Risking World War III in Syria

Exclusive: After Saudi-backed Syrian rebels balked at peace talks and the Russian-backed Syrian army cut off Turkish supply lines to jihadists and other Syrian rebels, the U.S. and its Mideast Sunni “allies” appear poised to invade Syria and force “regime change” even at the risk of fighting Russia, a gamble with nuclear war, writes Joe Lauria.

By Joe Lauria

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter last October said in a little noticed comment that the United States was ready to take “direct action on the ground” in Syria. Vice President Joe Biden said in Istanbul last month that if peace talks in Geneva failed, the United States was prepared for a “military solution” in that country.

The peace talks collapsed on Wednesday even before they began. A day later Saudi Arabia said it is ready to invade Syria while Turkey is building up forces at its Syrian border.

Saudi King Salman meets with President Barack Obama at Erga Palace during a state visit to Saudi Arabia on Jan. 27, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Saudi King Salman meets with President Barack Obama at Erga Palace during a state visit to Saudi Arabia on Jan. 27, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The U.N. aims to restart the talks on Feb. 25 but there is little hope they can begin in earnest as the Saudi-run opposition has set numerous conditions. The most important is that Russia stop its military operation in support of the Syrian government, which has been making serious gains on the ground.

A day after the talks collapsed, it was revealed that Turkey has begun preparations for an invasion of Syria, according to the Russian Defense Ministry. On Thursday, ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said: “We have good reasons to believe that Turkey is actively preparing for a military invasion of a sovereign state, the Syrian Arab Republic. We’re detecting more and more signs of Turkish armed forces being engaged in covert preparations for direct military actions in Syria.” The U.N. and the State Department had no comment. But this intelligence was supported by a sound of alarm from Turkey’s main opposition party, the Republican People’s Party (CHP).

Turkey, which has restarted its war against Kurdish PKK guerillas inside Turkey, is determined to crush the emergence of an independent Kurdish state inside Syria as well. Turkish strongman Recep Tayyip Erdogan stopped the Syrian Kurds from attending the aborted Geneva talks.

A Turkish invasion would appear poised to attack the Syrian Kurdish PYD party, which is allied with the PKK. The Syrian (and Iraqi) Kurds, with the Syrian army, are the main ground forces fighting the Islamic State. Turkey is pretending to fight ISIS, all the while actually supporting its quest to overthrow Assad, also a Turkish goal.

Saudi Arabia then said on Thursday it was prepared to send its ground forces into Syria if asked. Carter welcomed it. Of course Biden, Erdogan, Carter and the Saudis are all saying a ground invasion would fight ISIS. But their war against ISIS has been half-hearted at best and they share ISIS’ same enemy: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. If the U.S. were serious about fighting ISIS it would have at least considered a proposal by Russia to join a coalition as the U.S. did against the Nazis.

The Prize of Aleppo

The excuse of the Geneva collapse is a ruse. There was little optimism the talks would succeed. The real reason for the coming showdown in Syria is the success of Russia’s military intervention in defense of the Syrian government against the Islamic State and other extremist groups. Many of these groups are supported by Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States in pursuit of overthrowing Assad.

These three nations are all apparently poised for a ground invasion of Syria just as, by no coincidence, the Syrian Arab Army with Russian air cover is pushing to liberate perhaps the greatest prize in the Syrian civil war, Aleppo, the country’s commercial capital. The Russians and Syrians have already cut off Turkey’s supply lines to rebels in the city.

On Saturday, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates joined the Saudis in saying they would intervene only as part of a U.S.-led ground invasion. The Obama administration has maintained that it would not send U.S. ground forces into Syria, beyond a few hundred special forces.

But these U.S. allies, driven by fierce regional ambitions, appear to be putting immense pressure on the Obama administration to decide if it is prepared to lose Syria. Though Carter said he welcomed the Saudi declaration he made no commitment about U.S. ground forces. But Saudi Brigadier General Ahmed Asseri told al-Arabiya TV that a decision could be made to intervene at a NATO summit in Brussels next week. Carter said the matter would be on the agenda.

The U.S. cannot likely stand by and watch Russia win in Syria. At the very least it wants to be on the ground to meet them at a modern-day Elbe and influence the outcome.

But things could go wrong in a war in which the U.S. and Russia are not allies, as they were in World War II. Despite this, the U.S. and its allies see Syria as important enough to risk confrontation with Russia, with all that implies. It is not at all clear though what the U.S. interests are in Syria to take such a risk.

From the outset of Russia’s intervention the U.S. and its allies have wanted Moscow out of the Syrian theater. They seem to be only waiting for the right opportunity. That opportunity may be now, forced by events.

Former U.S. national security adviser and current Obama adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski said last October in the Financial Times that, “The Russian naval and air presences in Syria are vulnerable, isolated geographically from their homeland. They could be ‘disarmed’ if they persist in provoking the U.S.”

Turkey’s downing in November of a Russian warplane that allegedly veered 17 seconds into Turkish territory appeared to be very much a provocation to draw Russia into a conflict to allow NATO to drive Moscow out of Syrian skies. But Russia was too smart for that and instead imposed sanctions on Turkey, while urging Russian tourists not to visit the country, which has hurt the Turkish economy.

A Battleground of Empires

As a fertile crossroad between Asia and Africa backed by desert, Syrian territory has been fought over for centuries. Pharaoh Ramses II defeated the Hittites at the Battle of Kadesh near Lake Homs in 1247 BCE. The Persians conquered Syria in 538 BCE. Alexander the Great took it 200 years later and the Romans grabbed Syria in 64 BCE.

Islam defeated the Byzantine Empire there at the Battle of Yarmuk in 636. In one of the first Shia-Sunni battles, Ali failed to defeat Muawiyah in 657 at Siffin along the Euphrates near the Iraq-Syria border. Damascus became the seat of the Caliphate until a coup in 750 moved it to Baghdad.

Waves of Crusaders next invaded Syria beginning in 1098. Egyptian Mamluks took the country in 1250 and the Ottoman Empire began in 1516 at its victory at Marj Dabik, 44 kilometers north of Aleppo, about where Turkish supplies are now being cut off. France double-crossed the Arabs and gained control of Syria in 1922 after the Ottoman collapse. The Nazis were pushed out in the momentous 1941 Battle of Damascus.

We may be now looking at an epic war with similar historical significance. All these previous battles, as momentous as they were, were regional in nature.

What we are potentially facing is a war that goes beyond the Soviet-U.S. proxy wars of the Cold War era, and beyond the proxy war that has so far taken place in the five-year Syrian civil war. Russia is already present in Syria. The entry of the United States and its allies would risk a direct confrontation between the two largest nuclear powers on earth.

Joe Lauria is a veteran foreign-affairs journalist based at the U.N. since 1990. He has written for the Boston Globe, the London Daily Telegraph, the Johannesburg Star, the Montreal Gazette, the Wall Street Journal and other newspapers. He can be reached at joelauria@gmail.com and followed on Twitter at @unjoe.

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76 comments for “Risking World War III in Syria

  1. Peter Loeb
    February 6, 2016 at 6:51 am

    “The excuse of the Geneva collapse is a ruse. There was little optimism the talks would succeed. The real reason for the coming showdown in Syria is the success of Russia’s military intervention in defense of the Syrian government against the Islamic State and other extremist groups. Many of these groups are supported by Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States in pursuit of overthrowing Assad.”–Joe Luria, above

    The kind of information and analysis in Joe Luria’s “Risking World War III” is an
    excellent contribution for those who are willing to hear, to see, to think.

    —Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

    • February 7, 2016 at 3:50 am

      Very realistic and a good view of what has been building up.
      See also Putin’s speech at the UN about how we risk losing the principles the UN stands for and how the self-declared “”exceptional” status of the US undermines so much worldwide while blind to what they have actully done with their so-called War on Terror (create more). In 2006 so The Wikileaks Files show us, the US ambassador to Syria was already clearly advising to be divisive in Syria in order to weaken and undermine it. A major drought and the usual US policy of regime change and endless foreign fighters have led to the complete devastation of the country and indeed, only Russia said the war needs to stop rather than continue by ISIS and their hypocritical supporters like Saudi and Turkey (which therefore includes NATO as it is supporting Turkey and doing nothing about Turkey’s support of ISIS and al-Nusra.

    • February 10, 2016 at 12:22 pm

      If you are to have Middle East policy that serves the national interest of America, that represent the highest values of your founders and your citizens, and that work to sustain a nation of honor, decency, security, and prosperity, then it is essential that all Americans become active, informed, and hold their elected representatives feet to the fire on the issue of Israel Lobbies Pervasive and Damaging Influence in US Politics.

      The Israeli lobbies in the U.S. continues to jam policies that are disastrous for your nation and tragic for the Middle East down Americas throat and the world suffers.

      “As the balance of power shifts further on the ground in Syria, we may see a much-altered ‘Geneva.’ ” writes Sharmine Narwani:

      Hi folks,

      It is no wonder Geneva is sputtering. The ‘opposition’ at the table is an artificial one, and the Syrian army and its allies are storming the ground. “To the victor the spoils,” they say. But, is it now conceivable that Geneva will take us right back to where we started – at Assad’s 2011 reforms? The very reforms that were dismissed by western states?

      More than 250,000 dead Syrians, 8 million displaced, 4 million refugees – was this foreign-backed fiasco worth halting Syrian reforms? My latest at RT looks at what’s really on the docket at Geneva:

      https://www.rt.com/op-edge/331992-geneva-talks-syria-assad/

      Best,
      Sharmine

  2. Tom Welsh
    February 6, 2016 at 7:20 am

    “If the U.S. were serious about fighting ISIS it would have at least considered a proposal by Russia to join a coalition as the U.S. did against the Nazis”.

    We should not forget that the USA did not declare war on Nazi Germany until after Hitler had personally declared war on the USA – so the American declaration of war was entirely redundant and meaningless, as a state of war already existed. It was done, of course, that that later generations could wave their arms and refer to “the USA’s declaration of war on Nazi Germany”, relying on the utter ignorance of today’s public to accept the implication at face value.

    As a British subject, I would like to place it on record that – after FDR deliberately stirred up the Germans and the Poles to fight one another, and Britain and France to intervene – the US government then remained assiduously neutral for the following 2 years and 3 months. In that time Germany had conquered half of Poland and all of Denmark, Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Yugoslavia, and Greece; it had also invaded the USSR, besieged Leningrad, and reached the tramlines of Moscow.

    It was only when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, thus declaring war on the USA, and Hitler loyally supported his ally by following suit that the USA, disgracefully late and even then reluctantly, entered the war.

    • Kolo
      February 6, 2016 at 8:45 am

      Garbage

      • Gary in Ottawa
        February 6, 2016 at 10:02 am

        Kolo…..”garbage”

        DUNCE !

      • Thatshowitgoes
        February 6, 2016 at 3:52 pm

        I’m afraid he’s right, and you’re wrong.

      • RPDC
        February 6, 2016 at 6:40 pm

        All correct.

      • Liam
        February 7, 2016 at 1:34 am

        There is plenty of evidence that the US and UK both supported Hitlers army in various ways. I encourage you to watch the following documentary to see how the war crimes were covered up.

        [2 of 6] The Best Enemies Money Can Buy – Dr. Antony Suttonhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7dLTAL3v5E

        A classic interview by Professor Antony Sutton, who taught economics at California State University, and was a research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution.
        In this talk, Prof. Sutton goes into his impeccable research on how a close-knit group of Western financiers and industrialists (centered around Morgan and Rockefeller in the US, and around Milner and the City financiers, in the UK) financed and sustained
        Nazi Germany.

        • Brad Owen
          February 8, 2016 at 12:09 pm

          You are on the right track, Liam. People have great difficulty separating out various “Players” and Factions that are bundled up within one or another Nation-State. They cannot see that there are powerful, wealthy groupings within Nations that are basically treasonous in their ambitions, to their Host Nations. Executive Intelligence Review (EIR) did extensive gathering of “intel” on the very subject of the beginnings of WWII, which goes into the beginnings of WWI, which can primarily be laid at the feet of old King Eddy number seven. And THIS ties in to the U.S. Civil War and the manipulations of the British and French Empires to destroy the Union and end the “deadly influence” of Lincoln’s “economists” Henry Carey(Irish-American) and Friedrich Liszt(German-American) (American System of Political Economy: see Webster Tarpley for details of this) upon the newly-forming Germany, and a threat to “Ancient Regimes” everywhere.

          Long story short…it is a titanic contest between opposing ideas about HOW large, powerful, complex Societies should be organized; as Empires with a top-down organization complete with an owning/ruling class, or as Republics with a bottom-up organization and representative government, with varying shadings in between. And EIR has considerable info on something called Synarchy Movement for Empire(SME; existing for over 150 years now ), a cabal of Royalists, Imperialists, and their corporate/financier facilitators who make it possible for a modern-day Empire to exist, which is indeed Fascism, but initially in a covert, “Deep State” form. This SME, in all it’s trans-national manifestations, is the culprit, NOT “this Nation” or “that Nation”. Indeed, ALL modern Nations are at grave risk, before the machinations of this cabal.

      • Liam
        February 7, 2016 at 1:35 am

        There is plenty of evidence that the US and UK both supported Hitlers army in various ways. I encourage you to watch the following documentary to see how the war crimes were covered up.

        [2 of 6] The Best Enemies Money Can Buy – Dr. Antony Suttonhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7dLTAL3v5E

        A classic interview by Professor Antony Sutton, who taught economics at California State University, and was a research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution.
        In this talk, Prof. Sutton goes into his impeccable research on how a close-knit group of Western financiers and industrialists (centered around Morgan and Rockefeller in the US, and around Milner and the City financiers, in the UK) financed and sustained
        Nazi Germany.

      • nexusxyz
        February 7, 2016 at 3:06 am

        The US wanted Hitler to crush the Russians. He was their man and looked after by the Bush family and large US corporations. The US has always been a protofacist state hiding behind the scam of ‘democracy’ and ‘freedom’.

    • Bill
      February 6, 2016 at 9:34 am

      Unfortunately, and to our shame, all too true.

    • Brad Benson
      February 6, 2016 at 10:34 am

      Your comment was largely true. That being said, I am intrigued by your suggestion that Roosevelt somehow stirred up trouble between the Germans and the Poles and the resultant implication that he was responsible for the outbreak of World War II. Specifically, what “trouble” was stirred up by Roosevelt between the Germans and Poles and why is this “trouble” grounds to blame Roosevelt for a war that was inevitable?

      Make no mistake about it. Whatever political machinations were being orchestrated by Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin and the rest of the European Leaders prior to the beginning of the war, there can be no question that World War II was going to happen unless Hitler could have been taken out prior to September 1, 1939.

      In May, 1937 Hitler first announced to his generals that he planned to go to war. Thereafter, he attempted to go to war over the Sudetenland and, when Mussolini intervened to preserve the peace at Munich, he was visibly irritated. Then, he invaded Czechoslovakia outright and Britain and France backed off on their obligations to Czechoslovakia.

      In August of 1939, British Diplomats were still stalling and refusing to work out the details of a potential pact with Russia. This was largely based upon the distrust Churchill had for Stalin. This foolishness allowed Hitler to send von Ribbentrop to Moscow at the last minute to negotiate the non-aggression pact with Stalin right out from under the noses of the British. This opened the door to the partition of Poland between Germany and Russia, which began the war.

      Meanwhile, the reluctant British and French declared war on Germany for the attack on Poland, but somehow didn’t see their way through to declaring war on the other country that had invaded Poland, Stalin’s Russia. (That’s okay. It was understandable, but again, being in this situation was largely a British Failure and had little to do with the US or Roosevelt).

      Meanwhile, back in the US, Roosevelt really was beginning to see the necessity for a war with Hitler, but was reined in by politicians of both major parties, anti-war groups seeking to avoid involvement in another European War, and a considerable number of pro-Nazi and pro-Fascist Groups of German and Italian Immigrants, which were largely concentrated in the major manufacturing centers and ports along the US East Coast.

      Meanwhile, in Asia, Roosevelt was imposing major sanctions on the Japanese in the form of embargoes of key products and raw materials. The steel embargo was the final straw for the Japanese and they determined that war with the US had become a necessity in order to protect their rear as they seized the raw materials they coveted in the East.

      Churchill was elated when Pearl Harbor was bombed and knew that this would finally bring the US into the war. Hitler was a fool to unilaterally declare war on the US in support of an ally that had not even advised him in advance regarding the planned attack on Pearl Harbor. However, he gave it little thought and it eventually cost him the war when the combination of US Materiel and Russian Blood became too much for Germany to handle.

      In any case, once Hitler’s war declaration was announced in the US, the pro-Nazi, pro-Fascist and anti-war groups melted away almost overnight and Roosevelt finally got the war that he and Churchill had known they would eventually have to fight all along.

      Therefore, your premise that Roosevelt stirred up trouble between the Poles and Germans and your implication that this somehow led to World War II is not valid. Nor would such political foreplay have been relevant to the eventual alliance between the Western Allies and the Soviet Union that was the existing condition at the end of World War II.

      This is because:

      1. Hitler had always planned to seek “Lebensraum” in the East and had announced these plans as early as the first publication of Mein Kampf in July, 1925.

      2. In Germany, the Nazis had been ideological enemies of the Communists, since the street brawls of the 20’s and early 30’s. As a result, one of the prime goals of the Nazi State was to destroy the “Communist Threat”, seize the agricultural and industrial heartland of Soviet Russia and enslave the “inferior” peoples that lived there, while wiping out all of the intelligentsia.

      3. Churchill’s own failure to negotiate a treaty with Stalin ultimately led to the non-aggression pact signed between the Russians and the Germans in August, 1939. This gave Hitler the green light to attack Poland without having to worry about a two front war with Russia, Britain and France. His pact with his sworn enemy (Soviet Russia) was only intended to preempt a declaration of war by Britain and France should they decide to honor their obligations to Poland, which Hitler did not expect.

      World War II was a necessary war because Hitler was an evil guy who was never going to stop. In the end, it doesn’t matter how the US finally got in, it happened and it was necessary.

      I would not rule out that we had geopolitical reasons to wait for as long as we did and then enter right at the end to mop up. This permitted us to bleed an anticipated future adversary dry and leave the rest of Europe devastated and dependent upon a largely untouched US Economy for recovery. It’s called hegemon.

      • Zgd@gmail.com
        February 7, 2016 at 9:43 am

        U write to much

        • jon
          February 8, 2016 at 8:46 pm

          lmao

      • george Archers
        February 9, 2016 at 9:47 am

        Let’s cut out the fat and get to the meat.
        Yes– 1937 Germany invaded Poland for two reasons–Polish were terrorizing the German inhabitants and the Jews. Large part of Germany was given to Poland under 1917 Versalis agreement.
        Here is the rarely talked about part–them camps were transfer centers to Palestine.
        In 1938 England France declared war on Germany—massive aerial bombings on German cities took place.

      • george Archers
        February 9, 2016 at 9:48 am

        Let’s cut out the fat and get to the meat.
        Yes– 1937 Germany invaded Poland for two reasons–Polish were terrorizing the German inhabitants and the J3ws. Large part of Germany was given to Poland under 1917 Versalis agreement.
        Here is the rarely talked about part–them camps were transfer centers to Palestine.
        In 1938 England France declared war on Germany—massive aerial bombings on German cities took place.

    • February 6, 2016 at 4:01 pm

      without financing, and tetraethyl lead provisions (http://www.mit.edu/~thistle/v13/3/oil.html) from u.s. based firms and corporations …
      nazi Germany would not have been able to fight in the air, sea, or land. nor would they have been able to raise Germany’s economy without aid from brown brothers harriman, amongst their agents … prescot walker bush!
      it is difficult to find the true causes belli which launched world war two. it is drilled into the minds of every school child …
      “hitler launched the invasion of Poland for no reason, other than hatred of jews. if the elected officials of the time had not been so spineless in appeasing hitler, the war may have been averted.”
      that just never made sense … how do people just agree to invade a country because they hate how some people adhere to an ancient theology? why did they hate people who adhere to this theology?
      if one is curious enough … they will never find the answers in our public libraries. they had to wait until digital libraries could come into existence.
      with the freer flow of information … the curious can now learn that nazi Germany was pressing Poland for easier land route access to German lands which were cut off following the treaty of Versailles. cut off, after a large portion of Germany (land inhabited by Germans) was given to Poland. the u.s. and British officials who had allegedly “appeased” hitler were in fact poisoning negotiations between nazi and Polish officials. the nazis then saw it fit to take back that land by force. the true causes belli of world war two.
      as for the jews … jewish u.s. citizens and English subjects declared a boycott of nazi Germany’s industry in 1933 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-Nazi_boycott_of_1933). the central jewish association of Germany (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centralverein_deutscher_Staatsb%C3%BCrger_j%C3%BCdischen_Glaubens), however issued a proclamation that there were no anti-jewish acts taking place in Germany as of 1933. this organization continued to publish a newspaper in nazi Germany until 1938. this leads to the conclusion that Germans did not see jewish German citizens as threat among their midst until 5 years after the boycott was announced.
      i do NOT condone rounding people up, much like was done to u.s, and Canadian citizens of Japanese descent during world war two …
      every point of view is important.

      • Liam
        February 7, 2016 at 1:48 am

        I’m sure you may have heard the question asked by Putins mentor General Petrov who has some amazing interview videos on You Tube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwqnzZyMIk0 He asked “why do you think it is that Hitler never invaded and took neutral Switzerland when it was right on the border, had no standing army and all the money in the world in those banks? His answer: Because thats where his masters were.

        The implication being the Rothschilds, Rockefellers, the Global elite were behind the whole thing and pushing all sides in order to maintain their standing and control over the world. It looks like the same is going on today. Regarding the Tetraethyl that was supplied to the Germans, there is a great British TV show called “Foyles War” on Netflix. It covers this very issue in season 9 episode 1. Very interesting revelations which may also help explain why the UK repatriated an entire regiment of over 8,000 Ukrainian SS for repatriation immediately after WW2.

        • Gregory Kruse
          February 8, 2016 at 2:06 pm

          A very interesting series.

    • Roberto
      February 6, 2016 at 7:39 pm

      Has anyone considered that NATO intervention , at the expense of Europe and the urging of Washington, is due to the neocon control of American government?

  3. Voice of Rationality
    February 6, 2016 at 7:47 am

    Erdogan is overplaying his hand. Were he smart, he’d be bankrolling the Kurds, and encouraging the formation of a united Kurdistan made up primarily of a large chunk of Syria and lesser bits of Iraq and Iran, all the while staying fuzzy on disputed Turkish territory. Instead he’s openly antagonizing them, placing a wedge between Turkey and the US, and giving Iran an open field to use the same tactic against them. Erdogan and the House of Saud each get a thumb in the eye, Iran looks like the sensible voice of peace and moderation, and the US looks like we’re selling our staunch Kurdish allies up the creek if we don’t respond in kind.

  4. Dr. Ip
    February 6, 2016 at 8:33 am

    The problem is always the same: Those blinded by ideology cannot see clearly.
    Americans actually believe they are Nietzsche’s hyperanthropos, destined to rule over the world as patriarchs, who remain benevolent as long as their subjects remain obedient. The Russians, on the other hand, are clearly realists who, dominated by self-interest and logic, are willing to play on Brzezinski’s chessboard. They have some experience with the game both practically and historically.
    The USA is a giant on the stage but a baby in the political history of the world. It was set up to be an elite-driven enterprise with a pseudo-democratic image. Now these elites are sitting down at a casino table with stacks of chips, ready to play poker against the Russians. And then Sergey Lavrov walks past the table and says: Oh, didn’t you get the memo? We’re over there playing roulette [like Dostoevsky’s Gambler!]. And the Russians are winning on red, winning on black and are about to break the bank after they hit the Aleppo number combo.
    If the Turkish army crosses the border into Syria, they are dead. Nothing will save them, and especially not NATO. And the Saudi army? Ha ha ha. Their rich-kid pilots get luxury car rewards for doing nothing except flying a big fast jet.
    The Syrian Civil War is almost over. Once Aleppo is secure and the Turkish border sealed, it’s over.
    Then the peace talks will really begin, so that the US and it’s “allies” can salvage a few acres of desert for their “friends”.

    • February 6, 2016 at 9:30 am

      I really enjoyed this comment. I didn’t take part in the discussions for some time because of an apparent invasion by US or Israeli trolls, flooding the comment section with nonsensical messages. Hopefully either these agents will lose interest or the comment section will get moderated.

      • Secret Agent
        February 6, 2016 at 1:53 pm

        Interestingly the trolls everywhere have been scarce lately. I think our masters decided they were a waste of time and money. Money that could be spent on things like munitions.

        • My $0.02
          February 6, 2016 at 3:02 pm

          I dunno that trolls have become “scarce.” Seems like most of the commentors on RT are Western trolls, probably CIA. I guess they allow that to prove that the site is not censored, but it makes meaningful dialogue impossible. This site and ICH are downright scholastic in comparison to others. Don’t even bring up the MSM and their bias.

          • Stygg
            February 7, 2016 at 5:26 pm

            ICH?

    • Gary in Ottawa
      February 6, 2016 at 10:05 am

      Well said. Spot on !

    • Abbybwood
      February 6, 2016 at 1:43 pm

      I pray you are correct in your analysis.

    • Tom
      February 6, 2016 at 4:32 pm

      Excellent, Dr. Ip! Hope you’re right about this devastating war being nearly over.

  5. onno
    February 6, 2016 at 8:52 am

    Peace is the most valuable living condition for the 7 billion people on this planet, however, it seems that corrupt and incompetent politicians want to destroy the wishes of the majority of the world.
    Enter USA in this and you find out why, USA – as the bully of this world – doesn’t negotiate it only threatens with military actions, bombing and including nuclear bombs like former Pakistan president Musharraf stated. And he isn’t the only one.
    How can you expect a nation like USA where more people are killed annually by guns than in any other so-called civilized nation in the world. On top of that in 2015 US police killed about 1200 mostly innocent Americans including children. US citizens are being executed on the streets even before a Judge gets involved. Most recent example is the Oregon case where one protester with his arms in the air was executed by the FBI.

    The neocons in Washington want WW III whether that is in Syria or around the Ukrainian conflict in addition Obama is weak and follows orders from the power clique in Washington consisting of 0,01%, the banks and US conglomerates in the hope it will benefit US economy like it did in WW II. Nevertheless these assumptions are dangerous since they have a strong opponent Russia who will do anything to defend its people even with nuclear armed missiles which could be the end of this planet.
    Since WW II USA has been the aggressor worldwide to protect and expand its Imperium and dominance on this planet destroying cities, attacking sovereign nations without UN Mandate, removing/killing head of States not cooperating with USA, etc. USA is the warmonger on this planet and scaring people – even worse supporting USA since they are made to believe that USA stands for DEMOCRACY while the truth is that USA distributes destabilization, anarchy, millions of refugees, destruction and finally trauma’s for children and women. It’s all in the package called ‘US AID’

  6. February 6, 2016 at 9:10 am

    The Syrian/Russian war plan is straight forward: First the supply corridors from Turkey to IS (Islamic State), Jabhat al-Nusra, Ahrar al-Sham, and other Islamist groups have to be cut and the conquered territories fortified. This happened partly with the offensive in North Latakia (Salma, Bayırbucak area), and the Aleppo offensive.

    The Turkish northwestern border of Idlip province is still open (Atmah, Bab al-Hawa, Darkoush, Khewrbet Al-Joz, Ayn al-Bayda), so one has to expect a push against Jisr Shughur soon. In the north Bab al-Salam near Azaz in the North is also open, but it is expected that the Kurdish YPG (disguised as SDF) will take care of this supply route.

    After the newly conquered areas around Aleppo and north Latakia have been consolidated and front lines fortified, Idlib can be attacked in a pincer movement from Aleppo in the East and Latakia in the West.

    The supply lines from Jordan and Israel have to be eliminated by agreements with these two countries. The rebel held territories in the South will be devided in half (fall of Sheikh Miskeen and push against Nawa), to cut supply lines between Daraa and Quneitra.

    The desert areas at the moment are left to IS terrorists, who will fade away after supply lines are destroyed. When no more ammunition and money comes from Turkey and Jordan, many insurgents will lay down their arms and the unrepentant individuals will be eliminated step by step in mopping-up operations.

    This plan has until now been successfully executed and the main patrons of the Islamist rebels (Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE) are running out of options because there are not many safe roads left to transfer military supplies and quite a few shipments are destroyed during transit by Russian airstrikes.

    As the article correctly points out, the one card left to play is a Turkish invasion at the Jarabulus, Al-Rai, Bab al-Salam line. This is IS (Islamic State) territory, and Turkish troops will not encounter resistance, because for the Jihadists it doesn’t matter if the crossing points and supply corridors are a few kilometers south.

    Russia has sent the anti-submarine destroyer “Vice-Admiral Kulakov” to the Syrian coast, which indicates that a military conflict with Turkey is considered as possible. Turkey does have 13 submarines, built by Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft, that pose a threat to Russian surface vessels if a conflict breaks out.
    Turkey will most likely close the Bosporus strait and there could be deadly submarine battles both in the Black Sea and the Aegean Sea.

    Turkey’s neighbors are Armenia, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Georgia, Greece, Bulgaria, and across the Black Sea Ukraine and Russia. Greece and Armenia have longstanding aversions against Turkey, while Syria, Iraq, and Iran are on the side of Russia. Georgia, Bulgaria, Ukraine are militarily irrelevant. From a geographical point of view, Turkey is not in a good position, it has alienated most of its neighbors.

    If Turkey goes to war in earnest, it could destroy the Russian air force in Syria easily. Turkey has 240 F-16’s, 4 Boeing 737 AEW&C (AWACS), drones, and cruise missiles.

    Russia could stop gas supplies and it could invade Turkey via Armenia, where 9,000 Russian soldiers are stationed on Turkey’s border. Russia could bomb Turkey’s mediterranean and Black Sea ports. This would be WW III.

    Russia will not let it come to that. The mosts likely reaction to a Turkish invasion will be steady but small scale air attacks, including cruise missiles, against the invasion forces to slowly grind them down. Russia will not announce or confirm such actions but condemn the Turkish invasion in a diplomatic offensive, stressing Syria’s sovereignty and the Westphalian principle.

    While the imperium is not used to retreat or compromise and is lead by high risk gamblers, Russia is a responsible geopolitical player. Good to have one sane leader who will not risk nuclear armageddon.

    • Brad Benson
      February 6, 2016 at 10:45 am

      Very interesting analysis. I sure would have liked to have had your map in front of me as I read the thing.

  7. February 6, 2016 at 9:20 am

    The best movie depicting WWIII is “Threads.” Google, “Threads on Vimeo” and hold on tight.

    • Gary in Ottawa
      February 6, 2016 at 10:18 am

      Jeff,

      I googled as you suggest but find 5,664 vids.

      Can you help me isolate the vid you suggest ?

      Thanks.

      • Elliot
        February 6, 2016 at 1:18 pm

        I think he’s talking about threads 1984

      • February 6, 2016 at 4:56 pm

        This is the direct link. https://vimeo.com/18781528
        but Threads 1984 worked too.

  8. J'hon Doe II
    February 6, 2016 at 9:42 am

    The national-greatness imperative
    Why neocons think we need war
    Mar 14th 2011
    BY W.W.
    (excerpt) –

    Over at Cato Unbound (I used to be the editor), C. Bradley Thompson, a professor of political science at Clemson University and author of “Neoconservatism: An Obituary of an Idea”, offers a fascinating critical summary of the content of neoconservatism as practical political creed, which is, more or less, Irving Kristol’s operationalisation of Leo Strauss’ political philosophy. The piece is too rich to fairly summarise, and I encourage you to read it all. For now I want to focus on the elements of neoconservatism that help explain the alarming truculence of its adherents.

    The key to understanding the neocon’s warmaking way, according to Mr Thomspson, is the role of the “national greatness” project within the comprehensive neocon scheme. And the point of national-greatness conservatism? Mr Thompson writes:

    In the end, the neocons want to “remoralize” America by creating a new patriotic civil religion around the idea of “Americanism”—an Americanism that will essentially redefine the “American grain.” The neoconservative vision of a good America is one in which ordinary people work hard, read the Bible, go to church, recite the Pledge of Allegiance, practice homespun virtues, sacrifice themselves to the “common good,” obey the commands of the government, fight wars, and die for the state.

    Many neocons, I’m sure, earnestly believe American global hegemony is the way to worldwide peace, democracy, and liberty. However, it is also thought that striving to fulfill this role will save Americans from the amoral meaninglessness of liberal-democratic capitalism. Making war in the attempt to dominate the globe offers otherwise pathetic average American something to live for. Seriously. Mr Thompson:

    The neoconservatives’ policy of benevolent hegemony will, according to William Kristol and Robert Kagan, “relish the opportunity for national engagement, embrace the possibility of national greatness, and restore a sense of the heroic.” In other words, the United States should wage war in order to combat creeping nihilism. In the revealing words of Kristol and Kagan, “The remoralization of America at home ultimately requires the remoralization of American foreign policy.” …The neocons therefore believe that a muscular foreign policy—one that includes military intervention abroad, war, regime change, and imperial governance—will keep the American people politicized and therefore virtuous. By saving the world from tyranny, America will save herself from her own internal corruption.
    Moreover, war offers ubermenschen the enlarging opportunity to enrich the lives of their fellow citizens by treating them as pawns in a megalomaniacal game, “statesmanship”, we plebes couldn’t possible understand.

    By keeping America perpetually involved in nation-building around the world, neoconservative rulers will have the opportunity to exercise their statesmanlike virtues. There can be no statesmanship without politics and there can be no truly magnanimous statesmanship without war, so the neocons fear and loathe moral principles that might deny them this outlet. A condition of permanent war, a policy of benevolent hegemony, and the creation of a republican empire means that there will always be a need for politics and statesmanship.

    I know. This sounds totally insane. But I’ve spent enough time in Washington wonkland, and I’ve read enough of the Straussean/neocon classics to say that, yes, this is a fair representation of what much of the neocon elite believes. They also believe the elite shouldn’t admit to believing this, so expect denial. But it’s true: there really are people who go on television and argue America should go to war against Libya at least in part to combat the imagined nihilism of modernity.

    full text:
    http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2011/03/national-greatness_imperative

    • D. Gardner
      February 6, 2016 at 10:55 am

      Nowhere in your comment on the NEOCONS do I see any mention of ISRAEL. A very high percentage of the Neocon crowd are Jews backed up by Jewish media ownership. Virtually all of their efforts concentrate on destabilizing countries surrounding Israel with the clear objective of benefitting Israel’s expansion of its colonial interests in Palestine. In no way did the invasion of Iraq and now Syria benefit the United States. Virtually everything the NEOCONS do is for the benefit of Israel at the expense of the US taxpayer who blames the poor Muslim victims.

      • J'hon Doe II
        February 6, 2016 at 1:45 pm

        Israel, or the rational, “In defense of Israel” is the apologia for this crazed malevolent crusade for A New Middle East.–
        But the neocon desire for World Dominion is a construct of their own Imperialist Inflated Egotism.
        Brzezinski’s “A Blueprint For World Dictatorship” is a template for this aggressive belligerence.

    • Erik
      February 6, 2016 at 11:09 am

      It is interesting to hear this elaboration of the usual excuses of imperialists. Those are same products of the excuse factory that we expect from amoral opportunists manipulating angry tribal savages, which is the state of US politics and the accepted practice of business management.

      I remember the same attitude among militarist hockey players who sabotaged an effort to re-establish their prep school: they had to conspire to take over the organization first, announcing themselves the new leaders, interfering with fundraising by creating fears and demonizing those they would displace, etc., etc. The result was a disaster for everyone, and they couldn’t have cared less. They just declared victory, demonized the opposition, and went on to other exercises of amoral coercion and scheming.

      • Abe
        February 7, 2016 at 12:01 am

        “They just declared victory, demonized the opposition, and went on to other exercises of amoral coercion and scheming.”

        — A brilliant synopsis of US foreign policy.

    • Brad Owen
      February 8, 2016 at 12:34 pm

      I suspect that this “national greatness imperative” is insincere propaganda tailored to enlist american serfs into the military arm of the Synarchist Movement for Empire/cabal(SME). Many will genuinely believe in it; the progenitors of it don’t buy into it for a second, seeing the american serf/soldier army as just so many “Fodder Units” to use, with “Malice-afore-Thought”.

  9. Herman
    February 6, 2016 at 9:43 am

    While Putin and the Russians acted in the best interests of the Syrian people by supporting the Syrian government, it is hard to visualize that the situation will end well. Unless there is a sea change in American policy which has constructed a world of good(us) and evil(them) which will mean it will likely pass up the golden opportunity to join with Russia against Islamic extremists. With the US construct, Russia cannot be allowed to win and therein lies the seeds of tragedy.

    Reason for optimism? Sometimes things happen that no one could have imagined.

  10. February 6, 2016 at 9:56 am

    Maybe you all should kick things up a notch, eh?

    “The excuse of the Geneva collapse is a ruse. There was little optimism the talks would succeed. The real reason for the coming showdown in Syria is the success of Russia’s military intervention in defense of the Syrian government against the Islamic State and other extremist groups. Many of these groups are supported by Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States in pursuit of overthrowing Assad.”

    Yes. AND IF I AM PUTIN…I AM 2 SECONDS AWAY FROM PUSHING THE GODDAMNED BUTTON ON ALL OF YOUR ASSES RIGHT NOW……..so maybe some of you “gentlemen”
    in the press SHOULD START SCREAMING……..while the rest of us begin to pray that Putin is wiser and more restrained than i am or would be in these circumstances.

    2LT Dennis Morrisseau USArmy [armor – Vietnam era] ANTI-WAR retired.
    POB 177 W Pawlet, VT 05775
    802 645 9727 dmorso1@netzero.net

  11. Gary in Ottawa
    February 6, 2016 at 9:59 am

    “It is not at all clear though what the U.S. interests are in Syria to take such a risk ” (ie: start a war with Russia)

    The fact that Assad would not allow a Qatari pipeline thru his country is often cited as a reason to get rid of him and his Iranian influenced government. However, the last time I looked at a map, I see Iraq bordering Turkey. What stops a pipeline carrying Qatari, Saudi, Iraqi and even Kurdistan gas and/or oil to travel thru Iraq to Turkey and on to Europe?

    Yes, it would mean the pipeline would have to be a few hundred kilometres northeast of its optimum route and that would cost significantly more to build.

    So lets play with some numbers. Suppose it would cost 1/4 of a billion more dollars. I pick that number only to make the math interesting. With 1/4 of a million Syrians dead, it puts a price tag of $1,000 on a Syrian life.

    That is sickening.

    It is now long past time to put an end to the blatant lies that Western governments, Western MSM and the corrupt governments that support ‘state-sponsored’ terrorism.

    It is now time to end the US sponsored coup in Syria and agree to Putin’s suggestion that Russia sort out Syria’s issues and for the United States to clean up their act in Iraq. Again as the author points out, it also is not clear what “the interests are in” Iraq either.

    Western liars are keen to tell us over and over again that it is “complicated”. Well I beg to differ, its not fucking complicated as all.

    If you have not been “invited” to help in Syria, then get the fuck out. If you are in Syria without invitation and you are causing trouble, you will be shot. (has Russian not explained this clearly enough?)

    The United States with its questionable ‘exceptionalism’ is now at the crossroads of history. It can take the exceptionally easy path to peace and clear out its proxies in Syria or it can take ‘exceptionally’ stupid decision to escalate.

    • natoistan
      February 6, 2016 at 9:40 pm

      My two cents(sorry for my poor English but I try anyway).

      Reason nr 1:as said above a Qatari(Saudi also?)pipeline to cross Syria with the goal to

      provide Europe mainly with gas.I don’t know if the qatari gas which would be on offer then

      would be cheaper or not than the Russian one?And if this Qatari pipeline would be enough

      to ‘kill’ the Russian market in Europe?At least it would be a problem for Russia,losing some business with a solvant customer like Europe.

      Don’t forget that the goal in both the Ukraine coup and in Syria are to destroy Russia

      energy and though the economy,regime change,putting a pro US puppet iso Putin in

      charge(à la Medvedev).Then if possible at a later stage cut the country in small parts(just

      read Stratfor latest 2016 issue it is not even hidden).And then steal Russian energy and

      precious metal reserves ‘à la Eltsine’ and his cronies(now in London).

      Reason nr 2:the ”Great Israel project”,by destroying Syria,but also gaining some part or

      Egypt,Iran and Irak(same it is not new and not a secret neither a conspiracy).

      Reason nr 3(less knowned):the Golan Heights stolen to Syria by Israel are full of very big

      gas and oil reserves,they would like to sell to Europe (and also use a deal for themselves).

      You find the very same reason in the Ukraine where in the East(Donbass in war)and in the

      West big oil companies have already bought the rights (to the pro US oligarchs in Kiev)for

      shale oil and gas.Even both Biden and Kerry families have shares in these companies.

      That is one of the reasons they insist so much to conquer the Donbass back.They lost

      Crimea where they wanted to use the ‘coup’ to take over the Russian navy base there and

      deny access to the Black Sea to the Russians(a neocon big defeat).

      Reason nr 4:neocons jewishs and sectarian christians have for a while the same goal,they

      share it.They both believe that an ‘armagedon’ must happen for some, their prophet to

      appear finaly on Earth and others for pure escathological aims.
      Strangely ISIS is also expecting ‘the big battle” with the crusaders..and guess where?In

      Syria of course.

      Problem they both don’t seem to understand than Russian resisted to various invasions from crazies like Napoleon or Hitler before.

      They are not afraid,and will defend their interests and their country at all costs.

      I very doubt that many citizens from the EU are ready to go to war.Same for US one.

      The level of motivation of the US army is very low because they are sent to places where

      soldiers don’t really (see even if it is their job)where are US interests there?

      They don’t defend their country,their family,their own interests.

      I don’t see NATO sending soldiers and going in full war with Russia.

      American and European love their small(or big)confort too much.They don’t want to lose it.

      Just an hypothesis.And if a big war was expected and used to get rid of the ponzi schemea of multi trillions debts and derivatives which will never be repaid?

      This would be the perfect pretext to spoil even more the middle class ”look it was not our fault but these bloody russians and these muslims”,we just tried to defend ‘democracy’.
      Sorry guys you just lost your money…Let’s reset everything now.

  12. J'hon Doe II
    February 6, 2016 at 10:22 am

    VIDEO OF A DEAD CITY — US sponsored devastation in Syria

    Sole-Superpower Insanity.

    http://www.latimes.com/world/middleeast/la-fg-syria-homs-video-20160204-story.html

  13. Mike Lamb
    February 6, 2016 at 12:41 pm

    The rhetoric for war reminds me of the fall of 2002 except for the apparent lack of any mass of people calling for peace against the push to war by the Biden – Kerry wing of the Democratic Party.

    Must we wait for Republicans such as Cruz, Trump, and Rand Paul (or at least his father Ron Paul) to stand up against becoming involved in unnecessary wars?

    I long for the time when voices like that of Dennis Kucinich would speak out and say NO.

    Mike Lamb

    • Robert Goldstein
      February 6, 2016 at 1:07 pm

      I cannot speak for Europeans, but the American people are completely in the dark on the Syrian conflict and all its frightening ramifications. All they know is that there are many refugees and that Assad and Putin are bad guys. This is the storyline that is being fed to them by the mainstream media. As for an anti-war movement, not even Bernie Sanders is discussing the matter in his campaign. Sadly, Sanders seems a bit lost in the foreign policy arena. I do wish that he would take the bit between his teeth, but then he would be accused of being a patsy as well as a socialist.

  14. Rob
    February 6, 2016 at 12:59 pm

    Is Obama really in charge of U.S. foreign policy, or has his brain been taken over by neocon memes? The only word that I can think of that aptly describes American foreign policy in Syria is the word that comes at the conclusion of the film “Bridge on the River Kwai:” Madness!

  15. Abe
    February 6, 2016 at 1:37 pm

    ISIS, as it has always been designed to be, serves merely as a pretext for justifying any prospective operation by the US and its regional allies – an operation that will be in all reality aimed at challenging and rolling back Syrian and Russian gains on the battlefield – or at the very least, providing an unassailable sanctuary within Syrian territory for the West’s defeated proxies to retreat to.

    The Buffer Zone (Again)

    The idea of carving out a buffer zone from Syrian territory also goes back as far as 2012 when it became apparent that Libya-style regime change would be difficult if not impossible to achieve quickly. The idea would be to switch from the fast paced, overwhelming proxy war the US and its allies had hoped to panic Damascus out from power with, to a more paced proxy war launched from NATO-occupied “safe havens” in Syria.

    With NATO aircover, terrorists could safely launch operations deeper into Syrian territory, slowly expanding both the buffer zone and NATO’s defacto no-fly zone.

    Eventually, it was planned, the buffer zones would lead directly to the collapse of the government in Damascus.

    Again, far from a conspiracy theory, this plan was openly discussed within policy circles in Washington.

    The Brookings Institution – a corporate-funded policy think-tank whose policymakers have helped craft upper-level strategy for the Iraqi, Afghan, Libyan, and now Syrian conflicts as well as plans laid for future confrontations with Iran and beyond – has been explicit regarding the true nature of these “buffer zones.” In a recent paper titled, “Deconstructing Syria: A new strategy for America’s most hopeless war,” it states:

    “…the idea would be to help moderate elements establish reliable safe zones within Syria once they were able. American, as well as Saudi and Turkish and British and Jordanian and other Arab forces would act in support, not only from the air but eventually on the ground via special forces.”

    The paper goes on by explaining:

    “The end-game for these zones would not have to be determined in advance. The interim goal might be a confederal Syria, with several highly autonomous zones and a modest (eventual) national government. The confederation would likely require support from an international peacekeeping force, if this arrangement could ever be formalized by accord. But in the short term, the ambitions would be lower—to make these zones defensible and governable, to help provide relief for populations within them, and to train and equip more recruits so that the zones could be stabilized and then gradually expanded.”

    In many ways, this has been attempted already to one degree or another in terrorist-occupied territory in Syria. As Syrian forces with Russian aircover moved into northern Aleppo, reports across the Western media complained that infrastructure underwritten by Western governments was being destroyed. This infrastructure, including bakeries literally run by Al Qaeda using flour supplied by the US government, was part of Brookings’ plan to “make these zones governable.”

    The presence of Russian military forces in Syria has apparently prevented the West from making these zones more “defensible” through the use of direct military force aimed at Syrian troops.

    How this plan will manifest itself now remains to be seen. What is most likely is a limited incursion into northern Syria into the shrinking Afrin-Jarabulus corridor before Syrian, Russian, and Kurdish forces completely fill the void. With Turkish and Saudi forces holding even a small percentage of the corridor, attempts to incrementally expand it as envisioned by Brookings may be made in the near to intermediate future.

    Brookings had also envisioned coordinating Turkish operations in the north with an Israeli attack in the south – another option that is likely still being considered.

    There is also the possibility of the West attempting to enter and seize a sizable piece of Syrian territory Syria’s eastern most region- linking it up with territory in Iraq that appears likely to be stripped from the central government in Baghdad through similar tactics.

    Syria: NATO’s Last Desperate Options in Lost Proxy War
    By Tony Cartalucci
    http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2016/02/syria-natos-last-desperate-options-in.html

  16. tonybinca
    February 6, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    “But things could go wrong in a war in which the U.S. and Russia are not allies, as they were in World War II. Despite this, the U.S. and its allies see Syria as important enough to risk confrontation with Russia, with all that implies. It is not at all clear though what the U.S. interests are in Syria to take such a risk.”

    It is very clear for those who understand that the US government is completely occupied and controlled by Khazarian Zionists. There are no US interests in Syria. The true interest in Syria could be boiled down to two words: Eretz Israel.

  17. Zachary Smith
    February 6, 2016 at 2:21 pm

    Saudi Arabia then said on Thursday it was prepared to send its ground forces into Syria if asked. Carter welcomed it. Of course Biden, Erdogan, Carter and the Saudis are all saying a ground invasion would fight ISIS.

    My first impression on reading that is that the Saudis (or their neocon idea-guys) have cooked up a scheme to continue sending Jihadis into Syria despite the imminent closure of the supply lines from Turkey. Just give their head-chopper boys a haircut, shave, and a spiffy new uniform, and openly ship them into Syria. Probably aboard US transport planes. Naturally they’ll be reported as heavily engaging ISIS, and the same reports will have casualties very high. That would neatly cover the instant departure of the majority of them to ISIS where they could regrow their beards and hair while still receiving all the US-transported supplies they’d need.

  18. My $0.02
    February 6, 2016 at 3:16 pm

    Don’t forget. Tomorrow is Super Bowl Sunday, a perfect distraction under which to launch World War III. It will all be over even before the American public can start to spew forth their reflexive well-conditioned Russophobic slogans. Don’t worry about spring training in baseball or the NBA playoffs, those, along with everything else, will be cancelled.

  19. Michael\\
    February 6, 2016 at 3:46 pm

    I strongly concur with Joe Lauria’s analysis. Russia is telegraphing the strength of its existential self interest and its alliances with Syria and Iran with cool restraint rather than adventurism. The Saudi GCC is intent on reconstructing the Middle East and Central Asia in its own Wahhabi justified totalitarian image. The USA, Turkey, Pakistan and Israel are in effect mercenaries or enthralled proxies, bought with Saudi money. There are few remaining constraints on US, Turkish, Israeli and Pakistani mercenary adventurism, and clearly Pakistan’s nuclear weapons are available for first strike Saudi targeting which if used, may involve Israeli backup and possibly US nuclear support. The US public has no idea that they may be drawn into a nuclear war initiated by the Saudi’s intent to crown a totalitarian kingdom with a reactionary caliphate and fundamentalist empire. Only in Turkey is its Saudi purchase as NATO proxy opposed by a democratic majority. If Americans knew, they would be outraged that the Pentagon is being rented out so ostentatious Saudi plutocrats can immortalize themselves with a retro empire. But, americans won’t know because their media is bought in a package deal by the same people who bought the Pentagon. Michael\\

  20. Joe Lauria
    February 6, 2016 at 4:01 pm

    An update on my piece: On Saturday, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates joined the Saudis in saying they would intervene only as part of a U.S.-led ground invasion. The Obama administration has maintained that it would not send U.S. ground forces into Syria, beyond a few hundred special forces.

    But these U.S. allies, driven by fierce regional ambitions, appear to be putting immense pressure on the Obama administration to decide if it is prepared to lose Syria. Though Carter said he welcomed the Saudi declaration he made no commitment about U.S. ground forces. But Saudi Brigadier General Ahmed Asseri told al-Arabiya TV that a decision could be made to intervene at a NATO summit in Brussels next week. Carter said the matter would be on the agenda.

    So watch out for that NATO summit.

    On the collapse of the Geneva talks: The U.N. said the negotiations were unconditional, yet the West has blamed Russia for the breakdown in talks. The first order of business was to have negotiated a ceasefire, until which time all sides were free to continue fighting. Spineless as ever, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, followed the West, as usual, in blaming Russia for the collapse of the talks even though his envoy, Steffan de Mistura said participation in the talks was “unconditional.” The Saudi-run opposition could make no demands on Russia to stop bombing.

    • ltr
      February 6, 2016 at 4:18 pm

      Excellent and needed reporting and analysis.

      Syria is being lost to the Saudis, and there is nothing to be done since Russia is too prepared and too strong for any militarty opposition at this point.

    • February 7, 2016 at 3:18 am

      Thanks for this article and update. If it were not so sad, the thought of “losing Syria” would be laughable. It is not ours to lose, it never was. Of course, the all time whopper was the “Who lost China” slogan. New actors, same old script.

  21. J'hon Doe II
    February 6, 2016 at 4:46 pm

    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/2011/06/23/Whats-a-neoconservative/
    What’s a Neoconservative?
    By JACK HUNTER
    • June 23, 2011, 6:58 AM

    My father suggested to me recently that it might be helpful to better explain what the term “neoconservative” means. “A lot of people don’t know,” he said. As usual, Dad was right. Though decades old, the mainstream use of the word neoconservative is relatively new. I mentally filed away my father’s suggestion agreeing that a layman’s explanation of “neoconservative” might be helpful when the time was right. The time is right—as the American intervention in Libya has drawn a clearer line between neoconservatives and conventional Republicans than any event in recent memory.

    The “neocons” believe American greatness is measured by our willingness to be a great power—through vast and virtually unlimited global military involvement. Other nations’ problems invariably become our own because history and fate have designated America the world’s top authority.

    Critics say the US cannot afford to be the world’s policeman. Neoconservatives not only say that we can but we must—and that we will cease to be America if we don’t. Writes Boston Globe neoconservative columnist Jeff Jacoby: “Our world needs a policeman. And whether most Americans like it or not, only their indispensable nation is fit for the job.” Neocon intellectual Max Boot says explicitly that the US should be the world’s policeman because we are the best policeman.

    Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) heartily champions the neoconservative view. While virtually every other recognizably Tea Party congressman or senator opposes the Libyan intervention, Rubio believes the world’s top cop should be flashing its Sherriff’s badge more forcefully in Libya—and everywhere else. New York Times columnist Ross Douthat explains:

    “Rubio is the great neoconservative hope, the champion of a foreign policy that boldly goes abroad in search of monsters to destroy… His maiden Senate speech was a paean to national greatness, whose peroration invoked John F. Kennedy and insisted that America remain the ‘watchman on the wall of world freedom.”

    Rubio’s flowery rhetoric is worth noting because neoconservatism has always been sold through the narrative of America’s “greatness” or “exceptionalism.” This is essentially the Republican Party’s version of the old liberal notion promoted by President Woodrow Wilson that it is America’s mission to “make the world safe for democracy.” Douthat describes Rubio as the “great neoconservative hope” because the freshman senator is seen by the neocon intelligentsia as one of the few reliable Tea Party-oriented spokesman willing to still promote this ideology to the GOP base. I say “still” because many Republicans have begun to question the old neocon foreign policy consensus that dominated Bush’s GOP. Douthat puts the neoconservatives’ worries and the Republicans’ shift into context:

    “Among conservatism’s foreign policy elite, Rubio’s worldview commands more support. But in the grass roots, it’s a different story. A recent Pew poll found that the share of conservative Republicans agreeing that the U.S. should ‘pay less attention to problems overseas’ has risen… In the debate over Libya, Tea Party icons like Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin have sounded more like (Rand) Paul than Rubio, and a large group of House Republican backbenchers recently voted for a resolution that would have brought the intervention screeching to a halt.”

    As one of only a handful of Republicans to oppose the Iraq War, Republican Congressman Jimmy Duncan said in 2003: “It is a traditional conservative position not to want the United States to be the policeman of the world.” At the time Duncan’s party strongly disagreed with him.

    But this is because most Republicans didn’t think of the Iraq War as “policing the world” but as a legitimate matter of national defense. We now know that it had absolutely nothing to do with America’s defense and we’re still bogged down needlessly in another nation’s civil war.

    But this has always been the neocon ruse—if neoconservatives can convince others that fighting some war, somewhere is for America’s actual defense, they will always make this argument and stretch any logic necessary to do so. Whether or not it is true is less important than its effectiveness. But their arguments are only a means to an end. Neoconservatives rarely show any reflection—much less regret—for foreign policy mistakes because for them there are no foreign policy mistakes. America’s wars are valid by their own volition. America’s “mission” is its missions. Writes Max Boot: “Why should America take on the thankless task of policing the globe… As long as evil exists, someone will have to protect peaceful people from predators.”

    Needless to say, perpetual war to rid the world of evil is about as far as one can get from traditional conservatism but it was also the mantra of Bush’s Republican Party. Boot now snidely asks the current GOP if they want to be known as the “anti-military, weak-on-defense, pro-dictator party” due to their opposition to the Libyan intervention. This argument might sound strange yet familiar to Republicans—it was exactly what they said about Democrats who opposed the Iraq War. John McCain now calls Republicans who oppose the Libyan War “isolationist.” The Senator’s use of that term is as illogical as it is illustrative—in that his bizarre definition is identical to what most of his fellow Republicans believed just a few short years ago.

    The Libyan War makes clear what the Iraq War made confusing: There is a difference between conservatives who believe in a strong national defense and neoconservatives who believe in policing the world under the guise of national defense. The neoconservatives will only remain successful to the extent that they can continue to blur this distinction. Conservatives will only remain conservative to the degree that they can continue to maintain it.

    Posted in Conservatism.

    • J'hon Doe II
      February 6, 2016 at 5:04 pm

      D. Gardner
      February 6, 2016 at 10:55 am
      Nowhere in your comment on the NEOCONS
      do I see any mention of ISRAEL.

      Genetic Modification?
      Ideological Confusion?

      Manipulation of Ideals
      Surreptitiously concealed?

  22. Abe
    February 6, 2016 at 5:01 pm

    the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), backed by Russian air power, started a preemptive Battle of Aleppo – through the Bayirbucak region – cutting off Ankara’s top weaponizing corridor and Jihadi highway.

    Who controls this corridor will control the final outcome of the war in Syria.

    Meanwhile, in Geneva, the remote-controlled Syrian opposition, a.k.a. High Negotiations Committee, graphically demonstrated they never wanted to meet with the Damascus delegation in the first place – “proximity” talks or otherwise, even after Washington and Moscow roughly agreed on a two-year transition plan leading to a theoretically secular, nonsectarian Syria.

    The Saudi front wanted no less than Ahrar al-Sham, Jaysh al-Islam and all Jabhat al-Nusra, a.k.a. al-Qaeda in Syria, collaborators at the table in Geneva. So the Geneva charade, quicker than one can say “Road to Aleppo!” was exposed for what it is […]

    The Turkish Air Force putting its bases on “orange alert” may scare the odd vagrant dog at best. The same applies to NATO Secretary-General, figurehead Jens Stoltenberg, pleading to Russia “to act responsibly and fully respect NATO airspace.”

    Moscow is going after the Turkmen with a vengeance and at the same time providing air support to the PYD west of the Euphrates. That hits the ‘Sultan’ in his heart of hearts; after all Erdogan has threatened multiple times that a PYD/YPG advance west of the Euphrates is the ultimate red line.

    An already scared NATO won’t support the folly of an Erdogan war against Russia – as much as US and UK neocons may crave it; as NATO decisions must be unanimous, the last thing EU powers Germany and France want is yet another Southwest Asia war. NATO may deploy the odd Patriot missiles in southern Anatolia and the odd AWACs to support the Turkish Air Force. But that’s it […]

    ISIS/ISIL/Daesh, meanwhile, continues to profit from its own Jihadi highway across a 98 kilometer stretch of Turkish/Syrian border, especially in Jarablus and Al Rai across from Gaziantep and Kilis in Turkey.

    Taking a cue from Israel, Ankara is building a wall – 3.6 meters high, 2.5 meters wide – covering the stretch between Elbeyli and Kilis, essentially for propaganda purposes. Because the Jihadi Highway, for all practical purposes, remains open – even as Turkish Armed Forces may apprehend the odd trespasser (always released). We’re talking about a monster smuggler/soldier scam; as much as $300 change hands for each night crossing and a noncommissioned Turkish officer may earn as much as $2,500 to look the other way for a few minutes.

    Why the ‘Sultan of Chaos’ is freaking out
    By Pepe Escobar
    https://www.rt.com/op-edge/331279-erdogan-syria-aleppo-turkey/

    • J'hon Doe II
      February 6, 2016 at 5:41 pm

      I’d lost Escobar after atimes cut-him-off and am very grateful, Abe, for your comment and link.

  23. jaycee
    February 6, 2016 at 11:37 pm

    Russia’s assistance to the Syrian government was deliberately announced at the United Nations and presented within the framework of international law as represented by the United Nations. Despite claims to the opposite by American defence officials and NATO representatives, Russia’s actions have been consistent with the post-WWII security architecture which presumably remains as the basis of international relations. If the US and/or its allies move their militaries into Syria, the initial response will be played at the United Nations and will be argued on the basis of accepted international law and relations. Although the 2003 invasion of Iraq was undertaken outside of the UN, it was effectively unopposed. A 2016 invasion of Syria would be opposed, and US, NATO and regional allies would be in the position of having to deliberately reject and defy international law. Powerful forces may advocate such a move, but other interests understand the consequences may be extremely harmful and unrecoverable. The planet is much larger than the sum of European and Anglo countries.

  24. February 7, 2016 at 3:15 am

    Obama set the precedent for a congressional authorization to attack Syria in 2013. He would have to take that route. If he proposes to invade or acts with out approval, he should be impeached. I’m sick and tired of people trying to figure out why Obama is so hung up on the “Assad must go strategy.” It’s easy. Obama supports Erdogan who supports ISIS. Therefore, Obama supports ISIS and is acting in the interests of a foreign enemy. He’s no longer tolerable and should be shown the door. That would send a nice message to Biden that he was next should he pursue the same policy. The administrations policy on Syria has been criminal from the start. A ground invasion would seal the deal on the crime.

  25. Joe Tedesky
    February 7, 2016 at 3:24 am

    Once again Syria’s state sovereignty is being ignored. Never mentioned by the MSM is Russia is in Syria by the request of the Syrian government. How legal can it be that NATO and these Gulf states who are supported by the U.S. are allowed to make their excuse, that they are combatting terrorist, when the Syrian government and their coalition members are already winning that fight. Unless there were a mismatch of agendas, would it not seem a better idea that all parties would come together, and defeat the terrible terrorist? Shouldn’t it be just that simple? Somewhere in our near future I can just see how the propaganda spin machine will blame all of this on Putin, Assad, and the Ayatollah. The most troublesome part is just how far will a convential war go? Will there be a nuclear false flag? Remember also, that ISIS is a fantasy of a well spun tale about the bogey men who we must kill, and oh yeah get Assad to, because he’s not a nice man. Any leader who sells this line to their people isn’t a leader, they are charlatan.

  26. David Nicholls
    February 7, 2016 at 8:31 am

    What is the most likely outcome if nothing drastically changes in the US approach?
    The Syrian Govt overcomes the opposition and, with Russian , Iranian and Hizbollah support re-establishes a functioning nation state. Iraq and Iran continue their collaboration with Russian support. Given the new found Russian influence in Egypt you now have an arc of Russian influenced allies in Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon (Hizbollah ) and Egypt. This gives a very solid Russian controlled access form mother Russia in the Caspian sea to the Mediterranean! The obvious Russian political action would then be to continue their good relations with Azerbaijan so they can drive from Russia to the Mediterranean through allied countries!

  27. February 7, 2016 at 10:12 am

    Let’s not forget the real base and cause of all this terrible conflict in the Middle-East and the inevitable cause of Europe’s migrant crisis that history told us would happen’ like all former wars, ‘American Foreign Policy’. This policy is so destructive for the peace that it is genocidal, as been shown in Iraq, Libya and Syria to name but a few in the history of the world. But the realism is, that all this is constantly planned to keep the US economy from not stalling. The UK as the American puppet just went along with this destruction and are as culpable as the US also. Bush and Blair are the real international criminals who got off ‘scot-free’, but their decisions killed and maimed millions.

    ‘Is War Inevitable or is it Planned by Powerful People Behind Closed Doors in the Interests of Personal Economic Gains? Daesh could be an indicator of the Truth – http://worldinnovationfoundation.blogspot.co.uk/2015/12/is-war-inevitable-or-is-it-planned-by.html

  28. elmerfudzie
    February 7, 2016 at 10:59 am

    I can only pray that several new technological breakthroughs now on the horizon, such as fusion reactors, ultra-efficient solar power and super conductivity will in short order, combine, replacing the need for hydrocarbon fuels. It’s far more logical to have local control over energy sources and requirements, city by city or perhaps by larger metro-area(s) as opposed to importing gas or petroleum products via pipeline or ship. I fear that a regional nuclear war will break out long before these technological marvels have a chance to overtake the current energy paradigm. Pipelines and geographically lopsided energy resources, have demonstrated time and time again to provoke, many a raison d’ etat for mini-war(s). The use of nuclear weapons will kill hundreds of millions and turn the middle east into a radioactive graveyard -for centuries! Further, I urge the Pakistani military leadership to refuse any Saudi request to go nuclear against Syria.

  29. Bruce
    February 7, 2016 at 12:22 pm

    Nuking FUT$ !

  30. Bruce
    February 7, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    Nuking FUT$ !

  31. Joe Lauria
    February 8, 2016 at 10:27 am

    Another couple of updates to my story. This is from CNN: “On Friday, two Saudi officials told CNN that the kingdom plans to run in March a multinational military training exercise — involving as many as 150,000 troops — to prepare for future anti-ISIS operations. Most of the personnel will be Saudis; troops from Egypt, Sudan and Jordan have already arrived in the kingdom for the exercise, and troops from other countries — Morocco, Turkey, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar — are expected, the officials said.”

    http://edition.cnn.com/2016/02/06/middleeast/syria-civil-war-saudi-iran/index.html

    And a week ago Army Lt. Gen. Sean MacFarland told a Pentagon press conference that more US troops would be need in Iraq AND Syria.

    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/more-u-s-coalition-forces-likely-needed-to-fight-isis-top-commander-says/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

  32. Jamie
    February 8, 2016 at 11:27 am

    The very term “BCE” used in this article is indicative of the unholy, literally ‘unholy’ mess the world is in. In that very term we have the denial of Christ, the denial of the second person of our Almighty Trinitarian God (Father, Son & Holy Spirit). We have replaced the advent and coming of Christ with phrases meaning ‘before common era’ (BCE) and ‘common era’ (CE) instead of Before Christ (BC) and Anno Domini (AD) meaning year of Our Lord.

    The coming of Jesus Christ into human history for your and my salvation has changed the world and continues to. To deny this and to wallow in this mire of sin that the world does provokes global chastisement.

    War is a punishment for sin and it should be clear to those with “eyes to see and ears to hear” that nuclear war is a prospect that threatens the whole world. We have really stooped that low.

    But there remains one hope. A return to God through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, as required by God at this time in human history. To understand this hope of world peace and salvation for many have a look at http://www.fatima.org.

    At this time only God through the Immaculate Heart of Mary can save mankind from global chastisement (perhaps nuclear war).

  33. alhaudal
    February 9, 2016 at 7:16 am

    US has the most dismal role in all the recent conflicts . They have thrown west Asia to Jehadi hounds by their unscruplous support of regimes like Saudi Arabia . Its Petro dollar fraud on the world is already compromised and challenged . Saddam ,Gaddafi and Asad all put together are like saints compared to the vile Wahabi Al Saud family . I wish Asad all the success and liberation from these so called well wishers of Demcracy .

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