The Sickle and the Shi’a: Russia and Iran Change the Rules

Posted: September 29, 2015 in Current Affairs


Yesterday at the United Nations Russian President Vladimir Putin had his coming out party.

Putin came out of the isolation that the West had imposed since Russia invaded Ukraine and seized Crimea last year along with a land grab of Eastern Ukraine. Putin not only came out on the world stage yesterday, he seized it as he portrayed himself as the one power that would stop the radical jihadists of ISIS.

It was a dark day for democracy and the rule of law in the international arena.

Obama made a case for not including the present Syrian government and its treacherous leader, Bashar al-Assad, in a long term plan for putting Syria back together.  Unfortunately, President Obama didn’t show the will or the vision as to carrying out a plan to remove Assad or what would follow Assad once he was departed. In fact, The US President gave very little indication he wanted to be involved in such an action.

It appears that the White House is perfectly happy with Russia’s rapid and robust military buildup within Syria and is all too willing to cede future influence to Russia and their new partner Iran.  Additionally, Russia announced yesterday (just prior to Putin’s UN speech) that Russia, Iran, Syria and Iraq just concluded an agreement for intelligence sharing in the fight against ISIS.

The Obama administration is always fond of saying his administration is “on the right side of history.” This is a meaningless phrase — it points to the past rather than the future. It turns out that being on the right side of history is no match for being on the capable side of action.

Russia gladly flung open the door of US Middle East policy, the one the Obama administration left ajar.  Putin has successfully pulled the US out of any strategic position in that part of the world.

We now have new prominent actors on the stage, in the form of Moscow and Teheran, thanks to the systematic breakdown of US policy in the Middle East over the past seven years. This breakdown of policy and action has inexplicably allowed Moscow to gain the moral high ground, and has allowed Iran to govern a Shi’a arc of influence from The Persian Gulf to the eastern Mediterranean Sea.


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