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Thread: How Putin came to rule the Middle East

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    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    How Putin came to rule the Middle East

    What ever western order for the middle east since 1945 is over. So what is the west to do about it

    How Putin came to rule the Middle East | Spectator | Oct 07 2017

    Syria and Libya are just two examples of how the Russian leader has been running rings around the West

    John R. Bradley

    When Russia entered the Syrian civil war in September 2015 the then US secretary of defense, Ash Carter, predicted catastrophe for the Kremlin. Vladimir Putin was ‘pouring gasoline on the fire’ of the conflict, he said, and his strategy of fighting Isis while backing the Assad regime was ‘doomed to failure’. Two years on, Putin has emerged triumphant and Bashar al-Assad’s future is secure. They will soon declare victory over Isis inside the country.

    The dismal failure turned out to be our cynical effort to install a Sunni regime in Damascus by adopting the Afghanistan playbook from the 1980s. We would train, fund and arm jihadis, foreign and domestic, in partnership with the Gulf Arab despots. This way we would rob Russia of its only warm-water naval base, Tartus, on Syria’s Mediterranean coast. In the process we would create a buffer between Iran and its Lebanon-based proxy, Hezbollah, to divide the anti-Israel Shia axis. And we would further marginalise Iran by extending the influence of our Sunni Gulf allies from Lebanon deeper into the Levant. Half a million Syrians were slaughtered as a consequence of this hare-brained scheme, which geo-politically has resulted in the exact opposite of the intended outcome.


    Putin, though, had grasped the reality at the outset. Unlike Afghans, ordinary Syrians were used to living in a liberal, diverse culture that, while politically repressive, championed peaceful religious co-existence. Most of them were nervous about seeing their country transformed into a Wahhabi theocracy. Assad, for all his faults, was the buffer between them and internecine carnage. They stuck with the devil they knew, and there was no popular revolution against Assad — nothing compared to the Tahrir uprising that ousted the hated Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak. The millions-strong demonstrations in Damascus were pro-regime. Among the two-thirds of the Syrian population now living in government–controlled parts of the country, Assad is more popular than ever, and Putin is a hero.

    Small wonder Putin recently mocked Washington for ‘not knowing the difference between Austria and Australia’. The same charge could, alas, be levelled at Nato leaders generally. At a UN meeting last month, the Orwellian-named Friends of Syria group — the western and Gulf Arab alliance that unleashed jihad — stated they would not engage in reconstruction efforts until (in Boris Johnson’s words) there was a political ‘move away from’ Assad. But weeks earlier, a massive international conference on reconstruction had taken place in Damascus. During it, Assad had ruled out awarding the multi-billion-dollar contracts up for grabs to hostile western and Arab countries on the grounds that they had destroyed his country. Instead, Syria would look east, and especially to Russia, Iran and China. Already Moscow is busy shipping thousands of tons of materials and more than 40 pieces of construction equipment — including bulldozers and cranes — to Syria, which does not want or need our assistance.


    An inability to acknowledge, still less confront, Russia’s expanding regional role on the back of Syria was similarly highlighted during a whirlwind trip Johnson made to Libya in August. There, he had a brief meeting with secular strongman Khalifa Haftar, a former general in Gaddafi’s army whose forces now dominate eastern Libya — including Benghazi and most of the country’s major oil fields. He is determined to overrun Tripoli, and probably will. Haftar has ties with Moscow going back to the early 1970s and has been in Putin’s pocket for at least two years, repeatedly meeting with Russian officials on an aircraft-carrier off the Mediterranean coast. A week before shaking hands with Johnson, Haftar had visited Moscow to hold extensive discussions with top officials from the defence and foreign ministries. They cemented plans to move fragmented Libya towards statehood under Haftar as an all-powerful defence minister, with direct Russian military aid. The Kremlin has already deployed troops and fighter jets to western Egypt to join that country and the UAE, which is also backing Haftar in his unifying fight against the Islamists. As with Syria, for decades before the fall of Gaddafi, Russia was Libya’s biggest arms supplier and closest international ally, and Moscow has long been eyeing a naval base on the Libyan coastline to complement its (now much beefed-up) base in Tartus. Given all this, as Johnson suggested that Haftar may have a ‘role to play’ in any future political reconciliation, while insisting that he abide by an internationally brokered ceasefire, the latter must have found it hard to contain his laughter.

    Syria and Libya, though, are just two examples of how Russia is running rings around the West in its determination to achieve superpower status in the Middle East. Putin has just inked a deal with Turkey — which has Nato’s second-largest standing army — to sell the latter its most advanced S-400 air defence system. (The S-400 has already been deployed across Syria, while Iran has been given the less advanced but still formidable S-300.) Shortly after Russia entered the Syrian war, Turkey had shot down one of its planes. It was a deliberate attempt to provoke a wider war by President Recep Erdogan, who was furious that Putin was, by way of a relentless bombing campaign, putting an end to his support for Isis foot soldiers inside Syria and his purchasing of oil from the caliphate. (Nato had ignored all this duplicity in the hope that Isis would weaken Assad.) It is testament to Putin’s extraordinary diplomatic skills that Russia and Turkey are these days singing each other’s praises as never before. And under Russian auspices, Turkey is working with Iran and Iraq to contain the fallout from the Kurdish referendum on independence.

    When King Salman arrived in Moscow this week, it was the first time that a Saudi leader paid an official visit to Russia — but just the latest in more than two dozen face-to-face meetings Putin has had with Middle Eastern leaders. Russia, of course, is not the Soviet Union, and it is easy to see why the Saudi and other Gulf tyrannies believe they can do business with an authoritarian leader like Putin. He shares their contempt for western-style democracy; and, unlike whoever happens to inhabit the White House, he is a man of his word, promotes stability not chaos, and has no complicating human rights agenda.

    On the Saudi agenda in Moscow: the rise of Iran as a dominant regional player, Syria’s de-escalation zones, and billions of dollars in Russian arms sales and direct mutual economic investment. Riyadh is still outraged that the Obama administration had agreed a nuclear deal with Iran, the Saudis’ rival for regional hegemony, and is sulking over the Syria debacle. They have only Russia to turn to in an effort to limit Tehran’s influence in Syria. For the same reason, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been holding meetings with Putin. During one, he was almost in tears as he, like the Saudis, begged the Russian leader to rein in Iran and Hezbollah, which seek the Jewish state’s destruction.

    In a desperate last-ditch effort to stop the Putin power grab in his tracks, the Trump administration will almost certainly decertify the Iranian nuclear deal on October 15, despite the International Atomic Energy Agency, EU and UN being adamant that Tehran is abiding by its terms. The aim is to provoke military confrontation with Iran, or at the least create more regional turmoil to undermine the Kremlin. The reckless and unjustified move will throw a spanner in the works, but in the long-term is — like intervention in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria — doomed to failure.

    Putin is well ahead of the curve, having pulled off the seemingly impossible diplomatic feat of fighting alongside Hezbollah in Syria while allowing Israel to bomb Hezbollah and Syrian regime targets inside the country. Last week, a delegation from the Palestinian terror outfit Hamas visited Moscow for talks on the peace process after reconciling with arch-rival Fatah following yet another successful direct intervention by Putin. And Netanyahu has been told that, although Russia considers Israel an important partner, Iran will, come what may, remain its indispensable ally. Putin might therefore already have the diplomatic leverage needed to defuse tensions between Iran and Israel, once again leaving Washington sidelined and humiliated. For while the consequences of Netanyahu beating the war drums over Iran used to be non-existent, now Moscow could give the green light to battle–hardened Iran, Syria and Hezbollah to unleash hellfire against the Jewish state.

    It is easy to understand why Netanyahu is quaking in his boots, but should we in Europe be alarmed at Putin’s Middle East triumph? Not unduly so. You do not have to be a Putin groupie to acknowledge that it isn’t him who has been launching one illegal invasion after another in the region, leaving millions dead, maimed and displaced. And he has not only stemmed the flow of Syrian refugees into our continent, but started to reverse the trend. Half a million Syrians have returned to their country this year alone.

    And while no side has emerged with their hands clean from one of the most brutal civil wars in modern history, it is also hugely heartening that there were so few defections from a Syrian army overwhelmingly made up of Sunni Muslims (80 per cent by some accounts). They were battling against myriad Sunni jihadi groups in the name of an Alawite-dominated regime, alongside Russian soldiers appalled (unlike us) by the carnage unleashed against their fellow Christians, as well as hardline Shia militias sent by Iran and Hezbollah likewise determined to protect their own sect. Given how Tunisia and Turkey — the two historically secular Muslim countries in the region — are fast embracing Islamism, and how Sunni–Shia infighting continues to tear apart much of the rest of the Middle East, the victory of pluralism and secularism over the wicked Wahhabi jihad in Syria is ultimately uplifting.

    John R. Bradley is the author of books on Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the Arab Spring, and has been covering the Middle East for two decades.

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    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    This is one way. We will in time get accustomed to referring to westerners as Northies : D

    Russia and America can reset relations by looking north | FT (Op-ed) | Oct 08 2017

    The two states form the younger wings of European civilisation


    OCTOBER 8, 2017 Vladislav Inozemtsev


    In a tweet in August, President Donald Trump said that the relationship between Russia and the US is “at an all-time & very dangerous low”. There are several explanations for this, but perhaps the most important is that Russia, being essentially a European country, still cannot accustom itself to exclusion from the west.

    The only chance of stopping the current confrontation, which carries echoes of previous cold wars, lies in changing the language of engagement. Talk less about “co-operation” in places like Syria or the Donbass and more about a grand project aimed at Russia’s final integration into the family of western nations. This is not a question of Russia joining the EU, or even Nato, but of something else entirely.

    Looking back at the history of the west, it is clear that it is a Eurocentric civilisation with Europe at its core. Settler colonies became independent states at its American periphery. But there was another wing or outskirt of this Eurocentric world — Russia, which colonised Siberia and Alaska (which it sold to the US in 1867), while the western Europeans marched to California and New Mexico.

    During the 20th century, Russia considered itself an adversary to America. Moscow really wants to be counted as an equal to the US rather than the “west”. But if one switches from thinking in terms of a “west” that Russia would never be allowed to join, to talking about the “north”, the issue takes on an entirely different complexion.

    Looked at through this lens, the US and Russia — two continental powers built through settler colonisation by Europeans — represent the two younger wings of a European civilisation whose historical mission is to close the “northern belt” and to make the Pacific Ocean as central to Europe’s self-image as the Atlantic has been for centuries.

    Russian policymakers today talk about “pivoting to the east” as part of an attempt to diverge from a west they increasingly distrust. But these strategists forget that Russia’s east is . . . the west: if one goes east from Moscow one will pass through Novosibirsk, Kamchatka, the southern parts of Alaska, northern Quebec, Ireland, Britain, and Denmark, but not Beijing or Shanghai, which are seen as the beacons for Russia’s “eastern” policy. Getting the Russian people to feel they belong not to the east but to the north would have a transformative effect.

    As of 2016, the “northern belt” countries — the US, Canada, the EU nations and Russia — controlled 26 per cent of global natural gas and 20 per cent of oil reserves. They possessed exclusive rights for Arctic offshore fields and controlled 96 per cent of the world’s nuclear arsenals, while accounting for 61 per cent of global military spending. They generated about 48 per cent of global gross domestic product and roughly two-thirds of registered patents.

    The combined population of these nations exceeds 1bn, and their territory encompasses 27 per cent of the earth’s landmass. A new grand project oriented around the north could appeal even to the current nationalistic Russian elite — not least because it worries deeply about the current rift with the west and fears growing economic and demographic pressure from the south.

    Today Russia is weak. But if it were properly engaged, this could change the configuration of what the late Zbigniew Brzezinski, the American geo-strategist, used to call the “grand chessboard”.

    Imagine incorporating Russia into a free-trade zone and a military alliance, offering its citizens the chance to become equal to the westerners and its elite the opportunity to be considered a part of the northern political and business community. This would be a way for the west finally to make peace with a longstanding adversary and to secure a new and enduring geopolitical architecture for the 21st century.

    The writer is director of the Centre for Post-Industrial Studies in Moscow and a fellow of the Polish Institute of Advanced Studies in Warsaw

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    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Iran can't be allowed to have nukes so have to get Russians on board to sanction them (again)

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    "Useful idiots" is what they used to call them. Putin won in Syria because Obama was a foreign policy schoolboy. We should have whipped out Assad and his criminal goons from the start. Daesh would never have happened and hundreds of thousands would be alive today. Sure it should have been primarily Arab troops on the ground but supported by NATO airpower. Assad belongs in a criminal court as does Putin and there is no way the west or the UN for that matter can deny it's failure to deliver justice. Putin's policy was only ever partly about Tartus. Muscovy under Putin is one big petrol and gas station - that is all they sell apart from weapons. It is in his interests to keep conflict going in the Middle East as it wars there and competition between the Gulf Arabs and the Persians acts to raise oil prices - that is why he arms Iran and built their nuclear power stations etc... The West only started looking at Syria when a dictator started shooting and torturing his own people. There was no 'evil plot' to get the Muscovites out of Tartus which would have been relatively easy before Assad started shooting his own people. You want to know what really started it? The Qataris proposed a gas pipeline to Europe via Syria. The Iranians wanted their own pipeline - assuming they agreed to the nuclear deal and Putin naturally rejected the idea of Qatari competition so gave Assad a guarantee.

    Nor should we be doing deals at all with these criminal regimes. Not in the north not anywhere, not at all full stop. Some say "well you have keep the channels open etc" and as a former Diplomat I agree but Moscow cannot be trusted to keep any deal - they have proved this time and again so offering them new deals is a waste of time - nor will it help the man on the Moscow omnibus one whit. You want me to talk to this filth fine. I do not mind doing so but I shall take my cue from the reply of Zaporozhian Cossacks to Mehmet lV;



    Sultan Mehmed IV to the Zaporozhian Cossacks:

    As the Sultan; son of Muhammad; brother of the sun and moon; grandson and viceroy of God; ruler of the kingdoms of Macedonia, Babylon, Jerusalem, Upper and Lower Egypt; emperor of emperors; sovereign of sovereigns; extraordinary knight, never defeated; steadfast guardian of the tomb of Jesus Christ; trustee chosen by God Himself; the hope and comfort of Muslims; confounder and great defender of Christians - I command you, the Zaporogian Cossacks, to submit to me voluntarily and without any resistance, and to desist from troubling me with your attacks.

    --Turkish Sultan Mehmed IV
    The Reply:



    Zaporozhian Cossacks to the Turkish Sultan!

    O sultan, Turkish devil and damned devil's kith and kin, secretary to Lucifer himself. What the devil kind of knight are thou, that canst not slay a hedgehog with your naked arse? The devil shits, and your army eats. Thou shalt not, thou son of a whore, make subjects of Christian sons; we have no fear of your army, by land and by sea we will battle with thee, fuck thy mother.

    Thou Babylonian scullion, Macedonian wheelwright, brewer of Jerusalem, goat-fucker of Alexandria, swineherd of Greater and Lesser Egypt, pig of Armenia, Podolian thief, catamite of Tartary, hangman of Kamyanets, and fool of all the world and underworld, an idiot before God, grandson of the Serpent, and the crick in our dick. Pig's snout, mare's arse, slaughterhouse cur, unchristened brow, screw thine own mother!

    So the Zaporozhians declare, you lowlife. You won't even be herding pigs for the Christians. Now we'll conclude, for we don't know the date and don't own a calendar; the moon's in the sky, the year with the Lord, the day's the same over here as it is over there; for this kiss our arse!

    - Koshovyi otaman Ivan Sirko, with the whole Zaporozhian Host.

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    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by snapper View Post
    We should have whipped out Assad and his criminal goons from the start. Daesh would never have happened and hundreds of thousands would be alive today. Sure it should have been primarily Arab troops on the ground but supported by NATO airpower.
    Been through all of this back in 2011 in tankie's thread. Every time i advocated what you said Mihais put a brickwall in front of it. Until i realised what you said just wasn't an option. That's why it didn't happen. Hello!

    If they weren't willing to intervene in Syria, then all the talk about doing worse in Iran was hogwash

    Muscovy under Putin is one big petrol and gas station - that is all they sell apart from weapons. It is in his interests to keep conflict going in the Middle East as it wars there and competition between the Gulf Arabs and the Persians acts to raise oil prices - that is why he arms Iran and built their nuclear power stations etc...
    Right now its the Saudis & Israelis that want to create instability to prevent any victories Iran has won in the intervening time from becoming the status quo ie. permanent. The west would prefer to reverse Russias wins too.

    What will happen if they are successful, the price of oil will now spike and strengthen Russia, the Saudis & Iran (!) whereas right now with prices down they are hurting

    The West only started looking at Syria when a dictator started shooting and torturing his own people. There was no 'evil plot' to get the Muscovites out of Tartus which would have been relatively easy before Assad started shooting his own people. You want to know what really started it? The Qataris proposed a gas pipeline to Europe via Syria. The Iranians wanted their own pipeline - assuming they agreed to the nuclear deal and Putin naturally rejected the idea of Qatari competition so gave Assad a guarantee.
    have heard this pipeline story. Can you tell me why it had to be one or the other and not both ? because i bet Assad would not have a problem with it as he'd double revenues unless one camp wanted their line at the expense of the other which seems a bit odd in a global market with matching pricing

    Nor should we be doing deals at all with these criminal regimes. Not in the north not anywhere, not at all full stop. Some say "well you have keep the channels open etc" and as a former Diplomat I agree but Moscow cannot be trusted to keep any deal - they have proved this time and again so offering them new deals is a waste of time - nor will it help the man on the Moscow omnibus one whit.
    All depends what's coming down the line. If a half democracy, an imperial power and a communist state agreed to work together once upon a time...
    Last edited by Double Edge; 30 Nov 17, at 03:06.

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    Quote Originally Posted by snapper View Post
    Sure it should have been primarily Arab troops on the ground but supported by NATO airpower.
    What Arab troops?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    Been through all of this back in 2011 in tankie's thread. Every time i advocated what you said Mihais put a brickwall in front of it. Until i realised what you said just wasn't an option. That's why it didn't happen. Hello!
    If they weren't willing to intervene in Syria, then all the talk about doing worse in Iran was hogwash
    What does a 'red line' mean to you? I know we have discussed this before and I do not agree with drawing 'red lines' in general but if you do so you have to be prepared to back it up when the line is crossed. Obama was a foreign policy kindergarten graduate and got fooled by Putin - simple. I agree entirely on the Iran issue - for Obama acting in Iran was probably never an option so the nuclear 'deal' was almost certainly his only option, but again I disagree with that although by all accounts the Iranians do seem to be keeping it. But that's what you get when you elect a social worker.

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    Right now its the Saudis & Israelis that want to create instability to prevent any victories Iran has won in the intervening time from becoming the status quo ie. permanent. The west would prefer to reverse Russias wins too.
    So using chemical weapons on your own people did not create any instability? The Iranians sponsoring the Yemen war is not creating instability? Sending the Revolutionary Guards to murder Syrians? The Muscovites bombing UN convoys in Syria? Saying Israel should not exist and promising to destroy it? Look 'the west' did not start the Syrian/Iraq wars - nor really did the Sauds or Israelis - it started in Daraa as I recall with peaceful protests in support of the Tunisian 'Arab Spring' but some Assad goons nabbed a kid - Hamza something - tortured and murdered him and delivered the body back to his parents. If someone did that to your son what would you do? If it can happen to one family then who is safe? Then Assad vowed to crush any further protests and sent the troops in. Now I am sorry but that sort of behaviour creates enemies. Assad and Putin are war criminals - there are no excuses, either you are prepared to act in support of international law (which I believe must be supported) or you are a chicken and your words are wind.

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    What will happen if they are successful, the price of oil will now spike and strengthen Russia, the Saudis & Iran (!) whereas right now with prices down they are hurting
    Brent crude is currently selling around $63pb due to the Muscovite - Saudi deal to cut production. In a way that does reflect how Putin 'won' in Syria but if you think that is in the 'wests' interests I believe you would be mistaken. We are better having a free market that brings prices down. Of course one benefit of the Iran deal is that their oil and gas supply is available - the Belarusians bought some Iranian gas which must have irked Putin loads.


    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    have heard this pipeline story. Can you tell me why it had to be one or the other and not both ? because i bet Assad would not have a problem with it as he'd double revenues unless one camp wanted their line at the expense of the other which seems a bit odd in a global market with matching pricing
    No I cannot tell you why dictators always see things as they do. Why couldn't Ukraine do the EU deal and still trade with Moscow as normal? I cannot claim to be able to read their minds but if I had to guess I would say it goes back to the old saying that "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely". For corrupt dictators having a prosperous neighbour - or society - which is minded toward reform is a threat to their position and their income of course. For them it is always a 'keep me in power' priority for they know if they lose their grip they are likely to end as Qadaffi, Sadam or Mussolini. So my guess is it's a form of self preservation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    All depends what's coming down the line. If a half democracy, an imperial power and a communist state agreed to work together once upon a time...
    Like I said you are either prepared to stand up - and if necessary fight - for your beliefs or you are bag of hot air. Tyranny breeds corruption and benefits the few as opposed to the majority - it merely stores trouble for the future, both economic and social. I had no hesitation supporting the Ukrainian 'revolution' because it was right, particularly after the 'Dictatorship Laws' there was no other option - same as the Syrians threatened with the murder of their children for protesting peacefully. Those who commit crimes to sustain their power are criminals and those who oppose them - sometimes by accident - are heros, Nadya Savchenko was an 'accidental hero'. Sic semper tyrannis must be stood for, even if it may mean your life is at risk. No 'deals' - no half arsed 'red lines' just go or die. That is the only terms these bastards understand - bugger off to St Helena like Napoleon or wherever or now we come for you and hold you accountable - if your own people do not get you first and you end up as Mussolini - which while it may be what they deserve is not justice done properly. Those who fight for justice and law must obey the law also.

    Quote Originally Posted by WABs_OOE View Post
    What Arab troops?
    Ever heard of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)? Mostly Kurds as I understand it but some Christian Syrians and Armenians (who are Christians) and even Circassians - got to wonder what happens when they go back to Circassia, the Mamluks were mostly Circassians and they defeated the Mongols. There was a proposal I seem to recall for the Arab Union to put a force in. I don't know why that never happened - Syria was never my problem and I have not followed it closely due to trying to deal with the problems I can help deal with and understand more about.

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    Quote Originally Posted by snapper View Post
    Ever heard of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)?
    You mean the group of Al Qaida supporters?

    Quote Originally Posted by snapper View Post
    There was a proposal I seem to recall for the Arab Union to put a force in. I don't know why that never happened - Syria was never my problem and I have not followed it closely due to trying to deal with the problems I can help deal with and understand more about.
    Because they are all a bunch of murdering idiotic thugs. Every regional power is involved with their own pet thugs fighting. The Turks and the Israelis are more than happy keeping ISIS on the battlefield.

    As for Europe and the US, this is the best we can hope for and in fact what we strive to achieve. Get the thugs to kill each other for as long as possible. Assad staying in power serves our purposes. The war continues and the killings continue. We push back and pull back when we need to in order to create the perfect balance so no one wins. We pulled back in bombing Assad when he was on the ropes and then pushed back when he started using chems again.

    For a person who claims to know about the Turks and the Mongols, you seemed to ignore their most obvious strategic lessons - get your enemies to kill each other.
    Last edited by WABs_OOE; 30 Nov 17, at 21:55.

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    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by snapper View Post
    What does a 'red line' mean to you? I know we have discussed this before and I do not agree with drawing 'red lines' in general but if you do so you have to be prepared to back it up when the line is crossed. Obama was a foreign policy kindergarten graduate and got fooled by Putin - simple. I agree entirely on the Iran issue - for Obama acting in Iran was probably never an option so the nuclear 'deal' was almost certainly his only option, but again I disagree with that although by all accounts the Iranians do seem to be keeping it. But that's what you get when you elect a social worker.
    Ah, you refer to 2013, i was war mongering back in 2011 for the very reasons you mentioned below. To get some of the Arabs off their knees and onto their feet. Advocating the west depose Assad the same way as Gaddafi. You actually made that point too. R2P applies for Libya but not Syria. Why

    What defused the red line was the Russians agreeing to take care of the chems. The west bought it. Why ? because the Americans weren't interested in a fight for what could best be described as a peripheral interest. They were just fed up. you could see that with members here when the Libya thing was about to start. Absolutely zero interest. OOE exclaiming how in hell did we get roped into this cluster fcuk


    So using chemical weapons on your own people did not create any instability? The Iranians sponsoring the Yemen war is not creating instability? Sending the Revolutionary Guards to murder Syrians? The Muscovites bombing UN convoys in Syria? Saying Israel should not exist and promising to destroy it? Look 'the west' did not start the Syrian/Iraq wars - nor really did the Sauds or Israelis - it started in Daraa as I recall with peaceful protests in support of the Tunisian 'Arab Spring' but some Assad goons nabbed a kid - Hamza something - tortured and murdered him and delivered the body back to his parents. If someone did that to your son what would you do? If it can happen to one family then who is safe? Then Assad vowed to crush any further protests and sent the troops in. Now I am sorry but that sort of behaviour creates enemies. Assad and Putin are war criminals - there are no excuses, either you are prepared to act in support of international law (which I believe must be supported) or you are a chicken and your words are wind.
    True, hence why i was advocating to gear up in 2011, it took a year of to and fro to realise this just wasn't an option. McCain was making his usual noises and getting derided for it


    Brent crude is currently selling around $63pb due to the Muscovite - Saudi deal to cut production. In a way that does reflect how Putin 'won' in Syria but if you think that is in the 'wests' interests I believe you would be mistaken. We are better having a free market that brings prices down. Of course one benefit of the Iran deal is that their oil and gas supply is available - the Belarusians bought some Iranian gas which must have irked Putin loads.
    west's interests and not only them is low oil price. only way to ever fully recover from 2008 financial crisis. The reason oil price is low is lack of demand. No one will build if they're not sure of a return.


    but if I had to guess I would say it goes back to the old saying that "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely". For corrupt dictators having a prosperous neighbour - or society - which is minded toward reform is a threat to their position and their income of course. For them it is always a 'keep me in power' priority for they know if they lose their grip they are likely to end as Qadaffi, Sadam or Mussolini. So my guess is it's a form of self preservation.
    Still not clear to me as to why one or the other pipeline means Assad has to go. here's what you said

    You want to know what really started it? The Qataris proposed a gas pipeline to Europe via Syria. The Iranians wanted their own pipeline - assuming they agreed to the nuclear deal and Putin naturally rejected the idea of Qatari competition so gave Assad a guarantee.
    Why does Putin reject the Qatari one. Why does he even care. It makes no difference, Qatari gas is for sale on the market. It comes either via pipeline, tanker or both

    The nuke deal only comes around in 2015 and it wasn't ever sure whether the americans could pull it off from their side. It was a long shot if seen back in 2013


    Like I said you are either prepared to stand up - and if necessary fight - for your beliefs or you are bag of hot air. Tyranny breeds corruption and benefits the few as opposed to the majority - it merely stores trouble for the future, both economic and social. I had no hesitation supporting the Ukrainian 'revolution' because it was right, particularly after the 'Dictatorship Laws' there was no other option - same as the Syrians threatened with the murder of their children for protesting peacefully. Those who commit crimes to sustain their power are criminals and those who oppose them - sometimes by accident - are heros, Nadya Savchenko was an 'accidental hero'. Sic semper tyrannis must be stood for, even if it may mean your life is at risk. No 'deals' - no half arsed 'red lines' just go or die. That is the only terms these bastards understand - bugger off to St Helena like Napoleon or wherever or now we come for you and hold you accountable - if your own people do not get you first and you end up as Mussolini - which while it may be what they deserve is not justice done properly. Those who fight for justice and law must obey the law also.
    Which is fine if you can get people fired up and that wasn't happening.
    Last edited by Double Edge; 02 Dec 17, at 01:10.

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    There is only 3 regional powers that can take on Assad. Israel, Turkey, and Iran. Israel cannot for obvious reasons. Iran supports Assad. And teh Turks are in no mood to resurrect the Ottoman Empire no matter what Erdogan wants.

    No other regional powers or coalition of powers can take out Assad. Well, except Saudi Arabia but then to get that many Pakistani regiments would bankrupt the KSA.
    Last edited by WABs_OOE; 30 Nov 17, at 22:19.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    Why does Putin reject the Qatari one. Why does he even care. It makes no difference, Qatari gas is for sale on the market. It comes either via pipeline, tanker or b
    .
    The Qatari are smart enough to know that they have no permanent friends. As today's friend are tomorrow's enemies. I reckon that in their game of political chess, the worth and the risk-adjusted return of putting large upfront CAPEX investment in terms of dollars, political capital for a pipeline is much less than the flexible pipeline that the LNG tanker fleet. The beauty of the latter (i.e LNG) is that the more your invest in it, the more it become ubiquitous, and the more cost per shipment will drop and the more the world's fragmented natural gas markets will converge into a single world market and with it world price (as it did with oil with the advent of supertankers ~fifty years ago) set by global supply and demand as oppose to local factors.

    Bad for Moscow though as LNG prices come down, so will their grip in their captive European market. it will take a while though, as Russian pipeline in Eastern Europe are all 'sunked' in terms of their cost, therefore, Gazprom would still have a lot of room to undercut LNG and offer competitive pricing ... for now.
    If we contrast the rapid progress of this mischievous discovery of gunpowder with the slow and laborious advances of reason, science, and the arts of peace, a philosopher, according to his temper, will laugh or weep at the folly of mankind. - Edward Gibbon

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by WABs_OOE View Post
    Because they are all a bunch of murdering idiotic thugs. Every regional power is involved with their own pet thugs fighting. The Turks and the Israelis are more than happy keeping ISIS on the battlefield.
    War is about killing people. The better you are at killing your enemies the better your chances of winning. That does not mean blame cannot be assigned. Those who are attacked have a right to defend themselves. Those who are the initial aggressors carry the culpability. If some guy tries to rape me and I poke his eye out it does not mean I am a violent "thug"; he who started it is the violent "thug".

    Quote Originally Posted by WABs_OOE View Post
    As for Europe and the US, this is the best we can hope for and in fact what we strive to achieve. Get the thugs to kill each other for as long as possible. Assad staying in power serves our purposes. The war continues and the killings continue. We push back and pull back when we need to in order to create the perfect balance so no one wins. We pulled back in bombing Assad when he was on the ropes and then pushed back when he started using chems again.
    I must fundamentally disagree with this I am afraid. We gain - everyone gains (including the native people mostly) from peace and trade. Wars can spread; the US (for example) was involved at the start of neither WW. The Syrian war has spread in a way - to Yemen. Nor do I believe it is either right nor actually possible to keep a 'balance of power' in a war (though presumably if this was the current theory in the US Ukraine would have been supplied with Javelins). No matter which side wins it effects others. If you want to fight a war by proxies you pick the dog who's victory benefits you and back it all the way. Of course that is what Moscow and Iran has done. We have just been confused for the most part.

    Quote Originally Posted by WABs_OOE View Post
    For a person who claims to know about the Turks and the Mongols, you seemed to ignore their most obvious strategic lessons - get your enemies to kill each other.
    Don't know much about Turkish history and never claimed to. The 'Mongols' by the time they got to Europe were actually subjugated and allied tribes. The organisation and command was Mongol but - Batu Khan was a Grandson of Ghengis and Subatai was one of the greatest commanders in history but his troops were mostly from what is today Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran - the language 'urdu' derives from the same word we derive the word 'horde' from. When you have that many subjugated horse tribes (Kypchaks, Cumans, Khazars etc etc) fighting for you it's like a Tsunami and their prime requisit is stores to supply the army and feed the horses. They did not bother with trying to get their potential foes to fight each other. It was just surrender or die. So for example Batu proposed a marriage alliance with the Hungarians - that included 1/4 of the Hungarian army for the 'Mongol' use so they could drive further into Europe. Essentially empire has a self fulfilling logical momentum; the more you have the more you need to preserve what you have and the greater the beast becomes. It is as arguable that Alexander had to invade Persia as it is that Hitler had to invade Central and Eastern Europe and that the Mongols and their subjugated 'allies' had the same logical imperial momentum.

    Quote Originally Posted by WABs_OOE View Post
    There is only 3 regional powers that can take on Assad. Israel, Turkey, and Iran. Israel cannot for obvious reasons. Iran supports Assad. And teh Turks are in no mood to resurrect the Ottoman Empire no matter what Erdogan wants.

    No other regional powers or coalition of powers can take out Assad. Well, except Saudi Arabia but then to get that many Pakistani regiments would bankrupt the KSA.
    His own people came close to ending him - that they did not is not only Obama's failure but the West's in general. Obama was but a symptom of the West's lack of self confidence in our values in part as a consequence of the 2008 economic crisis and the somewhat misguided Bush junior foreign policy. But that does not mean we are wrong; it just means we are human and make mistakes. We are not wrong about liberty or justice - our values - and should help those who fight for them wherever they are.

    (Sorry about the late reply - have been busy)

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by WABs_OOE View Post
    Because they are all a bunch of murdering idiotic thugs. Every regional power is involved with their own pet thugs fighting. The Turks and the Israelis are more than happy keeping ISIS on the battlefield.
    War is about killing people. The better you are at killing your enemies the better your chances of winning. That does not mean blame cannot be assigned. Those who are attacked have a right to defend themselves. Those who are the initial aggressors carry the culpability. If some guy tries to rape me and I poke his eye out it does not mean I am a violent "thug"; he who started it is the violent "thug".

    Quote Originally Posted by WABs_OOE View Post
    As for Europe and the US, this is the best we can hope for and in fact what we strive to achieve. Get the thugs to kill each other for as long as possible. Assad staying in power serves our purposes. The war continues and the killings continue. We push back and pull back when we need to in order to create the perfect balance so no one wins. We pulled back in bombing Assad when he was on the ropes and then pushed back when he started using chems again.
    I must fundamentally disagree with this I am afraid. We gain - everyone gains (including the native people mostly) from peace and trade. Wars can spread; the US (for example) was involved at the start of neither WW. The Syrian war has spread in a way - to Yemen. Nor do I believe it is either right nor actually possible to keep a 'balance of power' in a war (though presumably if this was the current theory in the US Ukraine would have been supplied with Javelins). No matter which side wins it effects others. If you want to fight a war by proxies you pick the dog who's victory benefits you and back it all the way. Of course that is what Moscow and Iran has done. We have just been confused for the most part.

    Quote Originally Posted by WABs_OOE View Post
    For a person who claims to know about the Turks and the Mongols, you seemed to ignore their most obvious strategic lessons - get your enemies to kill each other.
    Don't know much about Turkish history and never claimed to. The 'Mongols' by the time they got to Europe were actually subjugated and allied tribes. The organisation and command was Mongol but - Batu Khan was a Grandson of Ghengis and Subatai was one of the greatest commanders in history but his troops were mostly from what is today Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran - the language 'urdu' derives from the same word we derive the word 'horde' from. When you have that many subjugated horse tribes (Kypchaks, Cumans, Khazars etc etc) fighting for you it's like a Tsunami and their prime requisit is stores to supply the army and feed the horses. They did not bother with trying to get their potential foes to fight each other. It was just surrender or die. So for example Batu proposed a marriage alliance with the Hungarians - that included 1/4 of the Hungarian army for the 'Mongol' use so they could drive further into Europe. Essentially empire has a self fulfilling logical momentum; the more you have the more you need to preserve what you have and the greater the beast becomes. It is as arguable that Alexander had to invade Persia as it is that Hitler had to invade Central and Eastern Europe and that the Mongols and their subjugated 'allies' had the same logical imperial momentum.

    Quote Originally Posted by WABs_OOE View Post
    There is only 3 regional powers that can take on Assad. Israel, Turkey, and Iran. Israel cannot for obvious reasons. Iran supports Assad. And teh Turks are in no mood to resurrect the Ottoman Empire no matter what Erdogan wants.

    No other regional powers or coalition of powers can take out Assad. Well, except Saudi Arabia but then to get that many Pakistani regiments would bankrupt the KSA.
    His own people came close to ending him - that they did not is not only Obama's failure but the West's in general. Obama was but a symptom of the West's lack of self confidence in our values in part as a consequence of the 2008 economic crisis and the somewhat misguided Bush junior foreign policy. But that does not mean we are wrong; it just means we are human and make mistakes. We are not wrong about liberty or justice - our values - and should help those who fight for them wherever they are.

    (Sorry about the late reply - have been busy)

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by snapper View Post
    War is about killing people. The better you are at killing your enemies the better your chances of winning. That does not mean blame cannot be assigned. Those who are attacked have a right to defend themselves. Those who are the initial aggressors carry the culpability. If some guy tries to rape me and I poke his eye out it does not mean I am a violent "thug"; he who started it is the violent "thug".
    Don't cloud the issue. You're not being raped and "your" Syrians sides with our Al Qaida enemies.

    Quote Originally Posted by snapper View Post
    I must fundamentally disagree with this I am afraid. We gain - everyone gains (including the native people mostly) from peace and trade.
    So the Russians are gaining under Putin's peace and trade?

    Quote Originally Posted by snapper View Post
    Wars can spread; the US (for example) was involved at the start of neither WW.
    In both WW, US interests was militarily attacked.

    Quote Originally Posted by snapper View Post
    The Syrian war has spread in a way - to Yemen.
    Our drones are not killing Assad's people in Yemen.

    Quote Originally Posted by snapper View Post
    Nor do I believe it is either right nor actually possible to keep a 'balance of power' in a war (though presumably if this was the current theory in the US Ukraine would have been supplied with Javelins).
    JAVELINS are the last thing the Ukrainians needed.

    Quote Originally Posted by snapper View Post
    No matter which side wins it effects others. If you want to fight a war by proxies you pick the dog who's victory benefits you and back it all the way.
    No, we shoot the dog after.

    Quote Originally Posted by snapper View Post
    Of course that is what Moscow and Iran has done. We have just been confused for the most part.
    They're still killing each other, aren't they?

    Quote Originally Posted by snapper View Post
    Don't know much about Turkish history and never claimed to. The 'Mongols' by the time they got to Europe were actually subjugated and allied tribes. The organisation and command was Mongol but - Batu Khan was a Grandson of Ghengis and Subatai was one of the greatest commanders in history but his troops were mostly from what is today Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran - the language 'urdu' derives from the same word we derive the word 'horde' from. When you have that many subjugated horse tribes (Kypchaks, Cumans, Khazars etc etc) fighting for you it's like a Tsunami and their prime requisit is stores to supply the army and feed the horses.
    They were all Turks.

    Quote Originally Posted by snapper View Post
    They did not bother with trying to get their potential foes to fight each other. It was just surrender or die. So for example Batu proposed a marriage alliance with the Hungarians - that included 1/4 of the Hungarian army for the 'Mongol' use so they could drive further into Europe.
    Do you even read what you wrote? Batu wanted to use Europeans against Europeans.

    Quote Originally Posted by snapper View Post
    Essentially empire has a self fulfilling logical momentum; the more you have the more you need to preserve what you have and the greater the beast becomes. It is as arguable that Alexander had to invade Persia as it is that Hitler had to invade Central and Eastern Europe and that the Mongols and their subjugated 'allies' had the same logical imperial momentum.
    Mumble, jumble, and irrevelent to the point.

    Quote Originally Posted by snapper View Post
    His own people came close to ending him
    So, they don't need our help.

    Quote Originally Posted by snapper View Post
    - that they did not is not only Obama's failure but the West's in general.
    We've seen too many flag draped coffins, thank you very much.

    Quote Originally Posted by snapper View Post
    Obama was but a symptom of the West's lack of self confidence in our values in part as a consequence of the 2008 economic crisis and the somewhat misguided Bush junior foreign policy. But that does not mean we are wrong; it just means we are human and make mistakes. We are not wrong about liberty or justice - our values - and should help those who fight for them wherever they are.
    I am not going to help those win a war just so that they can plant bombs on our streets.
    Last edited by WABs_OOE; 04 Dec 17, at 22:05.

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    Colonel you asked me "What Arab troops?". I have replied. Whether they are AQ or not the West has openly backed them, perhaps that does not please you but that is the fact. My knowledge (or lack) of Turkish history and other assorted debates are unrelated to your original question. If you wish to debate the other matters I am at your service but will not have them confused with your original question which I have answered.

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