Disagreement on Conspiracy Theory Pt 1


John R. Houk

© April 21, 2017

 

One of my favorite Internet pals is a fellow that frequents my WordPress blog NCCR. His moniker is Yurki1000. When I refer to him I usually his moniker because I am unsure of how much anonymity he wishes to maintain. He does sign many of his comments with his first name, but for the most part I’ll stick with Yurki1000 or Yurki.

 

That being said, Yurki has sent a lengthy comment that demonstrates agreement with another NCCR commenter using the moniker Futuret. Futuret leans more on the validity of some of the Conspiracy Theories than I do.

 

There are many Conspiracy Theories I concur with, yet many are simply beyond the believability scale especially when I know some facts that contradict a Conspiracy Theory accepted by way too many people.

 

I am preambling with this information primarily because I do not want to get involved in a rift with these two guys in whom typically I enjoy reading.

 

With another, ‘’that being said,” I am disagreeing much of Yurki’s comment to Futuret by answering the premises of the links and comments he has produced demonstrating agreement to the Political Vel Craft link that pushes the theory that the Chemical attack on Khan Shaykhun perpetrated by Bashar al-Assad that killed or injured hundreds of civilian men, women and children was a false flag perpetrated by Trump Administration.

 

Frankly, the more logical evidence I have read indicates this was not a false flag. If the attack was a false flag, then the fingering pointing source would be to the Trump Administration. I can’t accept that the guy promising to make America great again had anything to do with perpetrating an attack on men, women and children.

 

The other possibility is that Syrian Rebels gassed their own supporters. THAT IS LUDICROUS!

 

And the last possibility is there was no chemical attack whatsoever. There is simply too much evidence that a chemical attack occurred.

 

So, a false flag travels back to, It’s Trump’s fault. Again, I cannot accept that.

 

I have run into a bit of a difficulty in sharing my thoughts link by link and comment by comment. I got through Yurki’s first four links and have out that I have the equivalent of eleven pages of a Word Document. I am going to have to consider this post Part One of I have no idea of how many parts.

 

Futuret

April 11, 2017 at 5:25 PM

 

https://politicalvelcraft.org/2017/04/09/syrian-false-flag-cia-mossad-armed-isis-rebels-set-up-desperate-excuse-for-trump/

 

Syrian False Flag: CIA Mossad Armed ISIS Rebels Set Up Desperate Excuse For Trump

 

Evidence suggests a false flag chemical weapons attack on the Syrian people was initiated by Syrian rebels with the help of the United States in order to justify Thursday night’s U.S. Military attack on a Syrian base.

 

pResident Trump approved the bombing of the Syrian military base controlled by Bashir al-Assad supposedly to destroy the Syrian government’s ability to launch further chemical attacks on civilians.

 

READ ENTIRETY (Syrian False Flag: CIA Mossad Armed ISIS Rebels Set Up Desperate Excuse For Trump; By VOLUBRJOTR; Political Vel Craft; 4/9/17)

 

+++

Oneway2day [That’s me – John R. Houk]

April 21, 2017 at 10:04 AM

 

Much of Political Vel Craft’s thoughts are developed on data that occurred under Obama and not Trump’s very brief tenure as President. For Example Obama’s exist from Iraq enabled ISIS in the first place. Obama wanted to get rid of Assad (which was commendable yet I mistrust the Obama motive), his huge mistake was in not vetting which Syrian rebels got the Libyan secret weapons cache sent suspiciously in a clandestine manner. My feeling Obama armed ISIS just as much as any Rebels he considered moderate.

 

Thus the declassified evidence criticized at Political Vel Craft has credence in accuracy than as a false flag.

 

Accusing Mossad/Israel of allying with ISIS is like criticizing Jews criticizing Hitler for turning on Stalin in WWII. Both WWII dictators were Antisemitic, but by 1939 Hitler was already targeting Jews in Germany. In Russia 1939 Jews were joining the Red Army as Russians rather than as Jews. It makes no sense to make a deal with the devil ISIS to get rid of the devil Assad.

 

+++

Yurki1000

April 11, 2017 at 7:25 PM

 

http://humansarefree.com/2011/05/proof-that-osama-bin-laden-was-cia-and.html

 

Premise of the link: Osama bin Laden worked for the CIA and also died in 2001.

 

Who was Osama Bin Laden?
Osama bin Laden, A.K.A. CIA Asset “Tim Osman
“’

 

There is a striking resemblance in the comparison photo of Tim Osman and Osama bin Laden. Nevertheless, the facts speak for themselves. Undoubtedly the CIA was involved with arming and perhaps even training bin Laden. BUT that was the days of former Soviet Russia trying to convert Afghanistan into an atheistic Communist satellite. The CIA & Saudi money aided Afghan freedom fighters (mujahideen) to drive the Red Army crazy.

 

I have no idea what happened to this Osman fellow, but bin Laden went to be disillusioned with U.S. aid because of an infidel status. The infidel status sent bin Laden over the edge when Saudis allowed Bush I to set up military bases in Muslim holy land Saudi Arabia to take down Saddam Hussein in the First Gulf War.

 

Shazam! Al Qaeda is born to inflict pain on the USA. Then is a multitude of year following the 911 attack, bin Laden makes numerous recruiting and/or fatwa videos for his minions and against the USA.

 

http://humansarefree.com/2011/05/proof-that-osama-bin-laden-was-cia-and.html

 

The essence of the above link is that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is a Jew undercover for Mossad. This conspiracy theory’s biggest problem is two-fold.

 

1. The source of the theory Shi’ite Iran. Sunnis and Shia hate each other. ISIS claims itself as Sunni. ISIS victims are largely Christians, Yazidis and Shia Muslims.

2. The pro-Iranian use a photo comparison much like the above link uses a photo to claim that Tim Osman and Osama bin Laden are one and the same. The theory states that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is really actor Simon Elliot (or Elliot Shimon to add a more Jewish pedigree).

I answer premise one within the numbered premise.

 

Premise number two again uses photo comparisons that have an uncanny resemblance. The problem: al-Baghdadi has a public history even known to be a one-time prisoner of the USA in Iraq that was released. The Brookings Institution has a quite lengthy biography of al-Baghdadi that includes a family lineage and his birth name – which is not Elliot Simon. You should read the whole thing, but for my purposes here are some excerpts:

 

IBRAHIM AWWAD IBRAHIM AL-BADRI was born in 1971 in Samarra, an ancient Iraqi city on the eastern edge of the Sunni Triangle north of Baghdad. The son of a pious man who taught Quranic recitation in a local mosque, Ibrahim himself was withdrawn, taciturn, and, when he spoke, barely audible. Neighbors who knew him as a teenager remember him as shy and retiring. Even when people crashed into him during friendly soccer matches, his favorite sport, he remained stoic. But photos of him from those years capture another quality: a glowering intensity in the dark eyes beneath his thick, furrowed brow.

 

Early on, Ibrahim’s nickname was “The Believer.” When he wasn’t in school, he spent much of his time at the local mosque, immersed in his religious studies; and when he came home at the end of the day, according to one of his brothers, Shamsi, he was quick to admonish anyone who strayed from the strictures of Islamic law.

 

Now Ibrahim al-Badri is known to the world as Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the ruler of the Islamic State or ISIS, and he has the power not just to admonish but to punish and even execute anyone within his territories whose faith is not absolute. His followers call him “Commander of the Believers,” a title reserved for caliphs, the supreme spiritual and temporal rulers of the vast Muslim empire of the Middle Ages. Though his own realm is much smaller, he rules millions of subjects. Some are fanatically loyal to him; many others cower in fear of the bloody consequences for defying his brutal version of Islam.

 

 

Two of Baghdadi’s uncles served in Saddam’s security services, and one of his brothers became an officer in the army. Another brother who served in the military died during the grueling eight-year war that Iraq fought against Iran in the 1980s with tacit U.S. support. Baghdadi might well have shared that fate had the war continued a little longer and his near-sightedness not disqualified him from military service.

 

 

When Baghdadi graduated from the University of Baghdad in 1996, he enrolled in the recently-established Saddam University for Islamic Studies where he studied for a master’s in Quranic recitation, his favorite subject. His family’s Baathist connections undoubtedly helped him get into the highly-selective graduate program. Baghdadi’s master’s thesis was a commentary on an obscure medieval text on Quranic recitation. His task was to reconcile various versions of the manuscript. While tedious, it involved little imagination and no questioning of the content—a perfect project for a dogmatist. He received his master’s degree in 1999 and immediately enrolled in Saddam University’s doctoral program in Quranic studies.

 

During Baghdadi’s time in graduate school, his paternal uncle, Ismail al-Badri, persuaded him to join the Muslim Brotherhood, a transnational movement dedicated to establishing states governed by Islamic law. … But Baghdadi quickly gravitated toward those few Salafis whose strict creed led them to call for the overthrow of rulers they considered betrayers of the faith. They called themselves jihadist Salafis. Baghdadi’s older brother, Jum`a, was part of this movement. So was Baghdadi’s mentor, Muhammad Hardan, a one-time member of the Brotherhood who had fought in the war against the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

 

Baghdadi threw himself into the writings of those Muslim Brothers who had embraced jihadism. Under their tutelage he grew increasingly impatient with the Brotherhood mainstream, which he felt was made up of “people of words, not action.”

 

 

THE PRISONER

 

LATE IN 2003, after the Americans had defeated and disbanded Saddam’s army, Baghdadi helped found Jaysh Ahl al-Sunna wa-l-Jamaah (Army of the People of the Sunna and Communal Solidarity), an insurgent group that fought U.S. troops and their local allies in northern and central Iraq.

 

Soon after, in February 2004, Baghdadi was arrested in Fallujah while visiting a friend who was on the American wanted list. He was transferred to a detention facility at Camp Bucca, a sprawling complex in southern Iraq. Prison files classified him as a “civilian detainee,” which meant his captors didn’t know he was a jihadist.

 

 

By the time Baghdadi was released on December 8, 2004, he had a virtual Rolodex for reconnecting with his co-conspirators and protégés: they had written one another’s phone numbers in the elastic of their underwear.

 

THE CONFIDANT

 

JUST TWO MONTHS BEFORE BAGHDADI’S RELEASE, al-Qaida established a branch of its terror network in Iraq by absorbing a jihadist militia run by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and putting him in charge of it. Zarqawi, a Jordanian who wanted to create an Islamic state, thought he could use al-Qaida in Iraq (AQI) to provoke a sectarian civil war between Iraq’s minority Sunnis and the majority Shiites, which would force the Sunnis to turn to his group for protection.

 

… Baghdadi set about his assigned task of ensuring that AQI’s online propaganda was in line with its brand of ultraconservative Islam. Baghdadi’s tribal connections in Iraq and his ties with other jihadist groups there must have also come in handy, because on several occasions he was able to help foreign jihadists cross Syria’s border into his native land. At the time, Syria’s President, Bashar al-Assad, was turning a blind eye to the foreign fighter pipeline into Iraq in order to punish the United States for invading the country; that same pipeline …

 

In 2006, al-Qaida in Iraq formed an umbrella organization for jihadist groups resisting the American occupation. Baghdadi’s group was one of the first to join. Soon after, Zarqawi declared his intent to establish an Islamic state, directly countermanding al-Qaida’s instructions to wait until after the Americans had withdrawn and AQI secured popular support for establishing the state. When Zarqawi was killed in a U.S. airstrike in June, his successor, Abu Ayyub al-Masri, an Egyptian jihadist, went ahead with the plan. …

 

Because of his scholarly credentials, Baghdadi was put in charge of the Islamic State’s religious affairs in some of its Iraqi “provinces.” Because the group did not yet actually control any territory, this largely meant that Baghdadi continued to be responsible for ensuring that the Islamic State’s propaganda reflected its creed, and that its foot soldiers abided by its strictures and implemented the harsh punishments prescribed by Islamic scripture wherever and whenever they could. Accused adulterers whom they managed to capture were stoned, alcohol drinkers were whipped, thieves had their hands amputated, and “apostates”—anyone who defied the Islamic State’s program—were executed.

 

 

… Whatever the case, the captured courier led the Iraqi authorities to al-Rawi, who, under interrogation, gave his captors information that enabled a U.S.-Iraqi force in April 2010 to surround the mud house outside Tikrit where Abu Umar and Masri were hiding. The two blew themselves up rather than surrender.

 

With their deaths, the Islamic State faced its first leadership succession. The Consultative Council couldn’t meet in conclave to choose a new emir since that might have ended with another American-led raid and another multiple suicide. Bin Laden, who still had the allegiance of the Islamic State, issued instructions to the Consultative Council to appoint an interim leader [Blog Editor: NOTE that was 2010! A full 9-yrs after the above Conspiracy Theory that Osama bin Laden died in 2001.] and to send him a list of candidates for emir and their qualifications.

 

THE EMIR

 

WITH THE DEATH OF THE ISLAMIC STATE’S COMMANDERS, the head of the Islamic State’s military council, Hajji Bakr, was suddenly in a position to manipulate the succession. A former officer in Saddam’s army who had served time in Camp Bucca after Baghdadi’s release, Bakr was tainted as the former servant of an impious regime and therefore not a contender for supreme leadership himself, so he set about to be the kingmaker and the power behind the throne. Ignoring bin Laden’s instructions, Hajji Bakr polled the 11 members of the Consultative Council on their preferences. But he reportedly rigged the outcome by writing a letter to each saying that all of the others were in favor of Baghdadi. …

 

The council elected the new emir of the Islamic State by a vote of 9 to 2. It was then that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, at the age of 39, took his now-famous nom de guerre, a double homage to his faith and his native land. Abu Bakr was Muhammad’s father-in-law and, after the Prophet’s death, the first caliph; Baghdad was the capital of the grandest caliphate in early Islam, the Abbasid dynasty. The Abbasids had swept to power in the eighth century using clever apocalyptic propaganda and clandestine networks to mobilize popular anger against the ruling regime in Damascus. Baghdadi was clearly hoping to repeat the performance on the same stage.

 

With the new emir’s blessing, not to mention gratitude, Hajji Bakr set about purging the ranks of the Islamic State of anyone who could challenge Baghdadi’s authority. Dubbed by Islamic State insiders as the “prince of shadows” and the emir’s “private minister,” Hajji Bakr settled scores and eliminated rivals through intimidation and assassination, much as Saddam had done.

 

The power had now shifted from the foreign fighters to the Iraqi members of the Islamic State. As American and Iraqi forces killed or captured the previous emir’s commanders, their replacements were often, like Baghdadi and Hajji Bakr, former prisoners from Camp Bucca. READ ENTIRETY (THE BELIEVER: How an Introvert with a Passion for Religion and Soccer Became Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Leader of the Islamic State; By William McCants; Brookings Institution; 9/1/15)

 

A bit lengthy of an excerpt, right? It does prove that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi IS NOT an Israeli Mossad agent whose name is Simon Elliot. Not only is it ridiculous, the Conspiracy Theory smacks of the Antisemitic concept that Jews are behind are the evils of the world. That is a bit infuriating for me.

 

The next link on Yurki’s list:

 

https://syrianfreepress.wordpress.com/

 

The link is to a WordPress blog called “the real Syrian Free Press”. A brief examination of the website shows it is probably is not as free as it claims or real Syrian as it claims. The blog is a rubberstamp for Bashar al-Assad the dictator that rules as a Shia-Alawite in the Sunni majority Syria. That means its support of Assad there is also support for the crazy Mullahs of Shia-Twelver Iran. Iran is currently the biggest state sponsor of Islamic terrorism. And Iran calls the shots for its terrorist client Hezbollah – Jew-hating Shias in Lebanon which is west of Syria.

 

The next on the list:

 

https://libyaagainstsuperpowermedia.org/

 

The title of this webpage is “LIBYA AGAINST SUPER POWER MEDIA: LIBYA RESISTING AGAINST THE WEST.org site”. There is a subsection on the website called “Videos of Al Jazeera, CNN, ABC, ALArabia and other Western Media Lying”. It lumps Qatar owned al Jazeera and Saudi owned but United Arab Emirates – Dubai (UAE) located al Arabiya with two Left leaning American news outlets. Saudi Arabia and Qatar propagates the Sunni extremely Radical Islamic theology of Wahhabism. The same line of reasoning used by most Islamic terrorists such as al Qaeda and ISIS.

 

Well, that is Part One. Look for Part Two (not necessarily in sequential posts).

 

JRH 4/21/17

Please Support NCCR

White House: ‘Massive’ Evidence Shows Sarin Came from Assad Base


For those of you buying the Sarin attack is a false flag hoax, the Trump Administration is declassifying the evidence from whence sarin was loaded at Shayrat Airfield on Su-22 fixed-wing aircraft. Flown over Khan Shaykhun and released on the civilian residents.

 

There is even the appearance that – SURPRISE – Russia and Iran has spreading disinformation about the sarin attack. This would be where conspiracy theorists have picked up false flag data and then proceeded to spread the Russian/Iranian propaganda.

 

The U.S. has confirmed the agent used in the attack was sarin, from testing on the victims and from symptom reports as well as “leakage around the actual weapon that we think the sarin came from.” Emergency personnel suffered exposure symptoms from coming into contact with contaminated victims.”

 

The above quote is from PJ Media article that I am cross posting below.

 

JRH 4/11/17

Please Support NCCR

***************

White House: ‘Massive’ Evidence Shows Sarin Came from Assad Base

 

By BRIDGET JOHNSON

APRIL 11, 2017

PJ Media

 

Syrian Civil Defense workers tend to children in the aftermath of a chemical weapons attack on Khan Shaykhun, Syria, on April 4, 2017. (Syrian Civil Defense photo)

 

WASHINGTON — White House officials said today that the U.S. has amassed a mountain of evidence confirming that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used sarin against the town of Khan Shaykhun last week, and indicated they’re still trying to determine if Russia knew about the attack beforehand.

 

A declassified summary of the intelligence report on the attack that killed dozens and injured hundreds one week ago today found that the Syrian and Russian assertion that the nerve agent must have come from terrorist or rebel forces also has no basis in fact.

 

New information coming in “continues to be clear and consistent with our understanding of the attack,” a senior White House official told reporters on background today.

 

The declassified information was compiled from open-source materials ranging from videos to on-the-ground accounts, geospatial intelligence, U.S. signals intelligence, and physiological samples from attack victims.

 

The attack came from Su-22 fixed-wing aircraft out of the Shayrat airfield hit in subsequent U.S. strikes, the report says; the planes were in the Khan Shaykhun area for 20 minutes before the first report of a chemical attack came in, and left soon after. The administration also has “information that suggest that personnel historically associated with the chemical weapons program were at Shayrat airfield in late March preparing for this attack,” and these people were there again on the day of the attack.

 

The U.S. has confirmed the agent used in the attack was sarin, from testing on the victims and from symptom reports as well as “leakage around the actual weapon that we think the sarin came from.” Emergency personnel suffered exposure symptoms from coming into contact with contaminated victims.

 

A hospital treating attack victims was struck by conventional weapons about six hours after the chemical attack.

 

On hoax theories, the White House official said the “absolute massive data we have in all the different vehicles — we’ve gotten it from open-source videos, to victim accounts, to imagery, to signals intelligence, is just too massive for really any — any intelligence organization to fabricate in that short a period of time; we just think that’s not a feasible explanation.” Intel agencies have confirmed that videos distributed of the attack were filmed at the time and in the locations claimed.

 

“Across the board starting in 2013 [with the Ghouta sarin attack] and then since, we’ve seen both the Russians and the Syrians have a very clear campaign to try to obfuscate the nature of attacks, the attackers, and what has happened at any particular incident,” the official said.

 

“They’ve thrown out a bunch of potential agents, a bunch of potential responsible or accountable parties. And often their own information is inconsistent with their own narrative. They certainly have dismissed the allegations of a chemical attack in Khan Shaykhun. They called it a ‘prank of a provocative nature.’ But again, we don’t think it’s remotely possible for the Syrians or the Russians to have fabricated this much information so fast and so consistently on this attack.”

 

The official added that the Russian theory that a conventional regime strike hit a chemical weapons depot is “inconsistent” with the facts, stressing terrorist groups or rebels are not known to have sarin and “we don’t see a building, again, with that chemical residue we would expect if the Russian narrative was true.” The chemical weapon landed in the middle of a street.

 

It’s “quite clear to us, that in this case, this is not a terrorist holding of sarin, or a terrorist use of sarin, but we do know that the Syrian regime has sarin,” the official said.

 

Another official said the White House is “still looking into what we think the intelligence-community assessment or other is about Russian knowledge of, involvement, etc.”

 

The official said there’s “not a consensus on our side” yet “about the extent or how to interpret the information that we have and continue to get,” adding that historically and especially in the past two years of conflict Russia and Syria are two militaries that “operate very closely, even down to an operational and a tactical level.”

 

“And so considering the fact that there were Russian forces co-located with Syrian forces at the Shayrat airfield in addition to many other installations — many other Syrian regime installations around the country,” the official added. “We do think that it is a question worth asking the Russians about how is it possible that their forces were co-located with the Syrian forces that planned, prepared, and carried out chemical weapons attack at the same installation and did not have foreknowledge.”

 

“…We don’t know the tactical intentions of the Russians on that day, on any operations that they may have been involved in.”

 

The officials would not comment on the existence of any U.S. signals intelligence that would indicate collusion between the Russians and Syrians or a direct order from Assad to attack the town.

 

The first White House official said they “take very seriously the possibility that Syria may have additional agents elsewhere” and are “working with our intelligence community to understand every piece of information they have about where such munitions might be located, who might be a hold of them.”

 

“And I can tell you that that’s going to be part of what we try to figure out, where we go from here.”

 

Officials theorized that the chemical weapons strike was conducted because, even though a civilian neighborhood was the target, Khan Shaykhun was one of the support areas in the rear of the opposition front lines advancing on Hama since March. The city includes a key airbase for Assad’s forces.

 

“At that point, the regime, we think, calculated that with its manpower spread quite think trying to support both defensive operations and consolidation operations in Aleppo and along that north-south spine of western Syria, and also trying to support operations which required it to send manpower and resources east toward Palmyra, we believe that the regime probably calculated at that point that chemical weapons were necessary in order to try to make up for the manpower deficiency,” an official said.

 

“…We believe certainly that there were — there was an operational calculus that the regime and perhaps its Russian advisers went through in terms of the decision-making.”

 

______________

Copyright © 2005-2017 PJ Media All Rights Reserved.

 

About PJ Media

 

Since its inception in 2005, PJ Media has been focused on the news that matters — from the insightful commentary provided by our all-star lineup of columnists to our writers’ quick takes on breaking news and trending stories. The media company’s founders — Academy Award Nominee Roger L. Simon, Charles Johnson (Little Green Footballs) and Glenn Reynolds (Instapundit) — brought together a tightly knit band of bloggers into an integrated website that has evolved into a reliable source for original, unique, and cutting-edge political news and analysis.

 

We’ve been there through primaries and general elections; the U.S. border crisis; doctored climate change data; the gunrunners’ scandal; Department of Justice voter fraud and the Ground Zero mosque — stories that others in the media initially passed by.

 

As a company, we’ve always felt a special connection to the values which make America special, as well as a dedication to keeping America great for our children and our children’s children. That’s why our main focus is on the three main areas that will have the most impact on the future of America: politics, parenting and lifestyle.

 

PJMedia.com, the cornerstone of PJ Media, LLC, provides useful and helpful content for everyday Americans — especially parents who are trying to raise their kids in a very confusing and uncertain world. The website offers news and  READ THE REST

 

PUTIN’S REAL SYRIA AGENDA


While Dems are crying about the unproven collusion between President Trump and the Russians to win Election-2016 AND ignoring Dem collusion with the Russians (which is better documented), Russia is quietly changing the balance of power in the Middle East by colluding with Iran for geopolitical regional power.

The Dems are either saps or more than willing to stealthily cooperate with the former Soviet Union whose President is a former uber-spy Vladimir Putin.

 

JRH 3/20/17

Please Support NCCR

************

PUTIN’S REAL SYRIA AGENDA [Summary/Intro]

 

By Genevieve Casagrande

Mar 20, 2017

Institute for the Study of War [ISW]

 

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s primary objective in Syria is to constrain U.S. freedom of action – not fight ISIS and al Qaeda. Russia’s military deployments at current levels will not enable the Iranian-penetrated Assad regime to secure Syria. Moscow’s deepening footprint in Syria threatens America’s ability to defend its interests across the Middle East and in the Mediterranean Sea. The next U.S. step in Syria must help regain leverage over Russia rather than further encourage Putin’s expansionism.

 

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) produced this report with the Critical Threats Project (CTP). The insights are part of an intensive multi-month exercise to frame, design, and evaluate potential courses of action that the United States could pursue to destroy the Islamic State in Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) and al Qaeda in Syria. The ISW-CTP team recently released “America’s Way Ahead in Syria,” which details the flaws in the current U.S. approach in Iraq and Syria and proposes the first phase of a strategic reset in the Middle East.

 

+++

Putin’s Real Syria Agenda

By Genevieve Casagrande and Kathleen Weinberger

March 2017

ISW – PDF

 

Russia’s intervention in Syria in September 2015 fundamentally altered the balance of the Syrian Civil War.1 Russia re-established momentum behind Syrian President Bashar al Assad and his Iranian allies at a moment when major victories by ISIS and Syrian rebels threatened to force the regime to contract into Syria’s central corridor.2 The capabilities Russia deployed were not limited to the airframes, artillery, and personnel needed to conduct a counter-terrorism or counterinsurgency mission, however. Russia deployed advanced air defense and ballistic missile systems, naval units, air superiority aircraft, and other capabilities in a display of major Russian force projection in the region. Russian President Vladimir Putin is altering the balance of power in Syria and the Eastern Mediterranean through sustained Russian military operations and additional deployments of high-end capabilities.

 

Russian Force Projection

 

Russia ultimately seeks to expand its permanent naval and air bases on the Syrian coast in order to further project force into the Mediterranean and Middle East. Russia’s establishment of an anti-access and area denial (A2/AD) exclusion zone from its bases at Latakia and Tartous allows Russia to create de-facto no fly zones in the Eastern Mediterranean as well as over most of Syria. These A2/AD zones constrain U.S. freedom of movement and ultimately raise the cost of U.S. involvement in Syria.3 Russia deployed the naval version of the S-300 to protect the airspace over Latakia airbase in Syria in November 2015.4 Russia also deployed the S-400 in late November 2015 shortly after the Turkish downing of a Russian jet.5 Russia has since deployed an additional seven S-300 systems in an effort to build in redundancies, advance the integration of its air defenses, and provide more comprehensive coverage.6 The S-300 and S-400 systems are road mobile and interoperable, increasing the difficulty of neutralizing the systems. [See Appendix I]

 

Putin wants to challenge the U.S. and its allies by increasing Russian military and political influence in the Middle East. Russia has rotated a wide range of naval vessels to participate in the conflict in order to demonstrate the capabilities of these units and Russia’s willingness to deploy them in the Mediterranean. Russia has deployed some of its most advanced non-nuclear naval capabilities to the Eastern Mediterranean.7 Russian subsurface and surface vessels successfully engaged ground targets in Syria after launching Kalibr cruise missiles from the Mediterranean and Caspian Seas.8 Russia has shown it can undertake precision strikes with the nuclear-capable Kalibr cruise missile at significant distance.

 

Russia also maintains anti-ship capabilities in the Mediterranean, including the Bastion-P coastal defense system. Russia demonstrated the land attack capabilities of the Bastion in November 2016.9 Russia has also deployed battle cruisers that bring advanced anti-ship and air defense capabilities off the Syrian coast. Russia’s deployment of its much-ridiculed aircraft carrier the Admiral Kuznetsov nevertheless showcased its force projection capabilities and intent to exhibit its naval presence in the Mediterranean.10 [See Appendix II]

 

Putin has deployed air defense and anti-ship systems to Syria in order to threaten the United States. Russia does not need these systems to support the counter-terrorism campaign it claims it is waging against anti-Assad opposition groups in Syria. Those groups do not operate aircraft or naval vessels. Russia also deployed the nuclear capable SS-26 ‘Iskander’ ballistic missiles to Syria and used the systems to attack opposition held terrain.11 The Iskander missiles provide no meaningful additional advantage against the opposition. The only conceivable target for these advanced systems is the U.S. and its allies. [See Appendix III]

 

Constrain U.S. Freedom of Action

 

Russia has used its deployment to constrain U.S. freedom of action and limit American policy options in Syria. Russia deployed the S-300 and S-400 air defense systems to deter the U.S. from direct military action against the Assad regime through the unilateral establishment of a no-fly zone. Russia has also forward deployed assets beyond its air and naval bases on the coast in order to further complicate the personnel are primarily concentrated in Latakia, Aleppo, and Tartous Provinces, but are also active in Hama, Homs, Damascus, and Hasakah and include a wide range of units including air assault, tank, medical, naval infantry, and special operations forces. [See Appendix IV]

 

Russia has intentionally removed potential U.S. partners within the armed opposition from the battlefield in Syria. Russian airstrikes from October 2015 to March 2017 have primarily targeted the mainstream Syrian opposition – not ISIS – in order to ensure the opposition’s defeat through its submission, destruction, or transformation. The Russian air campaign has driven what remains of the mainstream opposition closer to Salafi-jihadi groups, which are stronger and better able to defend against intensified pro-regime military operations. Russia is also exacerbating radicalization through its deliberate, illegal targeting of civilians. Russia has consistently targeted hospitals, schools, and other critical civilian infrastructure throughout the sixteen months of its air campaign.

 

Russian Testing Grounds

 

Russia has also used sustained use of transport aircraft in Syria to exercise the Russian military’s overall combat readiness and force projection capabilities. Expeditionary logistics and force projection is difficult for militaries to exercise, in general. Russia is exercising expeditionary logistics by air and sea in Syria.13 Russia is refining its ability to deploy its military personnel and equipment rapidly at a large scale in order to message its ability to threaten the U.S. and its NATO and European allies. Russia announced its intent to prioritize the development of naval equipment for troop transport on March 8 in order to increase the Russian Navy’s ability to provide logistical support in Syria and in other coastal zones.14 Russia also re-supplies and provides combat support for prospect of direct U.S. strikes against the Syrian regime for fear of inadvertently hitting Russian troops. Sources estimated that Russia maintains between 1,500 and 4,000 military personnel in Syria.12 These forces in Syria through frequent deliveries from Russian Il-76 and An-124 transport aircraft. As of October 2016, these transport aircraft were making multiple trips to Syria each month and it is likely that these aircraft continue to make regular trips to Syria. [See Appendix V]

 

Limitations of Russian Capabilities

 

Putin faces a number of economic and military constraints that limit the resources Russia can bring to bear in Syria. Russia’s economic crisis has forced Russia to balance limited resources across key theaters like Ukraine, the Baltics, the Middle East, and domestically in Russia. Putin has opted to pursue multiple, mutually reinforcing lines of effort using a diverse set of naval, air, missile, and ground capabilities in Syria. The overlap allows Russia to extract significant benefits with minimal cost. The Russian military has demonstrated its many shortcomings during its deployment to Syria, including frequent friendly fire incidents, losses of Russian aircraft, a poor performance by Russia’s aging aircraft carrier the Admiral Kuznetsov, and reports of mechanical failure of Russian equipment.15

 

The Russian deployment, at current levels, will be insufficient to grant Assad victory over the opposition, al Qaeda, or ISIS. Russia, Iran, and the regime have been unable to sustain significant simultaneous operations against ISIS and the Syrian opposition, despite Russia’s considerable airframe deployments. Russian airframes were unable to prevent ISIS’s recapture of Palmyra in December 2016 alongside a final pro-regime push to defeat the opposition in Aleppo, for example.16 Russia has instead used ‘cessation of hostilities’ agreements to drawdown its airstrikes against the opposition and surge its air campaign against ISIS for limited periods of time.17 Salafi-Jihadi groups have meanwhile begun to consolidate the opposition under more effective command-and-control structures, increasing rebels’ capabilities and resiliency.18 This dynamic will not only lead to a protracted and bloody civil war for the foreseeable future, but it ultimately raises the requirements for the U.S. to deal with the conflict.

 

Implications

 

Russia is both an unacceptable and ineffective partner against jihadists in Syria. The Russian deployment is inconsistent with Putin’s narrative that Russia intervened in Syria in order to combat terrorists. Many of its capabilities have no utility in the anti-ISIS fight. Putin instead seeks to use Russia’s deployment to subordinate U.S. military action and policies to Russian objectives in Syria. Russia’s aggressive deployment to Syria intends to deter the U.S. from intervening for fear of incurring significant costs. Russia has largely pursued its objectives in Syria with impunity. It has deprived the U.S. of freedom of maneuver, disrupted U.S. partnerships with key allies in the region, and facilitated Russia’s emergence as a geopolitical force in the region. Any potential partnership with Russia in Syria will further strengthen jihadists and force the U.S. to capitulate to a Russian vision for the broader Middle East that endangers America’s security interests.

 

Genevieve Casagrande is a Syria Analyst at the Institute for the Study of War. Kathleen Weinberger is a Russia and Ukraine Analyst at the Institute for the Study of War. Institute for the Study of War Twitter: @TheStudyofWar Critical Threats Twitter: @criticalthreats

 

[Blog Editor: From this point forward the rest of the report are the Appendices (i.e. charts) and Notes. The last section is actually longer than the report itself. To view the Appendices and Notes go to the PDF.]

 

____________________

©2007 – 2017 THE INSTITUTE FOR THE STUDY OF WAR

 

Who is ISW

 

We are on the front lines of military thinking.

 

Our Mission

The Institute for the Study of War advances an informed understanding of military affairs through reliable research, trusted analysis, and innovative education. We are committed to improving the nation’s ability to execute military operations and respond to emerging threats in order to achieve U.S. strategic objectives. ISW is a non-partisan, non-profit, public policy research organization.

 

Our History

Dr. Kimberly Kagan founded ISW in May 2007, as U.S. forces undertook a daring new counterinsurgency strategy to reverse the grim security situation on the ground in Iraq. Frustrated with the prevailing lack of accurate information documenting developments on the ground in Iraq and the detrimental effect of biased reporting on policymakers, Dr. Kagan established ISW to provide real-time, independent, and open-source analysis of ongoing military operations and READ THE REST

 

Russia Enters Syria – Is it Geopolitics or Prophecy?


A rebel group in Syria said to be backed by the US, claimed that Russian warplanes have hit its positions in the centrre (sic) of the country.

John R. Houk

© September 30, 2015

Pertaining to Israel, I have to be upfront. My view of the Jewish State is through the lens of the Holy Bible. As a Christian that means I am labelled a Christian Zionist. The kind of guy that Orthodox Jews mistrust due to history and the viewpoint that Christian evangelism is a threat to Judaism. I am also the kind of guy Left Wing (sometimes called Liberal and sometimes called Progressive) Jews loathe due to a non-secular pigeon-holing Israel in Biblical terms rather than a secular homeland for Jews to escape centuries of global antisemitism. Frankly I’m not claiming to know an Israeli/Jewish middle ground of the acceptance Christian Zionist friendship. I just pray a growing trust for Christians supporting Israel grows. At the same time I advise Jews – particularly Israeli Jews – to be wary of Western Leftists and of Progressive (Leftist) Christians who have disowned Biblical essentials and the reality of God Almighty.

NIV Quotes:

Ezek 39:27-29 “When I have brought them back from the nations and have gathered them from the countries of their enemies, I will show myself holy through them in the sight of many nations.” 28 “Then they will know that I am the LORD their God, for though I sent them into exile among the nations, I will gather them to their own land, not leaving any behind.” 29 “I will no longer hide my face from them, for I will pour out my Spirit on the house of Israel, declares the Sovereign LORD.”

Amos 9:13-15 “The days are coming, declares the LORD, when the reaper will be overtaken by the plowman and the planter by the one treading grapes. New wine will drip from the mountains and flow from all the hills. 14 I will bring back my exiled people Israel; they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them. They will plant vineyards and drink their wine; they will make gardens and eat their fruit. 15 I will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them, says the LORD your God.”

Jer 30:2 “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘Write in a book all the words I have spoken to you. 3 The days are coming,’ declares the LORD, ‘when I will bring my people Israel and Judah back from captivity and restore them to the land I gave their forefathers to possess,’ says the LORD.”

Jer 31:10 “Hear the word of the LORD, O nations; proclaim it in distant coastlands: ‘He who scattered Israel will gather them and will watch over his flock like a shepherd.”

Jer 33:7 “I will bring Judah and Israel back from captivity and will rebuild them as they were before.”

Ezek 37:21-27 …..“I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land. 22 I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. There will be one king over all of them and they will never again be two nations or be divided into two kingdoms.” (Quotes taken from: Israel: The Greatest Sign; By Ken Marineau; Bible Probe for Christians and Messianic Jews)

Stratfor bills itself as a geopolitical intelligence firm and as such does not look geopolitically through a Biblical lens. From Stratfor I have learned the strategic importance of Israel from history to the present. A Stratfor email was sent out that I believe is no coincidence of the timing of Putin’s Russia demanding the USA to stop bombing inside Syria. Russia is deploying troops to Syria AND so far its own strafing is occurring where ISIS is not in control. Could it be that Russia is engaging the Syrian rebels trying to topple Bashar al-Assad – the same rebels not connected to the brutal Islamic terrorists of ISIS and al Nusra?

Does Secretary of State John Kerry (representing Obama Administration) sound clueless to Russian intentions or what?

VIDEO: Kerry: US Welcomes Russia Strikes if Target IS

 

Published by Associated Press

Published on Sep 30, 2015

Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the United States is prepared to welcome Russia’s actions in Syria if they are directed at the Islamic State group and al-Qaeda. (Sept. 30)

Subscribe for more Breaking News:
Get updates and more Breaking News here:

The Associated Press is the essential global news network, delivering fast, unbiased [cough] news from every corner of the world to all media platforms and formats.

AP’s commitment to You can read the rest of the lame self-promotion

Is Russia jockeying itself to be the prophetic invaders from the north of Israel that ironically lines up with the Stratfor analysis of the geopolitical importance of Israel? Here is the Stratfor tease from the PDF:

Israel exists in three conditions. First, it can be a completely independent state. This condition occurs when there are no major imperial powers external to the region. We might call this the David model.

Second, it can live as part of an imperial system — either as a subordinate ally, as a moderately autonomous entity or as a satrapy. In any case, it maintains its identity but loses room for independent maneuvering in foreign policy and potentially in domestic policy. We might call this the Persian model in its most beneficent form.

Finally, Israel can be completely crushed — with mass deportations and migrations, with a complete loss of autonomy and minimal residual autonomy. We might call this the Babylonian model.

Below is the Stratfor PDF reformatted for blogging:

JRH 9/30/15

Please Support NCCR

************************

The Geopolitics of Israel: Biblical and Modern

STRATFOR PDF

Downloaded 9/30/15

Notification Sent: 9/29/2015 9:42 PM

This study was originally published by Stratfor in 2008 as the first in a series of monographs on the geopolitics of globally important countries.

Introduction

The founding principle of geopolitics is that place — geography — plays a significant role in determining how nations will behave. If that theory is true, then there ought to be a deep continuity in a nation’s foreign policy. Israel is a laboratory for this theory, since it has existed in three different manifestations in roughly the same place, twice in antiquity and once in modernity. If geopolitics is correct, then Israeli foreign policy, independent of policymakers, technology or the identity of neighbors, ought to have important common features. This is, therefore, a discussion of common principles in Israeli foreign policy over nearly 3,000 years.

For convenience, we will use the term “Israel” to connote all of the Hebrew and Jewish entities that have existed in the Levant since the invasion of the region as chronicled in the Book of Joshua. As always, geopolitics requires a consideration of three dimensions: the internal geopolitics of Israel, the interaction of Israel and the immediate neighbors who share borders with it, and Israel’s interaction with what we will call great powers, beyond Israel’s borderlands.

Table of Contents

Introduction 2

Table of Contents 3

Israel in Biblical Times 4

Israeli Geography and Borderlands 6

Israeli Geography and the Convergence Zone 11

Internal Geopolitics 13

Israel and the Great Powers 15

The Geopolitics of Contemporary Israel 16

Israel in Biblical Times

Israel has manifested itself three times in history. The first manifestation began with the invasion led by Joshua and lasted through its division into two kingdoms, the Babylonian conquest of the Kingdom of Judah and the deportation to Babylon early in the sixth century B.C.

FIRST MANIFESTATION (1200 BCE)

 

The second manifestation began when Israel was recreated in 540 B.C. by the Persians, who had defeated the Babylonians. The nature of this second manifestation changed in the fourth century B.C., when Greece overran the Persian Empire and Israel, and again in the first century B.C., when the Romans conquered the region.

SECOND MANIFESTATION

The second manifestation saw Israel as a small actor within the framework of larger imperial powers, a situation that lasted until the destruction of the Jewish vassal state by the Romans.

Israel’s third manifestation began in 1948, following (as in the other cases) an ingathering of at least some of the Jews who had been dispersed after conquests. Israel’s founding takes place in the context of the decline and fall of the British Empire and must, at least in part, be understood as part of British imperial history.

THIRD MANIFESTATION (1948)

 

 

Israeli Geography and Borderlands

At its height, under King David, Israel extended from the Sinai to the Euphrates, encompassing Damascus. It occupied some, but relatively little, of the coastal region, an area beginning at what today is Haifa and running south to Jaffa, just north of today’s Tel Aviv. The coastal area to the north was held by Phoenicia, the area to the south by Philistines. It is essential to understand that Israel’s size and shape shifted over time. For example, Judah under the Hasmoneans did not include the Negev but did include the Golan. The general locale of Israel is fixed. Its precise borders have never been.

Thus, it is perhaps better to begin with what never was part of Israel. Israel never included the Sinai Peninsula. Along the coast, it never stretched much farther north than the Litani River in today’s Lebanon. Apart from David’s extreme extension (and fairly tenuous control) to the north, Israel’s territory never stretched as far as Damascus, although it frequently held the Golan Heights. Israel extended many times to both sides of the Jordan but never deep into the Jordanian Desert. It never extended southeast into the Arabian Peninsula.

Israel consists generally of three parts. First, it always has had the northern hill region, stretching from the foothills of Mount Hermon south to Jerusalem. Second, it always contains some of the coastal plain from today’s Tel Aviv north to Haifa. Third, it occupies area between Jerusalem and the Jordan River — today’s West Bank. At times, it controls all or part of the Negev, including the coastal region between the Sinai to the Tel Aviv area. It may be larger than this at various times in history, and sometimes smaller, but it normally holds all or part of these three regions.

Israel is well-buffered in three directions. The Sinai Desert protects it against the Egyptians. In general, the Sinai has held little attraction for the Egyptians. The difficulty of deploying forces in the eastern Sinai poses severe logistical problems for them, particularly during a prolonged presence. Unless Egypt can rapidly move through the Sinai north into the coastal plain, where it can sustain its forces more readily, deploying in the Sinai is difficult and unrewarding. Therefore, so long as Israel is not so weak as to make an attack on the coastal plain a viable option, or unless Egypt is motivated by an outside imperial power, Israel does not face a threat from the southwest.

Israel is similarly protected from the southeast. The deserts southeast of Eilat-Aqaba are virtually impassable. No large force could approach from that direction, although smaller raiding parties could. The tribes of the Arabian Peninsula lack the reach or the size to pose a threat to Israel, unless massed and aligned with other forces. Even then, the approach from the southeast is not one that they are likely to take. The Negev is secure from that direction.

The eastern approaches are similarly secured by desert, which begins about 20 to 30 miles east of the Jordan River. While indigenous forces exist in the borderland east of the Jordan, they lack the numbers to be able to penetrate decisively west of the Jordan. Indeed, the normal model is that, so long as Israel controls Judea and Samaria (the modern-day West Bank), then the East Bank of the Jordan River is under the political and sometimes military domination of Israel — sometimes directly through settlement, sometimes indirectly through political influence, or economic or security leverage.

Israel’s vulnerability is in the north. There is no natural buffer between Phoenicia and its successor entities (today’s Lebanon) to the direct north. The best defense line for Israel in the north is the Litani River, but this is not an insurmountable boundary under any circumstance. However, the area along the coast north of Israel does not present a serious threat. The coastal area prospers through trade in the Mediterranean basin. It is oriented toward the sea and to the trade routes to the east, not to the south. If it does anything, this area protects those trade routes and has no appetite for a conflict that might disrupt trade. It stays out of Israel’s way, for the most part.

Moreover, as a commercial area, this region is generally wealthy, a factor that increases predators around it and social conflict within. It is an area prone to instability. Israel frequently tries to extend its influence northward for commercial reasons, as one of the predators, and this can entangle Israel in its regional politics. But barring this self-induced problem, the threat to Israel from the north is minimal, despite the absence of natural boundaries and the large population. On occasion, there is spillover of conflicts from the north, but not to a degree that might threaten regime survival in Israel.

The neighbor that is always a threat lies to the northeast. Syria — or, more precisely, the area governed by Damascus at any time — is populous and frequently has no direct outlet to the sea. It is, therefore, generally poor. The area to its north, Asia Minor, is heavily mountainous. Syria cannot project power to the north except with great difficulty, but powers in Asia Minor can move south. Syria’s eastern flank is buffered by a desert that stretches to the Euphrates.

Therefore, when there is no threat from the north, Syria’s interest — after securing itself internally — is to gain access to the coast. Its primary channel is directly westward, toward the rich cities of the northern Levantine coast, with which it trades heavily. An alternative interest is southwestward, toward the southern Levantine coast controlled by Israel.

THE GOLAN HEIGHTS

As can be seen, Syria can be interested in Israel only selectively. When it is interested, it has a serious battle problem. To attack Israel, it would have to strike between Mount Hermon and the Sea of Galilee, an area about 25 miles wide. The Syrians potentially can attack south of the sea, but only if they are prepared to fight through this region and then attack on extended supply lines. If an attack is mounted along the main route, Syrian forces must descend the Golan Heights and then fight through the hilly Galilee before reaching the coastal plain — sometimes with guerrillas holding out in the Galilean hills. The Galilee is an area that is relatively easy to defend and difficult to attack. Therefore, it is only once Syria takes the Galilee, and can control its lines of supply against guerrilla attack, that its real battle begins.

To reach the coast or move toward Jerusalem, Syria must fight through a plain in front of a line of low hills. This is the decisive battleground where massed Israeli forces, close to lines of supply, can defend against dispersed Syrian forces on extended lines of supply. It is no accident that Megiddo — or Armageddon, as the plain is sometimes referred to — has apocalyptic meaning. This is the point at which any move from Syria would be decided. But a Syrian offensive would have a tough fight to reach Megiddo, and a tougher one as it deploys on the plain.

On the surface, Israel lacks strategic depth, but this is true only on the surface. It faces limited threats from southern neighbors. To its east, it faces only a narrow strip of populated area east of the Jordan. To the north, there is a maritime commercial entity. Syria operating alone, forced through the narrow gap of the Mount Hermon-Galilee line and operating on extended supply lines, can be dealt with readily.

There is a risk of simultaneous attacks from multiple directions. Depending on the forces deployed and the degree of coordination between them, this can pose a problem for Israel. However, even here the Israelis have the tremendous advantage of fighting on interior lines. Egypt and Syria, fighting on external lines (and widely separated fronts), would have enormous difficulty transferring forces from one front to another. Israel, on interior lines (fronts close to each other with good transportation), would be able to move its forces from front to front rapidly, allowing for sequential engagement and thereby the defeat of enemies.

Unless enemies are carefully coordinated and initiate war simultaneously — and deploy substantially superior force on at least one front — Israel can initiate war at a time of its choosing or else move its forces rapidly between fronts, negating much of the advantage of size that the attackers might have.

There is another aspect to the problem of multifront war. Egypt usually has minimal interests along the Levant, having its own coast and an orientation to the south toward the headwaters of the Nile. On the rare occasions when Egypt does move through the Sinai and attacks to the north and northeast, it is in an expansionary mode. By the time it consolidates and exploits the coastal plain, it would be powerful enough to threaten Syria. From Syria’s point of view, the only thing more dangerous than Israel is an Egypt in control of Israel. Therefore, the probability of a coordinated north-south strike at Israel is rare, is rarely coordinated and usually is not designed to be a mortal blow. It is defeated by Israel’s strategic advantage of interior lines.

Israeli Geography and the Convergence Zone

Therefore, it is not surprising that Israel’s first incarnation lasted as long as it did — some five centuries. What is interesting and what must be considered is why Israel (now considered as the northern kingdom) was defeated by the Assyrians and Judea, then defeated by Babylon. To understand this, we need to consider the broader geography of Israel’s location.

Israel is located on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea, on the Levant. As we have seen, when Israel is intact, it will tend to be the dominant power in the Levant. Therefore, Israeli resources must generally be dedicated for land warfare, leaving little over for naval warfare. In general, although Israel had excellent harbors and access to wood for shipbuilding, it never was a major Mediterranean naval power. It never projected power into the sea. The area to the north of Israel has always been a maritime power, but Israel, the area south of Mount Hermon, was always forced to be a land power.

The Levant in general and Israel in particular has always been a magnet for great powers. No Mediterranean empire could be fully secure unless it controlled the Levant. Whether it was Rome or Carthage, a Mediterranean empire that wanted to control both the northern and southern littorals needed to anchor its eastern flank on the Levant. For one thing, without the Levant, a Mediterranean power would be entirely dependent on sea lanes for controlling the other shore. Moving troops solely by sea creates transport limitations and logistical problems.

It also leaves imperial lines vulnerable to interdiction — sometimes merely from pirates, a problem that plagued Rome’s sea transport. A land bridge, or a land bridge with minimal water crossings that can be easily defended, is a vital supplement to the sea for the movement of large numbers of troops. Once the Hellespont (now known as the Dardanelles) is crossed, the coastal route through southern Turkey, down the Levant and along the Mediterranean’s southern shore, provides such an alternative.

There is an additional consideration. If a Mediterranean empire leaves the Levant unoccupied, it opens the door to the possibility of a great power originating to the east seizing the ports of the Levant and challenging the Mediterranean power for maritime domination. In short, control of the Levant binds a Mediterranean empire together while denying a challenger from the east the opportunity to enter the Mediterranean. Holding the Levant, and controlling Israel, is a necessary preventive measure for a Mediterranean empire.

Israel is also important to any empire originating to the east of Israel, either in the Tigris- Euphrates basin or in Persia. For either, security could be assured only once it had an anchor on the Levant. Macedonian expansion under Alexander demonstrated that a power controlling Levantine and Turkish ports could support aggressive operations far to the east, to the Hindu Kush and beyond. While Turkish ports might have sufficed for offensive operations, simply securing the Bosporus still left the southern flank exposed. Therefore, by holding the Levant, an eastern power protected itself against attacks from Mediterranean powers.

CONVERGENCE ZONE

The Levant was also important to any empire originating to the north or south of Israel. If Egypt decided to move beyond the Nile Basin and North Africa eastward, it would move first through the Sinai and then northward along the coastal plain, securing sea lanes to Egypt. When Asia Minor powers such as the Ottoman Empire developed, there was a natural tendency to move southward to control the eastern Mediterranean. The Levant is the crossroads of continents, and Israel lies in the path of many imperial ambitions.

Israel therefore occupies what might be called the convergence zone of the Eastern Hemisphere. A European power trying to dominate the Mediterranean or expand eastward, an eastern power trying to dominate the space between the Hindu Kush and the Mediterranean, a North African power moving toward the east, or a northern power moving south — all must converge on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean and therefore on Israel. Of these, the European power and the eastern power must be the most concerned with Israel. For either, there is no choice but to secure it as an anchor.

Internal Geopolitics

Israel is geographically divided into three regions, which traditionally have produced three different types of people. Its coastal plain facilitates commerce, serving as the interface between eastern trade routes and the sea. It is the home of merchants and manufacturers, cosmopolitans — not as cosmopolitan as Phoenicia or Lebanon, but cosmopolitan for Israel. The northeast is hill country, closest to the unruliness north of the Litani River and to the Syrian threat. It breeds farmers and warriors. The area south of Jerusalem is hard desert country, more conducive to herdsman and warriors than anything else. Jerusalem is where these three regions are balanced and governed.

Photos: Source: Lehava Taybe via Israeli Pikiwiki project* – Source: Israel Defense Force** – Source: Avishai Teicher via Israeli Pikiwiki project*

[*Images provided under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 license. These images have not been altered in any way other than cropped to fit available space. Terms of the license can be viewed here: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/deed.en

**Image provided under the Creative Commons 2.0 Generic license. Terms of the license can be viewed here: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/ 2.0/deed.en]

 

There are obviously deep differences built into Israel’s geography and inhabitants, particularly between the herdsmen of the southern deserts and the northern hill dwellers. The coastal dwellers, rich but less warlike than the others, hold the balance or are the prize to be pursued. In the division of the original kingdom between Israel and Judea, we saw the alliance of the coast with the Galilee, while Jerusalem was held by the desert dwellers. The consequence of the division was that Israel in the north ultimately was conquered by Assyrians from the northeast, while Babylon was able to swallow Judea.

Social divisions in Israel obviously do not have to follow geographical lines. However, over time, these divisions must manifest themselves. For example, the coastal plain is inherently more cosmopolitan than the rest of the country. The interests of its inhabitants lie more with trading partners in the Mediterranean and the rest of the world than with their countrymen. Their standard of living is higher, and their commitment to traditions is lower. Therefore, there is an inherent tension between their immediate interests and those of the Galileans, who live more precarious, warlike lives. Countries can be divided over lesser issues — and when Israel is divided, it is vulnerable even to regional threats.

We say “even” because geography dictates that regional threats are less menacing than might be expected. The fact that Israel would be outnumbered demographically should all its neighbors turn on it is less important than the fact that it has adequate buffers in most directions, that the ability of neighbors to coordinate an attack is minimal and that their appetite for such an attack is even less. The single threat that Israel faces from the northeast can readily be managed if the Israelis create a united front there. When Israel was overrun by a Damascus-based power, it was deeply divided internally.

It is important to add one consideration to our discussion of buffers, which is diplomacy. The main neighbors of Israel are Egyptians, Syrians and those who live on the east bank of Jordan. This last group is a negligible force demographically, and the interests of the Syrians and Egyptians are widely divergent. Egypt’s interests are to the south and west of its territory; the Sinai holds no attraction. Syria is always threatened from multiple directions, and alliance with Egypt adds little to its security. Therefore, under the worst of circumstances, Egypt and Syria have difficulty supporting each other. Under the best of circumstances, from Israel’s point of view, it can reach a political accommodation with Egypt, securing its southwestern frontier politically as well as by geography, thus freeing Israel to concentrate on the northern threats and opportunities.

Israel and the Great Powers

The threat to Israel rarely comes from the region, except when the Israelis are divided internally. The conquests of Israel occur when powers not adjacent to it begin forming empires. Babylon, Persia, Macedonia, Rome, Turkey and Britain all controlled Israel politically, sometimes for worse and sometimes for better. Each dominated it militarily, but none was a neighbor of Israel. This is a consistent pattern. Israel can resist its neighbors; danger arises when more distant powers begin playing imperial games. Empires can bring force to bear that Israel cannot resist.

Israel therefore has this problem: It would be secure if it could confine itself to protecting its interests from neighbors, but it cannot confine itself because its geographic location invariably draws larger, more distant powers toward Israel. Therefore, while Israel’s military can focus only on immediate interests, its diplomatic interests must look much further. Israel is constantly entangled with global interests (as the globe is defined at any point), seeking to deflect and align with broader global powers. When it fails in this diplomacy, the consequences can be catastrophic.

Israel exists in three conditions. First, it can be a completely independent state. This condition occurs when there are no major imperial powers external to the region. We might call this the David model.

Second, it can live as part of an imperial system — either as a subordinate ally, as a moderately autonomous entity or as a satrapy. In any case, it maintains its identity but loses room for independent maneuvering in foreign policy and potentially in domestic policy. We might call this the Persian model in its most beneficent form.

Finally, Israel can be completely crushed — with mass deportations and migrations, with a complete loss of autonomy and minimal residual autonomy. We might call this the Babylonian model.

The Davidic model exists primarily when there is no external imperial power needing control of the Levant that is in a position either to send direct force or to support surrogates in the immediate region. The Persian model exists when Israel aligns itself with the foreign policy interests of such an imperial power, to its own benefit. The Babylonian model exists when Israel miscalculates on the broader balance of power and attempts to resist an emerging hegemon. When we look at Israeli behavior over time, the periods when Israel does not confront hegemonic powers outside the region are not rare, but are far less common than when it is confronting them.

Given the period of the first iteration of Israel, it would be too much to say that the Davidic model rarely comes into play, but certainly since that time, variations of the Persian and Babylonian models have dominated. The reason is geographic. Israel is normally of interest to outside powers because of its strategic position. While Israel can deal with local challenges effectively, it cannot deal with broader challenges. It lacks the economic or military weight to resist. Therefore, it is normally in the process of managing broader threats or collapsing because of them.

The Geopolitics of Contemporary Israel

Let us then turn to the contemporary manifestation of Israel. Israel was recreated because of the interaction between a regional great power, the Ottoman Empire, and a global power, Great Britain. During its expansionary phase, the Ottoman Empire sought to dominate the eastern Mediterranean as well as both its northern and southern coasts. One thrust went through the Balkans toward central Europe. The other was toward Egypt. Inevitably, this required that the Ottomans secure the Levant.

For the British, the focus on the eastern Mediterranean was as the primary sea lane to India. As such, Gibraltar and the Suez were crucial. The importance of the Suez was such that the presence of a hostile, major naval force in the eastern Mediterranean represented a direct threat to British interests. It followed that defeating the Ottoman Empire during World War I and breaking its residual naval power was critical. The British, as was shown at Gallipoli, lacked the resources to break the Ottoman Empire by main force. They resorted to a series of alliances with local forces to undermine the Ottomans. One was an alliance with Bedouin tribes in the Arabian Peninsula; others involved covert agreements with anti-Turkish, Arab interests from the Levant to the Persian Gulf. A third, minor thrust was aligning with Jewish interests globally, particularly those interested in the refounding of Israel. Britain had little interest in this goal, but saw such discussions as part of the process of destabilizing the Ottomans.

The strategy worked. Under an agreement with France, the Ottoman province of Syria was divided into two parts on a line roughly running east-west between the sea and Mount Hermon. The northern part was given to France and divided into Lebanon and a rump Syria entity. The southern part was given to Britain and was called Palestine, after the Ottoman administrative district Filistina. Given the complex politics of the Arabian Peninsula, the British had to find a home for a group of Hashemites, which they located on the east bank of the Jordan River and designated, for want of a better name, the Trans-Jordan — the other side of the Jordan. Palestine looked very much like traditional Israel.

The ideological foundations of Zionism are not our concern here, nor are the pre- and post- World War II migrations of Jews, although those are certainly critical. What is important for purposes of this analysis are two things: First, the British emerged economically and militarily crippled from World War II and unable to retain their global empire, Palestine included. Second, the two global powers that emerged after World War II — the United States and the Soviet Union — were engaged in an intense struggle for the eastern Mediterranean after World War II, as can be seen in the Greek and Turkish issues at that time. Neither wanted to see the British Empire survive, each wanted the Levant, and neither was prepared to make a decisive move to take it.

Both the United States and the Soviet Union saw the re-creation of Israel as an opportunity to introduce their power to the Levant. The Soviets thought they might have some influence over Israel due to ideology. The Americans thought they might have some influence given the role of American Jews in the founding. Neither was thinking particularly clearly about the matter, because neither had truly found its balance after World War II. Both knew the Levant was important, but neither saw the Levant as a central battleground at that moment. Israel slipped through the cracks.

Once the question of Jewish unity was settled through ruthless action by David Ben Gurion’s government, Israel faced a simultaneous threat from all of its immediate neighbors. However, as we have seen, the threat in 1948 was more apparent than real. The northern Levant, Lebanon, was fundamentally disunited — far more interested in regional maritime trade and concerned about control from Damascus. It posed no real threat to Israel. Jordan, settling the eastern bank of the Jordan River, was an outside power that had been transplanted into the region and was more concerned about native Arabs — the Palestinians — than about Israel. The Jordanians secretly collaborated with Israel. Egypt did pose a threat, but its ability to maintain lines of supply across the Sinai was severely limited and its genuine interest in engaging and destroying Israel was more rhetorical than real. As usual, the Egyptians could not afford the level of effort needed to move into the Levant. Syria by itself had a very real interest in Israel’s defeat, but by itself was incapable of decisive action.

The exterior lines of Israel’s neighbors prevented effective, concerted action. Israel’s interior lines permitted efficient deployment and redeployment of force. It was not obvious at the time, but in retrospect we can see that once Israel existed, was united and had even limited military force, its survival was guaranteed. That is, so long as no great power was opposed to its existence.

From its founding until the Camp David Accords re-established the Sinai as a buffer with Egypt, Israel’s strategic problem was this: So long as Egypt was in the Sinai, Israel’s national security requirements outstripped its military capabilities. It could not simultaneously field an army, maintain its civilian economy and produce all the weapons and supplies needed for war. Israel had to align itself with great powers who saw an opportunity to pursue other interests by arming Israel.

David Ben Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister (Public domain)

Josef Stalin, first Secretary-General of the Soviet Union (Public domain) – Robert Schuman, French prime minister, 1948 (Public domain)

Israel’s first patron was the Soviet Union — through Czechoslovakia — which supplied weapons before and after 1948 in the hopes of using Israel to gain a foothold in the eastern Mediterranean. Israel, aware of the risks of losing autonomy, also moved into a relationship with a declining great power that was fighting to retain its empire: France. Struggling to hold onto Algeria and in constant tension with Arabs, France saw Israel as a natural ally. And apart from the operation against Suez in 1956, Israel saw in France a patron that was not in a position to reduce Israeli autonomy. However, with the end of the Algerian war and the realignment of France in the Arab world, Israel became a liability to France and, after 1967, Israel lost French patronage.

Israel did not become a serious ally of the Americans until after 1967. Such an alliance was in the American interest. The United States had, as a strategic imperative, the goal of keeping the Soviet navy out of the Mediterranean or, at least, blocking its unfettered access. That meant that Turkey, controlling the Bosporus, had to be kept in the American bloc. Syria and Iraq shifted policies in the late 1950s and by the mid-1960s had been armed by the Soviets. This made Turkey’s position precarious: If the Soviets pressed from the north while Syria and Iraq pressed from the south, the outcome would be uncertain, to say the least, and the global balance of power was at stake.

The United States used Iran to divert Iraq’s attention. Israel was equally useful in diverting Syria’s attention. So long as Israel threatened Syria from the south, it could not divert its forces to the north. That helped secure Turkey at a relatively low cost in aid and risk. By aligning itself with the interests of a great power, Israel lost some of its room for maneuver: For example, in 1973, it was limited by the United States in what it could do to Egypt. But those limitations aside, it remained autonomous internally and generally free to pursue its strategic interests.

Celebrating the Camp David Accords, September 1978: Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Egyptian President Anwar El-Sadat (Source: Bill Fitz-Patrick, public domain)

The end of hostilities with Egypt, guaranteed by the Sinai buffer zone, created a new era for Israel. Egypt was restored to its traditional position, Jordan was a marginal power on the east bank, Lebanon was in its normal, unstable mode, and only Syria was a threat. However, it was a threat that Israel could easily deal with. Syria by itself could not threaten the survival of Israel.

Following Camp David (an ironic name), Israel was in its Davidic model, in a somewhat modified sense. Its survival was not at stake. Its problems — the domination of a large, hostile population and managing events in the northern Levant — were subcritical (meaning that, though these were not easy tasks, they did not represent fundamental threats to national survival, so long as Israel retained national unity). When unified, Israel has never been threatened by its neighbors. Geography dictates against it.

Israel’s danger will come only if a great power seeks to dominate the Mediterranean Basin or to occupy the region between Afghanistan and the Mediterranean. In the short period since the fall of the Soviet Union, this has been impossible. There has been no great power with the appetite and the will for such an adventure. But 15 years is not even a generation, and Israel must measure its history in centuries.

It is the nature of the international system to seek balance. The primary reality of the world today is the overwhelming power of the United States. The United States makes few demands on Israel that matter. However, it is the nature of things that the United States threatens the interests of other great powers who, individually weak, will try to form coalitions against it. Inevitably, such coalitions will arise. That will be the next point of danger for Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses a joint session of the U.S. Congress in March 2015 — warning of dangers to Israel if Washington reaches an accord with Iran. (Public domain)

In the event of a global rivalry, the United States might place onerous requirements on Israel. Alternatively, great powers might move into the Jordan River valley or ally with Syria, move into Lebanon or ally with Israel. The historical attraction of the eastern shore of the Mediterranean would focus the attention of such a power and lead to attempts to assert control over the Mediterranean or create a secure Middle Eastern empire. In either event, or some of the others discussed, it would create a circumstance in which Israel might face a Babylonian catastrophe or be forced into some variation of Persian or Roman subjugation.

Israel’s danger is not a Palestinian rising. Palestinian agitation is an irritant that Israel can manage so long as it does not undermine Israeli unity. Whether it is managed by domination or by granting the Palestinians a vassal state matters little. Nor can Israel be threatened by its neighbors. Even a unified attack by Syria and Egypt would fail, for the reasons discussed.

Israel’s real threat, as can be seen in history, lies in the event of internal division and/or a great power, coveting Israel’s geographical position, marshaling force that is beyond its capacity to resist. Even that can be managed if Israel has a patron whose interests involve denying the coast to another power.

Israel’s reality is this. It is a small country, yet must manage threats arising far outside of its region. It can survive only if it maneuvers with great powers commanding enormously greater resources. Israel cannot match the resources and, therefore, it must be constantly clever. There are periods when it is relatively safe because of great power alignments, but its normal condition is one of global unease. No nation can be clever forever, and Israel’s history shows that some form of subordination is inevitable. Indeed, it is to a very limited extent subordinate to the United States now.

For Israel, the retention of a Davidic independence is difficult. Israel’s strategy must be to manage its subordination effectively by dealing with its patron cleverly, as it did with Persia. But cleverness is not a geopolitical concept. It is not permanent, and it is not assured. And that is the perpetual crisis of Jerusalem.

________________________________

Russia Enters Syria – Is it Geopolitics or Prophecy?

John R. Houk

© September 30, 2015

________________________________

The Geopolitics of Israel: Biblical and Modern

 

www.Stratfor.com

221 West 6th Street

Austin, TX 78701

 

About Stratfor

 

Stratfor is a geopolitical intelligence firm that provides strategic analysis and forecasting to individuals and organizations around the world. By placing global events in a geopolitical framework, we help customers anticipate opportunities and better understand international developments.

 

We have two core offerings: online subscriptions and custom consulting services. Subscribers gain a thorough understanding of world events through full access to our analysis, published around the clock. Clients get direct access to our analysts and to our global networks, enabling them to better assess geopolitical risk, make strategic investments and expand into challenging regions.

 

Founded in 1996 by author George Friedman, Stratfor brings customers an incisive new approach to examining world affairs. Stratfor taps into a worldwide network of contacts and mines vast amounts of open-source information. Analysts then interpret the information by looking through the objective lens of geopolitics to determine how developments affect different regions, industries and markets.

 

Vision

 

Stratfor’s vision is to be the most respected provider of predictive intelligence services. Our core philosophy centers on the understanding that transformative world events are not random and are, indeed, predictable.

 

Building on nearly 20 years of experience as the world’s premier geopolitical intelligence firm, Stratfor develops constraint-based narratives for key trends around the globe — placing today’s events in context and forecasting tomorrow’s new developments well before they appear in the headlines.

 

Mission

 

Stratfor’s mission is to provide a strategic advantage for our clients and subscribers.

Stratfor produces accurate forecasts and intelligence reports for the globally engaged. The success of Stratfor’s predictive intelligence service is measured by our client’s ability to identify opportunities, make better decisions and manage risk through information that is timely, relevant and — above all else — actionable.

 

The Stratfor Difference

 

  • Analysis and forecasting capabilities for more than 175 countries

 

  • Unparalleled expertise in the world’s most complex environments

 

  • Clients get direct access to a team of experts

 

  • Accurate forecasting using proven geopolitical methodology

 

  • Multinational professionals who speak 29 languages and live in every region

 

  • Trusted partner of leading Fortune 500 companies, financial institutions, natural resource firms, nonprofits and high-net worth individuals

 

  • Proven track record maximizing investment opportunities

 

  • No political agenda and no national bias

 

  • Live subscriber support

 

“Whenever I want to understand the details behind world events, I turn to Stratfor. They have the most detailed and insightful analysis of world affairs and are miles ahead of mainstream media.”Muneer A. Satter; Satter Investment Management, LLC

Assad is Winning Syrian Civil War


Bashar & Asma Assad voting 6-3-14

Bashar & Asma Assad voting 6-3-14

Assad is Winning Syrian Civil War

I.E. if Times of Israel Source is Accurate

 

John R. Houk

© June 6, 2014

 

I read in a Times of Israel article today that the government forces of the Shia-Alawite Syrian dictator Bashar Assad has “secured” 70-80% the Iranian client ally Syria. The source of this report is an unnamed Israeli diplomat.  

 

I’ve always had mixed feelings on the civil war in Syria. If you want an example of an Apartheid State one could say Syria fits the bill. The minority Shia-Alawite (A very secretive Shia sect ergo hard to pin down their exact beliefs: See HERE, HERE and HERE) regime ruled the majority Sunni population in Syria. Although the Assad family has ruled Syria prior to the Ayatollah Khomeini’s Iranian revolution, Bashar Assad has cozied up to the Shia-Twelver (See Also HERE and HERE) regime as a client state. This makes Syria a conduit of hate the connection between Iran and Hezbollah (Shia) ruled Lebanon. It is the military aid of Iran and the Hezbollah terrorists that have allowed Assad to survive the Sunni uprising.

 

My initial reaction to the Sunnis revolting against Assad was “fantastic”! The reason I felt that way is that a deposing of Assad would throw a monkey wrench into the geopolitical agenda of Iran to dominate the Middle East.

 

BUT THEN it became apparent the most powerful of the Sunni factions revolting against Assad were the Muslims the West categorizes as followers of Radical Islam which is essentially a politically correct term for Islamic terrorists that hate Jews and America. AND to make things even worse the Islamic terrorist Sunnis were attacking what’s left of an ancient Christian minority in Syria with convert or die ultimatums. In some cases plainly not waiting for a Christian response and simply murdering Christians in a horrific manner.

 

It is evident now that no real change in Syria would occur no matter who won the civil war. Assad’s Syria would remain a Jew-hating and American-hating client State of Iran. OR a Sunni victory would mean a Syrian-Christian genocide added to the mix of Jew-hatred and American-hatred. Assad used Conventional and Chemical Weapons on the Sunnis and the Sunnis butchered Alawite-Shias, Christians and the pseudo-Islamic Druze minority in horrific ways. Both sides of that civil war are guilty of what the West via the old Geneva conventions would call war crimes. But hey, the only reason a Muslim nation participates in the Geneva Conventions anyway is so that there is a flow of commerce between Islamic nations and the West (cough – can you say “oil”?).

 

Honestly as long as Assad sees the Syria-Christians as a political asset and protects them I am at least temporarily leaning toward his side winning. If it wasn’t for the Christians, I could care less who wins that civil war. I only can pray the U.S. Intelligence Community finds a way to exploit the Syrian civil war to the benefit of American National Interests and for the National Interests of the American ally Israel.

 

JRH 6/6/14

Please Support NCCR

****************************

Syria’s Assad has won civil war, Israeli diplomatic official says
Regime has secured ’70-80 percent of essential’ territory in the country and benefits from mass refugee exodus, source says

By MITCH GINSBURG

June 5, 2014, 11:46 pm

Times of Israel

Syrian President Bashar Assad, with Iran’s help, has attained most of the regime’s territorial goals and effectively won the civil war against the Sunni rebel forces, an Israeli diplomatic official told The Times of Israel on Thursday.

 

“Assad has secured 70-80 percent of essential Syria,” the official said, sketching a line from Aleppo in the north down through Hama, Homs, Damascus and the southern areas near Jordan and the city of Dara’a – a Syrian city where the war began and, currently, a channel through which Sunni extremists enter Syria from Jordan.

The capital, too, he said, remains very much in the hands of the regime. “The existential threat on Damascus has been lifted.”

 

Only the Kurdish regions have slipped irretrievably beyond Assad’s control, he added.

 

The official’s depiction of the situation in Syria contradicts an assessment given by a top defense official, who in May told several journalists that Assad’s forces have lost the entire Golan Heights, aside from Quneitra and one enclave, and that, “In Aleppo, in Damascus, in the north near the Turkish border, in the Golan Heights – in all of these places he is losing.”

 

The war in Syria has claimed some 165,000 lives since its outbreak in March 2011 and forced millions of Syrian’s to flee their homes and their country. Lebanon, for instance, has been radically altered by an influx of 1.5 million Syrian refugees who currently constitute 25 percent of the Lebanese population.

 

The diplomatic official said that the Sunni exodus from the country has “changed the demography in Assad’s favor,” and suggested that Assad, who has the support of most of the Druze and Christian minorities in Syria, did relatively poorly in this week’s national election, if one takes into account, among other factors, the nearly seven million displaced people and refugees who were not able to reach the ballot boxes. Assad ostensibly won over 88% of the votes, with more than 10 million in his favor. The official said he did not believe the figures, and also cited a survey suggesting that 88% of the refugees would have voted against him if they’d had the chance.

 

US Secretary of State John Kerry, noting that voting booths were stationed only in government-controlled areas, called the election “a great big zero,” because “you can’t have an election where millions of your people don’t even have an ability to vote.”

 

The Iranian influence in Syria, the Israeli diplomatic official said, was unaltered by President Hassan Rouhani’s rise to power, and a nuclear deal between Iran and the world powers, he added, will only encourage Iran to act more aggressively in pursuit of its goals in Syria.

 

The war effort is largely coordinated by Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps officers, he said, and carried out by loyalist troops and the 3,000-4,000 Hezbollah guerillas in Syria. A Baseej-like force of citizens loyal to the regime, the National Defense Army, has been established at the local level and is 60,000-people strong.

 

An indication of Hezbollah’s success, he asserted, was not merely the strategic territory held in places like Qusair, but the fact that in Lebanon the dominant concern today is the threat of Sunni jihadist fighters and not Hezbollah’s involvement in the civil war next door.

 

The official alluded to some of the difficult choices made by Hezbollah in recent years – the unpopular decision to fight in Syria, revealing the depth of its ideological ties to Iran and largely forsaking the fight against Israel – and said that while the Shiite terror organization is close to emerging victorious from the conflict, Israel remains very much ambiguous about its goals in the regional war. “We know what we don’t want,” he said, “but not what we do want.”

______________________________

Assad is Winning Syrian Civil War

John R. Houk

© June 6, 2014

_____________________

Syria’s Assad has won civil war, Israeli diplomatic official says

 

© 2014 The Times of Israel, All rights reserved.

ABOUT THE TIMES OF ISRAEL


The Times of Israel is a Jerusalem-based online newspaper founded in 2012 to document developments in Israel, the Middle East and around the Jewish world.

 

It was established by veteran UK-born, Israeli journalist David Horovitz and his US-based capital partner Seth Klarman. Horovitz is the founding editor, responsible for the site’s editorial content.

 

The Times of Israel has no partisan political affiliation. It seeks to present the news fair-mindedly and offers a wide range of analysis and opinion pieces.

 

We also highlight developments from Jewish communities throughout the Diaspora, and thus serve as a global focal point for the Jewish world – informing and engaging members of the tribe everywhere.

 

We aim for the site to READ THE REST

Tony Newbill Emails 9/3 to 9/5/13


Middle East Hegemony Map

Here are a couple of Tony Newbill emails that brings another angle President Barack Hussein Obama’s reasoning in desiring to attack Syrian Chemical Weapons. Theme spoiler: Syrian WMDs are from Iraq and Saudi Arabian Intelligence is manipulating the USA into a Middle Eastern war with the object of gaining regional hegemony rather than Iran.

 

JRH 9/29/13

Please Support NCCR

*******************************

Is the Syrian Limited Strike to Cover up the Iraqi WMDs???

Sent: 9/3/2013 2:46 PM

 

Is the Syrian Limited Strike [option] to Cover up the Iraqi WMDs??? They Need to be Asking Clapper because Even James Clapper, now the Director of National Intelligence [DNI] and formerly the director of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency [NGA, Here and Here] , said [corroboration Link] in 2003 that he believed materials had been moved out [Here, Here, Here, Here, Here and yes Yellowcake for Nukes too]  of Iraq in the months  before the war and cited satellite imagery.

 

Oh they want to make sure this doesn’t happen!!!!!

 

If the Bashar al-Assad regime falls, and should the securing of the chemical and biological stockpiles of Syria be necessary, what would be the effect if some of those materials and munitions bear Iraqi markings?

 

http://blog.usni.org/2012/07/20/iraq-chemical-weapons-moved-to-syria-before-2003-invasion/

 

James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence in the Obama Administration, thought so.

 

From the Daily Beast:

 

Whether or not sensitive weapons technology was moved to Syria is a hotly disputed question in the intelligence community. James Clapper, now the Director of National Intelligence and formerly the director of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, said in 2003 that he believed materials had been moved out of Iraq in the months before the war and cited satellite imagery.

 

If the Bashar al-Assad regime falls, and should the securing of the chemical and biological stockpiles of Syria be necessary, what would be the effect if some of those materials and munitions bear Iraqi markings?

 

Former Iraqi General Sada asserted that Saddam’s chemical stockpile was lifted, in … (READ THE RESTIraq Chemical Weapons Moved to Syria Before 2003 Invasion? Posted by UltimaRatioReg; U.S. Naval Institute; 7/20/13)

 

IS IT that they want to hit the areas in Syria where they Think the WMDs from Iraq are [located] to cover-up what was said [about WMDs] NOT There after the Invasion of Iraq???? And if the International Community knows this and we strike what will that do to our Relationships???

 

You can see this is leverage for Assad and Russia, and why they just want what they are calling a Limited strike.

 

Why does Assad Trust Kerry then?? Did they have an agreement that [Iraq WMDs are] Now is about to be Exposed??? And How tight [lipped] Obama and Other Democrats were before now??  Are Russia and China using this Knowledge of Iraqi WMDs in Syria  against the Democrats and Obama???

 

Assad in 2010: I Trust John Kerry

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hhWUf4fSok

 

Saddam’s WMDs and Russia

http://archive.frontpagemag.com/readArticle.aspx?ARTID=5400

 

Introduction

 

In the 1970s and 1980s there were several indications about Saddam Hussein’s development of the WMD programs (biological, chemical and nuclear). The Israeli attack on the Iraqi French-made Osirak nuclear reactor in 1981 slowed down the progress of the Iraq’s nuclear weapons program but the biological and chemical WMDs were highly developed, due to the Soviet assistance, Iraqi scientists and a sophisticated system of procurement, organized by the Iraqi Intelligence in Western Europe and in other parts of the World. The nuclear weapons program was never abandoned by the regime, and before the first Gulf War (1991) Iraq was very close to producing its own nuclear weapons. (There is some evidence that Saddam could have purchased nuclear technology from Pakistan, through Dr. Khan’s network, and that he has tried to buy nuclear weapons or components from China). The war destroyed the technical base for the production. But the highly skilled scientific and technical personnel (over 200) remained in place, dispersed. The regime managed to save their nuclear fuel, many technical means of production and the blueprints of the nuclear weaponization. The after-war international (UN) control proved ineffective. Iraq also saved an essential part of its biological and chemical warfare technology, materials and personnel. Some of the WMDs, materials, specialists from Iraq have been transferred abroad to continue research and to organize the production abroad: mainly to Sudan, Libya and Algeria but also to the neighboring Syria (with a purpose to strengthen Syrian regime’s offensive capabilities against Israel).

 

Saddam regime’s WMD policy after the 1st Gulf War

 

The efforts of the Saddam’s regime to preserve and develop its biological, chemical and even nuclear weapons capabilities have been well documented in a report, submitted to the U.S. House of Representatives by Yossef Bodansky on February 10, 1998 (See: Task Force on Terrorism & Unconventional Warfare, “The Iraqi WMD Challenge — Myths and Reality”). From the very beginning, Saddam Hussein embarked on a policy of concealment and cheating of the UN inspection. Thus the elimination of the Iraqi strategic military programs and the destruction of their technical means have never been completed and fully effective. “Despite Baghdad’s protestations, Iraq does have a small but very lethal operational arsenal of WMD and platforms capable of delivering them throughout the Middle East and beyond.” — summarized Yossef Bodansky in 1998 [page 2 of the report]. This capability was possible due to the following actions: (1) dispersing and hiding of WMD materials, technical means, blueprints for the production and personnel in Iraq proper; (2) transfer of a large part of the Iraqi WMD arsenal, technical means, materials for the production and scientific-technological personnel to other countries, mainly to Sudan, Libya and Algeria, and partly to Yemen and Syria; (3) reviving of the sophisticated system of illegal procurement of WMD technology, sub-systems and strategic materials in Western Europe (mainly Germany, Austria and Switzerland), via other countries (Bulgaria, Belarus, the Ukraine, Poland) and in Asia (Pakistan, Iran, North Korea, China).

 

Iraq was also capable to develop new types of offensive weapons, capable of READ THE REST (Saddam’s WMDs and Russia; By David Dastych; FrontPageMag.com – Originally Canada Free Press; 2/28/06)

 

After reading the Front Page Mag article you can see the CONNECTION TO THE MBH!!!!   Saddam was rallying together the factions that had MBH members all through them with Russia, and this was a Threat to the Dollar continuing to be the Petrol Settlement Currency for OPEC international markets.  Obama was placed in Power to counter this Russian Influence by Bribing the MBH away from Russian Influence.

 

Syria’s Chemical Weapons Came From Saddam’s Iraq

http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/071912-618875-syria-chemical-weapons-came-from-iraq-.htm#ixzz2E7mjc0Dz

 

War On Terror: As the regime of Bashar Assad disintegrates, the security of his chemical arsenal is in jeopardy. The No. 2 general in Saddam Hussein’s air force says they were the WMDs we didn’t find in Iraq.

 

King Abdullah of neighboring Jordan warned that a disintegrating Syria on the verge of civil war puts Syria’s stockpile of chemical weapons at risk of falling into the hands of al-Qaida.

 

“One of the worst-case scenarios as we are obviously trying to look for a political solution would be if some of those chemical stockpiles were to fall into unfriendly hands,” he said.

 

The irony here is that the chemical weapons stockpile of Syrian thug Assad may in large part be the legacy of weapons moved from Hussein’s Iraq into Syria before Operation Iraqi Freedom.

 

If so, this may be the reason not much was found in the way of WMD by victorious U.S. forces in 2003.

 

In 2006, former Iraqi general Georges Sada, second in command of the Iraqi Air Force who served under Saddam Hussein before he defected, wrote a comprehensive book, “Saddam’s Secrets.”


 

Anticipating the invasion, his job was to supervise the removal of such weapons and erase as much evidence of Russian involvement as possible.

 

The Russian-assisted “cleanup” operation was entrusted to a combination of GRU and Spetsnaz troops and Russian military and civilian personnel in Iraq “under the command of two experienced ex-Soviet generals, Colonel-General Vladislav Achalov and Colonel-General Igor Maltsev, both retired and posing as civilian commercial consultants.”

 

Washington Times reporter Bill Gertz reported on Oct. 30, 2004, that Achalov and Maltsev had been photographed receiving medals from Iraqi Defense Minister Sultan Hashim Ahmad in a Baghdad building bombed by U.S. cruise missiles during the first U.S. air raids in early March 2003. Apparently they did their job well.

 

An article in the fall 2005 Middle East Quarterly reports that in an appearance on Israel’s Channel 2 on Dec. 23, 2002, Israel’s prime minister, Ariel Sharon, stated: “Chemical and biological weapons which Saddam is endeavoring to conceal have been moved from Iraq to Syria.” According … (READ ENTIRETYSyria’s Chemical Weapons Came From Saddam’s Iraq; By IBD Editorials; Investors Business Daily; 07/19/2012 07:02 PM ET)

 

And this dinner meeting by a Top Democratic leader who had been very Vocal about the WMDs in Iraq and Led the Democratic Party on this Chant in 2004 and beyond [about WMD] not being there, sure could be about making sure Assad keeps those weapons covered up, huh?  I just keep hearing from the Congressional leaders that they just want a Limited attack to send a message when Regime Change was the priority by Obama before. So something’s missing here regarding the Mission, its different now, why???

 

Kerry’s Cozy Past with Assad, ‘He’s a Very Generous Man’ – See more at:

 

http://www.thedailysheeple.com/kerrys-cozy-past-with-assad-hes-a-very-generous-man_082013#sthash.4HmkxvP5.dpuf

 

 

Secretary of State John Kerry is calling for the overthrow and murder of his friend, Syria’s president Assad, claiming definitively that he used chemical weapons against his own people.

 

John Kerry was a frequent visitor of Assad’s over the last few years. Perhaps no one in U.S. politics knows him better than Kerry who was complimentary of Assad as short as 2 years ago when he referred to him as a “very generous man”.

 

Kerry (America) has not provided the world with any proof other than grainy videos allegedly taken during the event and a declassified report which is probably as reliable as Bush’s Iraq 45 minutes to nuclear launch reports. Assad has emphatically denied the accusations and no independent source has yet confirmed America’s claims.

 

“Well, I personally believe that — I mean, this is my belief, okay? But President Assad has been very generous with me … (READ THE REST Kerry’s Cozy Past with Assad, ‘He’s a Very Generous; By Activist Post; The Daily Sheeple; 8/31/13)

 

http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/kerry-frequent-visitor-syrian-dictator-bashar-al-assad_690885.html

 

John Kerry, who is expected to be nominated as secretary of state later this afternoon, has made frequent visits to Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.

 

Assad is now under fire for mass murdering his own civilians, as he fights an internal war to keep his position of power. Even Obama has called for Assad to go.

 

In February 2009, Kerry led a delegation there to engage Syria. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad told visiting US members of Congress on Saturday that the United States should ‘move away from a policy based on dictating decisions.’ Assad’s guests on Saturday included US Senator John Kerry, who headed the third delegation this week to call on the Syrian president’s door as Washington reviews its policies toward countries the previous administration regarded as hostile. Assad told his visitors that future relations should be based on a ‘proper understanding’ by Washington of regional issues and on common interests, SANA news agency reported,” AFP reported at the time.

 

AFP followed up with this report after the visit stating that Kerry believes “Syria is an essential player in bringing peace and stability to the region”:

 

“President Barack Obama’s administration considers Syria a key player in Washington’s efforts to revive the stalled Middle East peace process, US Senator John Kerry said in Damascus on Thursday. ‘Syria is an essential player in bringing peace and stability to the region,’ Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a speech after meeting President Bashar al-Assad. ‘Both the United States and Syria have a very deep interest… in having a very frank exchange on any differences (and) agreements that we have about the possibilities of peace in this region,’ he said in the statement.”

 

Later, a couple months later, Kerry met again with Assad. “US Senator John Kerry met Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for a second time in as many months on Saturday for talks on ‘regional issues,’ the American embassy in Damascus said,” reported the AFP.

 

And in 2011, when Kerry again wanted to go to Syria, his visit was blocked–by the Obama administration. “The Obama administration and France reportedly nixed a visit by U.S. Sen. John Kerry to Syria. Kerry (D-Mass.), the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has cultivated a relationship with the Syrian regime otherwise treated as a pariah in the West in the hope of drawing it away from Iranian influence. The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that Kerry had planned a visit last month, but the governments of the United States and of French President Nicolas Sarkozy blocked the visit out of concern that it would signal ‘Western weakness’ as … (READ THE REST Kerry a Frequent Visitor with Syrian Dictator Bashar Al-Assad; By DANIEL HALPER; Weekly Standard; 12/21/12 12:26 PM)

 

+++++++++++++++++++++++

Keeping the Saudis Loyal to the U.S. Dollar is the Key

Sent: 9/5/2013 11:18 AM

 

I found this link someone posted and what is said below makes sense. The use of the Dollar and keeping Saudi loyal to its use is KEY to this Whole Mess!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

It’s becoming clear that Obama has been using the Muslim Brotherhood in a Leverage position to keep Saudi Arabia from just walking all over the USA and EU interests. By Obama siding with other nations and possibly rejecting the dollar as the Trade currency for OPEC energy resources and trying to keep the dollar relevant in this Mess, but Egypt overthrowing the Brotherhood has now moved the goal posts to Syria to try and establish a front for the Brotherhood.

 

Has Saudi Arabia been behind the Middle Eastern War on Terror to Use the West and primarily the USA to TAKE over the Middle East????

 

Syrian War is a Saudi Intelligence Operation

 

http://www.omegashock.com/2013/09/05/syrian-war-is-a-saudi-intelligence-operation/

 

Has Saudi Arabia been behind the Middle Eastern War on Terror to Use the West and primarily the USA to TAKE over the Middle East????

 

Just moments ago, I saw Secretary of State John Kerry admit that the Syrian War is a Saudi operation. And, I watched him squirm in his chair as he said it, because he KNOWS that this is what he’s admitting. I could hardly believe what I was seeing. Even more, he was tacitly admitting Saudi involvement in other interventions.

 

For those of us who have more than half a brain, and at least SOME knowledge of the Middle East… We’ve noticed the fingerprints of Saudi intelligence all over what’s going on in Syria. In fact, I was planning to write about the involvement of the Saudi General Intelligence Services (or, Al Mukhabarat Al A’amah) today, when John Kerry went and poured gasoline on my fire. (And, I must say, John, that you really, REALLY looked uncomfortable making that admission.)

 

So, America will go to war at the behest of their Saudi paymasters. This makes me sick, and it should make you sick, too. This will launch us straight into World War III, and it will be the Saudis that pulled the trigger.

 

For those of you who keep preaching ‘Zionist Conspiracy’, you are complete and utter fools. Furthermore, you have dragged others down with you, and THAT is inexcusable. [Editor: This an excerpt that Tony Newbill posted in this email. There is a lot more including videos. Here is a sneak peak of the rest of which the first sentence is actually the last sentence in which the author castigates Antisemitics that accuse of a “Zionist Conspiracy”:

 

God will protect Israel – although many, many Israelis will die – but, God will not protect YOU.

 

For a biblical introduction to what is happening, go to the website that I created to deal with this subject:

 

http://www.ezekiel36-39.com/

 

Read the Ezekiel Tetrad, which is Ezekiel 36, 37, 38 and 39. Here is my introduction to … (READ THE REST Syrian War is a Saudi Intelligence Operation; By John; OmegaShock; 9/5/2013)]

 

Secretary of State John Kerry said at a House Foreign Affairs committee hearing that Arab counties have offered to pay for the entirety of unseating President Bashar al-Assad if the United States took the lead militarily: http://wapo.st/1ajCnKA

 

VIDEO: Kerry: Arab countries offered to pay for military strike

 

The Syrian War What You’re Not Being Told, in this Video you will hear General Wesley Clark make some outlandish Claims!!!!!

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dkamZg68jpk#t=272

 

 

Ben Swann Reality Check: What The Media Isn’t Telling You About Syria

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GCBhyzRELLw#t=74

__________________________

© Tony Newbill

Edited by John R. Houk

Brackets indicate Editor additions.

How does one Verify Trust with these Characters?


 

John R. Houk

© September 14, 2013

 

Hmmm … Fox News reports that the USA and Russia have worked out an agreement format to collect Assad’s Chemical Weapon arsenal. I wonder if Obama is plugged into President Reagan’s “trust but verify”?

 

I have had the feeling of being a Conservative lone wolf because I favored the forcible removal of Chemical Weapons from Syria with the caveat that the USA did not do it alone. Also my thoughts included forcible removing any Chemical Weapons the Syrian Rebels may have acquired clandestinely from perhaps Saudi Arabia or even Libyan Chemical Weapon stores clandestinely sent via U.S. involvement.

 

It is my personal feeling to not trust Obama (and his Dem Administration), Putin and Iranian client Bashar al-Assad. So I have doubts the U.S./Russia accord is worth the paper it is spelled upon:

 

Framework for elimination of Syrian chemical weapons

The U.S. and Russia have agreed to work together on a new, binding U.N. Security Council resolution that would ensure verification of the agreement to secure and destroy Syria’s chemical weapons stocks and remove its capability to produce such weapons.

 

SEPTEMBER 14, 2013

 

FRAMEWORK FOR ELIMINATION OF SYRIAN CHEMICAL WEAPONS

 

Taking into account the decision of the Syrian Arab Republic to accede to the Chemical Weapons Convention and the commitment of the Syrian authorities to provisionally apply the Convention prior to its entry into force, the United States and the Russian Federation express their joint determination to ensure the destruction of the Syrian chemical weapons program (CW) in the soonest and safest manner.

 

For this purpose, the United States and the Russian Federation have committed to prepare and submit in the next few days to the Executive Council of the OPCW a draft decision setting down special procedures for expeditious destruction of the Syrian chemical weapons program and stringent verification thereof. The principles on which this decision should be based, in the view of both sides, are set forth in Annex A. The United States and the Russian Federation believe that these extraordinary procedures are necessitated by the prior use of these weapons in Syria and the volatility of the Syrian civil war.

 

The United States and the Russian Federation commit to work together towards prompt adoption of a UN Security Council resolution that reinforces the decision of the OPCW Executive Council. This resolution will also contain steps to ensure its verification and effective implementation and will request that the UN Secretary-General, in consultation with the OPCW, submit recommendations to the UN Security Council on an expedited basis regarding the UN’s role in eliminating the Syrian chemical weapons program.

 

The United States and the Russian Federation concur that this UN Security Council resolution should provide for review on a regular basis the implementation in Syria of the decision of the Executive Council of the OPCW, and in the event of non-compliance, including unauthorized transfer, or any use of chemical weapons by anyone in Syria, the UN Security Council should impose measures under Chapter VII of the UN Charter.

 

The proposed joint US-Russian OPCW draft decision supports the application of Article VIII of the Chemical Weapons Convention, which provides for the referral of any cases of non-compliance to the United Nations General Assembly and the United Nations Security Council.

 

In furtherance of the objective to eliminate the Syrian chemical weapons program, the United States and the Russian Federation have reached a shared assessment of the amount and type of chemical weapons involved, and are committed to the immediate international control over chemical weapons and their components in Syria. The United States and the Russian Federation expect Syria to submit, within a week, a comprehensive listing, including names, types, and quantities of its chemical weapons agents, types of munitions, and location and form of storage, production, and research and development facilities.

 

We further determined that the most effective control of these weapons may be achieved by removal of the largest amounts of weapons feasible, under OPCW supervision, and their destruction outside of Syria, if possible. We set ambitious goals for the removal and destruction of all categories of CW related materials and equipment with the objective of completing such removal and destruction in the first half of 2014. In addition to chemical weapons, stocks of chemical weapons agents, their precursors, specialized CW equipment, and CW munitions themselves, the elimination process must include the facilities for the development and production of these weapons. The views of both sides in this regard are set forth in Annex B.

 

The United States and the Russian Federation have further decided that to achieve accountability for their chemical weapons, the Syrians must provide the OPCW, the UN, and other supporting personnel with the immediate and unfettered right to inspect any and all sites in Syria. The extraordinary procedures to be proposed by the United States and the Russian Federation for adoption by the OPCW Executive Council and reinforced by a UN Security Council resolution, as described above, should include a mechanism to ensure this right.

 

Under this framework, personnel under both the OPCW and UN mandate should be dispatched as rapidly as possible to support control, removal, and destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons capabilities.

 

The United States and the Russian Federation believe that the work of the OPCW and the UN will benefit from participation of the experts of the P5 countries.

 

The United States and the Russian Federation strongly reiterate their position on Syria as reflected in the Final Communique of the G-8 Summit in Northern Ireland in June 2013, especially as regards chemical weapons.

 

The two sides intend to work closely together, and with the OPCW, the UN, all Syrian parties, and with other interested member states with relevant capabilities to arrange for the security of the monitoring and destruction mission, recognizing the primary responsibility of the Syrian Government in this regard.

 

The United States and the Russian Federation note that there are details in furtherance of the execution of this framework that need to be addressed on an expedited basis in the coming days and commit to complete these details, as soon as practicable, understanding that time is of the essence given the crisis in Syria.

 

Well it reads as an altruistic good thing to remove Chemical Weapons from Assad’s Syria. I have to wonder what will happen if Russia, Syria and probably Iran (even though the Iranian name is not mentioned in the agreement) do something to expose the agreement is a political sham.

 

Everyone was worried that an Obama attack on Syria would ignite into a WWIII. I wonder what ‘everyone’ will think when agreements are abrogated heinously an obligations to attack the abrogator leads to WWIII?

 

JRH 9/14/13

Please Support NCCR