Aleppo has essentially been recaptured by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in the past couple of days. As expected, the failed attack to break the siege from the Southwest coupled with the Turkish Army failing to resupply militants meant the situation wasn’t going to hold for very long.
Aleppo is the key to the Syrian ‘civil war.’ Now that it has been recaptured by pro-Assad forces it touches off a number of responses around the region. This further breaks down the position of U.S/NATO-backed forces trying to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from power, regardless of what Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has to say about it.
It also ushers in the next potential escalation of the proxy war between the outgoing Obama administration, doing the bidding of the U.S. Deep State, and its opponents coalescing around Russia and its front-man President Vladimir Putin.
The Aleppo Fulcrum
Aleppo is the strategic key to Assad remaining in power. This is why it has been fought for with such vigor by all sides. Now, that it has been retaken by his forces, there is no military solution for removing him from office.
The only thing left for the U.S./NATO/GCC coalition is a diplomatic solution. But, given the military facts on the ground there is little hope of that as well. The time for that was back in February when U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov brokered a cease-fire and Russia announced the removal of military assets from Syria.
But, that agreement held no more water than the Minsk II agreement over Ukraine or the later ceasefire in September that was broken within 24 hours by a ‘mistaken’ U.S. military strike on SAA forces near Deir Ezzor.
And now that the battle for Aleppo is over, that situation becomes more dangerous, not less. Because the window for any kind of victory those within the U.S. and NATO that pushed for this conflict is closing as each day brings us closer to the inauguration of President Trump.
And Trump has all but said that his primary foreign policy goal is to reverse this operation and assist Russia and Iran in wiping out ISIS.
The Responses to Aleppo
Within hours of the news that the Sunni militant resistance in eastern Aleppo was crumbling, the U.S. House passed House Bill 5732, authorizing an investigation into creating a No-Fly-Zone over Syria.
In other words, the U.S. House is looking for ways to start a hot war in Syria with Russia. This may just be more impotent sabre rattling by a fading group of back-bencher neoconservatives – think Lindsay Graham and John McCain– but it is something that bears witness all the same.
The goal of a No-Fly Zone would be to implement the ‘Plan B’ strategy of breaking Syria up into two separate countries and creating some form of Greater Kurdistan across parts of Syria, Iraq, Iran and eastern Turkey.
Russia’s deployment of S-300 and S-400 missile defense systems around Syria and delivering them as well to Iran is an important counter-move to this plan.
On the other side, Sunni Egypt has pledged to send pilots to Syria to help Assad wipe out what remains of the ISIS/Al-Qaeda resistance in the South and East of the country.
When you have Sunni Egyptians fighting alongside Shi’ite Syrians it is time to seriously re-assess any conventional narrative you might have in your head. Egypt has now openly sided with Russia in stopping the expansion of U.S.-fomented chaos around the Middle East and North Africa.
And it seems the election of Donald Trump was the impetus to break open these old definitions of who is on which side.
Wither Saudi Arabia
When all of this is viewed within the context of the goings-on at the latest OPEC meeting the picture becomes even clearer.
The agreement by OPEC to cut production by 1.2 million barrels was done to prop up oil prices in the medium term as an attempt by the Saudis to remain the marginal oil producer in the world, a status they have not held now for the past couple of years with the emergence of U.S. shale production.
But cutting production to raise prices alone will not plug the massive hole in the Saudi’s budget. So, Indonesia was thrown out of OPEC to allow individual GCC members to pump more oil under the rubric of OPEC but cut overall production.
As this situation gets more desperate for the U.S./Saudi forces trying to hold onto power in the region, expect more aggressive counter moves.
We’re seeing provocations by Ukraine into Crimea now. Erdogan was likely forced to make that statement about Turkey’s invasion of Syria being in service of ousting Assad.
The European Union and Canada are contemplating and/or enacting new anti-Russian sanctions.