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03 October 2017

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JohnsonR

One of the many pieces of evidence confirming the excessive influence of the Israel Lobby in the US sphere is the absurd and mendacious classification of Hezbollah as a "terrorist organisation". This serves the interests of Israel alone, and enables harassment of Hezbollah supporters and critics of Israel on many fronts.

It's also a clear way to identify a dishonest neocon or similar Israeli partisan, or dupe of the same - if they promote the classification of Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation then that is what they are.

From Wikipedia:

"The Arab League,[40] United States,[41] France,[42] the Gulf Cooperation Council,[43][44] Canada,[45] Japan,[46] the Netherlands,[47] and Israel[48] have classified Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. The European Union, New Zealand, the United Kingdom,[49] and Australia[50] have proscribed Hezbollah's military wing as a terrorist organization, while making a distinction with Hezbollah's political wing.[51][52] Russia considers Hezbollah a legitimate sociopolitical organization.[53] The People's Republic of China remains neutral, and maintains contacts with Hezbollah.[54]"

No better can be expected of Israel and of the sunni Arab states, but the political elites of the US, France, Canada, Japan, the Netherlands, the EU, New Zealand, the UK and Australia all stand condemned.

JJackson

I hope Patrick Bahzad is well and will rejoin the conversation at some point as I would dearly like his input on this topic. As events are in Syria at present I can not see IS or HTS ending up controlling any ground. Assuming the R+6 can negotiate the removal US and Turkish forces from Syrian soil without a direct US Ru confrontation then what?
There are many forces cooperating against a common foe who I am confused about their next actions once that foe is vanquished. Will Hizbullah return to their South Lebanon positions and quietly watch Northern Israel? The PMU seems a disparate group with underlying allegiances to Sistani, Khamenei, Sadr or the Baghdad Gov(and that is just the Shias).
If freed up from fighting IS then what? Crush the defiant Kurds, settle some Sunni scores or quietly disband and become civilians? I worry there may be a 'job done' moment which just presages yet more horrors to come.

JamesT

I don't entirely trust Bob Baer, but I found his book The Devil We Know to be very interesting. The book goes into some detail about Iran and Hezbollah and how capable they are. To my mind, it is a story of how the Persians have watched how we Americans and British work and how they are emulating our strategies of recruiting, training, and arming proxies/allies.

JamesT

I also highly, highly, highly recommend this youtube video of a talk given on Iran by Bob Baer and Trita Parsi:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cbVbIx7ZRFY&t=1328s

I wish everyone in the world would watch the part (at the 24:40 mark) where Parsi explains that Israel and Iran both have a common interest in pretending that their differences are ideological, when in fact their differences are pure competition for regional hegemony. It is interesting how the leaders of two rival powers can have such convergent interests - at the expense of their own peoples and everyone else in the world.

Willybilly

The first sentence in this South front article or portion of it is utterly wrong. Israel did not withdraw from most of Lebanon in 1985....; far from it. Israel occupied most of south Lebanon until it was forcefully thrown out by Hizbullah on May 25th of the year 2000… then the IDF came back for more savagery in 2006 and was soundly defeated by Hizbullah.

JamesT

I think it is pretty clear that the neocon plan is that the Kurds are going to become the South Ossetia of Syria. There are some problems with that plan however - a major one being that the oil fields they are trying to take and hold are in Arab parts of the country.

I think R+6 can just launch a guerilla war against the Kurds in the Arab parts of the country. I can't see the Kurds sustaining losses from IEDs over a very long period of time.

Will2.71828

Disappointed in the Southfront map of Lebanon. It shows Jabal Libnan (Mount Lebanon) in the north, the Maronite heartland, but leaves out Jabal Amel, the Shiite heartland, in the south.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jabal_Amel

The original Borg plan, according to former US ambassador to Lebanon Jefferey Feltman, was to hang crippling sanctions on Lebanon via the Hariri assasination commission. Because Hezbollah is part of the Lebanese government, then the country of Lebanon could be sanctioned. It would frame Hezbollah via cell phone intercepts. With Israeli cell spoofing techniques, this kind of evidence is kinda suspect. Haven't heard too much from that vein lately.

Now the Zionist Occupied US Congress is working on Plan B to further tighten the sanctions screws on "the muqwama," the resistance=Hezbollah, thereby wrecking the Lebanese economy. All in all, part of the plan to create chaotic states around the apartheid settler project.
http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/236099

Babak Makkinejad

Then Putin will have succeded in forging a vordon sanitaire between Sunni Muslims and the Russian Federation - based on the Party of Ali.
Likewise, the Iranians will have carved out their sphere with the Russian help.

Babak Makkinejad

Israel and Iran have no common interests, geopolitical or otherwise. Friends of Israel are enemies of Iran and the Party of Ali. Baer and Parsi do not grasp how far down a religious war path we are.

confusedponderer

James T,
re: "they are emulating our strategies of recruiting, training, and arming proxies/allies."

Well, I'd like to add to that: What you do has consequences, and not necessarily is being copied. 'They' not necessarily copy the US & US allied tactics and approaches. They simply cannot afford that given the huge expenses made at the US military.

More important is IMO that they watch carefully, and think carefully, and they know and pursue their interests. Their motives for that is an interest in their national interests and an interest in their own national and personal survival, and that is a well founded concern.

* The US 'liberated' Iraq, and broke that country. The leader was butchered.

** The US 'liberated' Libya and broke the country. The leader was butchered.

*** The US tried to 'liberate' Syria and targeted Assad and that approach almost succeeded in breaking that country too. If they had succeeded Assad likely would have been butchered.

Absurdedly that failure to break Syria caused a lot of embarassment and nasty blathering about chemical weapons, an Iranian 'power bridge' (i.e. land approach) to the mediterranean - what a threat for Israel that is and all that.

What can be learned of that?

First, one can learn that bombing a lot destroys a lot but doesn't 're-make' states.

Secondly, I assume that Assad, just as Iran, learned from the fates of Saddam Hussein and Ghaddafi that the US cannot be fully trusted, irrespective of what they say.

Trump's spontaneous tomahawk salvo at Syria and his blathering about unleashing fire and fury on NoKo, and that Tillerson 'is wasting time' with negotiating with NoKo (is that not the job of a foreign secretary?) speak for itself and only underlined the need for carefulness.

The matter of rationality and reliability has practically formulated an important but still unanswered question: Is that weird haired, merrily tweeting golf player man, is the US, sane and/or reliable?

What I want to say is this: By watching what the US do they do not learn 'how to do it the US way'. They don't have the money and technology to do that. I would not look at copies of US approaches, since there won't be many.

The thing is something else: In light of the matter of (un)reliability and (un)sanity it is perhaps more important that and what they also learn about US and western preferences and weaknesses.

They also learn of US and western mistakes and learn how to use that to their advantage or, more simply, how to avoid, escape and/or survive it. That's not a sign of being evil but of being rational.

So, looking at the last decade: Clearly the US liked to use the Tomahawk a lot as a 'silver bullet' since it doesn't endanger pilots and is relatively cheap for its firepower (that, and it gives the US Navy glory). The US liked the Tomahawk so much that they fired some couple of thousands of them at Iraq and Libya.

Well, the consequent target's answer to that US cruise missile happyness was getting improved air defence and getting into work anti-access/area denial, or A2/AD, and such tactics and technology.

The alliance with Russia must have helped Syria a lot in that regard. The Russians had just some 30 or so years to look at ways for protection against Tomahawk, and they took it very seriously.

Metaphorically said: In an area where folks like to shoot around a lot, it is likely that at some time the other folks, if they want to survive, eventually have arms ready an/or wear helmets, bullet vests and have medication at the hand.

It is IMO not an accident that apparently in Syria only 23 of the fired 59 missiles hit the target. That's, what, more than 50% didn't reach the target in the attack? 50% losses are a low number of hits for a 'silver bullet'. I daresay: For air defence against 'silver bullets' that's a notable success.

It's suggesting that lessons were learned and that these lessons were not about copying US tactics, but about getting ready for US approaches and tactics - by improving defences against likely and/or probable US 'approaches' and 'preferences'.

For decades the tomahawk that was one of America's favourite 'silver bullets' that they have held at about anybody's, including Russia's head. The US used some several thousand of these things against Iraq.

Beyond killing a lot of Iraqis and destroying a lot of things, that had other consequences: The neighbours observed and noticed. It seems as if the 'targets' have taken that quite serious and learned about how to defeat such preferences, out of simple interest in survival.

The lesson 'US targets' learned from US Tomahawk happyness was not so much getting cruise missiles for themselves but about getting modern A2/AD tactics asap.

b

That was a Russian plane. A friendly fire incident due to miscommunication.

The ground force had requested air support against target X. When the air support was delayed the ground force proceeded to take target X by itself. Then the bombs hit as requested ...

b

Parsi is a self declared mouthpiece for an Iran that only exists in his mind.

He has no insight nor influence in Iranian politics and policies.

b

Elijah Magnier published a new piece about Lebanon today.

The U.S., Israel and the Saudis have been defeated in Syria and want a consolation prize in Lebanon. They are stoking the fires against Hizbullah. Hizb is prepared for such a conflict and will win it.

https://elijahjm.wordpress.com/2017/10/04/lebanon-may-be-heading-towards-a-new-7th-may-due-to-the-arab-israeli-reconciliation-and-the-partition-of-the-middle-east/
Lebanon may be heading towards a new “7th May,” due to the Arab-Israeli reconciliation and the partition of the Middle East

Kooshy

“What can be learned of that?”
The listen learned is simple, the past two dcades of western supported and or formulated wars in Afghanistan, Iraq , Israel Lebanon, Ukraine and specially Syria shows
US’ military supremacy/ power no longer can guarantee desired outcome of US’ and her close allies political and strategic plans. Regardless of having or not a mandate from
UN. The world no longer is accepting mandates from the western block they are willing to standup and fight.

turcopolier

b

My operations chain source confirms wht you say. US coalition air is nowrestricted to Raqqa area and east of the Euphrates. pl

DH

I wonder what the likelihood is al-Sadr, as a die-hard nationalist, could end up as an Iraqi Nasrallah. Here's a good breakdown of the PMU situation in Iraq that I'm re-posting:

"One of the internal political factors which led to the PMU’s appearance in Iraq was the failure of state capacity in the realm of national security, against the backdrop of the rise of IS influence. The fall of Mosul due to massive corruption and Iraqi army’s inability to carry out its key functions meant then-PM Maliki lost faith in the armed forces. According to former Minister of Interior Mohammed Al-Ghabban, “The PMU is a unique, successful and necessary experience that was produced by the period.”

...As far as PMU future is concerned, there are several nuances. PMU has no single political leader as it is a militarized entity. There are current and potential frictions within PMU due to competition for power among three factions: Khamenei’s, Ali al-Sistani’s, and Moqtada al-Sadr’s.

...Peace regiments (Sarai al-Salam) were formed by radical Shia leader Moqtada al-Sadr right after the slaughter perpertrated by radical islamists in 2014 in Camp Speicher. This amounted to rebranding the Mahdi Army which was disbanded in 2008 but retained its core of commanders and specialists. They were easily remobilized, since Sadr had more experience working with militarized formations than other leaders. By some estimates Sarai al-Salam could quickly mobilize up to 100,000 men. According to faction leaders, its power is not limited by number of volunteers but by shortage of resources, particularly money and military equipment. That’s because, unlike other factions, Moqtada al-Sadr’s group is largely cut off from Iranian funding. The movement, and its semi-military character, is popular in Iraq due to its activities in Iraq prior to US invasion in 2003. Unlike other parties and military groups, Sadrists were not part of the elite that returned to Iraq after US-led invasion. The movement was embedded with ordinary Iraqi citizens, not elites. Sadr has charted his own course, to the disappointment of Iran’s leaders who poured resources into Mahdi Army in 2003-10. Today Sadr and his militarized formations have a strong pro-national position, reject Khamenei’s politics, and are against the presence of any foreign troops in Iraq. This stance has introduced confusion concerning the role Sarai al-Salam in PMU. From time to time, Sadr’s supporters claim they are part of PMU, yet in other instances they claim they are not. This is partly the result of not recognizing Khamenei’s faction as part of PMU, and an even greater rejection of Iranian influence and of former PM Maliki in Iraq. However, this faction finds it useful to declare itself part of PMU due to its popularity among Iraqis.

Matters of contention within the PMU

Involvement in Syrian affairs. Khamenei’s faction remains close to Iran and favors aiding Assad’s government. Many of those groups, particularly the core of seven militarized formations, still support the legitimate government of Syria and are ready to help defend Damascus. But Sistani’s and Sadr’s supporters were against getting involved in aiding Assad. Sadr even criticized Hassan Nasrallah and Hezbollah for its official involvement in Syria in 2014. He claimed that Shia movements and parties ought to observe their own jurisdictions and not complicate their politics by intervening in other countries’ affairs. He also criticized Iraqi Shia militiamen for their presence in Syria. Moreover, many of Sistani’s unit commanders are more concerned with protecting Shia territory and holy sites in Iraq than intervening in Syria."

https://southfront.org/popular-mobilization-units-establishment-war-on-isis-role-in-future-of-iraq/

lally

This Southfront article reeks of an Israeli perspective. Too bad the author is anon.

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