The Opening Salvo

August 30, 2013

United States Capitol

United States Capitol (Photo credit: Jack’s LOST FILM)

 

 

 

 

Dear Reader,

 

Greetings and Good Day,

 

“The beauty of words leads to literature, poetry and prose. A cat walks into a corner.”

 

When going through the most important literature in military affairs, from Sun Tzu to Clausewitz or other modern thinkers; the art of conventional & asymmetric war combined to counterinsurgency, offers a lot of calculation, thought and considerations, on several aspects of a conflict including the day after.

 

Analogies and studies abound, yet we all know that each context plays for its own self.  It could be a catwalk for the world if the Assad regime continued to kill his own citizens without using the gas, however this game changer do oblige all responsible decision makers to change the prism.  In fact the national interest of the US was perfectly carried on with a prolonged conflict in Syria that would not endanger the overall geopolitical environment with gas, while the administration could dedicate its efforts to sane the budget and revamp the economy. 

 

This is not the case, as the interests of the US are directly challenged now with the use of CW, be this because Syria has a geographic importance or because on the long run the Mediterranean gas and oil exploration will be very much at stake.  The same goes for China a nation that has an enormous interest for a free flow of oil from the Mediterranean. The Assad regime abused its own people and miscalculated the international red line.

 

As the world expects a military action to be conducted and led by the US, military planners are still adjourning objectives and contingencies.  We know by now that UN inspectors will travel back to NYC on Saturday and will consign the report to the general secretary on the same day, we know also that the UK parliament is not keen on action and that more than a hundred US congress men sent a letter to the US President to engage with the congress.

 

Time is a very precious commodity and while the US is a democracy that enables all people to express themselves, it is also constitutional for the president to order military actions in presence of challenges and concerns that threaten the US national interests. This is the perfect case, hence congressmen while engaged by phone will excuse the president for not checking in at the congress hall.

 

My understanding of the military action is that it needs to be well planned and it has to reach its objectives. The objectives are to send a clear message to Assad not to use CW again, and secondly not to retaliate and cause an enlargement of the conflict.

 

In a previous contribute I explained that 3 salvos of 24 missiles targeting some air defense assets, a couple of missile batteries and a republican guard garrison can be of high visibility and sufficient for the message to be delivered, but now I add that perhaps this is not enough for Assad to think twice before any retaliation.

 

Saturday will be the crucial day, as the Security Council will continue to meet to find an agreement on the resolution and this time will permit the Assad forces to shift and hide and alter the ground positioning.

 

Military planners will be asking about the wisdom not to take out the runways immediately?  From here I am sure that special force members are already close to Damascus and will pinpoint several operations to disrupt communications and create a kinetic effect of sabotage.

 

In truth the warning to Assad not to use CW again will be effective only if we take out his capability to retaliate by shutting the runways or if the air forces will be brought down in NFZ.

 

Considering the risks of the conflict enlargement to Israel and that a worst case scenario can well include some Syrian missiles with chemical weapons and many others from Hezbollah landing on Israel , it is an obligation for the US planners to target also Syrian runways and Syrian Missile batteries.

 

From above the soft scenario of 24 missiles is updated to become an enforced attack combined from sea and air to target a multitude of targets stretching from C4R to runways and batteries.

 

It is obvious that whenever a golden target will be found it will be taken also.  We need to be counting on rational thinking and not on wishful thought, the opening salvo will start the hostilities but the evolution of the actions and the conclusion is unknown.

 

How will hostilities be terminated? Will there be a cease fire? A conference will be called by the UN secretary in Geneva? Will world powers find a compromise and where stands the intersection of interests between western nations and Russia, between China and the KSA? Is it true that who will benefit more than anyone else is the KSA?

 

Will the meeting of G20 be a platform for the ending of hostilities and the imminent start of negotiations? How Israel and Lebanon will be affected?

 

Can the US action target Syria efficiently and deter it from enlarging the conflict to Israel and Lebanon?

 

If the Syrians and Hezbollah will shoot missiles into Israel, we can envisage a ground operation of the Israelis in the South of Lebanon and in the Golan.

 

Until Saturday evening US time all efforts will be conducted to embark Russia on board in a UNSC that will authorize a collective action against Assad, and this is the best scenario. I am not very optimistic that these efforts will succeed therefore the most likely happening is the opening salvo. 

 

The opening salvo at this stage will be on Sunday morning at 2 am Damascus time, and it will entail many air sorties on runways and missile batteries and different waves of cruise missiles on air defenses, clearly a reaction can be expected and Israel will be given a green light to conduct military operations at will. The analogy with the second gulf war doesn’t consist.

 

The game changer is the use of Gas and the duty of women and men is to act to ensure that the major part of the interests of the global communities will be safeguarded.

 

“The beauty of actions is that these are done following a process of thought and method “

 

Thank you,

 

 

 

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The Action

August 28, 2013

Damascus by SPOT Satellite

Damascus by SPOT Satellite (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dear Reader,

Greetings and Good Day,

In presence of mixed signals coming from the US economy, durable goods lower and house prices higher, I am still keen to value the FED tapering to start in October based on a mixed speed in a middle range period of time.

The FED action will necessarily be coupled to dedicated incentives to banks, extending to start-ups in order to stress, the requirement of the job creation, as a priority while maintaining inflation within strict control.

October is also the month where the budget debt will reach its limit, and automatic cuts will be introduced, including the defense budget.

It is expected that this topic will influence the upcoming announcement to be made by the White House related to the action to be taken in Syria.

So far it is clear that markets and commodities as much as all international players already digested the idea, of the upcoming US led coalition action, against the chemical crimes, committed by the Assad regime killing hundreds of civilians.

It is well known that the international collective effort to halt chemical usage can have a shape and a nature which varies, however I will ponder only what is proportionate, rational and logic.

Assuming that any punitive steps on Assad will carry geopolitical risks, we need to find the best mix, which will keep the hostilities, in a controlled path.

Timing, targets, execution and possible retaliation are all factors to be considered.

We all know that the British parliament will convene on Thursday and that Israeli shelters are already opened, we know also that the UN fact finding mission will be in Damascus until Sunday and that markets will close on Friday to reopen on Monday.

We know also that the targets can be, air defenses, long range missiles, republican guard garrisons, and other strategic assets such as refineries, chemical storage, etc….

We know also that a probable Syrian retaliation can be to carry a missile attack on the Israelis, to enlarge the conflict and generate an uncontrolled situation against the interest of all major players.

We know also that cruise missiles are already displayed in and around the Mediterranean in 4 US ships, in submarines and else, and they carry about 360 missiles, costing about 400000 dollars each.

In view of all aspects mentioned, the run down can be as follows, on Thursday the British parliament will positively encourage the Prime minister to do a pondered action against Chemical weapons use already registered and ascertained. Thursday morning US time, the President will make an announcement that an intelligence report will be released for the media and that the legal basis for action is in an addendum already published for release.

The president will explain that the US will lead a coalition, that will punish perpetrators of massacre using chemical weapons against humanity, and that a mechanism of control will follow to impede any repetition of these massacres.

The attack will start on Friday at 9 pm Damascus time, and it will consist of three waves (10-8-6) of missiles with an interval of 2 hours, totaling 24 missiles that will target 5 air defense stations, 2 missiles depots and one republican guard garrison.

The command will be in Cyprus and a No Fly Zone will be effective from Saturday at 3 am Damascus time, east to a straight line from Ras el Ain to Daraa , and which can evolve to a half moon stretching from Idlib to Al Quneitra in case the lose Syrian regime will keep its criminal path. Any missile attack without a NFZ will have no effects at all in the perception of the perpetrators.

The Syrian criminals and their allies are on notice that any retaliation will open the hell of fire on them and in that case air sorties from KSA and CYPRUS, as much as missile attacks from the Mediterranean will bomb on a strategic level the assets of the regime including the Presidential Palace and shelters, and this will extend until Monday morning Asian opening hours.

My assessment is that the Syrian regime will not retaliate in a conventional way, rather it will try to foment strife in Lebanon and in heinous ways, but even if I am confident of this, we have to be very cautious.

The action on Syria should be completed by forming the Lebanese cabinet for all as soon as possible in order to have a mechanism of check and balances to tutor the cedar nation.

Thank you,


The trigger of thought

August 26, 2013

English: Syrian President Taj al-Din al-Hasani...

English: Syrian President Taj al-Din al-Hasani with President Alfred Naqqache of Lebanon in 1941. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dear Reader,

Greetings and Good Day,

In view of recent developments in Syria and Lebanon; the housing data revealed in the US and the economic data in China, an assessment is beneficial.

It is a source of comfort to have the housing sector stabilizing and growing in the US as much as the jobs data having some steady positive indications, even if the hospitality sector is having the lion portion.

My perception is that there are enough indications in the US now for a meeting of the FED in September clearing the way for a very flexible process of mixed speed tenure( slow to rapid) to reduce the monthly bond purchasing in a period of time of 18 months. This should be coupled to a regulation that permits banks to lower the reserve only if used for a special bank startup loan having duration of 3 years and dedicated to new entrepreneurs looking to become self employed and offering at least 4 new jobs.

As for China I am afraid that the challenge facing the 4th generation of communist leaders is to maintain a growth of 8 percent per year to keep the job market rosy. But the economic and aging demographic concerns are very complex. A sound therapy is to address these by more openness to other cultures, internal plurality, foreign investment, coordinated policies with neighboring countries and non aggressive approach in all matters of importance in the Chinese area of influence.  Last but not least, I envisage a healthy home grown debate for general reforms of the system.

In Syria we learn that today a fact finding UN mission will verify the exact nature of the cause of deaths in East Gotha, which is most likely a special mix of different chemical agents delivered by missiles that departed Mont Kalamun .  Autopsies will certainly reveal certitude and intelligence evidence already gathered will be sufficient to indicate that post East Gotha is different than pre East Gotha.

While the US is showing a methodical approach by calling meetings in the Oval Office, in Jordan and by consulting with allies, I see the coming days leading to a consequential result.  A special US envoy will travel to Russia, China and to Emerging Leading countries to inform them that the US is willing to take action. The legal base for action can be easily traced in the use of chemical against civil citizens. The Swiss Embassy in Tehran will deliver a letter from Mr. John Kerry to President Rouhani, explaining that US action will be pondered and will not entail effects on the Lebanese theater where the desire is to maintain a US/Iranian cooperation for stability.

The US action will consist of the option of bombing some Syrian air defenses assets in and around Damascus and near the Turkish and Israeli border. This will be followed by the announcement that a No Fly Zone will be declared east to a straight line from Ras el Ain to Daraa , that will evolve to a half moon stretching from Idlib to Al Quneitra in case the lose Syrian regime will keep its criminal path.

A buffer zone of 15 km depth can also be applied from the border between Jordan and Syria by the Syrian opposition elite forces responding to trusted Generals.

A formal warning will be issued by the US after the NFZ de facto institution that any further chemical adventure driven by the Assad regime will be substantially contrasted by a formal action to seize the chemical weapons or neutralize them.

This US action have several benefits as it will enhance the mechanism of Geneva 2 in October while setting the line straight of how things will develop.

As for Lebanon much will depend on the materialization of a new cabinet, where the intentions will be soon revealed if the words will be followed by deeds. What is needed is a cabinet of 8/8/8/ or a cabinet of 8/5/5 that will be a cabinet for all and will generate a net of protection for Lebanon independently from the Syrian developments. This cabinet can be formed by personalities close to the parties and in close relation with them yet extracted from the productive tissue of the country. Time is short and I expect the Lebanese cabinet to be formed not later than September 5th.

By contrast, the US led alliance, will proceed into action in Syria as explained above, in the range of 7 to 8 days from today.

The trigger of thought is defined and the requirement is to proceed and to move forward for the best love of humanity.

Thank you,

 


Cabinet for all

August 20, 2013

Coat of arms of Lebanon Deutsch: Wappen von Li...

Coat of arms of Lebanon Deutsch: Wappen von Libanon Español: Escudo de Líbano עברית: סמל לבנון (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

Dear Reader,

 

Greetings and Good day,

 

It is unfortunate to witness the derailment of vision and governance on a global and daily basis.

 

There used to be a connected interest to the international forums, be these G 2, G 7, G 8 or G20’s.

 

Yet what is spreading nowadays in total disinterest, of the populace in any gathering that can tackle with method and analysis, the widespread problems facing the collectivity.

 

It is known that the US is facing major problems, to benefit from the system of checks and balances instituted by the founding fathers.

 

This shortage where politicians are incapable to stir the reforms to favor the growth is visible.

 

Although the US maintains a divide in terms of military might wit the rest of the world, it definitely shares economic hindrance with most of them.

 

While the international powers are readying for the upcoming decades to confront in the pacific theater, it is a fact that forecasts led until two years ago, related to world energy production and consumption, are obsolete and require updates.

 

Stretching from diplomacy to education, from research to entrepreneurship, from economy to labor, from military to security and from fashion to inventions, it is clear that there is no dominant model prevailing and that the western advantages are only an old myth.

 

Depression, recession, backwardness, uneasiness, distress are all factors that necessarily lead to static immobility and to marked social divergence.

 

If it is true that the Middle East is living a very critical stage, it is also true that Rouhani’s winds of change in Iran will delude at best.

 

In fact there is a direct connection on the long run, between both Israel and Iran to stay foes at distance, to aliment the survival of, both failing, racist and radical regimes.

 

Israel has a medium term interest to divide the environment that surrounds it, to prevail and maintain a strategic edge, as much as Iran has an interest to enlarge its area of influence to safeguard its ailing regime.

 

Although an Iranian guarded nuclear program is equally dangerous to the plutonium that was unsafe until secured on the Delegen Mountain, my perception is that adherence of the Iranian state to the nuclear club is a certitude.

 

From above the projection can be a controlled fire in the Middle East fomented by the two regional powers.

 

From one side Israel supported by the US and the Gulf Countries and from another Iran playing a complex and articulated game.

 

After Iran lost its chance to develop gas and oil industries, and Israel lost its chance to be a peace maker, the direction of events is leading the entire region towards a ricochet conflagration.

 

In absence of a leading US role, the best hope was placed in a Lebanese wise policy to proceed and to act as intermediary to lessen the effects of the Syrian crisis, and to tout around Israel and Iran to find the third way, the Lebanese way of geopolitics.

 

A year ago, there was a major need to form a Lebanese emergency cabinet to control events on ground and avoid the mess of today. To our deceit the Lebanese elite is corrupt, divided and has no loyalty to its own country.

 

Presently there is a scenario of bombings in Lebanon and a possible no fly zone in Syria.

 

For once if I was in the Oval office with the decision makers, I would recommend introducing the no fly zone in Syria combined to a buffer zone, and simultaneously convince Israel to achieve negotiations with the Palestinians and with the Lebanese including Hezbollah.

 

The US needs to keep the Syrian theater evolving slowly for a couple of years, to transform its liabilities into opportunities.

 

Thus defining the final status of peace between Israel and the Palestinians and the containment of Iran and its instruments are the best consequential policies the US can achieve in the coming two years.

 

The imminent application of the containment is to authorize a national unity Lebanese cabinet and to enhance direct Saudi/Iranian talks.

 

Hezbollah by amplifying its area of operation from Naqoura to Aleppo did an excellent favor to Israel, it rendered its supply route vulnerable, it widened its own losses, it created a reason for jihadis to attack it, it shacked deeply the Lebanese delicate internal edifice, it deteriorated badly the Lebanese economy and obliged the intellectual elite of Lebanon to emigrate once again.

 

The struggle between the US and Iran in Syria, has an enormous cost for Lebanon, and the first signal for rapprochement between Iran and the US is to calm Lebanon.

 

What Israel and the US are planning is to generate a Lebanese strife that will weaken further Iran.

 

However it is in the best Lebanese interest to negotiate today a “cabinet for all”, where political concessions from Hezbollah will be required in view of the equation of costs and benefits that stands by the alternative bombings scenario.

 

The proposal is to form a cabinet of 18, where Hezbollah and allies will nominate 8 ministers and be in charge of economy, labor, agriculture, youth, foreign affairs, justice, industry and tourism.

 

The president will nominate 3 ministers, defense, internal security, and finance and offer its patronage to the PSP for 2 ministries, public works and education. The rest 5 will be nominated by the March 14 alliance with the auspices of the Saudi Kingdom and Gulf States.

 

The rise and fall of geopolitics is in Lebanon more than ever, especially today.

 

My wish is that Iran, Israel, KSA, Russia, China and the US will support a political compromise in Lebanon.

 

Thank You,