A Game of Thrones – Putin style.

This blog is currently featured in the South African Jewish Report:

http://www.sajr.co.za/news-and-articles/2015/10/01/a-game-of-thrones-putin-style

After several years of civil war, hundreds of thousands of deaths and a refugee crisis that is engulfing Europe, Russian President, Vladimir Putin, has decided to send troops to Syria and airstrikes have begun on rebel strongholds. Putin is putin (pun intended) his support firmly behind Syria’s Assad regime. Well, birds of a tyrannical feather do flock together…

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At the moment of this blog post being published, 36 civilians have been killed.

This body count may register as a headline in a publication but it is not as sexy as say, Israel killing 36 Palestinians which more often than not warrants further inspection that almost always finds the majority of recorded casualties to be amongst belligerents.

As news of the civilian casualty count came in, I wondered how many cries of condemnation we would hear from human rights activists or the UN, EU and other general practitioners of holier-than-thouism. Of course the UN is currently preoccupied with speeches from world leaders to the General Assembly which have offered such pearls of moronic wisdom such as Mugabe’s “we are not gay” statement and Iran’s Rouhani and his ever predictable threats to Israel and for good measure, a token stab at the USA for “its unwarranted support of the Zionist regime”. All delivered with his customary Cheshire cat grin, so as to avoid alarming the nice folk at the UN. Abbas has in essence, flung the Oslo Agreements out the window and all eyes will be on Bibi for his rebuttal. At the EU, you can hear the chirping of crickets.

France has been the only power to investigate Assad for crimes against humanity, even though it is seen as largely symbolic.

Russia will not be subjugated to special investigation or have the UN delirious with mad obsession, passing resolution after resolution for the civilians killed in the airstrike. This is a privilege reserved specially for Israel.

And what about Obama? The problem is that the USA, by failing to deliver on threats to bomb Syria when news broke that Assad had used gas against civilians has rendered the commander-in-chief of the mighty US forces more laughing stock than serious player. Obama’s “red lines” moved more than someone dancing the hokey pokey. Don’t worry Mr President, there is always golf….

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The Middle East is a neighbourhood being consumed by flames. Daesh (ISIS) has pretty much destroyed Iraq and is making Syria its new target for terror, leaving a trail of barbaric murder and the destruction of ancient and precious antiquity in its wake. Egyptian forces battle these medieval lunatics and Jordan has felt the wrath and effect with the brutal torture and slaying of a Jordanian pilot. Lebanon has Hizbollah and Daesh in a heated standoff and in Gaza, Hamas are threatened by these barbarians who have claimed responsibility for a salvo of rockets launched at Israel. Israel is dealing with its own issues but is keeping a vigilant and watchful eye on our borders.

Russia entering the fray has added another complex layer to the mix. Putin has proven time and again that nothing and nobody threatens him in any way. There will be a disproportionate lack of response to any civilian deaths as a result of airstrikes.

Putin’s concern that Daesh may reach Russia is another reason for these airstrikes. “The only correct way to fight international terrorism… is to act preemptively, to battle and destroy fighters and terrorists on the territories they have already seized, not to wait for them to come to us,” he said in televised comments. Israel was notified of pending strikes as part of bilateral relations and while the US were quick to claim that they were also notified, Obama and Putin still clash over how best to handle the Syrian crisis and Daesh.

Obama has faced harsh international criticism for his failure to mention the word terror. Putin however, has no problem calling a spade a shovel. Obama is more concerned about the Iranian deal and mollifying the Mullahs.

All the while, Iran watches, waits and continues to fund international terror. Nuclear deal be damned!

This is a very sophisticated episode of Game of Thrones. King of the Middle East is the ultimate prize. If one is keeping score, Putin is currently in the lead and Obama has been relegated to the role of court jester.

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As the USA approaches an election year, it will be interesting to see how foreign policy plays out but in the meantime Putin picks up sword and scepter (and sophisticated fighter aircraft) and keeps his eye on the throne.

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2 thoughts on “A Game of Thrones – Putin style.

  1. It had been a Czarist dream for centuries to establish the Russian Empire along the Mediterranean. Before the Yom Kippur War, the FSU had bases throughout Egypt and Syria, both air and naval forces were concentrated along the coats of both countries. It took the diplomacy of Henry Kissinger and the military force of the IDF to remove Soviet influence and, at least in the case of Egypt, supplant it with American power. Now, Obama, due to his impotent and inept foreign policy, has allowed the Russians and the Syrian regime, along with the Iranians, to form a northern and eastern alliance that surrounds the Sunni Arab world and threatens Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states and, of course, Israel. It is no surprise that the Iranian general from the Quds Force visited Moscow prior to the Russian intervention to save Assad’s regime-Iran’s Arab ally. America weakness in the face of Iranian support of terrorism and its total inaction against the butcher of Damascus, has allowed the Russian bear to sink its claws into what was once, the American backyard flank protecting southeastern Europe and threatening the cohesion of NATO’s soft underbelly through Turkey and Greece. Hopefully, Israel will cooperate, however covertly with Russia to ensure our ability to overfly southern Syria to prevent arms shipments to Hezbollah. However, I believe the Russians will not make it easy for us, but they will not interfere militarily thereby risk an Israeli assault to seize more of the Golan. Especially since the outcome of the 2016 US elections might alter, hopefully for the better, American positioning in the area. Meanwhile, we, in Israel, must keep a close eye on the north and realize that we cannot rely on American assistance politically or militarily. All this bides towards an American/Russian confrontation no less critical than the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.

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