If you're a regular reader here, you're already familiar with my usual pattern of doing things: first I talk about general context, then introduce the article or articles of the day which have caught my attention, and which form the fuel for my high octane speculation, which ends the blog.
Today, however, I must state clearly, and up front, that we're dealing with high octane speculation right from the start, even though I haven't stated it yet (other than in the title). To be completely forthright about it, the speculation I am going to indulge in isn't really my own. Rather, it is a summary of that of others who sent in various versions of the following story, along with their own musings. I'm simply summarizing their ideas with a little embellishment of my own. After all, if you're playing continuo as well as concertato, a little ad lib and ornamentation is called for.
In this case, the speculation comes from Mr. G.L.R., and Mr. H.B., and it concerns the following articles:
Mr. H.B. sent this one, and it's clear enough from the title the speculation that is being indulged in some circles in the alternative media, and indeed, Mr. Netanyahu's visit to Mr. Putin, so shortly before the recent Israeli strikes, does raise the question of whether or not Mr. Putin "greenlighted" the operation:
This comes, too, at a time when Mr. Putin has stated that no further Russian anti-air missile systems will be shipped to Syria...
Then there's this, from Mr. G.L.R:
And of course, all of this is going on against the wider context of (1) the Saudi coup, (2) Saudi window dressing, with Prince Mohammed bin Salman's visit to the leader of Egypt's Coptic Christian churches, (3) more window dressing between the (out)house of Saud and Pope Francis, agreeing to open Christian churches in Saudi Arabia, which, given Pope Francis' Marxist proclivities, if I were the Saudis, I'd be looking askance at (you'd be better off talking with Patriarch Kiril III, guys; there are lots of areas for discussion, e.g., he wears a towel on his head too); and finally (4) President Trump's decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal, which means the USA will probably not be send any more bales and pallets of plastic-wrapped money to Tehran in the middle of the night.
Now, as some of these articles make clear, and as I've suggested a few times, sooner or later, Mr. Putin (and for that matter, Mr. Xi), are going to have to choose sides: with Iran, or against it.
But what if, Mr. G.L.R., and Mr. H.B. suggested, we're looking at clues of a much bigger, more carefully-thought out game? Here I have to quit playing continuo, and go over to concertato with a few of my own embellishments. If you've been following the North Korea story, it is very clear that the USA has been quietly conducting a dizzying round of negotiations with that country. It is also equally clear that, to a great extent, the initiative for the coming summit between Mr. Kim and Mr. Trump came from "the nations concerned", i.e., China, Japan, South Korea, and, I imagine, as a strong but hidden background presence, Russia.
One down, so to speak, one (Iran) to go...
In looking at the recent Israeli strikes and the Syrian and Russian responses, as both gentlemen suggested to me, those responses were very muted. And then there was China's response to Mr. Trump's decision to withdraw from Iran by basically increasing its commitment to expand the railroad ties(not to coin a pun) between the two countries. So, stepping back from this we see: Muted response from Russia, increased Chinese expansion in the country, muted response from Syria, Israeli and Saudi insistence that the real problem is Iran, and an American pull-out from the Obama nuclear deal.
In my high octane speculation (which, again, is partly Mr. G.L.R.'s and Mr. H.B.'s), what it appears we might be looking at is a repeat of the North Korean pattern: get all of the involved parties to agree on a solution, and present it to the party in question as a fait accompli. So I have to wonder if, perhaps, the ayatollahs are "on the menu"; if perhaps, for the good of the region and its economic stability, an internationally-coordinated long term effort at "regime change" might be in the offing. After all, the Chinese (and the USA, and the Israelis) are well-known to sneak a "clipper chip or two" into the computers they sell, and construction crews and materials coming from China can always bug the daylights out of anything they build or touch. So, for that matter, can the Russians. So what if the trade, here, is "we'll allow regime change in Tehran, for you backing off Syria," or something like that. In any case, the solution is either regime change, or Tehran must cease, immediately, all sponsorship of Shia terrorism. And, of course, that means on the other side, the (out)house of Saud - in any such internationally-pressed North Korea pattern behind-the-scenes negotiation - will also have to forego its sponsorship of Wahhabist-Suni terrorism.
To be sure, this scenario is crazy, but I cannot help it; every intuition I have gives the impression to me that much more is going on behind the scenes in the region than we're being told, and it smacks of the "North Korea pattern." Of course, Iran is not North Korea. It's in a much stronger position, as a nation. But that's not the regime. Don't forget just a few years ago that there were uprisings in Iran against the regime. Some argue that it was Mr. Obama's hesitation that doomed it. But rest assured, those sentiments simmer under the surface of "the Islamic republic." If these wild speculations have any kernel of truth, then we should, over the next few years, be able to spot the dots as the "North Korea pattern" manifests itself.
It fulfills other deliberately created, and in this case, very false "patterns" too, but that's another blog for another day.
See you on the flip side...