|Image Source: Mashregh News
March 14, 2016
What is really happening? Are Russians in a deal with the Americas?
At this point, we are really left with more questions than answers. Most likely, the Russian announcement was more politically based than anything else. For instance, one aspect of the announcement, particularly since it coincides with the new "ceasefire" agreement and the United Nations "peace talks," is that it allows Russia to appear as the most rational actor in the fight and the side most committed to actual peace in Syria. This has been Russia's methodology since the beginning of its involvement in the crisis where the United States - when forced to go toe to toe with Russia politically - has ended up with egg on its face every time. Remember, when the U.S. wanted to invade Syria under the pretext of chemical weapons usage, the Russians swooped in and negotiated a deal to remove Syria's chemical weapons stockpile. Many had valid arguments against the disarmament, but, politically speaking, Russia came away looking diplomatic and peaceful while the West, especially the U.S., came away looking like the bloodthirsty warmonger that it is. On numerous occasions, when the U.S. was screaming at the top of its lungs that peace could only come from "rebel" victory or the removal of Assad, the Russians came in and organized "peace talks" of their own. These talks ultimately failed but the result portrayed the Russians as leaning toward peace and diplomacy while the U.S. was bent upon bloody warfare. I mention this to point out that Russia has been incredibly shrewd and effective on the political front as well as the military front and the recent announcement seems to be one more aspect of that.
The second aspect is that, domestically, Russia is now able to tout a "mission accomplished" moment, a sort of victorious military triumph, without actually landing on an aircraft carrier and essentially declaring the mission over. Putin is able to have his cake and eat it too by pointing out that some military objectives have been achieved but not claiming the mission is over and leaving Assad to the wolves.
Keep in mind what is actually happening here is not a withdrawal. It's being called a withdrawal by the mainstream western press for propaganda purposes. But what Putin described is only a partial withdrawal of certain military personnel and equipment from specific locations. Putin made clear that the Tartus port would remain open. He made clear that the airbases will remain open. Russia is continuing to drop bombs on ISIS positions. In fact, as we speak, Russia has only hours ago obliterated a number of ISIS strongholds. So the Russian withdrawal is not a retreat but a scale down and a readjustment of Russian forces to better fit the Russian objectives. After all, Russian objectives were never to seize and hold Syrian territory. That was the plan of the Americans. Russian objectives were to disrupt and defeat ISIS and shore up the Assad government. Russia has done that and is continuing to do it.
As for the questions regarding a deal between the Russians and the Americans, I would not rule it out completely. If there is a deal, it's certainly been kept quiet from the general public. But there is a possibility that diplomatic discussions have taken places at higher levels that may allow for all players to save face. However, I would also caution against assuming this position because we know certain countries - or at least certain elements within those countries - appear to be willing to engage in a direct confrontation with Russia regardless of the ramifications. From the standpoint of the United States alone, we can recall the Brzezinski method which ultimately leads to a confrontation with Russia and, unfortunately, the Brzezinski method is the one which has been followed by the West (most notably the United States) across the world over the last eight years, especially in the Middle East and especially in Syria.
As I sent you the link Ashton Carter has said that the US lead coalition is considering sending ground forces to syria. What msg would Russian withdrawal send to the world after this statement?
If it were a full withdrawal, it would signal a retreat. But, again, the Russian withdrawal, at least at this point, appears to be more of an adaptation of strategy and a political trophy more than anything else. Only time will tell, but I would advise against seeing this announcement as a Russian retreat.
As for the American troop deployment, we have to mention two things. First, American special forces are already operating in Syria and they have been doing so openly since 2015 when it was announced by President Barack Obama that he would be sending Special Forces to Syria and later when operations taking place in Deir al-Zour were not only admitted but celebrated in the Western media. Second, the U.S. has been "announcing" that it was sending ground troops to Iraq for some time but has yet to do so. Ashton Carter stated in January of this year that ground troops would be sent to both Iraq and Syria but, similarly, they have yet to appear.
Let me be clear: The U.S. agenda and that of NATO, the GCC, and Israel is indeed to overrun and occupy Syrian territory and they are willing to do so with proxy forces as a first option but with direct military force if necessary. Just because troops have not been deployed to Syria right now does not mean they will not be deployed in the future. In the context of your question though, it is important to note that they have not been deployed. We are not seeing a situation where Russian troops are leaving and American troops are moving in. At least not yet. If the U.S. or any other member of the war coalition commits troops, however, that would change the ball game.
Should Iran and Hizbolah forces in Syria feel woried about what has happened?
How can they not worry? It would be irrational not to worry in their situation. But I would still encourage caution when analyzing the Russian moves. Again, I point to the fact that this is not a retreat, but a scale-down and adaptation of the strategy and the implementation of that strategy in regards to a mission that was already limited in scope to begin with. Russia is still bombing ISIS. The airbases are still open. ISIS is on the run. So the Russian mission is continuing. Unlike the United States, the Russian scale down of its operations represents a lack of desire - at least visibly - to impose itself as imperialist occupier in the region.
But of course Syria, Iran, and Hezbollah should all be worried simply because it is never wise to put your nation's fate in the hands of another. They should also be worried about the fact that the new "ceasefire" agreement and the peace talks taking place at the United Nations might soon fail and probably will fail. Stefan de Mistura has already described the talks as essentially the only thing holding back an even wider war in Syria. He wasn't clear what he meant by this but the world outside of the Western countries are generally aware of the American agenda in Syria. Those of us who follow these developments closely recognize that the NATO bloc, along with Israel and the GCC, are not content to simply admit they have been routed, pick up their ball, and go home. They continue to adapt their own methods as well. This can take many forms but the most concerning is some type of gamble that the Russians will indeed retreat and a direct military invasion by the regional players and/or the United States takes place. If that happens, it's not only Syria, or Hezbollah, or Iran that should be worried because, if the NATO powers risk a direct confrontation with Russia and Russia does not back down, we are talking about a confrontation that could literally affect every single person on this planet. But I want to be clear in this point, because it is not the Russians that are provoking this confrontation. Nor is it Iran or Hezbollah. It most certainly is not Syria. It is the NATO bloc, the GCC, and Israel. It is these powers who must pull back and do so immediately.
So to answer your question directly I would say that yes, Iran and Hezbollah should be worried because of the nature of the crisis in which they find themselves. Rather, they should be worried enough to keep their eyes open and their wits about them, but this is not cause for panic nor is it a sign that the alliance is breaking down. We are going to have to see how this plays out over time but there has been no evidence of a Russian retreat as of yet.
The reactions to the News have be difrent in the social media. Some have supported and others rejected the discussion. Do you think there is need for more clear announcements?
There is always a need for clear and more clear announcements when it comes to government decisions but that's part of the game. The evasiveness is intentional whether it is related to a domestic policy or foreign relations. It's a real problem too. It's designed to deflect and manage the public perception of government policy in a manner that is more favorable to the government announcing the policy.
I think the reason many people have reacted so negatively to the Russian announcement is both the semi-vague nature of the announcement itself and the manner in which it has been reported across Western media. The latter plays the most important role because it is being portrayed to Western audiences as if Russia were evacuating Syria out of the blue. This simply is not the case. One should ask ISIS in Palmyra what the Russian retreat looks like. That is, if there are any ISIS fighters left alive to comment. The Russians have been steadily bombing ISIS positions there.
Unless I and many others are missing something, panic seems to be wholly unwarranted at this point. It seems many people were hoping for a gradual increase in Russian involvement to the point that the Russians committed tens of thousands of ground troops and tanks for a full on ground invasion against terrorist territory. They wanted a real war with a quick and decisive military victory. But that was never the Russian mission to begin with.
Of course, we hope that the Russian de-escalation is a sign of general de-escalation in the conflict itself, that the terrorists sponsored by Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the West will be eliminated in the near future, and the Syrian people can get back to living their lives as soon as possible.
Image Source: Mashregh News
Brandon Turbeville – article archive here – is the author of seven books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom, 7 Real Conspiracies, Five Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1 andvolume 2, The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria, and The Difference it Makes: 36 Reasons Why Hillary Clinton Should Never Be President. Turbeville has published over 650 articles dealing on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville’s radio show Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST atUCYTV. His website is BrandonTurbeville.com He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at) gmail.com.