MbS and his game of chicken

Saudi Prince bin Salman (MbS) is at it again. In a move to consolidate his power further, several Saudi princes of lower rank have been arrested, starting on the 6th of March. As of now, up to 20 have been detained. They are accused of plotting a coup against MbS, in cahoots with several Americans and several other nationalities. Among those arrested are Mohammed bin Nayef and his half-brother, Nawaf, who were picked up at a private desert camp on Friday. There are rumors that the king is near death or is actually dead, which would explain the talk of a coup. But there is more to the story than appears on the surface. Continue reading “MbS and his game of chicken”

Regime change has come to Russia!

You read that title correctly. On 15 Jan this year, Medvedev and his entire cabinet resigned. But, before Russia and Putin critics get too excited, the establishments in the Western nations are not going to like what happens next. After years of being ignored, vilified, ostracized and threatened by the West – by the US and UK especially – Russia has decided now to think of herself first, of her citizenry, and is pulling away from globalism as it has existed in these past years, as well as from entanglements with neoliberal economics and the ‘rule of law’ as put forward by the West. Expect for demonization of Russia and all sorts of wild speculation to spike now in the Western press. “Putin has weaponized Russian sovereignty!” Continue reading “Regime change has come to Russia!”

Operation Peace Spring and Rojava

On 9 Oct 2019 the Turks finally made good on their threats and invaded northern Syria. The US betrayed the Kurds, yet again, by pulling their troops back from the border of Turkey and commanding the Kurds to dismantle their posts there. Then began the Turkish operation code-named “Peace Spring” – an ironic name, really. However, it may bring just that in the second quarter of 2020, but probably not to the overall liking of the Turks or Washington. We’ll see why as we go along. Rojava may have just been consigned to the realm of dreams rather than reality. Continue reading “Operation Peace Spring and Rojava”

Syria, the war, the Kurds, and into the future

Now that the Kurds have gone back into the Syrian fold, the situation on the ground throughout Syria will evolve very quickly. The war that started in 2011 will draw to a close over the coming few months. There will be a small pocket of American forces still extant in Al Tanf, but they will not be a major worry to Damascus. A fly in the ointment, but not enough to spoil it. Given what has just happened, we want to take a look at what will evolve in Syria over the next year. Continue reading “Syria, the war, the Kurds, and into the future”

Bollocks, Bolton, on the INF!

John Bolton doesn’t much like treaties, it would seem. The Trump administration, in its INF-inite wisdom (?!) has just pulled the United States out of the INF Treaty – the acronym for the ‘Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces’ Treaty. This is the very same treaty that has kept nuclear missiles out of Europe since Reagan and Gorbachev signed it and it came into force on 1 Jun 1988 (chart). Europeans are rightly concerned, with typical muted criticism even, because that treaty covered missiles that were aimed primarily at US/NATO bases and nuclear power stations in Europe, as well as key infrastructure sites. It was a landmark in détente between Russia and the US, which is also apparently not in the interests of Washington at the moment. This will be another reason for Europeans to distance themselves from Washington. Continue reading “Bollocks, Bolton, on the INF!”

The Sea of Azov incident and Poroshenko’s gamble

As you may have heard, there was an incident on the Black Sea near the entrance to the Sea of Azov on the morning of 25 November between three Ukrainian military vessels and the Russian coast guard. No one was killed, and only three Ukrainian sailors slightly injured. The incident took place beginning at 6:10 am Kerch time and went on for most of the day. It started when the three Ukrainian vessels – two naval artillery boats and a naval tugboat – left Odessa headed for Mariupol, entered Russian territorial waters without following agreed protocol and regulations and proceeded to attempt to enter the Kerch Strait, over which the new Russian Kerch Strait bridge now crosses. The Russians are quite protective of their new bridge. Continue reading “The Sea of Azov incident and Poroshenko’s gamble”

The wisdom of poking at bears…

Most of us would have heard now about the downing of the Russian IL-20 surveillance plane over Syria. The event took place on 17 Sep this year, and I covered the event briefly in the Libra letter. As it turns out, that event has marked a key turning point in the Syrian war, and one which may yet lead to a large escalation in the conflict, with possible disastrous consequences, not to scaremonger here. But the reality of the situation now is that the Russians have been backed into a corner in Syria now by the foolish actions of a few Israeli pilots and the hubris of the Israeli Defense Force (IDF). Russia has established an unofficial no-fly zone over the Syrian coast, has supplied Syria with with its S-300 missile system, which John Bolton of the US called a ‘major escalation’ (?) and blamed the Iranians (?) for the downing of the plane. For its part, the IDF has blamed the Syrians for the downed plane. Russia, on the other hand, has supplied pretty irrefutable evidence that the fault for the incident lies squarely with Israel. As a result, the Russians have stated that any unauthorized aircraft flying through their no-fly zone will be shot down. It would appear that the gloves are off now. If Putin backs down from the next provocation the consequences would be too much and Russia would be set back for years in its foreign policy. The Israelis, Saudis, Emiratis and neocons in Washington may soon have their escalated war, but at what cost? We await the next chemical weapons performance or for an Israeli plane to be shot down. Hopefully not. Continue reading “The wisdom of poking at bears…”