This is the fourth of our monthly Q&A videos. The questions were collected via a special post on the SouthFront Patreon account.
The first question comes from i. Why doesn’t America’s main adversaries (Russia, China, Iran) ever put meaningful support such as arms and explosives behind US radical groups like Dugin wrote about in his book Last War on the World Island? With growing racial, class, cultural, and regional tensions its not like certain segments of American society wouldn’t be trigger happy. Just for clarification, encouragement for law breaking or other dangerous acts was neither stated or implied in my question.
Answer: Like it or not, the modern global system is based on US economic dominance and the US dollar as the global currency. Despite multiple discussions and speculations regarding the multipolar and even post-multipolar world, so far, there has been no working system proposed to replace the the current one. Key powers participating in this existing system are interested in its stability at least in the short term, until the creation of a new system and approaches. We covered this topic in our previous videos.
It may seem surprising, but in the established situation, major perturbations would play into the hands of the global hegemon. The US has the chance to exploit a series of large regional conflicts or a relatively global conflict to make the system more or less stable. However, they would pursue only that kind of stability (like after the WWI or the WWII), which would contribute to the strengthening of the new core of the US.
Now, let’s look at other global players. Despite the growing tensions with Washington, China remains the key trade partner of the US. The Chinese economy directly depends on the health of the US economy. This will remain unchanged for the next 5 years, as a minimum. At the first glance, modern Russia is less dependent on the US because of the ongoing sanction war and the structure of its foreign trade. Nonetheless, a large crisis inside the US would create jitters around the world. This would create instability across Russia’s huge frontier and inside Russia itself. Another important point is that a large part of the Russian elite is incorporated with global capital, including the US elites. Representatives of the Russian elite have financial assets in the US and Western Europe. Their kids live there and study in top US and European universities. The Chinese elite acts in another way. China is developing and promoting its own education and science. It’s carefully managing and controlling its own bureaucratic apparatus. This is a more coherent national policy than the Russian one. In any case, Russia is not interested in the dissolution of the US.
As to Iran, it is a regional power rather than a global player. It has no capabilities and, at a closer look, political willpower to realize such a strategy. One of the indications of the latter is the fact that Mohammad Javad Zarif remains the country’s foreign minister. We already explained this situation in the February 2019 Q&A video. At the same time, US authorities have an effective defense and covering strategy for the homeland. They are strengthening security on the border with Mexico. The US Army and Navy are controlling maritime borders. The FBI, NSA and other special services have excellent tools (both technical and human intelligence) to control the internal situation.
It is important to note that the analysis above is relevant for the current situation and the immediate future – around 5 years. The modern world is impacted by developing reactive processes. There are observable symptoms that the current world order may collapse or suffer from a major shock. Such developments may take place during the next 5-15 years. If this happens, remaining key geopolitical players could use both hard and soft power inside the US.
The second question is from Steven Hartley. Hi I’m wondering if the USA is sending troops to the Middle East, which countries and does this mean Iraq if this does mean Iraq how will this effect Iraq and Iran relations. Fr Hartley
Answer: Modern Iraq remains a country largely occupied by US forces and, thus, influenced by the Washington establishment. However, even in this situation, Iraq is an important economic and diplomatic partner of Iran. Let’s recall that pro-US experts and mainstream media describe the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units, the most capable military structure in Iraq, as “Iranian proxies”. If we ignore these kinds of labels and simplifications, the Iranian military and political influence in Iraq is an obvious fact and in the event of a hot regional conflict US forces and infrastructure in this country will be an easy target for Iranian forces and their local allies. The limited US military buildup in the Middle East would not impact Iranian-Iraqi relations. Furthermore, Washington has more than enough infrastructure objects in other Middle Eastern states that can be used for preparations of military aggression against Iran.
The third question is from CJ Saalman. From a Russian/Syrian perspective, what would Syria look like if all political and military objectives could be met? In terms of geography (Golan, Idlib, east of Euphrates, border with Turkey), and in terms of ethnic, religious, or political groups (Kurds, Turks, Sunni Salafists et al)? Can Syria regain its oil fields/refineries in areas occupied by foreign fighters? How long for Idlib to be liberated? Can east of Euphrates be cleared of Kurds, and what part should Kurds play in the future; how much land should they be allowed to occupy, and can Syria disabuse them of their autonomy plans? When can the Yankoff’s be made to leave? Why not drop a bomb on al Tanf? Sometimes I wish Russia would deploy a few brigades and just clean the whole damn country out. What’s up with the duplicitous Turks? Is Erdy the loose cannon or what? Can the Golan ever be recovered? Can Israel ever be dealt with; alternatively, why doesn’t the US relocate all Palestinians to the US — if we can take in 60 million Mexicans, why not far fewer Palestinians? Will a day ever come when Russia/China backing regional forces, deliver a crushing blow to the damned Yankoff’s? I hope I haven’t asked too many questions.
Answer: We would like to take this occasion to ask you and our audience to avoid using derogatory terms in your questions. In the future, we will ignore questions written in such a style.
As to the core of your question, or, more precisely, questions, the war in Syria is not an ordinary “civil war” as many mainstream media outlets and Western diplomats tend to claim. The Syrian war is a complex conflict involving key regional and global players and a comprehensive political solution of this conflict would be possible only if all the sides that have a direct impact on the situation: the US, Iran, Turkey, Russia and the Syrian government, would have the political will to reach a kind of compromise. At some moments, it looked like Teheran, Ankara and Moscow had, at least formally, reached this kind of compromise in the framework of the Astana format talks and publicly declared their commitment to Syrian territorial integrity. Initially, the Astana format allowed a de-escalation to be achieved in the so-called Idlib zone and along the contact line between the Syrian Army and Turkish proxies in northern Aleppo. Nonetheless, contradictions remained regarding the future of Syria, the role of the Assad government in it and the level of Turkish influence in this future Syria. This predetermined the continuing Ankara support to radical groups in Idlib and the current escalation in the area.
Turkey, as any independent state, first of all pursues its own interests. We covered the Turkish strategy and stance on the situation in our September 2018 video «Turkish Strategy In Syria: Military Operations, Proxies And Idlib Issue». Since then, the Erdogan government has not changed its approach.
Iran is not going to accept US-Israeli demands to withdraw from the country. It is interested to keep in power the government that would allow it to continue using Syria as an important foothold in the region. Indeed Teheran is prepared to support the Syrian government in the economic, diplomatic and military fields.
Washington is not only rejecting the legitimacy of the Assad government, but is undertaking direct actions to undermine the country’s territorial integrity using both its own military forces and local proxies known as the Syrian Democratic Forces. It seeks to force Iran to withdraw from the country as well to empower the government that would secure US and Israeli interests in Syria. In the current situation, the creation of this kind of government for a united Syria seems unlikely. So, Washington’s goal is the destruction of Syrian sovereignty and territorial integrity.
At this very moment, Russia seems to be the only influential player that is ready to negotiate to find a political solution to settle the conflict if this solution would guarantee its diplomatic, military and economic interests in the region. Nonetheless, this readiness is not enough to change the situation fundamentally. Another factor is that the Russian leadership has its own experience of deals with the US and its allies. This experience tells that even if a deal is reached, the Euro-Atlantic establishment will always seek to avoid fulfilling their own part of the deal.
Taking into account the contradictions in the framework of the Astana format and the established situation in the region, it’s unlikely that the Assad government will get the chance to reestablish control over the entire Syrian territory in the near future.
In the coming months, the Idlib zone will remain the main hot point in Syria. At the same time, the Syrian Democratic Forces with direct support from the US will continue their efforts aimed at de-facto separation of the northwestern part of Syria from the Syrian state. There are few non-military options to turn back this process if the Kurds and Damascus reach no comprehensive political deal. Nonetheless, Washington has successfully blocked negotiations between Damascus and the Kurds through its influence on the Kurdish political leadership.
It should also be noted a theoretical military strike on US forces deployed near al-Tanf or in northwestern Syria would lead to the start of a hot regional war in the Middle East. Iran, Syria and Russia are not interested in this scenario.
The fourth question is from Michael Riley. Could you please do video on the weapons at the disposal or Iran. And the likely outcome of an armed conflict with the US?
Answer: In the coming months, we are planning to release a military analysis describing the military capabilities of Iran and its symmetric and asymmetric answers to the challenges and threats that it faces in the region. Special attention will be paid to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and their role in Iranian defense policy and the region. Nonetheless, we can provide no precise forecast when the video will be released. We want to recall that our capabilities to produce long documentaries have been hampered by our recent difficulties with the donation budget collection.
The fifth question is from Jean-luc Martel. Could you do a video on the recent Russian contaminated crude oil crises and it’s possible causes/effects?
Answer: We are going to release videos about the political, social and economic situation in Russia in the future. However, it is unlikely that this very topic will be covered anytime soon.
These are all the questions, which we received in May. On Patreon you will find a post where you can ask your questions for the June Q&A video.
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