A recent article published on the Russian Pravda, which is certainly not just the result of grey propaganda, namely that kind of “grey” communication operations mixing truth and falsehood, may be useful to clarify what has really happened in Syria since 2011, the fatal and terrible year of the so-called “Arab springs”.
And even year of destabilization – against Iran and the Russian Federation – of the Greater Middle East.
Meanwhile, it is worth clarifying that said “springs” had evidently been prepared on the basis of Gene Sharp’s techniques and his “non-violent revolution”, with the addition of “rebels” parachuted by others.
This was certainly seen with the young people of Tahrir Square in Egypt, as well as with the Head of Google in Cairo, who enabled the protest to overcome the Internet blocks organized by Mukarak’s regime, while even at that time the Muslim Brotherhood militia protected the crowd from the Rais police attacks.
Moreover, at that time Gene Sharp’s books were explicitly recommended on the Muslim Brotherhood’s website in Egypt.
Summarized in very simple terms, Sharp’s theories and the theories of his Einstein Institute envisaged a series of mass actions which raised the political temperature and progressively isolated “the Tyrant”.
The idea that there only existed a “tyrant” to be toppled speaks volumes about the naïvety of these models, but the US theorists never relinquish their myths of the “noble savage”, namely the people, who is supposed to be manipulated by a single “wicked person”.
Firstly, Sharp thought there was the “conversion” of the peripheral members of the regime, then the destruction – again with the techniques he recommended – of the whole power system of the usual “Tyrant”, especially with the peaceful destabilization of the infrastructural and organizational links which kept his power alive, mainly through communication and information, or rather “misinformation”.
In the case of Syria, as Sharp’s recipes were not enough, as was also the case with Libya, there was – as also in the first phase of the French-British actions in front of the Benghazi coast – the violent action of “rebels “, based on the formula: “military infiltration + psychological warfare.”
In fact, the protests of March 2011 soon spread to several Syrian cities, precisely due to the contagion of the “Arab springs” – and it was by no mere coincidence that the revolt started from Deraa, a city very close to the Jordanian border, where US, British and Saudi instructors already operated.
We all remember that the protests began with the demolition of the Hafez al-Assad statue, as the end of the Iraqi regime had started with the demolition – again by US psyops connected with some local “rebels” – of the Saddam Hussein statue.
Obviously the very harsh repression by the Syrian Baathist regime started while the grey operations created – as it would also be the case for the uprising in Libya – local personages, previously unknown, operating under the label of “human rights defenders”, a concept completely unknown to the Arab world, regardless of its being secular or religious.
The news about the victims of repression (it happened also in Italy during the so called “Years of Lead”, the years of socio-political turmoil marked by a wave of terrorism) were emphasized, while there was a mobilization of the Al Jazeera networks, owned by the family of the Qatar’s Emir, traditionally linked to the funding for Al Qaeda, and Al Arabija, the satellite network located in the Emirates but owned by Saudi Arabia.
As is always the case now, many NGOs such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International – both accused by US sources of raising funds coming from Saudi Arabia – added to this clearly Sharp-styled “media bubble”.
As happened also in Libya, within the Syrian insurgency, there were already groups engaging in firefights artfully, as the US Field Manual 3-05.30 and the State Department’ manuals, with the Joint Publication 3-132, taught.
Moreover, King Abdullah of Jordan officially stated that the British operators of the Special Air Service (SAS) had got organized, on the Jordanian territory, to operate in Southern Syria with a mechanized battalion composed of unidentified “rebels”.
Again according to Pravda, at that juncture there was the need to “break up the militia group” to employ and then disperse Assad’ Syrian Arab Army.
The Syrian Forces, however, were not at all suitable for the jihad asymmetrical war. Conversely they had been conceived for a “final” confrontation with Israel and hence they were easily put in trouble by the “rebels”, trained by the “Brown Berets” (the Turkish Special Forces), the Saudis, the British SAS and, finally, by the Americans of the Delta Force – exactly the force that a future Head of the Italian intelligence SISDE had encircled by our Carabinieri forces in the Sigonella base.
After this useful digression, let us revert to the Iranian operations, and especially the Pasdaran operations in Syria.
The Iranian envoys in Syria included not only the Pasdaran elite brigades, but also the Afghan “volunteers” and other Shiite groups not officially recorded and filed as combatant structures, in addition to the Lebanese Hezbollah.
In this respect, it is worth recalling that the Iranian Foreign Affairs Minister Javad Zarif has always denied, but only to the irrelevant EU authorities, any kind of Iranian boots on the ground operations on the Syrian soil.
The Iranian “Revolutionary Guards” brigades operating in Syria, however, are the Saberin units and the best-known Al Quds Force, both belonging to the Pasdaran, the “Revolutionary Guards”.
The Saberin units are basically the Iranian equivalent of the aforementioned British SAS.
But many Saberin leaders have already been killed.
Think of Farhad Hassounizadeh, killed in Southern Syria in 2015, or Abbas Abdollahi, killed in the Deraa Province in February 2015, or the over 300 Iranian soldiers who were killed – “several” soldiers, as the Iranian government said – in addition to the 13 “military advisers” to the Pasdaran who were killed, much more recently, in Khan Tuman, near Aleppo, by an alliance of jihadist groups linked to Jaish Al Nusra, the “front” which is the owner of Al-Qaeda in Syria, and Jaish Al Fatah, another Sunni jihadist organization acting as an “umbrella” organization for almost all the jihadist “rebels” operating around Aleppo.
A total of over 700 Iranian soldiers out of over 2,000 were killed in Syria, not to mention the Saberin units that formed the Iranian expeditionary force in the Syrian State.
Not to mention the old leader of the Hezbollah, Badreddine, killed earlier this May, an “assassination” for which the Iranians directly blamed the Israelis.
Furthermore, as many as 13 Shiite “militia groups” operate in Syria which, including the Pasdaran, total over 3,500 soldiers.
Therefore, over the last three years, 693 Iranians died in Syria, including the 13 ones killed in Aleppo recently.
Now, in all likelihood, after the Al Quds Brigade, it will be the turn of the Saberin, an IRGC brigade capable of carrying out OPFOR actions (OPposing FORce), as well as “hybrid” and asymmetric operations against the jihadists like those which led to the victory of the Russians in Crimea and in the part of Ukraine already de facto conquered by them.
With reference to the clash in Khan Touman, the battle of May 6 waged a few kilometers southwest of Aleppo on Road 5, the main highway to Damascus, this operation is likely to soon change the war in Syria.
Hence more Iranian soldiers in the region and maybe closer cooperation between Iran and Russia, but a probable victory for the jihadists which could cost Assad’ Syrian Arab Army exactly Aleppo, the “center of gravity” of the whole clash in the North.
And it is also the “gateway to Turkey”.
The available data points to an ambush organized against the Iranians (both Pasdaran and Hezbollah) by Jaysh Al Fatah, a group of Sunni “rebels” linked to the Al Nusra Front, which will probably conquer many of the ISIS positions, while the “Caliphate” is turning into an organization mainly operating outside the traditional borders of this war, namely Yemen, Sinai and, in the future, Jordan.
Due to the usual intelligence “gaps” on the ground, the leaders of the Pasdaran and the Hezbollah did not know that the Sunni “rebels” had acquired a supply of MILAN, the light anti-tank missiles manufactured in Europe, with a 2 kilometer range and a penetration rate of the armor of self-propelled units between 350 and 900 mm.
The MILAN missiles had been supplied by Turkey, but paid by Saudi Arabia.
Certainly it is a painful mystery how it is still possible to accept Turkey within NATO without President Erdogan being made accountable before the NATO Secretary-General for the Turkish operations in the Syrian war.
Clearly Turkey wages and fights a war against the Kurds, and sometimes not even by proxy, but the operations and the much-trumpeted “peace in Syria” are also in Turkey’s hands, faced with NATO’s empty gestures, as well as its all talk and no action.
Iran later admitted that 17 of their soldiers had been killed in the Khan Touman battle, and additional 22 soldiers had been injured, including 13 victims belonging to the 25th “Karbala” Division, usually stationed in Iran.
This was a clear sign of Iran’s overstretching.
Two brigade-Generals of the Iranian forces died.
Currently at least ten soldiers of the “Karbala” Division are prisoners of the Sunni jihadists.
Five of the seven soldiers were killed immediately, others – even though we do not know how many – were taken away from the clash region towards an unknown destination.
The Hezbollah also claimed that none of their soldiers was killed or emprisoned, but other sources revealed that at least 15 soldiers of the Lebanese “Party of God” were killed by the so-called “rebels”.
Other Iranian sources reveal that now the tension between the Iranian hierarchies for the material cost and human toll of their participation in the Syrian war is skyrocketing, with many leaders, even within the Pasdaran, who would like to limit the Iranian actions and involvement in Syria.
Moreover, it is not yet clear whether Rezaei, a historical leader of the Iranian IGRC, will replace or not General Qassam Soleimani, killed a few days ago, as Supreme Commander of Iran’s operations in Syria.
The fact is that the jihadist “rebels” receive significant amounts of advanced weapons from their regional Sunni allies, while the Pasdaran and the Hezbollah are forces better suited to guerrilla warfare and counterinsurgency, rather than being prepared for a showdown and clash at high technological, materials and military levels.
Even the Head of the Hezbollah in Syria, Mustafa Badar ad-Din, was killed by a surface-to-surface missile near the Damascus International Airport, which proves again the penetration of the various rebel “fronts” in the military and political Syrian fabric.
The Head of the Lebanese “Party of God”, however, firmly believes that Mustafa Bader al-Din was assassinated by the US Special Forces, and rather oddly, by the Russian ones.
The Party of God base near the Damascus Airport was top secret – hence, within the balance of factors between the various forces on the field, Russia is probably trying to favor only the Iranians at the Hezbollah expense.
Maybe an unwanted ally, but necessary for the quality and quantity of the Iranian engagement in Syria.
Moreover, no military tank, group of people or other entity can enter the airport in the Syrian capital without an explicit and careful recognition or permission by the Russian Special Forces, which initially did not report the fact to Assad’ Syrian Arab Army or to the Iranians, let alone the “Party of God”, which was informed by third parties.
It must also be added that, days earlier, the United States had deployed their Special Forces, with attack helicopters, in the Ramelan base, in Northern Syria, near the Kurdish city of Hasakah.
It is a choice that, probably in agreement with Russia, enables the US Central Command for Operations in the Middle East (CENTCOM) to strike anywhere in Syria.
Hence, is Moscow thinking of a backroom deal with the United States so as to soon finish the “work” in Syria, in exchange for the US guarantee that Alawistan, with their bases of Tartus and Latakia, will remain untouched?
Moreover, the leader of the Hezbollah in Syria attended the meetings with Bashar el Assad regularly, although – precisely for his final assignment in Syria, but as early as 2013 – he had been designated as “international terrorist” by the United States and the international organizations related to them.
Or, in his future plan of irrenounceable “Greater Syria” in the Lebanon, Bashar does not want to have particularly powerful Hezbollah, to whom to pay a price for their participation in the Syria’s “liberation” from the Sunni jihad?
The Head of the Lebanese “Party of God”, Hassan Nasrallah – who probably made the mistake of naïvety – viewed the base in the Damascus airport as absolutely top secret, but forgetting that at least three intelligence services cooperated with the Hezbollah and that, after some aerial reconnaissance, the United States – experts of Electronic Intelligence and other similar technologies – could easily identify the Hezbollah command.
Obviously the supreme leader of the “Party of God” knows all too well that hitting the Lebanese leader means also striking at the heart of Bashar el Assad’ Syrian Arab Army.
Moreover the commander killed, Bader Ad-Din, had already planned to evacuate the Hezbollah militiamen from the various war fronts still open inside Syria, so as to concentrate them only on the Syrian-Lebanese front.
A threat which has obviously not been taken lightly by Assad, the ophthalmologist who was trained in London and is proving to be even more shrewder than his father Hafez.
Bader’s action, however, could not please Assad and it might have favored his assassination, regardless of who materially perpetrated it.
Furthermore there are unchecked reports whereby Muqtada Al-Sadr, the Iraqi Shiite leader, met secretly, shortly before the assassination of Ad-Din – and it is worth recalling that Muqtada controls, with the Iranian support, much of the “green Zone” in Baghdad and many of the militiamen who have recently become members of the Iraqi Parliament – the Iranians and the Shiite leaders in Beirut (especially Nasrallah himself) to send Hezbollah forces directly to Iraq and, hence, inevitably dismantle and strip the real Syrian front of its defenses.
At the funeral of the “Party of God” General, in Beirut, the signals to Iran (and to Russia) were clear in the sense that they could not try to get away with it, as usual, by accusing the United States.
Hence, on the pro-Alawi front, some cracks and difficulties of understanding are starting to appear, which make us realize that now everyone is waging and fighting “their” war in Syria.
Bashar still wants to reunite the country and Iran thinks it cannot bear some costs, even in relation to the expected advantages and benefits. Russia wants to take quick action, because it has other open fronts with the West and does not want to manage too many of them at the same time. Iran wants its Shiite universe and is not interested in Syria only; the United States want to fight together some “jihad”, support their Saudi allies in the region against Iran and contain Russia.
Moreover, after the funeral-rites, the “Party of God” maintained that (unidentified) Syrian “rebels” had killed Ad-Din, with a salvo of artillery.
A patently false motivation which, however, shows that, for the Hezbollah, there is no strategic reason to still remain in Syria.
Hence a war which will probably be destined to create a Sunni Syrian area, protected by Saudi Arabia, with a para-Shiite “buffer region” constituted by Bashar El Assad; a decidedly pro-Russian Alawistan in the Mediterranean; an Iran which, thanks to a reduced operational burden of its actions in Syria, builds the great Shiite empire along its borders; and finally the United States which, as usual, submit to the wishes (and money) of the Saudis, their only true ally in the region, precisely when they are obviously walking out of the Greater Middle East.
Europe, as usual, will stand by idly without even understanding what is happening.
A Mohammedan Game of Thrones: Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the Fight for Regional Hegemony
Authors: James J. Rooney, Jr. & Dr. Matthew Crosston*
The people in the United States didn’t think well of those living in the Soviet Union during the Cold War. There was a basic mistrust and a lack of kind words on both sides. But what you didn’t hear was anyone excitedly talking about wanting to completely annihilate the other side despite both having the capacity to do just that. Fast forward to 2018: to Saudi Arabia and Iran and a new regional Middle East version of Mutually Assured Destruction, where it takes on a whole new meaning. Both of these nations maintain terrible images of each and neither would probably shed a tear if the Earth suddenly opened up and swallowed the other. Forgive the propensity to reach hyperbole, but in truth this rivalry goes back 1,385 years when, just after the death of the prophet Mohammed in AD 632, there arose among the faithful a disagreement concerning the issue of succession. Mohammed drafted a Last Will & Testament and set up an ancient version of a Trust Fund for the kids’ college/ lifeneeds, but never said a word about succession. In hindsight we now know what colossally poor planning this was as it led to a split between two key factions that would come to be known as the Sunni (who favored a vote for succession) and the Shi’a (who favored keeping it in Mohammed’s bloodline). “The Sunnis prevailed and chose a successor to be the first caliph.” (Shuster, 2017, 1) What followed was a swinging pendulum of tension with hundreds of years of both war and peace interspersed between the two sides. Today, it looks like they’re heading back to war in some form. But the real question is, are they heading back to war because of a 1,000+ year old religious grudge match? Many experts think not. Some say that the bad blood that has been forming between Saudi Arabia and Iran is not about religion, but something else: competing and hostile legitimizing myths. “With the aim of uniting peoples behind their leaders in distinction to ‘the other’, as it is so often the case, religion is misused as a dividing tool in order to enforce a political agenda.” (Reimann, 2016, 3) Not surprisingly, there are religious overtones embedded within these regional hegemonic politics pushing both sides continuously to greater episodes of dangerous tension.
The House of Al Saud, the ruling royal family of Saudi Arabia, is composed of the descendants of Muhammad bin Saud, founder of the Emirate of Diriyah, which was known as the First Saudi state (1744–1818), and his brothers. The ruling faction of the family, however, is primarily led by the descendants of Ibn Saud, the modern founder of Saudi Arabia. The government of Iran is a modern Shia theocracy that was forged in part by the overthrow of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last Shah of Iran, in 1979. Today, “Iran is considered a unitary Islamic republic with one legislative house. The country’s 1979 constitution put into place a mixed system of government, in which the executive, parliament, and judiciary are overseen by several bodies dominated by the clergy. At the head of both the state and oversight institutions is a ranking cleric known as the rahbar, or leader, whose duties and authority are those usually equated with a head of state.” (Editorial Staff, 2017. 1) Ironically, many have argued that Iran has one of the most democratically structured Constitutions in the world, if not for these extra-constitutional religious oversight bodies that sit over all of the constitutional structures. Even putting the religious affiliations and religio-political structures aside, these two countries are as different as Persian night and Saudi day.
Both Saudi Arabia and Iran view themselves through the legitimizing myth of being the purer form of Islam and true holder of Mohammed’s legacy. As if that wasn’t conflictual enough, to make matters worse, the Wahhabist theocratic leadership in Riyadh sees the government and family of Saud as secular barbarians that strategically use their Sunni Wahhabist religious connections as a hedge to maintain power. The royal family of Saudi Arabia, for its part, views the theocracy of Iran as a bastardized form of Islam led by illegitimate Imams that hold a potentially progressive nation hostage to outdated religious edicts that have no relevance in the modern Islamic world. Even more dismissively, the Saudi royal family sneer at how this ‘Iranian backwardness’ has led directly to decades of crippling American sanctions against the people. Of course, the theocracy in Iran sees the cozy relationship between the Saudis and Americans as proof of the infidel fall of the keepers of the Prophet’s two great cities, Mecca and Medina. The Saudis are in bed with the Great Satan.
These underlying myths that debate ancient religious legitimacy may be fueling the hatred and Muslim-on-Muslim discrimination found on both sides. But disturbingly, there is one more legitimizing myth that might actually rule over all the others and it’s tied to the massive political power and influence greased by black crude. Saudi Arabia comes in as number 2 in terms of the world’s known oil reserves. Iran sits at number 4. That oil, and the wealth and political power it translates to, is not lost on either side. Oil is easily the top revenue-producing commodity in both countries. While ups and downs in the global market can have serious consequences for both countries, it means more damage for Iran than Saudi Arabia. The royal Saudi family has wisely/secretly over the past half century stashed away over half a trillion dollars to uniformly smooth out the revenue curves that are innate to the natural resource market in a volatile global economy. Since Tehran has been the subject of severe sanctions, due to its association with Islamic extremism and terrorism, it simply has not been able to create the same safety net/golden pillow of economic protection. Consequently, Iran has not been able to capitalize on its vast reserves of oil, selling much of it on the black market for rock bottom prices to less-than-ideal market consumers. This disparity in oil wealth, the freedom of action within the world market, and the subsequent ability to wield enhanced political power in the region is the real legitimizing myth that acts as a true political hammer separating the two and concretizing their strife with one another.
Iran’s political and military expansion into Syria, and its alliance with Russia, is another facet of its hegemonic intentions and desire to unseat Saudi Arabia as the real regional power broker. Iran appears willing to become a client or “dependent” ally of Russia, much as Saudi Arabia has a similar arrangement with the United States. Obviously, this is a dangerous recipe: regional power pretenses, advanced weapons from larger global powers, divergent religious positions, and political gamesmanship operating in the middle of another country’s civil war. Both Russia and the United States have cautiously moved their respective chess pieces as events develop in Syria, but unfortunately this caution does not exhibit the press for peace: rather, the American-Russian chess game in Syria only seems to exacerbate the animosity between the Saudis and Iranians. The alleged chemical weapon attacks on rebel positions inside Damascus by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, backed by Russian forces, caused a direct but limited military response by Washington. American cruise missile attacks on Syrian chemical weapons plants, though marginally effective, nevertheless was a message to Russia and Iran that the U.S. would defend its interests in the region. Those interests are decidedly in favor of a Saudi regional hegemonic leadership. Thus, what we have are cross-competing and hostile legitimizing myths being created in real time about what the future role of each of these players is going to be, America supporting the Saudi myth and Russia supporting the Iranian one.
Clearly, Saudi Arabia and Iran are going to remain deeply entrenched in hostile efforts for political and military dominance in the region. Though ancient religious strife seems like a convenient excuse for continued bad feelings between the two powers – and is focused on to a heavy extent by world media – modern strategic reasons are more dangerous and multi-layered. What we can recognize is an old fashion game of power politics in which both sides have aligned themselves with powerful and protective allies. This game is being made manifest in a critical region of the world where resources are converted to global wealth and power. The parties should remember that oil is combustible. Politics built on oil even more so. But politics built on oil, doused in religious fervor, and shaken vigorously by outside players with their own agendas is the most combustible of all. For the time being, this Mohammedan Game of Thrones seems to have a plotline that will be as deadly and bloody as its more famous Hollywood moniker.
*Dr. Matthew Crosston is Executive Vice Chairman of ModernDiplomacy.eu. He is Senior Doctoral Faculty in the School of Security and Global Studies at the American Military University and was just named the future Co-Editor of the seminal International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence. His work is catalogued at: https://brown.academia.edu/ProfMatthewCrosston/Analytics
Might Trump Ask Israel to Fund America’s Invasion-Occupation of Syria?
On 16 April 2018, the internationally respected analyst of Middle-Eastern affairs, Abdel Bari Atwan, headlined about Trump’s increasingly overt plan to break Syria up and to establish permanent U.S. control over the parts it wants, “Attempting the Unachievable”. He stated that “The coming few months are likely to prove very difficult for the Americans, and very costly, not just in Syria but also in Iraq.” He closed: “Who will cover the costs of this American move? There are no prizes for guessing the answer: it has already been spelled out.” The only country that his article mentioned was Israel: “It would not be surprising if Israel and the various lobbies that support were behind this American strategic volte-face. For Israel is in a state of panic.”
The U.S. already donates $3.8 billion per year to Israel’s military, in order for Israel to purchase U.S.-made weapons. However, Atwan argues that the costs of this invasion-occupation of Syria are likely to run into the trillions of dollars. The Gross Domestic Product of Israel is only $318.7 billion as of 2016. So, America now already donates a bit more than 1% to that amount, and Atwan’s thesis is that Israel will now become instead a net donor to America’s international corporations (funding some of the Pentagon, which then will pay that money to America’s weapons-firms), in order to avoid adding the enormous costs of this increasing invasion-occupation of Syria, onto America’s taxpayers, fighting forces, etc.
I do not consider this enormous reversal of Israel — from recipient to donor — to be likely. Far likelier, in my view, is Saudi Arabia, to finance the invasion.
The GDP of Saudi Arabia is $646.4 billion as of 2016, more than twice Israel’s — and the Saud family, who own that country, are accustomed to paying for the services they buy, not having them donated (unless by their fellow fundamentalist Sunnis, to spread the faith). Furthermore, the royal family, the Sauds, are extremely close to America’s leading oil families, who also donate heavily to Republican politicians. Ever since at least 2012, the Sauds have been the U.S. Government’s main partner in the long campaign to overthrow and replace Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, by a Sharia-law, fundamentalist-Sunni, regime, which will do what the Sauds want.
America’s oil companies and pipeline companies, and military contractors such as Lockheed Martin, profit from America’s invasion-occupation of Syria, but U.S. President Donald Trump isn’t doing it only with their welfare in mind; he has an international campaign to press America’s allies to foot a larger percentage of the cost to U.S. taxpayers for America’s military. He wants America’s allies to pay much more, in order for them to be able to enjoy the privileges of staying in America’s alliance against Russia, China, and other countries whose economies threaten to continue growing faster than America’s. U.S. aristocrats fear that such challengers could replace them as the global hegemon or Empire, the über-aristocracy. Empire is expensive, and the general public pay for it, but Trump wants foreign taxpayers to pay a bigger share of these costs in order to relieve part of the burden on U.S. taxpayers. His famous comment about the invasion-occupation of Iraq, “We should have taken the oil”, is now being put into practice by him in Syria. However, that money goes only to corporations, not to the U.S. Treasury.
Which allies could finance escalated war against Syria?
On 24 September 2017, the Wall Street Journal bannered, “U.S.-Backed Forces Seize Syrian Gas Plant From Islamic State”, and reported: “U.S.-backed forces said Sunday they were advancing through eastern Syria after seizing a gas plant there from Islamic State, striking a blow to the terror group’s dwindling finances, which rely heavily on its control of Syria’s oil and gas fields. The plant, one of the most important in the country, is capable of producing nearly 450 tons of gas a day.”
Trump wants the profits from that to go to American companies, not to Syrian ones. That’s the type of arrangement Trump has been favoring when he says “We should have taken the oil.” Syria is allied with Russia, and with Iran. The U.S. is allied with Saudi Arabia and Israel, which are the two countries that call Iran an “existential threat” — and which have been urging a U.S. invasion to overthrow Assad.
The Sauds and their allied fundamentalist Sunni Arab royal families are considering to finance an American-led invasion of Syria. Turkey’s newspaper Yeni Safak headlined on 15 June 2017, “Partitioning 2.5M barrels of Syria’s oil”, and reported:
A meeting was held on June 10 for the future of Syrian oil on the premise of the intelligence of Saudi Arabia and the US in Syria’s northeastern city of Qamishli, which borders with Turkey. One of the US officers who visited terrorist organizations in the Sinjar-Karachok region after Turkey’s anti-terror operation in northern Syria and spokesman for the Global Coalition to Counter Daesh, Colonel John Dorrian, attended the meeting. Representatives from Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia, as well as some tribal leaders from Syria and senior Democratic Union Party (PYD) members attended the meeting. The delegation gathered for the purpose of determining a common strategy for the future of Syrian oil, and decided to act jointly after Daesh. Former President of the National Coalition of the Syrian Opposition and Revolutionary Forces, Ahmed Carba, determined the tribal and group representatives from Syria, and Mohammed Dahlan determined which foreign representatives would attend the meeting. Representatives agreed on a pipeline route. Radical decisions were made regarding the extraction, processing and marketing of the underground wealth of the Haseke, Raqqah and Deir ez Zor regions, which hold 95 percent of Syrian oil and natural gas’ potential.
That’s “taking the oil.” There could be lots of it.
This article also reported that, “Syria produced 34,828,000 barrels of crude oil in the first quarter of 2011 and reached 387,000 barrels per day during the same period” and that, “there are 2.5 billion barrels of oil reserves in Syria.”
On 16 April 2018, Whitney Webb at Mint Press bannered “How the US Occupied the 30% of Syria Containing Most of its Oil, Water and Gas”, and reported that, “Though the U.S. currently has between 2,000 to 4,000 troops stationed in Syria, it announced the training of a 30,000-person-strong ‘border force’ composed of U.S.-allied Kurds and Arabs in the area, which would be used to prevent northeastern Syria from coming under the control of Syria’s legitimate government.”
She noted, regarding the area in Syria’s northeast, where U.S.-armed, Saudi-funded, Syrian Kurds are in control: “those resources – particularly water and the flow of the Euphrates – gives the U.S. a key advantage it could use to destabilize Syria. For example, the U.S. could easily cut off water and electricity to government-held parts of Syria by shutting down or diverting power and water from dams in order to place pressure on the Syrian government and Syrian civilians. Though such actions target civilians and constitute a war crime, the U.S. has used such tactics in Syria before.”
She says: “Given the alliance between Syria and Iran, as well as their mutual defense accord, the occupation is necessary in order to weaken both nations and a key precursor to Trump administration plans to isolate and wage war against Iran.”
That type of plan could be worth a lot to Israel, but Yeni Safak headlined on 18 April 2018, “US to build Arab force in NE Syria as part of new ploy: The US is seeking to amass an Arab force in northeastern Syria comprised of funding and troops from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE.” This report said:
The Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said that the kingdom is willing to send troops to Syria in a press conference on Tuesday. The minister noted that discussions on sending troops to Syria were underway. “With regards to what is going on now, there are discussions regarding what kind of force needs to remain in eastern Syria and where that force would come from. And those discussions are ongoing,” said al-Jubeir. He stressed that troop deployment in Syria will be done within the framework of the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition and also suggested Saudi Arabia would provide financial support to the U.S.
How likely is it that Israel would be funding this huge escalation in The West’s invasion-occupation of Syria — an escalation in which fundamentalist-Sunni armies would then be serving Israeli masters? Though Arab royals might find it acceptable, their soldiers would not.
The Sauds are the world’s wealthiest family, and they can and do use the state that they own, Saudi Arabia, as their investment asset, which they aim to maximize. This war will be a great investment for them, and for their allies, in U.S., UK, Israel, and elsewhere. Israel can’t take the lead in such a matter. But the Sauds and their friends could.
Funding by the Sauds would be the likeliest way. On 21 May 2017, I headlined “U.S. $350 Billion Arms-Sale to Sauds Cements U.S.-Jihadist Alliance” and reported that the day before, “U.S. President Donald Trump and the Saud family inked an all-time record-high $350 billion ten-year arms-deal that not only will cement-in the Saud family’s position as the world’s largest foreign purchasers of U.S.-produced weaponry, but will make the Saud family, and America’s ruling families, become, in effect, one aristocracy over both nations, because neither side will be able to violate the will of the other. As the years roll on, their mutual dependency will deepen, each and every year.” That turned out to be true — and not only regarding America’s carrying the Sauds’ water (doing their bidding) in both Yemen and Syria, but in other ways as well. Now the Sauds will pitch in to pay tens of thousands of troops in order to dominate over Iran and Shiites, whom the Sauds hate (and have hated since 1744).
On 21 March 2018, CNBC bannered “Trump wants Saudi Arabia to buy more American-made weapons. Here are the ones the Saudis want”, and reported what Trump had just negotiated with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman al-Saud, which was a step-up in that $350 billion sale, to $400 billion. So: Trump is working on the Sauds in order to get them to take over some of the leadership here — with American weapons. It’s a business-partnership.
On 16 April 2018, which was the same day that Atwan suggested Israel would take the lead here, the Wall Street Journal bannered “U.S. Seeks Arab Force and Funding for Syria: Under plan, troops would replace American military contingent after ISIS defeat and help secure country’s north; proposal faces challenges,” and reported that:
The Trump administration is seeking to assemble an Arab force to replace the U.S. military contingent in Syria and help stabilize the northeastern part of the country after the defeat of Islamic State, U.S. officials said. John Bolton, President Donald Trump’s new national security adviser, recently called Abbas Kamel, Egypt’s acting intelligence chief, to see if Cairo would contribute to the effort, officials said. The initiative comes as the administration has asked Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates to contribute billions of dollars to help restore northern Syria. It wants Arab nations to send troops as well, officials said.
If the U.S. will invade, Israel will participate in this invasion-occupation, but the Sauds will lead it — with U.S.-made weapons. And taxpayers everywhere will lose from it, because invasions just get added to the federal debt. The invading nation goes into debt, which that nation’s public will pay. The invaded nation gets its wealth extracted and sold by the invading aristocracy. It’s happened for thousands of years.
first published at strategic-culture.org
Trump lacks proper strategy towards Middle East, Syria
About five years ago, when former US President Barack Obama spoke of a military strike in Syria, Zbigniew Brzezinski, former US National Security Adviser, who is also a prominent foreign policy strategist, objected to the call of the White House.
He noted that the United States lacks a proper strategy towards the Middle East and Syria. Military action should, if it is inevitable, take place within a more developed strategy.
Otherwise, the results will not be positive. But the main question is whether military action solves the problem and if there is basically any strategy to solve this problem. Who is part of this strategy and who is not? These are questions that people should think very seriously about before they take military action, which will have undesirable consequences.
We are now in 2018. Donald Trump is at the head of US political and executive equations. Unlike his promises in 2016, he has begun a costly dispute in the West Asian region. In his speeches, Brzezinski has unveiled the US “lack of appropriate strategy” in Syria. This inappropriate strategy has left both Obama and Trump’s governments as defeated states in Syria. Indeed, what exactly has this strategy been? And why has it become the basis and framework for the US measures in the region?
We can come to an understanding of the US strategy in Syria through the words of “Henry Kissinger”, former Secretary of State, which was published in New Yorker weekly. In this interview made in January 2011, Kissinger Stressed that Syria should be ignited “from inside”, and this is what “is currently happening in this country.”
The destruction of Syria in a civil war, is a strategy and goal pursued by US officials over the past six years. The continuing support of Obama and Trump governments from terrorist and Takfiri groups such as ISIL, Jabhat al-Nusra, Ahrar al-Sham and others in Syria can be analyzed in relation to this strategy. The recent limited military intervention performed by Trump has been based on this same strategy. The move was aimed at helping the Takfiri terrorists and “preserving the security crisis in Syria.”
The fact is that the destruction of the ISIL caliphate in Syria has made the worst possible impact on the United States and its allies. This important development has had a “strategic” nature. Because it eliminated a significant part of Washington’s tools to achieve its strategy in “destroying Syria” and making this country “insecure”. Since then, the United States has faced some kind of strategic confusion in Syria.
On the one hand, the American authorities can well see that their tools for realizing their primary strategy in Syria are destroyed, and on the other hand, they don’t have the power to plan and define a new strategy in Syria. Many regional analysts believe that Washington is not essentially after adopting a “new strategy” in Syria. Furthermore, the resistance front has been really successful in Syria, and this largely affected US strategic maneuverability in this scene.
The recent US military strike against Syria has been a reflection of the US’ strategic weakness toward the country. This military attack, on the one hand, challenged the missile and military capabilities of the United States before the eyes of the most experienced missile experts in the world. On the other hand, it was identified as an “aimless” attack by analysts of military issues in the world.
The fact is that with this attack, the United States even sparked the anger of its Takfiri mercenaries in Syria. In recent days, many western media have sought to answer one question: “What exactly was Trump’s purpose by the recent attack on Syria?” This is while even the president of the United States and his companions in the White House and the Pentagon don’t exactly know how to answer this question!
It’s obvious that the United States has suffered from a “false strategy” in Syria between the years of 21011 and 2017 (when the ISIL caliphate was destroyed), and from “lack of strategy” since 2017 so far. The White House has lost most of its power in Syria following its failure to realize its initial strategy. On the one hand, Washington is now faced with serious security, military and financial consequences of backing and supporting Takfiri and terrorist groups in Syria, and on the other hand, it’s impossible for the US authorities to define a new strategy in the region. We can see the result of this confusion in the behavior of US officials towards Syria and the West Asian region.
The gap between the primary goals of Washington in the region and the existing situation today is indicative of the strategic defeat of the administrations of the 3 US presidents, namely Bush, Obama and Trump in West Asia. Undoubtedly, when the defeat is resulted from tactical mistakes, it may be possible to make up for it. But when it has a strategic nature, it’s very difficult and even in some cases impossible to make up for it.
This fact is true of the strategic defeat of the United States in Syria. Under such circumstances, the only way left for the United States is to “confess to defeat” in Syria. Any other choice will have extensive costs for Trump and his government, and even the next Democratic or Republican governments of the United States. Undoubtedly, US allies and mercenaries in the region and the world are also going to be forced to pay these heavy costs as well.
First published at our partner Mehr News Agency
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