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24 April 2019


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Ingolf Eide

Much appreciated, PL.

Let me acknowledge my ignorance up front and hope these few questions aren't entirely ridiculous:

- I get the impression you think that if this happens it won't be half-hearted. Unlike earlier episodes of "shock and awe", it'll be for real. Yes?

- If that's so, this would presumably be an existential event for Hezbollah and maybe for Iran, Lebanon (and Syria?).

- I accept Russia would prefer to not get dragged in. Is it reasonable to think this might be difficult for them? It seems to me there would be an awful lot at stake, not just immediately but in the larger strategic picture. Perhaps leading to an "If not now, when" moment?

- As for Iran and Syria, ditto squared? Would I be right in assuming that if it came to it, both would fight back with everything they've got, whatever that might mean?

Any thoughts you're willing to share on these issues, and anything else flowing from them, would be greatly appreciated.

Christian J Chuba

Replying to this thread in general. It looks like Russia sees that it is in their vital national interest to oppose externally imposed regime change anywhere in the world.

If they let the U.S. run amok, then it's only a matter of time before the sharp knives are again at (or inside) their door. The weaker countries see a need to assist each other to avoid being picked off one at a time.

Is it worth Russia going to war? No. Today's Russia would never do that without a security agreement. Giving military aid, I think so.

To people like Fareed Zakaria and other Neocons, Russia opposes regime change just to insult the U.S. In his view, we better take out a country they like to prove that we can. The idea that countries only consider how much they can get away with insulting us rather than their own survival needs sounds rather narcissistic but this is popular among Neocons.

[BTW I miss the disquis like feature as a non-noisy way to acknowledge someone's post but Col. I am fine with however you want to manage your site.]


Zakariah is an interesting example of the immigrant neocon class. Khalilzad is another. Sebastian Gorka and Varney are others. They like the US, but, if only it were more aggressive, less federal, Khalizad told me onc that you WASP types have no idea of the real uses of power.etc.


What is gained for US interests to start a war that puts the entire middle east in flames? That causes oil prices to spike to over $200 a barrel? That kills probably hundreds of thousands and immiserates millions?

DO these guys see a massive depression coming and think the only way out is to go to war as in WW2? Is it population control? Surely there is a better way to get rid of surplus male population than total war - can't they figure out a way to game it so that warriors fight warriors and total populations are not destroyed?

This thing looks so wrong and counter-productive to me, stupid and evil and needing massive amounts of lies and propaganda to get people onboard. WHo benefits? I say no one but obviously I am wrong - the people who are prosecuting this thing seem to think that they and their sponsors will benefit mightily.....


Russia would have to choose between acceptance and the risk of utter destruction. The US neocons would have already chosen for us if they were able to persuade Trump.



IMO this is all about Russian efforts to create a stable situation in the ME. To that end they are trying to balance their Turkish, Syrian, Israeli and Iranian interests.



Nothing would be gained for US interests in such a thing. It would merely be an example of the domination of the US by Zionist fantasies.


W Publius

IMO you are right in thinking that the present inhabitants of the leadership of the BORG are a sub-species of the classic Straussian ideology driven race. The Old Ones were driven by their madcap exotericism and were entertaining. These are merely imperialists.

Islanders 2019

I believe this is Trump’s re-election strategy to ensure he win’s a second term. A U.S. president always has sky-high poll numbers during a war or military action. Bush 41 was above 90% in the Gulf War in spite of the economic downturn. And a war against Israel’s enemies would mean zero real criticism from major media and the other organs of control. The only criticism might be if Trump doesn’t go as genocidal as possible in Lebanon, Syria, and Iran. I’m sure at the same time as this U.S. attack many neocons (which now has every person speaking on major media) will implore Trump to confront Russia.

Related or not, I think we will see a nuclear war sometime in the next 10 years. The nuclear war I envision will be more like the movie ‘The Day After’ (https://youtu.be/Iyy9n8r16hs) than anything else.

Mad Max_22

What I said was clearly said: one wonders whether President Trump who campaigned on one set of FP principles might have picked people more attuned to carrying through policy based on those principles if he had not been beset upon by a pack of howling dogs to remove him or cripple him before he made it to the Oval Office; their object was to destroy Trump before he took office; the Russian nonsense was only a convenient means.
The office of the President is one of the most powerful offices on earth; we don't really know whether Trump is the most powerful person on earth, do we? His sudden reversals gives reason to think that he is not. Hence one wonders whether the demented behavior of his hysterical democrat opposition had some role in his decision to make himself out the tough guy as opposed to carrying through a coherent FP. A pity!
I said nothing about relieving Trump of accountability for his terrible staffing choices.


Correction: Date of the transcript is August 16, 2015

(it's part of the link, actually)



Please turn italics off the next time you use them.

Norbert M Salamon

My only concern with the present discussion is there does not seem to be any analysis of the probable Iranian reply while being bombed:

possibilities are all of major significance for the world economy:

1., distructio0n of major part of water works on both sides of the Persian Gulf, making all gulf countries unlivable for the present populations,
2., curtailing/reducing Saudi oil production which needs one barrel of water for production of 2 barrels of oil.
3., closing of the Strait for all shipping.

As the US follows Tel Aviv diktat the world economy is destroyed, whether Russia and or China forewarn The US to cease and desist with this adventure

English Outsider

If I might try to knock those italics off?

That Perle quote is as evil as I have seen.

English Outsider

Colonel - thank you.

(I hope I have not spoilt your site with an attempt in passing to get rid of the italics.)

Eugene Owens

"As far as US forces hesitating about attacking Lebanon, they will not. Our Navy and Air Force will carry out these orders, if they come, immediately and with all the force they can muster."

Of course they will. Although before the course of action was decided on and orders passed, there would be some serious discussion on other, perhaps softer options. If not, their leadership would be derelict in their duty.

Andrei Martyanov (aka SmoothieX12)

However isn't it likely they have sufficient visibility from satellites and assets in Syria, etc., that they could prevent Hezbollah and Lebanon from being tactically surprised? If not, why?

Russia is not going to "defend" Lebanon. Syria, is a completely different issue here. It is a vastly different dynamics. Per CISR--Russia deploys currently enough assets in the area (well, globally, really) to be fully situationally aware. From Liana, to other space and airborne, and ground based systems. Iran, is altogether a different story here. Per Hezbollah, I am not sure Russia is that deeply involved with it, plus Iran is not exactly a convenient ally for Russia in Syria.


Col. Lang,

Do you believe a war with Iran is going to happen soon? And can Iran withstand United States' air campaign? Can they hurt the US interest in the middle East?

Andrei Martyanov (aka SmoothieX12)

I would not be surprised if Syria shot at US aircraft over Lebanon.

That is an unlikely scenario methinks. But then again...

Andrei Martyanov (aka SmoothieX12)

Russia would have to choose between acceptance and the risk of utter destruction. The US neocons would have already chosen for us if they were able to persuade Trump.

Russia is preparing for war and I know the mood there. If it starts, it will start conventionally with strikes on US forces in Europe, especially naval assets in Med. Russia has a control of escalation there. US military knows this and already calculated the "weight" of the first salvo from Russian side on US Navy assets.



"Tactical" warning us useless to something like Hizbullah. They could not move fast enough to get out of the target area. The bombers would drop their loads from 20,000 feet at least.


EO Yes but in the end if the NCA persists you do it.


''Given that I tend to think the US position on Iran has been bullshit from the get go,""

I agree. In my political day dreams I am Madame President and the first thing I do is ally with Russia, sort out our individual interest, station aircraft carriers off the ME coast and announce that any country flying military a/c or moving out of its own play pen will be shot down.

Then I would have Viagra prescriptions ready for the US Neos who would assail my office to help them redirect their frustration aggressions and one way tickets to Israel for the Fifth Columnist screaming outside my door.

Alas, its only a day dream.

E Publius

To be perfectly honest with you PL, when Trump was elected I thought to myself, WoW! for the first time since JFK or LBJ (possibly as far back as Truman) someone "new" has become president of the U.S. who does not come from the Washington elite circle/Borg/Blob. I remember watching the debates and the way he politically neutralized the likes of Bush, Rubio, and Ted Cruz and on top of that, Hilary Clinton. I thought he was going to be the first non-neoconservative president, possibly a crude 2016 resurgence of paleoconservatism, hence his intense focus on immigration, culture wars and identity politics mixed with authentic economic nationalism and non-interventionism (hence his lively attacks on the very ideology of neoconservatism) but obviously his admin is significantly more hawkish than the old Vulcans(!) back in the Bush days. One could even argue that from 2006 to 2008, Bush somewhat learned the ropes and distanced itself from the crazy Vulcans and more toward Realism, hence Condi Rice's handling of the 33-day war between Israel and Lebanon, as well dismissing the like of Perle, Wolfowitz, and others later on. But with Trump, given his knack for indifference to what is right and wrong and his method of shilling for whoever is willing to chip in the most, any progression toward common sense inside Donald Trump is highly unlikely to happen.
In terms of the admin's policy in the ME, I think the immediate focus of the U.S-Israel policy in the region is "Lebanon" and Trump's ME policies among other things is deeply attached to Lebanon and that specific patch of land. Even Hassan Nasrallah has sounded the alarm and in his recent TV speech during which he warned the Lebanese people of a possible incoming war in the Summer with Israel that would be devastating to the people in the region.
Regarding Russia, in the past 1+ years it has become clear that Russia is going to play a stronger role in the ME, possibly even replacing the U.S. there, especially given the warm relations between Putin and Netanyahu where the former has not raised any objection against the latter's constant illegal bombings in Syria and Iraq among other things. The false impression was that Putin is going to stand up to Netanyahu and form some sort of diplomatic and even military resistance to its aggression in the ME, but that is clearly not the case. Andrew Korybko of Eurasiafuture has written extensively on this interesting and unfolding new dynamic between the two. All in all I hope a shred of common sense prevails inside the head of these Hard Neocons and Trump himself and stop its belligerence against Iran and other ME countries. Nobody wants war and nobody needs war

P.S. I am an avid reader of your valuable analyses and I would like to offer my deepest thanks to you for this great website.

The Twisted Genius


The jihadis, including IS, are still there and have not given up. I've seen comments that they want to retake Palmyra. Some regional paper claimed the jihadis trained by the US at Tanf were planning to go for Bukamal to cut the highway. I think that is more of a wild rumor, but who knows. And then there's the Idlib jihadis. They still have to be dealt with. Sounds like the Russians are lending a strong aerospace hand with that lot.

I don't think the Russians want to be a tripwire. It's more like they are maintaining a cop on the corner status, hoping to dissuade a US attack on Lebanon or Syria. They're conducting naval exercises in the Med just as we're steaming two carrier groups into the same sea.

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