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Monday, August 22, 2016
The new Russia-China-Iran coalition changes everything
Ruslan Ostashko (translated by J. Arnoldski) Fort Russ / PolitRussia
Over the span of just a few days, the situation in the Middle East in
general and Syria in particular has undergone radical changes. What's
more, these are good changes which we can be proud of, ones which many in the Pentagon are losing sleep over.
Putin is taking full advantage of the institutional paralysis which is
engulfing the United States during election campaigns and is, literally
in front of dumbfounded Americans' eyes, redistributing spheres of
influence in one of the key regions of the world.
Let's start with the reports that Russia has just set up its own air
force base in Iran. Honestly speaking, this isn't the case. This is not
our base. Iran has "loaned" it to us for some time in
order for bombing ISIS terrorists and their friends in Syria to be
easier. The context of these reports is key. In general, it is no secret
to many that Iran has long since closely cooperated with Russia in
Syria and opened its airspace for the passage of Russian Caliber
rockets, just like its airfields were already being used last year by
our transport and bombers for refueling.
But there is a nuance. Iran and Russia have tried not to advertise this,
apparently so as to not create additional tension during the process of
Syria negotiations, and so that Iran can still continue the tedious and
difficult work of defrosting their Western assets since sanctions have
been lifted. But the situation has radically changed now.
First of all, Russia has obtained the official right to use the
airfield for basing Russian bombers, including strategic ones capable of
carrying nuclear weapons. The last time that Iran decided to allow foreign troops onto its territory was 70 years ago.This is a sign of great trust and the very high level of relations between our countries.
This move fits well into the general context of Russian-Iranian
relations. This benefits the - let's call things by their names - future
competition to the Suez Canal, the "North-South" transport corridor,
which needed a military "roof" and has now got it.
US ramping up missile defense systems near China & Russia
Secondly, the presence of Russian aircraft on Iranian territory is now
known to the whole world, and this changes the configuration of what is
happening in the Middle East to a certain extent. Another
Russian base in the region, a base which moreover could host bombers
with nuclear weapons, causes great strain not so much for the US as for
our Saudi and Qatari partners who will now feel very uncomfortable.
In fact, this is being done very publicly for the first time. Tehran and Moscow are sending a clear signal to our American partners in the region,
and the State Department has already spoken out against these actions,
advising that the redeployment of Russian bombers was "carried out too
quickly" and, most importantly, without consulting the Americans. The
Americans have been offended, but while they are busy with elections, Putin
is stitching together a new anti-American alliance, among which even
such countries with difficult relations with each other, like Iran and
Turkey, have a place.
And now the second important element of the puzzle. For the first time during the Syrian crisis, Beijing has moved from diplomatically supporting Moscow and Damascus to military supporting them.
These are still just the first steps, and it is not worth expecting the
People's Liberation Army of China to land in Aleppo tomorrow, but this
gesture by the Chinese has meaning. A representative of the Central
Military Commission of the People's Republic of China, Guan Ufa, flew to
Damascus this weekend and promised Assad humanitarian assistance from China as well as assistance in "strengthening personnel training."
Syrian authorities and the Syrian Army really benefit from this. We
should also consider that the Chinese prefer to intervene in
international conflicts only when they have no other choice and know
exactly who will win. It is obvious that Beijing took the opportunity to
avoid direct participation in the Syrian crisis for the sake of not
creating another point of tension between them and the United States. Logic dictates that this means that Beijing is now confident that the anti-American coalition in the Middle East will win.
Now, based on such a forecast, they've decided to offer some assistance
which they can turn into a certain influence in the region later. We
aren't bothered by this. We have no claims to global hegemony. Squeezing American influence out of the Middle East will be much easier with Beijing's help.
Right now, thanks to the Kremlin's diplomatic efforts, a
coalition of countries who are ready to fight against American hegemony
is forming not only in words, but in deeds. The Americans do not like
this, but they will have to get used to it. Sooner or later, they, and
not us, will find themselves in complete international isolation.
U.S. 1ST "SMART NUCLEAR BOMB" SIGNALS NEW ARMS RACE WITH RUSSIA & CHINA