Crossfire War – MOSCOW WATCH – Middle East Theatre – Syria: Moscow/Damascus – Tehran – Riyadh; Russian Military Engineers Construct Two Naval Bases in Syria – Preparation for Post – World War III Presence
Night Watch: DAMASCUS – The linked Debka article, “Countdown to Escalation” has a lot of excellent points. It basically says most governments, and their respective heads of state in the Middle East, the West – Russia seem to have come to a general agreement that another regional war in the Middle East is now in progress, therefore just sit back and wait for the smoke to clear. Of all the leaders involved, and this is no surprise, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is more worried than anyone else because of all the leaders in the Middle East he has long been the least popular due to the enormous corruption in his increasingly oppressive administration. [DEBKA]
Debka reported that Mubarak made a hurried trip to Saudi Arabia seeking a desperate audience with King Abdullah Ibn Abdul Aziz in search of reassurances that perhaps somehow a regional war can be avoided. I suspect that as ususal Mubarak was not received in Riyadh, as are other respected heads of state, but instead in the VIP lounge in Jeddah airport. It’s the House of Saud’s way of expressing their disapproval with the increasingly immaterial Mubarak dynasty, the main obstacle to Islamic unity. Mubarak has never supported the Jihad, has always hated Islamic radicalism, even its foreign policy, preparation to attack the West. Perhaps because Mubarak isn’t leading it, or perhaps because he values his association, identity with the West more than he does with the Islamic world.
So I suspect Mubarak’s appeal to King Abdullah, to pressure Damascus and Syria President Bashar Assad, to have Hamas end the crisis revolving around the captured Israeli soldier was rejected. King Abdullah may have said let the winds of the Jihad blow and if it blows away non-representative rulers (Mubarak) then it does. Assad is also aware that the vast majority of the Islamic world wants war with Israel and the West. If Assad were opposed to that his security would be at extreme risk. Elements, political forces in and out of Syria would have him overthrown.
This is the current political reality that was established in the Muslim world ever since the Khomeini revolution in 1979 completing the Islamic revival, perhaps I should say re-established, this is nothing new. The only thing new is the weaponry and the means of communication. There is certainly nothing new in the message. The Jihad is Islam’s spiritual foundation and Mubarak has been deaf to it. The popular view in the street and in established Islamic society dictate that any Islamic government not in support of the Jihad, financially or militarily, is seen as weak, suspect, infidel, an apostate and therefore should be removed. Assad is no exception, so he accepts the dictates of his religion and the reality of the current war. He intends to be in Damascus when the smoke clears. He would rather face the wrath of Israel than the wrath of an Islamic revolution, a revolution not only threatening him but his entire family network.
In the meantime Debka reported that Moscow has hundreds of Russian military engineers constructing two naval bases in the Syrian ports of Tartus and Latakia. This is Moscow’s and the West’s way of taking the long view and their answer to the question, who will be the major non-Islamic presence in the region in the post-World War III world. It will certainly not be the two major capitals in the lost alliance, London-Washington, marching to Tehran’s agenda, in their corrupt failure to remove Saddam in 1991. Moscow is operating, as always, with hard currency from the West principally Berlin, the capital who made Vladimir Putin President. Berlin represents serious industrial concerns who know that they not only have to maintain easy access to Central Asian resources but also to resources throughout the Middle East. They also know that the war will not go on ad infinitum, but that Iran has enough military resources for two years of all out fighting, this year and the next. That is why Germany’s new Foreign Minister Frank Walter-Steinmeier is such a frequent visitor to the Middle East.
Damascus and other Islamic governments will take note of Moscow’s improved military performance next year as Russia continues to complete preparations to make a more offensive reponse to the fighting that has been going on in the Caucasus – Caspian region. The response will be to such an extent it seriously threatens Tehran. It is quite possible that before 2007 is over Moscow – Tehran will institute negtotiations that will lead to an end of the war. A war that is definitely going to encompass more than the Middle East. Moscow’s military successes will make Damascus – Riyadh – Tehran more agreeable to suggestions and proposals from Moscow after the war.