by Ghassan Kadi for the Saker blog

Much has been said about Putin’s 1st of March 2018 speech; a speech that should well and truly be known in the future as the “Putin Manifesto”, and no analysts have been better able to examine its political and military repercussions, respectively, than The Saker, and Andrei Martynov

Those articles examine the implications of the speech from a global perspective. In this article, I shall try to examine its potential in creating any significant change in Syria.

In his above-mentioned article, The Saker rightfully emphasizes that the Empire is now in a state of denial. In reality, much of what has been written and said in the West clearly indicates that the West is indeed in denial. The beat up about the alleged poisoning of the former Russia spy and his daughter in Britain is a part of the denial.

On the 9th of March, STRATCOM commander general John Hyten said that America’s submarines “have the ability to decimate their countries [Russia & China]”.

He did not explain what with. He did not explain how can his missiles evade the Russian S-400 and S-500 defense systems. He did not explain what can America do if the Russians retaliate and how can super-sonic American missiles intercept hyper-sonic Russian missiles that are twice as fast if not more.

It is not at all difficult to do a search and read what different Western politicians and military personnel have had to say in response to Putin’s Manifesto, and it doesn’t take much to realize that none of the responses were rational and realistic. The responses ranged from being dismissive to accusing Russia of warmongering and pushing the world into a new cold war, and some even accused President Putin of pulling a bluff and expressed doubt that Russia was indeed able to develop such technology and edge over the USA. But one will not find a single Western military analysis that looks at facts on the ground and how to deal with the aftermath.

It is not surprising that only a few days after Putin’s speech, a new hypersonic Kinzhal missile was successfully launched from a Mig-31:

Different variants of this missile purportedly have a range of up to 2000 km and can carry enough load to sink a major warship; including an aircraft carrier, without having to resort to using nukes. Now, if Western military cynics think that Putin’s speech was a bluff, this test clearly cannot be overlooked. Apart from the SARMAT and far-reaching range-less missiles, the Mig-31-Kinzhal duo make all NATO vessels in the Black Sea, the Baltic, the Mediterranean and the 3000 km zone or so east of Russia’s furthest eastern coastline totally defenseless, and this is probably a new fact.

But Western leaders are still in denial. The top brass in NATO must know what is going on, but unless one is a fly on the wall inside the Pentagon, it would be impossible to know what has been said and reported back to politicians who don’t seem to know the difference between being on top, and being displaced from it.

This article is meant to be about Syria, and not a single word about Syria has yet been said.

We have to be realistic. In as much as the Syrian Army (SAA) and leadership ought to be regarded in highest esteem, and in as much as the sacrifices of the Syrian people, their resolve and determination deserve respect and admiration, the Russian initiative that began on the 28th of September 2015 has changed the “War on Syria” into a showdown between America and Russia, and the war cannot end unless either Russia scores a decisive win against America, or, God forbid, the other way around.

With the advances of the Syrian Army in East Ghouta near Damascus, that particular battle is drawing close to its end. With some presence of NATO-allied forces in Southern Syria (ie in the Daraa region), and even with reported NATO presence there, the big stick in the mud is the presence of American troops on Syrian soil in the North-East of the Euphrates.

History tells us that America never quits an illegal presence in any territory before it inflicts major destruction and high death toll and suffers heavy casualties itself. If history repeats itself, we should expect in Syria a repeat of Korea, Vietnam and Iraq to name a few, or will we?

Perhaps the proxy American-Russian war in Syria will be different.

Perhaps Syria will be “used” to “test” the substance of the Putin speech.

This may sound like a prelude for a protracted confrontation between the two superpowers, but in fact, it could mean quite the opposite.

America landed troops in Syria because it has always had the assumption that it is able to do so, unopposed, under the guise and pretext of spreading democracy. After all, America has been accustomed to the concept that it is the world’s biggest military power, and from the dismantling of the USSR till very recently, the world’s only superpower, so it can do what it pleases.

It is this surviving arrogance that pushed America into Syria. Even if for one moment we set aside other strategic and economic incentives such as pipelines and oil, securing Israel, which are definitely high on America’s priority list, if America did not feel that it could do what it pleased, un-opposed, it wouldn’t have done it.

After the Putin speech, after the Mig-31-Kinzhal taste test, if the generals and the politicians of the Empire as still in doubt that the substance of the Putin Manifesto is for real, and if they are still living a delusion of grandeur and invincibility, then they would be asking for a reality check and more bitter potions to taste; and Syria is the perfect theatre to deliver this Russian message to the Empire; because there is already a proxy war between America and Russia on Syrian soil.

In all of its previous military international ventures, America had the benefit of assumed wealth and might. In time, the wealth factor dwindled, and now, the might factor is an equal demise to the wealth factor. The only missing link in the chain is a real military test that could well and truly end up as very humiliating for America.

In both retrospect and hindsight, America might have been able to put more fire power, including nukes to win the war in Vietnam, and if it did, it would have won; some argue. Nonetheless, America did lose the Vietnam War, and it lost it abysmally.

So what chances does America have in winning any war in Eastern Syria?

There will not be a direct conventional war in Eastern Syria between American and Russian troops.

I have said this and I say it again, when all of the initial members of the “Anti-Syrian Cocktail” put all of their efforts together, with bottomless Saudi and Qatari funds, open borders, and a huge unchallenged influx of smuggled arms, munitions and fighters into Syria, and after they amassed a huge army and controlled much of Syria, they failed. A meager presence of American troops and their supporters in Eastern Syria will not go far. It is doomed to fail, even in a conventional or resistance-based warfare. The war that American ground troops are preparing for on Syrian ground is lost before it starts.

That said, I do not believe that an American presence in Syria will have to wait for a resistance-based “insurgency” for it to be pushed out.

The global military and political indicators are pointing at Syria as the right theatre for Russian military technology to present to America that Putin’s 1st of March speech has had a relatively long history in the making. It didn’t just happen on the 1st of March.

As a matter of fact, Arab media, including Hezbollah’s reputable Al-Manar, has reported as far back as early September 2013, at a time when America was poised to attack Syria on the pretext of the first alleged chemical weapon attack by the Syrian Government, that Obama did in fact order an attack on Syria, and that two missiles were launched. According to this report (which is widely believed in the Arab World), Russian warships in the Mediterranean intercepted those missiles, shot one down, and diverted the second one to plummet into the sea. According to this narrative, there is a strong message; we (Russia) are not only able to hit your missiles, we can even hack their electronics and send them amiss.

Even though Western media reported back then that two missiles were shot down, there was a cloud of confusion about their origin and the manner in which they were destroyed. America/NATO did not deny the claim Al-Manar published; it simply ignored it. I translated the report and took to the eyes of the West (

According to Al-Manar’s version, Russia’s message to America back then, five years ago, was that; we (Russia) have better technology than yours (America). We will keep this incident un-announced in order to avoid public scrutiny and embarrassment for America; with a message, that we (Russians and Americans) should talk.

Al-Manar’s history in reporting any incident of this caliber has been impeccable. It is highly unlikely that this report was an exaggeration of facts on the ground; or in the air for that matter.

Whether or not this incident did indeed take event or otherwise, Russia has given America many more subtle messages about its own (ie Russian) military technological superiority to the American “partners”, but those partners were not listening.

It wasn’t long after that Russia sent another subtle message to America, in a yet not any less reported incident, when it jammed and disabled an American destroyer, USS Donald Cook in the Black Sea in November 2014. According to this report, USS Donald Cook was disabled by Russian electronic jamming devices; a weapon that America/NATO does not have.

Let’s go back to Syria, and we should.

When Syria recently downed an Israeli F-16 using a Russian-made SAM-5 (1960’s technology), a message was given that more advanced surface-to-air missiles were not needed; and this is a clear indication that the Israeli fighters were electronically jammed, and made vulnerable enough to become soft targets even for 1960’s technology.

But the war and political machines of the Empire continue to refuse to listen.

This is not only because they cannot admit that the Empire has lost the techno-war against Russia, but most importantly because if such an admission were to be made, the domestic reaction can spiral out of control; not only against the ruling party in any given NATO state, but also in the face of the whole concept of Western security.

So back to Syria again.

There are no tricks that America or NATO can pull out of a hat in Syria. If anything, there is a disaster looming for their presence on the ground.

Russia will not need to engage with American or NATO troops on the ground in Syria, but, a confrontation between Russia and the Empire on Syrian soil is likely; not directly, but indirectly as the two powers have always managed to do.

But this time, the indirect confrontation can turn to become more covert than ever. If America continues to believe that its position has not been shaken and that Russia is bluffing, it may find itself taking a military gamble in Syria against forces friendly with Russia.

On the other hand, Russia may not wait for America to try to draw first blood, and instead, Russia may opt to serve America with a game-changer rather than giving more subtle messages than the ones mentioned above. In such an event, Russia will possibly deliver a very embarrassing and humiliating military message to America.

As Russia’s impatience with America escalates, and as America becomes increasingly more arrogant and alienated from reality that stipulates its stand in the new global pecking order, and for as long as Russia does not seek war with any other nation, Russia will need to step up pressure on America until its gung-ho modus operandi is put to rest and sent to bed.

Luckily for Russia, and Syria for that matter, the place to test the claims of Putin’s technological superiority are in Syria, and if America has any technology of substance to show, let America present it in Syria.

Back in 1914, The Ottoman Empire had the largest army in the world, but in the beginning of the war, Turkey had 5 planes and 6 pilots. It was clearly falling behind in technology compared to the West and its defeat was inevitable.

Whether the Russian or the American side draws first blood, a series of techno-showdowns with American troops has the propensity to disable the Empire forces and put Russia in a position of winning without fighting; unless the American side insists to fight, and if it does, it will lose.

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