The False Warnings That Defying Putin Will Bring on World War III

as putin's planes blow up syrian hospitals (42K)
This was posted on Oct. 16 when the possibility of no-fly-zones was being discussed, but it also should be read by those who think that even airdrops of food and supplies to besieged areas might trigger WW3. #DropFoodNotBombs.

by Sam Charles Hamad

...we've actually been here before. In 2013. And Russia weren't threatening to nuke New York. After Ghouta, the US looked likely to hit Assad regime targets. Russia didn't scramble warplanes or threaten war, but rather scrambled diplomats and came up with the criminal deal that was Kerry-Lavrov.

People need to understand that the reason the US doesn't intervene in Syria is not because it fears war with Russia. It just isn't. Listen to what the pro-intervention wing of the US political class is saying. Those state department officials who signed a letter criticising Obama's policy of ignoring Assad and focussing solely on Daesh - the problem is that the US doesn't want to harm its interests with Russia. Not that it thinks there would be war. Russia wouldn't dare confront NATO. The US Air Force alone, on paper, has the power to take on the combined air forces of every other air force on earth, never mind the combined might of NATO and the Peninsula Shield Force. Saudi alone has more sophisticated aircraft than Russia. My point is not to engage in 'wargaming', but rather to illustrate how suicidal it would be if Russia even attempted to confront the US and NATO. Moreover, one of the great myths of the Syrian war is that Russia intervened due to increased US support for the rebels - this is the 'escalation' theory and it's used almost solely by apologists for Assad and Putin. Noam Chomsky made it to me. It's bullshit. Russia intervened in 2014, precisely when it became clear that Obama had effectively abandoned the idea of arming rebel forces and the only forces left doing so were Salma's Saudi, Turkey and Qatar. Russia hasn't yet bombed Riyadh, Ankara or Doha. Russia intervened directly precisely because it knew the rebels had no firm backer that was capable of countering its intervention.

And there's a lot of confusion on the issue of logistics. The potential military action being proposed is not a NFZ across all of Syria, but rather safe havens in the North, in territory won back from Daesh by rebels aided by Turkey, which would serve as a no-bombing zone. Moreover, the US wouldn't be bombing Russian targets, but rather Baathist and Iranian targets on the ground - if the US announced tomorrow that it would hit regime targets on behalf of the rebellion, it would quite literally spell the end of the regime. You'd soon see Assad abandoned - you'd see negotiations where the rebels actually have some domain over the regime, which has always had the benefit of Russia and Iran behind it and thus no real reason to give anything up.

When Russia and Assad broke the most recent ceasefire by bombing the aid convoy and liberated areas of Aleppo, the US hinted it might begin to intervene on behalf of rebels - the Russian reaction again wasn't to threaten WW3, but they rather said it would make the Middle East explode, empower Daesh, blah, blah, blah.

Russia under Putin is a monstrously bloodthirsty entity, but it's not suicidal.


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