14:57 GMT +319 February 2017
    Russian Foreign Affairs' Minister Sergei Lavrov's meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry

    The Syrian Sea of Hostility

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    Pepe Escobar

    There could hardly have been a more appropriate start for the Chinese Year of the Monkey, geopolitically, than the prime monkey business enacted in Munich between US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

    The Syrian charade now proceeds under a vague “cessation of hostilities” – which is not a ceasefire – to be implemented within a week. Further on down the road, as this is the real world, “hostilities” will inevitably resume.

    As Lavrov stressed multiple times, “we made proposals on implementing a ceasefire, quite specific ones.” And yet Washington and the Saudi-Turkish combo relented. A frightened, cornered House of Saud – with its remote-controlled “moderate rebel” gaggle being routed on the ground – even started spinning the ludicrous notion of sending ground troops, a.k.a. a bunch of mercenaries, to “help the US effort” against Daesh (ISIS/ISIL/IS). 

    The monkey business reached such a level of un-sustainability that Russian premier Dmitry Medvedev felt compelled to tell an interviewer from Germany’s Handelsblatt, “The Americans and our [Arab] partners must think hard about this: Do they want a permanent war?”

    Sultan Erdogan and the House of Saud certainly do – because their Syrian regime change dreams are in tatters. But the lame duck Obama administration’s case is way more complicated. 

    True to its trademark, clueless foreign policy mode, there’s not much left for Team Obama except spinning. 

    The proverbial unnamed “US officials” spin on overdrive on Western corporate media that this postponed “cessation of hostilities” is a Russian trap – as Washington wanted an immediate ceasefire (no wonder; CIA remote-controlled “moderate rebels” are also being routed.)  European and Arab vassals spin that Damascus and Moscow are “torpedoeing the peace efforts.” 

    And yet Kerry caved in – to realism, actually. Lavrov must have made it very clear the two non-negotiables for Russia; win the Battle of Aleppo, still in progress, and seal the Syria/Turkey border against any manifestation of the Jihadi Highway, “moderate” or otherwise.

    Do the Munich Spin

    There’s a nifty historical echo about the war in Syria being negotiated in parallel to the Munich Security Conference – traditionally dedicated to global security. But the most pressing question is whether this new Munich Pact will actually hold.

    What’s certain is that Daesh (ISIS/ISIL/IS) and al-Nusra Front, a.k.a al-Qaeda in Syria, will keep being targeted by both Russians and Americans even after the “cessation of hostilities”.

    The “4+1” coalition – Russia, Syria, Iran, Iraq, plus Hezbollah – will also keep targeting every outfit remotely connected with Jabhat al-Nusra (and they are legion).

    The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) will for its part intensify its attacks against Daesh (ISIS/ISIL/IS). Call it the “all roads lead to Raqqa” syndrome. As soon as the Syria/Turkey border is sealed – with crucial input by the YPG Kurds – the march to Raqqa will be inevitable. 

    This is the ground scenario for the next few days. So no wonder the Saudi-Turkish combo is absolutely desperate; if they as much as try to support their “moderate rebels” with their aerial assets, they will be reduced to ashes by the Russian Air Force. 

    Enter extra Exceptionalistan spin, according to which NATO is “exploring the possibility” of joining the US-led from behind coalition against Daesh (ISIS/ISIL/IS).

    This is nonsense; the Pentagon is already implicated. Major powers at NATO such as France and Germany want to extricate themselves from a Syrian crisis, not to get into a ground war. The whole charade amounts to Turkey’s Sultan Erdogan desperately trying, over and over again, to get NATO into the fray, even if it that takes a lethal provocation of Russia; after all his dream – now in tatters – of creating a “safe zone” on the Turkey/Syria border refuses to die.

    That Hostile Sultan

    Behind the whole “cessation of hostilities” charade, there’s a stark fact; the lame duck Obama administration does not seem to want to escalate those proverbial “tensions” with Moscow to an irreversibly critical level (Pentagon/NATO Cold War 2.0 obsession is another story.) The skies above Syria won’t offer a prelude for a US-Russia total war.

    But that doesn’t mean the Pentagon will desist from trying.

    The Pentagon’s Ash “Empire of Whining” Carter and Britain’s Michael Fallon will be meeting with GCC and Turkey brass in Brussels. And guess who’s the head of the Saudi delegation: Warrior Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the actual House of Saud supremo as it stands (considering King Salman drifts on and off), as well as defense minister and responsible for the Saudi debacle in Yemen.

    The Warrior Prince is absolutely livid that his remote-controlled “rebels” are being shellacked on the ground by the SAA and the Russian Air Force. Yet Yemen will be nothing compared to the drubbing his “Special Forces”, a.k.a. mercenaries will suffer under experienced SAA, Iranian and Hezbollah fighters. 

    The plot thickens. Both sides will deny it, but there are back-room channels being used by the House of Saud and Moscow to clearly demarcate areas to be run by the SAA and some acceptable “rebels” under the framework of fighting ISIS/ISIL/Daesh. This proves Saudis and Russians can join their efforts as long as it’s against hardcore jihadism. 

    With deranged Sultan Erdogan, on the other hand, any possibility of a deal is beyond remote. Especially after the PYD northeastern Syrian Kurds — which Ankara regards as “terrorists” — opened a representative office in Moscow this past Wednesday, at the invitation of President Putin.

    So keep an eye on this “cessation of hostilities”. Because the real hostilities may be just about to begin.

    The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.


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    invasion, crisis settlement, diplomacy, Munich Security Conference, Syrian crisis, Pentagon, Al-Nusra Front, Daesh, John Kerry, Sergei Lavrov, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United States, Russia
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    • avatar
      Kill all the rebels during this week of "cessation of hostilities" . When the rebel had the upper hand nobody did anything. The supporters of the rebels were happy to see these people killing Syrians and taken villages, cities and towns with impunity. Nobody say anything when Syrian town were surrounded by the rebels and killing Syrian soldiers that voluntarily surrendered. Send to hell all of these rebels/mercenaries, and do not listen to those traitors called the International Community. The thought of the existence of these countries supporting the insurgency in Syria make me feel sick/hill. Now these westerners are concerning with the cessing of fire and humanitarian aids after 4-years of slaughter. Who benefit from this initiative?
    • A = π r 2in reply tolandauroj(Show commentHide comment)

      'When the rebel(s) had the upper hand nobody did anything.'

      Absolutely. This tells you all you need to know.
    • A = π r 2
      Christopher Hitchens' evaluation of John Kerry in 2004 seems apt:

      'As with most senior Democrats, Kerry's revolving-door record with lobbyists and donors is one to make Cheney and Bush look like amateurs.'
    • FlorianGeyer
      Perhaps the place for Russia to battle test their massive thermobaric bombs might be in Raqqa. They are said to be the next thing to a tactical nuclear missile.

      As for the Saudi mercenaries being sent to Syria, people attracted to fight for money tend not to like a battle where they are likely to get killed or maimed. Most prefer to kill civilians or act as snipers.
    • Beady-eyed Insomniac
      As the house of cards began to crumple - Kissinger flew to Moscow to barter with Putin, offer some economic relief if a land carve up was possible. Previously Putin has been fly in the ointment for the New World Order, but one suspects he may have been invited into the fold.
      Erdogan has tens of thousands of militant rebels and their families attempting to escape Assad troops - and now -, all of a sudden - the aid agencies are declaring a humanitarian crisis. Erdogan has enjoyed their cheap stolen assets but he does not tolerate their presence in his country, so they set up camps on the border.
      The race to Raqqa will prove to be most interesting in the next week or so. Who gets there first and takes it.
    • Ivan Buckeye
      I actually enjoyed reading this article. Recent events and news weaved together into a coherent, linear understanding. Awesome.
    • iamgogmagog666
      Annihilate every terrorist to the last man. Give them no quarter, or even 1 millimeter of space.
    • Jet fuel can't melt steel beamsin reply tolandauroj(Show commentHide comment)
      landauroj, You're I guess some nations (ie backing the terrorists) will yell "violation of geneva conference" but we don't as you said make a deal with terrorists.
    • avatar
      I don't agree that the US foreign policy is clueless. They know what they want and they do it very effectively. Their goal is to create chaos and to weaken the countries of the Middle East to suit Israel and themselves. A prime example is Iraq, another Libya and now Syria.
    • Blackiein reply toFlorianGeyer(Show commentHide comment)
      Saudis are a joke.
      We never here how many terrorists are killed?a few or a hundred?
    • Drain the swamp
      Gods Hand is on Putins hand.
    • No Name
      Pepe the Daydreamer. Russia ASKED for that Munich-conference (???????) ... in the middle of a victorious Syrian Army offensive
      ... Something to DEAL again?
      And Russia doesn't destroy trucks that bring ammo and other supplies to the Aleppo-"moderate"-criminals armed by Turkey and these Saudis :-(

      And W.T.F is this? "This proves Saudis and Russians can join their efforts as long as it’s against hardcore jihadism." ??? :-( H^h? How was that?
      One of Putin's "turn around the tail"-diplomacy? The SAUDIS ARE the core of the jihadists.
      Now Putin and the Saudis have OIL-business, they arranged not to curb the oil production anymore.
      All Syria stinks already like Donbas #2 and BUY/SELL-business
      Pepe said that any attempt Turkish or Saudi planes to bla-bla-bla-blaaa.... Russian Air Force will turn them to ashes".
      BS! We all saw how Russian S-400 "turned to ashes" is.rae.li-drone that killed the Hezbollah -leader
      Ah!, this Putin twilight-games start to give bad feelings about Don.bas, too: another buy&sell-scenario there , too.
      And now let#s see how good the Je.wish cen.sor.machine works on Sputnik. by RT.com and ICH-Tom Feeley, it forks .. splendide :-(
    • No Namein reply toFlorianGeyer(Show commentHide comment)

      Thermobaric bomb over.. thousands of CIVILIANS? Or the Christian and Yessidis-women and children kept there as slaves and all the others don't count anymore?
    • avatar
      Absolutely, the real war is just about to begin. My heart goes to Syrian people, may God help you.
    • choticastilein reply toIvan Buckeye(Show commentHide comment)
      Ivan Buckeye, Pepe's always tops and I love his nicknames for the baddies -- so spot on -- ironic humour always lurking between lines ... love it when he's on CrossTalk -- really spices things up!
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