Here at TTAG, we talk about the gun and all its uses — including wars. I recently read an interesting post about the broader causes and implications of the war currently going on in Syria that’s worthy of sharing here. The following post was written by “War Tard” and posted at his eponymous blog. It is reprinted here with permission . . .

The Syrian Regional War rages on and nobody knows how to put out the fire.

Up to now, the Obama administration tech nerds have proved pretty savvy when it comes to dealing with foreign enemies. After all, they got Bin Laden. They buried Gaddafi via tech support so the French and British could get the job done. And every guy sporting an AK in a strategic desert these days knows he’s just a drone strike away from oblivion. Even the plebs back home immersed in media driven bread and circuses know they’re under 24 hour NSA surveillance every time they hit up Porn Hub. Few care. US defense policy these days is war via computer geek and it’s working in this interim decade before the real resource wars get green lit.

Meanwhile, we’ve got Syria like a festering splinter in the geopolitical game.

Syria is proving to be a real head scratcher for Obama’s nerds. On the one hand, you’ve got the “Free Syrian Army”, the designated ‘good guy freedom fighters’, an idea the world media bandied about to describe the farmers in Dera’a that got the whole ball rolling in this ‘civil war’ when they tagged some graffiti on the wall of the wrong mud hut. Assad’s heavy handed response meant Syria got lumped in to the whole Arab Spring narrative and there was all that talking head talk on US airwaves about democracy and freedom and ME dictators being assholes. But as with most stuff on US news networks, it’s all a stinking pile of bullshit. All Arab countries are run by assholes because if they weren’t they’d  be run my warring tribal militias and that’s really bad for the oil business. The Arabs just don’t do democracy the way Western countries do. Voting booths are for pussies and infidels. Arabs respect strongmen going all the way back to Saladin. That’s why the Syrian Civil War has got nothing to do with freedom fighting and democracy and everything to do with regional and global geopolitics at the heart of the desert energy chess game. Which is kind of funny when you consider Syria doesn’t even have that much oil. But we’re not talking geography here, we’re talking regional hegemony and control of the human capital living inconveniently in the vicinity of major energy reserves.

The Syrian Civil War is now a Middle Eastern regional proxy war.

This war really has two aspects. First and foremost it’s a regional Middle East conflict between the Shia and Sunni. Yep, a good old religious war but religion really isn’t a useful term here. Sure they hate each other’s guts but regional energy hegemony is the fuel that makes this war burn. On the one hand you’ve got the Shia, that is, Iran, Hezbollah (firmly entrenched in next-door Lebanon) and the newly conquered Shia controlled region of southern Iraq (thanks Dick Cheney) aligned against Saudi Arabia, Qatar and everywhere else in the Middle East Saudi oil money stretches to Sunni client states

Basically, we’re talking Saudi Arabia’s oil versus Iran’s oil and gas.

The Saudis took it really personally when Hezbollah retook the Syrian town of Qusair in pretty impressive fashion last week, fighting that ugly street by street Stalingrad type warfare Hezbollah have been proving adept at lately. This has kicked the Saudi royals back in Riyadh into raging camel mode. Although a long time coming, the Shia v Sunni grand regional war is beginning to take shape. The grand alignment of Riyadh and Cairo (who broke diplomatic relations with Damascus last week and called for a no fly zone over Syria) is kickstarting. Next up to the party, King Abdullah of Jordan (fearful up conflict creep and more refugee spillage across his border), mentioned recently at a cadet graduation ceremony  “Hezbollah must leave Syria… there is no place for Hezbollah in Syria”. These are fighting words especially for the Jordanians who’ve kept their head down during this whole Arab Spring so as to maintain their benevolent dictatorship in the desert.

What’s all this saber rattling about?

Basically, the Sunni oil Sheikhs fear the Iranian Oil Ministry will dust off the old maps from Ottoman times and build an oil pipeline from Abadan across Shia controlled Southern Iraq to Tartus in Syria and begin making billions exporting oil to Europe via the Mediterranean. Next up, why not build a nice railway line from Tehran to Damascus and on maybe to Beirut. That right there would be the type of Shia strategic encircling axis that makes every oil rich prince in Saudi Arabia want to rage drive his Ferrari Enzo off a cliff with his whole family in the passenger seat.

Even more so, let’s talk methane. The above mentioned pipeline could theoretically supply the Euros with natural gas, the “cleaner” energy the planet loving Euros crave. With the EU mandated carbon reductions set to go into effect by 2020 and Germany axing its nuke plants, suddenly, Shia Iran’s South Pars gas field in the Persian Gulf becomes a goldmine beyond the dreams of Xerxes. Guess who lays claim to the northern part of that gas field? Sunni Qatar. Yes my friends, dig deep enough into any war and you can ditch religion and always find money and taking other people’s shit as primary motivations for any shooting war.

All this makes Syria ground zero for proxy war central.

Right now the Saudis have been pumping some serious weaponry into the FSA. MANPADS (shoulder mounted AA useful for taking down choppers and low flying jets) and, ironically, at least 50 Russian made 9M113 “konkors”, wire guided anti tank missiles that can waste Syrian T-72s. The CIA have been supplying weaponry too but through the usual plethora of back channels; shady deals via Euro allies via dodgy corporate warehouses that make the stuff impossible to trace and every government ends up with plausible deniability while the Syrian rebel at the end of the supply chain literally jizzes his pants while unboxing his new laser guided death ray; and then begins crying as he can’t read the instruction booklet because it’s printed in Russian.

The 9M113 Konkurs AT missile. FSA instruction booklet included?

This war is so interesting it has me glued to Live Leak and I’m getting fat on popcorn.

One thing that makes me splurge is how the Syrian war is leading to all kinds of geopolitical complications that drag in Russia, China, the US and Japan and surely has the policy nerds at the Pentagon tearing their hair out wondering what the best play is in this increasingly complex and risky game.

If the US goal is to prevent the FSA from losing this war then that’s going to require more than covert arms sales via shady transactions through the usual back channels. Let’s face it, it’s going to require a Gaddafi style no fly zone. As of this writing, Assad’s forces are attempting to retake Aleppo, the home of the Sunni business elites, largely abandoned by them now as the squatting, multi denominational FSA fighters holed up there have helped, along with Syrian Army artillery and airstrikes, to turn that once thriving city into Beirut circa 1978. If Syrian forces manage to retake it, like they did Qusair a few weeks back, it’ll be a major coup and decision time for NATO and the Sunni alliance of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan and even Turkey to make a move. If Aleppo falls to Assad’s forces and the Iranian sponsored militias then the FSA initiative will have been lost. And as any general knows, losing the initiative means a lot in war.

That’s when it will be decision time for the major powers.

If NATO decide on a no fly zone, the first thing they are going to have to contend with is Russia’s newly delivered S-300 SAM system (if deliveries have been timely and made as Putin promised). These will have to be manned by Russian personnel because of the learning curve on operating this complex system. Assad’s troops just won’t be up to speed if NATO decides on a Gaddafi maneuver. The S-300 is potent but as yet untested in combat but there’s no doubt it’s a serious contender and at least equal to anything NATO has counter measure wise. The Russians claim it is even effective against stealth aircraft but they would say that wouldn’t they? Maybe time will tell. The best bet for any initial strike will be X band radar cruise missile attacks on the launchers and radar installations all of which will be manned at least for now by Russian technicians. That will mean the US will have to go all in and I don’t think the Obama tech geeks have the stomach for it. If they do, does that mean we get to sit sit back and jump straight to a fun game of global thermonuclear war when Putin’s personnel get vaporized? Nah. Just another shit storm at the UN and more head scratching at the Pentagon.

From a purely realpolitik view, if the US does nothing, and Assad wins, that’s a tremendous victory for Iran and Russia. On the other hand, if the US tackles this via half measures, floods the FSA with the latest shoulder mounted anti air and anti tank weaponry, you might hand the FSA a victory that will leave them hating the US anyway (even if they provide them with all those new fancy toys). The FSA itself is so fractious and made up of so many conflicting groups of martyr worshipping 72 virgin afterlife fucking crazies, including radical Al-Qaeda franchise elements, Sharia law nuts and radicals that, even an FSA win will mean the US will have basically armed another extremist state in the Middle East and created a hotbed for anti Western terrorist training camps that’ll make the Taliban goat herders in Afghanistan look like Saint Francis of Assisi on Xanax.

Obviously, Obama’s computer geeks are stumped.

Another fun thing about this whole Middle East energy chess game is the stake Russia has in all this. If Assad manages to hold on, then Assad owes Putin big time. Russia loves that warm water but somewhat obsolete Mediterranean military base at Tartus on the Syrian coast. Arms sales to Assad have been booming and the whole Arab Spring thing has left Russia with a serious lack of allies and weapon clients in the Middle East. After the US appropriated Iraq’s oil reserves and has that symbiotic relationship with Saudi Arabia’s crazy Wahhabi sheiks who exchange petrodollar monopoly funny money for F-16s and Floridian beachfront property, the Russians are loathe to lose that last foothold in the Middle East that still buys their Migs and heavy weaponry. Also, the Russians would like to hold on to the regional influence Damascus provides as the historical and metaphorical heart of the Arab world. Holding on to Syria against NATO encroachment would be a major victory for the Russians who are feeling decidedly small since the heady days of the Soviet Union.

Also, for the Iranians, Syria is the main supply route for weaponry to Hezbollah, their proxy army on Israel’s northern border. Hezbollah proved themselves a serious contender for world’s best irregular army when they bloodied the IDF’s nose back in 2006 when the Israeli’s tried an incursion into Southern Lebanon. For Iran, holding Syria will achieve multiple aims; piss off the Saudis, assert Shia aspirations for hegemony in the region and remind Israel that they’ve got some allies on speed dial if Netanyahu goes ahead with his dream strike on the Natanz centrifuge facility. A possible pipeline to Europe for oil and gas across friendly territory would be icing on the global energy cake. Hezbollah also proved themselves useful allies for Assad when they went into Qusair and kicked ass and showed the FSA what real idealogical fighters can do when you threaten to fuck with their shit. This furthers my pet theory that heavy infantry armed with state of the art shoulder mounted AA and AT weaponry is the most significant development in warfare since Guderian’s tanks and Stukas Blitzkrieged around the Maginot Line.

That’s why the Pentagon are shitting themselves with the trillions they just blew on the F-22 Raptor… it’s a pricey ~$140 million per plane option when your enemy fights from second hand Toyota Hilux trucks that cost about as much as a beer and pizza at Yankee Stadium. We’re decades away from major power v major power conflict and this makes 5th generation fighter aircraft so 20th century. The future of warfare for the foreseeable future is in the hands of the tech nerds, total information monitoring, computer hacking and remote controlled drones versus desert guys in sandals with AKs.

One final fun aspect of the Syrian War is the whole chemical weapons debate.

Obama called their use a ‘redline’ moment for US involvement. Trouble is, the FSA are using them too. Also, if you’re a fan of YouTube or Live Leak (and who isn’t these days),  then you can go ahead and watch an FSA guy eat a Syrian Army soldier’s raw heart. That right there is Liberia level warfare and makes death by Sarin gas about as troublesome as a skiing holiday in the Netherlands. Still, for some reason, the general population abhors death by chemical. Sure it’s ugly, sometimes prolonged, but death in war is never pretty is it? The average web surfer sipping lattes in Starbucks hates death by gas but somehow maiming and vaporizing via kinetic blast energy is seen as fair game. Chemical weapons are the least of the problems the Syrian War presents except of course if some dissident FSA or angry Syrian Army dissident manages to export some Sarin gas to Times Square. And that’s not even a crazy idea anymore.

The Syrian Regional War can have many outcomes. None of them predictable.

Only one thing is for sure for whoever ‘wins’ this thing, and I can’t resist a little history here courtesy of my old friend Tacitus, the Roman historian who quoted the Scottish chieftain Calgacus after his loss at the Battle of Mons Graupius and said of the Roman legions…

They created a desert and called it victory.

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51 Responses to Why Syria Matters: A Broader View of the Syrian War

    • Two of the four are also using proper trigger safety.

      Not such a necessity when you are in war and supposedly ready to throw some serius lead, but still good on them for thinking of safety first.

    • Nah Andrew, you always have to follow good safety, even in war. Worst thing for you is when you end up capping your buddy (or commander) in the arse because you were getting a Rambo moment with the camera near you.

      But this isn’t a professional army we’re talking about.

  1. I have a simpler explanation.

    Syria is the 2013 sequel to Vietnam.Obama will commit to a no-fly zone,and then immediately hamstring it with bad ROE so that Putin’s feelings aren’t hurt.American lives are lost,Obama covers it up,and our enemies win another territory.

    Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

  2. War has always been about resources, the coin if you will. People who say silly things like No War For Oil are childish in a world powered by oil. Try telling a rancher No War For Grazing Rights. Or a desert dweller No War For Water.

  3. We win, we lose. We lose, we lose. We don’t play, we lose. Sounds like it’s time to change the game, but hell if I know how.

    • its time to throw the board off the table and stop playing.

      Sure, empire building is great when it works out for you. When it doesnt, you have conundrums like what you have described.

      Rome and Britain faced similar problems.

    • Europe is a major market and strategic ally for the US. If the major suppliers of energy to Europe do not like something we are doing they then have leverage to pressure Europe to pressure us. Europe would be in quite the pickle if come some distant October an Iran controlling Mediterranian oil/gas pipelines and a Russia controlling Caspian and Black Sea pipelines both said until the US stops doing X no more energy shipments to stay warm this winter. Think that might cause issues for us when the EU flips out of the prospect of winter with no way to stay warm?

  4. Not buying the oil stuff. Religion is the issue here.

    Corrupt nutty theocrats want to replace corrupt autocrat.

    • I think there’s an interplay between oil and religion.

      When you live atop a lake of oil (money) you can afford to harbor insane prejudices and fanatical hatred. Shmucks like you and I who need to work for a living need to function with a rational set of standards and can’t spend out time fighting about things like papal infallibility and the transubstantiation of the Eucharist.

      The greatest deterrent to fanaticism is the need to survive by your own wits.

  5. I can honestly say that of all the myriad political analyses of Events in the Arab World, this definitely numbers among them.

  6. “That’s why the Pentagon are shitting themselves with the trillions they just blew on the F-22 Raptor… it’s a pricey ~$140 million per plane”

    At least the F-22 does something… we’d better not tell him about the JSF.

  7. All this is just as i have been telling you, plus add that the neocons. want WW3 and they want it now.

  8. I call BS on this war. I’m down to support anyone whom claims their government is tyrannical, but this has turned into another religious war. It will replace a tyrant with a priest that will fill the same role.

  9. This war has many intricacies, but a war over oil is definitely not one of them. What this boils down to is a war largely being fought between two of America’s biggest enemies: Iran and Hezbollah on one side and All Qaeda on the other. To borrow from Kissenger, in the eyes of the U.S the greatest tragedy about this conflict is one day it will end.

    • That’s one of the biggest problems with Revolutions. They overthrow and kill the corrupt evil tyrant and his clique, and replace them with a different corrupt evil tyrant and his clique

    • Iran is not an ideological enemy of the USA, it only happens to be hostile for political reasons of today. This can well change if US wills it.

      Al-Qaeda, on the other hand, has an explicit stated goal of creating a single Islamic state spanning the entire globe. To that extent, there can never be peace with them, only temporary truce.

  10. A great read, sir. Personally, I’d like to see the US not be involved at all, but I don’t sufficiently understand the situation to make an informed analysis.

    I was impressed by the swearing as well.

  11. Hey, here’s another reason Syria matters: It is a nation with quite a few Christians, the largest population of Christians in the Arab world if I recall. People like to talk shit about how they wish the Muslims would just all kill each other, which is bigoted garbage, but that doesn’t even apply here, Syria is far more complex.

    I just read a report that an Orthodox Bishop has been beheaded by the FSA, this just broke. These are the people we’re supporting? These monsters who I’ve watched execute bound soldiers, dump bodies in rivers and abuse innocent old men? Who even knows what they’ve done to Syrian women?

    This is one of the main reasons Putin is backing Syria, because he has previously stated that is the Russian Federation’s foreign policy to defend Christendom abroad. If only the USA could be so bold, instead we enable recognition of homosexuality while doing everything we can to destroy Christianity at home and now, it seems, abroad. In the most literal sense.

    For the record, every Syrian soldier I have seen executed by these animals has died bravely, stoic and with no begging. I have seen their handiwork as well, some very skilled snipers on their end. They are true professionals and have fought well, they will be remembered for this.

    Obama and a number of his friends in Europe and Israel think this is OK. They lie, lie and lie some more about supporting this, but we all know they do. They all have innocent blood on their hands.

    What do YOU think? Because if you say nothing then, as an American, you tacitly support these activities. Afghanistan and Iraq were not like this, bad things happened but our boys didn’t go in there promoting genocide. Our rhetoric justifying those wars might have been pretty hollow, but what is going on in Syria is nothing short of monstrous and there is nothing to feel as a westerner but shame.

    My father served in Vietnam and he watched ARVN troops do horrible things at the behest of CIA officers. That is how the CIA operates, they get foreigners to do the dirty work. After 9/11, my father supported the war in Iraq because he thought we Americans had learned from our past mistakes and were going to “do it right” this time. It seems we haven’t learned shit.

  12. I liked the article and the style. but I think the religious angle is underplayed. Religion has historically been the “reason” for untold slaughters across the centuries, and these guys really really hate each other. The Saudis in particular fear Iran and the (former) Persian Empire. And yes, the proxy business is totally out of hand. Who is our friend? I don’t think any of them are. Oh yes, Saudi Arabia is supposed to be our great friend and ally, but the fact of the matter is that the Wahabis are the ones behind Al Queda, religiously, politically, and financially. There is no right answer, no foreseeable outcome, no game plan, and no benefit to the US to become involved. If we do, WWIII will have begun.

    As far as I’m concerned, let them slaughter each other until the tire of it, and then we can help clean up the mess.

  13. I just got out of the Marine Corps after 8 1/2 years. The first five as infantry, where I went to Iraq a few times, and the last 3 and change guarding embassies.
    I lived in Damascus for over a year until the American Embassy was evacuated in Feb 2012.
    I loved Syria..Until about April or May of 2011. After that it just got scary. The thing to keep in mind is that there’s a lot of history in the background. Hafez (Assad’s father) ruled with an iron fist, and put down an Islamic insurrection back in the 80’s. There’s always been a bit of bad blood in some areas because of that. Assad was seen as a reformer when he came to power, but his policies pretty much mirrored his fathers when push came to shove.

    The thing that always struck me as a little funny is how most Christians in Syria unabashedly support Assad because he’s secular and they’re deathly afraid of the Islamist threat should Assad ever be deposed.
    One guy I talked to said “Better the devil you know, than one thousand devils you don’t know”
    Either way, I have friends in Syria, and the entire situation just sucks. Syrians are some of the friendliest, most hospitable people I’ve ever met, and their entire country is being torn apart.

    I don’t think that the US can afford to nation build here. Otherwise it will be another case of more foreign fighters flooding in to fight the Crusaders.

    The real problem will occur when fighting really spills over into Jordan, and it will. At that point the US will not be able to stay out.

    • >> I don’t think that the US can afford to nation build here.

      It would actually be nice if US did some actual nation building. As it is, neither Iraq nor Afghanistan have been anywhere even close, and that’s part of the reason why both (and particularly the latter) will be dismal failed states shortly.

      Problem is, your average American taxpayer loves him some raw footage of shit blowing up in a warzone (especially when it’s advertised as being for a good cause – you know, “promote democracy” or “combat WMDs”), and is willing to send his paycheck to support those kinds of fireworks. But rebuilding the country after the war and shaping it into a livable nation-state is a process that’s both longer and far more expensive than military action, and with very little to show for it to people funding it at home. So it just doesn’t get done.

      • WTF are you talking about?

        the US has engaged in nation building since he end of WWII. Arguably, since the days of gunboat diplomacy.

        Its not nation building in the strictest sense of government controlling territory. Its economics.

        Corporate imperialism.

  14. It’s a shame that, in Kissinger’s formulation, they can’t all lose.

    As to nation-buidling: Where’s their Jefferson? Never seen an Islamist-based one over there.

    You need a Civil Society before a nation can be built. I cannot point to any country in the region — other than Israel — that has one.

    • >> You need a Civil Society before a nation can be built.

      Say, what? And how exactly did European nation-building happen in the midst of Wars of Religion in your world?

      • I think the more correct version of that statement is that there cannot be a Democratic form of government without a Civil Society. There has to be a strong adherence to rule of law and certain degree of tolerance to political minorities for a Civil Society to flourish, something that didn’t develop in Europe until it went through several major conflicts in the 19th and 20th century.

  15. The quote is that the Romans make a desert and call it peace, not victory.

    It refers to the total annihilation of their enemies. The desert made is the countryside of the opposing nation.

    Actually not a bad strategy and one I wish we’d followed in Afghanistan and Iraq . . . Iraq 1991 that is; if we’d have done that there would not have been an Iraq 2003-2013 (and counting).

  16. Oh No! They aweful Syrian civil war! It’s so bloody! We simply must get involved to stop the bloodshed, (sarcasm off). This “war” took the nation of Syria 14 month to equal the death toll from a single day’s fighting at the American battle of Antietam. That was a century and a half in the past….. and they were using rifled muskets, cannons, and bayonets! Heck, this thing isn’t even fit to be called a war yet where I come from! Let the Syrians fight this out. It should have already been over but these people are cowards. And impeach President Obama if even one single american troop is killed in the conflict. When muslim kills muslim I’d prefer we stay in the cheering section.

    • Dude, seriously? I don’t think anyone is advocating sending American soldiers to fight in this war. The fact of the matter is that the FSA is made up of a large contingent of foreign fighters, not Syrians. Like Stephen Rivera said earlier on here, the Syrian people are the ones who are suffering here, and they are feeling the suck pretty bad. Most of the noncombatants here are good, honest and friendly people. I assume you’ve never actually witnessed such things first hand, otherwise I would find it hard to believe that you would want our country and people to cheer on anyone killing anyone, regardless of religion. I am not advocating American involvement in this war, far from it, but comments like that make us all look like assholes.

      Give me a break, the Battle of Antietam? How many died there? Combined CSA and USA soldiers maybe 4000? The latest news from Syria says that over 100K people have died. Call it whatever you want, I would call that quite a charnel house…

  17. As strange as it sounds, I’m increasingly of the opinion that Russia and Iran are the “good guys” in geopolitics these days. Their leaders are honest-to-God leaders, not politicos who change their colors every half-hour to appease one faction or other, pander to some “ally,” or pretend to be for peace and justice and all that crap when they’re not. They’re out to advance their own interests and they’re proud of it. And they seem to be doing a pretty good job, too.

  18. MANPADS? Really? That’s what they stuck with? The next-gen upgrade package for that weapon will probably be named the “Directed Energy Projectile, Enhanced Nuclear Delivery System” or DEPENDS for short. Paired with the Tactical Anti Material Projectile, Onboard Navigational System, or TAMPONS, it will surely be a game-changer.

  19. “That right there would be the type of Shia strategic encircling axis that makes every oil rich prince in Saudi Arabia want to rage drive his Ferrari Enzo off a cliff with his whole family in the passenger seat.”

    ^OK, I laughed really hard at this line…

    But yeah. Shia vs Sunni hatred is real. So are the geopolitical games, struggle for resources, and money to be made via client state influences (various US and Russian interests = $$$ from defense sales). Game of Thrones has nothing on the backstabbing, plotting, and bloodshed that’s in our modern era.

    • I agree, and it seems that the only way to heal the schism is by bathing it in blood. The problem is that this bad blood covers the Mediterranean Sea all the way to (and including) India. If total war breaks out, it would involve north Africa, the Middle East, Iran, Iraq Kazakhstan, Chenya, Georgia, Pakistan and India; in many ways, that war has begun. Russia on the north, China on the east, Europe on the west. Where will Turkey align itself? Egypt?

      • Both Turkey and Egypt are predominantly Sunni and Turkey has been openly supporting the anti-Assad forces. Egypt is on the verge of complete economic collapse and except for freelance jihadists is not currently in a position to be a major player.

        • Turkey would first need to figure out for itself whether it sees itself as a predominantly Muslim Islamic state, or as a secular Turkish nation-state that just happens to have Islam as majority religion and part of its national culture. That’s exactly what the protesters on the streets there are hashing out with the government right now.

  20. While I feel for the innocent people in Syria, we have no place in being involved in their country’s politics nor conflicts.
    We should be pulling our troops out of every foreign country to do what they were designed to do…protect the USA. Let these countries figure it out themselves.
    Yes, what ends up happening may not be in the US’s best financial interests, but neither is our soldiers dying for a group that will just use the training they received to attack us later on.
    Disputing groups have always fought each other, and always will, it is human nature. Injecting our military might will not ever stop this.
    Trying to force our ideas of democracy will not work either. The Middle East’s culture is not receptive to this concept, and until they decide on their own that democracy is what they want, it will never happen, no matter how much we try, or how many people we kill.

    • +1 I feel sympathy for the people caught in the crossfire, but certainly not to the extent to where I would want to involve myself or my nation’s military…

  21. “Arabs respect strongmen going all the way back to Saladin”
    I’ve worked with and worked for Arabs. They do not respect weakness and take advantage of it when they can. It’s ingrained in their culture. On one hand you have to admire that quality as it does get things done but on the other hand not everyone can stand up to bullies and it ends up tragically.
    If this spills over in Israel big time you can count on the Jews to put an end to all of it. Then the settlements can begin anew.

  22. Excellent article Nick! Some things never change do they? I think it’s about time that we (meaning us, China and Russia) give these boys all the tools they need to auto destruct themselves. Maybe we will get something biblical out of it like a new Ottoman empire. It will take time because there are so may different factions. In the end though a leader always emerges. Who cares, the oil is in the ground so that will still be there, and they still have to sell it to buy their toys.

    Let’s flood that place with all kinds of deadly weapons and see what they do with them. They have proved not to be responsible about pretty much anything and if we don’t do it the other countries will do it any way.

  23. The map lists Saudi Arabia as 89.9% Sunni. But Saudi Arabia is predominantly Wahabbi, and the Wahabbi hate list reads as follows:

    (1) Sunni Muslims, because according to Whabbis, the Sunnis aren’t Sunni enough.
    (2) Shia Muslims, because since the split following the phrophet’s passing, the Sunni have always hated the Shia.
    (3) Everyone Else.

    And how radical are the Wahabbi, in their suppression of “idolitary”? The graves of the phophet and his companions were desecrated and destroyed (in the 1920s), the home of the prophet was destroyed to make room for a car park, and the home of Fatima (the prophet’s daughter) was turned into a public toilet. Mecca and Medina look more like a combination of Las Vegas and Disneyland, with nearly all of the historic buildings and monuments being systematically destroyed. Why is there no outcry over this desecration and destruction of the history and culture of Islam? Saudi money buys silence, and alot of money buys alot of silence.

  24. These are all symptoms of peak oil and the increasingly volatile geopolitical situation that arises when global economies and powers weaken.

    The Wall Street creatures and Rothschild bankers are going to find out real quick that a war with Russia and China will be unlike anything in size and scope since the days of the Vietnam War. More so, if it goes nuclear, which in that case everything will simply be killed off.

    Unfortunately, it will be american men and women that will bear the burden of the corporatocracy’s greed and hubris. Its time for us to stop playing boys and girls.

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