Are We About to Witness Another US Failure in the Middle East? ISIS Theatens to Blow Up Syria’s Strategic Dam
Are we about to witness yet another US failure in the Middle East?
ISIS holes up at Tabqa Dam to avoid airstrikes and to blackmail US if they attempt to take Raqqa!
Part of ISIS – Daesh has holed up at Tabqa, Syria’s strategically most important dam, where they use high value hostages to shield themselves from bombings. The dam, if breached, will flood and devastate large parts of eastern Syria, creating massive humanitarian disaster for this long-suffering country.
Remember my prediction in ESR5: SYRIA GAME CHANGER? US would do everything to avoid colliding with Russia in Syria. This prediction is now playing out.
Russia primarily covers Syria’s long Mediterranean coast, up to the Turkish border. It is along the coast where the capital Damascus, Assad government, most of the population and Russian base are located. Slowly but surely, the territory controlled by Assad is expanding, thanks to Russian air support and efforts of Syrian army.
Important Syria update for the readers of Earth Shift Reports!
The newest stats from Russian analysts are:
Assad army numbers: 200-250 thousand troops, including various local self-defence and international volunteer units.
All armed opposition, including ISIS, Al Nusra, Al Qaeda, Muslim Brotherhood, etc., numbers 150,000. This number also includes what US insists is ‘moderate armed opposition.’ However, by all accounts, real bandits and militants change coloring depending on who pays more at any given moment, or to save their lives: today they are Al Nusra, and tomorrow – ‘moderate opposition.’ In reality, political opposition in Syria doesn’t have serious military muscle, while the majority of those who have aren’t moderate.
There is a small quantity of ‘moderate’ bands that decided to cooperate and are now sending intel to Russians and Syrian army as to the locations of ISIS/Al Nusra and others. Such turncoats, per Russian military, are one of the best sources of ground intel for their operations.
The above numbers don’t take into account the significant factor of the Kurds. The Kurds in all this have been a neutral force, concentrating on defending their own land, but not interfering in the general Assad vs. opposition fight. However, the Kurds have reached the autonomy agreement with Assad and now are gearing towards siding with him – as I predicted in SYRIA GAME CHANGER! This is a very hopeful development. However, Turkey/Erdogan are trying to sabotage it by insisting on excluding the Kurds from the Assad – opposition negotiations process.
For an in-depth look into all the above, read ESRs: SYRIA GAME CHANGER and TURKISH CONUNDRUM – links to both at the bottom of this article!
USA in Syria
When US realized they had to get in before the victory over ISIS was claimed without their participation, they concentrated on plans to capture Raqqa, the so-called capital of ISIS, located inland, in the eastern part of Syria, where Russian aviation and Syrian army haven’t reached yet.
It has to be noted that, according to Syrian government sources, Syrian army is now only 40 km away from Raqqa and is planning to take it soon. However, it is common knowledge that Syrian army is tired and is moving slower than Russians would like them to. At least they are moving, taking over town after town, under the Russian Airforce’s cover.
In the situation when Russians said they definitely would NOT put any troops on the ground, US announced that it would increase support for local resistance in order to capture Raqqa. The resistance they are talking about are non-ISIS militants and Syrian opposition. Per reports, they also began helping the Kurds, who really are the only well-organized force in the area, able to resist ISIS.
Most interestingly, US announced they would be sending American ground troops as well.
There is talk of 100,000 coalition troops, consisting of 10,000 American; the rest is supposedly from SA, Qatar and other USA’s Middle Eastern allies, although there is much doubt as to how they will fill the quota (I described the whole spread and doubts surrounding this issue in SYRIA GAME CHANGER). The whole thing resembles more of a PR noise than the real thing. This reminds me of how an animal or a bird, when threatened, puffs up fur or feathers to seem bigger.
The latest announcement from the US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter: US is sending one of its divisions with substantial Iraq experience. It appears the division he’s referring to had previously sustained heavy losses in Iraq. Is that what Carter means by experience?
So, the ‘Nobel Peace Prize Laureate’ Barack Obama is sending American troops to yet another country, but only after Russian Airforce and Syrian army did most of the work.
The irony isn’t lost on anyone. The whole thing reminds me – a painful similarity noted by many analysts – of 1944, when USA hastily opened the second front, but only after it became clear that Russians could easily roll through all of Europe, claiming single-handed WWII victory.
In this case, US is too late to the strategically important Mediterranean coast, where 70-80% of the population resides, where Assad government is located and where the ports and bases are. The coast is covered by S-400 and Russian Airforce.
On the other hand, Raqqa, located deep inside the country, controls Syrian oil fields. While Russian bombings destroyed a large number of ISIS oil fields, pipelines, oil depots and oil convoys to Turkey, there are some oil fields that still remain around Raqqa. US, together with Qatar and Saudis, will try to prevent the area from reverting to Assad government; they want to attempt establishing their control over these fields.
Additional reason for targeting Raqqa is to save face – after all, Raqqa is the supposed ‘capital’ of ISIL, even if it’s just in their warped imagination. This, again reminds me of WWII and 1945: couldn’t take Berlin back then – let’s at least take Raqqa, before Russians and Syrian army get there.
With this cowboy logic US may cause yet another disaster in the Middle East — as if Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, the creation of Al Qaeda and the very ISIS itself weren’t enough! The list can be expanded well beyond the Middle East – look at the disaster US interference created in Ukraine within just two short years! Everyone knows what US had done to Vietnam in the ’60s.
The list can be expanded far beyond these vivid examples, and I’m sure you all know dozens of other US-created disasters. The trail of direct and collateral damage follows USA wherever they show up.
ISIS has holed up at the dam not just to avoid bombings. This is a very smart, if morbid, blackmail. They threaten to blow up the dam and kill hostages, if Raqqa is taken. The result will be further devastation of Syria.
Let’s see if US has enough wisdom and military know-how to avoid yet another regional disaster of their making!
Judging by their past failures, don’t hold your breath… Unless they give up and ask Russians for help, but don’t hold your breath for that either as this again will mean losing face.
However, this situation does give Russia some negotiations advantage, and not only in Syria; in Ukraine and Caucasus as well.
Read about Syria, US, Russia, Turkey, Qatar, Saudis, Israel — all the games & players:
The upcoming ESRs:
will expand further on the convoluted and volatile situation in the interconnected regions of the Black Sea/ Balkans/ Eastern Europe/ Caucasus and the Middle East.
Stay tuned for the ESR release announcements!
Video with Tabqa Dam and Raqqa stats and geography: