On Wed of this week AlertsUSA subscribers were notified via SMS messages to their mobile devices regarding the launch of Russian combat sorties in Syria. Operating out of a base established over the last several weeks near the coastal city of Latakia about 50 miles south of the Turkish border, Russian fighters have been pounding positions held by the U.S. backed fighters attempting to collapse the government Syrian President Bashir Assad.
According to Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, “The main task is to fight terrorism and to support the legitimate government of Syria in the fight against terrorism and extremism.” This is the first time Russia has deployed combat forces to the Middle East in over three decades and was reportedly done so at the specific request of the Syrian President.
It is being reported that only one hour before the air strikes began, a 3-star Russian General entered the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad where he informed the military attaché of Russia's intent to launch combat operations and, actually using the word "please," warned of the need for U.S. forces to clear Syrian airspace. It is reported that U.S. officials said they would not alter their plans. Since Wednesday, the tempo of Russian sorties has increased, with those attacks initially focused on U.S.-backed ground forces presenting the gravest threat to Assad regime territory. Russia is also building additional bases and housing for thousands of troops.
ENTER THE IRANIANS
Additionally, Reuters is reporting that hundreds of Iranian troops have arrived in Syria and will soon join government forces and Lebanese Hezbollah in a major ground offensive backed by Russian air strikes.
This is an extremely dangerous situation brewing with U.S. and Russian aircraft operating in the same airspace. Late this week there are also reports that the Obama Administration is now considering options for using force to protect U.S. backed rebel groups coming under Russian attack.
DON'T FORGET WHY WE ARE THERE
It must be remembered that U.S. involvement in Syria did not begin with the rise of the Islamic State. The Obama Administration has us involved in the conflict because of a desire to collapse the government of Bashir Assad. If you think back to 2013, AlertsUSA Threat Journal regularly reported on a buildup of thousands of U.S. ground troops as well as fighter aircraft in Jordan and Turkey (see this and this), preparing for an invasion following questionable accusations from the Obama Administration about Syria's use of chemical weapons. You may also recall the concurrent buildup of more than a dozen Russian and Chinese warships in the Eastern Mediterranean, with both countries directly threatening military action against Western nations attempting to become involved in the Syrian conflict.
This led to President Obama backing down at the last minute, the diplomatic effort leading to the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons, followed by more than two years of convoluted Obama Administration policies spending billions backing different, supposedly moderate, rebel groups in an attempt to bring down the Assad government. Several of these groups, in turn, bailed out and headed to Iraq to join what has now become the Islamic State, or to become allied with al Qaeda.
IT'S ALL ABOUT PIPELINES (AND THE BENJAMIN$)
AlertsUSA asks readers to consider a few realities about the Syrian conflict. Truth be told, USGOV interests in Syria have very little to do with the use of chemical weapons, heartstring-pulling news stories of dead babies or an evil dictator wiping out his own people. Prior to the claims of chemical weapons use, their two year long civil war had already claimed the lives of more than 150,000, left tens of thousands injured and more than two million people displaced. Are we really expected to believe that the use of chemical weapons, instead of bullets and bombs, are the real reason for our involvement even after prosecuting two full blown wars?
Hardly. There is far more in play.
As previously reported by AlertsUSA, major new oil and gas pipelines are to be constructed in Syria. The resulting trillions of dollars in energy revenues and the pockets into which those revenues flow, will be decided by the outcome of the Syrian conflict. It will either be the U.S. and it's allies, or Russia, their state run gas company Gazprom and their allies. In this light, it should be no surprise why the Arab Gulf states have offered to fund a U.S. military campaign in Syria.
We can add to this the massive natural gas fields discovered the coast of Israel since 2009. Historically an importer of oil and gas, Israel will soon become an energy exporter and a major player in the world oil and gas market.
And so here we are. Russia and Iran are making good on their commitment of support for the Syrian government. There are also reports that Chinese military personnel and aerial assets are scheduled to arrive in Syria the coming weeks. Their efforts are not only in support of the Assad regime (thus directly opposing U.S. efforts), but also out of their own security interests as both Russia and China have sizeable Muslim populations. Like the U.S., there is no desire to have the recently minted jihadists returning home to stir up trouble.
The dangers in this conflict have dramatically increased in the last week. Be prepared. The mixture of personal arrogance and legacy, radical Islam and strategic control of dwindling global energy supplies representing trillions in future revenues makes the Middle East a highly charged flash point.
AlertsUSA continues to monitor ongoing developments in this region and will immediately notify service subscribers of changes in the overall threat picture as events warrant.