Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Ronald Zonca — The Russian withdrawal: a message for Syria and the multipolar world

… Russian policy has delivered an important message for the emerging multipolar world. Russia is ready to assist States militarily to regain their sovereignty. We are far from Western-style neo-colonial interventions aimed at turning countries into protectorates with puppet governments.
In calling for the withdrawal of the Russian contingent in Syria, Putin has just shown that Russia knows how to use its military power to restore the democratic order in a country, and not turn it into banana republic.

Highlighting the principles of international law which are the basis of its action and the withdrawal of its forces, Russia is sending a strong message.People can count on Russia to help them recover their sovereignty within a framework of international legitimacy.….
Fort Russ
The Russian withdrawal: a message for Syria and the multipolar world
Ronald Zonca
In Boulevard Voltaire, March 16, 2016
Translated from French by Tom Winter

22 comments:

Auburn Parks said...

I am not commenting on the efficacy of Russian military interventions......but this line is hilarious:

"In calling for the withdrawal of the Russian contingent in Syria, Putin has just shown that Russia knows how to use its military power to restore the democratic order in a country, and not turn it into banana republic."

Democratic Order???? You mean King Assad? or his father King Assad? Right but he was voted king.

Banana Republic? Syria is literally a destroyed country, I mean whole cities have been leveled. Syria is looking longingly up at Venezuela at this point. Iraq is in far better shape then Syria.

Random said...

More generally Syria is a mess because of a fundamental issue: the USA and Saudi Arabia have different strategic aims in Syria, yet the USA can’t do without Saudi Arabia and viceversa, so they both go whichever way; plus Israel effectively control USA middle east policy, and their strategic aim is to create a mess.

As to France, the UK and the USA, plus and weathervane journalists or politicians, it all comes down to Suez: a very perceptive argument that I read somewhere is that both the UK establishment and the French elites drew the same lesson from Suez, that the USA would do whatever they wanted without regard to the interests of anybody else, and two diametrically opposed policies: the UK that therefore one has to align to USA policy whatever they do, and France that therefore it is as futile to oppose as to align to USA policy.

The UK choice seems to have bought the UK something but not much: some people say “big help during the Falklands war”, but famously that was only thanks to the DOD, the Department of State was for helping Argentina or staying out of it, and Reagan was tilting for the State side.

IIRC so far 12 countries have committed to bombing some bit of Syrią or another. It would be funny if it weren’t tragic.

Tom Hickey said...

"In calling for the withdrawal of the Russian contingent in Syria, Putin has just shown that Russia knows how to use its military power to restore the democratic order in a country, and not turn it into banana republic."

Democratic Order???? You mean King Assad? or his father King Assad? Right but he was voted king.


Russia has been demanding a solution in Syria based on democratic elections that allow the sitting president to stand for election if he desires. It is arguing against the US propose for an imposed solution one condition of which is Assad being removed from power and the Syrian government not being a party to the negotiation while the Syrian opposition recognized by the US gets a place.

Which sounds more "democratic"?

Moreover, Iraq, Iran and Syria all had elections under their respective leaderships. How free those elections have been in a matter fro debate, but at least they were held as a matter of principal. KSA, the Emirates, and Jordan, all US allies in the region, not so much.

Bob said...

The message is that there is no sense of urgency. Syrians are expendable.

Neil Wilson said...

You have to look at it from the Arabs point of view. They know the the USA favours Israel and therefore has little freedom to act other than in the way Israel wants.

Putin has been very clever here. He is saying there is a another democratically elected leader of a powerful country you can call on to help you out. And then you will get world politics from a Moscow point of view rather than the usual Washington line.

The other powers of the world are getting tired of the US hegemony and are creating an alternative narrative and an alternative infrastructure.

Being British we know all about this. Since we used to have an empire as well.

I've often said that the US is in its Edwardian period. It's really a question of how the US manages its decline.

Ignacio said...

I'm not so sure USA, Israel and S.A. have gotten their way in Syrian. Managed chaos is their strategy and Syrian is a destroyed country, I would say: "mission accomplished" and without deploying boots on the ground.

Seems to be working fine for them, specially for Israel as now they have both major Muslim blocks on each other throat almost at direct conflict (between Iran and S.A.).

Matt Franko said...

I think you guys are over thinking this... the issue wrt Syria is Hezbollah its a terrorist organization which operates with impunity out of Syria/Lebanon on the north border of Israel...

Assad has done effectively nothing about eradicating that organization and time is up...

So they have given up on him and want to partition the former Syria and drive Hezbollah into the Med and eliminate them... using solely Special Operations... good luck.

Bob said...

How difficult will it be to start another civil war in Lebanon?

John said...

Matt: "I think you guys are over thinking this... the issue wrt Syria is Hezbollah its a terrorist organization which operates with impunity out of Syria/Lebanon on the north border of Israel..."

ISIS attacked Lebanon, and Hezbollah replied by smashing their faces in. It depends what your definition of "operating with impunity". The government of Syria didn't object. Hezbollah is not considered a "terrorist" group in Lebanon. In fact it is in government. Even the most ardent enemy of Hezbollah in Lebanon do not think it is "terrorist" and praise it for freeing and protecting the country from Israel's illegal occupation. Hezbollah has never used armed violence outside of Lebanon, the Lebanese-Israeli border and now the Lebanese-Syrian border.

Washington has defined "terrorism" to be Hezbollah's freeing of Lebanon from an illegal occupation. But then again, it was but a few years ago that Nelson Mandela and the ANC were on Washington list of terrorist organizations. The list is just geopolitics and is pretty farcical.

John said...

Neil,

You're exactly right on nearly everything, but this statement isn't quite right:
"You have to look at it from the Arabs point of view. They know the the USA favours Israel and therefore has little freedom to act other than in the way Israel wants."

If you mean the Arab people, then yes. If you mean the Arab dictatorships, then you're wrong. Nearly all are client states, but each one is in real trouble now. The ones that aren't and weren't client states are Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. The Palestinian authority is effectively run by Israel. Libya finally accepted it's role as vassal state only to be overthrown by Islamists on the ground and the British, French and Americans in the air, who pretended they didn't know who they were supporting. Egypt under the Brotherhood did as they were told, but were overthrown anyway by a US-backed military coup. Iraq just will not take orders from Washington, and policy makers don't really know how to manage this problem. Lebanon will probably stay free of the wider problems. Their flawed democracy, which essentially gives the minority Christians power, will probably withstand the Saudi-backed jihadists, and there isn't enough chaos in Lebanon for the jihadis to take advantage of and prosper in.

As for Syria, the Russians have ensured that Assad will stay in power. Washington now has another problem to add to Iraq: allow ISIS to further flourish or accept that Syria and Iraq will become truly independent powers. The issue of ISIS could easily split Europe and the US. However you view it, it's a disaster for US power in the region, and the loony Saudis are getting more and more scared and more and more volatile. The neoconservatives have achieved the impossible: almost destroyed US power.

Matt Franko said...

John what they are after is "state sponsors" of terror... we cant allow a govt to exist that allows international terrorist networks to conspire with impunity within their controlled territory...

They may look at it as a "govt" (now) but if that "govt" allows the launch of missiles from its territory into northern Israel at this point all hell is going to break loose...

iow you are looking at it from their side... I am explaining our side...

The problem is that we are trying to do it "on the cheap" via Special Operations I just dont know how well advised this approach is (ofc based on "out of money!" beliefs within TPTB) ... frankly I dont think it is going to work or at keast it wont work well ... we need a much larger operation in that area...

John said...

Matt: "...what they are after is "state sponsors" of terror... we cant allow a govt to exist that allows international terrorist networks to conspire with impunity within their controlled territory..."

Who are "they"? Do you mean Washington? And who are the "state sponsors of terrorism"? Syria, presumably for aiding Hezbollah and some Palestinian groups? Given this ludicrous definition of terrorism, Syria is certainly a "state sponsor of terrorism". The definition is, as I say, ludicrous. It's geopolitics. Nobody with any sense pays any attention to it.

There is an "international terrorist network" and it's called ISIS. Hezbollah drove them out of Lebanon. Apparently that's bad. Syria is trying to do the same. That too is bad. The only countries who have helped an "international terrorist network", and also happen to be religious lunatics, are unfortunately our own, as has been proven by the top secret DIA document which spelled out how we wish to see a "Salafist" entity formed inside Syria. Apparently, the Assad government has to be violently overthrown by jihadis and turned into a Salafi terrorist state who's only export will be suicide bombers in order to stop Assad's piddling aid to Israel's enemies! If that is what passes for intelligent policy, Washington has gone stark raving bonkers.

Matt: "...we need a much larger operation in that area..."

Two hundred million soldiers should suffice. Iraq was such an enormous success. Well, in a way it was! If the sheeple swallowed those absurd lies, why not try it again with Syria? And it seems to be working: no matter what the evidence about the Western powers and Turkey deliberately creating a Salafi terrorist state inside Syria, Assad is to blame and he needs to go.


Matt Franko said...

"They" is our (US) national security institutions...

I'm not claiming that this policy is being administered/managed very well...

If Trump wins, he is telegraphing that he is going to revisit the entire policy at very basic levels... but I would not interpret that as a surrender in any way shape or form...

eg if he wins, if Iran comes out with one of their "death to America!" statements, its going to be VERY interesting to watch how he would react.... imo he will NOT ignore it... look at how he is currently reacting to Megyn Kelly this week...

If Hillary wins, imo we get more of the last 8 years policy.... Spec Ops, surveillance, drone strikes where opportunities present themselves, etc...

Bob said...

Hillary will be more aggressive than Obama in foreign policy.

John said...

Matt,

You're probably right about Hillary, although I wouldn't be surprised if she's gone full neocon retard.

On Trump, he may well find that the military will refuse to take his orders. Trump's policy of kidnapping and murdering the families of terrorists is the craziest "policy" I have ever heard. Two things are, however, apparent. First, Trump does not mean a thing he says and will say anything to become POTUS. That's worrying enough because nobody knows who or what they're voting for, notwithstanding the qualification that all politicians are liars. Second, and this is utterly terrifying, he means what he says. We can be sure of one thing: the US military will refuse to take orders from someone they believe to be insane. Professional soldiers aren't coldblooded assassins of innocent children and elderly parents; that's the CIA's job. There have already been grumblings about this lunatic "policy". The point is that if Trump ever makes it, he will not have the military's confidence. Which may well turn out to be the best thing for America: eight years of no war!

Matt: "... imo he will NOT ignore it..."

But the military will ignore it, and will make him understand that they will not under any circumstances take such an order and are fully behind the Iran nuclear deal. Given that there was a mutiny amongst the top brass over Iran when Dubya was president, there is zero possibility of the US military obeying an order from Trump, no matter how good a negotiator he believes himself to be. In which case, Trump will not only have destroyed the GOP on his way to the Oval Office, he will have destroyed the foundation stone of democracy: civilian command over the military.

As I've said before, this is a terrible time for Americans: Hillary is clearly unhinged, Cruz is batshit crazy and Trump makes Caligula look like a dignified statesman. Time for Michael Bloomberg to enter the race. A relatively sane "Republican", who's still at heart a Democrat, not obsessed with guns, gays, God and neoconservative permanent war. Trump will lose to Clinton. But Bloomberg would probably beat Clinton.

Tom Hickey said...

Civilian Control of the Military is Over, Welcome to Civilian Subjugation
Posted on March 16, 2016 by Yves Smith

Yves here. This is an extremely important post. It eviscerates the performance of the armed services, not just in terms of evading oversight and accountability to citizens, but in terms of operational competence.

By Gregory D. Foster, a professor at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C., a West Point graduate, and a decorated veteran of the Vietnam War. Originally published at TomDispatch

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2016/03/civilian-control-of-the-military-is-over-welcome-to-civilian-subjugation.html

Bob said...

The issue of ISIS could easily split Europe and the US.

Not with the current leadership in Germany, France and the UK.

John said...

Bob: "Not with the current leadership in Germany, France and the UK."

If ISIS isn't destroyed soon (and it has to be destroyed in Libya too) it'll launch huge strikes on Europe. If France suffers wave after wave of attacks, it'll break away from the US position. Germany would probably follow suit. The UK will, sigh, just do as it's told, although it did disobey orders from Washington last year the Asian development bank, showing a modicum of national sovereignty.

The refugees will keep on coming, causing great stress on the southern European states. Then there are the issues of the far right gaining power and possible widespread attacks on European Muslims. It's a godawful mess. The Syrian, Iraqi, Iranian militaries can do some serious damage to ISIS. Libya may be another matter. There isn't a functioning government and the place has descended into chaos. Given what they'r enow up against in Iraq and Syria, ISIS is thinking of transferring a good deal of their resources there, and making it its new base instead.

Bob said...

John, Europeans will just blame ISIS and Muslims in general. All the US has to do is pretend they are serious about fighting them.
Look how easily Europe was dragged into a renewed Cold War with Russia. They believe everything Washington and the MSM tells them.

Calgacus said...

he will have destroyed the foundation stone of democracy: civilian command over the military.

Military officers in the US (& elsewhere) not only can, but have an obligation to not obey illegal orders. Doesn't happen all that much, but pilots refusing to bomb at the end in Vietnam was an instance. Too bad they don't more often. After Obama murdered Anwar al-Awliki, there was some momentary balking when he ordered the murder of Awliki's son two weeks later. For all his craziness, I am not aware of anything Trump has said or done that approaches this unprecedented criminality of Obama.

Will the Military Obey President Trump’s Orders? explores this. But of course it doesn't make the real point. The USA already does what Trump says & worse. But Trump is a bad boy who must be spanked because he isn't doing it the right way. Form & pretense is what matters, not substance. The generals et al are literary critics - Trump is proposing that he not write his manifestly illegal orders in the right way, and do so openly, explaining, crowing to the public what his orders mean.

Of course if there were a Nuremberg Trial for the US government officials such literary critiques would not matter in the slightest, and President Trump's antics would not hurt, might even help his case, for Obama and Bush would have a harder time making an insanity plea.

John said...

Calgacus: "The generals et al are literary critics..."

Brilliant! I have to add that to my little library of "genius in ten words or less".

Calgacus said...

Glad you liked it. :-)