Guest Post: Be Careful: Russia Is Back To Stay In The Middle East

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Felix Imonti of,

Russia is back.  President Vladimir Putin wants the world to acknowledge that Russia remains a global power.  He is making his stand in Syria.

The Soviet Union acquired the Tardus Naval Port in Syria in 1971 without any real purpose for it.  With their ships welcomed in Algeria, Cuba or Vietnam, Tardus was too insignificant to be developed.  After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia lacked the funds to spend on the base and no reason to invest in it.

The Russian return to the Middle East brought them first to where the Soviet Union had had its closest ties.  Libya had been a major buyer of arms and many of the military officers had studied in the Soviet Union.  Russia was no longer a global power, but it could be used by the Libyans as a counter force to block domination by the United States and Europeans.

When Gaddafi fell, Tardus became Russia’s only presence in the region.  That and the discovery of vast gas deposits just offshore have transformed the once insignificant port into a strategic necessity. 

Earlier at the United Nations, Russia had failed to realize that Security Council Resolution 1973 that was to implement a new policy of “responsibility to protect” cloaked a hidden agenda.  It was to be turned from a no-fly zone into a free-fire zone for NATO.  That strategic blunder of not vetoing the resolution led to the destruction of Gaddafi’s regime and cost Russia construction contracts and its investments in Libyan gas and oil to the tune of 10 billion dollars.

That was one more in a series of humiliating defeats; and something that Putin will not allow to happen again while he is president.  Since his time as an officer in the KGB, he has seen the Soviet Empire lose half of its population, a quarter of its land mass, and most of its global influence.  He has described the collapse of the Soviet Union as a “geopolitical catastrophe.”

In spite of all of the pressure from Washington and elsewhere to have him persuade Bashar Al-Assad to relinquish power, Putin is staying loyal to the isolated regime.  He is calculating that Russia can afford to lose among the Arabs what little prestige that it has remaining and gain a major political and economic advantage in Southern Europe and in the Eastern Mediterranean.

What Russia lost through the anti-Al-Assad alliance was the possibility to control the natural gas market across Europe and the means to shape events on the continent.  In July 2011, Iran, Iraq, and Syria agreed to build a gas pipeline from the South Pars gas field in Iran to Lebanon and across the Mediterranean to Europe.  The pipeline that would have been managed by Gazprom would have carried 110 million cubic meters of gas.  About a quarter of the gas would be consumed by the transit countries, leaving seventy or so million cubic meters to be sold to Europe.

Violence in Iraq and the Syrian civil war has ended any hope that the pipeline will be built, but not all hope is lost.  One possibility is for Al-Assad to withdraw to the traditional Aliwite coastal enclave to begin the partitioning of Syria into three or more separate zones, Aliwite, Kurdish, and Sunni.  Al-Assad’s grandfather in 1936 had asked the French administrators of the Syrian mandate to create a separate Aliwite territory in order to avoid just this type of ethnic violence.

What the French would not do circumstance may force the grandson to accept as his only choice to survive.  His one hundred thousand heavily armed troops would be able to defend the enclave. 

The four or five million Aliwites, Christians, and Druze would have agricultural land, water, a deep water port and an international airport.  Very importantly, they would have the still undeveloped natural gas offshore fields that extend from Israel, Lebanon, and Cyprus.  The Aliwite Republic could be energy self-sufficient and even an exporter.  Of course, Russia’s Gazprom in which Putin has a vital interest would get a privileged position in the development of the resource.

In an last effort to bring the nearly two year long civil war to an end, Russia's foreign minister Sergei Lavrov urged Syrian president Bashar al-Assad at the end of December to start talks with the Syrian opposition in line with the agreements for a cease fire that was reached in Geneva on 30 June. The Russians have also extended the invitation to the Syrian opposition National Coalition head, Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib.  The National Coalition refuses to negotiate with Al-Assad and Al-Assad will not relinquish power voluntarily.

The hardened positions of both sides leaves little hope for a negotiated settlement; and foreign minister Sergei Lavrov has made it clear that only by an agreement among the Syrians will Russia accept the removal of Al-Assad.  Neither do they see a settlement through a battlefield victory which leaves only a partitioning that will allow the civil war to just wind down as all sides are exhausted.

The Russians are troubled by what they see as a growing trend among the Western Powers to remove disapproved administrations in other sovereign countries and a program to isolate Russia.   They saw the U.S involvement in the Ukraine and Georgia.  There was the separation of Kosovo from Serbia over Russian objections.  There was the extending of NATO to the Baltic States after pledging not to expand the organization to Russia’s frontier.

Again, Russia is seeing Washington’s hand in Syria in the conflict with Iran.  The United States is directing military operations in Syria with Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia at a control center in Adana about 60 miles from the Syrian border, which is also home to the American air base in Incirlik.  The Program by President Obama to have the CIA acquire heavy weapons at a facility in Benghazi to be sent to Turkey and onward to Syria is the newest challenge that Putin cannot allow to go unanswered It was the involvement of Ambassador Chris Stevens in the arms trade that may have contributed to his murder; and the Russians are not hesitating to remind the United States and Europeans that their dealings with the various Moslem extremists is a very dangerous game.

The Russians are backing their determination to block another regime change by positioning and manning an advanced air defense system in what is becoming the Middle East casino.  Putin is betting that NATO will not risk in Syria the cost that an air operation similar to what was employed over Libya will impose.  Just in case Russia’s determination is disregarded and Putin’s bluff is called, Surface to surface Iskander missiles have been positioned along the Jordanian and Turkish frontiers.  They are aimed at a base in Jordan operated by the United States to train rebels and at Patriot Missile sites and other military facilities in Turkey.

Putin is certain that he is holding the winning hand in this very high stakes poker game.  An offshore naval task force, the presence of Russian air defense forces, an electronic intelligence center in latakia, and the port facilities at Tardus will guarantee the independence of the enclave. As the supplier of sixty percent of Turkey’s natural gas, Moscow does have leverage that Ankara will not be able to ignore; and Ankara well knows that gas is one of Putin’s diplomatic weapons.

When the Turks and U.S see that there is little chance of removing Al-Assad, they will have no option other than to negotiate a settlement with him; and that would involve Russia as the protector and the mediator.  That would establish Russia’s revived standing as a Mediterranean power; and Putin could declare confidently that “Russia is back.”  After that, the Russians will be free to focus upon their real interests in the region.

And what is Russia’s real interest?  Of course, it is oil and gas and the power that control of them can bring.

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Ignatius's picture

Russia playing 'forward defense' just as the Americans and NATO have done.

Very good chess players, the Russians.  They know they are targeted.

Spirit Of Truth's picture

What's laughable, and immeasurably tragic, is that the West doesn't recognize it's targeted by the Russians and think Christ their saviour is a joke:

I can't save a people so intent on collective suicide.

ihedgemyhedges's picture

Kudos to your avatar........

TruthInSunshine's picture

Vlad the impaler is probably full of piss & vinegar given that Russia's been pretty much nowhere to be seen as the U.S. has established a ring of permanent military bases stretching from the usual places in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Egypt, and then to Iraq, Afghanistan and on upward even to many former Soviet satellite and/or proxy states, like the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Armenia, Georgia, Latvia, Bulgaria, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, Lithuania, etc.

I'm not making a moral judgment on this, but a strategic one. If geography is an advantage, Russia is playing a most serious game of catch up.

Ignatius's picture

Absolute power is absolutely evil.

I don't wish to live under Putin, but it's a world counter-balance.

Our leaders are murderous assholes, but they are our assholes, so to speak.

Savyindallas's picture

"Our assholes"?  I'm not so sure of that. The forces that are running our country have been slowly and effectively poisoning and killing us for nearly a century  -by design   -- It really got going in 1913 at Jekyll Island.  

Ignatius's picture

I mean in that we live here.  I wouldn't choose to live under the Chinese either, for that matter.

Half_A_Billion_Hollow_Points's picture

Please Dear Putin, show us what some fire looks like.

Lore's picture

Control over the spigot means control over the decision of what to accept in exchange, and the medium of exchange. It's no coincidence that conflict in Africa is centered around major gold producing regions. Who wants to be the last purveyor of unbacked paper in a grand debt repudiation and currency war?

Spirit Of Truth's picture

I can't believe the idiocy of you people.  You seem to have no idea of what a Russian "dystopia" means:


Be careful what you wish WILL get it...

Your minds have been intentionally misled by the Kremlin to open the way for their thermonuclear domination of the world:

Wake up!!!

Karl von Bahnhof's picture

Your name to be Ignoramus.

So called "your dear leaders" are really not yours and they have special plans for their U.S.A. corporation. Check pilgrim society etc...

Your is colony of british oligarchy and their hidden empire. (Allen Dulles - british agent etc...)

You mericans are just a coolis on the plantations. Yours are getting just too expensive and troublesome for them.


alpha60's picture

if you couldn't hear the russky accent in the text, the dulles brings it home.

see, in Rrrasha, many otherwise normal people believe that there was this incredibly super smart central planner spy named dulles, who in th 50's, wrote the script for the fall of the soviet society in the 90's. and it is like, soooo accurate, its like, scary, chuvak. he did it! the american spy! he knew! not the fault of central planners in moscow, or corruption, or arms race, or oil prices, or lack of competition. no, it was dulles. 

Karl, you're probably ok, but that dulles shit is weak. and its 'coolies', massa.

Iocosus's picture

A part of me sometimes entertains the possibility that geopolitics is Sandy Hook acting. That part of me is getting more attention with the recent news of 5 nuclear carriers sitting in Pearl Harbor positions off the coast of Virginia.


Orly's picture

Prithee, what on earth does that mean?

magpie's picture

That it's all a WWF fight

Iocosus's picture

It's WWE now, magpie.

Alpha Monkey's picture

"We're surrounded. That simplifies the problem!"

Oldrepublic's picture


The US does not have a military base in Armenia.The Russians have one,the Russian 102nd military base,near Yerevan

TruthInSunshine's picture

Could've sworn Al-CIAduh had a black site in Armenia, but wouldn't bet rubles on it.

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

Tardus naval port? Is this guy a thyme lord of something?

Watch out for the sighbermen and dalex.

ThirdWorldDude's picture

+1 Stooge!


Imagine Felix replying to a mail about Russian naval port in Syria:

Subject: "Re:Tardus"


Meh, just anoter Stratfor-wannabe typing from his mom's basement, the interwebs are full of them in these times of deception. One could argue that he's been collecting info for quite some time and writing his "article" in lucida intervala, as he's a whole month behind the curve.

StychoKiller's picture

Kinda hard playing poker with a player what's got Nukular poker chips.

CompassionateFascist's picture

ZOGsters - and Spirit of Lie - having forced America into a Forever War against Islam, now want the same against Russia. Since nothing grows Gubmint like War, and collectivism is about nothing but Gubmint, we have here an ultimate convergence of the Communist and Zionist wings of Organized Jewry.  

Raymond Reason's picture

Contrary to popular opinion here on ZH, Christianity is not a tool to control the masses (i should qualify by saying sincere Christianity).  On the contrary, Christianity produces moral fibre and critical thinking in the masses, and so should be mocked, ridiculed, and diluted.  This has always been a spiritual war first, and material war second.  Okay, pile on. 

otto skorzeny's picture

The Zionist MSM loves to trumpet the death of organized religion every chance they get-yet I'm guessing the Catholic Church outlasts empire after empire(and that little piece of desert named Israel) w/o a standing army(for the most part) as they have done for 2000 years

gdogus erectus's picture

Why doesn't Christianity work? No one has ever tried it.

Spirit Of Truth's picture

Constantine and the ancient Roman empire would beg to differ....and now Russia is going to give "christianity" a try:

Hence, a new "Dark Age".

Wakanda's picture

Believing someone died for your sins 2000 years ago produces critical thinking?  Really?

Raymond Reason's picture

Believing consciousness stops at death is a belief.  So you and i both live a life based on faith. 

Raymond Reason's picture

As far as producing critical thinking, Christianity traditionally (and still today) embodied, among other things, a tremendous amount of rote memorization.  In addition to creeds, hymns, chants, tones, prayers, verses, all varying according to feasts and fasts, most laymen also learned an ancient language, monks and priests learning multiple languages.  There was a lot of controversy stirred up with Guttenberg's invention, because it was felt that people's memorization skills would diminish, and with them, mental acuity and critical thinking.  Memorization is still a virtue practiced today in greater degree than most would think, even here in America.

I am a Man I am Forty's picture

memorization has absolutely nothing to do with critical thinking

Wakanda's picture

Memorization produces critical thinking?  Really?

Raymond Reason's picture

Working memory is the foundation of all mental functions.  Can't remember why though.  :D

e-recep's picture

consciousness stops at death, period. you can't show me a concious corpse. there is none. it is a fact. it does not require any faith in anything. 

Orly's picture

Then why do you have so much faith that what you said is true?  It requires faith to believe that, either way.

The corpse itself will be simply dead-weight but your conciousness will return to the Universe.  Conciousness is a form of energy and is neither created nor destroyed upon the death of your body.

Are you a "corpse" at that point?  What would "you" be in that instance?

You have tidy answers to something that may not be the case at all.

e-recep's picture

"your conciousness will return to the Universe."


Yes but the real question is, will it land in an UFO?

otto skorzeny's picture

why does that belief exclude you from critical thinking?

Orly's picture

Otto, why are those two things mutually exclusive?  I may believe in a higher power (I don' least not in the way normally described...) but that makes me some kind of dumbass?

The true story of Jesus should be one told in the vein that he rebelled against Judaism and the xenophobic belief that some people (Jews>Pharisees...) are better than others (goy...).

The legacy of Christianity is one that says all people should be considered brothers and sisters and we are all one in the eyes of God.  Now, whatever your God is, if you even believe such a thing, it is clear in your heart of hearts, whether that heart be Jew or gentile, Muslim or atheist, that the teachings and beliefs of Christianity are correct.

The Koran and the Torah both state that it is okay to lie, cheat and steal from someone who is not akin to you.  I challenge anyone to find such a belief in the New Testament.  In fact, the apostles preached repeatedly against such isolationist beliefs.

In my humble opinion, you can keep the myths of the virgin birth, the Magi, the resurrection, the "miracles" (easy parlor tricks, all...)and boil Christianity down to its proper legacy, which has given us the idea of equality of all and love for everyone.


Iocosus's picture

The Torah is our New Testament. You are referring to the Talmud, the Pharisaical man-made rules Christ railed against.

Orly's picture

I stand corrected.


I am obviously not a Biblical historian but at the time, I would imagine such "universal" beliefs were quite revolutionary.  It was certainly enough for J and the boys to try to start a popular insurrecton in the Temple and...well, we know how that ended.

Iocosus's picture

He accomplished His mission.

Orly's picture

We're talking about it today.  What else is there?  No one's going to be talking about me in 4013.


I think I misread otto's comment earlier.  It seems now that he was asking, as I was, why those two things should be mutually exclusive also.

Sorry, ot.


TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

locosus said:

The Torah is our New Testament.

No, no it's not.

You are referring to the Talmud, the Pharisaical man-made rules Christ railed against.

Ummm, no.

Still, though, your delivery was convincing, so that's gotta be worth something.

Orly's picture

Well, everyone knows what I am saying but would someone who knows set the record straight?  Please?

peter4805's picture

Sure can. The Torah is the first 5 books of the Old Testament. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.