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26 September 2013

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VietnamVet

Colonel,

The drums for war in Syria have suddenly stopped for now but the aura of living in interesting times is still in the air. It feels like 1965, 1939, 1914 or 1860.

For the USA, Israel, and Saudi Arabia, regime change in Iran has been priority # 1. Syria was added to the list for being Iran’s ally. The only reason I can tell why these states are on America’s enemy list is that since 1979 the Mullahs have refused to bow down to the Transnational Elite.

Since all things come around again, the three states decided to replay Afghanistan once more by aiming Sunni Jihadist cannon fodder at the Syrian State. The Elite and corporate media avoid mentioning that America is actively supporting the same side as Al Qaeda in Syria, once again.

The Free Syrian Army defeat of Sunni true believers is just as likely as the puppet Catholic Saigon General winning the Vietnamese Civil War. Lackey Generals look and act the same across the world in each new generation. "Take the money and run."

Castellio

Slightly off topic, but regarding Russia's role in the international community, over at China Matters, Peter Lee writes:

"Reportedly, Abe talked with French president Hollande at the UN this week and asked for French help to decommission two of the Fukushima units. The broadcast also made the interesting point that Russia offered help shortly after the disaster, and also advised the Japanese government that Tepco’s strategy of cooling the hot, collapsed cores with water would a) not solve the problem and b) create a huge irradiated water mess. The Japanese government apparently ignored the Russian approach and, guess what, the problem is not solved and there is a huge irradiated water mess."

http://chinamatters.blogspot.ca/

charly

I can see how a change of regime can help the US but why would that help Israel and especially Saudi Arabia?

The Mullahs don't bow down to the "Transnational Elite" out of choice but because they are on America's shitlist whatever they do so the opportunity cost for not bowing down isn't there.

Charles I

um, where are the ones announced this week going?

Charles I

. . . so stupid after all.

Not to worry, we are. Hezbullah, also not too stupid, is on Assad's side, and we KNOW Israel esteems them as much more demonic than Assad, ergo we have to fight Assad AND Hezbullah in Syria, lest they. . . go home, and await the fight there, and threaten Israel.

Surely that can be sold as fighting for the good ol' US, er, FSA, and not the bad guys, until there's no state worth mentioning.

Funny we don't here a MSM peep about where all these groups are getting a lot of their training, arms and cadres, those other success stories, Libya and Iraq. Where does al Shabab get its $ and money from for that matter?

Arm the Syrian rebels, attract fanatic kinetically enabled jihadis, depose Assad, move on, repeat.

Notice what a big noise the Russian CW evidence made - over here. Me neither.

Iranian overtures, or posturing, whatever that isn't Amahdinejad, that'll just increase the strike propaganda. Though I see Russia has offered troops to guard the CW transfer/destruction. Actual Russian troops in Syria, that'd be a poser. Though it might be a bit of the old Chinese-Embassy-Sarajevo?-targeting-mistake opportunity for those inclined.

Interesting times.

Fred

I would take the expertise of an anti-nuclear activist with a large grain of salt. I've worked in that industry for a number of years too, however as a power plant operator. That included two reactor refuelings (unlike the gentlemen who spent decades making new fuel assemblies in a clean room). Even the second reuters article is misleading. The proposal is to remove fuel from the spent fuel pool. That gets done one at a time. They provide no technical information to explain just how the assemblies, which they also call fuel rods, for that boiling water reactor are manufactured nor do they link to any.

The radio report has more detail however the portion regarding the Russian offer for assistance refers to the damaged reactor core itself, not the spent fuel pool. These are two different technical problems. Besides, what do you expect them to do, leave them there indefinitely?

FB Ali

Charles,

You asked where do all these jihadis get their money, arms etc from. The simple answer is: from the Arab allies of the US.

Their governments are careful not to get involved openly, but all the filthy rich sheikhs (and their wives -- remember Bandar's wife in Washington?) make it a point to purchase insurance by donating these huge sums (usually through 'charities').

The only bright side to this is that, when the time comes, these sheikhs (and their wives and children) will be the first ones to have their heads chopped off by the jihadis.

walrus

What we need to do now is flood the Syrian rebels with arms and ammunition.

We used to have instantaneous fuzed grenades, and similar goodies to leave around - RPG and M72 that blows up in your face etc.

Ursa Maior

Living in a former communist, and soviet occupied country I swear I have never ever thought in my life that one day I will see Russia as a defender of 'western values'.

Third Rome my friend, Third Rome.

Kerim

Yes indeed. Well no one should really be surprised.
Unfortunately, things will get much worse because the US, SA + associated kingletons, Turkey and Europe think they can somehow control things and deliver on their strategy. I don't believe anything has really changed, the objective is still to get rid of Assad, neutralize HA and deal with Iran. There was just a hiccup recently, so tactics had to adapted, but the R2P/neocon crowd will regroup and come up with something. The region is so complex and messy that it's easy to create problems. The issue is that if push comes to shove, the Russians will not fold. This is after all their back-garden and they are more realistic than the US about the true nature of these jihadist nutcases.
The Palestinian aspirations have now been effectively buried, meaning radicalism and despair will rise on that side.
The Iran WMD discussions will go nowhere, and will be used by both sides to illustrate the other's intransigence.
The financial situation of the US is getting worse.

I'm really not a pessimist by nature, but I have the unpleasant feeling that we're getting close to the perfect storm.

William R. Cumming

Arms distribution by the CIA in Syria now as in the past totally lacking in tactical or strategic purpose. Blowback will soon follow IMO!

confusedponderer

The US, UK and France have done much to stoke the conflict, starting with Hillary Clinton's pronouncement that to her Assad was no longer the legitimate government of Syria. Next thing that happened was the establishment of the FSA.

Assad's opposition, knowing that they had the backing of the west and the Gulf states, had no incentive at all to compromise in Syria. Assad himself was left with the prospect of him ending like Qathafi or at the Hague, and had the chouice betwen suicide or doubling down.

This internationalisation escalated protests into a civil war, for which, naturally, nobody but Assad is to blame, just as if he was ruling Syria in a vacuum.

But why encumber oneself with such pesky things like context, actions and incidents of the past or facts?

"We need to burn Syria to save it from Assad?"

And weaken Iran.

Fomenting extremism in pursuit of regime change is no vice, but worth it.

Norbert M Salmon

Off topic:
Dr. Rouhani is at the Asian Society [Council of Foreign Relations] discussion of approx. 1:27, with speech by the Irani Ambassador, Dr., Haas, and a Q&A session at
lobelog.com

JohnH

If MEK in Iraq is any indication, yes, the US will fund al-Nusra. If you recall, MEK was long labeled a terrorist organization, until in 2012 it wasn't any more. Apparently, the administration found them to have some utility. Last week, I watched Sen. Menendez beg Anne Patterson, nominee for Asst. Sec of State, to assure him that the MEK terrorists would be coddled.

Disgusting!

Babak Makkinejad

nah, they would be in UK by that time; in their posh house in Kensington.

David Habakkuk

Ursa Maior,

The ‘Third Rome’ is only partly apt. While the partial reversion of Russia to its Orthodox Christian roots is a centrally important fact in modern international relations, it is also relevant that – whatever its faults, which are many and glaring – it is not a millenarian or messianic society.

Counter-intelligence states – as many states in the Middle East are, and as the former Soviet Union was on a massive scale – often subsist in large measure through violence and indoctrination enforced by violence. But other elements are also sometimes important: among them fears of anarchic collapse, or the rule of mobs of one kind or another – fears which can be very well justified.

Precisely because contemporary Western ideologies cannot come to grips with the fact that fears of vulnerability to internal disintegration and external aggression may be very well founded, we have difficulty understanding that one may find, in the intelligence services of such societies, an extraordinary diversity of people.

So brutal sadists and opportunist cynics may coexist with hard-headed realists who are genuinely concerned about the welfare of their fellow countrymen, and have a much better grasp of the realities of their own societies than the kind of people with whom Western officials and journalists prefer to deal.

Among the realities which was quite clear to intelligent people in the KGB in the late Soviet period was that the Bolshevik attempt to eradicate the traditional religious beliefs of Russian peasant society had been an utter and unmitigated disaster.

Precisely what some of those few Western analysts who looked seriously at what was going on were afraid of was that the outcome would be an embrace by the Soviet regime of a kind of Orthodoxy which was messianic, and also deeply anti-Western, and in particular anti-Semitic.

In the event, we have Russia led by a former KGB operative who professes a strong personal commitment to Orthodox Christianity – but has repeatedly gone out of his way to say that Muslim, Buddhist and Judaic religion also play a constructive social role, and is in no way incompatible with full membership in Russian society. Likewise, Putin has repeatedly denounced Russian ethnic nationalism – of the kind embraced by Navalny – with what is quite patently a heartfelt passion.

Of course, in Washington and London, the mood has been ‘anything is better than Putin’ – just as it has been ‘anything is better than Saddam’, and ‘anything is better than Assad’, and continues to be ‘anything is better than the Iranian regime’. As the old saying goes, ‘those whom the Gods want to destroy …’

Patrick D

From another perspective, this development highlights the nature of power relationships between state patrons and their guerrilla or terrorist clients. I can't see any way this announcement contributes to the efforts of the Sunni Gulf states to draw the U.S. into the conflict. This is a setback for them. These groups probably decided to do this on their own over the patrons' objections.

It also illustrates just how vanishingly small the chance is that a state patron possessing nuclear weapons would pass one on to such clients. Governments, especially authoritarian ones, understand power and how is it derived. That is how they gain and maintain power. They are not going to hand over crown jewels to a bunch of loose cannons.

Matthew

Babak: ....abusing their Bangladeshi servants.

Rd.

VietnamVet said...

"It feels like 1965, 1939, 1914 or 1860. "

It is probably more like 1956 (Suez). It will take some time for international order (US) to adjust to new reality. In the mean time, there will be huffing and puffing. at the end, it is a good thing for the world and even for people in US.

confusedponderer

But JohnH, you underestimate the civilising and modernising effect that US funding has on Islamic fundamentalists who want an Islamic state in Syria.

Given more money and some time al-Nusra will moderate their conduct from messy, podcasted backyard beheadings with dull kitchen knives to ISO 9001 compliant public hangings.

And while Westerners may be sceptical about them having their favourite mullah rule Syria in accordance with Sharia law, they are just your middle Eastern counterpart of a law and order conservative.

Those Dhimmis and heretics, not to mention the women (in fact, NEVER mention the women), alas, the law puts them in their place. And those who break the law must be punished!

Charles

Didn't we do the same with the KLA in Kosovo during the late 90s?
Regards,

Fred

David,

As always you are very insightful. In view of the recent exchanges on a number of recent threads I wanted to ask what is your view of the influence of religous belief (or lack thereof) in President Obama and some of his main advisors/persons of influence (at least in regards to Syrian intervention)? Particularly Samantha Power, Susan Rice and Anne-Marie Slaughter.

Richard Armstrong

We're it my decision I would ensure the rebels receive sufficient arms to continue the fight while doing everything I could to supply Assad with accurate intel, both technical and humint. Let Assad kill as many Islamists as possible and later after a rebel capitulation, work very hard with Israel to decapitate the Syrisn govt if "moderates" with Western leanings coul be found.

As many dead Islamists as possible just seems like a good idea to me.

But I admit that I am a barbarian.

Castellio

It's good to get your informed perspective. Thank you. My intent in posting had more to do with the recent discussions on the changing international perception of Russia.

For a period of time one couldn't read anything about Russia without the word 'failure' implied or stated. That is changing, and in my opinion, will continue to do so. The idea of Japan (My God, the fallen deity of technical Japan!) actually requesting assistance from 'old school' France in a high tech area, having wrongly (perhaps) ignored an offer from 'failed" Russia, reflects a transition in our perception of the international order.

VietnamVet

Iran is Shiite. Saudi Arabia is Sunni. Sunni and Shiite Muslims have been at each throat longer than Catholics and Protestants. Israel under the Likud Party believes that the Mullahs who run Iran are crazy and as soon as they have the atomic bomb they will turn Israel into radioactive glass. So both Saudi Arabia and Israel want the Iranian Mullahs gone. Israel is ready to bomb Iran at any time, but reportedly being held back by America.

I really don’t why Iran’s on America’s enemy list; other than Jimmy Carter being humiliated by the hostage crises, and the USA being called the Great Satan ever since. But, I think the main reason is that the Mullahs don’t acknowledge the hegemony of America’s Empire.

There is one additional reason why the Oil Sheiks are financing the Syrian rebellion. The US invasion resulted in the Sunnis loosing control of Iraq to Shiites allied with Iran. The Sheiks want to get Syria under Sunni control to balance things out.

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