April 11, 2017 -
Analysis by Vladimir Gujanicic for Fort Russ -
The evolution of the New Middle East is progressing, but not in favor of the US and its allies. ISIL is near destruction and the Syrian government and axis of resistance’s positions are stronger than ever. After more than five years of constant attacks on Syria, we are drawing close to an end game, and as we can see, the situation is on the edge of the abyss. After the US army fired 59 cruise missiles at a Syrian air base, many people thought that the Middle East is on brink of Armageddon, but full scale war didn’t happen.
The number of questions started to grow. What did the US accomplish with this attack? What will be their next move? What was the military effectiveness of the attack? With this move, US policy is actually now in a corner. The hawks from the US establishment and media support this attack with loud voices, but the strike was followed by big silence, not further aggression. Germany and Belgium canceled their “operation” against ISIL, Russia suspended cooperation with the US in Syrian skies, and the Syrian army fired at a recognized plane over Qamisli, while Russia, Iran and Syria have issued a joint statement that any next such attack will be full scale war.
Following the media warfare over the success of the US rocket attack, the results of attack can be examined. About 60% of the launched missiles did not reach their target, and one missile which was filmed on the airfield failed to detonate. Only 23 “tomahawks” hit military airport rooms, several hangars, and one radar station with some transport vehicles, and 7 Syrian army members. Mostly officers died in the attack in addition to several civilians around the airport. The Syrian army lost several Mi-23 planes. It should be mentioned that no single mass cruise missile attack in previous US interventions has attained such humiliating results. It is not clear how all the other missiles failed to reach their target, as remains of some downed missiles was filmed, but not all. It could be said that both Syrian air defenses and electronic war systems played a key role in this result.
Was this attack just a foolish demonstration of power or testing Syrian air defenses which proved that an air campaign cannot work against Syria? If we analyze all the Israeli planes that have attacked Syria, we see that these strikes were done from a distance, outside of Syrian air space. In one such attack, the Israelis lost two planes confirmed downed and in another attack had one damaged.
It is clear from previous actions that Syrian air defenses plus Russian air defenses in Syria are serious obstacles for any intervention of the latter type. But that is not all. If the US and its allies start a regional war, US troops in Iraq could find themselves surrounded by 150,000 Iranian-sponsored PMU and Khataib Hezbollah. Iran could block Hormuz and Syria, Iran, and Hezbollah may start rocket attacks on Israeli soil. This is practically regional war with world consequences which are uncontrollable. Thus, the true reason why the US has not launched an intervention is not because of the preferences of the Obama or Trump administrations, but is a clear military matter. With ISIL on the verge of collapse, the proxy war against the Syrian army and its allies is collapsing, which could eventually cause the whole eastern front to disappear. Therefore, the US Coalition is running out of time against Assad.
Tillerson dropped the ball with the statement that “the future of Assad will be decided by the Syrian people”. This is essentially a humiliating statement after the rocket attack when everybody expected full-scale war. Turkey’s officials have meanwhile stated that they would support US intervention if it happens, but US leadership is being tested and, as we can see, has little chance of being sustained as in previous cases. The consequences for the US will be big if they admit that they’ve totally lost the battle for the Middle East.
All we can see being put on Russia is media and economic pressure, but not any moves which might push Russia’s “Gromyko” policy a step back. US, Israeli, and Saudi policy of creating a New Middle East have resulted in strategic partnership between Russia and Iran, which is nightmare for Western powers and their allies. Russia has sold Iran S-300 systems improving their capabilities to such a level that any massive Israeli air attack would be a suicide mission.
Russia is geopolitically and geo-economically cornered, which means that no US proposal will convince Moscow to abandon its strategic position in the Middle East. Otherwise, Russia's economy and foreign policy would be doomed. The US is running out of positions and time, which is working in favor of Russia and the axis of resistance, who will be waiting and tracking the US’ desperate yet incompetent moves.
Follow us on Facebook!
Follow us on Twitter!