Monday, September 17, 2018

The Syrian Civil War: Air Power Can Win! If you want it. (Part I)










    A few years back, I wrote a piece about the Syrian Civil War titled "The West v ISIS: Air strikes just means endless war minus victory". That now seems, in hindsight, not only trite but embarrassingly off the mark.  Some could say that I failed utterly as an analyst because look what the Russians did in Syria with a few planes and some Spetsnaz forward observers. They literally wiped the rebel forces arrayed against Assad (termed by Western media as ISIS) off the map. And they did it with so few aircraft, many of them aging, some  third and fourth generation planes but nothing compared to NATO's overpriced "fifth generation" stealth fleet; all of which makes you wonder if it was NATO's or the Western powers intention to ever defeat ISIS at all?

   And here we come to what I'll call "the darkness".

   The darkness you will never see on any news channel or media outlet in any country under the umbrella of the post WWII globalist order. And by that I mean every English speaking country's news channels, including mainland Europe's, Israel's, South Korea's and Japan's. Whatever language is spoken, this post WWII order has held on but is now descending into a kind of darkness which I will speak of.

  The darkness is first and foremost the idea and the fact that the corporate media and the entire political establishment is lying to you. 

   That's fact one and certainly dark. But the darkness I am positing rocks the foundations of my belief in the post WWII Western order I grew up in which primarily meant that the victors of WWII were the "good guys". Maybe I was that naive. Or more likely a kid. But twenty year old me could be forgiven for that. Because how many twenty year olds know much about anything other than mating rituals and having a laugh?

   The question I find myself asking today, twenty years on as I note the state of the darkness, is a question idealistic 12 year old me asks from his dreams...

      "Are we in the West the bad guys now?"





  For anyone who reads this blog, this may not be new information. But let's indulge in a game. Let's talk about the Syrian Civil War now. Now that it is almost over, let's uncover from the rubble and the darkness some truth that war makes the first casualty of. The average person in Western OECD countries is busy making a living and feeding their family. It's difficult to be too much concerned with what your tax money is paying for. For instance, a Tomahawk missile costs 1.2 million dollars. And 300 million worth were launched against Syria because of some bullshit gas story pushed by the media in April. Gas is indiscriminate and horrible but it also has some especially evil connotation in the minds of the public who have never been near a war zone.

  Gas in war drives foreign civilian populations insane. It's a trigger word. And the media knows this. If your child in a war zone dies by air burst artillery (a common occurrence in Aleppo or Damascus or Gaza) that means such munitions pepper your child with ball bearings travelling at Mach 3. Fucking horrible and unthinkable. You'd think. But let an enemy open a barrel (allegedly) that spreads some weaponized chlorine/sarin for at best a square block and now you've got an international casus belli on your hands. But any soldier will tell you artillery is far worse and more terrifying then some dissipating cloud you have a small but possible fighting chance at running from. What's worse is the media pushing the public into outrage using gaseous fear and demanding intervention in a desert war thousands of miles away from the average taxpayer doing his best to feed his family.



   The famous Churchill quote "Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at to no result." is probably true. How about gassing people? He would know. How about bombing people and killing them via kinetic blast energy? Is that more evil then gas? In 2001, as we all know, 19 Saudis flew two planes and took down three buildings in New York, wrecked a wing of the Pentagon with another plane and nose dived a fourth into a field because of the heroism of the passengers. Officially. That was quite a feat in a country with a military larger than the next ten country's military's combined. Try anything like that today near Damascus and your plane isn't even going to make it over land from the Mediterranean. We're talking about a city with the 4th most sophisticated anti aircraft defense network on the planet. That's why the Israelis launch their AGMs at Syria from F-16s from their airspace or Jordanian airspace. The Syrians could take a shot at them but they don't exactly need another next door neighbor flinging more shit over the garden fence at them right now. 

   The point being?

   Syrian airspace became impregnable and that was the beginning of the turning of the tide in favor of Assad. Russian intervention we'll talk about in Part II but for now let's stick to how we got to where we are today. How did we get to the Syrian Civil War?

   


The Russians like their naval base at Tartus. And why wouldn't they? Geopolitics is a chessboard, why give up a square?


      How did we get to a place where bombing wins a war.

    I mean this figuratively of course, bombing wins wars but only as a component of a combined ground strategy and other factors. The Syrian Civil War is unique in the sense that never have so few aircraft done so much to change a major war. There's a Churchill Battle of Britain quote in there but I'm not using it because it's just too obvious.

     To begin talking about Syria, we're going to have to go all the way back to 2010. Remember that thing called the "Arab Spring"? Western media touted it on your TV screen. Maybe you do, maybe you don't but let's do a quick primer.

     It's possible it was a genius destabilizing operation run by Western intelligence agencies but there was an organic nature to it too. Since all Western media is a propaganda operation {and not just the news), I mean all of it. From the Kardashians to the Walking Dead and all the commercials in between, it's all a kind of mind control telling you what to aspire to, what to fear, what is good or bad in life and in our case, who the bad guys are. It's all controlled opposition aimed at priming the public. The Arab Spring story went something like this. Some Tunisian bazaar merchant set himself on fire due to some injustice. A local authority figure made him buy a permit to continue selling whatever bullshit  a street vendor in Tunisia would sell to tourists. Who knows why? But some local official took away his livelihood and he lost his mind. That I can understand. Any man can. But setting yourself on fire to make a point is a drastic maneuver and does tend toward making the man with the match a martyr for a cause. And that's exactly what happened. 

    For many reasons, this act of self-immolation led to a wave of popular uprisings that destabilized every country in North Africa but especially Egypt. That was the biggest domino to fall but surely an unintended target. Israel and the US liked Mubarak but not his people, the Egyptians. Sinai is a hard, calcine forbidden desert but it is a point of contention. The Americans were paying Mubarak a billion a year to keep his population under control and not cause trouble for the Israelis. The most important thing for them was his zealous efforts to police the border with Gaza and make sure other Arab nations or shady arms dealers could not funnel weapons into Gaza, especially not shoulder mounted AA weapons that could challenge Israeli air superiority every time they bombed a hospital they claimed had a bottle rocket in the basement.

   Nobody expected the Arab Spring to get out of the control. Sure the CIA, Mossad, MI5 and whatever the French call their intelligence agencies took advantage. Maybe they poured fuel on the fire. The point being, the Arab Spring spiraled out of control. It wasn't exactly engineered but it wasn't organic either. Egypt got destabilized simply by the fact that every house in North Africa and the Middle East by 2010 had a satellite dish on their roof. And the population were not swallowing the local line of bullshit their media propaganda were pumping out. They could see the world outside and realize they were getting fucked over big time. So there were riots. Tanks on the streets did nothing, not even bullets could quell the uprising in Cairo.



The Arab Spring.


  Mubarak, the man on the Western payroll had nowhere to run and had to stand trial. Suddenly he got sick. Seriously, this shit reads like a bad novel. The revolutionaries put him on trial and first fined him 33 million dollars and locked him up in a jail cell where he suddenly had a heart attack (who wouldn't)? It's possible that a bunch a hard hitting Bedouin motherfuckers went medieval on his ass, but either way, Egyptian prison didn't agree with him.

   Interestingly, the Israeli's offered him asylum (he was, after all, on their payroll via the US anyway) but the Egyptian courts put him on trial again anyway and grabbed another 22 million from his bank accounts before things started going to absolute shit on the streets of Cairo again. This was almost certainly funded by foreign money (the usual suspects), but even so, it turned out that just because the Muslim Brotherhood might be good at praising Allah and fooling some of the people all of the time didn't mean they were any good at running a bus line to the Pyramids never mind running a whole fucking country. Egypt went to shit and Mubarak got free, ran for the hills and is still alive somewhere living far better than you or me.

  But lets slow this story down a bit.

  The Arab Spring was getting out of hand. With Mubarak gone and the Muslim Brotherhood taking control of Egypt that made Israel's strategic position precarious. Every AIPAC activist was funneling millions to every US Congressman and Senator's re election campaign. Something had to be done to stop this threat to Israel's southern border and the Gazan/Egyptian tunnel network infiltration points

   And so Western nations arrived at the usual answer when tact is difficult and bombs are cheap.

   "They started blowing the shit out of everything in North Africa."

   But especially Libya because they were the target in the cross hairs of Western avarice.

   The second richest country in Africa, run by a dictator and strongman, Gaddafi. (go ahead and tell me a Middle East country that isn't run by a strongman) and for that matter, go ahead and tell me any country not run by a person with a motivation that Nietzsche called the "will-to-power.". Democracy these days is just something to make you feel good; like you have some say in the ways of the world as you deposit your voting slip. Meanwhile, we're all run by strongmen or these days, strong women. Who cares who fronts the organization, man or woman, what matters is the power behind the person in the suit they push in front of the TV cameras.

   But I've digressed.

   Libya.

  Here's who attacked. For no reason other than to destroy an oil rich success story on the Mediterranean. This is your tax money at work.



These are the nations with blood on their hands.



   What did Libya do to deserve this international coalition of death via air power?

   Now we must enter more darkness and things they'll never tell you on TV.

   Libya, committed the crime of going against the international system. They hoarded gold and exported oil. Sure, Gaddafi got rich and let's face the man was no saint. But every Libyan newlywed got a house. Gaddafi used Libya's oil wealth to pipe aquifers and turn the desert into farmland. Libya had the highest literacy rate in Africa and free education; free education to the point that any gifted Libyan could get their university fees paid even in foreign universities like Oxford or Harvard. Think about that while you're paying off your student loan for the next 20 years.




    Gaddafi was even floating the idea of an African investment bank, and a gold backed currency, that meant oil sales for gold instead of paper and that's the kind of talk that gets you killed real quick.


    


    
      What is Libya today?

     A nightmarescape worse then South Chicago with open air slave markets and rival rebel factions roaming the streets in pick-up trucks brandishing heavy machine guns and battling rival gangs for local control from Tripoli to Benghazi. Meanwhile the population hide in their houses. Thanks Obama. Thanks Hillary Clinton. Thanks Sarkozy. International criminality hide behind these leaders they fund, dress in suits and have their bought and paid for media industrial complex friends paint these leaders as "nice people" projected into the public consciousness via TV camera reading bullshit off a teleprompter.

   That's the absolute state of modern "democracy".

    Far, far from the ideals of the ancient Athenians.

   The Syrian Civil War started out as an opportunistic attempt by Western powers to get rid of Assad. Since Libya went down so easily, foreign think-tanks and NGOs got high on the idea that if you pump enough bullshit into a satellite dish and funnel enough arms to a hired local militia, (ISIS, AL Nusra, Al-Qaida) whatever; and then feed your home population a series of gruesome beheading vids just to make sure they know who the bad guys are; you can take over a whole country for less cash than the daily profits of Google or Apple.

   With total media control, you've got an enemy your domestic population hates while at the same time a private army you can use to run roughshod all over the Middle East. Also, you've got a bunch of crazies who'll eviscerate and mow down hundreds in Paris, stab their way across London, mow down hundreds with trucks in France and Germany and generally keep the public focused on who the bad guys are before they wheel out the piano guy who sings "Imagine" at the candlelit vigil while the citizenry holds flowers and gets misty eyed while doing absolutely fucking nothing about their own government causing all this mayhem in the first place.



If only human nature could be this simple... then perhaps John and Yoko would be right.
If you want it.



    And paradoxically, this ISIS outfit were the very forces Assad was fighting in Syria. Nobody ever said war is a logical endeavor but some internal consistency on who the bad guys are would be nice, right?

    Anyway, the Syrian Civil War started out as a foreign funded protest movement in Deraa. And by foreign funded I mean container loads of weapons shipped from the newly failed state of Libya. That's the fun thing about chaos and failed states.. Anyone can do anything and not only avoid scrutiny but straight up commit every crime imaginable and have no authority bat an eyelid. Because there is no authority.


That's what chaos is. 

No authority.


And chaos was coming to Syria...


Monday, January 18, 2016

The Geopolitics of 2016: Oil, War, Chaos and Pathological Altruism.







   Word on the ground at the Pentagon is that the Obama Administration's foreign policy is viewed as so inept, directionless and without clear objective that the US Joint Chiefs of Staff have had to step in behind the scenes and offer tacit assistance to Assad in Syria to help him shore up his defensive line before the whole Middle East goes to shit. Based on pragmatism alone, any combat theater that puts US, French, UK, Turkish, Israeli, Syrian and Russian combat aircraft together in the same war fighting environment demands from an Administration, at the very least, delicacy and tact, but even more importantly, leadership and craft. The current US Administration's policy on Syria exhibits none of these qualities to its allies, but far worse than this, it exhibits none of these qualities to its enemies.



    War will always be the extension of politics by other means. 




   That's why every time Obama deploys one of his cloned spokeswomen wearing the "problem glasses" to a White House press briefing, I cringe as they tell Russia how very concerned the Administration is with all that nasty interventional bombing stuff going on in Syria. Putin and his cronies must be playing that drinking game in the Kremlin where you have to take a vodka shot every time the problem chick says trigger words like "counterproductive" or "indiscriminate bombing" and you must double shot when the term "civilian casualties" gets used. The truth is, US foreign policy is chaos and reeks of hypocrisy and the rest of the world knows it. And its presentation is even worse. Say what you will about the tenets of Bush-era neocon aggression and naked Cheney Halliburton rapine, but at least it was an ethos dude.





   And this very lack of a coherent American foreign policy over the last two years is having all kinds of unintended consequences across the globe. When the Russians took what could be taken (Crimea) in what in hindsight remains a brilliant strategic maneuver – bloodless – (well, you know what I mean, a few people burned to death here, some more maimed and vaporized there) but in the grand scheme of things the Crimean annexation was something any general in any time would call a cheap victory. Either way, NATO was caught flat-footed, responded only after much chin scratching and imposed its sanctions rather limply at first, making attempts to freeze up all that sleazy Russian oligarch money in foreign banks. When that didn't hurt enough, the US turned on the fracking spigot, squeezing once-dead wells into gushers and suddenly the US became the world's largest oil producer again. Along with Canadian shale oil, 'they' flooded the US market with so much cheap crude that every Texan with a Hummer or Escalade to feed began praising Jesus before ordering a hooker.


   Oil's precipitous decline on world markets during 2015 was a marvel to watch.


   If only it was cooking oil, I could've made more popcorn.


  The whole Russian economy is a one trick pony that needs $110 a barrel oil as a base price just to keep up Moscow's balance of payments. Putin's drinking game crashed up against a raging hangover when Russia went into recession and the ruble began to shed value as oil plummeted. That's how wars begin of course. They slow boil for years and are waged economically first before any shooting starts. But who's going to start a shooting war in a post-nuclear world with Russia? Still, it's worth remembering Japan had been under a US oil embargo for years before they 'suddenly' attacked Pearl Harbor in '41. 

   Low oil prices have had all kinds of domino effects that complicate the global chessboard.

   For one thing, Saudi Aramco (basically the House of Saud's personal corporation) and the largest company on earth with yearly earnings three times that of the GDP of the UK, does not particularly like low oil prices either. Go figure. Just like Russia, they too like it when oil prices are in the hundred dollar a barrel range because a new Ferrari a week per obscure Saudi prince is seen as a divine right and cheap oil tends to make the royals skimp on the options package. Also, the Wahhabi ruling class in Saudi Arabia need a constant stream of cash to buy off their captive population of restless sex-starved street racing youth who, without regular pay offs, might get all romantic and rebellious and wonder if ISIS could help them revolt and get their hands on all those sweet sweet spice exporting terminals the princes own and grab all of that for themselves. Wealth beyond the dreams of avarice is always a temptation for revolt as is access to 72 virgins but in this life before you die. Due to the crash in oil prices, the ruling Saudi royals are having to dip into their savings accounts. Deep though they may be, paying off their population with the usual stream of benefits does not come cheap because no matter how you cut it, you can behead only so many people before your Bastille gets stormed.


   In chaos and war, it always comes down to the money. But more on oil prices later.


  One major interesting Obama Administration foreign policy maneuver in 2015 was the nuclear deal signed with Iran. Now that was popcorn-worthy. It was worth it just to watch the Israelis squirm. The Zionists are so used to running American foreign policy for their own benefit and having the US Army take care of their enemies for them (Hussein, Gaddafi, Assad etc) that it was hilarious to watch Netanyahu throw a shit fit in the US Congress against the Iranian deal. It was so tasty to watch that I bought some kosher popcorn, sprinkled it with bacon fat and almost put it in the blender so I could drink it through a straw like a freedom smoothie. Standing up to AIPAC and the Zionist lobby is the single jewel I can admire in the Obama Administration's non illustrious crown. As to the grand chessboard of the Middle East, it's now hard to see Israel making a move on Natanz or the other Iranian nuclear facilities. Not only because of their lack of long range refueling tankers and need for US logistic support, but mainly because the worldwide blowback that would ensue would be a PR shit storm too much even for the Israelis to endure.

This is popcorn. It is tasty. Eat some.


  As to Syria, as I've written before, it is just the current year in the wider Sunni v Shia regional proxy war. But here's the fun part. With sanctions about to be lifted on Iran, that means their oil can come to market. The Iranians, in need of hard foreign currency, will begin pumping immediately. Right now, the Saudis have continued pumping oil despite the low price, not just because they can, but because they want to punish US and Canadian shale oil producers who desperately need high oil prices to function simply due to their high costs of extraction. Saudi Aramco would very much like these competitors knocked out of business, workers laid off and all investments in energy self-sufficiency go belly up before the Sheikhs turn down the flow rate on the spigot. Oil is a dirty business because the profits are so huge and men will kill and die for it. Yet the sleazy template always remains the same. First neutralize the competition because the Saudis can pump cheap. Next, let all those bloated storage terminals and offshore tankers unload the glut of contango oil to Gulf refineries. Pump nothing. Wait for prices to climb steadily as shortage inflates prices just before the summer driving season. Hey presto, a Saudi prince just earned himself a new Ferrari because he woke up in the morning.


   This is basically the Saudi economy in a nutshell. 

   But here's the fun part.

   This dollar harvest is going to be harder to farm now that Iran is waiting in the wings ready to pick up any slack in supply. Hungry for hard currency, the Iranians will pump for any price, killing Saudi ambitions to get back to mythical 2007 money. That is one reason why the Shia v Sunni proxy war in Syria is fought also in Yemen, Iraq, Somalia, Pakistan and Bahrain, all of these countries being about as politically stable as a waste water containment tank at Fukushima. 

   It's Sunni oil versus Shia oil and most people in the West with a vehicle don't care.
   







   The irony here is that Israel is now Saudi Arabia's new best friend. True, their interests have been aligned for years based on that old "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" maxim, but still, it's interesting. Both of them have excellent US supplied air forces, overwhelming when compared to the Iranians’ Shah-era F-14s. But the latest word on the international arms market is that the Russians have cleared their long standing deal with the Iranians and will begin delivery of the promised state of the art S-300 air defense system by the end of 2016. This would make any attack on Iranian facilities by air orders of magnitude more costly to any aggressor outside of stealth aircraft. And even then, who knows? The Serbs shot down a stealth fighter during the Kosovo war back in the ‘90s and gave the wreckage to the Chinese whose embassy in Belgrade got 'accidentally bombed' by the US days later. Still, you can make a safe bet that if some NATO anti-tank weaponry just happened to fall off the back of a truck in Eastern Ukraine any time soon, then I'd bet that Iran would have a Russian S-300 anti-aircraft dome deployed over Tehran the very next day.




   The chessboard in 2016 is complicated my friends.


  No discussion of the price of oil and US foreign policy would be complete without mentioning the dollar or, more precisely, the petrodollar. Yeah, I know, every guy on the Internet has a Ph.D in this theory but, if all oil must be bought in dollars then this artificial demand for dollars means that, from Russia and China's point of view, they are indirectly funding America's foreign wars every time they buy or sell a barrel of crude. Putin has signaled he wants to create an oil index and buy oil in rubles. Sure, it’s a farfetched idea right now considering the ruble makes up only about one percent of the FOREX market but it is also the kind of idea that can get you killed, or start a war, just ask Saddam Hussein or Gaddafi... oh wait.


   They already tried it and they're dead.


  Europeans can and should rightly lay some blame at the door of the Obama Administration for its current influx woes. Buying oil in dollars means that European nations are indirectly paying for the very US machinations in Syria that have flooded their own countries with a million ‘refugees’ in a single year. The Obama Administration's total ineptitude when it came to handling post-war Iraq, leaving the field by some arbitrary date as a campaign promise just to woo the young Starbucks-drinking urban hipster vote left a power vacuum in Iraq into which ISIS flowed. Even the Joint Chiefs of Staff were mind-blown by the stupidity. Sure, the Bush neocons broke the vase and did all the damage in the first place, but walking away and leaving the pieces broken was as short-sighted as it was politically expedient for re-election purposes.


  As Churchill liked to say, "The greatest argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter."


  Now, after the atrocities, the burnings in cages, the medieval barbarity on the nightly news, this same Administration wants to go after the last dictator left in the Middle East, Assad, the last man standing, he who is holding back the tide. Say what you will about Gaddafi or Hussein. They were dictators, killers and brutal, but you have to be brutal in tribal lands just to keep order. Factional desert people just don't do voting booths and a polite letter to their Congressman. Arabian concepts of grievance are that when there's a problem they grab an AK and march their way towards the problem until the problem owns a tank and then they shut the fuck up and go home.


  Tribal politics are based on power and this economy of power has existed in Arabia for a thousand years. That power trickles down from a leader in a hierarchal pyramid much like the one printed on the back of every dollar bill. The West, terrified by the upheaval brought about by the ‘Arab Spring’ sided with the mob and those at the bottom of the pyramid in the name of ‘democracy’.


  Yeah, I don't swallow that one either, but it's what they printed in the newspapers and said on TV so it must be true. Right?


  Either way, with the tacit and logistic support of the US, the French and British air forces took out Gaddafi's armor and military infrastructure and now there's a boat leaving from the Libyan coast to Europe every day just like Gaddafi had warned; boats and rafts filled with the dregs of humanity from backward shit holes like Eritrea, Yemen, Somalia; places so far removed from any concept of European civilization that it boggles the mind that these people show up as refugees in cities from Cologne to Stockholm and have to be given classes on how not to rape women in skirts because Europe, contrary to their belief system, is not an ongoing live action roleplaying porno movie.

Miss us yet?

   The hordes pouring out of Syria are unwelcome in every other Middle Eastern country outside of Jordan because even their fellow Arabs do not want them around and see fractious Syrian ethnic Druze, Alawites, Sunni Arabs, Turkmen etc as a destabilizing force. The Israelis on the Syrian border accept zero refugees. Funny how Zionists promote multiculturalism in every country except their own. Funny too how over 80% of the migrants are military aged men and a million alone entered Europe in 2015 with a million more to come in 2016. The Battle of Vienna was fought in 1683 at the gates of Western Civilization to keep out the Ottoman Turks. This current migrant crisis is not immigration; it's a fucking invasion. How many of these men are veteran militia fighters, cells waiting to be activated to wage the same war they've fought in Damascus and Dara'a on the streets of Cologne, London or Stockholm?


  Or like Paris recently, link up with their homegrown brethren for more asymmetrical warfare.




  European citizenry, or at the very least the officials they elect, are suffering from some kind of post WWII abhorrence to violence that borders on self destruction. Decades of plenty has given rise to a pathological altruism among European populations that would shock their world conquering ancestors. WWII has left such an indelible mark on the mainland European psyche and created a mythical egalitarianism where populations believe every foe can be defeated if only you just love them enough. It's like Jesus on steroids except they're all atheists. For the Germans, they seem to have this need to prove to the world they're not Nazis anymore and think Angela Merkel can accomplish some kind of sainthood by flooding quaint German villages with peoples from foreign deserts who have no wish to assimilate, no love for their new land, worship a strange god and see everything European civilization has produced as worthless blasphemy.

  Think of it this way. If one percent of the refugees entering Europe in 2015 are veteran militia fighters (a conservative number) that means 10,000 men operating behind enemy lines. No European country since the fall of Rome would have allowed foreign infiltration on this scale without conflict or confrontation. And yet today, a million people have walked into Europe and to even raise the question as to why this is so and who they are means you're a racist and a bigot. Such is the power of media driven thought control and political correctness.

   This is the power of pathological altruism.
    
    Oil funds it.

    War fuels it.

    Chaos enjoys it.

    And so welcome to 2016.

    Quite possibly the most interesting year to be alive ever so long as you've got popcorn.