Saturday, August 31, 2013

And now, a few words from the Ziocrazies on the Hill

LOL! This did not take too long. According to the WSJ, "two key Republican Senate lawmakers gave notice that despite President Barack Obama‘s pledge to seek congressional authorization for a potential military strike against Syria, they wouldn’t support a limited attack that fell short of changing the momentum on the battlefield."

Hardly a surprise.

But this a great way to achieve a complete deadlock. If Obama wants only a "shot across the bow" attack - and remember that Kerry said that this attack "will not assume responsibility for a civil war that is already well underway" - and if the Ziocrazies in Congress will only support an attack to "change the momentum on the battlefield", then this means that they should reject Obama's "sissy option" and turn the page.

Should I  very carefully begin to explore the possibility of maybe contemplating the option of allowing myself the risk to be slightly inclined towards a faint and minimalist form of cautious optimism?

Yeah, I guess, but not much more.

First, there is the undeniable role which human stupidity has played in history.  And let's be honest, American politicians are not exactly known for their sophistication.

Second, AIPAC can bring all these folks to heel with just the threat of being declared "soft on defense", "un-patriotic" or - crime of crimes - not sufficiently pro-Israeli.

Third, AIPAC also has a solid chokehold on the US media which will sheepishly support whatever idiocy the Ziocrazies can cook up in their insane minds.  And for those of you who live outside the USA, let me explain that in the USA TV as blaring their propaganda everywhere: not only in homes of people, but in waiting rooms, in airports, in train stations, in gyms, in stores, I mean literally everywhere.  Some Americans now have multiple TV screens inside their cars to make sure that their little loved ones never miss a commercial or the latest wisdom Wolf Blitzer has to share.  And in homes, you will often find multiple TV sets too, not only in the living rooms, but also in the kitchen and even in the bathroom and toilets!  So a good chunk of the local population have been turned into fully remote controlled drones who will support whatever the (inevitably Zionist) talking heads on TV have to say.

But hope dies last.  Let's pray for a good old American deadlock which will grind all this nonsense about striking Syria to a full stop.

The Saker

Obama folds, but this is far from over

Great news!  Obama announced that he is going to go to Congress to seek a vote on military action against Syria.  There is little doubt in my mind that what happened is that Obama's advisers (possibly Hegel and Dempsey at the JCS) found a way to "spread the blame" for the inevitable accusation of "losing face" with Congress.  From their point of view this is a win-win move: their Congress says 'no' and Obama gets to say "my hands were tied" or Congress says 'yes' and then when the shit hits the fan it will be hard for anybody to single out Obama for blame.

There still is a problem with this: Congress is little more than a gang of brainless prostitutes all trying to "out-Zionize" each other for the privilege of being considered the most pro-Israeli.  Compared to Congress, the British House of Commons looks like an almost respectable institution.  AIPAC, in particular, will throw its immense weight around to try to get a 'yes' vote.

Smart Congressmen will, of course, have the option to say that it is because of the risks such a military attack would expose Israel to that it should be avoided, but the AIPAC thugs are not idiots - they will know that this is bull.

The other risk is that there is a fine line between an 'authorization' and a 'mandate'.  Without a vote Obama can use the excuse that the proposed attack is unpopular, but should the vote turn out to be a 'yes', then the Ziolobby will definitely say that it was the will of the American people that the US should attack Syria.

Still, at this point in time, this latest development is good news.  Yes, the Ziocrazies are far from being defeated, but its not like the old Anglo imperialist money (which Obama represents) is without resources either (they did get Obama elected, did they not?).

Also, time is most definitely on our side.  According to the BBC, Congress will only reconvene on September 9th (it appears that the American Congressmen cannot be told to cut their holidays like their British counterparts?).  If so, then this leaves enough time to all the countries opposed to this move to put the pressure on the US, in particular at the upcoming G20 meeting in Russia.  This also leave the Syrians, Hezbollah and Iran more time to make preparations.

So yes, this is far from over, but anything which delays as US attack by even a few days is objectively to the advantage of the Resistance and grateful for it.

The Saker

Putin dares Obama to bring his evidence to the UNSC

Important note: the word "provocation" in the English voice-over is a mistranslation from the Russian word провокация ("provokatsia") which, in this context, clearly means "false flag operation".  Putin is unambiguously stating that he knows that the Syrian military did not use chemical weapons but that this was a staged event.

Syrian sequel (Pepe Escobar vs. Stephen Schlesinger)

Pepe Escobar - brilliant as always!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Kerry's "here is our evidence" moment: imperial hubris at its most pathological and compulsive

I took the time to listen to the full "here is our evidence" press statement by Kerry (full transcript here).  This was a very discouraging experience.  The bottom line is this: it appears quasi certain that the Americans will attack Syria essentially because "we are America" and because "its just gotta be Assad who did it".  Imperial hubris at its most pathological and compulsive.

It is also rather clear that the Americans will go for the "sissy option" which they refer to as "shooting across the bow".  Do these clowns not know that when you shoot across the bow you don't hit anything?!

The other amazing thing today was the amount of caveats Kerry put around this upcoming attack. Speaking about the decision Obama is supposedly about to take Kerry said:
It will not involve any boots on the ground.It will not be open-ended. And it will not assume responsibility for a civil war that is already well underway

This tells me that the American are about to do what is called "declare victory and leave".  They will destroy a number of (now empty) buildings, kill a few Syrians, and then declare that Assad as been taught a good lesson and that he will not use is chemical weapons again.  And since he never used chemical weapons to begin with, it will appear that he "learned the lesson".  And then the Americans will be pretty much done because after that they will have very few options left.  This is why Kerry added:
And ultimately, ultimately, we are committed – we remain committed, we believe it's the primary objective – is to have a diplomatic process that can resolve this through negotiation, because we know there is no ultimate military solution. It has to be political. It has to happen at the negotiating table, and we are deeply committed to getting there.
Yeah, in other words - we don't have what it takes to take on the Syrian military.


Lastly, and this is both disgusting and pathetic, is that the Americans appear to be totally out of touch with the rest of the planet, including the normally arch-faithful United Kingdom.  This really is a crucial sign of decline that the US policy in the Middle-East got so crazy, so confused, so out of touch with reality that even the Brits are refusing to go along.  And instead of pausing and asking themselves how they ever got here, the Americans want to go ahead at it pretty much alone (I know - Hollande and Fabius are so totally in the hands of the French Ziolobby that they want a "piece of the action"; and the Turks are still harboring delusions of regional relevance.  But it is quite clear that the vast majority of NATO/EU countries want nothing to do with this folly).

Since the attack appears to be inevitable and imminent, we can at least find some solace in the fact that it will be largely symbolic and that the US will be alone in this - both of which are very strong signs of imperial decline.

The Saker

Why is Russia sending a naval task force to the eastern Mediterranean?

Over the past few days the Internet has been buzzing with reports about the Russian Navy sending warships including possibly guided missile cruisers (the Kerch, the Varyag, the Moskva are often mentioned), while Russian sources mention the large anti-submarine ship Admiral Panteleyev and various support vessels.  Russian officials have made contradictory statements about how many ships are being send and which ships exactly would join the Russian flotilla, but the bottom line is clear: this time Russia is sending big, very capable ships.  The obvious question is why?

First, I want to  get the hype out of this by immediately saying that these ships are not being sent to the Mediterranean to attack the US Navy or any NATO assets.  I will never cease to repeat this: a direct Russian military intervention is out of the question.  But then, what are they up to?

One very likely hypothesis is that some of these ships (like the Varyag or the Moskva) have extremely powerful radars onboad, including the naval version of the S-300 (called the S-300F or SA-N-6 in NATO classification) and the associated 3R41 Volna ("Top Dome") or  (newer) 36N85 ("Flap Lid") radars.  In other words, such a warship can cruise off the Syrian coast and fully monitor much of the Syrian airspace.  This type of ship is also capable of sharing this data via encrypted datalink.  In the event of a US/NATO strike the Russians could not only monitor it all live, but they could easily pass on their data to the Syrians who could  then continue to defend their airspace even if their own radars were to be destroyed or jammed.  And while it is likely that the US/NATO would be aware of that kind of activity, there is really not too much they could do about it - not only are these ships equipped with formidable weapon systems, but the US is also not going to be willing to risk a war with Russia.

The second purpose of sending these ships to the eastern Mediterranean is that they usually have a complement of Naval Infantry troops which could be used to protect or evacuate Russian nationals if needed.

Furthermore, the mere presence of such sophisticated warships in a possible warzone will be a major irritant for CENTCOM which will have to allocate resources to track and monitor them.  I am not sure if there are any US aircraft carriers in the eastern Mediterranean (last time I heard they were in the Persian Gulf), but the main capability of these Russian guided missile cruisers is to be a "carrier killer" thanks to their specially designed and very powerful missiles.  The presence of such warships are just not something CENTCOM can ignore even if the Americans are certain that the Russians will not suddenly begin hostilities.

Finally, these ships have a top of the line anti-submarine warfare capability which they can use to monitor US subs near Syria, probably in conjunction with 1-2 Russian attack submarines also covertly deployed as part of this task force.

All in all, these warships, combined with Russian satellites, intelligence gathering aircraft in the skies and local intelligence assets on the ground in Syria probably give the Russians an excellent picture of what is going on, all of which they than can share with their Syrian colleagues.

The deployment of the naval task force is yet another proof that Russia is doing all it can to assist Syria and deter a US attack.

The Saker

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

CrossTalk: Destroying Syria (Excellent show! Must watch)

Great host, great speakers, great show.

Its good to hear some sane people, a rare privilege.

Watch and enjoy:

The "sissy option" in Syria will send a message alright - but not the one the Anglosphere intends to send

All the latest leaks seem to be pointing to the same scenario: Obama would order 'limited' strikes on 'key' targets to 'send a message' to Assad.  Ok, let's look into that.

First, this probably means that cruise missiles will be used, but little or no air strikes.  We will come back later to this one.

Second, what are 'limited' strikes.  We are talking about high visibility static targets such as security services headquarters, divisional headquarters, airbases, possibly even Ministries or even Presidential buildings (though the latter is less likely because that could signal that the Anglos are trying to murder Assad).

Third, most experts seem to agree that we are talking roughly 50 targets each hit by 4-5 cruise missiles over a period of 2-3 days.

Now, let's make a thought experiment: you are Assad, sitting somewhere in a well protected bunker and you see the Anglos executing the plan above.  What 'message' do you get from this?

If I was Assad the first message I would get from such an attack is that the Anglos are afraid of really weighing in and meaningfully influence the military balance on the ground.  If the Anglos were serious, they would begin by taking out the entire Syrian Air Force and Air Defense capability, followed by a comprehensive destruction of all communication nodes (including all key government buildings), followed by a sustained campaign to strike at the entire logistic and supply network of the Syrian military combined with a close air support campaign in support of the insurgency operation.    It would also require establishing air supremacy over Syria and have the means ready to rescue any downed airmen or special operation forces by helicopter extraction operations.  That kind of plan would require at least one full month of intense air and missile strikes.  But since that is not what the Anglos will do, I would conclude that they are afraid of doing it.  This is also why they are using a few or no aircraft.

Personally, that would embolden me.

Furthermore, since my side is willing to unconditionally go to Geneva II while the insurgency is not, what does that tell me about the Anglo operation?  Since they are clearly not trying to force me to go to the negotiation table, what message are they sending the insurgents?  Might it be: "guys, there is only that much we are willing to do, we tried, but now you are on your own"?  If you were at the head of the insurgency, would you not feel rather discouraged by this kind of Anglo intervention?

Personally, I very much hope that Obama will go for that "sissy option", as it would send all the wrong messages from the Anglo point of view and all the right ones from mine.

There are a lot of very competent military specialists at the Pentagon and they all understand that.  This is probably why rumor has it that they - and even Hagel - are opposed to this kind of nonsense.  The problem is that even this "sissy option" has a huge escalatory potential with possible Syrian missile strikes on Israel and US bases in the region.  Iran and Hezbollah could and, really, should respond by sending in more fighters into Syria.  Of course, all the other more meaningful options are even more dangerous.  Still, how do you de-escalate the "sissy option"?!  That is very unclear, to say the least.

Obama is playing with fire here and he should declare that since the UNSC did not authorize any actions and since no convincing proof has been presented, the USA will abstain from any action right now.  Alas, history shows that US Democrats - just as their Labor counterparts in Israel - are far more dangerous and reckless than the so-called "conservatives" (which they ain't, of course).  Remember Lebanon in 2006, remember the faces of Olmert, Peretz and the rest of the pathetic losers in Israel.  Don't they remind you of Obama?

The Saker

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Words spoken today - three quotes which say it all

"It’s got to be done quickly. Bang, boom. And then let the chips fall where they may. But no more dead kids breathing poison gas.

Bill O'Reilly

"We have two options: either to surrender, or to defend ourselves with the means at our disposal. The second choice is the best: we will defend ourselves"

Syrian foreign minister Walid al-Muallem

"The West behaves towards the Islamic world like a monkey with a grenade"

Russian deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin

Monday, August 26, 2013

What do recent US/NATO/Israeli military aggressions tell us about what might happen next in Syria?

During his emergency press conference today Foreign Minister Lavrov said something to the effect that attempting to predict the future is not a helpful exercise and I will not argue with this wise man.  However, Lysander did ask an interesting question today: Is it possible that a NATO air campaign might still fail in removing the government?  I think that while attempting to predict the future is, indeed, a useless exercise, a few general guesses can be made based on past experience and this is what I would like to do here.  For this purpose, I will use the following seven specific cases of US/NATO military attacks against sovereign countries:
  • Iraq 1990-1991
  • Bosnia 1992-1995
  • Kosovo 1998-1999
  • Afghanistan 2001 
  • Iraq 2003
  • Lebanon 2006
  • Libya 2011
Before looking into the lessons we can draw from these wars, I feel that it is important to begin by stating a few basic principles applicable to all of them.

First, wars have two dimensions: a purely military one and a political one and Clausewitz was quite correct when he said that wars are the continuation of politics by other means.  Because of that, political factors always trump purely military ones.  For example, in purely military terms I think that it is quite undeniable that the USSR 'won' the war in Afghanistan.  In political terms, the USSR was humiliated and comprehensively defeated.  In looking at these wars we need to keep these two level of analysis completely separate from each other or we risk confuses causes and effects.

Second, and this is crucial, we have to understand a simple fact: the United States does not negotiate with anybody except another superpower.  In the seven examples above, the USA had an immense superiority in pretty much any form of power and, therefore, even though the State Department was "kinda negotiating", what was really taking place was this: the only option given to the other side was unconditional surrender.  In every case where the two local sides wanted to actually negotiate the USA sabotaged these negotiations.  For the US imperial mindset, to really negotiate with a smaller party would be a humiliating admission of weakness.  Keep that in mind when discussing all the seemingly endless "negotiations" which took place before each of these wars.

Third, for all the militaristic antics Americans like to engage in, the US culture is not a true warrior culture.  It is a *merchant* culture.  While Anglos have sometimes fought with great skills and valor, the military aspect is always subservient to the economic one in British and US history.  Therefore the preferred, and most effective, weapon of the US empire is not nukes, but the sly use of the 'almighty dollar'.

Having said that, let's now look at a short summary of what happened in each of these wars from a military and political point of view.

IRAQ 1990-1991:

Military level: the Iraqi military was comprehensively defeated and its units either destroyed or rendered unable to function.  This crushing military defeat was due to the fact that the US warfare doctrine was at least a full generation ahead of the Iraqi one
Political level: Saddam's regime was comprehensively defeated and had to basically accept all the terms imposed upon it by the USA.

BOSNIA 1992-1995:

Military level:  the Bosnian-Serbs were defeated by a skillful combination of US/NATO air operations and Croat ground offensives.  The Yugoslav military provided no help, and the Bosnian-Serbs had no access to their heavy weapons stores (under UN control).
Political level: even though the Bosnian-Serbs had been betrayed by Milosevic, they still represented a big enough force to deter the US and Croats from a complete invasion of Bosnia.  The Bosnian-Serbs lost all their lands in Croatia but got to keep some of it in Bosnia proper.

KOSOVO 1998-1999:

Military level: even though NATO used over 1'000 of its front-line aircraft during a 78 day long campaign, with 38'000 sorties flown and over 10'000 airstrikes, combined with numerous cruise missile attacks the Serbian Army Corps stationed in Kosovo suffered no meaningful damage at all (14 tanks, 22 APCs according to US sources).
Political level: the combination of a vicious campaign targeting the civilian population of Serbia and Montenegro and a promise made to Milosevic that he would be left in power convinced Milosevic to surrender and betray the Serbs of Kosovo (just like he betrayed the Bosnian-Serbs previously).


Military level: faced with a major air offensive by the US and NATO combined with a ground offensive by the Northern Alliance, the Taliban did not fight much and basically withdrew in the mountains.
Political level: while the Taliban regime was booted out of Kabul and most major cities, the US/NATO never succeeded in seizing an effective political control of the country.

IRAQ 2003:

Military level:  though this is disputed, there is pretty good evidence to indicate that the Iraqi military never intended to resist the invasion and that it basically dissolved itself with the intention of morphing into an insurgency.
Political level: Saddam was captured and murdered, but the US political control over Iraq outside the Green Zone was spotty while Iran became the most influential actor in the country.


Military level: for Israel (acting as an agent for the USA) this war ended in a defeat even worse than the one suffered by the US/NATO in Kosovo because unlike the US/NATO which only used airpower, the Israelis also used artillery and ground forces.  One of the worst military defeats in history.
Political level: a complete disaster for the US and Israel.  Not a single objective declared by Netanyahu was achieved and Hezbollah came out of the war even far more powerful than before the war began.

LIBYA 2011:

Military level: a combination of US/NATO airpower and insurgents on the ground yielded a rapid and rather easy military victory over the rather clueless Libyan military.
Political level: Gaddafi is gone, but the country is in complete disarray and chaos reigns.

Now, lets summarize this all as seen from the US point of view:

Iraq 1990-1991: military victory - political victory
Bosnia 1992-1995: military victory - acceptable political outcome
Kosovo 1998-1999: military defeat - political victory
Afghanistan 2001: military victory - political defeat
Iraq 2003: military victory - political defeat
Lebanon 2006: military defeat - political defeat
Libya 2011: military victory - acceptable political outcome

So we see that the record of recent US/NATO operations is a very checkered one.   Most importantly, we can draw two conclusions from the above: a) the military and political outcomes do not correlate b) the political outcome is not decided by the military outcome but by the personalties of the leaders.

If we think of Saddam Hussein, Slobodan Milosevic, Mullah Omar, Hassan Nasrallah and Muammar Gaddafi  we can immediately see that Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi were absolutely incompetent but courageous leaders,  Slobodan Milosevic a born traitor (what else to expect form an ex-Communist and ex-banker?) while Mullah Omar and, especially, Hassan Nasrallah were principled and determined leaders who understood that simply because the Americans want short wars this is hardly a reason to give it to them.

How does all this apply to Syria?

Well, first and foremost, there is no reason at all why the Syrian military could not adopt the same basic tactic as the one used by Hezbollah in 2006: do not present a lucrative target.  This is also, by the way, the exact same tactic used by the Serbs in Kosovo, and in both of these wars it was devastatingly effective in negating the US/Israeli advantage in firepower.

Another lesson of history is that the US failed to kill Saddam Hussein, Radovan Karadzic, Slobodan Milosevic and Hassan Nasrallah even though they tried very hard.  They did get Muammar Gaddafi, but only thanks to special operations forces on the ground and local insurgents.  They might get lucky this time, but chances still are they they are not going to be able to murder Assad.

Again, all of the above applies only to a determined US/NATO operation including a campaign of airstrikes lasting a week or more followed by either close air support operations for the Wahabi liver-eaters or even a ground invasion.  It is still possible that Obama might decide for a feel-good, symbolic, action, like Clinton's bombing of the Al-Shifa pharmaceutical factory in Sudan but I am not holding my breath on this one.

My sense is that the Syria-Hezbollah-Iran-Russia alliance will prevail, but, unfortunately, at a great cost, just as what happened in Lebanon in 2006.  As of now, I am not even sure that the Americans have a clear exit strategy other than an arrogant assumption that they, being Americans, will prevail one way or another.

The key issue will be the response by Hezbollah and Iran.  If they are willing to proactively counter-attack both on the ground and in neighboring countries from which the strikes will be coming, then the situation might run out of control and frighten the Americans and the Israelis.  But if Iran and Hezbollah remain passive then the insurgency will have the opportunity to use this US attack on Syria to regain much of what it lost, eventually threatening the regime.

We shall see very soon, alas.

The Saker

Full text of the interview of President Assad to Izvestia

President of the Syrian Arab Republic told about threat of US invasion, about his relationship with Putin and about common fate of Russian and Syrian people. All in exclusive interview in Izvestia.

Interviewer: Mr President, the most pressing question today is the current situation in Syria. What parts of the country remain under the rebels’ control?

President Assad
: From our perspective, it’s not a matter of labelling areas as controlled by terrorists or by the government; we are not dealing with a conventional occupation to allow us to contextualise it in this manner. We are fighting terrorists infiltrating particular regions, towns or peripheral city areas. They wreak havoc, vandalise, destroy infrastructure and kill innocent civilians simply because they denounce them. The army mobilises into these areas with the security forces and law enforcement agencies to eradicate the terrorists, those who survive relocate to other areas. Therefore, the essence of our action is striking terrorism.

Our challenge, which has protracted the situation, is the influx of large amounts of terrorists from other countries - estimated in the tens of thousands at the very least. As long as they continue to receive financial and military aid, we will continue to strike them. I can confirm that there has not been any instance where the Syrian Army has planned to enter a particular location and has not succeeded in eliminating the terrorists within it.

The majority of those we are fighting are Takfiris, who adopt the al-Qaeda doctrine, in addition to a small number of outlaws, so as I said this not about who controls more areas of land. Wherever terrorism strikes, we shall strike back.

: Yet, Western mainstream media claim that the terrorists control 40% to 70% of Syrian territory; what is the reality?

President Assad
: There isn’t an army in the world that can be present with its armament in every corner of any given country. The terrorists exploit this, and violate areas where the army is not present. They escape from one area to another, and we continue to eradicate them from these areas with great success. Therefore, I reiterate, the issue is not the size of the territories they infiltrate but the large influx of terrorists coming from abroad.

The more significant criteria to evaluate success is - has the Syrian Army been able to enter any area infiltrated by terrorists and defeat them? Most certainly the answer is yes; the army has always succeeded in this and continues to do so. However, this takes time because these types of wars do not end suddenly, they protract for prolonged periods and as such carry a heavy price. Even when we have eradicated all the terrorists, we will have paid a hefty price.

Interviewer: Mr President, you have spoken of Islamist Takfiri extremists’ fighters who have entered Syria. Are they fragmented groups who fight sporadically? Or do they belong to a coherent major force that seeks to destroy the security and stability in Syria and the whole Middle East?

President Assad
: They have both traits. They are similar in that they all share the same extremist Takfiri doctrine of certain individuals such as Zawahiri; they also have similar or identical financial backing and military support. They differ on the ground in that they are incoherent and scattered with each group adhering to a separate leader and pursuing different agendas. Of course it is well known that countries, such as Saudi Arabia, who hold the purse strings can shape and manipulate them to suit their own interests.

Ideologically, these countries mobilise them through direct or indirect means as extremist tools. If they declare that Muslims must pursue Jihad in Syria, thousands of fighters will respond. Financially, those who finance and arm such groups can instruct them to carry out acts of terrorism and spread anarchy. The influence over them is synergised when a country such as Saudi Arabia directs them through both the Wahhabi ideology and their financial means.

Interviewer: The Syrian government claims a strong link between Israel and the terrorists. How can you explain this? It is commonly perceived that the extremist Islamists loathe Israel and become hysterical upon hearing its name.

President Assad:If this was the case, why is it then that when we strike the terrorists at the frontier, Israel strikes at our forces to alleviate the pressure off of them? Why, when we blockade them into an area does Israel let them through their barricades so they can come round and re-attack from another direction? Why has Israel carried out direct strikes against the Syrian Army on more than one occasion in recent months? So clearly this perception is inaccurate. It is Israel who has publically declared its cooperation with these terrorists and treated them in Israeli hospitals.

If these terrorist groups were indeed hostile to Israel and hysterical even on the mention of the word as you mention, why have they fought the Soviet Union, Syria and Egypt, whilst never carrying out a single strike against Israel? Who originally created these terrorist groups? These groups were initially created in the early 80’s by the United States and the West, with Saudi funding, to fight the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. So logically speaking, how could such groups manufactured by the US and the West ever strike Israel!

Interviewer: Mr. President, this interview will be translated into several international languages, and shall be read by world leaders, some who may currently be working against you. What would you like to say to them?

President Assad: Today there are many Western politicians, but very few statesmen. Some of these politicians do not read history or even learn from it, whilst others do not even remember recent events. Have these politicians learned any lessons from the past 50 years at least? Have they not realised that since the Vietnam War, all the wars their predecessors have waged have failed? Have they not learned that they have gained nothing from these wars but the destruction of the countries they fought, which has had a destabilising effect on the Middle East and other parts of the world? Have they not comprehended that all of these wars have not made people in the region appreciate them or believe in their policies?

From another perspective, these politicians should know that terrorism is not a winning card you play when it suits you and keep it in your pocket when it doesn't. Terrorism is like a scorpion; it can unexpectedly sting you at any time. Therefore, you cannot support terrorism in Syria whilst fighting it in Mali; you cannot support terrorism in Chechnya and fight it in Afghanistan.

To be very precise, I am referring to the West and not all world leaders, if these western leaders are looking to achieve their interests, they need to listen to their own constituents and to the people in this region rather than seeking to install ‘puppet’ leaders, in the hope that they would be able to deliver their objectives. In doing so, western policy may become more realistic in the region.

Our message to the world is straightforward: Syria will never become a Western ‘puppet’ state. We are an independent country; we will fight terrorism and we will freely build relationships with countries in a way that best serves the interests of the Syrian people.

Interviewer: On Wednesday, the rebels accused the Syrian government of using chemical weapons; some Western leaders adopted these accusations. What is your response to this? Will you allow the UN inspectors access to the site to investigate the incident?

President Assad
: The statements by the American administration, the West and other countries were made with disdain and blatant disrespect of their own public opinion; there isn’t a body in the world, let alone a superpower, that makes an accusation and then goes about collecting evidence to prove its point. The American administration made the accusation on Wednesday and two days later announced that they would start to collect the evidence - what evidence is it going to gather from afar?!

They claim that the area in question is under the control of the rebels and that the Syrian Army used chemical weapons. In fact, the area is in contiguity with the Syrian Army positions, so how is it possible that any country would use chemical weapons, or any weapons of mass destruction, in an area where its own forces are located; this is preposterous! These accusations are completely politicised and come on the back of the advances made by the Syrian Army against the terrorists.

As for the UN Commission, we were the first to request a UN investigation when terrorists launched rockets that carried toxic gas in the outskirts of Aleppo. Several months before the attack, American and Western statements were already preparing public opinion of the potential use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government. This raised our suspicion that they were aware of the terrorists’ intentions to use these weapons in order to blame the Syrian government. After liaising with Russia, we decided to request a commission to investigate the incident. Whereas we requested an investigation based on the facts on the ground, not on rumours or allegations; the US, France and the UK have tried to exploit the incident to investigate allegations rather than happenings.

During the last few weeks, we have worked with the Commission and set the guidelines for cooperation. First of these, is that our national sovereignty is a red line and as such the Commission will directly liaise with us during the process. Second, the issue is not only how the investigation will be conducted but also how the results will be interpreted. We are all aware that instead of being interpreted in an objective manner, these results could easily be interpreted according to the requirements and agendas of certain major countries. Certainly, we expect Russia to block any interpretation that aims to serve American and western policies. What is most important is that we differentiate between western accusations that are based on allegations and hearsay and our request for an investigation based on concrete evidence and facts.

Interviewer: Recent statements by the American administration and other Western governments have stated that the US has not ruled out military intervention in Syria. In light of this, is it looking more likely that the US would behave in the same way it did in Iraq, in other words look for a pretext for military intervention?

President Assad: This is not the first time that the possibility of military intervention has been raised. From the outset, the US, along with France and Britain, has strived for military intervention in Syria. Unfortunately for them, events took a different course with the balance shifting against their interests in the Security Council despite their numerous attempts to haggle with Russia and China, but to no avail. The negative outcomes that emerged in Libya and Egypt were also not in their favour. All of this made it impossible for them to convince their constituents and the world that they were following sound or successful policies.

The situation in Libya also differs to that of Egypt and Tunisia, and Syria as I have said is very different from all these. Each country has a unique situation and applying the same scenario across the board is no longer a plausible option. No doubt they can wage wars, but they cannot predict where they will spread or how they will end. This has led them to realise that all their crafted scenarios have now spiralled out of their control.

It is now crystal clear to everybody that what is happening in Syria is not a popular revolution pushing for political reform, but targeted terrorism aimed at destroying the Syrian state. What will they say to their people when pushing for military intervention: we are intervening in Syria to support terrorism against the state?!

Interviewer: What will America face should it decide on military intervention or on waging a war on Syria?

President Assad
: What it has been confronted with in every war since Vietnam… failure. America has waged many wars, but has never been able to achieve its political objectives from any of them. It will also not be able to convince the American people of the benefits of this war, nor will it be able to convince the people in this region of their policies and plans. Global powers can wage wars, but can they win them?

Interviewer: Mr. President, how is your relationship with President Vladimir Putin? Do you speak on the phone? If so, what do you discuss?

President Assad
: I have a strong relationship with President Putin, which spans back many years even before the crisis. We contact each other from time to time, although the complexity of events in Syria cannot be discussed on the phone. Our relationship is facilitated through Russian and Syrian officials who exchange visits, the majority of which are conducted away from the glare of the media.

Interviewer: Mr. President, are you planning to visit Russia or invite President Putin to visit Syria?

President Assad
: It is possible of course; however the current priorities are to work towards easing the violence in Syria, there are casualties on a daily basis. When circumstances improve, a visit will be necessary; for now, our officials are managing this relationship well.

Interviewer: Mr. President, Russia is opposing the US and EU policies, especially with regards to Syria, what would happen were Russia to make a compromise now? Is such a scenario possible?

President Assad
: Russian-American relations should not be viewed through the context of the Syrian crisis alone; it should be viewed in a broader and more comprehensive manner. The US presumed that with the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia was perpetually destroyed. After President Putin took office in the late 90s, Russia began to gradually recover and regain its international position; hence the Cold War began again, but in a different and subtler manner.

The US persisted on many fronts: striving to contain Russian interests in the world, attempting to influence the mentality of Russians closer to the West both in terms of culture and aspiration. It worked diligently to eliminate Russia’s vital and powerful role on many fronts, one of which is Syria.

You may be wondering, like many Russians, why Russia continues to stand by Syria. It is important to explain this reason to the general public: Russia is not defending President Bashar al-Assad or the Syrian government, since the Syrian people should decide their president and the most suitable political system – this is not the issue. Russia is defending the fundamental principles it has embraced for more than a hundred years, the first of which is independence and the policy of non-interference in internal affairs. Russia itself has suffered and continues to suffer from such interference.

Additionally, Russia is defending its legitimate interests in the region. Some superficial analysts narrow these interests to the Port of Tartous, but in reality Russia’s interests are far more significant. Politically speaking, when terrorism strikes Syria, a key country in the region, it would have a direct impact on stability in the Middle East, which would subsequently affect Russia. Unlike many western governments, the Russian leadership fully understands this reality. From a social and cultural perspective, we must not forget the tens of thousands of Syrian-Russian families, which create a social, cultural and humanitarian bridge between our two countries.

If Russia were to seek a compromise, as you stipulated, this would have happened one or two years ago when the picture was blurred, even for some Russian officials. Today, the picture is crystal clear. Russia that didn’t make a compromise back then, would not do so now.

Interviewer: Mr. President, are there any negotiations with Russia to supply fuel or military hardware to Syria? With regards to the S-300 defence system contract in particular, have you received it?

President Assad
: Of course, no country would publically declare what armaments and weapons it possesses, or the contracts it signs in this respect. This is strictly classified information concerning the Armed Forces. Suffice to say that all contracts signed with Russia are being honoured and neither the crisis nor the pressure from the US, European or Gulf countries’ have affected their implementation. Russia continues to supply Syria with what it requires to defend itself and its people.

Interviewer: Mr President, what form of aid does Syria require from Russia today? Is it financial or perhaps military equipment? For example would Syria request a loan from Russia?

President Assad
: In the absence of security on the ground, it is impossible to have a functioning and stable economy. So firstly, the support that Russia is providing through agreed military contracts to help Syrians defend themselves will lead to better security, which will in turn help facilitate an economic recovery. Secondly, Russia’s political support for our right of independence and sovereignty has also played a significant role. Many other countries have turned against us politically and translated this policy by cutting economic ties and closing their markets. Russia has done the complete opposite and continues to maintain good trading relations with us, which has helped keep our economy functioning. Therefore in response to your question, Russia’s supportive political stance and its commitment to honour the agreed military contracts without surrendering to American pressure have substantially aided our economy, despite the negative bearings the economic embargo - imposed by others, has had on the lives of the Syrian people.

From a purely economic perspective, there are several agreements between Syria and Russia for various goods and materials. As for a loan from Russia, this should be viewed as beneficial to both parties: for Russia it is an opportunity for its national industries and companies to expand into new markets, for Syria it provides some of the funding necessary to rebuild our infrastructure and stimulate our economy. I reiterate that Russia’s political stance and support have been instrumental in restoring security and providing the basic needs for the Syrian people.

Interviewer: Mr. President, do these contracts relate to fuel or basic food requirements?

President Assad: Syrian citizens are being targeted through their basic food, medical and fuel requirements. The Syrian government is working to ensure these basic needs are available to all Syrians through trade agreements with Russia and other friendly countries.

Interviewer: Returning to the situation in Syria and the current crisis. We are aware that you successively issue amnesties. Do these amnesties include rebels? And do some of them subsequently change sides to fight with the Armed Forces?

President Assad: Yes, this is in fact the case. Recently, there has been a marked shift, especially since the picture has become clearer to many that what is happening in Syria is sheer terrorism. Many have come back into the mainstream of civil life, surrendering their weapons and benefitting from the amnesties to help them return to their normal lives. Most remarkably, there are certain groups who have switched from fighting against the army to fighting beside it; these people were either misled by what was propagated in the media or were initially militarised under threats from the terrorists. It is for this very reason that from the start of the crisis, the Syrian government has adopted an open door policy to all those who wanted to U-turn on the initial route they took against their country. Despite the fact that many people in Syria were opposed to this policy, it has proven to be effective and has helped alleviate some of the tension from the crisis.

Interviewer: Mr. President, Syria’s relations with several states are collapsing consecutively, such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Who are your true allies, and who are your enemies?

President Assad:The countries that support us are well known to everyone: internationally - Russia and China, regionally - Iran. However, we are starting to see a positive shift on the international arena. Certain countries that were strongly against Syria have begun to change their positions; others have started to reinitiate relations with us. Of course, the changes in these countries’ positions do not constitute direct support.

In contrast, there are particular countries that have directly mobilised and buttressed terrorism in Syria. Predominantly Qatar and Turkey in the first two years; Qatar financed while Turkey provided logistical support by training terrorists and streaming them into Syria. Recently, Saudi Arabia has replaced Qatar in the funding role. To be completely clear and transparent, Saudi Arabia has nothing but funding; those who only have money cannot build a civilisation or nurture it. Saudi Arabia implements its agenda depending on how much money it commands.

Turkey is a different case. It is pitiful that a great country such as Turkey, which bears a strategic location and a liberal society, is being manipulated by a meagre amount of dollars through a Gulf state harbouring a regressive mentality. It is of course the Turkish Prime Minister who shoulders responsibility for this situation and not the Turkish people with whom we share a great deal of heritage and traditions.

Interviewer: Mr. President, what makes Russian-Syrian relations so strong? Is it geopolitical interests? Or that they jointly share a struggle against terrorism?

President Assad: There is more than one factor that forges Syrian-Russian relations so strongly. First of which is that Russia has suffered from occupation during World War II and Syria has been occupied more than once. Secondly, since the Soviet era, Russia has been subjected to continuous and repeated attempts of foreign intervention in its internal affairs; this is also the case with Syria.

Thirdly but no less significantly is terrorism. In Syria, we understand well what it means when extremists from Chechnya kill innocent civilians, what it means to hold under siege children and teachers in Beslan or hold innocent people hostage in Moscow’s theatre. Equally, the Russian people understand when we in Syria refer to the identical acts of terrorism they have suffered. It is for this reason that the Russian people reject the Western narrative of “good terrorists and bad terrorists.”

In addition to these areas, there are also the Syrian-Russian family ties I mentioned earlier, which would not have developed without common cultural, social and intellectual characteristics, as well as the geopolitical interests we also spoke of. Russia, unlike the Europeans and the West, is well aware of the consequences of destabilising Syria and the region and the affect this will have on the inexorable spread of terrorism.

All of these factors collectively shape the political stance of a great country like Russia. Its position is not founded on one or two elements, but rather by a comprehensive historical, cultural and intellectual perspective.

Interviewer: Mr. President, what will occur in Geneva 2, what are your expectations from this conference?

President Assad: The objective of the Geneva conference is to support the political process and facilitate a political solution to the crisis. However, this cannot be accomplished before halting the foreign support to terrorism. We expect that the Geneva conference would start applying pressure on the countries supporting terrorism in Syria, to stop the smuggling of weapons and the streaming of foreign terrorists into the country. When this is achieved, political steps can be easily pursued, most imperative of which is initiating a dialogue between Syrians to discuss the future political system, the constitution, various legislations and others.

Interviewer: Thank you for your sincerity and for such a transparent discussion during this interview.

Hysteria around chemical attack suits those who want military intervention in Syria - Lavrov

Syria: US-al-Qaeda-Zionist coalition gets its way - war against Syria appears inevitable

According to RT the 'Syrian' insurgents have now used the excuse of the (false flag) chemical attack to refuse to attend the Geneva II conference:

We refused to speak about Geneva after what's happened. We must punish this dictator, Bashar the Chemist we call him, and then we can discuss Geneva," coalition Secretary General Badr Jamous told Reuters, after a meeting with international opposition backers Friends of Syria in Istanbul. 

This is exactly what happened in Bosnia: when the Bosnian-Serbs won the civil war, the Ango-Zionist Empire intervened to impose its will.  The same thing is happening now in Syria.

As for the pretext, its a hybrid of Bosnia and Iraq: a massacre (Srebrenica) and chemical weapons (Saddam's non existing WMDs).

It appears that US-al-Qaeda-Zionist coalition gets its way - war against Syria appears inevitable.

And nobody seems to care.  I am disgusted beyond words.  The blood which is about to be shed falls on those who for two years now have been cheering on the insurgency and its Capitalist-Wahabi-Zionist patrons.

The Saker

A credible report about what happened at the recent meetings between Russian officials and Saudi intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan

First, here is the report as published by Information Clearing House translating As-Safir.  I have just bolded out the particularly important parts.  This is the text in-extenso:
A diplomatic report about the “stormy meeting” in July between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan concluded that the region stretching from North Africa to Chechnya and from Iran to Syria — in other words, the entire Middle East — has come under the influence of an open US-Russian face-off and that “it is not unlikely that things [will] take a dramatic turn in Lebanon, in both the political and security senses, in light of the major Saudi decision to respond to Hezbollah’s involvement in the Syrian crisis.”

The report starts by presenting the conditions under which the Russian-Saudi meeting was convened. It states that Prince Bandar, in coordination with the Americans and some European partners, proposed to Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz that Bandar visit Moscow and employ the carrot-and-stick approach, which is used in most negotiators, and offer the Russian leadership political, economic, military and security enticements in return for concessions on several regional issues, in particular Syria and Iran.

King Abdullah agreed with the proposal and contacted President Putin on July 30. In a conversation that lasted only a few minutes, they agreed to Bandar’s visit and to keep it under wraps. Bandar arrived in Moscow. The visit was secret. The Saudi Embassy did not follow the usual protocol for Saudi officials visiting Russia.

In Moscow, a preliminary session was held at Russian military intelligence headquarters between Bandar and the director of Russian Military Intelligence, Gen. Igor Sergon. The meeting focused on security cooperation between the two countries. Bandar then visited Putin’s house on the outskirts of the Russian capital, where they held a closed-door bilateral meeting that lasted four hours. They discussed the agenda, which consisted of bilateral issues and a number of regional and international matters in which the two countries share interest.

Bilateral relations

At the bilateral level, Bandar relayed the Saudi king’s greetings to Putin and the king’s emphasis on the importance of developing the bilateral relationship. He also told Putin that the king would bless any understanding reached during the visit. Bandar also said, however, that “any understanding we reach in this meeting will not only be a Saudi-Russian understanding, but will also be an American-Russian understanding. I have spoken with the Americans before the visit, and they pledged to commit to any understandings that we may reach, especially if we agree on the approach to the Syrian issue.”

Bandar stressed the importance of developing relations between the two countries, saying that the logic of interests can reveal large areas of cooperation. He gave several examples in the economic, investment, oil and military arenas.

Bandar told Putin, “There are many common values ​​and goals that bring us together, most notably the fight against terrorism and extremism all over the world. Russia, the US, the EU and the Saudis agree on promoting and consolidating international peace and security. The terrorist threat is growing in light of the phenomena spawned by the Arab Spring. We have lost some regimes. And what we got in return were terrorist experiences, as evidenced by the experience of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the extremist groups in Libya. ... As an example, I can give you a guarantee to protect the Winter Olympics in the city of Sochi on the Black Sea next year. The Chechen groups that threaten the security of the games are controlled by us, and they will not move in the Syrian territory’s direction without coordinating with us. These groups do not scare us. We use them in the face of the Syrian regime but they will have no role or influence in Syria’s political future.”

Putin thanked King Abdullah for his greetings and Bandar for his exposition, but then he said to Bandar, “We know that you have supported the Chechen terrorist groups for a decade. And that support, which you have frankly talked about just now, is completely incompatible with the common objectives of fighting global terrorism that you mentioned. We are interested in developing friendly relations according to clear and strong principles.”

Bandar said that the matter is not limited to the kingdom and that some countries have overstepped the roles drawn for them, such as Qatar and Turkey. He added, “We said so directly to the Qataris and to the Turks. We rejected their unlimited support to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and elsewhere. The Turks’ role today has become similar to Pakistan’s role in the Afghan war. We do not favor extremist religious regimes, and we wish to establish moderate regimes in the region. It is worthwhile to pay attention to and to follow up on Egypt’s experience. We will continue to support the [Egyptian] army, and we will support Defense Minister Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi because he is keen on having good relations with us and with you. And we suggest to you to be in contact with him, to support him and to give all the conditions for the success of this experiment. We are ready to hold arms deals with you in exchange for supporting these regimes, especially Egypt.”

Economic and oil cooperation

Then Bandar discussed the potential cooperation between the two countries if an understanding could be reached on a number of issues, especially Syria. He discussed at length the matter of oil and investment cooperation, saying, “Let us examine how to put together a unified Russian-Saudi strategy on the subject of oil. The aim is to agree on the price of oil and production quantities that keep the price stable in global oil markets. ... We understand Russia’s great interest in the oil and gas present in the Mediterranean Sea from Israel to Cyprus through Lebanon and Syria. And we understand the importance of the Russian gas pipeline to Europe. We are not interested in competing with that. We can cooperate in this area as well as in the areas of establishing refineries and petrochemical industries. The kingdom can provide large multi-billion-dollar investments in various fields in the Russian market. What’s important is to conclude political understandings on a number of issues, particularly Syria and Iran.”

Putin responded that the proposals about oil and gas, economic and investment cooperation deserve to be studied by the relevant ministries in both countries.

Syria first

Bandar discussed the Syrian issue at length. He explained how the kingdom’s position had evolved on the Syrian crisis since the Daraa incident all the way to what is happening today. He said, “The Syrian regime is finished as far as we and the majority of the Syrian people are concerned. [The Syrian people] will not allow President Bashar al-Assad to remain at the helm. The key to the relations between our two countries starts by understanding our approach to the Syrian issue. So you have to stop giving [the Syrian regime] political support, especially at the UN Security Council, as well as military and economic support. And we guarantee you that Russia’s interests in Syria and on the Mediterranean coast will not be affected one bit. In the future, Syria will be ruled by a moderate and democratic regime that will be directly sponsored by us and that will have an interest in understanding Russia's interests and role in the region.”

Russia’s intransigence is to Iran’s benefit

Bandar also presented Saudi Arabia’s views about Iran’s role in the region, especially in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Yemen, Bahrain and other countries. He said he hoped that the Russians would understand that Russia's interests and the interests of the Gulf states are one in the face of Iranian greed and nuclear challenge.

Putin gave his country’s position on the Arab Spring developments, especially about what has happened in Libya, saying, “We are very concerned about Egypt. And we understand what the Egyptian army is doing. But we are very cautious in approaching what’s happening because we are afraid that things may slide toward an Egyptian civil war, which would be too costly for the Egyptians, the Arabs and the international community. I wanted to do a brief visit to Egypt. And the matter is still under discussion.”

Regarding Iran, Putin said to Bandar that Iran is a neighbor, that Russia and Iran are bound by relations that go back centuries, and that there are common and tangled interests between them. Putin said, “We support the Iranian quest to obtain nuclear fuel for peaceful purposes. And we helped them develop their facilities in this direction. Of course, we will resume negotiations with them as part of the 5P+1 group. I will meet with President Hassan Rouhani on the sidelines of the Central Asia summit and we will discuss a lot of bilateral, regional and international issues. We will inform him that Russia is completely opposed to the UN Security Council imposing new sanctions on Iran. We believe that the sanctions imposed against Iran and Iranians are unfair and that we will not repeat the experience again.”

Erdogan to visit Moscow in September

Regarding the Turkish issue, Putin spoke of his friendship with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan; “Turkey is also a neighboring country with which we have common interests. We are keen to develop our relations in various fields. During the Russian-Turkish meeting, we scrutinized the issues on which we agree and disagree. We found out that we have more converging than diverging views. I have already informed the Turks, and I will reiterate my stance before my friend Erdogan, that what is happening in Syria necessitates a different approach on their part. Turkey will not be immune to Syria’s bloodbath. The Turks ought to be more eager to find a political settlement to the Syrian crisis. We are certain that the political settlement in Syria is inevitable, and therefore they ought to reduce the extent of damage. Our disagreement with them on the Syrian issue does not undermine other understandings between us at the level of economic and investment cooperation. We have recently informed them that we are ready to cooperate with them to build two nuclear reactors. This issue will be on the agenda of the Turkish prime minister during his visit to Moscow in September.”

Putin: Our stance on Assad will not change

Regarding the Syrian issue, the Russian president responded to Bandar, saying, “Our stance on Assad will never change. We believe that the Syrian regime is the best speaker on behalf of the Syrian people, and not those liver eaters. During the Geneva I Conference, we agreed with the Americans on a package of understandings, and they agreed that the Syrian regime will be part of any settlement. Later on, they decided to renege on Geneva I. In all meetings of Russian and American experts, we reiterated our position. In his upcoming meeting with his American counterpart John Kerry, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will stress the importance of making every possible effort to rapidly reach a political settlement to the Syrian crisis so as to prevent further bloodshed.”

As soon as Putin finished his speech, Prince Bandar warned that in light of the course of the talks, things were likely to intensify, especially in the Syrian arena, although he appreciated the Russians’ understanding of Saudi Arabia’s position on Egypt and their readiness to support the Egyptian army despite their fears for Egypt's future.

The head of the Saudi intelligence services said that the dispute over the approach to the Syrian issue leads to the conclusion that “there is no escape from the military option, because it is the only currently available choice given that the political settlement ended in stalemate. We believe that the Geneva II Conference will be very difficult in light of this raging situation.”

At the end of the meeting, the Russian and Saudi sides agreed to continue talks, provided that the current meeting remained under wraps. This was before one of the two sides leaked it via the Russian press.


OK, this time I hope that what I call the "Russia-skeptics"  will read this very carefully and finally admit to themselves that Russia under Putin is not Russia under Medvedev, much less so Russia under Eltsin or the old Soviet Union.  To the "Russia-skeptics: I want say this:

Guys, I do really understand that the present and the future have to be judged based on the experience provided to us by the past, but only as long as lesson from the past are clearly applicable.  In a fundamentally new situation focusing solely on lessons from the past can lead you to overlook crucial changes and developments.

While I have no idea how/where As-Safir got this report, I will say that judging by its contents this is the real thing, or something very close to it.  Besides, all this report does is put in words what we have seen Putin do ever since he came back to power.  So while the source is impossible to rate, this report is fully consistent with all the other information sources I have.  And the key element here is this: Putin and the "Eurasian Sovereignists" are *not* interested integrating Russia into the Anglo-lead unipolar international system.  This is why all the 'carrots' offered by Bandar do not tempt them.  It is absolutely crucial that anybody wanting to understand what the Kremlin does be fully aware of that.  Yes, Eltsin was 100% a US puppet.  And Medvedev was "sort of a 60/40% pro-US" too.  With Putin we are dealing with a solid, firm and highly principled 100% anti "US New World Order" leader.  What Putin - and China's Xi Jinping - want is a multi-polar international order under the rule of law and without any central hegemon.  This is why Russia (and China) will not, repeat, not yield on Assad.  This is not about Syria any more, its not even about Syria as a first step towards Iran and Iran as a first step towards the Caucasus.  It's about a much bigger picture in which both Russia and China have concluded that the current international order is an existential threat to both of these countries and that it is therefore absolutely and categorically not acceptable.

Then, of course, on a operational level it is also about Syria as a first step to Iran and Iran as a first step to Russia.  And, on a tactical level, it also about Syria itself, seen as an ally of Russia which Russia cannot simply dump.  But on a macro - or strategic level - is about the right (or not) of a single power like the USA to intervene wherever the hell it wants and remove any regime it does not like.

However, there is one thing which Russia will not do to support Syria and that is go to war for it.  Frankly, Syria is not worth a war between the USA and Russia.  Russia will only go to war if it is directly threatened or attacked.  The choice is much harder for Iran which fully understands and shares Russia's and China's desire for a different international order, but for which the outcome of the war in Syria has a much more immediate importance.  Not only has Hezbollah clearly and unambiguously indicated that it will never allow Assad to be replaced by Wahabi liver-eaters, but one could make a good case that since a Assad defeat would signal an inevitable war on Iran, the Iranians might want to defend the Syrians and not let the US take them one by one.  My personal feeling is that Iran would be willing to intervene in Syria if the US/NATO aggression becomes strategically meaningful.  Should that happen I am certain that Russia will put all its capabilities short of an overt military intervention to come to the aid of Iran.

The Syria->Hezbollah->Iran->Russia de-facto alliance is a very interesting one.  It is an alliance of relatively weak countries against one hyper-power, but one which makes the progress along this axis harder and harder as you go along, thereby deterring any action against the weaker one.  This is a very sophisticated defense posture and it has, so far, been very effective.  The problem is that the US foreign policy is quite literally hijacked by absolutely crazy folks, intoxicated by delusions of power and who just cannot walk away from a struggle they cannot win in the long term.  Sadly, this probably means that the resilience of this alliance will be tested.  My personal prediction is that it will hold.  I am frankly not all that confident about Assad himself, though he has done far better than I expected, but I have a great deal of confidence in Hassan Nasrallah, Ali Khamenei and Vladimir Putin.  I also expect Xi Jinping to deliver if things get ugly.

While very bad events are probably imminent, I hope that all of you will maintain some degree of hope for the mid to long term.  Simply put: the Resistance has never been stronger than now, and we can count on some truly exceptional leaders to do the right thing.

The Saker

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Russian TV report shows insurgent chemical weapons lab seized by Syrian forces

The video below is the footage shown on Russian TV of the chemical weapons laboratory recently seized by Syrian government forces in the Ghouta neighborhood of Damascus.  The footage has been taken by a crew of reporters from the Izvestia newspaper and is here shown with a voiceover commentary by the Rossia 1 "Vesti" news report.  I am sorry that I cannot provide a translation for the commentary, but I really have no time for that at all.  I hope that some of you do understand enough Russian and that the images will "speak a thousand words" for the rest of you.

The Saker 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

US fabricated excuses for military intervention from Markale to Ghouta?

One of the labels which I have been using more and more recently is the "Bosnia v5 Chechnia v4 Kosovo v3 Libya v2 Syria v1" which refers to the fact that the Empire uses exactly the same trick over and over again to justify its military aggressions.

Though history is replete with false flag attacks, the end of the Cold War saw a systematization of a specific complex of measures designed to give a sophisticated illusion of an undeniable fact.  Here is how this works:

I will present a theoretical model and one example:

First, a high-visibility target is identified.  During the war in Bosnia, the most "visible" location was the city of Sarajevo, and the most "visible" location inside Sarajevo was the Markale market.  By "visible" I, of course, mean "visible to the media".

Second, a specific moment is chosen for the attack.  It can be right before or after a crucial negotiation, it can be made to coincide with an election, it can be matched to a religious or secular holiday or whatever other optimal moment in time is preferred.  In Bosnia the first "Markale market massacre" was intended to justify the use of NATO airpower against Bosnian-Serb artillery position while the second Markale market massacre was intended to justify a second wave of airstrikes against Bosnian-Serb forces.

Third, the actual false flag attack is conducted with the triple aim of having a maximum amount of killed civilians, to secure the maximal amount of media coverage and to coincide with the exact moment when the forces needed for the military intervention are ready.  The need for this maximization of casualties and coverage is explained by the fact that enough military specialists on the ground will inevitable have the expertise to see through the false flag and try to challenge the official version.  In Bosnia, the official narrative about the Bosnian-Serb responsibility was almost immediately challenged by no less than the UNPROFOR Commander Sir Michael Rose (for the first massacre) and by the UNPORFOR Sarajevo Intelligence Chief Colonel Andrei Demurenko (for the second massacre).  And, just in case anybody has doubts about this, I would note here that the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia has had to acquit the Bosnian-Serbs initially charged with the crime.

Finally, even if the accusation is absolutely ridiculous (like Gaddafi giving Viagra to his soldiers to rape Libyan woman), the vast majority of Western politicians will go along with it just to avoid appearing not "strong" enough "on" whatever entity dares to resist the Empire.

As for those who actually conducted the attack, all they need is "plausible deniability" (a CIA-coined expression meaning that it is possible that the US was not behind the attack).  I would even say that all the Empire needs is "short term plausible deniability" just because even if with time the false flag nature of the attack is proven beyond reasonable doubt, nobody cares.

Think of 9/11.  By now the fact that the destruction of WTC1, WTC2 and WTC7 was caused by controlled demolition has been proven beyond any reasonable doubt.  I would even argue that the US government has implicitly admitted to this through its NIST report on WTC1 and WTC2 and almost explicitly admitted that through its report on WTC7.  So what?  Does anybody even care by now?  Of course not.

Most of the imperial false flag operations have been debunked, in most cases rather rapidly.  But in a world ruled by political expediency and, let's be honest, an almost total indifference to the very concept of "truth", that kind of debunking, while historically important, is operationally easy to ignore.  "We lied?  So what?  Whatcha gonna do about it".  After Saddams non-existing WMD the very notion that being caught lying is a problem has vanished.  Now the imperial politicians can lie all they want, with no consequences for that at all.

Which brings me to so-called "Ghouta" chemical attacks.

Key imperial politicians, Fabius in France, but also UK and Sweden and others, have already stated that this was an attack by Syrian forces.  They were in such a hurry to apportion blame that they could not even wait for any investigation.  They just "knew"!  Fabius even said that the guilty party should be punished by "force", but something tells me that he did not mean bombing the insurgents should the UN report blame them.  Besides, France is *already* bombing al-Qaeda in Mali, how could it possibly do the same thing in Syria were al-Qaeda are the "good guys"?

According to the Anglo media, the US is preparing for cruise missile strikes.

Now, to understand what that really means, one has to understand what cruise missiles stand for in the collective psyche of the US Democrats: Democrats use cruise missiles not only to destroy a target, but also to simply "appear strong" and get the Republicans off their backs.  I am thus quite sure that even if the White House fully understands that the Syrian military did not use chemicals 2 days after the arrival of the UN investigation team (if only because the attack might have been organized by the CIA), this will not at all prevent Obama to launch a series of cruise missile strikes just to appear strong, macho, with hair on his chest.  It will be easy to tell, by the way:

If the White House launches a sustained cruise missile strike campaign of at least 5 days, with each round of damage assessment followed by repeat attacks - then they are trying to intervene militarily on the side of the insurgency and tip the balance on the ground.

If the White House launches a one time series of cruise missile strikes lasting 24 or less, and then declares victory and stops, then its just a way to deal with the crazy Republicans and Neocons who always want blood, blood and more blood.

Finally, if the White House orders no strikes at all, then this means that this false flag operation was not a US or NATO one, but an "independent" effort of Wahabi crazies, probably with Saudi or Qatari complicity.

We shall know very soon.

The Saker