New rules of engagement on the Syrian battlefield and in the diplomatic arena

From Fort Russ

Translated by Sufyan Jan for Fort Russ
1st February, 2016
Written by Elijah J. Magnier (@ejmalrai)


  • Russia upgraded & refurnished 9 Syrian MiG-29 into Fulcrum MiG-29SMT.
  • Russia imposed new rules of engagement on the Turkish-Syrian borders.
  • Russia put an end to the Syrian – Turkish 1998 agreement

A source who’s a senior officer within the joint operation command consisting of Syria, Russia, Iran, Hezbollah has said “Russia has established new rules of engagement on the Syrian-Turkish border, and has retained the upper hand for the Syrian air force and the Syrian army, Russia also refurbished and upgraded custom made Syrian MiG29SMT, to protect the Russian air force squadrons, with clear orders to shoot down Turkish planes that enter the Syrian air space”

The source goes on to say to Al Rai, “The agreement previously concluded with Turkey during the presidency of the late Hafez Assad in 1998, which says no Syrian air force units should come within 15 Km of the Turkish-Syrian border on Syria’s side (the agreement by which Syria expelled the Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan, after Turkey, having amassed 10,000 soldiers, threatened to invade Syria), the agreement also included that no army battalions are to be deployed, and that only officers and border control personnel are allowed, this has all gone down the drain”, adding “gone is the time of retracting the statement “Iskandaron strip will be liberated” from school books, gone also is the time of Turkey downing a Syrian air craft and/or helicopter. Turkey’s dream of creating a safe zone is dead in the water, and with it the supply lines to send men and arms to the Syrian Turkmen to undermine Damascus. After Russia’s direct intervention in Syria, there has been drastic changes, especially after the downing of the Russian bomber Sukhoi Su-24 by Turkish F16’s last November, thus making this particular bomber the costliest of its kind, causing strategic and economic losses to Istanbul”

The source further explains “that Russia since the downing of its plane, brought in Sukhoi Su-30, which will deliver to the Russians air-supremacy that was missing before, also posting the anti-aircraft S400 missile system, Russia has further deployed heavier assault weapons and regained most of the Latakia governorate, it has broken the Syrian Turkmen militias that’s considered the military arm of Turkey, most importantly it has given the SAA a moral boost, having upgraded the MiG29 to MiG29-SMT, installing them with ZHUK-M radar that is able to track 10 targets, and engage with 4 at one particular moment, covering 120Km having 5Km width, it is now able to launch the lethal R77 missiles, also installed on these air crafts along with other gadgets is a radio jamming device, and the upgrading enables it to carry other highly developed missiles and bombs such as the KAB-500S-E. These upgrades make the MiG29-SMT the most advanced in the fourth generation line up”.

The senior source confirms “Russia has requested from Syria to conduct around the clock patrols on the Syrian-Turkish border, to ensure the safety of the Russian bombers, Russia having established new rules of engagement have authorized the Syrian air force, specifically the MiG29-SMT squadron, to engage with any Turkish targets that have violated Syrian air space or attempts to violate. By doing this Russia has given Syria its sovereignty back having lost it in 1998, and completely losing it in 2011 at the start of the revolution in Syria, as of today Syria air forces have a mandate to strike any violation without confirming with HQ, this in turn has given the Syrians a boost of morale, especially as they have been given a mandate by a super power like Russia that is physically present in Syria”

Adding “On the battlefield, there are many media reports, citations on social media networks, as well as Intelligence reports, that conclude that the insurgents are turning on each other due to the defeats incurred on them by the SAA, accusing each other of treason, and not supporting the many fronts that were lost to Hezbollah and SAA in Latakia, Hama,  Aleppo, and Dara’a. It is expected that several military units within Al-Nusra and the Army of Conquest (Al Qaida) will defect. On the other side, the SAA and NDF volunteers have increased with large numbers having graduated, pro-government forces are increasing, conversely the number of insurgents joining the cause is steadily decreasing, since Amman has stopped assistance to the southern front, this happened as Russia reached an agreement with the Jordanians, it is also Russia’s intent to shut the porous borders with Turkey and Jordan, to prevent any reinforcements to reach the insurgents, even the region West of the Euphrates where both the Russians and Syrians are bombing the supply routes to hinder any military or non-military assistance to arrive.

Russia has taken the initiative in Syria and established its dominance on the full breadth and width of the country. Politically, in Geneva on Monday the Russians are determined not to yield to the opposition anything that would endanger the grounds gained on the battlefield, and not to accept anyone who has been or still is in communication with Salafi-Jihadis ( Al-Nusra, Ahrar Al-Sham, and whoever pledged their allegiance to them or fights within their ranks). Furthermore Russia will not halt any military advancements during the Geneva talks as stated in the UN resolution, especially now that Damascus and the Kremlin hold all the cards”.

Council on Foreign Relations’ grand strategy: China must be defeated, the TPP is essential to undermine China

In examining the CFR report on China, this excellent article provides possible background into the recent terrorist attack in Mali. It also gives perspective on Robert Legvold, invited by the Valdai Club to moderate the final key session with President Putin at its recent symposium. Legvold is connected with CFR and the Rockefeller-founded Harriman Institute.
Global Research, May 05, 2015

Wall Street’s Council on Foreign Relations has issued a major report, alleging that China must be defeated because it threatens to become a bigger power in the world than the U.S.

This report, which is titled Revising U.S. Grand Strategy Toward China,” is introduced by Richard Haass, the CFR’s President, who affirms the report’s view that, “no relationship will matter more when it comes to defining the twenty-first century than the one between the United States and China.” He says that the report he is publishing argues that “strategic rivalry is highly likely if not inevitable between the existing major power of the day and the principal rising power.” Haass says that the authors “also argue that China has not evolved into the ‘responsible stakeholder’ that many in the United States hoped it would.” In other words: “cooperation” with China will probably need to become replaced by, as the report’s authors put it, “intense U.S.-China strategic competition.

Haass gives this report his personal imprimatur by saying that it “deserves to become an important part of the debate about U.S. foreign policy and the pivotal U.S.-China relationship.” He acknowledges that some people won’t agree with the views it expresses.

The report itself then opens by saying: “Since its founding, the United States has consistently pursued a grand strategy focused on acquiring and maintaining preeminent power over various rivals, first on the North American continent, then in the Western hemisphere, and finally globally.” It praises “the American victory in the Cold War.” It then lavishes praise on America’s imperialistic dominance:

“The Department of Defense during the George H.W. Bush administration presciently contended that its ‘strategy must now refocus on precluding the emergence of any potential future global competitor’thereby consciously pursuing the strategy of primacy that the United States successfully employed to outlast the Soviet Union.”

The rest of the report is likewise concerned with the international dominance of America’s aristocracy or the people who control this country’s international corporations, rather than with the welfare of the public or as the U.S. Constitution described the objective of the American Government: “the general welfare.”

The Preamble, or sovereignty clause, in the Constitution, presented that goal in this broader context:

 ”in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.”

The Council on Foreign Relations, as a representative of Wall Street, is concerned only with the dominance of America’s aristocracy. Their new report, about “Revising U.S. Grand Strategy Toward China,” is like a declaration of war by America’s aristocracy, against China’s aristocracy. This report has no relationship to the U.S. Constitution, though it advises that the U.S. Government pursue this “Grand Strategy Toward China” irrespective of whether doing that would even be consistent with the U.S. Constitution’s Preamble.

The report repeats in many different contexts the basic theme, that China threatens “hegemonic” dominance in Asia. For example:

“China’s sustained economic success over the past thirty-odd years has enabled it to aggregate formidable power, making it the nation most capable of dominating the Asian continent and thus undermining the traditional U.S. geopolitical objective of ensuring that this arena remains free of hegemonic control.”

The report never allows the matter of America’s “hegemonic control” to be even raised. Thus, “hegemony” is presumed to be evil and to be something that the U.S. must block other nations from having, because there is a “traditional U.S. geopolitical objective of ensuring that this arena remains free of hegemonic control.” In other words: the U.S. isn’t being “hegemonic” by defeating aspiring hegemons. The report offers no term to refer to “hegemony” that’s being practiced by the U.S.

The report presents China as being supremacist, such as what (to quote again from the report) “historian Wang Gungwu has described as a ‘principle of superiority’ underwriting Beijing’s ‘long-hallowed tradition of treating foreign countries as all alike but unequal and inferior to China.’ Consistent with this principle, Henry Kissinger, describing the traditional sinocentric system, has correctly noted that China ‘considered itself, in a sense, the sole sovereign government of the world.’” America’s own ‘Manifest Destiny’ or right to regional (if not global) supremacy is not discussed, because supremacism is attributed only to the aristocracies in other countries, not to the aristocracy in this country.

Rather than the “general welfare,” this document emphasizes “U.S. Vital National Interests,” which are the interests of America’s aristocrats, the owners of America’s large international corporations.

This report urges:

“The United States should invest in defense capabilities and capacity specifically to defeat China’s emerging anti-access capabilities and permit successful U.S. power projection even against concerted opposition from Beijing. … Congress should remove sequestration caps and substantially increase the U.S. defense budget.”

In other words: the Government should spiral upward the U.S. debt even more vertically (which is good for Wall Street), and, in order to enable the increased ‘defense’ expenditures, only ‘defense’ expenditures should be freed from spending-caps. Forget the public, serve the owners of ‘defense’ firms and of the large international corporations who rely on the U.S. military to protect their property abroad.

The report says that China would have no reason to object to such policies: “There is no reason why a China that did not seek to overturn the balance of power in Asia should object to the policy prescriptions contained in this report.” Only a “hegemonic” China (such as the report incessantly alleges to exist, while the U.S. itself is not ‘hegemonic’) would object; and, therefore, the U.S. should ignore China’s objections, because they would be, by definition ‘hegemonic.’ Or, in other words: God is on our side, not on theirs.

“Washington simply cannot have it both ways—to accommodate Chinese concerns regarding U.S. power projection into Asia through ’strategic reassurance’ and at the same time to promote and defend U.S. vital national interests in this vast region.”

The authors make clear that U.S. President Obama is not sufficiently hostile toward China: “All signs suggest that President Obama and his senior colleagues have a profoundly different and much more benign diagnosis of China’s strategic objectives in Asia than do we.”

Furthermore, the report ends by portraying Obama as weak on the anti-China front: “Many of these omissions in U.S. policy would seem to stem from an administration worried that such actions would offend Beijing and therefore damage the possibility of enduring strategic cooperation between the two nations, thus the dominating emphasis on cooperation. That self-defeating preoccupation by the United States based on a long-term goal of U.S.-China strategic partnership that cannot be accomplished in the foreseeable future should end.”

The report’s “Recommendations for U.S. Grand Strategy Toward China” urges Congress to “Deliver on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, … as a geoeconomic answer to growing Chinese economic power and geopolitical coercion in Asia,” but it fails to mention that the Obama Administration has already embodied the authors’ viewpoint and objectives in the TPP, which Obama created, and which cuts China out; it could hardly be a better exemplar of their agenda. The authors, in fact, state the exact opposite: that Obama’s objective in his TPP has instead been merely “as a shot in the arm of a dying Doha Round at the World Trade Organization (WTO).” They even ignore that Obama had cut China out of his proposed TPP.

Furthermore, here is what President Obama himself told graduating West Point cadets on 28 May 2014:

“Russia’s aggression toward former Soviet states unnerves capitals in Europe, while China’s economic rise and military reach worries its neighbors. From Brazil to India, rising middle classes compete with us, and governments seek a greater say in global forums.”

He was saying that these future military leaders will be using guns and bombs to enforce America’s economic dominance. This is the same thing that the CFR report is saying.

His speech also asserted:

I believe in American exceptionalism with every fiber of my being. … The United States is and remains the one indispensable nation. That has been true for the century passed and it will be true for the century to come.”

(That even resembles: “Henry Kissinger, describing the traditional sinocentric system, has correctly noted that China ‘considered itself, in a sense, the sole sovereign government of the world.’” Obama is, in a sense, saying that America is the “sole sovereign government in the world.”)

He made clear that China is “dispensable,” and that the U.S. must stay on top.

However, there is a difference between Obama and the CFR on one important thing: Obama sees Russia as the chief country over which the U.S. must dominate militarily, and China as the chief country to dominate economically. But in that regard, he is actually old-line Republican, just like his 2012 opponent Mitt Romney is. The only difference from Romney on that is: Obama wasn’t so foolish as to acknowledge publicly a belief that he shared with Romney but already knew was an unpopular position to take in the general election.

Furthermore, whereas the CFR report ignores the public’s welfare, Obama does give lip-service to that as being a matter of concern (just as he gave lip-service to opposing Romney’s assertion that Russia is “our number one geopolitical foe”). After all, he is a ‘Democrat,’ and the authors of the CFR report write instead as if they were presenting a Republican Party campaign document. No ‘Democrat’ can be far-enough to the political right to satisfy Republican operatives. The pretense that they care about the public is therefore far less, because the Republican Party is far more open about its support of, by, and for, the super-rich. Mitt Romney wasn’t the only Republican who had contempt for the lower 47%. But even he tried to deny that he had meant it. In that sense, the CFR’s report is a Republican document, one which, quite simply, doesn’t offer the public the lip-service that Obama does (and which he politically must, in order to retain support even within his own party).

Perhaps on account of the CFR report’s condemning Obama for not being sufficiently right-wing — even though he is actually a conservative Republican on all but social issues (where China policy isn’t particularly relevant) — the report has received no mention in the mainstream press, ever since it was originally issued, back in March of this year. For whatever reason, America’s ‘news’ media ignored the report, notwithstanding its importance as an expression of old-style imperialistic thinking that comes from what many consider to be the prime foreign-affairs mouthpiece of America’s aristocracy — the CFR. The report’s first coverage was on 2 May 2015 at the World Socialist Web Site, which briefly paraphrased it but didn’t even link to it. Then, two days later, Stephen Lendman wrote about the CFR report. He briefly paraphrased it and passionately condemned it. He did link to the report. But he didn’t note the WSWS article, which had first informed the public of the CFR report’s existence — an existence which, until the WSWS article, all of America’s ‘press’ had simply ignored.

The present article is the first one to quote the CFR report, instead of merely to paraphrase and attack it. The quotations that were selected are ones presenting the report’s main points, so that readers here can see these points stated as they were written, rather than merely as I have interpreted them. My interpretation is in addition to, rather than a substitute for, what the report itself says.

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity, and of Feudalism, Fascism, Libertarianism and Economics.