U.S., Israel, and Russia: The Winners and the Losers in the Middle East high stakes poker.

Saudi Arabia wants to take Al-Raqqa in Syria, considered the de-facto capital of the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) terrorists group. To do so, Saudi forces must take a somewhat roundabout ground route to reach Al-Raqqa, starting in Jordan and then circling through Iraq’s Western Al-Anbar Province in order to avoid Southern Iraq’s Shia enclaves and again to avoid Jordan’s Sunni enclaves which are supporting ISIS.  The Shia in Southern Iraq and the Sunni’s in the Jordanian desert are blocking the Saudis from a one country route or a direct route into Syria. Of course the Sunni tribes in the Western Al-Anbar are also hostile to the Saudis and have deep ties with ISIS leadership in Syria and Jordan, but payoffs from the governments of Jordan and the United States, over the years, have and will ensure that the old Sons of Iraq’s Sunni tribes in Al-Anbar initially remain passive and not take action against Saudi supply lines.

Prior to the Saudi ground operations against “ISIS” in Al-Raqqa, the Kurds will have probably attacked Turkey and may do so prior to or on Eid Nowruz, the Persian New Year (23 MAR 16), which the Kurds also celebrate. The Kurds are motivated to attack Turkey partly because of Turkey’s seizure of 500-plus members and supporters of the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) in retaliation for the most recent bombing in Ankara. A PKK offshoot, known as the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK), has claimed responsibility for the attack. The communist separatist PKK has been deemed a terrorist group by Turkey and the United States, in addition to other countries.

Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President Masoud Barzani has already stated that if the attack in Ankara was committed by the PKK, then this will start the war between the Turks and the Kurds. The reality is that this war will be bloody and ugly, and will force Ankara to declare a state of civil emergency in Turkey, which means no one will be spared when Turkey unleashes its military might against the Kurds in southern Turkey.  Sunday’s blast came as Turkey’s security forces were preparing to launch large-scale operations against militants in two mainly Kurdish towns after authorities imposed curfews there, prompting some residents to flee.  The United States still refuses Turkey’s demands of adding the Syrian Kurds to the list, saying it regards the Syrian Kurds as a vital ally in the fight against the Islamic State.

Nevertheless, the U.S. has warned the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), which controls large swaths of northern Syria, and its armed wing, the People’s Protection Units (YPG) not to support the PKK in Turkey.

Turkish officials suspect Syrian Kurds as possibly being behind the attack.

To further complicate matters representatives from Syria’s Kurdish region on Thursday (March 17), declared that they would form a new federal system of governance, giving a more unified voice to Syrian Kurdish demands for greater autonomy.  Now that the Syrian Kurds have declared independence, and given that the KRG has established its own region in Iraq, the Kurds in Turkey will have no choice but to also declare their independence from Turkey as Turkey begins its ground operations against the PKK.

The declaration of a PKK governmental region for the Turkish Kurds will be the only means by which the Kurds can enable the creation of a “Greater Kurdistan” encompassing the Kurdish areas in Syria, Iraq, and Turkey. However, Iran, Turkey, and Iraq cannot allow this entity to be created because the creation of a “Greater Kurdistan” means the death of their national aspirations to secure their current borders. Therefore, the three countries will form a military coalition and undertake to destroy the new Kurdish state.

Once this triumvirate begins its attacks on multiple fronts against the Kurds, Barzani-who owns his economic and political footprint to the Turks-will be checkmated once and for all. He will have to make a decision: Either join with the Kurds or the Turks in this war. No one knows, maybe note even Barzani himself, what he will decide.

Nor do we know-should Barzani choose to cast his lot with the Kurds-which of the new Kurdish nations he will join and support. This raises another question: can the three Kurdish “nations” put aside their many political differences to unite and form a Greater Kurdistan? Given the past record of enmity and violence that has characterized relations between the Kurdish groups, it is hard to imagine a scenario that will bring them together.  The Kurds have always been tribal and neither of their leadership is willing to serve under the banner of the other. And why would they? Given multitudes of nations and companies that have laundered billions of dollars through the various Kurdish leaders who are willing to take money from the Russians, Americans, Israelis, Iranians, and anyone else who is willing to pump money into their coffers, hoping that they can find a Muslim ally in the region who is not willing to shift its partnership given what serves him best at the time of the offer.

That being the case, we may expect the formation of three separate Kurdish entities rather than a single, united Greater Kurdistan. We may also expect that these entities will be unable to get along and end up fighting each other at the end as they have in the past. Such a scenario will prove a decidedly mixed blessing for the United States, Russia, and Israel.  As for the United States, on one hand the U.S. will be the beneficiary of a lucrative trade in arms and related military equipment to all these entities, providing them with the needed equipment and support that they will need to sustain themselves.

On the other hand, it will not be able to form enduring relationships with any of the entities given they are already on Russian-and Israeli-payrolls. Nevertheless, they may be willing to shift their loyalties given the available opportunities to exploit their “national” benefits. The reality is that this will be the reason why the Kurdish states will be “governed” (in a manner of speaking) by inevitably corrupt and untrustworthy leaders who will not feel any loyalty or real friendship toward the U.S., and who will betray the U.S. just as soon as it is no longer in their interest to be on our side.

The template for this kind of duplicitous relationship and the political failure can be found in the U.S.-Saudi “alliance.” The Saudis are “friends” of the U.S., supposedly, and are using warplanes purchased from the U.S. to secure their national interests.  They are also using the same air platforms to strike targets in Yemen. Some of those strikes have resulted in collateral damage, i.e., the deaths of innocent civilians. As one might expect, the nations taking part in the peace talks currently being held to end the conflict in Yemen are blaming the U.S. for those casualties. In other words, the Saudis kill at random and the U.S. gets the blame.

As a result, the U.S. finds itself in a position where it can be blackmailed by anyone it supports.  If tomorrow it supports Turkey with needed equipment to fight against the Kurds, it will be blamed for the Kurdish deaths suffered at the hands of Turkish military.  If it supplies the Kurds, Turkey will blackmail it lending support to groups that are accused of conducting terrorist attacks inside of Turkey, a U.S. NATO ally. Either way the U.S. will end up using more money to keep its “allies” close.

U.S may earn money in our dealings and weapons and other trade relationships with the various Middle Eastern belligerents, but our prestige will suffer a fatal blow from which we can never recover.  This also holds true for Israel, which is the only democracy in the region. However, it will be blamed for arming the Kurds, the latter which will oppress all minorities in Iraq and Syria-including the Yazidis and Assyrians-in order to ensure that their lands are secured for Kurdish and Israeli oil interests in the region.  The sad part is that by doing so, Israel will be supporting individuals who are taking advantage of these minorities at a time when the latter are going through genocide, something Jews are no strangers to.

So if Saudi finally destroys “ISIS” and takes Al-Raqqa, it will not do so because it cares about defeating a great enemy of the world.  It will do so for only one reason: to ensure that Iran no longer has the ability to influence the course of events in Lebanon and Syria, hence destroying Iran’s ability to become the regional hegemony it was intending to be.  The Iranians will be blocked both geographically and politically. Sadly, Al-Raqqa use to be under our control before we lost it to the Russians and now possibly the Saudis.  If the Saudis are successful in Al-Raqqa, we may postulate three scenarios as to what will happen then:

Scenario 1: Turkey will partner with the Saudis to isolate Iran politically and militarily in the region, and to defeat the Kurdish aspirations in Syria and Southern Turkey.  In this scenario Turkey will fight against Iran and Iran will fight against Turkey by killing as many Kurds as possible within Iraq, and Syria.

Scenario 2: Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria will be destroyed, and this will strengthen the hand of Sunnis in the effort to isolate and eliminate Iranian-allied Shia communities in the region. If this scenario plays out, Iran cannot fight against the Saudis given that Saudi Arabia will claim it is fighting against ISIS as Russia did when it began bombing U.S. allies in Syria five months ago.  To keep itself from being isolated within the global community, Iran will find it impossible to stay neutral or against Saudi efforts in Al-Raqqa. Iran will come to the aid of its allies in Syria by funding and supporting the Kurds in Turkey, Iraq, and Syria as well as Shiites in Syria and Jordan to fight against the Turks and the Saudis.  This will destabilize Jordan and the region even further and will surely increase the numbers of ISIS fighters in the region.  Here it should be pointed out that the Muslim Kurds have traditionally eaten from Russian hands. Because Iran is aligned with Russia, if Iran asks for something then it means the Russians are asking, given their need to keep Syrian leadership in power and set the stage for “Greater Kurdistan” to be established.

Lets not forget that the Kurds are also fighting with Turkey. That means that if Iran asks the Kurds to fight against Turkey and Saudi Arabia, then that means they are really asking on behalf of Russia.  Again, ISIS numbers will again and miraculously increase and or the Kurds and ISIS will end up fighting separate fights against the same foes.

Scenario 3:  The Saudis will enter the war to ensure that Kurdish forces cannot declare independence in the region of Syria, ensuring that no one creates a non-Arabic nation within the current Arab states. America will have to make a decision to support the Kurds in Syria and its current opposition forces, or the Saudis, which is its traditional ally.  Given that the U.S. and the United Nations have stated that they will not support a Kurdish Region separate from a federal Syria and/or Iraq, this means that they will not be able to walk these decisions back.  If the United States chooses an option that will favor the Saudis, it means that it is choosing to support ISIS.  If it choses in favor of Kurds, then that means it is supporting Russian allies in the region at a cost to its reputation and resources, while Russia sits out of the game watching America being sucked into a quagmire in Syria.  As for Israel, by then it will have figured out that it should have invested in a more reliable ally than the Kurdish tribesmen in the region and will have to fight against American interests in the region, further isolating its foreign policy from the U.S. policy makers regardless of who is the next president of the United States (POTUS).

The greater loser in this “game” is the U.S. because Russia expands its footprint through proxies in Iraq, Syria, and Turkey. Yesterday Russian President Putin stated that in one hour he could bring back military forces he extracted from Syria. This comment was made to scare whom? A cease-fire is in place and peace talks are ongoing. This was a direct warning to the U.S. and Turkey that they should not interfere in Syrian affairs.  Unfortunately, the U.S. has no other choice or option because it checkmated itself into this position by pulling its forces out of Iraq.  Russia knows that the U.S. will not be able to commit any forces to fight in Syria under the current Democratic administration because it would mean the loss of the 2016 presidential election by the Democrats if they commit to the fight.  Russia also knows that the current administration, which looks at the region from a political rather than a security perspective, will delay any action hoping that if a Republican administration takes over in January 2017, they will be blamed for taking the nation back to war in the Middle East. In other words, the war goes on for another four years as people die in the region.

Russia will now challenge Israel at the same time, given the Israeli Defense Minister stated recently that Israel is working with the Kurds in the region. Although, it is no secret that Israel is spending billions in the KRG.  In early January 2016, Russia Today (RT) News published the report that the Israeli Minister of Justice had advocated for the Kurds to have their own state. Since the U.S. has rejected this notion now, Israel must try to support it, hence placing itself again in the crossfire for the destruction of the Sunni states at the hands of the Kurds.  The problem is that as Israel gets pulled into a war to save the Kurds and its investment, Iran will have the time to build its arsenals to achieve its nuclear goals earlier than expected.

Since the U.S has already informed the Kurds in Iraq and Syria that it will not support the creation of a Kurdish autonomous entity, where does this leave the Israel-U.S. relationship?  Israel will have to choose between Russian aims in the region or the U.S. ability to lead in the Middle East.

Also, since the U.S. has stated that it will not support Kurdish autonomies in the region, then why are the Kurdish-allies of the U.S.-fighting so hard if everyone has realized that a larger Kurdistan is not possible or beneficial to anyone in the region? They are fighting because Russia wants to win.   How does Russia win?  They know that all these nations from Iran, to Israel, to the Kurds, to the Turks, and the Sunni States will be crying for handouts and help from the U.S. Meanwhile, America will be blamed for this mess as Russia sits on the sidelines watching the reputation of the U.S. be burned for generations to come for destroying the region.  But the U.S. will not help even with boots on the ground due to the fact that Americans will not support more of its blood and treasures being sacrificed in the region.  This prompts the question: Given that this is certain to happen, who wants to take Mosul? Are the Iraqis and the Kurds willing to join forces and fight under the Iraqi flag?  If the Kurds agree to this decision, it means the end of Kurdish aspirations in Syria, Turkey, Iraq, and Iran.  It also means the death of Israeli money that was poured into the coffers of the Kurds over the years.  If the Kurds are not willing to support with the Mosul operation, that means that the Iraqi Army must conduct the operation by itself.  To be fair, the Kurds recently offered 4,000 fighters to fight with the Iraqi Army in Mosul.  Unfortunately for the Assyrians who are on the Kurdish payrolls, that mean 4,000 dead Assyrians in Mosul that will gain nothing for Assyrian rights in Assyria Nineveh Plain.

The Iraqi Army will now have to fight the fight with a combination of Sunnis and Shiites.  In doing so the two groups will end up killing each other more than they will fight ISIS in Mosul.  Will the most probable course of action likely be the Iraqi Army using the Hast Al Shabby and Iranian aligned group that will fight and die in Mosul?  For the Assyrians who are now registered with the Ministry of Defense and fighting under the Iraqi flag, that means they will now die in Mosul because their leaders opted to take money from the Shia-led government in Iraq, rather than supporting their own unified force in the Assyria Nineveh Plain.

On January 7, I stated on the Audrey Russo show that the first six months of this year will be the bloodiest months in the entire campaign against ISIS and the bloodiest of 2016 in general.  Unfortunately, this is the one prediction that NEC-SE was hoping would not come true. At the end, you can blame Russia, the U.S., and Israel for choosing friends in the region whom they cannot rely on. Sadly, because the love of money is the root of all evil, these nations will still chase financial gain thinking that it will cure all their aliments.  Hopefully, they will one day realize that true partners are not bought. True partners are the ones willing to go it alone in support of the efforts to bring peace to the region, and not to make themselves the most powerful for the sole purpose of controlling the natural resources of the region or laundering money for their own benefit rather than the benefit of the people who just want to live in peace in their homes.

? Isaiah 19:23-25

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