Category Archives: Eurasian Axis

The Road to Damascus: How the Syria War was Won, by Pepe Escobar

Syria represents a huge loss for the Deep State and a huge victory for the Eurasian axis. From Pepe Escobar at consortiumnews.com:

Following the Damascus-Kurdish alliance, Syria may become the biggest defeat for the Central Intelligence Agency since Vietnam, says Pepe Escobar

What is happening in Syria, following yet another Russia-brokered deal, is a massive geopolitical game-changer. I’ve tried to summarize it in a single paragraph this way:

“It’s a quadruple win. The U.S. performs a face saving withdrawal, which Trump can sell as avoiding a conflict with NATO ally Turkey. Turkey has the guarantee – by the Russians – that the Syrian Army will be in control of the Turkish-Syrian border. Russia prevents a war escalation and keeps the Russia-Iran-Turkey peace process alive.  And Syria will eventually regain control of the entire northeast.”

Syria may be the biggest defeat for the CIA since Vietnam.

Yet that hardly begins to tell the whole story.

Allow me to briefly sketch in broad historical strokes how we got here.

It began with an intuition I felt last month at the tri-border point of Lebanon, Syria and Occupied Palestine; followed by a subsequent series of conversations in Beirut with first-class Lebanese, Syrian, Iranian, Russian, French and Italian analysts; all resting on my travels in Syria since the 1990s; with a mix of selected bibliography in French available at Antoine’s in Beirut thrown in.

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Kurds face stark options after US pullback, by Pepe Escobar

The Kurds have little choice but to deal with the Syrian government and support Russian mediation in northern Syria. From Pepe Escobar at asiatimes.com:

Kurds face stark options after US pullback

Syrian Arabs and Kurdish civilians arrive to Hassakeh city after fleeing bombardment on Syria’s northeastern towns along the Turkish border on October 10, 2019 amid fears of a new humanitarian crisis. Photo: AFP / Delil Souleiman
Forget an independent Kurdistan: They may have to do a deal with Damascus on sharing their area with Sunni Arab refugees
In the annals of bombastic Trump tweets, this one is simply astonishing: here we have a President of the United States, on the record, unmasking the whole $8-trillion intervention in the Middle East as an endless war based on a “false premise.” No wonder the Pentagon is not amused.
Trump’s tweet bisects the surreal geopolitical spectacle of Turkey attacking a 120-kilometer-long stretch of Syrian territory east of the Euphrates to essentially expel Syrian Kurds. Even after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan cleared with Trump the terms of the Orwellian-named “Operation Peace Spring,” Ankara may now face the risk of US economic sanctions.

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Is China the Country of the Future? by Patrick J. Buchanan

What are China’s intentions, for its own people and the rest of the world? From Patrick J. Buchanan at buchanan.org:

With the fall of the Nationalist government of Chiang Kai-shek, the defeat of his armies and the flight to Formosa, that was the question of the hour in 1949. And no one demanded to know more insistently than the anti-Communist Congressman John F. Kennedy:

“Whatever share of the responsibility was Roosevelt’s and whatever share was (General George) Marshall’s, the vital interest of the United States in the independent integrity of China was sacrificed, and the foundation was laid for the present tragic situation in the Far East.”

Tragic indeed was the situation. The most populous nation on earth, for which America had risked and fought a war with the Japanese Empire, had been lost to Stalin’s empire.

A year after Peking fell to Mao Zedong, Chinese armies stormed into Korea to drive the Americans back from the Yalu River and back across the 38th parallel, threatening to throw them off the Peninsula.

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We Are Living During the Last Years of the Last Western Empire, by the Saker

The American empire may indeed be the last empire. From the Saker at russia-insider.com:

“Missing the forest for the trees” is an apt metaphor if we take a look at most commentary describing the past twenty years or so. This period has been remarkable in the number of genuinely tectonic changes the international system has undergone. It all began during what I think of as the “Kristallnacht of international law,” 30 August September 1995, when the Empire attacked the Bosnian-Serbs in a direct and total violation of all the most fundamental principles of international law.

Then there was 9/11, which gave the Neocons the “right” (or so they claimed) to threaten, attack, bomb, kill, maim, kidnap, assassinate, torture, blackmail and otherwise mistreat any person, group or nation on the planet simply because “we are the indispensable nation” and “you either are with the terrorists or with us“. During these same years, we saw Europe become a third-rate US colony incapable of defending even fundamental European geopolitical interests while the US became a third-rate colony of Israel equally incapable of defending even fundamental US geopolitical interests. Most interestingly looking back, while the US and the EU were collapsing under the weight of their own mistakes, Russia and China were clearly on the ascend; Russia mostly in military terms (see here and here) and China mostly economically.

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America Loses Asia-Pacific as Full Spectrum Dominance Continues to Fail, by Matthew Ehret

“Full Spectrum Dominance” is essentially the US playing global cop. It’s not working out too well. From Matthew Ehret at strategic-culture.org:

Always working a little harder than most to stay a step below reality, US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper made especially candid remarks this week that America’s INF pullout was timed for a targeting of forces against China.

Speaking to Fox on August 21st, Esper said: “We want to make sure that we, as we need to, have the capability to deter Chinese bad behavior… China is the number one priority for this department. It’s outlined in the national defense strategy, why we think it’s a long term strategic competitor and one that is pursuing a maximization campaign, if you will, throughout the indo-Pacific theater, whether its politically, economically or militarily…”

Echoing a little Dr. Strangelove, Esper stated that there is “a coming shift” from “low intensity conflict that lasts 18 years to high intensity conflicts against competitors such as Russia and China.”

While American military exercises in the Pacific have played out on China’s doorstep at an accelerating rate since the Pivot to Asia was announced in 2011 with the most recent US-Australia Talisman Sabre bi-annual exercise and US-South Korea Ulchi Freedom war games this month, China has not remained idle.

In response to America’s vast array of military infrastructure built up on China’s border, China has responded by the unveiling of cutting edge anti-ballistic missile technologies, including hypersonic weaponry to counteract the American threat. A large part of China’s defensive response includes the Russian S400 anti-missile system which is also being adopted by India, Turkey, Syria and the United Arab Emirates as a unified system which renders the American THAAD and ABM systems impotent and obsolete. Although unconfirmed, American generals have freaked out that China is building a joint China-Cambodia naval base in Preah Sihanouk Province that gives China easy access to coastal waters on the Gulf of Thailand and ready access to the South China Sea.

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The Great Switch: The Geo-Politics of Looming Recession, by Alastair Crooke

The US is switching roles from the world’s policeman towards unilaterally pursuing its own interests. From Alastair Crooke at strategic-culture.org:

Is the prospect of looming global recession merely an economic matter, to be discussed within the framework of the Great Financial Crisis of 2008 – which is to say, whether or not, the Central Bankers have wasted their available tools to manage it? Or, is there a wider pattern of geo-political markers that may be deduced ahead of its arrival?

Fortunately, we have some help. Adam Tooze is a prize-winning British historian, now at Columbia University, whose histories of WWII (The Wages of Destruction) – and of WWI (The Deluge) tell a story of 100 years of spiraling; ‘pass-the-parcel’ global debt; of recession (some ideologically impregnated) , and of export trade models, all of which have shaped our geo-politics. These are the same variables, of course, which happen to be very much in play today.

Tooze’s books describe the primary pattern of linked and repeating events over the two wars – yet there are other insights to be found within the primary pattern: How modes of politics were affected; how the idea of ‘empire’ metamorphosed; and how debt accumulations triggered profound shifts.

But first, as Tooze notes, the ‘pattern’ starts with Woodrow Wilson’s observation in 1916, that “Britain has the earth, and Germany wants it”. Well, actually it was also about British élite fear of rivals (i.e. Germany arising), and the fear of Britain’s élites of appearing weak. Today, it is about the American élite fearing similarly, about China, and fearing a putative Eurasian ‘empire’.

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How Tehran fits into Russia-China strategy, by Pepe Escobar

It’s difficult to characterize what exactly the Iranian-Russian relationship is, but Iran is definitely not a Russian satellite. From Pepe Escobar at thesaker.is:

An image grab taken from a broadcast by Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting on July 22 shows Iranian Revolutionary Guards in speedboats patrolling the tanker Stena Impero as it’s anchored off the Iranian port city of Bandar Abbas. Photo: AFP / HO / IRIB

Complex doesn’t even begin to describe the positioning of Iran-Russia in the geopolitical chessboard. What’s clear in our current, volatile moment is that they’re partners, as I previously reported. Although not strategic partners, as in the Russia-China tie-up, Russia-China-Iran remain the crucial triad in the ongoing, multi-layered, long-term Eurasia integration process.

A few days after our Asia Times report, an article – based on “senior sources close to the Iranian regime” and crammed with fear-mongering, baseless accusations of corruption and outright ignorance about key military issues – claimed that Russia would turn the Iranian ports of Bandar Abbas and Chabahar into forward military bases complete with submarines, Spetsnaz special forces and Su-57 fighter jets, thus applying a “stranglehold” to the Persian Gulf.

For starters, “senior sources close to the Iranian regime” would never reveal such sensitive national-security details, much less to Anglo-American foreign media. In my own case, even though I have made several visits to Iran while consistently reporting on Iran for Asia Times, and even though authorities at myriad levels know where I’m coming from, I have not managed to get answers from Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps generals to 16 detailed questions I sent nearly a month ago. According to my interlocutors, these are deemed “too sensitive” and, yes, a matter of national security.

Predictably, the report was fully debunked. One of my top Tehran sources, asked about its veracity, was blunt: “Absolutely not.” After all, Iran’s constitution decisively forbids foreign troops stationed on national soil. The Majlis – Iranian parliament – would never approve such a move barring an extreme case, as in the follow-up to a US military attack.

As for Russia-Iran military cooperation, the upcoming joint military exercises in the “northern part of the Indian Ocean,” including the Strait of Hormuz, are a first-ever such occasion, made possible only by a special agreement.

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