Mid-East Coup: As Russia Pounds Militant Targets, Iran Readies Ground Invasions While Saudis Panic

Tyler Durden's picture

Back in June, the commander of Iran’s Quds Force, Qasem Soleimaini, visited a town north of Latakia on the frontlines of Syria’s protracted civil war. Following that visit, he promised that Tehran and Damascus were set to unveil a new strategy that would “surprise the world.” 

Just a little over a month later, Soleimani - in violation of a UN travel ban - visited Russia and held meetings with The Kremlin. The Pentagon now says those meetings were “very important” in accelerating the timetable for Russia’s involvement in Syria. The General allegedly made another visit to Moscow in September. 

The timeline here is no coincidence. Iran has long provided covert and overt support to the Assad regime via financial transfers, logistical support from the Quds, and via the involvement of Hezbollah in the Assad government’s fight to regain control of the country.

As we’ve documented extensively over the past several weeks, what appears to have happened here is that Iran, unable to simply invade Syria in support of Assad (because doing so would obviously be a disaster in terms of preserving the optics around the P5+1 nuclear deal), turned to Moscow which has in the past used Russia’s Security Council veto to block the referral of the war in Syria to the Hague and which is a known ally of both Tehran and Damascus.

While it’s unclear exactly what the pitch was to Putin, Russia clearly saw an opportunity to advance The Kremlin’s geopolitical agenda at a key time in history. Moscow is keen to put on a brave face amid the most contentious standoff with the West since the Cold War (as a result of the conflict in Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea) and amid the related effort to preserve Gazprom’s market share in Europe. 

In short, Putin looks to have viewed this as the ultimate geopolitical win-win. That is, Russia gets to i) expand its influence in the Middle East in defiance of Washington and its allies, a move that also helps to protect Russian energy interests and preserves the Mediterranean port at Tartus, and ii) support its allies in Tehran and Damascus thus preserving the counterbalance to the US-Saudi-Qatar alliance. 

Meanwhile, Iran gets to enjoy the support of the Russian military juggernaut on the way to protecting the delicate regional nexus that is the source of Tehran’s Mid-East influence. It is absolutely critical for Iran to keep Assad in power, as the loss of Syria to the West would effectively cut the supply line between Iran and Hezbollah.

The same dynamic is playing out in Iraq. That is, Iran is fighting ISIS via various Shiite militias just as it’s fighting the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen via the Shia Houthis. It is thus extremely significant that Baghdad has agreed to share intelligence with Syria and Russia, as that effectively means the Iran-backed Shiite militias battling for control of Iraq will enjoy the support of the Russian military. 

What should be obvious here is that this is a coordinated plan.

The Kremlin has effectively agreed to bring the might of the Russian air force to bear on Assad’s opponents in Syria and on Sunni militants in Iraq in support of Iranian ground troops and because the US and its allies have failed so miserably in terms of fielding anti-Assad rebels who don't turn out to be extremists, Putin gets to pitch the whole thing as a "war on terror." It would be difficult to design a more elegant power play.

If you think that’s far-fetched, consider the following just out from Reuters:

Hundreds of Iranian troops have arrived in Syria in the last 10 days and will soon join government forces and their Lebanese Hezbollah allies in a major ground offensive backed by Russian air strikes, two Lebanese sources told Reuters.


"The (Russian) air strikes will in the near future be accompanied by ground advances by the Syrian army and its allies," said one of the sources familiar with political and military developments in the conflict.


"It is possible that the coming land operations will be focused in the Idlib and Hama countryside," the source added.


The two sources said the operation would be aimed at recapturing territory lost by President Bashar al-Assad's government to rebels.


It points to an emerging military alliance between Russia and Assad's other main allies - Iran and Hezbollah - focused on recapturing areas of northwestern Syria that were seized by insurgents in rapid advances earlier this year.


"The vanguard of Iranian ground forces began arriving in Syria: soldiers and officers specifically to participate in this battle. They are not advisors ... we mean hundreds with equipment and weapons. They will be followed by more," the second source said. Iraqis would also take part in the operation, the source said.

And then consider this, also just out (via Reuters):

The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday it would consider any request from the Iraqi government to conduct air strikes against Islamic State inside Iraq, but said it had not yet received such an appeal, the RIA Novosti news agency reported.


It cited the foreign ministry as saying it would evaluate the "political and military" logic of such a move if a request was forthcoming.

Finally, to drive the point home and further confirm the veracity of the thesis outlined above, here’s Saudi Arabia panicking at the prospect that Russia’s presence is set to completely disrupt the Mid-East BOP (via Reuters, yet again):

Saudi Arabia, a leading foe of President Bashar al-Assad, demanded his ally Russia end its raids on Syria, saying the strikes had caused civilian casualties while failing to target the hardline Islamic State militants Moscow says it opposes.


In remarks at the United Nations in New York, a senior Saudi diplomat suggested both Russia and Assad's other main ally Iran could not claim to fight Islamic State "terrorism" at the same time as supporting the "terrorism" of the Syrian authorities.


Saudi ambassador Abdallah Al-Mouallimi expressed "profound concern regarding the military operations which

Russian forces have carried out in Homs and Hama today, places where ISIS forces are not present. These attacks led to a number of innocent victims. We demand it stop immediately and not recur."


"As for those countries that have claimed recently to join in the fight against ISIS terrorism, they can’t do that at the same time as they support the terrorism of the Syrian regime and its terrorist foreign allies like Hezbollah and the Quds Force and other terrorist sectarian groups," he added in comments broadcast by Saudi-owned al-Arabiya television.


ISIS is a common acronym for Islamic State, also known as ISIL. Lebanon's Hezbollah Shi'ite militia openly fights on behalf of Assad's government, and the Quds Force, part of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards, is also widely believed to be aiding Damascus.

It would be difficult to overstate the significance of what appears to be going on here. This is nothing short of a Middle Eastern coup, as Iran looks to displace Saudi Arabia as the regional power broker and as Russia looks to supplant the US as the superpower puppet master. 

Do not expect Saudi Arabia and Israel to remain on the sidelines here.

If Russia ends up bolstering Iran's position in Syria (by expanding Hezbollah's influence and capabilities) and if the Russian air force effectively takes control of Iraq thus allowing Iran to exert a greater influence over the government in Baghdad, the fragile balance of power that has existed in the region will be turned on its head and in the event this plays out, one should not expect Washington, Riyadh, Jerusalem, and London to simply go gentle into that good night.

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Haole's picture

"...me say war." - Bob Marley

Beam Me Up Scotty's picture

Shit's starting to get real.  Shia's and Sunni's squaring off, with their big dumb bully friends on each team.

Bumpo's picture

US Propaganda at its Best. 

Mostly Harmless's picture
Mostly Harmless (not verified) Bumpo Oct 1, 2015 11:18 AM

"These attacks led to a number of innocent victims. We demand it stop immediately and not recur."

If I was Russia, I'd say to the Saudis, "How about you stop bombing weddings in Yemen…and then we'll talk".

cheech_wizard's picture

If I was Russia, I'd say to the Saudis, "You're next on the list."

Haus-Targaryen's picture

Fuck you Bibi! Fuck you Obama! Payback is gonna be a huge bitch.

knukles's picture

Wonder what insurance costs for gas pipelines these days?

LasVegasDave's picture

I dont get it; If russians want to kill arabs, how does this affect me in my remote little corner of america?

knukles's picture

You know Mohamed's falaffel stand down the corner?  You think that the Rooski Commie Rat Bastards aren't gonna sleep until it's been killed off either, putting you and your wife, children and puppy dog's freedoms at risk?  Who the fuck is the Red Hoard to tell you that you can't like flaffels?
                  "This means war!"
                     -Groucho Marx

Dutti's picture


Congratulations to Russia and Iran to standing up, I hope their strategy will work.

Why can Saudi-Arabia with the approval of the western powers bomb a foreign country, Jemen, without Jemen having attacked Saudi? Of course Saudi claims they do it at the request of the president Hadi of Jemen who fled to Saudi. If that is accepted by western powers, then how would those western powers have reacted if Russia would have attacked and bombed the Ukraine, at the request of the democratically elected president Yanukovich who fled to Russia?

I think the house of Saud is setting itself up for real bad long-term Karma or, if you prefer, the Saudis create a lot of enemies for themselves by destroying the people and their neighboring country of Jemen. Reminds me of why Americans are often times not liked in many parts of the world.

Americans often claim that Assad is a Tyrant, a Murderer and a Dictator and that's why he must go. Why does the US not call the House of Saud by the same names and try to overthrow them? I guess because the House of Saud is an obedient servant of the US, and Assad is cooperating with a different power - Russia.

The western mainstream media treats the Saudi atrocities in Jemen as a sideshow, while blowing up the story about Assad and demonizing him. What's the alternative to Assad?

Let's see how other countries, Irak and Lybia, with worse Tyrants - Saddam Hussein and Ghaddafi have “developed”, thanks to western intervention.

In addition, the US is always talking about the evil Iranians, and how they took American hostages back in 1979. You don't hear much about the fact that the US staged a coup in 1953, deposed the democratically elected president Mossadegh and installed the Shah, who, just like the House of Saud became a servant for US interests. After the Iranians were finally able to get rid of the Shah who had been in power for over 25 years they understandably did not have much love left for the US. The pendulum went to the other side.

If you look at all these facts in context, it's easy to see the hypocrisy of the US and it's western “allies”.

Macchendra's picture

10 Countries bombing the crap outta Syria.  In proxy-war terms, this is World Proxy-War III.

Manthong's picture

There is a lot of crap going down that does not need to go down thanks to the cabal of evil that is calling the shots in the west.

This is the tidbit that underscores how serious this is getting:




nuubee's picture

Somehow I wonder if Putin isn't overplaying his hand by conscripting soldiers. He's not unversally popular because he attacks arabs, he's universally popular because he presented a strong Russia. Emboldening Assad, at the expense of Russian blood, doesn't accomplish that. In fact, As major powers in the world go, Russia isn't exactly high in the population department.

Haus-Targaryen's picture

Russia has conscription, unlike the US.  This order get signed by Putin (and Medyedev (or however you spell it)) twice a year. 

This is unrelated.  

BaBaBouy's picture

The "DONALD" Will Be Elected And He will scrap ALL This Bullshit uSA Policy.

... And HE Let's Russia Clean Up Syria/ISIS and all The MASS refugees can return home to live in PEACE in the Beautiful Sandy Deserts...

Son of Loki's picture

Remind me ...


WTF are we doing in Syria ?!

Dick Gazinia's picture

Poor little John McCain.  All these prospects for war.

If your erection lasts more than 4 weeks, please seek medical attention.

Soul Glow's picture

Washington don't care.  They say fuck the EU anyways!

Lost My Shorts's picture

It sounds like -- we are covertly supporing ISIS while pretending to attack them, and getting huffy because Putin is really attacking them.  Or wandering around like a headless chicken.  Or just wasting money.  Not sure.

mt paul's picture

WTF are we doing in Syria ?!


counting grains of sand....?

Handful of Dust's picture

<< WTF are we doing in Syria ?! >>


Lining MIC pockets with gold.

OpenThePodBayDoorHAL's picture

US trying to be way too clever, triangulating all sides and as a result getting zero outcome. We gave the bloodthirsty tyrants in Egypt billions for decades, then we started Arab Spring, Muslim Brotherhood got elected so we said we'd support them. Oops then we changed our minds and decided to suport the bloodthirsty generals again, so now both sides hate us.

We should just pick a side, Sunni/Saudi/Israel or Shi'a/Iran/Russia. That's what we did with Saddam versus the Ayatollah, worked a charm for a decade as they slaughtered each other and we made serious coin selling arms and gas etc.

Or I have a better idea: just bring the troops home. Have them build roads and bridges and hospitals here for a change. Peace dividend, Yankee go home. It's not like they won't sell us the oil no matter what flag they fly. Fat chance of that given the dumb and dumberer war-monger pres candidates we have, each trying to outdo each other on how much new war they want

conscious being's picture

Dude, your map is kind of bs. Yes the Shia populated areas are correctly identified, but lots, most of what's shown as Sunni, is completely uninhabited. For example, most of SA is known as the Rub' al Khali, the EMPTY quarter. Same goes for the enormous Sahara Desert. You are comparing Shia populated areas to Sunni grains of sand.

Stuck on Zero's picture

Russians "pound enemy positions?"  How many fighters do they have? Last I heard it was five.  It takes more than five to "pound" an enemy. 

newbie vampire's picture

"Last I heard it was five.  It takes more than five to "pound" an enemy. "

Yeh.  BUT those five are $100 million assets.   They have been trained to be like superhuman Captain America and any one of those five could lick all the Russkis, Iranians, SAA etc etc.

Fahque Imuhnutjahb's picture

Dude:    A study conducted by the Pew Research Center in 2010 and released January 2011 found that there are

1.62 billion Muslims around the world, and it is estimated over 75–90% are Sunni.



Sunni Islam - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Victor von Doom's picture

Don't forget the Zio/Jewish/Bankster masters who are at the centre of this shitfight. The scum from DC are just the paid lackeys - the corruption spin off is just a symptom, not the cause.

new game's picture

and then contributing a portion to the red and blue team to keep the war machine engaged.

guessing moar fertile grounds await in africa, where the mic can go in and fuck up 4 moar countries til china get its' shorts ina bundle...

Crash Overide's picture

"Remind me ... WTF are we doing in Syria ?!"


Trying to profit from destruction and keep control on the US civilian population through fear of boogeyman terrorists.


Just remember, when they fail abroad, they will start chaos at home.

Lock and load my fellow countrymen... eyes open.

conscious being's picture

Good point. When they fall /fail abroad, they will start chaos at home. Tic toc tic toc.

newbie vampire's picture

"Remind me ...


WTF are we doing in Syria ?!"


Bringing democracy, peace and prosperity to the people of Syria so they can enjoy a high standard of living.

Damned Syrians ingrates running away from progressive ISIS democracy.

Victor von Doom's picture

The will of your Jewish masters, Son of Loki...the will of your Jewish masters.

SofaPapa's picture


If you're serious with this comment, you ascribe far too much power for independent action to the person who holds the office of president.  Regardless of what he might want (which I genuinely have no idea), the US bureaucracy, both government and corporate, is now invested in this shit.  Hard to reverse.

HopefulCynical's picture

If "The Donald" actually got elected, the first thing he'd do is to sweep that wombat off his head with  a theatrical flourish, and bow and scrape before Bibi & The Zionists.


ThirteenthFloor's picture

+1. Because they do own Donalds ass!

Even JP Morgan only owned 17%. Of his investment bank because Rothchild owned the rest (and JP Morgans ass).


Anonymous User's picture
Anonymous User (not verified) HopefulCynical Oct 1, 2015 2:46 PM

Let's hope not.

Nevertheless, if "Donald" gets the nerve to stand up to Zionists he might go down in history like JFK.


Tall Tom's picture

Hope is NOT a strategy.


It is usually done in desperation.

iluvbrunettes's picture

Nevertheless, if "Donald" gets the nerve to stand up to Zionists he might go down in history like JFK.

Or, sadly, just down.

SWRichmond's picture

If Russia had NFL it would not need conscription.

BaBaBouy's picture

And.. Don't Ask where the USD Fiats Paper is heading...

Bokkenrijder's picture

"Putin gets to pitch the whole thing as a "war on terror."

The problem with this strategy is that Putin does not control the Western mainstream brainwash media. The only thing the US (and IS!) now need to do is wait for a rogue (or planted!) bomb to go off in a 'civilian' neighbourhood, and then the US (and their European vassals) will be able to cry crocodile tears about "civilian casualties."

Sorry, but with the relentless brainwashing in the western media (and it seems like they kicked it up a few notches recently in the wake of this IS infiltration under the guise of "refugeees"), unfortunately I don't see how this can play out favourably for Putin or Russia.

conscious being's picture

So many civillians have been killed by Team USA, that they've taken the edge off the story. At the same time thinking people don't bother with the MSM. Can't stop this Juggernaught.

Socratic Dog's picture

Thinking people?  I didn't know there were any left in the USSA.  Try talking about Syria to people....you'll get your eyes opened as to how truly fucking stupid most are.

FrankDrakman's picture

You seem to think that 1) Putin gives a rat's ass about what the Russian people think of him (he doesn't), and 2) that the Russian people are pussies like we are in the West (they aren't).

A friend's father fought for the Wehrmacht on the Russian front. He described the situation: "We had machine gun nests, two guns, five men. The Russians would attack with shovels, sticks, and a few pistols. Hundreds would be mowed down b the bullets, but they kept coming and coming until the bodies were piled up high enough that someone could get close enough to lob a grenade ovr top." The Russians will grit their teeth, and do what needs to be done. The only reaon they left Afghanistan was it had no resources except smack, and they graciously decided that the West could have all of it (distributed by the CIA, probably).

You might not remember that the Chechen muslims killed all the kids at an elementary school not so many years ago. I doubt the average Russian has any sympathy for ISIS in particular and Muslims in general, and because they're not pussies cowering for fear of what someone might say on Facebook or Twitter, they can and will support Putin.

bmr22's picture

yeah that cyber bullying can really hurt lmao, oh gosh you hurt my delicate feelings

NESD's picture

FrankDrakman:  What you left out of the WW II narrative was that Russian officers would shoot the conscripts on the spot if they did not follow orders and attack with sticks and shovels. Russian conscripts to this day are mostly in a no-win situation.

11b40's picture

Having been one, I can assure you that ALL conscripts everywhere are in a no-win situation.

But it is still better than allowing your country to be "defended" by an "all volunteer" force, which is just another word for mercenaries.

Ending the draft has turned out to be a total disaster for America, allowing the MIC and political scum to plunge us into unending war.  If Americans were getting drafted and forced to participate in all this bullshit the vast majority of it would never have happened.  The wars we did fight, like Afghanistan, would have ended quickly, or the college campuses and city streets would have exploded with angry demonstrators.