The US is Executing a Global War Plan

By Finian Cunningham

February 18, 2018 “Information Clearing House” – Washington is moving inevitably on a global war plan. That’s the grim conclusion one has to draw from three unfolding war scenarios.

Ultimately, it’s about American imperialism trying to assert hegemony over the international order for the benefit of US capitalism. Russia and China are prime targets for this global assault.

The three unfolding war scenarios are seen in Syria, North Korea and Ukraine. These are not disparate, disassociated conflicts. They are inter-related expressions of the American war plans. War plans which involve the moving of strategic military power into position.

Last week’s massacre of over 100 Syrian government forces by American warplanes near Deir ez-Zor was an audacious overt assault by the US on the Syrian state. The US, along with other NATO allies, have been up to now waging a seven-year proxy war for regime change against Russia’s ally, President Assad. The massacre last week was certainly not the first time that US forces, illegally present in Syria, have attacked the Syrian army. But it seems clearer than ever now that American forces are operating on the overt agenda for regime change. US troops are transparently acting like an occupation army, challenging Russia and its legally mandated support for the Syrian state.

Heightening international concerns are multiple reports that Russian military contractors were among the casualties in the US-led air strike near Deir ez-Zor last week.

Regarding North Korea, Washington is brazenly sabotaging diplomatic efforts underway between the respective Korean leaderships in Pyongyang and Seoul. While this inter-Korean dialogue has been picking up positive momentum, the US has all the while been positioning nuclear-capable B-52 and B-2 bombers in the region, along with at least three aircraft carriers. The B-2s are also reportedly armed with 14-tonne bunker-buster bombs – the largest non-nuclear warhead in the American arsenal, designed to destroy North Korean underground missile silos and “decapitate” the Pyongyang leadership of Kim Jong-un.

American vice-president Mike Pence, while attending the Winter Olympics in South Korea, opening last week, delivered a blunt war message. He said that the recent detente between North Korea and US ally South Korea will come to an end as “soon as the Olympic flame is extinguished” – when the games close later this month. This US policy of belligerence completely upends Russia and China’s efforts to facilitate inter-Korean peace diplomacy.

Meanwhile, the situation in Eastern Ukraine looks decidedly grim for an imminent US-led invasion of the breakaway Donbas region. Pentagon military inspectors have in the past week reportedly arrived along the Contact Zone that separates the US-backed Kiev regime forces and the pro-Russian separatists of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. Donetsk’s military commander Eduard Basurin warned that the arrival of Pentagon and other NATO military advisors from Britain and Canada indicate that US-armed Kiev forces are readying for a renewed assault on the Donbas ethnic Russian population.

Even the normally complacent observers of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), charged with monitoring a nominal ceasefire along the Contact Zone, have lately begun reporting serious advancement of heavy weapons by the Kiev forces – in violation of the 2015 Minsk Peace Accord.

If the US-led Kiev forces proceed with the anticipated offensive next month in Donbas there are real fears for extreme civilian casualties. Such “ethnic cleansing” of Russian people by Kiev regime forces that openly espouse Neo-Nazi ideology would mostly likely precipitate a large-scale intervention by Moscow as a matter of humanitarian defense. Perhaps that is what the US planners are wagering on, which can then be portrayed by the dutiful Western news media as “another Russian aggression”.

US-based political analyst Randy Martin says: “It is undeniable that Washington is on a war footing in three global scenarios. Preparation for war is in fact war.”

He added: “You have to also consider the latest Nuclear Posture Review published by the Pentagon earlier this month. The Pentagon is openly declaring that it views Russia and China as targets, and that it is willing to use nuclear force to contest conventional wars and what the Pentagon deems to be asymmetric aggression.”

Martin says that it is not clear at this stage what Washington wants exactly.

“It is of course all about seeking global domination which is long-consistent with American imperialism as expressed for example in the Wolfowitz Doctrine following the end of the Cold War,” says the analyst.

“But what does Washington want specifically from Russia and China is the question. It is evidently using the threat of war and aggression as a lever. But it is not clear what would placate Washington. Perhaps regime change in Russia where President Putin is ousted by a deferential pro-Western figure. Perhaps Russia and China giving up their plans of Eurasian economic integration and abandoning their plans to drop the American dollar in trade relations.”

One thing, however, seems abundantly clear. The US is embarking on a global war plan, as can be discerned from the grave developments unfolding in Syria, the Korean Peninsula and Ukraine. Each scenario can be understood as a pressure point on Moscow or China to in some way acquiesce to American ambitions for global dominance.

To be sure, Washington is being reckless and criminal in its conduct, violating the UN Charter and countless other international laws. It is brazenly acting like a rogue regime without the slightest hint of shame.

Still, Russia and China are hardly likely to capitulate. Simply because the US ambition of unipolar hegemony is impossible to achieve. The post-Second World Order, which Washington was able to dominate for nearly seven decades, is becoming obsolete as the international order naturally transforms into a multipolar configuration.

When Washington accuses Moscow and Beijing of “trying to alter the international order to their advantage” what the American rulers are tacitly admitting is their anxiety that the days of US hegemony are on the wane. Russia and China are not doing anything illegitimate. It is simply a fact of historical evolution.

So, ultimately, Washington’s war plans are futile in what they are trying to achieve by criminal coercion. Those plans cannot reverse history. But, demonically, those plans could obliterate the future of the planet.

The world is again on a precipice as it was before on the eve of the First and Second World Wars. Capitalism, imperialism and fascism are again center stage.

As analyst Randy Martin puts it: “The American rulers are coming out of the closet to show their true naked nature of wanting to wage war on the world. Their supremacist, militarist ideology is, incontrovertibly, fascism in action.”

Finian Cunningham has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. He is a Master’s graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. He is also a musician and songwriter. For nearly 20 years, he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organisations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent.

This article was originally published by “Strategic Culture Foundation



In Gaza

Last week I had the honour of joining a number of incredible writers and orators in Derry, Ireland, in a panel, “Imperialism on Trial”. The five speakers were: John Wight, writer and host of Hard Facts; the former British Ambassador to Syria Peter Ford; author, journalist and broadcaster Neil Clark; former MP and host of Sputnik Orbiting the WorldGeorge Galloway; and myself.

Organized by Derry resident Gregory Sharkey, the panelists addressed a wide range of issues. As one of the speakers, author Neil Clark, wrote:

“Five passionate and well-informed speakers, who included the former British Ambassador to Syria Peter Ford, detailed the carnage and chaos that has been unleashed around the globe by the aggressive, warmongering policies of the US and its closest allies.

The full panel is online from RT’s livestream recording:

John Wight‘s talk was a poetic, searing condemnation of Imperialism and the corporate media, with literary and historical references included (much like Syria’s highly-educated Ambassador to the UN does in his speeches before the buffoons ala Haley, Power…).

His speech, fittingly, begins with a respectful acknowledgement of Resistance forces in Syria and around the world fighting against genocidal Imperialist forces. Excerpts include:

“Imperialism has run like a broken thread throughout human history, but so has Resistance to Imperialism. In this regard, I’d like to take a moment to pay tribute to the Syrian Arab Army, Hezbollah, Iran, Russia, in short, all those whose efforts in combating this genocidal project of a latter day Khmer Rouge has prevented Syria from being pushed into an abyss in which its minorities—people who can trace their presence in that part of the world back over a millenia and more—would have been gone, extirpated, annihilated.

Everybody on this panel tonight has felt the lash of the mainstream media. They call us ‘cranks’, they call us ‘stooges’, they call us “Putin’s puppets’, they call us ‘Assadists’. But yet, why do they attack us if we’re so marginal, why take the time to attack what we do? It’s because we ask the question ‘why’….”

Peter Ford spoke with the conviction of a man with years of experience in Syria, with firsthand knowledge of that country and others in the region. Noting that “Imperialism did not end when the colonies became free”, Ford said (excerpts):

“We now have a new, more insidious, but more powerful form of Imperialism. And this Imperialism hides behind words. As an ex-diplomat, I’m very sensitive to the clever use of words, they are so manipulative. The new Imperialism hides behind expressions like “protecting our allies”. When we went to war in Iraq, we were protecting the Saudis, the Israelis…these are our allies. Another term the new Imperialists hide behind to extend their hegemony is “defeating terrorism”. That’s a more recent one.

Another one they love is “defending human rights”, and this applies to the Left as much as to the Right, or “humanitarianism”. This is liberal interventionalism, and we on the Left have to be particularly alert to this one. This is the new version of carrying the white man’s burden. In each case, we are intervening militarily, or certainly using some sort of coercive diplomacy. We’re intervening in less-developed parts of the world which are not able, by and large, to strike back.

Britain is a prominent member of the grandly called “Global Coalition to eliminate ISIS”, and there are about 50 countries which are members of this coalition but it’s by no means the global. It excludes Russia, which has done more against ISIS than any individual member of the global coalition. It excludes China and many, many other countries, but they like to pretend that it’s global. They tell us that the purpose is to eradicate ISIS. Well, ISIS has virtually been eradicated for the last three months, but the coalition goes on. And indeed, just two weeks ago an American general told us that the coalition was there to stay in northern Syria because their job was to stop ISIS coming back. Well that’s an open-ended promise isn’t it that could go on forever.”

Neil Clark, likewise spoke truth on many issues covered up or distorted by corporate media. Excerpts:

Libya in 2009 had the highest Human Development Index in Africa. Today it basically it is a hellhole run by various militias….The ultimate ignominy, the testament to the intervention launched by Sarkozy and Cameron & co, is the re-emergence of slave markets in Libya again. In fact, it’s a common pattern: every country where we’ve had these Western us-led interventions, the situation for ordinary people in those countries has actually worsened not got better.

We saw another classic example in Ukraine in 2014, a very similar scenario: the the US and its allies were supporting protesters against the government, and those protesters were led by the far right—by genuine far-right—people. …We’re talking about genuine ultra-nationalist borderline neo-nazis or bona fide neo-nazis at the forefront of these anti-government demonstrations. …We had a basic regime change in Ukraine against a democratically-elected government there.

I think they ought to be very aware of the language we use, …and one thing we ought to be careful of is this word “regime” because this is a very key term that’s used. …You don’t hear it about the US or Israel, you hear it about Syria, you hear it about Iran. It’s compulsory to say the Iranian “regime” not the Iranian government or the Syrian government.

We have spent billions billions of pounds on these illegal wars, billions of pounds on these interventions. …There’s nothing more important for us to do thanto change British foreign policy to have a British foreign policy based on respect for the sovereignty of countries around the world, a peaceful foreign policy, a non-interventionist foreign policy…”

George Galloway‘s speech was a detailed, animated, history lesson of Imperialist crimes, threats and lies, past and present. Excerpts:

“When I was born, the guns had only just stopped firing, from the British and American annihilation of the people of Korea. You heard the quotes from Eva, from Curtis Le May. ‘We burned down every town and village in North Korea,’ he said. ‘We killed 20% of the population of Korea. We threatened to launch thermo-nuclear warfare against them.’

We killed 1 million Chinese who had entered Korea to stop the advance of the British and American war machine, because they knew if they had conquered the north of Korea they would continued over the border to try to destroy the Chinese revolution.

And we wonder why North Korea is paranoid? Just because you’re paranoid, it doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.

Our people may have forgotten the Korean war. The Korean people never did forget it. 

They seek to induce us into a state of panic that something must be done about North Korea maybe having one nuclear rocket that can reach the United States, when the United States has 1000s of nuclear weapons that can reach and incinerate North Korea or anywhere else in the world.

How is it that the United States is somehow qualified to possess a nuclear arsenal that could end life on this planet for millennia to come, but other people, to defend themselves, may not produce one?”

My own talk at the Imperialism on Trial panel (also here) focused on media lies and war propaganda around Syria, and on the Imperialists’ fear-mongering rhetoric around, and blatant calls for the genocide of, Korea’s north, with reminders that the US and allies already destroyed the DPRK in the ’50s.

I also addressed the criminal sanctions on the DPRK, and some of the sensationalist stories put forth on the DPRK, sometimes even emanating from Washington. While I mentioned some of my August 2017 visit to the DPRK, I would here defer to the expertise of writers like historian Bruce Cumings, who wrote:

“The demonization of North Korea transcends party lines, drawing on a host of subliminal racist and Orientalist imagery; no one is willing to accept that North Koreans may have valid reasons for not accepting the American definition of reality.”

Researcher and writer Stephen Gowans offers a starkly different (aka factual) look at Korea’s north than that spewed by MSM hacks and politicians with no regard for the 25 million people at risk of annihilation thanks to American Exceptionalism. International criminal lawyer and writer Christopher Black also has vast knowledge about the DPRK, and has himself visited the country some years ago. Professor Tim Anderson wrote this article highlighting aspects of our August 2017 visit.

The bottom line, though, as Ajamu Baraka stated in our January 2018 interview:

“The US should not feel that it has the moral and political right to intervene, to determine who should be the head of any state, what kind of system they should organize. Those are questions and issues that should be left up to the people of any nation state on the planet. …No matter what the argument may be made by US authorities regarding the character of any state, we believe that allowing for those kinds of arguments to be used as a justification for intervention or waging war is morally unacceptable and politically has to be resisted.

Links Related to Syria Content:

-Sharmine Narwani’s “How narratives killed the Syrian people

-Sharmine Narwani’s “Syria: The Hidden Massacre

-on media lies and myths on Syria: Deconstructing the NATO Narrative on Syria

-Writing of the late Father Frans van der Lugt on armed protesters

-Interview with Father Daniel in Syria: “There Never Was a Popular Uprising in Syria”

Homs: “We wanted to protect our house”

“Freedom”: Homs resident speaks of the early days of the “crisis” (June 2014)

Syria Dispatch: Most Syrians Support Assad, Reject Phony Foreign ‘Revolution’

Vanessa Beeley videos, including testimonies of Syrians from eastern areas of Aleppo after liberation of the city.

-Mass Starvation & other anti-Syria propaganda:

The Children of Kafarya and Foua are Crying in the Dark

-Omran Daqneesh (the Boy in the Ambulance):

-White Helmets (al-Qaeda’s rescuers):

-Israel’s Use Of White Phosphorous on Palestinian Civilians:


SouthFront & The Saker video

February 02, 2018

Original video:
Original article:
Many thanks to “RS” for redacting the original article for this video!

Now that the Neocons have hamstrung Trump, and with Trump’s planned impeachment and removal from office still in the future, the world must deal with the dangerous decline of the USA-led power bloc, because the Neocons are back in power and will do anything to reverse this trend. It is obvious that the only “solution” that the Neocons see is to trigger another war. So the question is: “Whom will they  strike?”

If the Neocons are out of touch with reality, then everything is possible, even nuking Russia and China. While not dismissing the Neocons’ capacity for violence, it is equally pointless to analyze clearly irrational scenarios, given that modern deterrence theories assume “rational actors” and not madmen running amok.

Assuming a modicum of rational thinking remains in Washington, DC, if the Neocons launch some extreme operation, somebody in the corridors of power will find the courage to prevent it, as Admiral Fallon did with his “Not on my watch!” comment which possibly prevented an attack on Iran in 2007. But the question remains: where could the USA-led power bloc strike next?

The Usual Scenario

The habitual modus operandi is: subvert a weak country, accuse it of human rights violations, impose economic sanctions, trigger riots and militarily intervene to defend “democracy”, “freedom” and “self-determination.” That’s the political recipe. Then there is “the American way of war,” i.e., the way US commanders fight.

During the Cold War, the Pentagon focused on fighting a large conventional war against the Soviet Union that could escalate into nuclear war. Nuclear aspects aside, such a war’s conventional dimension is “heavy”: large formations, lots of armor and artillery. Immense logistical efforts on both sides are required, which would consequently engender deep-strikes on second echelon forces, supply dumps and strategic infrastructure, and a defense in depth in key sectors. The battlefield would be hundreds of kilometers deep on both sides of the front line. Military defenses would be prepared in two, possibly three, echelons. In the Cold War, the Soviet 2nd strategic echelon in Europe was in the Ukraine! — which  inherited huge ammo dumps from Soviet times, so there has been no shortage of weapons on either side to wage the Ukrainian civil war. With the Soviet Union’s collapse, this threat rapidly disappeared. Ultimately, the Gulf War provided the US military and NATO one last, big, conventional war, but it soon became clear to US strategists that the “heavy war” era was over and that armored brigades weren’t the Pentagon’s most useful tool.

So US strategists, mostly from Special Operation Forces, developed “war on the cheap.” First, the CIA funds, arms and trains local insurgents; next, US Special Forces embed with the insurgents as front line soldiers who direct close support aircraft to strike enemy forces; finally, enough aircraft are deployed in and around the combat zone to support 24 hour combat operations. The objective is to provide overwhelming firepower advantage to friendly insurgents.

US and “coalition” forces then advance until they come under fire and, unless they rapidly prevail, they call in airstrikes which result in a huge BOOM!!! – followed by the enemy’s annihilation. The process repeats as necessary for easy, cheap victories over outgunned enemies. The strategy is enhanced by providing the insurgents with better gear (anti-tank weapons, night vision, communications, etc.) and bringing in Pentagon or allied forces, or mercenaries, to defeat really tough targets.

While many in the US military were deeply skeptical, Special Forces dominance and the temporary success of “war on the cheap” in Afghanistan made it immensely popular with US politicians and policy advocates. Moreover, this “cheap” warfare resulted in very few American casualties, with a high degree of “plausible deniability” should something go wrong. The alphabet soup agencies loved it.

But the early euphoria about US invincibility overlooked three very risky assumptions about “war on the cheap”:

First, it required a deeply demoralized enemy who felt that resistance to the USA was futile, because even if the US forces were initially limited in size and capabilities, the Americans could always bring in more forces.

Second, it assumed total battlefield air superiority by the US, since Americans prefer not to provide close air support when they can be shot down by enemy forces.

Third, it required local insurgents who physically occupy and control territory.

But none of these assumptions are necessarily true, and even better said, the USA-led power bloc has  run out of countries in which these assumptions still apply.

Let’s take a closer look.

Hezbollah, Lebanon 2006

This war involved Israel, not the USA, but it nicely illustrates the principle. While superior Hezbollah tactics and battlefield preparation played important roles, and Russian anti-tank weapons permitted Hezbollah to destroy the most advanced Israeli tanks, the most important result was that a small, weak Arab force showed no fear whatsoever against the supposedly invincible Israeli military.

British reporter, Robert Fisk, was the first person to detect the implications of this change. Fisk observed that in the past Arabs were intimidated by Israeli military power, that if the IDF crossed the Lebanese border, for instance, that Palestinians fled to Beirut. However, beginning with the 2006 Israeli assault on southern Lebanon all of that changed. A small, “outgunned” Arab force was not afraid to stand its ground and fight back against the IDF.

It was a huge change. What Hezbollah achieved in 2006 is now repeated in Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, Iraq and elsewhere. The fear of the “sole superpower” is gone, replaced by a burning desire to settle the score with the USA-led power bloc and its occupation forces.

Hezbollah also proved another very important thing: the winning strategy against a superior enemy is not to protect yourself against his attacks, but to deny him a lucrative target. Put simply: “a cammo tent is better than a bunker.” The more academic way to put it is: “don’t contest your enemy’s superiority – make it irrelevant.”

In retrospect, the most formidable weapon of the USA-led power bloc was not the nuclear bomb or the aircraft carrier, but a huge public relations machine which for decades convinced the world of US invincibility, superior weapons, better trained soldiers, more advanced tactics, etc. But this is total nonsense – the US military is nothing like the glorified image projected to the world! When did the US last win a war against a capable adversary? The Japanese in WWII?

Russian Operation, Syria 2015

The Russian operation in Syria was neither a case of “the Russians are coming” nor “the war is over.” The Russians sent a very small force, This force did not so much defeat Daesh as change the war’s political context. The Russians made American intervention much harder politically, and also kept them from waging “war on the cheap” in Syria.

The Russians deployed to Syria without the capabilities which could deny American use of Syrian air space. Even after the Turks shot down the Russian SU-24, the Russians only deployed enough air-defenses and air superiority fighters to protect themselves from a similar Turkish attack. Even today, if the Pentagon decided to take control of Syrian airspace, the Russians don’t have enough air defenses or combat aircraft to deny Syrian airspace to the Americans. Such an attack would come with very real American political and military costs, true enough, but the realities of modern warfare are such that the tiny Russian air contingent of 33 combat aircraft (of which only 19 can actually contest the Syrian airspace: 4 SU-30s, 6 SU-34s, 9 Su-27s) and an unknown number of S-300/S-400/S-1 Pantsir batteries cannot defeat the combined air power of CENTCOM and NATO.

The problem for the Americans is a matrix of risks, including Russian military capabilities, but also  the political risks of establishing a no-fly zone over Syria. Not only would that further escalate the totally illegal US intervention, it would require a sustained effort to suppress Syrian, and potentially Russian, air defenses; that is something the White House will not do right now, especially when the results of such a risky operation remain unclear. Consequently, the Americans only struck sporadically, with minimal results.

Even worse, the Russians are turning the tables on the Americans and providing the Syrians with close air support, artillery controllers and heavy artillery systems, including multiple-rocket launchers and heavy flamethrowers, all of which are giving the firepower advantage to the Syrians. Paradoxically, the Russians are now fighting a “war on the cheap” while denying this option to the Americans and their allies.

Good Terrorists, aka “FSA”, Syria 2017

The Free Syrian Army’s main weakness is that it doesn’t physically exist! Sure, there are plenty of FSA Syrian exiles in Turkey and elsewhere; there are also many Daesh/al-Qaeda types who try hard to look like FSA; and there are scattered armed groups in Syria who would like to be “the FSA.” But the FSA was always a purely political abstraction. This virtual FSA provided many useful things to the Americans: a propaganda narrative, a pious pretext to send in the CIA, a fig leaf to conceal that Uncle Sam was militarily allied with al-Qaeda and Daesh, and a political ideal to try to unify the world against Assad’s government. But the FSA never provided “boots on the ground” like everybody else: Daesh and al-Qaeda, the Syrians, the Iranians, Hezbollah, the Turks and the Kurds. But since the Takfiris were “officially” the USA’s enemy, the US was limited in the support given to these Wahabi forces. The Syrians, Iranians and Hezbollah were demonized, so it was impossible to work with them. That left the Turks, who had terrible relations with the USA after the US-backed coup against Erdogan, and the Kurds, who were not eager to fight and die deep inside Syria and who were regarded with great hostility by Ankara. As the war progressed the terrible reality hit the Americans: they had no “boots on the ground” with which to embed their Special Ops or to support.

A case in point is the American failure in the al-Tanf region near the Jordanian border. The Americans and Jordanians invaded this desert region hoping to sever the lines of communications between the Syrians and Iraqis. Instead, the Syrians cut the Americans off and reached the border first, rendering the American presence useless. It appears that the Americans have given up on al-Tanf, and will withdraw and redeploy elsewhere in Syria.

So Who Is Next – Venezuela?

History shows that the Americans have always had problem with their local “allies”. Some were pretty good (South Koreans), others less so (Contras), but US use of local forces always has a risk: the locals often have their own agenda and soon realize that if they depend on the Americans, the Americans also depend on them. Additionally, Americans are not well known for having good “multi-cultural sensitivity and expertise.” They are typically not very knowledgeable about their operating environment, meaning that US intelligence usually becomes aware of problems way too late to fix them (fancy technology can’t substitute for solid, expert human intelligence). The US failure in Syria is an excellent example of this.

Having identified some of the weaknesses of the US “war on the cheap” approach, let’s examine a vulnerability matrix for potential target countries:

Notes: “demoralized enemy” and “air superiority” are guesstimates; “boots on the ground” means an indigenous, combat force in-country (not foreign troops) capable of seizing and holding ground, and not just small insurgent groups or political opposition.

By these criteria, the only candidate for US intervention is Venezuela, where successful US intervention would require a realistic exit strategy. But the US is already overextended and cannot afford to bog down in an unwinnable war. While the Venezuelan opposition could provide “boots on the ground,” the Venezuelan pro-American forces lack the capabilities of the regular armed forces or the Leftist guerrilla groups who tolerated the Chavez-Maduro rule, but who retained their weapons “just in case.” As for terrain, while Caracas might appear relatively “easy” to seize, the rest of the country is more difficult and dangerous. As regards staying power, while Americans like quick victories, Latin American guerrillas have repeatedly proven that they can fight for decades. Therefore, while the USA is probably capable of invading and ravaging Venezuela, it is likely incapable of imposing a new regime and controlling the country.

Conclusion – Afghanistan 2001-2017

Afghanistan is often called the “graveyard of empires,” and Afghanistan may well become the graveyard of the “war on the cheap” doctrine, which is paradoxical since this doctrine was initially applied in Afghanistan with apparent success. Remember the US Special Forces on horseback, directing B-52 airstrikes against retreating Afghan forces? Sixteen years later, the Afghan war has dramatically changed and 90% of US casualties come from IEDs, all the efforts at a political settlement have failed, and victory and withdrawal appear completely impossible. The fact that the USA has now accused Russia of “arming the Taliban” is a powerful indicator of the USA-led power bloc’s desperation. Eventually, the Americans will leave, totally defeated, but for the time being all they will admit to is: “not winning.”

Here’s the dilemma: with the end of the Cold War and Post Cold War, complete US military reform is long overdue, but also politically impossible. The present US armed forces are the bizarre result of the Cold War, the “war on the cheap” years and failed military interventions. In theory, the US should adopt a new national security strategy and a military strategy that supports the national security strategy, and then develop a military doctrine which would produce a force modernization plan incorporating all aspects of military reform, from training to force planning to deployment. It took the Russians over a decade to do this. It will take the Americans at least as long. Right now, such far reaching reform seems years away. Garden variety jingoism (“We’re number one!!”) and deep denial rule the day. As in Russia, it will probably take a truly catastrophic embarrassment (like the first Russian war in Chechnya) to force the Pentagon to face reality. Until then, the ability of US forces to impose their domination on countries which refuse to surrender to threats and sanctions will continue to degrade.

So is Venezuela next? Hopefully not. But if so, it will be one very big mess with much destroyed and little achieved. The USA-led power bloc has long been punching above its weight. Prevailing against Iran or North Korea is clearly beyond current US military capabilities. Attacking Russia or China would be suicidal. Which leaves the Ukraine. The US might possibly send some weapons to the junta in Kiev and organize training camps in the western Ukraine. But that’s about it. None of that will make any real difference anyway, except further aggravate the Russians.

The Russians have succeeded in turning the course of the civil war in Syria with what was an extremely small, if highly skilled, task force.  Now, for the 2nd time, President Putin has announced a major withdrawal of Russian forces.  In contrast, the thoroughly defeated US has not only claimed the credit for defeating ISIS for itself, but has ostentatiously failed to make any announcement about a withdrawal of its own, completely illegal and mostly useless, forces from Syria.  Will they ever learn from their own mistakes?

The era of “wars on the cheap” is over. The world is a different place than it was. The USA has to adapt to this reality, if it wants to retain some level of credibility; but right now it does not appear anybody in Washington, DC is willing to admit this. As a result, the era of major US military interventions might well be coming to an end, even if there will always be some small country to “triumphantly” beat up.

America’s National Defense Is Really Offense

By Philip M. Giraldi

January 28, 2018 “Information Clearing House” –  On Friday, the Pentagon released an unclassified summary of the 2018 National Defense Strategy report. On the same day, Secretary of Defense James Mattis delivered prepared remarks relating to the document.

Reading the summary is illuminating, to say the least, and somewhat disturbing, as it focuses very little on actual defense of the realm and relates much more to offensive military action that might be employed to further certain debatable national interests. Occasionally, it is actually delusional, as when it refers to consolidating “gains we have made in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and elsewhere.”

At times Mattis’ supplementary “remarks” were more bombastic than reassuring, as when he warned “…those who would threaten America’s experiment in democracy: if you challenge us, it will be your longest and worst day.” He did not exactly go into what the military response to hacking a politician’s emails might be and one can only speculate, which is precisely the problem.

One of the most bizarre aspects of the report is its breathtaking assumption that “competitors” should be subjected to a potential military response if it is determined that they are in conflict with the strategic goals of the U.S. government. It is far removed from the old-fashioned Constitutional concept that one has armed forces to defend the country against an actual threat involving an attack by hostile forces and instead embraces preventive war, which is clearly an excuse for serial interventions overseas.

Some of the remarks by Mattis relate to China and Russia.  He said that “We face growing threats from revisionist powers as different as China and Russia, nations that seek to create a world consistent with their authoritarian models – pursuing veto authority over other nations’ economic, diplomatic and security decisions.” There is, however, no evidence that either country is exporting “authoritarian models,” nor are they vetoing anything that they do not perceive as direct and immediate threats frequently orchestrated by Washington, which is intervening in local quarrels thousands of miles away from the U.S. borders. And when it comes to exporting models, who does it more persistently than Washington?

The report goes on to state that Russia and China and rogue regimes like Iran have “…increased efforts short of armed conflict by expanding coercion to new fronts, violating principle of sovereignty, exploiting ambiguity, and deliberately blurring the lines between civil and military goals.” As confusing civil and military is what the United States itself has been doing in Libya, Iraq and, currently, Syria, the allegation might be considered ironic.

The scariest assertion in the summary is the following: “Nuclear forces – Modernization of the nuclear force includes developing options to counter competitors’ coercive strategies, predicated on the threatened use of nuclear or strategic non-nuclear attacks.” That means that the White House and Pentagon are reserving the option to use nuclear weapons even when there is no imminent or existential threat as long as there is a “strategic” reason for doing so. Strategic would be defined by the president and Mattis, while the War Powers Act allows Donald Trump to legally initiate a nuclear attack.

What might that mean in practice? Back in 2005, Vice President Dick Cheney had requested “a contingency plan to be employed in response to another 9/11-type terrorist attack on the United States… [including] a large-scale air assault on Iran employing both conventional and tactical nuclear weapons … not conditional on Iran actually being involved in the act of terrorism directed against the United States.”

Possible employment of “weapons of mass destruction” responded to intelligence suggesting that conventional weapons would be unable to penetrate the underground hardened sites where Iran’s presumed nuclear weapons facilities were reportedly located. But as it turned out, Iran had no nuclear weapons program and attacking it would have been totally gratuitous. Some other neocon inspired plans to attack Iran also included a nuclear option if Iran actually had the temerity to resist American force majeure.

Pentagon planners clearly anticipate another year of playing at defense by keeping the offense on the field. An impetuous and poorly informed president is a danger to all of us, particularly as he is surrounded by general-advisers who see a military solution to every problem. Hopefully wiser counsel will prevail.

By Philip M. Giraldi Ph.D., Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest.

This article was originally published by Strategic Culture Foundation 


الصراع على تركيا

زياد حافظ

سئلنا في بداية الأسبوع الحالي في حوار نقاشي على إحدى المحطّات التلفزيونية العربية حول المعارك الدائرة في شمال سورية، ما إذا كانت روسيا قد أجرت تنسيقاً مع الحكومة التركية قبل التدخّل التركي. لم تكن عندئذ قد نشرت المعلومات حول الموضوع ولكن أفدنا أنه من الضرورة النظرة إلى المشهد من منظور استراتيجي وجيوسياسي. «التنسيق» الذي اتضح في ما بعد بين تركيا وروسيا وحتى الجمهورية الإسلامية في إيران هدفه في الحد الأقصى تصعيد المجابهة بين تركيا والولايات المتحدة التي ستؤدّي عاجلاً أم آجلاً إلى خروج تركيا من الحلف الأطلسي. هذه قد تكون الجائزة الكبرى في «اللعبة الكبيرة» الجديدة حول السيطرة النهائية الروسية على البحر الأسود وكسر احتكار السيطرة الأميركية في حوض البحر الأبيض المتوسط. أما «جائزة الترضية» فهي تسريع حرق ما تبقّى من أوراق أميركية في المنطقة كان من المفروض أن تؤمّن الحضور السياسي الأميركي في المنطقة. فبعد الانتهاء من حرق الورقة الكردية لن يعود بالإمكان للولايات المتحدة إلاّ الخروج الموقت وقد يكون نهائياً من المشرق أو المغامرة غير المحسوبة في إشعال حرب شاملة. ففي كلتا الحالتين هناك خسارة مؤكّدة للولايات المتحدة بغض النظر عمّا ستسفر عنه المعارك التركية الكردية في شمال سورية. هذا كان مختصر مداخلتنا حول الموضوع.

تفيد المعلومات أن صراعاً داخل الإدارة الأميركية وحتى داخل أروقة البنتاغون بين «الواقعيين» الذين لا يريدون خروج تركيا من كنف الأطلسي، وبين المحافظين الجدد الذين عادوا إلى التحكّم داخل البيت الأبيض والخارجية الأميركية والبنتاغون. فالآخرون يدعمون الأكراد مهما كلّف الأمر، لأن الدويلة الكردية التي يحاولون إنشاءها ستعود بفوائد استراتيجية أكبر للولايات المتحدة وللكيان الصهيوني، وإن كان على حساب خسارة قاعدة انجرليك في تركيا بخروج تركيا من الكنف الأميركي والأطلسي. هذا ما نشره موقع «قمر الاباما» المشهور والواسع الاطلاع والدقيق في التحليل والتعليق على خفايا الأمور داخل أروقة الحكم الأميركية. من جهة أخرى غرّد ريشارد هاس رئيس مجلس العلاقات الخارجية والمعروف بتعاطفه الكبير مع الكيان الصهيوني أن واجباً أخلاقياً واستراتيجياً يقع على عاتق الولايات المتحدة لدعم الأكراد في شمال سورية وإن كان سيؤدّي ذلك إلى «خسارة» تركيا التي يعتبرها «حتمية»! وتفيد صحيفة «نيويورك تايمز» أن البيت الأبيض، هنا نفهم رئيس مجلس الأمن القومي هربرت مكماستر، لا يحبّذ إقامة دويلة كردية وغير متحمّس على تسليح الأكراد. بالمقابل هناك وزارة الدفاع على لسان وزيرها الذي يدفع بقوة إلى تسليح قوة قوامها 30 ألف عنصر معظمهم من الأكراد وبعتاد نوعي عالٍ. فحالة التخبّط والإرباك هي سيّدة الموقف في أروقة الحكم في الولايات المتحدة ما يزيد البلبلة حول ما يمكن أن تُقدم عليه الإدارة الأميركية. فما كرّرناه مراراً بالتحليل نجد دلائل مادية تؤكّده.

تركيا على مفترق طرق. الشعب التركي يؤيّد أردوغان في عمليته العسكرية في شمال سورية. فالدويلة الكردية قد تشكّل خطراً وجودياً بالنسبة لتركيا. بالمقابل كانت كل من إيران وروسيا تملكان من البصيرة في استمالة تركيا لربطها استراتيجياً بهما، وذلك عبر إغراءات اقتصادية لم تستطع الولايات المتحدة ولا الاتحاد الاوروبي عرضها على تركيا. حجم التجارة الخارجية الاجمالية التركية قبل الصفقات التي عقدت مع كل من روسيا وإيران بحدود 300 مليار دولار. العرض الروسي والإيراني هو 100 مليار دولار لكل منهما أي بمثابة ثلثي حجم التجارة الخارجية الحالية. وعند تحقيق التبادل التجاري سيصبح إجمالى التجارة الخارجية التركية يوازي تقريباً 500 مليار دولار يكون لروسيا وإيران ما يوازي 40 في المئة من التجارة الخارجية التركية. كما لا يجب أن ننسى أن تركيا بحاجة أساسية للغاز الروسي والإيراني. وإذا ما اضفنا الوعود بالمشاركة في استثمارات في تركية وفتح مجال للاستثمارات التركية في كل من روسيا وإيران فتصبح العلاقة الاستراتيجية مؤسّسة على مصالح استراتيجية متبادلة مع مردود اقتصادي لا يُستهان به لم تستطع الولايات المتحدة والاتحاد الأوروبي توفيره لتركيا. فالربط الاقتصادي لن يكون بمعزل عن الربط السياسي، فالاقتصاد ليس إلاّ السياسة ولكن بلغة الأرقام. فالتحوّل الاستراتيجي ترافقه مراجعة سياسية للتحالفات.

أما في تركيا فمسار المراجعة السياسية قد بدأ وإن بشكل متواضع. فالرسالة الخطّية التي أرسلت إلى الدولة السورية وفقاً لتصريح أحد المسؤولين الأتراك قد تكون بداية. كما أن ما صدر عن عدد من الصحف التركية حول ضرورة التفاهم مع حكومة دمشق مؤشر آخر. وهناك أيضاً تصريحات لعدد من القيادات العسكرية والأمنية التركية في الاتجاه نفسه. لم يكن لتظهر تلك المواقف لولا «الإيعاز» من الحكومة التركية بذلك. ونضيف أن الروس حريصون على مراعاة الهواجس التركية في محادثات سوتشي المقبلة عبر تجاوز دعوة الأحزاب الكردية المعارضة لتركيا والساعية إلى إقامة دويلة كردية في شمال سورية، وذلك عبر دعوة «شخصيات» كردية تشارك في العملية السياسية في سورية. لذلك نرى من المفيد التشجيع ودعم مسار المراجعة السياسية في تركيا التي نتمنّى استمرارها.

تحاول بعض الجهات الأميركية «الواقعية» كوزير الخارجية الأميركي تيلرسون استرضاء تركيا عبر عرض «منطقة آمنة» في شمال سورية، أي منزوعة من السلاح لتعود الناطقة باسم الخارجية الأميركية اتهام تركيا «بزعزعة الاستقرار» في شمال سورية! فالثقة مفقودة بين الطرفين والمعلومات تفيد أن العلاقات بين تركيا والولايات المتحدة متوتّرة للغاية، كما دلّت التصريحات المتناقضة حول فحوى المكالمة الهاتفية بين أردغان وترامب. فبعض المصادر داخل البيت الأبيض سرّبت أن الرئيس الأميركي كان قاسياً جدّاً مع أردغان، بينما مصادر الخارجية التركية نفت ذلك شكلاً ومضموناً، واعتبرت أن التسريب هو لنص سبق المكالمة. والملفّات الخلافية بين تركيا والولايات المتحدة عديدة وجادّة. فتركيا تطلب تسليم فتح الله غولين الذي تتهمه تركيا بمسؤولية محاولة الانقلاب الفاشلة، كما أن موقف ترامب من القدس أحرج كثيراً الرئيس التركي الذي يطمع في تزعّم العالم الإسلامي بعد الموقف الفاتر لحكومة الرياض من المسألة.

بالمقابل هناك مَن يدّعي أن تركيا تحلم بضم شمال سورية إلى ما تعتبره تركيا الكبرى، حسب بعض المواقع الأميركية. هذا يعني أنها ستصطدم بكل من روسيا وإيران وقد يكون لذلك عواقب وخيمة على مستقبل تركيا التي إذا ما أقدمت على تلك الخطوة، والتي نشكّ في أنها واقعية أو جادّة، على توحيد القوى المختلفة ضد تركيا بدءا من الولايات المتحدة ووصولاً إلى إيران وروسيا. هذا يعني الغرق في حرب طويلة المدى مع سورية واستنزاف القوة الأكبر بعد الولايات المتحدة للحلف الأطلسي في معركة خاسرة. لذلك نستبعد ذلك الاحتمال وإن كان الرئيس التركي أبدى قابلية متكرّرة على التقلّبات الاستراتيجية.

الإرباك الأميركي في مقاربة الملف التركي بشكل عام والمشهد السوري بشكل خاص، هو دليل آخر على التراجع إن لم يكن الأفول الاستراتيجي للولايات المتحدة. يشير موقع «قمر الاباما» أن التهم بدأت تتلاشق حول من «خسر تركيا» أسوة بالتهم التي ألقيت في حقبة سابقة حول مَن «خسر الصين» في أواخر الأربعينيات من القرن الماضي. الإرباك يعود إلى فقدان استراتيجية واضحة في الملفات كافة. الرغبات والأهداف التي يحاول فرضها المحافظون الجدد ليست استراتيجيات بل فقط رغبات تفتقد إلى عناصر التنفيذ. المحافظون الجدد ما زالوا يراهنون على القدرات العسكرية الأميركية ويخلطون بين القدرات التدميرية الموجودة فعلياً والقدرات على إنجاز انتصارات في المعارك. فالولايات المتحدة لم تربح حرباً بعد الحرب العالمية الثانية. وإذا اعتبر المحافظون الجدد أن احتلال العراق انتصاراً، فلماذا خرجت الولايات المتحدة التي كانت تريد البقاء خمسين سنة؟ ولماذا لم تحسم المعركة في أفغانستان وهي الآن غارقة فيها بعد 17 سنة؟ كما أن الكلفة الباهظة المالية والسياسية لم تستطع تعويضها حتى الآن وهي فاقت 4 تريليونات دولار؟

السياسة الدفاعية التي أعلنها وزير الدفاع ماتيس أوضحت أنه من الضروري إعادة تأهيل القدرات العسكرية لمواجهة ما سمّاه بالعداء الصيني والروسي. وتأتي هذه السياسة بعد سنة من الحقائق التي أوردها القادة العسكريون الأميركيون في جلسات استماع للكونغرس في شباط/فبراير 2017 حيث عرضوا الضعف الموضوعي في القدرات والتأهيل. ونضيف هنا أن قسماً كبيراً من الأسطول الأميركي معطّل ولا يستطيع التحرّك في مهام واسعة خارج خليج المكسيك، أي قرب الشواطئ الجنوبية الأميركية. كما نذكر حوادث الاصطدام لقطع بحرية في المحيط الهادي التي كشفت مدى عدم الكفاءة التدريبية وقلّة القدرات البشرية ورداءة القيادات العسكرية. فالانتصارات العسكرية الفعلية نجدها فقط في المسلسلات التلفزيونية التي تعمّ محطات التلفزيون الأميركية! فرهانات المحافظين الجدد رهانات خاسرة منذ البداية ما يدّل على أنهم لم يتعلمّوا من الدروس الماضية. فإخفاقات القوة الأميركية يعالجونها بالمزيد من القوّة المتلاشية والتي ستؤدّي إلى إخفاقات أكبر تسرّع في الأفول النهائي للولايات المتحدة على صعيد السياسة الخارجية.

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ناصر قنديل

– بعيداً من التوصيفات التحليلية والتركيبية التي تحاول رسم صورة مشهد حرب ذات أبعاد استراتيجية وتبحث لها عن أسماء ووظائف، تبدو الحرب الدائرة في عفرين ببساطة حرباً يشارك فيها مباشرة وغير مباشرة الجانب الأميركي الذي يدعم الجماعات الكردية، ويتخذها كغطاء لبقاء قواته في شمال سورية، ويؤسس عليها ما وصفه وزيرا خارجية ودفاع أميركا، باستراتيجية مواجهة الدورين الروسي والصيني في المنطقة، ومنع التمدّد أمام النفوذ الإيراني. ويبدو بحكم أهمية عفرين للجانب الكردي، وأهميتها المقابلة للجانب التركي، سيكون صعباً رغم كلام واشنطن عن وقوع عفرين خارج نطاق مناطق عمل قواتها، التهوين من نتائج هذه الحرب على قوة الأكراد من جهة، وقوة التغطية التي يقدمونها للدور الأميركي من جهة مقابلة. فالحرب ستكون وقريباً حرباً تركية كردية وجودية، وسيكون الأميركيون متأثرين بنتائجها حكماً، حتى لو نجحوا بالبقاء خارج التورّط بنيرانها.

– الطرف الثاني المنخرط في هذه الحرب هو الجماعات المسلحة التي تعمل في شمال سورية تحت العباءة التركية، والتي تضم آلاف المسلحين الإسلاميين الذين رفعوا راية جبهة النصرة مرة وفيلق الرحمن مرة وأحرار الشام مرة والجيش الحر مرات. ومن الواضح أن الجهد البري في الحرب التي يخوضها الأتراك يقع على عاتق هذه الجماعات، التي تقول إن من أولى نتائج حشودها للشراكة في حرب عفرين كان سرعة خسارتها مواقعها في ريف إدلب، وهو ما سيتكرّر في معارك إدلب المستمرة، وبحكم حجم التعبئة الوجودية التي تقوم بها الجماعات الكردية من جهة، وخبراتها القتالية ونوعية تسليحها من جهة مقابلة، فسيكون لحرب عفرين دور تدميري لقدرات قتالية حقيقية للجماعات المسلحة التي يشغلها الأتراك بديلاً عن جيشهم في الميدان، وسيكون طبيعياً أن تنتهي هذه الحرب، وقد فقد الأتراك الشريك السوري الذي كانوا يستعدون لدخول المعادلة السياسية السورية بواسطته، أو خسر هذا الشريك الكثير من عناصر قوته.

– الطرف الثالث الذي يشكّل عنوان الحرب هو الجماعات الكردية نفسها. وهي تدرك أن العناد والحال المعنوية، بعد الدعم الأميركي المعلن والمبالغات بحجم التسليح والقدرات من جهة، والنصر على داعش من جهة أخرى، ليسا وحدهما سبب الطابع الوجودي لهذه الحرب. فالقيادة الكردية تدرك أن حربها مع الأتراك هي التي ستقول كلمة الفصل حول مستقبل تطلعهم لكيان كردي أو لفدرالية، أو لتفرض عليهم نتائجها ما هو أقل من ذلك بكثير، ولذلك فإن الجانب الكردي سيرمي بثقله للفوز بالصمود في عفرين، بالقدر الذي يحتاج لفرض معادلة الكيان المستقلّ أو الفدرالية، ولن ينهزم وينسحب إلا وقد بلغ حد القبول بالاستسلام، بما يعنيه التخلي عن حلم الكيان أو الفدرالية، سواء لحساب تفاهم مع الدولة السورية ينتهي بحماية المناطق الكردية أو ينتهي لحساب الانسحاب من الحرب كلها.

– الطرف الرابع الشريك هو الذي بادر لشن الحرب، وهو تركيا، التي شعرت مع نهاية داعش وتقدّم الجيش السوري بدعم روسي إيراني في إدلب أنها ما لم تبادر لفرض معادلة جديدة مع الأكراد فستفرض عليها معادلة معاكسة بقوة الدعم الأميركي والتفهم الروسي الذي يلقاه الأكراد، ولذلك سيضطر الأتراك لرفع أهمية الحرب إلى درجة عالية ويضعون ثقلهم السياسي والدبلوماسي والعسكري للفوز بها، لكنهم سيجدون أنفسهم أمام كتل صلبة قادرة على الصمود، وأمام جدار سياسي ليس سهلاً تخطيه، ما سيجعل الحرب استنزافاً عسكرياً سياسياً لمكانة تركيا ودورها ومصادر قوتها.

– الأطراف الأربعة المنخرطون في الحرب تشاركوا بأعمال ومواقف عدائية بحق سورية، ولم يتوانوا عن تبادل المواقع والتعاون والتقاتل لحسابات تنتهك مصالح سورية وسيادتها ووحدتها، ولذلك تبدو الحرب عقاباً يقدمه التاريخ والجغرافيا لكل الذين عبثوا بأمن سورية، ويحق لسورية أن تكتفي بموقف مبدئي وتترك التاريخ والجغرافيا يتصرفان، لأن الحصيلة ستكون بالتأكيد لصالح سورية، التي ستشكل في نهاية حرب الاستنزاف الراهنة خشبة الخلاص التي يحتاج الجميع الاحتماء بتوليها أمن الحدود السورية وأمن المناطق السورية، ولن يجد أحد مبرراً لبقاء قواته فوق الأراضي السورية.

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US Loses Key Ally in South Asia: Screwed Up in Muslim World

US Loses Key Ally in South Asia: Screwed Up in Muslim World


US Loses Key Ally in South Asia: Screwed Up in Muslim World

So, the US has lost another major ally. President Trump does not shy away from openly chiding Pakistan in his tweets using harsh words. On January 1, he said Pakistan was a “safe haven to the terrorists”. National Security Advisor HR McMaster chimed in saying Pakistan would become North Korea if it does not stop nuclear blackmail. Nikki Haley, US permanent representative to the UN, believes that “Pakistan has played a double game for years.” According to her, Pakistan is involved in state-sponsored terrorism. This is the reason why the United States withholds $255m of military aid. In addition, Washington suspended some $900 million in Coalition Support Funds. For comparison, the entire defense budget of Pakistan amounts to roughly $8 billion. So, the US deprived the country of more than one tenth of its defense expenditure.

In return, Islamabad has suspended all military and intelligence cooperation with Washington. Pakistani Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif said his country was no longer a US ally. Nevertheless, the supply lines for NATO forces in Afghanistan would not be closed.

The relationship has always been extremely complex and turbulent. It was rather a marriage of convenience than an alliance. Mistrust and suspicion have always clouded the bilateral ties.

It’s not the problem of fighting terrorism. The US itself has been many times rebuked for clandestinely backing terrorist groups. The United States has taken an extremely hostile stance toward Iran – the country which enjoys friendly relations with Pakistan. There are many reasons for that. Good relations with Iran help Pakistan to avoid unrest in its common border region predominantly populated by ethnic Baluchis. Despite being a Sunni Muslim country, Pakistan does not belong to the Saudi Arabia-led anti-Iran coalition. It does not go against Iran’s interests. For instance, it does not oppose the Iran’s involvement in Yemen.

Islamabad has been increasingly looking to China recently while turning away from the United States. The two powers have historically maintained good neighborly relations. Pakistan pins great hopes on the $57 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a to boost Pakistan’s economy. The CPEC is part of China’s One Belt One Road initiative expanding across the entire world. Special economic zones are part of the plans.

Pakistan’s strategically located Arabian Sea port of Gwadar, located 180 nautical miles from the Strait of Hormuz, features prominently in the CPEC. A network of road, rail and pipelines will be built to link Xinjiang in far-western China to Pakistan’s port. Chinese naval ships will be anchored at Gwadar to provide security and protect sea lanes, if need be. A joint task force of four to six ships will be deployed, with Chinese Marines guarding the port area.

China’s authorization to Pakistan to produce all kinds of missiles as well as main battle tanks is being discussed. Beijing wants to scale up its defense cooperation with Islamabad in near future. Its assistance to Islamabad’s nuclear program has been critical. China has become more important for Pakistan than America. It is seen by Islamabad as a real friend unlike the US, which was described by Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif as“a friend who always betrays.”

The relations between Moscow and Islamabad have never been better. Military cooperation is thriving. “Druzhba” military exercise is held annually to boost interaction between the armed forces. It’s not the only joint training event held regularly. Pakistan is considering the possibility of purchasing more weapons from Russia, including Su-35 fighter jets.

Talks on the construction of the ‘North-South’ gas pipeline (from Karachi to Lahore), with the Russian investment of $2 billion, are underway. Pakistan can provide a convenient international route to Russian goods via the CPEC.

Last year, Pakistan joined the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) as a full-fledged member. The SCO membership presupposes security cooperation in Central Asia and regular summits allowing the leaders of Russia and Pakistan to meet on regular basis. The organization is on the way to set up an economic integration union, including the creation of a free trade zone, bank and a development fund. Russian President Vladimir Putin believes that linking the SCO with the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), of which Russia is a leading member, the China’s One Road, One Belt and the economic projects implemented by Association of Southeast Asian Nations could build the foundation for a larger Eurasian partnership.” Pakistan has approved a Russian request for using the Gwadar Port and is interested in joining a free trade agreement with the EEU.

Too many serious problems beset the US-Turkey relationship to call Ankara an ally of Washington. Iraq is gradually moving away from the United States to diversify its foreign policy priorities. The decision to recognize Jerusalem has deteriorated the relationship with Jordan. There are other examples of the US credibility undermined in the Muslim world. Now America has lost Pakistan, the fifth-most populous nation with a population exceeding 210 million people. This is a part of a broader picture as the US influence in the region is diminishing globally while the clout of Russia and China is growing.

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