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by Al Martin

Syria & the Middle East: Is It WW3 in Slow Motion?

(10-7-15) Putin has begun airstrikes against ISIL (ISIS) forces in Syria for two reasons: 1/ To shore up his popularity at home by showing that Russia is still a player and 2/ Putin had a vested financial interest in keeping the Assad Regime in power because it’s a regime in which he has a huge degree of control over since Syria still owes Russia $8 billion, which Russia at some point would like to collect. This is a debt that the Federal Republic of Russia had inherited from the former Soviet Union. Unlike most of the Western powers which wrote off the debt, Russia never writes off debt because they know they can use it as a political tool. Also Assad knows that he’s safe in Putin’s hands because if he is overthrown, there’s only one place he can go and that’s to Russia. That’s the only place he’s got to go to avoid war crimes trials is someplace that will take him in and that’s Russia.

      Iran fits into the picture because they are a Shia-dominated government while the ISIL (ISIS) movement is something Iran can not control as they would be able to like Hamas for instance. They are able to control Hamas because of the money they gave them, The problem that this ISIL hasn’t had to rely on Iran for money like other radical groups had to do in the Middle East.

      It has been noted that the so-called ISIS movement was trained and financed by the CIA and Mossad, but now ISIS is a confederation of former CIA and MOSSAD proxies -- but they’re not current proxies. They are now being funded by the oil they are receiving from the areas in northern Iraq which they now control. They only have to sell it as crude oil and they’re selling the oil through Turkey which is where the pipeline goes. They have effectively wrested control of northern Iraqi oil from the Iraqi government and the Kurds. That’s why the Kurds are fighting them.

      The Iraqi government is a joke. It’s riddled with corruption. Billions of American taxpayer money has gone missing. The money the United States gave the Iraqi government for the Iraqi army just disappeared into Swiss bank accounts and that became a problem for the United States because they envisioned a rebuilt, re-armed and retrained

      Iraqi army that would be able to fight ISIS. That hasn’t happened because all of the money was defrauded away. So now the Iraqi army is a ramshackle disorganized army that is under-equipped under-funded and under-trained that is attempting to fight ISIS but has made very little impact. They haven’t even been able to push ISIS out of Iraq.

      If Russia gets involved in the conflict in a big way – and that is yet to be determined – or in other words, they put Russian troops on the ground and make a real effort, then ISIS is history. The Russians will undertake tactics that none of the Western powers will undertake – meaning virtual genocidal actions. The Russians aren’t afraid to use semi-non-conventional weapons like chemical weapons, fuel air weapons as the Russians have used in the Middle East before. These are weapons that can destroy entire cities on behalf of Syrian president Bashir al Assad. The Russians don’t care who they have to kill to keep him in power. That’s what the whole disagreement is about. The United States and Russia have not been able to reach a joint agreement on offensive movements in Syria or Iraq because the Russians are prepared to kill Syrian opposition and anyone opposed to the Assad Regime. This also includes Syrian dissidents who are now the Free Syrian Army. The United States has already supported those Syrian dissidents.

      About 80% of the Syrian population don’t support Assad because he comes from a minority that represents 20% of the population. Assad comes from what is called the Aleppo Sunni minority which is a specific minority within the Sunnis. These aren’t ideological differences as much as what it’s always been in the Middle East – that all the gravy has gone to the 20%. It’s the same thing it was in Iraq with the Baath party, where 20% of the population, the Baathists got all the gravy. Also in Libya Kadaffi was in the minority as well. That’s the problem with Middle Eastern dictators who come from minority sects because they always create subsequent revolutions wherein somebody else has to clean up the mess. In these situations the 80% are effectively cut out of the economic pie so to speak.

      This problem with ISIS or whatever they call themselves could go on endlessly because the west doesn’t have the willpower to inject enough force to eliminate the threats.

      And then there’s Israel. They don’t want to expand their existing territory but create so-called safe zones, which has been the Israeli policy for decades, like they did in southern Lebanon, Gaza and in the Golan Heights. A safe zone in this regard is an area where they can safely eliminate all of the terrorist elements within a certain geographical area. Israel got Gaza and the Golan Heights after the 1973 war. The first thing they did was evict all the Egyptians from Gaza and all the Palestinians. They did the same thing in southern Lebanon when they had the so-called Lebanese safe zone, where they essentially expanded the border by about 20 miles.

      And what about Israel bombing Gaza? The West Bank and Gaza can’t support the number of Palestinians living there. The United States and all of the western powers that had agreed to provide financial support for the Palestinians – all backed out. Therein lies the whole problem. The whole idea with the West Bank agreement was that Israel would stop expanding to the West Bank. The Palestinians would get the West Bank, parts of Gaza and a little strip of Jordan which the Jordanians were prepared to give them. But in order to do that they would be a completely unviable state. In order to make them viable the western powers all agreed to help the Palestinians financially – to provide to them every year like they do with the Israelis and Egyptians. Nobody however held to that agreement.

      The problem is that nobody made the effort they promised to make the Palestinians a viable state by making it a de facto UN-supported state, which was the idea that was originally proffered by the Obama Regime. The United States government gave the Palestinians $600 million for 2 years. The British and the French gave them a little money – $100 million or so – but then stopped giving them money. Why? Because they understood that they didn’t want Palestine to be an open endless money pit – because this is what it would have become since there is no other way to make Palestine a viable state. This is a territory that has no metals or minerals and very little food. Now that oil has been discovered off the coast it appears that Israel is literally driving the Palestinians into the sea. The problem however is that Palestine was never given any offshore rights. That agreement was never ratified by anybody. The nub of it is that the rest of the planet has effectively abandoned the Palestinians. Israel can do what they want without fear of any political problems. The United States and western powers like Germany and France will pay a little lip service but that’s all it is.

      So what’s next step for the Middle East? Russia is a real potential game changer and it’s making the west nervous. However if the west wants to be a player, they need to put bots on the ground and that’s nothing the western powers are prepared to do. They haven’t been able to maintain the expansion of ISIS. The US promised to train the Kurds and make them an effective fighting force – but they never did that. They didn’t give them any weapons as Putin pointed out in his speech before the UN. They offered to give pro-western groups in Syria help, but they didn’t do that either.

      So now we have a situation in which the ISIS groups keep splitting up with their own agenda just as the US backed Mujahideen turned into the Taliban in Afghanistan with their own agenda. They’re not proxies anymore. Now they’ve gone from proxies to problems.

      Putin thus becomes a fighter of terrorism bombing ISIS regaining his respect and redeeming himself before the world. This would help him enormously politically domestically and it would also show the rest of the world that Russia is a player. The West, although they’re going to be critical of him, particularly if he expands the Russian presence in Syria which is what he’s going to do. But that’s all they’re going to be – just critical of him because he’s going to be the new proxy. Russia then become the proxy for the do-nothing Western powers.

      I’m sure that the Obama Regime has already reached some sort of back-door understanding with Putin – to let Putin have his way in Syria and to inject whatever forces are necessary to defeat ISIS and to solidify the Iraqi borders – and that’s all the United States is really interested in – because of the oil that’s in northern Iraq.

      Markets are being whipsawed but that’s more due to global declining economic statistics than what’s going on in the Middle East.

      Russia actually has a chance to stabilize the Middle East situation by injecting forces into Syria. That would keep the Iranians out and keep out any expansion of Iranian influence in the Middle East. Russia has never wanted Iran as an ally and they have no interest in Iran because Iran has oil money and Russia is the only country that will sell them higher technology.

      Stay tuned…

    * AL MARTIN is an independent economic-political analyst with 25 years of experience as a trader on NYMEX, CME, CBOT and CFTC. As a former contributor to the Presidential Council of Economic Advisors, Al Martin is considered to be a source of independent analysis for financially sophisticated and market savvy investors.

After working as a broker on Wall Street, Al Martin was involved in the so-called "Iran Contra" Affair as a fundraiser for the Bush Cabal from the covert side of government aka the US Shadow Government.

His memoir, "The Conspirators: Secrets of an Iran Contra Insider," ( provides an unprecedented look at the frauds of the Bush Cabal during the Iran Contra era. His weekly column, "Behind the Scenes in the Beltway," is published weekly on Al Martin, which also publishes a bimonthly newsletter called "Whistleblower Gazette."

Al Martin's new website "Insider Intelligence" ( will provide a long term macro-view of world markets and how they are affected by backroom realpolitik.


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