France Analysis: To Defeat ISIS, Paris Must Change Its Strategy from Syria to Iran to Israel

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epa05028628 French President Francois Hollande leaves after delivered a speech at a special congress of the joint upper and lower houses of parliament (National Assembly and Senate) at the Palace of Versailles, near Paris, France, 16 November 2015. French President Francois Hollande addressed parliament about France's response to the 13 November Paris attacks, in a rare speech to lawmakers gathered in the majestic congress room of the Palace of Versailles. EPA/PHILIPPE WOJAZER/POOL MAXPPP OUT

PHOTO: French President Francois Hollande at his address to the Congress, November 16


Last week Michel Makinsky — Research Associate at IPSE (Institut de Prospective et de Sécurité en Europe) and General Manager of Ageromys International, consultants on Iranian affairs — wrote of the internal issues that France must confront after the Islamic State’s shootings and bombings in Paris last month.

See Islamic State Analysis: France’s Problems Start From Within

In the second part of his analysis, Makinsky turns to the changes in regional strategy that are needed to meet the threat of ISIS:


The Islamic State’s attacks in Paris on November 13 have changed French politics and society. We no longer face an internal threat with an effective counter-terrorism strategy frustrated by inadequate or counter-productive domestic policies and structures such as an outdated criminal code, insufficient resources for marginalized communities, and prisons that foster radicalization.

This is a strategic change, with the Islamic State opening a front inside our borders. As soon as France joined the air campaign against ISIS in Iraq, Paris was included in the camp of the enemy which has to be eliminated. It took its place in an Islamic State reorientation in which, last year, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had called on his “brothers” to go beyond their current territory and should fight abroad. Europe is no longer a “secondary” battlefield.

France has to respond with an appreciation of the political, economic, and social challenge within, as I noted in Part 1 of this analysis. But if the Islamic State has come to Europe, France — and others — also have to go abroad in their strategic approach. We have to rethink long-held assumptions about Iran, Syria, Iraq, and the wider Middle East.

Iran

Western countries have to promptly revise strategy with regards to both the Syrian and Iraqi crises. We have no choice but to build cooperation with Iran.

Despite the Supreme Leader’s stated opposition to any further cooperation with the US beyond the nuclear deal, it is pretty clear that Iran will seek some paths towards a dialogue, as shown with the Iraqi-mediated agreement on procedures to ensure against accidents between US and Iranian aircraft and the entry of Iran –– over Saudi objections –– into multilateral talks on Syria’s future.

There are already quiet exchanges of views on Syria between US and Iran diplomats. Even Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, deeply engaged against the Islamic State on both the Syrian and Iraqi fronts, may well be interested in exploring ways of discreetly enhancing cooperation, possibly sharing intelligence related to attacks contemplated by the Islamic State in Europe and elsewhere.

Syria

We should rid ourselves of the myth of “reasonable” or “moderate” Islamists who are considered by some in the US and France as Bashar al-Assad’s valuable foes, while democratic opponents lack credibility because of the weakness of more secular, Western-minded opposition forces. In this myth, “moderate” Islamists should be (and sometimes were) supplied with weapons and various other kinds of support, but as soon as the aid was received, it has been transferred to Al-Qa’eda’s Syrian branch, Jabhat al-Nusra, or the Islamic State in exchange for money, prisoners, or safe passage. The so-called border between “respectable” Islamists and radical jihadists has been untenable in practice.

While working on a politically inclusive settlement to Syria’s civil war, Washington and the Europeans must be very clear about who poses the great threat to security — the Islamic State — and who is most capable of fighting against it.

In Baghdad a joint intelligence center including Russia, Iran, Iraq, and Syria has been set up to upgrade the accuracy of air and ground operations. But regional actors’ capabilities are limited: to compensate for the weakness of regular armed forces, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have relied on Shia militias which are efficient on the ground but sectarian, brutal, and unprofessional.This makes it very difficult to persuade Sunni groups to fight ISIS, especially when these factions complain that they did not receive weapons from the Iraqi government.

This problem may be overcome hopefully with the help of competent advisors, including those from Western countries, and a combination of pressure — including for improvement of governance, tribal openness, and anti-corruption policy — and support.

Washington has decided to increase its assistance with more special forces, but this can only be a part of wider address of the challenge by the US and Europeans.

Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States

Saudi Arabia should be advised to make a genuine choice: fight ISIS and Al Qa’eda or be officially treated as their ally in the kingdom’s regional rivalry with Iran.

Washington has already taken an important step by persuading Riyadh to join the Vienna conferences on Syria. But this is only a beginning. Sensing a risk of isolation, and suffering a tarnished image following the Mecca stampede, the Kingdom is trying to show that it is not only a “warrior” State but also a regional actor capable of diplomatic strategy. Saudi Arabia has said it will set up a conference which will gather all components of the Syrian opposition by mid-December. The credibility of such an initiative remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, the Kingdom’s intervention in Yemen is a strategic error, as the vacuums created by the Saudi-led campaign have been filled in important ways by ISIS and Al Qa’eda. That result is not compatible with Western interests, and with the security of other regional actors. The West must make that message clear.

We should also assess whether other Gulf States — notably Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Qatar, are committed as well to an effort against the Islamic State. All were supposed to fight ISIS, but with the exception of Oman, they are taking part in the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. So, despite their initial participation in the air war against ISIS in Iraq, the Gulf States now appear to be far less engaged, if at all involved.

The West must also determine their commitment to destroying ISIS. One lever might be economic: Qatar and the UAE,in spite of their involvement in the Yemen coalition, nevertheless wish to keep good relations with Iran because shared interests in trade and energy resources.

Turkey

Turkey should also be asked to make a clear choice. This will not be easy given President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s recent electoral victory and the likelihood that he will resist any change in his strategic objectives, especially his priority that the Kurds do not benefit further from the wars in both Iraq and Syria.

In spite of having won his Parliamentary majority, Erdogan still faces serious challenges, including a lagging economy and ISIS cells within Turkey that are an ever-larger threat to the country’s internal stability. In the face of that threat,the West should insist at the very least on a serious crackdown on oil smuggling from ISIS-controlled wells into Turkey, as well as tighter enforcement of borders. There are also financial measures to be taken: ISIS has built a banking network which is mainly relying upon finance sources in Gulf States, but the Turkish banking system is not immune of flows of money linked to illicit trade of oil, weapons, and antiquities.

Lebanon

What to do with Hezbollah? If a political solution is reached in Syria, the group’s forces could be moved to the Iraqi front, joining Iran-controlled forces. This would bring another advantage: while fighting ISIS, Hezbollah could show that it is, as it claims, a genuine “Lebanese force” contributing to the country’s security. The recent suicide bombings in Beirut, carrying out by the Islamic State, is an incentive for Hezbollah to make this revision in strategy.

Israel

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s strategy in Syria remains unclear: is the threat posed by Hezbollah greater than that posed by the Islamic State?

That question might be addressed by some adaptation of strategic choices. Although they give vocal support to the Syrian President, both Iran and Russia quietly acknowledge that Assad’s departure is no longer a taboo. Meanwhile, if Islamist forces gain control of Syria, Israel’s security may be put at risk. Keeping a unified Syrian State would ensure better protection for Israel than a territory under the reign of the Islamists.

In the past, Israel has been tempted to play a dangerous game to weaken only for weakening its old enemy, for example, in its tactical alliance with Saudi Arabia amid the nuclear dispute with Iran. But now, with the Islamic State becoming more of a threat to Israel’s security, and if Hezbollah shows more restraint that unpredictable Islamist factions, israel may adapt its posture to the new context.

For France, Israel’s ambiguous connection with Riyadh has generated new concern after the Paris attacks. The French Government may thus reconsider strategic relations with both countries: beyond some highly publicized arms contracts — whose actual amounts, execution, and future payment remain uncertain === what strategic advantages has France gained from its courtship of the Saudis?

The Re-Evaluation

Reassessment is already underway. Surprisingly, allies of former President Nicolas Sarkozy — once a fervent advocate of Bashar al-Assad’s removal, a hard-liner on Iran, and a stalwart defender of Israel and Saudi Arabia —began voicing a sudden interest in Syria’s stabilization, with Assad’s immediate departure no longer their priority. Subsequently President François Hollande accepted — officially in the context of the July 14 nuclear deal with Iran — Tehran’s participation in the Syria talks, even though Paris maintained its line that the Syrian President must depart during a political transition.

Hollande is now forced to adapt France’s posture to the fast-evolving landscape. On 16 November, during a speech about the Paris attacks to French Deputes and Senators, he announced the u-turn in French doctrine: “In Syria, our enemy is Daesh [the Islamic State].” Building a large, unified coalition against ISIS is now necessary.

With its bombing of a Russian passenger jet over Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and the Paris attacks, ISIS may have made a strategic miscalculation leading two powers, previously in deep disagreement, to join forces. Russian President Vladimir Putin, pointing out that his French “friends” endlessly promoted Assad’s removal, wondered whether this “has protected Paris from the terrorist attack”. But the mockery did not prevent France from coordinating military operations with Moscow, with Rafale warplanes from the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle striking ISIS after communication channels were set up with Russian military authorities.

There are still disagreements between Hollande and Putin, as seen during their meeting last week in Moscow. Assad’s future still has to be decided, as does the process for a political solution and the militias who are acceptable allies against the Islamic State in Syria. Turkey’s downing of a Russian warplane has complicated disucssions.

But France is signalling indications of its strategic change. On November 27, the chair of Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Commission, Elisabeth Guigou, said, “French diplomacy has evolved with realism and Bashar El-Assad’s departure is no longer a prerequisite.” Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius then stated for the first time that the Syrian army could join other forces fighting the Islamic State. He later amended the position to say this must take place in the context of a political transition, but the message had already spread: destroying the regime would be a mistake.

At this point, these steps — while significant — do not come from a strategic assessment of the regional balance of power. Acquiring that strategic vision should be an urgent task. The central arena may be Syria but, in the essential task of defeating the Islamic State, long-standing relations with Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Israel all must be considered.

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56 COMMENTS

  1. The author makes a major mistake in this rambling article, which puts his analysis into question. He assumes that Iran wishes to actively confront ISIS. All evidence is to the contrary, as can be seen by neither Assad nor the Russians or the IRGC taking on ISIS in Syria in any meaningful way.

    They were supposed to take over Palmyra by now. What happened?

    Neither ISIS nor AQ are a threat to Iran, and Iran is happy to see ISIS wreaking havoc in the west, and possibly on the KSA. The author doesn’t seem to understand how the Islamics in Iran behave or think.

    Getting closer to Iran means more innocents will be bombed in Syria. Is the author aware of that?

    • USA is planning sectarian wars at the area..for Israel survival in the Midst of Too many Arabs and Muslims.Zion Jews invaded Whites House decades at the past..They who are creating Isis and Shiite Iraq government and make them fight each others.That why USA ad allies didn,t intervene in Syria or Iraq.They wanted civil and sectarian wars at the area.When they saw Isis is growing stronger USA is using Kurds..Syrian moderate rebels to fight Isis,even Shiites Iraqis to fight Isis.They are not going to defeat Isis,USA is going to created more chaos and wars at the area..to protect Israel,for Israel survival..that why very limited air strikes..limited armies on the ground..with limited weapons for all sides.USA and Zion Jews planned these all before the two is going to crush w,t.c in USA at 9 11 and blame Muslims in order to killing Arabs and disperse them on behalf of Israel.The weak Muslims really can,t crush w.t.c in USA who have 12 securities regency.It is inside job to dethrone the strong Arabs who will harm Israel.The war at the area really Zion Jews war game.Assad and rebel is another case.Even so USA and coalition let the war to enlarge at the area..and USA is waiting when Iran intervene and Sunnis coalition would destroy Iran.The war already enlarge to Yemen.USA and Zion knows sectarians in Muslims world and take advantage to destroy them selves by created sectarian wars.USA ans coalition also plan Sunnis vs Sunnis wars,It is already Sunnis coalition now..lead by young Saudi prince..let we see who are the Sunnis coalition will fight..If they fight Isis they also weaken Muslims..if the coalition will fight Iran..also will weaken both side..and Israel would prolong to rob Palestine fro Arabs.Zion Jews game eventually out smart Arabs and Western Whites the Shiites ,Sunnis and the Persian in Iran.Anyway USA true target is Saddam Iraq and Iran.The two really the greatest enemies to Israel.World coalition know not it is Zion Jews games to prolong their existence in the midst of too many Arabs.USA foreign policy on Arabs made by Zion in White house..so all Western coalition eventually stick on USA foreign policy and all of them really fight and die for Jews in Israel.That all the root of war a the area.Sorry for my English.

  2. The author presents himself as a willing lobbyist for Mullah states and dictators and above all an genuine antisemit. Guy Debord

  3. Hollande has redefined France’s goals. He reiterated that Assad cannot be part of the political solution to the Syrian crisis, but also said “our enemy, our enemy in Syria, is Daesh. ”

    Hollande is going to press for broader cooperation against Daesh in his meetings with Obama and Putin. Despite this rapprochement, serious policy differences over how to tackle Syria remain.

    The Fondation pour la Recherche Strategique in Paris says:

    “The fact that we have gone from saying ‘no to Bashar and no to Daesh’ to saying that our priority is Daesh doesn’t mean that we are less interested in the downfall of Bashar,” said Bruno Tertrais, senior fellow at the Fondation pour la Recherche Strategique in Paris and former policy adviser to the French defense ministry. “We can make small tactical concessions to Russia, but we can’t make strategic ones. France will not accept a presidential election in Syria in which Bashar will be a candidate.”

    additional:

    But the reality is that, with Hollande and in his circle, the view that Assad is the source of Daesh is deeply entrenched and coherent. Changing that view is very difficult because admitting would mean admitting a political defeat.

    Hollande’s domestic political foes have long called for cooperation with the massmurderer Assad. The point is: Hollande have shown some flexibility on Assad, and Putin will use it in his favor. But Russia’s interests are different from those of France, and those of the U.S.

    Hollandes stance about Assad is the same as the conviction of UK, Germany and US about the current leader of Rest Syria. Assad is the main reason of the Syrian Disaster. Putting him away is automaticly a measure to pacify large parts of Syria.

    The French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, accompagnied by his Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, has signed a10 billion contracts with Saudi Arabia at October. Deals mainly concern the fields of transport, energy and aerospace.

    The 10 billion deal includes accords, contracts and letters of intent between the two countries whose economic and political ties have been strengthening in the fields of aerospace and military contracts on behalf of Airbus, transport, energy, health and food markets with French companies.

    “Additional 30 patrol boats should be ordered before the end of the year” said the Prime Minister’s office.

    A deal that should bring in 600 million euros although the choice of the shipyard (between four French companies Piriou-DCNS, CMN, Ocea and Couach) seems to be on the way.

    France is now the third largest investor in Saudi Arabiaand there are opportunities for development for Saudi companies in France.

    The Michel Makinsky proposal is an awful disaster.

    Transforming a mass murderer into a president would extend the Syrian war, it would give a push against the haeds of the European partners and the proposal would detach France from America – to join a neo-imperial policy of Russia and Islamistic Iran.

    • The description of the economic relations between France and Saudi Arabia should describe their special relationship. France ensures a balance of power in the region – with the construction of nuclear power plants at Saudi Arabia.

      Therefor the Michel Kaminsky irrational and adventurous proposal would be a double disaster.

      Makinsky hasn`t advanced his political abilitys during the last hundred years. At 2015 he starts with the same policy where WWI has started.

      That will not happen because history will not repeat itself.

      • Kazemi, Sarkozy spoke to journalists following a meeting with Hollande at the Elysee Palace:
        “We must draw on the consequences of the situation in Syria. We need everyone in order to exterminate Daech, including the Russians.

        “There cannot be two coalitions in Syria,” Sarkozy, told journalists after meeting Hollande.

        http://www.reuters.com/article/us-france-shooting-sarkozy-idUSKCN0T40K720151115#Y5JWuwwIxt11Ka1u.99

        Lol, looks like Sarkozy doesn`t like Putin very much ………………..

        • Sarkozy did not speak about Assad. So you can’t say that Sarkozy will back Russia against the rebels or for Assad.

          The article says that when it comes to fight ISIS, Sarkozy wants the Russians to join in. That makes good sense. It also forces Russia’s hand that they do not wish to attack ISIS.

          • That makes good sense. It also forces Russia’s hand that they do not wish to attack ISIS.

            Correction, it forced Washington’s hand as the UNSC resolution called for not only attacking ISIS, but all Al Qaeda affiliated groups, including Al Nusra and the rebels that aid and abet them.

            The reason the Turks shot down the Russian plane and the reason the Russian airliner was taken down was because Russia has been going after ISIS.

          • Nicolas Sarkozy says the same as the official line of Hollande about Syria.

            Assad can not stay in power, insisted the former president of the Republic. “Someone who has on his conscience the death of 250,000 of his countrymen can not represent the future. At one point, he will have to leave, because never the Syrian reconciliation will do around it, “commented the former head of state.

            However, one should not expect his departure to start the political process to end the crisis, said Mr Sarkozy. You have to work for a transition to the regime in Damascus.

            Sarkozy called for the union of all forces to fight Islamic state group. And Russia must play a key role in this cooperation, he argues.

            One important point:
            —————————
            Sarkozy stressed, however, that if elections are desirable in Syria, their credibility would be compromised today by the chaos in the country and the massive displacement of the Syrian population.

            Meanwhile, he issued a message to his Russian hosts:
            It is not enough to hit the Islamist organization of IS, we must also unleash the moderate syrian opposition, which also opposes well the Daesh movement.

          • “”Reason the Turks shot down the Russian plane — and the reason the Russian airliner was taken down was because Russia has been going after ISIS.””
            ————————————————————–
            The Russians have violated Turkish airspace – just like they did it in 2014 in Sweden, in the Baltic States, in Ukraine, Poland, the UK and Portugal.

            Russians have underestimated the European and US criticism that Iranians and Russians in Syria are fighting Syrian civilians only.

            Just as the Russians have underestimated that violations of airspace could have serious consequences.

            The russian violations of turkish Airspace was naive because of the russian belief that testing the turkish airspace couldn`t have a turkish reaction.

            Russian airliner was taken down – If you believe that daesh has bombed down the russian plane – why don`t you fight Daesh but the Syrian population?

          • The Russians have violated Turkish airspace – just like they did it in 2014 in Sweden, in the Baltic States, in Ukraine, Poland, the UK and Portugal.

            False. Wikileaks reveals that Erdogan planned to shoot down a Russian plane for political reasons. They ambushed the Russian plane in Syrian air space.

            Meanwhile Turkey has invaded Iraq.

            < Russians have underestimated the European and US criticism that Iranians and Russians in Syria are fighting Syrian civilians only.

            How so? The European and US, both of whom have killed hundreds of thousands fo civilians, both acknowledged that Russia are attacking Daesh and Al Qaeda.

            The russian violations of turkish Airspace was naive because of the russian belief that testing the turkish airspace couldn`t have a turkish reaction.

            False. US generals have admitted that Turkey committed an act of war.

            Russian airliner was taken down – If you believe that daesh has bombed down the russian plane – why don`t you fight Daesh but the Syrian population?

            You have it backwards as usual. The reason Daesh brought down the airliner is precisely because Russia is indeed fighting Daesh.

            The reason Daesh has not attacked US targets is because the US is not going after Daesh.

          • It has not been proven that ISIS took down the Russian jetliner. Putin deep state is known to blow up his own people to stay in power.

            The US has bombed and pushed back ISIS from NE Syria. The US has bombed JaN countless times.

  4. So France steps out of the American diplomatic line by not staying mum on Assad and also helping the Egyptians by selling them Raphale jets (to fight their ISIS in Sinai).. and suddenly poof.. they get hit with an “ISIS” attack.. and the french line is now exactly what America wants it to be.
    ie make nice with Iran, make nice with Ass, dont help the arabs and stop selling jets to countries ISIS is losing in (EGYPT)

    ISIS is the biggest joke of the century, Somebody got bored of AlQaeda and so they created these new Baghdadi thugs .. and Iran/Ass are having the time of their life watching “isis” cause Islamo/arabo-phobia .. somebody in the west is sitting behind a desk laughing at this pandemonium they pushed

    America is playing both sides tho, Iran and the Arabs, and the only real winner of that fight will be the last man standing in Syria..(hint: it wont be Ass-ad) it will be the one who sells oil the cheapest. So far its ISIS selling barrels for $15 dollars instead of $50

    Putin was stupid enough to get sucked into Ukraine and Syria and we all know how well Russia does in wars.. lol.. i wont go into details.. but you get the jist from Afghanistan.. and now their economy taking a hit by losing gas clientele too.. if this were chess, I would say Putin didnt move that chess piece in the right direction obviously.. his Pawn Assad is just that, a pawn

    All of this is like the Americans said “a 30 year war” and the new Russian dimension just sets the stage for cheap oil because the Saudis are afraid of Iran and drowing the market in oil to keep Russia and Iran in place.. in the end China and America prosper.

    The arabs and Iran will just keep duking it out in Syria and Yemen and the rest of the world better tow the American line or else the ghoblins ISIS will ..poof .. suddenly show up to attack

    The day we see an ISIS attack in Iran is when pigs will fly lol.. and even then it will probably be staged like the Iranians did with their little American warship prop or the Temple mount play they did a few weeks ago.. honestly if you dont know what Im talking about on those two.. google it and have a laugh..

    Im now watching this war like a mini-series.. am done being sad for the civilians in Syria because I know its gonna happen for a long time and sadness is of no use.. the barrel bombs have calmed down when Russia came in and now its just a long wait until Putin goes broke and Ass loses hope..

    enjoy the movie folks,, stay alive

    • What nonsense. The cost of oil production in Saudi Arabia is only $3 a barrel. Even at $40, oil is way too expensive and should come down, if it were not for Opec and Russia.

      Then there is the shale oil revolution where the US is becoming an oil exporter instead of an importer. Then the oil sands of Canada and Venezuela that together they contain 25 times more oil than Saudi Arabia.

      If there is any conspiracy, it is by the cartels who keep the price of oil way high. Which other industry can build a widget for $3 and sell it for $40 wholesale?

      Read this from The Independent on conspiracy theory.

      http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/scientists-find-a-link-between-low-intelligence-and-acceptance-of-pseudo-profound-bulls-a6757731.html

      The arabs and Iran will just keep duking it out in Syria and Yemen and the rest of the world better tow the American line or else the ghoblins ISIS will ..poof .. suddenly show up to attack

      Wow, such great insight. I guess San Bernardino didn’t tow the American line.

      But you are right that ISIS is not a threat to Iran or even southern Iraq.

      • San Bernadino.. yeah.. two middle aged “muslims” happen to leave everything in their house like on any normal day and skip out on their plans for a greencard that they have been working on for two years. They leave their baby with a baby-sitter and then strap up and go on a gun rampage. No video message.. no letters to ISIS.. no hostage taking.. no trip back from Syria or Iraq.. LOL

        Sounds fishy.

        I am not a conspiracy believer in general, but ISIS is a horror film. Who knows how many billions of dollars ISIS saved Turkey (and whoever else buys from them) the last few years, by selling oil for $15 dollars and giving the citizens under their territory minimal quality life. They also feed the western ambitions of an enemy for the so called war on terror. No doubt also feed Irans need to make sunnis out to be extremists, and shiite out to be wonderful happy intellectual nuclear-having behaved worthy muslims (instead of a pariah minority)

        Anyhow, I know you hate islam and wish there werent 1.6 billion of them, but deal with it. Muslims are around just like there are 1.5 billion chinese or another billion indians or whetever.

        The “clash of civilizations” paradigm needs ISIS or Alqaeda or whoever to fit the bill if it is to occur. If the people in the region join “ISIS” its not because they pay well, its because they are just as gullible as the western couch potatoe watching FOX news thinking muslims are all out to kill them.

        Shale oil is also a joke LOL.. but keep dreaming
        Find the names of the shale oil companies on the stock market and look at their profits to earnings ratio.. shale oil is a fantasy. Oil spouting up directly from the ground without all the wasted billions on technology and pumps will always be cheaper. Like you said $3.. and thats where your nonsense about oil cartel comes in.. OPEC is a consortium and supply and demand ie FREE MARKET PRACTICES will always be around, its not a conspiracy.

        If you were to tell me electric cars reducing the need for oil consumption and cite Tesla as an example, I might be more inclined to agree. But for the most part, that needs another decade to convince Americans to leave their v8s and gas guzzler pick-up trucks.. not holding my breath for that either.

        • In a competitive supply-demand market, the profit margin drops to reflect the cost of money plus the associated risks. For a business, the margin is generally 15%. A widget that cost $3.00 to build will be sold for $3.45.

          But Opec is selling oil, which let’s say costs from $3 to $8 to load in a ship, at $40. That is a profit margin of 625% !

          Obviously you don’t understand what supply and demand is, because Opec countries are not competitive suppliers. They have formed a trust to keep the price of oil high.

          And no, I do not hate Muslims. I am one and so are my relatives.

          • But Opec is selling oil, which let’s say costs from $3 to $8 to load in a ship, at $40. That is a profit margin of 625% !

            It’s not a profit margin when they need to sell oil at $93.10 to break even in terms of running the state.

          • It’s not a profit margin when they need to sell oil at $93.10 to break even in terms of running the state.

            So, they have the right to raise their prices to meet their costs? OK. My business will raise its price to meet its costs. I will triple the price of my bicycles. If they stop buying my bicycles, I will form a trust with other bicycle makers to triple the price of bicycles!!! Meanwhile I will raise my costs by tripling my employees salaries, and moving into the most plushest building downtown. Company cars and chauffeurs for everyone! 3 days workweek for everyone!

            Only a socialist can think like this. Only a socialist. Folks, this is how stupid socialism is. Here you have the evidence.

          • Only a socialist can think like this. Only a socialist. Folks, this is how stupid socialism is. Here you have the evidence.

            As opposed to how stupid capitalism works, where profits are privatized and costs are passed on to the public right?

          • As opposed to how stupid capitalism works, where profits are privatized and costs are passed on to the public right?

            Businesses make about 15% profits on capital invested. That reflects a variety of factors such as cost of money, technological advancement, productivity increase, and most of all, risk.

            Are you saying risk should be socialized? That I go and risk my money in a business, and if I fail then you pay for it? Jeez you socialists are geniuses!!!! I love that. I will take the highest salaries and perks possible, waste the money, and when I fail, the government will reimburse me.

            “Costs passed to the public”? So you expect me to build a widget for $3.00 and sell it to the public for $1.00? Of course I have to pass the cost to the public.

        • Wrong as usual. Saudi Arabia itself has said that it produces oil at $3.00 a barrel, from its productive wells.

          That is exactly what your link says. See the bottom right.

          lol. You can’t even read your own chart?

        • Wrong again. Why should I pay for Saudi Arabia’s break even price? If Saudi Arabia has a huge deficit, why should the consumer pay for their mismanagement? The consumer has the right to buy oil from another producer who is cheaper than KSA.

          You are saying that oil consumers should subsidize KSA lifestyle and mismanagement by forcing consumers to pay for $100 oil. Are you nuts?

  5. This is no longer about Assad.

    The West, Arabs and Turkey are now going after Iraqi oil fields in northern Iraq.

    Assad is on the back burner.

    • There are almost no oil fields in Northern Iraq. And for the little there may be, they belong to the Kurds. And the Kurds do not sell oil for free, you know.

      80% or more of Iraq’s oil fields are south of Baghdad.

    • You both are making a big mistakes only :

      You can`t fight Terror with Terror.

      If Putin fights democrazy at Russia killing journalists and oppositionists it`s as evil as the Iranian Regime is torturing members of reformists and members of the green movement and puting human rights activists and oppositionists into horrible prisons.

      If you see the Syrian war as a religious struggle between shia and sunni – shia are the same terrorists as Daesh and some Daesh affilated groups.

      Shia Iran and Hizbollah are fireing up prolonging a war but you as a surpporter of shia can`t win against the majority of the Sunni. To deny facts and realities so far are your greatest strengths.

      Europeans or US aren`t as crazy and confused like Russians: They would not put their weight behind and the one or behind an other religous organisation.

      Europeans and US are fighting against both: 1. against Terrorists and 2. against shia and sunni Terrorism called political Islamism.

      • You can`t fight Terror with Terror.

        Terror is just violence attributed to opposition groups. The rebels are using terror

        If Putin fights democrazy at Russia killing journalists and oppositionists it`s as evil as the Iranian Regime

        He’s not killing journalists and oppositionists, unlike the Turks and Saudis, who you support.

        is torturing members of reformists and members of the green movement and puting human rights activists and oppositionists into horrible prisons.

        You mean like the Turks and Saudis who you support?

        If you see the Syrian war as a religious struggle between shia and sunni – shia are the same terrorists as Daesh and some Daesh affilated groups.

        It’s clearly not a religious war, but a proxy war.

        Shia Iran and Hizbollah are fireing up prolonging a war

        False. Resisting death cult Sunni jihadists is not prolonging a war. Those prolonging the war are those supporting those cult Sunni jihadists.

        Europeans or US aren`t as crazy and confused like Russians.

        I beg to differ. There is nothing crazier than supporting the death cult jihadists in Syria while opposing them in Iraq, In fact, the governments of Iraq and Libya are so sick of US chaos that they are asking the Russians for help.

        Europeans and US are pretending to fight Terrorists while supporting them.

    • The following quote is great:

      “What to do with Hezbollah? If a political solution is reached in Syria, the group’s forces could be moved to the Iraqi front, joining Iran-controlled forces.”

      But Hezbollah is not suppose to be a terrorist organization?, I mean…our governments taught us that during the last 30 years or so, then those were total lies or are we downgrading our dubious “moral” standars again?, will they be our new proxies in Iraq?.

      Anyway I´m sure iraqui sunni tribes will welcome them with open arms. Also this new Shia/Western axis has a big manpower shortage and is not like the sunnis will suddenly stop fighting Assad, Russia and iran just because some EU technocrats want them to put down their arms and let themselves to be killed like sheeps.

      • “What to do with Hezbollah?”

        Maybe Michel Makinsky as a enthusiastic supporter of the revolutionary Khomenei and Khamenei?

        10/8/1997 Hizballah — classified as a terrorist group
        0/8/1999 al-Qa’ida (AQ) — classified as a terrorist group
        12/17/2004 ISIL (formerly al-Qa’ida in Iraq) — classified as a terrorists
        7/2/2009 Kata’ib Hizballah (KH) — classified as a terrorist group

        http://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/other/des/123085.htm

        To make short and simple:

        The confused Makinsky proposal: Europe should fight of the side of Hizbollah against Nusra.

        More crazy isn`t possible. Makinsky is already wearing a veil – or he is still working for islamist terror under cover?

        Btw – Kata’ib Hizballah are the ones fighting at Syria, too but they had been fighting against US in Iraq, too.

  6. He assumes that Iran wishes to actively confront ISIS.

    And all evidence backs up this claim. ISIS are radical Sunnis and as such, Shiite Muslims would be at the top of their list of enemies.. #

    as can be seen by neither Assad nor the Russians or the IRGC taking on ISIS in Syria in any meaningful way.

    What do you mean by meaningful? They are taking on ISIS more than any other group is, but in Iraq and Syria.

    They were supposed to take over Palmyra by now. What happened?

    What is your point? That their failure to completely take Palmyra is evidence they are not serious about taking it? Pretty absurd logic. Why would they have bombed the place otherwise? Why would Turkey be demanding they to stop?

    Are you saying the US is not serious about confronting ISIS given they have barely laid a mark on ISIS after 12 months of bombing? Are you saying the US is secretly is bed with the Taliban given that the Taliban are still alive and well after 13 years of bombing in Afghanistan?

    Neither ISIS nor AQ are a threat to Iran

    On the contrary. Iran is their primary target, which is why Saudi Arabia has been backing them. They have been targetting Iran with much more force and determination thaty the KSA.

    BTW. You evidently have lo fo catching up to do with regard to news. Al Nusra has vowed not to attack the West.

    • “”Daesh are radical Sunnis””

      Daesh are terrorists using some elements of Islam for pseudo legitimation.
      The question is: If you see Daesh as a legitimate sunni organisation (but it isn`t because Daesh is called by sunni religious leaders as a terrorist organization) you are equiping them with some kind of legitimacy they do not have.

      Your arguments are supporting Daesh.

      2.. If you see (it looks like) the religious struggle between sunni and shia as the main thing
      Europeans and US will keep out of this fight.

      Do you wan`t to replace Daesh terror with the Terror of Shia Hizbollah including various Shia militias fighting at Syria and Iraq?

      It was the shiite terror group Hizbollah and the Islamic Republic of Iran who had started the Islamic Terror since 1979.

      Iran is supporting more than 50 Shiite extremist Terror Organizations.

      Western researchers believe that Iran is supporting more than 50 militias in Iraq and another 50 in Syria whose atrocities are not less than those of Daesh.The following is a list of some terrorist Shiite militias that are loyal to Iran and are active in Iraq and Syria:

      1. Gangs of the People of the Truth

      2. Companies of the Churasani Pioneer

      3. Battalions of the Lord of the Martyrs

      4. Noble Movement of Hezbollah

      5. Hezbollah Battalions

      6. Companies of Peace

      7. Corps of the Loyal Promise

      8. Bader Organization – Military Wing

      9. Brigade of Omar ibn Yasser

      10. Brigade of Assad Allah el Raleb

      11. Brigade of the Promised Day

      12. Battalions of the Supporters of Elhaja

      13. Battalions of the Sacred Defense

      14. Brigade of Elkariya

      15. Companies of Alzahra

      16. Brigade of Zu Elfakar

      17. Brigade of the Guarantors of Zainab

      18. Companies of the Supporters of the Belief

      19. Brigade Al Muntazir

      20. Badar Special Groups

      21. Brigade of Abu Elfader Elabbas

      22. Movement of Al Jihad and al Bina

      23. Companies of the Public Defense

      24. Battalions of the Shiite Brigade

      25. Hezbollah the Rebels

      26. Battalions of the Anger

      27. Brigade of the Youths With Missions

      28. Hezbollah Battalions of the Missing Imam

      29. Battalions With the Direction of the Message

      30. Ashura Companies

      31. Battalions of Malek Elashtar

      32. Elabdar Movement

      33. Battalions of the Imam Ali

      34. Army of the Muktar

      35. Public Draft

      36. Elhamad Brigade

      37. Brigade of the Existing Imam

      38. Eladiat Brigade – Special Guard

      39. Movement of the Loyal Supporters of Allah

      40. Brigade of the 5th Special Guard

      41. Army of Elkarar

      42. Combat Division of Abba

      In addition, while governments, experts and clerics issuing fatwas are refusing to give any aid to Sunni terror organizations, Shiite militias, which perpetrate the most horrific acts, enjoy the support of the Iranian Ayatollahs, the highest religious authorities in Iran, and the financial and military support of the Islamic Republic.

      If you want to stop islamic Terror Shia should begin with.

      3..””Palmyra is evidence they are not serious ….? One example of many.

      To take Kuweires it takes more than 6 weeks to gain a small 10km long stripe of territory.
      Since weeks Assad tropps are waiting ( for what?) not far away from Palmyra.

      Two examples of many that Putin, Assad and Khamenei are taking the fight against Daesh anything than serious. All three are using Daesh as tool to fight syrian Hospitals and Civilians.

      4. US together with kurds are the only ones fighting Daesh seriously.
      (Kobane, the whole northern territory at the turkish border including Hasakah and Sinjar are pacified areas right now)

      5.. Neither ISIS nor AQ are a threat to Iran

      Iran has surpported Al kaida in the past. Not Saudi Arabia is backing Daesh but extremest Organisations from tthe arab peninsula.

      6.. Nusra and the Khorasan group were the first targest of the US air raids one year ago.

      • When did I ever suggest Daesh was legitimate. They exist, therefore their legitimacy is irrelevant. They are a sunni organisation, which you yourself cannot refute or deny.

        Do you wan`t to replace Daesh terror with the Terror of Shia Hizbollah including various Shia militias fighting at Syria and Iraq?

        Hezbollah is a legitimate political organization.

        It was the shiite terror group Hizbollah and the Islamic Republic of Iran who had started the Islamic Terror since 1979.

        Rubbish. Islamic terror began in Afghanistan with US support.

        Western researchers believe that Iran is supporting more than 50 militias in Iraq and another 50 in Syria whose atrocities are not less than those of Daesh

        Most of those militias in Iraq are the Iraqi government. None participate in suicide attacks, beheading, mass drowning, or human organ eating – unlike the rebels you support.

        The death squads known as the “rebels”, perpetrate the most horrific acts. they enjoy the support of the US, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, the highest religious authorities in Saudi Arabia, we well as Saudi and Qatari financial and military support.

        3..””Palmyra is evidence they are not serious ….? One example of many.

        A month from now, the British and French efforts will produce no results and will prove that they, along with the US are not serious.

        4. US together with kurds are the only ones fighting Daesh seriously.

        False.

        1. The US has been pretending to fight Daesh for 12 months and lot laid a scratch on them. In fact, it was only after Russia embarrassed the US that it began making any effort.

        2. Russia has done more damage to Daesh in 2 months than the US has done in 15.

        3. AS Scott has pointed out, the Kurds are only interested in fighting Daesh within Kurdish territory.

        4. The US did nothing to stop the Turks bombing the Kurds, which also shows they are not serious about fighting Daesh.

        Kobane was the result of Iraqi

        5.. Neither ISIS nor AQ are a threat to Iran

        False. They have both declared Iraq their primary enemy. Iran has NEVER supported Al Qaeda in the past, whereas the US has supported it since the 1980s

        The US has even complained that Russia has bombed Nusra and the Khorasan group, insisting that by attacking these groups, Russia is failing to go after Daesh.

        More examples of Russia targeting Daesh while the US arms them
        http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/russian-jets-destroy-isis-oil-convoy-after-putin-accuses-turkey-of-buying-oil-from-jihadist-group-a6761326.html

        • 1..If you say Daesh is (whatever) a Sunni organisation you give them some legitimation. You say: There is a religous group (sunni)
          (it`s a legitimate religous group like Shia) and they have made a organisation for a religous reasons.

          If you are defining Daesh as a sunni group Daesh have the same right to do so (to build an organisation) as Shia.

          But Daesh is a terror group far away from any religous believings. . Islam is simply a mean to exploit people (Islam for Daesh is like chees to catch mices) for the purposes of the Terror Organisation Daesh.

          2. Hezbollah is a terror group. It`s listet as a terror group and this group is terrorizing people.

          This group is even tortureing and killing people.

          3. The beginers of using Islamic Terror was the Islamic Republic of Iran. (1979)

          4. You don´t have the slightest clue of history.

          5. Thank you for admitting that IRI is running Terror groups.
          But most oft this Iranian shia terrorist grops were foundet by Iran.

          6. Whats about Northern Syria, Hasakah and Sinjar?
          It`s pacified now – by US and Kurds.
          Where did you get your information? From the moon?

          6. The most horrific act I ever heard in my live was the torture commited by Hizbollah transforming living people during 15 months into a peace of flesh.

          7. There are no territories SSA have ever gained from Daesh.

          8. Btw – you are admitting that US have freed territores from Daesh
          and that US is successful fighting Daesh.

          9. Russia is destroying civilian infrastructure like hospitals and
          residential areas. Russia has killed so far 600 innocent civilians including childs and women.

          10. Freeing Kobane was done by United States and Kurds.
          the whole world know it – but you didn`t. Why?

          11. After 9/11 Al Qaeda members were surpported by the iranian regime.

          12. US were the first ones having bombed Nusra and Khorasan group.

          US is setting Iran and Russia under pressure because both are commiting genocide against sunni arabs.

          13. Mostly Russian claims that they have distroyed oil producing infrastructure are lies. Russia’s stated intention in launching airstrikes inside of Syria is to target daesh .

          But that isn’t who they’ve been attacking in the vast majority of their strikes.

          Greater than 90% of the strikes have not been against Daesh or al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorists,” according to AFP.

          They’ve been largely against opposition groups that want a better future for Syria and don’t want to see the Assad regime stay in power.

          The US government’s claims clash with statements from Russian officials. On September 30th, shortly after airstrikes began, Major-General Igor Konashenkov announced that the purpose of the operation was to “deal pinpoint strikes against ground targets of the [Islamic State] terrorist group in the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic.”

          Russian air strikes on Syria, are mostly concentrated on areas in Northwestern Syria, where daesh has no presence.

          Dmitry Peskov, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, later told reporters why Russia had bombed other groups outside of daesh, saying that “These organizations are well known and the targets are chosen in coordination with the armed forces of Syria.”

          Russia is bombing the enemies of al-Assad, Syria’s brutal dictator.

          In reality, Russian air strikes on rebel forces may actually be helping daesh by removing some of their competition.

          A new aerial campaign aimed at stretching out Assad’s rule could have other consequences, too: A recent survey of Syrian refugees in Germany found that most of them were actually fleeing Assad, not daesh. The survey also found that they were more likely to blame Assad thandaesh for the drawn-out fighting in Syria.

          • 1..If you say Daesh is (whatever) a Sunni organisation you give them some legitimation.

            No, those who legitimize them are those that insist they are rebels like you for example.

            2. Hezbollah is no more a terror group than the rebels. The fact it is listed by some states simply means it’s name appears on a list. Terrorist designations are purely arbitrary and political.

            This rebels are the onen tortureing and killing people.

            3. Islamic Terror dates back to the 7th century to the Kharijites.
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_terrorism

            4. It’s obvious you are the one who doesn´t have the slightest clue of history.

            5. Thank you for admitting that Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the US, Jordan and Qatar are running Terror groups.

            6. Whats about Northern Syria is a hell hole.
            http://news.yahoo.com/deadly-kurd-islamist-clashes-northern-syria-201525413.html

            6. The most horrific act I ever heard in my live was the torture commited by Hizbollah transforming living people during 15 months into a peace of flesh.

            Never happened. The US does that every day with drone strikes.

            7. There are no territories SSA have ever gained from Daesh.

            Wrong.
            http://www.almasdarnews.com/article/syrian-army-makes-huge-gains-in-northern-aleppo-isis-loses-more-territory/

            8. I never admitting that US have freed territories from Daesh. They are aiding and abetting Daesh,

            9. Russia is not destroying army hospitals and
            residential areas. You are confusing Russia with the US and Saudi Arabia

            10. Freeing Kobane the Kurds alone.

            11. 9/11 Al Qaeda members wereN EVER supported by the Iranian regime. They were all supported by the Saudis.

            The US is now backing Al Qaeda.

            12. US only started bombing Nusra and Khorasan after Russia embarrassed them.

            13. Russian claims that they have destroyed oil producing infrastructure are widely reported is legitimate media.

            You are losing the debate.

          • 1..There is no one calling Daesh a rebel group.
            Additional: rebels are fighting against Daesh but not Iran and Russia

            2.. Hizbollah is a terror group because they are acting like a terror group.

            The 2012 Burgas bus bombing was a terrorist attack carried out by a suicide bomber on a passenger bus transporting Israeli tourists at the Burgas Airport in Burgas, Bulgaria on 18 July 2012. The bus was carrying forty-two Israelis, mainly youths, from the airport to their hotels, after arriving on a flight from Tel Aviv. The explosion killed the Bulgarian bus driver and five Israelis and injured thirty-two Israelis, resulting in international condemnation of the bombing.

            In February 2013, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, the Bulgarian interior minister, said that Hezbollah was behind the attack.

            Since the declaration of the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979, the government of Iran has been accused by members of the international community of funding, providing equipment, weapons, training and giving sanctuary to terrorists.

            3..The US State Department describes Iran as an “active state sponsor of terrorism.” Condoleezza Rice: “Iran has been the country that has been in many ways a kind of central banker for terrorism in important regions like Lebanon through Hezbollah in the Middle East, in the Palestinian Territories, and we have deep concerns about what Iran is doing in the south of Iraq.”

            IRI has established the IRGC – Pasdaran-e Inqilab to domestically promote Khameneis terror policy. IRGC and Quds Force is accused of spreading its ideology in neighboring regions by training and funding “terrorist organizations”.

            4..Saudi Arabia is funding politically indoctrinated and religiously backward religious organizations.

            Thats one problem. But the bigger problem is that the State Iran is sponsering shia terror groups.

            5.. Russia and Iran are doing everything by bombing civilians to make the circumstances at syria more difficult than before September 30.

            6..The most horrific act I ever heard in my live was the torture commited by Hizbollah transforming living people during 15 months into a peace of flesh.

            On March 16, 1984, Buckley was kidnapped by Hezbollah.
            Buckley had undergone 15 months of torture by Hezbollah before his death.

            In a video taken approximately seven months after the kidnapping, his appearance was described as follows:

            Buckley was close to a gibbering wretch. His words were often incoherent; he slobbered and drooled and, most unnerving of all, he would suddenly scream in terror, his eyes rolling helplessly and his body shaking. . . . The CIA consensus was that he would be blindfolded and chained at the ankles and wrists and kept in a cell little bigger than a coffin.

            7..Almasdarnews is a propaganda station spreading lies like SANA or Kayhan daily

            8.. Your wording was:

            “”The US has been pretending to fight Daesh for 12 months and lot laid a scratch on them. In fact, it was only after Russia embarrassed the US that it began making any effort.””

            You have admitted the big gains of the United States of America saying “”it was only after Russia embarrassed the US that it began making any effort.””

            9.. Russians have destroyed 14 syrian Hospitals.

            10.. Kobane was freed by kurdish ground troops and US air raids.

            11.. Iran Is Working with al Qaeda

            Muhsin al-Fadhli, an al Qaeda operative who had been wanted for more than a decade, was killed in an airstrike in Syria earlier in the month. Fadhli has been dead at least once before.

            Before relocating to Syria, Fadhli led al Qaeda’s network in Iran. The Treasury Department revealed this fact in a terrorist designation issued October 18, 2012. Fadhli, Treasury reported, “began working with al Qaeda’s Iran-based facilitation network in 2009 and was later arrested by the Iranians.” But he was “released by the Iranians in 2011 and went on to assume the leadership of the facilitation network.”

            http://www.weeklystandard.com/iran-is-working-with-al-qaeda/article/996609

            12.. Nusra and khorasan were bombed by US at the beginning of US Air raids against Daesh

            13. Russian claims that they have destroyed oil producing infrastructure are widely lies.

          • 1, Yes, Daesh is indeed referred to as a rebel group. Additional: rebels are fighting against Assad but Daesh

            2. 2.. Hezbollah is a listed as a terror group because they are not on the side of Washington. Washington backs numerous groups, including Al Qaeda, Fatah Al Islam, Jundula, the MEK etc which are also terror groups or act like terror groups.

            The rebels also act like terror groups, including suicide bombing and beheading.

            Hezbollah had nothign to do with the 2012 Burgas bus bombing. Al Qaeda claimed responsibility. The government fo Bulgaria initially said there was no evident of Hezbollah involvement then after intense political pressure, said that t as feasible Hezbollah were involved.

            As for providing weapons to terrorists, Daesh uses state of the art US weapons.

            3. The US State Department is no authority and is purely a political wing of the administration. The US itself was found guilty of state terror by the ICJ.

            4. Saudi Arabia is a far greater threat and sponsor fo terror than Iran. They support Al Qaeda and Daesh, which are far greater threats than any so called shia terror groups.

            5. The US has been bombing civilians for a decade and killed hundreds fo thousands.

            6. Buckley was a member fo US armed forces and CIA and thus a legitimate target

            7. The US has not made any big gains since being embarrassed by the Russians, but they have stopped sitting on their hands.

            8. Russians have not destroyed ANY hospitals. The US has destroyed many.

            9. Kobane was freed by kurdish ground troops

            10. Iran have nothing to do with Al Qaeda. Your pathetic link to the neocon tabloid Weekly Standard is reveals that you will sink to any lever to lie.

            11. Nusra and khorasan were not remotely affected by the pretend bombing by US

            12. Even Western media admits Russia has destroyed oil producing infrastructure. Even Erdogan demanded Russia stopped bombing oil infrastructure as it was threatening his family profits.

          • “Washington backs numerous groups, including Al Qaeda”

            Washington backs Al Qaeda?, can you elaborate on the term “backs”?.

            “As for providing weapons to terrorists, Daesh uses state of the art US weapons.”

            Lol. Are you implying the U.S is deliberatly arming Daesh?, have you any solid prove to back this claim?.

            “Kobane was freed by kurdish ground troops”

            Flase. Kurds were being overrun by ISIS and confined to an insignificant pocket until the U.S air force came to save their asses. Anyone not blinded by an existencial hate towards the U.S knows this.

            Will you ever stop your hate-driven paranoia wich discerns the U.S´s evil invisible hand behind every sort of event that manifest before you?.

            Don´t you realise this hate-driven paranoia submerges you into a binary world of opposites of wich there is no escape?.

  7. Latest official line (december 5. 2015) of the french gverment about the syrian conflict:

    1..Fabius said he no longer believes that al-Assad’s departure is a necessary requirement before a political transition can get under way in Syria.

    2..”A united Syria implies a political transition. That does not mean that al-Assad must leave before the transition, but there must be assurances for the future.”

    3.. “The fight against Daesh is crucial, but it will only be totally effective if all the Syrian and regional forces are united”, he said.

    4..“How is this possible if al-Assad remains in his position – he who has committed so many atrocities against – and who has a large part of the population against him?”

    5..Fabius on Monday said that it was “obvious” Assad could not work alongside moderate rebels in Syria.

    6..”If we achieve a political transition and it’s no longer Bashar in charge of the Syrian army, there could be joint actions against terrorism. But under Bashar it’s not possible,” Fabius told France Inter radio on Monday, speaking at the UN climate conference just outside Paris.

    7..”It is obvious that it’s not under the leadership of Mr Assad that the army could be engaged alongside the moderate opposition,” he added.

    8..“The experiences in the past few decades, whether in Iraq or Afghanistan, have shown us that Western troops are quickly perceived as occupying forces. [These] operations need to be carried out by local forces.”

    http://www.france24.com/en/20151205-assad-exit-not-necessary-syria-transition-france-fabius-islamic-state-group

    • “A united Syria implies a political transition. That does not mean that Bashar al-Assad must leave even before the transition, but there must be assurances for the future”

      Lol. “Does not mean that Bashar al-Assad must leave”?, but hey! is this not a political transition “away” from him?, how can you have a transition away from something if that something is not going anywhere.

  8. Michel Makinsky — “”We have no choice but to build cooperation with Iran””.
    ———————————————————————————————————
    Europe represents the attitude that the separation between religion and state is fundamental for the organization of a state. Furthermore, it can´t surpport any type of religion out of this reason.

    The interests of a rational, secular and enlightened policy can only be to ensure a balance of interests. Sunnis have the same right of existence as the shia community. Anything else would deepen and prolong the war between religions.

    Therefore European policy is to fight terrorism as actively to fight against Islamist extremists.

    If Makinsky is surpporting Iranian Shia interests he is standing on the side of Hardliner Islamist Iran represented by IRGC and Quds Force, Terrorist Shia Hizbollah and several Shia Militas from Afganistan, Pakistan and Iraq fighting at Syria.

    To heat the sectarian sides of a conflict can not be the task of Europe.

    The big mistake of Putin is to support iranian extremists reinforcing the religious hatred between Arab sunni and Iranian Shia. That`s surely isn`t the interest of Europe.

  9. “We have no choice but to build cooperation with Iran.”

    This is true only if we want to avoid any hard thought about this complex and dangerous situation.

    Cooperating with religious fanatics (or with Assad) is the worst option. There is no moral difference between Khameini and Al-Baghdadi.

  10. I would be tempted not to add any argument to a passionate debate.However,it may be useful to bring some clarification at this stage.
    1) I am not supporting any leader’s nor group’s view ( from Khamenei to Hezbollah or anyone else).I am only advocating stategic thinking.Seems hard.Nevertheless,let’s try.
    2) let’s start with refraining from labelling anyone (actor,or….analyst !) with whatever “colour”,category,etc;this never helps building robust assessment.
    3) If we use strategic criteria only,we should agree on a few set of principles:
    i) Daech ,AQ ,and other islamist jihadists are currently the most critical threat not only for the Middle-East,but even at a global level as no country is immune;
    II) if we consider the current state of forces in Iraq and Syria,in view of ISIS and AQ ‘s main goals,one must admit that aerial strikes are most useful but do not suffice for containing Daech and if possible,eliminating it ( a huge challenge).We know then that regional actors together with both Russia and western states should play a critical role which has to be carefully tailored so as to avoid a new “Vietnam”.
    iii) Have we a huge choice for selecting powers in the region capable and ,first,wanting to contain and eliminate Daech? The “menu” is thin.Building some cooperation with Iran,at least some coordination is hardly avoidable.Here,let’s avoid jumping to conclusion: this is not an alliance but a realistic approach. Again and again,no one asks us to “kiss” IRGC,Khamenei,Hezbollah.They are here.Period.When Général de Gaulle decided to open diplomatic relations with China,was he unaware of the bloody dicta-
    torship there?Is anyone considering Nixon and KIssinger who did the same as both naive and lunatic idiots? These leaders have been able to make proper strategic assessments.This was not a love affair.
    iiii) If one takes some time for reading what I told on Hezbollah, I did not praise it,nor endorsed its positions,behaviour.I did not even suggest a kind of alliance. I just noted that if there was a political solution in Syria, it would automatically diminish the need of keeping there the bulk of their military personnel.
    iiiii) Beyond any military efficient confrontation with Daech,restoring some stability both in Syrial and Iraq relies upon building political solutions.In Iraq,the priority is to persuade sunni tribes to join the battle against Daech.This relies upon far more efforts so as to include sunni tribes not only within the security apparatus but in the political decision-making system.An enormous challenge,with very low support;as one of us pointed out it is sad to see the massively prominent role of shia militias.This does not help bringing national uniity even if on the ground more sunnis are active,but the government has not done enough in this respect either on the military or on the financial side.Experts like Myriam Benraad see on the ground the continuous devastating process of fragmentation which one should fight as it may be devastating for the whole region.Keeping a unified iraqi state with a high level of autonomy for various provinces could be an alternative.But,currently, reducing Daech is a priority which requires more consistent choices from Saudi Arabia,Qatar and Turkey.
    iiiii) Iran-Saudi Arabia hot antagonism is a very dangerous factor for the region and Big powers should work hard so as to create a better mutual understanding.

    There sould be many commentaries to be added in order to address features which have not been dealt with here.But,brevitatis causa, let’s keep some ideas at home .

    • Michel, thanks for your reply.
      Let`s use strategic creterias.

      3i) Assad has transformed Syria into a terror factory using islamists to undermine Syrian social movements and to counter US efforts of nation building at Iraq. Whats about Assad?

      3ii) Can`t see anybody who is in principle contrary to the strategy fight with Russia against Daesh. There have been a lot of hopes among European politician that it would be possible to integrate Putin but making some concessions at first. It failed – because Russia is now part of the syrian terror fabric
      producing terrorist by bombing civilians and members of the legitimate opposition. At the moment Russians are producing hatred right now killing syrian civilian structures which will last for at least 100 years.

      Btw- it was the Syrian opposition who faught first successful against Daesh.

      3iii) I have never seen an argument against an realistic aproach. But if you can get Hizbollah for the fight against Daesh you will have a problem: You are heating the conflict (shia – sunni) immidiatly – for sectarian reasons.(Please have a short look to Iraq and Anbar province). Additional Hizbollah isn`t strong enough to fight Daesh.

      The question: Why don`t you ask the 150 big syrian rebel groups and the 1000 syrian rebel militarias (source guardian and australian secret service, 100.000 fighters) to fight Daesh? The advantage:

      If you will send Assad with a one way ticket to Sibira 1. at the same moment you have quickly finished the Syrian war 2.. you have solved the refugee crises 3.. and additional you will get very quickly much more very motivated fighters you will need to fight Daesh.

      It would be nice to get an answer.

      • Thanks Gunny ,for relaunching the discussion with clarity.
        3i )I agree:Assad has indeed generated much of the initial trouble in Syria: first his dictatorship inherited from his father.Indeed,he is reported to have first used islamists in order to play a very dangerous game.
        3ii) Russia:one is entitled to question Russia’s bombing hitting civilians and selecting some islamists and non islamist opponents amongst some other potential targets.Prioritizing non ISIS opponents is reflecting Russia’s short term interests whatever the price to be paid by populations.This being said,Moscow seems to have brought a significant change through its strikes (even if selective) and through building a coordination with Iraqi,Iranian,Syrian intelligence.Experts assessment on the efficacy of such strikes are nuanced.While they think that Moscow has significantly jeopardized islamist forces,at least some analysts feel that russian military efficacy against Daech has been limited and is not sufficient if others don’t help.
        3iii) Hezbollah :you are correct when you say that this militia’s weight is limited, but it is operational.Nevertheless,one should not forget that in spite of its involvement,Iran’s military power is weak.See the endless increase in human losses both within iranian military forces and Hezbollah.Every month or so you learn that a new “martyr” is added to the list of casualities.
        Asking why the various rebel groups don’t fight Daech is a good point.Within rebel or opponents,main islamist militia appear to have some arrangements on the ground.Experts who manage to see these have pointed out that in many occasions,there are some mutual understanding amongst islamists; i have already pointed out that weapons delivered to “responsible ” (!) islamists have promptly been forwarded to Daech or AQ in exchange of $,prisoners, free move,etc.These will never fight Daech.
        Those who are already fighting daech are syrian Kurds.Non islamist opponents are currently too weak for competing with islamists.

        Another factor to be kept in mind:both Tehran and Moscow ,in spite of their public statements,are no longer struggling for keeping Bashar el Assad.Both want rather keeping a syrian state.Note the unexpected success of the Vienna conference on this peculiar point: all participants at least provisionally agreed with this idea.Yes,there is no political solution available for now but negociations are still alive.It is too ealy for issuing any assessment on the viability of such a negociation, but as long as it continues,let us cross fingers.Unsurprisingly islamist groups have stated that only an islamist sharia-led state is acceptable.But this statement reflects a balance of power which may not be endlessly in favor of their superiority.
        In Iraq,military cooperation towards upgrading syrian army’s capabilities is supposed to be a priority but raising its professionalism up to the necessary level is unfortunately unreachable within a short delay.
        Therefore increasing and finetuning airstrikes,supporting iraqi armed forces,together with armed sunni tribes,helping kurds and simultaneously compelling Ankara to make the genuine choice against Daech,while coordinating with Iran, is a prerequisite.Increasing pressures onto the iraqi government so as to genuinely sharing power and $ with sunni tribes is unavoidable.
        Last but not least,one should as well,as I did point out already,remind Riyad that saudi’s stategic options are still not consistent with any serious all-out fight against Daech.Saudis and Gulf monarchs are wasting enormous resources in their coalition against Houthis in Yemen.They should have to promptly favor a genuine political solution in Yemen and launch a genuine all-out fight against Daech.

        • Michel, acquiring a strategic vision should be an urgent task. But we should be more concrete and more decisive: Acquiring a european vision which is coordinated with the United States and the United Nations that should be an urgent task. Because a unilateral vision without a broad agreement will have no prospect of success and it would not make sense to think about it.

          3i) Assad is the key point. There are two indicators to decide what policy stance can be developed against Assad: Assad has certainly begun to do a lot better than Hafez al Assad. But the positiv developements at the begining of his presedency has stopped something around 2005 because Basher al Assad was one decisive actor according the murder of Rafic Hariri, the former Prime Minister of Lebanon. The murder of Harriri marks the turning point because you not only have to ask whether Basher al Assad is able to integrate the various ethnic and religions groups in Syria additional the murder of Harriri puts up the question to what extent Bashar Assad is even still able to make a capable and independent Syrian policy.

          The issue of Assad` autonomy at 2015 is the most interesting question. To put it short and simple: At 2015 SAA is a ghost army filled up with shia militias remote controled from Iran and the intervention of Russia explains that Assad would surely have lost the war without russian forces.

          What political concept is behind the russian and iranian intervention?

          On the iranian side it`s poorely shia jihadism and on the russian side it`s a mixture of neo-imperialist motivation but the biggest drive of Putin is that he wants to show his power against the West. Putin policy is the prolongation of the cold war. The russian KGB man Putin has not yet processed this question.

          Even the question doesn`t arise whether the West can support the Iranian and Russian policy because the neo-imperialist religious approach of Khamenei and Putin are against all provisions of the Charta of the United Nations.

          3ii) There is absolute no russian military efficacy against Daesch because Daesh isn`t the main enemy of Putin, Khamenei, Nasrallah and Assad. If Daesh would be the main enemy of Putin he would join the US coalition. But that`s the very last thing Putin would do because he is fighting against the west.

          Russia’s airstrikes and the fighting of Iranian Shia militias are causing a very dangerous developement at Syria: Both aren`t solving any problem but they are radicalizing the struggles. Syrians aren`t looking for moderates because that can`t be the question for Syrians at the moment. They are looking for the strongest fighting group which is capable to win the war against the massmurderer Assad and his mafia Shabiha.

          The longer the war will last, the more radical groups are acting on the ground and the number of refugees will increase.

          The unexpected success of the Vienna conference isn`t the point that Putin will send Assad to Sibira. For Iran and Russia Assad will be used as a tool of pressuring the West to continue with the Iranian and Russian annexation of Syria.

          Important point: There are two political groups at syria capable to fight Daesh on the ground:
          1. rebels and 2.kurds (PYD & SDF)

          If the west doesn`t want to lose it`s influence in the Middle East, the West must not give up its principles.
          (Democrazy, Human rights, Separation of powers, a rational organisation of state which includes all ethnic
          and religious groups living on the ground of the syrian territory)

          If the west gives up it`s principles Europe will not survive as an influential power in a multipolar world.

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