sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Al Qaeda, Iran and Syria (Part Two)

ISIS in Syria and Iraq

In a meeting in Tehran last week with the speaker of the Syrian Parliament, Iranian President Rouhani said, "The Iranian nation and government will remain at the side of the Syrian nation and government until the end of the road," according to the state news agency IRNA. "Tehran has not forgotten its moral obligations to Syria and will continue to provide help and support on its own terms to the government and nation of Syria."

Rouhani was playing to the gallery, speaking for effect. Assurances of steadfast support almost always mean that a crisis is occurring and that the situation is deteriorating.

Latest reports suggest that Iran has sent 15,000 troops to Damascus to take on ISIS.

Military setbacks in Syria confront Iran with a strategic challenge about the nature, extent and duration of its support. These considerations should factor in all of the US negotiations involving Iran. Iran’s Syrian proxy is losing and Iran is willing to try to save it. Iran didn't send front line troops. They are needed at home to keep things under wraps. 

A living systems analysis makes clear that the Syrian government is losing ground because the Syrian opposition has received so much new financial and military aid that the security situation now favors the opposition (Al Qaeda). Living systems thrive on new inputs of information, matter and energy. The Syrian opposition was the recent beneficiary of all three until Iran doubled down.

The military formula for instability had been favoring the Syrian government, following the introduction of Lebanese Hizballah forces into Syria two years ago. This year Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey have matched trumped the Shiite coalition until last week. Will the Saudi coalition send troops of their own (not Saudis, they don't fight - paid hirelings)? Survival of a pro-Iranian government in Damascus now depends on the Shiite coalition matching the Sunnis.

It is not clear that the Syrian forces have the capabilities to defend the Alawite homeland in northwestern Syria, much less Damascus and the main line of communications to Syria’s Mediterranean Sea ports. Without a significant commitment of fresh fighters and possibly more than the 15,000 sent by Iran, Syria must lose the war of attrition which the civil war has now become.

Does that mean that Syria will become an Al Qaeda State?  Yes, it appears to be the case, with an ongoing civil war then moving from Sunni (Saudi backed) Al Qaeda vs. Shiite (Iran backed) to Al Qaeda vs ISIS (Iraqi indigenous Sunni)

I hear a lot about how we need to defeat ISIS. I think that the US needs a coherent plan in the Middle East but the disastrous Obama Presidency (and Clinton foreign policy blunders, underscored by corruption and greed) with going on eight years of continual bungling, have made that exceptionally difficult to formulate.

For the US, siding with Saudi Arabia means siding with Al Qaeda and terrorism. Siding with ISIS means siding with Iraqi terrorists. Siding with a Nuclear Iran and their support of worldwide terror is insanity. Israel is trying to keep its head above water while Obama kicks it, but it's the one of the few non-terror states (along with Jordan and a few smaller state actors) on that part of the planet. We need to help the Israelis to the extent that they need help.

I think that for now, the US needs to stand on the sidelines, protecting our Israeli allies and see how the falling dominoes that President Obama and Secretary Clinton set in motion, fall.

Meanwhile in the vacuum, other alliances are forming that create interesting implications outside of Washington's sphere of influence. (Read More Here)

Al Qaeda, Iran and Syria (Part One)

In an interview published last week by Al Jazeera, the leader of Al Qaeda's affiliate in Syria, the al-Nusra Front said the Front received directions from Al Qaida leader Zawahiri to concentrate on Syria and to conduct no attacks outside Syria that might risk the Syria campaign.

The al-Nusra Front is focused on capturing Damascus and toppling President Bashar al-Assad. 
Al-Julani (Al Qaeda spokesman) said, "We are only here to accomplish one mission: to fight the regime and its agents on the ground, including Hizballah and others. He said, "Al-Nusra Front doesn't have any plans or directives to target the West. We received clear orders not to use Syria as a launching pad to attack the US or Europe in order to not sabotage the true mission against the regime. Maybe al-Qaida does that, but not here in Syria."
President Obama laid down several red lines in Syria, which everyone including the Russians, the Syrians, the Iraqi Caliphate and even the Americans ignored. "At this point what difference does it make?"

There are some interesting things going on and I wanted to point them out to you on this blog in case you're following events in the Middle East. Al-Julani’s remarks are clearly propaganda, but they appear to be more than that. 

1. They distinguish the al-Nusra Front (Al Qaeda) from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) by stating clearly the Front’s mission as confined to Syria. 
The official position of the Front is that it is not an ally of or fighting for the so-called Islamic State. The Front’s fighters have cooperated tactically with ISIL on occasion and been attacked by ISIL on others. Al-Julani's statements do not rule out cooperation with ISIL when operational objectives support the Front’s mission. It also does not rule out self-defense measures against air or other attacks.
2. The statements send a reassurance message to Europe and the US. That message is distinctly different from the threats that ISIL sends.

3. The al-Nusra Front publicly has promised to protect Syrian minorities if they renounce allegiance to the Ba’athist government. Christians would be taxed under Sharia and Alawites must renounce their religion. ISIL has never made such promises.

4. Al-Julani also denied that the al-Nusra Front contained a group known as the “Khorasan Group” that planned to attack targets in the US.

What does it mean?

Al Qaeda is reaching out to the West (and particularly to the US) to make a deal.

Saudi King Salman has begun working with the Turks and Qataris to fund, develop and support a new Syrian opposition coalition since March. Al Nusra might be pandering to join. If so, al-Julani said the right things to attract interest. If Al Nusra Front is already a member, al-Julani’s statements establish a basis for halting air attacks against Front positions and, possibly, for other forms of indirect cooperation.

Will President Obama take the bait and join forces with Al Qaeda?

If he does, he must first characterize it as having found "Syrian allies" worthy of our support. There will be no mention of Al Qaeda, which might sound like a bad deal to Americans. The name  Al Nusra Front will be substituted, even though you know it's the same players.

Everyone knows that Barack Obama is desperate to have some positive thing to say about the eight years that he spent in the White House besides lowering his golf handicap. He tried to make a deal with Iran but that didn't work. Why not try Al Qaeda? Does it sound outlandish? Given Obama's record does it sound unlikely?

Some have a different take on it that is just as disturbing. Read about it here.

What is Hillary Clinton's take on all of this - she who would be queen? None of us know and we're not likely to know until after the coronation. As with Nancy Pelosi, cackling like a witch over a cauldron, she said that we had to pass Obamacare to know what's in it. Hillary has the same take on her potential election to president.

Part two of this mini-series goes live this blog later today at noon.