Middle East: The Song Remains The Same

Storms out on the ocean…..the judge is being judged…….Rudy is filling his poison pen…….Kim is in a pickle…….the Master is Tweeting……all in all that was the week that was….with all that the wars in the Middle East must be nearing a conclusion, right?

Well let’s take a closer look at the events in the Middle East…..

After a months long stretch of merely sporadic violence and simmering tensions, the Middle East seems on the verge of another fiery eruption, and there are no outside powers with the interest or leverage to douse the flames.

The smoke is starting to billow from three well-worn hot spots.

First, there is Idlib province in northern Syria, on the Turkish border, home to 3 million civilians—half of them refugees displaced by war from other parts of the country—and roughly 70,000 anti-regime rebels, many of them jihadis. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has vowed to wipe out all anti-regime forces in air and ground campaigns that will unavoidably kill thousands of civilians, a fact that hasn’t bothered him in previous assaults. His allies, the Russians and Iranians, say they will help, and in fact the bombing has begun.

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/09/syria-iran-iraq-the-middle-east-looks-set-to-explode-again.html

As the people of Idlib province and the displaced who moved there to escape mayhem elsewhere in Syria tremble in anticipation of the onslaught many expect to bring an end to the seven-year conflict, some among them must certainly wonder, what has the bloodshed accomplished? When it is over, not only will more than half a million people have died but more than six million will have been made refugees and more than twice that will have required some form of humanitarian assistance. And when it is over, an Assad will most likely rule over Syria, as has been true since 1971, leaving the family well-positioned to celebrate the 50th anniversary of their brutal reign over the country in just three years.

An article in the New York Times this week discussed the state of affairs in Afghanistan. It noted that while the US government claims the Taliban control or contest “only” 44 per cent of the districts in Afghanistan, military analysts suggest the figure is actually closer to 61 per cent of the districts.

https://www.thenational.ae/opinion/comment/in-conflicts-from-syria-to-afghanistan-there-has-been-an-extraordinarily-high-price-but-precious-little-meaningful-change-1.768465

It is tempting to call most reporting on the wars in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan “blind and stupid.” This, however, is unfair to journalists – whose job is primarily to report current news and not to speculate about its ultimate meaning or the future. The phrase “blind and stupid” should be applied to most policymakers, strategists, and think tank analysts who try to address these wars – people whose mission is not only to think about the future, but to propose credible solutions to emerging and easily foreseeable problems.

Roads to Hell Without “Good,” or Even Enough “Intentions,” to Describe the Road

In all three cases, each war is generally being approached from one of two inherently ridiculous perspectives. The first perspective is simply to focus on the security side and tactical situation – an approach that ignores all the other causes of instability and unrest, defines “victory” in inherently unworkable terms, or sees minor tactical victories as somehow a reason for continuing the fight with no clear plan to end it.

https://www.csis.org/analysis/peace-pieces-tragedy-syria-iraq-and-afghanistan

There is a doc that illustrates the selling of a war……

For decades, Western governments, corporate media and Hollywood have engaged in a project of mass deception to manufacture consent for military interventions. Waged in the name of lofty ideals like freedom, human rights and democracy, US-led wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya wound up bringing death, destruction and even the return of slavery to the African continent. As the wounds from those catastrophes festered, Washington embarked on its most ambitious project yet, marketing another war of regime change, this time in Syria.

https://grayzoneproject.com/2018/09/15/presenting-the-syria-deception-al-qaeda-goes-to-hollywood-video/

Present unrest in the Middle East has many causes and takes on many forms. A collective sense of disenfranchisement, inadequate governance, geopolitical discord, and religious extremism all contribute to the conflicts in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, and Libya. Many Western observers and policymakers view unrest in the Middle East through the lens of binary religious sectarianism, focusing on the divisions between Sunni and Shi’a Muslims. This split is most clearly articulated in the geopolitical competition between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and it plays out through violence in Iraq and Syria. But the complexities of human identity and of regional culture and history do not lend themselves to this arguably too-simplistic interpretation of the situation. The authors analyze sectarianism in the region, evaluate other factors that fan the flames of violent conflict, and suggest a different interpretation of both identity and the nature of regional unrest.

https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR1681.html

Now for those that cannot read….there is a short vid that could explain a bunch in the shortest amount of time.

There is still more happening in the Middle East and the MSM prefers to ignore the events….it falls on people me me that feels we must report on the events that go unreported if not for us…

Turn The Page!

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Syria By Any Other Name

Since the media has chosen to ignore the conflict in Syria does not mean that the fighting is over.

After all these years of fighting in Syria one would think that the US would have some influence within the country…..one would think…..

Syria’s capital looks a bit like Washington, D.C.: imposing government buildings, heavy traffic, busy streets, and imperious officials. Public edifices are surrounded by concrete walls. The main difference may be the ubiquitous regime propaganda: you can’t miss images of President Bashar al-Assad and his father Hafez, whereas President Trump’s visage is missing from Washington.

Also unusual are the ubiquitous checkpoints. They’re there to prevent terrorism via car bombs. Although the threat of terrorism scares most Americans, it actually offers a form of relief to Damascus residents. Until recently insurgents controlled some suburbs, from which they fired artillery and mortars into the city. Today those neighborhoods, just a few minutes away, are wrecked and empty. It may be the peace of the grave, but at least it is peace.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/washingtons-influence-in-syria-is-nowhere-to-be-found/

Since the first bomb fell on Syria I have been saying that this battle was not necessary…in fact it is a stupid waste of manpower and money……

As tensions continue to mount around the Al-Qaeda-held province of Idlib in Syria, the New York Times has published an op-ed by virulent neoconservative war whore Bret Stephens explaining that the US should intervene militarily in order to thwart the geopolitical agendas of Iran. He argues that any movement to recapture Idlib should be met with a full-scale assault on the Syrian government, crippling its air force and attacking Bashar al-Assad’s presidential palaces. Stephens says this must be done to prevent Tehran from “consolidating a Shiite crescent stretching from Bandar Abbas on the Persian Gulf to the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon.”

https://theantimedia.com/why-interventionism-syria-crazy-stupid/

And now for your visual entertainment a little ditty about the war in Syria…..

Some people are predicting n end to the war in Syria…if they are accurate what will be next?

There can be little doubt about who emerged as the dominant partner when the presidents of Turkey, Russia and Iran convened in Tehran to discuss the next stage in Syria’s brutal war.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan flew to Tehran with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, to join Iranian President Hassan Rouhani for a discussion on the fate of Idlib, the rebel-held province that is the last remaining redoubt of the anti-Assad opposition movement.

https://www.thenational.ae/opinion/comment/as-the-syrian-war-nears-its-end-a-tense-new-struggle-is-materialising-1.770121

Syria,,,,,,Syria….

Turn The Page!

Camp David–40 Years On

Closing Thought–17Sep18

Forty years ago today, 17 September…..Pres, Carter, PM Begin and Egypt’s Sadat met for 2 weeks at Camp David and came away with a peace agreement signed by all sides…..

At the White House in Washington, D.C., Egyptian President Anwar el-Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin sign the Camp David Accords, laying the groundwork for a permanent peace agreement between Egypt and Israel after three decades of hostilities. The accords were negotiated during 12 days of intensive talks at President Jimmy Carter’s Camp David retreat in the Catoctin Mountains of Maryland. The final peace agreement–the first between Israel and one of its Arab neighbors–was signed in March 1979. Sadat and Begin were jointly awarded the 1978 Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts.

A state of war had existed between Egypt and the State of Israel since the establishment of Israel in 1948. In the first three Arab-Israeli wars, Israel decisively defeated Egypt. As a result of the 1967 war, Israel occupied Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, the 23,500-square-mile peninsula that links Africa with Asia. When Anwar el-Sadat became Egyptian president in 1970, he found himself leader of an economically troubled nation that could ill afford to continue its endless crusade against Israel. He wanted to make peace and thereby achieve stability and recovery of the Sinai, but after Israel’s stunning victory in the 1967 war it was unlikely that Israel’s peace terms would be favorable to Egypt. So Sadat conceived of a daring plan to attack Israel again, which, even if unsuccessful, might convince the Israelis that peace with Egypt was necessary.

https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/camp-david-accords-signed

This was the closest the Middle East had come to peace in many years and within a short period….Sadat had been assassinated and Begin also….Carter was replaced with Reagan and from that point on peace was never on the agenda.

The world missed the perfect opportunity to have a lasting peace….and history has shown just how bad events have gotten since those days 40 years ago.

Does A Bus Piss Them Off?

Closing Thought–14SEp18

During war there are always stories that makes one think of this or that….and for several years Saudi Arabia has been locked in conflict with its neighbor Yemen.

Recently word has come out that the Saudis attacked a bus filled with school children…..https://lobotero.com/2018/08/10/yemen-finally-the-media-has-noticed/

Of course the world was outraged and after first denying the attack they (Saudis) did an about face and took responsibility for the deaths…….https://lobotero.com/2018/09/04/saudis-throw-a-hissy-fit/

And just yesterday another bus related attack by the Saudis…..

Last month, Saudi warplanes attacked a busload of school children in northern Yemen, killing scores of them. The strike used a US-provided bomb, and led to major Congressional moves to limit involvement in the war. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, on Wednesday, signed off on Saudi activities, bypassing Congressional limits.

Having dodged a bullet in avoiding Congressional attempts to halt US aid, the Saudis clearly haven’t learned anything, however, as on Thursday, Saudi warplanes attacked a bus station in the port city of Hodeidah, killing at least 20 civilians, mostly children.

Saudi forces have carried out multiple attacks against Hodeidah in recent days, trying to help Yemen forces attack the vital aid port. Yet as has often been a problem with Saudi airstrikes in Yemen, their targeting seems haphazard, and as likely to just hit a bus depot full of civilians waiting to evacuate as any combatants.

Very public incidents of civilian deaths, especially egregious cases of killing children in buses, have meant a lot of patience with the Saudi war has run out. Such incidents are likely to continue to undermine what little international support the war still enjoys.

(antiwar.com)

What is it about buses that pisses the Saudis off?

Kuwait, Thanx For Nothing

As most visitors know is that I spend a lot of time reading and writing about the Middle East.  The one country in the region that should be our closest ally is Kuwait.

I realize that a good portion of my readers are young and may not be aware of why Kuwait should be our closest Middle East friend.

Image result for Kuwait

I shall give a short history…..after Iran/Iraq signed a ceasefire from their 10 year war….Iraq’s Saddam turned his attention to his mneighbor to the South, Kuwait.

On Aug. 2, 1990 Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, his small neighbor to the South and set in motion a chain of events that would impact America and the rest of the world forever. Within mere days, Operation Desert Shield was in full swing with U.S. Military Personnel streaming into Saudi Arabia. Over the next 6 months the buildup of U.S. forces would total close to 700,000 Americans. On January 16th 1991 Operation Desert Storm was launched following Saddam Hussein’s refusal to heed U.N. Resolution 678 by refusing to withdraw his Iraqi forces from Kuwait by January 15, 1991 deadline. After a more than four weeks of relentless bombardment by U.S. and coalition Air Strikes, the ground phase kicked in and was completed in an astounding 100 hours!

http://www.desert-storm.com/

The US went to war to get some justice for Kuwait and the events that followed Iraq’s invasion.

It appears that Kuwait is pulling a way from the US and towards the nations of Iran and China…..

The relationship with Kuwait should be one of the United States’ strongest, but it is starting to fray. There’s still time to set it right, and the Kuwaiti Emir’s visit to Washington last week was a good start. Meanwhile, however, investors remain on edge, as they have been ever since officials in this Gulf state froze millions of dollars in American and international assets without any clear explanation.

Candidly, there’s a lot going on in Kuwait that’s suspect. The regime seems to be cozying up to Iran and China, officials have made remarks about Israel that are just short of incendiary, and corruption surrounding the delivery of supplies to U.S. troops stationed there has been highly disruptive. Americans, it seems to me, have the right to expect better from those whom they saved by leading an international intervention after their country was invaded by Saddam Hussein.

https://www.realclearworld.com/articles/2018/09/10/kuwait_is_not_behaving_like_a_us_ally_112871.html

This is the thanks we get for helping Kuwait regain its country from the hands of Saddam.

Just another reason for me not to like the idea of the US going to war to “help” our friends.

It’s Syria!

It has slipped from the news with all the antics from the man in the Ivory Tower….but Syria is still as deadly as it has been for damn near a decade…..

These days the news is more about Russia and the possibility of US troops having to fight the Russians in Syria…….

 As things in Syria seem poised to heat up dramatically in the coming weeks,CNN has reported that Russia has warned the U.S. that the Russian and Syrian militaries are prepared to launch an offensive on the Al-Tanf military base in Syria, an installation that has been controlled by the U.S. military since 2016.

According to U.S. defense officials who spoke to CNN, Russia has warned the U.S. military twice within the last week alone that its forces, as well as those of the Syrian military, are poised to launch an attack on the base’s “deconfliction zone.” The deconfliction zone is a 34-mile (55-kilometer) radius around the base that the U.S. has unilaterally enforced even though it is not internationally recognized. In the past, the U.S. has attacked the Syrian military and allied forces that have approached the deconfliction zone, which the U.S. later justified as an act of “self-defense.

https://theantimedia.com/russia-may-attack-us-military-syria/

This would not be such a good idea……Syria is volatile and to the point that the US and Russia could come to a huge push and shove….

Following Thursday’s report that Russia had recently informed the US of planned military operations against terrorist groups on the Syria-Jordan border, a company of US Marines conducted a live-fire exercise in the same area. Officials say it was intended to be a “warning” to Russia.

The exercise took place near the US base at al-Tanf, at the corner of Syria’s border with Iraq and Jordan. Though the US no longer really has any rebel allies in the area, which was the initially point of the Tanf base, the US does regularly attack any pro-Syrian forces who get too close.

The proximity of Islamists, especially al-Qaeda-linked groups on the Jordan border, has pretty much been ignored by the US. The possibility that Russian and Syrian forces might take care of those groups has infuriated the US, and led to threats of force.

https://theantimedia.com/us-military-warning-russian-troops-syria/

Syria is not gone and it is definitely not forgotten…..like all our small wars…..it could take one small screw up to turn it deadly and all encompassing.

Trying To Reason With The Middle East

To begin this post with the statement that Our Dear Leader plans to leave troops in Syria indefinitely….

According to State Department officials, President Trump has recently abandoned his desire to “get out” of Syria and bring US troops home.  He has signed a new strategy, which includes new military goals, and eliminates all timelines for removing troops from Syria.

US troops are in several parts of Syria, mostly in the Kurdish-held northeast. An estimated 2,200 US troops are in Syria, though official numbers are being withheld from the public. Special Envoy James Jeffrey said the old plan was to leave Syria by year’s end, but now the troops are committed to an “indefinitely extended” stay.

The new goals are substantial as well, with the US now focusing on forcing Iran out of Syria and “enduring defeat” for ISIS. Jeffrey says the US is “not in a hurry” and that Trump is now on board with this idea.

(antiwar.com)

The Middle East is one of those regions that few people understand….most people just write off the Middle East as a region that has always been in conflict and nothing will ever change.

With that oversimplification I do not agree with in any shape or form.

The reason these types of characterizations abound is because few people understand the Middle East  and fewer attempt to understand.

By why is that?

A recent editorial in the Washington Post, written by columnist David Ignatius, offers a shining example of the United States’ difficulty in understanding today’s world and, most of all, the Arab world.

Ignatius conveys a genuine concern for “The Unintended Consequences of US Disengagement in the Middle East”, quoting worried comments made by a member of the Arab elite allied with the US.

The journalist expresses uneasiness about the fact that “American power and values won’t matter the way they once did”. His position is steeped in the typical intellectual milieu of American exceptionalism, a position based on the hardwired assumption that the condition for an ideal existence and a stable world order are ensured only when American power and values are strong and shared.

https://theantimedia.com/americans-middle-east/

While the US drags its feet on the diplomatic front…China is not wasting any time to fill all diplomatic holds that the US creates…..

Tensions between the United States and China seem to be defining the bilateral relationship between the two countries these days. From a growing trade war to the Trump administration’s characterization of China as a “strategic competitor seeking to undermine U.S. power and influence” in its 2017 National Security Strategy , political and economic relations appear to have settled at a recent nadir.

But great power competition between the two most powerful militaries and economies is not geographically limited. China is indicating its intent to shape the Middle East’s regional and military landscape through trade relationships with regional states as well as through projection of its own military might. Below are three areas to watch where China’s more assertive Middle East engagement may lead to tensions with America.

https://nationalinterest.org/feature/how-china-trying-dominate-middle-east-29922

The US is having to take to the sidelines…..although it is arming and propping up several countries in the region in the event that they are needed to fight a proxy war for the US…..Saudis, UAE, Jordan, and cash sucker Israel.

If the US loses the Middle East to China then I believe that the consequences will be great.