PICK YOUR POISON – THE U.S. CAN’T WIN IN SYRIA

PICK YOUR POISON – THE U.S. CAN’T WIN IN SYRIA

In reviewing scores of articles on the conflict in Syria over the past two weeks, one thing is exceedingly clear:  The U.S. can’t win.

In contrast, Russia has a clear strategy and rationale:  Support Bashar Al-Assad since official state governments provide law and order.  This was once true in Syria until the “Arab Spring” began in 2011.  In other words, Russian policy now mirrors the cold war policy of the U.S that for 60 years traditionally supported authoritarian dictatorships that suppressed communist revolution (think Vietnam, Central and South America).  Now it’s Russia that believes policy should comprise support for an authoritarian and ruthless state rather than allow a failed state–while the U.S. policy plays into the hands of Islamic revolutionaries who seek to overthrow tyrannical dictators.  It constitutes a diabolical choice played out in the politics of our world:   choose either a sociopath strong man at the helm who murders his citizens to stay in control, or accept chaos in the name of revolution caused by violent radicals that fight among themselves killing each other and murdering civilians in the process.

Current Russian Airstrikes and Battles in Syria, October 9, 2015
Current Russian Airstrikes and Battles in Syria, October 9, 2015

Vladimir Putin stated his preference clearly in his interview with Charlie Rose October 11, 2015 on 60 Minutes.  In reviewing what has happened in Libya after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi, it is hard to argue with Putin.  “Gaddafi’s death was a landmark, but three years later, it cannot be convincingly called a good one. Three years on, Libya is still as much of a mess as ever. Fighting is split among Arab nationalists, Islamists, regional militias and more.” [1]

Like Egypt and Syria, President Obama’s administration has called for tyrannical and murderous heads-of-state to step down from their posts.  Using the call for democratic freedoms via “color revolutions” (as the Russians prefer to call them), Obama appears to champion values Americans cherish calling for reform and personal freedoms.  Instead, the unintended consequences of his approach have proven to consistently throw the Middle East into turmoil when he tosses the existing leaders under the bus.  We saw this with the overthrow of Mubarak’s regime in Egypt as well as Gaddafi’s in Libya. In Syria, however, the price of failure to help the revolution against a dictator has been far greater.  250,000 civilians have been killed in the Syria civil war trying (feebly) to unseat Assad. Over the past 2 years, the U.S. has spent $500 million attempting to build an anti-Assad rebel contingent to fight Assad and pressure him out of office.  But less than 100 fighters were trained by the CIA; and after recent attacks, U.S. officials admit that only 4 or 5 remain.  Doing some quick math, U.S. taxpayers paid $100 million per living fighter in Syria today–not such a great return on investment.  However, U.S. citizens did get much more for their money than just any old anti-regime fighters who would fight against Assad and ISIS.

Russian Attacks Syrian Rebels in HOM Province
Russian Attacks Syrian Rebels in HOM Province

 

When Enemies Become Friends – Off the Record At Least

The fighters selected to fight ISIS are closely aligned with Al-Qaeda.  To the surprise of most Americans, the U.S. supports Syrian Al-Qaeda–Al-Nushra. It, along with other “moderates” who are virtually aligned ideologically with Al-Qaeda, receive U.S. military assistance.  All are headquartered alongside one another in the Syria province of Homs.

The on-line magazine, The Interpreter (which specializes in Russian-translated news “to get it right”) provided this recap of “the players” with whom the United States has supplied weapons to support their efforts despite their deeper-seated anti-U.S. perspective.  The Interpreter gathered the information below from a trusted independent authority, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).  The full article may be found HERE.  Below is an excerpt (emphasis not in the original):

ISW: The groups that control the Talbisa-Rastan rebel pocket north of Homs are: al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, Ahrar al-Sham (HASI), and other FSA-affiliated rebel brigades. Unfortunately, we don’t have fidelity on what groups exactly were impacted by the airstrikes today (September 30, 2015)…

Interpreter:  Any idea which rebel unit was hit today in Al Lataminah, Hama province? The “FSA” commander told Reuters that his unit was hit, and he had recently received anti-tank missiles from a “foreign power.” Any idea what, specifically, they are referencing?

ISW: Tajama’a al-Izza was hit in Al Lataminah. They are an FSA-affiliated TOW anti-tank missile recipient that is active in the provinces of Hama, Idlib, and Aleppo. The TOW missile recipients active in northern Syria are believed to receive these anti-tank missiles from the Turkish Military Operations Command (MOC). [Read: NATO through which the U.S. will supply weapons]

U.S. Supports Rebel Ally - Al Nushra Syria Affiliate
U.S. Supports Rebel Ally – Al Nushra Syria Affiliate of Al Qaeda

ISW: The groups that control the Talbisa-Rastan rebel pocket north of Homs are: al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, Ahrar al-Sham (HASI), and other FSA-affiliated rebel brigades. Unfortunately, we don’t have fidelity on what groups exactly were impacted by the airstrikes today… there are, however, ISIS ‘sympathetic’ elements (i.e. similar in ideology but not officially ISIS) in rebel-held in the areas of Homs and Hama provinces that were hit today with airstrikes. These groups are minimal and are usually rooted out by other rebel brigades in the area. [Read: Al-Qaeda is now a good guy, ISIS is the enemy.]

Interpreter:  It looks like a member of Tahrir Homs was killed today. Do you know anything about this man or the unit? Do you know the group’s ideological leanings?

ISW: Yes, the airstrikes killed Lyad al-Deek of Tahrir Homs today. Harakat Tahrir Homs is technically a Free Syrian Army affiliate, however in 2015 the once “moderate” Free Syrian Army is largely nominal and is not a good indicator of a rebel group’s ideological leanings. Tahrir Homs, like a lot of the battle hardened opposition remaining in Homs, is an Islamist brigade that is a military ally of Syrian al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra. The relationship between Nusra and Tahrir Homs with regards to governance was thought of as “uneasy” when Nusra first started to assert itself (and it’s strict version of Shari’a) in Homs, however they have likely grown closer as time has gone on and probably are currently participating in joint rebel governance structures together. [2]

Just How Powerless is the U.S.?

Barbara Star, pentagon reporter for CNN, reports that the supply caravan to Syria goes on:  “U.S. military cargo planes gave 50 tons of ammunition to rebel groups overnight in northern Syria, using an air drop of 112 pallets as the first step in the Obama Administration’s urgent effort to find new ways to support those groups.” [3]

The Daily Beast also confirms these facts “on the ground” with the same information as supplied by CNN, pointing out the “investment” to supply weapons continues and the U.S. program to support “moderate” Syrian rebels goes on unabated:

The rebels attacked by Russian forces on Wednesday and Thursday were in western Syria, alongside al Qaeda affiliates and far from any ISIS positions. That suggests the rebels were not there to fight the self-proclaimed Islamic State, as the Obama administration called the top priority. Instead, they were battling the Assad regime as part of a still-active CIA program for rebels which has run in tandem with the disastrous and now-defunct train and equip Pentagon program. [4]

The Daily Beast confirms the grim situation for U.S. policy in the region in this article just cited, “The U.S. Admits We can’t Protect Syrian Allies from Russia’s Bombs”:

The Obama administration has emphasized that its main fight is against ISIS, but since 2011 it has been calling for Assad’s negotiated “transition” from power. The administration realizes that it’s in a much stronger position to facilitate that transition if it underwrites the application of mild to moderate military pressure on Damascus—not enough to topple the regime but enough to keep it on the defensive. Russia, unsurprisingly, has decided to rob the U.S. of that leverage by attacking the anti-regime rebels. And Putin has calculated, with good reason, that the U.S. will do little to nothing to defend these proxies from Russian bombs. [5]

“With good reason” as in “the U.S. does not want to start World War III.”  The Daily Beast article continues with an assessment of how mired in the mud the U.S. is when it comes to doing anything about Russia and its military adventure in Syria:

To even threaten to take action against Russian forces now would be perilous as the U.S. has opened talks with Russia about “deconfliction,” referring to crafting military methods to protect each country’s pilots and forces on the ground from being struck. On Thursday, Pentagon officials held an hour-long video conference call with their Russian counterparts in what Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook called “initial steps.”

Cook repeatedly refused to answer whether the U.S. would come to the aid of either CIA-vetted or U.S. military-trained Syrian rebels, calling the prospects of Russian airstrikes “hypothetical,” even after other government officials had confirmed such attacks a day earlier and reports from rebels made clear what was happening. [6]

The only thing harder than dislodging Bashar Al-Assad from Syria will be to dislodge Vladimir Putin and his Russian forces now not-so-ensconced there.

This leaves Syria to face one of two unthinkable choices:  accept Assad’s authority and return to an autocracy of death, or allow ISIS to install its cut-throat caliphate throughout Syria.

Likewise, the U.S. may have no other choices than two unthinkable alternatives:  (1) Admit defeat and accept a Russian counter-revolution that eliminates ALL opposition to Assad (while praying it becomes another intractable situation for Putin’s Russia, i.e., “Afghanistan”); or (2) determine it will declare all-out war on Syria and ISIS simultaneously, working in concert with Al-Qaeda’s al-Nushra and other Islamic groups who hate America but hate Assad more.  Such an approach would not only be unsavory to the war-weary American populace who have seen enough fighting against Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, but no American who understands the military parity Russia has achieved in relevant military capacity, wants to directly confront the Russian military. And that outcome would be inevitable if the U.S. goes down that path.

When All Else Fails–Decapitate the Head of State

Looking at other choices:  the U.S. and its half-hearted coalition of European nations through NATO can increase pressure on Russia through greater sanctions.  Or perhaps thinking outside of the box, attempt assassination of Putin. Sometimes radical thinker, Paul Craig Roberts and others have said this may be the only a viable option available to New World Order advocates:

According to the former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under Ronald Reagan, Paul Craig Roberts, Putin is in great danger of being assassinated. His role in exposing the dark workings of the elites has been so clear that the powers that be may decide to take him out just as they did with John F. Kennedy.

In a recent interview on the Alex Jones Show, Roberts said that in addition to trying to assassinate Putin the controllers will continue to persecute whistleblowers and any other kind of dissident that dares oppose the agenda of the elites. “I think Putin is in substantial danger of assassination,” Roberts said. “I hope he stops walking around the streets unprotected,” said Roberts. [7]

The Controversial Tactics of 1980s CIA Director William Casey
The Controversial Tactics of 1980s CIA Director William Casey

Consider this further analysis from The Real Agenda News, an alternative news and opinion source to the mainline media’s all-too-frequent role of supplying U.S. policy propaganda:

Before speaking at the United Nations last month, Vladimir Putin was frank on a television interview where he said the US had to “rise above the endless desire to dominate the world”.

In a news conference that took place back in earlier, Putin exposed the truth behind the rise of terrorist groups in the Middle East and Northern Africa, where according to him, the United States had helped arm and train groups allied with Al-Qaeda in Libya, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Putin’s statements about the role of the US in the creation of terrorism in the Middle East went unanswered by the Americans. His multiple calls and offers to sit down with the Americans to negotiate the terms of a peace agreement in Syria, as it happened in Ukraine, have also been ignored by western leaders.

In his speech at the UN, Putin doubled down on his challenge to the status quo and said that the world could not afford to continue tolerating the current state of affairs.

Back in 2014, Herbert E. Meyer, a former CIA official, suggested that the US should deal with Putin’s role in Ukraine by taking him out through assassination. Meyer said that if Putin was too stubborn to acknowledge that his career was over, the only way to get him out of the Kremlin was feet-first, with a bullet hole in the back of his head.”

If you think that the crisis in Ukraine and the military crisis in Syria have not been enough to bring about a new world war, wait and see what will happen if the US, through any of its secretive intelligence organizations even attempts to assassinate Putin.  [Emphasis added] [8]

And, of course, assassination is against U.S. law and something that the CIA, at least officially, cannot do.  If prior experience teaches us anything (specifically, CIA Director William Casey’s attempt to assassinate the head of Hamas in Lebanon during the 1980s), the U.S. would ask a huge favor of Israel’s Mossad to do the dirty work.  Needless to say, that would take some nerve in more ways than one given the present state of U.S. – Israeli relations.

Facing the Music

So it is that making mostly half-hearted if not downright deceptive choices in formulating its Middle East policy, the U.S. now finds itself not just with its pants pulled down, it has become apparent that it has no cover at all–no clothes whatsoever–to hide what amounts to its most glaring foreign policy snafus at anytime over the past 60 years.  The current administration failed to understand the geopolitical reality of the past 250 years–to avoid war there must be balance of power in any region where conflict seems likely and the consequences for Western empires are dire.  When the U.S. pulled virtually all of its forces out of Iraq it created a vacuum that Russia was only too happy to fill.  It is akin to the U.S. pulling its 40,000 troops out of Korea, troops which stifle the aggression of North Koreas dictators and keep their military in check.  No such Western “block” now exists, other than Israel, to quell Islamic revolution and to deter Russian adventurism in the region.  Obviously, because of world opinion Israel is not free to act against its neighbors  nor is it capable by itself of dealing with Putin’s military when it decides to move into Syria, Iraq, or any other State in the Middle East.

But U.S. policy makers aren’t willing to face the real world and the military disadvantage the West (especially the U.S.) “enjoys” just yet:

While there was plenty of criticism from the Republican side, there were no ideas on how the U.S. could proceed—Republicans said that the Obama administration had missed opportunities to help bring the long Syrian civil war to a close.

“I don’t even know what to say,” said Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker. “We are getting to a place where there are very little, if any, options left. This administration has frittered away most opportunities—to the point that I know that they’re not going to be in direct conflict with Russia, and Russia knows that.”

Added Sen. Jim Inhofe, previously the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, “The answer is not ‘Go after Russia and start World War III.’ I just don’t know what the [solution is]—that’s what we’re working on now.” [9]

Backdown or Escalate–The Poison Set Before Putin and Obama

Thus, the U.S. is left with no choice but to pick its poison:  (1) Withdraw from northern Middle East “the fertile crescent” countries and give them over to Russia who will deal with ISIS (from Iran through Iraq to Syria) stabilizing the region by its decisive military dominance;  (2) continue to fight a proxy war to buy time in which we cautiously support Al-Qaeda and the “moderate” Syrian rebels who align with them supplying only modest weaponry that cannot win against the Russians, or (3) elevate the military confrontation with the Russians to force equally negative alternatives back upon Putin.

On the other hand, what would be the unsavory choices be for the Russian leader?  One, retaliate against U.S. military aggression by intensifying his own, or two, back down and retreat completely lest he face the dilemma of starting World War III. However, to all the world and especially his countrymen, to take this tact would make Putin seem to be like a dog that had tucked his tail beneath its legs, forcing him to return to his mat in Moscow and dream about what could have been.  The initiative would be lost for a decade or more.

IS RUSSIA DESTINED TO NUKE THE U.S.?
IS RUSSIA DESTINED TO NUKE THE U.S.?

Therefore, it appears the world stands at the precipice of a black chasm, a monumental moment of gravest danger: that a U.S.-Russian “confliction” (read “stare down” or “face-off”) threatens another world war just like Berlin in 1961 [10] and the “Missiles of October” i.e., the Cuban missile crisis of 1962.  Nikita Khrushchev didn’t survive those iconic Cold War foreign policy failures.  The Kremlin got rid of Khrushchev just as it will Putin if he backs down and flinches first in his WWIII brinkmanship.  And Putin must know this would be the consequences of failing to stand firm.

To this analyst schooled in Bible prophecy, since neither power–the U.S or Putin–can afford to consider the consequences if they shrink from the conflict over Syria and ISIS, all of these unthinkable options mitigate against resolution through any sort of diplomacy.  In short, the options intensify the probability of the Ezekiel 38-39 conflict, the so-called Battle of Gog and Magog.  This prophetic war, if Russia proves to be Gog, will lead the ultimate archenemy of Israel to come against it, being Gog’s last remaining real opposition to total regional dominance and a return to the status of global superpower.

In my analysis and biblical interpretation of Ezekiel 38:10-13, which I have documented in several articles in my blog and in my latest book, Is Russia Destined to Nuke the U.S.?  Russia will choose to attack the United States, Saudi Arabia, and perhaps selectively any European nations that appear threatening to them.

The New Tactics of Global War by Benjamin Baruch and J.R. Nyquist
The New Tactics of Global War by Benjamin Baruch and J.R. Nyquist

It should already be clear to most readers, in making a deal with Iran, the U.S. only achieved a delay to the inevitable conflict that is coming.  Russia and the Shiites dominated by Iran, Iraq, and Syria (and Shiite Yemenis on Saudi Arabia’s southern border) will join together to fight against a consortium of strange bed-fellows,  Israel and Saudi Arabia. Why not the U.S.?  The United States may be attacked just ahead of this operation against Israel and the Saudis to neutralize its involvement. In other words, Gog and its Islamic confederates may elect to strike the U.S. by surprise.  Israel will be virtually alone with no super power to defend it other than the God of Israel.  This probable scenario will be advanced in part by laying out the Russian military advances, the new realities of the military tactics Russia will employe, and the geopolitical assumptions Russia incorporates in its overarching strategy.  This will be discussed in a coming new book The New Tactics of Global War, written by friends author Benjamin Baruch and a highly regarded geopolitical and military strategist on Russian affairs, J.R. Nyquist.  Yours truly has written the foreword to this volume.  Be looking for it very soon.  (It will be available from selected outlets November 1, 2015).

To conclude:  there have been serious U.S. – Russian conflicts before, but never has direct confrontation been any more likely than today.  To be sure, Obama is not Kennedy and Putin is not Khrushchev.  Obama and Putin are motivated in varying ways and perceive the hand they have to play quite differently than the Cold War of 1961-2.  Additionally, nowadays military leaders have begun to believe that nuclear weapons are “manageable” and can be brought into play–and used–if deemed advantageous or necessary. Consequently, all the alternatives set before world leaders are not just serious but extremely deadly.

The clock is running down.  It’s just about time for Barak Obama and Vladimir Putin to pick their poison and the rest of the world will have to live (or die) with the consequences of their choices.


BOOKS BY S DOUGLAS WOODWARD
BOOKS BY S DOUGLAS WOODWARD

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Woodward at Pike's Peak Conference
Woodward at Pike’s Peak Conference

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NOTES

[1] See http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/oct/28/muammar-gaddafi-death-impact-libya.

[2] See http://www.interpretermag.com/russian-su34s-tracked-from-russia-to-syria/.

[3] See http://www.cnn.com/2015/10/12/politics/syria-rebel-groups-ammunition-50-tons/.

[4] See http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/10/01/u-s-admits-we-can-t-protect-syrian-allies-from-russia-s-bombs.html.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] See http://real-agenda.com/putin-is-in-substantial-danger-of-assassination/.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

[10] See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berlin_Crisis_of_1961.