Authored by Pepe Escobar via The Cradle,
The only country that could possibly distract the west from Ukraine is Israel. But the US and its allies are walking into an existential trap if they think a West Asian victory will be more easily won than a European one...
The Russia-Iran strategic partnership - with China in the wings - is laying an elaborate, Sun Tzu-tinged trap for the Hegemon in West Asia.
Apart from Israel, there is no entity on the planet capable of switching the focus, in a flash, away from the west's spectacular debacle in Ukraine.
The warmongers in charge of US foreign policy, not exactly Bismarckian stalwarts, believe that if Project Ukraine is unattainable, Project Final Solution in Palestine could instead be a - ethnic cleansing - cakewalk.
A more plausible scenario, though is that Iran-Russia – and the new “axis of evil” Russia-China-Iran – have all it takes to drag the Hegemon into a second quagmire. It’s all about using the enemy’s own, discombobulated flip-flapping to unbalance him and disorient him to oblivion.
The White House’s wishful thinking that the Forever Wars in Ukraine and Israel are inscribed in the same lofty “democracy” drive and essential to US national interests, has already backfired – even among American public opinion.
That does not prevent cries and whispers along the Beltway revealing Israel-allied US neocons increasing the tempo to provoke Iran – via a proverbial false flag that would lead to an American attack. That Armageddon scenario neatly fits Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s biblical psychopathy.
Vassals would be forced to meekly comply. NATO heads of state have made a beeline to visit Israel to demonstrate their unconditional support for Tel Aviv - including Greece’s Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Italy’s Giorgia Meloni, Britain’s Rishi Sunak, Germany’s Olaf Scholz, the senile lodger at the White House, and France’s Emmanuel Macron.
Avenging the Arab “century of humiliation”
So far, Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah has shown extraordinary restraint by not taking any bait. Hezbollah supports the Palestinian resistance as a whole – and until a few years back, had serious issues with Hamas, with which it clashed in Syria. Hamas, incidentally, while partially funded by Iran, is not run by Iran. As much as Tehran supports the Palestinian cause, Palestinian resistance groups make their own decisions.
The big news is that all these issues are now dissolving. Both Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) went to Lebanon to visit Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah in person this week. That spells out unity of purpose – or what the region's Axis of Resistance calls the “Unity of Fronts.”
Even more eye-opening was Hamas' visit to Moscow this week, which was met with impotent Israeli fury. The Hamas delegation was headed by a member of its Politburo, Abu Marzouk. Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri came especially from Tehran and met two of Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov’s key deputies, Sergei Ryabkov and Mikhail Galuzin.
That spells out Hamas, Iran, and Russia negotiating at the same table.
Hamas has called on the millions of Palestinians in the diaspora, as well as the whole Arab world and all lands of Islam, to unite. Slowly but surely, a pattern may be discerned: could the Arab world – and great swathes of Islam - be on the verge of significantly uniting to avenge their own “century of humiliation” – much as the Chinese did after WWII with Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping?
Beijing, via its sophisticated diplomacy, is certainly hinting at it to key players, even before the ground-breaking, Russia-China brokered Iran-Saudi rapprochement was struck earlier this year.
That by itself won’t thwart the perpetual US neocon obsession to bomb critical infrastructure in Iran. Worth less than zero when it comes to military science, these neocons ignore how Iranian retaliation would - accurately – target each and every US base in Iraq and Syria, with the Persian Gulf an open case.
Peerless Russian military analyst Andrei Martyanov has shown what could happen to those expensive American iron bathtubs in the Eastern Mediterranean in case of an Israeli-threatened attack on Iran.
Moreover, there are at least 1,000 US troops in northern Syria stealing the country's oil – which would also become an instant target.
Ali Fadavi, IRGC’s deputy commander-in-chief, cut to the chase: “We have technologies in the military field that no one knows about, and the Americans will know about them when we use them.”
Cue to Iranian hypersonic Fattah missiles – cousins to the Khinzal and the DF-27 - traveling at Mach 15, and able to reach any target in Israel in 400 seconds.
And add to it sophisticated Russian electronic warfare (EW). As confirmed in Moscow six months ago, when it comes to military interconnection, the Iranians told the Russians at the same table, “whatever you need, just ask.” The same applies vice-versa, because the mutual enemy is one and the same.
It’s all about the Strait of Hormuz
The heart of the matter in any Russian-Iran strategy is the Strait of Hormuz, through which transits at least 20 percent of the world’s oil (nearly 17 million barrels a day) plus 18 percent of liquified natural gas (LNG), which amounts to at least 3.5 billion cubic feet a day.
Iran is able to block the Strait of Hormuz in a flash. For starters, that would be some sort of poetic justice retribution for Israel aiming to gobble up, illegally, all the multibillion-dollar natural gas discovered offshore Gaza: this is, incidentally, one of the absolutely key reasons for the ethnic cleansing of Palestine.
Yet the real deal will be to bring down the Wall Street-engineered $618 trillion derivative structure, as confirmed for years by analysts at Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan, as well as independent Persian Gulf energy traders.
So when push comes to shove - and way beyond the defense of Palestine and in a scenario of Total War - not only Russia-Iran but key players of the Arab world about to become members of BRICS 11 - such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE - do have what it takes to bring down the US financial system anytime they choose.
As an old school Deep State higher up, now in business in Central Europe, stresses:
“The Islamic nations have the economic advantage. They can blow up the international financial system by cutting off the oil. They do not have to fire a single shot. Iran and Saudi Arabia are allying together. The 2008 crisis took 29 trillion dollars to solve but this one, should it happen, could not be solved even with 100 trillion dollars of fiat instruments.”
As Persian Gulf traders told me, one possible scenario is OPEC starting to sanction Europe, first from Kuwait and then spreading from one OPEC country to another and to all countries that are treating the Muslim world as enemies and war fodder.
Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani has already warned that oil to western markets could be put off because of what Israel is perpetrating in Gaza. Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian has already called, on the record, for a total oil and gas embargo by Islamic countries against nations – essentially NATO vassals - that support Israel.
So Christian Zionists in the US allied with neocon asset Netanyahu threatening to attack Iran have the potential to pull down the entire world financial system.
Forever War on Syria, remixed
Under the current volcano, the Russia-China strategic partnership has been extremely cautious. To the outside world, their mutual official position is to refuse to side with either Palestine or Israel; call for a ceasefire on humanitarian grounds; call for a two-state solution; and respect international law. All their initiatives at the UN have been duly sabotaged by the Hegemon.
As it stands, Washington has refused the green light for the Israeli ground invasion of Gaza. The main reason is the immediate US priority: buy some time to expand the war to Syria, “accused” of being the key transit point for Iranian weapons to Hezbollah. That also doubles as re-opening the same old war front against Russia.
There are no illusions in Moscow. The intel apparatus knows well that Israeli Mossad agents have been advising Kiev while Tel Aviv was supplying weapons to Ukraine under serious US pressure. That infuriated the siloviki, and may have constituted a fatal Israeli mistake.
The neocons, for their part, never stop. They are advancing a parallel threat: if Hezbollah attacks Israel with something else than a few sparse rockets – and that simply won’t happen - the Hmeimim Russian Air Base in Latakia will be “eliminated” as a “warning” to Iran.
This does not even qualify as children playing in the sandbox. After the serial Israeli attacks on the civilian Damascus and Aleppo airports, Moscow did not even blink before offering its Hmeimim facilities to Syria – complete with clearance for Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) cargo flights, according to some Russian intel sources. Netanyahu will not exactly harbor a death wish by bombing a fully A2/AD (anti-access/area denial) Russian Air Base.
Moscow also clearly sees what those expensive American iron bathtubs in the Eastern Mediterranean might be up to. The response has been swift: Mig-31Ks are patrolling neutral air space over the Black Sea 24/7, equipped with hypersonic Khinzals, which would take only six minutes to visit the Mediterranean.
Amidst all this neocon-drenched madness, with the Pentagon deploying a formidable array of weaponry plus “undisclosed” assets to the Eastern Mediterranean, whether the target is Hezbollah, Syria, Iran, Russia, or all of the above, both China and North Korea – part of the new American-concocted “axis of evil” - have indicated they will not be mere bystanders.
The Chinese Navy is for all practical purposes shielding Iran from a distance. Yet even more forceful has been a statement by Premier Li Qiang - something unusually blunt and rare in Chinese diplomacy:
"China will continue to firmly support Iran in safeguarding its national sovereignty, territorial integrity, and national dignity, and will strongly oppose any external forces interfering in Iran's internal affairs.”
Never forget that China and Iran are linked by a comprehensive strategic partnership. Meanwhile, Russian Premier Mikhail Mishustin has reinforced the Russia-Iran strategic partnership in a meeting with Iran's First Vice-President Mohammad Mokhber.
Remember those rice eaters from Korea
Pro-Iran militias across the Axis of Resistance, are keeping a carefully tempered degree of confrontation against Israel, close to guerrilla hit-and-run. They won’t be engaged in massive attacks yet. But all bets are off if Israel invades Gaza. It’s clear the Arab world, for all its massive internal contradictions, will simply not tolerate the civilian massacre.
Bluntly, at the current incendiary juncture, the Hegemon has found the offramp from its Project Ukraine humiliation. They erroneously believe that the same old Forever War rekindled in West Asia can be “modulated” at will. And if two wars turn into an immense political albatross, as they will, what else is new? They will simply start a new war in the “Indo-Pacific.”
None of that fools Russia-Iran and their ice-cold monitoring of the flipping and flapping Hegemon every step of the way. It’s enlightening to remember what Malcolm X was already predicting in 1964:
“Some rice eaters ran him out of Korea. Yes, they ran him out of Korea. Rice eaters with nothing but gym shoes, and a rifle, and a bowl of rice took him and his tanks and his napalm, and all that other action he’s supposed to have and ran him across the Yalu. Why? Cause the day that he can win on the ground has passed.”