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Warlordism In The Mena – The Slide Towards World War III

Politics / US Politics Aug 29, 2013 - 06:52 PM GMT

By: Andrew_McKillop


For plenty of commentators like Michael Snyder of the Economic Collapse Blog, August 29, there are so many reasons to believe “punishing Syria” has the potential to spin out of control and spark a large scale international conflict, that we should be amazed TV anchorpeople in the so-called consumer democracies snigger to us about having to wait “just a little longer” for the missile or bombing fun. Before running the endless-brainless publicity or football talk.

To be sure, by August 29 leaders of the three-only “allied coalition” intending to make the attack – the US, UK and France -  were backtracking and temporising, saying the decision has not yet been taken, the UN inspectors need a few more days, some unspecified “political gesture” might come from Bashr al Assad himself – and so on. The problem is however simple – if and when the cruise missile attacks begin it will only be a surprise to the TV anchorpeople that the Syrians fight back, using a range of relatively advanced weapons supplied by Russia. And Russia may well respond to the counter-attacks by the so called Allied Coalition that Syrian self-defence provokes.

The claim that Syria has its own “jihadist terror agents” spread around Europe, if not the US, could be the basis of a powerful false flag operation. One or more “Syrian terror attacks” in Europe can fast forward the limited punishment war – to all out war against Syria, Iraq-style. Colin Powell will not be needed at the UN, this time, to wave test tubes of fake anthrax weapons at the TV cameras.

As the news shows have delighted telling us, gas masks are again bunker-chic in Israel and national stocks are running low. What happens if the Syrians decide to retaliate by hitting Israel?  The right answer is that if Syrian missiles start raining in on Tel Aviv, Israel will flatten Damascus. In which case this concerns Russia, again, as well as the Hezbollah and Iran. When or if Iran reacts and responds, Israel can use this “opportunity window” to bomb Iran's nuclear installations, which is ardently wanted by Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf States, but of course without saying they want Israel to do the “heavy lifting”, or heavy bombing for them

Michael Wittner of Societe Generale, August 28, claims in a note to investors that any attack on Syria will spillover to Iraq, firstly, and intensify the Shia-Sunni conflict with increasing attacks on the country's oil production and export facilities. Wittner's scenarios target $150 per barrel for Brent, but he is honest enough to say this won't last long because the global economy will tank as in 2008, and oil demand will collapse.

Both China and Russia remain adamantly hostile to Iraq-style, or Libya-style “regime change war” and have not been shy about sternly telling the US to not to get involved in Syria. Their hands-off stance in the build-up to bombing by the US-UK-France alliance in Libya is seen – by them – as a major policy error they have no intention of repeating, because the result of “liberation” in Libya has been a progressive, now accelerating breakdown of the nation state into warlord fiefdoms.

In Syria, apart from the almost certain spillover damage to Middle Eastern oil export capacities, Russia and China see the main damage, proven by the Libyan war, as coming from rampant Islamic or “djihadist” warlordism and the descent into armed anarchy. One reason why Wittner of Soc Gen can make his oil-bull forecasts hinged on Iraq spillover from Syria is that since 2003, accelerating since 2008, the country is dislocating or dissolving.

The best-known effect of an emerging three-way split of Iraq is de facto Sunnite-Shia separation into western and southern “rump Iraq”, and the de facto re-emergence of an Independent Kurdistan, which will further profit from Kurdish eastern Syria coming into the fold. But this ignores the present process of rampant Sunni-Shia civil sectarian war in rump Iraq, and the totally degraded civil security situation in all urban centers, where citizens are exposed to everything from hostage taking for ransom, to the slaughter of Christians and protection rackets operated by so-called “Islamic defence” gangs on all potential cash-grubbing activities, including electricity and water supply. Attacks against oil pipelines, terminals and production facilities may be attributed by Western observers to an attempt at “hurting the West”, but in many cases the real reason is turf war conflict between militias for protection racket payment by oil producers and exporters. Since early 2013, Iraq's civil war claims about 750 – 1000 lives per month.

Starting a new war with Syria will do an extraordinary amount of damage to relations with Russia and China because like the rest of world opinion they have seen what happens on the ground.

To be sure, neither China nor Russia are spoiling for a fight with the US and its European allies, but fanning the fires of civil war in Syria, as if that was needed, and ignoring the almost certain Libyan-style and Iraq-style result which will ensue if Bashr al Assad is killed or flees the country is the beginning of a chain of events where at some near stage the patience of Russia and China will snap. Leaders like Obama, Cameron and Hollande are so imbued by their own egos that they cannot take a look at opinion polls – which are mostly extreme in their hostility to Syrian war. The general public is apprehensive or even frightened. The rogue war adventure against Iraq using fake biological weapons as the excuse is still in the public memory. The real results of Libya's “liberation” are becoming better known, despite the near-blackout of information on this subject in government-friendly media. The disasters for democracy and rising anarchy in Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen are well known.

Lebanon-based Hezbollah will do whatever it can to fight for the survival of the Assad regime, and could include striking targets inside Europe, Israel or even the United States. At least as important, further breakdown in Syria will act like a magnet to draw in additional, always more violent militias and armed gangs, decreasingly dispensed from the previous “obligation” to claim they are defending Islam, and more and more openly the shock troops of local and regional Warlords. 

As of today, while estimates of the total number of non-Syrian armed groups operating inside the country are variable, most place the numbers at over 50 000 men. Over and above some threshold number for militias in any one region, their ability to wield effective local power is assured. This in turn transforms the civil war into an in-country warlord conflict for power, returning Syria and other affected Arabian Peninsula nations to their Ottoman Empire status. As we know, the Ottoman Overlord disappeared in 1917, meaning that when the unified nation disappears “pure anarchy” is the result.

Russia's deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin has said that the West is acting like a "monkey with a hand grenade" in the region – installing a de facto regional warlord system, on the bones of the Western-created nation states of the MENA. The warlords' militias and armed gangs can literally be called “monkeys armed with an AK47”.

Among the legacy weapons they will get when the nation state collapses – like Libya's massive arsenals of infantry weapons built by Muammar Gaddafi – we can include the chemical weapons of Syria. Various Middle Eastern sources have cast doubt on the claims by Obama, Cameron and Hollande that the al Assad regime is responsible for last week’s attack. Many persons have said  it would have made absolutely no sense for the Assad regime to use chemical weapons on women and children in a Damascus suburb only 3 miles from the presidential palace, and conclude the only people who would have benefitted from such an attack would be the rebels, but despite the grievous loos of life this event was only one stage in an escalating war. This only shows the lethality of arms which exist and are circulating – who uses them, finally, doesn't matter.

The real paymasters and remote-acting Warlords who control the “djihadist” bandits or shock troops of Allah are located a safe distance away from the free-fire zones in Doha, Riyadh, Abu Dhabi and Kuwait City. If these Warlords really want to topple the al Assad regime, to install a totally undefined or unknown “new power” - although they probably imagine the Humpty Dumpty of the unified nation state can be put back together again - they should do it themselves rather than cleverly (or otherwise) drawing in the former colonial powers of the West, to do their dirty work.

The rush to war with not a thought of “what comes next” has no excuse. Leaders like Obama have done the impossible by making Russia and China look like “the good guys” and the AK47-toting militia rabbles in Iraq, Yemen, Libya and Syria seem like “our local allies”. These armed rabbles, calling themselves Islamic are rabidly anti-Christian, rabidly anti-Israel, rabidly anti-Western, rabidly anti-democratic and engage in criminal pillage against local populations. When or if they take control in the future regionally-divided Syria, this new set of sub-national warlord playgrounds will be another MENA disaster for the West. Time is short and we must hope that sense will finally prevail.

By Andrew McKillop


Former chief policy analyst, Division A Policy, DG XVII Energy, European Commission. Andrew McKillop Biographic Highlights

Co-author 'The Doomsday Machine', Palgrave Macmillan USA, 2012

Andrew McKillop has more than 30 years experience in the energy, economic and finance domains. Trained at London UK’s University College, he has had specially long experience of energy policy, project administration and the development and financing of alternate energy. This included his role of in-house Expert on Policy and Programming at the DG XVII-Energy of the European Commission, Director of Information of the OAPEC technology transfer subsidiary, AREC and researcher for UN agencies including the ILO.

© 2013 Copyright Andrew McKillop - All Rights Reserved Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisor.

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