The Pentagon’s Empire of Whining
By Pepe Escobar
November 09, 2015 "Information
Clearing House" - "Asia
- After eight days traveling in Asia, Ash hit the Ronald Reagan
Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California sounding like a
stray ballistic whining missile. And he hit where it hurts: the
Russia-China strategic partnership. How dare they? Don’t you step on
my blue Pentagon shoes.
So Russia is guilty of undertaking “challenging
activities” at sea, in the air, in space and in cyberspace. Not to
mention “nuclear saber-rattling.”
Ash once again enumerated all those “pillars of
the international order” that Russia-China are allegedly violating;
peaceful resolution of disputes, freedom from coercion, respect for
state sovereignty and freedom of navigation. Considering
Exceptionalistan’s recent record in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq,
Libya, Syria and myriad assorted latitudes, one can always count on
the Pentagon to bolster the annals of hyper-unrealism.
Dr. Strangelove, sorry, NATO supremo Gen. Philip
Breedlove, had already blurted out on the record he has no clue what
Putin is up to in Syria. Ash, his boss, doubled down; Putin “hasn’t
thought through very thoroughly” his objectives in Syria, and his
approach is “way off track”. Certainly because one month of Russian
air strikes did way more to debilitate ISIS/ISIL/Daesh than over a
year of the “track” followed by the Coalition of the Dodgy
Opportunists (CDO) led by the US and featuring Salafi-jihadi/”moderate
rebel” enablers such as Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
Ash deviated from whining just to concede it’s
“possible” that “Russia may play a constructive role in resolving
the civil war” in Syria. He wouldn’t elaborate on “constructive.”
Then back to a non-denial denial; “We do not seek
a cold, let alone a hot, war with Russia … We do not seek to make
Russia an enemy.” And yet Cold War 2.0 is actually in effect since
Maidan in Kiev; and the hysterical demonization campaign of both
Putin and Russia shows no signs of abating.
Earlier last week Ash was aboard a US aircraft
carrier in the South China Sea demonstrating commitment to “freedom
of navigation” – as in “our naval way, or the highway.” Beijing not
reacted but floated, with Chinese subtlety, that any fooling
around will come with a price; what about feeling the love of the
DF-21D carrier killer ballistic missile with a 2,500 km range?
On China, Ash once again displayed Pentagon
half-baked Orientalist condescending; it all depends on “how China
behaves” when demonstrating commitments to peace and security.
Expect Ash’s whining missiles to proliferate
unchecked. They’re embedded in the new US military doctrine, which
ranks Russia and China – with Iran a not so distant third — as major
threats. The British loved it so much they went copycat; “rising
aggression from Russia” is among top potential threats included in
the UK’s next national security strategy to be unveiled by David
Cameron on Nov. 23.
Deterrence or bust
It all gets curioser and curioser — or at least
muddier — when we remember that roughly a month ago Ash was warning,
at a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels, that Russia
would “soon” start paying the price for its “escalation” in Syria.
The price might have been paid via the Metrojet
crash. Nothing of course links Ash and the Pentagon with it; wishful
thinking, at best. Still, the possible bombing by the Sinai branch
of Daesh was cracked by GCHQ in London profiting from its vast “we
spy on everyone” NSA-style network. James Bond in Spectre – good old
ground intel – would never had had that kind of knowledge.
The same meeting in Brussels also decided to boost
NATO’s so-called “spearhead force” to “deliver deterrence,” in the
words of NATO secretary-general, Norwegian figurehead Jens
Stoltenberg. Stoltenberg even bragged that the sole existence of
this force would scare the hell out of Russia – as well as the
Syrian Arab Army (SAA) – about alleged “incursions into Turkish
territory.” Still, no NATO force was deployed to Turkey. After all,
NATO was too busy
We’re excused for allowing a Bubba Clinton “I feel
ya” moment as we consider Ash’s whining. There are so many “we
didn’t have a clue” Pentagon instances he cannot possibly
acknowledge on the record.
For instance, the performance of Russian Kaliber
missiles compared to Tomahawks. Launched by the Caspian Sea fleet,
they flew over 1,500 km before hitting their ISIS/ISIL/Daesh
targets, which implies their maximum range, according to Russian
military sources, is about 1,800 km – much larger than the
Tomahawks. On top of it, each target was hit with only two missiles,
and in very few cases, three. This suggests ultra-high precision and
reliability, considering that the US usually targets command centers
or depots with as many as four missiles.
Russia has also deployed ultra-sophisticated
electronic warfare systems in Syria, such as the Krasukha-4, easily
capable of jamming AWACS and satellites. Ash cannot possibly admit
on the record Russia de facto controls the skies over Syria. Sultan
Erdogan at least was clever enough to understand that his no-fly
zone across the Turkish-Syrian border will never fly.
What’s left is, well, a Vietnam post-modern
more troops. Ash is enthusiastic, as long as the US can
find more “capable” local forces to partner with.
So let’s take a quick look at the “capable” local
ISIS/ISIL/Daesh is active in central Syria
alongside Jaysh al-Fatah, an Islamist coalition with quite a few
members affiliated with Jabhat al-Nusra, a.k.a. al-Qaeda in Syria.
In the Hama frontlines, the fake “Caliphate” and al-Nusra are de
facto allies. Ash cannot possibly find “capable” allies here.
But there’s an enormous back door. Al-Nusra got
into camouflage, changing their gear for Ahrar al-Sham’s, which the
Beltway hails as “moderate rebels.” Ahrar al-Sham is in fact a
branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, fully supported by Turkey.
So no wonder everyone wants to join the “moderate
rebel” bandwagon, hoping to be showered with made in USA anti-tank
TOW missiles. That includes outfits such as the brigade Tawhid Al
Asimah in Damascus, the brigade Wa Atasimu also in Damascus, the Abu
Amarah batallion in Aleppo, the brigade martyr Ahmad Al-Omar, and
the Binaa Umma movement active in Deraa and Quneitra. Working with
this lot may be Ash’s opening. But that implies sending fresh
American troops all over Syria.
And now, the 50 immortals
But first the Special Forces deployed to northern
Syria — Obama’s 50 immortals — need to fulfill their mission. Say
one name: Kuweyres. Everything depends on what happens in Kuweyres,
a military airbase.
Here are the facts on the ground. The SAA, at
least for now, has secured its all-important supply route to Aleppo.
What they’re aiming for next – supported by Russian air strikes – is
much more complicated; cut off for good the resupply routes from
Turkey for the gaggle of Salafi-jihadis/”moderate rebels.”
Arguably the only local “capable” force for this
mission is the Syrian Kurd YPG. But to solidify their position, the
YPG need to build a strong link between Kobani and the Kurdish
enclave of Afrin.
And guess why they can’t do it; because the
Pentagon is telling them to strike south instead, towards Raqqa,
ISIS/ISIL/Daesh “capital.” And Turkish intelligence – which controls
the resupply corridor – warned the YPG they will be bombed to
oblivion if they try to expand their northern Syria base.
So the YPG needs protection to keep moving. It
won’t come from Ash’s people. And the Russians are far away, with no
boots on the northern Syrian ground.
The SAA though is only a few kilometers away from
Kuweyres. It will be a nasty battle. But if they capture the
military air base, they get the perfect hub for Russian and Syrian
jets to protect the YPG as they close the gap between Kobani and
The Pentagon well knows the Russians have made a
deal with the Syrian Kurds; the SAA, with as much Russian support as
possible, takes Kuweyres; the YPG advances towards Afrin; and the
Russians keep the Turks in check. Without this chain of crucial
events, it will be virtually impossible for the “4+1” – Russia,
Syria, Iran, Iraq, plus Hezbollah – to cut off the Turkish-enabled
resupply corridor for the myriad Salafi-jihadi/”moderate rebel”
And here’s where Obama’s 50 immortals come in.
They have been sent to the YPG command to “assist” them in not
fulfilling the deal. What else is new? It makes more sense for Ash’s
boys to work side-by-side with Ayman al-Zawahiri’s goons. The
Pentagon and al-CIAaeda; what could possibly go wrong? Gotta keep
the global war on terror (GWOT) as much an endless war (remember
Rumsfeld?) as possible. Now that’s a good reason to stop whining.
The opinions expressed in this column are the
author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the view of Asia Times.
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