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Location: St. Louis, Missouri, United States

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Red Horse

Timothy Birdnow

Recently the Russians sent troops into Syria. This was denied by Russian authorities a short time later.

Most news outlets reported this, and offered no serious explanation of why this was done, or the greater implications of this action on the part of Russia.

First off, this is a clear message to the West; do not attempt to overthrow the Assad regime ala Libya. Russia is making it clear that they will oppose the U.S. in a Syrian adventure. They are denying they have troops in place to avoid being unnecessarily provocative, but the point has been made.

But is that all there is to it?

Syria is a critical ally of Russia, and Russia's chief ally in the region - Iran. Syria acts as the counterweight to Western encroachment, one of the arms of the Islamic terrorist enterprise in the region. Without Syria the Iranians couldn't effectively support Hizbollah, and the terror war on Israel would grind to a halt. Russia supports Iran, because of their scheme to monopolize European energy; oil and gas from central Asia has to flow through one of the two. The Georgian war was waged by Russia largely to take out the one porthole outside of their influence (George had the BTK pipeline which circumvented both nations). Energy is money to the Russians, and power. Iran is the key to that energy, and Syria is the key to Iran. Without Syria acting as a pincher the Iranians would be surrounded by enemies, and the Iranian Mullahocracy would likely not survive. That cannot be allowed.

So Russia has been sending advisers into Syria for months, trying to buttress the Syrian regime. And now they have sent special forces as well.

This hearkens back to Russian spetznast troops in Syria and particularly in Lebanon's Bekka Valley on the heels of the invasion of Iraq; there was considerable evidence that Saddam Hussein moved WMD's into Lebanon to avoid their capture by allied forces, and Russian "engineers", special forces with engineering and science backgrounds, showed up in Lebanon and Syria afterwards. Why? To tell us not to go looking for those weapons, and to help destroy or hide them, most likely.

According to the 2004 Washington Times report:

"Mr. Shaw, who was in charge of cataloging the tons of conventional arms provided to Iraq by foreign suppliers, said he recently obtained reliable information on the arms-dispersal program from two European intelligence services that have detailed knowledge of the Russian-Iraqi weapons collaboration.
Most of Saddam's most powerful arms were systematically separated from other arms like mortars, bombs and rockets, and sent to Syria and Lebanon, and possibly to Iran, he said.

The Russian involvement in helping disperse Saddam's weapons, including some 380 tons of RDX and HMX, is still being investigated, Mr. Shaw said.

The RDX and HMX, which are used to manufacture high-explosive and nuclear weapons, are probably of Russian origin, he said.

Pentagon spokesman Larry DiRita could not be reached for comment.

The disappearance of the material was reported in a letter Oct. 10 from the Iraqi government to the International Atomic Energy Agency."

End exerpt.

And now Russian military personnell are back in Syria.

Does Syria have evidence of the duplicity of our erswhile ally? Are some of Saddam Hussein's weapons still lying around?

Those weapons were there; every intelligence agency on Earth agreed they were. And chemical, nuclear, and biological weapons are not that easy to simply destroy; they leave evidence, evidence the American invaders should have found. If Saddam's regime had destroyed them we should have been able to prove it fairly easily. The reality is that the graveyards for these weapons were never found. They WENT somewhere.

And that somewhere was always believed to be the Bekka valley in Lebanon. Russian Spetznast showed up in said valley shortly after the war. And now Russian troops are in Syria.

The political implications of Russian duplicity - and the existence of those WMD's - would be staggering. Much of the animosity by the American public, by the Europeans, by everyone against the Bush Administration stemmed from the "Bush lied" mantra when we did not find the weapons. Bush vindicated would be Obama and his minions disgraced, and a great indictment of America removed. Our invasion of Iraq would suddenly take on a whole new light. And invading Iran would suddenly seem to be a much more credible idea.

Iran must be held in the Russian orb at all cost; the entire geopolitical strategy of Putin and his elves depends on it.

But this has another aspect to it.

There has been much talk about Israel going it alone, striking Iran's nuclear facilities as it once did Saddam Husseins. Russian troops in Syria imperil the Israelis. Israel knows that Syrian forces could and probably would attack them in some fashion if they struck Iran, but they can deal with them. What they can't deal with are Russian troops; a Syrian punitive attack would be hard to respond to with the Russian forces in place, because it could draw Russia into a regional conflict, threatening to turn this into a World War. Russian forces in Syria raised the stakes. Would an Iranian strike lead to a Russian invasion of Israel? Barack Obama has shown he is unable to stand firm against anyone capable of fighting back, so it seems likely no U.S. aid would be forthcoming. Do the Israelis dare strike alone?

J.E. Dyer has an analysis of Russian activity outside of Syria in repsonse to this crisis at Hotair.

According to Dyer, the Russians are taking aggressive stances against the Japanese as well as against Georgia and the Caucasus in the even war breaks out.

From the article:

"The Russians are attending to their vulnerable southern border as well, and here, their calculations are as much about ensuring freedom of action for their own initiatives as for securing their flank. The geography is dictatorial: the Black Sea is the path to and from Syria (and the larger Mediterranean), and to hold the Black Sea, Russia must be able to secure the Caucasus. That means preventing Georgia from being turned against Russian purposes by an outside power. Russia is locally strong in the Caspian Sea, on the east side of the Caucasus; it is in the Black Sea and down the center-line, south through the Caucasus, where she needs strengthen her hand.

Reporting from December and January (see links at my earlier post above) indicated that Russia was moving troops into the Southern Military District. In late January, the Russian defense minister announced the deployment of additional special forces (Spetsnaz) troops to Stavropol and Kislovodsk, which lie in the Caucasus close to the border with Georgia’s breakaway provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia (see map).

End excerpt.

So the Russians think war is coming. Control of the Caucuses is vital to this, because that is where she is most vulnerable, the soft underbelly of the Great Bear. America has an ally in Georgia, and Azerbaijan is not unfriendly. While the troops being deployed are too far north to support a campaign in either Iran or Syria, they strengthen the hold Moscow has on a restive region, protecting their hold on the flow of oil and natural gas.

And to keep the U.S. from utilizing air bases to the north of Syria and Iran.

One must also wonder where China fits in all of this. The Chinese are hurting, because America's economic downturn is difficult for them; most of their assets, indeed, their economic boom is intimately tied to the U.S. A big war in the region will cost America plenty and that threatens repayment of her debt. Also, the Chinese NEED that Iranian oil, and cannot have the flow stopped. Will the Chinese step in if there is danger of a protracted war? Remember, they don't want the Russians to get control of the region either, because the Russians (their traditional rival in the Orient) could squeeze them. China could well come in on OUR side, or could remain neutral, or could go with the Russians if they think it will protect their interests. They are most certainly a factor.

But this situation is spinning out of control. World War is entirely possible here.

This is what happens when weak and vacillating policies are in place. Wars generally occur not when nations are strong but when they are weak, because those who would normally remain still suddenly feel free to act as they please. The entire world knows that Barack Obama is weak and vacillating when it comes to foreign policy, and that is guaranteed to make many doubt his resolve. Obama's resolve seems mainly targeted against his conservative political enemies.

We are sitting on a powder keg, in the middle of a forest fire. How long before the keg blows?

It depends on the Iranians and their shiny uranium spheres.

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