Time and Tinder – Arab Spring-Loaded Conflict & NE by SE: Regional Quagmires and Geo-Politics
Timothy J. Sipp 2/25/16
The Syrian Gambit has effectively locked Turkey, Syria/Russia, Iran/Lebanon/Hezbollah, Iraq, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States into an escalating war of attrition through combat proxies, soft power and increasingly violent direct asset conflict. Tactically speaking the situation is extremely fluid but favoring the Pro-Shiite Syrian Coalition of Syria, Russia, Iran, Lebanon, Hezbollah, and the Sadr Shiite Iraqi Brigades against the Turkish backed ISIS, Saudi Arabia Funded Sunni militias like FSA, the Gulf States proxies, the Syrian and Iraqi Kurds, the United States and NATO partners, France, Germany, UK and Canada. The crux of the conflict is that it is a multi-layered power grab for the soul of Islam, the future and nature of the Caliphate; Sunni, Shiite or both; and the emergence of Regional Hegemony in support of a global coalition against the United States, NATO and the Western International Order.
Northeast Asia and the Korean Peninsula have reached a point of contention that cannot allow the status quo to continue. The DPRK has gone too far with Russian backing for increasingly rogue attitudes and actions. Russian factions are encouraging DPRK factions to buck Chinese influence and push America and show the utter lack of concerted international political will to punish and contain the DPRK’s WMD programs and abuses. This trap would render a WMD fait accompli dismantling US power in NE Asia further empowering an unstable multi-polar Cold War with far too many cult of personality leaders in nuclear armed nations. With Russia and China vying for influence in the DPRK, Kim’s regime is unpredictable and dangerously empowered to miscalculate with catastrophic consequences.
China has continued to spread southeast and militarize their illegal island enclaves as predicted. The introduction of long range SAMs and high frequency radar systems seeks to cut off access to the South China Seas north of the Malacca Straits and up to the Taiwan Strait. This area denial would disrupt American foreign policy and power projection rendering US guarantees to protect Taiwan and other ASEAN countries too expensive in blood and treasure. This line of Chinese action must not be allowed to continue unabated or we risk losing American influence, rights of navigation, and prestige in the international regime. To wait this out would be foolish and would cost America more than an early open conflict with American led coalition and Chinese forces would.
The American foreign policy re-posturing appears weak and has completely drawn our would-be enemies into unsustainably aggressive postures. Russia is broke and unable to fund additional misadventures and is desperate to push the DPRK to violent hybrid warfare against South Korea, Japan and the US as misdirection. The Chinese are secondary members of this NE Asian coalition providing diplomatic cover and additional time for the DPRK special forces to set in place. China will take advantage of the open conflict in NE Asia to push their agenda in SE Asia. Once the DPRK launches SpecOps asymmetric attacks (infrastructure, high profile soft targets), the main forces will barrage Seoul and border areas but not invade making a counter attack extremely difficult and nuclear retaliation disproportionate.
The damage will be done. South Korea will be ready for negotiated peace. China took over the SE Asian disputed territories and moved on Taiwan. Russia expanded into disputed Japanese islands encroaching on US and allies still trying to figure out what happened. US foreign policy is ruined and the new Cold War just became entrenched. The new enemy gained irreversible momentum and resources making the rest of the world fair game.
Meanwhile back at the ranch the Russians have framed ISIS for dirty-bombing Sunni and Kurdish oil fields permanently removing oil supply from the global market in attempts to reverse the depressed oil prices and restore Russian primacy in petro-diplomacy. The Russo-Iranian-Syrian-Hezbollah spin will be to blame Turkey and the Sunni states and their proxies and call the EU to join them to battle. The Russians are experts at dividing the EU and boxing out NATO. The new war on terror will be led by this unlikely coalition of Russia, Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Shiites from Iraq and everywhere else and will seek to subjugate Turkey, and destroy Saudi Arabia & Israel in the process. Their goals are to establish a new Shiite Caliphate, raise oil prices back to $100-120 per barrel, destroy American influence, the NATO alliance and drive the EU to break up and become too small to fight back militarily or economically.
This is the nightmarish three war scenario for which the Pentagon has planned for the last 30 years. Tempus est iam. This is World War 4 and not unexpected. All previous assessments and directives have been to guide the development of this unavoidable conflict in a proactive manner to predetermine the outcome in our favor. Set the terms of the conflict in order to win it. What the US has been doing is resting its armed forces, rearming our allies and repositioning forces in readiness for this multi-front hybrid global conflict. Our cyber-strategy and tactics are considerable and deployable, our spec-ops personnel and weapons are in place and our understanding of the conflict is superior to our enemies. We are already in a state of wide-spread low intensity conflict. We must not wait for our enemy to push the buttons. This conflict is ours to win or ours to lose. Act first to ensure victory.
This conflict will go hot and it will go there quickly and ferociously for a limited time frame. This is a new hybrid maneuver warfare; asymmetric high profile terrorist attacks mixed with cyber warfare, blunt force artillery barrages and swift occupations with exquisite propaganda to reset the field for the next stage of incremental limited warfare by unknown unlimited means short of tactical or strategic nuclear exchanges. This is 21st Century Warfare at its scariest. This is where we are and this is what we do. Discover their plans and our courage to counter them before they launch their attacks. Frustrate their intelligence and spec-ops forces and destroy their ability to conduct these operations using mirror tactics that limit retaliatory strikes and shame engagement.