The Ukraine war, or rather the use of Ukraine as a proxy in the NATO/EU 20 year aggression against Russia and Eastern Europe, has been critical as a catalyst for the military, geopolitical, financial and trading losses for the West in general but it is perhaps slightly more controllable than war in the Middle East where Israel is a kind of US proxy and Iran, Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthi in Yemen, Hamas in Gaza and potentially Islamic radical Turkey (already threatening Israel) form a potent mix and the threat of a war in which Russia and China could be drawn in.
Western oil and other supplies are now threatened as the Yemen Houthi, backed by Iran are already causing chaos in the Red Sea and access through the Suez canal for western shipping with scores of missile attacks on cargo vessels and even US naval vessels.
The Second World War began with Britain’s guarantees to Poland against German aggression. Could American guarantees to Israel cause a confrontation between Turkey (with an army of 1million) or Iran and the USA whose air and sea power cannot compensate for its debilitated 400,000 army and whose lines of supply are stretched 5,700 miles from the US mainland?
US allies in the Middle East are no longer reliable under pressure from Islamism, Iran’s proxies in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen and from the new influence peddlars Russia and China with their investments and (increasing) military bases in the region.
Since October 17th there have been more than 100 attacks on US bases in Syria and Iraq by Iranian allied islamic groups. There have also been many attacks on Syria by Israel. It is reported that all Iranian-backed Shiite armed groups in Iraq have united under the name “Islamic Resistance.”
At any other time and without the distraction of war in Israel and Ukraine these attacks would have caused a big US response but even the US Foreign office is asserting they do not want war with Iran although the USA has bombed Iranian backed forces based in Syria.
TURKEY USA ISRAEL
Turkey, despite being a NATO member, has been rather too friendly with Russia for US taste and has through the recently re-elected Erdogan preached Islamic aggression and military threats against Israel, including coming to the aid of Gaza.
Turkey has filed a complaint against Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to the International Criminal Court on charges of genocide in the Gaza Strip. (as has South Africa with support from Malaysia) and Turkish President Erdogan announced his refusal to further communicate with the head of the Israeli government, Benjamin Netanyahu.
“We will no longer be able to talk with Netanyahu. We have crossed him out,”
In defence of Gaza Erdogan said
“Turkey can “come at any night unexpectedly”.
And in an attack on NATO partner the USA Erdogan asked:
What are 20 US military bases doing in Syria? Why is the US training terrorists and turning the Middle East into a bloodbath?
The former military strategist and adviser to the US Department of Defence Douglas MacGregor has warned of the threat of Turkey with the biggest army in the Middle East (1 million) and the promise of nuclear weapon support from Pakistan.
Critically it is Shiite Iran (a rival to Sunni Muslim Turkey) which with sophisticated long range anti ship missiles is also a big threat to the US navy in the Mediterranean, the Red Sea and the Persian gulf.
But Iran and Turkey also clash over Armenia, Turkey having (along with Israel!) armed Muslim Azerbaijan against Christian Armenia and caused the 100,000 ethnic cleansing of Armenians from Nagorno Karabakh. (see below) The USA, closely allied with Israel ironically now comes to the aid of Armenia in an attempt to undermine Russia!
It is precisely such chaotic alliances and conflicting strategies in remote corners of the world which can trigger major power clashes and a genuine world war. Adding the religious conflicts between Shiite, Sunni, Islam, Christian and Jewish interests then the tinder box can easily be lit.
USA V USA
Even within the USA there is serious conflict as State Department staffers have attacked Biden’s handling of the Israel-Hamas war in a dissent memo obtained by POLITICO, arguing that:
“We must publicly criticize Israel’s violations of international norms such as failure to limit offensive operations to legitimate military targets. When Israel supports settler violence and illegal land seizures or employs excessive use of force against Palestinians, we must communicate publicly that this goes against our American values so that Israel does not act with impunity. The high civilian death toll in Gaza “engenders doubt in the rules-based international order that we have long championed,”
Indeed having attacked Russia for some 2,000 civilian casualties in Ukraine in two years (less than pre war Ukrainian car accident deaths!) any international political or moral case of the collective West falls to pieces when civilian deaths in Gaza approach 20,000 at the hands of Israel in a mere 3 months.
HOUTHI, IRAN AND USA
The transfer of the aircraft carrier Dwight Eisenhower CVN 69 from the Persian Gulf to the Gulf of Oman was in preparation for attacks on the Iran aligned Houthis in Yemen and after a UN Resolution condemning Houthi missile attacks on international shipping the US and UK, with the support of other States have repeatedly attacked Houthi military sites in Yemen under the name of Operation Prosperity Guardian as major shipping firms have suspended traffic and diverted around the Cape at much increased cost, not least insurance.
Russian traffic is immune from attack and following sanctions is providing its own insurance not least for its own substantial oil exports. Yet another aspect of the counter blast from western sanctions.
The threat is not only to Israel and UK and US forces in the Gulf and Red Sea but to the stability of the western economy affecting 8.8 million bpd of daily oil transit, and nearly 380 million tons of daily cargo transit.
Thanks to Iran the Houthi rebels in Yemen are well stocked with sophisticated anti ship missiles which are “not only comparable but superior to probably most state actors,” according to Fabian Hinz, at the International Institute for Strategic Studies think tank. Anti-ship cruise and ballistic missiles are “a very, very niche capability that only very few countries have—including Iran—and Iran shared it with the Houthis,” Hinz said.
“Israeli ships are legitimate targets for us anywhere… and we will not hesitate to take action,” Major General Ali Al-Moshki, a Houthi military official, told the group’s Al-Massirah TV station.
So here in the Middle East in a hot bed of a nuclear armed Israel, Islamic “Resistance” movements, increasing Iranian dominance, an area full of US naval assets and increasing Russian and Chinese military agreements with local States we have a quasi proxy Israeli State fighting for its existence with only the USA as its credible guarantor.
IRAN – PAKISTAN
As the USA and its western allies have so obviously failed in their 20 year planned political, and since 2014 military, proxy war against Russia through Ukraine so longstanding enemies like Iran have smelt blood and previous allies Pakistan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and India are attracted towards the BRICS for economic and military security.
But here too there are conflicts, as the the Sunni Saudis seemed to have made a rapprochement with Shiite Iran through Chinese intermediation – https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/8/21/china-brokered-saudi-iran-deal-driving-wave-of-reconciliation-says-wang and as a result are now lukewarm about support for attacking the Houthis in Yemen.
Now we have mutual attacks by Pakistan and Iran as both countries attack Baluchistan separatists on each other’s territory: This is a comparable situation to the aspirations of the Kurds to carve out a State from their historic lands within Iraq, Iran and Turkey.
Pakistan also finds itself under attack from Afghanistan. The Taliban-Linked Group “Tehreek-e Jihad” (TJP) claimed Responsibility for a significant attack on Mianwali Air Force Base in Northern Pakistan claiming to have destroyed several Aircraft as well as Armoured Vehicles.
ALL NOT WELL INSIDE THE BRICS
PAKISTAN CHINA INDIA
The long conflict between India and Pakistan over the province of Kashmir has now drawn in China (with whom despite their BRICS alliance India has also a border dispute which has lead to military exchanges). India now accuses China of involvement with Pakistan in attacks inside Kashmir: IN-DEPTH: Pakistan–China Axis Behind Fresh Terror Attacks in India’s Kashmir Region: Expert
INDIA PHILLIPPINES CHINA
Further Indian conflict with China is evident in India’s military aid to the Phillippines which is in territorial conflict with China in the South China Sea. The Philippines is to deploy the Indian Cruise Missile BrahMos in 2024
Indian media suggest that the missiles, named after the Indian Brahmaputra and Russian Moskva rivers, will be delivered to the Philippines to help secure the country with one of the longest coastlines in the world.
“Not only does the BrahMos Missile system add to the Philippines military’s capabilities to respond to a threat, but it also sends a strong geostrategic signal to its adversaries of a strong intent to defend its territorial sovereignty in the West Philippines Sea,”
Maritime Security & Asian Security Architectures expert Dr. Pooja Bhatt told Indian media.
While close to Russia and a founder of the BRICS, India joins the USA in its defence of the Philippines. Western ships patrol the South China Sea to maintain freedom of passage as China builds up islands as bases in international waters. China’s incursion into neighbouring countries territorial waters was deemed illegal by the ICJ at the Hague but this has not stopped physical altercations as Philippine boats have been rammed by China’s coast guard. A recent clash led President Biden to remind China that the US military would defend the Philippines.
TURKEY IRAN ARMENIA ISRAEL
In the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan, (which resulted in the recent massive ethnic cleansing of 100,000 Christian Armenians from Nagorno Karabakh) it was Turkey and Israel which supplied the Azerbaijani forces. Israel’s enmity towards Christian Armenians is particularly vicious in Jerusalem where the latter are substantial land owners and have been the victim of some shady property dealings.
But here in Muslim Azerbaijan Israel has allied itself with Turkey which in another theatre of war has threatened to send troops to defend Gaza against Israel!
But in Turkey’s stoking of the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan Iran is seen as Armenia’s ally:
Iran opened a consulate general in Kapan (22 OCT 2022) located in the southernmost Armenian province of Syunik, in what appears to be a direct message to Azerbaijan and its backer Turkey.
Azerbaijan – which also has a border with Iran – and its ally Turkey wish to establish a new transport link connecting Azerbaijan’s exclave of Nakhchivan with the Azerbaijani mainland, a route they call the “Zangezur corridor”.
If the route is established, in effect bypassing Armenian checkpoints, it will have consequences for Iran-Armenia commerce and could sever a major Iranian transit link with the South Caucasus. Iran has made the assertion over and over that any changes in its borders and transit links with Armenia would be a “red line” that it would not tolerate being crossed.
AND BACK TO UKRAINE
It is the western war against Russia through Ukraine rather than the Middle East conflict which is likely to lead to world war for here there is direct military conflict between two military nuclear superpowers – long in the neocon planning with very large military assets of both sides, including nuclear weapons deployed within a few hundred miles of each other.
GERMANY RUSSIA (VIA LITHUANIA)
Germany is to deploy a brigade of 5,000 troops in Lithuania (a leading Nazi collaborator during WW2) as part of the hysterical and ludicrous western belief in Russia’s planned invasion of the Baltic states. But the German magazine Der Spiegel says such a deployment would pose serious financial problems for Lithuania. The reason is that the quality of apartments required for German soldiers are significantly higher than the standards provided for the Lithuanian military!
The German parliament has just rejected by a large majority a motion to supply Ukraine with Taurus missiles which could hit targets well inside Russia. In remarks which could equally apply to German troops in Lithuania a German member of parliament said;
After 27 million casualties at the hands of Nazi Germany, how do you think, Mr. Merz, how will Russia take it if Germany now supplies weapons that can be used to hit Moscow? Your miracle weapons for Ukraine, Mr. Merz, are nothing short of a new level of escalation and an outrageous threat to our security here in Germany. …..We don’t need Taurus for Ukraine, we need diplomats to end this war.
RUSSIA AND THE COMPREHENSIVE NUCLEAR TEST BAN TREATY
NATO, having reneged over the years on both intermediate range and long range ballistic missile treaties with Russia cannot be surprised that President Vladimir Putin has signed a law revoking ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) As the Russian representative to international organisations in Vienna , Mikhail Ulyanov , clarified , Moscow does not intend to resume nuclear tests but to put Russia on the same footing as the nuclear powers like USA, China and Israel which have not ratified that treaty (although Russia ratified it in 2000).
Gradually and inexorably as 20 years of western bellicose Russophobia poisoned East West relations, many critical and painstakingly negotiated arms treaties have been undermined and broken. The clear promises of western political and military leaders in the early 2000s were cynically ignored, grotesque words of US Congressmen like John McCain, Lindsey Graham and advisers like John Bolton and equally hysterical “analysis” by British politicians and military men, the deliberate fraud of the Minsk agreements and the undermining by Johnson and Biden of the Istanbul peace agreement in March 2022 have all fatally sacrificed that trust built up in the years immediately following the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Politicians’ historical and geopolitical ignorance and their bellicose words lead to the breakdown of diplomacy and trust. Without real leaders war is then just a matter of time. When fools rush in even a genius cannot rescue them.