Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
July 24, 2018

Syria - For The Third Time Israel Falsely Claims Iran Pull-Back Deal With Russia

A typical Israeli propaganda scheme is to falsely claim that an agreement with some entity has been made and to then push that entity to stick to a "deal" it never agreed to. Israel dislikes any 'Iranian presence' in Syria. It tries to press on Russia to push Iran out of Syria by claiming that Russia offered or made such a deal.

Last fall a campaign in Israeli media claimed that Russia had agreed to push Iran away from the border with Israel. Russia denied that anything like that happened. Iranian forces in Syria are legitimately there. In late May a similar campaign repeated that scheme. It claimed that the Russian Foreign Minister had agreed to move Iran out, when in fact he had called on U.S. forces to leave Syria. Moon of Alabama documented both campaigns.

Yesterday we saw a third attempt by Israel to pretend that Russia had offered or made a deal to counter 'Iranian presence':

A senior political source participated in the meeting between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, and Russian Chief of Staff Valery Gerasimov, at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem Sunday evening.

"It was made clear again that we would not accept Iranian consolidation in Syria, not near the border, and not in the 100-kilometer strip that the Russians are talking about and committing to," the senior official said. "We said that there is long-range weapons placed beyond this area and all these forces have to leave Syria. Russia has considerable capabilities to deal with this, because it is a very significant factor within Syria."

Damascus is only some 50 kilometers from the Israel occupied Golan Height. Does anyone believe that Russia can tell Iranians to not go to Damascus? That it can tell Iran to not defend its ally Syria? Such an "offer", which Russia most likely never made, would be nonsense. Russia has no means to tell Iran what to do. Even the U.S. acknowledges that:

“We have assessed that it’s unlikely Russia has the will or the capability to fully implement and counter Iranian decisions and influence” in Syria, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats said Thursday at the Aspen Security Forum. “Russia would have to make significantly greater commitments [in Syria] from a military standpoint, from an economic standpoint,” he said. “We don’t assess that they’re keen to do that.”

The Israeli haranguing about an 'Iranian presence' is a self fulfilling prophecy. Each Israeli attack on Syrian grounds proves that Iranian forces would have legitimate reason to be in Syria. They are obviously needed to help their Syrian allies to defend against such attacks.

Other news sites picked up on the alleged Russian "offer" claim and pretended that it is real.

Reuters weirdly headlines: Israel rejects Russian offer to keep Iranian forces 100 km from Golan: official:

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel on Monday rebuffed a Russian offer to keep Iranian forces in Syria at least 100 kilometers from the Golan Heights ceasefire line, an Israeli official said on Monday.
...
The official said that Netanyahu told Lavrov “we will not allow the Iranians to establish themselves even 100 kilometers from the border.”

From that quote it seems that it was Netanyahoo, not Lavrov, who introduced the "100 kilometers" line.

Axios offered a similar stupid headline: Russia wants to push Iran 65 miles from Israel's border in Syria:

Russia wants to push Iranian forces, Hezbollah and Pro-Iranian Shiite militias 65 miles from the Syrian-Israeli border in the Golan Heights, a senior Israeli official said after a meeting today in Jerusalem between Prime Minister Netanyahu and Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov.
...
The senior Israeli official said in a conference call with reporters that Israel's goal is to get all Iranian and pro-Iranian forces out of the entire Syrian territory, but the Russians want, in the first phase, to push the Iranians 65 miles from the Israeli border.

Russia had rejected such Israeli claims last fall. It again rejected similar claims in May. It will also debunk the current nonsense. No such offer was made. Israel 'rejected' something it invented itself and has the chutzpah to make even more lunatic demands:

According to the Israeli official, Netanyahu gave Lavrov a list of demands regarding Iranian military presence in Syria:
  • Iran needs to take all of its long range missiles and weapons out of Syria.
  • Iran needs to stop the production of precision munitions in Syria.
  • Iran needs to take all its air defense systems out of Syria.
  • The border crossings between Syria and Lebanon needs to be monitored to prevent arms smuggling to Hezbollah from Syria.
  • The border crossings between Iraq and Syria needs to be monitored to prevent infiltration of Shiite militias into Syria from Iraq.

Netanyahoo also asked for a pink pony.

Syrian companies produce ammunition. Syrian workers manufacture missiles of various ranges and precision. They have done so for decades. There may once a while be some lone Iranian engineer visiting to give advice. The Syrian Arab Army has long range missiles and it is the SAA, not Iran, that provides air defense for Syria. There are no longer Iranian forces or other personal in notable numbers in Syria. During the war Iran helped to build up Syria's National and Local Defense Forces (NDF/LDF). Hizbullah came from Lebanon to support the Syrian efforts. Iranian advisors joined some Syrian army groups. But as the Syrian army won back more and more control over its land these groups lowered their presence:

Hizbollah now only has 10% of its units compared to peak of 2016. Similarly, NDF/LDF that used to be almost 90k are now closer to 3k. ...

All the Israeli harrumphing about Iran in Syria is a diversion from the fact the Israel and the U.S. lost their war on Syria.

Israel openly stated that it preferred ISIS and other Jihadis near the occupied Golan Height. But now those forces are defeated. The Syrian army is back at the Golan Heights line and no shooting down of a Syrian jet or attack on this or that minor factory will change that. These are provocations to goad Syria into a response attack on Israel and to draw Iran and the U.S. into a war.

The southwestern Daara region is nearly cleaned up. The Syrian army is already moving forces northwards to Idleb governorate where some 15-20,000 Jihadis are busy killing each other. An all out attack on that last governorate with significant Jihadi presence will commence in September. A local guerilla movement against the U.S. presence in northeast Syria is growing. It is unlikely that the Trump administration is willing to sustain the occupation there when it starts to cause a number of casualties.

In a year from now the Syrian government will likely have regained full control over its country.

Posted by b on July 24, 2018 at 13:17 UTC | Permalink

Comments
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oldhippie @94

If I recall correctly, the Straits of Homuz are 21 miles wide, but the channel for the big tankers is only four miles wide - one mile up, one mile down with a two mile buffer in between. Those very, very big heavy boats need room to manoeuvre hence the buffer, although I expect the military use tighter margins. The Iranians have developed bottom-sitting mines (effectively underwater rockets) and could close that gap almost instantly.

Posted by: Ross | Jul 25 2018 20:41 utc | 101

There is no way Russia will allow a major weakening of Iran or a US enforced regime change in that country.
Any regime change designed by the US will not merely aim at toppling the current Iranian government and replacing it by a "liberal democracy", but at installing a pro-american and anti-russian government that will allow the US to place bases in Iran and increase the "silent threat" towards Russia.
Russias readiness to partially "appease" Israel and tolerate it´s occasional attacks against its Syrian and Iranian allies in Syria is limited. Russia will not allow any "game changing" Israeli interference in Syria, and in any case Iran has even a plan B should Russia for some reason decide to let Iran fall in Syria. The potential for Iran to escalate and up the ante against Israel, primarily through Hezbollah should not be underestimated. This is a card the Iranians will delay to play and one they even loathe to use, but it´s their last resort.
Also, Syrias power should not be underestimated. Assads "restraint" regarding Israel is due to the fear of losing the momentum in the civil war, if Israel in case of a serious Syrian reaction would attack more heavily and inflict "too much" damage. Should Israel however, trespass a certain limit of humiliation and destruction brought upon the Syrian army there will be little more to lose for Syria. Relying on the assumed safety through missile defense systems would be naive.

Russia knows that an "all out" defeat for Iran in Syria could result in the US and Israel getting bolder and consider attacking Iran on it´s own soil as well, something Russia simply cannot afford to happen successfully.

Posted by: KerKaraje | Jul 25 2018 20:44 utc | 102

@81 "Its because Syrian gov. has a better relationship than that with Iraq."

So you are admitting that the Russians are in Syria because the Syrians asked them for help?

Glad we cleared that up.

"In Iraq US forces began its op. So no need for russians there."

Define "need", dude. You have been arguing that Russia is only interested in fighting ISIS. Nothing more. No less.

Now, of course, you are arguing that Russia can take it or leave it in Iraq, but fights it in Syria. But not because it wants to help Syria, nor because the Syrians asked for that help.

No, no, no. Russia fights ISIS in Syria because... because. And Russia doesn't fight ISIS in Iraq because... because.

Got it.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jul 25 2018 21:56 utc | 103

OT for this thread, but certainly on topic for the region is the Pakistani election, which has yet to announce a winner. Major media network DAWN currently shows Imran Khan's PTI ahead with 109 seats while Sharif's PML-N trails with 67 with @1/4 of votes counted. Unfortunately, the obligatory polling station bombing in Quetta killed @40, and the usual accusations of rigging are being voiced by those trailing. I suspect Khan's party has an excellent chance since Sharif is dogged by his brother's corruption having tainted his party. I must confess ignorance at the deeper underlying dynamics but have liked what I've read about Khan. Whoever wins, two great challenges are continuing to defuse the enmity existing with India and solving Afghanistan so the BRI can begin to do its work.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 25 2018 22:04 utc | 104

Yeah, Right @104--

Zanon's an acronym for Zionist anonymous, thus his trolling mission attempting to sow FUD. It's what's now known as a Time Leech, which of course is a parasite.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 25 2018 22:09 utc | 105

Iran has a distributed defense structure, long planned to survive air attacks and clustered bombing, with its soldiers, its Basiji and its civilians who will all unite to fight an enemy. The entire nation, even with its internal nuances of pro-west vs anti-west, is extremely clear that, if it attacks, the US is the enemy.

Any use of nuclear force by the US will result in a currently incalculable reaction from the world. Certainly, there is no justification for such an attack. But with or without tactical nukes, the US in any military action against Iran WILL take casualties of some kind. And after such an attack, as pointed out here, even without closing the Straits the oil price will go stratospheric and stop the heartbeat of the world's industry. And it will be the fault of the US. The US will cause great harm to itself by stepping over the line of any residual moral reputation that remains to it - and this includes at home. The domestic tolerance for US casualties, in my judgment, is non-existent, I don't care what kind of spin they try to put on it.

Iran's position appears to me to be unique among the nations, in that it simply is refusing to talk with the US. Even North Korea talked, and indeed this was part of its objective. But Iran refuses. I think this is more than an incidental factor, I think it's somewhat pivotal.

It's as if Iran is refusing to give the US any handles to pick it up with. It is by default forcing the US to make the first move, and to justify that move. I don't suggest Iran is doing this as a provocation so much as coming from a place of insisting that the US demonstrate its unilateral action and aggression clearly and unequivocally. Iran will have no part in any justification the US feels it has to make. Iran simply will not play the game. Or so it seems at the moment.

I admire this posture. It has the feel of a judo throw.

Posted by: Grieved | Jul 25 2018 22:14 utc | 106

Grieved @107:

[Iran is] ... forcing the US to make the first move ... Iran will have no part in any justification the US feels it has to make. Iran simply will not play the game.
The US has already made the first move with the embargo. But the ignorant/uncaring/propagandized Western public doesn't understand that. They will only care about WHO SHOT AT WHO FIRST. So Iran will be blamed for the war when they try to close the straits. And those who join with Iran will be blamed for making it a world war.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 25 2018 22:29 utc | 107

Karlofi @ 95:

To be honest, I don't see how a merger of Syria and Iraq can be in the interests of the peoples of those nations. They've had separate histories since 1918 which include one nation being under French colonial rule and the other under British colonial rule so their political, administrative and legal institutions and structures are likely to be very different.

When both nations were part of the Ottoman empire, the people who later became Syrians and Iraqis had about as much in common with one another as they did with the Egyptians and the Arabs living in the Hejaz region of the Arabian Peninsula along the Red Sea. They all shared the same religions and spoke different dialects of Arabic (not all of them mutually intelligible). How does sharing similar religious beliefs and traditions and a similar common literary language suggest that Iraqis and Syrians should unite in one country? One might as well try to force France, Italy, Spain and Portugal to form one country on the basis of a shared religious faith and speaking related languages descended from a language with a literary tradition.

And looking at Syria and Iraq on a map, I would suggest that both Lebanon and Syria should be one nation, both being oriented to the eastern Mediterranean world physically (and through their past histories as well), and Iraq being dominated by the Tigris and Euphrates being oriented to the Persian Gulf and the areas surrounding it. The Syrians and Iraqis can co-operate on issues relating to controlling water supply in the Euphrates River but that co-operation also relies on Turkey being willing to share the river water as well and not use it to control and weaken Syria or Iraq.

Posted by: Jen | Jul 25 2018 22:50 utc | 108

Jen @109--

Quite valid critiques, but it appears an associative alliance was once seriously contemplated but was deliberately destroyed by the usual suspects. Now, its several generations later, but I believe the last 30 years--particularly the past 10--of shared experiences provide the initial basis for an intense partnership related to rebuilding the regional economy and developing its greatly untapped potential. Politically, Iraq is more fractured than Syria and stability will take longer to establish. But both Syria and Iraq have partners eager and willing to help arrive at Win-Win outcomes. And their success will make it very difficult for other regional nations--Jordan, Azerbaijan and Georgia particularly--to not join the party. (Turkey, Iran, Armenia, Syria, Iraq are already forming a bloc that will attach to EAEU, BRI, and eventually SCO.)

It's just that sort of bloc the Outlaw US Empire was trying to prevent through its wars, while expanding the Zionist heelprint and thus keep the outcome of the Battle for the Heartland undecided. And although the Fat Lady has yet to sing, the outcome's already determined--The Empire's lost.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 25 2018 23:32 utc | 109

Re. geography and the Straits of Hormuz.

The two countries separated by the Straits are Iran and Oman. Qatar is half way up the Persian Gulf from the Straits.

Iran and Oman both have mountains quite near to their shores.

The depth of the Straits varies from some 50 meters to 100 meters. The maximum draft of the largest supertankers is less than 30 meters.

chart

Depth">https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/ae/Strait_of_hormuz_full.jpg">Depth graphed


Each shipping lane is 2 nautical miles wide, with a 2 mile separation line between.

Iran has been threatening to shut down the Straits for decades, but not by scuttling some derelicts. Rather, they refer to their naval and air forces and rockets.

Posted by: Daniel | Jul 25 2018 23:53 utc | 110

Grieved@107

Irans achilles heal has always been its lack of refining capacity. They finally have a refinery that just went online, and are no longer dependent on gasoline imports. Sanctions will certainly hurt but so long as they can use the oil for gas and keep cars/trucks running they cant be controlled.

US/Israel know this. Their objective is to bomb that refinery into a billion pieces. Iran will either make a mistake (unlikely) or those white helmets who have left Syria will execute anothe false flag that gets blamed on Iran (or some other event)

Obviously a military invasion and occupation is not happening, but the US and Israel can do a lot of damage from afar by air w/o excessive casualties on their side. They just need to engineer an excuse the herd will mindlessly accept. Its not that hard, they are experts at this

Their lackeys in the EU are already making plans to become energy dependants of the US. EU rolled over for Trump and let him scratch their belly today. Disgraceful.

Posted by: Pft | Jul 26 2018 0:33 utc | 111

Pft @112--

Much of Iran's vehicle fleet's powered by CNG. This dated article provides a look at it after 5 years in 2006. Here's a slide showing this policy's achievements up to 2018. It's hard to find good info on the state of Iran's economy as lots of disinfo exists. As with Russia, sanctioning gasoline exports to Iran would boost its domestic production of CNG.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 26 2018 1:41 utc | 112

Posted by: karlof1

Its f'kin weird the win by Imran's party is likely the biggest game changer of the year since they have won sufficient of the national vote to not need a weak coalition and will be able to chase amerikan arse outta their nation, altho they are unlikely to go that far since it would cause all sorts of problems as the active ignorance of Pakistan points to how close to the surface anti-Pakistan prejudice is, even at MoA.
Imran's mob whose base is chiefly in Pashtu territory that includes the so-called 'tribal areas' that have born the brunt of the Oblamblam inspired but trumpet followed on drone attacks, will certainly put a halt to the CIA war against Pakistanis and will most likely also halt the amerikan butchery in Afghanistan as while the amerikans now have sufficient bases in Afghanistan it will be tough to resupply without using Pakistan airspace and that will almost certainly be restricted to 'peaceful flights' of food medicine etc but not arms and certainly not renditions to and from Bagram.

This is why the NYT and guardian have been trying to say that the election was rigged when it appears to have been less dodgy than usual and why they accuse Imran of being in Pakistan's 'deep state' - the army and the ISI's back pocket. Imran will have to be circumspect around both institutions if he wants to stay alive and in power, but neither have the hold they once did, so the army in particular won't want to clash with a government which has garnered so much support.
Whatever other ways amerika finds in and out of Afghanistan, maybe Uzbekistan, only Pakistan has the infrastructure to support the airlifts the coalition of the killing requires, apart from which getting the stuff in and outa Uzbekistan isn't easy.
Imran was always fairly popular in India and not just among the Islamic Indians, but an urbane bloke like Imran is unlikely to hit it off with that Hindu fascist Modi so that will be a challenge. Modi won't have any idea of how to deal with Pakistani PM who doesn't stick out his paw and turn a blind eye.
The people of Pakistan have simply had enough of being led by crooks and I reckon Imran can show them better ways. Of course there will be self servers in his party but as long as he doesn't get drawn into all that which I doubt he will, I suspect that Pakistan is going to become an entirely different nation, no longer a slave to empire.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Jul 26 2018 6:03 utc | 113

Yeah Right

Of course Russia is there because Syria ask them. You must have missunderstood since I have not claimed otherwhise.

And yes Russia is there for terrorism, nothing else:

The Russian military intervention in the Syrian Civil War began in September 2015, after an official request by the Syrian government for military aid against rebel and jihadist groups

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_military_intervention_in_the_Syrian_Civil_War

Do you think Russia is doing good trying to weaken Iran inside Syria just like Israel? Since you are making the claim that Russia is helping Syria not only against terrorism but also against other threats like Israel?

Posted by: Zanon | Jul 26 2018 7:40 utc | 114

That amerzionist sh1trag the grauniad now goes too far with its fallacious, untainted by any actual evidence support for the Sharif crooks' allegations that the Imran Khan organisation, (PTI) rigged the vote. Aside from the fact that the Sharif owned PML-Nawaz gang have made exactly the same claims whenever the Bhutto Family mob, PPP, beat them (and the PPP vice-versa on PML), the courts never entertain these annoyances which are really about the loser jockeying for a few crumbs off the table of corruption. Imran won't be cutting any deals though as he is trying hard to make sure no one on his side get up to any of the business as usual corrupt BS, that becomes impossible if he favors the Bhutto or Sharif gangs of Lahore.
Even if the 'scrutineers had been asked to leave to allow rigging rather than they had been caught threatening the poll clerks which is what the electoral commission (ECP), says, the numbers are inconsequential - insufficient to get Nawaz to change his stinky shorts, let alone alter the outcome of the vote.

The trouble is many Pakistanis, just like many Indians south of the border, set too much store on the nonsense printed in englander fishwraps, the graun's uncaring imperialism won't change the outcome but it could create a lot of pointless violence.

If the nonsense the graun prints about the Pakistan elections offends you too and you can grasp that trump/iran is far from the only "issue which matters" write via snail mail to The editor, The Guardian, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London, N1 9GU, or email guardian.readers@theguardian.com and tell the pr1cks this.
One complaint does SFA but this fishwrap is hemorrhaging circulation so bad that 10 or 20 contacts does get their attention.

Pakistan's people get their act together but no one pays any mind, to the point where USuk and a bunch of crooks are trying to rape Pakistan while everyone who should be paying attention is running around whining about the same old shit like a scratched record.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Jul 26 2018 9:44 utc | 115

Daniel

Yep, I confuse Doha and Dubai. And work from an old man's faulty memory.

A shipping channel 2 nautical miles wide means single file for any but small craft. Considering how long it takes to correct tiny errors with a huge tanker that is threading the needle. 50 meters is not deep water, it's a lake. To clear a boat with 30 meters draft how much scrap do you need on the bottom? Iran would not even need to scuttle old scows, all they would need to do is throw some scrap metal overboard. Couple small scrap piles and no one would trust their ability to navigate around it. Yes, they have lots of missiles. 1970s anti-ship missiles work impressively well. Iran has their own missile industry now and they make good stuff. If you want to make an impression on irremediably stupid people things that go boom are useful. If you want to stop salvage crews from clearing the channel once it is blocked it would not take much. The point is geography is an absolute. Geography is on Iran's side. America has no concept of geography and never has.

Posted by: oldhippie | Jul 26 2018 11:02 utc | 116

oldhippie | Jul 26, 2018 7:02:42 AM | 116

What a refreshingly correct analysis of the real deal.
As one very old duffer (hippie) to another; well said you...

Posted by: V | Jul 26 2018 11:35 utc | 117

@114 "Of course Russia is there because Syria ask them. You must have missunderstood since I have not claimed otherwhise."

No, I understand perfectly: the Syrians needed help, so they asked Russia for help and the Russians supplied.... help.

What I don't understand is how you can construe that as an attempt by Russia to weaken Syria.

"And yes Russia is there for terrorism, nothing else:"

Hold that thought: you insist that the only reason that Russia is there is to fight terrorism.

"Do you think Russia is doing good trying to weaken Iran inside Syria just like Israel?"

Excuse me? Not one sentence ago you were insisting that Russia has only one reason to be in Syria: to fight terrorism.

Now you are producing a SECOND reason for Russia to be in Syria i.e. to "weaken Iran" in a manner and a purpose that is "just like Israel".

So what I am seeing is this: you are arguing that Russia is only in Syria for one purpose.... except when it is pursuing a second purpose, which means that Russia isn't in Syria for just one purpose even though.... you insist that it is, even as you insist that it isn't.

" Since you are making the claim that Russia is helping Syria not only against terrorism but also against other threats like Israel?"

No, I am making no such claim. I am taking issue with you claim that Russia is ALSO in Syria to weaken Syria "just like Israel".

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jul 26 2018 12:12 utc | 118

"They knew too much" - why White Helmets were rescued by Israel: https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-07-25/they-knew-too-much

"According to the official legend, the White Helmets have saved a total of 80,000 lives since 2012 -and some of them right in front of the cameras, after which the “seriously wounded” then stood up and ran somewhere else so they could be heroically saved again. A movie about them even won an Oscar... (Here are the obliging presstitutes, director Orlando von Einsiedel and producer Joanna Natasegara: http://www.livingly.com/The+Cutest+Couples+At+the+2017+Academy+Awards/articles/pMJvEv-hXnZ/Orlando+von+Einsiedel+Joanna+Natasegara)

"Washington was not ready to leave them [White Helmets] in the lurch — those people know too much, and must not end up in Bashar al-Assad’s hands...
Now they are being held in a secret shelter inside Jordan, and in three months they will be resettled in Britain, Canada, and Germany. Far from the cameras. And since the data on their subsequent whereabouts will be strictly classified, no one will be able to stop the West from quietly killing off the most important and most dangerous of them. Just to be on the safe side."

Posted by: Anya | Jul 26 2018 12:28 utc | 119

Yeah Right @ 118:

You'd think by now that B has explained enough about the nature of Iran's participation in Syria's war against regime change that MoA readers (apart from new arrivals or the odd troll or two) know that Iran does not have soldiers in southern Syria near Israel.

It's not Moscow's place to pressure Iran to remove troops or anyone else it may have in that part of Syria. Only Syria has that right. If Moscow appears to be listening to Israel and indulging the Israelis, that is because the Israelis flatter themselves that they are more important to the security of the Near East region than they actually are, and in deluding themselves might slip up and reveal something of their plans and agenda that can be turned against them and become their Achilles' heel.

Posted by: Jen | Jul 26 2018 12:49 utc | 120

Anya @ 119: Yes if memory serves me correctly, there was one nine or ten-year-old girl in green-coloured clothing who was so enamoured of the White Helmets that she kept coming back three or four times to scenes of disaster to be rescued.

If the jihadis are being settled in Canada, pray to God they're going to live in the areas where the spiritual and moral descendants of WWII Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera and his fellow Ukrainian extremists Yaroslav Stetsko and Myhailo Chomiak (the grandfather of the foreign minister Chrystia Freeland there) live so if the communities have any differences, they can sort them out among themselves and get rid of each other that way.

Posted by: Jen | Jul 26 2018 12:55 utc | 121

One more. The Iranian side is mountainous and perfect for concealing anti-ship missiles. The Qatari side is flat desert. The only way to ensure the mountains are safe would be nukes. Enough nukes to make Qatar glow in the dark.

Assume half a dozen analysts in D.C. know some geography. Assume no one listens to them.

Posted by: oldhippie | Jul 25, 2018 2:50:00 PM | 96

The straight is not particularly narrow. I am not familiar with shipping channels, and indeed, it is enough to stop the supertankers. On the other side there are mountains that belong to Oman, and Oman is ALWAYS neutral, and some lesser emirates of UAE. For some reasons, UAE decided to stick very closely with KSA, but I guess it is actually tricky, Dubai is a trading and banking hub, and most interested in trading with Iran, Abu Dhabi has the oil and bailed out Dubai when the real estate loans there had some crush, so Abu Dhabi dominates.

Most importantly, otherwise nonsensical war between Israel and Hezbollah tested all elements that would be at play in Hormuz, and it does not look too well for USA and KSA. (1) Iranian missiles are capable of disabling ships from the required distance, an Israeli warship was towed back to base (2) bombardments does not disable missile launching -- all other missiles except the one used against a warship were crappy, but the point was made (3) sending in Marines or Israeli "crack troops" will not disable missile launching either. That said, what has paramount importance is diplomatic cover. A bout of Mutually Assured Economic Destruction is fine if the trade resumes afterwards. So Iran can block the straight only with sufficient implicit support.

In the case of a direct attack on Iran, I am sure that Iran can block the straight with sufficient support (Russia, China), understanding (India, Pakistan) and wobbling (Europe). However, Trump has a more diabolic plan, force customers to stop buying oil by savage secondary sanctions. Europe wobbles, China is somewhat discreet but plans not to comply, India is unpredictable, but big countries have some national pride that may cause the Trumpian plan to fail. Among the protests from a number of countries, Iran may make a case that it faces de facto aggression. And they surely will add some pleasant elements, like in an eventuality of a direct attack, they would not re-open until they get reparations. And pass the tankers to countries not complying with Trumpian sanctions.

Most importantly, that increases the pressure on the customer countries not to comply with Trump demands.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jul 26 2018 13:26 utc | 122

Yeah Right

Then you missunderstand as I tried to tell you earlier,

That Russia help Syria with ISIS is not weaking Syria of course,
what is weaking Syria is when Russia works with Israel to stop iranian help to Syria.

Do you agree with Israel and Russia that Iran should stop its help to Syria?

Posted by: Zanon | Jul 26 2018 13:30 utc | 123

Jen

MoA readers (apart from new arrivals or the odd troll or two) know that Iran does not have soldiers in southern Syria near Israel.

You are saying Russian media is lying?

<"At the meeting, the situation in Syria and Iran’s presence in Syria was discussed," it indicated.

http://tass.com/world/1014695

Posted by: Zanon | Jul 26 2018 13:31 utc | 124

Zanon's comments are usually bonkers, with none so ever base in any reality, amusing but with any nutritional value, like eating shredded paper with wax sauce.
No I do not either forese that Iran will close Strait of Hormuz, it will gain the fury of the world and cause a recession never seen before, and it would harm themselves financially as much as the rest of the world. A world recession would damage everybody badly, with the most hitting developing economies far the worst. Remember Greece, could not take the 2008 sucker punch, because of it decrepit state of finances.
If the US does wage war on Iran, it will be alone. Even us European poodles will have none of it, except maybe Britain, but they are broke anyway, and got no planes for the mighty carriers.
The US is in turmoil right now politically, and Drumphie has got a thin edge to walk, however good and brave the Helsinki initiative was. That was praise, never thought I would do that.
What the US needs right now is a brisk bloody short civil war, with lots of destruction, death and despair. Then the calling for wars in countries far away will disappear.
Countries need a hiding every 100 years, to keep militancy down.

Posted by: Den Lille Abe | Jul 26 2018 14:06 utc | 125

I believe that Imran Khan's election in Pakistan is a huge game changer. When he was a cricket player, and was for cricket fans of the stature of Pele for soccer, he endeared himself to the world by using a big chunk of his winnings (and purses were small back in those days) to found hospitals in his home state. The Pakistani cricket team is composed mostly of young players, with just a few of the oldies, and they have had to play international games abroad only, due to the unrest in their country. In spite of this, they are a very promising team, exciting to watch.

Plus, Grieved's promoted website, Vesti on Youtube, has a post up today describing the opening of the BRICS summit, and a huge affair it is, in Johannesburg. One stat that caught my eye was that the total economic figure for that group now exceeds that of the G7. Also, upwards of 12 countries signed on as observers. Very upbeat post.

Sorry to be somewhat OT, b; but everything is very connected these days. I do think that Iran realizes that Trump is just posturing and positioning when he's on home turf. The next summit with Putin has been postponed, but they could be communicating at a meeting in November I believe. And I will add on topic that I think Netanyahu's attempts to involve Russia in a deal are like the politician who runs to the front of a big parade because he's not really a player any longer; and the withdrawal of the White Helmets is more significant than his various staged remarks. It's good to call him out on those, though! They clown around, Trump and Netanyahu, but they talk to Putin also, and that's good.

Posted by: juliania | Jul 26 2018 14:25 utc | 126

oldhippie @96:

The Iranian side is mountainous and perfect for concealing anti-ship missiles... The only way to ensure the mountains are safe would be nukes.
No need for nukes. They would use drones armed with missiles plus bombing.

Of course, there must be enough drones to be effective. USA probably has the most extensive and sophisticated armed drone fleet on the planet.

Iran could close the straights. But for how long?

=

Piotr Berman @122:

... Iran may make a case that it faces de facto aggression.
Iran has already said that they would retailate. Presumeably, they actually do see the embargo as agression.

Not clear to me what the law is on this. A blockade is considered an act of war. I didn't think an embargo was also. But the Iranians clearly see that the embargo would destroy their economy and create the conditions for an anti-government revolt.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 26 2018 14:27 utc | 127

127

"The Iranian side is mountainous and perfect for concealing anti-ship missiles...
The only way to ensure the mountains are safe would be nukes.
No need for nukes. They would use drones armed with missiles plus bombing.
Of course, there must be enough drones to be effective. USA probably has the
most extensive and sophisticated armed drone fleet on the planet._ (end of quote)

Since the drones are so good and more than enough, how come the Talibans
are still in business?

And these drones are invisible to missile defenses available to the Iranies?

Posted by: CarlD | Jul 26 2018 14:45 utc | 128

@ Jackrabbit | 127

No need for nukes. They would use drones armed with missiles plus bombing.
Of course, there must be enough drones to be effective. USA probably has the most extensive and sophisticated armed drone fleet on the planet.

Iran could close the straights. But for how long?

Drones wont be very effective either. Iran can shoot them down or jam electronically. The number of various missiles Iran has and their ranges makes it impossible for US to neutralize the threat.

Plus Iran has a fleet of subs (US cant even detect them!), so Iran can shut down the strait and keep it closed for as long as it wants.

However, Iran wont be closing Strait. Why? Because Iran would do it only if its invaded (not going to happen) or 100% blocked ala Yemen (not going to happen either). Yes, EU will stop oil imports and trade with Iran, they are spineless, India and some other countries will reduce as well. BUT China, Russia and some others will increase to mitigate Iranian loses. In other words, these incoming sanctions will hurt Iran, but not as much as pre-2015. If Iran didnt closed strait then, it will have even less incentive to do it now.

Posted by: Harry | Jul 26 2018 14:51 utc | 129

Woops, Debsisdead, didn't mean to steal your comment lead. You are much more insightful than I, just glad we didn't disagree.

Posted by: juliania | Jul 26 2018 14:52 utc | 130

Den Lille Abe @125: Even us European poodles will have none of it.

The European poodles have already started falling into line on JCPOA and will almost certainly go along with USA embargo on Iran.

IMO some of the poodles (not all) will also fight. Why? Because Iran will be portrayed as the aggressor when they close the Straits of Hormuz.

Current state of play (July 20): Iran’s Zarif: Europe Must Invest to Save JCPOA. Excerpts:

... technical measures ... are not enough [and time is short] ... the first batch of US sanctions that will be in place in August and the ... second batch of US sanctions, which will be in place in November.

We see that under pressure from the US, under the psychological atmosphere that the US has tried to create, some European companies have already started to withdraw. And that has to be confronted by the Europeans if they are interested indeed in preserving the deal. If that is the belief, if that is the appreciation of our partners in Europe, then they have to be prepared to invest for it. Iran should not be the only side in this deal that has been investing.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 26 2018 14:54 utc | 131

From a naval standpoint, and according to their own analysis, The US
Navy is a sitting duck in the Persian Gulf. The US cannot protect its
aircraft carriers from immediate destruction in the Gulf waters.

They could operate from the Arabian seas but then this cuts severely
the range and usefulness of its airplanes and does not make them impervious
to the Iranian Kilo class subs and their smaller brethren.

Their bases in the Gulf are in the range on most Iranian ballistic missiles of some
importance.

The Iranians have repeatedly photographed US carriers with small drones
which could easily damage the aircraft sitting on the deck. They have been
producing these babies for quite some time now.

Iran is a true hornet nest. It can be nuked, that is for sure. But not conventionally
defeated at the present time.

Posted by: CarlD | Jul 26 2018 15:11 utc | 132

Harry @129:

BUT China, Russia and some others will increase to mitigate Iranian loses.

Do Russia and China have a supertanker fleet?

If China tries to break the embargo, USA will force GCC to stop selling oil to China. I think China imports a lot more oil than would be available from Iran (even if they could manage to get 100% of Iranian production).

USA's anti-Iranian measures are also meant to bring the Dragon to heel. Another reason why I think it unlikely that war can be averted. USA NEEDS to drive this to a result. What's at stake for USA/neocons is both military and dollar hegemony.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 26 2018 15:14 utc | 133

Posted by: CarlD | Jul 26, 2018 11:11:24 AM | 132:

From a naval standpoint, and according to their own analysis, The US Navy is a sitting duck in the Persian Gulf.

I think your'e referring the simulated wargames of August 2002 where General Paul Van Riper used ballistic missiles, swarms of small, fast attack boats and ship- killing cruise missiles to defeat US forces.

It's now 16 years later. Maybe they have addressed the weaknesses by now?

As far as the neocons are concerned, the only thing worse than war (which would undoubtedly be very very bad) is China - Iran - Russia winning the struggle for global dominance.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 26 2018 15:26 utc | 134

While Western media direct the public's attention to Trump this and Trump that, we move closer to WWIII.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 26 2018 15:32 utc | 135

Piotr Berman says:

However, Trump has a more diabolic plan, force customers to stop buying oil by savage secondary sanctions

Trump's a buffoon. the world runs on oil.

big players will ignore any sanctions, smaller players will devise secondary means to skirt them.

sanctions rarely have the intended effect. they're just priggish.

Posted by: john | Jul 26 2018 15:35 utc | 136

Back on topic:

#Quneitra MAP: SAA took control over al-Hamidiyah, Rawadi,al-Alam roundabout, destroyed Quneitra town and border crossing near UNDOF HQ in the Golan heights.#Syria

https://mobile.twitter.com/miladvisor/status/1022479368889815041

Posted by: Lozion | Jul 26 2018 16:05 utc | 137

@134 JR - thanks!

The way I see it, the US/Is could do the following:

1) continue projecting & bullying -> make Rus/China/Iran/Syria stronger (already happening)

2) start ww3 -> potentially regain world dominance & continue to fight to keep it, a battle which will never end OR potentially lose ww3, & be cast forever as losers (a well deserved beat-down)

3) play nice, apologize, provide reparations & everyone wins & prospers & lives (dare to dream?)


Posted by: xLemming | Jul 26 2018 16:13 utc | 138

Anyone having difficulty getting here via google?

Posted by: bevin | Jul 26 2018 16:31 utc | 139

is this what others see? usa is determined to isolate and sanction iran and will stop at nothing to do this... just how much they are playing israels fiddle - doesn't really matter - they are bonkers either way..

what ever happened to the idea of usa as the land of the brave and free? instead it is land of the bully and do as we say or else... i guess pat lang would go along with that, lol.. either way, i kind of see it like jackrabbit here...

@137 lozion.. thanks for that update..

Posted by: james | Jul 26 2018 16:51 utc | 140

Piotr Berman says:

However, Trump has a more diabolic plan, force customers to stop buying oil by savage secondary sanctions
======
Trump's a buffoon. the world runs on oil.

big players will ignore any sanctions, ....

Posted by: john | Jul 26, 2018 11:35:19 AM | 136
=======
It is unclear how much USA can enforce the ban on purchasing Iranian oil. Under Obama, the secondary sanctions were somewhat feeble, so "push may come to shove". For one thing, Russia may only gain by damaging the sanction mechanism, so it would be inclined to help. Cited anonymous Russian promises of increasing sales probably mean that Russia may buy Iranian oil and sell.

An idea mentioned above was that USA could stop Gulfies from selling to China. That could create a chaos in tanker market, China is the largest importer, but Russia + Iran can cover it, and the end effect could be China invoking "national pride", and for that matter, India has some national pride too -- outright dictates may miff Europeans to some degree, but states of continental size have very different perspective. Say, India retaliates with embargo on phone helpline services and customer service in USA collapses. Some sacrifices can be justified when the national independence and dignity is at stake. Pressing breaks to the metal may stop a car faster, but a dangerous skid is more probable. A master driver can do things and ordinary driver cannot, and it could be that Trump's team is more able than it appears so far.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jul 26 2018 18:14 utc | 141

Trump may hope to monetize the Iranian sanctions by "expanding" America's LNG market ...
Reuters did a fact-check on Trump's claims about expanding the European market (after Juncker's visit yesterday)

Reuters: Trump's plan for U.S. LNG in Europe to face reality check

(they probably don't need our LNG, likely not competitive)

Trump is quite a showman plate-spinner.

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Jul 26 2018 18:39 utc | 142

oldhippie @117

Please look at the charts I provided. The 50 meter shallowest portion of the channel is one small part. It would be very easy to continue shipping even if a pile of ship derelicts 100' tall was piled up on that portion by simply directing them a few hundred meters away.

Large ships do need room to maneuver. However, a 2 mile wide ship channel is quite large enough for multiple ships to pass safely.

San Francisco Bay contains very busy shipping channesl. All of the shipping lanes are far less than 2 miles wide.

https://www.oceangrafix.com/chart/zoom?chart=18649

I don't know where you're getting your opinions, but your "facts" have been incorrect time and time again.

However, I should have included mines as a means Iran has threatened to use to shut off the Straits of Hormuz.

Posted by: Daniel | Jul 26 2018 19:23 utc | 143

Anya @120. I absolutely agree that the White Helmets “know too much” for the AZ Empire to let them testify. Still, every other time the Jihadists have been evacuated on the Green Buses, the White Helmets went with them. For some reason, in this case, it was necessary to sneak them out under cover of darkness.

Something was different.

One possibility is that the Empire feared that the SAA or Russian military planned to detain them this time.

Also, Zerohedge makes a claim contradicted by the evidence:

“It was no surprise that the United States first stopped funding the organization, and then, when the progressive-minded public was outraged by this infringement of the rights of the heroes of the fight against that bloody tyrant, Washington agreed to allocate several million dollars anyway, so that the “heroes” could keep working until the end of the year. “

In fact, although the Administration said they were temporarily cutting funding, when asked about it, SPOX Nauer specified that their paychecks were still being cut.

And Zerohedge’s “conservative” bias shows in claiming it was “progressive-minded public” that forced the Administration to cut the funding it never actually cut. Really? The progressives can’t get the Democratic party to carry out progressive policies. They sure aren’t going to have any affect on the Trump Administration. LOL

Posted by: Daniel | Jul 26 2018 19:39 utc | 144

Sorry. "...'progressive-minded public' that forced the Administration to cut the funding it never actually cut" should have been to "restore the funding it had never actually cut."

Posted by: Daniel | Jul 26 2018 19:41 utc | 145

Related to the discussion on shutting down the Straits of Hormuz, today's news:

https://www.rt.com/news/434270-saudi-arabia-halts-oil-shipments/

"Saudi Arabia is temporarily halting oil shipments through the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait, the country’s energy minister has said. It follows a Houthi attack on a Saudi oil tanker off Yemen’s western coast."

Apparently the Houthis fired a couple of rockets/missiles at a tanker.

I've been posting articles showing that a (if not the) main reason for this war against Yemen is to keep the countries that pinch the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait under "friendly" governments.

Posted by: Daniel | Jul 26 2018 19:48 utc | 146

JR @ 135:

I believe the weaknesses of General Paul van Riper's unseemly attack on the Blue Forces were resolved but not necessarily in the way you might have expected.

https://web.archive.org/web/20060504005348/http://www.military.com/opinion/0%2C15202%2C95496%2C00.html">http://www.military.com/opinion/0%2C15202%2C95496%2C00.html">https://web.archive.org/web/20060504005348/http://www.military.com/opinion/0%2C15202%2C95496%2C00.html

'... Though fictional names were applied, [Millenium Challenge 2002] involved a crisis moving toward war in the Persian Gulf and in actuality was a barely veiled test of an invasion of Iran.

In the computer-controlled game, a flotilla of Navy warships and Marine amphibious warfare ships steamed into the Persian Gulf for what Van Riper assumed would be a pre-emptive strike against the country he was defending.

Van Riper resolved to strike first and unconventionally using fast patrol boats and converted pleasure boats fitted with ship-to-ship missiles as well as first generation shore-launched anti-ship cruise missiles. He packed small boats and small propeller aircraft with explosives for one mass wave of suicide attacks against the Blue fleet. Last, the general shut down all radio traffic and sent commands by motorcycle messengers, beyond the reach of the code-breakers.

At the appointed hour he sent hundreds of missiles screaming into the fleet, and dozens of kamikaze boats and planes plunging into the Navy ships in a simultaneous sneak attack that overwhelmed the Navy's much-vaunted defenses based on its Aegis cruisers and their radar controlled Gatling guns.

When the figurative smoke cleared it was found that the Red Forces had sunk 16 Navy ships, including an aircraft carrier. Thousands of Marines and sailors were dead.

The referees stopped the game, which is normal when a victory is won so early. Van Riper assumed that the Blue Force would draw new, better plans and the free play war games would resume.

Instead he learned that the war game was now following a script drafted to ensure a Blue Force victory: He was ordered to turn on all his anti-aircraft radar so it could be destroyed and he was told his forces would not be allowed to shoot down any of the aircraft bringing Blue Force troops ashore.

The Pentagon has never explained. It classified Van Riper's 21-page report criticizing the results and conduct of the rest of the exercise, along with the report of another DOD observer. Pentagon officials have not released Joint Forces Command's own report on the exercise.

Van Riper walked out and didn't come back ...

Posted by: Jen | Jul 26 2018 23:08 utc | 147

JR @ 135:

The weaknesses of Millennium Challenge 2002 were addressed but not in the way you might have expected.

https://warontherocks.com/2015/11/millennium-challenge-the-real-story-of-a-corrupted-military-exercise-and-its-legacy/

Posted by: Jen | Jul 26 2018 23:16 utc | 148

Bevin @ 140: Google is most likely downgrading MoA in your search. Best to use another search engine instead.

Posted by: Jen | Jul 26 2018 23:18 utc | 149

Zanon @ 125:

TASS appears to be trying to keep a straight face in reporting that the Israelis believe their talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Defense Minister Dmitri Shoigu were ... successful.

I'm trying not to laugh myself.

Posted by: Jen | Jul 26 2018 23:20 utc | 150

I am of the Alastair Crooke school of thought that notes Trump's negotiating style as raining verbal hellfire down on the opponent and seeing where it goes from there. Verbal only, however.

Thanks to the earlier comment somewhere that linked this piece: Trump Drops the Value of the EU as an Ally — to Zero

[Crooke quotes Jim Ricards] “Here’s the Trump process:

Identify a big goal (tax cuts, balanced trade, the wall, etc.).

Identify your leverage points versus anyone who stands in your way (elections, tariffs, jobs, etc.).

Announce some extreme threat against your opponent that uses your leverage.

If the opponent backs down, mitigate the threat, declare victory and go home with a win.

If the opponent fires back, double down. If Trump declares tariffs on $50 billion of good from China,and China shoots back with tariffs on $50 billion of goods from the U.S., Trump doubles down with tariffs on $100 billion of goods, etc. Trump will keep escalating until he wins.”

Eventually, the escalation process can lead to negotiations with at least the perception of a victory for Trump (North Korea) — even if the victory is more visual than real.

It has been fascinating to examine the military aspects of an Iran confrontation, but there's a great chance that the Trump bluster over Iran is only that, bluster, and will never proceed further than sanctions and proxy terrorism.

But how could Trump continue to play his game if Iran, as I claimed earlier, isn't playing the game back? Well, now it turns out that it is, and Soleimani rolls out the thunder.

From PressTV (and my emphasis): Major General Soleimani sharply reacts to Trump’s recent military threat

“You arrogantly attacked Iraq with 160,000 troops and multiple times [military equipment] compared to what you used in Afghanistan, but what happened? Ask your then commander who was the person that he sent to me and asked ‘Is is possible for you to give us time [and] use your influence so that our soldiers would not be attacked by the Iraqi fighters in these few months until we exit this country?’ Have you forgotten that you provided adult diapers for your soldiers in tanks? Despite that you are currently threatening the great country of Iran? With what background do you threaten [us]?”

"We are near you, where you can't even imagine. We are the nation of martyrdom, we are the nation of Imam Hossein, you better ask. Come; we are ready. We are the man of this arena. You know that this war would mean annihilation of all your means. You may begin the war, but it is us who will end it,” he said.
[...]
“Trump! You must not threaten our nation and must not insult our president… You must know what you are talking about; ask your predecessors and take advantage of their experiences,” General Soleimani emphasized.

Wonderful rhetoric from Soleimani. One assumes he has to be speaking with the approval of Khamenei. And maybe it is time to rattle the Pentagon's cage a little, at that.

Posted by: Grieved | Jul 27 2018 0:56 utc | 151

Great response to the Drumpf from General Soleimani, Grieved.

Here's a rather hagiographic and lovely bio of the subject of this quote:

"We are the nation of martyrdom, we are the nation of Imam Hossein, you better ask."

https://whoishussain.org/who-is-hussain/

Posted by: Daniel | Jul 27 2018 6:23 utc | 152

Jen

You mean russian media spread anti-russian propaganda by Israel?
You think the talks with Israel Russia have on Syria is good?

Posted by: Zanon | Jul 27 2018 7:56 utc | 153

Going on the Trump starting big on a deal to see what he can get, what is he expecting to achieve if this is just for a deal. There was no deal with NK, but with Iran, a deal already existed that took a number of years to be signed off on. To go better than the nuke deal for team Trump, in reality means a capitulation of Iran in all aspects of national security.
(question mark forward slash key no longer working. Too much spilled coffee and beer has got the better of it :(

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jul 27 2018 8:14 utc | 154

Astonishing events in southern Syria. ISIS mobilized some "hidden cells" to perform a wave of attacks on Druze-majority Sweida province that is between Dar'aa -- where their last populated pocket is -- and Syrian Desert, with ca. 400 victims, 220 dead. Next day, SAA takes over entire eastern half of their pocket, including a fortified hill and the largest town of the pocket. I suspect that SAA was proceeding gradually for several days, moving front by 1 km per day, but in response to the atrocity they went "all out".

Southern rebels surrendered an impressive collection of weapons, so what doomed them was mostly low morale after seven years of fighting for a lost cause. They were reduced to collecting paychecks blessing every month that they could do it beyond their expectations. Conversely, the morale of SAA is presumably good, they may be cautious and bold as the situation requires. In a week, "the last populated pocket of Syrian civil war" will cease to exist and SAA will keep moping the remainder of the territory. Given the Sweida massacre and other incidents before it, thorough cleanup of Syrian Desert south of Euphratus will be the next priority, probably including Tanf.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jul 27 2018 9:27 utc | 155

@155 The wave of attacks on Druze was probably meant to sow confusion. Now some Druze are blaming the Syrian government for allowing it to happen.

But according to this their own leaders have been reluctant to help the SAA....

https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2018-07-26/syrian-druze-bury-dead-as-anger-over-islamic-state-attacks-grows

Posted by: dh | Jul 27 2018 13:34 utc | 156

@124 "Then you missunderstand as I tried to tell you earlier,"

No, I understand it perfectly well. Better than you, apparently, since I can see a contradiction in your argument to which you appear to be blind.

"That Russia help Syria with ISIS is not weaking Syria of course,"

Now, sorry, that's not what you said.
You said that fighting ISIS is the *only* reason why Russia is in Syria.
You *also* said that weakening Iran inside Syria is a policy goal of Russia.

So that is TWO policy goals that the Russians are pursuing in Syria, even though you insist that Russia only has ONE policy goal in Syria.

You still can't see that, can you?

"what is weaking Syria is when Russia works with Israel to stop iranian help to Syria."

QED. You are insisting that Russia has TWO policy goals inside Syria - i.e. killing ISIS **and** weakening Iranian influence - which means that you contradict yourself every time you insist that Russia is **only** in Syria to fight ISIS.

"Do you agree with Israel and Russia that Iran should stop its help to Syria?"

That statement is presumptuous nonsense, since it is predicated upon us both accepting your claim that Russia does, indeed, agree with Israel that "Iran should stop its help to Syria".

I do not agree that your claim is correct.

I believe that Russia is simply being polite to Netanyahu because, honestly, there is no reason for the Russians to be rude to him. I do not believe for an instant that the Russians are in agreement with Israel on this matter.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jul 28 2018 4:05 utc | 157

Yeah Right

Since I have to correct you constantly, you obviously do not understand. I can only repeat what I said before:

That Russia help Syria with ISIS is not weaking Syria of course,
what is weaking Syria is when Russia works with Israel to stop iranian help to Syria.

I believe that Russia is simply being polite to Netanyahu because, honestly, there is no reason for the Russians to be rude to him. I do not believe for an instant that the Russians are in agreement with Israel on this matter.

Considering that Russia itself have said this (want Iran out), your commentary makes no sense.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday said foreign militias should leave southwestern Syria as soon as possible, state media outlet TASS reported.
https://www.timesofisrael.com/russia-tells-iran-to-immediately-remove-militias-from-syrian-israel-border/

Posted by: Zanon | Jul 28 2018 7:36 utc | 158

At times I find it very useful to remind readers of the chain of comments made by a troll like Zanon, as such trolls tend to have a short-term memory that only ever goes back to their last post.

It helps them when it comes to moving the goalposts, apparently.

@74 "They didnt intervene to save Syria, they are there to take care of ISIS. Thats the difference we see being played out now."

@81 "Its because Syrian gov. has a better relationship than that with Iraq. In Iraq US forces began its op. So no need for russians there."

@115 "Of course Russia is there because Syria ask them. You must have missunderstood since I have not claimed otherwhise. And yes Russia is there for terrorism, nothing else:"

@124 "That Russia help Syria with ISIS is not weaking Syria of course,
what is weaking Syria is when Russia works with Israel to stop iranian help to Syria."

@159 "That Russia help Syria with ISIS is not weaking Syria of course,
what is weaking Syria is when Russia works with Israel to stop iranian help to Syria."

Please note how his post 115 directly contradicts his posts 124 and now 159.

I stand by what I have said: Zanon insists that Russia is in Syria for one purpose and one purpose only, which is to fight ISIS. Except, of course, when it is pursuing another purpose, which is to assist Israel with its laughable demands from a position of weakness.

Oh, and one more thing.....
@159 "Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday said foreign militias should leave southwestern Syria as soon as possible, state media outlet TASS reported" says.... who, exactly?

Why, so sayeth The Times of Israel, universally-acknowledged as an impartial interpreter of events pertaining to Israel's foreign policy desires.

Here's a tip, Zanon: if you want to know what Lavrov meant then it is always much better to go to the transcript of the press conference itself.

I certainly wouldn't base my argument on the interpretation that the frickin' Time Of Israel puts on his words. I would suggest that doing so is imprudent.

You do swallow it without question, I see. And regurgitate it without hesitation.

Why am I not surprised?

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jul 28 2018 9:18 utc | 159

I am going to assume that Zanon isn't going to be bothered reading the transcript of a press conference that was (ahem) two months old.

So let's try something a little more up to date:
http://www.mid.ru/en/press_service/minister_speeches/-/asset_publisher/7OvQR5KJWVmR/content/id/3288008

That is, indeed, the very latest statement from Lavrov that I can find on the Russian web site on this topic.

And what does he say?

Lavrov: "Let us first agree on some basic things. There are many non-Syrian forces in Syria. Some of them stay there with the agreement of the legitimate Syrian government, a UN member-country, while others stay there illegally, in violation of the principles of international law."

Lavrov: "The agreement on this area has already been reached and was fixed in the documents and decisions adopted by Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump in Hamburg in July 2017 and in Danang in November 2017."

Lavrov: "These decisions provide for a certain sequence of actions, as a result of which no non-Syrian forces will be left in this region. The Syrian army will control the border with Israel."

Lavrov: "We see how the Western media discusses the subject of Iran in a very simplified context that is designed for a not very sophisticated audience: “Iran must leave and everything will click into place.” This is applied not only to Syria but also to the entire region. It is alleged that Iran should leave, stay within its borders, and everything will be wonderful. This is absolutely unrealistic."

Sooooo, what can we take from that?
1) There is no Russian-Israel side-deal.
2) There are no Russian demands that Iran must leave.

Quite the reverse.

Lavrov is reminding everyone that the policy position of Russia is exactly the same as it has been since July 2017, when that policy position was agreed between Washington and Moscow, with Tel Aviv nowhere to be seen.

And Lavrov is reminding everyone that there is a world of difference between a foreign armed forces being somewhere because the host country has asked them to be there, and those forces that are there uninvited and unwanted.

And, of course, Lavrov is reminding everyone that Iran is in the former category - not the latter - and anyone who thinks that Iran must be unilaterally forced to leave Syria is being simple-minded.

You, my argumentative friend, are simple-minded.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jul 28 2018 9:47 utc | 160

Yeah Right

As I said earlier, you missunderstand things,

In your 161 post you link to a meeting Russia had in July with Jordan but if you bothered reading what I refer to thoughout this debate, it is the talks Russia have with Israel. Again if you only have listened to what I said and linked to, you would see that my link refer to Russia/Israel talks in May.

We can go back to your comments here and your denial of what role Russia play on Iran in Syria and see who was right.

Posted by: Zanon | Jul 28 2018 10:23 utc | 161

I would almost feel sorry for Zanon, except that he is so obviously a hasbarah troll.

And a poor one with it, since he has been stuck with the task of arguing that Russia has entered into an agreement with Israel to remove Iranian forces from Syria.

And his "evidence" for that unannounced perfidious agreement between Moscow and Tel Aviv?

Why, it happens to be a Times of Israel (!!!!) article that speculates on what Reuters said that TASS said that Lavrov said in a press conference.

And what the Times of Israel speculates (though it states this as if it were "fact") is that when Lavrov says that "foreign militias should leave southwestern Syria as soon as possible" he was specifically making that demand of Iran and, what's more, he said this because of an agreement with Israel.

Now call me a stickler, but I'd like to point out that both the Times of Israel and Zanon build their speculative foundation upon hearsay-twice-removed.

I have actually gone to the source material, which is the transcript of Lavrov's remarks posted on Russia's Foreign Ministry website. Here, in fact:
http://www.mid.ru/en/press_service/minister_speeches/-/asset_publisher/7OvQR5KJWVmR/content/id/3239504

This is what he really said:
"Regarding the Israeli-Iranian confrontation in Syria, Russia, the United States and Jordan have reached agreements on the southwestern de-escalation zone. Israel was perfectly aware of these when they were still being negotiated. These agreements imply that this de-escalation zone must consolidate stability, and that all non-Syrian forces be withdrawn from the area. I believe that this must happen as soon as possible. We are currently addressing this issue with our Jordanian and US colleagues."

Note an important part that the Times of Israel (and, therefore, Zanon) conveniently leave out i.e. that Russia's position is that which was negotiated with the USA and Jordan.

It is not a "new" agreement, nor is it a secret agreement between Russia and Israel.

I will point out, of course, that in my post 161 I quote Lavrov this month elaborating on this very point i.e. the disposition of Syrian forces along the boundary with Israel was negotiated in "Hamburg in July 2017 and in Danang in November 2017".

Strike One for Zanon.

Now for the Times of Israel (and, therefore, Zanon) and its claim that the statement was specifically directed at Iran, and therefore amounted to a Russian stab-in-the-back of Tehran.

First, a simple question: accepting for arguments-sake the accuracy of the Times of Israel quote, does Lavrov include Russian military forces in his demand for the removal of "non-Syrian troops from southwestern Syria"?

The answer is obvious: no.

And it is "no" because Russian forces are there at the invitation of the Syrian Government. As far as Russia is concerned that confers legitimacy to their presence, making them completely different from all the foreign forces that are there illegally.

So, now, another question: Does Russia regard Iranian forces as having the same legitimacy as Russian forces, or does Russia lump Iranian forces with all those other illegal foreign forces?

The answer is obvious: the former, not the latter.

I know that for a fact, because in my post 161 I quoted Lavrov saying this.

Strike Two for Zanon.

Your central argument is wrong. Russia has made no deal with Israel, nor is it making any attempt to stiff the Iranians.

Its position regarding the disposition of Syrian Army forces is no secret, nor is it any recent turnaround. I know that for a fact, since Russia negotiated all of this - quite openly, no secret tricks, no knife held behind the back - way back in mid-2017.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jul 28 2018 13:18 utc | 162

Yeah Right

Correct. If you read that transcript, it makes clear what I already in my TimesofIsrael link already told you - the quote was correct.
Russia want urgently for non syrian armies to remove itself from the desecalation zone bordering Israel. And that is what Russia and Israel have post 30th of may been discussing over and over again.

Russia, backing Israel: Only Assad troops should be on Syria’s southern border

“The result of this work which should continue and is continuing should be a situation when representatives of the Syrian Arab Republic’s army stand at Syria’s border with Israel,” Lavrov said.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/russia-says-only-syrian-army-should-be-on-countrys-southern-border/

Do you agree with Israel and Russia that only Syrian SAA should be allowed to be in this southern zone bordering Israel?

Posted by: Zanon | Jul 28 2018 14:10 utc | 163

More on the Magnitsky Act and Bill Browder.
A repost from Unz Review:

"But the most interesting in the Nordflinger opus [in the National Review] is the omission of the fact of Browder’s grandma and grandpa being the KGB agents: http://spartacus-educational.com/USAbrowder.htm

“One of the first agents recruited [by a Soviet agent] was Earl Browder (codename RULEVOY). According to a memorandum sent by Vsevolod Merkulov to Joseph Stalin: “Starting in 1933 and into 1945, Browder rendered the NKGB… and the GRU… help, recommending to our representatives in the U.S. Communist Party for agent work. At Browder’s recommendation, eighteen people were drawn to agent work for the NKGB and… people for GRU. In addition, through the Central Committee’s functionaries controlling illegal groups.”

Browder’s second wife, Raissa Berkman, was also an agent. So also was his sister."
https://www.nationalreview.com/magazine/2018/01/22/bill-browder-family-line-great-minds/

Posted by: Anya | Jul 28 2018 17:05 utc | 164

@yeah, right - that is how i see zanon too fwiw..

Posted by: james | Jul 28 2018 17:38 utc | 165

Yeah Right @ 163: I must say you are very patient in dealing with trolls who insist on denying everything you say and on reading and quoting what s/he surely knows is lies.

Posted by: Jen | Jul 28 2018 20:59 utc | 166

Jen / James

Sorry to say but I refer to Sputniknews and russian ministry, or are they lying too perhaps?
You say that there is no "talk" that there is no effort by Russia in Southern Syria on withdrawal of iranians?

Lavrov Discussed in Jerusalem Iran's Withdrawal From Israeli Border - Kremlin
https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201807241066651633-russia-israel-iran-withdrawal/

"The Israeli leadership highly appreciated the Russian efforts to create a zone of de-escalation in southwestern Syria, which included the withdrawal of all non-Syrian armed groups from this region,"


Posted by: Zanon | Jul 28 2018 21:36 utc | 167

@164 Fer' cryin' out loud....

Zanon: "Russia want urgently for non syrian armies to remove itself from the desecalation zone bordering Israel."

You have a funny definition of "urgency". Here is what the Russians actually said:

Lavrov (May 2018): "I believe that this must happen as soon as possible. We are currently addressing this issue with our Jordanian and US colleagues"
Lavrov (July 2018): "Now we are trying to persuade our partners to do what they pledged to do under the two agreements reached last year. This primarily concerns the need to avoid any pretexts for not combatting terrorists and ousting them from this region."

So "urgency" is not measured in months. And considering that Russia keeps pointing out that this is an agreement that was made in 2017 then their definition of "urgency" is nowhere near yours.

Zanon: "And that is what Russia and Israel have post 30th of may been discussing over and over again."

I can only point out to everyone else that Zanon's use of words is, ahem, plastic.

Note how he is now using "discussing over and over", rather than (as he had been before) insisting that "Russia works with Israel".

Of course Israel insists on "discussing" this issue. They are obsessed with it.
And of course Russia is willing to listen to Israel. They are a polite people.

But is Russia "working with" Israel on this?
No. They are not.

They are working with the USA and Jordan on this, and have been since 2017.

I know that for a fact, because Lavrov said: "Regarding the Israeli-Iranian confrontation in Syria, Russia, the United States and Jordan have reached agreements on the southwestern de-escalation zone. Israel was perfectly aware of these when they were still being negotiated. "

Zanon: "Do you agree with Israel and Russia that only Syrian SAA should be allowed to be in this southern zone bordering Israel?"

I agree with Russia that this is an important issue to discuss because "This primarily concerns the need to avoid any pretexts for not combatting terrorists and ousting them from this region."

So I do not agree with you that placating the Israelis is what is motivating the Russians to push for the implementation of those 2017 agreements, nor do I agree with you that Israeli carping is in any way influencing Russia's timetable on this.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jul 29 2018 1:00 utc | 168

I'd like to point out that Zanon's post @168 is an object-lesson in dishonesty.

Zanon: "Sorry to say but I refer to Sputniknews and russian ministry, or are they lying too perhaps?"

It is, of course, worth pointing out that sputniknews is NOT the website of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a site that Zanon has never referred to and AFAIK a website that he couldn't find if someone provided him with the links.

Which I have done, not once but twice.

Zanon: "You say that there is no "talk" that there is no effort by Russia in Southern Syria on withdrawal of iranians?"

Again, an illustration of Zanon's plastic use of words. The Russians state time and time again that they are willing to talk to friend and foe alike on any topic, no matter how wide the gap between Russian policy and those that it talks to.

I can quote Lavrov saying exactly that, if you want.

But "talking" to Israel over issues that obsess Tel Aviv is not at all the same thing as claiming that Russia is in agreement with Israel regarding the dispossession of Iranian forces inside Syria, or that Russia is "working with" Israel to make that happen.

There is no such agreement, there is no such action, and it is clear that when the Russians talk about "non-Syrian forces" they mean Those Forces Who Are In Syria Illegally.

After all, they clearly exclude THEMSELVES from that list of undesirables, and Iranian forces are there under exactly the same invitation as the Russian forces.

The agreement regarding the distribution of forces in southwest Syria was agreed in mid-2017, and the agreement was between Russia and the USA and Jordan. And Russia has not shifted its position on this one iota, regardless of the hysteria emanating from the Israeli Prime Minister and the misinformation being pedalled by the Israeli presstitutes.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jul 29 2018 2:13 utc | 169

Yeah Right

Again, you refer to Jordanian talks Russia had.
I refer to the Israeli talks Russia have had.
You comparing apples with oranges, thats why you keep missunderstanding.+

You could check my link at 168 where Lavrov said:"Lavrov Discussed in Jerusalem Iran's Withdrawal From Israeli Border - Kremlin"

And how russian ministry admit all that I have tried to tell you.

You are clearly in denial so I wont spend any more time on you for now. We shall go back to your comments in the future though, to see how wrong you were about Russia's talk with Israel to get Iran out.

Posted by: Zanon | Jul 29 2018 8:00 utc | 170

Zanon: "Again, you refer to Jordanian talks Russia had.
I refer to the Israeli talks Russia have had."

Again, I will point out that Zanon has moved the goalposts.

He began by insisting that these two propositions are true:
(a) Russia is demanding that Iranian forces leave Syria, and (b) the reason why Russia is stabbing Iran in the back in this manner is because Israel has convinced Russia to do so.

He is now insisting that the "evidence" for both propositions is "the Israeli talks Russia have had".

There is no logic to that argument, as it should be obvious to anyone that "talking" to someone is in no way proof that any agreement has been struck between the two parties.

Zanon is wrong. He is as wrong as it is possible to be, which is why he is now insisting on moving the goalposts.

a) Russian policy w.r.t. southwestern Syria is exactly the same today as it was in mid-2017.
b) That policy was set by a mid-2017 agreement between Russia and USA/Jordan.
c) The purpose of that policy is to prevent USA/Jordan from finding an excuse to interfere with anti-terrorist operations in SW Syria, its purpose is not to stab Iran in the back.
d) Israel knows all of this quite well, even though it was not - and still is not - a participant in that mid-2017 agreement, so it has no excuse to spread misinformation.

Now, I *know* all of the above is true because Lavrov tells me so.
Points (a) and (b)
Lavrov: "The agreement on this area has already been reached and was fixed in the documents and decisions adopted by Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump in Hamburg in July 2017 and in Danang in November 2017."

Have. Been. Reached.
Was. Fixed.
July. 2017.
November. 2017.

Point (c)
Lavrov: "Now we are trying to persuade our partners to do what they pledged to do under the two agreements reached last year. This primarily concerns the need to avoid any pretexts for not combatting terrorists and ousting them from this region."

Our. Partners.
Two. Agreements.
Primary. Concerns.

Point (d)
Lavrov: "Regarding the Israeli-Iranian confrontation in Syria, Russia, the United States and Jordan have reached agreements on the southwestern de-escalation zone. Israel was perfectly aware of these when they were still being negotiated.

Russia. The. United. States. and. Jordan.
Israel. Was. Perfectly. Aware. Of. These.

The situation is exactly as I describe them, and are totally at odds with Zanon's claim that Russia is colluding with Israel with the primary aim of shafting the Iranians by forcing Iranian forces to leave Syria.

And what "evidence" can Zanon provide to support his claim?

Why, apparently his "evidence" is that Russia is polite enough to talk to the Israelis, and the Israelis are rude enough to big-note themselves the moment they leave those meetings.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jul 29 2018 9:58 utc | 171

It would not be worthwhile to dispute Zanon and the Israeli announcements in the absence of many other souces plying a theme "Russia is backstabbing friends and clients".

A focus on isolated events must to be combined with a big picture. Syria had cordial relations with Iran, Hezbollah and majority parties of Iraq without any troops being involved except some usual exchanges, weapon trade, etc., and as the war winds down, it is almost certain that the status quo will be roughly similar.
Because KSA and their lesser Gulfie allies hate Shia, the countries in the region with political system not based on Sunni supremacy have a need to cooperate, including military cooperation.
'
The Israeli/Zanon version has a kernel of truth: Syria used only "native troops" in Deraa, Kenitra and along, Jordanian border, Jordanians seemed to be very cooperative, and Israel -- compared to their ordinary sh..y behavior, they were much, much less sh...y.

This saven Syrian govenment and its allies quite a bit, come some "concessions" were worth it, ESPECIALLY, if they cost nothing at the end of the day.

In any case, if you pay Israel more for its concessions, you overpay.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jul 29 2018 18:52 utc | 172

@173 Piotr, the point I am making is that the "kernel of truth" has nothing whatsoever to do with Israeli temper-tantrums behind closed doors. None whatsoever.

The deal to deploy only SAA units in SW Syria was struck over a year ago between Russia and the USA and Jordan. Israel was not a party to those talks, though they were kept informed.

So all this current chest-beating by the Israelis is meaningless.
All this speculation that Lavrov is ordering the Iranians out is nonsense.
All the claims by Israel that Russia is doing its bidding is insulting.

The Israelis have been throwing a hissy-fit, and the Russians have been politely telling them to calm down because this was all sorted out a long ago. At which point the Israelis run around claiming that this shows that Putin is their bitch.

This whole story is puerile nonsense from the Israelis.
Which, said to say, is oh-so typical of the Israelis.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jul 29 2018 22:12 utc | 173

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