By The Saker
Oh boy, that did not take long. As I wrote in February, the Neocons and the US deep state have completely neutered Trump. Just look at these two headlines from RT (and read the articles):
Frankly, I feel like saying “QED – I rest my case” and stop writing here. But I won’t – this is too serious.
First, let’s set the context. The Syrians gave up their chemical weapons three years ago (courtesy of Russia). The Syrians have also pretty much defeated the Anglo-Zionist-Wahabi aggression against their country (courtesy of Russia, again). There is a new (kind of) US Administration in power (some say that this was also courtesy of Russia) which appeared to have given up on overthrowing Assad. And right at this moment in time, in what is supposed to be a *pure coincidence*.
1. The Syrian forces used chemical weaponsIn a location filled with children
2. In a location filled with children
3. and a lot of folks with cameras
How stupid do they think we are?
But, of course, it’s not about us. It’s about Trump. And he, alas, is proving to be the overcooked noodle he has been since, well, pretty much day 1 and ever since: flaccid, confused and spineless. And yeah, he appears be stupid alright, especially so-called “plan” to defeat Daesh (more about that below).
And nevermind that Russian experts have been warning for along time that the “good terrorists” had chemical munitions. Nah! Who cares? besides, these are the same evil Russkies who have now been “unmasked” courtesy of a CIA report about “foreign agents”.
We all know that Anglo-Zionists are peace loving, shy and generally kind people. This is why we think of them as the “Axis of Kindness”. The only way to really force their hand and make them use their “best military in the world” is to show them dead children. Like in Kuwait, in Bosnia, in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and now Syria. That, and women raped for political reasons (Bosnia, Libya – soon in Syria I suppose). Good thing that the latest atrocity of the “Syrian regime” came in daylight and involved lots of horribly dying children!
Now the Americans will get to destroy the village to save it.
Except they won’t.
There have been plenty of articles speculating about what the “Trump plan” for defeating ISIS/Daesh will be. I won’t even bother listing them here. In plain English his plan is, how should I put it, not very complex:
- Increase the number of US troops already present in Syria
- Offer the Kurds their own autonomous region in exchange for acting like cannon-fodder for Uncle Sam
- Liberate Raqqa as a tangible sign of success
In truth, there is nothing new here. It’s is just a re-heated version of the very same plan Obama had(great minds think alike, and so do the not so great, apparently).
Can you see the problem with this plan?
Let me help here. Problem #1 – no UNSC Resolution will back it. Neither will the Syrian government. But who cares, right? We already know that Nikki Haley thinks about that: once again the US will arrogantly violate international law under the pretext of “being compelled to take action”. Welcome back to Bosnia and Croatia! It’s 1994 again! We now live in the era of the “RTP – responsibility to protect”. International Law, RIP. But that is only a ‘minor’ problem. The real problem is simple:
Besides the Syrians themselves, the Russians, the Iranians and the Turks are categorically against such a plan. And these four countries just happen to represent the overwhelming military force in Syria, and all of them *already* have boots on the ground (and air defense systems). For Turkey especially, such a plan is a casus belli, they have said so many times. I am no big fan of Turkey or Erdogan (although I do like the Turkish people themselves), but I have to admit that should Trump go ahead with this goofy plan he will live no other choice then to chose between war or civil war. Mostly likely a combo of both.
Then there are the Kurds. Actually, in many ways I feel sorry for them and I admire them. But they have to realize the enormous dangers of accepting the US plan. First, that means that they will be the frontline cannon-fodder against Daesh which happens to be one of the best trained and experienced infantry force in the region. But worse, do the Kurds really commit the same historical mistake as the Albanian of Kosovo who have 100% linked their future with Camp Bondsteel and who will be instantly re-invaded by the Serbia as soon as NATO or the US leave (which they will, sooner or later, inevitably).
There is a reason why the US always supports minorities everywhere: because by accepting and relying on that support these minorities always become completely dependent upon the USA. That, in turn, means that the US can then use these minorities in any way they want “or else”. And, since sooner or later the Americans leaves, the “or else” inevitably and always happen.
I submit that it would be the hight of folly for the Kurds to commit the same mistake. Yes, sure, they want their autonomy and/or their own country. But they have to realize that the only viable way to achieve either objective is by negotiations with their neighbors, not some ignorant US official who will forget about them as soon as he is done promising them the moon. I would remind the Kurd of a time-honored US tradition here: as soon as things get ugly, the Americans “declare victory and leave”.
That also means that the Kurds might have to settle for less than what they want. Politics is the art of the possible. But if the choice is some viable limited autonomy vs full independence followed by an inevitable war against Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria then I think that the former is the best possible outcome. But even if we assume that the Kurds decide to try the “Kosovar option”.
Iran is the number one military power on the ground. And Hezbollah. The Syrians are struggling, I will admit to that. But they are holding and making incremental efforts, some of their best units are actually pretty good. As for the skies over Syria – they are Russian.
So far, the Americans have not re-heated the “no fly zone” concept, but they might as well, since their entire plan is idiotic to the extreme. Besides, I simply cannot imagine US generals agreeing to deploy their forces in Syria without air cover (in case you did not know, the US solider cannot fight without air cover. He just won’t. It’s “air cover for me or I don’t fight”). However, air cover for the US forces in Syria imply either a tacit agreement with the Russians and the Syrians, something like what the Israelis apparently have, or an immense risk for the USAF and USN aircraft. So we are back to negotiating with the Russians and via the Russians, with the Syrians.
In fact, I bet you that this is what the Americans are doing right now. Quietly negotiating with the Russians. Problem: the Neocons hate Russia and everything Russian. And they loathe Putin. So how does the State Department or the White House negotiate with the Russians while, at the very same time, Congress, the US media and the CIA are all engaging into a hysterical and paranoid hate-campaign against Russia?
So here is Trump’s conundrum: he desperately needs the real enemies of Daesh – Russia, Iran and Syria – to agree to his plan but at the same time, he is too much of a whip to tackle the hate campaign against, well, Russia, Iran and Syria inside the United States.
The Neocons, apparently backed by the CIA and the Pentagon, want to go at it solo: just shoot up all of Syria “OK Corral” style and they seem to be convinced that they can somehow scare the Russians, the Iranians and the Syrian into submission. If so, then they are both stupid and ignorant. Or, there is even a worse possibility: the Neocons *know* that this plan will end up in disaster, but they want Trump to go to war anyway because that will destroy his presidency. That is almost elegant, in a perverted way.
What is sure is that you will never see a Neocon in frontline combat. Neither they nor their kids will die no matter what they do. Or so they think. This is one of the main reasons why these Neocons are the single biggest danger for the United States and the American people: they despise the real American people and they won’t hesitate to sacrifice them, in large numbers if needed (9/11 anybody?).
This is why so many Americans voted for Trump and his promise “to drain the swamp”.
Alas, the swamp drained Trump and all is back to “normal”.
So what happens next? My fervent hope: nothing. Absolutely nothing. As long as the Americans are all talk and as long as they don’t actually do anything, there could be real progress in Syria (Daesh is already loosing the war!). I hope that the Kurds will, you know, “kinda, sort of, give it a try” and then stop before things go critical. Should the Kurds really decide to fight for Uncle Sam, I hope that they will keep in mind that the US will dump them as soon as Raqqa is liberated simply because really creating some kind of autonomy for the Kurds against the will of Syria, Iran and, most importantly, Turkey could result in Erdogan really slamming the door on NATO and Turkey leaving the alliance. Should that happen the only option left for Turkey would be some kind of understanding, and maybe even alliance, with Russia and Iran. The various domino effect scenarios are almost infinite and nothing is really impossible.
Right now the Americans are still sort of busy liberating Mosul. I suppose if they stay at it long enough they will eventually succeed, at least for a while. I don’t see them really controlling the city for very long. They might build a US ‘consular fortress’ like in Bagdad or Kabul, but that will not mean that they control the city. If they intend to liberate Raqqa as long as they took to liberate Mosul then this can continue for a long, long while.
There is a scarier possibility: the US begins its operation in Syria, runs into problems, and then begins the endless cycle of escalations and doubling-down. Sooner or later, that means clashing with the Russians and that could turn ugly very fast. A direct clash with Iran with equally unpredictable consequences. If that happens, a lot of Americans will die.
Assuming that there still is somebody rational and sane left in the Trump administration with enough influence, then all this madness can still be stopped. There is also the very real possibility that the current fight inside the US elites will drain so much energy that nobody will really have to time and energy to engage in very risky foreign military operations. And if all else fails, maybe somebody will suggest to Trump that a unilateral military intervention in Syria is pure folly and will cost him his presidency. Maybe this is an argument which he will understand.
2018 will be a very tough year. I don’t think that there is any hope left for a real change in US policies and I am afraid that we are going to have to learn how to live with some kind of Obama 2.0 or some other form of “neo-neoconism”.
It felt really good to hope for a while. Now we have to accept that our hopes never materialized and resume the struggle.
PS: I just learned that, just as I had predicted, Bannon has been removed from the US National Security Council. See for yourself: https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2017-04-05/bannon-removed-from-national-security-council-role-in-shakeup. Now the coup against Trump is fully completed. And Bloomberg celebrates “Intelligence director, Joint Chiefs chairman elevated”. Yeah, no kidding! It’s over folks, the Neocons have totally crushed Trump. And he did not even given them a halfway decent fight…
Commentary Mag is already celebrating: https://www.commentarymagazine.com/politics-ideas/step-toward-rational-national-security-council/ like it’s Purim all over again.