By Isreal Shamir: The War on Syria: The September 2013 Military Stand-off between Five Destroyers
and the Russian Flotilla in the Eastern Mediterranian.The Cape of Good Hope Presentation at the Rhodes Forum, October 5, 2013. First, the good news. American hegemony is over. The bully has been subdued. we cleared the Cape of Good Hope, symbolically speaking, in September 2013. With the Syrian crisis, the world has passed a key forking of modern history. It was touch and go, just as risky as the Cuban missile crisis of 1962. The chances for total war were high, as the steely wills of America and Eurasia had crossed in the Eastern Mediterranean. It will take some time until the realization of what we've gone through seeps in: it is normal for events of such magnitude. The turmoil in the US, from the mad car chase in the DC to the shutdown of federal government and possible debt default are the direct consequences of this event. Remember the Berlin Wall? When it went down, I was in Moscow, writing for Haaretz. I went to a press-conference with Politburo members in the President Hotel, and asked them whether they concurred that the end of the USSR and world socialist system was neigh. I was laughed at, it was an embarrassing occasion. Oh no, they said. Socialism will blossom, as the result of the Wall's fall. The USSR went down two years later. Now our memory has compacted those years into a brief sequence, but in reality it took some time. The most dramatic event of September 2013 was the high-noon stand-off near the Levantine shore, with five US destroyers pointing their Tomahawks toward Damascus and facing them, the Russian flotilla of eleven ships led by the carrier-killer Missile Cruiser Mosva and supported by Chinese warships. Apparently, two missiles were launched towards the Syrian coast, and both failed to reach their destination. It as claimed by a Lebanese newspaper quoting diplomatic sources that the missiles were launched from a NATO air base in Spain and they were shot down by the Russian ship-based sea-to-air defence system. Another explanation proposed by the Asia Times says the Russians employed their cheap and powerful GPS jammers to render the expensive Tomahawks helpless, by disorienting them and causing them to fail. Yet another version attributed the launch to the Israelis, whether they were trying to jump-start the shoot-out or just observed the clouds, as they claim. Whatever the reason, after this strange incident, the pending shoot-out did not commence, as President Obama stood down and holstered his guns. This was preceded by an unexpected vote in the British Parliament. This venerable body declined the honour of joining the attack proposed by the US. This was the first time in two hundred years that the British parliament voted down a sensible proposition to start a war, usually the Brits can't resist the temptation. After that, President Obama decided to pass the hot potato to the Congress. He was unwilling to unleash Armageddon on his own. Thus the name of action was lost. Congress did not want to go to war with unpredictable consequences. Obama tried to browbeat Putin at the 20G meeting in St Petersburg, and failed. The Russian proposal to remove Syrian chemical weaponry allowed President Obama to save face. This misadventure put paid to American hegemony.