Andrey Raevsky on the crisis in the Middle East.
The Middle East is literally exploding: the Hussites have dealt an extremely effective blow to oil facilities in Saudi Arabia, as a result of which oil production (they claim) has now fallen by 50% before bouncing back; rumor has it that the Russian Su-35S and S-400 threatened to bring down Israeli aircraft attacking Syria; Lebanon said it would defend itself against Israeli attacks; Hezbollah threatens to inflict crushing blows on Israel and even on Israeli officials; Turkey has acquired Russian air defense equipment and states that if the United States refuses to supply its F-35s, then Turkey will consider the Su-35 and, possibly, the Su-57. Bibi Netanyahu tried to use Putin in his re-election campaign (well, he is really desperate to escape prison), but he had to return empty-handed, and, according to the Jerusalem Post, his mission failed.
Finally, and simply to make sure that crises are limited only to the Middle East: the Poles and the European Court filed a successful lawsuit to try to force Russia to use transit through Ukraine; US reanimates ancient treaties to threaten Venezuela; Great Britain cheerfully goes to hell and falls apart; Europe (well, Germany) cannot even force the Poles to obey on the issue of Nord Stream-2 (well, of course, they obey, but to Uncle Shmuel, not Angela Merkel); India and Pakistan threaten each other over Kashmir. Did we forget something?
The new climate program of the German government will cause not only an increase in energy prices, but will lead to protests.
Oh yes, the DPRK launches new missiles; US wants to blame Iran for Huti attacks; China categorically rejects such accusations, while Russia continues to announce a new revolutionary weapon based on new principles and plans to deploy the S-500 Prometheus just to make sure that the Empire has no stupid idea to try to strike Russia (or its allies, which, according to official sources, will begin to buy the S-500 in 2021).
I am sure that I have missed a lot. Indeed, the Empire is collapsing on all fronts, and this, in turn, means that the chances that ignorant peiple in the White House will do something very stupid will increase dramatically.
Yes, we know, Bolton was fired. And we welcome this, but given that Pompeo is even more delusional and wicked than Bolton (not to mention fantastically arrogance!), this is hardly a reason for hope (I just read that Robert O’Brien will replace Bolton, he used to be the president’s special representative for hostages in the state department. I wonder if this means that there will be even more abductions of Russian citizens around the world ???
There is so much interesting here that we will limit myself to a few points about the Middle East that I consider important.
First, the partial destruction of the most important oil facilities in Saudi Arabia is a huge shame for the United States. Remember that KSA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) is indeed the “center” of CENTCOM and even the reason for its existence (to “protect” Iran from the USSR and officially keep the shah safe, but in fact it was also part of a major deal between the US and KSA: “You accept payment only in dollars, and we will protect you from everyone.”) Of course, there is a long list of Western puppets who have been given a similar promise, including Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi, Manuel Noriega, Hosni Mubarak and many others. Most of them are already dead, someone in prison. Now the turn of the Saudis has come: “super-duper patriots are better than the S-300” not only could not stop the Hussites, but the entire combined power of CENTCOM also collapsed.
Secondly, we can only agree with Billmon from “Moon of Alabama” – the war for KSA is over. Whether they understand it or not does not matter. Okay, that will matter in time, but only in time. The Saudis and their Anglo-Zionist patrons have three solutions:
- Continue to do everything as before: this is the definition of insanity, if only other results are expected.
- The escalation and attack on Iran, after which the entire Middle East will explode with dramatic consequences.
- To do what the USA always does: declare victory and leave.
Obviously, the third option is the only reasonable one, but who said that Bibi, Trump or MbS (Mohammed bin Salman) are generally reasonable?
However, there is one limiting factor: if Trump ever hits Iran, then for the neocons he will become the “one-time president”: Iran will take the opportunity to strike at Israel, and Trump will be held accountable for it (in the end, the neocons control over the National Committee of the Democratic Party and many key committees in Congress).
Thus, the whole thing will be in Trump and whether he has the information and the brains to understand that an attack on Iran will destroy his presidency (which is already FUBAR, and an attack on Iran will make it official), and he will be simultaneously held accountable and obviously will never be able to be re-elected.
Thirdly, could the Hussites do this themselves? Absolutely yes. Iran did not need to strike directly, precisely because the Hussites were able to do it themselves. Check out this official Houthi Ballistic Missile and UAV show and see for yourself here. In addition, the Hussites are becoming very similar to Hezbollah, and they have clearly explored the advanced capabilities of missiles and drones (from Iran, which is why the Israelis and the US are so vicious). I do not affirm, I repeat, DO NOT affirm that Iran did not help them or that this strike would have been equally successful if Iran had not provided intelligence, targeting, technical assistance, etc. But if there is any evidence of direct Iran’s participation, then let this “evil manatee” (as Fred Reed called Pompeo) present his evidence to the whole world so that it would be better than the crap they showed in the “Skripal case” or chemical attacks “under the wrong flag” in Syria .
Fourthly, for KSA and their Anglo-Zionist patrons, this means that Huts with complete impunity can strike anywhere in KSA. And not only in KSA. In addition, I suspect that Iran could also strike at any oil and gas facility in the Middle East, just as it could hit any U.S. / CENTCOM / NATO / Israel target that it only wants. In addition, in the event of a total war in the Middle East, it can be expected that missiles will fall on American targets not only from Yemen (Huti) and Lebanon (Hezbollah), but also potentially from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Fifthly, it doesn’t really matter where or with what the United States and / or the Saudis and / or Israelis fire at Iran. The reaction will be the same, at least in the words of Professor Marandi: it will be huge, and the opportunities for exporting oil and gas throughout the Middle East will be in jeopardy. There is no safe, cheap, or effective way to strike at Iran. But do people in the District of Columbia understand this?
Next, I want to make a few comments about the alleged interception of the Israeli F-35 by the Russian Su-35S over Syria.
First, we really have no facts, so let’s wait a bit. Most stories about this come from one Arab online newspaper. In the last 24 hours there has been a “kind-of-kind-of” confirmation from Russia, but not from officials, and these messages not only contained factual details, but gloated that Netanyahu had left Russia with nothing.
Secondly, I think this story is based on reality. The Israelis behaved as if they didn’t give a damn about the Russian presence in Syria: that’s why they deliver air strikes exclusively for PR purposes (remember, Bibi wants to avoid prison!), And the Russians probably complained and were ignored, and now they said: “Enough is enough for us!”
Thirdly, the fact that the Jerusalem Post had to publish a terrifying article about this event (https://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Russia-prevents-Israeli-airstrikes-in-Syria-601618) is convincing proves that those who tried to convince us that Russia and Israel worked hand in hand and that Putin was Bibi’s best friend were full of crap and their clickbait was just that: clickbait.
Fourthly, there are those technology lovers who will always try to prove that the Su-35S is significantly superior to the F-35, and that this story is very trustworthy. And there are those who will explain that the F-35 is significantly superior to the Su-35S and that this story is pure fiction. The truth is that it is useless and pointless to compare two advanced aircraft “in an abstract form” or to state that one of them is much better than the other. Well, yes, the Su-35S is superior in many aspects to the F-35, but definitely not in all possible scenarios.
In fact, we also need to know what other planes were in the air at that time, including AWACS, anti-aircraft defense and air combat suppression, and we would need to find out exactly what role the Russian S-400s played (if they were any played a role). As a rule, I urge you not to engage in a) “bean counting” (only taking into account the quantity) or b) make direct comparisons of combat aircraft. In the latter case, we would need to know what (and how much) training the pilots received, what weapons they had, what sensors they used and how, and more generally, how exactly the Israelis decided to structure their attack and how the Russians decided to respond. Finally, we would have to get some details about the merging of sensors, working with the network, data transmission channels, etc. Since we know nothing about this, I recommend not to stop on airplanes / radars / rockets X against airplanes / radars / Y missiles. It’s just not worth it.
The country’s electoral system does not provide for honesty and transparency, which is what the authorities need.
Fifth, rumors are already circulating that it was an operation “under the wrong flag” of the Israelis, the British, the KSA or the United States. I can not refute this, but I see no good reason for such conclusions. Firstly, this is really bad news for the Empire, and secondly, the Hussites have repeatedly performed such actions in the past, and there is no reason to suspect that they could not do what they did. However, it cannot be denied that any increase in oil prices benefits many people (the United States, shale, Russia, KSA, etc.). Finally, there is always and by definition a risk that the Israelis and their neocon allies will throw out some kind of fake flag in order to finally provoke a US attack on Iran. All these, however, are only indirect arguments, at least for now. The fact that a false flag is possible does not mean that it really happened, let’s never forget about it and never stoop to premature or unfounded conclusions.
Sixth, let’s look at the goals themselves. We are talking about huge oil facilities, which, according to the logic of the USA / NATO / Israel (or the Axis of Good), are most definitely classified as a “regime support infrastructure” or something like that. In addition, even in accordance with the logic of the “Axis of Good,” the laws of war make it possible to strike at infrastructure that is crucial for enemy military operations. Thus, while television stations, embassies or medical plants are NOT legitimate targets, critical oil facilities are. The ONLY condition is that the attacker makes honest efforts in choosing targets and ammunition and tries to avoid victims that can be avoided. As far as I know, the Saudis mentioned that the victims were zero. Yes, this is unlikely, but this is the case at the moment. In this case, the Houthi’s strike was absolutely legal, especially considering the genocidal devastation of the “Axis of Good” and the KSA in Yemen.
And finally, I dare to speculate why the air defense of the United States and Saudi Arabia was so useless: they probably never expected an attack from Yemen, at least not so sophisticated. Most of the US / KSA air defense is deployed to defend against an attack from Iran from the north. The fact that this strike was so successful makes it clear that it came from the south, from Yemen.
I was about to conclude that, according to RT, the Saudi oil minister said that KSA “does not yet know who is responsible”, and that this was good news. Then I saw this: “Saudi Arabia accuses Iran of financing the attack on the oil refinery, says that“ it could not come from Yemen. ” Not great. Also not trustworthy.
On the one hand, if it were Iran, then the attack would have been much larger and would have been only part of a larger full-scale attack, not only on Saudi oil facilities, but also on all of CENTCOM’s most important facilities and forces. There is no way that the Iranians would start large-scale hostilities (and these attacks were definitely called by the Saudis “large”) just to wait for massive retaliation from the US / KSA / Israel. The Iranians are certainly not going to repeat Saddam Hussein’s decisive mistake and provide the USA / CENTCOM / NATO / Israel / KSA with the time necessary to prepare for a massive attack on Iran.
I’m watching various “indicators and warnings” that may indicate that nothing good is happening in the USA, and so far I have noticed only one potentially disturbing event: MSC Sealift and the US Transport Command ordered turbo activation without notice 23 to 25 ships out of 46 Ready Reserve Force ships (RRF should be ready in 5 days). This is an unprecedented figure since 2003, and this may mean that someone is either simply taking precautions or someone is starting to get nervous. This is what they do in September, but not in such numbers (more on this here). But keep in mind that such indicators cannot be considered in isolation from other facts. If there is more, I will do my best to post them on the blog.
The fact that the air defense of the USA / KSA behaved so badly does not mean at all that the USA does not know at all “who did this”. There are many other sensors and systems (including in space) that will detect missile launch (especially a ballistic missile!), And there are some radar modes that allow you to detect at long distances, but they are not necessarily able to track the flight of the rocket all the time during scanning or when starting from large distances. In addition, you can also track signaling data and general telemetry. And since the United States has huge databases with “signature” signals of all types of enemy equipment, they also probably could accurately assess what type of systems were used. In this case, just like in the case of the MH-17, the Pentagon knows for sure “who did it.” The same thing with the Russians, who have a huge amount of electronic intelligence in the Middle East (and in space).
But in the last days of the Empire, the facts are not very significant. The important thing is that people in the White House and in Israel consider it politically expedient. My biggest hope is that Trump will find out the truth about the attacks and that he has enough brains to understand that if he hits Iran, he will lose the election and will probably even be held accountable.
Let’s hope that his instinct of narcissism will save our long-suffering planet!
Author: (published under the pseudonym The Saker) – a well-known blogger in the West. Born in Zurich (Switzerland). Father is Dutch, mother is Russian. He served as an analyst in the Swiss Armed Forces and in the UN research structures. Specializes in the study of post-Soviet states. Lives in Florida (USA).