Russia built almost from scratch
Thus the problem today is not as in 1983 Western analysts not being able to see Soviet intentions and fears through the fog of Cold War, but excessive ideological hubris that means most of the widely published Anglo-American 'Russia watchers' simply have no eyes to see what Russia is doing, and no ears to hear the whispered rather than shouted challenge, 'we Russians are ready for war. Are you?'.
Why Russia Pundits Are in Denial Regarding De-Dollarization, Rise of Eurasia and American Imperial Decay
As the late 19th century Gilded Age New York Times editor John Swinton confessed to his fellow members of the press, "We are the tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes. We are the jumping jacks, they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes." It seems a century before Gerald Celente coined the term presstitutes, John Swinton had nearly combined the world's oldest and third oldest professions. As someone else, perhaps Glenn Greenwald wrote about the New York Times reporting in support of the Iraq invasion (and here I am paraphrasing), there is no penalty for being wrong when everybody else is. To which we and one of our favorite Russian thinkers Dmitry "Reinventing Collapse" Orlov would add, at least there are no visible penalties until the whole system collapses under the weight of its lies.
The notion that Russia is not only in Syria to win it, but sees the conflict as a theater in an existential struggle to define itself in the 21st century which it intends to win by dethroning King Dollar together with China is too fantastic, and too dangerous to too many careers (at least outside of the alternative media, which has its own tendencies to see 'WW3' around every corner and perhaps to overstate Russian ambitions if not capabilities). You will never see a Mark Galeotti of NYU, an Echo Moskvy Yulia Latynina, or any of The Daily Beast/RFE/RL hacks (but I repeat myself) discussing de-dollarization as anything more than a fantasy, an ideological rather than economic project.
In fact, there's an entire blog called 'Russia Without BS' run by some loser expat named Jim Kovpak which is so vicious in its contempt for all things Russian, you wonder why the man hasn't either fled the Motherland for good or drowned his despair in a permanent vodka haze. Among Kovpak's hobby horses, besides the awesomeness of America's economy staying no. 1 forever because Apple gadgets/stock market, is his hatred of any RT-watching Western Russophiles or goldbugs who see King Dollar's days as numbered, or the yuan surpassing the greenback as world reserve currency (to which the ruble will naturally be pegged). Suffice to say, much like the individuals we profiled in our RogueMoney post 'Lowdown Dirty Psyops', such men will cope with the collapse of the American Empire worse than many die hard Soviets did by drinking away the end of the USSR and their livelihoods in 1991. That is to say, many of them like Nazis depicted in the film Der Untergang (Downfall) will take their own lives, unable to see a future for themselves after conflating the Empire with America and their own families, if not with their concept of God (that is they believe in the almighty State, as a reflection of their narcissistic selves).
Western Mainstream Media 'Reporting' if It Can Be Called That About Russia is Dominated by Lies Journalists Tell Themselves and Readers
Thus what passes for 'Kremlinology' in Anglo-American media has become little more than a series of cliches about how:
'Putin's regime' is doomed, and no successor is possible without vicious infighting or Putin leaving the Kremlin feet first ala Brezhnev
Russia is one big Borat-istan joke of an incompetent country that in President Obama's words "doesn't make anything" (besides oil, gas, leggy models, hockey players and criminals -- never mind weaponry that in many cases outclasses America's, world class software, space rockets and nuclear reactors)
all Balts and Ukrainians presumably yearning to breathe free are quasi-racially superior to the 'Mongoloid' Moskal 'vatnik' 'sovoks'
Russia has no allies, and nevermind the world's two most populous nations China and India, plus the other BRICS, Syria, Iran, Egypt, and Serbia
Russia has military power thanks to Putin's mad restore the Soviet Empire build up, but no soft power anywhere (nevermind countries like Greece, Germany, Italy, Bulgaria, India, China, and most of Southeast Asia where Putin and Russia are either popular or admired by large minorities)
Russia is hated worldwide, because our push-polls from Western polling firms say so (nevermind that they don't and these surveys are laughably overweighted away from the BRICs, Southeast Asia and Africa towards nations where U.S/NATO controlled media are still dominant)
either the struggling Russian economy or an unpopular war will lead to Colored Revolution or failing that a total ruble collapse
the Russian-China Eurasian axis and Eurasian Economic Union are shams that all parties desperately want out of but for evil dictators like Lukashenko
Russia is dying out demographically and will soon be swamped by Chinese peacefully occupying Siberia
The Russian Federation is a 'prison house' of nations that the Chechens, Tatars and Buryats will secede from someday very soon and...
perhaps the most obvious in the past few days, the clearly lusted after second Afghanistan in Ukraine er Syria caused by CIA/Qatar/Saudi MANPADs for Al-Qaeda or ISIS head chopping jihadist supermen will finally make Russia abandon Assad and otherwise cave to Western demands!
Western Groupthink on Russia Creeps into Supposedly Less Ideological Areas, Like Defense/Military Logistics Analysis
For example, last week a U.S. Navy officer writing for the Democrat Establishment think tank the Brookings Institute admitted that the Russian military has proven to be far more robust, modern and capable of deploying an expeditionary force to Syria than almost anyone in the Pentagon had expected, even after the Crimea operation. When Russia launched 26 Kalibr cruise missiles that struck ISIS targets in Syria from over 900 miles away with superb accuracy, the first instinct of Defense Department sources was to lie and tell CNN four of the missiles had crashed in Iran. Over two weeks later, no evidence that any of the Kalibrs failed to hit their targets or fell into Iran has been produced.
From PolitRussia with subtitled love: "Russia bombed NATO Pride" and sent a message with potent Kalibr cruise missile strikes
A few days before Brookings published the U.S. Navy officer's sober analysis, The New York Times admitted that the Russians were using the Syria war as a proving ground for a military that has significantly closed the quality if not quantity gap with NATO. Uncharacteristically for America's 'newspaper of record' the NYT even cited one analyst who said the Kalibr cruise missile is superior in terms of speed, range and cost to its Western counterpart, America's Tomahawk. That was not the response we were expecting, but at least it shows flat out lies and denial only can work for so long. Now that the Washington-controlled press is having a harder time with its fanatical insistence that Russia is barely hitting ISIS targets, they are switching to the storylines that:
A) the Russians are killing too many civilians and hitting hospitals left and right (the better to distract from Uncle Sam and his Saudi sidekick's own hospital bombing and subsequent evidence tampering)
B) ISIS and Al-Nusra as super jihadists willing to die for their cause are too deeply entrenched for the Assad government and its allies to dislodge much less rout.
C) Even if there are Iranian Revolutionary Guards, Iraqi Shi'a militias and battle hardened Hezbollah fighters also willing to die to defeat Washington's Sunni Persian Gulf Salafist spawn, the pro-Assad forces will always be outnumbered and Iran couldn't possibly bring in tens of thousands of Iraqi and Iranian troops with which to crush the GCC and America's proxies
D) Russia will wage its air campaign alone without additional support from Iran, China or the Iraqis
Syria is still being promoted as the new Afghanistan for Russia and no amount of initial Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and Iran/Hezbollah successes enabled by Russian airpower around Aleppo or in the south can or should interfere with that Narrative. If the mainstream media taking their cues from neocon and 'Atlanticist' think tanks has to wildly exaggerate ISIS 'successes' against the Syrian Arab Army or simply make them up, then they will do so to continue the myth of the invincible super jihadist army that has withstood a year and a half of committed (as opposed to half-assed) U.S. air strikes.
Still think these guys are a big joke Team Neocon? Or are you panicked they're going to drop a bomb on your Chantilly, Va lawn next week now?
As Russia Insider reports, the real implication of the NYT and Brookings pieces was that almost no one even in the military analyst community could take off their blinders about a rusting, backward, and demoralized post-Soviet Russian army that lost the first Chechen War in the mid-1990s to provide accurate insights into the modern Russian military. Agent 'W' may recall that it was not always thus; that in the past there were at least potential rewards for going against the grain when looking at Soviet military power. In fact, during the mid 1970s then Secretary of Defense (who had his 'known unknowns' an encore under President George W. Bush) Donald Rumsfeld commissioned Harvard Russia scholar Richard Pipes and a young Paul Wolfowitz among others to put together an alarming 'Team B' assessment of Soviet nuclear and conventional military power. In retrospect once Soviet archives were opened many of Team B's estimates that the Soviets were about to gain nuclear dominance over NATO, and were building up for a disarming first strike on America proved unfounded. And the Soviets enormous expenditures to keep up with the vastly larger and more successful Western economies in the arms race proved ruinous to the Communist bloc.
It remains to be seen, to paraphrase Sir Winston Churchill's slur of the Germans, if neocons and neo-liberals in the Establishment will swing from their typically arrogant 'at your feet' view of the Russians to a hysterical 'at your throat' one. Panic has been the order of the days since Moscow began bombing what one anonymous CIA or Defense Dept. source called 'our guys' in Syria. Gen.(USA ret.) Jack Keane and Lt. Col. (USA ret) Ralph "the Russians are vodka-sodden barbarians, but now and then they vomit up a genius " Peters have, along with numerous neocons in Congress, personified the panicked 'conservative' or GOP response. Their Fox News party line is "this is all Obama's fault, if we'd been tougher this would never have happened, we have to back our 'moderate' Syrian allies (most of whom are actually Al-Qaeda or allied with them-JWS) come hell or high water." To believe these guys, you have to forget that the program to arm Syrian Sunnis against Assad and break up the country was already in the works, if you believe NATO Commander Wesley Clark, well before 9/11 with the infamous 'destabilize or attack 7 countries in five years plan' and the 1980s-derived Oded Yinon plan circulated in the Project for a New American Century's 1996 report addressed to then Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, "A Clean Break".
How Much Longer Can Washington Blame the Mideast Debacle All on Barry Zero (or Alternatively, George W. Bush)?
Acknowledging bipartisan, systemic failure of American foreign policy with roots stretching back years if not decades is a bridge too far for mainline punditry. They are, like Celente's 'presstitutes' hopelessly dependent on the status quo and making excuses for and/or personifying its failures. The amount of cognitive dissonance, for example, required to overlook that the U.S. is allied with NATO member Turkey which is bombing the Kurds at the same time that the 'consensus' is to hinge America's anti-ISIL campaign on successful Kurdish resistance to the Caliphate must be considerable. Consider the following hilarious 'keeping score' quote from Zerohedge:
The US is now flying sorties from Incirlik and Turkish autocrat President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hates the Kurds and has gone out of his way to make it clear that Ankara doesn’t distinguish between the PKK and the YPG. For the uninitiated, here’s the problem broken down in bullet points:
- The US is flying from a Turkish airbase
- Access to that airbase came with NATO’s tacit approval of Erdogan’s move to crack down on the Kurdish PKK operating in Turkey (that crackdown is designed to bolster support for the government ahead of elections next month)
- Both the US and Turkey designate PKK as a “terrorist” group
- BUT while Ankara equates the PKK with the Kurdish rebels battling ISIS in Syria, Washington actually supports those same rebels, setting up a conflict of interest
Now clearly, this is beyond absurd. That is, Turkey only got NATOs support for the politically motivated crackdown on the PKK because Ankara agreed to bundle said crackdown with a military campaign against ISIS. But the Syrian Kurds are the most effective ground force of them all when it comes to combating Islamic State. Because those Syrian Kurds are aligned with the PKK, Turkey is effectively trying to say its army is fighting ISIS, the PKK, and YPG all at once even as both the PKK and the YPG are also fighting ISIS.
And so, in an unbelievably silly attempt to keep from angering Erdogan, the US effectively created a fictional group of "Syrain Arabs" and then claimed that YPG had formed an alliance with the made-up army. Next, Washington dropped 50 tons of ammo into the desert (literally) and claimed that the "Syrian Arab Coalition" had retrieved it. Of course it was the Kurds who actually picked it up, the Pentagon just needed a cover story to feed to Ankara in case Erdogan lost his mind. Which he did.
The Mad Hatter Architects of Washington's Alice in Wonderland, Mideast Failure
Yet in a nation that doesn't think, where postmodern reality is whatever the White House and press say it is, where yesterday's Al-Qaeda enemy is today's Syrian 'freedumb' fighters, and where 2006's glowing Vanity Fair profile of Bashir al Assad is forgotten in favor of bashing Russian media for presenting him as a progressive secular ruler, why not go full Alice and Wonderland? As Lewis Carroll wrote, “If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn't. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn't be. And what it wouldn't be, it would. You see?...Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
Who wants to bleed and die in Yemen or Syria for these idiots and perverts? Only Sudanese Army Salafis and ISIS, apparently
Whatever Moscow's logistical, military and political shortcomings, the great advantage Putin's Russia-Syria-Iran coalition has over the '59 nation coalition that's fighting ISIS' assembled by Washington is that the objectives the Russians seek are coherent, easily explicable or 'sellable' to use Wolf Gray's business terminology, and above all realistic.
Washington's objectives, by contrast, are a mishmash of contradictions. Washington is relying on 'allies' consisting of Turks and Kurds at each other's throats and pampered Persian Gulf princes who love funding wars but who don't field armies willing to die for them. Small wonder then Syria says the Saudis and Qataris flew 500 ISIS terrorists from Iraq to fight for them in Yemen, where as we've written the Houthis and affiliated Yemeni tribesmen are bleeding the Saudi-led coalition badly.
Nobody in Russia is touring post-civil war Syria as a paradise or a liberal democracy, only that there will be elections and only Syrians not Gulf emirs or State Department bureaucrats can decide the outcome. Putin knows full well that Assad cannot subjugate all of the Sunni parts of Syria indefinitely, but a ceasefire modeled after the one that finally ended the bloody sectarian Lebanese civil war that leaves Assad's chosen successor in power is a huge 'win' for Russia (to be fair, even the NYT has floated the 'trial balloon' of the 'realists' that just maybe America, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar can settle for a half-loaf or a rump Sunnistan run by them in north/eastern Syria).
Why else would Putin be talking on the phone with the (apparently not fully dementia'd) Saudi king Salman and establishing joint operations centers and hotlines respectively with the Jordanians and Israelis, even as he works with their nominal adversaries the Iranians and Hezbollah? What Putin wants to ensure is not only Russia's strategic position in the eastern Med which the Syrian civil war was instigated to destroy, but also that whatever rump Syrian state emerges under Assad and his successors will be economically viable and most critically integrated with Iran and the Eurasian axis. Even a broken clock is right twice a day and retired Lt. Col. Ralph Peters can see the big prize Putin is aiming to win.
On the other side of the negotiating table with Sergey Lavrov is Secretary of State John Kerry and the two most hated Persian Gulf monarchies, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, who like their partner in crime Erdogan in Turkey have both pretended to fight ISIS and sought to exploit the Islamic State to the end of toppling Assad. While Putin is garnering respect, even grudging acknowledgements of his cleverness from enemies, the Saudis are either a subject of curses or the butt of jokes across the Mideast, with whore-mongering princes getting arrested for rape and having two tons of methamphetamine in their private jets revealing the decadence beneath the 'custodians of the two Holy Mosques', Wahhabi-funding facade. And as for the Qataris, those fat bastars running a collection of LNG terminals, World Cup soccer stadiums for 125F summer days, and Al-Jazeera studios 'a (natural) gas station masquerading as a country' to paraphrase Sen. John "Insane" McCain?
The Times of Israel, suddenly remembering perhaps that the jihadis Doha is bragging about sending MANPADs just as soon would give them to Hamas or ISIS to use against El Al flights out of Haifa and Tel Aviv, suddenly woke up to publish THIS blistering op-ed (in other words, from Jerusalem with love, a kick in the ass for Michael D. Weiss and other neocon 'friends of Israel' who want to handout MANPADs like Halloween candy to trick or treaters):
This week Qatar’s foreign minister Khadlid Al-Attiyah said Doha is mulling military intervention in Syria alongside Turkey and Saudi Arabia to fight Assad, rather than ISIS.
This directly counters Henry Kissinger’s call in The Wall Street Journal that “the destruction of ISIS is more urgent than the overthrow of Bashar Assad, who has already lost over half of the area he once controlled. Making sure that this territory does not become a permanent terrorist haven must have precedence.” [see JWS articles "Serious Washington Leaks, Infighting vs. Syria 'War Party'" and "Are Disgruntled Spooks and 'Realists' Teaming Up to Undermine Cold War 2.0 in Syria?"]
Al Attiyah even tried to spin the narrative of Qatar as the defender of Syrian people, proclaiming “We will spare no efforts to do anything that can help protect the Syrian people…with our Saudi and Turkish brethren,” and defended Al Qaeda affiliate Ahrar Al-Sham [which recently bragged according to the UK Daily Mail it got Chinese-made Pakistani MANPADs from Doha - JWS] as part of the “moderate opposition.”
However, it is unclear how Qatar is defending the Syrian people when its mercenary jihadists in the anti-Assad groups are committing genocide and ethno-religious cleansing in Syria. The Free Syrian Army and Nusra even made a video to boast of their 2013 massacre of the Christian village of Sadad where 45 Christians including children and women were tortured and executed[link added by JWS], while Druze and other religious minorities continue to be slaughtered by these Sunni extremists.
Moreover, these Qatar/Saudi/Turkey backed “Syrian rebels” are not even Syrian, with German intelligence BND estimating 95% of the fighters are paid foreign mercenaries, and in 2013 Saudi Arabia sent more than 1,200 death row inmates ranging from Yemen, Sudan, Jordan, Somalia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia to wage Syrian jihad.
In truth, the Syrian war has long ceased to be a civil war of Syrian people fighting for democratic reforms, and is now a full-blown war waged by foreign powers of Doha, Riyadh and Ankara to replace a secular autocracy with an extremist Islamic theocracy under their control.
Note that the author of this piece, Dr. Christina Lin, is attached to the Center for TransAtlantic Relations at the SAIS-Johns Hopkins University. She also happens to be ethnically Chinese, and inserts a friendly reminder to the neocons pinning their hopes of a bloody second Afghanistan for Russia on Saudi Arabia and Qatar how capable Beijing is of b-tch slapping both Riyadh and Doha, either by not buying their oil and gas or other measures. The Saudis and Qataris, already widely hated across the Middle East for their 'Islamic piety' hypocrisy and assumption they can buy anyone and everyone, also made no friends in the EU with their 'care' for fellow Muslims that they feel entitled to German taxpayers feeding and housing:
As Qatar is now sabre rattling and threatening to pour more fuel into the jihadi inferno in Syria with no end in sight, it’s the Syrian people who suffer the most at the hands of Doha’s policy. And while Syrians are fleeing jihad at home to neighboring Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt, and Turkey, how many refugees have the “defender of the Syrian people” Qatar, Saudis and other rich Arab Gulf states taken? According to director of Human Rights Watch Kenneth Roth, zero.
Instead, Saudi Arabia offered to build 200 mosques in Germany to preach extremist Wahhabi Islam to further radicalize the new migrant Muslim population, prompting CDU Deputy Chairman Armin Laschet’s quick rebuke that “Instead of talking about funding mosques, Saudi Arabia should be thinking about taking refugees and ending financing of ISIS.” CSU general secretary Andrea Scheuer likewise called the offer “cynical,” given the Kingdom is creating thousands of refugees of its own by bombing Yemen that has already killed more than 2,000 civilians and wounded 4,000 others, including 135 at a wedding party that were mostly women and children.
EU chief Donald Tusk went further and slammed the migrant influx as a campaign of “hybrid warfare” by Turkey and regional states to coerce EU concessions (e.g., financial aid, visa-free travel from Turkey, buffer zone for Qatar/Turkey/Saudi jihadi Army of Conquest and Qatar-Turkey pipeline.)
....as Russia is effectively attacking ISIS and Al Qaeda-infested Army of Conquest that has burrowed itself in Idlib, Qatar is now attempting to sabotage these gains to aid the jihadists. This is a direct threat to not only Russia, but especially China given this Conquest Army consists of anti-Chinese jihadists, as well as thousands of Chechen and Central Asian fighters that are already attacking their homeland. India’s Kashmir has also fallen prey to Qatar’s Syrian policy, with some Indian scholars calling for joining Russian airstrikes against these salafi jihadists [-JWS emphasis added, another example of the Empire of Chaos making enemies and pissing off people].
Should Qatar continue to provoke an escalation of Syrian war, it may very well end up confronting the three nuclear powers of not just the Russian bear, but also the Chinese dragon and Indian tiger to defend their homeland from Qatar-backed jihadists. If the US and Europe do not want Qatar to turn the Syrian war into World War III, then as Professor Chellaney exhorted, “for the sake of regional and international security”, this gadfly-turned rogue elephant “must be tamed.”
While RuAF Bombs from 12,000ft, the Judo Master is Giving the Desperate District of Criminals Enough MANPAD Rope to Hang Themselves With
Even today, the Empire's shills and trolls cannot 'keep up appearances', and hide their tendency to 'root on' ISIS -- at least when Daesh boast about fighting 'the regime'. This lunging stupidity and sociopathic arrogance becomes part of the momentum that Putin uses to again throw Uncle Sam and his imperial propaganda machine to the mat. For how can the likes of Bild's Julian Roepcke or The Daily Beast's Michael D. Weiss sell the bullshit that Ahrar al Sham or Al Nusra would never dream of giving or selling man portable surface to air missiles to ISIS, when they've already sold or surrendered other weapons to the Islamic State before? And what will be the excuse, besides 'the Russia planted those MANPADs! It's SVR disinformatziya active measures!' when Latakia based spetsnaz commandos uncover whole caches of freshly shipped MANPADs in the hands of the hated Islamic State still in the Saudi or Qatari military crates, and tell the world on RT, "This is what the Americans and their allies have done, put the entire world's airliners at risk from these terrorists. Should you be happy about this Germans, Brits, Italians, Israelis, or citizens of any nation threatened by ISIS, besides us Russians?".
Once again, the gloating about how jihadists are soon going to use MANPADs to shoot down Hind gunships just like in McInsane's Charlie Wilson's War equivalent to Bunny Ranch fantasies become a nightmare like they were for a certain ex-Kardashian, LA Laker. The very tools by which the desperate neocons and neo-liberals in Washington thought they would finally bleed the Russian Bear become indictments of the Beltway criminals in the court of global public opinion, with all the attendant fallout for 'King Dollar'.
Desperate to 'Do Something', SecDef Ashton Carter Announces a New More 'Boots on the Ground' Strategy -- That's a Cover for the U.S. Trying to Set Up a Sunni Enclave From Which Jihadis May Live to Fight Assad and Iran Another Day
The headline story of The Washington (Com)Post Monday evening and subsequent reports saturating the cable news told the tale -- Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter announced a new U.S. strategy for Syria, one that would require putting American troops 'into harms way' in his words. The same Secretary of Defense who threatened the Russians with 'casualties' when they began intervening at the invitation of the legitimate, internationally recognized Syrian government wants to send special operations and other units into Syria without any official permission from Damascus. In the name of fighting the Islamic State of course. As Zerohedge noted above, the plan is for the U.S. to arm and more closely ally with the Kurds to attack ISIS stronghold of Raqqa in the northeastern Syria. Meanwhile, Turkey, Washington's NATO ally, will apparently keep bombing the same Kurds with impunity whenever they approach the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra (aka Al-Qaeda's) logistical lifeline to Turkey along the Euphrates. Ashton Carter has apparently not made any comment on that nor has the Pentagon press(titute) corps pressed him for how Washington will resolve this contradiction in its coalitions.
Another major problem with Washington turning back to the Kurdish option besides the wrath of Erdogan and the fallout for Turkey's November 1 elections is that the Kurds lack motivation to push too far beyond their ethnic boundaries. Where they have done so in Syria Western (G)NGOs like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have accused Kurdish units of ethnic cleansing against Arabs. What gets left out of such accusations is whether the 'civilians' being expelled from their homes by threats from the Kurds were supporters of the Sunni-dominated Islamic State, and thus considered to be a fifth column by Kurdish units according to 'rules' of warfare most recently seen during the end of WWII when ethnic Germans were expelled from their homes by the millions.
These problems were aptly summarized in this comment left under in a Washington Post discussion thread by a sarcastic vet who appears to know what he's talking about (as opposed to dumbasses ranting on Twitter about jihadi TOW/MANPAD wunderwaffen):
Seems Obama has no desire to be overshadowed by Putin. According to the WaPo, he’s pushing the Pentagon for a way to still be seen as a major player in GWOT 2.0 while not directly confronting Russia. No fly zones are out. The [S-400/Su-30-35? - JWS] rent’s too damned high.
One of the suggestions is to put advisors with the newly minted moderate Arab rebels of the newly minted Syrian Arab Coalition, apply air support and advance to Raqqa. This will inevitably require working with the YPG, whether we admit it or not. Turkey will throw a hissy fit and threaten to deny us the use of Incirlik or even use of their airspace. Say Turkey does this. If we have the stones, we could coordinate with Russia for an air corridor just south of the Turkish border to support this attack on Raqqa… if we have the stones. If I was in charge, I would have put Special Forces teams into Kobane last year when it looked like it would be a Kurdish Alamo. If we did that our relationship with the YPG, Euphrates Volcano and the Syrian Arab Coalition would be tight by now. And instead of kissing Erdogan's ass, I'd be prepared to stick a hot poker in said ass.
Another suggestion is to move the US advisors out of the major bases in Iraq and embed them at the brigade level with Iraqi forces for operations like retaking Ramadi. Would we be willing to get off our high horse and rub elbows with Iranian advisors? I know Special Forces teams in the field would, but I’m not sure about the Borg collective in Washington. They're so smug and proud, you know.
A third suggestion is to target IS infrastructure to cripple them financially. In other words, go after the oil industry and smuggling networks in Syria. We could have done this a year ago. I wouldn’t go for random infrastructure like our electrical power plant hits in Aleppo a week ago. What the hell was that about? We should concentrate on one key aspect of the infrastructure like tankers and any vehicle that can be used to move oil. If at all possible, leave the oil fields and refineries for use by Syrians after IS is defeated.
Or we could just continue to wander around half-assedly until we fade away… or stumble into WWIII.
Why after 16 months of failure in the multi-national campaign to destroy ISIS laughably called Operation Inherent Resolve, why is Secretary Carter suddenly sensing the urgent need to deploy American troops close to if not on the front lines against ISIS in Syria and Iraq? And why is Secretary of State John F. Kerry after haughtily denying the Iranians a seat at the negotiations now beckoning come one, Tehran come all?
Can you say...despite all the Twitter trolls poo-pooing the Syrian Arab Army and Russian Air Force's combat capabilities and predicting imminent quagmire...that the players with actual intel about the Russian/Iranian buildup are scared of what Russia's about to do?
Especially the Iraqis inviting the Russian and possibly soon (thanks to SecDef Carter's twelve mile limit eyeball to eyeball stunt with the Chinese in the South China Sea) the People's Liberation Army Air Force to bomb the s--t out of ISIS in their country?
It seems despite all the jeering about a second Afghanistan not everyone inside -- and outside -- the Department of Defense and U.S. intelligence community is so confident the Russians will get bogged down, as opposed to kicking some serious D.C./GCC jihadi ass...using some of the same military planners who routed American advised armies and proxies in Georgia (2008) and Ukraine (2014-15).
....the [Syrian Arab Army] battle plan that seems to be implemented clearly bears the signature of the Russian army, and not the Iranians. Qassem Suleimani, often rumoured to have been in charge of the whole operation, is certainly a major player on the tactical level, but operationally and strategically, it is the Russian forces that are in the lead. While there is no official confirmation of this assumption so far, several clues point into this direction. In recent days, Russian soldiers in Latakia were overheard saying they were not Naval Infantry used for force protection in the area, but part of the “58th Combined Arms Army”, a large formation of the Russian forces stationed in the North Caucasus.
Why this anecdotal information is interesting and potentially useful in order to analyse Russian doctrine in Syria, is because the 58th Army was in charge of the Russian push into South Ossetia in 2008 (Russian-Georgian War) and has often been spotted close to Ukrainian territory during the hybrid warfare operations in Eastern Ukraine, in 2014. Therefore, it is highly likely that operational and tactical moves in Syria will be strongly influenced by lessons that senior Russian officers have taken from Ukraine, and South Ossetia to a lesser degree. Having a closer look at the way Eastern Ukrainian militias, backed directly or indirectly by Russian military, took apart the Ukrainian forces in 2014 is probably a good idea right now.
There is plenty of “open source” information available about Ukraine, but just as a reminder, let’s emphasize that military operations there took several months to build up and turn into decisive battles and military victories on the ground. Whether there will be a similar development in Syria remains to be seen, as many factors play a role in this equation. However, there should be no doubt as to the Russians’ determination to obtain a genuine, conventional military victory, rather than lead a COIN-like campaign, which would not yield any decisive results.
Downfall (Der Untergang), the infamous Hitler rant scene with Syria #fail subtitles