Thursday, October 1, 2015

Brief Note: Russia in Syria

Michael L.

briefnotesI do not have much to say at the moment on this story, but we're all keeping a wary eye on it, that much is certain.

My suspicion is that no one, really, knows quite what to make of this story, yet.  I received an email from an old college buddy of mine in which he brought up the possibility of World War III.

Were Harry Truman, or even JFK, president he might have a point, but I do not believe that Barack Obama has the stomach to stand up to Vladimir Putin.

The entire Middle East is unstable due to the so-called "Arab Spring" which was actually, in fact, the latest violent, spasmodic resurgence of political Islam, and all that entails, including the various head choppings, crucifixions, the igniting of people in cages, and the burying of Yazidis alive in mass graves.

I refer to this as a resurgence because, obviously, none of this is new.  1979 in Iran was a turning point enabled by President Jimmy Carter, but contemporary political Islam has been an ongoing project since the 1920s with the emergence of the Muslim Brotherhood and its primary racist and authoritarian theoreticians such as Sayyid Qutb and Hassan al-Banna.

The Arab Spring and the Middle East shake-up - along with the steady US withdrawal from international significance - is exceedingly important because it created the power vacuum necessary for the emergence of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and the potential for Putin's Russia to insert its influence into the region.

My suspicion is that the United States under this president will simply stand down.

Given the current US lack of strategic foreign policy vision, maybe it is not such a bad idea.

I only want the United States to stand up if there is a sense that the US government knows what it's doing.

I do not get that sense.


  1. Putin's goal is to keep Assad in power of whatever revenant of Syria he can hold on to. Whether that includes squashing ISIS in Syria or not is not entirely relevant. Push Hezbollah back into Lebanon and induce the Iranians to hack and burn their way into the Sunni held regions of Caucuses.

  2. Good article from Kyle Orton and James Snell:

  3. Things are frequently more complicated than they seem. Assad and the Muslim Brotherhood are mortal enemies. Assad, and his father, have gone after them with murderous fervor. Putin has to distract the Russians from the imminent collapse of the Russian economy By the way, Russia has the American Right's dream, wealth inequality on a scale they can only fantasize aboutf. Furthermore, Syria has long been a Russian client state. Finally, the Russians real worry is Chechnya. That ISIS terrorists come from, and may go to, Chechnya is far more likely than that they come to America.

  4. Iranian troops present in Syria.

    The (London) Telegraph is also covering this.

  5. The Iranian Army is nearly worthless. They couldn't even beat Saddam Hussein. Maybe they'll send a million unarmed teenagers into battle, again. One can hope.

    1. Wait a second, you're rooting for a million dead teenagers? I have no use for the Iranian thuggish theocracy, but that's the government. And by the way, most Iranian kids aren't interested in a theocracy. But even if they were, to root for a million dead kids is offensive and contrary to my Jewish teaching.

    2. Their society, their culture, their problem to sort out.

  6. "Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner claimed Monday afternoon at the United Nations General Assembly in New York City that in 2010, the Obama administration tried to convince the Argentinians "to provide the Islamic Republic of Iran with nuclear fuel," reported Mediaite."