The following summary of recent world events is decidedly negative. This is not due to overt pessimism as much as the facts are just plain bad. In fact, I didn’t even include events like the effects of Hurricane Mathew, the attack on our warship off the coast of Yemen, and the assassination of more police around the US. The world is not getting any safer and indicators are all pointing to things worsening as we move into late fall and winter. The following are major events you should be taking note of with short comments.
- Situation in Syria: Syrian government forces backed by Iran and Russia continue to pound Aleppo and are nearing a strategic breakthrough. All actors in Syria recognize that if Assad is able to recapture Aleppo from the Islamic extremists it will be the beginning of the end for Washington’s terrorist proxies in Syria. As such, there is panic from Doha to Washington. The terrorist coalition knows that it is now or never for major intervention, which may force the White House to order direct strikes against the Syrian regime, which undoubtedly will be countered by Russian retaliation. This creates the potential for a rapid outbreak of a major regional war that could go global. We have effectively arrived at the point I have repeatedly forecasted would occur in Syria where either Moscow or Washington accepts a massive strategic policy defeat or there is a major war…perhaps both. This is inescapable at this point. The best case scenario is if the US backs out by aligning with Russia to defeat ISIL and negotiate a peace deal that leaves the regime in place for now. This is highly unlikely and if Hillary Clinton is elected, all but impossible.
- I am forecasting that the US will continue to spread false anti-Assad and anti-Russian propaganda to drum up war sentiment in the US to prepare the public for the announcement airstrikes against Syrian military positions. If the neo-cons within the establishment get their way the air strikes will happen, but there will be an immediate cost to US forces. Russia will defend its positions on the ground and engage any US forces that directly threaten Russian lives and interests. In this event, it is possible we will witness the first combat losses of US Fifth Generation Fighters, which Washington is rightfully terrified will occur. The loss of these jets will show everyone how much superiority the US has lost against countries like China under Obama. This will jeopardize the multi-billion dollar acquisition program that has been riddled with corruption, failures, and delays. As such, it is far more likely Washington will lead with cruise missile and drone strikes that are easier to deny and hide if they fail to achieve their objectives, but are also much less likely to achieve decisive results.
- Situation in Iraq: American and Iraqi forces are massing for a major assault on Mosul. The entrance of Turkey has complicated the situation and will potentially cause a disintegration of the coalition before the attack begins. This in fact may be Ankara’s actual goal. Ankara has from the beginning of the civil war in Syria supported the Islamic extremist factions. In particular, Ankara is supporting the Al Nusra Front, which is still aligned with Al Qaeda irrespective of their latest attempts to disavow the linkage. Al Nusra and ISIL are closely linked and if ISIL is pushed out of Mosul, this will put heavy pressure on all of the terrorist proxies aligned against Assad. Further, if Turkey does remain in Iraq and is seen as carving out Iraqi territory to continue its assault on the Kurds and support for Al Nusra, Iranian backed Iraqi Shia forces will attack both the Turkish and American forces in Iraq. If Washington does not work closely with Baghdad to mitigate the situation, Iraq could quickly return to full scale insurgency against all US personnel in the country and one of the first major targets will be the US Embassy in Baghdad.
- I am forecasting the White House will completely mishandle this situation. This is a very safe bet based on their bumbling of nearly every major situation in the Middle East to date. In fact, like Ankara, it appears the US isn’t really interested in “defeating” ISIL and may try to delay this attack until after the election. This delay will frustrate the Kurds to the point they may begin to turn on the US because during this time delay, the US will be allowing Turkish forces to pound Kurdish units the US is “backing.” Iraqi Shia will also tire of the combined presence of US and Turkish forces and begin to launch their own attacks against their positions. If the coalition does manage to launch the offensive, the outcome will be completely indecisive. Even at the height of the war in Iraq, US forces failed to pacify the city. I have no expectation this will be any different this time. In fact, there is a reasonable likelihood that the entire operation will ground to a halt as civilian casualties mount and Iraqi forces are worn down and pulled apart by competing loyalties.
- Situation in Iran: Iran continues its progress toward a nuclear weapons capability at an increasing pace. Due to Obama’s release of frozen assets, Iran was able to fund further research in North Korea where significant progress has been made toward the testing and ultimate production of functional nuclear weapons. Iran has also deployed Russian S-300 air defense system around its Fordo uranium enrichment site. Iran claims that is has dismantled most of its centrifuges at Fordo in accordance with the toothless Iran Nuclear Deal that Washington capitulated to in July of 2015. However, if Iran had dismantled its nuclear enrichment there as stated, it would not have the need to deploy the highly lethal air defense system there. As I previously discussed, if Israel failed to attack before the S-300 system became operational it would make any air attack far more costly if not impossible. Also, it should be noted that after the passing of former Israeli Prime Minister Peres, it has become public that indeed Netanyahu did order a strike against Iran, but canceled it only after the intervention of Peres. LMS speculated there was internal dissent Netanyahu faced that prevented the attack, but it is only now clear at what level and by whom.
- I am forecasting that although there is a small window on October 30th (plus or minus two days) that Israel could attack Iran; they will now wait till after the US election before taking decisive action. With the death Peres, it appears the last major political hurdle resisting Netanyahu’s desire to attack Iran has been removed. Irrespective of who the next president is, if they do not reset the tone with Israel, Tel Aviv will unilaterally act against Iran. That attack will be launched from Israeli Dolphin submarines using tactical nuclear weapons. A Hillary election win would be the worst situation for Israel because she will not be willing to aggressively reign in Iran and will continue a policy of alienation toward Israel. However, even if Trump is elected and he takes a strong anti-Iranian tone, it won’t mean the US is out of the woods. In fact, it may just mean the US suddenly has to shoulder the burden of war with Iran, which financially will bankrupt the US. Nonetheless, in the case of Trump, Israel would be less likely to take unilateral action without coordination with the US. Further, the US will be much more likely to use strategic weapons to win the war quickly and decisively vice a prolonged and disastrous war of limited engagement such as seen in Iraq and Afghanistan.
- Situation in Afghanistan: The Taliban continue to gain momentum and seize more ground in Afghanistan. Konduz was nearly overrun last week by the Taliban. Two weeks before the US Embassy in Kabul narrowly missed suffering a large number of casualties during a rocket attack. Further, almost all of Helmand Province is now effectively under Taliban control and the provincial capital is about to fall. The noose is tightening and US leadership knows it. Just this week, emergency meetings were held with senior military planners. JSOC was a critical player in this, which means status quo failure will continue. Let me be clear, special operations forces (SOF) do not decisively win wars. Using SOF to win a war decisively is like using a scalpel to log a forest. Unfortunately, due to fictional Hollywood accounts and large amounts of war propaganda, the American public has become so enamored with SOF worship that they believe they are capable of any feat imaginable. To the SOF community’s credit, it is a well-oiled machine of the best fighters in the world that I have been privileged to work amongst, but they are fundamentally stunted at birth and being grossly misused. By this I mean that from their inception, Special Forces in particular are indoctrinated with counterinsurgency (COIN) and foreign internal defense (FID) tactics, techniques, and procedures. They have also grown fond of the “sexier” direct action raids. This perspective jades every military operation they undertake and fundamentally frames their strategic perspective of how wars are fought and won. The materialization of this mindset is defaulting to “training and advising” counter insurgent forces and direct action raids. Unfortunately, no one seems to have realized that training and advising doesn’t work and direct action is by definition far too limited and precise to be strategically effective against a nation of insurgents. Until both the military and political leadership wakes up and realizes training and advising have next to zero correlation with victory and a near perfect correlation with the counterinsurgent loosing, we are going to lose every war we fight.
- The forecast for Afghanistan is perhaps the easiest of any for analysts. Without admitting to another major policy failure and redeploying tens of thousands of combat troops to Afghanistan, the future fall of Kabul and Afghanistan to the Taliban is a foregone conclusion. In fact, even with a major troop redeployment, this will only postpone the inevitable by a short period of time. The only way the US will find strategic redemption in Afghanistan is to fire the senior civilian and military leadership, devise a radically different strategy (and good ones to decisively win do exist), and fight the war to win. The chances of this happening are zero so we are wasting precious time, money, and manpower in Afghanistan. Since we aren’t going to fight the war to win we have already lost and need to come home immediately. Sadly, it we won’t pull out until many more lives have been lost and billions of dollars wasted.
- Situation in China: The Chinese Yuan becomes the latest IMF reserve currency. This is perhaps Obama’s capstone achievement in undermining US global dominance. Although currently of limited impact, the addition of the Yuan to the IMF’s basket of reserve currencies fundamentally undermines the Dollar’s former position of global supremacy. This is more hard proof that the world is not just talking about moving away from the Dollar, but actively doing it. In fact, under President Obama, the world has moved further and faster away from the Dollar as its reserve currency than at any other time in American history. Globalists will laud this event as a move toward a better “new world order” in finance that will offer greater stability to markets and give greater power to central banks to “handle” financial crises, but the reality is the sovereignty and power of the US is not just being eroded and undermined, but actively being destroyed.
- I forecast the trend away from the Dollar will continue to accelerate. The Federal Reserve, American financial establishment, and the US Government have abused and mismanaged their privileged position for too many years and the world is reacting by rejecting it. Countries that trusted America to properly manage its finances have instead been abused and subjected to a seemingly endless list of regulations, currency manipulation, fines, fees, and taxes that undermine their natural sovereignty, national pride, and economic stability. Do to gross financial incompetence and corruption, uncontrolled deficit spending, and massive debt, the US will continue to use and abuse its position of financial supremacy until one day it wakes up and the Dollar suffers a massive global collapse. In this void will be the IMF’s basket of currencies to ready to replace the Dollar. However, the collapse will have catastrophic consequences on markets globally. The “reset” will happen and it will be painful and will be in our lifetimes, not our children’s. What will ultimately be the snowflake that starts the avalanche is anyone’s guess, but it will probably be something small and innocuous. With Deutsche Bank teetering on failure and having over $47 Trillion in estimated derivatives exposure, we could be much closer to this global financial reset than many realize. In fact, Deutsche Bank could have its “Lehman Moment,” as soon as this week and if not, it could be another bank next week so don’t plan on having years to prepare.
By Guiles Hendrik
October 10, 2016