Sky News Soundbites on Syria Hit on 12 OCT 2016

Professor Raymond Tanter appeared on Sky News Arabia on 12 October 2016. Tanter spoke about Syria in English, which was translated into Arabic.

One of the themes of Tanter’s comments centered on this Idea, FORCE AND DIPLOMACY GO HAND TO HAND. In addition, he said Russian airstrikes and barrel-bombing by Assad plus Iranian-controlled ground forces make for coercive diplomacy. The West only has diplomacy that is not reinforced by troops on the ground but only in the air.

People don’t live in the air or on the sea. They live on the ground. The way to control the ground is to be on the ground with combat forces.

There are some 60,000 troops on the ground in Syria controlled by Iran. They include the Quds Special Forces of Islamic Republican Guard Corps, Hezbollah from Lebanon, as well as those from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and a scattering from other countries that Tehran controls.

The West cannot succeed unless it has friendly forces on the ground, protected by a buffer zone, or a safe haven, coupled with a no-fly zone to keep warring aircraft out of the zone.

Russia TV Arabic Hit on Ukraine with Implications for the Middle East

RT on RT september 2On September 2 2014, Raymond Tanter was on Russian TV.

The lead for the program was Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s statement that the West in general and the United States in particular encouraged what he called the “War Team” in Kiev. He contended that Washington was thwarting the efforts of the “Peace Team,” led by Moscow. Tanter first refuted the Lavrov accusation and then segued to the Middle East.

Tanter said that a goal of President Obama’s visit to Estonia on 3 September 2014 and participation in the 4-5 September NATO summit in Wales was to provide a signal to former republics of the Soviet Union, such as Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania: NATO will come to their defense according to Article Five of the NATO Treaty, which holds that an attack on one is an attack on all, although each member can decide what actions to take. While these states (and Poland) would like to see permanent stationing of NATO troops, a compromise was a Rapid Response Force, which would rotate among such states.

And contrary to Minister Lavrov’s claims, NATO was not encouraging Ukraine from a negotiated settlement. In fact, the United States hardly mentions the relevance for Ukraine’s security of the Budapest Memorandums on Security Assurances, 1994: Kiev gave up its nuclear weapons in return for pledges from Moscow and Washington, among others, “to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine…”

With the use of proxies and subsequent incursion of Russian combat troops into Ukraine, Moscow is in violation of the Budapest Memorandums, which were reaffirmed by Moscow and Washington in 2009, in conjunction with nuclear arms control. Because Russia’s actions during 2014 in Ukraine were inconsistent with the NATO-Russia Founding Act 1997, NATO suspended cooperation with Russia.

The program is pitched to an Arab audience; consequently, Tanter tied what was taking place in Europe and developments the Middle East. Washington’s moves to counter Moscow over Ukraine and U.S. airstrikes to counter ISIS in Iraq fit nicely with additional sanctions against Iran for failure to comply with prior prohibitions.

The Saudis and other Gulf States would like to see a tougher posture by Washington against Iran; one way to show this toughness is to recognize the PMOI as a legitimate dissident group and its members under siege in Iraq as international refugees.

For additional information, please click here to access the 2 September 2014 Russia TV discussion.