Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
April 27, 2013

Syria: This Intervention Threat Is Not Credible

As I wrote a few days ago:
Due to considerable progress by the Syrian government against the foreign sponsored, jihadist insurgency new allegations have to be found to justify additional foreign intervention.
Mahir Zenalov, who writes for the Turkish paper Today Zaman, concludes the same. The "chemical weapons" scam is just an excuse to justify a wider use of force against the Syria.

Zenalov points out that other "western" interventions, in Bosnia and in Libya, came when the "western" proxy forces were in serious difficulties and the anti-"western" government forces on the cusps of winning. The state in Syria is just that. The opposition is on the run and  the government troops are progressing.

Zenalov writes:

Successful military gains of the Syrian regime forces over the past few weeks have pushed the US and its allies to reconsider intervening in Syria.
In the past few weeks, government forces have launched major offensives in Homs, Idlib, Kurdish-populated areas and in and around Aleppo and the capital Damascus. It is evidently clear that the military balance on the ground is tilting back toward government forces again after a counteroffensive.

This change in the military balance made the case for intervention much stronger in Washington and other European capitals. Along with Obama, UK Prime Minister David Cameron and Ankara also voiced concerns over the use of chemical weapons in Syria. Other nations will follow suit in the days to come.

On Saturday, Turkish EU Minister Egemen Bağış acknowledged that Washington is preparing to intervene in Syria and that the possible use of chemical weapons are not the main drive.

Washington says the evidence of chemical weapons use is only “preliminary.” The evidence will get “rock solid” if Damascus wins major battles against the opposition next week. In previous months, there had also been reports of alleged chemical use by the Syrian army. True or not, there is no reason why Assad’s regime would use chemical weapons if it knows that that means inviting Washington to intervene.

Mahir Zenalov thinks that the Syrian government knows that winning too much would only invite immediate intervention. He suggest that Damascus will therefor, after cleaning up around Damascus and along the major road arteries, stop the current offensive and, again, offer negotiations:
Damascus faces a major dilemma: If it continues with its so far successful offensive, it will make the case bolder for intervention. Western powers don’t want Assad to win and they were expecting opposition forces to finish the fight. If the opposition fails to make any further gains, the West will come to its aid.

If Damascus is smart enough, it will strengthen its bases in and around the capital to have an upper hand in possible negotiations and offer dialogue to solve the crisis.

That may be an option. But I will not bet on it. The intervention is certainly not a done deal. The recent drone intrusion from Lebanon into Israel was a serious warning. If Syria is attacked Israel will get hit - no matter what. There is no way to avoid that. This fact alone is a serious impediment for any "western" move. There is also a Russian fleet underway which will reach the Mediterranean in mid May and will stay there permanently. It is a wild card in any air attack or submarine launched cruise missile raid on Syria. A ground attack is even less likely. Neither Britain nor any other country is willing to send ground troops.

Aside from those military problems the public in all concerned countries seems to be against any intervention. Judging from the comments at various news sides the chemical attack scam convinced no one.

That is why I disagree with Mahir Zenalov conclusion. The current threat of intervention is not credible.

The Syrian government will therefor not stop its offensive for fear of an intervention. It will not start to negotiate. With whom should it do so anyway? If its current offensive is successful it will continue to build on it and will pursue the enemy as much as it can.

Posted by b on April 27, 2013 at 13:37 UTC | Permalink


Again, a familiar refrain of mine, unity of command, both political and military. Syria has it, whereas the opposition is divided and some of it branded terrorists. The political opposition created by the US has yet another chief. George Sabra replaced al-Khatib as head of the "Syria Coalition." It's "temporary" they say -- they got that right. We haven't heard a peep from the US-appointed Texan "Prime Minister" Ghassan Hitto. It looks like he's been hung out to dry. He's reported now as lobbying the US for support! The US put him there! Meanwhile the advancing Syria military has time on its side, and plenty of support from its allies.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Apr 27 2013 14:11 utc | 1

Recently we saw a report that EU would be purchasing their Syrian oil with payment to the "rebels" rather than to the Assad regime. (I should link, but we all saw it) Could someone explain how this would work in practice? Is EU-Syria oil handled through Turkey and Turkey would determine which "rebels" would receive it? or does it go into a fund for a future non-Assad regime? Or?

Posted by: mrd | Apr 27 2013 14:32 utc | 2

Thanks b, good info.

" There is also a Russian fleet underway which will reach the Mediterranean in mid May and will stay there permanently."

Would lead one to believe, if the West is to act in a military sense, it would have to be before mid-May.

Posted by: ben | Apr 27 2013 14:40 utc | 3

Ghassan S. Hitto, he's reverently called Mr. Shitto by his comrades. Yes Shitto has become a joke and he doesn't even have a diplomatic passport to travel. He's a traitor to the country of his birth & fool for allowing himself to become a patsy. There is also another example of the USA intervening in another civil war once their tools were losing. The American intervention in the Dominican Republic 1965.
However back to current history, you negotiate from a position of strength and Assad is actually holding all the cards. Why should be negotiate?
His forces are solid, the NATO would lose many planes and their soldiers will die for nothing.
In reality in this conflict the only ones who will win will be russia and china!!
Ay Odummy, your so stupid.

Posted by: Fernando | Apr 27 2013 14:45 utc | 4

It is reasonable to expect nothing but spin and positioning from a Turkish paper in English. This didn't fail to deliver. The ZATO alliance has always come up with ceasefires and talks when their guys are getting crushed. Then they regroup and build more tunnels, and get more folks from Pakistani prisons.

The real issue is what Russia wants, and how much ZATO is willing to risk in this.

Posted by: Paul | Apr 27 2013 15:15 utc | 5

The Syrian government will therefor not stop its offensive for fear of an intervention. It will not start to negotiate. With whom should it do so anyway? If its current offensive is successful it will continue to build on it and will pursue the enemy as much as it can.

I think so too. Recently the top military brass of Iran as well very senior politicians have been openly calling against Jordan and Turkey. This is unusual from the very cautious Iranians. They will not pause, the will go for a full defeat.

Posted by: hans | Apr 27 2013 15:32 utc | 6

#5 "The ZATO alliance has always come up with ceasefires and talks when their guys are getting crushed. Then they regroup and build more tunnels, and get more folks from Pakistani prisons."

Precisely, any ceasefire would be harmful for Syria. Same with any previous "talks" - terrorists would get a breathing room to regroup, get more weapons and fortify whatever positions they have. Plus ceasefire would only apply to Syria, terrorists would continue their terror and blame Syria for the "breach of ceasefire" anyway.

Even if Assad would want negotiations, there is nobody to talk to. US hand selected puppets have no power of any kind, terrorists on ground have hundreds groups, most of which will never agree to any peaceful resolution. West also made crystal clear they arent interested in negotiations either. The only path remain - to defeat terrorists decisively. Nothing else would work to restore the peace.

Posted by: Harry | Apr 27 2013 16:01 utc | 7

“A warning from Syria: Iran and Hizbollah has foiled a plot from Israel to hit Syria in the last 48 hours. By Dampress."

warning, the video listed before the above article is a gruesome representation of the disease US/West/NATO is spreading.

Posted by: Rd. | Apr 27 2013 16:24 utc | 8

reading the Turkish media, in this case Gulen's sponsored, is like searching for something an intellectual in new George W. Bush "Library"

or, here is Twitter account of Frances Townsend: "Former Homeland and Counterterrorism Security advisor to President Bush" if doesn't bother you just go trough her twits, NOTHING there. Nothing of substance. Typical for the U.S. "expert" who is detached from reality, she probably doesn't even know where Syria is. So is the Turkish journalist which employ "lies by omission" not mentioning major players in the region.

Posted by: neretva'43 | Apr 27 2013 16:37 utc | 9

IMHO, best bet for the legitimate Syrian government is to publicly ask for talks, ceasefire, reconciliation, etc. But on the ground, no mercy and no rest for NATO terrorists.

Hopefully, if Russia is still on board and not double dealing, they will continue to deny any UNSC resolution and provide Syria with whatever it can to deter any open NATO aggression.

Posted by: Lysander | Apr 27 2013 17:18 utc | 10

Russia is certainly in, and it is not going to leave:

Umakhanov: Russia Will Not Leave Syria Alone in Its Ordeal

Posted by: neretva'43 | Apr 27 2013 17:32 utc | 11

Re: Russian fleet arriving mid-May @ 3 --

Could the US/NATO arm the "rebels" with weaponry with which to attack the Russian ships? Or try to convince the world the "rebels" had done so?

Posted by: jawbone | Apr 27 2013 17:37 utc | 12

"... you negotiate from a position of strength and Assad is actually holding all the cards. Why should he negotiate? "

You answered your own question there, Fernando. It would make sense for Syria to make two basic demands: that all non-Syrian forces leave the country within, say 72 hours and that "rebels" lay down their arms.
The option of asking the UN to monitor a ceasefire no longer exists: the US has abused its power in the UN to the extent that the organisation no longer has credibility- the latest idea of appointing US, French, Qatari and Turkish "experts" to confirm the use of chemical weapons is a good example.
It maybe that bringing peace to Syria will be the occasion of a new era in international institutions, which is why Russia is most unlikely to let Syria down; Russia has built a reputation in recent years (Syria, Iraq, Iran and Libya being good examples) for honesty and wisdom, to throw that away for a invitation to Disneyland or membership of an imperialist club would be idiotic. And the last idiot in charge of Russian foreign policy was Tsar Paul more than two centuries ago.

Posted by: bevin | Apr 27 2013 19:18 utc | 13

Ad "best to do for Assad":

I'm afraid, it's not as simple as killing the terrorist forces.

The very basis for all the zato (thanks for that one, Paul!) aggressions was "Assad is a tyrant and the Syrian people want to get rid of him". While this is quite certainly nothing more than invented bullsh*t from the zusa (I took the liberty *g) it touched serious legal issues.

So Assad needs to take care of that in a clear and striking manner. But then, having freed his country from the marauding, raping and wanton killing terrorist scum it should be quite easy to get the Syrian votes. This is even more true when considering the options which were introduced by zato.

Those elections also needed to be done in an irrefutable manner with international observers on board.

Furthermore, Assad needed to construct some kind of special court, also with reputable international persons on the bench, to unmask and expose captured zato special forces, payed for killers, and the extremely dirty games.

Could the US/NATO arm the "rebels" with weaponry with which to attack the Russian ships? Or try to convince the world the "rebels" had done so?

No way. At least not practically.

Basically, the Russian navy can be (somewhat crudely) summarized as having 2 missions and capabilities:
- Defense
- carrier killing.

And they are pretty good in both. This factor is regularly underestimated. Typically vereything is compared tu zusa systems, very often based mainly on age and (PR) capabilities.
But even if these comparisons were correct, which they are not, they would miss the point.

Zusa systems are designed and built for aggression, typically in the very far abroad. Russian systems, however, are mainly built for defense (except for certain clearly pointed special cases like ISBMs, hunters, etc.).

So in real life the Russian flottilla being close to or at Syria comes down to:
- The Russians could, without any third parties, bring in pretty everything to Syria, e.g. S-300.
- The Russian could bring in their marines. No big numbers, just a couple 100 but rest assured that this would equate to quick death of terrorist forces.
- The Russians could de facto deny zato access to the whole of Syria. The flottilla, next to massive short and medium range air defense capabilities has quite some S-300 comparable (or naval versions thereof) ready with an option to resupply.
- The Russians have very high naval area denial capabilities, effectively making whatever ships zato brought into the region sea-floor decoration.

In the end that whole thing comes down to driving up the costs of engagement very high - and in an asymmetric way (The cost for a zusa jet is >50 times higher than for the Russian missile shooting it down. For ships the relation is even very much higher).

Another, often probably overlooked issue is turkey. Don't forget that the stand-off/almost nuclear war in the 60'es was also related to turkey were zato installed major systems against Russia. This has not been forgotten.
Furthermore I'm quite certain that Putin has just about damn enough of turkeys "smartness" (which basically is hardly more than a whore bending over for zato for wet dreams of becoming a major regional power).

I tend to believe that for Russia this whole thing is about three issues:
- Syria, of course
- turkey. They should grasp that they can be a limited regional power in the best sense but Russia will not any more tolerate a loud, unnerving zato whore-dog.
- The near/mid east region. It's about time to dispute zatos "undisputed" regime there (keeping willing tyrants afloat while attacking peaceful countries).

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Apr 27 2013 19:43 utc | 14

Just playing devil's advocate here. Agreed that intervention is not a done deal, though I can't see a complete NATO/Israel stand down in the cards either.

It still seems as though the only thing holding NATO/Israel back is NATO/Israels own determination as to what the best move is. They still have plenty of room to cause trouble. But they are choosing not to for whatever reason - whether they are frightened of Syria breaking up, frightened by the al Qaeda groups...whatever.

Perhaps that Russian naval detachment is a big warning to NATO that the Russians intend to defend their base, the coastline, and if worse comes to worse, the Alawite Mountain. But it's not much more than that. The lesson of the War with Georgia seems to be that the Russians will protect their most important interests - but no more. Though their actions in Georgia showed Russia could enforce "Red Lines" of their own (which perhaps the case of the Tartus port the red line can be drwn by charting out the range of the s-300 missiles on the ships there), that which stopped them from entering Tblisi and arresting that Columbia-educated-tie-eater Mikheil Saakashvili is still the same thing that would prevent them from getting into a shooting match with NATO should NATO decide to intervene.

I just can't see NATO coming to the conclusion that they can just watch Assad win. The downsides of an Assad victory - not the least result of which would be flush all those al Qaeda to parts unknown (Iraq, Jordan, Egypt?) and make practically impossible an attack on Iran - seem unacceptable to a country that is so deeply involved in the Middle East.

Posted by: guest | Apr 27 2013 22:19 utc | 15

Guys, it has little to do with Russia now. The big bear is just a spectator.
ZATO and Sunni Gulf States are Pushing Al Qaeda to Take on Hezbollah.

This sounds scary, and I'm wondering how the USraeli media will sell the story about al-Qaeda being pounded by... Iran.

Posted by: Michal | Apr 27 2013 22:51 utc | 16

2) it works like this

Rebels battle with tribesmen over oil in Syria’s east

Posted by: somebody | Apr 27 2013 23:07 utc | 17

Turkey and SCO signed a memorandum of understanding for cooperation as dialogue partners

"Today we announce that as Turkey, our destiny is the same as those states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization," Davutoglu said following the signing ceremony."

Syria Seeks to Join Shanghai Group, BRICS - Minister

Multipolar world in making!

Posted by: neretva'43 | Apr 27 2013 23:10 utc | 18

"ZATO and Sunni Gulf States are Pushing Al Qaeda to Take on Hezbollah."

There is nothing new about this: Hariri in Lebanon has been "taking on" Hezbollah for the Sunni Gulf States (and big bucks) for years now. And they are taking on shi'ites in Iraq too, as they have been, again, for years.
What is new is that the war in Syria might erupt into a regional war, it has already spread back to Iraq; civil war in Lebanon is smouldering (while the Sunni satraps of the US blow at the embers); then there are Jordan, Yemen and Egypt and the Mahgreb. To make no mention of the Gulf States themselves or Turkey.
Washington is a city full of (in intellectual terms) children playing with matches.

Posted by: bevin | Apr 28 2013 0:04 utc | 19

The United Nations Security Council passed a resolution regarding Mali on April 25. It takes, as it should, a pro-state, anti-rebel position unlike the UN's opposite position regarding Syria. But then Mali isn't an ally of Iran, and thus a U.S. target, as Syria is.

UNSC Resolution 2100 includes this paragraph:

Demands that all rebel armed groups in Mali put aside their arms and cease hostilities immediately and urges all such parties in Mali who have cut off all ties with terrorist organizations such as AQIM, MUJAO, Ansar Eddine and associated terrorist groups and who recognize, without conditions, the unity and territorial integrity of the Malian State, and the transitional authorities of Mali to engage expeditiously in an inclusive negotiation process, facilitated by the Secretary-General, in particular through his Special Representative for Mali when appointed as referred to in paragraph 11 below, in close collaboration with the AU, ECOWAS and the EU Special Representative for the Sahel;

This wrongfully hypocritical attitude on the part of what is supposed to be a lawful, impartial body -- the UN Security Council -- is an excellent reason why Syria distrusts the United Nations.

So the letter that the UNSC Security-General has recently sent to President Assad, requesting "unconditional and unfettered access" for chemical weapon investigators, probably won't be considered favorably. We'll soon see.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Apr 28 2013 0:34 utc | 20

@20 Looks like another job for Colin Powell.

Posted by: dh | Apr 28 2013 0:53 utc | 21

Guardian, Apr 27
Syria nerve gas claims undermined by eyewitness accounts

A letter from the British government to the UN demanding an investigation said that it had seen "limited but persuasive evidence" of chemical attacks, citing incidents on 19 and 23 March in Aleppo and Damascus and an attack in Homs in December, suggesting strongly that samples were taken at these locations.

A US defence official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to the Los Angeles Times, appeared to confirm that one of the samples studied by the US was collected in December – suggesting that it too originated in Homs.

According the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, "sarin is a nerve agent that is one of the most toxic of the known chemical warfare agents. It is a clear colourless liquid … generally odourless and tasteless".

But eyewitness accounts of that attack, in which six rebels died and which were reported at the time by the Associated Press described "white smoke" pouring from shells that "smell[ed] … like hydrochloric acid".

Posted by: Don Bacon | Apr 28 2013 0:58 utc | 22

Just a test....

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Apr 28 2013 2:06 utc | 23

neretva'43 (18)

.. Turkey and SCO signed a memorandum of understanding for cooperation as dialogue partners ...

... Syria Seeks to Join Shanghai Group, BRICS - Minister ...

As much as I would like to believe that Putin has succeeded to convince the turkish poppets and that finally turkey politicians act in the interest of their fine people (rather than purely in their own and zatos)...

I don't believe that for a second. For two reasons:

- After 50 years of bending over the turkish whore dog isn't trusted. Probably not even by their zato masters and much less by the Russians. And what for? While the turkish army is among the bigger ones in numbers it also is one that has been strategically kept low and insignificant.

- Turkey hasn't been to low to just crawl again and again to the eu doorstep to beg and cry. At the same time they have been used and abused like a cheap whore rather than a souvereign nation. They might of course declare (without the least significance) this or that (like they have declared israel an enemy, blah, blah) but they will hardly switch their main alliance. In zato they can at least wet dream to be important.

I think, this has one (or both) of two reasons:

Turkey wants to play poker while they are somewhat less insignificant than usually thanks to the Syria crisis, hoping to gain a little more weight or some F-35.

Turkey has been ordered by zato to seemingly bend over in the other direction so as to spy and undermine the SCO.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Apr 28 2013 2:39 utc | 24

At the annual correspondents’ dinner tonight in Washington, all print media's "unnamed source" won the Slackers Award, which recognizes excellence in reporting on sensitive subjects where delivering bullshit is most important and truth is not an essential requirement.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Apr 28 2013 3:33 utc | 25

I guess clients will have to hedge their patrons.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 28 2013 5:58 utc | 26

@16 - Don't worry about Hezbollah. They are most likely salivating at the chance to kill AlQaeda terrorists. Nevertheless, that would be fun to watch.

I predict that when the brave Syrian army finishes off these crazy jihadists, Bashar will become a hero across the middle-east similar to Jamal Abdel-Nasser.

Posted by: Hilmi | Apr 28 2013 7:03 utc | 27

Mr. Pragma mentioned a body of observers or a tribunal that would certify his government. Isn't there an alternative coalition of the willing? Nicaragua, Venezuela, Ecuador, Cuba, North Korea, Zimbabwe?
The BRICS, Ukraine, Belarus, the NAM? It doesn't have to be the usual suspects. An alternative list of different countries or even of notable individuals could be formed. Maybe Aisha Gaddafi could be brought in as special guest prosecutor?
I know I'm reaching and throwing some huge pies in the sky but believe me, people are tired of the current global leadership and wouldn't mind a mild shake up or reshuffle of the system.

Posted by: Fernando | Apr 28 2013 7:07 utc | 28

credibility be damned
murika needs another war..
*A steep slowdown in defense spending tied to the end of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is undercutting the country’s economic recovery, new government data released Friday revealed*

Posted by: denk | Apr 28 2013 7:19 utc | 29

clients hedging patrons part two:
Sayyed Nasrallah Held Talks with Bogdanov on Developments in Lebanon, Syria

Bogdanov concluded on Sunday his four-day visit to Lebanon. Ahead of his departure, he said that talks with Lebanese figures focused on the latest local and regional developments. “Our visit helped us develop a vision regarding the future of Lebanese-Russian ties,” he told reporters.

During his Lebanon visit, Bogdanov had met President Michel Sleiman, Speaker Nabih Berri, caretaker Premier Najib Mikati, Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam, and several other political leaders.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 28 2013 8:38 utc | 30

Undoubtedly, you are right.

Posted by: neretva'43 | Apr 28 2013 11:00 utc | 31

While you are right, it doesn't mean all is well and fine. This is consistent with Erdogan's recent statement/complain about Turkey position in EU accession negotiations.
The Turks are ambitious and the role given by allies feels more and more like straitjacket rather than they are benefiting from alliance. As a major regional power they are looking for "the spot under the sun". Russia will be or is the largest trading partner with projection of $100 billion in exchange. As for F-35 Americans doesn't not want to sell the jets with source code; nor they want to sell them latest generation of combat helicopters. So the Turks turned to Italians.
So, yes Turks are feeling betrayed and humiliated on number of fronts, one should bear in mind that Turkey wouldn't be member of NATO if there weren't Korean war (US needed man power) going on at that time, and only on insistence of the U.S. an Europeans relented.

Posted by: neretva'43 | Apr 28 2013 11:57 utc | 32

@32, N. Korea in your estimation is something that is weighted, decoy, or a unaccounted integer putting a spanner in the works? We are looking at cost after all,and the public perception aspects here (US©) after all.

Posted by: kev | Apr 28 2013 12:16 utc | 33

Mr P,

One suspects that Turkey would not be a friend in the SCO, and everyone knows it. Leaving NATO would be required.

Pretty good analysis of Russia's military capabilities and perspective, but the elephants in the room are control of gas to Europe and what the loss of Syria would mean in that region. Gas is what makes it hard for ZATO to sell an aggressive policy against Russia. There aren't too many folks with decent morals in high places in powerful countries, and they would certainly listen to someone arguing that the "right" approach towards Russia is to weaken it, break it up, and steal the resources. China would listen to this argument as well. Gas makes this hard to do. Ah, but a destroyed Syria and Libya and ... would lead to a cheap army to destabilize Russia. Sound familiar? Hezbollah and Iran would be in deep trouble if Syria fell, so one can imagine Lebanon turning into part of ZATO, too. Then comes the fact that Russia would not be seen as a winning bet in the middle of Asia. In other words, Russia's strategic position would be severely damaged if ZATO crushed Syria. This is so clear that one wonders if Russia has made it clear to Obama, Hollande, and whoever thinks Russia just cares about a naval base.

Posted by: Paul | Apr 28 2013 16:40 utc | 34

I agree with b's Syria forecast. I also think it would be foolish to underestimate Russia's commitment to Syria. Forget Iran and Lebanon - the Russians are convinced that if Assad's Syria falls then Russia will become the next target of a US-ZATO (nice one, Paul) destabilisation plot.

The problem with the US nuclear deterrent (the notional ability to destroy 100% of any country 10 times over) is that anti-ICBM systems can't and don't work very well. Even if they did any defense system can be overwhelmed, by-passed and/or spoofed by decoys.

Imo Russia has decided to drive a stake through the heart of America and its vandals and vampires - and are leaving it up to them to decide whether it'll be done peacefully or painfully.
Either way, the Empire is finished: kaput: dead in the water.

Threatening Russia and China simultaneously was the dopiest piece of dumbfuckery in the entire history of the US of A.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 28 2013 19:04 utc | 35

Paul (34)

I'm not so sure about some "generally known givens".

For one, the widely held assumption that Iran *needs* Syria can be doubted. Looking closer it makes sense mainly from an israel-centric Angst perspective that sees Iran as one of the most dangerous and murderous enemies. Then, of course, Syria would be a major asset, an extremely desirable must-have.

I doubt that. Actually I think that Syria is of no greater importance to Iran than to many other countries.
Sure, there are friendly ties and support. But those can - at least in a not zionist controlled and brainwashed world view - be explained by other factors, one of them quite certainly being quite similar views on some neighbours and issues as well as always being painted dark and evil by certain countries.

And (sorry, nothing personal) there is another point where I differ, Russia.

For a starter *nobody* would dare to consider or, even less, advise a war with Russia. Not to get at the gas and not for other reasons.

For a strikingly simple reason: Russia can't be taken (funny, btw., I don't know any non-partisan military analyst who'd say that of the zusa. Actually, they would be not at all bad a target from a geostrategical military perspective except for some minor regions).
There is only 1 way to fight a war against Russia (e.g in order to steal her resources): newcoolawr (as gwb might utter). And that doesn't work because very much alive MAD capabilities.
As for Russia herself, her grounds and soil, the Germans (who at that time were doubtlessly an advanced and very major power) have learned that the hard way. Some might think "so what, today is 70 years later and technology has very much improved" and they be wrong. One nice example: The Russians *wanted* to buy external military equipment (because of, uh, their mil. industry not yet at full productivity). So they ordered a fine european APC. They really liked it and I remember some in their officer corps comparing it very favourably with Russian APCs. That was in the "lab" (mil. testing grounds). Then they wanted to test it at some real army base (not even in the north). The thingy quickly became a blonde on high heels in the mountains; nice but stranded and useless.

So, all those attempts to somehow weaken Russia through third countries or economic manipulations are not "smart war" but simply and merely the only way to go for zato.

Would Russia fight a war over Syria and if so why?

Yes, they would. And not for the geostrategic importance of Syria nor for the Tartus port (although both being good reasons).

They'd do it out of principle, to make a clear statement, to cut off all those pesky zusa/zato dirty games, and because they have learned a lot during the past 100 years. Amongst other things they have seen that there is a relation between the early Sowjet days, all the Sowjet years, todays problem and a certain group of people who have a tendency to "flee" to israel ...

And there is another point: The caesar is naked. Everyone admires zusa garment but actually she is naked. It's about time to call a bluff a bluff rather than to be again again annoyed by it.

As for turkey I'm willing to go as far as to (somewhat stupidly good-willingly) believe that they have seen into what explosive situation they have maneuvered themselves being an obedient zato dog. Their loud and clumsy BRICS and SCO noises might be meant to counterbalance that so as to say "Mr. Putin, consider turkey as neutral as she's able to be in case a storm came up".

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Apr 28 2013 19:42 utc | 36

Fine, but bullshit about the Russians. That is wishful thinking and no decent analysis is based on wishful thinking. Fatal flaw. I will happily cover all bets on this front.

Posted by: Daniel McAdams | Apr 29 2013 3:34 utc | 37


Comparing Russia in the 1990's with Russia today is a "fatal flaw". Also, the Russian side has a winning hand in the current situation. It's a lot easier to play a game when you have a strong hand.

Mr P,

Without Syria and Hezbollah, what has Iran got? How do you get the gas out before Qatar does? As far as weakening Russia goes, this has been attempted all along. The bombs and assassinations in Russia are orchestrated from outside. The ZATO strategy would be to pressure Russia on all fronts, including the corrupt business class, to make them come to terms with the West. Think Cyprus. But coming to terms sets you up for a fall in ten years, as we saw in Libya. As far as Russia goes, the bombs and assassinations have been from the outside, and could get a lot worse. I have heard from Syrians how their arrogance got them into this mess. They didn't think ZATO could do anything, as Syria has a good army and missiles. In five years, robots, androids, and drones will be a key part of war. Send in mosquito robots with a poison into Damascus to kill everyone within key areas. Or robot snakes to infiltrate in the desert and blow up programmed buildings. Is Syria ready for this? They weren't even ready for tunnels. Is Russia ready?

Posted by: Paul | Apr 29 2013 4:26 utc | 38

Paul (38)

I'm afraid I can't understand why you think Iran needs Syria and Hezbollah to get the gas out before qatar does. Maybe you can elaborate that somewhat.

Concerning zato trying to play Russia. Of course they do. But thanks to Putin they failed to a large degree. And of course they will go on and try - however in an ever more tight situation themselves.

With your last point you address a delicate point, indeed. While Russia is leading in certain (important) areas they seem to be rather behind in digital-related high-tech (which is more and more important).

While I do not see any danger for the near future (say, decade) from robo-snakes and alike I do see a serious problem that actually goes deeper is more fundamental.
Russia has excellent software engineers but does strongly lack in terms of hardware (microprocessors, etc.). This, at least for the foreseeable future, translates directly to dependence, either from zusa or from China.
On the other hand though, military planners always liked high-tech, yet wars were widely won with rather low-tech means. In the end this is one more point were different world-views are visible; zusa bets more and more on human-less "remote" warfare and yes at first sight this looks impressive.
In reality, however, even a mid-tech nation like Iran succeeded to kidnap a high-tech drone.

It would go rather deep (and probably not interest anyone here) but actually I intentionally said "impressive at first sight"; which is the zusa forte, the first sight, the show. Let's suffice for the moment to mention that even standard systems are extremely complex riddled with thousands of bugs and weak points. It's relatively simple to create an impressive colourful system. Much widely used software today is really written by 14 year old kids. To build a system, however, that is rock solid, on which one can trust lives (which one must do in war) is dimensionally more complicated.

Let me give you just one example:

Evidently the quality of software (and micro-hardware) very much depends on correctness. Unfortunately though we are currently just at a first beginning of formal verifyability; currently only two "major" ( actually they are rather rarely used) programming languages allow for formal verification, one of them being "ADA", once designed upon demand for the zusa military.

Short: One can build dragonfly-robots and make impressive demonstrations, yes. But we are still far far away from reliable and militarily useful high-tech robotics, not even to speak of artifical swarm intelligence (robo-mosquitoes attacking a city, etc) and similar scifi.

Way more importantly the real situation today is very different from western brainwashed and masturbating PR (not meaning you but zato).
zusa is strongly declining in quite every major aspect and actually must fight for a not too bad position in the near future. It might look very similar on the surface but actually it makes a very big difference whether one (zusa) fight out of a strong position to be held or, which is currently the case, from a weak and brutally weaker position to not fall into insignificance.

Again: Just look at the facts. Because in the end they are the measure. zusa failed and failed and is quite rotten inside, too.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Apr 29 2013 6:55 utc | 39

39) the facts? of course the US is not failing, nor is Europe.

Simple question to ask yourself - if you had a choice and no family you want to live close to, and depended on work for income, where would you choose to live?

Posted by: somebody | Apr 29 2013 7:19 utc | 40

GDP is quite irrelevant metric when it comes to question you are asking. From that link, for example, India takes 9th place, and vast majority of population having no running water, thus making Estonia better place to live despite its 102nd place. GDP is by no means reflection of quality of life and it is used by IMF and WB and the like neoconsevative (neo-colonial) organization to show skewed picture and to show how their loans are "improving" targeted society.

If we have to use one than GNP would show much better state of one society.

Posted by: neretva'43 | Apr 29 2013 14:26 utc | 41

Mr P,

The gas is to go to Europe through Syria, and it won't make it if ZATO has its way. Qatar can take it instead. Good luck building LNG plants. The West is trying to cut off Iran's oxygen supply, so, for example, a pipeline through Pakistan will undoubtedly have a huge problem with terrorism or accidents.

As far as technology goes, I've spent my life around this stuff, and family members were involved in things like the space program and the US's major rocket programs. 95% of the US space program is now secret, and hundreds have died in test craft. The true military budget is astronomical. When insects will matter is debatable, but basic robots will be relevant in less than ten years, and spy birds and such should be online within five years, but I agree that the West loves tech for tech's sake. The real thing is that ZATO strategy is to be able to destroy a country, and that is pretty advanced. But other situations, such as destabilizing Russia, are a lot trickier. I see the problem for ZATO as being more that missiles are now too good. In other words, Iran can probably do incredible damage to Israel with just non-nuclear missiles, and Syria's missiles are pretty frightening, too. And America's ships are not remotely safe. Russia has some great stuff, such as the Granit missile, but is lacking a decent industrial core. This seems to be one of Putin's main pushes.

Anyway, this is a long discussion. The technocrats at the top in the West want to get rid of a large part of the population, and roll out their Brave New World. In the process of creating an atmosphere for this, they have destroyed the basis of their strength in Western countries, as one can easily see in visiting the US. But don't underestimate what can be done with almost unlimited money over 70 years and a strong desire to take the best technology and brains and put it in black projects. They aren't kidding when they say they expect to own the weather and space soon. And they went to the Moon a long time ago with primitive technology. What do you think they can do now?

By the way, before we can say that ZATO has failed, we have to agree on what they were trying to do. I would submit that they wanted to blow up a large part of the Middle East, and then ramp up oil production in the US, as the actual reserves are enormous. Then Japan and Germany would be stuck, and the prices would have increased dramatically. Falling in line with Good Ol' Uncle Sam would have been the only choice. They also wanted the creation of more radicals to feed their future campaigns in Russia and Central Asia. By this measure, they have failed so far, as Syria was a key part of re-doing the Arab Spring of a hundred years ago. They can, of course, push some places like SA over the cliff, but the key was taking down Syria. You may see it differently.

Posted by: Paul | Apr 29 2013 16:14 utc | 42

Only one google link for this, but it's reported that Israeli jets bombed a chemical weapon site (base?) near Damascus on

The Free Syrian Army (FSA) reported at the weekend that Israeli warplanes had bombed a chemical weapons base in Damascus. The Israeli government gave no response.

FSA forces and the Syrian army were reportedly battling close to another chemical weapons base on the outskirts of Damascus on Monday, with the outcome of the battle still very much undetermined.

Note the FSA is doing the reporting....

Posted by: jawbone | Apr 29 2013 22:57 utc | 43

Well, Google had only one link under the Israel bombs Syria headline, but there are some other reports. This one is from Al Qaeda.

CIA-controlled Al Qaeda operatives in Syria are reporting Israeli war planes have began bombing Syria to destroy targets claimed to be chemical weapons plants. The bombings occurred over the weekend as the corporate media has gone into full-spin propaganda push to drum up support for military intervention claiming Syria crossed a red-line by using chemical weapons.

The tailspin of rhetoric comes as the CIA has admitted it is arming Al Qaeda and hackers recently reveal the US hired mercanaries to use chemical weapons in Syria so it could be blamed on the government. CIA-controlled Al Qaeda operatives in Syria are reporting Israeli war planes have began bombing Syria to destroy targets claimed to be chemical weapons plants.

Posted by: jawbone | Apr 29 2013 23:00 utc | 44

On January 30th of this year, Israel bombed what they called a research center. Which the US approved of on Feb. 4th.

Boy, sovereign territory sure ain't what it used to be....

Posted by: jawbone | Apr 29 2013 23:03 utc | 45

@43 This is clearly a gamechanger. The UN should waste no time sending in an inspection team.

Posted by: dh | Apr 30 2013 0:36 utc | 46

Conflict is inevitable in every human should be sourced.,.,

Posted by: theodora | May 9 2013 11:06 utc | 47

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