Over the past few weeks, we've seen geopolitical earthquake after geopolitical earthquake unfold as Russia called Washington's bluff in Syria, and intervened. The crux of the American difficulty was the decision to "contain" ISIS while training and arming other extremist Sunni elements to overthrow Assad in yet another attempt at "regime change" to create an American satellite and puppet government. It is this connection to the very extremist elements that Washington claioms to be fighting in its endless "war on terror" that is at the crux of the geopolitical crisis facing American foreign policy. Consider this significant series of articles that appeared on Zero Hedge, beginning with an exposure of a US diplomatic cable clearing indicating the use of extremist elements in its "regime change" policy, a pattern that has been in evidence also with its role in the Ukraine:
As always, Zero Hedge paints the geopolitical issues adequately:
Generally speaking, the line you’ll get from the mainstream media is that Syria is just one more example of a Mid-East country where the populace finally reached its breaking point with the injustices created by the brutal regime of an evil autocrat. The resultant chaos, the narrative continues, created a breeding ground for terror which explains why Raqqa has become the de facto capital for ISIS, the Western media’s boogeyman par excellence.
Not to put too fine a point on it - and this won’t surprise anyone who frequents these pages - but that narrative is pure, unadulterated garbage. The real story (again, generally speaking), is that Syria is pivotal for the existing balance of power - and not only the regional balance of power, but the global balance of power as well. The alliance between Bashar al-Assad’s Syria and Moscow, Tehran, and Hezbollah serves as a kind of counterbalance to cooperation among the US, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey (among others). Should the Assad regime be allowed to fall and the West allowed to influence the post-regime political outcome, the scales would tip, Russia would lose its naval base at Tartus, and Iran’s access to Hezbollah, not to mention the scope of its regional influence would be severely constrained. Assad’s move to support the Islamic Pipeline while rejecting the Qatar-Turkey pipeline was a manifestation of the situation described above.
But even as the world begins gradually to come around to the idea that the US and the West might well have had a role in supporting many of the rebel groups that are currently fighting for control of Syria, the notion that Washington might have intentionally started the Syrian civil war by provoking Sunni extremists (among other tactics) is still seen by many as too horrific a possibility to take seriously.
Zero Hedge then goes on to publish, from Julian Assange, a document which it reproduces in its entirety. Notably, the document is addressed to a variety of "interested parties," among which are the Israeli government, the National Security Council, the US embassy to the European Union, and a few others. Reading the alleged secret document is an eye-opener, but the real "bang" occurs at the end, with the recommended courses of action:
Publicize presence of transiting (or externally focused) extremist groups in Syria, not limited to mention of Hamas and PIJ. Publicize Syrian efforts against extremist groups in a way that suggests weakness, signs of instability, and uncontrolled blowback. The SARG,s argument (usually used after terror attacks in Syria) that it too is a victim of terrorism should be used against it to give greater prominence to increasing signs of instability within Syria.
These revelations were followed by yet another eye-opening article in Zero Hedge on the nature of Mr. Putin's most recent chess move:
The essence of Mr. Putin's chess move is summarized as follows:
John Kerry, speaking from London following talks with British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, essentially admitted over the weekend that Russia’s move to bolster the Assad regime at Latakia effectively means that the timing of Assad’s exit is now completely indeterminate. Here’s how we summed up the situation:
Moscow, realizing that instead of undertaking an earnest effort to fight terror in Syria, the US had simply adopted a containment strategy for ISIS while holding the group up to the public as the boogeyman par excellence, publicly invited Washington to join Russia in a once-and-for-all push to wipe Islamic State from the face of the earth. Of course The Kremlin knew the US wanted no such thing until Assad was gone, but by extending the invitation, Putin had literally called Washington’s bluff, forcing The White House to either admit that this isn’t about ISIS at all, or else join Russia in fighting them. The genius of that move is that if Washington does indeed coordinate its efforts to fight ISIS with Moscow, the US will be fighting to stabilize the very regime it sought to oust.
Revelations (which surprised no one but the Pentagon apparently) that Moscow is coordinating its efforts in Syria with Tehran only serve to reinforce the contention that Assad isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, and the US will either be forced to aid in the effort to destroy the very same Sunni extremists that it in some cases worked very hard to support, or else admit that countering Russia and supporting Washington’s regional allies in their efforts to remove Assad takes precedence over eliminating ISIS. Because the latter option is untenable for obvious reasons, Washington has a very real problem on its hands - and Vladimir Putin just made it worse.
There is a flaw in Mr. Putin's strategy, and it's one I have alluded to before: if one wishes to assume the moral high ground, as Mr. Putin has done, in combatting Islamic terrorism, then consistency demands that Iran's support for Hezbollah be "on the table" as well. This prospect, clearly, the policy makers in Moscow realize as well, and perhaps this is behind the recent discussions not only between Moscow and Tehran, but Moscow and Riyadh. Time will tell, and of course, the Chinese intervention in Syria portends some such of development might be in the works, as I suggested a little over a week ago. After all, Russia and China have sizeable Muslim populations, and neither wants to see an outbreak of terrorism and "regime change" in their territories.
Thus, there is still a doorway, via pointing out this inconsistency in Russian policy, for the USA to reinject itself into the conversation. But that doorway won't remain open for very long, and if Russia, China, and Tehran should all announce a new status with Hezbollah, or incorporate Saudi Arabia into their emerging discussion, then that doorway will effectively close.
See you on the flip side...