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A Russian Military Intervention in Syria? I Very Much Doubt It
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The Internet is flooded with rumors about a Russian military intervention in Syria. It all began with an article by Thierry Meyssan in Voltaire Net and now this rumor made it to Zero Hedge. Finally, the Israeli website Ynet also joined the rumor mill. Here are the two main assertions made by these sources:

  1. Russia has just created a Russo-Syrian Commission and has begun supplying weapons, sharing intelligence, and sending advisors. All of this is more or less coordinated with the White House.
  2. Russia has begun its military intervention in Syria, deploying an aerial contingent to a permanent Syrian base, in order to launch attacks against ISIS and Islamist rebels; US stays silent.

What is interesting in these rumors is that they appear to come from two very different sources. Meyssan gets his information from Syrian sources while Ynet quotes “western diplomatic sources”.

Finally, I will readily admit that there could be a Russian rationale for an intervention in Syria: the Russian security establishment is united in the belief that the US plan is to eventually turn Daesh (aka ‘ISIS’) against Russia and this one of the reasons it is so important to assist the Syrians: it is better to fight Daesh in Syria than it is to fight it in southern Russia.

So the rumor about a Russian intervention is at least credible. And yet, I don’t buy it.

I will gladly admit that I cannot prove a negative and that I have absolutely no privileged access to any special Russian sources. All I can offer are my conjectures and nothing more, and there is a good chance that I might be wrong. But having said that, here is my personal reaction to this rumor.

First, I don’t believe that there is much public support in Russia for a foreign military intervention. It is one thing to be ready to defend your own country or your own citizens when the latter are directly attacked (as in 08.08.08) and quite another to intervene 1’200km away from your national border. And we are not talking about just anywhere 1’200km away from Russia, but very much inside US controlled territory: the US controls Turkey via NATO and the entire Middle-East (except for Iran) via CENTCOM. Do you remember when the Russian paratroopers moved from Bosnia to Kosovo and took over the Pristina Airport? Russia was unable to resupply them because the US basically controlled the entire airspace between Russia and Serbia. The situation is similar today in the sense that the resupply and support of a Russian contingent in Syria would largely depend on the US goodwill. Yes, the Russian could also use their Navy to resupply and support any Russian contingent through the Mediterranean, but that could be very time consuming and difficult. I have said it many times on this blog: the Russian military is not designed to operate further than roughly 1’000km from the Russian border and a military intervention in Syria, while possible, would definitely stretch this self-imposed limit.

Second, while the first part of the rumor (sending advisors, sharing intelligence and supplying weapons) does not represent a major Russian commitment, the second part of the rumor would represent a major political and military commitment from Russia.

Russia still has a very painful and, I would say, even traumatic recollection of what a “limited military intervention” looks like. After all, this is exactly how the Soviet military intervention in Afghanistan was presented to the Russian public, as a “limited military intervention” to protect a friendly country from subversion, foreign intervention and destabilization. How is that different from what is happening today in Syria?

“Limited military intervention” have a strong tendency to lead to an open-ended escalation, and the Russians are quite aware of this. I strongly believe that the Russian withdrawal from Georgia after 08.08.08 is largely explained by this awareness: the Russians could have easily invaded all of Georgia (the Georgian military had basically ceased to exist and there was nothing standing between Russian paratroopers and Tbilissi) in 24 hours or less, and yet they chose to stop and turn back. And when the Russians recognized the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia they still withdrew most of their forces from these two republics and worked hard to put most of the responsibility for the defense of these two countries on the local people. The same approached was used in Chechnia were Russia has a powerful and capable Federal military contingent, but where 99% of the responsibility for security is placed on local, Chechen, forces.

In purely military terms, much of what these rumors claim make no sense to me. For example, Meyssan and Ynet both mention the deployment of MiG-31s to Syria. The problem with this is that the MiG-31 is a pure interceptor designed to protect a huge volume of Russian airspace from a US Air Force attack involving low flying cruise missiles and strategic bombers. As a counter-insurgency weapon the MiG-31 is simply useless. True, the six MiG-31s rumored to be sent to Syria would provide a formidable deterrent against any US, NATO, Turkish or Israeli aircraft entering the Syrian air space, but this is also why I would expect these countries to protest such a delivery with utmost outrage and determination rather than “more or less” coordinate it or “remain silent”. It would be much more logical to send SU-24s and SU-25s to Syria if the goal is to support Syrian army operations against Daesh. But these rumors do not mention these aircraft.

Finally, Ynet speaks of a major military operation. Here is a quite from the article:

“A Russian expeditionary force has already arrived in Syria and set up camp in an Assad-controlled airbase. The base is said to be in area surrounding Damascus, and will serve, for all intents and purposes, as a Russian forward operating base. In the coming weeks thousands of Russian military personnel are set to touch down in Syria, including advisors, instructors, logistics personnel, technical personnel, members of the aerial protection division, and the pilots who will operate the aircraft.”

A quick look at the recent news out of Syria will tell you that Daesh is already operating in the suburbs of Damascus. So where exactly would Russia deploy “thousands” of military personnel “in an area surrounding Damascus”? This makes no sense at all.

Ever since the crisis in Syria began I have been repeating that the Russians are not, repeat, not coming!! (see here, here and here) and, so far, the Russians never showed up. Of course, it is possible that this time around they might. Again, the first part of the rumor about sending advisors, sharing intelligence and delivering weapons makes more sense to me. But the notion of Russians flying MiG-31s out of Damascus to somehow change the course of the civil war makes no sense to me at all. Neither does the idea of “thousands” of Russians being deployed to Syria. In fact, last time I checked, the Russians were evacuating their citizen from this country, not sending more in.

Again, everything is possible and I cannot prove a negative. Maybe this time around the Kremlin decided that a major military effort against Daesh was needed. And maybe the US does not object to it. But the logical distance between “possible” and “likely” is a very long one and, at least at this point in time and with the information I have, I don’t see any reasons not to dismiss these rumors as wishful thinking.

(Republished from The Vineyard of the Saker by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: ISIS, Russia, Syria 
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  1. rod1963 says:

    I agree.

    Also the U.S. would take any overt aid as a pretext to declare war on Russia. Ever since Russia took back the Crimea and the ruckus in Don Bas, the U.S. has been looking for a reason to have a direct military response against Russia. ‘

    Putin has to know this and doesn’t want to be drawn into war with us. It’s lose, lose. It’s better to play it calm until the EU and U.S. implode from their collective suicide via immigration and he picks up the pieces along with China.

  2. Kiza says:

    There is a good, professional disinformation campaign going on, probably organised by Israel and its Western media assets, entitled The Russians are Coming. This is a continuation of a previous disinformation campaign, that Russia has given up on Assad. It would not be unusual at all to use an independent to spread such false news: Ynet, Thierry Meyssan etc.

    Usually, the best disinformation campaigns are based on some element of truth. Therefore, yes, the Russians are increasing involvement in Syria, to save its government which is now on a verge of collapse. Simply, if the Russians and the Iranians do not intervene, Syria becomes Libya. We talk here so much about the Russian boots on the ground, but we should have noticed a major diplomatic campaign going on for months. Just now the Russian diplomats are very loudly saying that Assad is prepared to share power with the non-extreme Sunnis, including the rebels.

    Saker’s comparison with Kosovo is invalid, because the landlocked Pristina (Airport) did not have International Waters to Russia. Thus, Russia has been and can continue to resupply Tartus without too much difficulty, except for an all out war against Turkey, Israel and the US.

    Also, Putin must have discussed Syria with Xi and has China behind him.

    In terms of aviation, as Saker identifies but stops short, the Russian planes and SAMs in Syria could counter the Turkish Airforce in the North and the Israeli Airforce in the South. This is a necessary prerequisite for any peaceful settlement of the Syrian war – kick Turkey and Israel out of Syria then try to make peace among the warring factions in Syria: without Turkey and Israel behind them the “rebels” would be more willing to pursue peace. But why would Syrians need the Russian MiG31s in the sky? A few S300s are more than sufficient to clear up the skies.

    Even an “increased involvement” let alone a “military intervention” is fraught with a lot of risk, really a lot. Besides, there is no such thing as a “limited military intervention”, there is only a beginning of a war which is usually limited in scope but always leads to an expansion, surge, or escalation soon after. Such Russian involvement would make no sense – Putin is not crazy.

    In summary, this is what I believe is true:
    1) the Russians have delivered one or more S300 to Syria and the Russian trainers,
    2) the Russians have delivered new helicopters and tanks to Syria,
    3) the Russians have added new field advisers and trainers to Syria, and
    4) the Russians are coordinating all their activity closely with the Iranians.

    The rest is propaganda of the usual Israeli origin.

  3. The Saker writes of what should be expected from Russia. Well, Mr Putin is a man likely to do unexpected moves. His move in Syria (and I consider it a fact) is unexpected, because all reasons of the Saker are perfectly valid. I would concur with the Saker if I were asked to write what to expect. However, I wrote my piece with the opposite conclusion because I have access to privileged information.
    Yes, it would be unexpected that Charles de Gaulle who came to power as the man who will smash Algerian resistance, will sign Evian agreements. It was unexpected that Putin will decide to take Crimea. And now it was unexpected that he will fight in Syria.
    Welcome to unexpected world! See details in my piece The Die is Cast on this site.

  4. I agree. The only news of this came from (1) conspiratorially minded sites of the Debka files category and (2) that neocon Weiss writing in the Daily Beast rag.

    I support Assad 110%, but this is not Russia’s war to fight in anything but a limited advisory and weapons supply capacity – least of all given the current plight of its coethnics in Novorossiya.

  5. Sean says:

    It is not better to fight Islamic State if it gets Russia into a war with the US that Russia could not possibly hope to win. Russia did not even dare to openly fight in Ukraine so it certainly won’t in Syria. Russia is probably exultant at the refugee crisis afflicting the EU, the Syrian war is working out beautifully for Russia.

  6. Sherman says:

    With the price of oil and gas plummeting I don’t see how Russia can afford a military adventure in Syria.

  7. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    It really says something when we have American citizens who have become so disgruntled that they wish some outside force such as the Russians would move against American actions and thwart it’s plans. They’ve gotten to the point where a defeat of America is seen as a victory for the world and for humanity.

    • Replies: @Wally
    , @dahoit
    , @schmenz
  8. unit472 says:

    I agree. Syria already has ‘air superiority ‘ over the rebel forces it faces and the US and allied air forces have conducted thousands of sorties against Daesh forces. While Russian aircraft operating in direct support of Assad’s troops would be more helpful than US strikes against Daesh targets in Eastern Syria, to be decisive would require large numbers of Russian strike aircraft and the associated logistical tail to support a major air campaign.

    Assad most of all needs more ground forces and why Putin would want to expose his army to the sort of endless casualties from IEDs , suicide bombings and occasional beheading or roasting alive of those who are captured is a mystery.

  9. KA says:

    But even a minor movement by Russia will bolster the morale of a lot of players in that region and around the world.
    NYT today is kind of throwing a lot of sands without providing any firm conclusion. In the process it has achieved what NYT does best : creating anger and belligerence against Russia.All Gordon could confirm are the delivery of housing unitsortable air traffic control system and requests to neighbouring countries for overflight .
    If Russia sent armies or military assistance ,it would definitely freak out Saudi not America. It will help Israel and America . Gulf and Saudis would become openly dependent on them out of fear of internal turmoil . To get to that desired results, US and America most likely allow IS to operate inside Saudi .
    Afghanistan will reach Saudi after 35 yrs .

  10. Priss Factor [AKA "The Priss Factory"] says:

    Duke is a shady character in many ways, but in light of recent events, this is the most prophetic video in the past 10 yrs. Europe RIP.

  11. anon • Disclaimer says:

    1) After the Iran deal some kind of Russian intervention to reassure Assad seems highly likely.

    2) The US can’t complain because officially everyone is fighting Isis (even though in reality the US and allies are helping Isis against Assad).

    3) The danger is people with an interest in deeper US involvement use those Russians as target practice to stir things up.

  12. Wally says:

    “They’ve gotten to the point where a defeat of America is seen as a victory for the world and for humanity.”

    And they are right.

    The US & Israel deserve what they ultimately will get. It’s simply inevitable.

  13. dahoit says:

    Well we were defeated in Vietnam,Iraq,Afghanistan and wherever next,it still hasn’t stopped our lunacy.
    And the world can’t call it victory,with the destruction and body count,but I think they are glad we were.(Everywhere but Zion,maybe,and domestically,but even there as you say,we are disgruntled.)
    I also doubt Russian troops fighting there.Too much chance of US-Russian conflict.

  14. schmenz says:

    A defeat of the malignant monsters who rule us via Washington, Hollywood and the Corporate world would indeed be a victory for humanity. Now that those three monstrosities are jailing Christians and forcing sodomy down our throats, and other notable horrors, they fully deserve to be defeated.

  15. What is most notable about the Saker is his liberal employ of ‘ifs, ands & buts’ or that is to say he wants to have his cake and eat it too, his ‘I could be wrongs’, the ‘I’ll never commit definitively’, the many cases where he can come back and say ‘well, I DID say it was possible’ (when it worked out contrary to his expectation) or in sum total ‘there will always be an escape route for my head when it is up my ass’ (which is quite a lot of the time) while mixing sources in ways that one’s point cannot be told from the others

    • Replies: @Kiza
  16. Biff says:

    Now U.S. officials have started to complain about a Russian military build up in Syria:

    US concern over Russia ‘military buildup’ in Syria

  17. Retired says:

    Putin does not make decisions based on popular opinion.
    We should be very concerned about the Russian military in the sand box.
    Nevertheless we should get out while the gettin’s good.

  18. Kiza says:
    @Ronald Thomas West

    Dear Ronald, good to see you back.

    Perhaps, we should not be critical of Saker. Often, I do not agree with him either, but I am very glad that his view offered a counter view to what we appear to want (and propaganda offers). To give a humorous view of it, my personal friends and I sometimes dream of an Alien intervention to stop the Anglo-Zionists. This is because there is no military force in this World of the fire-power equal to the US and Israeli military (I did not write of moral fiber or of determination – the US soldiers run like rabbits without all the support they expect). For example, when watching the movie Independence Day (Will Smith etc) my friends and I root for the Aliens, at least in the first half of the movie (lol).

    I feel that most commentators here wish so strongly that someone finally shows resistance to the mentioned Anglo-Zionists, that we turn our wishes and dreams into reality – The Russians are Coming. Without humor, yes it would be a fight against evil, but it is not a fight that Russia or even Russia+China could win at this moment. Yet, the Zionists are like worms eating out the heart of the US and eventually the US is likely to collapse financially and as a society. Then, the Russians, or the Chinese, or the Aliens will come and the World balance will be restored.

    Many US people wish this too.

    • Replies: @Ronald Thomas West
  19. Sonic says:

    This article is better than some of the recent articles on unz indicating that the Russians were about to send their military into Syria.

    Russia has already sent advisers, shared intelligence, and supplied weapons to Assad. Yet, he is on the brink of collapse. Surely, Russia doesn’t want to commit to a preemptive strike against ISIS the way the US committed to a preemptive strike against Saddam Hussein (we see how that turned out).

    No, the reality of the matter here is that Assad is losing, the Mujahideen are winning, and the US cannot change the course of events given that there is no desire in the US for another occupation, particularly given that their gamble in Iraq back in 2003 failed.

    A lot of people on the Internet and a lot of those who were always in the Russia/Iran/Hezbullah axis had high hopes for Imperial Russia. For some strange reason, many Christians in the west even consider Putin to be a true leader (someone apparently didn’t tell them that Russia is a secular country that is not much better as compared to the west when it comes to immoral behavior). But with the US and Iran dealing with one another and cooperating in Iraq, NATO’s aggression in Eastern Europe as a containment policy against Russia, China remaining on an independent path for as long as it can, and the loss of an ally in Syria…the rumored resurgence of Russia as a global power (and the claims that Putin plays chess while his adversaries play checkers) didn’t come about as so many hoped.

    So these sorts of rumors, gossip, and conspiracy theories (like what is addressed in the above article) help cover-up the obvious truth regarding Russia’s foreign policy failures. That doesn’t mean that the US and NATO are winning. Their own policy failures have led to the mess unfolding in the Middle East. The Mujahideen are the real winners here then (despite all the claims that they are mere agents of the west). In the end, it will be they who storm Damascus (and not the Russians, Americans, British, Turks, Iranians, etc.). The global order that was established after World War 2 is finally being challenged, or at least, on the verge of being challenged.

    • Replies: @Commenter
  20. @Kiza

    Hi Kiza

    I thought about what you said and where I stand is (in relation to the USA’s empire) is the extra-constitutional order born out of the National Security Act of 1947 is when the American state finally went completely off the rails in regards to the rule of law. This is when corporations became welded to the new ‘national security state’, undermining the constitutional order so completely, the rise of an unaccountable shadow government was inevitable. I recommend a read here:

    What few people understand within and without the USA is the composition of this dark entity. There are competing factions represented in two larger camps of neo-liberal and neo-conservative, where there is a power struggle. Both camps are criminal actors. There is a fusion of corporate board policy to every department of government at every level, not least intelligence agencies with actors with broad capacity to act independently of any legitimate oversight. Within this hidden framework, endless deceits and subversion play out.

    The Israeli Zionist element in the USA is propped up by a much larger and more powerful Christian Zionist element consisting of a messianic ‘Christian millennial’ social phenomena whose beliefs system is quite adequately laid out by the neo-conservative author Tim LeHay:

    ^ People who actually believe in this stuff are in control of the Pentagon, and also make up a disproportionate of the United States military officer corps and the Air Force (where the majority of the USA’s nuclear stockpiles are under command and control) is the most thoroughly infected. These are the people with the upper hand. In relation to this, I recommend a watch of Mikey Weinstein interviewed by Cenk Uygur:

    This stuff isn’t touched by the left’s ‘alternative mainstream media’ and the neo-conservative outlets of course will never dig into the criminality of their own players. Why doesn’t the left touch it? Probably because of several factors; 1) there is a lot of overlap between the camps, the two cooperate in crime having to with areas of mutual interest 2) plain old narcissism leading to a blinding denial, for instance the American left’s inability to honestly examine the relationship of Daniel Ellsberg to Edward Lansdale because it would shake the foundation of their political mythology and open other practically religious icons (Julian Assange, Ray McGovern, Robert Parry, et al) to serious question and examination 3) leading to obvious next assumption; the American left is so thoroughly compromised by intelligence assets, witting and unwitting, they’ve been effectively castrated. The messianic neo-conservative camp has all but won.

    The Saker (and many other self-inflated players) are amateur when it comes to ‘know thy enemy’

    • Replies: @Kiza
  21. Commenter says:

    Except the Mujahideen aren’t winning. They’re just constantly resupplied through Turkey and sent in human waves, Gulf states paying for the expenses including in nature for the idiot gun fodder. Gov’t areas are secure; nearly all areas under insurgents are those where insurgents where welcomed by locals. They can hardly advance where the population is hostile to them (=most of the rest). And this has held true throughout the war.

    Meanwhile, these states funding them are under heavy stress. Turkey’s economy is on the verge of tanking and AKP’s hold on power for the first time threatened, while the Kurdish conflict reignited. And Saudi has only a few years of reserves to finance all this, its Yemeni quagmire and its uppity spoiled population.

    • Disagree: geokat62
    • Replies: @Avery
    , @Sonic
    , @geokat62
  22. Erebus says:

    Putin has been talking about assembling a coalition to fight ISIS for a while. Recently, this has included the Syrian opposition. We have also seen a constant stream of M.E. political and military dignitaries heading to Moscow in recent (& coming) weeks. We’ve seen Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UAE investing \$Bs in Russia’s sovereign fund. We hear of plans for reciprocal state visits with the KSA. We’ve seen the Russian and Chinese navies doing joint exercises in the E. Med.

    These are all indicators that the security structure of M.E.N.A. is being redrawn in the aftermath of the Iran deal, and that Russia is fundamental to what the final picture will look like. It is to the great credit of Putin & Lavrov that Russia has emerged as one of its principal draftsmen. In geo-politics, a draftsman without a sword is, well, no draftsman at all. Without committing its forces, Moscow cannot underwrite agreements between vulnerable states. If it hasn’t already, it will have to commit soon. That’s the price of admission. The alternative is to watch the USA mangle itself, and ISIS mangle everything else.

    Russia is back in M.E.N.A. In that part of the world, that means Russia is back-in-force. A passive participant is no participant at all, and there would be no pilgrimages to Moscow if the offer of Russian backed security wasn’t on the table. Ergo, the argument is surely limited to how large Russia’s current commitment is, and how quickly it’s growing. The next few weeks will tell who else is on board. After that, ISIS Grunt is the world’s shortest career.

  23. Sonic says:

    Commenter – I use the term “Mujahideen” here generally to refer to a variety of groups (even including ISIS which I consider to be a group that has fallen into the way and ideology of the Khawarij, and Allah knows best).

    Given that the entire world is against them; given that the lands of Islam have been occupied, robbed, bombed, divided, and corrupted for more than a century now; and given the deep slumber, poverty, and short-sightedness affecting the Muslim Ummah (nation) in general: it is nothing short of a miracle to witness what we are witnessing right now despite all the hardships, losses, and tragedies. Islam returned to Palestine after a very secular and liberal society there (I’m talking about before the Israeli occupation). Islam returned to Afghanistan after a very secular and liberal society there (I’m talking about before the Soviet invasion). Islam returned to Iraq after a very secular and liberal society there (I’m talking about before America began bombing it two decades ago). The same thing is happening now (or in the beginning stages) in places like Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan, Libya, Egypt, and Syria. The Iranian revolution, the awakening of Muslims in the Caucuses, the spread of al-Qaidah’s ideology as well as similar ideologies and resistance movements related to that, the realization among Muslims (thanks to Internet related technologies) of the severity of oppression in places like Burma and CAR as well as the plight of Syrian refugees (as was just witnessed)! All of this points towards the eventual return of the Khalifah. Certainly, problems and hardships won’t end there, as prophecies regarding the great war with the Romans, Eretz Israel, the coming of the Dajjal, the release of Gog and Magog, etc. may also be on the way thereafter (but only God knows the exact time and details of such things).

    As for what you say, I don’t think those are major issues. The Taliban in Afghanistan have had far fewer resources than the various groups in Syria. Not to mention that the oil market affects Iran and Russia just as it does Saudi Arabia. Of course, both the US and Russia make a ton of money selling weapons and military gear to all the various sides in this conflict (similar to the days of Iran-contra). The main problem with the Syrian groups is with their infighting and the array of interests that outside powers are trying to influence. Damascus is still a Sunni city. The Alawites will still have control of certain coastal areas…but the time for this minority group to have a monopoly on power in Syria is coming to end (God-willing). Russia may find a way to extend the life of the regime a bit longer, but do you really think they are going to begin an air or ground invasion? Russia’s experience in Afghanistan should dissuade it from the former, while a whole year of unsuccessful Coalition bombings in Iraq should dissuade it from the latter! The nations of the world are racing to Iraq and Syria in order to change the reality that has emerged on the ground. But they just tried this for a decade and a half in Afghanistan without much success.

    • Replies: @Commenter
    , @Deduction
  24. geokat62 says:

    Disregard the “Disagree” above. It was inadvertent.

  25. annamaria says:

    The neocons delight:
    “The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, António Gutteres, has just declared that 4 million Syrians are now refugees in neighboring countries. That is almost six times greater than the number who fled Palestine. Another 7.6 million Syrians, he says, have also lost their homes but remain destitute within Syria… Before the war began in 2011, Syria fed itself and provided almost all of its medicines from flourishing pharmaceutical industries. Now it is dependent on foreign charity that is anything but adequate. The U.N. says that of the \$4.53 billion needed for displaced Syrians to survive, it has received only \$1.06 billion in the first half of this year.”

  26. Andrei Martyanov [AKA "SmoothieX12"] says: • Website

    Couple of issues:

    1. land Lines Of Communications (aka Supply Lines);
    2. SLOC–Shipping Lines Of Communications (see the Black Sea Fleet amphibious component).

    P.S. Greece today refused to close her airspace for Russian VTA.

    • Replies: @Bill Jones
  27. Kiza says:
    @Ronald Thomas West

    Ronald, you and I are not, what the Asians call “spring chicken”, we have been around for a while and have seen things. I know that many people could call us conspiracy theorists, nut cases and the like, but, like you, I have no doubt left that the shadow government, the deep state exists. This entity is hidden but it is more like the F35 – low observability but not invisible. If one follows closely and examines things in detail, one can see the traces of it. Yes, the Christian Rapturists (you call them the Millennials) and the rich and influential Zionists do have a loose alliance. Will this result in a nuclear First Strike, I am not sure.

    The best material for this entity are people who cannot launch themselves beyond the established orthodoxy. I tend to strongly believe in the maxim – question everything you hear, read and see (which is incidentally used by RT for self-promotion). This is because there is always somebody who wants you to believe something. The MSM exist not to inform you, then to make you believe. If you take something for truth just because you saw a video in the media (TV before, nowadays on YouTube etc), then you are taking the blue pill over and over. Simply, the MSM are the blue pill (isn’t this obvious!?). 911 is the most radical example of how people can believe something utterly unbeliveable.

    Finally, regarding Saker, I do think he is a highly informed American of Russian origin and we are all on the same broad side. But in this department, I do prefer Orlov of the for his deep thinking. Saker is a tactician, Orlov is a strategist.

    Ronald, I still enjoy your blog as well.

  28. @Andrei Martyanov

    “Greece today refused ”

    And who requested the closure?

  29. Commenter says:

    About your first paragraph, something is getting very wrong here. We have tons of refugees’ fleeing areas under Al Qaeda’s (and its rebel allies) or under Daesh. They simply don’t represent a way of life that is worth living for, apparently. And so these refugees are fleeing in droves to reach the safety of “kuffar” countries like Germany. We observe the same consequences whenever the same causes apply, Aghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Somalia you name it.

    About your second one, since you view the fall of Syria as act of faith, there isn’t much to argue about here. Of course I’ll stress that in both Afghanistan and Syria, foreigners, Gulf funds and western arms deliveries, including advanced weapons were/are critical. In Syria, both TOWs and Kornets are becoming as rife as sniper rifles on the battlefield. This isn’t a natural development, and certain powers saw to it that Syria’s armor become obsolete. Al Qaeda in Syria is enjoying uninterrupted supplies of Raytheon TOWs, of which export and re-export is allegedly carefully controlled by US laws. Likewise, Turkey is emulating Pakistan as the new refuge and shelter for “mujahideen”, and Gulf funds and recruits abund (among other “foreign fighters”). In other words, there’s nothing natural and organic in all this.

    By the way can we stop spreading Soviet-Afghan war falsehoods? Bin Laden boasted (and islamists still do) that they defeated a superpower, that they were the catalyst to USSR’s fall. They got it backwards, and so do unserious westerners: what precipitated the end of the Soviet-Afghan war and the soviet withdrawal were USSR’s internal travails, and not the reverse. Honest western accounts recognized that the war was a bloody stalemate, not the crushing military defeat mujahideen and their western backers like to brag about. In Syria, Russia doesn’t have ground troops and made a smaller commitment of assistance. It is mainly keeping western plans to provide air cover for the islamist rebels in check and sends weapons deliveries that have been crucial but not decisive. There are many weapons systems that Russia has not been delivering to Syria, and the recent rumors seem to point that this is in the process of being remediated. Here as Saker wrote, Russians need not bear the brunt of the fight: local forces, supplemented by Lebanese, Iraqi and Iranian allies provide this, while Russia provides advanced weaponry, intel, training and political cover. Nothing can break this, and I wouldn’t expect any of these countries to change course, or to face internal troubles significant enough to make it withdraw. Comparison with Afghanistan only goes so far.

    • Replies: @Sonic
  30. Andrei Martyanov [AKA "SmoothieX12"] says: • Website
    @Bill Jones

    US Embassy. You could have figured this out on your own. Today Greece Foreign Affairs Ministry confirmed that.


  31. Deduction says:

    Islam returned to Palestine after a very secular and liberal society there (I’m talking about before the Israeli occupation). Islam returned to Afghanistan after a very secular and liberal society there (I’m talking about before the Soviet invasion). Islam returned to Iraq after a very secular and liberal society there

    Swap the word society for the phrase tiny elite and you’ve got a point. Of course it would negate the rest of your ill iformed argument.

    • Replies: @Sonic
  32. Sonic says:

    Commenter – there is something wrong, but it is with the perspective you are using to judge the actions of others. Rebel groups are not nation-states. You can’t really compare the two, particularly when these rebel groups are fighting a guerrilla war against a more powerful, conventional military. Refugees have been leaving these areas long before al-Qaidah or similar groups exist. And by the way, I consider ISIS to be more of a fighting group as compared to an actual state no matter what they claim (Allah knows best). Other groups have throughout time, claimed to be a Khalifah when in reality, they had very limited control and authority. Also, many refugees are leaving because of the bombs that Assad (backed by Russia) or the US-led coalition are dropping. Many on this forum and elsewhere would also argue that a lot of the fighting groups are proxies that are funded and armed by outside powers. Actually, you made that same assertion in your second paragraph – so don’t you see how such a reality would cast doubt on the judgments made in your first paragraph? It is those outside powers whose way of life you are using as a reference point, and that is a mistake. The centuries of Muslim rule and empire are proof enough against your claims or assumptions. Don’t compare apples and oranges just to argue on an Internet forum. Read a truthful and objective history book rather than an emotional or conspiracy-driven political commentary, and then (God-willing) you will see :). Also, remember that might does not make right, and this worldly life is but an illusion.

    Turkey and Pakistan are doing what they are doing for the sake of their own national and regional interests. They are trying to support “moderate” Mujahideen while cracking down on the “radical” Mujahideen. In both cases, such policies are mistaken as the Mujahideen intend to bring both countries back to Islam and away from the secular nationalism that was imposed on both nations after partition and sykes-pickot style division. Can you blame the Mujahideen for taking advantage of the interests of surrounding states to their advantage? And again, remember that the Muslim world today is in a state of awakening after centuries of domination, destruction, colonialism, and occupation. Don’t just turn on the “Brady Bunch” tv show and presume that this is the standard that everyone must be like and that everyone has the ability and resources to emulate.

    As for the collapse of the Soviet Union, there were a variety of factors and we disagree on what was the most important factors. Without a doubt, I believe the Afghan Mujahideen were the single biggest factor that lead to the collapse of that satanic empire. Now, the US is much more powerful. And we can argue that the negative trends we are seeing as far as America’s economic, political, and geo-strategic interests and objectives are also a result of a variety of things (including bad policies and internal divisions). But, I don’t think anyone can argue that all the blood and all of the trillions of dollars in expenditures in wars against the Mujahideen aren’t a significant factor (if not the main factor) for this decline. But it is often a human tendency to avoid the obvious.

    There is no need to compare Russia’s adventure in Afghanistan with that of Syria so long as Russia does not commit its military to an invasion and occupation of Syria. But unless Russia does this, it will not be able to accomplish much in Syria. Assad has already lost most of his own country’s territory, and the last of Syria’s oil fields just fell to ISIS. All while Russia has already given significant aid. All while countless Iranian, Iraqi, Lebanese, Afghan, and other Shia volunteers have migrated to Syria in order to defend a secular, Alawite dictator (in Assad).

  33. KA says:

    Given the quick travel of this news of Russian moves from Ynet to Yahoo ,Fox,and CNN it is safe to assume something is in the works.
    It is reminiscent of the similar strategy, admitted years later by Brezhenski , against Soviet in 1978.

    Russia today is definitely operating from the same platform that is security to its territorial integrity and safety . It can’t afford to lose sight of the facts that in last 7 years ,Russia has been threatened ,first in Georgia,then in Ukraine and its allies have been under attacks or been eliminated .Also it can’t forget the only time it was accepted as a normal non rogue country ,not under direct mi,itary threat when it was under Yeltsin .

    At the same time Russia knows that there is a dep state within US whose policies and methods don’t dovetail with that of more moderate slow going circumspect,hesitant,cautious type of interventionist . That means Russia knows that it can be caught off guard.

    But any reactive Russian response will be met by more rhetorics and possible sanctions .In America its the rhetorics that shine the light on what’s in the future .

  34. Deduction says:

    And again, remember that the Muslim world today is in a state of awakening after centuries of domination, destruction, colonialism, and occupation.

    It’s hilarious that you think that the Muslim world is somehow improving. It is in a state of total disarray.

    It is also bizarre when you say the word ‘centuries.’ It wasn’t centuries ago that the Ottoman Empire was still squatting in Greece.

    Even now the Turks are squatting in Berlin.

    As for the collapse of the Soviet Union, there were a variety of factors and we disagree on what was the most important factors. Without a doubt, I believe the Afghan Mujahideen were the single biggest factor that lead to the collapse of that satanic empire

    The Soviets won in Afghanistan. Islam is a total joke. The only reason why Muslim countries win wars is that their enemies adopt the impossible aim of civilising the Muslims…

    The centuries of Muslim rule and empire are proof enough against your claims or assumptions.

    They are proof that Muslims can sustain a medieval empire that is based on plunder and pillage. I don’t see how they are relevant to a modern productive society.

    • Replies: @Sonic
  35. Andrei Martyanov [AKA "SmoothieX12"] says: • Website

    This is one hell of a delusional pseudo-historical review, especially this:

    And again, remember that the Muslim world today is in a state of awakening after centuries of domination, destruction, colonialism, and occupation.

    I guess you would do better in the local blog of another faux-academic here, Razib Khan. Islam is in the state of deepest crisis and all this “awakening” (despite West undeniable culpability) is nothing more than a civilization reaction to the sate of being totally down. While “vitality” of Islam’s “culture”, so admired by European lefties, is mostly an exhibition in violence and barbarism, Islam’s actual contribution to human civilization in the last 500 or so years is virtually zero. Currently, the chairman of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), Dr. Mahathir said that even in the extraction of the wealth and resources that Allah has blessed the Muslims with, they are still dependent on others.

    “We hire other people to do everything for us,” he said in a recent address. “The whole Muslim Ummah of 1.5 billion is one huge consumer society, procuring all our needs from outside our community, including our defense and security requirements. We produce practically nothing on our own, we can do almost nothing for ourselves, we cannot even manage our wealth,” he added.

    Mahathir said the Islamic world today is full of paradoxes and contradictions. In spite of a number of Muslim nations being extremely wealthy, there is not a single one of them that can be classified as “developed” by any criteria.

    • Replies: @Sonic
  36. Sonic says:

    Deduction – yes, elites who imposed their ideology on the society (though one can say this about really any ideology they dislike) for which they happened to find themselves in charge of (thanks to aid and help from outside powers – which is the key distinction).

    From principles found in the Quran and Sunnah, we have to remember that sometimes, punishment may come to a community even if only a few of its members are engaged in evil-doing (since the rest of the community failed to stop the evil transgressions or oppression). And that sometimes, the rulers of a people represent the condition of that people (and so evil rulers are put in charge of those who are unwilling to change and correct certain aspects of their own lifestyle and culture). And sometimes not. Finally, the ones who seek judgement from the courts of men (unless under compulsion) when those laws and rulings contradict what is known of the laws and rulings given to us by God…have setup partners and associates with God through these alternate governing and legislative systems.

    and Allah knows best

  37. Sonic says:

    Deduction – sorry, my first reply to you above was under the assumption that you are speaking from an informed point of view. Rather, you are uninformed and spewing with vile bigotry.

    The Muslim empire that spanned centuries and created the very fundamental algebraic principles that modern science and technology is now based upon; and the empire from which Jews and Christians fled towards during the darkest of medieval ages in Europe – that is the empire I am referring to and that is what you should research and study. Today, the Internet can be a source of useful and truthful information, or it can be full of lies, bigotry, misconceptions, and conspiracy theories. You have fallen into the latter portion of it.

    European imperialism and colonialism did not begin after the fall of the Ottoman Khalifah in 1924. Rather, that was the greatest victory of the imperial powers as far as the Muslim world goes (and something that had been in the works for *centuries* prior). So I meant that term literally. Wasn’t it 1776 when the US was able to declare its independence from those same imperial powers?

    The Soviets didn’t just lose Afghanistan. They were humiliated, and their ideology is now in the dustbin of history.

  38. Sonic says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    SmoothieX12 – I agree with everything you have quoted from Dr. Mahathir. But you are getting a few things mixed up here.

    The reason for much of what he said is because of the aggression, colonialism, and division of outside powers. The result of which are dictatorships and military “deep” states. Without removing these governing structures, nothing will change. Dr. Mahathir’s comments which you mentioned are meant for a Muslim audience and are a form of self-criticism which really, everyone engages in to some degree. It is a part of the very awakening I mentioned earlier.

    I am glad you quoted Dr. Mahathir and also remind you of his comments regarding the Jews and their role in world affairs (you can look that up on youtube). Those comments don’t contradict with the comments you are mentioning above and likewise, the criticism of imperial and foreign powers outside of the Muslim world does not contradict with internal criticism regarding the mistakes Muslims have made themselves. And this is why I oppose the ruling parties of each and every Muslim nation-state today (the whole movement to restore the Khalifah in fact is meant to correct this disaster). You can read my other comments in various other articles to better comprehend what I’m saying.

    • Replies: @Avery
  39. KA says:

    Dear Sonic,please don’t create a straw man argument here . This is not about islam’s golden past or the demise of Christianity . It is about the future of a pluralistic secular free society free from the the vile machinations of the Zionism.

    Don’t generate this kind of discussion.

    If you are a Muslim,you should learn from the 5 th column Zionist . It has destroyed Protestant religion. Zionism is inserting itself in the frightened psyche of corrupt Saudi . It can destroy Islam also.
    Already in India ,Zionism has started portraying itself as a the ancient monolithic cousin of the polytheist Hindusim This is the starting point of the Zionist- both are ancient,both gave birth to other religions and both ” don’t force conversion” , have high IQ.( one wonders what happened to that IQ 100 yrs ago? ) and surrounded by most fanatic,fundamentalist and anti modern people. Hindu counterpart in return has added that no Jews were ever persecuted in India! What a match ! Just some 80 yrs ago Hindu fanatics RSS was praising Naxi and Hitler and demonizing Jews ,calling themselves Aryan around the same time when Zionist were cavorting with Hitler,Mussolini abd some other dark forces.

    • Replies: @Deduction
    , @Sonic
  40. Avery says:

    {“The reason for much of what he said is because of the aggression, colonialism, and division of outside powers.”}

    “Aggression” ?
    Surely you jest.

    Islam is about 600 years younger than Christianity.
    There were no Muslims in Middle East: only Christians and other.
    Now Christians have been almost completely ethnically cleansed from their native lands.
    About 4 million Christians of Asia Minor – Armenians, Assyrians, and Pontic Greeks – were subjected to Genocide by Muslim Turks (1895, 1909, 1915-1923, 1955).

    Asia Minor was 100% Christian.
    That is until Muslim ISIS terrorists of the day, Seljuk Turks, originally from Uyguristan, invaded and wiped out indigenous Armenians, Assyrians, and Pontic Greeks.
    Yurt dwelling nomad Turks stole everything from the sedentary civilizations of those they exterminated and are presenting their creations as “Turkish” this and “Turkish” that.

    What “aggression” are you talking about then ?

    • Replies: @Sonic
  41. Andrei Martyanov [AKA "SmoothieX12"] says: • Website

    The Soviets didn’t just lose Afghanistan. They were humiliated, and their ideology is now in the dustbin of history.

    Evidently you have no access to opinions of serious military professionals, such as Colonel Lester Grau of the US Army Staff College, who have an opinion diametrically opposite to yours. Just to mention a few of those.

    There is a literature and a common perception that the Soviets were defeated and driven from Afghanistan. This is not true. When the Soviets left Afghanistan in 1989, they did so in a coordinated, deliberate, professional manner, leaving behind a functioning government, an improved military and an advisory and economic effort insuring the continued viability of the government. The withdrawal was based on a coordinated diplomatic, economic and military plan permitting Soviet forces to withdraw in good order and the Afghan government to survive. The Democratic Republic of Afghanistan (DRA) managed to hold on despite the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Only then, with the loss of Soviet support and the increased efforts by the Mujahideen (holy warriors) and Pakistan, did the DRA slide toward defeat in April 1992. The Soviet effort to withdraw in good order was well executed and can serve as a model for other disengagements from similar nations.

    I happen to know very many Soviet Afghan veterans of officer variety, some of them are my classmates, didn’t notice much in a way of humiliation. But then again, if you base your observations on US popular narrative about Soviet/Russian military history, you might as well start reading Jane Austeen or watch Rambo movies. You know, historical documents as they call them in The Galaxy Quest, if you know what I mean;-)

    • Replies: @Sonic
  42. Deduction says:

    The Muslim empire that spanned centuries and created the very fundamental algebraic principles that modern science and technology is now based upon

    You see? Islam is a curse upon man. You ask a Muslim for an example of evidence of how Muslims have built peaceful advanced societies and you get a medieval empire based on slavery and plunder as an example!

    (Of course the religion is really just a representation of the people…but that is another point…and explains why Iranian Shi’ism has beauty and Sunni Arab Islam does not)

    But don’t worry that huge backwards slave-state also did a bit of algebra. Everything is OK because over a thousand years the Muslims had an intellectual achievement! I suppose that I should be grateful, a thousand years per intellectual advance!

    Honestly I don’t care what religion you are…just stay in your countries and stop coming to ruin ours, I know that ours are a lot nicer, but that is because we made them a lot nicer.

    • Replies: @KA
    , @Sonic
  43. Deduction says:

    Dear Sonic,please don’t create a straw man argument here . This is not about islam’s golden past or the demise of Christianity . It is about the future of a pluralistic secular free society free from the the vile machinations of the Zionism

    It must be hard to have so many co-religionists keep stabbing you in the back because they are so damn crazy. You have my sympathy – but you know, as well as I do, that he represents the better elements of the Islamic mainstream.

    Now maybe if you can just distract him with talk about the Jews, he won’t go on and on about his ridiculous other ideas…

    • Replies: @KA
  44. KA says:

    It seems he has brought to you the much needed help that you have been praying for
    just like the latest refugee crisis has helped the Zio by distracting the world from the crimes of the repeat offender by name Israel .

    • Replies: @Sonic
  45. @Sonic

    And again, remember that the Muslim world today is in a state of awakening after centuries of domination, destruction, colonialism, and occupation.

    Your Wahhabist “awakening” is really just a new tool of the Zio-nazis in the west to destroy all remaining resistance to their evil designs and impose still more “domination, destruction, colonialism, and occupation” on the ME.

    In both cases, such policies are mistaken as the Mujahideen intend to bring both countries back to Islam and away from the secular nationalism that was imposed on both nations after partition and sykes-pickot style division.

    Wrong. After Sykes-Picot, UK and France normally imposed western-controlled monarchies on the Arabs. (Algeria and Lebanon are the only exceptions to this rule that I know of.) The Pan-Arab secular/nationalist movements arose as a reaction against these western/Zionist stooges and always, without exception, resulted in their being overthrown. For a few decades thereafter, the Arab SecNats were the leading force fighting Zionism and battling western-domination. Now that job belongs to the Axis of Resistance: Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. You Wahabbists are the dupes fighting against the Resistance–for sake of the US, UK, France and Israel.

    • Replies: @Sonic
  46. KA says:

    Netanyahu extols the achievement of 5000 yrs history of Israel.What does he showcase the event with ? By printing the invitation card with the picture of the Dome of the Rock!
    What the Jews have done other than destroying the civilizations of Egypt,Persia,Moorish Spain,Germany and now America.

    Now your tablet magazine,J Post,Commentary magazine and the rabbinical house debate if the Zio should switch from the decaying cadaver of the west to the fresh meat offered by China and India for lunch and breakfast .

    • Disagree: Existential Confusion
  47. Sonic says:

    KA – what is the straw man argument here? The discussions veer off on different points and tangents, and I do my best to respond to what the other person says rather than live in my own bubble.

    Speaking of which, where did the issue of Hinduism come from? Today, India is indeed a close ally of Israel, but we need only look to Ghandi’s words regarding the state of Israel and how it was established to know that there are some major dissenting opinions within India regarding Zionism. Nonetheless, the message of Islam (which the Jews once carried but lost) is not limited to just one type of injustice (like occupation) or one type of polytheism (like zionism)…but all types of injustices (like nationalism and secularism and so forth) and all types of polytheism (like the statue and animal worship of the various Hindu sects).

    You mentioned a free and pluralistic society…but such a society is in reality, unjust as it renders religion to a primarily private form of worship while empowering so many types of polytheism and hateful ideologies. Racism and zionism are empowered and often flourish in a free and open society because the only way to truly be open and pluralistic is to accept any and all ideologies. In practice, this is impossible and the various wars on “terror” conducted by the “free” western nations is the perfect and only proof I need to show such principles are illusory.

    Islam is more tolerant because the non-Muslims under Muslim rule can establish their own laws so long as such laws do not infringe on the Muslim majority of whom they must pay a protection tax and be militarily subdued by. Islam is far more free because, while saving us from enslavement to our own lusts and corruptions, Islam takes man out of the worship of the creation and into the worship of the Creator! Lastly, always remember that free speech and truthful speech are separate and distinct. The absolute truth that a pure Islamic society is based on is belief in Allah, without partners or associates. The absolute truth that a pure, western, secular, and pluralistic society is based on is skepticism (i.e. that all truth is relative). So how can the two ever be reconciled?

  48. Sonic says:

    Avery – the quick rise and spread of Islam is one of its miracles. People would have rejected it and fought against it if what you imply was true. The Crusaders failed to conquer Islam, and today, the enlightened west has also failed. All while people become Muslim everyday in the west despite all the lies, accusations (similar to your post), and Islamophobia that exists in the west. And of course, all after the western peoples in general (not all, but most) have largely abandoned their own religion. It is this sort of abandoning (via secular democracy and so forth) that the west now wages its crusade against Islam. The results (including the rise of the ISIS khawarijtes) are simple for all to see. You can believe whatever you want about the past, but the war crimes of the west (which is what ultimately enabled ISIS to take power) against the Middle East today are clear for anyone and everyone to witness. On the other hand, everyone has their own account and interpretation of history. You can believe those Christians were all wiped out. I believe most reverted to Islam, while some may have been killed (and such killings are divided between unjust killings as well as killing that take place during war), and others fled. Yet, there are times in history in which Christians from Europe fled to the Islamic Khalifah for a better or more stable life. There were many Jews who fled Europe because of the persecution that occurred against them. That is why there are still so Jewish and Christian communities throughout the Muslim world. If one believes as you do, then such communities should have been wiped out a long time ago. As far as Iraq and ISIS however, what is happening has only happened after several decades of American bombings (was ISIS around back then) and sanctions that led to the death of 1 MILLION Iraqi children (say nothing of others)! Now, while using ISIS, Iraqis are not going to tolerate any minority group that may have given so much as single diner of support to the American occupation or anyone allied to it. Still, Islam teaches us to not fall into being an oppressor like those who oppressed us (and yes, in Iraq and Syria and elsewhere – it was the majority that was oppressed and not minority groups). There are many things ISIS is doing which go against the teachings of Islam, and there is much that they still need to learn about Islam.

    • Replies: @Avery
    , @geokat62
  49. Sonic says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    SmoothieX12 – What a funny quote – but it makes perfect sense. This “expert” knows that the US has lost in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and that it must also leave Afghanistan (after which, the current regime in Kabul will collapse). People can rewrite and reinterpret history any way they want, and this is why we live in a world where there are so many conspiracy theories and so many political and ideological viewpoints. No one wants to be truthful and objective but instead, they want to change history (heck even if it occurred just a decade ago) to suit their own views.

    Frankly, I feel like it is a waste of time to even respond. If one wants to argue what factors played the greatest role in the collapse of the Soviet Union – then yes, we can discuss and argue whether the Afghan war was the main factor or not. But to argue the result of that war…its like saying that the US really won in Vietnam or that Japan really won World War 2.

    Here is a quick link (pdf format) to a report that holds the opinion that the Afghan War was the primary cause of the collapse of the Soviet Union (again, this is the real argument to be had here, not who won the war)…

    The key point is the domino effect that the Afghan war had on the central asian republics (which by the way, most are Muslim-majority republics) who sought independence thereafter.

    You can read this…

    And watch any number of documentaries on the Soviet pull-out from Afghanistan on youtube.

    But let us simply analyze what happened and then you can compare it to the claims of the Colonial above. Russia went to Afghanistan to protect (prop up) a communist government.

    They left after many casualties…

    as well as lost treasure (this is a list of sources for more info)…

    And within just a few years (not decades, but years)…both the Soviet Union and its proxy in Kabul collapse. And all the while the Mujahideen continued to fight against Dr. Najibullah’s communist regime. Yet, the Russians didn’t lose!?

    The Afghan people (without any Russian help) would have been enough to rid their country of any sort of mercenary or guerrilla force (if they truly opposed it). You send in a conventional army only to fight another conventional army – in which case you can perhaps make an argument that side A brought in their army in order to counter the army of side B while the people, without any such army, requested assistance from one side or another. But a rebel/guerrilla movement is completely different – and depends on the local populace for aid and shelter.

    Did the Mujahideen in Afghanistan at that time, regardless of where they came from or who backed them…have a large economy or empire or air force or other conventional units to protect? No, they did not. They had nothing to lose – but the Soviets had everything to lose in terms of their competition with America at that time, as well as through the governments it supported (in Afghanistan, the Central Asian Republics, and elsewhere). And that is what it lost both at the time of its withdrawal and a few short years later. The Mujahideen on the other hand have only grown since then. Today, they are about to once again meet the Russians (or at least a small contingent of Russians) in Syria.

    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov
    , @5371
  50. Sonic says:

    Deduction – for all your talk about accomplishment and progress and beauty and so forth…your own words, arguments, and comments are filled with ignorance, avoidance of any sort of response to what the other person actually said, and quite a bit of ugliness. If you are a representation of what it means to be free, intellectual, and beautiful…then I’d rather be a tettigoniidaen slave!

    But to be helpful, I do want to say that you should be fearful of death, because it can happen at any time to any one of use (we can slip and fall in the shower). Then what? Where you are from, all the accomplishments and worldly achievements you claim (wait, you actually had nothing to do with any of them – but even if you did hypothetically), the language you spoke, the lies you learned in school or posted on the Internet, the color of your skin, the civilization you lived in, the genetics that you had no choice in acquiring, etc. etc. – none of that will matter and none of that will mean anything. All you will have are your beliefs and your deeds? Did you believe in God? Did you associate any partners with God? Did you speak the truth? Did you harbor racist or xenophobic views? Did you participate or accept illegal sexual relations between people (that which destroys families and societies < no matter how powerful or rich or well-accomplished they are)? Did you respond to the truth when you heard it??

    Well, only you can deduce those answers.

    Prophet Muhammad (saaws) said: "There are indeed people who boast of their dead ancestors; but in the sight of Allah they are more contemptible than the black beetle that rolls a piece of dung with its nose. Behold, Allah has removed from you the arrogance of the time of hahiliyyah (ignorance) with its boast of ancestral glories. Man is but an Allah-fearing believer or an unfortunate sinner. All people are the children of Adam, and Adam was created out of dust" (narrated by At-Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud)

    God, the Most High and Most Transcendent says {And those who believe and do righteous good deeds, they are dwellers of paradise, they will dwell therein forever} Quran 2:82

    • Replies: @Deduction
  51. Sonic says:

    Honestly, the world has continually turned its back on the people of Palestine and the severity of the occupation there. What Zion has done (as a secular movement that believes that God’s laws can be abandoned until the Messiah returns) is emphasize to various nations (particularly western ones) the difference between the Muslims and non-Muslims in terms of laws. All while failing to point out the beliefs that these laws are based – for if people truly sat down and had a discussion on basic beliefs and compared Islamic Tawhid with any other belief system or ideology…they would see the beauty of Islam, recognize it as the truth, and never believe the lies of those who disparage it). But we are a nation that upholds the laws of God while the Christians (via the New Testament) have cancelled out those laws and the Jews have conveniently postponed those laws. As such, they are hard at work to point out these differences. That should not upset us because our mission is from Allah, and we are a missionary nation (as far as one is capable of course).

    The refugees didn’t escape to Europe with the intention of distracting global media from Zionist crimes in Palestine.

    • Replies: @Deduction
  52. Sonic says:
    @Seamus Padraig

    Seamus – There is no such thing as a “wahhabi” movement. No group calls itself that. The writings of ibn Abdul Wahhab (ra) do not contradict with Islam. Rather, he revived Islam in a place and land where people began to introduce many new and strange practices that they wrongfully attributed to Islam on the Arabian peninsula. Most Mujahid groups rarely cite him and instead, cite earlier scholars or simply the Sahabah (ra) and Salaf (ra) themselves.

    Europe and then later, the US and Russia supported many of these “reactionary” movements (take Saddam as an example, or Mubarak). Same goes for military governments or “deep states” like what exists in Turkey and Pakistan. If such movements or states are secular, then they are very similar to their former occupiers and colonizers. If they are nationalists – then as you admitted, the borders and boundaries are the creation of the west and these reactionary movements are movements that still hold onto a framework and conception that was established by others. There are shades of grey here in that sometimes there are a variety of groups with a variety of interests. An example is like the issue of Yasser Arafat. He was a freedom fighter and opponent of the state of Israel. But since he wanted a secular, Palestinian state – his movement was still bound to how colonial powers had shaped the region and its borders after World War 1 and World War 2. He wanted an independent Palestinian state that would live by but not be subdued and humiliated under Israel.

    On the other hand, Hamas, Qaidah, ISIS, Ikhwan, and others want to restore Palestine to before World War 2 i.e as it has been for the last several centuries…under Muslim control and ruled by Islamic Shariah and where the Muslims can go freely to al-Aqsa Mosque. I never denied that Baathists and others are opposed to Israel. It is like saying that while Nusrah and Hezbullah fight one another, they are still both opposed to Israel. But when all was said in done, the Arab nationalist parties and movements lost to Israel. Who can forget the 6-day war? So since you see these movements as reactionary movements, know that the reaction was not complete (just as the Arab Spring movements were incomplete). On the right track perhaps, but not complete. Now, the Islamic Awakening which is also reactionary in nature, will complete the movement, complete the fight for independence, and complete the call to end any sort of subjugation to the forces that oppose Islam (from the west to the east to zion itself). Christians and Jews (the majority of them) cancelled out or abandoned in one way or another – the laws of God. Since Muslims have not, this will always be the catalyst for reactions and movements (not to say that there aren’t other types of movements as well) against injustice, polytheism, tyranny, dictatorship, occupation, and foreign hegemony.

    • Replies: @Deduction
  53. Avery says:

    {the quick rise and spread of Islam is one of its miracles. }

    No: one of its disasters.
    Spread at the point of a sword: destruction, massacre, genocide.
    If it were a miracle, Muslims from Muslim majority countries would not be doing whatever they can to reach and live in Christian Europe, in Christian West.

    They’d be beating down the gates to get into Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, etc.
    Why is it that Muslims are not trying to force their way into other Muslim countries ?
    Strange “miracle” when Muslims themselves are fleeing that “miracle”.

    Even before the current troubles, millions of Muslim Turks from Muslim Turkey emigrated to Christian Europe, Christian Germany in particular.
    How many millions of Christians are beating down the gates of Muslim Turkey to go and live there ?

    You can keep your Muslim “miracle” in your own Muslim countries.
    We have our own Christian miracles: we don’t need yours.

    Thank you very much.

    • Agree: Deduction
    • Replies: @Sonic
  54. Deduction says:

    Prophet Muhammad (saaws) said: “There are indeed people who boast of their dead ancestors; but in the sight of Allah they are more contemptible than the black beetle that rolls a piece of dung with its nose. Behold, Allah has removed from you the arrogance of the time of hahiliyyah (ignorance) with its boast of ancestral glories. Man is but an Allah-fearing believer or an unfortunate sinner. All people are the children of Adam, and Adam was created out of dust” (narrated by At-Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud)

    I understand that everything you say makes perfect sense if you start from the axiom that there is an all powerful thing called Allah and that the thing decided to speak to humanity through a random trader in the desert 1300 years ago and laid out all sorts of weird and idiosyncratic rules…but that all sounds a bit farfetched, really, doesn’t it?

    What reason could I possibly have to believe it? You, an Internet crazy, are telling me? Or that it’s been the religion of a particularly backward and miserable part of the world for a while?

    Ultimately you’re blabbering on about some random Arab folktale…it could not be less relevant to me…you write well, but so did Hans Christian Anderson.

    • Replies: @Sonic
  55. Deduction says:

    If Allah exists, Israel is bad and Muslims are good then why does Allah seem to be favouring Israel over the Muslims?

    There are so many more Muslims than Israelis, yet Israelis accomplish so much more…I think that needs explaining!

    • Replies: @Sonic
  56. Deduction says:

    Now, the Islamic Awakening which is also reactionary in nature, will complete the movement, complete the fight for independence

    If Arabs are going to stake their futures on Islam they really are hopeless.

    At least Saddam could build a functioning country where people lived reasonably. What impressive and modern thing have Arab proper Muslims built – international terrorist gangs, videos of them eating people’s hearts?

    Give me just one achievement!

    (Please just stay out of Europe, you crazies are not wanted)

    • Replies: @Sonic
  57. geokat62 says:

    To Avery, you wrote:

    On the other hand, everyone has their own account and interpretation of history. You can believe those Christians were all wiped out. I believe most reverted to Islam..

    To SmoothieX12, you wrote:

    People can rewrite and reinterpret history any way they want, and this is why we live in a world where there are so many conspiracy theories and so many political and ideological viewpoints. No one wants to be truthful and objective but instead, they want to change history (heck even if it occurred just a decade ago) to suit their own views.

    I believe the latter statement adequately rebuts the former. Nice job.

    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov
    , @Sonic
  58. Andrei Martyanov [AKA "SmoothieX12"] says: • Website

    This “expert” knows that the US has lost in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and that it must also leave Afghanistan (after which, the current regime in Kabul will collapse). People can rewrite and reinterpret history any way they want

    I can definitely tell you that this expert has way more weight than “sources” (mostly of Perestroika liberal variety, such as late Artyom Borovik) which you posted here. I have a background in which issue of defeat or victory was and is judged by the fact of achieving, or otherwise, (political) objectives of a campaign. You just have to live with the fact that, in general, Western (Russia included), soldier is better at combined arms warfare than anyone else–period. And even in partisan warfare he is pretty damn good, not that he had to fight one on own soil since 1941. As per (outdated at that) opinions of some political “scientists”–sorry, I personally do not recognize this as a valid profession or skill, which current US foreign policy is an ample proof of my correctness in this matter. In the same time–I may detest many facets of US foreign policy (which is run by incompetent hacks) but I do have respect for real US military professionals and I can spot a real one miles away. What you brought here is a typical publicist crap and it cannot be considered a serious study in Soviet Afghan War. As per your fairy tales about Islam and how it is “tolerant”–sorry, but rejecting most of Israel’s, neocons’ and AIPAC’s activity absolutely DOES NOT mean the endorsement of Islam, quite to the contrary. I hope you heard saying that two wrongs do not make one right.

    If you want to understand Islam’s dismal military history since the Battle Of Lepanto–we may talk about it some time, some other place. As per collapse of the Soviet Union, unlike most of Western”scholars” who “write” about it–I was there and…well, let’s put it this way…participated in some really messy sh.t.

    I have a very good, in fact-excellent, first hand understanding of the level of many Ivy-League (the last one I communicated a couple weeks ago had a Ph.D. in US-Russian Relations from Princeton) Russian (Soviet) Ph.Ds. have. Sorry, not impressed. In fact, dismayed. You also have to consider why any respected Military Academy in the world studies Soviet Spetznas operations in Afghanistan. You also have to really think why late Akhmad Shah Massoud was well respected in Soviet/Russian military. He also had an enormous respect for Russian soldier. He could have been Afghanistan’s future but some (….. ) …well, wasn’t meant to be.

    So, let spare us all this propaganda and if you want to talk facts, talk facts. In fact, “humiliated” (using you lingo) Russia can blow the whole Middle East to smithereens conventionally (I am not even talking nuclear), US already pretty much did it without understanding the consequences, mainly in human terms. Russians do understand that and that is why Russia supports Assad. In the same time, you want to see how real victory looks like? Take a look at photos of contemporary Grozny.

    • Replies: @Deduction
  59. Andrei Martyanov [AKA "SmoothieX12"] says: • Website

    He needs to talk to some educated Azeris (or Persians), who know their history and they will tell him how they are still called–Muslims By The Sword. Sword to the head of Zoroastrian and then you have to recite a Shahada or…well, the heads rolled. But that is, I guess, an inconvenient truth.

  60. Deduction says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    In addition to what you write, just because America did not win in Iraq, it does not mean that America’s opponents won.

    Clearly, the Iraqis fighting America won nothing. They occupied no further territory, they lost the vast majority of engagements and they caused remarkably few casualties (every casualty was a tragedy however as the war was pointless.)

    The same can be said of ISAF in Afghanistan.

    Muslim Arab ‘arms’ are a joke. They’ve been repeatedly defeated by Europe’s traditional military Z team – Ashkenazi Jews.

    • Replies: @Seamus Padraig
    , @Sonic
  61. @Deduction

    Muslim Arab ‘arms’ are a joke. They’ve been repeatedly defeated by Europe’s traditional military Z team – Ashkenazi Jews.

    Except for Hezbollah, which has beaten the IDF three times now.

    • Replies: @Deduction
  62. Deduction says:
    @Seamus Padraig

    Except for Hezbollah, which has beaten the IDF three times now.

    Although I think you stretch the definition of beaten a bit…it’s not like Hezbollah won anything….but I’m happy to agree that they got the better of them. If you get what I mean?

    Anyway I didn’t include them because when I said Arab I meant Sunni, as in Shias are Persian. I do know this was wrong but the thrust of my point still stands. Ashkenazi Jews are Europe’s military Z team and they have been very successful in Middle Eastern wars.

    Which says it all for the military effectiveness of Islam, especially the Sunni variety. Shias I’m not so sure, they just seem more impressive in every way.

  63. 5371 says:

    [The key point is the domino effect that the Afghan war had on the central asian republics (which by the way, most are Muslim-majority republics) who sought independence thereafter.]

    False. Independence was thrust on the unwilling leaders of those republics by the decisions taken by others at Belovezhskaya Pushcha. Neither they nor their peoples had sought it.

    • Replies: @Sonic
  64. Sonic says:

    Avery – its spread was and is a miracle, as well as all those who are reverting to Islam today, and all the successes of the Mujahideen despite the odds being against them and the material advantages of their enemies. Refugees are coming because of the disasters created by the apostates in our own ranks who betrayed us and disregarded Islam, as well as western intervention and colonization. For those who are witnessing these events while sitting in comfort in the west…they should know that they reap what they sow, and that comfort its temporary. Real victory is in the Hereafter.

    Now if you understood my position that ISIS is not a legitimate Caliph, and that all the nation-states in the Muslim world are artificial, in contradiction to Islam, the consequence of western intervention, and apostates…then you wouldn’t make such silly statements.

    Think of applying what you just said to a Christian. Jesus (as) performed many miracles, yet he was still (according to Christian belief) captured, beaten, and crucified on the cross. But you don’t negate the miracles on account of the other events (rather, those other events lead to something greater if one only had the foresight to know that this life isn’t the end, and that hardships and sacrifices are a necessary part of this life). I use this only as an example to hopefully get the point across to you. To limit yourself to such a narrow-minded perspective.

  65. Sonic says:

    Deduction – That is the only axiom I would ever start with. Faith is the essence of our lives and the foundation of our beliefs. Follow the discussion and comments I posted on Razib Khan’s most recent blog on Islam (here on unz) for more.

    Allah (arabic for “the” God) sent His message to a variety of Prophets, the final of which was Muhammad (saaws). If it was anyone else, you would say the same thing and find some other excuse to criticize it. Your axiom is one of disbelief to begin with, so based on this foundation, you will always find us to be strange or idiotic or this or that, and our advice, laws, and news to be backwards, far-fetched, or of a type of sorcery. The believers and the disbelievers are on two separate paths, and are tests for one another.

    Start with the foundation: are we the creation, and is there a Creator? What are the attributes and characteristics of the Creator? Is the Creator silent, or does the Creator have a message for us? What is that message and why is it so?

    Speaking of misery, how many suicides, rapes, painkillers, psychotic drugs, mental illnesses, and so forth can be found in the west and in the richest parts of the world? The rich and wealthy (wherever they may be) are sometimes the saddest and most miserable. An illiterate desert trader may have far more wisdom than a multi-millionaire doctorate with a broken family and a drug habit.

  66. Sonic says:

    If Allah exists, Israel is bad and Muslims are good then why does Allah seem to be favouring Israel over the Muslims?

    There are so many more Muslims than Israelis, yet Israelis accomplish so much more…I think that needs explaining!

    What could Israel accomplish without western powers (notably, Britain and the US)? Are Muslims really the majority if you include all the allies and helpers of Israel? Israeli culture is a branch of western culture which we call “Roman” culture, and that Romanism (not romanticism) has spread all over the earth and made many from among us sinners or apostates. So the true believers are not as many as you think. On top of that, their resources are far far less. Yet, their survival, victories, and various accomplishments show a different picture from the one you are painting (i.e. that God does not favor them). But if we do evil and create divisions between ourselves (which I’m sure you have seen plenty of)…then perhaps we will punished by the hands of the likes of the Israelis. Imagine if you asked the question you are asking now to Jews who were in the midst of the Nazi Holocaust in Germany. With more than 4 million Muslims killed by the wars waged by the west over the last few decades…we are certainly not that far off from the position they were once in. But before you even begin analyzing or asking such questions, you have to remember the eventual destination – and that is the Hereafter. Where else could real victory and achievement ever be!? Certainly not in the confines of this temporary and short-lived life upon a single planet that may as well a speck of dust in comparison to the rest of the universe/multiverse.

  67. Sonic says:

    Deduction – I already did (with regards to worldly achievements). But again, anything any human being accomplishes is on account of God. We are nothing. The greatest accomplishment is to earn God’s pleasure and thereby, be rewarded in the Hereafter. Do you have your priorities in order?

    Tell your crazies to stop bombing our lands and supporting our tyrant governments before you speak about refugees (no blame is on them) which again, come from all over the third world (and not just the Muslim world). America is a nation of immigrants, and today, Europe (which previously invaded and occupied most of the world) follows them wherever they go. There is a sickness in your heart on account of the combination of a lack of understanding about your own history, the consequences and blow-back of western actions in recent/modern history as it pertains to the rest of the world, and the filthiness of nationalism or ethnocentricism. All human beings are from Adam and Eve, and we are all one nation even if we speak different languages or make different types of food or have different color pigmentation. But we must be united under the worship of our Creator, not associating any partners or rivals to the Creator. When we fail in this, we fall and divide and fight and cause misery and corruption on the earth.

    Speaking of eating people, I forgot how civilized things are in the west…

    But to return to justice and fairness, we know that there are good and bad people everywhere, crazy cannibals and nut jobs everywhere, violent criminals everywhere, rich and poor everywhere, and racists and universalists everywhere. Where you fit in deduction, is an open question. Save yourself from any sort of nationalism or ethno-centrism (for they are from the branches of the very root of evil).

  68. Sonic says:

    geokat62 – those two quotes actually say the same thing? I expected you would quote two different things that appear to contradict one another and then I would have to explain why you took one quote or the other out of context. But I don’t have to do that. Read them again please.

  69. Sonic says:

    5371 – then the peoples should be uniting and revolting in order to break apart these artificial states and overthrow these artificial rulers in order to unite with mother Russia. That is not what is happening. In many of these areas, the Muslims are rising up to fight and oppose these leaders (whether they are backed by Washington or Moscow) so that they can reunite with their brothers in Islam.

    Don’t be a sore loser. The Soviet Union is no more, and aside from those who were once empowered in Russia and the various Soviet satellite states, everyone is happy about that. Perhaps China will learn from the USSR’s mistakes and be a more clever and responsible counter to American power.

  70. Sonic says:

    Not only did America not win anything in Iraq, Iraq became even worse as far as their strategic objectives are concerned. They absolutely lost and so has ISAF in Afghanistan and Russia before that back in the 80s. The rest of your comments sound like someone who only believes what they see on TV and has not been keeping up with the news for the last 2 years. Iraq is no more. This is the beginning of the end of the post-WW2 order that the western victors established. Hezbullah certainly can’t say that.

    Hezbullah was and continues to be backed by Iran and Russia, while (despite conspiracy theories to the contrary), the Mujahideen had no help and no backing in Afghanistan or Iraq (during Gulf War 2). In both cases, coalitions of nations came together to fight and defeat the Mujahideen, but they lost and had no choice but to return home or limit their way of fighting to just aerial bombardment and special operations mission. Those cannot win wars but rather, increase support for their enemies as collateral damage is unavoidable. What happened in Afghanistan over the last decade is truly unprecedented in the whole history of humanity! What an honor it was to live in this time period and witness these Ansar and Muhajareen despite all of the bad things that exist in this world right now (racism, pollution, corruption, greed, nationalism, prison camps, tyranny, oppression, weapons unlike those every used before, gaps in wealth unlike what has ever existed before, orwellian surveillance unlike that which has ever existed before, sexual immorality and societal dysfunction, etc.)

    Hezbullah fought only one nation (Israel) by comparison. It had actually had its border moved backwards (with UN peacekeepers enforcing the alteration of borders). By comparison, the Taliban are reconquering territory as we speak and surely you know what became of the Sykes-Pickot border between Iraq and Syria. Lastly, if Hezbullah is so adept at fighting Israel (whose accomplishments you were just praising), why is it now in need of more Russian help to battle the Mujahideen in Syria? If you pay more attention, you won’t back the wrong side. Funny how you made so many comments against Arabs (most Sunni Muslims are non-Arab by the way) but then realized that Hezbullah is an Arab group. So now Shia Islam is ok but not Sunni Islam? Shall we go to Tehran, have a mutah party, and then do matam together?

    You don’t know what to believe, you just want to hate – and you want to hate for the sake of hating and judge the poor as one should judge the rich and view everything through the deceptive (nay, blinding) lens of material accomplishment and worldly prestige. What a house of cards that is!

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