Danger Grows in Syrian Mêlée: Obama Blusters that Russian Strategy is “Doomed to Failure;” Russia’s Lavrov Calls for Military Liaison To Avoid “Undesired, Unintended Incidents”; Moscow Deploys SA-22 Greyhound Missiles, Five Warships Plus Submarines on Maneuvers off Tartus; 200 Marines Ready Russian Airbase Near Latakia for Putin’s UN General Assembly Speech, September 28[i]
The absurd and discredited policy of the Obama administration on Syria, which constantly demands the ouster of President Assad, even though he is the only factor of stability in the country and the only force capable of finally destroying ISIS, is now collapsing under the weight of its own irrationality. At the same time, important forces in Europe have concluded that Russian military engagement in favor of Assad is now the most likely way to end the fighting.
The European actions of recent days have been spurred on by the refugee crisis now gripping the continent, which has created a sense of emergency in the various governments. In particular, many European capitals have been shocked by the latest United Nations report, which predicts up to 1 million additional refugees coming from Syria before the end of this year. The US-led phony war against ISIS has failed to prevent the refugee crisis.
The policy which is now collapsing has been decisively influenced on the US side by the harebrained schemer ISIS Czar John Allen (officially Special Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS), a leading member of the Petraeus-Allen clique of neocon warmonger generals, who have always seen the Syrian conflict as a way to engineer confrontation with Russia and Iran. Now that the Iran nuclear accord is in the process of being institutionalized, Allen’s previous blackmail strategy against the Obama White House has fallen through, and the possibility of his final ouster is drawing near. These current developments can also become a bitter defeat for the neocon faction in general, provided that Obama can be made to see the light.
Merkel Wants Russian Presence in Syria
German Chancellor Angela Merkel made clear that she is reversing her field, stating on Saturday in Berlin that, in order to end the Syrian conflict and to successfully conclude the struggle against the extremist Islamic State, “we need both cooperation with the United States of America, and at the same time, cooperation with Russia – otherwise there will be no solution.”
Frank Walter Steinmeyer
German Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeyer is now demanding coordinated Western action to end the Syrian war, noting that “we can’t have everybody messing around in Syria on their own.” The New York Times will publish an op-ed by Steinmeyer, in which he demands the creation of a contact group for Syria, in which Iran will have to play a part. The US State Department had foolishly rejected an Iranian role in negotiations up to now.[ii]
The new spirit of cooperation regard to Syria may also have collateral benefits for the situation in Ukraine. At the conclusion of Saturday’s meeting in Berlin, ‘German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said after meeting his Russian, Ukrainian and French counterparts in Berlin on Saturday that “significant progress” had been made towards a resolution of the conflict between Kiev and Moscow. Steinmeier said Ukraine and Russia were close to striking an agreement on the withdrawal of weapons from the demarcation line between separatists and Ukrainian forces in eastern Ukraine and had agreed not to lay any more mines and to clear mines. “We all reaffirmed that the ceasefire which has been kept for two weeks now needs to be further consolidated and secured,” Steinmeier said in a statement.’[iii]
German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen told Der Spiegel that she welcomes the contributions of Russian President Putin to the struggle against ISIS. She noted that the common good requires the fight against ISIS, A spokesman for the German Foreign Ministry confirmed that Berlin is indeed welcoming a larger role for Russia in the fight against the caliphate. Steinmeyer made clear that Syria would be added to the agenda of his already scheduled meeting about Ukraine on Saturday with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov and French Foreign Minister Fabius.[iv]
Germany is already mobilizing 4,000 troops to deal with the refugee emergency, with some destined to join several hundred Germans already fighting ISIS in northern Iraq.
Up to now, the British position is that Assad could only stay in power during a transitional period. The French have been saying that Assad will have to leave sometime, which of course could mean anything. The smaller NATO states, who are also reeling under the tide of refugees, are tending towards the obvious conclusion that Assad is a necessary ally in the fight to crush ISIS. Examples of this point of view are Spain and Austria.
Obama evidently does not want escalation of the type demanded by the Petraeus-Allen clique, and the neocon chickenhawk legions, but he still clings to the idiotic doublethink demand that aside must be removed. According to Obama: “…we are going to be engaging Russia to let them know that you can’t continue to double-down on a strategy that is doomed to failure.”
According to Reuters, “two Western officials and a Russian source told Reuters Moscow is sending advanced SA-22 anti-aircraft missiles to Syria. The system would be operated by Russian troops, rather than Syrians, the Western officials said. U.S. officials in Washington also said they believed about 200 Russian naval infantry forces were now stationed at an airfield near the Syrian city of Latakia, an Assad stronghold, and that the number had increased in recent days.”[v]
These surface to air missiles are known to NATO as the SA-22 Greyhound, and are called Pantsir-S1 SAM in Russia.
One US official ‘estimated that the majority of the forces were involved in preparing the airfield for future use. Lebanese sources have told Reuters that at least some Russian troops are now engaged in combat operations in support of Assad’s forces. Moscow has declined to comment on those reports. A source close to the Russian navy told Reuters a squadron of five Russian ships equipped with guided missiles had set off to conduct maneuvers in Syrian waters. “They will train to repulse an attack from the air and to defend the coast, which means firing artillery and testing short-range air defense systems,” the source said, adding that the exercise had been agreed with the Syrian government. Russia has given notice of several rounds of navy drills with rocket firing tests in the sea off Syria from Sept. 8 to Oct. 7, according to aviation authorities in nearby Cyprus and international governmental databases of notices for airmen. Some flight paths will be temporarily closed.’[vi]
Lavrov place the blame on Washington ‘for cutting off direct military-to-military communication between Russia and NATO after the crisis in Ukraine last year. Such contacts were “important for the avoidance of undesired, unintended incidents”, Lavrov said. “We are always in favor of military people talking to each other in a professional way. They understand each other very well,” Lavrov said. “If, as (U.S. Secretary of State) John Kerry has said many times, the United States wants those channels frozen, then be our guest.”’[vii]
The ring is now closing around ISIS Czar Allen and his Saudi and Turkish allies, who are responsible for starting the Syrian civil war in the first place by introducing foreign fighters. With support for Allen’s policy collapsing in Europe, this infamous schemer has been forced more and more to come out into the open in television interviews and the like. This is not Allen’s style, since he prefers to operate with a low-profile behind the scenes in order to facilitate his intrigue.
Allen has been attempting to build up his faltering public image by pontificating on the terrorist potential of the refugee crisis. Here we get the impression that the insubordinate general would be happier as part of the virulently anti-refugee Hungarian government, rather than as part of the American one, when he said: “I think we should watch it. We should be conscious of the potential that Daesh may attempt to embed agents within that population….I have confidence that [FBI and DHS] will work very, very hard to prevent them from getting into the country….There has been enormous progress in pushing Daesh off the border of Syria and Turkey ultimately to close that border to prevent the flow of foreign fighters.”[viii]
Allen will be interviewed on ABC’s This Week today (Sunday September 13), possibly banking on softball questions from his tame journalist Jake Tapper. Allen will then rush to Europe to attempt to shore up his collapsing support. According to the State Department, “Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL General John Allen will travel to London on September 13 for a series of bilateral meetings on Coalition efforts to degrade and defeat ISIL. General Allen will then travel to Copenhagen on September 15 to meet with Danish and other Nordic partners in the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL.”
The Tax Wall Street Party’s advice to Europe on dealing with Allen: Don’t believe him! Declare him persona non grata! Tell Obama he should be fired!
[v] “Russia tells Washington: talk to us over Syria or risk ‘unintended incidents,” Reuters/Yahoo News, http://news.yahoo.com/russia-says-seeks-coordination-over-syria-avoid-incidents-100728012–business.html#
[vi] “Russia tells Washington: talk to us over Syria or risk ‘unintended incidents,” Reuters/Yahoo News, http://news.yahoo.com/russia-says-seeks-coordination-over-syria-avoid-incidents-100728012–business.html#
[viii] Christian Lowe and Julia Edwards, http://abcnews.go.com/International/top-anti-isis-envoy-confident-us-def…