Pentagon Warns Of Russia-Iran "Nexus" In Syria: "We Assume Russia Is Coordinating With The Iranians"

Tyler Durden's picture

To be sure, some manner of Russian intervention in Syria was probably inevitable. 

As we explained on Monday, Syria is pivotal for the existing balance of power both regionally and globally speaking. The alliance between Bashar al-Assad’s Syria and Moscow, Tehran, and Hezbollah serves as a kind of counterbalance to cooperation among the US, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey (among others). Should the Assad regime be allowed to fall and the West allowed to influence the post-regime political outcome, the scales would tip, Russia would lose its naval base at Tartus, and Iran’s access to Hezbollah, not to mention the scope of its regional influence, would be severely constrained. Assad’s move to support the Islamic Pipeline while rejecting the Qatar-Turkey pipeline was a manifestation of this situation and speaks volumes about how critical Damascus is in Russia's struggle to keep a tight grip on the supply of natural gas to Europe.

That said, the fight for Damascus comes at an interesting time for Russia. The annexation of Crimea and Moscow’s subsequent involvement in eastern Ukraine (which is of course the worst kept secret in the geopolitical universe), combined with economic sanctions and the antitrust suit filed by the EU against Gazprom have served to create the most contentious relationship between The Kremlin and the West since the Cold War. One can look at that two ways. On the one hand, the prevailing dynamics in Europe might fairly be expected to make Moscow think twice before charging headlong into Syria, where the US and its allies have been operating both overtly and covertly for years, knowing that any involvement will only serve to inflame what is already a rather delicate situation. On the other hand, Vladimir Putin isn’t exactly known for being timid and indeed, it certainly seems as though Moscow (and Beijing for that matter) is intent on returning the world to some semblance of bipolarity after three decades of unobstructed US hegemony. When considered in that light, it wasn’t too difficult to predict Russia’s entry into Syria’s civil war in support of its ally in Damascus.

But even as Russia’s involvement was never a matter of if, it was, until recently, still a matter of when. Although Moscow likely didn’t need much in the way of convincing, the Pentagon now suggests (as we did last week) that a July meeting between Vladimir Putin and Quds Commander Qasem Soleimani (who allegedly commands not only the various Shiite militias battling ISIS in Iraq, but also the Houthi rebels fighting the Saudis in Yemen and whose rumored removal from the sanctions list as part of the Iran nuclear deal prompted Benjamin Netanyahu to proclaim that Obama’s “absurdity crosses all lines”) may have been instrumental in deciding the official start date for Russia’s intervention. Here’s more from WSJ

Russia and Iran have stepped up coordination inside Syria as they move to safeguard President Bashar al-Assad’s control over his coastal stronghold, according to officials in the U.S. and Middle East, creating a new complication for Washington’s diplomatic goals.

 

Coordinating efforts cited by the U.S. and Middle East officials included a secret visit in late July by the commander of Iran’s elite overseas military unit, the Qods Force. Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani directs Tehran’s military and intelligence support for the Assad regime and is one of the most powerful leaders of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or IRGC.

 

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif also visited Moscow last month to discuss Syria and other issues with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov.

 

Such visits “all come within the framework of this coordination,” Syrian Foreign MinisterWalid al-Moallem told state media last week, referring specifically to the trip by Mr. Zarif and a deputy. “There is deep coordination on all levels between us and Moscow, and between us and Tehran, and I can say to whomever wants…they can join too.”

 

U.S. officials said they haven’t unraveled the full extent of the cooperation or its intention. “We assume [the Russian buildup in Syria is] being coordinated with the Iranians,” said a senior U.S. official, who said the U.S. tracked Gen. Soleimani’s trip to Moscow.

 

IRGC military advisers and soldiers are also deployed in Latakia, as well as soldiers from Tehran’s close political and military ally, the Lebanese militia Hezbollah, they said.

 

A U.S. defense official said the Pentagon believes Gen. Soleimani’s trip to Moscow was “very important” in relation to the Russian buildup in Latakia. “What we are seeing now is the manifestation of that meeting, and that there is some sort of Iran nexus,” the official said.

 

The coordinated Iranian and Russian support for Mr. Assad poses a formidable obstacle to the diplomatic aims of the Obama administration, which wants to remove the Syrian dictator from power.

 

Over the past three months, Moscow and Tehran have appeared to be preparing to bolster the region’s defenses, according to Syria analysts and Arab officials.


Syrian rebel forces have made substantial territorial gains in the northern province of Idlib during this time and have been pressing down into Latakia. Further victories by the insurgents could cut off Damascus from Mr. Assad’s home base, they said.


Gen. Soleimani visited a front line battlefield north of Latakia in June that was adjacent to the Turkish border and Idlib, according to Arab media reports.


There he said Iranian and Syrian leaders were jointly planning an operation that would “surprise the world.”

 

Weeks later, Gen. Soleimani visited Moscow and met with Defense Minister Sergei Shoygu and the heads of Russian military intelligence and defense industries, according to U.S. and European officials.

Why anyone in the Pentagon was surprised about the fact that there appears to be "some sort of Iran nexus" is quite frankly a mystery, given everything said above and it's almost incomprehensible that Washington wasn't prepared for this eventuality, but then again, perhaps the Obama administration was naive enough to think that somehow Tehran's desire to maintain cordial relations (incesssant Ayatollah twitter trolling notwithstanding) on the heels of the nuclear negotiations would win the day.

In any event, overt coordination between Russia and Iran raises a number of vexing issues for the US. For instance, the more publicity this gets, the more challenging will be the optics around negotiating for Assad's future. That is, making concessions to Russia over the timing of Assad's exit in light of the hardline rheotric the US has clung to for years looks bad enough as it is without the public (and Congress) getting the idea that for the second time in the space of just a few months, the US has found itself party to a "bad" deal involving Iran. Or, in more colorful language: with the GOP unable to block the Iran nuclear deal in the Senate, should Iran's involvment become common knowledge, then Obama will be faced with the biggest diplomatic headache in his administration's history, namely the explanation of why he is scrambling to restore diplomatic connections with a regime that couldn't even wait for the Iran deal to be formally passed before it turned its back on its newest "best friend" in the Oval Office, only to promptly side with the KGB agent who over the past two years has emerged as the biggest US enemy in three decades.

But perhaps the key takeaway here is that, as we said earlier this month, "with every incremental party entering the Syria conflict, the probability of a non-violent outcome becomes increasingly negligible. And now that the Russians may be coordinating directly with the Iranians, it means that both Israel and Saudi Arabia will be dragged in, whether they like it or not."

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Bumpo's picture

Russia and Iran were INVITED into Iran. The US, NATO, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey were not.

Manthong's picture

 

 

And the US is coordinating with Saudi Arabia, Israel and all of NATO..

So ??

(And aren't we cozying up to Iran now, anyway?)

 

Bumpo's picture

Yeah .. to "fight' ISIS, Lol

Silky Johnson's picture

Are they fuckin stupid? They fuck with Russia, they fuck with Iran, they fuck with Syria, then they're surprised when they collaborate?

Publicus's picture

Yup, Russians and Iranians are going to exterminate ISIS in Syria.

Stackers's picture

And I "assume" the Pentagon is talking out of it's ass again.

It's very easy to "assume" whatever the hell you want. Assumptions only require bias not any pesky facts.

Chupacabra-322's picture

Yep. You can bet the Pure Evil Criminal Psychopaths over at the Pentagram are at this moment thinking of how many different False Flag scenarios to give justification for Military Intervention to enrich themselves & their BANKSTER buddies some more.

Latina Lover's picture

More Neocon/Neoliberal propaganda by the MIC liars.   Why does the US support ISIS to overthrow Assad in the first instance?  l'll bet 5 cents to your dollar that the majority of americans can't even find syria and iran on a map, much less explain why we are burning billions blowing up cities and killing people, while most US infrastructure is in the worst conditions of the last 30 years.

quintago's picture

These dumb$#$@ do know that Iran and Syria do have a mutual defense pact/treaty, right? Google it, they signed it during the Bush administration when Cowboy George thought he could topple regimes with impunity. Syria is Iran's "red line" - they've even said it. The difference is when the Iranians proclaim something as a red line, they follow through.

We are on the wrong side of history with this one, unfortunately. We seem to be doing that a lot lately. 

 

Why do you think Russia went after Georgia so hard? Because they knew the plan of the US was to attack Iran through Georgia once they got a foothold there. Same with the 2006 war against Hizbollah. This is all about getting to Iran. Unfortunately they seem to be outmaneuvering the dipshits that are running our clown show at every turn.

kralizec's picture

The headline on this story is the dumbest one I've seen yet.

Buckaroo Banzai's picture

Russia-Iran nexus??? Frankly I'm a lot more concerned about the Obama/Jarrett-Iran nexus.

“I am an Iranian by birth and of my Islamic faith. I am also an American Citizen and I seek to help change America to be a more Islamic country. My faith guides me and I feel like it is going well in the transition of using freedom of religion in America against itself” -- Valerie Jarrett, 1977, addressing students at Stanford University

http://t.co/cmMsShpBIc

rsnoble's picture

I don't really care for your map reference.  If everyone could point it out, what difference would it make? None.  Besides, this is the age of tech.  You can find out what you need to know in a second or two so why fill your head with horseshit geography?

Unless, of course, you somehow meant to just give a general glimpse of the US citizens knowledge of the situation overall.  As far as just pointing it out on a map, that's pretty much useless.

SofaPapa's picture

The importance of <<map>> thinking is what it demonstrates about Americans' understanding of 'their' role in the world.  The Pentagram (not sure who started that meme, but I like it!) can get away with this shit because people don't have even a basic concept of simple global concepts like <<where the fuck is this place>>.  If people had a concept of physical location, they might begin to think "Wait a second... Russia and Iran live in this area, and this kind of violence is a direct threat to their populations...  the U.S.  ohhhh!  We're way the fuck over there.  This shouldn't be any of our business... hmmmm!"

Of course Russia and Iran are joining up.   They share an interest in this instance.  Neither can afford to let this go, because their own direct security (meaning violence directly within their countries) depends on this.  The U.S. is just fucking around there because of business interests and Israel.  The U.S. does not have an "existential threat" dog in this fight.

Which is why 9-11 was necessary.  They had to convince people <<the U.S. is under direct threat!!>>.  That bit of propaganda was their greatest stroke of genius, and keeps giving and giving, right to this day.

All this comes from that <<internal map>> that determines our innate emotional connection, or lack of such, to whichever conflict is being discussed.  Don't even get me started on Ukraine!

COSMOS's picture

AND USA coordinates with ISIS

now which side would you take hmmm  Russia and Iran for me....

NoVa's picture

BIF

Marty McFly

 

which country is the US nowadays?

 

In fact, the global politics has become a real Back to the Future drama.  The more that Hitlary, Oblamo and Kerry have tried to "fix" things, The WORSE the world & the US has become.

NoVa

 

weburke's picture

"we will hit whoever tries to attack us" --why should israel allow iran to speak at the un on monday. war is now. Israel is alone, and that day is courtesy of obama. doom is here.

 “Stones and firebombs are deadly weapons; they kill and have killed,” Netanyahu told the cabinet, adding that “we will continue to add forces in order to strike at rioters under a simple principle that we will begin to implement around and within our borders: We will hit whoever tries to attack us.”

Netanyahu said Israel will not accept a situation whereby people in Jerusalem or anywhere in the country “will organize terrorism and begin to throw firebombs at passing cars or throw rocks that murder people. This norm will not be established here; rather an opposite norm will be established – we will act against you and stop you, and we will punish you with the full force of the law.”

The Indelicate Genius's picture
The Indelicate Genius (not verified) weburke Sep 22, 2015 10:48 AM

Huh??

weburke's picture

we will look at nothing with wonder.

missing, missing finally.

farflungstar's picture

israel should accept their place in the world proportional to the size of their population and land mass instead of their astounding ability to cry victim, threaten their neighbors and extract money and military equipment from the Unites States simultaneously.

This Netanyahu greasestain comes off as the biggest paranoid bully / cardboard toughguy I've ever seen - in the movies and in real life.

The Indelicate Genius's picture
The Indelicate Genius (not verified) Publicus Sep 22, 2015 10:49 AM

plenty more dumb young men who can be sent into Syria... in fact, I suspect that is precisely what is happening.

McMolotov's picture

The article from last night about the leaked cable demonstrated the way the US government approaches the internal affairs of every other country on the face of the Earth — with self-centered, sociopathic ruthlessness. This article demonstrates the way the US government is unabashedly hypocritical when it comes to how other countries choose to conduct their own foreign affairs. Unfortunately, the US probably deserves everything it has coming to it. I hate saying that because I live here and know the government puts the lives of my children at risk every time it foolishly chooses to meddle in some land way the hell on the other side of the planet. The kids are innocent, but we adults are guilty of lazily sitting on our behinds and allowing things to get so far out of whack.

This story will undoubtedly compel the usual suspects to come crawling out from their smelly hiding places to voice their approval for Uncle Sam's lust for raping the rest of the world under the false banner of "freedom." These gutless fuckers don't have the sack to man-up and get their asses over to the sand pit, so they do the rah-rah keyboard commando routine like the spineless wonder pussies they are. They think this is all part of America's supposed greatness, and they think it will never end. They are quite mistaken.

America is guilty of great sins. Historically, this kind of sinning with impunity only works when a country stands at the top of the ladder and can rain shit on everyone below. Eventually, though, someone on a lower rung decides to shake the ladder, and the slimy assholes at the top come tumbling down. Punishment, in one form or another, always follows.

CheapBastard's picture

I tried calling in to the Diane Reems show today to ask if the Chinese would get involved but could not get through on their new phone number ----

 

1-800-NPR-SPIN

Perimetr's picture

National Propaganda Radio?

Paveway IV's picture

China is already involved. There's an Turkish ethnic minority called the Uyghurs in China's far western Xinjiang province (which the Uyghurs prefer to call East Turkestan). They are Muslim and haven't been treated very well by the Chinese over the years - words like violent repression and genocide come to mind. Separatists movements have been brutally crushed there time and time again. The Chinese tried to calm the place down by relocating millions of Han Chinese there, but that sort of backfired.

Uyghur militant jihadi's latest incarnation is al-Qaeda linked and variously called Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP), The East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) or the Turkistan Islamic Movement (TIM). They are despised by the Chinese something like the Russians hate the Chechen jihadis.

Curiously enough, somewhere between a few hundred and a few thousand of them traveled across Turkey recruiting even more jihadis and joined with other foreigners (including the Chechen) to fight along side al Nusra in Syria's Idlib province. Idlib is one gigantic headchopper love-fest today. They just took over Jisr al-Shughur, a decent-sized Idlib city.

Back to China: The Chinese authorities would gladly walk all the way to Syria to kill the ETIM head-choppers. They damn sure don't want them returning to China as experienced head-choppers. Let's just say China is pissed - and is probably even more pissed that the U.S. just shipped 12 23mm auto-cannon equipped Toyotas to the head-choppers. I'm not sure exactly what the Chinese might do, but they wouldn't do it in any small way. Let's just say they're highly motivated to make sure ETIM jihadis never leave Idlib. Anything Russia does that results in blown up Uyghur jihadis will be enthusiastically supported by China. Russia, of course, has it's own bone to pick with the soon-to-be-martyred Chechen jihadis in Idlib.

Despite diplomatic noise otherwise, Russia and China have to be getting insanely mad with Turkey and it's role in staffing and supplying al Qaeda. It would make perfect sense if both Russia and China armed the Rojava Kurds to the teeth with heavy weaponry and armor. The Kurds in Afrin and the Kurds in Kobane are the only ones that seem to be kicking the head-chopper's asses in northern Syria. The U.S. won't arm the Kurds because that would piss off Turkey. Russia and China could care less since they hate Turkey, but they haven't stepped up to help the Kurds yet. 

Latina Lover's picture

Fascinating analysis, PW4.   ZH should headline your commentary, instead of the conventional drivel that is too frequently cited.

Are you listening Tyler?

conscious being's picture

Paveway, more on the same. The bombing in Bangkok. The US threatens Thailand with trade problems if they don't crack down on human trafficing across their borders. Thailand notices all these groups of Weegurs being moved through the country, so they smash the smuggling network and send the Chinese citizens, 100 Weegurs, they have detained for illegally crossing ino the country back to China. This makes their giant Chinese neighbor happy and should please the Americans as they just smashed one of these people smuggling rings they keep getting yelled at about. But they are mistaken. Some people smuggling rings they are supposed to smash. Some they are supposed to leave alone. The activity they interrupted in Thailand was part of a pipeline moving these guys into Rebel/jihadi/terrorist groups in Syria. The angry response was the terror bombing in BKK.

 

 

Paveway IV's picture

I have to say I feel bad for the Uyghurs as a people - their situation in China sucks. Most of them rightfully hate the Chinese, but don't share the extremist philosophy of few militant jihadis among them. In fact, the jihadis have made the situation far, far worse for the average Uyghur in China who just want to be left the hell alone by everyone.

"...The activity they interrupted in Thailand was part of a pipeline moving these guys into Rebel/jihadi/terrorist groups in Syria..."

That doesn't sound right to me. The few hundred Uyghur jihadis have been in Syria for almost a year and they all came in a huge group. The 100 that Thailand sent back to China were families with children. If I had to guess, I would think they were going to join their relatives who already made it to Istanbul. There's a huge, thriving Uyghur ex-pat community there that numbers in the tens of thousands. They have nothing to do with the head-choppers that have been in Syria. I'm sure China likes to think every last Uyghur 'escapee' is going to join al Qaeda in Syria, but that's ridiculous. Most of them just want to get the hell out of China and get a decent job. I'll bet few of those 100 that were returned to China are even alive today - they were probably shot the minute they got off the plane.

simon.dc3's picture

As Dubyah would say:

"Mission Accomplished."
Don't you know that 'tumbling down', 'punishment to a-holes', 'Armageddon', is just code for the Coming of Christ to take all good capitalists to Nevereverland?
The more acute the pain, the closer Nirvana-for-sociopaths is.

"Bring.It.On"

Perimetr's picture

They're fucking nuts.  Hubris overload.  They believe their own propaganda.

Money Counterfeiter's picture
Money Counterfeiter (not verified) Bumpo Sep 22, 2015 10:21 AM

Israel needs to move the fuck out.  Pack up your shit and your printer and go find another shit hole to fuck up.

pazmaker's picture

you mean invited into Syria?

Payne's picture

Military Industrial Complex keeps waving flags and no one is watching.  We are all too broke collecting cans on the roadside to care about Russia, Iran etc.  

Blankone's picture

The young are so broke, and without ethics, that they are lining up to join the MIC to kill for money.  They care not who or why but for how much and what future benefits.  And for HONOR, for they are held up as heros.

L Bean's picture

And they are the REAL welfare queens. It's not just "the blacks".

two hoots's picture

Struck by the obvious.

two hoots's picture

MIC is coordinating with Russia, win-win.

Jumbotron's picture

Well....The Iranians have us by the balls now.

"We walk away from the nuclear deal if you don't let us coordinate with Russia"

"Yassa Massah".....says Obammy

The Indelicate Genius's picture
The Indelicate Genius (not verified) Jumbotron Sep 22, 2015 10:33 AM

You really are a dumb, Fox News watching Ziopath, aren't you, Rachel?

Jumbotron's picture

HAHAHA !!!

All the Anti-Semite knee jerkers are out I see.

Just like kicking an ant mound.....they all come pouring out.

But I didn't know how many Magic Negro supporters are out there.  Or Muzzie cockersucker such as yourselves.   Allahu Snackbar and Word to your mother.  Peace out !    LOL !!!

Gambit's picture

Get the fuck out of here you ignorant buffoon with your anti-Semitic accusations.  First of all the Jews are not the only Semitic people, Arabs and Palestinians are also Semitic.  And most Jews, e.g. Ashkenazi are not Semitic, their origins are from Europe.   The proper term in this context would be Anti-Zionist.  

Jumbotron's picture

Oh...here we go. " Most jews are Ashenazi.....zzzzzzzz....snrrtt.....honey get me some more of then Cheetos from off the shelf.  We're out ?  Well bitch....go to Wal Mart and buy some more.  And pick up a six pack of Milwaukee's best while your at it."

"Damn....where did I leave that remote.  ESPN 14 got a rerun of Evel Knieval jumping the Snake River Gourge."

 

LOL !!!!      psstt.....don't look now, but there's a joo hiding under your bed !     HAHAHAHAHAHAHA !!!!!!

Colonel Klink's picture

Ahhhh, Jumbotalmud chimes in with his hasbara propaganda.

Jumbotron's picture

It takes quite the talent to say Hasbara with a Muzzie cock in your mouth, Colonic Kluck.

But....to each his own I suppose.

So how long have you've been one of those "comfort boys" I hear is such the rage in Muzzie Land ?

farflungstar's picture

Kikestanians always come up with the best put-downs, this is why niggers are their favorite pets.

 

 

Macon Richardson's picture

What do you mean by "us", paleface?

surf0766's picture

Wow,, I didn't know dear leader would allow them an opinion

roisaber's picture

Then do something about it.

Ohwaitlol

aliki's picture

i have a great idea for the next "republican nominee"

how about, NO MORE boots on the ground anywhere, no more saber rattling, no more pissing in someones backyard no more "tough guy talk" UNTIL AT THE VERY LEAST OUR FUCKING VA IS STRAIGHTENED OUT??? we have these guys coming back without limbs, PTSD, all fucked up & our priority is to bring in 150,000 syrians WHO WE DON'T KNOW + keep our southern border open to anyone who is looking for free food, housing, education, etc. so-long as you vote democrap.

i swear im gettin real close to moving to an island and throwing my cell phone in the ocean. beyond sick and tired of this fucking bullshit.