Tag Archives: Iran

The Great Game Comes to Syria, by Conn Hallinan

An alliance between Russia, Turkey, and Iran may emerge from the Syrian war. Such an alliance would be inimical to US interests, but the US would have only itself to blame. From Conn Hallinan at counterpunch.org:

Photo by Freedom House | CC BY 2.0

An unusual triple alliance is emerging from the Syrian war, one that could alter the balance of power in the Middle East, unhinge the NATO alliance, and complicate the Trump administration’s designs on Iran. It might also lead to yet another double cross of one of the region’s largest ethnic groups, the Kurds.

However, the “troika alliance”—Turkey, Russia and Iran—consists of three countries that don’t much like one another, have different goals, and whose policies are driven by a combination of geo-global goals and internal politics.  In short, “fragile and complicated” doesn’t even begin to describe it.

How the triad might be affected by the joint U.S., French and British attack on Syria is unclear, but in the long run the alliance will likely survive the uptick of hostilities.

But common ground was what came out of the April 4 meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Meeting in Ankara, the parties pledged to support the “territorial integrity” of Syria, find a diplomatic end to the war, and to begin a reconstruction of a Syria devastated by seven years of war. While Russia and Turkey explicitly backed the UN-sponsored talks in Geneva, Iran was quiet on that issue, preferring a regional solution without “foreign plans.”

“Common ground,” however, doesn’t mean the members of the “troika” are on the same page.

Turkey’s interests are both internal and external. The Turkish Army is currently conducting two military operations in northern Syria, Olive Branch and Euphrates Shield, aimed at driving the mainly Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) out of land that borders Turkey. But those operations are also deeply entwined with Turkish politics.

Erdogan’s internal support has been eroded by a number of factors:  exhaustion with the ongoing state of emergency imposed following the 2016 attempted coup, a shaky economy, and a precipitous fall in the value of the Turkish pound. Rather than waiting for 2019, Erdogan called for snap elections this past week and beating up on the Kurds is always popular with right-wing Turkish nationalists. Erdogan needs all the votes he can get to imlement his newly minted executive presidency that will give him virtually one-man rule.

To continue reading: The Great Game Comes to Syria

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Trump: Prisoner of the War Party? by Patrick J. Buchanan

As Obama was held hostage to George W. Bush’s wars, Trump may be held hostage to Bush’s and Obama’s wars. All these wars are the brainchildren of the war party. From Patrick J. Buchanan at buchanan.org:

“Ten days ago, President Trump was saying ‘the United States should withdraw from Syria.’ We convinced him it was necessary to stay.”

Thus boasted French President Emmanuel Macron Saturday, adding, “We convinced him it was necessary to stay for the long term.”

Is the U.S. indeed in the Syrian civil war “for the long term”?

If so, who made that fateful decision for this republic?

U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley confirmed Sunday there would be no drawdown of the 2,000 U.S. troops in Syria, until three objectives were reached. We must fully defeat ISIS, ensure chemical weapons would not again be used by Bashar Assad and maintain the ability to watch Iran.

Translation: Whatever Trump says, America is not coming out of Syria. We are going deeper in. Trump’s commitment to extricate us from these bankrupting and blood-soaked Middle East wars and to seek a new rapprochement with Russia is “inoperative.”

The War Party that Trump routed in the primaries is capturing and crafting his foreign policy. Monday’s Wall Street Journal editorial page fairly blossomed with war plans:

“The better U.S. strategy is to … turn Syria into the Ayatollah’s Vietnam. Only when Russia and Iran began to pay a larger price in Syria will they have any incentive to negotiate an end to the war or even contemplate a peace based on dividing the country into ethnic-based enclaves.”

Apparently, we are to bleed Syria, Russia, Hezbollah and Iran until they cannot stand the pain and submit to subdividing Syria the way we want.

But suppose that, as in our Civil War of 1861-1865, the Spanish Civil War of 1936-1939, and the Chinese Civil War of 1945-1949, Assad and his Russian, Iranian and Shiite militia allies go all out to win and reunite the nation.

Suppose they choose to fight to consolidate the victory they have won after seven years of civil war. Where do we find the troops to take back the territory our rebels lost? Or do we just bomb mercilessly?

To continue reading: Trump: Prisoner of the War Party?

Who Wants a Hot War with Syria and Iran? by Philip M. Giraldi

One group has a vested interest in war—the group that profits from it. From Philip Giraldi at strategic-culture.org:

There is a vast industry in the United States that wants a hot war with Syria and Iran as well as increased confrontation with Russia and China. It is appropriate to refer to it as an industry because it has many components and is largely driven by money, much of which itself comes from Wall Street and major corporations that profit from war related business. Some prefer to refer to this monster as the Military Industrial Complex, but since that phrase was coined by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1961, it has grown enormously, developing a political dimension that includes a majority of congressmen who are addicted to receiving a tithe from the profits from the war economy to finance their own campaigns, permitting them to stay in office indefinitely and retire comfortably to a lobbying position or corporate directorship.

The defense industry also has spawned hundreds of so-called think-tanks whose sole business is promoting war. Some, like the neoconservative Institute for the Study of War, have a clear agenda, but the most powerful rely on euphemisms to conceal what they are doing. They include the American Enterprise Institute and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, both of which promote a hard-line foreign policy directed against Iran and Russia, to include intensified confrontation with both in Syria.

The national media, which also benefits from the same food chain, is also complicit in the process, knowing that the public can easily be deceived by pronouncements coming from alleged experts in Washington. Leading politicians like Senators Lindsay Graham and John McCain lead the pack but there is no shortage of lesser known congressmen to also raise the cry about foreign threats to national security. Regarding developments in Syria, Graham advised last weekend that Trump must attack and destroy the Syrian Air Force or “look weak” while McCain said White House talk of pulling troops out of the country had “emboldened” al-Assad.

Unenlightened self-interest prevails in the White House over the formulation of policy, with the public interest completely lost from sight as high officials jockey in support of the agendas being promoted by those with money and access to those in power. There is no other explanation for the astonishing performance last weekend, which pushed the United States closer to a new war in spite of Trump’s earlier expressed claims that he wants to exit from Syria, a comment that he quickly backed away from under pressure from the Israelis and Congress.

To continue reading: Who Wants a Hot War with Syria and Iran?

Petro-yuan is the newest weapon for the China-Russia-Iran anti-USD alliance, by Jeff Brown

China, Russia, and Iran’s move away from trading oil in dollars may or may not have dire consequences for the dollar. However, most people in the West are unaware of this potentially important shift, because the media is not covering it. From Jeff Brown at thesaker.is:

Pictured above, the currency symbols for the old Spanish peseta and the Chinese yuan. Maybe Baba Beijing can synthesize the two of them into a cooling looking petro-yuan logo.

After 25 years of dreams, planning, rumors and testing, the Chinese petro-yuan is now official. Right now, almost all global oil trade is conducted in US dollars, using two benchmark varieties of crude, West Texas Intermediate and North Sea Brent, as the industry standards. It is no accident that these two benchmarks are based on imperial crude, American and British, and the irony of this is surely not lost on Baba Beijing (China’s leadership).

China is not selling oil, so the petro-yuan is a futures purchase contract denominated in renminbi for the country to import the stuff. As the world’s biggest importer of hydrocarbons, Baba Beijing has long felt that pricing all its millions of tons of imports should be in its national currency. Why should China pay for Russian natural gas or Venezuelan crude in Western empire’s currency of global financial control, Uncle Sam’s greenback?

Opinions outside China range from being non-plussed, to claiming it is the most important news in modern financial history, but you would have to search far and wide in Eurangloland (NATO, EU, Israel, Australia and New Zealand) and its heavily censored and suppressed media, to see for yourself. Outside the obligatory statement of fact in financial outlets like the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Reuters and Bloomberg, silence from the West’s mainstream media is deafening, as this screenshot below shows, when searching the topic. Only one mainstream article showed up on page #1 of the web search and that was CNBC from 2017. Even just looking for “petro-yuan” gives identical results. It’s a Western media black hole.

To continue reading: Petro-yuan is the newest weapon for the China-Russia-Iran anti-USD alliance

Has the War Party Hooked Trump? by Patrick J. Buchanan

Will Trump launch a Syrian war? How will the US know if it won? It supposedly won in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, and those countries are in worse shape than before the US invaded them. One prediction is easy: a Syrian engagement will be a similar disaster. From Patrick Buchanan at buchanan.org:

With his Sunday tweet that Bashar Assad, “Animal Assad,” ordered a gas attack on Syrian civilians, and Vladimir Putin was morally complicit in the atrocity, President Donald Trump just painted himself and us into a corner.

“Many dead, including women and children, in mindless CHEMICAL attack in Syria,” tweeted Trump, “President Putin, Russia and Iran are responsible for backing Animal Assad. Big price… to pay.”

“Big price… to pay,” said the president.

Now, either Trump launches an attack that could drag us deeper into a seven-year civil war from which he promised to extricate us last week, or Trump is mocked as being a man of bluster and bluff.

For Trump Sunday accused Barack Obama of being a weakling for failing to strike Syria after an earlier chemical attack.

“If President Obama had crossed his stated Red Line In The Sand,” Trump tweeted, “the Syrian disaster would have ended long ago! Animal Assad would have been history!”

Trump’s credibility is now on the line and he is being goaded by the war hawks to man up. Sunday, John McCain implied that Trump’s comments about leaving Syria “very soon” actually “emboldened” Assad:

“President Trump last week signaled to the world that the United States would prematurely withdraw from Syria. Bashar Assad and his Russian and Iranian backers have heard him, and emboldened by American inaction, Assad has reportedly launched another chemical attack against innocent men, women and children, this time in Douma.”

Pronouncing Assad a “war criminal,” Lindsey Graham said Sunday the entire Syrian air force should be destroyed.

So massive an attack would be an act of war against a nation that has not attacked us and does not threaten us. Hence, Congress, prior to such an attack, should pass a resolution authorizing a U.S. war on Syria.

And, as Congress does, it can debate our objectives in this new war, and how many men, casualties and years will be required to defeat the coalition of Syria, Russia, Hezbollah, Iran, and the allied Shiite militias from the Near East.

On John Bolton’s first day as national security adviser, Trump is being pushed to embrace a policy of Cold War confrontation with Russia and a U.S. war with Syria. Yet candidate Trump campaigned against both.

To continue reading: Has the War Party Hooked Trump?

Syrian Showdown: Trump vs. the Generals, by Patrick J. Buchanan

Trump wants to take US troops out of Syria, the generals want to keep them there. Can Trump win this one? From Patrick J. Buchanan at buchanan.org:

With ISIS on the run in Syria, President Trump this week declared that he intends to make good on his promise to bring the troops home.

“I want to get out. I want to bring our troops back home,” said the president. We’ve gotten “nothing out of the $7 trillion (spent) in the Middle East in the last 17 years. … So, it’s time.”

Not so fast, Mr. President.

For even as Trump was speaking he was being contradicted by his Centcom commander Gen. Joseph Votel. “A lot of good progress has been made” in Syria, Votel conceded, “but the hard part … is in front of us.”

Moreover, added Votel, when we defeat ISIS, we must stabilize Syria and see to its reconstruction.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had been even more specific:

“It is crucial to our national defense to maintain a military and diplomatic presence in Syria, to help bring an end to that conflict, as they chart a course to achieve a new political future.”

But has not Syria’s “political future” already been charted?

Bashar Assad, backed by Iran and Russia, has won his seven-year civil war. He has retaken the rebel stronghold of Eastern Ghouta near Damascus. He now controls most of the country that we and the Kurds do not.

According to The Washington Post, Defense Secretary James Mattis is also not on board with Trump and “has repeatedly said … that U.S. troops would be staying in Syria for the foreseeable future to guarantee stability and political resolution to the civil war.”

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, who fears a “Shiite corridor” from Tehran to Baghdad, Damascus and Beirut, also opposes Trump. “If you take those (U.S.) troops out from east Syria,” the prince told Time, “you will lose that checkpoint … American troops should stay (in Syria) at least for the mid-term, if not the long-term.”

Bibi Netanyahu also wants us to stay in Syria.

Wednesday, Trump acceded to his generals. He agreed to leave our troops in Syria until ISIS is finished. However, as the 2,000 U.S. troops there are not now engaging ISIS — many of our Kurd allies are going back north to defend border towns threatened by Turkey — this could take a while.

To continue reading: Syrian Showdown: Trump vs. the Generals

You Know The U.S. is Losing, We’re Willing to Talk, by Tom Luongo

The US generally calls for talks in military situations when the talks can be used as a military tactic—for delay and regrouping. From Tom Luongo at tomluongo.me:

How do you know when a politician is lying?

Their lips move and words come out.

How do you know when the United States is at a disadvantage in a geopolitical quagmire?

Our diplomats and Presidents want to ‘open up talks.’

Multiple times in the past four years the U.S. has used negotiating ceasefires in Syria and Ukraine to rearm and regroup those we’re backing or get our opposition (the Syrian Arab Army, the Russians) to let their guard down and then attack within 24 hours.

We’ve used the U.N. Security Council as a bludgeon to brazenly lie about on the ground facts in Syria to attempt to save our pet jihadists in places like Aleppo and now eastern Ghouta.

And in each of these instances the Russian counterparts have documented the U.S.’s mendacity, patiently building up an international file of such incidents for future use.  As I’ve pointed out so many times, the Russians rightly feel we are “Not Agreement Capable” either from a short-term or long-term perspective.

Winning Looks like Losing

So, why do I think the U.S. is in a losing position right now, despite the pronouncements from President Trump and his most ardent supporters that he’s winning on everything?

Because on the two most important issues of 2018, Korean denuclearization and strategic arms control, Trump is ready to sit down and talk.  And we have not been willing to do that on either of these issues at the Head of State level for most of this century, if not longer.

I wrote recently that the Neoconservative cabal in D.C. is in its final push for war with Russia.  The catalyst, for me, was President Putin’s state of the union address on March 1st where he unveiled new weapons that conjured up images from the finale of Dr. Strangelove.

I said, and still believe …

The neocons are cornered.  All of their major pushes to destroy Russia and Iran and control central Asia are collapsing.  The EU is fast approaching a political crisis.  The U.K. is still a loyal subject but the White House has a cancer at its center, Donald Trump. The window has nearly closed on regime change in Russia.  In effect, it’s now or never.

 

To continue reading: You Know The U.S. is Losing, We’re Willing to Talk