International Fighting in Syria Spilling Over Into Wider Middle East
This past week saw the international situation in Syria continue to spiral further out of control. Fallout from the failed early February Russian mercenary fighter attack on a U.S.-backed base in Syria continued to worsen. Israeli warplanes bombed an Iranian drone control center also located in Syria.
The Syrians managed to shoot down one of the Israeli F-16 fighter planes as it withdrew. Turkish and Kurdish forces battled on the Syrian border with Turkey. The civil war in the country may be drawing to a close, but the fighting between outside regional powers there only seems to be intensifying.
This increasingly international conflict zone reminds you of why you need gold. Gold protects against geopolitical chaos like you are witnessing in Syria now. The yellow metal outperforms in times of market crisis as well. This is why gold makes sense in an IRA. You should heed the warnings coming out of the Middle East and obtain some IRA-approved gold now to help insure your retirement portfolios. You can store these precious metals overseas in the top offshore storage locations for your gold IRA.
Clash With Russian Mercenaries Kills Hundreds
Since the February 7th Russian fighters' assault on a U.S. protected airbase failed, relations between Washington and Moscow have become more strained. This Syrian government command made up of mostly Russian mercenaries attacked the American-backed forces at the base in the eastern region of Deir Ezzor. U.S. airstrikes then flew in to counterattack the assailants. When the dust had settled, over 200 Russian mercenaries may have died in the conflagration.
The official Russian response has been mostly muted. The foreign ministry claimed to be aware of five Russians who died in the battle as they continue their investigation. Russian authorities also deny there was any official link between their military and the mercenaries. Yet despite this, more than fifty Russian mercenaries who were injured in the American airstrikes were treated at Russian military hospitals. These injured fighters arrived in Defense Ministry facilities in St. Petersburg and Moscow.
This battle amounts to the most lethal one to occur between citizens of the two nations since the conclusion of the Cold War. Yet Russia pledged to the United States that Moscow had no part in the botched assault. For its part, the U.S. accepted this statement at face value.
No one denies that this has only added fuel to the fire of the Syrian standoff underway between Washington and the Kremlin though. Sergei Lavrov the Russian Foreign Minister threatened the U.S. administration not to “play with fire” in its supporting the independence-minded Syrian Kurds.
Russia Later Threatens U.S. Over Support For Kurds
Russia may not have officially been a part of the attack on the Kurdish base in the eastern province of Syria, yet they are vehemently against American support of a so called Kurdish zone. The United States is establishing a northeast Syrian border protection force made up of 30,000 Kurdish led fighters in the northeast part of the country. Syrian President Assad's supporters in Iran and Russia have both called this an effort to establish an American zone in Syria.
Flanked by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov condemned the U.S. actions at a Moscow conference on the Middle East with:
“The U.S. should stop playing very dangerous games which could lead to the dismemberment of the Syrian state. We are seeing attempts to exploit the Kurds' aspirations.”
Outside Powers Confronting Each Other in and Over Syria
The civil war in Syria has gone on for seven long years now. In this time aided by Russian air support, President Assad has survived and regained control over a large section of the Syrian country. Yet despite this, the war has now reached a perilous new stage. Regional powers have begun to battle it out through the land with conflicts spilling over from across the Middle East. Iran, Turkey, and Israel are all foreign actors in this unfolding drama.
In only February, there have been been a variety of flash points here. Besides the U.S. air strike that killed upwards of 200 Russian mercenaries trying to assail the eastern Syrian Kurds, Turkey has warned it may increase the operations in Northern Syria against the Kurds and their American advisers. The Turkish offensive in northwest Syria has been effective enough that reports have the Kurds appealing to the Syrian army for assistance in fighting off the Turkish army incursion into the country.
Meanwhile Israeli warplanes have destroyed an Iranian drone from Syria spying on their territory. Israel is worried that Iran may be building a contiguous land route through Iraq and Syria to neighboring Lebanon. The feared Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps manage literally thousands of militants based in Lebanon. The map below shows all of the various conflicts taking place in Syria throughout this month and last:
At the same time, Israel engaged in its largest attacks within Syria in February since those during the 1982 war with Lebanon. This began with Israeli fighter jets shooting down an Iranian spy drone that had come into Israel's territory. They lost a fighter over Syria in the incident. Israel has since destroyed a site that they called an Iranian drone command center. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Munich Security Conference warned:
“Take back with you a message for the tyrants of Tehran: Do not test Israel's resolve. Israel will act not just against Iran's proxies that are attacking us, but against Iran itself.”
The Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif later addressed the conference. For his part he claimed that Iran does not “want to be the hegemon in the region.” He again expanded the spillover from Syria to the nuclear deal with Iran. Zarif threatened the U.S. and its allies against tearing up the nuclear agreement signed earlier with Iran.
Ironically, the foreign minister stated Iran's worries about new foreign interventions within Syria that he claimed the U.S. has orchestrated following the destruction of IS there. Iran believes America is attempting to take over Syrian land through controlling proxy actors in and around the country.
The Saudis also took a turn at attacking Iran's “aggressive behavior” in the region. Their mutual mistrust of the Iranians has driven them into an unofficial alliance with Israel on the matter. Adel Al Jubeir the Saudi Foreign Minister blamed Iran for its policies of expansion throughout the Middle East and for their lengthy history of terrorist support. He warned the Munich conference attendees:
“The world has to extract a price from Iran for its aggressive behavior. There has to be a fundamental change in the Iranian regime for Iran to be treated as a normal country.”
According to Al Jubeir, Iran will have to pay for the behavior it has demonstrated throughout the Middle East.
Syria and the Middle East Show Why You Need Gold
Looking at the escalating international conflict in Syria, it is not hard to see why you need gold to protect your investment and retirement portfolios. The yellow metal has a 5,000 year long history of protecting assets in times of trouble like these. This is why you need to add IRA-approved metals to your retirement holdings now. It is easier than ever now thanks to your ability to buy gold in monthly installments.