Levant crisis - III

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Singha
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Re: Levant crisis - III

Postby Singha » 09 Jul 2018 23:08

they will secure and stabilize the jordan border and trade routes first before approaching the last holdout - the golan front incl its isis pocket

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Re: Levant crisis - III

Postby habal » 11 Jul 2018 09:09

take a look at lake Ram in golan heights, it is completely rain fed and always remains full. So the area receives ample and more rainfall.

A brief look at golan heights resources explains its vital position in making Israel water secure.

    * the Golan Heights contributes to quenching one-third of Israel’s entire water supply. Its catchments leading to the Jordan River and Lake Kinneret – Israel’s main water source – receive long bouts of heavy rainfall, particularly during the colder months and occasionally during stormy season in the summer.

    *It also provides snow for Israel’s one and only skiing destination, the Mount Hermon Ski Resort. The mountain’s peak reaches 9232 feet above sea level and is Syria’s highest point.

    *The remunerative resort attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists every year; many of them, foreigners, who are conveniently unaware of the land’s disputation.



Singha
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Re: Levant crisis - III

Postby Singha » 11 Jul 2018 11:56

so control of the upper watershed is the driver for arid israel
same as control of indus-jhelum-chenab headwaters in cashmere for the pakis

water is the ultimate motivator. water is life.

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Re: Levant crisis - III

Postby Singha » 11 Jul 2018 17:29

syrians have taken the jordanian border posts except the ISIS owned part
Image

Singha
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Re: Levant crisis - III

Postby Singha » 11 Jul 2018 17:30

the ISIS is in possession of that 1000 sq km area backed by the golan heights.

they are next on hitlist.

Rudradev
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Re: Levant crisis - III

Postby Rudradev » 12 Jul 2018 02:36

It has been a mistake for us on BRF to compartmentalize discussion on the "Levant Crisis" vs. "West Asia/Gulf" in different threads, because it produced a blind spot of analysis at the point of convergence.

https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-des ... with-putin

Israeli, Saudi, and Emirati Officials Privately Pushed for Trump to Strike a “Grand Bargain” with Putin


Adam Entous
July 9, 2018

During a private meeting shortly before the November, 2016, election, Mohammed bin Zayed, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, floated to a longtime American interlocutor what sounded, at the time, like an unlikely grand bargain. The Emirati leader told the American that Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, might be interested in resolving the conflict in Syria in exchange for the lifting of sanctions imposed in response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

Current and former U.S. officials said that bin Zayed, known as M.B.Z., was not the only leader in the region who favored rapprochement between the former Cold War adversaries. While America’s closest allies in Europe viewed with a sense of dread Trump’s interest in partnering with Putin, three countries that enjoyed unparallelled influence with the incoming Administration—Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the U.A.E.—privately embraced the goal. Officials from the three countries have repeatedly encouraged their American counterparts to consider ending the Ukraine-related sanctions in return for Putin’s help in removing Iranian forces from Syria.

Experts say that such a deal would be unworkable, even if Trump were interested. They say Putin has neither the interest nor the ability to pressure Iranian forces to leave Syria. Administration officials have said that Syria and Ukraine will be among the topics that Trump and Putin will discuss at their summit in Helsinki on July 16th. White House officials did not respond to a request for comment.

...

M.B.Z. is regarded as one of the Middle East’s strategic thinkers. More than other Arab leaders of his generation, he hails from the school of Realpolitik. During the Obama Administration, M.B.Z. sought to establish closer ties between the U.A.E. and Putin, in the hope of encouraging Moscow to scale back its partnership with Iran, particularly in Syria. (Much like Israel, the U.A.E. and Saudi Arabia consider Iran their biggest strategic threat. They also lacked trust in President Obama.)

As an inducement for Putin to partner with Gulf states rather than Iran, the U.A.E. and Saudi Arabia started making billions of dollars in investments in Russia and convening high-level meetings in Moscow, Abu Dhabi, Riyadh, and the Seychelles.

It is unclear whether M.B.Z.’s preëlection proposal came from Putin himself or one of his confidants, or whether the Emirati leader came up with the idea. But the comment suggested that M.B.Z. believed that turning Putin against Iran would require sanctions relief for Moscow, a concession that required the support of the American President. If Hillary Clinton had won the election, the idea of accepting Russian aggression in Ukraine would have been a nonstarter, current and former U.S. officials told me. But Trump promised a different approach.

Israeli officials lobbied for rapprochement between Washington and Moscow soon after Trump’s election victory. In a private meeting during the transition, Ron Dermer, the Israeli Ambassador to the United States and one of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s closest confidants, said that the Israeli government was encouraging the incoming Trump Administration to coöperate more closely with Putin, starting in Syria, with the hope of convincing Moscow to push the Iranians to leave the country, an attendee told me.

Like M.B.Z., Netanyahu made courting Putin a priority, particularly after Russia’s military intervention in Syria in 2015. The Israeli leader wanted to insure that Israeli forces could continue to access Syrian airspace, which the Russians partially controlled, to prevent the deployment of advanced weapons systems by Iran and its proxies that could threaten the Jewish state. A senior Israeli official declined to comment on Dermer’s message but said that “Israel does believe it is possible to get a U.S.-Russian agreement in Syria that would push the Iranians out,” and that doing so “could be the beginning of an improvement in U.S.-Russian relations over all.”

Separately, a former U.S. official recalled having a conversation after Trump’s Inauguration with an Israeli Cabinet minister with close ties to Netanyahu in which the minister pitched the American on the idea of “trading Ukraine for Syria.” The former official told me, “You can understand why Russia’s help with Syria is a far higher priority for Israel than pushing back on Russian aggression in Ukraine. But I considered it a major stretch for Israel to try to convince the United States that U.S. interests are well served by looking the other way at Russian aggression in Ukraine. Of course, Trump may disagree for his own reasons.”

After Trump took office, the idea was raised again, by Adel al-Jubeir, the foreign minister of Saudi Arabia, and Abdullah bin Zayed, the foreign minister of the U.A.E., during a private March, 2017, dinner that included several other guests. “Their message was ‘Why don’t we lift the Ukrainian sanctions on Russia in exchange for getting the Russians to push Iran out of Syria,’ ” an attendee recalled the foreign ministers saying. A senior U.A.E. official said that he did not recall the discussion. The dinner attendee told me, “It wasn’t a trial balloon. They were trying to socialize the idea.”
...

The Americans who heard the Israeli, Emirati, and Saudi pitches in late 2016 and early 2017 assumed that the idea was dead. But ahead of the Helsinki summit, Trump started making statements that suggested he could be open to making a deal with Putin after all.

On June 8th, Trump called for Russia to be readmitted to the Group of Seven industrial nations. (Russia was expelled four years ago, after it annexed Ukraine’s Crimea region.) Then, during a dinner at the G-7 summit in Canada, Trump reportedly said that Crimea was Russian because the people who lived there spoke Russian. Several weeks later, when asked whether reports that he would drop Washington’s long-standing opposition to the annexation of Crimea were true, Trump responded, “We’re going to have to see.”



Summary:

Israel, KSA, and UAE (IKU bloc) are working together to broker a deal between the US and Russia: US lifts sanctions imposed on Russia after the Ukraine conflict and the accession of Crimea to Russia. In return, Russia denies Iran and its allies strategic space in Syria (or at least, collaborates passively with Israeli efforts to deny Iran such a foothold).

The IKU bloc did not believe that Hillary Clinton sarkar would have been amenable to such a deal because of their inveterate antipathy to Russia (they would never reconcile to the partition of Ukraine). However they have been working on the Trump administration, which seems willing to make amends with Russia so as to isolate Iran.

US strategic thinking seems to be: divide the Shia belt that was beginning to coalesce from Iran to Lebanon with Russian godfathership. UAE and KSA have been investing heavily in Russia to try and buy Putin over to their side and away from the Iran-led pan-Shia alliance.

It looks like exploratory moves by both Washington and Moscow towards embracing the IKU bloc's program are currently under way.

This explains why the Israelis have been able to carry out airstrikes in Syria with impunity despite the existence of S400s there. It also explains why Trump is busy disrupting NATO, recommending that Russia be reinstated in the G8, and preparing for a conciliatory summit with Putin as of this week.

Implications for India: Pentagon has already asked US Congress for a CATSAA waiver for India's purchases of Russian arms. However Nikki Haley came to Delhi to personally warn us against any sort of continuing engagement with Iran. This shows that driving a wedge between Russia and the Iran/Shia-belt is of utmost strategic importance for the US, even insofar as it impacts the relations of other countries with Russia and Iran respectively. This is all in the immediate term.

Implications for other countries are also interesting. Trump has upped his trade war against China to the tune of tariffs against $200B of Chinese exports. China has stood firm and told the US that they will not give up one single inch of their maritime claims in the Indo-China Sea. So things look primed for increasing hostility between US and China, as well as between US and Iran, even as US moves closer to Russia via negotiations brokered by the IKU bloc.

What about Pakistan? I think this is a huge advantage for them. They are slowly running afoul of their CPEC masters, but luckily for them, at this very moment the US is likely wooing Pakistan once again to quickly resolve Afghanistan and possibly as a bulwark against Iran. UAE and KSA are old friends and sponsors of Pakistan and the Taliban, and will lend their voice to support the restoration of Pindi amongst Washington's favoured munnas. The US insistence on India cutting off engagement with Iran, and thereby losing access via Chahbahar to Afghanistan, is an additional bonus for the Pakis.

India must carefully consider the long-term implications of these profoundly shifting geopolitical dynamics.

Advantages:
-Greater US-China hostility
-Possible distancing of Russia-China relationship if the US-IKU wedge is successfully driven between them
-???

Disadvantages:
-Russia and US, if brought together by IKU, cannot be easily played against each other to our advantage. They may even collaborate to deny us tech, for example (remember the cryogenic engine saga).
-UAE and KSA will push for the restoration of Pakistan's favoured status in Washington. Pakistan will gain leverage. Pakistan and KSA will have a free hand to continue pushing the Wahhabization of Indian Muslims as well as our near-abroad (from Afghanistan to Myanmar to Sri Lanka to Maldives). Cashmere is a theatre of particular concern.
-Iran, while no great or reliable friend to India, was a useful balancer and important energy supplier. It also could have provided some degree of access to Afghanistan via Chahbahar. Its isolation and possibly defeat/regime-change in a war with US-IKU will be bad news.
-???

Your inputs please.

Rudradev
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Re: Levant crisis - III

Postby Rudradev » 12 Jul 2018 03:04

So India is already taking the side of the Israel-KSA-UAE bloc against Iran, though in a supportive noncombatant role:

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/ ... 300859.ece

Summary: At the request of diplomats from the UAE, India is giving medical treatment to GCC-backed Yemeni govt soldiers injured in the civil war against Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

No wonder Iran has started squawking:
India will lose 'special privileges' if it buys crude from Saudi Arabia, U.S.: Iranian diplomat

Note that these dire warnings were issued by the Iranian Deputy Ambassador not at the govt. level, but while addressing a meeting organized by the All India Minorities Front (!) in New Delhi. That itself is a different kind of warning.

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Re: Levant crisis - III

Postby V_Raman » 12 Jul 2018 03:21

The days of India fearing Pakistan being resurrected are gone. IKU or whoever it maybe - have learned their lessons with Pakistan. If we cannot handle Pakistan - we are good for nothing regardless.

We underestimate the leverage USA has on India. We have no choice but to passively go with IKU and USA at this stage.

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Re: Levant crisis - III

Postby Suresh S » 12 Jul 2018 05:20

Good analysis by RD. My 2 cents. Putin will not abandon Iran. Reasons are many. Historical enemity between Jews and orthodox Russians . Too much Russian blood shed in the Communist revolution by Jews including the murder of the last Czar and destruction of orthodox churches and murder of priests.Too many negative things done by USA against first the USSR and than Russia. Starting with the war in Chechnya, Georgia and Ukraine. These things can not be reconciled that easily by UAE and saudis.We are in a tough spot and RDs analysis is on the money. But India must not abandon Iran, not that I love them at all, but I dislike and distrust the saudis a lot more. Unfortunately realpolitik will force us to take the side of UAE and Saudis . Oil, Indian expats sending money to India and investments in India by UAE and Saudis.If that was not enough our relations with Israel in defense tech and business relations with US will force our hand. A very tough situation indeed.If India can some how maintain a working relation with Iran through all this govt will deserve a gold medal.

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Re: Levant crisis - III

Postby chanakyaa » 12 Jul 2018 07:58

RD saar,

The IKU block you are referring to is really Israel (supported by ungle) bank rolled by KSA/UAE. With respect to Ruskies, there is nothing KSA/UAE has that it can offer to Ruskies (including any and all investments) except using the OPEC platform to keep oil prices elevated which is one thing that benefits Ruskies tremendously. Once oil prices stay high, KSA/UAE has nothing to offer to Ruskies; they are useless.

IKU bloc bringing some truce between ungle and Ruskies is nice wishful thinking, but neither ungle nor Ruskies are disillusioned to disregard what one has been trying to do the other.

Ruskies may agree to contain some Eye-ranian activities in Syria in exchange for sanction relief, but it will not let Eye-ran slip of its influence. The day Syria and Eye-ran falls, it is game over for Ruskies. It is an existential threat to Ruskies (read oil/gas). Primary reason why Ruskies is in Syria in the first place. In fact Ruskies may agree to proactively monitor Syria and Eye-ran, as a compromise, to ensure that there is no threat to Israel, but it would be foolish for them to let go of that leverage. All that S-X00 transfer is lot of hot air.

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Re: Levant crisis - III

Postby Singha » 12 Jul 2018 10:42

>> Ruskies may agree to proactively monitor Syria and Eye-ran, as a compromise, to ensure that there is no threat to Israel

seems to be the deal playing out in daraa. assad will reconquista all the border tracts , not push too much in the golan heights and rus via assad / iran will kind of ensure the hezbollah do not use the syrian side of the golan heights upto some distance to stir the pot in israel villages.

rus is waiting for DT to wind up the al-tanf project and pull out of more of eastern syria though a complete us withdrawal is unlikely because it is unsure of future iraqi govt posture wrt to us presence on iraqi soil. assad will seep in via tribal alliances where the us vacates.

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Re: Levant crisis - III

Postby Austin » 13 Jul 2018 22:49

Yemeni forces shoot down #Saudi fighter jet in #Asir as it was returning from a bombing mission

Image

https://twitter.com/islamicworldupd/sta ... 8023510018

Cain Marko
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Re: Levant crisis - III

Postby Cain Marko » 14 Jul 2018 08:24

^Going by the tail, looks like an f15

Singha
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Re: Levant crisis - III

Postby Singha » 14 Jul 2018 08:54

yes the rectangular air intake is also seen. must have been on a low level mission. the wing has snapped and rotated upside down.

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Re: Levant crisis - III

Postby Shanmukh » 16 Jul 2018 09:49

habal wrote:take a look at lake Ram in golan heights, it is completely rain fed and always remains full. So the area receives ample and more rainfall.


Majdal Shams, the biggest Druze settlement, is on the banks of Lake Ram. However, its population is just about 10K & it still does not satisfy all its needs from Lake Ram. The continuous drought has shown just how vulnerable it is. Take a look at the article.

https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,734 ... 25,00.html

Secondly, Lake Ram is in the FOOTHILLS of the Golan, not on the plateau itself.

A brief look at golan heights resources explains its vital position in making Israel water secure.

[list]
* the Golan Heights contributes to quenching one-third of Israel’s entire water supply. Its catchments leading to the Jordan River and Lake Kinneret – Israel’s main water source – receive long bouts of heavy rainfall, particularly during the colder months and occasionally during stormy season in the summer.


I looked at the hydrology data of Israel since 1980s. Here, you can see a limited part of the data in English. http://www.water.gov.il/Hebrew/Professi ... JORDAN.pdf. The full version is turned into a book in Hebrew called Israeli Water Resources by Haim Gvirtzman. The total Israeli consumption of water was ~2200 million cubic metres of water in 2016.

There you will see that the Golan supplies about 195 million cubic metres of water to the Lake Kinneret. The total capacity of Lake Kinneret & its sister reservoirs in the area varies between 600 & 650 million cubic metres of water. In short, not only is the Golan not responsible for 1/3 of the water resources of Israel, but not even 1/3 of Kinneret. The confirmed contribution of water from the Golan to Israel's resources is <10%, based on the contribution to the Kinneret.

There is one other bit of contribution of water from the Golan to Israeli water resources. This data is much more variable. The rivulets of Golan contribute to some extent to the Banias river. The amount varies (depending on the year) between 50 & 120 million cubic metres of water. Even assuming the full 120 [which is the maximum], one still ends up with <15% of the total water resources of Israel. Not sure where you are getting the 1/3 of the water sources of Israel from.

Secondly, even if the Syrians get control of the Golan, they cannot just turn away the water from flowing into the Lake Kinneret. Mt. Hermon, the highest point, sits smack in the middle of the demilitarised zone between Israeli Golan & Syrian Golan & almost all of Israeli Golan slopes towards Israel & the rivers in the area naturally drain into the Kinneret. Unless the Syrians find a way to do away with the Mt. Hermon, they cannot just redirect the water. The descent is extremely rapid. Golan's altitude varies from ~3000 metres at the highest point to 212 metres BELOW sea level at the lowest point. Consequently, it is hard to store the water, which anyway flows mostly into the Kinneret.

Finally, as I mentioned, the ability of the Golan to store water is extremely limited. That is why the area is so thinly populated, despite the region being annexed by the Israelis in 1981. Compare the number of settlers in the Golan (~20,000 in 2016) against the 4 lakhs in West Bank. If the region were so fertile & easy to cultivate as you are making it all out to be, why aren't the Israelis thronging the region in huge numbers? It was annexed practically by Israel nearly 40 years ago.

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Re: Levant crisis - III

Postby kvraghav » 16 Jul 2018 10:17

Singha wrote:yes the rectangular air intake is also seen. must have been on a low level mission. the wing has snapped and rotated upside down.

Rectangular intake can also mean typhoon


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