Forgive me in advance.
I write this from the comfort of America where the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans separate us from any meaningful threats. We do not have existential enemies within minutes of our largest population centers.
Say what you will: hate Trump the man, but within the last week, the American people have received confirmation of what many feared. Rogue elements in the FBI and the Department of Justice used the power of their offices, particularly as they pertained to securing highly secretive warrants to wiretap American citizens they believed to be foreign agents, to spy on political opponents.
Christopher Steele’s 9th Grade Paper
The “evidence” upon which the warrants were obtained is euphemistically called the “Steele Dossier” named for the former British spy, Christopher Steele, and “dossier” to try to lend the document some legitimacy and heft.
Without regard to its contents or veracity, if one bothers to actually read this “dossier,” it is inconceivable to imagine that the DNC and Clinton campaign would have paid anyone $10 million or more for this document. It is filled with contradictions, people’s names are misspelled in different portions of the document and claims that make absolutely no reasonable sense are stated as points of fact even though they are related as hearsay. It is more ineptly written than a 9th grader’s “outline” for a history paper.
As perhaps the wildest example, Carter Page, a tangential figure in the Trump campaign, but the central figure in the secretive wiretap, is alleged to have been offered a 19 percent interest in Rosneft, Russia’s state-controlled oil company, if Trump lifts the economic sanctions against Russia. That interest would be a gift worth somewhere north of $10 billion. It is a ridiculous, unimaginable claim that Carter Page was in no position to deliver.
Now, this is a very serious matter here, but it pales in comparison to the events in Israel in the last 24 hours.
With Iran’s open participation in the Syrian civil war, its drafting of Hizballah fighters into active support of the Assad regime, the presence of Russian forces into the field to ensure the retention of its warm water port in Latakia under the guise of combating the spread of ISIS into Western Syrian and the use of chemical weapons against combatants and civilians, everything is in flux on Israel’s northern frontier.
Bibi Netanyahu has maintained that Iran would use its presence in Syria and its support of both Assad and Putin to establish a permanence in Syria which, in conjunction with its satellite Hizballah’s effective military control of Lebanon, would create a hegemonic wall of opposition against Israel.
Netanyahu has carefully informed Putin proactively where his “red lines” must be drawn and Putin has not directly interfered, though, as we now know, he has amply supplied the Syrians with anti-aircraft batteries, which they will gladly employ on the Iranians’ behalf.
But Netanyahu now has the unpredictable Trump in his corner. The Hated Trump who threatens to reimpose economic sanctions on Iran, who challenges the European Union to “fix” the flaws in the Iran Deal before he decertifies it, who dares to call Jerusalem the capital of Israel, who threatens to cut funding to the Palestinian Authority and UNRWA unless systemic cultural changes occur, who dared to attack a chemical weapons facility on Syrian territory.
The Tiyas Air Base
Past behavior does not predict future results, but the flight of the Iranian drone dispatched from Tiyas Air Base in central Syria (which used to be the Syrian Air Forces’ largest base before it was “turned over” to Iran) was an obvious provocation to test Israel’s response.
Tiyas is 3 hours from Latakia, 3 hours from Damascus, 3 hours from Deir ez-Zur on the Euphrates where the American “no go” zone begins, and about 4 hours from Mt. Hermon. In terms of Syria, it is an ideal centrally located base; defendable by the Russians, vulnerable to both the American and Israelis, potentially manned by Hizballah and IRGC willing martyrs.
Before the drone event, apparently, there was communication between the Israeli and Lebanese governments that there was no desire to escalate cross-border tensions. While the Lebanese government certainly functions more “state-like” than that which remains in Syria, it is doubtful that its military apparatus is stronger or can control the Hizballah infrastructure in southern Lebanon if instructed to act differently by its Iranian hosts.
So, this drone intrusion, while relatively mild on its face militarily, may have deeply consequential repercussions, the serious injuries of the Israeli pilots and the destruction of their F-16, a twisted public relations coup.
Netanyahu and his government seem to have been expecting this eventuality and despite all the ridiculous conjecture regarding a collusion between Putin and Trump – which has been completely debunked – it will take Putin and Trump having some constructive dialogue on this matter to keep this matter from turning into a far more dangerous conflagration.
If Trump had reached out to Putin a month ago in an effort to address this crisis, the American media and the Democratic Party would have attached some secretive, obstruction of justice motivation for such a meeting. If Netanyahu were able to participate in a trilateral meeting of this nature, they might be able to defuse this situation with some urgency.
Putin Must Step In
Does anyone really care or believe that Abbas “invited” the Russians and Iranians into Syria? What kind of benefit have they delivered to the people? They have propped up the murderous regime of the “ophthalmologist” Dr. Abbas who, with his partners, have rained chemical agents against combatants and civilians alike. The Russians, Syrians and Iranians are war criminals and should be brought to justice.
Putin should do the right thing and immediately remove control of the Tiyas Air Base from Iran and the IRGC.