シリア情勢 75: ずくなしの冷や水

2016年01月26日

シリア情勢 75

RT2016/1/21
ISIS attacks oil infrastructure near Ras Lanuf port in Libya, threatens sequel

Militants affiliated with Islamic State reportedly attacked oil installations and set fire to several crude storage tanks near the port of Ras Lanuf, Libya. Photos posted on social media show huge plumes of black smoke rising from the ground.

The tanks torched on Thursday morning belong to the Harouge Oil Operations company, Reuters reported, citing local industry sources. The militants also targeted a pipeline leading from the Amal oilfield to Es Sider.

A video posted online by one of the fighters threatened further attacks on Libyan ports.

"Today Es Sider port and Ras Lanuf and tomorrow the port of Brega and after the ports of Tobruk, Es Serir, Jallo, and al-Kufra," said Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) fighter Abu Abdelrahman al-Liby, as cited by the news agency.

FARSNEWS2016/01/21
Israel Says It Perfers ISIL to Iran

TEHRAN (FNA)- Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon declared on Tuesday that Tel Aviv prefers the ISIL (ISIS) terrorist group over Iran.

Speaking at the Institute for National Security Studies' (INSS) conference in Tel Aviv, Ya'alon sought to clarify that "Iran is our main enemy, after I heard voices saying different things."

The defense minister was likely referring to comments made by IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot at the conference on Monday, who declared that "there are opportunities in the nuclear agreement with Iran. Hezbollah - that is the most serious threat."

The nuclear agreement signed between the Islamic Republic and world powers, the defense minister said, "pushed back the clock from three months to one year. If Iran feels economically secure, it can breakout and produce a bomb even faster."

Earlier, Education Minister Naftali Bennett, speaking at the same conference, slammed the policies of the government he is a member of.

"All the expensive F-35s will not help in the face of 50 commandos digging the way to Netiv HaAsara," said Bennett. He argued that Israel is reacting to existing realities rather than shaping its own destiny. He further said that Israel must modernize its thinking about defense and not only weapons.

RT2016/01/23
US & Turkey eyeing military operation in Syria against
ISIS if peace talks fail

US Vice President Joe Biden says the US and Turkey are prepared for military solutions in Syria if a political settlement cannot be found. He added that Washington recognizes the Kurdistan Workers’ Party is as much of a threat to Ankara as Islamic State.

"We do know it would better if we can reach a political solution but we are prepared ..., if that's not possible, to have a military solution to this operation and taking out Daesh,” Biden said at a news conference after a meeting with Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, as cited by Reuters.

A US official later clarified that Biden was talking about a military solution to IS, not Syria as a whole.

Biden added that he discussed with Davutoglu how the two allies could try and work together to support Syrian rebel groups who oppose President Bashar Assad. The US vice president backed Ankara in its battle with the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), saying it was as much of a threat to Ankara as Islamic State, and that Turkey must do everything necessary to protect its citizens.

However, the pair disagreed about the status of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) in northern Syria, with Biden saying there is a difference between the PYD and PKK.

“To say that these [groups] are separate, one should be unaware that those [PKK] guns are coming to [Turkey] from Syria,” Davutoglu said, according to Reuters.

Ankara believes the Syrian Kurds are looking to create a corridor along the northern border with Turkey, which would cut off Turkey from sharing a boundary with Syria.

“The PYD is a terrorist organization that cooperates with the Syrian regime. Struggling against Daesh does not grant them legitimacy,” the Turkish prime minister said.

Turkey has carried out attacks on Kurdish forces in northern Syria. In late July, the Kurds said they had been bombed at least four times, with civilians being among the casualties. Ankara maintained its airstrikes were aimed at members of the PKK.

Kurdish fighters have proved to be some of the most effective forces in helping to combat Islamic State in northern Syria, while borders in territories under its control have been sealed to stop the flow of foreign IS militants into Syria.

On Friday, Biden said Turkey’s intimidation of the media, curtailing of internet freedom and accusations of treason made against academics was not setting a good example in the Middle East.

"The more Turkey succeeds, the stronger the message sent to the entire Middle East and parts of the world who are only beginning to grapple with the notion of freedom," Biden mentioned.

"But when the media are intimidated or imprisoned for critical reporting, when internet freedom is curtailed and social media sites like YouTube or Twitter are shut down and more than 1,000 academics are accused of treason simply by signing a petition, that's not the kind of example that needs to be set," he said.

RT2016/01/23
Refugees claim ISIS militants living among them in Germany

Christian refugees from Syria claim they saw a former Islamic State member living in Frankfurt, and that this is not an isolated case. Police investigated but refused to file charges because the alleged terrorist has done nothing criminal in Germany.

On his last visit to the Saarland region of Germany, on the border with France, RT’s Peter Oliver met with a group of Assyrian Christians who had been held hostage by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).
They recalled that while being held in IS captivity, the only thing they prayed for was to be shot instead of being beheaded.

The same community, now living in the city of Saarlouis, say the horrors of that experience have followed them all the way to Germany, after they found out that a man they say had ties to Islamic State is living among them.

A refugee, who only agreed to speak to RT on condition of anonymity, said he is positive the man living in his town is the same member of IS he encountered in Syria.

FARSNEWS2016/1/23
Reports: Several Chinese Wahhabi Extremists Seen among Militant Casualties in Aleppo

TEHRAN (FNA)- Several Wahhabi militants with Chinese nationalities have been killed in Syrian airstrikes on ISIL positions Northeast of Aleppo province, unconfirmed reports said on Saturday.

The militant groups in their social media pages confirmed that at least seven Chinese militants were killed in the Syrian fighter jets' attack on ISIL position near the Northeastern city of al-Bab.

Wahhabi militants from China have been among ISIL and al-Nusra Front ranks in Northern and Eastern Syria for, at least, three years now.

In the meantime, military sources said that the Syrian army's artillery units shelled the militant groups' centers near the Dweir al-Zeitoun village in Aleppo's countryside.

"One of the ISIL members was killed and several others were wounded in a car-bomb blast in the village of Baraqideh in the Northern countryside of Aleppo city," the sources said.

"The Syrian army and the National Defense Forces also stormed the gathering centers of Jeish al-Fatah near Khan Touman Southwest of Aleppo province, inflicting large casualties on the militants," the sources further added.

Also on Friday, the Syrian fighter jets carried out several combat flights over the ISIL strongholds in the Northern and Eastern parts of Aleppo province and hit them hard.

"The Syrian air fleet targeted ISIL's gathering centers near the city of al-Bab in the Northern part of Aleppo province, which inflicted major damage on the militants' vehicles," the army said, adding, "The fighter jets also targeted the ISIL movements and sites in Tadif, Ein al-Hahsh, Aran and Kafr Hamra in the Eastern part of the province, ending in destruction of their military equipment."

A report said earlier today that the danger of the Takfiri terrorist groups, including the ISIL, is no longer limited to Iraq and Syria as reports and statements released by the terrorist group show China is one of the top 20 targets of the Wahhabi terrorists to establish their "Islamic Caliphate".

One of the most famous poems read by the Chinese terrorists reads: China is ours! Arab land is ours! India is ours! Everything belongs to us!

Abu Hamza al-Turkistani, one of active Wahhabi terrorists in Syria justifies the reason for his migration as: "Defeating the Arrogance in Sham (the Levant), and Defeating the blasphemous leaders in China".

The danger of the Wahhabi-Takfiri terrorist groups, including the ISIL, is no longer limited to Iraq and Syria now. Reports on the terrorist group have recently revealed that China is one of the 20 countries that the ISIL plans to target soon to establish and spread its so-called Islamic Caliphate.

Figures show that hundreds of Chinese are among the ranks of the Wahhabi terrorist groups in Syria, including the ISIL, the Al-Nusra Front and Ahrar al-Sham.

This necessitates Beijing to take a more precise and deeper look at the ISL and its imminent danger to China, specially now that the conditions are ripe for the launch of operation of the Wahhabi extremist current in Northwestern China.

RT2016/01/24
Russia, US agree to have 2 rebel delegations at Syria peace talks - reports

Moscow and Washington are close to reaching a compromise on the participants of the Syria peace talks set to start next week. Two separate Syrian opposition delegations are expected to be invited to the negotiations in Geneva, according to media reports.

United Nations-sponsored negotiations between the Syrian government and the opposition have already been postponed over disagreements between the US and Russia, which could not reach agreement on which opposition groups should be represented. The talks are being arranged to try to bring an end to Syria’s five-year civil war.

Washington supports the participation of the Saudi-backed Islamist militia Jaysh al-Islam (Army of Islam) - something Moscow has strongly objected to. Russia insists that political figures it deems more moderate, such as Qadri Jamil, a former Syrian deputy prime minister, and Saleh Muslim, co-head of the Syrian Kurdish group PYD, should join the negotiations, Kommersant daily reported Saturday.

A compromise has allegedly now been reached, however, with Moscow agreeing to the presence of Jaysh al-Islam at the talks. In return, Washington will not object to a separate Syrian opposition delegation being invited, Bloomberg reports, citing three Western and UN diplomats who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The ‘main’ opposition delegation was rubberstamped in the Saudi capital Riyadh in December, and represents opposition groups sponsored by Saudi Arabia and the West.

FARSNEWS2016/1/25
UN Syria Envoy: Direct Talks between Damascus & Opposition to Start January 29

FARSNEWS2016/1/25
TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian army, popular forces (NDF) and Hezbollah fighters liberated an important district Northwest of Kuweires airbase in Aleppo province, an informed source said on Monday.

FARSNEWS2016/1/25
TEHRAN (FNA)- A local terrorist group acknowledged on its social media webpage that it has lost 15 members, including a local top militant, during the Syrian army operation in Sheikh Meskeen in the Northern part of Dara'a province on Monday.

FARSNEWS2016/1/25
Report: ISIL's Foreign Fighters Leaving

TEHRAN (FNA)- Local sources in the city of Mosul in Western Iraq have disclosed that the number of the ISIL militants coming from the western countries has declined, media reports said.

"The ISIL's decision to reduce the salaries of its foreign militants by half has immensely impacted them so much that some of them have left the terrorist group," the Arabic-language al-Sumeria news channel quoted a local source as saying on Monday.

The source reiterated that the decline in the number of the foreign ISIL militants shows that their impetus is money and not Islam.

In a relevant development earlier this month, the Russian Sputnik news agency reported that it will take a little time but the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant is approaching its end.

The ISIL (also known as Daesh) is the bastard child of the US's drive to achieve regime change in Syria, it said.

To that end the US and its allies instigated an armed insurrection against the Syrian government.

Though protests − many of them violent − began in 2011, it was in 2012 − after the Geneva Peace Conference − which the US wrecked by insisting President Assad stand down − that the major fighting began, with a rebel offensive against Syria's two biggest cities: Aleppo and Damascus.

The offensive failed. The Syrian government survived, retaining control of Damascus and half of Aleppo.

Defending these cities and the populated coastal core of Syria however forced the Syrian army to withdraw from large areas of Syrian territory, most of them desert.

In 2013 the military balance shifted back to the Syrian government.

The US response was to try to use a chemical attack on the Damascus suburb of Ghouta as a pretext to bomb Syria. When that failed because of strong opposition from Russia and US public opinion it stepped up support for the insurgency.

Weapons, money and fighters poured in, and over the course of 2014 the military balance shifted back to the rebels again.

The main beneficiary was the organization that now calls itself the ISIL.

This began as the Iraqi branch of the global jihadi terrorist group Al-Qaeda.

It took advantage of the vacuum created by the Syrian army's withdrawal from Syria's desert regions to expand into Syria and to establish itself there.

As the best organized, most violent and most militant of the jihadi groups that form the core of the Syrian rebellion, it quickly achieved predominance especially as it focused on seizing territory rather than fighting the Syrian army.

In 2014 it went on the offensive in Iraq, seizing the important city of Mosul.

Shortly after it declared itself the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant and proclaimed its leader − the man known as Ibrahim Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi − Islam's Caliph.

The ISIL is said to have a Wahhabist or Salafist ideology, like those in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and like that of its original parent, Al-Qaeda. Actually it combines Salafism with an apocalyptic vision previously unknown to Islam.

As it says its leader is the Caliph it claims to be the only legitimate government for Muslims.

It rules the areas it controls by violence and terror, backed by money it gets from the Persian Gulf (Arab States) and from the illegal oil trade.

All this explains why following Russia's military intervention in Syria it is doomed.

The Russian military intervention means there is no danger of the Syrian government collapsing − as looked possible just a few months ago.

The Syrian army has now been able to go on the offensive, and is advancing on all fronts.

The ISIL cannot withstand the Syrian army backed by the Russian air force and Iranian and Russian governments. However if it fails to hold the territory it has seized its claim to be the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant collapses.

The only way the ISIL could survive would be if the US and its allies acted to save it.

Its appalling violence and megalomaniac pretensions means that for the US it is however an embarrassment not an asset. The main thing Its grotesque antics have achieved is to unite world opinion behind the Syrian government and Russia.

Instead of willing ISIL's survival, the US would far rather it disappear so it can support the other jihadi terrorist groups − the so-called "moderates" − without embarrassment.

That seals ISIL's fate.

RT2016/1/25
ISIS escapes Syria airstrikes by hiding at country’s largest dam, using hostages as human shield

Under pressure from airstrikes, Islamic State in Syria has partially retreated to a strategic safe haven. Its fighters are said to be holed up at Syria's Tabqa Dam, the country’s largest, with senior IS commanders using civilian hostages as a human shield.

Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) militants are using the dam as secure shelter because bombing it would create a flood risk to countless settlements on the banks of Euphrates River in eastern Syria and Iraq.

The Tabqa Dam controls the flow of the Euphrates River into south-eastern Syria and northern Iraq. It is located 40km upstream from Islamic State’s self-proclaimed capital of Raqqa.

The huge 60-meter high, 4.5km-long facility was constructed in 1968-1973 with financial and technical aid from the Soviet Union. Construction of the dam created Lake Assad, the country's largest reservoir.

Islamic State is reportedly keeping hostages and sheltering its senior commanders inside the facility.

US Defense Secretary Ash Carter has promised to assist local forces in recapturing cities occupied by terrorists, starting with IS’s self-proclaimed capital of Raqqa, and also Mosul, the largest city controlled by the terror group in Iraq.

But chasing the terrorists out of the Raqqa area could have consequences.

Officials and analysts fear that IS could blow up the dam if they lose their grip on the territory, which would cause devastating damage.

Journalist and commentator on the Middle East Adel Darwish told RT that the destruction of the Tabqa Dam is dangerous not only because of a flood, but also because large number of people living in eastern Syria would be cut off from their electricity supply.

Because a large number of civilian hostages are being held at the facility, it cannot be liberated with a military operation or by bombing, Darwish pointed out. “Unlike other terrorist groups, Islamic State likes holding onto territory and loss of a primary infrastructure facility would mean a defeat for them.”

“Most probably they are bluffing that they would go and blow up the dam. However, they are not something we’ve experienced in any other war, so we cannot really guess what their next move is,” Darwish said.

A similar situation was looming in Iraq in 2013 when IS seized control of Mosul Dam, which saddles the Tigris River near the city of Mosul - Iraq’s third largest city, which also remains under IS control.

The US State Department estimated that in the event that Mosul Dam was damaged, a flood would kill as many as 500,000 people living downstream and would leave over a million people homeless.

But 16 months ago Iraqi and Kurdish forces knocked the jihadists out of the facility and have continued to keep the dam safe, preventing the strategic facility from being re-captured.

FARSNEWS2016/1/26
Report: ISIL Transfers Cash from Nineveh Banks

TEHRAN (FNA)- The ISIL terrorist group transferred all its assets from state and private banks in Nineveh province to other places, media reports said.

"A senior ISIL commander named Zol-Qarnayn supervised transfer of the militant group's assets to unknown places," the Arabic-language al-Sumeria news channel quoted an unnamed informed local source as saying on Tuesday.

The source noted that the ISIL's move came after the terrorist group sacked a large number of bank employees on the suspicion that they helped the Iraqi forces to hit the ISIL's banks.

The Iraqi forces have pounded and destroyed the two banks of Al-Rafedin and al-Zahour in Mosul city.

The ISIL Takfiri terrorists currently control shrinking swathes of Syria and Iraq. They have threatened all communities, including Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds, Christians, Ezadi Kurds and others, as they continue their atrocities in Iraq.

Senior Iraqi officials have blamed Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and some Persian Gulf Arab states for the growing terrorism in their country.

The ISIL has links with Saudi intelligence and is believed to be indirectly supported by the Israeli regime.


FARSNEWS2016/01/26
Spoils of War: US Worried Anti-Daesh War Will End Without Their 'Help'

TEHRAN (FNA)- On Friday, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announced that elements of the 101st Airborne Division would deploy to Iraq and Syria to help crush Daesh. For their part, Russian military experts are convinced that the US operation is merely an attempt to get in on the action before the war ends, so that Washington can share in the spoils of victory.

"They will head there with the support of the American people and armed with a clear campaign plan to help our allies deliver the barbaric organization a lasting defeat," Carter wrote, in an article published by US politics newspaper Politico.

According to the defense secretary, the primary objective of the mission, estimated to involve about 1,800 US troops from the 101st Airborne Division, will be to force Daesh out of their two power centers in Mosul, Iraq, and Raqqah, Syria.

In a subsequent interview for CNBC at Davos, also on Friday, Carter emphasized the urgency of the operation. "We need to destroy them in those two places, and I'd like to get on with that as soon as possible," he clarified.

The deployment, which has already been discussed with US Central Command and the commanders of the 101st Airborne Division, now awaits Congressional authorization.

For his part, Syrian Ambassador to Russia Riad Haddad has already indicated that Damascus will object to the Pentagon's plans in the strongest possible form. "Any interference in Syria's affairs, without the consent of the Syrian government, is looked upon as aggression against the Syrian people," Haddad said, cited by Russian media.

In the wake of statements by the Obama administration as late as a month ago that the US would not entangle itself in a new war in Iraq and Syria, independent Russian newspaper Svobodnaya Pressa suggested that "perhaps the successes of the Russian air campaign in Syria have forced the White House to make adjustments to its Middle Eastern game plan."

Speaking to the newspaper, Mikhail Alexandrov, an expert at the Center for Military-Political Studies at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, suggested that "indeed, the US truly is concerned that Syrian troops, with the support of Russian air power, have begun winning."

"Washington urgently needs to do something; otherwise, they might end up being late when it comes to the carving up of the Syrian 'pie'," when the war ends, the analyst grimly noted. "The situation is reminiscent of that in 1944, when the Western allies landed in Normandy in order to capture Western Europe, preventing the Soviet Union from taking all of Europe."

"Now, the US has a similar challenge: to prevent Russia from becoming the dominant power in Syria. If Syrian forces, supported by Russian air power, reach the Iraqi border, Baghdad is likely to begin operating with an eye to Moscow, Damascus and Tehran. As a result, the entire region will come under the control of the control of the US's geopolitical competitors – Russia and Iran. Clearly, the Americans would not be satisfied with such a situation."

The US, the expert notes, is acting according to their own interest. "Under the pretext of fighting Daesh in Iraq – such assistance has the approval of Baghdad, the US will try to defeat Daesh on Iraqi territory, and then move operations onto Syrian territory. For this, they will need to a legal basis. For example, [they might say they are in] 'hot pursuit of gangs of international terrorists.'"

For its part, Alexandrov suggests, "Russia, obviously, is not going to bomb the Americans. And they will gradually advance, occupying parts of Syria not controlled by Assad's forces."

"For now, all parties in the Syrian conflict pay lip service to the idea of the country's territorial integrity. But if one looks at the situation objectively, Syria has been split into three communities: Shiite-Alawite, Sunni and Kurdish. And 'gluing' these communities back together into one country will be possible only by force."

"This," the analyst noted, "is how Bosnia and Herzegovina were 'glued' back together in their own time. But Bosnia and Herzegovina are in Europe; moreover, they were surrounded on all sides by NATO forces. Together, this helped to impose a certain reconciliatory attitude on the warring parties. In Syria, obviously, such a scenario will be impossible – if only because Daesh is a completely uncontrollable structure which will not defer to anyone."

As far as Russia is concerned, the expert suggested that for its part, Moscow "has no reason to fight [a ground war] in the desert. Our strategic objectives will be achieved if we control the nominal Shiite-Alawite-Christian 'axis' stretching from Damascus to Aleppo. This region is already factually under the Syrian government's control. And if it is kept, we will keep all the benefits of our participation in the Syrian war."

"In this case, Russian military bases will be deployed in Syria, posing a threat to NATO's southern flank – and particularly to Turkey, which has always been hostile to Russia. More importantly, we will have fulfilled our historic mission – of defending the Syrian Christians and Alawites against genocide."

Moreover, Alexandrov noted, "if the Americans want to do some fighting in the Iraqi desert, by all means let them do it. I don't think there's anything to worry about in this regard. It's worth recalling that the Americans have been in Iraq since 2003, and a new ground operation, from our point of view, will not be able to change the alignment of forces in the region."

"Furthermore, such an operation will pull the US into a serious showdown with the terrorists, and as a result the Americans will come to bear the brunt of the fight against Daesh, something we can only welcome."

Russia's main goal, Alexandrov emphasized, is "not to allow the Americans from knocking Assad's forces back to the Mediterranean." Russia must assist the Syrian government in defeating the terrorists in Aleppo, and "create a perimeter defense of the Alawite-Shiite-Christian area – in short, to make sure that American troops do not stick their nose where it doesn't belong."

"Afterwards, Syria can be saved as a state as a confederation – and let their communities decide among themselves on the conditions for living together. The process might drag on for decades, as with the situation involving the unification of East and West Germany."

The US operation in Syria, which the expert suggests, could get off the ground in as little as three months, could be similar to the ongoing Russian operation to assist Syrian government and Kurdish forces. "To begin, they will block off these cities [Mosul and Raqqah], with local forces then beginning an assault, supported, of course, by the US Air Force. These are the same tactics that Russia is using in Syria. The only difference is that the Americans will also bring artillery to bear [against the terrorists]."

For his part, Alexei Fenenko, a senior fellow at the Russian Academy of Sciences' Institute for International Security, told Svobodnaya Pressa that the operation, if it is a serious one, may take time to really get off the ground.

"Carter did not define exactly what constitutes a ground operation," Fenenko noted. "After all, the participation of one battalion can be considered participating in such an operation. But carrying out a large-scale combined arms campaign would immediately raise a series of problems."

"First, Washington would have to negotiate with its allies on the deployment of US forces, and this is not something which happens overnight. The deployment itself will require three to four months. And the spring is the beginning of the sandstorm season in Iraq, so the weather will not be very conducive to a campaign. Therefore, I do not rule out that the US will limit itself to the participation of small American units."

In his own analysis, published in Russian business magazine Expert, geopolitics analyst Gevorg Mirzayan suggested that fear of the influence of its geopolitical opponents, more than any other factor, explains Washington's anxiousness and its penchant for a ground campaign.

"If we were talking only about the destruction of the Daesh terrorists, the Americans could very well make do with bombing, liquidating Daesh's lines of communications and the steady destruction of the militants' manpower. This would help the Kurds, the Iraqis, the Syrians, Hezbollah and the Iranians to destroy Daesh's military infrastructure on the ground and to free the cities held by the terrorists, thus restoring the territorial integrity of Iraq and Syria."

"However," Mirzayan explains, "such a scenario is unacceptable for Washington. Firstly, such a minor role in a matter as serious as the destruction of the world's most dangerous terrorist organization would raise questions about whether the United States can continue to maintain its role of the leader of the world community, and whether other nations should continue to pay their loyalties to Washington. Or perhaps they will begin paying more attention to the powers which have exerted a far greater effort against Daesh – Russia and Iran?"

"Secondly, the US cannot just sit back and observe while Iran, combating Daesh on the ground, strengthens its positions in Syria and especially, Iraq (where all the recent successes of the Iraqi army are associated primarily with Iranian advisors). This process raises serious questions among the US's regional allies – Tel Aviv and Riyadh, allies who were promised that the Iranian nuclear deal would not lead to a transfer of control of the Middle East to Tehran."

"If, in Saudi Arabia and Israel, the number of proponents of the view that the US had turned a blind eye to Iran's creeping capture of the Middle East reaches a critical mass, it cannot be excluded that these countries will decide to take unilateral action against Iran, which could threaten the US-Iranian nuclear compromise."

Ultimately, with direct US operations in Syria a major risk (given the use of Russian air power there), Mirzayan suggests that what the US will try to do is to stand back and use local forces to do the job.

"In Iraq, such forces can be found among local Sunni leaders, with whom the Americans have had close ties since the period of occupation…But who will fight for the Americans in Syria? The secular militants [in northwestern and southwestern Syria], far from Raqqah? Or the Syrian Kurds, who a) have reached agreements with the Iranians, the Syrians and the Russians, and b) are not ready to shake hands with another member of the American coalition – Turkey, which until recently had been engaged in the bombing of the Kurds?"


TEHRAN (FNA)- On Friday, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announced that elements of the 101st Airborne Division would deploy to Iraq and Syria to help crush Daesh. For their part, Russian military experts are convinced that the US operation is merely an attempt to get in on the action before the war ends, so that Washington can share in the spoils of victory.

"They will head there with the support of the American people and armed with a clear campaign plan to help our allies deliver the barbaric organization a lasting defeat," Carter wrote, in an article published by US politics newspaper Politico.

According to the defense secretary, the primary objective of the mission, estimated to involve about 1,800 US troops from the 101st Airborne Division, will be to force Daesh out of their two power centers in Mosul, Iraq, and Raqqah, Syria.

In a subsequent interview for CNBC at Davos, also on Friday, Carter emphasized the urgency of the operation. "We need to destroy them in those two places, and I'd like to get on with that as soon as possible," he clarified.

The deployment, which has already been discussed with US Central Command and the commanders of the 101st Airborne Division, now awaits Congressional authorization.

For his part, Syrian Ambassador to Russia Riad Haddad has already indicated that Damascus will object to the Pentagon's plans in the strongest possible form. "Any interference in Syria's affairs, without the consent of the Syrian government, is looked upon as aggression against the Syrian people," Haddad said, cited by Russian media.

In the wake of statements by the Obama administration as late as a month ago that the US would not entangle itself in a new war in Iraq and Syria, independent Russian newspaper Svobodnaya Pressa suggested that "perhaps the successes of the Russian air campaign in Syria have forced the White House to make adjustments to its Middle Eastern game plan."

Speaking to the newspaper, Mikhail Alexandrov, an expert at the Center for Military-Political Studies at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, suggested that "indeed, the US truly is concerned that Syrian troops, with the support of Russian air power, have begun winning."

"Washington urgently needs to do something; otherwise, they might end up being late when it comes to the carving up of the Syrian 'pie'," when the war ends, the analyst grimly noted. "The situation is reminiscent of that in 1944, when the Western allies landed in Normandy in order to capture Western Europe, preventing the Soviet Union from taking all of Europe."

"Now, the US has a similar challenge: to prevent Russia from becoming the dominant power in Syria. If Syrian forces, supported by Russian air power, reach the Iraqi border, Baghdad is likely to begin operating with an eye to Moscow, Damascus and Tehran. As a result, the entire region will come under the control of the control of the US's geopolitical competitors – Russia and Iran. Clearly, the Americans would not be satisfied with such a situation."

The US, the expert notes, is acting according to their own interest. "Under the pretext of fighting Daesh in Iraq – such assistance has the approval of Baghdad, the US will try to defeat Daesh on Iraqi territory, and then move operations onto Syrian territory. For this, they will need to a legal basis. For example, [they might say they are in] 'hot pursuit of gangs of international terrorists.'"

For its part, Alexandrov suggests, "Russia, obviously, is not going to bomb the Americans. And they will gradually advance, occupying parts of Syria not controlled by Assad's forces."

"For now, all parties in the Syrian conflict pay lip service to the idea of the country's territorial integrity. But if one looks at the situation objectively, Syria has been split into three communities: Shiite-Alawite, Sunni and Kurdish. And 'gluing' these communities back together into one country will be possible only by force."

"This," the analyst noted, "is how Bosnia and Herzegovina were 'glued' back together in their own time. But Bosnia and Herzegovina are in Europe; moreover, they were surrounded on all sides by NATO forces. Together, this helped to impose a certain reconciliatory attitude on the warring parties. In Syria, obviously, such a scenario will be impossible – if only because Daesh is a completely uncontrollable structure which will not defer to anyone."

As far as Russia is concerned, the expert suggested that for its part, Moscow "has no reason to fight [a ground war] in the desert. Our strategic objectives will be achieved if we control the nominal Shiite-Alawite-Christian 'axis' stretching from Damascus to Aleppo. This region is already factually under the Syrian government's control. And if it is kept, we will keep all the benefits of our participation in the Syrian war."

"In this case, Russian military bases will be deployed in Syria, posing a threat to NATO's southern flank – and particularly to Turkey, which has always been hostile to Russia. More importantly, we will have fulfilled our historic mission – of defending the Syrian Christians and Alawites against genocide."

Moreover, Alexandrov noted, "if the Americans want to do some fighting in the Iraqi desert, by all means let them do it. I don't think there's anything to worry about in this regard. It's worth recalling that the Americans have been in Iraq since 2003, and a new ground operation, from our point of view, will not be able to change the alignment of forces in the region."

"Furthermore, such an operation will pull the US into a serious showdown with the terrorists, and as a result the Americans will come to bear the brunt of the fight against Daesh, something we can only welcome."

Russia's main goal, Alexandrov emphasized, is "not to allow the Americans from knocking Assad's forces back to the Mediterranean." Russia must assist the Syrian government in defeating the terrorists in Aleppo, and "create a perimeter defense of the Alawite-Shiite-Christian area – in short, to make sure that American troops do not stick their nose where it doesn't belong."

"Afterwards, Syria can be saved as a state as a confederation – and let their communities decide among themselves on the conditions for living together. The process might drag on for decades, as with the situation involving the unification of East and West Germany."

The US operation in Syria, which the expert suggests, could get off the ground in as little as three months, could be similar to the ongoing Russian operation to assist Syrian government and Kurdish forces. "To begin, they will block off these cities [Mosul and Raqqah], with local forces then beginning an assault, supported, of course, by the US Air Force. These are the same tactics that Russia is using in Syria. The only difference is that the Americans will also bring artillery to bear [against the terrorists]."

For his part, Alexei Fenenko, a senior fellow at the Russian Academy of Sciences' Institute for International Security, told Svobodnaya Pressa that the operation, if it is a serious one, may take time to really get off the ground.

"Carter did not define exactly what constitutes a ground operation," Fenenko noted. "After all, the participation of one battalion can be considered participating in such an operation. But carrying out a large-scale combined arms campaign would immediately raise a series of problems."

"First, Washington would have to negotiate with its allies on the deployment of US forces, and this is not something which happens overnight. The deployment itself will require three to four months. And the spring is the beginning of the sandstorm season in Iraq, so the weather will not be very conducive to a campaign. Therefore, I do not rule out that the US will limit itself to the participation of small American units."

In his own analysis, published in Russian business magazine Expert, geopolitics analyst Gevorg Mirzayan suggested that fear of the influence of its geopolitical opponents, more than any other factor, explains Washington's anxiousness and its penchant for a ground campaign.

"If we were talking only about the destruction of the Daesh terrorists, the Americans could very well make do with bombing, liquidating Daesh's lines of communications and the steady destruction of the militants' manpower. This would help the Kurds, the Iraqis, the Syrians, Hezbollah and the Iranians to destroy Daesh's military infrastructure on the ground and to free the cities held by the terrorists, thus restoring the territorial integrity of Iraq and Syria."

"However," Mirzayan explains, "such a scenario is unacceptable for Washington. Firstly, such a minor role in a matter as serious as the destruction of the world's most dangerous terrorist organization would raise questions about whether the United States can continue to maintain its role of the leader of the world community, and whether other nations should continue to pay their loyalties to Washington. Or perhaps they will begin paying more attention to the powers which have exerted a far greater effort against Daesh – Russia and Iran?"

"Secondly, the US cannot just sit back and observe while Iran, combating Daesh on the ground, strengthens its positions in Syria and especially, Iraq (where all the recent successes of the Iraqi army are associated primarily with Iranian advisors). This process raises serious questions among the US's regional allies – Tel Aviv and Riyadh, allies who were promised that the Iranian nuclear deal would not lead to a transfer of control of the Middle East to Tehran."

"If, in Saudi Arabia and Israel, the number of proponents of the view that the US had turned a blind eye to Iran's creeping capture of the Middle East reaches a critical mass, it cannot be excluded that these countries will decide to take unilateral action against Iran, which could threaten the US-Iranian nuclear compromise."

Ultimately, with direct US operations in Syria a major risk (given the use of Russian air power there), Mirzayan suggests that what the US will try to do is to stand back and use local forces to do the job.

"In Iraq, such forces can be found among local Sunni leaders, with whom the Americans have had close ties since the period of occupation…But who will fight for the Americans in Syria? The secular militants [in northwestern and southwestern Syria], far from Raqqah? Or the Syrian Kurds, who a) have reached agreements with the Iranians, the Syrians and the Russians, and b) are not ready to shake hands with another member of the American coalition – Turkey, which until recently had been engaged in the bombing of the Kurds?"

FARSNEWS2016/1/26
Russian Military Denies Rumors of New Air Base in Syria
TEHRAN (FNA)- Russia’s Defense Ministry has denied speculations about constructing second air base in Syria. The rumor could be a false flag operation by Ankara to cover up the concentration of Turkish forces on the Syrian border, MoD spokesman said.

“There are no ‘new’ airbases or additional ‘jump-up bases’ for Russian warplanes in the Syrian Arab Republic, as well as no plans to create any,” Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov told media briefing on Monday, RT reported.

According to Konashenkov, “the allegations published by the British newspaper the Times on the matter are either dilettantish farce or an awkward attempt to provide a media cover-up for pulling in large number of Turkish troops to the Syrian border next to Al-Qamishli area.”

The Times reported on Saturday that Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan “expressed alarm” on Friday at reports that “up to 200 Russian personnel” had been observed strengthening the runway at an airbase in the Syrian city of Al-Qamishli (also known as Al-Qamishly, Kamishli or Kamishly) on the eastern border with Turkey.

The alleged proximity of Russian personnel to Turkish border alarmed Ankara to such an extent that Turkey’s military was reported to be sending reinforcements to the respective border segment, with soldiers “digging trenches” to counter the phantom threat.

“We have repeatedly stressed that a flight time of an aircraft of Russian task force in Syria to the most remote part of the country is about half an hour,” Konashenkov said, adding that any “straight-faced discourse” about deployment of Russian Air Force to Al-Qamishli lies within the domain of “absolute simpletons.”

In early December, Konashenkov denied rumors about preparing yet another “new airbase” for Russian warplanes in Syria, which was allegedly being deployed at Shayrat military airfield in Homs province.

The Russian air operation in Syria against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) began on September 30 on request of President Bashar Assad. All Russian aircraft in Syria are based at Khmeimim airfield in Latakia province.

FARSNEWS2016/1/26
Turkey Against Kurdish Participation in Intra-Syria Talks

TEHRAN (FNA)- Turkey opposes the participation of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), a Kurdish party concentrated in northern Syria, in upcoming UN-sponsored talks on settling the Syrian crisis, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Monday.

Ankara views PYD a Syrian offshoot of the militant Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) that operates in southeastern Turkey, Sputnik reported.

"The participation of such terrorist groups as PYD make the talks on Syria fruitless. It is very dangerous," Cavusoglu said at a press conference in Ankara.

Cavugoslu accused "other countries" of "attempting to blur" the list of opposition delegates in talks with Syrian government representatives that were postponed after initially being scheduled for Monday in Geneva.

He backed the "soonest" start of intra-Syrian talks and said a political settlement of the nearly five-year internal conflict in the Arab republic was the "only solution."

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu reiterated over the weekend that Turkey makes "no distinction" between the PKK and the PYD.

Cavusoglu added al-Nusra Front and the Daesh jihadist group, banned in many countries including Russia, to the list of terrorist groups Ankara equates to the PKK and the PYD.
posted by ZUKUNASHI at 21:12| Comment(0) | 国際・政治
この記事へのコメント
コメントを書く
お名前: [必須入力]

メールアドレス: [必須入力]

ホームページアドレス:

コメント: [必須入力]

※ブログオーナーが承認したコメントのみ表示されます。