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19 September 2015


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Yeah, Right

Here's a thought experiment: the Russians set up their air defences around their uber-big supply bases, and everyone peers into their satellite photos to spot which Russian special forces unit or what Russian Paratroop Regiment alights from all those planes.....

Only the foot soldiers marching across the tarmac aren't Russians, they are Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

After all, it would be a very bold chess move indeed.

Putin can't be sucked into another Afghanistan if he isn't using his own foot soldiers. And having 100,000 Iranian soldiers on the border might just put a dampener on any plans Netanyahu has to bomb the bejeezas out of Tehran when nobody's looking.

Israel would go ballistic, sure.

But, heck, so what? Attacking those Revolutionary Guards would mean attacking a Russian military base.

Still, just a thought experiment.

But I wonder. After all, who knew Putin was even going to go this far?

In for a penny, in for a pound.


They were. After Saudi agents blew up a Syrian National Security meeting, Bandar was legitimately targeted and wounded in retaliation.

It was followed by a visit from the Iranian President to the Kingdom. Thereafter an unwritten rule of war was established by these Gulf Coast Combatants for their proxy ops in Syria.

Babak Makkinejad

There is no political solution for the Syrian Civil War.



Yes and those unemployed Spaniards whose families have been in Spain for 1,000 years will be happy to complete with foreigners with zero sense of obligation to Spain.

Medicine Man

Do you really think Senator Sanders has any hope of winning a general election? He is very different from what a lot of the electorate expects from their candidates, which will make him vulnerable to attacks of the media/political elite who have plenty of reason see him fail.

David Habakkuk


Thanks for the link.

Among my concerns about this article is that – as with so much Western commentary – it purports to provide authoritative explanations of how the world appears from the Kremlin's point of view, while not backing these up with much in the way of actual evidence.

I am also curious as to whether Dmitry Adamsky's account of the views of
the Papacy can be supported by hard evidence. In the course of his discussion of the 'remarkable triumphs' which in his view the Kremlin considers it has achieved through its Middle East policy, he writes:

'Finally, the Russian Orthodox Church's activism in the Middle East enabled the Kremlin to promote itself globally as the only patron of persecuted Christians in the region. The Moscow patriarchy’s outreach to Christian denominations beyond Orthodox communities in Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, the Palestinian Authority, Syria, and Tunisia provided the Kremlin with the humanitarian pretext for further diplomatic initiatives in the region. Perhaps the Putin regime's biggest achievement along these lines so far was, in 2013, thwarting a potential U.S. intervention in Syria through alliance with the Holy See, which sees Putin, not the United States, as a protector of Middle Eastern Christians.'

I would be curious as to what people with a better grasp than I – and perhaps Adamsky – of the views of the Papacy think about this.



IMO Sander's election would require a miracle and we need one. pl


"Second, the Iranian nuclear accord and its corresponding sanctions relief for the Iranian government will be implemented in full."

from "Forecasting the Syrian Civil War", a 90-day forecast.

1. "Forecasting" is not that difficult when your bunkmate had a hand in planning US actions.

2. Not a single rial will flow into Iran in the next 90 days as a result of sanctions relief.
IAEA must inspect & approve PMD; Iran must perform certain parts of the bargain.

As Nasser Hadian of Tehran University said the other day, the deal was badly negotiated from Iran's side such that all of the benefits to accrue to Iran are in one basket, not phased, and they are dependent on IAEA and on US Congress.
(nb. Bilal Saab was unable to counter Hadian's arguments so he resorted to Boyz Behaving Badly -- note the final frames of video where, after dumping a load of unsubstantiated anti-Iran charges Saab rushes off without shaking hands or otherwise acknowledging his interlocutors.)

If IAEA disapproves -- a not implausible outcome, in light of fact that IAEA has already breached confidentiality by releasing "voluminous documents ..." -- sanctions could be kept in place. If Congress puts a spanner in the works, as Corker said, again, the Senate intends to do, sanctions relief would not occur.

So ISW's underlying assumption that "Iran deal sanctions relief will be implemented in full", within the 90-day forecast timeframe, is inapt.

On the other hand, what is the impact of the Iran deal and US Congress Summer of Discontent re Iran on the status vis a vis Syria of Qassem Suleimani? http://tinyurl.com/oxbwz5f

Lavrov pulled Obama/Kerry's chestnuts out of the fire re the Syria chemical weapons pink* line. Did Suleimani's visit to Moscow have anything to do with drawing Obama-Kerry into a collaborative effort with Russia on Syria?


* Diane Feinstein was heavily invested in pinning "Syria chemical attack" on Assad's regime to the extent that she had US government create scare videos to take the place of actual evidence; hence "pink" line.


David Habakkuk
The RCC normally plays a very cautious long term game, preferring to wait centuries, if that is needed, for preferred outcomes but the present menace to the ancient legacy Christian communities in the ME is so great that IMO the papacy is willing to back Russia in this matter. pl

David Habakkuk

Ken Roberts,

It is not simply aggregate figures that count. In Britain, at the time of the 2001 census, 8.3% of the population had been born outside the UK, while in the 2011 the figure it was 11.9%.

However, of the 8 million population of London, the 2001 figure was 27.1%, and the 2011 figure 36.7%. The former figure was too many, the latter much too many – it massively complicates the already problematic relationship between the capital city and the country at large.

(See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign-born_population_of_the_United_Kingdom ; http://www.migrationobservatory.ox.ac.uk/briefings/london-census-profile .)


oofda, great article... thanks!

If there were more articles like that I would not have cancelled my subscription to Foreign Affairs. Fortunately my current two article a month limit for free is more than adequate.

When I finished reading the article, my first thought was... who wrote this? This is not the typical "where's the beef" article written by some Borgian think tanker. They do not write this insightfully about power and strategy issues.

Meet Dmitry (Dima) Adamsky, Assistant Professor at the Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy at the IDC Herzliya http://posse.gatech.edu/participants/dima-adamsky

Adamsky linked to this interesting piece early on...

NATO Caught ‘Surprised’ By Russia’s Move Into Syria http://www.defenseone.com/threats/2015/09/nato-caught-surprised-russias-move-syria/120764/
“From an alliance perspective, what Russia is doing and the ability of Russia to surprise us on a very consistent basis.” “We were able to get some warning, but did not see from a strategic perspective that one, necessarily, coming until just a couple days ago,”…

Apparently the Defense Dept. doesn't have anyone of Adamsky's caliber to advise them on strategic issues. Once at Defense One I came across this "amazing" (/snark) article which possibly uses every major cliche phrase from the American Exceptionalism mythos... I admit to feeling a certain amount of "shock and awe" at this man's religious devotion to his mythos.

How This US Navy Admiral Gives In to China Is Exactly What’s Wrong With US Power Today http://www.defenseone.com/ideas/2015/09/time-us-stand-rule-law/121319/

The Adamsky piece does a great job of laying out Russia goals and related accomplishments. When one compares this to what the US has accomplished in the ME (as well as US beliefs about itself and what it's accomplished) it's not hard to see why Russia has been successful and why other countries are starting to look more to Russia.

Maybe this is just a fantasy of my own, but I'm hoping that some competition from Russia, China and others in the arena of world power nudges the US to improve it's game.


The presence of Juan Zarate on the

"Board that oversees the Vatican's Institute for the Works of Religion ("IOR"), a move announced by Cardinal Pell of the Vatican Finance Ministry as part of Pope Francis I's efforts to clean up the finances of the Vatican," formerly one of Stuart Levey's charter members of the "guerrillas in grey suits" (wikipedia)

suggests that US neoconservatives have a fox in the Vatican henhouse, or, to use a different metaphor, a leash on Pope Francis.

Zarate was a charter member of Stuart Levey's team at Dept of Treasury that created mechanisms whereby international financial institutions were given the choice of doing business with USA or with Iran, and the choice of Iran came with a court case and hefty fines in addition to being frozen out of US markets.

Zarate, who appears to have a Roman Catholic background, left Treasury and started up his own company providing security advice to financial concerns, in partnership with several of his fellow Foundation for Defense of Democracy members.

Is it a conspiracy theory to think that Zarate's role is to drive a wedge between Vatican-Iran relations?
Iran has had a relationship with the Vatican for over 50 years, including during the Islamic Republic. Iran nurtures that relationship to convey international legitimacy.

Based on an interview of the West Virginia bishop who is in charge of Pope Francis's visit, and on C Span and other DC media coverage of the papal visit, I think the knives are out, and Francis's freedom of action has been very tightly constrained. Also in conspiracy-theory mode, it's reasonable to suspect that the recent threats to Boehner's House Speaker position are linked to his reactions to Francis's speech before the Joint congress. I suspect that Boehner, who is Catholic, will be expected to show less enthusiasm for the Pope than was shown for Netanyahu.

different clue


Since the Revisionist Zionists are the only flavor of Zionist with any power in Israel today, one could well accept the Revisionist Zionist goal as being the only de facto Zionist goal there is.

But if the Lesser Israel Survival-Zionists were somehow able to take power in Israel and separate the Revisionists from any power and influence, and re-state their purpose of Zionism as a survival-rescue state for whatever Jews need rescue-survival, then Zionism would not require any Israeli expansion and would seek an Israeli shrinkdown to the borders of 67. This all sounds like intellectual theory now, but didn't Prime Minister Rabin opt for Lesser Israel Survival-Zionism in his day, and isn't that why the Revisionists of several flavors and factions worked to assassinate Rabin?

Or am I wrong? Even in theory?

different clue

Babak Makkinejad,

I agree. The war ends when one side has defeated all the other sides so completely that all the other sides ( or any of them) have no physical capacity left to conduct any warfighting activity. Maybe there will be short-term truces on the way to that endstate.


HankP et.al.

60% of the refugees landing on the Greek island of Lesbos were reported to be from Syria. Information is available for the hundreds of thousands of refugees who have registered to date. But, the specifics are hidden by the fog of war. There are two main routes. The one through Libya is mostly Africans trying to get out of a bad place. But, the recent deluge in the East is due to Turkey enticing them to leave concurrent with the commencement of the bombing of Kurdish PKK areas and Erdogan’s party becoming a minority in Parliament. Even the greediest out of touch western politician has to worry about the influx of young men from areas where they are complicit in making the refugees homeless in the first place. Not to mention the displacement of workers and welfare expenses when the peripheral of the EU is already in an economic depression. The Eurozone is a dead man walking.

If the USA ends its proxy war with Syria, enclaves could be carved out and secured for minority Christians, Alawites, Kurds and Shiites. Some could be persuaded back. But, where are the secure areas for the Sunnis to return home to? If not, it is either the Paris Suburbs or new Muslim encampments for them, or a furtive return to the Islamic State if Turkey keeps its supply lines to the south open.

This could well blow up with forced Muslim deportations and rebellion. Can Europe, America, Russia and China agree to join in a coalition to work together or will greed and war destroy all?

This is one big unintended consequence of America’s proxy wars with Russia and the hypocrisy of the responsibility to protect ideology. More than 2,000 migrants have died at sea already.


The concept of "human rights" depends on your definition of "human" ...

Richard Armstrong

M M,

I'm given to understand that the Democratic candidate will need to win 23 of 85 "toss up" electoral votes and the Republican will need around 70 depending on NC.

Like 2008 & 2012 it will boil down to which party has the most voters who just stay home. Look at the recent Republican candidates: Bush (incurious)/Cheney (Machivellian), McCain (decent)/Palin (well...), Romney (ran vs own HC plan). They all seem to be 'twixt more of the same and even worse. In 2012 their candidate is now battling for the steering wheel in a clown car full of candidates none of whom are particularly appealing to voters outside the base.

It's all going to come down to the success of the GOTV efforts.


There is no Syrian political solution to the civil war but without foreign support it would bleed out rather fast.


Works against Israel/West maybe but Saudi Arabia would double their action


Spain did that and it was an economic success.

ps. to get 20 million you need Yemen because Iraq, Syria & Libya isn't enough to get 20 million. Wonder when we will see them appear?

ex-PFC Chuck

Sadly, yes it is true.

ex-PFC Chuck

IIRC, the American right's denunciation of Roosevelt for giving away the eastern Europe store at Yalta is a bad rap. It was negotiated by Churchill in the fall of 1944 at the 4th Moscow Conference. Roosevelt was not in attendance.


What are the percentages for "greater" London. My experience is that in an city region the name giver of the region has the bad neighborhoods (filled with the foreigners)



Do you think Pope Francis will address this issue in his visit to the UN on September 25? The UN will be flying the Holy See's flag that day in his honor.

On an ancillary note, the Palestinians will now have their flag flying at the UN, which I'm sure is putting Bibi's shorts in a knot.
Just think, a flag is giving Bibi a weggie. The Palestinians will have their official party-hearty time on Sept. 30.


Same strategy every hominid has used in every encounter, breed with everyone to extract their best genes, and our hybrid replaces us.

Why nothing else can work.

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