How Iran and the US Intersect in “Syraq”

A cliffhanger debate will take place this Wednesday at the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Picture Secretary of State John Kerry, new Pentagon supremo Ashton Carter, and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey all testifying in the same room.

The meat of the matter: the House of Cards, sorry, US Congress mulling over what’s the real deal behind the Obama administration’s proposal to use “military force” in Syria, and whether to impose a no-fly zone to protect Syrian “rebels”.

Obama actually has a “special presidential envoy” for the Orwellian-style Global Coalition to Counter ISIL; he’s retired Marine Gen. John Allen.

Allen swears the US “will protect” Syrian “rebels” trained and weaponized by Washington; and he’s all in favor of a no-fly zone over northern Syria.

The envoy is essentially parroting ‘His Master’s Voice’, whose self-described “Don’t Do Stupid Shit” administration is confident the draft authorization to use military force in Syria will survive scrutiny at the House of Cards, sorry, US Congress.

The no-fly zone is exactly what the government of the Sultan of Constantinople, sorry, Turkey President Tayyip Erdogan, has advocated since forever. ‘Sultan’ Erdogan’s master plan is to solidify a base for the weaponized Syrian opposition to fight not only ISIS/ISIL/Daesh but most of all the Syrian Armed Forces under Bashar al-Assad.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has been on the record insisting Syrian “rebels” should do exactly that. But Ankara, we have a problem.

The Pentagon is now spinning, via spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby, that “the Syria component of this campaign is an anti-[IS] component. That’s the focus, not about the Assad regime. Nothing has changed about … the policy that there’s not going to be a US military solution to Assad.”

So either this is a disinformation charade, or Erdogan is living in La-La Land. In fact, this may be yet another case of good cop, bad cop.

And staying in the bad cop department, nothing equals “our” bastards from the Persian Gulf monarchies.

Qatar intel operatives have met none other than the leader of Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria, Abu Mohamad al-Golani, with the proverbial offer he can’t refuse; you dump your direct link to al-Qaeda, and we shower you with a tsunami of cash.

It doesn’t matter that al-Nusra is considered an evil terrorist organization by the US State Dept. Qatar, after all, never wavered from its “Assad must go” obsession, unlike the Obama administration. So the end once again justifies the means.

Meanwhile, the ‘Empire of Chaos’ keeps alive the ambivalent cover story of a Global Coalition fighting ISIS/ISIL/Daesh, with the hidden agenda of weakening Assad on the backburner.

In Syria, its Iranian military advisers who are coordinating the Syrian Arab Army with experienced Hezbollah fighters and Shi’ite militias from Iraq.

As there is no “moderate Syrian opposition” anymore – everyone migrated to the fake Caliphate – the ‘Empire of Chaos’s’ not so hidden agenda under the “authorization to use military force” would be to keep a bunch of CIA-screened weaponized “rebels” just to maintain pressure over Damascus. By now it’s plain obvious that it’s not the ‘Empire of Chaos’ but the alliance of the Syrian Arab Army, Hezbollah fighters and Iran-supervised Shi’ite militias that will prevail over the fake Caliphate.

That Iranian rock star

Something similar is happening in the Iraqi theater. Iraqi Defense Minister Khaled al-Obeidi swears Baghdad is quite “comfortable” with the help it’s getting from Tehran to really fight ISIS/ISIL/Daesh on the ground.

And that brings us to the real meat of the matter – the complex interlocking ballet between Washington and Tehran in “Syraq”. The power that is actually corralling and subduing the fake Caliphate on the ground in Iraq is not the hyper-power, but Iran, which is offering tactical, strategic and air support to Baghdad.

As the US-trained Iraqi army is a mess, the ones doing the heavy lifting are militias. There are at least 100,000 Iraqi militia fighters fully mobilized by powerful Shi’ite clerics to advance a counter-jihad against the fake Caliphate, which brands Shi’ites as apostates whose only appropriate destiny is six feet under.

Their top commander is none other than a real rock star in Iran, Gen. Qasem Soleimani, the head of the elite Quds Force. Soleimani is all over the place on both Iranian and Iraqi TV. His latest high-profile photo op was in Samarra, actively encouraging both militias and Iraqi troops to fight Caliph Ibrahim’s goons.

Behind Soleimani, we find two essential characters – Hadi al Ameri and Abu Mahdi Mohandes.

Ameri is a former transportation minister under former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki; now he is the head of Iraq’s number one militia, the Badr Brigade.

Mohandes, a former, Iran-exiled member of the opposition to Saddam, is also a former member of Parliament. He’s a sort of right-hand man to Soleimani – and also responsible for overseeing the return of Sunnis to Iraqi cities re-conquered from ISIS/ISIL/Daesh.

So these are the men and forces which are about to take Tikrit, the former privileged lair of the Saddam Hussein clan, only 80 miles north of Baghdad. Once Tikrit is taken, it’s just a shot away towards Mosul, population 1.5 million, which could be liberated by late spring.

The key bottom line: the ‘Empire of Chaos’ is doing absolutely nothing to eradicate ISIS/ISIL/Daesh from Iraq – apart from Gen. Martin Dempsey asking the government in Baghdad to “reconcile” with Sunnis and “explain” its relations with Tehran.

How about explaining that they are actually helping us to get rid of a cancer you allowed to fester, and you just keep talking nonsense?

Full Spectrum Mess

The self-described “Don’t Do Stupid Stuff” Obama administration, with its rambling foreign policy, is driving the real Masters of the Universe who control the current world system absolutely crazy.

No wonder, they have no clue what they really want to achieve in “Syraq”.

The RAND Corporation has tried to make it very clear what the objectives are.

Then the Council on Foreign Relations, indirectly, really lost their marbles. The only way out would be to regiment a bunch of wise men – Henry Kissinger, Brent Scowcroft, Zbigniew Brzezinski, and James Baker – to put the imperial house in order.

Well, that was thoroughly debunked by Andrew Bacevich.

So what’s really going on? The Obama administration’s new National Security Strategy is deliberately vague. It extols the merits of the Global Coalition – in fact the ‘Empire of Chaos’ allied with “our” bastards in the Persian Gulf – to fight ISIS/ISIL/Daesh, sort of; not kill it for good, but let it fester somewhat to perpetually weaken Damascus.

Other factions in Washington though would rather have the fake Caliphate “contained and destroyed” first in Iraq and then in Syria; that assumes Washington covertly supporting Iran’s work.

Pentagon supremo Ashton Carter may be entertaining his own screenplay. He has been hitting Beltway “experts” and Middle East hands such as former US ambassador to Syria and notorious “Assad must go” enabler Robert Ford, who’s now working for – what else – AIPAC. It’s important to remember that AIPAC sees Iran, Syria under Assad and Hezbollah as worse than the black plague, and does not see ISIS/ISIL/Daesh as a threat to Israel.

The Global Coalition meanwhile keeps alive the fiction it is bombing the fake Caliphate into oblivion. But it’s really Iran-coordinated forces which are winning the battle in “Syraq” on the ground.

It’s naïve to imagine that by following this course the ‘Empire of Chaos’ will necessarily de-accelerate the interlocked demonization of Syria, Iran and Russia.

“Assad must go” will never completely vanish from the road map. A real détente with Iran depends on whether a nuclear deal is arrived at this summer – and Obama has been ratcheting up the pressure with demand after demand. The demonization of Russia is bound only to get more vociferous.

What’s quite intriguing is that even star Pentagon generals are burying Rumsfeldian non sequiturs such as the “Revolution in Military Affairs” (RMA), according to which a tech-savvy Pentagon would handily defeat any enemy.

Well, RMA was soundly defeated, on the ground, by Afghans and by Iraqis. And there’s nothing it can do against the “irregulars” of ISIS/ISIL/Daesh. So much for Full Spectrum Dominance when the only disaster you can accomplish is to destroy Libya with a mix of NATO bombs and a bunch of demented jihadis.

Pepe Escobar is the roving correspondent for Asia Times/Hong Kong, an analyst for RT and TomDispatch, and a frequent contributor to websites and radio shows ranging from the US to East Asia.



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