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- Category: North Amerika
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- Category: North Amerika
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- Category: North Amerika
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- Category: North Amerika
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First published September 19, 2017
UPDATE: On the morning of September 21st Phil Giraldi was fired over the phone by http://www.theamericanconservative.com/about-us/']);">The American Conservative, where he had been a regular contributor for fourteen years. He was told that “America’s Jews Are Driving America’s Wars” was unacceptable. The TAC management and board appear to have forgotten that the magazine was launched with an article by founder Pat Buchanan entitled http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/whose-war/']);">“Whose War?” which largely made the same claims that Giraldi made about the Jewish push for another war, in that case with Iraq. Buchanan was vilified and denounced as an anti-Semite by many of the same people who are now similarly attacking Giraldi.
I spoke recently at a conference on America’s war party where afterwards an elderly gentleman came up to me and asked, “Why doesn’t anyone ever speak honestly about the six-hundred-pound gorilla in the room? Nobody has mentioned Israel in this conference and we all know it’s American Jews with all their money and power who are supporting every war in the Middle East for Netanyahu? Shouldn’t we start calling them out and not letting them get away with it?”
It was a question combined with a comment that I have heard many times before and my answer is always the same: any organization that aspires to be heard on foreign policy knows that to touch the live wire of Israel and American Jews guarantees a quick trip to obscurity. Jewish groups and deep pocket individual donors not only control the politicians, they own and run the media and entertainment industries, meaning that no one will hear about or from the offending party ever again. They are particularly sensitive on the issue of so-called “dual loyalty,” particularly as the expression itself is a bit of a sham since it is pretty clear that some of them only have real loyalty to Israel.
Most recently, some pundits, including myself, have been warning of an impending war with Iran. To be sure, the urging to strike Iran comes from many quarters, to include generals in the Administration who always think first in terms of settling problems through force, from a Saudi government obsessed with fear over Iranian hegemony, and, of course, from Israel itself. But what makes the war engine run is provided by American Jews who have taken upon themselves the onerous task of starting a war with a country that does not conceivably threaten the United States. They have been very successful at faking the Iranian threat, so much so that nearly all Republican and most Democratic congressmen as well as much of the media seem to be convinced that Iran needs to be dealt with firmly, most definitely by using the U.S. military, and the sooner the better.
- Category: Middle East
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Major western media headlines in recent days have hailed the capture of major natural gas fields around Syria’s Deir Ez Zor province as though it were a victory for Syria. Typical headlines read, “SDF Recaptures Syria Gas Field From ISIS.” Note the word “recaptures,” implying that the original owners of the gas fields, the Syrian state, had managed to recapture its valuable economic resources from ISIS terrorists. In reality, the opposite is the case.
A Kurdish Syrian Defense Force (SDF) that is backed not by the Assad government of Damascus, but by the Pentagon and by the Israeli IDF and others hostile to the Damascus government of Bashar al Assad, has just claimed control of major Syrian gas fields originally developed by the Houston, Texas Conoco Oil Company. The standard western media portrayal of the operation is along the lines of “U.S.-backed Syrian forces have seized a Conoco gas plant from Islamic State in the oil-rich Deir Ez zor area, depriving the militants from an important revenue source.”
Behind that portrayal is the ugly truth that US Pentagon forces have been exposed as the guiding hand for both the ISIS terror group and for the SDF. ISIS had occupied Dier Ez Zor province and its oil and gas fields since 2014, robbing the Assad government of one of its main sources of income and of energy.
On September 24, the Russian The Russian Ministry of Defense released aerial images showing US Army Special Forces equipment where ISIS militants are deployed north of the city of Deir ez-Zor. The pictures show US Army units providing free passage for the predominantly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), allowing them to pass through the battle formations of Islamic State terrorists, the Russian ministry said in a statement.
“Without resistance from ISIS militants, the SDF troops are moving along the left bank of the Euphrates river towards the town of Deir ez-Zor,” the statement reads.
The Moscow Defense Ministry statement goes further, “Despite the strongholds of the US armed forces being located where ISIS troops are currently deployed, there are not even signs of the organization of a battle outpost.” Obviously, the US military personnel in the middle of ISIS controlled territory feel absolutely safe in the area.
As Thierry Meyssan, Damascus-based French Middle East expert notes, “In August, the Pentagon published a call for tender for the buying and transfer of 500 million weapons and ammunition, mainly ex-Soviet. The 200 first trucks were delivered to the YPG at Hasakah, on 11and 19 September, via Iraqi Kurdistan, without being attacked by the jihadists (ISIS-w.e.).”
This confirms that both the US-trained and armed Kurdish SDF forces and ISIS are US proxies used now interchangeably to secure strategic oil and gas regions of Syria near the border with Iraq, where the Iraqi Kurds under the feudal despot, the US and Israel-backed Massoud Barzani, just voted overwhelmingly, by a reported 92% margin, to declare an “independent” Iraqi Kurdistan, a move openly supported by Israel’s Netanjahu and behind-the-scene by Washington. Already in 2015 according to a report in the London Financial Times, Israel was importing as much as 77 percent of its oil supply from Barzani-controlled Iraqi “Kurdistan.” ...
See the full article @ New Eastern Outlook
Adam Garrie: America’s cold war on China is no longer just a trade war – it is a war for the Dollar and Federal Reserve
- Category: Geopolitical issues, Resources
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The US provokes China with demoralised sailors, all in the name of the US Dollar, while at the same time, attempting to restrict China’s organically expanding geo-political influence.
The US has again sailed a Naval destroyer, this time the USS Chafee, through Chinese waters in the South China Sea, in direct violation of Beijing’s sovereign maritime claims over the sea. The US repeatedly provokes China by sailing its vessels through the South China Sea, in a deceptively named strategy called ‘freedom of navigation’, which seeks to undermine Chinese claims to its neighbouring south sea. While other countries with regional maritime claims, including Philippines have begun cooperating with China, the United States continues unilateral provocations against China.
In response to the USS Chafee’s presence in the South China Sea, Beijing scrambled a missile-guided frigate, helicopter and two fighter jets to intercept the US vessel.
China also issued a stern warning to the United States against further provocations. Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Hua Chunying has said,
“The US destroyer’s behaviour violated Chinese law and relevant international law, severely harmed China’s sovereignty and security interests, and threatened the lives of both sides”.
Hua further warned that any further such provocations could result in “unwanted incidents”. ...
See the full article @ The Duran
- Category: Geopolitical issues, Resources
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Der Besuch des saudischen Königs in Moskau deute eine diplomatisch-politische Kehrtwende an, so der Nahostexperte Michael Lüders im Dlf. Zum einen habe man akzeptiert, dass Russlands Einfluss in der Region gestärkt worden sei, zum anderen sei der saudische König dabei, sich und sein Land "neu zu erfinden".
Der russische Präsident Putin und der saudiarabische König Salman beim ersten Staatsbesuch eines Monarchen aus Saudi-Arabien. (dpa / Sergey Guneev)
Sarah Zerback: Einschätzungen zur politischen Dimension dieses Treffens, die konnten wir uns kurz vor dieser Sendung holen von Michael Lüders, lange Jahre Nahost-Korrespondent der "Zeit" und heute Politik- und Wirtschaftsberater sowie Publizist. Ihn habe ich zunächst gefragt, ob das nun der Beginn einer wunderbaren Freundschaft ist.
Michael Lüders: So würde sich das wahrscheinlich der saudische König vorstellen wollen. Aber es ist in erster Linie ein symbolischer Besuch, natürlich ein wichtiger Besuch insoweit, als es zum ersten Mal überhaupt ist, dass ein saudischer Herrscher seit der Gründung Saudi-Arabiens 1932 sich nach Moskau begibt. Das wird keinen diplomatischen oder politischen Durchbruch bedeuten in den doch eher angespannten Beziehungen zwischen Moskau und Riad, aber es ist doch eine Zäsur. Saudi-Arabien erkennt damit an, dass in der Region des Nahen und Mittleren Ostens Russland eine wichtige, zunehmend wichtige Rolle spielt, vor allem, weil der Krieg gegen Baschar al-Assad und sein Regime gescheitert ist von Seiten derer, die ihn um jeden Preis stürzen wollten, und das stärkt die Rolle Russlands und schwächt die USA.
Die Schlüsselrolle des Krieges in Syrien
Zerback: Sie haben es gerade angesprochen: In der Vergangenheit gab es da eher Eiszeit, nicht zuletzt wegen der unterschiedlichen Positionen im Bürgerkrieg in Syrien. Warum dann gerade jetzt? Warum gerade dieser Besuch zu dieser Zeit?
Lüders: Es hängt wesentlich damit zusammen, dass die Verhältnisse im Nahen Osten gerade dabei sind, sich völlig neu zu sortieren. Die Türkei beispielsweise hat schon Mitte des vorigen Jahres erkannt, dass der Versuch, das Assad-Regimes zu stürzen, wohl nicht mehr funktionieren wird. Spätestens mit der Rückeroberung Ostaleppos im vorigen Dezember, als es dem Regime von Assad und den Verbündeten Russen und Iranern gelungen ist, die letzten Dschihadisten, die letzten Aufständischen aus Ostaleppo zu vertreiben, war klar, dass der Krieg erst einmal entschieden ist. Die Türken haben sich rechtzeitig schon umorientiert und haben nunmehr gute Beziehungen zu Russland und auch zum Iran, und Saudi-Arabien hat erkannt, dass seine Diplomatie gescheitert ist. Man wollte den Iran schwächen um jeden Preis, durch den Sturz von Assad, der ja eng mit dem Iran verbündet ist, aber das ist gescheitert, und nun braucht Saudi-Arabien neue Verbündete.
Starke Bande mit den USA
Zerback: Den Einfluss Teherans, den sollte ja eigentlich auch Donald Trump beziehungsweise die USA sollten helfen, den einzudämmen. Die haben aber bisher Riad wenig unterstützt. Ist das jetzt die Folge, die wir da sehen?
Lüders: Ja, in der Tat. Der Iran profitiert enorm von den Fehlern, die gemacht worden sind in der Vergangenheit. Saddam Hussein wurde 2003 gestürzt, dann kamen die Schiiten an die Macht im Irak, und diese Schiiten in Bagdad haben sich gut verstanden und verstehen sich immer noch mit den Schiiten im Iran. Und das Ergebnis ist, dass zunächst einmal der Iran im Irak gestärkt wurde. Der Versuch, Assad zu stürzen, eines engen Verbündeten von Teheran, ist ebenfalls gescheitert. Und auch der Krieg, den Saudi-Arabien im Jemen führt, richtet sich indirekt gegen den Iran, aber Saudi-Arabien kommt dort ebenfalls militärisch nicht weiter. Kurzum: Die saudische Diplomatie ist ein Desaster und sie muss sich neu erfinden, und der Iran ist für den Augenblick jedenfalls der große strategische Gewinner in der Region.
Zerback: Sie haben vorhin von einem Besuch mit hohem Symbolwert gesprochen. Ist das denn eher ein Zeichen nach außen, nach Washington in dem Fall, oder würden Sie da von einer wirklichen Annäherung sprechen?
Lüders: Die saudische Führung ist daran interessiert, ihre Beziehungen zu Russland zu normalisieren, und sicherlich will man auch den Amerikanern klar machen, dass man nicht um jeden Preis mit den Amerikanern zusammenarbeiten wird, wenn die Amerikaner nicht entschlossener vor allem gegen den Iran vorgehen. Aber nichts desto trotz: Es wird sich die Politik nicht grundlegend verändern, denn die Saudis sind militärisch, politisch und wirtschaftlich so eng verflochten mit den USA, dass eine Neuorientierung kaum vorstellbar erscheint.
Zerback: Und umgekehrt? Wird denn der Besuch Einfluss haben auf die Beziehungen zwischen Moskau und Teheran?
Lüders: Moskau und Teheran, die Beziehungen könnten im Augenblick enger nicht sein. Es ist eine neue Allianz entstanden zwischen den Russen, den Iranern und der Türkei, und die profitieren davon, dass die amerikanische Politik unter Donald Trump eher ratlos ist, was man jetzt im Nahen Osten tun möchte. Es geht wohl vor allem den Amerikanern darum, den Iran zu schwächen, aber wie sie das anstellen wollen, das steht gegenwärtig in den Sternen.
Zerback: Jetzt gibt es ja weiter Probleme. Auch das wurde heute deutlich, als der saudische König noch mal eine Warnung ausgesprochen hat Richtung Teheran. Er hat sinngemäß gesagt, der Iran solle sich im Nahen Osten nicht einmischen. In Syrien unterstützt Iran Russland. Hat König Salman hier über Bande gespielt, oder wie muss man das bewerten?
Lüders: Ich glaube, dass der saudische König versucht, sich neu zu erfinden und Saudi-Arabien neu zu erfinden. Der Thronnachfolger, der sehr jung ist, erst Ende 20, der Sohn des jetzigen Königs, er hat ja auch maßgeblich dafür Sorge getragen, dass Frauen jetzt Auto fahren dürfen in Saudi-Arabien. Das war seine Initiative. Saudi-Arabien möchte sich modernisieren, möchte sich anpassen an die moderne Welt und sich vorsichtig vorbereiten auf die Zeit nach dem Erdöl. Denn der Erdöl-Export wird nicht ewig mehr andauern können. Saudi-Arabien muss seine Wirtschaft diversifizieren und auch vor diesem Hintergrund ist man sehr interessiert an Investitionen aus Russland und vor allem China.
Zerback: … sagt Michael Lüders, Nahost-Experte. Besten Dank für das Gespräch.
Lüders: Vielen Dank.
- Category: Geopolitical issues, Resources
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The geopolitical reality in the Middle East is changing dramatically.
The impact of the Arab Spring, the retraction of the U.S. military, and diminishing economic influence on the Arab world—as displayed during the Obama Administration—are facts.
The emergence of a Russian-Iranian-Turkish triangle is the new reality. The Western hegemony in the MENA region has ended, and not in a shy way, but with a long list of military conflicts and destabilization.
The first visit of a Saudi king to Russia shows the growing power of Russia in the Middle East. It also shows that not only Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE, but also Egypt and Libya, are more likely to consider Moscow as a strategic ally.
King Salman’s visit to Moscow could herald not only several multibillion business deals, but could be the first real step towards a new regional geopolitical and military alliance between OPEC leader Saudi Arabia and Russia. This cooperation will not only have severe consequences for Western interests but also could partly undermine or reshape the position of OPEC at the same time.
Russian president Vladimir Putin is currently hosting a large Saudi delegation, led by King Salman and supported by Saudi minister of energy Khalid Al Falih. Moscow’s open attitude to Saudi Arabia—a lifetime Washington ally and strong opponent of the growing Iran power projections in the Arab world—show that Putin understands the current pivotal changes in the Middle East.
U.S. allies Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey and even the UAE, have shown an increased eagerness to develop military and economic relations with Moscow, even if this means dealing with a global power currently supporting their archenemy Iran. Analysts wonder where the current visit of King Salman will really lead to, but all signs are on green for a straightforward Arab-Saudi support for a bigger Russian role in the region, and more in-depth cooperation in oil and gas markets.
In stark contrast to the difficult relationship of the West with the Arab world, Moscow seems to be playing the regional power game at a higher level. It can become an ally or friend to regional adversaries, such as Iran, Turkey, Egypt and now Saudi Arabia. Arab regimes are also willing to discuss cooperation with Russia, even though the country is supporting adversaries in the Syrian and Yemen conflicts and continues to supply arms to the Shi’a regime in Iran.
Investors can expect Russia and Saudi Arabia to sign a multitude of business deals, some of which have already been presented. Moscow and Riyadh will also discuss the still fledgling oil and gas markets, as both nations still heavily depend on hydrocarbon revenues. Arab analysts expect both sides to choose a bilateral strategy to keep oil prices from falling lower. Riyadh and Moscow have the same end goal: a stable oil and gas market, in which demand and supply keep each other in check to push price levels up, but without leaving enough breathing space for new market entrants such as U.S. shale.
Putin and Salman will also discuss the security situation in the Middle East, especially the ongoing Syrian civil war, Iran’s emerging power, and the Libya situation. Until now, the two have supported opposite sides, but Riyadh has realized that its ultimate goal, the removal of Syrian president Assad, is out of reach. To prevent a full-scale Shi’a triangle (Iran-Iraq-Syria-Lebanon), other options are now being sought to quell Tehran’s power surge. Moscow is key in this.
Putin’s unconditional support of the Iranian military onslaught in Iraq and Syria, combined with its support for Hezbollah in Lebanon or Houthis in Yemen, will be discussed and maybe tweaked to give Riyadh room to maneuver into the Russian influence sphere. The verdict on this isn’t yet out, but Riyadh’s move must be seen in light of ongoing Moscow discussions with Egypt, Libya, Jordan and the UAE.
A growing positive Putin vibe in the Arab world is now clear. The strong leadership of Russia’s new Tsar has become a main point of interest for the (former pro-Western) Arab regimes. The U.S. and its European allies have only shown a diffuse political-military approach to the threats in the MENA region, while even destabilizing historically pro-Western Arab royalties and presidents. Putin’s friendship, however, is being presented as unconditional and long lasting.
Even though geopolitics and military operations in the Middle East now are making up most headlines, the Saudi-Russian rapprochement will also have economic consequences. Riyadh’s leadership of OPEC is still undisputed, as it has shown over the last several years. Saudi Arabia’s eagerness to counter the free-fall of oil prices has been successful, but a much bigger effort is required to bring prices back to a level of between $60-75 per barrel. Russia’s role—as the largest of non-OPEC producers—has been substantial, bringing in not only several emerging producers, but also by putting pressure on its allies Iran, Venezuela and Algeria.
The historically important Moscow-Riyadh cooperation in oil and gas is unprecedented. Without Russia’s support, overall compliance to the OPEC production cut agreement would have been very low, leading to even lower oil prices.
The Saudi-Russian rapprochement could, however, be seen as a threat by the West and OPEC itself. Western influence in the region has waned since the end of the 1990s, not only due to the peace dividend of NATO, but especially because OECD countries are moving away from oil. Saudi Arabia had to find new markets, which happened with China and India. The Saudi future is no longer based on Western customers or support, but lies in Asia and other emerging regions. The FSU region has also popped up on Saudi screens. Investment opportunities, combined with geopolitical support and military interests, are readily available in Russia and its satellite states.
For OPEC, the Moscow-Riyadh love affair could also mean a threat. Throughout OPEC’s history, Riyadh has been the main power broker in the oil cartel, pushing forward price and production strategies; most of the time this was done in close cooperation with all the other members, most of them Arab allies. This changed dramatically after Saudi Arabia and Russia agreed to cooperate in global oil markets. Through the emergence of this OPEC/ non-OPEC cooperation, Moscow and Riyadh have grown closer than expected. The two countries now decide the future of global oil markets before they discuss it with some of the other main players like UAE, Iran, Algeria and Nigeria. King Salman’s visit is seen as another step toward a more in-depth cooperation in oil and gas related issues.
Besides global oil market cooperation, Saudi Arabia is and will become more interested to invest in natural gas development, not only to have an interest in Russia’s gas future but also to bring in Russian technology, investment and LNG to the Kingdom.
At the same time, media sources are stating that Saudi Arabia is NOT asking Russia to take part in the long-awaited Aramco IPO in 2018. Russian individual investors and financial institutions, however, are expected to take an interest.
Putin understands not only Russian chess tactics but also the Arab “Tawila” approach. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman already will prepare his Tawila strategy, putting enough stones on the table to ensure his successful end game. MBS, currently de-facto ruler of the Kingdom, is targeting a full house—Russian cooperation in energy, defense and investments—while softening Moscow’s 100% percent support of the Shi’a archenemy Iran.
For both sides, Moscow and Riyadh, the current constellation presents a win-win situation. Moscow can reach its ultimate goal in the Middle East: to become the main power broker and knock the US from the pedestal. For Riyadh, the option to counter the Iranian threat, while also bolstering its own economy and hydrocarbon future, is now within reach.
King Salman’s trip could go down in history as the point of no return for the West. Pictures of Russian President Vladimir Putin and King Salman of Saudi Arabia could replace historic pictures of King Saud and U.S. President Roosevelt (Bitter Lake, 1945). In a few years, King-to-be Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman might tell his children that this was one of the pillars that changed not only the Middle East but also supported his Vision 2030 plan of becoming a bridge between the old (West) and the new (Russia-Asia).
- Category: North Amerika
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US Media Credibility Collapses
According to this report, YouTube has shut down all independent media coverage of the Las Vegas shooting in a desperate maneuver to protect the official narrative. https://www.naturalnews.com/2017-10-06-youtube-moves-to-shut-down-all-independent-media-coverage-of-las-vegas-shooting-desperate-maneuver-to-protect-the-official-narrative.html
I cannot attest to the truth of this report. However, it has been brought to my attention that the video made from inside the hospital, which I provided in a link in my article http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2017/10/07/las-vegas-final-comment/ , of what appears to be crisis actors carrying pretend wounded into the hospital has been taken down by YouTube. Clearly, if there are real wounded carried to the hospital, why at the same time have crisis actors acting the part? It seems obvious to me that the video was taken down, because those being carried are clearly not wounded and are not being handled in a professional way.
I am aware of books by former insiders that describe the CIA’s alliance with members of the media. When I was a member of the congressional staff, I was warned of the Washington Post’s collaboration with the CIA. And we have the case of Udo Ulfkotte, whose book, “Purchased Journalism,” was a best seller in Germany, but the English translation was yanked from the market. Ulfkotte, an editor with one of Germany’s main newspapers, wrote that he and most European journalists post articles handed to them by the CIA.
The way that the One Percent rules is by controlling the explanations. They do that through official statements endlessly paroted by the presstitutes who have sold their souls.
Remember, the presstitutes sold to the public the false story of “Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction,” the false story of “Assad’s use of chemical weapons,” the false story of “Iranian nukes,” the false stories about Gaddafi, about “Russian invasion of Ukraine,” about Afghanistan, and on and on. When the presstitutes are willing to lie at the expense of the destruction of millions of peoples, the infrastructures of the countries, and millions of refugees inflicted upon Europe, how can we believe the presstitutes about Las Vegas, Sandy Hook, etc., especially when contradictions in the official stories are never cleared up and in place of hard evidence we are given only assertions and photoshopped photos?
Senator Richard Burr, Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee said two days ago that the committee’s investigation of Russiagate uncovered “quite a few” news outlets that ran stories that were not factual about Russiagate. He said “we will use the findings of our report to let the American people hold every news organization accountable for what they portrayed as fact.” http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2017/10/06/russiagate-ciamedia-invention/
Government in the United States and the media whores that service government agendas have an immense credibility problem. We cannot rely on the veracity of any government or media statement. Like the boy who cried “wolf,” Washington and the presstitutes have made it impossible to know when they are telling the truth.
- Category: Middle East
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Putin doesn’t want a slugfest ... but he’s not going to abandon an ally either. So there’s going to be a confrontation because neither party is willing to give up what they feel they need to achieve success. ... Clearly, we have reached the most dangerous moment in the six year-long war."
For dramatic details of the fierce fighting over the past few days between Russian troops in Syria, and what the Russians claim are 'US secret services', directing Islamic militants they arm and control, see today's report: Dramatic Details Emerge of Russian Pounding of 'Provocations of US Forces' in Syria (Russian TV).
The impending collapse of ISIS has touched off a race for territory in the oil-rich eastern part of Syria pitting US-backed forces against the Russian-led coalition of Syria, Iran and Hezbollah.
This is the nightmare scenario that everyone wanted to avoid.
Washington and Moscow’s armies are now converging on the same area at the same time greatly increasing the probability of a conflagration between the two nuclear-armed superpowers. The only way a clash can be avoided is if one party backs down, which seems increasingly unlikely.
The situation can be easily explained. The vast swath of territory captured by ISIS is steadily shrinking due to the dogged perseverance of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) which has liberated most of the countryside west of the Euphrates River including the former ISIS stronghold at Deir Ezzor, a critical garrison at the center of the fighting. ISIS is also getting pressure from the north where the US-backed SDF is pounding their capital at Raqqa while deploying troops and tanks southward to the oil fields in Deir Ezzor province.
Washington has made it clear that it wants its proxy-army to control the area east of the Euphrates establishing a soft partition between east and west. The US also wants to control Deir Ezzor’s vast oil resources in order to provide a reliable revenue stream for the emergent Kurdish statelet.
Syrian President Bashar al Assad has said many times that he will never agree to the partitioning of the country. But the decision will not be made by Assad alone. His coalition partners in Moscow, Beirut and Tehran will also help shape the final settlement. As far as Putin is concerned, it seems extremely unlikely that he’d risk a protracted and bloody war with the United States simply to recapture every square inch of Syrian territory. The Russian president will probably allow the US to keep its bases in the northeast provided that critical areas are conceded to the regime. But where will the line be drawn, that’s the question?
The US wants to control the area east of the Euphrates including the lucrative oil fields. This is why they deployed troops from the SDF southward even though they’re still needed in Raqqa. Earlier in the week, it looked like the Syrian Army had a leg up on the SDF as troops and armored vehicles crossed the Euphrates headed east to the oil fields. But reports that appeared late Thursday indicate that the SDF has beaten them to the punch. This is from South Front:
“On Thursday, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) …captured Tabiyeh and al-Isba oil fields in the northwestern Deir Ezzor countryside, according to pro-Kurdish sources. … If these reports are confirmed, the SDF will be in control over a half of Syria’s oil reserve.
Moreover, that will mean that the SDF at least partly blocked the SAA way on the eastern bank of the Euphrates river.” (“Syrian Democratic Forces Capture Key Oil Fields In Deir Ezzor”, South Front)
This is a major setback for the Russian coalition. It means that the SAA backed by the Russian Airforce will have to fight a group which, up to this point, has been an ally in the war against ISIS. Now it’s clear that the mainly-Kurdish SDF is no ally, it’s an enemy that wants to steal Syria’s resources and carve a state out of its eastern flank.
The news about the SDF’s arrival at the oil fields came just hours after the Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov issued a terse warning to the US and SDF that Russia would retaliate if SAA positions were attacked again by SDF mortar or rocket fire.
Quote: “Russia unequivocally told the commanders of US forces in Al Udeid Airbase (Qatar) that it will not tolerate any shelling from the areas where the SDF are stationed (…) Fire from positions in regions [controlled by the SDF] will be suppressed by all means necessary.”
In retrospect, it looks like the SDF had already decided to make a clean break with the government leaving no doubt of where they stood. Washington is using the SDF to seize the oil fields and to claim to the entire east side of the Euphrates for its own. There’s no doubt that these combat units of the SDF are accompanied by US Special Forces who are providing critical communications, logistic and tactical support. This operation has Washington’s fingerprints all over it.
On Friday morning, loyalist forces led by the 5th Assault Corps ISIS Hunters, established full control over Khusham village on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River near Deir Ezzor city. The strategically-located village blocks a key road linking the area held by the SDF to the Omar oil fields.
Get the picture? US-backed forces and Russian coalition members are now operating cheek-to-jowl in the same theatre trying to seize the same oil-rich scrap of land. This has all the makings of a major head-on collision.
Putin is a cautious and reasonable man, but he’s not going to hand over Syria’s oil fields without a fight. Besides, Assad needs the oil receipts to finance the rebuilding of his decimated country. Equally important, he needs the territory east of Deir Ezzor to for an overland route connecting Beirut to Damascus to Baghdad to Tehran, the so-called Arab Superhighway. Putin’s job is to glue as much of the country together as needed to create a viable state. So while he may allow the SDF and US military to occupy parts of the northeast, he’s not going to surrender crucial resources or strategically-located territory.
So what does it all mean? Does it mean that Russia will support Assad’s attempts to liberate the oil fields even if it could trigger a broader war with the United States?
Yes, that’s exactly what it means.
Putin doesn’t want a slugfest with Uncle Sam, but he’s not going to abandon an ally either. So there’s going to be a confrontation because neither party is willing to give up what they feel they need to achieve success.
So there you have it. As the standoff begins to take shape in east Syria, the two rival superpowers are preparing themselves for the worst. Clearly, we have reached the most dangerous moment in the six year-long war.
Taken from Russian Insider