How the Pentagon Plans to Defeat Eurasia and Roll out “Robotic Warfare”

 

 

127529Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work expounded upon the US’ military strategy in Eurasia during a speech at the Army War College Strategy Conference on 8 April, revealing critical insight into the Pentagon’s formal approach to forthcoming conflicts. Work’s words should be read in full by any strategist endeavoring to understand the imperatives that guide the world’s most armed forces. He elaborates on the theoretical foundations of American military might, including how the Pentagon plans to counter the three types of wars supposedly being waged by Iran, Russia, and China.

The main strategic innovation being presented is something called the “Third Offset Strategy”, which in practice amounts to electromagnetic anti-missile rail guns and seamless combat integration between man and machine. These two pronouncements mark startling military developments that will assuredly initiate a news arms race between the West and the Resistant & Defiant states most actively opposed to its domination, as the only realistic alternative is eventual submission or all-out pre-emptive war.

Part I analyzes the theory and nature of 21st-century wars, using Work’s speech as a guiding instrument, and then addresses the Pentagon’s overall plans against China. Part II continues off of this trajectory and details the Third Offset and all that it frighteningly entails, before ending with a brief conclusion that ties everything together.

Theoretical Foundations

There are three main ideas that Work references as underpinning the US military’s overall strategy, and they are as follows:

The Two Pillars:

1282020

Highly skilled individuals and technological superiority constitute the two primary pillars from which the rest of America’s strategy is built. To quote the man himself:

Since World War II, American military strategy and our entire national defense strategy has been built upon an assumption of technological superiority, and the better-trained individual — individuals, men and women, organized to employ these technologies in an innovative way… I assume and I am confident in my assumption that we have an enduring advantage in our people…But I’m telling you right now our technological superiority is slipping.

While the striking rate of suicide in the US Armed Forces calls into question the endurance and quality of training that American servicemen receive, the main aspect to focus on in the abovementioned citation is Work’s belief that the US military’s technological superiority is in decline. His view is entirely subjective because there are no reliable quantitative measurements available to back it up, but it importantly conveys a sense of urgency and infers that some type of action must immediately be taken to halt and/or reverse this process. Surprisingly, he’s not asking for more money to stop the US’ relative decline in military spending (despite thinking that trend is “stupid”), instead pleading that:

It doesn’t matter how much money we have.  This problem requires thinking.  And we need to tackle it together, and not worry so much about the resources as the intellectual capital that we need to put in the bank to allow our joint force to be so successful in the future.

Work’s preference for brainpower over budgetary politics is logical when one considers the second motivator of US military strategy.

The Velocity of Instability:

Early on in his speech, Work references Army Chief of Staff Raymond Odierno’s definition of the “velocity of instability” as being the pace of strategic change, which becomes one of the most influential current imperatives of the US military when it combines with the pace of technological innovation. What this simply means is that non-Western actors are creating new technologies and crafting adaptive strategies that are creating complications for the US’ application of full-spectrum dominance, the former of which will be discussed in detail during the next main section. In response to such rapidly changing circumstances, the US feels entitled in bullying others by never picking on an equally matched adversary.

No Fair Fight:

A remotely piloted aircraft system (drone) getting launched from the aircraft carrier George H.W.

A remotely piloted aircraft system (drone) getting launched from the aircraft carrier George H.W.

According to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey, whom Work also cites during his speech, “we never, ever want to send our troops into a fair fight”, confirming what many had already suspected about militant bullying being an integral part of the US’ foreign policy toolkit. The US never picks a fight with anyone who can give it a legitimate run for its money, so to speak, choosing instead to conventionally attack smaller and weaker states like Iraq and Libya whose militaries represent a negligible challenge. When it comes to more evenly matched rivals such as Russia and China or those which can inflict unacceptable collateral damage like Iran, the US understands that it must keep its destabilization just short of the conventional threshold, opting instead for asymmetrical aggression in the form of economic subversion, Color Revolutions, and Unconventional Wars.

21st-Century Wars

Keeping the concept of “no fair fight” at the forefront of one’s thoughts, it’s now time to look at the three types of wars that Work accuses Iran, Russia, and China of waging, before describing the radical means he proposes for countering them and thus giving the US the first-strike capability in any conflict.

Hybrid War:

In his parade of prominent US military strategists, Work speaks about Frank Hoffman and his definition of hybrid warfare, which he defines as:

“Combat operations characterized by the simultaneous and adaptive employment of a complex combination of conventional weapons, irregular warfare, terrorism and criminal behavior to achieve political objectives.”

The above perfectly describes the US and its proxies’ onslaught on Syria, but Work instead attributes this strategy to Hezbollah (commonly believed in American military circles as being a de-facto extension of the Iranian military) in its legendary 2006 defense against Israel’s invasion of Southern Lebanon:

Hezbollah fighters were armed with advanced anti-tank missiles, thousands of long-range rockets, Chinese-made Silkworm anti-ship missiles, advanced man-portable anti-air missiles, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).  They had very simplistic, but very effective battle networks to employ them.  They practiced irregular warfare, but at the same time maneuvered effectively against Israeli armored columns, proved proficient in indirect fire, and they used swarms of heavy anti-tank missiles to great effect.

Again, this sounds exactly like how the US is behaving in Syria, specifically with its anti-tank and anti-air armament supply to terrorist groups active in the country, but nonetheless, the Pentagon representative insists that “in the future, without question, hybrid adversaries will pose a qualitative and quantitative challenge” to the US. It’s not clear if he’s foreshadowing that US troops will soon be fighting against the same proxy agents they helped arm and train for hybrid war, but it’s unmistakable that he’s identifying this type of fighting with the Mideast theater, where thus far it’s been most popularly practiced.

Non-Linear Warfare:

Euromaidan is the classic example of a legitimate public protest turning violent through  the hybrid warfare technics.

Euromaidan is the classic example of a legitimate public protest turning violent through the hybrid warfare technics.

Work continues linking various novel warfighting innovations with certain geographic zones and actors through his description Russia’s application of non-linear warfare in Eastern Europe, which he reports as:

Evolve[ing] from covert actions by special operations forces, to sustained unconventional combat waged under an umbrella of denial.  And then ultimately escalating to high-end force-on-force proxy warfare with the state actively involved in combat operations .

One could be forgiven for mistaking this with Washington’s strategy of Color Revolution 2.0, otherwise known in practice as the “Arab Spring” or EuroMaidan, seeing as how both instances perfectly correlate with Work’s definition. He even manages to express the exasperation that the embittered Syrian and Ukrainian authorities felt when he says that:

“Non-linear adversaries make those avenues (of approach) harder to detect, using agents, paramilitaries, deception, infiltration, and persistent denial to make those avenues of approach very hard to detect, operating in what some people have called “the gray zone.”

One can now begin to see a pattern of ironic rhetoric emerge; the US is accusing its primary Eurasian rivals (Iran, Russia, and next to be seen, China) of engaging in the exact same type of warfare that Washington itself has perfected, and which has been used as its calling card in the victimized states that it recently attacked (be it directly or indirectly). The American ideology of Exceptionalism means that it would never openly recognize this fact and will instead always try to assign such strategies to its adversaries, but this doesn’t take away from the reality that the US has become the most apt practitioner of these concepts.

“Informationalized” Warfare:

The third military innovation that Work outlines as posing a challenge for the US is what he says the Chinese call “informationalized” warfare, which he considers being:

“The combination of cyber, electronic warfare, information ops, deception and denial to disrupt our command and control to give the enemy an advantage in the decision cycle.”

It’s curious why he attaches this strategy to China, since Beijing hasn’t fought a war since its 1979 one against Vietnam before the advent of cyber warfare, but be that as it may, once more, it’s the US that’s actually the prime practitioner of this misattributed art (or least came close to it). The reader should recall the 2011 NATO War on Libya when the US seriously considered that very same plan before deciding to more easily use Tomahawk missiles to destroy Gaddafi’s command and control centers. While it’s obvious that this so-called “informationalized” warfare can realistically be =exercised by any Great Power in the world today, so far US-controlled NATO appears to be the most capable actor in doing so due to its multi-national (UK/Poland/Italy/Baltic States) deployment of “strategic communication centers”, which will predictably augment its capability in carrying out the “information ops, deception and denial” components of this strategy.

Clashing With China

USS Fort Worth, based in Singapore, is closely monitoring Chinese activities near Spratly Islands

USS Fort Worth, based in Singapore, is closely monitoring Chinese activities near Spratly Islands

The Deputy Secretary of Defense not-so-subtly refers to China as a prospective target of the Pentagon’s warfighting machine when he speaks about the challenge posed by A2/AD (anti-area, area-denial) strategies, which Beijing has previously been highlighted by the US military for partaking in. Work lists three steps by which the US plans on countering this concept:

 

  1.  “Take the first salvo” (likely inferring a provocation or false-flag scenario) using raid-breaking technology (to be elaborated upon shortly)
  2.  “Break into (the) theater”
  3.  “Think about Air Land Battle 2.0”, predicted to be “against enemies which have lots of guided rockets, artillery, mortars and missiles, and are using informationalized warfare to completely disrupt our heavily netted force”, but which “the Army needs to figure…out” because it has yet to be witnessed in battle.

It’s anticipated that the “first salvo” will be when the enemy “throw[s] guided munition salvos as dense as our own and sometimes over long range” (essentially making it “AirLand Battle 2.0” before the US breaks through the theater and gets close enough to physically respond), meaning that “the competitor who can demonstrate the ability to defeat the guided munitions salvo competition is going to have a unique advantage at the operational level of war.” The US seeks to acquire this said advantage through its implementation of the Third Offset Strategy, which is also envisioned with providing it the ability to defeat both human and robotic military units during the theater break-in and subsequent Air Land Battle 2.0.

To be continued…

Andrew Korybko is the political analyst and journalist for Sputnik who currently lives and studies in Moscow, exclusively for Oriental Review.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are of sole responsibility of the author(s). Unruly Hearts will not be responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in this article.

 

A Caliph in a wilderness of mirrors – By Pepe Escobar

THE ROVING EYE
A Caliph in a wilderness of mirrors
By Pepe Escobar

I’m aiming at you, lover
Cause killing you is killing myself

Orson Welles (director), The Lady from Shanghai,1947

 
 
He’s invincible. He beheads. He smuggles. He conquers. He’s the ultimate jack-of-all-trades. No Tomahawk or Hellfire can touch him. He always gets what he wants; in Kobani; in Anbar province; with the House of Saud (which he wants to replace) trying to make Putin (who he wants to behead) suffer because of low oil prices.

If this was a remake of Orson Welles’s noir classic The Lady from Shanghai, in the mirror sequence the lawyer (American?) and the femme fatale (Shi’ite?) would also get killed; but The Caliph of the Islamic State would survive as a larger than life Welles, free to roam, plunder and “give my love to the sunrise” – as in a Brave Caliphate World shining in “Syraq” over the ashes of the Sykes-Picot agreement.

If this was a remake of Orson Welles’s noir classic The Lady from Shanghai, in the mirror sequence the lawyer (American?) and the femme fatale (Shi’ite?) would also get killed; but The Caliph
of Islamic State would survive as a larger than life Welles, free to roam, plunder and “give my love to the sunrise” – as in a Brave Caliphate World shining in “Syraq” over the ashes of the Sykes-Picot agreement.

He’s winning big in Iraq’s Anbar province. The Caliph’s goons are now closing in on – of all places – Abu Ghraib; Dubya, Dick and Rummy’s former Torture Central. They are at a mere 12 kilometers away from Baghdad International. A shoulder-launched surface-to-air missile (or MANPAD) away from downing a passenger jet. Certainly not an Emirates flight – after all these are trusted sponsors.

Hit, in Anbar province, is now Caliph territory. The police forces and the province’s operational command have lost almost complete control of Ramadi. The Caliph now controls the crucial axis formed by Hit, Ramadi, Fallujah; Highway 1 between Baghdad and the Jordanian border; and Highway 12 between Baghdad and the Syrian border.

The Caliph’s goons are no less than taking over the whole, notorious Baghdad belt, the previous “triangle of death” in those hardcore days of American occupation circa 2004. Message to Donald Rumsfeld: remember your “remnants”? They’re back. And they’re in charge.

Both Ramadi and Fallujah have been reduced to an accumulation of bombed-out schools, hospitals, homes, mosques and bridges. Residential streets are virtually deserted. According to the United Nations, there are a least 360,803 internally displaced persons in Anbar, as well as 115,000 others in areas under The Caliph’s control. At least 63% of the 1.6 million people living in the province are classified as “in need” – with hair-raising minimal access to water, food and health care, and receiving little to absolutely zero humanitarian support from that fiction, the “international community.” US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power is not screaming her lungs out for R2P (“responsibility to protect”).

How could the Pentagon’s spectacular Full Spectrum Dominance possibly not see any of this happening? Of course they see it. But they don’t give a damn. The Pentagon occasionally uses AH-64 Apache helicopters to attack some of The Caliph’s goons in Ramadi and Hit. But Apaches can be easily hit with MANPADS. They are stationed at Baghdad International and their only mission is to protect the airport. Who cares about local, civilian “collateral damage”?

Married to the Mob
In Kobani, the former third-biggest town in Syrian Kurdistan, in the far northeast, The Caliph also wins big. Another biblical exodus has reached 300,000 refugees – and counting, with over 180,000 headed to Turkey.

The Caliph counts on indirect help from The Sultan (or alternate Caliph), aka Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan. Tehran is – rightfully – furious, as it sees the “West” – and Turkey – betraying the Kurds all over again. It’s no secret Sultan Erdogan is doing nothing because he wants to screw the guerrillas of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Syrian-Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD); let them die instead of repelling The Caliph and then be strong enough to threaten Turkish domination of those huge, essentially Kurdish patches of Anatolia. Thus the only thing Sultan Erdogan does support is aimless bombing by the Pentagon cum coalition of the clueless-cowards.

Anybody who believes the US Central Command’s spin that House of Saud and United Arab Emirates fighter jets conduct “bombing raids” on the outskirts of Kobani gets a one-way ticket to Oz. Imagine these clowns being able to deploy precision-guided bombs or trained laser spotters. To start with, the Pentagon has zero local intel – as in zero operatives able to paint lasers on targets. Thus the “coalition” can barely hit the odd tank (out of 25 around Kobani) or Humvee out of 2,000 crammed in a valley for almost two weeks now.

But the “coalition” certainly is able – miraculously! – to hit Syrian state infrastructure, as in energy installations. In June, the official Pentagon excuse was, “We don’t have any drone assets in Iraq.” Now there’s no excuse for drones which can read a “Smoking Kills!” warning in a packet of Marlboros not hitting The Caliph’s assets in Kobani – or in Anbar province for that matter. So it’s down to a mix of incompetence and neglect. It was so much easier to hit Pashtun wedding parties in the Waziristans. Especially because no one was paying attention.

Erdogan’s own goons, meanwhile, have instituted a curfew on all major towns and cities in southeast Anatolia, and are even gunning down peaceful Kurdish protesters. Fifteen million Kurds in Anatolia cannot be wrong; Erdogan wants Kobani to fall. Ankara remains for all practical purposes the top logistical hub for The Caliph’s goons. The Sultan is using The Caliph as a proxy army to smash the Kurds.

Terminal evidence has been offered by the leader of the Kurdish PYD, Salih Muslim, meeting Turkish military intel and asking for help. Conditions: abandon any hope of self-determination for Syrian Kurds; give up all your self-governing towns and regions; and watch as we install a Turkish “buffer”/no-fly zone inside Syrian territory.

Don’t expect the Obama “Don’t Do Stupid Stuff/We Have No Strategy” administration to sentence, “Erdogan must go”. Besides, the pathetic club of National Security Advisor Susan Rice and her deputy Ben Rhodes has no clue about what’s goin’ on.

To the Green Zone!
Tehran, for its part, has clearly identified Erdogan’s nasty game. The Sultan knows monster B1-B bombers flying over Kobani are absolutely useless – while The Caliph’s goons deploy massive car bombs and keep advancing. “Boots on the ground” will be needed. Enter NATO asset Turkey. But with one condition: regime change in Damascus, or at least a prelude, via that “buffer”/no-fly zone over Syria.

The Big Picture remains the same. Sultan Erdogan and the House of Saud want regime change in Damascus (Erdogan dreams of a Sunni puppet as a vassal of Ankara; the Saudis want their own Wahhabi schemer). Israel merrily agrees. And if that comes with a bonus – attacking the new Iraqi government, still supported by Iran, in the American-made Green Zone – even better. The lowdown: “Don’t Do Stupid Stuff” translates as the Gulf Cooperation Council, Turkey and Israel using Washington to advance their quite explicit agenda.

Sultan Erdogan, as a Mob boss, does seem to have learned a thing or two from watching Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas. He’s extracting the maximum pound of flesh from the bewildered “Don’t do Stupid Stuff” team. The Sultan is boldly aiming at Turkish boots on the ground gloriously invading Syria in NATO “humanitarian intervention” mode. And all this sold as NATO offering “protection” to a member-nation. NATO’s new secretary-general, former Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, has just been to Ankara. Saudi Arabia has already “voted” out loud for the “buffer”/no-fly zone. Same for General Francois Hollande, that pitiful excuse for President of France.

Once again, it’s Tehran to the rescue. The Foreign Ministry has duly announced Iran is ready to liberate Kobani from The Caliph’s goons (and they can do it) if Bashar Al-Assad says the word. Now that’s how you work the chessboard; NATO is left with zero excuses to mount an invasion of Syria, whatever Mob Boss Erdogan comes up with.

Operation Hands Off My Toyota
The Caliph also wins big in the “bleeding the Pentagon” department. A single US “strike” against his goons – involving F-15s, F-16s or F-22s – costs up to US$500,000. The Pentagon has just revealed it has spent no less than $1.1 billion against The Caliph since June.

What for? Virtually all the assets being destroyed by American bombing are made in the USA, deployed to the Iraqi army and then duly captured during The Caliph’s offensive. So here we have the Empire of Chaos spending a fortune from the US Treasury to smash tanks, Humvees and other gear already paid for by American taxpayers. No wonder taxpayers are fuming. Thus Operation Hands off My Toyota.

Additionally, the Pentagon does not have a clue on how to build its Obama-designed proxy “rebel” force to fight The Caliph (with no US soldiers or marines; only fanatic Wahhabis and assorted mercenaries).

To start with, they have no clue who the hell qualifies as a “moderate rebel”. The rabble must be “vetted” – and then sent to, of all places, Saudi Arabia for training. There the guy in charge will be – who else – a Special Ops honcho, Major General Michael Nagata. Even under the most optimistic scenario, the Pentagon won’t have its proxy “moderate rebel” army on the ground in Syria before the summer of 2015.

Hefty bottles of Chateau Margaux can be bet that all this prime US weaponized know how will ultimately end up captured by The Caliph’s goons. Same applies to reliable “rebel” intel on the ground.

But the real Dadaist masterpiece is that first these “rebels” will be politely asked by the Pentagon to forget about getting rid of Assad to fight The Caliph. At least for a while. Re-enter Stoltenberg, the new NATO head: “Next year, at the ministerial meeting, we will take decisions regarding the so-called spearhead but, even before it is established, NATO has a strong army after all. We can deploy it wherever we want to.” OK, tough guy; why not “Syraq”?

If this all sounds like a plot straight out of hit series Blacklist, that’s because it is. Why not get Red (James Spader) to fight The Caliph? And then again, what if Red is The Caliph? He pretends to fight himself – and he wins, handsomely. Back to Welles’ The Lady from Shanghai: “Killing you is killing myself”. Yet nobody could possibly want The Caliph dead when he’s such a smashing, undisputed box-office success.

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007), Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge (Nimble Books, 2007), and Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).

(Copyright 2014 Asia Times Online (Holdings) Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact us about sales, syndication and republishing.)

The coalition show, from Afghanistan to ‘Syraq’ – By Pepe Escobar

An Islamic State militant (L) stands next to residents as they hold pieces of wreckage from a Syrian war plane after it crashed in Raqqa, in northeast Syria September 16, 2014. (Reuters/Stringer)

An Islamic State militant (L) stands next to residents as they hold pieces of wreckage from a Syrian war plane after it crashed in Raqqa, in northeast Syria September 16, 2014. (Reuters/Stringer)

Published: September 23, 2014 15:26

By Pepe Escobar

Pepe Escobar is the roving correspondent for Asia Times/Hong Kong, an analyst for RT and TomDispatch, and a frequent contributor to websites and radio shows ranging from the US to East Asia.

US Secretary of State Kerry brokered a deal in Afghanistan, installing a ‘coalition’ government, but couldn’t come up with a credible coalition to bomb IS in Syria. So the Pentagon will do it alone to the applause of its Gulf ‘petrodollar allies.’

This is a short tale of two coalitions.

Let’s start with Afghanistan. The charade in Kabul goes by the name of “power-sharing agreement.”

You got an election problem? Call John Kerry. That’s right; this “agreement” was brokered by none other than the US Secretary of State, who shoved the embarrassing issue of a tainted democratic election under an Afghan carpet.

It came to the point that a UN representative, Jan Kubish, virtually ordered the Afghan electoral commission not to release vote numbers.

And this is while the UN itself had been monitoring an audit and a recount of approximately 8 million votes.

The predictable “senior US officials” spun that the vote result was “transparent.” But still, no numbers.

So now we have – essentially appointed by Washington – former Finance Minister and World Bank official Ashraf Ghani as President, and Dr. Abdullah Abdullah as “Chief Executive”, a new post.

And this after Abdullah insistently claimed the vote results were no less than a monster fraud. US “Think Tank-land,” unfazed, has called it a “temporary fix.”

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (Reuters/Gary Cameron)

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (Reuters/Gary Cameron)

Now for the all-important breakdown: NATO top honcho Gen. Philip Breedlove said Saturday in Lithuania that both “power-sharers” swore on their lives they will “quickly” sign a security agreement with Washington.

This agreement was brokered, once again, by Kerry and outgoing President Hamid Karzai in late 2013 – and approved by Afghanistan’s Loya Jirga. Karzai though had refused to sign.

Short translation: at least 10,000 American troops – mostly Special Forces – will remain deployed in Afghanistan in Enduring Freedom Forever mode. This is a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) by any other name.

So the occupation continues. Not only with US troops, but also with NATO starting a “training mission” in January 2015 called Resolute Support.

Watch out for major, certified blowback. It’s a no-brainer the Taliban will keep showing Resolute Support to kick NATO and the US’s collective behind.

But that’s great. That’s exactly what the never-ending GWOT (Global War on Terror) is all about.

When in doubt, bomb everybody

Now for the coalition to fight Caliph Ibrahim, the self-appointed beheading prophet of ISIS/ISIL/IS in “Syraq”.

US ambassador to the UN Samantha Power has been on a roll ahead of the UN summit this week in New York.

She frantically spun there are over 40 countries in the coalition of the reluctantly willing assembled to fight the Caliph.

But she won’t name them – or detail what they will be doing.

What she does know is that this new GWOT chapter will last “several years.”

Power also ruled out any collaboration with “rogue” Iran. But she was forced to admit that Russia has a role in fighting the Caliph.

Now that’s groundbreaking. Until virtually yesterday, for the Obama administration Russia was the “evil empire” remixed.

Moscow did warn that, “bombing Syria without the cooperation of Damascus can have destructive practical consequences on the humanitarian situation in Syria.”

Once again, the clearest Power got was to specify that, “we will not do the airstrikes alone if the President decides to do the airstrikes.”

People view the debris of their homes after a Syrian war plane crashed in Raqqa, in northeast Syria September 16, 2014. (Reuters/Stringer)

People view the debris of their homes after a Syrian war plane crashed in Raqqa, in northeast Syria September 16, 2014. (Reuters/Stringer)

And once again, John Kerry stole the show. For him, it’s not 40, but “some 50” countries who are barely containing themselves to go Caliph-hunting.

Kerry, to his credit, and unlike Power, at least is now saying that Iran may “have a role” after all.

For his part, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi made it clear that any strategy that undermines the Syrian government “will be a recipe for defeat.”

And Russia’s ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin demolished US President Barack Obama’s strategy to train and weaponize Washington’s mythical “moderate” Syrian rebels.

Even China’s ambassador to the UN Liu Jieyi carefully weighed in: “The international community should respect the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of the countries in question.”

Kabul was a piece of cake. Kerry just had to offer a decent bribe. But that won’t fly with the Caliph business.

Washington refuses to cooperate with Damascus and coordinate with Tehran – especially after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei vetoed it, and President Rouhani blasted Obama’s strategy as “ridiculous.”

Meanwhile Turkey, a NATO ally, is screaming, “The Syrian regime is the patron of extremism,” in the words of Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

Kerry at least does not need to bribe Haider al-Abadi, the new Iraqi Prime Minister. After all Washington already bagged its Mesopotamian regime change, getting rid of Nouri al-Maliki.

Al-Abadi decided not to bomb Sunni regions in Iraq. Yet most of the Caliph’s resources and goons are actually in Syria.

Call the French fry guy

The Pentagon, not to be unfazed, carefully prepared a “mini-Shock and Awe” in Syria and started in style this Monday, launching a barrage of Tomahawk missiles on Raqqa.

“General” Hollande in France has been eager to join. With his popularity numbers glamorously flirting with zero, deploying Rafales against the bad guys is the only game in town for him.

Now compare it with Germany, as Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier insisted that air support or ground troops are “out of the question for us.”

It’s hard to see Kerry bribing Steinmeier. So what’s left is a coalition of two: Washington and Paris.

And it’s only in Iraq, because “General” Hollande already said bombing Syria is out.

The breakdown: bombing Syria will be via a coalition of the Pentagon with the Pentagon.

And this while Arab “diplomats” – as in the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) petrodollar gang – keep insisting the Pentagon should in fact bomb not only the Caliph’s goons but also Bashar al-Assad’s forces.

Which is what the Pentagon will “secretly” have in mind anyway.

Everyone remembers Obama’s red line last year when he threatened to bomb Damascus for “gassing its own people” just for Moscow to have him back off at the eleventh hour.

Now Obama could fulfill his dream via a “leading from behind” bombing.

Will the petrodollar gang also attack? Of course not. They will be applauding from the sidelines.

And for the doubters, there will always be Obama’s national security adviser, Susan Rice, spinning “this will be a unified coalition…It will be cohesive. And it will be under one single command authority.”

The Pentagon commanding the Pentagon. What could possibly go wrong?

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

Operation Tomahawk The Caliph – By Pepe Escobar

THE ROVING EYE
Operation Tomahawk The Caliph
By Pepe Escobar

The Tomahawks are finally flying again – propelled by newspeak. 42 Tomahawks fired from a Sixth Fleet destroyer parked in Mare Nostrum, plus F-22s raising hell and Hellfires spouted by drones, that’s a neat mini-Shock and Awe to honor Caliph Ibrahim, aka Abu Bakr al -Baghdadi, self-declared leader of Islamic State.

It’s all so surgical. All targets – from “suspected” weapons depots to the mayor’s mansion in Raqqah (the HQ of The Caliph’s goons) and assorted checkpoints – were duly obliterated, along with “dozens of”, perhaps 120, jihadis.

And praise those “over 40” (Samantha Power) or “over 50” (John Kerry) international allies in the coalition of the unwilling; America is never alone, although in this case mightily escorted, de facto, only by the usual Gulf petrodollar dictatorships and the realm of King Playstation, Jordan, all none too keen to engage in “kinetic activities”.

Aseptic newspeak aside, no one has seen or heard a mighty Gulf Cooperation Council air force deployed to bomb Syria. After all the vassals are scared as hell to tell their own populations they are – once again – bombing a fellow Arab nation. As for Damascus, it meekly said it was “notified” by the Pentagon its own territory would be bombed. Nobody really knows what the Pentagon is exactly telling Damascus.

The Pentagon calls it just the beginning of a “sustained campaign” – code for Long War, which is one of the original denominations of the Global War on Terror (GWOT) anyway. And yes, for all practical purposes this is a coalition of one. Let’s call it Operation Tomahawk The Caliph.

I am Khorasan
Hold your F-22s. Not really. The tomahawking had barely begun when an Israeli, made in USA Patriot missile shot a Syrian Su-24 which had allegedly “violated” Israeli air space over the Golan Heights. How about that in terms of sending a graphic message in close coordination with the Pentagon?

So this is not only about bombing The Caliph. It is a back-door preamble to bombing Bashar al-Assad and his forces. And also about bombing – with eight strikes west of Aleppo – a ghost; an al-Qaeda cell of the mysterious Khorasan group.

No wonder global fans of the Marvel Comics school of geopolitics are puzzled. Two simultaneous villains? Yep. And the other bad guy is even more evil than The Caliph.

Astonishing mediocrity Ben Rhodes, Obama’s deputy national security adviser, has defined Khorasan as “a group of extremists that is comprised of a number of individuals who we’ve been tracking for a long time.”

The Obama administration’s unison newspeak is that Khorasan includes former al-Qaeda assets not only from across the Middle East – including al-Qaeda in Iraq and Jabhat al-Nusra – but also Pakistan, as in an ultra-hardcore extension of the Pakistani Taliban.

What a mess. Al-Qaeda in Iraq is the embryo of ISIS, which turned into IS. Jabhat al-Nusra is the al-Qaeda franchise in Syria, approved by CEO Ayman al-Zawahiri. Both despise each other, and yet Khorasan holds the merit of bundling Caliph’s goons and al-Qaeda goons together. Additionally, for Washington Jabhat al-Nusra tend to qualify as “moderate” jihadis – almost like “our bastards”. Too messy? No problem; when in doubt, bomb everybody.

The Caliph, then, is old news. Those ghostly Khorasan goons are the real deal – so evil that the Pentagon is convinced their “plotting was imminent” leading to a new 9/11.

The ghost in the GWOT machine
Khorasan is the perfect ghost in the GWOT machine; the target of a war within a war. Because Obama in fact launched two wars – as he sent two different notifications to Congress under the War Powers Resolution to cover both The Caliph and Khorasan.

And what’s in a name? Well, a thinly disguised extra demonization of Iran, why not – as historic Khorasan, the previous Parthia, stretched from mainly Iran towards Afghanistan.

Khorasan is theoretically led by The Joker, sorry, al-Qaeda honcho Muhsin al-Fadhli, born in Kuwait in 1981, a “senior facilitator and financier” to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Iraq, in the priceless assessment of the State Department. Although Ayman al-Zawahiri, ever PR-conscious, has not claimed the credit, the Pentagon is convinced he sent al-Fadhli to the Syrian part of the Caliphate to attract Western jihadis with EU passports capable of evading airport security and plant bombs on commercial jets

The Treasury Department is convinced al-Fadhli even led an al-Qaeda cell in Iran – demonization habits die hard -, “facilitating” jihadi travel to Afghanistan or Iraq.

And what a neat contrast to the Society of the Spectacle-addicted Caliph. Khorasan is pure darkness. Nobody knows how many; how long they’ve existed; what do they really want.

By contrast, there are about 190,000 live human beings left in bombed out Raqqa. Nobody is talking about collateral damage – although the body count is already on, and The Caliph’s slick PR operation will be certainly advertising them on YouTube. As for The Caliph’s goons, they will predictably use Mao tactics and dissolve like fish in the sea. The Pentagon will soon be bombing vast tracts of desert for nothing – if that’s not the case already.

There is no “Free Syrian Army” – that Qatari myth – anymore. There are no “moderate” jihadis left in Syria. They are all fighting for The Caliph or for al-Zawahiri. And still the Obama administration extracted a Congressional OK to train and weaponize “moderate rebels”.

US ambassador to the UN Samantha Power – Undisputed Queen of Batshit Craziness – at least got one thing right. Their “training” will “service these troops in the same struggle that they’ve been in since the beginning of this conflict against the Assad regime.” So yes – this “sustained campaign” is the back door to “Assad must go” remixed.

People who are really capable of defeating The Caliph’s goons don’t tomahawk. They are the Syrian Arab Army (roughly 35,000 dead so far killed in action against ISIS/ISIL/IS and/or al-Qaeda); Hezbollah; Iranian Revolutionary Guards advisers/operatives; and Kurdish militias. It won’t happen. This season’s blockbuster is the Empire of Chaos bombing The Caliph and the ghost in the GWOT machine. Two tickets for the price of one. Because we protect you even from “unknown unknown” evil.

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007), Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge (Nimble Books, 2007), and Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).