Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Reflections on the Israel-Iran standoff

World War 3 averted - for now?
It is by no means certain that the Russians would come to the aid of Iran

I am taking a pause today from prolific reporting on the extremely dangerous situation in Syria and the evident move towards Israel waging war against Iran to briefly report some of the developments of the last 24 hours and try to make sense of what is going on.

I have just coming from listening to a little of AMTV coverage of the situation which is well-meaning and broadly correct but falls into a trap which I have fallen into in the past of seeing things in simple terms of Right vs Wrong, of an alliance of the West and its Sunni terrorist factions on the one hand against Syria, Iran, Hezbollah and Russia on the other.

I have been told, going back to the days with Mike Ruppert, that if, say, Iran, is attacked, Russia would come to their aid because they are allies.

But is this so?

I have noticed that there are so many convoluted webs in this, not the least Turkey, which plays a double game - involved, as they are, in the Astana peace negotiations with Iran and Russia but invading Syrian and Iraqi territory to carry on their agenda of trying to defeat the Kurds (and where do they stand in all this?) while defending western airstrikes and continuing to say: "Assad must go".

Israel, as we know, plays a completely duplicitous game which seems to revolve around "Greater Israel" (or its "national security" if you choose to see it that way).

I recall my brother-in-law saying 35 years ago that Ariel Sharon would defend Israel's "national security" right to the gates of Baghdad.  I have always thought that was incredibly insightful and prescient.

Now I am coming to see that Russia has to be added to that list, and that their strategies and actions are far from straightforward.

We have seen how effective the Soviet-era Pantsir missiles were in bringing down American Tomahawk cruise missiles, something that was singularly spectacular. So, the question would have to be asked as to why the Syrian government has been just as spectacularly incapable of defending their sovereignty against what have been repeated acts of war against not only Syria,but also Iran.

It has not escaped my attention that, apart from reporting the bare facts, there has been a silence around the attacks against Syrian positions near Hama and Aleppo that produced such as huge explosion that killed many people, including Iranians.

Most noticeable has been that alternative media outlets close to the Russian position, such as Russia Insider and the Duran, which I have always looked to for serious comment, have remained silent more than 48 hours after Monday's attack, which in my view was far more dangerous than the tripartate airstrikes against Syria, notably involving Iran and Israel, two countries that mean business.

The Duran today is relitigating things like the Skripal affair, about which there is very little to add, and is full of justifiable moral outrage about Bibi Netanyahu's lies.

But moral outrage is about as far as it seems to get when it comes to Russia.

Russia and Lavrov have expressed moral outrage over the recent illegal act of aggression against Syria, but when it came down to it stood aside after threats to sink any ships and did not intervene in any way, something that surprised us all.

More than that, I have heard the contention (unverified as far as I am concerned) that the Russians and the Americans negotiated so that no Russian interests would be hit.

With the demonstated ability of the Syrians to shoot down incoming missiles, even without the S-300, it has long been a riddle as to why the Syrians have not only been incapable of intercepting incoming Israeli missiles but have never retaliated against egregious aggresssion.

I have seen arguments that say that the Russian systems are just not up to it, but I do not think that is the case.

Today, I heard Steven ben-Noon say that in his view, the Russians and the Israelis are allies and that the Russians have told Assad: "don't you dare retailiate against Israel".

I have no way to confirm or deny that, but I have also heard, on a personal level, that Vladimir Putin has a tremendous admiration for Bibi Netanyahu and would, despite some threats that seem to be mostly empty, would never act against the most aggressive player in the region - bar-none (except maybe the Saudis and the Turks).

This would certainly help to explain why there has never been any retaliation against Israeli aggression, and Russia's silence over the latest events.

There has been a lot of talk about the Russians supplying the Syrians with S-300's with the Israeli security site, Debka Files even claiming that Russian ships were already in port supplying the weapons.

We all thought the Russians were going to supply the weapons gratis, but this talk seems to have died down and we hear that the decision has not yet been made.

Today I came across this tweet:

Apparently has scrapped its promises to supply with the S-300 AGAIN. This is NOT a confirmed report but rather an expectation.

Looking at things as they stand today it does not look at all good for peace in the Middle East. 

Here are some of the headlines of the last 24 hours. Note how most come from israeli media which, despite everything, shines more light on events than anywhere else.

As Knesset kicks off summer session, 62 MKs back, 41 oppose law spearheaded by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and Avi Dichter permitting cabinet to launch military operations without government approval, and in extreme cases, only requires green light from prime minister and defense minister; 'We must adapt ourselves to the present state security requirements,' Shaked says.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei calls on US to 'leave' Middle East, says any power challenging Islamic republic will be defeated; US 'provoking region's inexperienced rulers to create further regional crisis'; in meeting with Iranian lawmaker, Syrian President Assad says region's maps being redrawn, 'hostile countries now trying direct aggression after proxies failed.'

Israel has just announced that the skies over the Golan, Upper Galilee and areas east of the Jordanian River are closed to civilian flights up until the end of May.

Officials believe Israel should strike Iran if Tehran carries out attacks against population centers through Syria or Hezbollah. Defense officials, on the other hand, caution against taking the conflict out of Syria's borders

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu used a speech at Israel’s annual Holocaust commemorations on Wednesday to call for action against Syria following a suspected poison gas attack

When pressed on Israel’s own nuclear capability, the prime minister repeatedly refused to directly answer the question and only said that he did not seek war with Iran.

I’ll tell you one thing, we’ve never called for the annihilation of any country,” Netanyahu told CNN’s “New Day” host Chris Cuomo. “Nobody is seeking that kind of development.”

While one might expect Russiato weigh in on the side of their allies, Syria and iran, given all of the factors above, I would not be surprised if Russia stood aside and we might be looking at a repeitition of the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

I am coming around more and more with every day to the position of Paul Craig Roberts, who says that Russia's determination to do everything in its power to avoid a global conflagration is laudable, but in fact equates to a policy of appeasement. 

This will, if true, encourage further acts of aggression and further false flags, such as the recent "chemical attacks" in Douma, until Russia is painted into a corner and confronted with aggression on its own territory and will have no alternative but to throw everything it has (nuclear weapons) in response.

This is not a question of ethics or right vs wrong. In fact, from a moral point-of-view it is right.

We have to understand that Russia definitively has right on its side and acts out of its own national self-interest and despite having a distinct technological advantage has to rely on this effectiveness as it has to rely on a military budge that is a small fraction of that of the Anglo-zionist Empire.

I suggest you take the time to listen to this interview with Dr. Roberts from before the recent airstrikes, in which he shows actions Russia could have taken to face down western aggression.

There is one story from today that indicates how that scenario that so frightens Dr. Roberts could potentially come about.

President Poroshenko cheers arrival of 'long-awaited weapons'

I fear that we are going to hear a lot more about events in Ukraine in coming weeks

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