FISA-gate, Russian Collusion, and the KGB Infiltration into America’s Political Ecosystem

There are times when a country must come to the conclusion that they have been hacked.  Now I don’t mean an acutal computer hacking, but rather something far more sinister.  Both Democrats and Republicans have been pointing fingers at one another in an attempt to claim the other are traitors to the country.  Ever since the Russian collusion narrative was injected into the political discourse, the assumption has been that the Trump team willfully sought out Russian help in winning the election against Hillary.  This is of course highly speculative.  With the new revelations about the FISA warrant being issued due to spurious intelligence by the FBI as well as the Hillary Clinton Campaign’s ties to Fusion GPS as well as her connection to Uranium One, it appears that the Deep State and Hillary can also be accused of collaborating with the Russians if the same lack of deep thinking is applied.

The problem with all of these assumptions is that almost no one has looked at this the other way, because both sides are trying to knock the other side out.  It is far easier to believe that Putin who is a master at disinformation from his KGB days has set both sides up against one another and that this was his intention from the beginning.

With Hillary easily influenced through her foundation as well as the floating of a “damaging” dossier, Putin’s fingerprints are all over the initial setup.  All of this mirrors Russian tactics. The result would be easy at that point to lead the FBI Deep State on a witch-hunt during the election season.  Knowing that the dossier would spark a FISA warrant, Putin would only have to lure Donald Trump’s team, which was prone to dirt digging into a meeting with a Russian lawyer and that is in fact what actually happened.

What this shows everyone, is that it is in fact Putin from his days in the KGB who has been determined to destroy the USA from the inside.

Mike Rogers, former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee said as much in 2014:

“Putin is playing chess and I think we’re playing marbles,” Rogers said. “I don’t think it’s even close. If you look at the nuclear negotiations, we got our fanny handed to us. They took tactical nukes out of the equation; huge mistake, especially for our allies in the Baltics. When you move down the list in Syria, the Russians got everything that they believe they needed in Syria.”

“So they’ve been running circles around us,” Rogers continued. “And I really think it’s the naive position on the National Security Council and the president’s advisors that if we just keep giving things to Russia, they’ll finally wake up and say, boy, the United States isn’t all that bad. That is completely missing the motivation of why Russia does what Russia does.”

Nothing seems to have changed since then.

If the Democrats and the Republicans do not stop and pause and thus realize they are both the unwilling puppets of the Russian regime, the USA may find itself in a situation it will not be easy to dig itself out of. This will give Putin an advantage in the unfolding neo-Cold War and place America in a peril it has never seen before.

As President Lincoln stated: “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

CHAOS GROWING: Turkey Risking War Against the US and Russia

Some people are gamblers and others are just downright insane.  Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the President of Turkey appears to be shifting from political gambler to a completely insane autocrat.  Turkey’s current invasion of the autonomous Syrian Kurdish enclave of Afrin has not only unnerved the United States, who is the main backer of the the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), but Russia’s Putin as well.  Given the neo Cold War relationship between Russia and the USA, Erdogan has actually accomplished an astounding feet.

Due to the SDF’s American training and advanced weaponry, Turkey has found its operation harder than originally expected.  Most leaders would stop after watching a number of their tanks get blown up in the first hours of combat, but this has made Erdogan more set on invading the Kurdish areas of Northern Syria.  He claims that he will move South into Idlib as well as moving forces into the Kurdish heartland of Manbij which hosts a sizeble American base.

Courtesy of Syria War Map

“We will rid Manbij of terrorists, as it was promised to us, and our battles will continue until no terrorist is left until our border with Iraq,” Mr Erdogan said this past Friday.

This maneuver alone brings Erdogan close to a direct confrontation with US soldiers who according to reports have not planned on moving aside for Turkey’s assault.

As far as the possibility of the US pulling its forces from the Manbig, General Joseph Votel, head of the United States Central Command, Speaking on CNN, said that withdrawing US forces from the strategically important city is “not something we are looking into.”

Yet Erdogan insists he is in the right as his Turkish forces are simply destroying “terrorists.”  The question is whether Erdogan will actually make a move against US forces in Manbij.  For the US, there has been no question that its position in the area is not only just, but necessary.

“Turkey knows where our forces are in Manbij, and what they are doing there, and why they are there –to prevent any kind of escalation between the groups who are in that area,” Dillon told Rudaw TV. “The Coalition will continue to support our Syrian Democratic Forces in the fight against ISIS. We have said this all along, and we have said this with the Kurdish elements of the SDF. We will provide them equipment as necessary to defeat ISIS.”

As if this was not enough, Erdogan’s move South to Idlib brings Russia into the mix.  The following set of Tweets from Jenan Moussa, reporter for Arabic Al Aan TV gives over another one of Erdogan’s toughtless maneuvers.

With Russia appearing not to decide to move out of the way for Erdogan’s scheme to rebuild the Ottoman Empire, the die is cast for a very explosive expansion of the Syrian war.

“One needs to take a strong and timely stand against murderous ideologies”

(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, today (Monday, 29 January 2018), in Moscow, made the following remarks at the start of his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin:

“I very much appreciate this invitation and your personal appearance in this place [the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center], today, which reflects our common struggle against the greatest evil that humanity has known, and the awful price paid by my people, the Jewish people, and the Russian people and the great sacrifice of 20 million Russians alongside our 6 million, and the heroism of the Red Army in achieving victory over the Nazis.

We see here this very moving presentation of documents from the Sobibor uprising, in which a Jewish Red Army officer led – against all odds – the successful breakout, the breakout to freedom.

I think that the main lesson of the rise of the Nazis and, afterwards, their defeat, is that one needs to take a strong and timely stand against murderous ideologies.

This is also our mission today and it is to this end that I want to speak with you, about our common efforts to promote security and stability in our region, and – of course – the cooperation between us, between Russia and Israel.

Our talks, which we hold periodically, in my view, greatly contribute to achieving these goals and I am certain that they will do so now as well.”

While Putin and Bibi Speak, Syria Installs Latest Russian Air Defense System Near Damascus

According to the Israeli media, Prime Minister Netanyahu and Russian President Vladamir Putin held a phone conversation in order to ensure that Russia was kept abrest of Israel’s security needs despite the latter being a part of the Iranian axis.  These types of conversations have been going on for over a year in order to minimize friction between the IDF/IAF and Russian forces in Syria.

These conversations have been promoted to the Israeli public as a way assuage fears by claiming to use Russia to help mitigate the forward movement of the Iranian axis towards the border with Israel.  The challenge with this sort of thinking is that we see that after the fall of Beit Jinn, Russia has done little to keep Iran and Hezbollah outside the deconfliction zone.

The other pervading theory is that Israel has a deal worked out with Putin that the IAF is allowed to attack Hezbollah, Iranian, or even Syrian positions within Syria if they are deemed a threat to Israel. Yesterday’s installation of the Russian S-125 Pechora Batteries (a Soviet-designed system originally built in the 1960s) in the Marj Ruhayyil airbase located south of Damascus puts to rest this line of thinking.

According to AMN the modernized variant in question is reportedly the M2 version of the S-125 Pechora, “which in addition to having an improved kill probability record, is technically capable of tracking and intercepting low-flying cruise missiles.

Why is this important? The assumption has been that the IAF would be able to attack Syrian-Hezbollah-Iranian forces with impunity.  The Russians clearly have other ideas.

Does Putin Want to Destroy Israel?

Not at all. He wants to use the Iranian axis he has been tacitly covering for to hold Israel at bay and force its government to turn to him for its needs. While the situation is not at that point yet, it is rapidly approaching.  The Trump administration of course understands this and appears to be ready to back up Israel.  The Jerusalem announcement was as much part of Trump’s calculus in relation to Russia’s moves as it was a declaration of support that flowed from his own beliefs.  For Trump the two aligned.

With more and more IDF forces quietly being moved North, the stakes are high on both sides of the Golan.  Russia’s play at attempting to militarily isolate Israel by using forces hellbent on its destruction is a gamble that could trigger a far wider war.

Portents of quagmires in Syria

Putin, Rouhani and Erdogan are right that, as of now, they are the victors in Syria. But let us not empower them by believing them invincible.

Is the war in Syria won? The images broadcast this week from Sochi, the Russian vacation town on the Black Sea coast, were pictures of victory – for the bad guys.

On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin stood beside his Syrian client, President Bashar Assad, who licked Putin’s boots, as well he should have.

Assad owes his regime and his life to Putin.

The next day, Putin was joined by his allies – the presidents of Iran and Turkey.

Hassan Rouhani and Recep Tayyip Erdogan made the pilgrimage to Sochi to stand at Putin’s side and declare victory in the war and dedicate themselves to the cause of “peace and reconciliation” in post-war Syria.

To achieve their lofty goals of peace and reconciliation, Putin and his partners declared that, in the near future, Sochi will be the sight of a peace conference where all the relevant factions in Syria will be represented. The parley they described is set to take place parallel to – and one assumes at the expense of – the sixth round of Syrian reconciliation talks scheduled to take place under UN auspices next week in Geneva.

Several Israeli commentators viewed Putin’s Sochi talks precisely as he wished them to.

Ehud Yaari, Reshet/Keshet’s veteran Arab affairs commentator declared: The US is finished in the Middle East! The capital of the Middle East is now located in Sochi, he proclaimed in back-to-back newscasts.

In certain respects, Yaari is right. Things are looking good these days for the axis of evil.

Wednesday was a particularly good day for Iran. Not only did Rouhani do his victory dance with Putin and Erdogan, but as they were showering themselves in triumph in Sochi, Iran’s Lebanese puppet, Saad Hariri, was returning to Beirut after his misadventures in Saudi Arabia.

As expected, Hariri canceled the resignation he announced dramatically a week-and-a-half earlier in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, after accusing Iran and its Hezbollah army of controlling Lebanon.

On the surface, Hariri’s return is a boon for Iran. If he had remained in Saudi Arabia, Iran would have lost its fig leaf.

Hariri’s duty as prime minister is to snow the West into believing that his government and the Lebanese Armed Forces are a counterweight to Iran and Hezbollah, even though they are controlled by Iran and Hezbollah.

Until his trip to Riyadh, Hariri had been doing a good job.

Hariri’s lobbying efforts won Lebanon billions of dollars in US military and civilian aid. Congress would never have agreed to appropriate the assistance if Hariri hadn’t been so persuasive.

But it is far from clear that Hariri will be much of a fig leaf after he let the Iranian/Hezbollah cat out of the bag in Riyadh.

A rising chorus of US lawmakers are demanding an immediate end to US assistance to the LAF. And Hariri’s return to Beirut didn’t dim those voices.

In August, Hariri visited President Donald Trump at the White House. Trump praised Lebanon as “an ally” in the war on terrorism. He increased US aid to the LAF and deployed US special forces to Lebanon where they fought at the side of the LAF under effective Hezbollah command.

It’s hard to imagine Trump welcoming Hariri back to the White House anytime soon.

As for Erdogan, he arrived in Sochi a spent force.

Erdogan is perhaps the biggest loser of the war in Syria. He was the principal sponsor of the anti-Assad opposition that morphed into Islamic State. Erdogan’s cooperation owes mainly to his lack of better options. The US stopped supporting his campaign in Syria two years ago.

Since the failed military coup against him in July 2016, Erdogan has become ever more hostile to the US. This hostility informed his recently concluded deal with Putin to purchase Russia’s S-400 anti-aircraft system. The S-400 threatens every fighter craft in the US arsenal. US officials have responded to his move by seriously considering the possibility of canceling the sale of 100 F-35s to Turkey.

Turkish expulsion from NATO – once a taboo subject – is now regularly discussed in Washington policy circles.

The main reason Erdogan has sided with Putin in Syria is because the US has sided with Syria’s Kurds. Erdogan views the Syrian Kurds as a threat to the stability of his regime. He expects Putin to support his determination to destroy Kurdish autonomy in Syria.

If Putin fails to meet his expectations, Erdogan may abandon his new friends. Or he may stick with them and just become ever more dependent on Putin.

Whatever the case, he won’t be empowered by his membership in Pax Putin.

And this brings us to Putin and Russia.

Certainly it is true that the Sochi summitry has cemented Putin’s position as savior of Mother Russia.

A mere generation ago, Russia was a washed up, fifth-rate power. At the end of the Cold War, the world belonged to America. Today, world leaders beat a path to Putin’s door.

But not everything is roses and sunshine.

Russia’s alliance with Iran and Turkey is predicated on Russia remaining in Syria – come what may.

And what is coming is not likely to be pretty.

While Putin, Erdogan and Rouhani were congratulating themselves in Sochi, another conference was happening in Riyadh. There, leaders of the anti-Assad militia were meeting to discuss their next moves ahead of the UN-sponsored talks next week in Geneva.

True, the forces represented in Saudi Arabia aren’t as powerful as the Iranians, Hezbollah and Russia. But they have guns. And they are disgruntled. And if any number of governments want to give them more guns, they will have more guns and bullets. And they will shoot them at the people keeping Assad in power.

Commentators declaring the dawn of a Russian-controlled Middle East where the US is dead to rites ignore another basic fact. There are a lot of US forces in Syria.

In late October, US Major General James Jarrard, commander of the US’s anti-ISIS task force in Iraq and Syria, “accidentally” told reporters that there are 4,000 US troops in Syria. When reporters pounced on his statement, Jarrard quickly backtracked and said he made a mistake.

There are only 500 US forces in Syria.

Whoopsie daisy.

On Thursday, the Washington Post reported that the administration does not intend to withdraw US forces from Syria now that the mission against ISIS is largely complete.

US forces in Syria are concentrated in Syrian Kurdistan. If the US protects the Kurdish autonomous areas along the border with Iraq, Erdogan will again lose a big bet in Syria. His alliance with Putin will have brought him nothing but a deterioration of his ties with the US and instability at home as Turkish Kurds expand their ties to the autonomous Syrian brethren.

Angry, unreconciled, well-armed rebel forces and autonomous Kurds are far from the biggest threat to Putin’s victory in Syria. The biggest threat to his triumph is Syria itself.

Thanks in large part to Putin and his allies, Syria, today, is one vast ruin.

According to UN assessments, reconstruction costs for the country will run anywhere from $200 billion-$350b.

Does Putin intend to finance Syrian reconstruction? How about Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, or Erdogan or China? Of course not.

And, if Syria remains a ruin, Syria will not be pacified; and, if Syria isn’t pacified, it will continue to bleed.

The media made a big deal about Putin’s phone call to Trump after his meeting with Assad. Some commentators viewed the call as proof Putin is calling the shots in the Middle East. Others saw the opposite – that Putin doesn’t dare move too far ahead of the Americans.

But those views are likely both wrong.

Putin’s record indicates that he cares about two things: reasserting Russia’s great power status and money. For his victory in Syria to avoid becoming a Pyrrhic one, he needs lots of American money to finance Syrian reconstruction.

This brings us to the US, and what Washington wants to do in Syria and the wider Middle East.

So far, the Americans have made every possible mistake in Syria and Iraq.

Then president Barack Obama allowed Assad to commit a genocide of Syria’s Sunnis and foment the refugee crisis in Europe. He allowed Iran and Hezbollah to take over Syria and Iraq. He allowed Erdogan to organize an anti-Assad rebel force dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood, which over time morphed into ISIS. He allowed the Russians to use the war as a means to reassert their position in the Middle East 33 years after the Soviets were humiliated and expelled from the Levant.

For his part, Trump has maintained Obama’s Syria policies in relation to Russia, Iran, Hezbollah and Assad. He expanded US military assistance to the LAF. He permitted Iranian militias controlled by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards to cooperate with US-trained Iraqi forces in seizing Kirkuk from Kurdish forces. In so doing, Trump betrayed the Kurds, the US’s only reliable allies in Iraq.

If the Americans wish to maintain their record of failure, they have many options for doing so. They can abandon the Syrian Kurds. They can help Putin by underwriting Syrian reconstruction.

They can continue to arm the Hezbollah-controlled LAF. But the Americans do have an option to succeed, as well.

If Trump keeps US forces in Syrian Kurdistan, and if he refuses to help pay for Syrian reconstruction so long as Assad remains in power and Iranian and Hezbollah forces remain on the ground and if the US ends its civilian and military assistance to Lebanon, the US and its allies will be strengthened, and Russia and its allies will be weakened.

If the Americans do not interfere as Syrian “freedom fighters” defend against Iranian or Russian “aggression,” it won’t matter what terms the Iranians give Putin for gas, or oil or nuclear deals. He will seek a way out of Syria.

On May 1, 2003, then president George W. Bush landed a S-3 Viking fighter craft on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln dressed in a flight suit. Before an audience of cheering troops and against the backdrop of a banner that read “Mission Accomplished,” Bush declared: “Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.”

A month later, the real Iraq war started.

In the years that followed, probably not a day went by when Bush didn’t regret his victory dance on the USS Lincoln.

Putin, Rouhani and (to a much smaller degree) Erdogan are right that, as of now, they are the victors in Syria. But let us not empower them by believing them invincible. Their victory against ISIS – achieved with massive US assistance – is certainly an achievement. But it isn’t the end of the story. If the Americans do not save them, the situation on the ground augers quagmire, not triumph, for their axis and for their separate regimes.

Originally Posted on the Jerusalem Post.

Russia and Iran Strike a Deal, Leaving Israel Cornerned

The tension in the region seemed to spike when Israel’s airforce was said to have fired 7 missiles at a weapons depot near Homs, Syria.  This occurred the same day Putin was wrapping up meetings with Iranian leader the Ayatollah Khameini.

The meeting appears to be fruitful in the sense that Iran is willing to follow Putin’s line on the Middle East.

The Tehran Times said the following about Putin’s statements at the meeting:

Putin also said Russia considers Iran as a “strategic partner” and “great neighbor” and that Moscow will use every opportunity to strengthen inclusive ties with Tehran.

Putin also praised cooperation between Russia and Iran in Syria, saying it has produced good results. He also said the two countries should go ahead with their struggle against terrorism in Syria and simultaneously help facilitate a political process for the resolution of the conflict between the Syrian government and armed opposition groups.

Also at the meeting the Khameini said:

“America is the number one enemy of our nation,” Reuters quoted Khamenei as saying. “We will never accept their bullying over the nuclear deal. They are using all the wickedness they can muster to destroy the fruit of the nuclear talks.”

Putin appears to be taking up the leadership mantle and Iran has decided to follow suit. Although Putin puts trust in one, Iran is willing to play to Russia’s tune as long as they get to take on Israel.

With Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria, and Iran all pining to take on Israel, Russia’s tightening grip on the Middle East paints an ominous future for Israel and others not willing to live under the thumb of Russia.

For its part, the US is drifting away from being a reliable partner seemingly content to nurse its wounds rather than defend its interests. This leaves Israel to fend for itself or make a bad deal with Putin.

Are Russia and China Purposely Setting Up a War Between the US and North Korea?

Russian President who is in China for the BRICS summit came out strongly today against increased sanctions and at the same time warned against revving up war rhetoric.

Putin who along with China seem to be supportive of doing something about North Korea’s regime, actually have proposed nothing concrete in dealing with the rogue nation.

“Ramping up military hysteria in such conditions is senseless; it’s a dead end,” Putin said at the BRICS summit. “It could lead to a global, planetary catastrophe and a huge loss of human life. There is no other way to solve the North Korean nuclear issue, save that of peaceful dialogue.”

The question remains that if Russia and China are truly interested in stopping North Korea, why are they not committed to shutting down Kim Jong Un’s oil supply. Doing so, would leave him about two weeks until his country would cease to function.

Goading America to Attack

The only explanation to the behavior of Russia and China is that they are purposely provoking a USA attack in order to create as much chaos as possible. For Russia, an America embroiled in an al out war with North Korea and probably China is an America less focued on Putin’s advancement across Eastern Europe or even his consolidation of forces in Syria.

For China, its economic and military strength has grown to the point of igniting a push back by the US Security State. Any sort of chaos allows China to continue to move into the Middle East while at the same time sucking even more money out of the over taxed USA.

The challenge for both of these countries is containing the chaos once it starts.  As the USA learned through its creation of ISIS, chaos might be useful for shortwhile, but uncontrolled it can bite its own creator. With Russia and China now leaving little room for a diplomatic solution, America and its allies can ill afford to allow Kim Jong Un to shoot off an ICBM loaded with an H-Bomb Eastward.  Furthermore, if his threats of setting of an EMP are credible, Trump has little time to waste maneuvering with Russia and China.

Worse than the above, North Korea can now sell nuclear weapons direct to Iran or Syria whose militaries sit on Israel’s Northern border under Russian protection.

The argument to hold off striking North Korea because many people will die has now been proven untenable, since everyday Trump waits increases the amount of potential casualties.  With South Korea and Japan pining to remilitarize, a teetering American republic cannot waste time playing chicken with China and Russia, but rather should arm its allies in the region with the means to strike hard at their adversary in the North.

Has Israel Reached the End of its Detente with Russia?

Iran Attack Israel

There had been signs for months that the “special” understandings reached between Putin and Bibi Netanyahu were fraying.  Afterall, Israel never chose to have Russia interject itself into the Syrian civil war, but once it had done so, Israel had no choice but to try to tame the Russian Bear.  The understandings reached allowed Israel a level of continued independence to strike out against Syrian convoys heading towards Lebanon.  When Iran started moving closer, Israel was allowed to hit sensitive figures.

Despite all of this, there was always the need to ask for permission and reestablish the understandings, which according to reports have contantly changed.

With Trump and Putin reaching an understanding at the G20 that allowed Russia to man the borders of Israel and Jordan in order to supposedly “enforce” a ceasefire, the understandings between Israel and Russia broke apart.

Israel can handle a Russia farther North from the Golan who is focused more on creating stability for its Mediteranean port at Latkia, but a Russia intensely involved with allowing Iranian troops and the militia it supports to reach the Golan border is completely unacceptable.

When Bibi travelled to Sochi over ten days ago, the prevailing assumption was that he would be able to convince Putin that it is in Russia’s best interest to hold back Iran and in failing to do so Israel would have no choice but to attack the Iranian forces.

Russia would have none of it and has since pushed back strongly against Israel’s verbage and protests against the Iranian presence on its border.

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the following about Israel’s concerns that Iran is building up strength in the Golan to attack Israel:

 “We do not have any information that someone is preparing an attack on Israel. Whatever area of cooperation between Iran and Syria, my position is that if their cooperation in whichever field does not violate the basic provisions of international law, it should not be cause for question,” Lavrov said.

So the proverbial goal posts of past understandings between Israel and Russia have once again been moved, but in the direction of the Israeli border.  Where at one time Russia acquiesced to Israel’s concerns about Iran’s proximity to their Northeastern border, today they just have to “behave” and all is well.

The emerging crisis on Israel’s border with Syria is no small matter.  Under Russian protection Iranian troops can operate freely and this being the case, Iranian agents can always lay the groundwork to be ready when Russia changes the rules again.

Bibi Netanyahu has a huge choice to make.  He can either keep the facade that Russia is an honest broker between the Jewish state and Iran and therefore allow Israel to become fully surrounded and in a sense dependent on Russia for holding back Iran or he can drop the facade and take out the Iranian forces quickly establishing themselves in the Syrian Golan.

His choice will determine the costs involved when the war in Israel’s North begins.


Is Putin Ready to Throw Iran Under the Bus?

The announcement that Prime Minister Netanyahu and Russia’s President Putin are set to meet this Wednesday the 23rd of August in the Russian resort city of Sochi doesn’t seem to stand out as significant.  Afterall, the two men meet every few months to prevent any friction between their countries.

So what makes this meeting so different?

In the span of time between the their last face to face meeting, President Donald Trump acquiesced to allow Russian armed observers to man the borders of Israel and Jordan.  This was under the guise of ensuring a ceasefire between the Syrian regime and rebel forces. Although there were some rocky first moments, the plan has brought a modicum of quiet to the areas in question.

The challenge for Israel has been what the Syrian Regime and Iran are using the “ceasefire” for. It has become clear that Iran and Syria are seeking near control of the Golan border area.  This they have accomplished by way of their Russian allies.

What’s Next for Iran and Russia?

The prevailing assumption has been that Putin would give Iran enough of a leash to clear out the rebels in Syria, but not enough for either Iran or Syria to be dominant in the Levant without the go ahead from Russia.  While it is important to understand that any overt alliance puts Israel’s security at risk, the now quarterly meetings between Bibi and Putin mitigated much of this. Of course, all of this depends on Putin holding Iran and Syria back from placing game changing forces on the Syrian side of the Golan.

Iran and Russia have a working understanding that Iran can do what is necessary to clear the rebels and ISIS out, but given Putin and Bibi’s deconfliction understandings anything else would be deemed an abrogation of the working agreement between Tehran and Moscow.  The ceasefire agreement between Trump and Putin made during the G20 Summit is a good test of this.  For the first time Russia would open a corridor for Iranian troops to move right up to the Golan, yet the actual movement of those troops negates the deconfliction strategy with Israel.

Up until now Russia has allowed the IAF to strike where it needs to against Iran. More than that, sources tell us that Putin even relays targeting information personally to Bibi.  Iran and Syria maybe allowed utilize the ceasefire to move troops to the Golan, but if the past is any kind of predictor then they are on their own.

While most pundits believe these sorts of actions will eventually spell the end of the Iranian-Russian Alliance this is more of the same for Putin.  He relishes in playing multiple sides of each other in order to effectively control the situation.

Reaffirming the Deconfliction Understandings and More…

Bibi’s trip to Moscow is more about reaffirming the deconlfiction understandings in light of the new reality of Russia’s troops now manning the Golan border. Russia has no interest in allowing Iran to attack Israel, which would fully destabilize the region.  Putin wants recognition by Israel that Russia is the new player in the Levant and that it Israel will have to reevaluate how it relates to the fast changing Middle East.

Putin will keep allowing Israel to attack Iranian and Syrian targets. In Putin’s grand strategy this keeps the region in balance while he continues to take more and more control.

As America continues to minimize its overt involvement in the Middle East, the vacuum created is leading to a new order with its strings more or less being pulled by Moscow.

Israel’s goal is to hold onto to its security independence while treading carefully though a new Middle East.


Syrian Ceasefire Crumbles on Second Day as Regime and Iranian Allies Attack Rebels

Reports are streaming in that Syrian regime forces and its Iranian allies have already started violating the truce brokered between Trump and Putin at the G20 summit last week.  This would mean the much vaunted truce lasted all of 24 hours.

and again:

The fighting continued near Daraa and the Sweida, two areas covered by the ceasefire.  Below is a map of showing areas of control as the the ceasefire went into place.

With the ceasefire beginning to unravel even before the first Russian troops show up to monitor it, the question is how long before the Trump administration and Moscow decide to try to reorganize for another try. The regime and Iran will not stop while the wind is at their backs. They were closing in on capturing Daraa before the agreement and if they do now they will split two of the rebel areas in half and stand on the border of Jordan just a few kilometers from the Southern Golan.

Did Putin Outmaneuver Trump?

Despite Trump’s glowing victory speech after the agreement he “brokered” at the G20, it appears to be Putin that played the President Trump.  Afterall, Putin knew full well that Syria and Iran would not rest until they at least took all of Daraa if not more.  He also knew that his airforce was no longer needed to achieve Daraa’s conquest.

The question remains, will Trump admit he was out played? Or will he continue to spread the false notion that there is actually a ceasefire, when in fact there was none.  The faster the Trump administration realizes that no deal can be made with the regime, Iran, or even their Russian backers, the faster he can stave off total defeat.