The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Guardian Pushes for Western Countries Involvement in Invasion of Syria

So, Michael Clarke in the Guardian writes that the Saudi Arabian threat to invade Syria isn’t credible (it isn’t, if acting alone, but Saudi Arabia claims Turkey is onside, and Turkey is a credible threat.)

He then goes on as follows:

Militarily, the Saudi threat issued at Munich has to be made credible. If a ceasefire does not materialise soon, the Russians, Iranians and Assad himself have no incentives to quit while they are ahead. Only the possibility of Arab ground forces, from Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the UAE, heavily backed by western logistics and intelligence, air power and technical specialists, could force Assad and his backers to make a strategic choice in favour of cessation. Only the US could make that work for the Saudis and others – and only Britain could bring along other significant European allies.

So, he wants America involved in this invasion in a big, visible way, along with Europe.

The sheer crazy here is awe-inspiring. Clarke believes that a “vengeful Assad” would be a huge problem for the West if he reconstitutes Syria.

Big enough to risk nuclear war?


It’s a small country, destroyed by war, run by a pragmatist. I suppose it is possible Assad could sponsor terrorism, but he’s unlikely to risk anything truly large that would entail risking his own life in retaliation, nor could he expect Russia to defend him if he was truly sponsoring terrorism.

There is nothing in Syria, and never was, that was worth a war there, at least not for the West. Destabilizing Syria has caused nothing but headaches for the West, including the current refugee crisis, which is likely to seen, historically, as one of the causes of the EU either breaking up or becoming a largely toothless and ceremonial organization.  (The main cause will be that the EU cripples its own members economically.)

(I am fundraising to determine how much I’ll write this year.  If you value my writing, and want more of it, please consider donating.)

I am shocked at the level of political thinking which the Guardian considers worth publishing. Truly shocked, not just rhetorically. Insane NeoCon warmongering is one thing when you’re dealing with countries like Iraq and Libya, it is another when you are dealing with a country where one of the world’s great nuclear powers is currently fighting.

Stupidity like this could get a lot of people very dead, and not just Middle Eastern people the West doesn’t care about.

Nothing in Syria is worth risking a war with Russia over. Nothing.




Saudi Arabia & Turkey to Invade Syria?


What Can Rich Countries Afford?


  1. filegumbo

    The Guardian has been pushing a neoconservative foreign policy for years. They are HORRIBLE. They push war and they push white first world feminism. That’s all they seem to publish anymore.

  2. EmilianoZ

    One possibility is that the western powers are trying to create a new Afghanistan for Russia. They probably already have a new Yeltsin waiting in case the current regime collapses. It probably wont work this time. Putin is as smart as a taiga fox. If push comes to shove, he will probably cut his losses, abandon Assad and seal his Caucasus border.

    None of the western powers have any vital interest in Syria. The exception is Israel.

    Concerning the US elections: as Chris Hedges has noted, the Bern is as pro-Israel as anyone in Congress. He probably wont offer anything different from Hillary. There seems to be some weird genuine strongman to strongman respect between Trump and Putin. If he offers peace with Russia, Trump may remain the only sane choice. However, fascists usually love wars. There nothing like a good old war to unite a country in a frenzy of jingoism. Trump may offer peace to get power, then wage war to keep it.

    2010s are the new 1930s.

  3. sumiDreamer

    I have a specific hashtag for #WarFever. Yes, they ARE bad. Expect more bad.

    This link is for a good critique of how they mean to “accomplish” the cessation:

    Hard to believe, but we have a proxy cessation of hostilities going.

  4. Erich

    The House of Saud is going to challenge Russia and make a legitimate military target out of its oil fields. Sure thing.

  5. bob mcmanus

    a) I thought the prize was the proposed gas pipelines up from the gulf through Syria and Turkey to Europe. The point here is not only the money, but freeing Europe from Russian sources.

    b) They think Russia will cave. What was the point of bringing Eastern Europe, Turkey and maybe Ukraine into NATO except to stress and intimidate Russia? It’s been about brinkmanship with Russia for a long long time. They think the risks are low, and the rewards very high. I don’t know for sure they are wrong.

    c) And it is about the money. There are hundreds of players who think they can make a billion and retire to London or Latin America or Dubai. Over the last few decades they have done very well.

  6. Tom

    FSA Forces in Azaz Corridor are falling back to Azaz under Turkish Artillery Cover while they fight against both IS and YPG. Ironically these FSA Members are backed by the CIA.

    SAA/Hezbollah/RuAF/IRGC/Shia Militia Forces are now moving to close the ring on Aleppo City itself.,_Iraqi,_and_Lebanese_insurgencies_detailed_map

  7. different clue

    One can only hope that the R + 6 are able to get every trace of rebellion exterminated throughout Syria ( by physically and in detail exterminating every rebel and rebel supporter throughout Syria) before the US and its allies in the Global Axis of Jihad can destroy legitimate government and lawful authority in Syria and turn the wreckage into a cannibal liver-eater Sunni jihadi Islamic Emirate.

  8. VietnamVet

    This is the most dangerous crisis since WWII.
    The Guardian and the western media are solidly behind the Saudi Israel alliance of convenience. After their defeat in 2006, Israel is intent on attriting Hezbollah. Saudi Arabia cut the Shiite Crescent to their north by financing the founding of the Islamic State. They will pay their mercenaries to keep it severed. Turkey can’t turn its back on fellow Turkmen plus it is the chance to kill Kurds and the money assures that it will join the three pronged attack on Syria. No doubt they will perceive that Washington DC has green lighted the invasion if not told to stand down. Russia full well realizes what is going on in Ukraine and Syria and will not back down. The US military also understands this. However, the Secretary of Defense, Ashton Carter, walks and quacks like a neo-conservative who are intent on destabilizing Russia at risk of a nuclear war. The mini world war in Syria is about to get much larger and hotter.

  9. markfromireland


    Michael Clarke is the director of the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies or to put it another way he’s a very good belwether for what the more militant faction of the British defense establishment is thinking. Please note that I said “British defense establishment” that’s the MOD planning and policy establishment, certain parts of their Foreign Office, and assorted academics mostly associated with St. Anthony’s. The thinking within the British officer corps who are all too aware of how thinly stretched British military capacity now is is rather different.

    I think this was Clarke engaging in what he’s paid to do – kite flying*. I don’t see this particular kite as remaining airborne for very long.


    *Or to use an Americanism he’s running it up the pole to see who’ll salute.

  10. markfromireland

    Interestingly enough there’s a similar push on in The Daily Telegraph – known the length and breadth of the UK as “The Torygraph” by Hamish de Bretton-Gordon a former army CBRN specialist who turned mercenary oops I mean contractor:

    Hamish de Bretton-Gordon is Chief Operating Office of SecureBio Ltd a commercial company offering CBRN Resilience, consultancy and deployable capabilities. Hamish set up SecureBio in 2011 after 23 years’ service in the British Army. SecureBio have an impressive list of blue chip clients globally and look after 90% of the World’s media operating in Syria from a CBRN resilience perspective. They are also response consultants for the CATLIN CBRN Insurance policy and run the unique Biological Immediate Action Service to mitigate biological threats and hoaxes. Hamish is helping and advising civilians in Syria on Chemical weapons matters on behalf of a number of NGOs and has deployed to the Region a number of times since the current conflict began.


    The article which can be found here: is entitled “Vladimir Putin is dancing around us with ease – we must send troops into Syria”

    The strapline gives the game away immediately:

    Only Nato ground forces can take the fight to Isil while preventing the Russians from acquiring dominance over the Middle East

    Then there’s this:

    It is pretty clear that Putin has wrestled the initiative from the West and is calling all the shots. On the ground he would now appear to be strengthening the Syrian Army with Russian troops and expertise which he should be made to bring to bear now on Isil and not the moderate opposition. However, it is equally clear that unless the international coalition and especially Nato, including the UK, also get involved, the Russian solution will pervade across Syria and Iraq, and Pun’s influence in the Middle East, hitherto the preserve of the US and its Allies, will be dominant.

    Oh but wait there’s more let’s not forget the humanitarian figleaf:

    I am a veteran of 23 years in the British Army, including the Gulf Wars – the first of which I was heavily engaged in exactly 25 years ago as a tank commander. So, having said all this, I am equally determined that if we are to become decisively engaged on the ground now we must not repeat the mistakes of those wars. We must have huge amounts of humanitarian aid ready, just behind the front line, to flow directly and immediately into those areas liberated from Isil for the innocent civilians who have suffered so much. Only then will British “boots on the ground” be worth it

    Hamish de Bretton-Gordon is a former Army officer and chemical weapons expert advising Syrian NGOs

    Nor is is this the first time that de Bretton-Gordon has advocated that Britain under the aegis of NATO take part in an invasion of Syria see: How to defeat Islamic State – and yes, it may mean British boots on the ground – Telegraph

    Now what’s interesting about these two articles is not their predictable content but the comments which are pretty much universally hostile to The Telegraph’s warmongering, the same is true of similar articles in The Daily Mail whose readership like that of The Telegraph is the epitomy of Conservative Party support. There’s a sea-change underway in UK politics that’s been underway for quite some time – the Conservative (Large ‘C’) establishment can no longer rely on the support of the (small ‘C’) conservative voter and organiser and increasingly has to contend with their opposition.

  11. I sometimes think that the Syrian situation could have been simplified and possibly even solved, if, round about four years ago the West had said to Russia,
    “What ever happens you can keep your naval base at Tartus, turn it into your version of Guantanamo Bay (minus the detention facility) if needs be.”
    Because I am reasonably convinced that that is Russia’s prime motivation for involvement in the conflict.

  12. ffb

    Because I am reasonably convinced that that is Russia’s prime motivation for involvement in the conflict.

    And underneath all the song-and-dance, “the West’s” (i.e. the U.S.’s) prime motivation as well, which is exactly why no such offer was ever made.

  13. ffb

    ^^^ Oops, the first line of the above post was a quote from johnm55, sorry.

  14. DMC

    There’s nothing in Ukraine worth starting WWIII over either, yet we came perilously close. Sitting in Prague when the whole thing went down made me wonder if Obama was as much an impovement over Bush2 as we’d been led to believe.

  15. markfromireland

    @ johnm55 February 16, 2016

    No, Tartus is a side-show it’s not all that important even tactically. What’s important is that Syria remain as part of a cordon sanitaire for Central Asia and also as a conveniently distant place to kill off the new generation of Chechen jihadis.

  16. Peltast

    The Grauniad is another Zionist-American mouthpiece for the Empire.

  17. Lisa

    Again we see the dominance of the neo-cons, with others being mere foot draggers that, at best, slow them down a bit.

    Within the fantasy world that the neo-cons live in they HAVE to intervene. In their Esher like world the US never loses militarily,

    Their priorities are: Kick out Assad, install a Sunni Jihadist Govt (or multiple regional Govts), give Russia a crushing defeat, clear out/exterminate the Shiites, (especially in Southern Lebanon). Then the final facedown with Iran.
    They have never deviated from that path.

    In their calculations, largely Israeli defined, Sunni extremists are seen as better ‘partners’ than secular or Shiite states. Part (mostly?) of that is because of their OCD over Southern Lebanon, which has always been defined as a part of Greater Israel right from its founding.

    After 3 disastrous attempts at just grabbing it their calculations are to use Sunn extremists to ‘cleanse’ these Shiites there so they can move in. A necessary part is that Syria has to fall to those jihadists first.

    So from their internal ‘logic’ this is all part of a ‘strategy’, where it will all work out swimmingly for them….as if.
    The US neo-cons naturally take the same view and have the same myopia and stupidity, then add more stupidity on top of that.

    Saudi Arabia and Turkey are more direct in their wants. SA wants the ME cleansed of Shiites (and Christians etc). Turkey a chunk (inc oil areas) of Syria and the Kurds cleansed. There are conflicts here in that Israel has serious interests in Iraqi Kurdish areas.

    The US driven by its internal neo-cons, pushed by Israel, Turkey and Saudi Arabia tries to resolve their inevitable contradictions and plays all sides.

    Hence my much earlier term, the “Coalition of the Terminally Insane’ (CoTI).

    Up until not long ago they were happy (and papering over their differences) because they thought they were winning, Damascus was going to fall by Oct last year with the flags on AN & IS flying over the city. A ‘no fly’ one was within weeks of being declared to aid that.

    Then Russia intervened and it all turned to custard. What is clear (and never gets discussed) that the decisive difference is Russian military leadership taking over command of all the forces. That plus typical Russian mastery of CAS turned the tide totally.

    Now the US neo-cons want to hammer the Russians as well (as they always have wanted) and see, on top of their other ‘wet dreams’, a chance to do that.

    Putin’s calculations will include the simple fact that he knows a showdown with the US is inevitable and that it is better to have it over there, than close to Moscow, they are surely fed up with that situation. If it goes (as it surely would) tactical nuclear, then the hope is that it is such a political shock it stops going strategic.

    I am sure the Russian military have war gamed out all possibilities…before.. they went into Syria and included that strong possibility. The large number of both conventional and nuclear exercises they undertook before they intervened in Syria is a very good indication of that.

    So the US is bumbling into nuclear war, it wants what Israel wants, it wants what Saudi Arabia wants, Turkey is seen as a useful enabler of that (and also a pain because of the Kurdish thing) and a crushing defeat of the Russians has always been a dream.

    Russia has its back to the wall, has used its time effectively when the US was distracted in Iraq and Afghanistan to rebuild its military and alliances. It knows a showdown is inevitable, it knows it will probably go nuclear and it is trying to keep that limited to a tactical level … ‘over there’, well away from Moscow.

    In the end the only real masters of ‘grand strategy’ are AQ, who long for this and the destruction of the Middle East, Israel, EU, US and Russia is their ‘wet dream’. Bin Ladin would be proud.

    Isn’t Armageddon supposed to be in Syria after all?

  18. Lisa

    Note how truely terminally insane the CoTI really are. After tge false flag sarin gas attack and the US was about 48 hours from attacking Syria Russa pulled offf a face saving compromise, with the Syruan Govt agrreing to get rid of ts extensive gas weapons.

    Now Russa did that for 2 reasons. first to head off a US attack but, beng sensible, to make sure that if the Jihadists actually won then they woud not get ther hands on them.

    Dd anyone in the US, EU, Isarel SA, etc thnk of that? Nope….

    The beyond terminal stupidity of Isarel happy to have their border with a bunch of Jihadist nut jobs…with all the Syrian arms available, including lots and lots of missles and..if it had happened .. chemical weapons. They coudn’t stop the comparitively meager missles attacks by hexbollah in 2006…. And if they believed that they great strategc partner Saudi Arabia coud control them…then they were in for a very rude surprise.

    So the stupid lead the stupid,. Israel displayng an IQ comparable to my shoe size, the neo-cons pushing those strategies in the US and adding further layers of below shoe size ideas, the less said about Turkey and SA the better, I have had pot plants that were smarter.

    You have to realise how really stupid they all are. They were at the forefront of saying the US, because of shale oi and gas, was gong to be a new Saudi Arabia and replace Russian gas/oil exports to Europe. No less an personage than Condaliza Rice pushed that line along with the usual neo-con mouthpieces …forgetting that at the very peak of the hopelessly uneconomic said shale oil/gas boom, the US was still a massve importer of both.

    They see a PR video by LM on mssile defence systems and in their minds the US has a perfect missile defence system (yes some have just about literally said that). That’s why they are so cavalier about a possble nuclear war wth Russia, their logic is in a cascading series of failure:

    (1) Russia wll back down from a conventional war.
    (2) Russia will lose such a war if it happens.
    (3) Russians will rise up ganst Putin and install a US friendly Govt.
    (4) Russa will back down when the US goes tactical nuclear (after the US loses said conventional war).
    (5) Only Russia and Europe will be affected by tactical nukes.
    (6) US AMD sustems will stop stategic nukes
    (7) Only unimportant US cities (etc) will be lost (ie everything but New York and Washington).
    (8) Oh shit…..

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