The war in Syria just got a lot more complicated. U.S. officials have reported that four Russian long-range cruise missiles crashed into Iranian territory on Wednesday, October 7. The Russian Defense Minister declined to comment on the matter, ensconcing himself in the impregnable Kremlin.
A salvo of Russian airstrikes has been pounding Syria for nearly a week now, buttressing the tyrannical Assad regime by any means necessary. Today’s apparent misfire against Iran was launched from a Russian navy craft on the Caspian Sea, close to Iran’s border. According to the Kremlin, Russia launched 26 strikes against anti-Assad targets, hitting targets in north and northwest Syria on Wednesday. The Russians failed to specify if there were any missile malfunctions or misfires.
As a close ally and strategic partner of Vladimir Putin and Ayatollah Khamenei, Bashar al-Assad, the butcher of Damascus, is safe knowing that both the Russians and Iranians have a vested interest in keeping the autocrat in power.
For Iran, gatekeeper of political Shia Islam, Assad is the key to its imperial aspirations of spreading Islamic Revolution ideology. Assad’s Shia-oriented Alawite regime gives Iran a strategic platform to bolster proxies in other regions of the Middle East. Iranian-trained Hezbollah militants often operate out of Syria, preparing for attacks along the Israel-Lebanon border.
Today, Hezbollah fighters are the boots on the ground slaughtering Syrian civilians, mocking the Geneva Convention with each drop of blood they spill. These religious zealots live and die by the sword, serving faithfully as obedient minions to their clerical Iranian overlords. They function like clockwork, imbibing the Kool-Aid of sectarian strife and religious supremacist ideology to pacify their bloodlust.
Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that Khamenei and Putin will enter a boxing ring anytime soon. Iran is far too reliant on Russian arms.
Russia’s messy aerial assault now confounds Iran’s relationship with Syria’s Russian patron. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that Khamenei and Putin will enter a boxing ring anytime soon. Iran is far too reliant on Russian arms.
In the face of the Obama Administration’s dubious claims that the Iran Nuclear Deal, (signed by Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, alongside P5+1 partners) contains restrictions on ballistic missile activity and weapons shipments, Iran has gone ahead and signed a contract to import S-300 surface-to-air missile systems. This gift of artillery comes from none other than Russia, according to Reuters:
Russian state arms producer Almaz-Antey in June said it would supply Iran with a modernized version of the S-300, among the world's most capable air defense systems, once a commercial agreement was reached.
The text of the contract is ready and our friends will go to Russia next week to sign the contract," Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan was quoted as saying by the Fars news agency.
With newly-updated Russian armaments replacing Soviet (and even Cold-War era American) stockpiles, the Iranians are primed to leverage the Nuclear Deal, and the consequent lifting of sanctions, to their advantage. Moreover, as the government in Baghdad struggles to keep its ailing country afloat, Iranian assets scour Iraq, securing safe havens and buffer zones for its own militias.
In fact, Iran’s elite Quds Forces, led by General Qasem Soleimani, are embedded with the Iraqi army, spearheading joint operation missions against supposed insurgents. According to the BBC, last month, General Soleimani was “in Salahuddin province in northern Iraq, commanding Iraqi and Shia militias as they [tried] to recapture the city of Tikrit from Islamic State (IS).”
The White House has been nearly silent on the geopolitical chess games taking place right under its nose. Obama Administration officials have squawked bird calls on-top of an insulated, cozy nest of futility, urging Iraq’s fragmented army, a rag-tag group of poorly-trained civilians plagued by in-fighting and sectarian strife, to somehow untangle itself out of its own straitjacket.
On the Syrian front, the White House fares no better. Russia’s aerial assault has specifically targeted anti-Assad forces, many of which are CIA-trained, key American allies. President Obama’s own sycophantic spokesman admitted that Russia’s full-blown military operation is far from a strict counterterrorism assault. “Greater than 90% of the strikes that we’ve seen them take to date have not been against Isil or al-Qaida-affiliated terrorists,” confessed State Department Press Secretary John Kirby.
Russian pilots are adopting a scorched earth mentality, obliterating everything on the ground that even thinks about opposing Assad. This includes U.S.-funded allies vying for survival against the iron fist of the Assad regime. Iran is infiltrating Iraq, spreading its influence across the region. Granted, these regional bad actors have comically crossed paths this week. Yet the joke is still on us. The Middle East is imploding. It's being overrun by former superpowers and theocratic impulses. We’re the only ones doing nothing.