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General Politics => International General Discussion => Topic started by: Frodo on November 12, 2011, 06:57:59 pm



Title: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Frodo on November 12, 2011, 06:57:59 pm
At least it's a start:

Syria suspended from Arab League (http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/syria-suspended-from-arab-league/2011/11/12/gIQAvqGxEN_story.html?hpid=z2)

By Liz Sly, Updated: Saturday, November 12, 5:05 PM

BEIRUT — The Arab League approved on Saturday a sweeping package of measures censuring Syria, clearing the way for a significant escalation of international pressure against President Bashar al-Assad and deepening the isolation of his increasingly embattled government.

The 22-member regional body said it would suspend Syria’s membership, impose sanctions and seek U.N. help unless the Syrian government stops using violence to suppress the country’s eight-month-old uprising. At least 3,500 civilians have died in the crackdown, according to the United Nations.

The Arab League also summoned opposition leaders to a meeting within the next three days to formulate “a unified view of the coming transitional period,” offering the clearest indication yet the region is moving closer to the Obama administration position that he should step down.

The unexpectedly severe measures suggested that Arab states are already starting to plan for a post-Assad era. That will in turn increase pressure on other powers that have so far refrained from taking action against Syria, notably Russia, China and Turkey, opening the door to the kind of international consensus on Syria that the United States has been seeking to build, analysts said.


Title: Re: Syria Suspended from Arab League
Post by: Trounce-'em Theresa on November 12, 2011, 07:29:43 pm
What was the symbolism to the removal of the third star and reversal of red and green?


Title: Re: Syria Suspended from Arab League
Post by: Make Politics Boring Again on November 12, 2011, 08:47:39 pm
This year the UN and the Arab League actually did more than just talk!


Title: Re: Syria Suspended from Arab League
Post by: Snowstalker's Last Stand on November 12, 2011, 09:49:33 pm
What was the symbolism to the removal of the third star and reversal of red and green?

I think it was an old flag, like in Libya.


Title: Re: Syria Suspended from Arab League
Post by: True Federalist on November 12, 2011, 10:23:10 pm
What was the symbolism to the removal of the third star and reversal of red and green?

The current Syrian flag is the flag the United Arab Republic had.  It took the stripes from the Egyptian flag and place two stars (for Egypt and Syria) in the remaining Pan-Arab color.  The three stars in the old 1932 flag represent three chunks of the French Mandate of Syria (Aleppo, Damascus and Deir es Zor) that were combined to form the autonomous Republic of Syria in 1930.  When two additional chunks of the Mandate (Jebal Duze and Latakia) were added to Syria, they didn't bother to add more stars.


Title: Re: Syria Suspended from Arab League
Post by: A Strange Reflection on November 13, 2011, 04:02:15 am
It's good to see that someone is doing something about this. I don't know if it will stop Assad, but I hope it will have some impact.


Title: Re: Syria Suspended from Arab League
Post by: phk on November 14, 2011, 01:59:40 am
Quote
Throughout the meeting, the Syrian ambassador, Youssef Ahmed, kept shouting that the move was illegal because such a decision had to be unanimous, participants said. He later repeated the claim on state television and accused the league of being “subordinate to American and Western agendas.” Nabil el-Araby, the Arab League’s secretary general, pushed the initiative to a vote, with 18 of the league’s 22 members supporting the action, Yemen and Lebanon opposing, Iraq abstaining and Syria not voting at all.

So it's more like the Arab Sunni League.


Title: Re: Syria Suspended from Arab League
Post by: Teddy (IDS Legislator) on November 14, 2011, 04:54:15 pm
What was the symbolism to the removal of the third star and reversal of red and green?
Part of an effort to build a pan-arab flag. Note how many arab countries used those colours.


Title: Re: Syria Suspended from Arab League
Post by: Swing low, sweet chariot. Comin' for to carry me home. on November 14, 2011, 05:10:13 pm
suspended from the Arab League?!  dang, that's like slumming in some podunk dive and being told you're not good enough to gain admittance...

- "It's a private bar.  You're not welcome."
                   
- "Are you tellin' me that I'm not good enough to drink here?"

 


Title: Re: Syria Suspended from Arab League
Post by: The Mikado on November 14, 2011, 05:18:06 pm
I don't usually agree with jmfcst re: foreign policy, but yeah.  Being told you're too bad to be in the Arab League is actually kind of hilarious.


Title: Arab League Approves Sanctions Against Syria
Post by: Frodo on November 27, 2011, 02:00:55 pm
How long will it be before the Arab League and the West decide to intervene?

Arab League approves sanctions against Syria (http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/arab-league-approves-sanctions-against-syria/2011/11/27/gIQAigPm1N_story.html?hpid=z1)

By Alice Fordham, Updated: Sunday, November 27, 11:06 AM

BEIRUT— The Arab League on Sunday overwhelmingly approved a series of economic sanctions against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, including freezing the assets of senior figures, banning high-level Syrian officials from visiting Arab nations and ending dealings with the country’s central bank.

The decision is the first of its kind by a body which is often perceived as divided and indecisive, and some members are skeptical. Iraq, Lebanon and Algeria abstained from the vote.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said Saturday that Iraq has “reservations” about sanctions and analysts doubt Iraq would implement them. And Lebanon, whose government is dominated by groups that support Assad, including the militant political group Hezbollah, also is unlikely to enforce the sanctions.

But the measures, announced in a press conference in Cairo by Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, could nonetheless have a significant impact on the Syrian government and business community, and represent a hardening stance of Arab countries against Assad.


Title: Re: Arab League Approves Sanctions Against Syria
Post by: Saturday's Cab Ride Home on November 27, 2011, 02:27:02 pm
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/EvenEvilHasStandards


Title: Re: Arab League Approves Sanctions Against Syria
Post by: Frodo on November 27, 2011, 03:54:24 pm
Why is everyone so lackadaisical about Syria as opposed to Libya (http://uselectionatlas.org/FORUM/index.php?topic=132132.0) for which we have at least 90 pages dedicated to it with almost constant updates?  Is it really that boring a topic?  Or is it because the United States isn't directly engaged (at least, not yet) with fighter jets assisting the Free Syrian Army?


Title: Re: Arab League Approves Sanctions Against Syria
Post by: The Mikado on November 27, 2011, 06:31:26 pm
Syria is a very, very different conflict than Libya, and while I follow this every day (on the fantastic Middle East in Revolt thread over on SA), there's not a lot to comment on.  There won't be US or Euro intervention, and Syria has proven willing to use the most brutal tactics imaginable to succeed.  The only serious possible outcomes are a Turkish intervention or an Assad victory, and until the situation gets to the point that Erdogan has to make his decision, there's not too much to say.


Title: Re: Arab League Approves Sanctions Against Syria
Post by: dead0man on November 27, 2011, 10:44:28 pm
Why is everyone so lackadaisical about Syria as opposed to Libya (http://uselectionatlas.org/FORUM/index.php?topic=132132.0) for which we have at least 90 pages dedicated to it with almost constant updates?  Is it really that boring a topic?  Or is it because the United States isn't directly engaged (at least, not yet) with fighter jets assisting the Free Syrian Army?
The last part is probably right, when the jets start blowing up Syrian tanks, then the bits will start flying.


Title: Re: Arab League Approves Sanctions Against Syria
Post by: phk on November 27, 2011, 11:12:37 pm
Why is everyone so lackadaisical about Syria as opposed to Libya (http://uselectionatlas.org/FORUM/index.php?topic=132132.0) for which we have at least 90 pages dedicated to it with almost constant updates?  Is it really that boring a topic?  Or is it because the United States isn't directly engaged (at least, not yet) with fighter jets assisting the Free Syrian Army?

People are less optimistic about the end-game in Syria.


Title: Re: Arab League Approves Sanctions Against Syria
Post by: MaxQue on November 27, 2011, 11:20:54 pm
There is no oil in Syria.


Title: Re: Arab League Approves Sanctions Against Syria
Post by: dead0man on November 27, 2011, 11:27:00 pm
But they are a giant pain in the ass.


Title: Re: Arab League Approves Sanctions Against Syria
Post by: Frodo on November 27, 2011, 11:43:02 pm
There is no oil in Syria.

Perhaps not, but getting rid of the Assad regime would further isolate the mullahs of Iran and leave terrorist groups like Hezbollah hanging in the wind and vulnerable to Lebanon (now freed of Syrian domination) and Israel.  I am sure both states would be more than happy to put Hezbollah in its place. 

That is my interest in the matter -geopolitical. 


Title: Re: Arab League Approves Sanctions Against Syria
Post by: CultureKing on November 27, 2011, 11:47:47 pm
There is no oil in Syria.

Perhaps not, but getting rid of the Assad regime would further isolate the mullahs of Iran and leave terrorist groups like Hezbollah hanging in the wind and vulnerable to Lebanon (now freed of Syrian domination) and Israel.  I am sure both states would be more than happy to put Hezbollah in its place. 

That is my interest in the matter -geopolitical. 

Personally I am terrified of the prospect of a bosnia-type situation emerging. Supporting any one side would likely just lead to ethnic conflict on an even wider scale. Also I am not so sure that toppling the Syrian gov. would be as easy as Libya (and that obviously took a good amount of time).


Title: Re: Arab League Approves Sanctions Against Syria
Post by: Frodo on November 28, 2011, 12:04:29 am
There is no oil in Syria.

Perhaps not, but getting rid of the Assad regime would further isolate the mullahs of Iran and leave terrorist groups like Hezbollah hanging in the wind and vulnerable to Lebanon (now freed of Syrian domination) and Israel.  I am sure both states would be more than happy to put Hezbollah in its place.  

That is my interest in the matter -geopolitical.  

Personally I am terrified of the prospect of a bosnia-type situation emerging. Supporting any one side would likely just lead to ethnic conflict on an even wider scale. Also I am not so sure that toppling the Syrian gov. would be as easy as Libya (and that obviously took a good amount of time).

If the actions taken thus far by the Arab League are of any indication, it seems they have decided that the benefits of the ouster of the Assad regime in Syria outweigh the risks -significant though they are (and not to be taken lightly).  They are already planning for a post-Assad Syria through their interactions with the Syrian National Council.    


Title: Re: Arab League Approves Sanctions Against Syria
Post by: Stranger in a strange land on November 28, 2011, 12:07:46 am
Why is everyone so lackadaisical about Syria as opposed to Libya (http://uselectionatlas.org/FORUM/index.php?topic=132132.0) for which we have at least 90 pages dedicated to it with almost constant updates?  Is it really that boring a topic?  Or is it because the United States isn't directly engaged (at least, not yet) with fighter jets assisting the Free Syrian Army?

People are less optimistic about the end-game in Syria.

That's part of it, but also the Syrian conflict is much more complex and difficult to understand, plus there's less hard information coming out.


Title: Re: Arab League Approves Sanctions Against Syria
Post by: phk on November 28, 2011, 12:41:45 am
There is no oil in Syria.

Perhaps not, but getting rid of the Assad regime would further isolate the mullahs of Iran and leave terrorist groups like Hezbollah hanging in the wind and vulnerable to Lebanon (now freed of Syrian domination) and Israel.  I am sure both states would be more than happy to put Hezbollah in its place.  

That is my interest in the matter -geopolitical.  

Personally I am terrified of the prospect of a bosnia-type situation emerging. Supporting any one side would likely just lead to ethnic conflict on an even wider scale. Also I am not so sure that toppling the Syrian gov. would be as easy as Libya (and that obviously took a good amount of time).

If the actions taken thus far by the Arab League are of any indication, it seems they have decided that the benefits of the ouster of the Assad regime in Syria outweigh the risks -significant though they are (and not to be taken lightly).  They are already planning for a post-Assad Syria through their interactions with the Syrian National Council.    

If Assad was a Sunni Arab and not an Alawi, than the Arab League wouldn't have done anything to him.


Title: Re: Arab League Approves Sanctions Against Syria
Post by: dead0man on November 28, 2011, 01:02:13 am
Other than sell him tanks and tear gas.


Title: Re: Arab League Approves Sanctions Against Syria
Post by: Come grasp the mighty avatar of our admin on November 28, 2011, 07:40:47 am
A bunch of dictators is condemning a fellow dictator.


Title: Re: Arab League Approves Sanctions Against Syria
Post by: Filuwaúrdjan on November 28, 2011, 09:21:14 am
A bunch of dictators is condemning a fellow dictator.

Well, yes. But he is... somewhat worse than they are.


Title: Re: Arab League Approves Sanctions Against Syria
Post by: Saturday's Cab Ride Home on November 28, 2011, 12:13:47 pm
A bunch of dictators is condemning a fellow dictator.

Well, yes. But he is... somewhat worse than they are.

That's why I referred to this: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/EvenEvilHasStandards


Title: Re: Arab League Approves Sanctions Against Syria
Post by: Come grasp the mighty avatar of our admin on November 28, 2011, 01:32:23 pm
A bunch of dictators is condemning a fellow dictator.

Well, yes. But he is... somewhat worse than they are.

Right... I'm pretty sure every single one of them would be incredibly non-violent under similar circumstances.


Title: Re: Arab League Approves Sanctions Against Syria
Post by: Filuwaúrdjan on November 28, 2011, 01:42:30 pm
A bunch of dictators is condemning a fellow dictator.

Well, yes. But he is... somewhat worse than they are.

Right... I'm pretty sure every single one of them would be incredibly non-violent under similar circumstances.

I think it's fairly clear that they would not be 'incredibly non-violent' under such circumstances, and I think that it is also fairly clear that it would take a fairly mischievous reading of my post to come to the assumption that I think otherwise.

But Syria is effectively a fascist state. Most of the other members of the Arab League... they aren't nice either. But they aren't that.


Title: Re: Arab League Approves Sanctions Against Syria
Post by: Saturday's Cab Ride Home on November 28, 2011, 01:50:15 pm
As for why the lack of attention in comparison to Libya, I suspect that would change if the Free Syrian Army took control of the second largest city in Syria and started a true civil war as opposed to just a guerrilla campaign now.


Title: Re: Arab League Approves Sanctions Against Syria
Post by: A Strange Reflection on November 28, 2011, 03:03:23 pm
It's good to see they are taking the initiative. Sadly, they probably never will go as far as military intervention, even though it's probably the only way to get rid of the tyrant.


Title: Re: Arab League Approves Sanctions Against Syria
Post by: Come grasp the mighty avatar of our admin on November 28, 2011, 03:13:51 pm
A bunch of dictators is condemning a fellow dictator.

Well, yes. But he is... somewhat worse than they are.

Right... I'm pretty sure every single one of them would be incredibly non-violent under similar circumstances.

I think it's fairly clear that they would not be 'incredibly non-violent' under such circumstances, and I think that it is also fairly clear that it would take a fairly mischievous reading of my post to come to the assumption that I think otherwise.

But Syria is effectively a fascist state. Most of the other members of the Arab League... they aren't nice either. But they aren't that.

Am I the only one who remember how Bashar Al-Assad was considered "not that bad"?

The problem is that it's very hard to predict what each Arab dictator would do when confronted with such situation. Could go Ben Ali, could go Mubarak, could go Gaddafi. There are some of them who'd rather go Gaddafi, but aren't in trouble (yet?)

It's good to see they are taking the initiative. Sadly, they probably never will go as far as military intervention, even though it's probably the only way to get rid of the tyrant.

I happen to know some Syrians, both pro- and anti-regime and I can assure you that Syrian opposition is strongly against any foreign military intervention.

Of course, if this would have to happen, it's better that Arabs do it, instead of someone else. 


Title: Re: Arab League Approves Sanctions Against Syria
Post by: A Strange Reflection on November 28, 2011, 03:17:49 pm
I happen to know some Syrians, both pro- and anti-regime and I can assure you that Syrian opposition is strongly against any foreign military intervention.

I see, but is there any other way to stop bloodshed ? It's clear Assad won't give up under any conditions, and he has all the means to stay in power and crush the rebellion. I don't know how protesters could even hope to survive against tanks and artillery.


Title: Re: Arab League Approves Sanctions Against Syria
Post by: Come grasp the mighty avatar of our admin on November 28, 2011, 03:25:17 pm
I happen to know some Syrians, both pro- and anti-regime and I can assure you that Syrian opposition is strongly against any foreign military intervention.

I see, but is there any other way to stop bloodshed ? It's clear Assad won't give up under any conditions, and he has all the means to stay in power and crush the rebellion. I don't know how protesters could even hope to survive against tanks and artillery.

The bad thing is, of course, that Assad knows very well the opposition doesn't want military intervention so he can sleep at night.

And the problem is that Syria is not Libya: Libyan rebels wanted and loudly demanded military intervention. I'm afraid, as of Syria, military intervention when population really doesn't want this (and managing things after outsing Assad in the process) may be just as bad scenario as doing nothing.

Yes, it really sucks.


Title: Re: Arab League Approves Sanctions Against Syria
Post by: Хahar 🤔 on November 28, 2011, 03:28:24 pm
And, as I recall, you were very much against military intervention in Libya because you felt that it was nothing more than a tribal dispute.


Title: Re: Arab League Approves Sanctions Against Syria
Post by: Come grasp the mighty avatar of our admin on November 28, 2011, 03:31:34 pm
And, as I recall, you were very much against military intervention in Libya because you felt that it was nothing more than a tribal dispute.

Actually, I supported an idea of UN-approved intervention that would enforce cease fire. What I didn't support was taking one of sides in the civil war. Libya wasn't just a tribal war, but tribal divisions played a key role here.

Syria isn't that tribal as Libya. Those are more religious divisions we're dealing with (Alawite regime against Muslim majority with Christians supporting the regime because of their own minority status).


Title: Re: Arab League Approves Sanctions Against Syria
Post by: Yelnoc on November 28, 2011, 03:51:36 pm
There is no oil in Syria.

Perhaps not, but getting rid of the Assad regime would further isolate the mullahs of Iran and leave terrorist groups like Hezbollah hanging in the wind and vulnerable to Lebanon (now freed of Syrian domination) and Israel.  I am sure both states would be more than happy to put Hezbollah in its place.  

That is my interest in the matter -geopolitical.  

Personally I am terrified of the prospect of a bosnia-type situation emerging. Supporting any one side would likely just lead to ethnic conflict on an even wider scale. Also I am not so sure that toppling the Syrian gov. would be as easy as Libya (and that obviously took a good amount of time).

If the actions taken thus far by the Arab League are of any indication, it seems they have decided that the benefits of the ouster of the Assad regime in Syria outweigh the risks -significant though they are (and not to be taken lightly).  They are already planning for a post-Assad Syria through their interactions with the Syrian National Council.    
The SNC is not the body to talk with.  The Free Syrian Army are doing the fighting, and if Assad is ousted, they will be calling the shots (at least initially). 

On the subject of foreign intervention, I question that the Syrian opposition will be any more supportive of Turkish intervention than they would be of full-blown NATO intervention.  In fact, this could very well stoke old fears of the Turks trying to establish a new Ottoman Empire, however irrational that may seem.


Title: Re: Arab League Approves Sanctions Against Syria
Post by: Come grasp the mighty avatar of our admin on November 28, 2011, 04:06:58 pm
There is no oil in Syria.

Perhaps not, but getting rid of the Assad regime would further isolate the mullahs of Iran and leave terrorist groups like Hezbollah hanging in the wind and vulnerable to Lebanon (now freed of Syrian domination) and Israel.  I am sure both states would be more than happy to put Hezbollah in its place.  

That is my interest in the matter -geopolitical.  

Personally I am terrified of the prospect of a bosnia-type situation emerging. Supporting any one side would likely just lead to ethnic conflict on an even wider scale. Also I am not so sure that toppling the Syrian gov. would be as easy as Libya (and that obviously took a good amount of time).

If the actions taken thus far by the Arab League are of any indication, it seems they have decided that the benefits of the ouster of the Assad regime in Syria outweigh the risks -significant though they are (and not to be taken lightly).  They are already planning for a post-Assad Syria through their interactions with the Syrian National Council.    
The SNC is not the body to talk with.  The Free Syrian Army are doing the fighting, and if Assad is ousted, they will be calling the shots (at least initially). 

On the subject of foreign intervention, I question that the Syrian opposition will be any more supportive of Turkish intervention than they would be of full-blown NATO intervention.  In fact, this could very well stoke old fears of the Turks trying to establish a new Ottoman Empire, however irrational that may seem.

Well, Turkey became very active in the Arab world recently and Aknara's ambitions to play bigger role in the region are no secret. Turkey's influence and, in some cases, prestige is growing and they would be idiots to waste it by entering Syria, because, as Yelnoc rightly pointed out, it will awake all demons of the past.

But, as much as I dislike Erdogan, he's not an idiot.


Title: Re: Syria at the Brink of Civil War
Post by: Frodo on December 02, 2011, 10:30:35 pm
Syria Risks ‘Full-Fledged Civil War’ Unless Assad Ends Crackdown, UN Says (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-12-02/syria-risks-full-fledged-civil-war-unless-assad-ends-crackdown-un-says.html)

By Jennifer M. Freedman and Massoud A. Derhally - Dec 2, 2011 8:22 AM ET

Syria risks being engulfed in a civil war unless President Bashar al-Assad’s government ends its crackdown on opposition protesters, said the top human-rights official of the United Nations.

“The Syrian authorities’ continual ruthless oppression, if not stopped now, can drive the country into a full-fledged civil war,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said at a special session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

More than 4,000 people have been killed since unrest began in mid-March, tens of thousands have been arrested and more than 14,000 are reported to be in detention, Pillay said today. She called for Syria to be referred to the International Criminal Court and said the international community needs to take “urgent and effective” measures to protect the Syrian people.

The crackdown has continued even as other nations increase economic and political pressure on the Syrian government, which says it is fighting foreign conspirators, armed gangs and Islamists. Demonstrations against al-Assad’s leadership were inspired by the so-called Arab Spring movements that toppled leaders in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.


Title: Re: Arab League Approves Sanctions Against Syria
Post by: Yelnoc on December 02, 2011, 11:54:53 pm
There is no oil in Syria.

Perhaps not, but getting rid of the Assad regime would further isolate the mullahs of Iran and leave terrorist groups like Hezbollah hanging in the wind and vulnerable to Lebanon (now freed of Syrian domination) and Israel.  I am sure both states would be more than happy to put Hezbollah in its place.  

That is my interest in the matter -geopolitical.  

Personally I am terrified of the prospect of a bosnia-type situation emerging. Supporting any one side would likely just lead to ethnic conflict on an even wider scale. Also I am not so sure that toppling the Syrian gov. would be as easy as Libya (and that obviously took a good amount of time).

If the actions taken thus far by the Arab League are of any indication, it seems they have decided that the benefits of the ouster of the Assad regime in Syria outweigh the risks -significant though they are (and not to be taken lightly).  They are already planning for a post-Assad Syria through their interactions with the Syrian National Council.    
The SNC is not the body to talk with.  The Free Syrian Army are doing the fighting, and if Assad is ousted, they will be calling the shots (at least initially). 

On the subject of foreign intervention, I question that the Syrian opposition will be any more supportive of Turkish intervention than they would be of full-blown NATO intervention.  In fact, this could very well stoke old fears of the Turks trying to establish a new Ottoman Empire, however irrational that may seem.

Well, Turkey became very active in the Arab world recently and Aknara's ambitions to play bigger role in the region are no secret. Turkey's influence and, in some cases, prestige is growing and they would be idiots to waste it by entering Syria, because, as Yelnoc rightly pointed out, it will awake all demons of the past.

But, as much as I dislike Erdogan, he's not an idiot.
There is another angle that I just thought of.  Kurdish Syrians are playing a big part in the armed resistance to Assad's regime.  Might this display of force give the Turkish Kurds (and/or the Iraqi Kurds) ideas?  I do not think Erdogan (or a successor of his) would ever order a crackdown on an ethnic minority in this day and age, but the world is a crazy place.


Title: Re: Arab League Calls on Bashar al-Assad to Step Down
Post by: Frodo on January 22, 2012, 10:19:32 pm
Arab League calls on Syria’s Assad to step down (http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/arab-league-calls-on-syrias-assad-to-step-down/2012/01/22/gIQAajYhJQ_story.html?hpid=z6)

By Liz Sly, Sunday, January 22, 9:21 PM

DAMASCUS — The Arab League on Sunday called on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to hand over power to his vice president under the terms of a transition plan similar to that which paved the way for the departure, hours earlier, of Yemen’s president for the United States.

The announcement of the plan at a meeting of Arab foreign ministers in Cairo signaled growing Arab frustration with Assad’s failure to implement the terms of a peace plan to which he agreed in November, and it offered the clearest indication yet that Arab states want him to step down.

The plan laid down a timetable under which negotiations with the opposition would begin in two weeks and a national unity government would be formed within two months. Assad would then leave office ahead of elections to be held within three months. It was not immediately clear which of two Syrian vice presidents, Farouk al-Shara or Najah al-Attar, would be expected to take over.

The Syrian National Council, the main Syrian opposition coalition, welcomed the initiative as a step toward Assad’s departure, the group’s leader, Burhan Ghalioun, told reporters in Cairo. Activists in Syria have repeatedly said, however, that they will not negotiate with Assad.


Title: Re: Arab League Calls on Bashar al-Assad to Step Down
Post by: A Strange Reflection on January 23, 2012, 05:03:28 am
It's not time to call him to step down anymore. If they want to do something, they have to intervent now.


Title: Re: Arab League Calls on Bashar al-Assad to Step Down
Post by: Benwah [why on Earth do I post something] Courseyay on January 23, 2012, 10:39:27 am
When I was more or less off-news during about one month, at one point about 2 weeks ago maybe I heard a bit about some talks of military intervention from Arab League, to which the Tunisian president would have negatively reacted.

In case of any kind of intervention from anybody, it would have to have clear signs it would be mostly welcomed and that the risks of making the situation worse would clearly be not high.

It's becoming a freaking mess over there, and the regime does everything to turns it into a civil war between Sunnis and Alawits. How insane this regime turned...

According to the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights, today about 150.000 people gathered in Duma, 20 km from Damas, for the funeral of 12 civilians. A city that soldiers of the Free Syrian Army had taken on Saturday but then they withdrew. Some militants say that the authorities forces stayed on the gates of the cities though. It would be the biggest demonstration in Syria since the beginning of the revolt.


Title: Re: End of the Bashar al-Assad Regime is in Sight
Post by: Frodo on January 29, 2012, 10:46:04 pm
So how long does everyone expect the regime to hold out before calling it quits?

Syrian uprising reaches the edge of Damascus (http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/syrian-revolt-arrives-at-the-capitals-doorstep/2012/01/29/gIQAN0kDbQ_story.html)

By Liz Sly, Sunday, January 29, 9:38 PM

DAMASCUS — The upheaval that has roiled much of Syria for the past 10 months is seeping its way into the heart of the country’s capital, puncturing the sense of invulnerability that had until recently sustained confidence in the government’s ability to survive the revolt.

On Sunday, security forces launched a major assault to reclaim suburbs just a short drive from the city center that had fallen under the sway of rebel soldiers fighting under the banner of the Free Syrian Army.

-snip-

With the crisis closing in on the capital, a siege mentality is starting to take hold. Roads leading out of Damascus no longer are deemed safe because of the threat of ambush, and stories of bandits stalking the hills surrounding the city further add to the anxiety.


Title: Re: End of the Bashar al-Assad Regime is in Sight
Post by: RogueBeaver on January 29, 2012, 10:51:55 pm
No idea, though I expect they'll still be in place by summer. Hopefully by year's end they're gone or nearly gone.


Title: Re: End of the Bashar al-Assad Regime is in Sight
Post by: dead0man on January 30, 2012, 07:58:48 am
I had read on another message board that Assad was moving every spare tank, chopper, rifle and round to the west coast in the hopes of maintaining an Alawite state after Syria as a unit collapses.


Title: Re: End of the Bashar al-Assad Regime is in Sight
Post by: True Federalist on February 01, 2012, 10:15:06 am
I don't think Assad is dumb enough to think a revived État des Alaouites would be anything more than a short term solution.  Of course, he hay have come to the conclusion that he has no long term solution.


Title: Re: End of the Bashar al-Assad Regime is in Sight
Post by: Beet on February 05, 2012, 03:11:48 pm
This is beginning to really remind me of the Chinese Civil War. On the one side, a morally bankrupt dictator with overwhelming conventional military power concentrated in the big cities. On the other side, a mostly rural group of rebels with greater popular support and rapidly growing numbers and weaponry despite still being massively outgunned.


Title: Re: End of the Bashar al-Assad Regime is in Sight
Post by: A Strange Reflection on February 05, 2012, 04:02:05 pm
If Syrian rebels eventually succeed, they deserve massive kudos for doing despite utter foreign inaction.


Title: Re: End of the Bashar al-Assad Regime is in Sight
Post by: Beet on February 05, 2012, 04:43:17 pm
They'd much rather do it on their own.


Title: Re: End of the Bashar al-Assad Regime is in Sight
Post by: danny on February 05, 2012, 04:53:08 pm
Big guns aren't as useful when the people that are supposed to operate them keep defecting.


Title: Re: End of the Bashar al-Assad Regime is in Sight
Post by: danny on February 05, 2012, 04:59:06 pm
They'd much rather do it on their own.
Not really, they seem to be quite supportive of foreign intervention.
But they are not going to get it, so they will have to do it alone.


Title: Re: End of the Bashar al-Assad Regime is in Sight
Post by: Saturday's Cab Ride Home on February 12, 2012, 01:22:18 am
Well opposition is getting SERIOUS: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-202_162-57375542/syrian-general-slain-in-damascus-regime-says

I think it's obvious how they're going to operate now to speed up the collapse of the regime since it's obvious what will happen to any official who stood with Assad if Assad were to flee and the regime fell. How many non-exiled SAVAK officers survived into the 80s?


Title: Re: End of the Bashar al-Assad Regime is in Sight
Post by: Benwah [why on Earth do I post something] Courseyay on February 13, 2012, 04:29:38 pm
Well opposition is getting SERIOUS: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-202_162-57375542/syrian-general-slain-in-damascus-regime-says

I think it's obvious how they're going to operate now to speed up the collapse of the regime since it's obvious what will happen to any official who stood with Assad if Assad were to flee and the regime fell. How many non-exiled SAVAK officers survived into the 80s?

Nothing says that the opposition did it.

All what is blown all over Syrian State TV is suspect. Same for Alep terrorist attacks.

Could as well be the fact that this high-ranked official could have been close to defect to the opposition, no matter how he would be depicted as close to the regime or not, denounced by one of the thousands Syrian secret services, and then executed by them. Win-win operation, eliminate a betrayer, and accuse opposition of murder.

Could also be some isolated part of the opposition, there are several petty attempts at creating some new opposition forces that wouldn't necessarily be in line with the mainstream ones.

One week ago, there was a quite interesting one hour debate about it on France24, in which the spokeswoman of the Free Syrian Army said that a small group who had already claimed the death of a colonel on last Monday was totally small, not tied to them, and led by a small wanna be Saddam Hussein. She also said that the cooperation and the coordination between the Free Syrian Army and the National Syrian Council was under construction but kept going bigger, those 2 entities trying to be the most coordinated possible and imposing themselves as the only credible opposition in Syria. If something likes that happens we would be with an official political alternative which has its official force, something stronger that gives still more credit to the opposition, inside and outside of the country.

What happened yesterday is quite important, it shows a determination of the Arab League not to abandon Syria, and it's the 1st time an operation with external forces and/or external material and political help will be officially proposed. Also, since yesterday seems that the NSC will be more and more considered like the official opposition entity and maybe it could reach the status of official representation of Syria, like what happened with NTC in Libya.

The French and/or Qatari initiative (I'm not sure) to create a council of the 'Friends of the Syrian Revolution' is one more step toward a stronger support of Syria, and one week ago some people said that this structure could even be eventually used to skip the decision of the UNSC, to eventually go toward an intervention, some forces or some help. It will gether itself for the 1st time in Tunis in a few days, it could eventually be the occasion for NSC to become this official entity of the opposition, then maybe it's not time for them to screw their credibility with assassinations, I'd be surprised those things are approved by those who lead those entities.


Title: Re: End of the Bashar al-Assad Regime is in Sight
Post by: Benwah [why on Earth do I post something] Courseyay on February 17, 2012, 04:12:55 pm
The fancy band of brothers that opposed the UNAG, without surprise:

Belarus
Bolivia
Cuba
China
Ecuador
Iran
Nicaragua
North Korea
Russia
Syria
Venezuela
Zimbabwe.

Could eventually be the list of countries to know some regime change in a more or less short term.

Those who abstained:

Angola
Algeria
Armenia
Cameroon
Comoros
Fiji
Lebanon
Myanmar
Namibia
Nepal
Sri Lanka
St. Vincent
Suriname
Tanzania
Tuvalu
Uganda
Vietnam

Yesterday Juppé spoke with Lavrov in Vienna, after that he said that a compromise with Russia could be possible on the short term to, at least, send a humanitarian help through a next UN resolution, he had to make clear a next Libya would be out of question.

Maybe Moscow always need to have a Stalingrad to move then...

Lavrov stated that it wouldn't accept an 'inequitable' resolution though. Then nothing done but if it continues to turn into war massacres, Russia's rhetoric about 'equality of treatment' will look weaker and weaker...

Big demonstration day all over Syria today apparently, Homs, Hama, Idleb, Deraa, for the main ones, with a tough repression in those cities too, but also, for the 1st time, there has been significant demonstrations in some districts of Damas and Alep, which almost didn't move so far.


Title: Re: End of the Bashar al-Assad Regime is in Sight
Post by: opebo on February 17, 2012, 04:32:25 pm
Too bad.


Title: Re: End of the Bashar al-Assad Regime is in Sight
Post by: Make Politics Boring Again on February 17, 2012, 06:47:11 pm
This is beginning to really remind me of the Chinese Civil War. On the one side, a morally bankrupt dictator with overwhelming conventional military power concentrated in the big cities. On the other side, a mostly rural group of rebels with greater popular support and rapidly growing numbers and weaponry despite still being massively outgunned.

Big difference is that Syria is riddled with sectarian undertones, where the dominant minority is genuinely afraid of the majority.


Title: Re: End of the Bashar al-Assad Regime is in Sight
Post by: phk on February 23, 2012, 03:20:18 pm
A lot of the rebels are probably Sunni fundamentalist assholes anyway.


Title: Re: End of the Bashar al-Assad Regime is in Sight
Post by: Benwah [why on Earth do I post something] Courseyay on February 24, 2012, 03:08:35 pm
Evacuation of injured people from Homs has begun about 2 hours ago by a joint-convoy of Red Cross and Syrian Red Crescent, announced by the spokeswoman of International Committee of Red Cross on France24, and this after several days of negotiations with authorities and opposition. Oh the spokeswoman is speaking again, she announces that 7 women and children have just been evacuated from the murdered district of Bab Amr to the hospital of Homs, and that the ICRC is looking for more action all over the country.

The conference of the 'Friends of Syria' (renamed the 'Enemies of Syria' on Syrian TV) didn't give a lot apparently.

Overall officially rejects any kind of military intervention, directly or by sending weapons, only KSA would preach for sending weapons. Not much clear though because Tunisia and Qatar would preach for an Arab peace keeping force. Apparently mainly new sanctions are planed, notably from EU. And Kofi Annan would become the special envoy for UN and Arab League. Interesting thing, in the press conference that closed the summit about an hour ago, the amnesty for Assad's family would be rejected, unlike what was said in the opening of the conference. Also comforted the NSC in its role of main opposition force but didn't give it an international recognition role, unlike Lybia's NTC, inviting it to integrate the most Syrian representativity possible (which I guess means, 'please try to convince the most Alawites possible'), that one said being disappointed by those decisions.

Nothing clear and significant then, next meeting in 3 weeks in Istanbul.


Title: Re: End of the Bashar al-Assad Regime is in Sight
Post by: politicus on March 30, 2012, 11:31:46 am
Bump..

Should be merget with Gerenal Syria Thread


Title: Re: End of the Bashar al-Assad Regime is in Sight
Post by: Come grasp the mighty avatar of our admin on March 30, 2012, 11:59:03 am
According to Al-Arabiyah, there was an assasination attempt on Assad today, when he was visiting already seized Homs.

This is just a rumour with no official confirmation.


Title: Re: End of the Bashar al-Assad Regime is in Sight
Post by: A Strange Reflection on March 30, 2012, 12:19:20 pm
I really don't see how the "end of the Bashar Al Assad Regime" is "in sight" right now.


Title: Re: End of the Bashar al-Assad Regime is in Sight
Post by: Come grasp the mighty avatar of our admin on March 30, 2012, 01:19:51 pm
I really don't see how the "end of the Bashar Al Assad Regime" is "in sight" right now.

It appears that Assad regime will slaughter few more thousands and regain control. There will be a loud outrage abroad, some time of isolation, and then, in few years, we'll see total normalization in foreign relations.

So typical story, isn't it?


Title: Re: End of the Bashar al-Assad Regime is in Sight
Post by: A Strange Reflection on March 30, 2012, 01:21:09 pm
I really don't see how the "end of the Bashar Al Assad Regime" is "in sight" right now.

Well, old megathread was bumped, that's all.

Anyways, I've never had the impression he was seriously under threat (unfortunately).


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: RodPresident on March 30, 2012, 07:02:20 pm
Assad was saved by Gaddafi.


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: dead0man on March 30, 2012, 11:34:19 pm
I really don't see how the "end of the Bashar Al Assad Regime" is "in sight" right now.

It appears that Assad regime will slaughter few more thousands and regain control. There will be a loud outrage abroad, some time of isolation, and then, in few years, we'll see total normalization in foreign relations.

So typical story, isn't it?
Indeed.  Some people aren't worth saving it seems.  Yeah, yeah, an attack might kill thousands (mostly bastards loyal to Assad) and would be horrible....as if leaving him in power is somehow less horrible.  But the pansies can feel safe in knowing they stopped another dreaded invasion of a foreign land by the warmongering West. ::)


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: Frodo on April 01, 2012, 05:28:57 pm
Well, this is a start:

At Meeting, Nations Move to Expand Aid for Syrian Rebels (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/02/world/middleeast/us-and-other-countries-move-to-increase-assistance-to-syrian-rebels.html?_r=1&hpw=&pagewanted=all)

By STEVEN LEE MYERS
Published: April 1, 2012

 
ISTANBUL — The United States and dozens of other countries moved closer on Sunday to direct intervention in the fighting in Syria, with Arab nations pledging $100 million to pay opposition fighters and the Obama administration agreeing to send communications equipment to help rebels organize and evade Syria’s military, according to participants gathered here.

The moves reflected a growing consensus, at least among the officials who met here this weekend under the rubric “Friends of Syria,” that mediation efforts by the United Nations peace envoy, Kofi Annan, were failing to halt the violence in Syria and that more forceful action was needed. With Russia and China blocking measures that could open the way for military action by the United Nations, the countries lined up against the government of President Bashar al-Assad have sought to bolster Syria’s beleaguered opposition through means that seemed to stretch the definition of humanitarian assistance.

The offer to provide salaries and communications equipment to rebel fighters known as the Free Syrian Army — with the hopes that the money might encourage government soldiers to defect, officials said — is bringing the loose Friends of Syria coalition to the edge of a proxy war against Mr. Assad’s government and its international supporters, principally Iran and Russia.
-----------------------------------------------------

Perhaps in the not too distant future we can expand the aid to actual weapons...   


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: phk on April 02, 2012, 01:09:10 am
http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/14/us-iraq-syria-idUSTRE81D0NX20120214

Iraqi fighters, arms trickle into Syria as violence grows


By Khalid al-Taie
MOSUL, Iraq | Tue Feb 14, 2012 7:44am EST
(Reuters) - Weapons and Sunni Muslim insurgents are seeping from Iraq into Syria, Iraqi officials and arms dealers say, fuelling violence in a country that once sent guns and militants the other way.

The revolt against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad has struck a chord with Sunni tribes in Iraq's border provinces of Anbar and Ninawa, where strong family ties across the poorly guarded frontier have long favored contraband and trafficking.

Iraq, awash with weapons since the 2003 invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein, is still plagued by violence from al-Qaeda affiliates, Sunni Islamists, fighters tied to Saddam's Baathist party, Iranian-backed Shi'ite militias and criminal gangs.

Now Iraqi security officials say there are signs Sunni insurgents are beginning cross the border to join Assad's opponents, and gun smugglers are cashing in as prices double for weapons reaching concealed in commercial cargoes.


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: dead0man on April 11, 2012, 11:51:18 pm
Erdogan may invoke NATO's Article 5 (http://www.todayszaman.com/news-277185-.html)
Quote
In a statement that may be interpreted as the harshest response yet to the escalating 13-month-old Syrian crisis, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for the first time on Wednesday raised the possibility of calling on the NATO military alliance to protect Turkey's border against incursions by Syrian forces.

Speaking to reporters travelling with him during his official visit to China, Erdoğan said Turkey may consider invoking NATO's fifth article to protect Turkish national security in the face of increasing tension along the Syrian border. His comments came after four Syrians who fled to Turkey from the violence in Syria were killed by Syrian forces targeting refugees on the Turkish side of the border on Monday.

“NATO has a responsibility to protect Turkish borders,” said Erdoğan, signaling that Turkey may officially ask NATO members to apply Article 5 of the NATO Charter, which says that an attack on any member shall be considered to be an attack on all, if the situation in Syria becomes a serious enough threat to Turkish national security.

<snip>
If we're gonna do something, the sooner the better.  If we're going to sit around with our thumbs up our collective butts we should probably start coming up with some good excuses to tell our grandkids why we let this play itself out.


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: Frodo on April 21, 2012, 07:18:45 pm
This might eventually clear the way for a military intervention, assuming that this effort fails to stop the fighting:

U.N. Security Council authorizes team of up to 300 cease-fire observers in Syri (http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/un-authorizes-team-of-up-to-300-cease-fire-monitors-in-syria/2012/04/21/gIQAPLdzXT_story.html?hpid=z2)a

By Colum Lynch and Alice Fordham, Updated: Saturday, April 21, 3:13 PM

UNITED NATIONS — The U.N. Security Council voted Saturday to establish a full-fledged U.N. mission, with up to 300 unarmed military observers and an unspecified number of civilian specialists, to monitor a shaky cease-fire between the Syrian government and armed opposition forces.

The newly minted U.N. Supervision Mission in Syria is set to reinforce a small advance team that began testing the nine-day-old cease-fire this week with visits to a handful of Syrian towns, including a trip Saturday to the city of Homs, the scene of a military crackdown in recent months.

The agreement marks a public show of unity among the United Nations’s fractious big powers in support of U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan’s six-point plan for ending 13 months of deadly upheaval and clearing the way for a political settlement between President Bashar al-Assad’s government and a diverse array of armed and civilian opponents. The Security Council resolution authorizes the new mission for an initial 90 days but does not include a timetable for its deployment, leaving that decision to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

After the vote, Susan E. Rice, the United States’s U.N. ambassador, said that although the Obama administration supports the move, there should be “no illusions” that a small mission of U.N. observers will necessarily be capable of halting the Syrian crackdown and that the United States is prepared to pull the plug on it after 90 days if Syria does not comply with Annan’s peace plan.


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: Frodo on May 25, 2012, 06:37:43 am
The United States is finally moving to arm the rebels....

US poised to vet possible arms for Syrian rebels (http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2018277279_apusussyria.html)

By MATTHEW LEE
Associated Press


WASHINGTON —

As one diplomatic effort after another fails to end more than a year of brutal violence in Syria, the Obama administration is preparing a plan that would essentially give U.S. nods of approval to arms transfers from Arab nations to some Syrian opposition fighters.

The effort, U.S. officials told The Associated Press, would vet members of the Free Syrian Army and other groups to determine whether they are suitable recipients of munitions to fight the Assad government and to ensure that weapons don't wind up in the hands of al-Qaida-linked terrorists or other extremist groups such as Hezbollah that could target Israel.

The plan, which has not yet been finalized, reflects U.S. frustration that none of the previous efforts - including diplomatic rhetoric from the United Nations and the multinational Friends of Syria group, and special envoy Kofi Annan's plan for a cease-fire - has even begun to nudge President Bashar al-Assad from power. The vetting would be the first tiny step the U.S. has made toward ensuring that the Syrian opposition uses the weapons to fight Assad and not to turn it into a full sectarian conflict.

While some intelligence analysts worry that there may be no suitable recipients of lethal aid in the Syria conflict, the vetting plan has arisen as the least objectionable idea in a complicated situation.


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: dead0man on May 25, 2012, 06:43:28 am
Good....'bout freaking time.


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: sjoyce on May 25, 2012, 06:47:09 am
Oh goody, another oil war.


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: Cory on May 25, 2012, 09:18:34 am
Oh goody, another oil war.

Aren't you such a rebel?

But anyways Russia and/or China will probably veto any meaningful intervention. 


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: The Mikado on May 25, 2012, 10:50:40 am
Oh goody, another oil war.

For all that oil in Syria...right.  ::)


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: Torie on May 25, 2012, 12:25:14 pm
What is the risk that further arming the insurgents will just escalate the thing into a full fledged civil war, and a massively high body count. I mean, if you are going to do this, one should parse the odds that it will bring the thing to an end, rather than just make it more sanguinary, no?  And has anyone thought about if Assad is bounced and offed, what the new regime will look like, and what it will do? If one is going to do a switch out, it is generally a good idea to know about not only about the switchor, but also the switchee isn't it?  Maybe they are all just mad dogs and should just be quarantined as it were.


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: minionofmidas - supplemental forum account on May 25, 2012, 12:36:48 pm
I saw a car yesterday with a picture of Bashar Assad in military uniform taped in the back window.
That was... surprising.


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: sjoyce on May 25, 2012, 05:12:58 pm
Oh goody, another oil war.

For all that oil in Syria...right.  ::)

Not necessarily in Syria, but either as a jumping-off point for other nations with a good chunk more oil, or to sorta calm tensions (or create a big diversion so those nations can take their own measures to "calm tensions") in nations that have oil and want to sell it (GCC in general, Saudi in particular).


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: Mr. Morden on June 06, 2012, 07:18:30 pm
Is it me, or is the Syrian civil war starting to look as much like Bosnia as Libya?


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: True Federalist on June 06, 2012, 08:33:58 pm
Is it me, or is the Syrian civil war starting to look as much like Bosnia as Libya?


I'm worried that it reminds me somewhat of Congo.


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: Frodo on June 07, 2012, 11:29:14 pm
Here (http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/for-obama-intervening-in-syria-would-be-good-policy-and-good-politics/2012/06/01/gJQAtue26U_story.html) is an excellent opinion piece stating how Obama intervening in Syria would be to his advantage.  

Whatever your opinion on the merits of intervention in Syria, I have to admit President Obama has been anything but a leader on this issue, and his dithering doesn't exactly inspire confidence in his leadership.  


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: True Federalist on June 07, 2012, 11:55:17 pm
That article is way too rosy about the results of the sort of intervention it calls for.  I haven't anything that half-baked since Cheney and Company were sounding the war drums for us to kick Saddam out of Iraq.   The sad fact is that sometimes there is no good option, in which case, let's for once pick the least expensive, which means not arming the Syrian opposition ourselves.


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: Insula Dei on June 08, 2012, 11:23:56 am
The 'least expensive option' isn't the one that will prevent the most suffering.


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: politicus on June 08, 2012, 04:34:49 pm
The 'least expensive option' isn't the one that will prevent the most suffering.
Actually it probably is - at least if you primarily measure suffering as loss of lives and property. A regime repression of the opposition is most likely going to be the least bloody outcome, if thats all you care about (which is in no way my position). Huge massacres on Alawites and Christians are going to be hard to avoid if the insurgents win.






Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: Mr. Morden on June 08, 2012, 07:24:52 pm
Here's a far more bleak take on intervention in Syria:

http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: True Federalist on June 08, 2012, 09:47:50 pm
The 'least expensive option' isn't the one that will prevent the most suffering.

I see no reason to believe that arming the Syrian opposition now will achieve that.


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: tpfkaw on June 08, 2012, 09:58:53 pm
The 'Syrian opposition' has a wonderful slogan:  "Christians to Beirut, Alawites to the wall!"


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: hawkeye59 on June 08, 2012, 11:46:54 pm
The 'Syrian opposition' has a wonderful slogan:  "Christians to Beirut, Alawites to the wall!"
Better than the Syrian government's: "Kill everyone who opposes us"


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: phk on June 08, 2012, 11:54:48 pm
Ah yes, the Syrian opposition isn't exactly pacifist Whiggish liberals.


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: Frodo on June 09, 2012, 06:05:51 pm
It looks like the Free Syrian Army has benefited as this crisis has dragged on and on:

Syria rebels gaining ground, strength (http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/syria-rebels-gaining-ground-strength/2012/06/08/gJQAYDB9NV_story.html?hpid=z2)

By Liz Sly,

BEIRUT — An increasingly effective Syrian rebel force has been gaining ground in recent weeks, stepping up its attacks on government troops and expanding the area under its control even as world attention has been focused on pressuring Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to comply with a U.N. cease-fire.

The loosely organized Free Syrian Army now acknowledges that it is also no longer observing the truce, although rebel commanders insist they are launching attacks only to defend civilians in the wake of concerns generated by two recent massacres in which most of the 186 victims were women and children.

The rebels say they are acquiring access to ammunition and funding that had been in short supply a few months ago, streamlining their structures to improve coordination and steadily eroding the government’s capacity to control large swaths of the country.


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: ingemann on June 09, 2012, 07:23:58 pm
What is the risk that further arming the insurgents will just escalate the thing into a full fledged civil war, and a massively high body count. I mean, if you are going to do this, one should parse the odds that it will bring the thing to an end, rather than just make it more sanguinary, no?  And has anyone thought about if Assad is bounced and offed, what the new regime will look like, and what it will do? If one is going to do a switch out, it is generally a good idea to know about not only about the switchor, but also the switchee isn't it?  Maybe they are all just mad dogs and should just be quarantined as it were.

Yes people have thought about, which is the reason few western leaders has called for full intervention. The opposition is disunited and to large degree sectarian. As such it's more or less the recipe for a repeat of post-invasion Iraq.

Another problem is that we have no idea of the degree of support behind Assad. The Kurds who have every reason to hate him has mostly united behind him. That say everything we need to know about the opposition. The Alawites has little choice beside backing him up, and the Christians try to keep their heads low, while also supporting the regime. The Druze aren't entuatistic a bout the opposition either. At last he also have wide support among the Sunni middleclass. a even uglier aspect is that the official demography may be rather wrong, and the real fact on the ground may in fact favour the minority groups more, which can turn any future civil war even uglier. The reason for this is that Syria has seen a large influx of Iraqis, while many are Sunnies, the Christians was significant overrepresented among the refugees. At the same time Alawites may in fact make up 20% of the population instead of the official 10-15%. While this may seem surprising, it make sense as they are relative poor and rural as a group, as such they have a high birthrate. The Kurdish population too may be underestimated, as many disguise themselves as Arabs. All in all a civil war may end up looking like a uglier version of Bosnia. The sides has relative defensible stronghold (Alawites and Christians along the coast, Kurds in the north, Druzes in the south and Sunnies in the east), while there still is many  mixed areas and sectarian and ethnic enclaves. The Sunni middleclass outside the capital live to large extent in Alawite areas (which is a good reason to support Assad).



Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: Purch on June 09, 2012, 07:34:36 pm
How about we decide to intervene when we're not 16 trillion dollars in debt. Can't worry about the rest of the worlds problems until you fix your own.


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: tpfkaw on June 10, 2012, 05:41:06 pm
http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/302261/report-rebels-responsible-houla-massacre-john-rosenthal


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: k-onmmunist on June 10, 2012, 05:51:17 pm
None of our business... hilarious to see the Atlas centre-leftists being the main cheerleaders for another war in the Middle East...


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: Frodo on June 11, 2012, 09:33:30 pm
http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/302261/report-rebels-responsible-houla-massacre-john-rosenthal

Have any mainstream news outlets picked this story up?  Because I have looked at the Washington Post and New York Times, and neither is carrying it.  Nor is Reuters (http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/06/11/us-syria-crisis-massacres-idUSBRE85A1DY20120611).  Must be a non-conspiratorial reason why they haven't.  Perhaps the respectable publications doubt this story's veracity as I do. 


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: Free Palestine on June 11, 2012, 09:42:08 pm
http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/302261/report-rebels-responsible-houla-massacre-john-rosenthal

Have any mainstream news outlets picked this story up?  Because I have looked at the Washington Post and New York Times, and neither is carrying it.  Nor is Reuters (http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/06/11/us-syria-crisis-massacres-idUSBRE85A1DY20120611).  Must be a non-conspiratorial reason why they haven't.  Perhaps the respectable publications doubt this story's veracity as I do. 

No, because mainstream media is a bunch of pigdog imperialists.  The only reliable sources are RT and Syrian state television.


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: bgwah on June 16, 2012, 12:57:27 pm
I'm surprised this thread has been so quiet.


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: Frodo on June 16, 2012, 01:01:44 pm
I'm surprised this thread has been so quiet.

I made this observation before, and the answer is typically because -unlike with its more active Libyan counterpart- we have no skin in this game.  We don't (yet) have fighter pilots assisting the opposition.  Therefore people aren't as emotionally invested since American lives are not at risk.  We as Americans are merely spectators -not active participants.    


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: The Mikado on June 16, 2012, 07:01:25 pm
I'm surprised this thread has been so quiet.

I made this observation before, and the answer is typically because -unlike with its more active Libyan counterpart- we have no skin in this game.  We don't (yet) have fighter pilots assisting the opposition.  Therefore people aren't as emotionally invested since American lives are not at risk.  We as Americans are merely spectators -not active participants.    

That's not the point.  The point is, unlike with Libya, there's not a lot we can do without a serious, long-term commitment.  The Libyan intervention was accomplished without a single NATO soldier on the ground and with no NATO casualties and limited collateral damage (from NATO, not from the Libyan rebels).  This was mainly due to Libya's spacious deserts allowing for an effective bombing campaign that could target Qaddafi's military effectively without endangering civilians.  Little, heavily-urbanized Syria is a completely different situation.  A NATO bombing campaign would kill far more civilians than Assad at his worst.

If there does end up being intervention, which, frankly, I doubt at this point, it will be Turkish with US backing and not American directly.  If there isn't, Assad wins.

More to the point, we've been having this exact same conversation for over a year.  None of the fundamentals change.  Why should this thread be more active when the fundamentals of the debate don't change?


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: bgwah on June 16, 2012, 08:05:32 pm
I just meant that I'm surprised this thread has seen some activity in the past, but has been so quiet this past week as the conflict seems to be escalating so much.


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: dead0man on June 22, 2012, 12:53:43 am
Syrian pilot defects after landing in Jordan
 link (http://www.dailyairforce.com/1114/syrian-pilot-defects-after-landing-in-jordan.html)
Quote
A Syrian fighter pilot has landed his MiG-21 at an airfield in northern Jordan and defected, according to authorities in the kingdom.

An official said the pilot landed his Russian-made aircraft at the King Hussein Air Base in Mafraq, a north Jordanian town near the Syrian border.

A spokesman for the rebel Free Syrian Army, Ahmad Kassem, said the plane had defected to Jordan and that its pilot was seeking political asylum.

He also said his group had encouraged the pilot to defect.

Syrian authorities had earlier announced on state TV that they had lost contact with a MiG-21 which was on a training mission.

The report said: "The plane, flown by Colonel Hassan Merei al Hamade, was near the southern border of Syria when contact was lost at around 10.34 am (0834 UK time)."

<snip>
Lets hope (or pray if you're into that kind of thing) he has no family or that they are already out of the country.


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: Silent Hunter on June 22, 2012, 10:52:48 am
Syria shoots down Turkish F-4 (http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/syria-apologizes-for-taking-down-turkish-warplane-turkish-pm.aspx?pageID=238&nID=23802&NewsCatID=341)


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: The Mikado on June 22, 2012, 01:49:30 pm
Syria shoots down Turkish F-4 (http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/syria-apologizes-for-taking-down-turkish-warplane-turkish-pm.aspx?pageID=238&nID=23802&NewsCatID=341)

Pilots are apparently alive and in Syrian custody.  Syria does not want to provoke war with Turkey and will likely hand the pilots over.


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: Saturday's Cab Ride Home on June 25, 2012, 12:12:18 pm
More high ranking defections: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-18445370

Starting to look what happened with Gaddafi's regime, only a couple months later.


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: The Mikado on June 25, 2012, 08:28:29 pm
Turkey threatens to cut off Syrian electricity.

Mixed bag, as that would mostly hurt civilians. 


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: CLARENCE 2015! on June 25, 2012, 08:41:05 pm
Has any one else read reports that the rebel commanders are expelling Christians from areas under their control?


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: The Mikado on June 25, 2012, 09:39:49 pm
Has any one else read reports that the rebel commanders are expelling Christians from areas under their control?

Supposedly one of the rebel factions has "Christians to Beirut, Alawites to Hell" as its motto.  :P

The rebellion is a pretty diverse grouping ideologically (it's not even really one thing other than "opposed to Assad"), but there's some unsavory people in there, yeah.


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: CLARENCE 2015! on June 25, 2012, 09:42:55 pm
Has any one else read reports that the rebel commanders are expelling Christians from areas under their control?

Supposedly one of the rebel factions has "Christians to Beirut, Alawites to Hell" as its motto.  :P

The rebellion is a pretty diverse grouping ideologically (it's not even really one thing other than "opposed to Assad"), but there's some unsavory people in there, yeah.
And that's my concern- I want to stop massacres as much as the next sailor but will the alternative be worse? It seems we don't know at this point


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: Northam for Governor '17 on June 25, 2012, 09:44:35 pm
I always tend to lean on the side of "even if the alternative is unknown, we can't let governments mow people down". 


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: The Mikado on June 25, 2012, 09:54:49 pm
Has any one else read reports that the rebel commanders are expelling Christians from areas under their control?

Supposedly one of the rebel factions has "Christians to Beirut, Alawites to Hell" as its motto.  :P

The rebellion is a pretty diverse grouping ideologically (it's not even really one thing other than "opposed to Assad"), but there's some unsavory people in there, yeah.
And that's my concern- I want to stop massacres as much as the next sailor but will the alternative be worse? It seems we don't know at this point

The problem with the Syria situation is all the alternatives are terrible.  In my view, at this point, the least terrible (and still very bad) solution would be a Turkish (not US) intervention with Turkish troops safeguarding the populace, but even that would be a horrifying bloody catastrophe and I wouldn't fault Turkey for not wanting to commit to that.


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: The Mikado on June 26, 2012, 11:35:57 am
Erdogan saber-rattles:

Erdogan: The history of our nation didn't start in 1923. Nine centuries ago, a hero from Anatolia protected Damascus & Jerusalem.
Erdogan: For many centuries, our ancestors didn't differentiate between Istanbul or Damascus, Mekka or Aleppo. #Turkey
Erdogan: Neither the lines drawn as borders of Syria, nor the despotic regime, can prevent the friendship of the 2 nations. #Syria #Turkey


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: Filuwaúrdjan on June 26, 2012, 11:36:36 am
This is going to be an absolute and utter catastrophe.


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: The Mikado on June 26, 2012, 11:55:44 am
This is going to be an absolute and utter catastrophe.

The neo-Ottomanist rhetoric is an...odd...move for a PM of Turkey.


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: politicus on June 26, 2012, 02:14:52 pm
This is going to be an absolute and utter catastrophe.

The neo-Ottomanist rhetoric is an...odd...move for a PM of Turkey.
Its a development that has been under way for a long time. A more positive evaluation of the Ottoman heritage has been part of Erdogans retoric from at least the late the 80s.


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: Mr. Morden on June 27, 2012, 04:45:14 pm
The "Bashar al-Assad to no longer be President of Syria before midnight ET 31 Dec 2012" market on Intrade traded at 60.0 on last transaction....highest it's been in several months.


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: The Mikado on June 28, 2012, 05:53:47 pm
Two Syrian generals(!) allegedly kidnapped by FSA in Damascus suburbs.


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: Saturday's Cab Ride Home on June 28, 2012, 09:33:57 pm
Two Syrian generals(!) allegedly kidnapped by FSA in Damascus suburbs.

There's already been killings of Syrian generals so it's nothing new, of course kidnapping's a bit more difficult than just a drive-by shooting.


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: dead0man on June 28, 2012, 11:43:59 pm
Turkey sends military convoys toward Syrian border (http://worldnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/06/28/12454945-turkey-sends-military-convoys-toward-syrian-border?lite)
Quote
Turkish troops and military vehicles deployed toward the border with Syria on Thursday as a precaution after Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan gave orders to react to any Syrian threat approaching the frontier.

Erdogan, who has given shelter in the border area to rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar Assad, announced the new rules of engagement for Turkish troops on the border after Syrian air defenses shot down a Turkish warplane last Friday.

<snip>


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: Saturday's Cab Ride Home on June 29, 2012, 12:17:18 am
Does anyone doubt there's already covert Turkish special forces in Syria now?


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: The Mikado on June 29, 2012, 12:28:07 am
Does anyone doubt there's already covert Turkish special forces in Syria now?

Yeah, the shocking thing is that they got some top brass captured alive.  When going up against someone as ruthless as Assad, having high-profile hostages is a nice bargaining chip.


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: The Mikado on July 02, 2012, 11:49:31 pm
Interesting map.  Can't totally vouch for its accuracy, but given the situation, it seems reasonably correct and lines up well with Aleppo being the major battle ground.

(https://s1-04.twitpicproxy.com/photos/full/609920360.jpg?key=13911209)

In other news, 85 Syrian soldiers defected to Turkey.


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: The Mikado on July 04, 2012, 04:35:07 pm
Syrian military at start of crisis numbered ~300,000 people.  Turkey is estimating that over the past year a full 30k of those have either defected or deserted.


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: True Federalist on July 04, 2012, 09:03:01 pm
Syrian military at start of crisis numbered ~300,000 people.  Turkey is estimating that over the past year a full 30k of those have either defected or deserted.

Still leaves 270K plus any expansion Assad may have done.


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: dead0man on July 05, 2012, 12:33:40 pm
Syrian military at start of crisis numbered ~300,000 people.  Turkey is estimating that over the past year a full 30k of those have either defected or deserted.

Still leaves 270K plus any expansion Assad may have done.
From what I've read elsewhere, the vast majority are confined to barracks for fear they will go home or to the other side.


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: The Mikado on July 05, 2012, 01:13:24 pm
Syrian Republican Guards general Manaf Tlass, once a personal friend of Assad's, defects to Turkey along with his father.


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: Nhoj on July 06, 2012, 03:24:08 pm
Syrian Republican Guards general Manaf Tlass, once a personal friend of Assad's, defects to Turkey along with his father.
The father is this guy http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mustafa_Tlass who was MoD from 1972 tell 2004.


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: dead0man on July 06, 2012, 08:21:18 pm
Quote
In 1998, Syrian Defense Minister Mustafa Tlass boasted to al Bayan newspaper that he was the one who gave the green light to "the resistance" in Lebanon to attack and kill US marines and French soldiers, but that he prevented attacks on the Italian soldiers of the multi-national force "because he was in love with the Italian actress Gina Lollobrigida.

Mustafa Tlass had also allegedly boasted to the National Assembly about atrocities committed against Israelis who fell captive in the Yom Kippur war. "I gave the Medal of the Republic's Hero, to a soldier from Aleppo, who killed 28 Jewish soldiers. He did not use the military weapon to kill them but utilized the ax to decapitate them. He then devoured the neck of one of them and ate it in front of the people. I am proud of his courage and bravery, for he actually killed by himself 28 Jews by count and cash."

There are three missing Israeli soldiers in the Bekaa valley since the June 1982 war in Lebanon. Tlass allegedly told a Saudi magazine: "We sent Israel the bones of dogs, and Israel may protest as much as it likes."
Classy fellow!
Quote
One of his books, Matzah of Zion (1983), deals with 1840 Damascus Blood Libel. In the book, Tlass argues for the significance of the anti-Semitic blood libels, and claims that Jewish religion is one of ‘vicious deviations’ and black hatred against all humans and religions, so that no Arab country should ever sign a peace treaty with Israel.
You can really taste the irony here.


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: The Mikado on July 06, 2012, 10:02:01 pm
Tlass and his father also have extensive (and somewhat bizarre) personal connections with prominent members of the French far-right (Syria used to be a French colony and the upper-class population is Francophone).  The Tlasses are one of the most important Sunni families in Syria and are hooked up with a lot of interesting people.

As Brown Moses Blog (which I think is the best starting place for analysis of Syria news the last few weeks) argues, "What this shows is that the 5 day visit to Syria I reported on yesterday wasn't just a one off event between the far right and Tlass family, but part of an ongoing relationship between the Tlass family and major figures in the French far right.  These links need to be exposed at a time when it's rumoured that Tlass will be promoted by the French to be part of any Syrian transitional government."


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: The Mikado on July 11, 2012, 04:48:35 pm
Meet Manaf Tlass:

(http://www.independent.co.uk/incoming/article7920713.ece/ALTERNATES/w460/27-Manaf-Tlass-getty.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/it3aU.jpg?1)


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: Snowstalker's Last Stand on July 11, 2012, 06:55:29 pm
Quote from: Gustaf
He can riddle me with bullets any day.


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: The Mikado on July 11, 2012, 09:54:48 pm
(http://i.imgur.com/OuLeF.jpg)

Manaf Tlass, middle, at play.  Pictured with Frédéric Chatillon, former head of these lovely people: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Groupe_Union_D%C3%A9fense  Also pictured is Dieudonné M'bala M'bala, famed for his French anti-Semitic stand-up comedy (as in, one of his videos is literally titled L’Antisémite).

Tlass really has the "bad boy" thing going.


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: True Federalist on July 12, 2012, 12:23:41 am
Meet Manaf Tlass:

(http://i.imgur.com/it3aU.jpg?1)

Looks like a dead ringer for Tony Curtis in this photo.


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: The Mikado on July 12, 2012, 02:41:02 pm
Mustafa Tlass (Fmr. Syrian Minister of Defense,Manaf's dad) apparently has a 3700 page (not a typo) memoir.   Not even Churchill had the stamina to lie about himself for 3700 pages.


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: Frodo on July 14, 2012, 12:44:38 pm
Interesting map.  Can't totally vouch for its accuracy, but given the situation, it seems reasonably correct and lines up well with Aleppo being the major battle ground.

(https://s1-04.twitpicproxy.com/photos/full/609920360.jpg?key=13911209)

If Aleppo falls to the rebels, that would be a game-changer by setting off a domino-effect in the country that could ultimately leave the Assad regime isolated in pockets centered around Damascus and along the coast. 

Are there any indications that Aleppo is on the brink? 



Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: Silent Hunter on July 15, 2012, 02:11:22 pm
Red Cross states Syria is in civil war (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-18849362)


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: The Mikado on July 17, 2012, 12:33:47 am
Major turmoil in Damascus today, as FSA launches a surprise offensive in the Syrian capital.

http://ap.stripes.com/dynamic/stories/M/ML_SYRIA?SITE=DCSAS&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2012-07-16-17-28-58


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: Nhoj on July 18, 2012, 08:32:31 am
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2012/07/20127189355415804.html

Quote
Syrian defence minister and his deputy have been killed after a suicide bomber struck the National Security building in Damascus during a meeting of cabinet ministers and senior security officials, state media reported.

General Daoud Rajha and Assef Shawkat - the brother-in-law of President Bashar al-Assad - were killed on Wednesday in the deadliest assault on government officials since the violence began 16 months ago.

Interior minister Mohammed Ibrahim al-Shaar and the head of the national security office Hisham Bekhtyar were among those seriously wounded in the bombing, Syrian state television reported.

The attack took place as government ministers and a number of security officials were meeting at the building in the district of Rawda, according to state TV.

Fahad Jassim al Feraj has been named new defence minister, state TV said.






Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: dead0man on July 18, 2012, 08:41:04 am
Great news!


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: People's Speaker North Carolina Yankee on July 18, 2012, 08:54:59 am
CBS This Morning, stated that it wasn't a suicide bomber, but was instead an explosion of previously planted explosives.


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: The Mikado on July 18, 2012, 03:14:02 pm
Lots going on today. Many rumors, difficult to tell what's actually happening, but this is a kind of Tet Offensive.  Strike way behind enemy lines, massive infiltration of the enemy army suddenly becomes apparent, destroy enemy morale...

Huge defections today.  If even half the stories of defections today are accurate, Assad's regime is leaking like a sieve.  At this rate, pretty soon Assad will be down to just his fellow Alawites.

Confusion as to whether the attack was a suicide bomb or a previously-planted bomb, we likely won't know the truth for a long time.

Hassan Nasrallah of Hezbollah gave a speech expressing solidarity with Assad's regime...since Syria is one of Hezbollah's two backers, along with Iran, Assad's regime collapsing would have devastating effects on Hezbollah.  Might Hezbollah, in desperation, launch a coup in Lebanon?


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: Mr. Morden on July 18, 2012, 04:17:05 pm
One of the rumors is that the defense minister and deputy were killed by someone on the inside (possibly one of their own security guards), because the thinking is that it would have taken someone on the inside to get that close to them.


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: The Mikado on July 18, 2012, 04:32:51 pm
One of the rumors is that the defense minister and deputy were killed by someone on the inside (possibly one of their own security guards), because the thinking is that it would have taken someone on the inside to get that close to them.


I don't see how it could be otherwise.  It has inside job written all over it.

Question of the day: does Assad A. take his chances in Damascus, B. retreat to Lattakia and prepare to continue the fight on friendly ground, or C. take the next flight to Moscow and call it quits?


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: Dereich on July 18, 2012, 04:37:12 pm
One of the rumors is that the defense minister and deputy were killed by someone on the inside (possibly one of their own security guards), because the thinking is that it would have taken someone on the inside to get that close to them.


I don't see how it could be otherwise.  It has inside job written all over it.

Question of the day: does Assad A. take his chances in Damascus, B. retreat to Lattakia and prepare to continue the fight on friendly ground, or C. take the next flight to Moscow and call it quits?

I doubt he leaves Damascus. Any authority he still has rests on his government being the legitimate government of Syria. The moment he leaves the capital the stream of defections becomes a flood. I doubt he changes policy now, all he has to do is soldier on, slowly culling the opposition with aid from the Russians. The status quo isn't a killer for him yet.


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: A Strange Reflection on July 18, 2012, 04:40:50 pm
Wow, quite shocking news. I didn't think the rebels would be able to inflict such harms to the regime. Does that indicate the tides are turning ? I'd like to think so, but I fear the civil war is far from being over...


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: The Mikado on July 18, 2012, 07:05:54 pm
http://www.understandingwar.org/press-media/graphsandstat/evolution-syria%E2%80%99s-opposition


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: © tweed on July 18, 2012, 07:55:36 pm
who should we support?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Vosem on July 18, 2012, 08:23:09 pm
who should we support?

The rebels, certainly. These figures (to me) attract much more sympathy than the Libyan rebels, and we intervened militarily to support those.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: © tweed on July 18, 2012, 08:32:32 pm
who should we support?

The rebels, certainly. These figures (to me) attract much more sympathy than the Libyan rebels, and we intervened militarily to support those.

yes, problem is the latter fact.  you have a mob on one hand and the germ of yet another neoliberal state on the other.  quite a theoretical bind


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Saturday's Cab Ride Home on July 18, 2012, 09:21:36 pm
Nice reminder to Assad: http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/07/18/227047.html

Good follow-up to a day that had the killing of several of his inner circle.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Frodo on July 18, 2012, 11:41:13 pm
who should we support?

The rebels, certainly. These figures (to me) attract much more sympathy than the Libyan rebels, and we intervened militarily to support those.

I tentatively agree, although at this point I think the rebels should start to get serious about uniting and organizing themselves into a plausible alternative government now that it finally looks as if Bashar al-Assad's regime might be beginning to crumble.  Before today, I can understand why they didn't feel the urgency but since the lifespan of the regime is now being measured in weeks -not months- they need to quit procrastinating and get on to it.  Make it easier for the international community (and the United States) to lend its support to their cause. 


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: dead0man on July 19, 2012, 02:55:31 am
One of the rumors is that the defense minister and deputy were killed by someone on the inside (possibly one of their own security guards), because the thinking is that it would have taken someone on the inside to get that close to them.


I don't see how it could be otherwise.  It has inside job written all over it.

Question of the day: does Assad A. take his chances in Damascus, B. retreat to Lattakia and prepare to continue the fight on friendly ground, or C. take the next flight to Moscow and call it quits?
There is rumor that Assad has in fact fled to Lattakia and that the Army is redistributing their Scuds and topping them with mustard gas.  In slightly more concrete news, Jordan is deploying German owned (but US built and with our approval) Patriot missile defense systems to protect themselves....and (wait for it).....Israel from possible Syrian missile attacks.

cite (http://www.timesofisrael.com/jordan-to-deploy-patriots-to-protect-israel-from-syrian-attack-says-le-figaro/)


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Great Again: Roy Moore's Handmaid's Tale on July 19, 2012, 05:28:14 am
Seems like Assad could follow the Gaddafi route pretty quickly now.

"Bashar al-Assad to no longer be President of Syria before midnight ET 31 Dec 2012" is traded at only 63.0% on Intrade. Buy... buy now.


Title: Re: The Crisis in Syria
Post by: Dereich on July 19, 2012, 09:39:12 am
One of the rumors is that the defense minister and deputy were killed by someone on the inside (possibly one of their own security guards), because the thinking is that it would have taken someone on the inside to get that close to them.


I don't see how it could be otherwise.  It has inside job written all over it.

Question of the day: does Assad A. take his chances in Damascus, B. retreat to Lattakia and prepare to continue the fight on friendly ground, or C. take the next flight to Moscow and call it quits?

I doubt he leaves Damascus. Any authority he still has rests on his government being the legitimate government of Syria. The moment he leaves the capital the stream of defections becomes a flood. I doubt he changes policy now, all he has to do is soldier on, slowly culling the opposition with aid from the Russians. The status quo isn't a killer for him yet.

Well, less then one day later it turns out I'm completely wrong. NPR is now reporting that he's fled Damascus. I had no idea the rebels were doing this well. I kinda thought it was a fluke.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: dead0man on July 19, 2012, 09:46:28 am
Yeah, it seems that Syria as we knew it is done.  Good riddance.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: The Mikado on July 19, 2012, 01:03:53 pm
FSA controls all the border checkpoints on the Syrian-Iraqi border, according to the Iraqi government.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5ispIrLdwmKGnbZc_TzlUOPGFyeow?docId=CNG.eeb39b7412701b678cf051d8c5bf6266.391



Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: dead0man on July 20, 2012, 03:14:24 am
And even more good news, Iran Quds Force Commander Killed in Damascus blast link (http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/158048#.UAkPvI45fgI)
Quote
Reports in the Arab-language press indicate the head of Iran's covert foreign operations Quds force was killed in Wednesday's bombing in Damascus.

Al-Quds Force's long-elusive commander, Maj. Gen. Qassem Suleimani, is reported to have made several trips to Damascua to meet with Assad and his top commanders since January of this year.

Iran has made no bones about having bolstered Assad's embattled regime with members of its own elite Revolutionary Guard, but the death of Suleimani would be a direct blow to Tehran.

Suleimani, who masterminded al-Quds Force operations in Iraq and covert activities throughout the Persian Gulf and Lebanon, is a key figure in Iranian policymaking, particularly in security matters.

A combat veteran of Iran's 1980-88 war with Iraq, Suleimani took command of the al-Quds Force in the late 1990s and has become a powerful figure in the upper echelons of the Tehran regime.

<snip>


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: © tweed on July 21, 2012, 12:08:39 am
yes people dying is always good news.  if more people died everything would be solved.  "no man, no problem"  - Stalin


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Mr. Morden on July 21, 2012, 12:08:53 am
The case for pessimism!: The violence in Syria may be a long way from being over:

link (http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/war_stories/2012/07/whether_bashar_al_assad_falls_or_not_the_fighting_in_syria_is_likely_to_persist_for_a_long_time_.single.html)


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: dead0man on July 21, 2012, 12:34:11 am
yes people dying is always good news.  if more people died everything would be solved.
Yes, that's exactly what I said. ::)  Your idiocy is extra high tonight, there a reason?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: dead0man on July 21, 2012, 12:39:05 am
Israel may seize advanced weapons in Syria  (http://www.jpost.com/Defense/Article.aspx?id=278314)
Quote
Israel is preparing for a possible military intervention in Syria in case the Syrian government hands missiles or chemical weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Friday.

"I have instructed the military to increase its intelligence preparations and prepare what is needed so that ... (if necessary) ... we will be able to consider carrying out an operation," Barak said in an interview on Channel 10 television.

"We are following ... the possible transfer of advanced munitions systems, mainly anti-aircraft missiles or heavy ground-to-ground missiles, but there could also be a possibility of the transfer of chemical means (weapons) from Syria to Lebanon," he added.

"The moment (Syrian President Bashar al-Assad) starts to fall we will conduct intelligence monitoring and will liaise with other agencies," Barak said.

Hezbollah, which has in the past received military and financial support from Syria and Iran, launched thousands of mainly short-range rockets into Israel during Israel's 2006 offensive in southern Lebanon, but some longer-range rockets reached central Israel.

<snip>


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: The Mikado on July 21, 2012, 09:57:26 am
20-30k people from Damascus flee to Lebanon.

Between that and Damascus' Alawites fleeing for the coast, the old city must be feeling a bit empty (in addition to being an all-out warzone).


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: The Mikado on July 21, 2012, 11:59:16 am
Kurdish nationalists in Syria make their play, seizing two towns in Syria's remote northeast and attempting to take a third.  Syria has a relatively small Kurdish population, but Syrian Kurdistan is removed pretty far from where most of Syria's population is concentrated.

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d1/Kurdish-inhabited_area_of_Syria_by_CIA.jpg)


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: © tweed on July 21, 2012, 03:57:07 pm
yes people dying is always good news.  if more people died everything would be solved.
Yes, that's exactly what I said. ::)  Your idiocy is extra high tonight, there a reason?

you cheered a death, and I extrapolated.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Frodo on July 21, 2012, 10:38:06 pm
It's official -the Obama administration is now focused on overthrowing Bashar al-Assad's regime (http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2018742903_syria22.html). 

It's about time. 


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ○∙◄☻¥tπ[╪AV┼cVê└ on July 21, 2012, 11:00:53 pm
It's official -the Obama administration is now focused on overthrowing Bashar al-Assad's regime (http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2018742903_syria22.html). 

It's about time. 

The Obama administration should be focused on thee economy.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Trounce-'em Theresa on July 21, 2012, 11:12:12 pm
It's official -the Obama administration is now focused on overthrowing Bashar al-Assad's regime (http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2018742903_syria22.html). 

It's about time. 

The Obama administration should be focused on thee economy.

Multitasking is a thing that happens.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ○∙◄☻¥tπ[╪AV┼cVê└ on July 22, 2012, 03:03:27 pm
It's official -the Obama administration is now focused on overthrowing Bashar al-Assad's regime (http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2018742903_syria22.html). 

It's about time. 

The Obama administration should be focused on thee economy.

Multitasking is a thing that happens.

Let's not overestimate these politicians.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Frodo on July 23, 2012, 11:01:05 pm
The regime is getting desperate -they are threatening to unleash the hounds of hell from their stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons if any foreign power intervenes on behalf of the rebels. (http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2018750548_apmlsyria.html)


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: dead0man on July 24, 2012, 12:56:09 am
Which is funny, because they've always claimed they didn't have them.  link (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/2950321.stm)
Quote
Syria has refuted US allegations that it is developing chemical weapons, saying such claims are designed to further the interests of Israel.
It follows condemnation of the US by fellow Arab countries, Russia and the European Union for making threats against Syria over the war in Iraq.

A statement released by the Syrian Government condemned US "threats and falsifications", saying that the "escalated language of threats and accusations by some American officials against Syria" was aimed at "damaging its steadfastness".

"The cabinet rejected these accusations and allegations and saw them as a response to Israeli stimulus and a service to its [Israel's] goals and expansive greed," the statement added.

<snip>
Of course the rest of the world put their fingers in their ears and said "nah nah nah, I can't hear you, nah nah nah".
Quote
However, both Spain and the UK, crucial US allies in the war in Iraq, have refused to back the US' claims.

UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, on a visit to Central Command in Qatar, refused to back Washington's line, saying Syria was run by "intelligent people who have the future interest and welfare of their country at heart".

Spain - another key US ally in the Iraq war - said Syria was a friend of Spain and ruled out military action against Damascus.

The US has also faced disapproval over its stance from France, the European Union and Russia.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has expressed concern that recent statements about Syria may further destabilise the Middle East, while the Secretary General of the Arab League, Amr Musa, said he was astounded by the threats.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: SPC on July 24, 2012, 01:29:23 am
Which is funny, because they've always claimed they didn't have them.  link (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/2950321.stm)
Quote
Syria has refuted US allegations that it is developing chemical weapons, saying such claims are designed to further the interests of Israel.
It follows condemnation of the US by fellow Arab countries, Russia and the European Union for making threats against Syria over the war in Iraq.

A statement released by the Syrian Government condemned US "threats and falsifications", saying that the "escalated language of threats and accusations by some American officials against Syria" was aimed at "damaging its steadfastness".

"The cabinet rejected these accusations and allegations and saw them as a response to Israeli stimulus and a service to its [Israel's] goals and expansive greed," the statement added.

<snip>
Of course the rest of the world put their fingers in their ears and said "nah nah nah, I can't hear you, nah nah nah".
Quote
However, both Spain and the UK, crucial US allies in the war in Iraq, have refused to back the US' claims.

UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, on a visit to Central Command in Qatar, refused to back Washington's line, saying Syria was run by "intelligent people who have the future interest and welfare of their country at heart".

Spain - another key US ally in the Iraq war - said Syria was a friend of Spain and ruled out military action against Damascus.

The US has also faced disapproval over its stance from France, the European Union and Russia.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has expressed concern that recent statements about Syria may further destabilise the Middle East, while the Secretary General of the Arab League, Amr Musa, said he was astounded by the threats.

Is it possible that Syria is making a desperate bluff in order to prevent NATO from getting involved?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: dead0man on July 24, 2012, 01:35:05 am
What do you mean?  That they don't have Chem and Bio weapons? (they certainly do) or that they wouldn't use them in this situation?...but then why have them?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: SPC on July 24, 2012, 01:46:51 am
What do you mean?  That they don't have Chem and Bio weapons? (they certainly do) or that they wouldn't use them in this situation?...but then why have them?

Has this been confirmed by international inspectors, or do they have them in the same sense that Saddam Hussein "had" them? (in a desperate bluff to thwart another Iranian invasion (http://articles.nydailynews.com/2009-06-24/news/17925882_1_saddam-hussein-al-qaeda-iraq))


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Mr. Morden on July 24, 2012, 01:54:14 am
I'm reminded of this epic quote from Baghdad Bob:

"It has been rumored that we have fired scud missiles into Kuwait. I am here now to tell you, we do not have any scud missiles and I don't know why they were fired into Kuwait."


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: SPC on July 24, 2012, 02:02:27 am
I'm reminded of this epic quote from Baghdad Bob:

"It has been rumored that we have fired scud missiles into Kuwait. I am here now to tell you, we do not have any scud missiles and I don't know why they were fired into Kuwait."


Is this in reaction to my skepticism? I was asking an honest question, as game theory would dictate that Syria is better off claiming to have weapons regardless of if they are actually there.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: dead0man on July 24, 2012, 02:04:40 am
What do you mean?  That they don't have Chem and Bio weapons? (they certainly do) or that they wouldn't use them in this situation?...but then why have them?

Has this been confirmed by international inspectors, or do they have them in the same sense that Saddam Hussein "had" them? (in a desperate bluff to thwart another Iranian invasion (http://articles.nydailynews.com/2009-06-24/news/17925882_1_saddam-hussein-al-qaeda-iraq))
I suppose it's possible, I seriously doubt it though.  Of course neither of us have any skin in the game.  Those that do should take the threat seriously though....no?  I'm guessing you wouldn't care if some of it fell into the hands of the Hezzys, but I'm sure those living in Tel Aviv and Beirut do though.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: SPC on July 24, 2012, 02:09:44 am
What do you mean?  That they don't have Chem and Bio weapons? (they certainly do) or that they wouldn't use them in this situation?...but then why have them?

Has this been confirmed by international inspectors, or do they have them in the same sense that Saddam Hussein "had" them? (in a desperate bluff to thwart another Iranian invasion (http://articles.nydailynews.com/2009-06-24/news/17925882_1_saddam-hussein-al-qaeda-iraq))
I suppose it's possible, I seriously doubt it though.  Of course neither of us have any skin in the game.  Those that do should take the threat seriously though....no?  I'm guessing you wouldn't care if some of it fell into the hands of the Hezzys, but I'm sure those living in Tel Aviv and Beirut do though.

Of course I would not support intervention regardless of if Syria is being honest. I just don't want a self-preservation measure to be construed as a casus belli as it was for another embattled dictator 9 years ago.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Silent Hunter on July 24, 2012, 07:59:46 am
I'm reminded of this epic quote from Baghdad Bob:

"It has been rumored that we have fired scud missiles into Kuwait. I am here now to tell you, we do not have any scud missiles and I don't know why they were fired into Kuwait."


Weren't most of those missiles not Scuds anyway?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: dead0man on July 24, 2012, 11:48:57 am
http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/302261/report-rebels-responsible-houla-massacre-john-rosenthal

Have any mainstream news outlets picked this story up?  Because I have looked at the Washington Post and New York Times, and neither is carrying it.  Nor is Reuters (http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/06/11/us-syria-crisis-massacres-idUSBRE85A1DY20120611).  Must be a non-conspiratorial reason why they haven't.  Perhaps the respectable publications doubt this story's veracity as I do. 

No, because mainstream media is a bunch of pigdog imperialists.  The only reliable sources are RT and Syrian state television.
Yeah, about that. (http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/a-look-back-at-the-houla-massacre-in-syria-a-845854.html)
Quote
At about 6 p.m., we heard a tank on the street and men on a car who were chanting: 'Shabiha forever! With our blood and our souls, we sacrifice ourselves for you, oh Bashar!' We had never heard that before.

We were in the house, with my father in the room facing the street and everyone else in the room facing the back. At about 11 p.m., we could hear voices through loudspeakers, saying: 'All lights out! Including candles!' I went to my father in the other room. He had just heard the men standing downstairs in front of the door, and saying that they would take the women first and then kill everyone. I asked him what we should do. He said: 'Go! I'll go outside and try to stall them.'

There were 15 of us. We couldn't take Ahmed with us, because he was too sick. But we were so afraid and in such a hurry that we forgot Sarah, my 8-year-old sister. She was sleeping. When I realized that, I went back to the house with my sister-in-law. We heard the men saying: 'We want the women!' My sister-in-law said: 'There's nothing we can do. They're going to die.' She pulled me back, and we fled."
It seems they (the media) were right the first time.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: The Mikado on July 28, 2012, 02:40:46 pm
Regime describes battle in Aleppo as "Mother of All Battles" as Regime simultaneously struggles to regain control of Damascus.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Trounce-'em Theresa on July 28, 2012, 02:48:32 pm
Regime describes battle in Aleppo as "Mother of All Battles" as Regime simultaneously struggles to regain control of Damascus.

They're seriously quoting Saddam circa 1990?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: The Mikado on July 28, 2012, 05:17:11 pm
Regime describes battle in Aleppo as "Mother of All Battles" as Regime simultaneously struggles to regain control of Damascus.

They're seriously quoting Saddam circa 1990?

I think it's a reference to the original Battle of al-Qadisiyyah, and that that name is sort of a cultural touchstone that both Assad and Saddam drew on independently, not a reference to Saddam.  I could be wrong, though.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Stranger in a strange land on July 28, 2012, 06:01:54 pm

Regime describes battle in Aleppo as "Mother of All Battles" as Regime simultaneously struggles to regain control of Damascus.

I suddenly feel better about the rebels' chances of taking Aleppo and overthrowing the regime.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Silent Hunter on July 29, 2012, 06:51:06 am
Regime describes battle in Aleppo as "Mother of All Battles" as Regime simultaneously struggles to regain control of Damascus.

They're seriously quoting Saddam circa 1990?

I think it's a reference to the original Battle of al-Qadisiyyah, and that that name is sort of a cultural touchstone that both Assad and Saddam drew on independently, not a reference to Saddam.  I could be wrong, though.

Yes, that sounds right, although WaPo also notes Old Testament references.

Still, bad precedent...


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Saturday's Cab Ride Home on August 01, 2012, 12:21:44 pm
Turkey arms the rebels with SAMs now: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/31/us-usa-syria-missiles-idUSBRE86U1T920120731


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: The Mikado on August 01, 2012, 02:08:37 pm
Major misstep on the FSA's part as they execute major Regime figure in Aleppo Zaino Berri.  Berri was the head of the 5,000+ member Berri clan, and the clan has pledged vengeance on the FSA, lending their weapons and support to the Regime.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Frodo on August 02, 2012, 05:39:46 pm
Kofi Annan has just called it quits. (http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fgw-syria-kofi-annan-20120802,0,5382106.story) 


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: dead0man on August 04, 2012, 10:48:28 am
Iran’s Hizbullah sends more troops to help Assad storm Aleppo, fight Sunnis (http://www.worldnewstribune.com/2012/07/29/irans-hizbullah-sends-more-troops-to-help-assad-storm-aleppo-fight-sunnis/)
Quote
The Iranian-sponsored Hizbullah has been sending fighters
to Syria to bolster the latest offensive by President Bashar Assad against
Sunni rebels.
Lebanese security sources said hundreds of Iranian-trained Hizbullah
fighters crossed into Syria to help the Assad regime quell the Sunni revolt.
The sources said the fighters come from elite Hizbullah units and were
deployed in central Syria.

“Assad desperately needs more people to sustain operations against the rebels, and Iran is helping out, mostly through Hizbullah,” a source said.
On July 27, the Lebanese daily An Nahar reported that Hizbullah sent
fighters from its Unit 910, deemed a combat force, to Syria. The newspaper said members of Unit 910 were fighting together with the Syrian Army in Homs, Qusair and Rastan.
Hizbullah is believed to have deployed up to 7,000 troops in Syria.

Meanwhile, Iran TV: 48 Iranians kidnapped in Syria (http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4264252,00.html)
Quote
Iranian state TV says gunmen have kidnapped 48 Iranian pilgrims visiting a holy site revered by Shiites in a suburb of the Syrian capital, Damascus.

The pilgrims were in a tour bus heading to the Sayeda Zeinab mosque on Saturday when gunmen seized them, according to Al-Alam TV, Iran's state-run Arabic news channel. It cited an unidentified official at the Iranian Embassy in Damascus. Iran's English-language state TV station, Press TV, blamed "terrorists" for the abduction.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: True Federalist on August 04, 2012, 10:55:01 pm
Meanwhile, Iran TV: 48 Iranians kidnapped in Syria (http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4264252,00.html)
Quote
Iranian state TV says gunmen have kidnapped 48 Iranian pilgrims visiting a holy site revered by Shiites in a suburb of the Syrian capital, Damascus.

The pilgrims were in a tour bus heading to the Sayeda Zeinab mosque on Saturday when gunmen seized them, according to Al-Alam TV, Iran's state-run Arabic news channel. It cited an unidentified official at the Iranian Embassy in Damascus. Iran's English-language state TV station, Press TV, blamed "terrorists" for the abduction.

I have to wonder if this is a false flag operation intended to justify sending in Iranian "security personnel".


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: dead0man on August 04, 2012, 11:03:41 pm
Maybe, but I don't like to jump to the false flag conclusion without a bit of proof, even if it is a lying, sh**tty state that would totally do something like that.

..and there is already more than a few Iranians fighting there, and that's not counting the Hezzys.

On that subject, it's probably good in the long run for Lebanon that the most experienced fighters are leaving their home to go die in Syria.  Maybe when all the sh**t settles, all the Xtians will leave Syria, settle in Lebanon and bring their numbers back to their historical rates.

...of course that could likely lead to another civil war in that country, which wouldn't be good for anybody (except for those selling old military gear).


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: SPC on August 04, 2012, 11:15:34 pm
On that subject, it's probably good in the long run for Lebanon that the most experienced fighters are leaving their home to go die in Syria.  Maybe when all the sh**t settles, all the Xtians will leave Syria, settle in Lebanon and bring their numbers back to their historical rates.

I can't believe you are openly advocating ethnic cleansing of Syrian Christians. I thought that was merely an unstated assumption.

Aside from the obvious moral obstacle, do you not see any unintended consequences from such an action? Is it possible that the Christian refugees might look slightly more favorably toward the Shiites that protected them from religious persecution versus the West that backed Sunni extremists that drove them out of their homeland of thousands of years?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: dead0man on August 04, 2012, 11:22:22 pm
Perhaps I didn't use my words very good there.  I'm certainly not advocating ethnic cleansing of anybody.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: dead0man on August 05, 2012, 05:34:45 am
The FSA is now saying that the 48 Iranian "hostages" are actually Revolutionary Guards.  link (http://www.emirates247.com/news/region/hostages-in-syria-are-iranian-guards-2012-08-05-1.470249)
Quote
Al-Arabiya television aired footage on Sunday it said it had obtained from Syrian rebels of Iranians kidnapped in Damascus, in which the rebels charge the hostages are elite Revolutionary Guards.

Fighters of the Al Baraa Brigade of the rebel Free Syrian Army have  "captured 48 of the shabiha (militiamen) of Iran who were on a reconnaissance mission in Damascus," said a man dressed as an FSA officer in the video screened by the Dubai-based channel.

"During the investigation, we found that some of them were officers in the Revolutionary Guards," he said, showing documents taken from one of the men, who appeared in the background.

<snip>
In the same article, it mentions that Syria's first astronaut has left the regime, visited the rebels and then went to Turkey.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Frodo on August 05, 2012, 12:56:34 pm
Found a nifty little map showing the distribution of the sectarian groups within Syria, as well as parts of surrounding countries, including Turkey and all of Lebanon:

(http://backchannel.al-monitor.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/A-Syrian-sectarian-map.jpg)


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: The Mikado on August 05, 2012, 01:41:42 pm
I wish these maps wouldn't confuse ethnicity and religion like that re: Kurds.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: bgwah on August 05, 2012, 03:11:50 pm
Why does it show Kurds in Syria but not Turkey or Iraq?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Saturday's Cab Ride Home on August 05, 2012, 03:47:09 pm
Laziness probably.

Kurds are predominately Sunni (except for those that belong to that weird offshoot religion whose creation story sounds like the background plot of an anime and that Muslims accuse of being Satan worshipers...I don't think any of those are in Syria though, almost all are in Iraq) so Sunni on the map really means "Sunni Arab".


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: True Federalist on August 05, 2012, 03:51:46 pm
Why does it show Kurds in Syria but not Turkey or Iraq?

In the case of Turkey, I don't think they keep official statistics on the "mountain Turks".  It's only recently that Turkish governments have even begin to admit that the Kurds might be something other than Turks using a local dialect.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: SPC on August 05, 2012, 03:53:22 pm
I didn't realize that Christians actually constituted a plurality in any part of Syria; I just assumed they were an urban minority. Based on the map, the Christians might be more fortunate than I thought in that the areas in which they are predominant would most likely be absorbed into the Alawite rump state.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Frodo on August 06, 2012, 07:32:36 am
More defections today, this time including the Prime Minister as well as other government officials (http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/syrian-tv-says-bomb-has-exploded-at-state-tv-building-in-damascus-injuring-several-people/2012/08/06/a91fc8e8-df95-11e1-8d48-2b1243f34c85_story.html?hpid=z1).

I didn't realize that Christians actually constituted a plurality in any part of Syria; I just assumed they were an urban minority. Based on the map, the Christians might be more fortunate than I thought in that the areas in which they are predominant would most likely be absorbed into the Alawite rump state.

If the Alawites (and the Christians) elect to become part of Lebanon, the government there is going to want to consider renaming itself 'Phoenicia', considering just how much of the historical territory of ancient Phoenicia an extended Lebanon will cover:

(http://www.fanack.com/uploads/pics/lebanon_phoenician_map_001.jpg)


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: SPC on August 06, 2012, 12:14:03 pm
More defections today, this time including the Prime Minister as well as other government officials (http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/syrian-tv-says-bomb-has-exploded-at-state-tv-building-in-damascus-injuring-several-people/2012/08/06/a91fc8e8-df95-11e1-8d48-2b1243f34c85_story.html?hpid=z1).

I didn't realize that Christians actually constituted a plurality in any part of Syria; I just assumed they were an urban minority. Based on the map, the Christians might be more fortunate than I thought in that the areas in which they are predominant would most likely be absorbed into the Alawite rump state.

If the Alawites (and the Christians) elect to become part of Lebanon, the government there is going to want to consider renaming itself 'Phoenicia', considering just how much of the historical territory of ancient Phoenicia an extended Lebanon will cover:

(http://www.fanack.com/uploads/pics/lebanon_phoenician_map_001.jpg)

Looks like Ralph Peters (http://live.armedforcesjournal.com/2006/06/1833899) was eerily precognitive


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Nhoj on August 06, 2012, 12:53:08 pm
The PMs replacement is a alawite.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: The Mikado on August 08, 2012, 09:34:22 pm
Quote
A Russian general Wednesday denied reports he had been killed by rebels in Syria during an operation against President Bashar al-Assad's top security men.

General Vladimir Kuzheyev told reporters at a hastily arranged press conference at the Russian Defense Ministry in Moscow that he was flattered by the attention and happy to report he was well.

"I thank the media for devoting such great attention to my humble persona," Kuzheyev said in comments also posted on the defense ministry's official website and replayed on state television.

"As a general, I understand that this information was not just a provocation aimed against me but also—and most importantly—against my country."



Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: The Mikado on August 09, 2012, 07:07:24 pm
Erdogan went there:

Quote
Erdogan criticized Assad, asking: “Can we even say that he is a Muslim?”


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: PR on August 09, 2012, 07:23:19 pm
The rebels have lost a "key district" of Aleppo.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-19192413 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-19192413)


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: phk on August 09, 2012, 10:10:33 pm
Lebanon isn't going to take sudden demographic changes too well.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Nhoj on August 09, 2012, 11:35:59 pm
Lebanon isn't going to take sudden demographic changes too well.
Speaking of Lebanon a former minister and pro-Syrian regime guy there was arrested "for security reasons,"  http://www.naharnet.com/stories/en/49451-michel-samaha-arrested-for-security-reasons


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: dead0man on August 10, 2012, 12:01:59 am
and Two top clerics call on Lebanon’s Shiites to back Syrian uprising (http://nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=426494#ixzz2358OsRu1)
Quote
Two prominent Shiite clerics in Lebanon, Mohammad Hassan al-Amin and Hani Fahs, issued a joint statement on Thursday calling on Lebanon’s Shiites to support the popular uprising in neighboring Syria.

“We call on [Lebanon’s Shiites to] support the Arab uprisings…particularly the Syrian [one] which will triumph, God willing.”   

“Among the [factors] that guarantee a [good] future for us in Lebanon, is for Syria to be stable, free, and ruled by a democratic, pluralist and modern state,” the two signatories said. 

The two Shiite clerics added: “We reveal our unwavering stance in support of the Syrian uprising in an unambiguous [and] non-aggressive way; the same way we backed the Palestinian, Iranian, Egyptian, Yemeni and Libyan revolutions and sympathized with the reform movements and popular [protests] in Iran, Bahrain, Mauritania and Sudan.”

Hezbollah is the largest Shiite party in Lebanon and spearheads the pro-Syrian regime March 8 alliance. 

Lebanon’s political scene is split between supporters of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, led by Hezbollah, and the pro-Western March 14 camp.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Silent Hunter on August 13, 2012, 08:00:40 am
Rebels claim to have downed a Syrian jet (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-19246708)

The footage is on YouTube and is already being linked to in other stories - it's a MiG-23BN, a supersonic ground-attack jet.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: PR on August 17, 2012, 12:17:26 am
The UN has ended its observer mission in Syria:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/UN-ends-observer-mission-in-Syria-as-Aleppo-under-renewed-attack/articleshow/15527837.cms
 (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/UN-ends-observer-mission-in-Syria-as-Aleppo-under-renewed-attack/articleshow/15527837.cms)


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Mr. Morden on August 17, 2012, 06:11:48 am
"Assad to no longer be President of Syria by Dec. 31, 2012" is down to 46.1 on Intrade.  It hasn't been a good couple of weeks for the opposition, though I still think Assad is doomed in the long run.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: The Mikado on August 19, 2012, 01:03:46 pm
Bashar al-Assad goes clean-shaven in his first public appearance in a month:

(http://i48.tinypic.com/2qbc70n.jpg)


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: The Mikado on August 23, 2012, 11:16:13 pm
Few tidbits.  Maher al-Assad, Bashar's little bro, was wounded a few days ago, still some confusion on that.

More relevant to most of us, an American journalist named Austin Tice has gone missing in Syria and hasn't been heard from in two weeks.  Either he's lost his phone or something is seriously wrong.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: dead0man on August 24, 2012, 06:04:32 am
Paris backs Syria no-fly zone as fighting grows (http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/aug/23/paris-backs-syria-no-fly-zone-as-fighting-grows/)
Quote
France signaled Thursday that it was prepared to take part in enforcing a partial no-fly zone over Syria, piling pressure on President Bashar Assad's embattled regime as it widens a major offensive against rebels in Damascus and surrounding areas.

French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian urged the international community to consider backing a no-fly zone over parts of Syria, but cautioned that closing the Arab nation's entire air space would be tantamount to "going to war" and require a willing international coalition that does not yet exist.

<snip>


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: A Strange Reflection on August 24, 2012, 06:12:35 pm
Let's hope this is more than lip service...


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: dead0man on August 29, 2012, 02:28:25 am
Iran Said to Send Troops to Bolster Syria (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444230504577615393756632230.html?mod=WSJEurope_hpp_MIDDLETopStories)
Quote
Iran is sending commanders from its elite Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and hundreds of foot soldiers to Syria, according to current and former members of the corps.The personnel moves come on top of what these people say are Tehran's stepped-up efforts to aid the military of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad with cash and arms. That would indicate that regional capitals are being drawn deeper into Syria's conflict—and undergird a growing perception among Mr. Assad's opponents that the regime's military is increasingly strained.

A commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, or IRGC, appeared to offer Iran's first open acknowledgment of its military involvement in Syria.

"Today we are involved in fighting every aspect of a war, a military one in Syria and a cultural one as well," Gen. Salar Abnoush, commander of IRGC's Saheb al-Amr unit, told volunteer trainees in a speech Monday. The comments, reported by the Daneshjoo news agency, which is run by regime-aligned students, couldn't be independently verified. Top Iranian officials had previously said the country isn't involved in the conflict.

Iran has long trained members of the Syrian security apparatus in cybersecurity and spying on dissidents, U.S. officials and Syrian opposition members have said. The decision to send Iranian personnel comes after rebel attacks this summer in Syria's biggest cities, Damascus and Aleppo, in particular an explosion in July that killed four members of Mr. Assad's inner circle, according to the people familiar with the IRGC.

<snip>


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: The Mikado on September 17, 2012, 03:13:24 pm
Current, useful map of control, for those interested:

(http://i.imgur.com/rxKXS.gif)



Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: SPC on September 17, 2012, 04:30:34 pm
who should we support?

The rebels, certainly. These figures (to me) attract much more sympathy than the Libyan rebels, and we intervened militarily to support those.

I tentatively agree, although at this point I think the rebels should start to get serious about uniting and organizing themselves into a plausible alternative government now that it finally looks as if Bashar al-Assad's regime might be beginning to crumble.  Before today, I can understand why they didn't feel the urgency but since the lifespan of the regime is now being measured in weeks -not months- they need to quit procrastinating and get on to it.  Make it easier for the international community (and the United States) to lend its support to their cause. 

LOL


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: A Strange Reflection on September 18, 2012, 02:13:42 pm
Even worse: this thread was titled "End of the Bashar al-Assad Regime is in Sight"... back in January. :P


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Frodo on September 18, 2012, 06:30:45 pm
Any particular reason why the two of you are acting like jackasses?  Having a bad day, perhaps?  :P

Yes, I was overly optimistic regarding the demise of Bashar al-Assad's regime -but it looked justified at the time.  

Give it a rest.  


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: SPC on September 18, 2012, 06:37:50 pm
Any particular reason why the two of you are acting like jackasses?  Having a bad day, perhaps?  :P

Yes, I was overly optimistic regarding the demise of Bashar al-Assad's regime -but it looked justified at the time.  

Give it a rest.  

Sorry, not to pick on you personally. I just thought at the time that such "optimism" was ridiculous (especially after we witnessed how long the Libyan fiasco took) and could be used for comic effect at a later date. Three months seems to be an adequate amount of time for my vindication.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: A Strange Reflection on September 18, 2012, 06:55:37 pm
Any particular reason why the two of you are acting like jackasses?  Having a bad day, perhaps?  :P

Yes, I was overly optimistic regarding the demise of Bashar al-Assad's regime -but it looked justified at the time. 

Give it a rest. 

Oh, I'm really sorry. As SPC's, my post was absolutely not meant to pick on you.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: dead0man on October 02, 2012, 05:08:55 am
a little good news Top Hezbollah operative in Syria killed (http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4287504,00.html)
Quote
Lebanese media reported Tuesday that Ali Hussein Nassif, Hezbollah's commander in Syria, was killed in a military operation.

No details were given as to the nature of the operation. He was reportedly killed on Sunday, along with several other Hezbollah operatives.

A Hezbollah statement to the local media said only that Nassif was killed during "operational activity."

Nassif was in charge of all Hezbollah operations in Syria, and served as the liaison between the Shiite group and Bashar Assad's forces.

<snip>


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: CLARENCE 2015! on October 02, 2012, 05:41:17 am
Great


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: danny on October 03, 2012, 02:28:09 pm
A mortar attack from Syria killed 5 Turks, Turkey has responded by bombing Syria. This could be a big turning point in the war.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Saturday's Cab Ride Home on October 04, 2012, 09:36:45 am
Turkish parliament authorizes the PM to order military action against Syria: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-19830928


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: SPC on October 04, 2012, 06:03:05 pm
I guess Turkey has their Tonkin/Gleiwitz incident?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Saturday's Cab Ride Home on October 04, 2012, 10:14:01 pm
Turkey actually had pretty friendly relations with Syria until all this started in 2011, so there's no reason for them to provoke and/or fabricate incidents. They're legitimately pissed about what Assad is doing.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: dead0man on October 05, 2012, 12:27:33 am
Turkish PM says he does not want war with Syria (http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_world/view/1229646/1/.html)
Quote
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday his country has no intention of going to war with Syria, hours after the parliament in Ankara authorised possible cross-border attacks.

"We have no intention of starting a war with Syria," Erdogan said at a press conference amid anger over Syrian shelling that killed five Turkish nationals in a town that borders Syria.

But he noted that Turkey had the might to protect its nationals and borders, if needed.

"No country should dare test our determination on that," he warned.

His comments came as the Turkish military amassed tanks and anti aircraft missiles in Akcakale town in Sanliurfa city, where the deadly incident took place on Wednesday.

It was not the first time Damascus shelling hit Turkish territory and branded it "an accident," according to Erdogan, who claimed that Turkey was previously hit seven times by Syrian shelling.

"Even today, we had a shell landing in Hatay city Altinozu district," he said.

"One time is an accident... but how is this an accident, when it happens eight times?"

Erdogan reiterated previous official remarks that the cross-border attack mandate was meant to serve as an "active deterrent" in the face of the escalating spillover of violence into Turkish territories.

"This mandate is not a war mandate, but it is in our hands to be used when need be in order to protect Turkey's own interests according to potential developments in the future," Erdogan's deputy Besir Atalay said earlier.

<snip>


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: SPC on October 05, 2012, 05:47:05 pm
Turkey actually had pretty friendly relations with Syria until all this started in 2011, so there's no reason for them to provoke and/or fabricate incidents. They're legitimately pissed about what Assad is doing.

And that's why they have stirred the hornet's nest by giving the rebels assistance (http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/27/us-syria-crisis-centre-idUSBRE86Q0JM20120727) and flying their planes over Syrian airspace (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/9350778/Turkish-plane-may-have-been-in-Syrian-airspace-when-shot-down-says-Turkish-president-Abdullah-Gul.html)?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Frodo on October 07, 2012, 12:10:39 pm
Heeding concerns from the White House, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and other Sunni Muslim countries in the region are scaling back aid from the Syrian rebels -particularly as it pertains to heavy weaponry- out of fear such weapons could end up in the hands of Sunni extremists -like Al Qaeda (http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/news/world/arab-allies-curb-aid-to-syria-rebels-cite-us-fear-656555/).  

Why is it we are happy to sit back while revolutions unseat pro-American dictatorships in the Middle East, but when it comes to Iran (circa 2009) and Syria (today) we suddenly get petrified of unintended consequences the moment it looks like those regimes we have long regarded as enemies could be on the precipice?  


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: SPC on October 08, 2012, 09:24:26 pm
Why is it we are happy to sit back while revolutions unseat pro-American dictatorships in the Middle East, but when it comes to Iran (circa 2009) and Syria (today) we suddenly get petrified of unintended consequences the moment it looks like those regimes we have long regarded as enemies could be on the precipice?  
 (http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/news/world/arab-allies-curb-aid-to-syria-rebels-cite-us-fear-656555/)

Is this (http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2012/02/11/us-arms-deal-with-bahrain-as-crackdown-continues/) is sitting back, I would like to know what you consider to be an appropriate response? Something more like this (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hungarian_Revolution_of_1956)?

Fear of unintended consequences of the overthrow of "hostile" regimes (which previously (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_support_for_Iraq_during_the_Iran%E2%80%93Iraq_war) were in the category of pro-American (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/feb/19/syria-us-ally-human-rights) dictatorships (http://www.sfgate.com/politics/article/U-S-Libya-normalize-relationship-Analysts-say-2518523.php)) is justified, given (http://www.npr.org/2010/12/07/131884473/Afghanistan-After-The-Soviet-Withdrawal) previous (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Iraq_(2003%E2%80%932011)) experience (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aftermath_of_the_Libyan_civil_war).


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Frodo on October 08, 2012, 11:48:41 pm
Romney seems to be of the same sentiment (http://seattletimes.com/html/politics/2019181472_apusromney.html):

Quote
Mitt Romney declared on Monday the U.S. must join other nations in helping arm Syrian rebels to oust Syrian President Bashar Assad, casting President Barack Obama's efforts as weak and part of a broader lack of leadership in the Middle East and around the globe.

Hoping to bolster his own foreign policy credentials, the Republican presidential challenger said he would identify and organize those in the Syrian opposition who share American values, then work with American allies to "ensure they obtain the arms they need to defeat Assad's tanks, helicopters and fighter jets."

"It is essential that we develop influence with those forces in Syria that will one day lead a country that sits at the heart of the Middle East," Romney said.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Make Politics Boring Again on October 09, 2012, 03:31:21 am
Romney seems to be of the same sentiment (http://seattletimes.com/html/politics/2019181472_apusromney.html):

Ah, yes, because funding Islamic militants in a proxy war against a strategic opponent has *never* had unintended consequences. ::) Are US politicians *that* myopic or are they taking American voters as idiots?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: dead0man on October 09, 2012, 05:31:14 am
(I'm going to take sh**t for this one)

Let me start by saying I DO NOT ADVOCATE THIS POSITION, but, playing devil's advocate here, Afghanistan did, it can be argued, go a long way towards hastening the Soviet Union's financial collapse.  Iran's economy is in the toilet.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: 後援会 on October 09, 2012, 05:41:23 am
(I'm going to take sh**t for this one)

Let me start by saying I DO NOT ADVOCATE THIS POSITION, but, playing devil's advocate here, Afghanistan did, it can be argued, go a long way towards hastening the Soviet Union's financial collapse.  Iran's economy is in the toilet.

Alright, I'll jump in so you don't have to. Though I don't actually believe Afghanistan was a huge, or even a significant factor in the economic woes of the Soviet Union.

Even in retrospect, supporting the Mujahedin was the correct choice. The vast majority of the Muhajedin groups we supported do not engage in violent activities against the United States. The Taliban was only one of many factions. A faction that is often at violent odds with the other factions that comprised the vast majority of the Mujahedin. And Al-Qaeda was really a non-player in the anti-Soviet resistance.

And about aid flowing to some people who might become future enemies...well, I don't hear anyone complaining about Lend-Lease.

No clue about the Syria rebel arms thing though. This area of the world has never been my area of expertise and the situation on the ground changes too often and is too poorly understood for me to really direct US policy or anything ridiculous. It's something very difficult from already well-understood history (eg. the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan)


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: SPC on October 09, 2012, 04:19:24 pm
Romney seems to be of the same sentiment (http://seattletimes.com/html/politics/2019181472_apusromney.html):

Quote
Mitt Romney declared on Monday the U.S. must join other nations in helping arm Syrian rebels to oust Syrian President Bashar Assad, casting President Barack Obama's efforts as weak and part of a broader lack of leadership in the Middle East and around the globe.

Hoping to bolster his own foreign policy credentials, the Republican presidential challenger said he would identify and organize those in the Syrian opposition who share American values, then work with American allies to "ensure they obtain the arms they need to defeat Assad's tanks, helicopters and fighter jets."

"It is essential that we develop influence with those forces in Syria that will one day lead a country that sits at the heart of the Middle East," Romney said.


I see Romney is studying the effective winning strategies of Charles Hughes, Wendell Willkie, and Barry Goldwater. Unfortunately for us, the election had no bearing on the outcome in those scenarios, and that trend will likely continue in this election.

(I'm going to take sh**t for this one)

Let me start by saying I DO NOT ADVOCATE THIS POSITION, but, playing devil's advocate here, Afghanistan did, it can be argued, go a long way towards hastening the Soviet Union's financial collapse.  Iran's economy is in the toilet.

Alright, I'll jump in so you don't have to. Though I don't actually believe Afghanistan was a huge, or even a significant factor in the economic woes of the Soviet Union.

Even in retrospect, supporting the Mujahedin was the correct choice. The vast majority of the Muhajedin groups we supported do not engage in violent activities against the United States. The Taliban was only one of many factions. A faction that is often at violent odds with the other factions that comprised the vast majority of the Mujahedin. And Al-Qaeda was really a non-player in the anti-Soviet resistance.

And about aid flowing to some people who might become future enemies...well, I don't hear anyone complaining about Lend-Lease.

No clue about the Syria rebel arms thing though. This area of the world has never been my area of expertise and the situation on the ground changes too often and is too poorly understood for me to really direct US policy or anything ridiculous. It's something very difficult from already well-understood history (eg. the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan)

How were American interests served by the aid to the Mujahideen? Moreover, how was the issue of who controlled Afghanistan important to American interests?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: The Mikado on October 14, 2012, 12:32:21 am
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DzziEcWgb5M

This helpful FSA member gives you a step-by-step tutorial on how to shoot down a plane.  It's well worth the minute.

I love how "Allah Akbar" can apparently also mean "Holy s**t I'm a f**king badass!"


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Bacon! 🔥 on October 14, 2012, 12:43:48 am
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DzziEcWgb5M

This helpful FSA member gives you a step-by-step tutorial on how to shoot down a plane.  It's well worth the minute.

I love how "Allah Akbar" can apparently also mean "Holy s**t I'm a f**king badass!"

I like how "Complete Vice Presidential Debate" is a related video on the sidebar.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: dead0man on October 20, 2012, 12:19:25 am
Blast tears through central Beirut (http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4294374,00.html)
Quote
At least eight people were killed and 96 others were wounded in an explosion in central Beirut on Friday. The blast was reportedly the result of a car bomb that was detonated in the Ashafriyeh district, a mostly Christian area.

The force of the explosion sheared the balconies of off residential buildings, sending bloodied victims pouring out into the streets in the most serious blast this city has seen in years.

Investigators told AFP that some 30 kilograms of explosives were planted in the car bomb.

Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati said his government and the security and legal organizations were investigating the circumstances of the attack and would persecute the culprits, punish them and prevent any attempt to return terror attacks to Lebanon.

Lebanese media reported that Mikati and President Michel Suleiman were monitoring the investigation and the steps taken to assist the injured.

The attack took place about 200 meters from the local Lebanese Phalanges Party headquarters. The party is known to oppose Hezbollah and the Assad regime.

Phalange leader Sami al-Gemayel, a staunch opponent of Syrian President Bashar Assad and member of parliament, condemned the attack.

"Let the state protect the citizens. We will not accept any procrastination in this matter, we cannot continue like that. We have been warning for a year. Enough," said Gemayel, whose brother was assassinated in November 2006.

<snip>
And guess who the pro-Syrian/Iranian peeps in Lebanon blame?  DA JOOS! (http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=448122) of course.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Averroës on October 20, 2012, 05:34:32 pm
Assad approves law on GM food "to preserve the health of human beings, animals, vegetables, and the environment."

 (http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5j89FroqAAzZ2cx2M66hv7um-Gu_A?docId=CNG.6a119bbeec8558b2164e0e9605bcd163.6e1)
Quote
President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, where more than 33,000 people have been killed in 19 months of conflict, issued a law on GM food Thursday to preserve human life, state-run SANA news agency reported.

Assad, whose forces are locked in a bloody confrontation with armed rebels opposed to his rule, "has approved a law on the health security of genetically modified organisms... to regulate their use and production," SANA reported.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: PR on October 22, 2012, 12:10:32 am
Meanwhile, in Lebanon...


Quote
A group of protesters has set up tents outside Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati's office, vowing to remain there until he resigns.

The sit-in began late Sunday outside the building in central Beirut. Earlier Sunday, Lebanese security forces fired their weapons into the air and used tear gas to disperse protesters who were trying to storm the building.

The demonstrators are demanding Mr. Mikati quit over the assassination of Brig. Gen. Wissam al-Hassan, a top intelligence official who died along with seven others in a car bombing Friday that many blame on the government in neighboring Syria.

Former Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri and opposition leader Walid Jumblatt have both accused Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of being behind the blast. Prime Minister Mikati's government is supported by Lebanon's pro-Syrian Hezbollah militia.

http://blogs.voanews.com/breaking-news/2012/10/22/protesters-continue-calls-for-lebanese-pm-to-resign/ (http://blogs.voanews.com/breaking-news/2012/10/22/protesters-continue-calls-for-lebanese-pm-to-resign/)


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Frodo on November 12, 2012, 01:27:21 am
Syrian opposition groups finally reach a unity deal (http://seattletimes.com/html/nationworld/2019659507_apmlsyriaopposition.html). 


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: SPC on November 12, 2012, 01:38:57 am
Syrian opposition groups finally reach a unity deal (http://seattletimes.com/html/nationworld/2019659507_apmlsyriaopposition.html). 

They have footage too (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHHitXxH-us)


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Make Politics Boring Again on November 12, 2012, 02:56:57 am
Syrian opposition groups finally reach a unity deal (http://seattletimes.com/html/nationworld/2019659507_apmlsyriaopposition.html).  

They have footage too (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHHitXxH-us)

Exactly what I thought. And the Kurds are equally opposed to Assad and the rebels, putting the Erdogan in an uncomfortable spot.

What do people think of Israel's involvement into this clusterinks? On the face of it Assad is trying to provoke an Israeli reaction to rally fence-sitters towards him, but it's so incredibly complicated. Aside from the internal sectarian factors there are now at least five foreign players in a civil war, each with disparate interests (Russia, Iran, Turkey+Gulf Arab states, US/UK/France, Israel).


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: SPC on November 12, 2012, 03:50:19 pm
Syrian opposition groups finally reach a unity deal (http://seattletimes.com/html/nationworld/2019659507_apmlsyriaopposition.html). 

They have footage too (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHHitXxH-us)

Exactly what I thought. And the Kurds are equally opposed to Assad and the rebels, putting the Erdogan in an uncomfortable spot.

What do people think of Israel's involvement into this clusterinks? On the face of it Assad is trying to provoke an Israeli reaction to rally fence-sitters towards him, but it's so incredibly complicated. Aside from the internal sectarian factors there are now at least five foreign players in a civil war, each with disparate interests (Russia, Iran, Turkey+Gulf Arab states, US/UK/France, Israel).

I don't see what Israel hopes to accomplish by taking out Assad. Are they betting that the pros of weakening Hezbollah's ally and Iran's "route to the sea" (lol) outweigh the potential cons of having Muslim extremists across the Golan Heights border? Perhaps the rightists hope that drawing the United States in will be the back-door to war with Iran?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Make Politics Boring Again on November 12, 2012, 05:23:00 pm
Who says Israel *wants* to take Assad out? In public Assad has used da Joos to rally Syrians (and to justify the 50 year long State of Emergency), but in private he was content with the status quo. Seems like both Assad and Netanyahu waited until Obama was reelected to begin trading shots.

Part of me suspects Israel, the west, Turkey, and the Sunni Gulf Arab states are making a tacit deal to prevent the rise of an anti-western, , and actively anti-Israeli regime in Syria. There are simply no clear battle lines.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: SPC on November 12, 2012, 05:41:04 pm
Who says Israel *wants* to take Assad out? In public Assad has used da Joos to rally Syrians (and to justify the 50 year long State of Emergency), but in private he was content with the status quo.

That's why I found it so baffling. The current regime is the best the Israeli's can realistically hope for.

Quote
Part of me suspects Israel, the west, Turkey, and the Sunni Gulf Arab states are making a tacit deal to prevent the rise of an anti-western, , and actively anti-Israeli regime in Syria. There are simply no clear battle lines.

Even that premise clearly presupposes that all of those states view regime change as a desirable outcome. Really, the only rational beneficiaries of those would be the Saudis since they get to infect another country with their Wahhabist nonsense.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Benj on November 12, 2012, 09:22:55 pm
The Turks are clearly peeved with Assad as well and want regime change. Unlike Israel and the Saudis, I don't think they have some sort of broader geopolitical motive; the Turks are just not interested in the broader power struggles in the Middle East except insofar as they want both Iran and the Saudis to leave them alone. They're more motivated by (1) genuine humanitarian/democratic concerns and (2) making sure the Kurds don't get uppity (which doesn't really have to do with supporting one side or the other but does encourage intervention).

One of the most interesting possible scenarios would be if Assad takes his attempts to provoke Israel too far, and Israel decides to invade in support of the Syrian opposition. What would the Arab world think?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Nhoj on November 12, 2012, 09:30:38 pm
The Israeli official statement didn't treat it as a provocation, they said something along the lines that we understand it was an accident and that's why we fired a warning shot.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Make Politics Boring Again on November 12, 2012, 10:14:41 pm
The Turks are clearly peeved with Assad as well and want regime change. Unlike Israel and the Saudis, I don't think they have some sort of broader geopolitical motive; the Turks are just not interested in the broader power struggles in the Middle East except insofar as they want both Iran and the Saudis to leave them alone. They're more motivated by (1) genuine humanitarian/democratic concerns and (2) making sure the Kurds don't get uppity (which doesn't really have to do with supporting one side or the other but does encourage intervention).
I think Erdogan knows he's gone too far in turning against Assad so dramatically. Back then he gambled that supporting Syrian rebels would further increase Turkey's prestige among Arabs. The jury is out on that one, but at what cost? Assad has since made provocations against Turkey and is apparently deliberately allowing Kurdish rebels to carve out a statelet. Syria has become a power struggle involving all the powers of the Middle East, and the West, and Russia. It's too late for Erdogan to back down, but it's only rational for him to play a geopolitical game.

Quote
One of the most interesting possible scenarios would be if Assad takes his attempts to provoke Israel too far, and Israel decides to invade in support of the Syrian opposition. What would the Arab world think?
Israel won't openly support any particular side, since that's obviously the kiss of death. Maybe they'll launch airstrikes against a few weapons depot if push really comes to shove. Or maybe they'll not-so-secretly support a minority group like in Lebanon in the 80s.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Benj on November 12, 2012, 11:14:21 pm
The Israeli official statement didn't treat it as a provocation, they said something along the lines that we understand it was an accident and that's why we fired a warning shot.


Obviously. At the same time, they said something to the effect of "but, if you hit a school with a missile, you're done". The question is whether Assad takes them up on the challenge.

(As far as Israeli support being the kiss of death... Not so convinced. The rebels have the sole support of the Sunni establishment and Arab popular sentiment at this point. It's very hard to see them deciding Assad is better just because Israel joins the rebels, though they would have mixed feelings about Israel's intervention, of course. OTOH, it might be a significant place for Israel to temporarily mend fences with many Sunnis while pursuing its feud with Iran. Just a thought.)


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Make Politics Boring Again on November 12, 2012, 11:43:09 pm
Obviously. At the same time, they said something to the effect of "but, if you hit a school with a missile, you're done". The question is whether Assad takes them up on the challenge.
Methinks Assad is merely testing Israel's response, and Israel has no choice but to make a small retaliation.

Quote
(As far as Israeli support being the kiss of death... Not so convinced. The rebels have the sole support of the Sunni establishment and Arab popular sentiment at this point. It's very hard to see them deciding Assad is better just because Israel joins the rebels, though they would have mixed feelings about Israel's intervention, of course. OTOH, it might be a significant place for Israel to temporarily mend fences with many Sunnis while pursuing its feud with Iran. Just a thought.)
You underestimate the amount of hatred ordinary Arabs hold for Israel. Many rank-and-file rebels are Islamists who have chafed under Assad's crackdowns (see Hamah in 1982) and accuse Assad of being too soft on Israel. Meanwhile Assad's propaganda accuses the rebels of being supported by Zionists. Neither are true of course, but Israel openly supporting the rebels ain't gonna happen.

Or maybe Israel will openly support the rebels to turn the Islamists and foreign Jihadis against the rebel leadership, enabling Assad to claw his way back to control. But that's entering cloud cuckoo land.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Benwah [why on Earth do I post something] Courseyay on November 13, 2012, 01:39:21 pm
Good news!

Hollande just held a big press conference on its general politics.

During this he said that France officially recognized the new Syrian National Coalition as the only legitimate representative of the country, as if it was the new official govt of the country then.

He then said that now that this step has been reached, the question of delivering weapons to rebels can be asked again.

Which would mean that rebels would have at least some French ground-air missiles in their hands in, I think, at worst more or less one month, which is when the next summit of the Friends of Syria will be held, which could be the occasion to take an official decision coordinated with eventual other countries.

That's the first Western country to take this decision, if it does like for Libya then UK would follow in the next minutes, and the US tomorrow. ;D

That might become an as important turn than what happened on the 17th of March 2011 for Libya. Which wouldn't mean that the end of war would necessarily be coming soon, but that'd become a serious help, if only for the Syrian sky.

Yay! Vive la France!


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Benwah [why on Earth do I post something] Courseyay on November 15, 2012, 11:43:34 am
So, far less hurry than for Libya to help Syria, once again...

I heard nothing from UK, and the Nobel Peace Prize 2008 didn't make sound his 1st news conference of his new mandate as positively sounding than the French one by refusing to recognize the new SNC like the new official authority of Syria, and also continues to refuse to deliver weapons, speaking about the risk that it falls in bad hands. Maybe he was speaking of the 1000-2000 Jihadists that are currently 'enjoying' the fact that nobody is helping Syrian rebels against Assad forces to play a more and more visible role in this conflict, helped by journalists who enjoy to air the black flags waving all over Syria, and all of this even if that's 1.000-2.000 out of how many? About 60.000 rebel forces at least, yeah, there is a clear Jihadist risk in Syria...

But whatever, thankfully there is always France to keep the flag up, this morning Fabius announced on a big radio that he gonna asked EU to lift the embargo on defensive weapons for Syria. If only to protect the 'free territories'.

After all, recognizing the new SNC as the new authority is also recognizing Assad regime as an occupying force in Syria. I like this paradigm.

On the ground Assad regime is de facto losing all authorities then in some places, since Turkey had said they would accept about 100.000 refugees on their territory, it reached 120.000 now, and people continue to come. Then Turkey is only accepted those who are in very bad shape, and is letting the other ones on the other side of the border, making humanitarian camps within Syria, and while Assad forces can still pretend they bomb some freed cities against terrorists, I'd be quite surprised they dare bombing a humanitarian camp, which makes of them some kinda definitely freed areas of Syria. Problem in those places though being that humanitarian conditions can be pretty bad.

Speaking about Turkey, they became the 8th country after France and the 6 countries of the GCC to officially recognize the new SNC as the new authority. But apparently France remains the only to make official steps to deliver weapons. Qatar would quickly follow I guess.

Also, François Hollande will officially receive Abou Qhatyb, the president of the new SNC in Paris on Saturday. Hmm, when you come to think about it UK moved after the Libyans came in Paris too, and Americans after France really showed they were willing to do something, then see you this week-end?

Whatever what those other powers can do as long as there is at least a few countries to help anyhow, because, the more you let Syrians alone, outside of the 'side effect' that the more you add to the today's figure of 39.000 dead people, the more you help the bunch of Jihadists that are in Syria and overall the more you give power to a possibly totally military authority in Syria in the future if there is nothing to balance the Free Syrian Army.

The new SNC seems to be an actual chance to not let Syria fall in some totally military hands now and in the future and to also have more chances to have a control on some weapons, and might be the last possible way to say to Syrians that they are not totally abandoned by the Human Community, because otherwise, if they succeed to freed themselves after...what? 100.000? 200.000? More?...dead people with everybody knowing, watching, having the means to help but doing nothing, do you just imagine how the ambiance would be...cold? And to what we would look like...

But thankfully there is France!

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/aa/Naval_manoeuvres_toulon_1777_img_9379.jpg/800px-Naval_manoeuvres_toulon_1777_img_9379.jpg)

France, delivering Freedom since 1777

;D

It would be good the US sometimes remember about their origins...


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Mr. Morden on November 23, 2012, 03:07:07 am
The rebels are gaining ground:

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/11/21/gunning_for_damascus


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Benwah [why on Earth do I post something] Courseyay on November 23, 2012, 12:04:41 pm
Good if so.

Meanwhile it's still really laborious in the camp of those who could help...

At first it was amusing, to one more time, see UK beginning to move itself to recognize the new opposition a few hours after Fabius officially spoke about weapons, but then it took them several days to finally laboriously officially recognize the only Syrian representation, becoming the 9th country to do that, but in the end refused to deliver weapons (kudos for the coherence...).

And so far I didn't hear about new countries doing it...

And apparently EU still didn't give an answer to Fabius request to lift EU blockade on weapons...

In between France took a new initiative though, when Hollande received the chief of the new opposition Moaz al-Khatib (sorry for the way I wrote his name last time). And then they created the 1st embassy of the new Syrian representation, in Paris. The ambassador has an interesting profile, he looks about 50 years old, and overall comes from a big Alawit family of Lataquiah, he says most of the coming work of the new SNC will be to seek for the biggest international recognition they can, and to unite the FSA notably in order to have the best possible control on weapons. He seems to be rather dynamic and constructive.

Today, Qatar also proposed to NSC to have an embassy in Doha.

Hopefully they won't have to wait more than the next gathering of the Friends of Syria, in about 2 weeks, so have some concrete help...

Ah well, not sure if that can be much helpful, but lately US and France have given a positive response to Turkey request to put NATO Patriot missiles on its border.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Mr. Morden on November 23, 2012, 11:21:12 pm
Here's more detail on the rebel gains:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/22/us-syria-crisis-idUSBRE8AJ1FK20121122

Quote
Syrian rebels captured an army base in an eastern oil province on Thursday, further weakening President Bashar al-Assad's control in the strategic region bordering Iraq.

The capture of the artillery base on the outskirts of Mayadeen, a town on the Euphrates river near some of Syria's main oilfields, followed rebel takeovers of military installations in the north and centre of the country this week.

Recent rebel momentum shows the increasing potency of the mainly Sunni Muslim fighters trying to topple Assad, who belongs to the Alawite minority linked to Shi'ite Islam. But insurgents have often had to retreat quickly after making advances to avoid strikes by the president's air force.

"The Mayadeen military base fell at 8.30 a.m. (0630 GMT)," Abu Laila, an official in the Military Revolutionary Council in the province, told Reuters. He said 44 rebel fighters had been killed in the operation to capture the base.

"The whole countryside, from the Iraqi border and along the Euphrates to the city of Deir al-Zor, is now under rebel control," he said.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: A Strange Reflection on November 23, 2012, 11:59:52 pm
Let's hope this is a real turning point in the fight and not another "end of the Assad regime in sight" moment.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Mr. Morden on November 24, 2012, 12:05:20 am
Let's hope this is a real turning point in the fight and not another "end of the Assad regime in sight" moment.

I think Assad is toast in the long run, but I don't read these gains as meaning that the regime's collapse is imminent.  There's still a long way to go.  And even once Assad is dislodged from Damascus (whenever that may be), I'm not optimistic about the fighting ending anytime soon after that.  Since there's a much stronger sectarian character to this war than there was in the Libyan civil war, it seems likely that the Sunnis and Alawites would keep fighting each other for many years to come, a la Iraq in the mid/late-2000s.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: A Strange Reflection on November 24, 2012, 03:25:20 pm
Let's hope this is a real turning point in the fight and not another "end of the Assad regime in sight" moment.

I think Assad is toast in the long run, but I don't read these gains as meaning that the regime's collapse is imminent.  There's still a long way to go.  And even once Assad is dislodged from Damascus (whenever that may be), I'm not optimistic about the fighting ending anytime soon after that.  Since there's a much stronger sectarian character to this war than there was in the Libyan civil war, it seems likely that the Sunnis and Alawites would keep fighting each other for many years to come, a la Iraq in the mid/late-2000s.

Where's Petreus when we need him? :P


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Beet on November 25, 2012, 08:48:55 pm
I've been analyzing this a bit and I agree with Mr. Morden. The regime is toast in the long run because as time passes, it is losing material and support faster than it can replenish them, while the rebels are slowly but steadily gaining strength. At some point the balance will tip over from the regime's side to the rebels.

In many ways, there are similarities to the Chinese civil war. The regime has much stronger conventional superiority, but it can't use this superiority to finally crush the rebels. The rebels have much more popular support, particularly among the peasants in the countryside, whereas the regime can only effectively control the cities. Hence the unpopular regime will be trapped in urban "islands" that can be cut off and eventually attacked and snuffed out one by one by the rebels, just as in the Chinese civil war. Also, just as in the Chinese civil war, the rebels' strength grows day by day through defections, and capturing the regimes' weapons. Ironically, at some point I believe that all of the artillery and armor Assad possess makes it more likely that he will not survive, because this weaponry can be used against him. If only small arms existed in Syria, then Assad would be able to keep up stalemate indefinitely.

If Assad has 50 helicopters and 100 warplanes, if he loses 1 helicopter and 2 warplanes a week, after a year he has no air force any more. I do not believe the Russians are going to ship him any more jets or helicopters because they Russians are starting to realize he cannot pay for them. Finally, it appears that Jordan has signed an agreement with Saudi Arabia, whereas the latter has agreed to intervene in Jordan in the event of an uprising there, in return Jordan allows Saudi weapons to pass through to the rebels.

The regime's tactical superiority is also a strategic disadvantage, because when their mortars and bombs fall on civilian areas, or their troops commit atrocities (which they will disproportionately do simply as a consequence of their military superiority) it only serves to further alienate the local population. Since, for instance, low-flying aircraft can be shot down with small arms, the regime's jets have to fly higher on bombing runs to take advantage of the rebels' lack of anti-aircraft, but this decreases their accuracy and effectiveness. Hence, while the regime needs to fight this war politically as well as militarily, but when it tries to leverage its military advantage it comes at a political cost.

It is losing the war politically because the peasants and migrant poor know that the regime no longer has the economic means to buy them off. The regime also has to pay its troops, and it has to be careful about how it deploys its Sunni troops. The regime's most valuable supporters were the urban Sunni upper class/business class, but because those that remain in Syria are going to be the top targets of both sides, including kidnappings, most of them have either smartly left the country or been neutralized.

When Assad falls, I doubt it'll be the end of the fighting. The Kurds and the Sunnis will start fighting, or the radical Islamist and non-radical Islamists will start fighting. What's left of the Alawites will be in the mix, too.

The longer this goes on, the better for the radical Islamists, Al Qaeda, etc.

One of the biggest risks after Assad falls is a genocide of the Alawites.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Frodo on November 25, 2012, 10:02:53 pm
The longer this goes on, the better for the radical Islamists, Al Qaeda, etc.

One of the biggest risks after Assad falls is a genocide of the Alawites.

Are you making an argument for NATO intervention here?   


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Beet on November 25, 2012, 10:07:28 pm
The longer this goes on, the better for the radical Islamists, Al Qaeda, etc.

One of the biggest risks after Assad falls is a genocide of the Alawites.

Are you making an argument for NATO intervention here?    

No, I'm just saying what I think is true. For one thing, there's no support in the West to bear the costs of such an intervention. Secondly, if NATO intervenes and the victors do commit some atrocities or turn out not to be sweet candy, the West could end up looking complicit.

There's also some parallels to the Lebanese civil war.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Frodo on November 25, 2012, 11:50:38 pm
Also, Beet, how significant would it be for the region if Bashar al-Assad's regime were to crumble?  And would it push Iran to be genuinely cooperative with the United States with regard to its nuclear weapons facilities, now that they would be deprived of their only ally in the region? 


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Beet on November 26, 2012, 11:37:48 am
Doubtful, but it would definitely be a strategic coup for Saudi Arabia and potentially the US and Israel.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: The Mikado on November 26, 2012, 02:39:40 pm
Current map of control: red is rebel, green is government, blue is disputed:

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3f/Syrian_Civil_War.svg)

The rebels have secured basically all of Syria north of Aleppo, but are having a hell of a time pushing further south.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Saturday's Cab Ride Home on November 26, 2012, 02:42:32 pm
It's funny that Iran's only ally in the region is ran by a heretical sect that would be relentlessly persecuted in Iran if they existed in any large number.

The Alawites have also become my least favorite branch of Islam (assuming you even consider them Muslims at all of course) due to their staunch support of Assad.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: A Strange Reflection on November 26, 2012, 08:10:43 pm
It's funny that Iran's only ally in the region is ran by a heretical sect that would be relentlessly persecuted in Iran if they existed in any large number.

The Alawites have also become my least favorite branch of Islam (assuming you even consider them Muslims at all of course) due to their staunch support of Assad.

Your propensity to judge religious communities as single blocs is pathetic.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Saturday's Cab Ride Home on November 26, 2012, 08:24:13 pm
Obviously not every single Alawite does. But the leaders and "community" in general do. Look what happens to Alawites that stand against Assad: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/24/world/middleeast/samar-yazbek-branded-betrayer-for-embracing-syria-rebels.html?pagewanted=all

Also I've read that of all the military and government officials that have deserted Assad, not a single one is Alawite.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: politicus on November 27, 2012, 05:34:44 am
It's funny that Iran's only ally in the region is ran by a heretical sect that would be relentlessly persecuted in Iran if they existed in any large number.

The Alawites have also become my least favorite branch of Islam (assuming you even consider them Muslims at all of course) due to their staunch support of Assad.
Only know them from Turkey, there its a very sympathetic, antiauthoritarian and liberal version of Islam with no imams, layman participation in services presided over by laymen prayerleaders which can also be women.
In Syria they simply don't have any choice but to support the regime. The threat from regime sympathisers and the risk of getting massacred if Assad loses is simply too big.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Benwah [why on Earth do I post something] Courseyay on November 29, 2012, 11:33:42 am
Latest quite hot news:

This morning lot of Revolutionary Committees announced that most places where rebellion have strong were totally cut of communications, Internet and cells, notably Damas. They said they ffeared a regime was preparing something nasty.

Very short time ago, France24 just announced that for the 1st time since the beginning of the conflict, Internet and cell networks are now being cut in the country as a whole.

And right now, there is a breaking saying that a major offensive of the army took place on Damas' airport road.

Maybe they didn't enjoy to see the use of the ground-air missiles (the French ones??), and maybe they also wanted to enjoy the fact that all cams are on New-York and Ramallah today.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Benwah [why on Earth do I post something] Courseyay on November 29, 2012, 02:23:28 pm
Also I've read that of all the military and government officials that have deserted Assad, not a single one is Alawite.

Yeah, the new ambassador of Syria, belonging to a big Alawite family of Lattaquiah might be a fake one...

And I haven't watched the composition of the new NSC closely, but if they have an Alawite ambassador, they might have a further Alawite representation.

Not to speak about this:

In Syria they simply don't have any choice but to support the regime. The threat from regime sympathisers and the risk of getting massacred if Assad loses is simply too big.

...indeed.

The longer this goes on, the better for the radical Islamists, Al Qaeda, etc.

One of the biggest risks after Assad falls is a genocide of the Alawites.

Are you making an argument for NATO intervention here?    
For one thing, there's no support in the West to bear the costs of such an intervention.

In the Anglo world you mean?

http://www.sondages-en-france.fr/sondages/Actualit%C3%A9/Politique%20%C3%A9trang%C3%A8re

While the French, who have the biggest military means in the West outside of the US, and who can play a role to move some other EU countries to constitute a force wouldn't be too much annoyed by Russia position here, in term of popular opinion, if you believe polls, French regularly supported helping the opposition, till that poll of the 12/08/2012, which happened when it really turned into a total war there, that gave 51% supporting a French intervention.

'The West', belongs to the 1990s geopolitically, where Mitterand saw nothing on the 1st instant of the 1990s, and who had a rather odd positioning toward Balkanic wars, while 1989 has been US/'The West' victory over USSR/'The-East', and then the leaders against the nasty Serbs, till Bill Clinton becoming a total hero in Kosovo.

France began to woke up in 1995 with Chirac, slowly, and the US who peaked with Kosovo as being the total geopolitical leader and kept this image till 2001. Somalia 1993 was a 1st bad sign though.

Just for a little digression about 'The West'. There is not 'The West' in Palestine today for the most recent example...

About this notion of 'genocide'.

This belongs to XXth century imo, which for our sake we have left.

During a long time, till this August, this has mainly been a protest, non-violent, non anti-Alawites, it was exactly in line with the other Arab Revolutions, a call for Freedom and Justice of which the main the point is the ousting of their dictatorship, and in a 1st time of the 1st big symbol of it, the dictator and his family (since both are often, always?, associated in Arab dictatorships), or in wider sense to his 'clan', and this not in the cultural sense of the word so far, but in the very concrete sense, all the guys at the top of regime screwing the country for their sake.

Outside of the fact that actual genocides, which isn't a slight word, would more and more belong to the past, and the death of all people who have been taken into that might have at least been useful to this.

And outside of the fact that Arab Revolutions belong to a positive dynamic overall.

You can also add that in between there's been an International Justice being set, that several persons have been condemned for stuffs like that, that some are regularly caught, and then a lot of guys around the world pay far more attention before doing nasty stuffs, and anyways it made this less easy to them. But it's not as if the US were aware about all of this...

And you can also the fact that media are everywhere now. In 1980 Assad father massacred 20.000 people, no images, nothing, just some memories of some people in Hama.

Now, will it be wonderful after the fall of the regime?

Indeed not.

Has it been in Libya? No.
Has it been in France after Libération in 1945? No.

Outside of the war which is going on since this summer, given the atrocities committed against Syrian protesters during the months of protests by regime official and maybe overall unofficial forces against civilian protesters, while it must be condemned, you shouldn't be surprised at all to see indeed some nasty retaliations. That could be still more messy precisely due to the fact that the regime used a lot some civilian militias to practice atrocities. But so it goes in this case as it can go anywhere, there doesn't need an ethnic factor for it to happen, the word genocide has a sense, and I think the automatic confessional/ethnic fights in Arab societies are overall a Western intellectual construction based on lazy historical schemes, of which the Lebanese War might have been the last blow. In Iraq, it isn't Shiah vs. Sunnis, it's some Shiah militias vs. Al Qaeda. And lately it became Al Qaeda vs. Shiah populations. Civilian populations are totally taken in hostage there by this, what a pity, and kudos to the US to making them regret Saddam, because that's what you can often hear there when journalists do reports and documentaries...

Speaking about genocide should have some sense.

(...oho...the original post was...once again longer than 11.000 characters, kudos if you're still reading ;D...to be continued right bellow then...)



Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Benwah [why on Earth do I post something] Courseyay on November 29, 2012, 02:24:17 pm
International Justice, knowledge of other cultures, what a pity that the biggest diplomatic and military power became the most cut of the rest of the World...

Crazy how the US would still be stuck in the XXth century paradigm, both diplomatically and militarily, and even in the WW2 paradigm militarily, both in term of strategy and equipment (what the hell do you wanna do with all your aircraft-carriers? destroy China by carpet bombing?) and Obama's influence on that is shy so far, and the fact that it wouldn't be easy at all for him to change it would show how it is deeply seeded in the US geopolitical schemes.

But hey, with Romney we were in WW1, so I guess being stuck in WW2 remains a progress...

Gosh, I always reach the same conclusion:

Thankfully France's here!

And in a less hexagonal conclusions:

Thankfully France could one day brings it's diplomatic power, biggest diplomatic power since...Louis XIII at least till 1918, and that's notably this way the  French language became very international, and it remains the biggest network of embassies around the world after the US, and not very far iirc, it has its UN seat, and its military power, biggest Western army after the US, independent on all equipments, or being allied with other EU countries for the few non-independent ones (some helicopters, non fighting jets, satellites for what I remember) given it apparently has the 3rd military industry in the world (lol, even Russians buy big boats to us...), its nuke button, all of this could be a good start to build a European Defense!

A biggest defense and a biggest diplomacy which could be quite useful in cases like Syria maybe then, and anyhow to have a sane strong force around the world, what the UN isn't able to be, what the US can't be and could less and less be.

Because, unlike the US, the European countries have deeply enough shrunk geopolitical imperialism, may the price that populations taken in the colonial empires paid has at least been useful to this (even France is seriously shrinking its relationship to Françafrique so it's safe!).

Thankfully we're leaving an epoch where geopolitical schemes are deeply changing, it's all opened!

Ah, and, about Al Qaeda, yeah, the most it lasts, the most it helps AQ guys. But one more time, it's about 2.000 guys (for the most pessimistic observers), and a lot foreigners are in it, out of 20 millions of Syrians, and at least 60.000 rebel forces. The danger of Al Qaeda is...relative there.

The biggest danger about them would be they join AQ Iraq once the regime is fallen, in order to 'continue the Jihad!', and so they participate to destabilize Iraq.

That being said, the move behind all of this is a decreasing of Iran in the region.

1st in Syria, I don't need to develop I think.

2nd in Lebanon, Hezbollah would become more and more isolated, technically and politically.

3rd in Iraq, if the fall of Assad regime effectively leads to a destabilization of Iraq, 'lol', come to think about it, both Assad clan/regime elites and AQ fighters could flee to the Iraqi Shiah administration once the regime falls, because Tehran might not be fond to welcome some of the most murderous people in human history on their ground given how it could be inflammable for the Iranian youth...

So it might lead to a totally f**ked up situation in Iraq.

This while Qatar is enlarging is 'Califate', succeeded to already take Gaza, which the brilliant Israeli intervention might have still helped, because, while Al Qassam brigades are showing this...

(http://meteormagazine.co.il/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/gaza-merci-iran.jpg)

Says: Thank you Iran

...in Gaza streets, in the end of the day, Israel succeeds to give a big geopolitical importance to Morsi, who is funded by Qatar, and by having destroyed all those infrastructures it will makes Qatari funds still more welcome in Gaza. Kudos Israel, always brilliant, and the US always here to brilliantly obey to them.

Qatar who is then becoming the 1st geopolitical power of the Peninsula, and even of the Gulf diplomatically, which makes KSA influence to be more and more marginal.

A major crisis in Iraq that'd clearly be Shiahs vs Sunnis could incite KSA to take back a lead, especially since Sunnis could appear as a persecuted minority, still more especially when you consider the growing political crisis in Kuwait, which is becoming the biggest political crisis there with Bahrain, and we know how KSA handled Bahrain...

(http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-kPtbaECEHY8/Ta-cNonnwiI/AAAAAAAABwY/skQv-P7Cy7o/s1600/troupe+saoudienne+entrant+au+Bahre%25C3%25AFn.jpg)


...which can be seen as one more fail of Iran in the region, since they call for defending Shiahs all over the world, to which you could add the Saudi repressions of Shiahs in KSA, Iran didn't move here either, geopolitically it's one more fail for them...

And this while KSA is slowly going to softer and softer social policies and more and more home public spendings since to appease the possibilities of protests since the beginning of Arab Revolutions, some less radical policies coupled to this decrease of geopolitical influence in the Arab world, while still having this status of 'US puppet' could give still more strength and fuel to extremists in this country, who are always present if you believe observers.

You could also had the fact that protests in Jordan are being bigger and bigger and clearly led by Jordanian MBs, which would be of the same shade than Egyptian ones, and who could also be part of the rising 'Qatar Caliphate'...

So many things that makes that KSA really is at a crossroad and that might not accept to be continued to be marginalized, and thus that could try to take benefit of this loss of the Iranian influence all over the region to push further its advantage, and Iraq might eventually become the spot of this.

So, in short, all of this goes toward far and far less Iran all over. Which also confirms the way I use to see Iran as being in the last years of USSR...

And which also are so many reasons not to strike Iran!

Doing it could bring totally hazardous crazy consequences...

And thankfully the 2008 peace Nobel Prize had firm enough words going in this sense here...

(http://ds1.ds.static.rtbf.be/article/big_info/a/2/8/624_341_photo_1352924797793-1-0.jpg)

...to counter this...

(http://photo.parismatch.com/media/photos2/actu/monde/netanyahou-iran/5102728-1-fre-FR/netanyahou-iran.jpg)

So the US might not be totally doomed!

But anyways, one more time, US 1777, Iraq 2003, Libya 2011, Syria 2012...

(http://amerique.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/15-conf-de-presse-4-intro-e1352967996275.jpg?w=450&h=274)

(Hollande announcing he officially recognizes the NSC as the new Syrian authority)

Thankfully France is here!



(...France, Europe, US, the whole Middle-East, wow seems I went a bit beyond Syria here...

...read everything?? Kudos if so! ;D...)



Not other news of what's going on in Damas...


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Lief 🐋 on November 29, 2012, 02:44:11 pm
Syria has completely disconnected from the internet. Things are about to get much, much worse.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Blue3 on November 29, 2012, 10:05:58 pm
Assad must know how vulnerable he is. Mubarak and Gadhafi both cut off the Internet early on, actually surprised Assad took this long. Definitely smells like weakness.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Frodo on November 30, 2012, 09:25:40 pm
So how much longer does everyone think the Assad regime can stay in power?

The United States is moving towards officially recognizing the Syrian opposition as the legitimate government in the country (http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/ap-sources-us-preparing-to-upgrade-recognition-of-syrias-opposition-offer-greater-support/2012/11/29/8baafd70-3a47-11e2-9258-ac7c78d5c680_story.html).  


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: SPC on December 01, 2012, 04:05:44 pm
So how much longer does everyone think the Assad regime can stay in power?

The United States is moving towards officially recognizing the Syrian opposition as the legitimate government in the country (http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/ap-sources-us-preparing-to-upgrade-recognition-of-syrias-opposition-offer-greater-support/2012/11/29/8baafd70-3a47-11e2-9258-ac7c78d5c680_story.html).  

As long as he did the last time you asked the question. Absent direct foreign intervention I suspect he'll survive 2013.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Frodo on December 04, 2012, 10:57:03 pm
Syrian army weakening as rebels make gains (http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/syrian-army-weakening-as-rebels-make-gains/2012/12/04/80b1d1c6-3e59-11e2-ae43-cf491b837f7b_story.html?hpid=z1)

By Joby Warrick and Babak Dehghanpisheh,
Updated: Tuesday, December 4, 8:19 PM


After nearly two years of fighting, Syria’s vaunted war machine is showing serious cracks as emboldened rebels snap up more bases and airfields and force army units to retrench behind defensive lines in major cities, Western officials and military analysts say.

Bolstered by a steady flow of arms from foreign backers, opposition forces have scored a series of tactical victories in the Damascus suburbs in recent days and are advancing steadily toward the city’s airport, adding to what some analysts view as a sense of momentum that has been building since late summer.

Powerful antitank and antiaircraft weapons have helped level what was once a lopsided contest, the officials say, so much so that army commanders have been unable or unwilling to challenge rebel assaults on large military bases on the capital’s outskirts.

“The regime isn’t intervening to defend its positions,” said Jeffrey White, a former Middle East military analyst with the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency. “And when it does try to counterattack, it often fails.”


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Saturday's Cab Ride Home on December 04, 2012, 11:02:54 pm
The rebel should start publicly gunning down army officers outside of battle again and see how quickly they start deserting. Also what's the Syrian equivalent of West Point? That'd make a nice bombing target...


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Make Politics Boring Again on December 04, 2012, 11:12:23 pm
The rebel should start publicly gunning down army officers outside of battle again and see how quickly they start deserting. Also what's the Syrian equivalent of West Point? That'd make a nice bombing target...

The top military leadership are Alawite and they know they won't fare well under any circumstances. Might as well go down fighting. It really isn't possible to separate the "good guys" from the "bad guys".


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Saturday's Cab Ride Home on December 04, 2012, 11:45:52 pm
One could defect and then renounce their past "Alawite heresy" and claim to have converted to standard Sunni Islam now.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: SPC on December 05, 2012, 09:58:40 pm
I feel like the red avatars around here could benefit from reading this (http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/12/04/beware-the-anti-anti-war-left/)


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Saturday's Cab Ride Home on December 05, 2012, 10:14:38 pm
I feel like the red avatars around here could benefit from reading this (http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/12/04/beware-the-anti-anti-war-left/)

There's hordes of logical fallacies in that article, but I'll give the author credit for putting forward a point that consists of more than:

1-OMG THIS IS JUST LIKE IRAQ/VIETNAM!
2-NO TO IMPERIALISM!
3-Any intervention would provide benefit to US/European businesses, therefore it's not truly humanitarian, therefore Gaddafi/Assad is the better guy.
4-Right wing talking points about the opposition all being al Qaeda terrorists.

Because that type of junk is literally all I've seen on DU whenever anyone criticizes an Obama military intervention like in Libya or the sending military advisors to Uganda. (It's a minority of course, but too vocal of one.) In hindsight it makes me realize that lots of anti-Iraq War types relied on really stupid bumper sticker slogans instead of real arguments, but since I was on the same side as them and saw the pro-war side as far worse I didn't even notice it/care.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Illuminati Blood Drinker on December 05, 2012, 11:42:24 pm

4-Right wing talking points about the opposition all being al Qaeda terrorists.
I wonder if any of the left-wingers putting forth that junk realize what the hell they're doing when they say it.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Mr. Morden on December 06, 2012, 12:24:40 am
http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/12/05/15706380-syria-loads-chemical-weapons-into-bombs-military-awaits-assads-order?lite&google_editors_picks=true

Quote
The Syrian military is prepared to use chemical weapons against its own people and is awaiting final orders from President Bashar Assad, U.S. officials told NBC News on Wednesday.

The military has loaded the precursor chemicals for sarin, a deadly nerve gas, into aerial bombs that could be dropped onto the Syrian people from dozens of fighter-bombers, the officials said.

As recently as Tuesday, officials had said there was as yet no evidence that the process of mixing the "precursor" chemicals had begun. But Wednesday, they said their worst fears had been confirmed: The nerve agents were locked and loaded inside the bombs.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Tender Branson on December 06, 2012, 01:19:03 am
http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/12/05/15706380-syria-loads-chemical-weapons-into-bombs-military-awaits-assads-order?lite&google_editors_picks=true

Quote
The Syrian military is prepared to use chemical weapons against its own people and is awaiting final orders from President Bashar Assad, U.S. officials told NBC News on Wednesday.

The military has loaded the precursor chemicals for sarin, a deadly nerve gas, into aerial bombs that could be dropped onto the Syrian people from dozens of fighter-bombers, the officials said.

As recently as Tuesday, officials had said there was as yet no evidence that the process of mixing the "precursor" chemicals had begun. But Wednesday, they said their worst fears had been confirmed: The nerve agents were locked and loaded inside the bombs.

Hmm, this is not good ...

If this is not just a tactic to scare the rebels and they are actually using it, the US and others should probably intervene there based on a UN mandate and wipe out the Assad regime.

And this is coming from a left-winger like me, but the consequences of using these weapons would probably justify a mission to get rid of the regime in a hopefully quick way.

But the situation there and what might happen with the chemical bombs if the allied forces are invading are just ... nuts.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Saturday's Cab Ride Home on December 06, 2012, 01:32:41 am
What invading forces? Just wipe out the Syrian Air Force (The entire Libyan Air Force was basically annihilated in two days) and then hit all the chemical weapons delivery systems with a bunch of cruise missiles.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: King Jellybean on December 06, 2012, 12:29:26 pm
What invading forces? Just wipe out the Syrian Air Force (The entire Libyan Air Force was basically annihilated in two days) and then hit all the chemical weapons delivery systems with a bunch of cruise missiles.

This. Basically, Assad using his WMDs would pretty much justify what we did to Ghadaffi. Basically our goal won't be regime change, but simply to prevent genocide.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: True Federalist on December 06, 2012, 01:48:38 pm
The main problem is, any attack on Assad's WMD's is likely to release them, not simply destroy them.  It's why it is essentially impossible for a pre-emptive strike to be done, since we would in effect be releasing chemical agents that would undoubtedly affect nearby civilian areas.  Indeed, if Assad is smart, he likely has chosen to mix those chemicals near civilian areas.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: King Jellybean on December 06, 2012, 06:34:32 pm
What if he starts to release? Would we then be absolved of that responsibility of causing them to be released and perhaps some of the collateral damages of our actions?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: SPC on December 06, 2012, 11:41:32 pm
What if he starts to release? Would we then be absolved of that responsibility of causing them to be released and perhaps some of the collateral damages of our actions?

That's why he's not going to release. The chemical weapons are a dead man's switch.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Make Politics Boring Again on December 07, 2012, 12:30:16 am
Bashar has said he was born in Syria, lived all his life in Syria, and will die in Syria. Take that how you want.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: King Jellybean on December 07, 2012, 10:36:03 am
Well, Assad could attempt a genocide against non-Allawites if he knows hes not going to be more than another month or two in order to position his sect to have more power in the future of Syria. Then again, the powers might be might partitition Syria between Allawites, Kurds, Sunni Arabs and perhaps even Arab Christians.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Make Politics Boring Again on December 07, 2012, 01:06:33 pm
Well, Assad could attempt a genocide against non-Allawites if he knows hes not going to be more than another month or two in order to position his sect to have more power in the future of Syria. Then again, the powers might be might partitition Syria between Allawites, Kurds, Sunni Arabs and perhaps even Arab Christians.
Uh, what? Alawites are only 10% of Syria's 22 million population. Even a Hitler-like madman can't change that fact in two months.

The most rational thing for him to do is to gather all his most loyal army officers and send them to the Alawite coastal strip, order them to cleanse out non-Alawites and other undesirables from the mountainous strip, and then fly a helicopter to pick him up from Damascus at midnight. Then, plead for international peacekeepers to defend the Alawites from what will definitely be desires for revenge. Bonus, continue allowing Russia access to the Port of Tartus in exchange for Russia continuing to support the remnants of Assad-controlled Syria. The last part would be like the US supporting the last remnant of KMT-controlled China.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: King Jellybean on December 07, 2012, 03:08:55 pm
Well, Assad could attempt a genocide against non-Allawites if he knows hes not going to be more than another month or two in order to position his sect to have more power in the future of Syria. Then again, the powers might be might partitition Syria between Allawites, Kurds, Sunni Arabs and perhaps even Arab Christians.
Uh, what? Alawites are only 10% of Syria's 22 million population. Even a Hitler-like madman can't change that fact in two months.

The most rational thing for him to do is to gather all his most loyal army officers and send them to the Alawite coastal strip, order them to cleanse out non-Alawites and other undesirables from the mountainous strip, and then fly a helicopter to pick him up from Damascus at midnight. Then, plead for international peacekeepers to defend the Alawites from what will definitely be desires for revenge. Bonus, continue allowing Russia access to the Port of Tartus in exchange for Russia continuing to support the remnants of Assad-controlled Syria. The last part would be like the US supporting the last remnant of KMT-controlled China.

That actually makes sense instead of killing 300,000 people and perhaps chasing out anouther 1,000,000 in 2 months of sustained gassing in order to become a somewhat larger of a minority. That would probably create a Rwandan-style  repraisal.  This way, Assad would still have to commit a somewhat smaller of a genocide but he could be the Taiwan of post Cold-War dictators of a small country of about 2 million people. But this gets us back to the main point. Having a genocide at the next door of the western world at this magnitude is simply unacceptable and worse creates a very slippery slope towards making genocide a tolerated fact of life.  This is why we need to start an air campaign over Syria if any are released and if people are still dying after a week, we really should put troops on the ground if we can at least NATO on board....though maybe Assad already knows this and he is just bluffing and the course of the war will continue on its current trajectory of Assad losing sometime next year or Syria becoming the next Sudan for years to come.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Benj on December 07, 2012, 11:34:41 pm
Well, Assad could attempt a genocide against non-Allawites if he knows hes not going to be more than another month or two in order to position his sect to have more power in the future of Syria. Then again, the powers might be might partitition Syria between Allawites, Kurds, Sunni Arabs and perhaps even Arab Christians.
Uh, what? Alawites are only 10% of Syria's 22 million population. Even a Hitler-like madman can't change that fact in two months.

The most rational thing for him to do is to gather all his most loyal army officers and send them to the Alawite coastal strip, order them to cleanse out non-Alawites and other undesirables from the mountainous strip, and then fly a helicopter to pick him up from Damascus at midnight. Then, plead for international peacekeepers to defend the Alawites from what will definitely be desires for revenge. Bonus, continue allowing Russia access to the Port of Tartus in exchange for Russia continuing to support the remnants of Assad-controlled Syria. The last part would be like the US supporting the last remnant of KMT-controlled China.

See:

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b1/Alawite_Distribution_in_the_Levant.png)

Curious what the Alawites of Iskenderun think about Turkey's involvement in the Syrian civil war.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: True Federalist on December 08, 2012, 12:31:36 am
Curious what the Alawites of Iskenderun think about Turkey's involvement in the Syrian civil war.

Probably they are thankful they were hijacked by Turkey back in 1939 and thus out of most of this mess.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Make Politics Boring Again on December 08, 2012, 01:48:23 am
This is why we need to start an air campaign over Syria if any are released and if people are still dying after a week, we really should put troops on the ground if we can at least NATO on board....though maybe Assad already knows this and he is just bluffing and the course of the war will continue on its current trajectory of Assad losing sometime next year or Syria becoming the next Sudan for years to come.
But wouldn't bombing canisters containing poison gas, you know, release them? And if Assad's smart he's located the weapons depots near crowded urban areas to prevent just that from happening.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Saturday's Cab Ride Home on December 08, 2012, 01:53:53 am
How about dropping "bombs" that are just spray neutralizing agents into the air?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Silent Hunter on December 08, 2012, 06:08:54 am
How about dropping "bombs" that are just spray neutralizing agents into the air?

I'm pretty sure that sort of thing doesn't exist.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: SPC on December 08, 2012, 10:48:51 pm
How about dropping "bombs" that are just spray neutralizing agents into the air?

When you have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Trounce-'em Theresa on December 09, 2012, 06:02:32 pm
How about dropping "bombs" that are just spray neutralizing agents into the air?

When you have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

How is releasing an antidote anything other than excellent solution to the problem of somebody using chemical weapons on folks?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Benj on December 09, 2012, 06:07:59 pm
How about dropping "bombs" that are just spray neutralizing agents into the air?

When you have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

How is releasing an antidote anything other than excellent solution to the problem of somebody using chemical weapons on folks?

As London Man pointed out, that might be feasible in a Hollywood blockbuster, but not in real life.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Trounce-'em Theresa on December 09, 2012, 06:13:33 pm
How about dropping "bombs" that are just spray neutralizing agents into the air?

When you have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

How is releasing an antidote anything other than excellent solution to the problem of somebody using chemical weapons on folks?

As London Man pointed out, that might be feasible in a Hollywood blockbuster, but not in real life.

Well, obviously I mean if and when possible. SPC may, I suppose (and hope), have been criticizing whatever thought process led BRTD to think that particular process is feasible, but it's SPC. He may very well have a grave moral opposition to administering antidotes to citizens of other countries in violation of those countries' self-determination for all I know.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Lief 🐋 on December 09, 2012, 07:04:56 pm
How about dropping "bombs" that are just spray neutralizing agents into the air?

When you have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

How is releasing an antidote anything other than excellent solution to the problem of somebody using chemical weapons on folks?

As London Man pointed out, that might be feasible in a Hollywood blockbuster, but not in real life.

Well, obviously I mean if and when possible. SPC may, I suppose (and hope), have been criticizing whatever thought process led BRTD to think that particular process is feasible, but it's SPC. He may very well have a grave moral opposition to administering antidotes to citizens of other countries in violation of those countries' self-determination for all I know.

Obviously giving Syrians antidotes creates perverse market distortions. Better to force them to find and purchase their own antidotes.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: True Federalist on December 09, 2012, 11:56:48 pm
With nerve agents, deploying antidotes is risky.  If you give yourself the antidote because you think you've come in contact with one, but you haven't, then you can potentially kill yourself that way as well.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Trounce-'em Theresa on December 10, 2012, 02:42:43 am
With nerve agents, deploying antidotes is risky.  If you give yourself the antidote because you think you've come in contact with one, but you haven't, then you can potentially kill yourself that way as well.

...that would in fact be a very good reason to have second thoughts about doing as BRTD suggested, were it possible. I stand at least partially corrected. Thank you, Ernest.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Saturday's Cab Ride Home on December 10, 2012, 12:04:32 pm
I was thinking of a certain Spec Ops level of Call of Duty 3 with that comment there.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Trounce-'em Theresa on December 10, 2012, 06:20:20 pm
I was thinking of a certain Spec Ops level of Call of Duty 3 with that comment there.

I see.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Filuwaúrdjan on December 10, 2012, 06:21:30 pm
;D


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Frodo on December 11, 2012, 07:30:11 pm
Obama: US now recognizes opposition as ‘legitimate representative’ of Syrian people (http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/clinton-cancels-trip-to-arab-world-due-to-illness-us-names-syrian-group-a-terrorist-body/2012/12/10/a05e541a-4343-11e2-8c8f-fbebf7ccab4e_story.html?hpid=z2)

By Associated Press, Published: December 10 | Updated: Tuesday, December 11, 6:39 PM

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama declared Syria’s main opposition group the sole “legitimate representative” of its country’s people Tuesday, deeming the move “a big step” in the international diplomatic efforts to end Syrian President Bashar Assad’s embattled regime.

Obama said the newly formed Syrian Opposition Council “is now inclusive enough” to be granted the elevated status, which paves the way for the greater U.S. support for the organization.

“Obviously, with that recognition comes responsibilities,” Obama said in an interview Tuesday with ABC News. “To make sure that they organize themselves effectively, that they are representative of all the parties, that they commit themselves to a political transition that respects women’s rights and minority rights.”

Recognition of the council as the sole representative of Syria’s diverse population brings the U.S. in line with Britain, France and several of America’s Arab allies, which took the same step shortly after the body was created at a meeting of opposition representatives in Qatar last month.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: A Strange Reflection on December 11, 2012, 07:52:27 pm
Now for God's sake, start sending them some weapons instead of keeping doing speeches.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Saturday's Cab Ride Home on December 13, 2012, 01:00:55 am
If Assad's using SCUDs he's probably feeling cornered.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Cory on December 13, 2012, 05:03:02 am
I think in all likelihood we are already sending the Syrian rebels weapons and other supplies in secret. Probably via Saudi and other Gulf middle men.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Blue3 on December 13, 2012, 03:06:41 pm
Russia says the rebels might win:

http://news.yahoo.com/russia-says-syrian-rebels-might-win-car-bomb-111631714.html



NATO says Assad regime on the brink of collapse:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/13/syria-regime-collapse_n_2292440.html


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Frodo on December 13, 2012, 06:36:46 pm
I hope this isn't another false dawn.  :P


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Simfan34 on December 13, 2012, 06:41:47 pm
I have an inexplicable soft spot for Asma al-Assad. It's going to be horrible to see her and her children dragged around the streets. Syria's such a shame. Up until this whole thing started I really did think there was a chance at reform and opening up, that Assad could prove to a progressive moderniser, which his background certainly suggested. Now that's all a dead dream, along with thousands of Syrians.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: politicus on December 13, 2012, 06:59:02 pm
I have an inexplicable soft spot for Asma al-Assad. It's going to be horrible to see her and her children dragged around the streets. Syria's such a shame. Up until this whole thing started I really did think there was a chance at reform and opening up, that Assad could prove to a progressive moderniser, which his background certainly suggested. Now that's all a dead dream, along with thousands of Syrians.
We in the West tend to overestimate how much one man can go in and change an already established regime. I think thats true of both North Korea and Syria. There are already a network of officers, cronies and other stakeholders around the throne that have a vested interest in the status quo and without their support the heir to the family dictatorship can change very little.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: A Strange Reflection on December 13, 2012, 07:31:37 pm
I would say that Assad did more that just let the status quo. If he had been that reform-minded, he could have taken advantage of the early stages of the Revolution to force gradual reforms. Instead, he has shown all his determination not to lose an inch of his power.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: politicus on December 13, 2012, 07:57:24 pm
I would say that Assad did more that just let the status quo. If he had been that reform-minded, he could have taken advantage of the early stages of the Revolution to force gradual reforms. Instead, he has shown all his determination not to lose an inch of his power.
Giving in after a revolution has begun is a sure way of losing. There is basically only three options in that situation. Defeat the rebels, commit suicide or go into exile.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: A Strange Reflection on December 13, 2012, 08:05:17 pm
I would say that Assad did more that just let the status quo. If he had been that reform-minded, he could have taken advantage of the early stages of the Revolution to force gradual reforms. Instead, he has shown all his determination not to lose an inch of his power.
Giving in after a revolution has begun is a sure way of losing. There is basically only three options in that situation. Defeat the rebels, commit suicide or go into exile.

I am pretty sure that a large part of the population on both sides would have agreed to avoid the bloodshed if a compromise option had been on the table. Instead, Assad thought he could crush the rebellion and acted accordingly.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Benj on December 13, 2012, 08:49:44 pm
I would say that Assad did more that just let the status quo. If he had been that reform-minded, he could have taken advantage of the early stages of the Revolution to force gradual reforms. Instead, he has shown all his determination not to lose an inch of his power.
Giving in after a revolution has begun is a sure way of losing. There is basically only three options in that situation. Defeat the rebels, commit suicide or go into exile.

That's exactly what the leaders in Algeria and Morocco did. It worked okay for them. (Granted, I think we're assuming after protests start but before armed conflict began--you may be taking this to be after armed conflict had already started, in which case I agree.)


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: The Mikado on December 13, 2012, 09:27:08 pm
I would say that Assad did more that just let the status quo. If he had been that reform-minded, he could have taken advantage of the early stages of the Revolution to force gradual reforms. Instead, he has shown all his determination not to lose an inch of his power.
Giving in after a revolution has begun is a sure way of losing. There is basically only three options in that situation. Defeat the rebels, commit suicide or go into exile.

I am pretty sure that a large part of the population on both sides would have agreed to avoid the bloodshed if a compromise option had been on the table. Instead, Assad thought he could crush the rebellion and acted accordingly.

As Alexis de Tocqueville pointed out, a dictatorial regime is at its absolute weakest and most likely to be overthrown when it is attempting to reform.  Easing restrictions on people makes them more confident and more likely to speak up about the other problems they face, and make demands that the process go faster.  The easiest options are either conceding defeat and going into exile or going maximum hardline like Assad actually did: reform is something of a fool's errand that makes it more, not less, likely for a ruler to end up hanging from a telephone pole.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: A Strange Reflection on December 13, 2012, 10:17:59 pm
I would say that Assad did more that just let the status quo. If he had been that reform-minded, he could have taken advantage of the early stages of the Revolution to force gradual reforms. Instead, he has shown all his determination not to lose an inch of his power.
Giving in after a revolution has begun is a sure way of losing. There is basically only three options in that situation. Defeat the rebels, commit suicide or go into exile.

I am pretty sure that a large part of the population on both sides would have agreed to avoid the bloodshed if a compromise option had been on the table. Instead, Assad thought he could crush the rebellion and acted accordingly.

As Alexis de Tocqueville pointed out, a dictatorial regime is at its absolute weakest and most likely to be overthrown when it is attempting to reform.  Easing restrictions on people makes them more confident and more likely to speak up about the other problems they face, and make demands that the process go faster.  The easiest options are either conceding defeat and going into exile or going maximum hardline like Assad actually did: reform is something of a fool's errand that makes it more, not less, likely for a ruler to end up hanging from a telephone pole.

There is a lot of truth in this idea, but I don't think it's good to generalize too much. Negotiated political reforms might sometimes appease tensions and allow the regime to stabilize for a while (even though it might still eventually fall).


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Blue3 on December 13, 2012, 11:54:46 pm
I hope this isn't another false dawn.  :P
Syria is Russia's closest ally, and Russia is Syria's strongest ally.

We have only gone into DEFCON-3 three times in our history, and once was because the Soviet Union was threatening nuclear war with the United States to defend its ally Syria, back in the '73 Yom Kippur War. (the other two times were 9/11 and the Cuban Missile Crisis)

Syria is also the only country, outside of the former USSR, where Russia still has a military base.

Russia still supports Assad... but admits he's losing, and they're planning evacuations for their citizens.

If Russia says the rebels may win, and is planning like the end might be near... then the end is probably near. Wish we had a timetable though on when "soon" is, but revolutions don't have timetables.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Mr. Morden on December 14, 2012, 12:20:49 am
If Russia says the rebels may win, and is planning like the end might be near... then the end is probably near.

Even if Assad is dislodged from Damascus, which could still be months away, that's hardly "the end".  The war will most likely keep going for years in a different form, as the Sunnis, Alawites, and others keep killing each other.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Mr. Morden on December 14, 2012, 12:26:08 am
http://www.thenational.ae/thenationalconversation/comment/as-rebels-make-inroads-their-friends-of-syria-are-nervous#ixzz2EnY6j0QI

Quote
The regime's strategists may be acknowledging that it can no longer rule all of Syria, and must instead contract its domain, fighting to hold on to key routes and cities, but accepting that recapturing the swathes of territory in the north, east and south held by rebels is beyond the manpower of the regime's reliable (predominantly Alawite) security forces.

If so, the regime's security core may see its best hopes for survival in the "Lebanonisation" of Syria - a scenario, already under way, in which the central state effectively collapses, and power is carved up among local and regional sectarian militias defending their own turf in a long-term war of all against all. The regime has already ceded territory along the Turkish border to Kurdish militias that have no intention of bending the knee to Damascus, regardless of who rules there.

But whereas Syria played the hegemon to contain the effects of Lebanon's civil war, there'd be no neighbour able to limit the fallout from a similar fracturing of Syria itself - already its civil war has spread into Lebanon and Iraq. Hence the mounting anxiety in western capitals - even the former US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice recently warned in The Washington Post that Syria epitomised the breakdown of the nation-state system established in the Levant by Britain and France after the Second World War.

EDIT: Also, here's an excellent interview with Syria expert Joshua Landis:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbG1nPaxgwY

He gives his take on the most likely scenario from about the 14:50 mark until around the 24 minute mark.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: SPC on December 14, 2012, 03:14:06 am
I was thinking of a certain Spec Ops level of Call of Duty 3 with that comment there.

I see.

Glad to see you attacked me for questioning the reasoning of someone who makes strategic decisions based on a video game.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Trounce-'em Theresa on December 14, 2012, 04:47:22 am
I was thinking of a certain Spec Ops level of Call of Duty 3 with that comment there.

I see.

Glad to see you attacked me for questioning the reasoning of someone who makes strategic decisions based on a video game.

It was your motivations for questioning his reasoning that struck me as suspect.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: SPC on December 15, 2012, 03:13:00 am
I was thinking of a certain Spec Ops level of Call of Duty 3 with that comment there.

I see.

Glad to see you attacked me for questioning the reasoning of someone who makes strategic decisions based on a video game.

It was your motivations for questioning his reasoning that struck me as suspect.

What do you mean by my motivation? My immediate motivation of detecting faulty logic or my greater motivation of opposing a knee-jerk response to a complex situation? The thought process seemed to consist of 1) Assad might use chemical weapons, 2) The US drops bombs with relative ease, therefore 2) should be used to solve 1), hence my observation. You seem to have judged my motivations not based on the content of my post, but on your preconceived stereotype of my political philosophy.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Trounce-'em Theresa on December 15, 2012, 04:22:44 am
I was thinking of a certain Spec Ops level of Call of Duty 3 with that comment there.

I see.

Glad to see you attacked me for questioning the reasoning of someone who makes strategic decisions based on a video game.

It was your motivations for questioning his reasoning that struck me as suspect.

What do you mean by my motivation? My immediate motivation of detecting faulty logic or my greater motivation of opposing a knee-jerk response to a complex situation? The thought process seemed to consist of 1) Assad might use chemical weapons, 2) The US drops bombs with relative ease, therefore 2) should be used to solve 1), hence my observation. You seem to have judged my motivations not based on the content of my post, but on your preconceived stereotype of my political philosophy.

I'll admit that I judged your motivations based on your political philosophy (as opposed to BRTD's motivations, which...defy complex analysis, and are profound in their simplicity, shall we say), so I'm sorry about that. I don't, however, think I have a 'preconceived stereotype' of what your political philosophy is, as I've talked with you on this forum a few times and read threads in which you talked with others quite a bit. Is it fair to assume, based on previous discussions and observations of your philosophy and positions, that you would oppose all or most forms of potential American involvement in the situation in Syria (Call of Duty 3-based or otherwise) on noninterventionist grounds? If so, I think my original broadside has merit, although I apologize for jumping the gun.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Frodo on December 15, 2012, 05:48:02 pm
U.N. mulls sending peacekeepers to Syria

Published: Dec. 15, 2012 at 9:44 AM

DAMASCUS, Syria, Dec. 15 (UPI) -- The United Nations is considering sending between 4,000 and 10,000 peacekeeping troops to Syria, a diplomatic official said.

The official said ministers of countries whose service personnel make up the U.N. peacekeeping force met Friday to discuss options for Syria, RIA Novosti reported.

One problem, the diplomatic source said, is the number of peacekeepers in the U.N. force.

"The problem is that the U.N. has no extra resources. The U.N. has a contingent of about 115,000 peacekeepers in various countries, but in order to send [a peacekeeping mission] to Syria, [the United Nations] will have to withdraw them from somewhere," the official, who spoke anonymously, said.

Lakhdar Brahimi, U.N. and Arab League envoy to Syria, said in November a peacekeeping mission was needed in Syria, devastated by a civil conflict that began in March 2011 over protests against President Bashar Assad. The violence between government troops and opposition forces has killed at least 40,000 people, activist groups estimate.
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Read more: http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2012/12/15/UN-mulls-sending-peacekeepers-to-Syria/UPI-73981355582681/#ixzz2FACcQE5a




Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Blue3 on December 15, 2012, 11:57:52 pm
UN Peacekeepers are useless.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: True Federalist on December 16, 2012, 12:34:53 am
UN Peacekeepers are useless.

Not really.  At times they make very effective hostages.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: dead0man on December 16, 2012, 11:02:56 am
And their ambulances make excellent troop transports.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Silent Hunter on December 17, 2012, 04:17:23 pm
With nerve agents, deploying antidotes is risky.  If you give yourself the antidote because you think you've come in contact with one, but you haven't, then you can potentially kill yourself that way as well.

Also, many of them kill too quickly for an antidote to be deployed.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: True Federalist on December 17, 2012, 04:42:55 pm
With nerve agents, deploying antidotes is risky.  If you give yourself the antidote because you think you've come in contact with one, but you haven't, then you can potentially kill yourself that way as well.

Also, many of them kill too quickly for an antidote to be deployed.

Only in such high concentrations that you likely would have been killed by a conventional weapon hitting the same spot.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Frodo on December 22, 2012, 12:25:24 pm
Russia doesn't appear too eager to serve as host to an exiled Bashar al-Assad and his family:

Russia says it won't host Assad but others welcome (http://seattletimes.com/html/nationworld/2019957974_apeurussiasyria.html)

By VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV
Associated Press
Originally published Saturday, December 22, 2012 at 5:23 AM


MOSCOW —

Russia's foreign minister says Moscow would welcome any country's offer of a safe haven to Syrian President Bashar Assad, but underlined that Moscow itself has no intention of giving him shelter if he steps down.

Russia has used its veto right at the U.N. Security Council to protect its old ally from international sanctions, but it has increasingly sought to distance itself from Assad.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters late Friday that countries in the region he wouldn't name publicly had asked Russia to convey their offer of a safe passage to Assad. He said that Russia responded by telling them to go directly to Assad.

"If there is anyone willing to provide him guarantees, they are welcome!" Lavrov told reporters on board a plane returning from Brussels where he attended a Russia-EU summit. "We would be the first to cross ourselves and say: "Thank God, the carnage is over! If it indeed ends the carnage, which is far from certain."
--------------------------------------------------------------

That's quite a contrast to our more hospitable treatment of former Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi after the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran.  


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Make Politics Boring Again on December 23, 2012, 03:33:26 am
Damn, if I were in the Chinese Politburo I'd be desperately hoping for the US to jump head on to its...fourth Middle Eastern war in a decade, since it would distract Obama's attention from my backyard. Bonus? Syria's sectarianism make Iraq's seem almost like Belgium.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Mr. Morden on December 23, 2012, 12:50:21 pm
More Joshua Landis on Syria, and why the war could still go on for many years after Assad leaves Damascus and retreats to the Alawite heartland:

http://bloggingheads.tv/videos/13845?in=07:32&out=12:41v


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Saturday's Cab Ride Home on December 23, 2012, 12:52:41 pm
That's quite a contrast to our more hospitable treatment of former Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi after the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran.

Yes, and Russia is actually taking the better stance amazingly.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Tender Branson on December 24, 2012, 02:52:09 pm
Syrian troops using killer gas bombs, says Syrian Observatory for Human Right

SYRIAN troops have deployed bombs containing a killer gas while fighting rebels in the central city of Homs.

"Activists in Homs say that six rebels died on Sunday night on the Khaldiyeh-Bayada frontline because they inhaled odourless gas and white smoke," said the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which relies on a network of activists, lawyers and doctors to document Syria's raging conflict.

"Gas spread in the area after regime troops threw bombs that gave off white smoke as soon as they hit the walls," said the Observatory, which added the bombs were deployed during street clashes with the rebels.

"Those who inhaled the gas felt nauseous and suffered severe headaches. Some suffered fits," it added.

"These are not chemical weapons, but we do not know whether they are internationally prohibited," Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said.

"Activists say it is the first time they have recorded these effects," he added. "They are not conventional weapons."

The Observatory called on the International Committee of the Red Cross to urgently send a specialised medical team to Homs, several of whose districts have been besieged by army forces for more than six months.

The Local Co-ordination Committees also reported the use of "bombs containing gases" in Homs.

"These gases lead to muscle relaxation, severe difficulty in breathing and the narrowing of the iris," said the LCC, a grassroots network of peaceful activists.

Amateur video filmed by activists and distributed online by the LCC showed a man laid out on a stretcher struggling to breathe as an unidentified doctor held an oxygen mask over his face.

"It's definitely a poisonous gas, but we don't know what type it is," said a field doctor.

http://www.news.com.au/news/syrian-troops-using-killer-gas-bombs/story-fnehlez2-1226543183488


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Frodo on December 24, 2012, 03:10:41 pm
So they're using chemical weapons already....     


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Blue3 on December 24, 2012, 10:54:38 pm
I would wait until these claims are verified. Hope they're not true.

But if it is confirmed, then we must act swiftly, decisively, carefully, and forcefully.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Saturday's Cab Ride Home on December 25, 2012, 01:39:02 am
So would anyone be opposed to providing the rebels with masks?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: True Federalist on December 25, 2012, 03:14:04 am
So would anyone be opposed to providing the rebels with masks?

Not me, but if this was a nerve agent, masks wouldn't be an absolute boon.  Nerve agents can be absorbed through the skin, altho they are more effective if they contact the eyes, nose, and/or mouth.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: AkSaber on December 25, 2012, 10:26:24 pm
I'm still trying to figure out why our country gets so high and mighty when other countries use chemical or biological weapons, then we turn around and generously use depleted uranium ammunition against whoever gets in our way.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: SPC on December 26, 2012, 12:56:00 am
I'm still trying to figure out why our country gets so high and mighty when other countries use chemical or biological weapons, then we turn around and generously use depleted uranium ammunition against whoever gets in our way.

Consult Rudyard Kipling (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_White_Man%27s_Burden).


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: SPC on December 26, 2012, 12:59:29 am
So would anyone be opposed to providing the rebels with masks?

I thought that the ostensible purpose for any Western intervention was to protect civilians. Even if masks had the protective effect that they must have in Black Ops 2, wouldn't it defeat the purpose of a purportedly humanitarian action if the recipients were the combatants themselves rather than civilians?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: AkSaber on December 26, 2012, 01:40:28 am
Consult Rudyard Kipling (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_White_Man%27s_Burden).

Hahaha. Good stuff.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Simfan34 on December 26, 2012, 08:37:09 am
That's quite a contrast to our more hospitable treatment of former Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi after the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran.

Yes, and Russia is actually taking the better stance amazingly.

WTF? Our betrayal and treatment of the Shah was the greatest moral and geopolitical travesty of the past fifty years. Carter singlehandedly let him fall.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Cory on December 26, 2012, 10:13:58 am
Carter singlehandedly let him fall.

This is patently false. What would you have us do, invade Persia to prop up the Shah?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Lief 🐋 on December 26, 2012, 04:23:24 pm
Our betrayal and treatment of the Shah was the greatest moral and geopolitical travesty of the past fifty years.

This might be the most ridiculous thing anyone's ever said on this forum.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: A Strange Reflection on December 26, 2012, 05:42:41 pm
Our betrayal and treatment of the Shah was the greatest moral and geopolitical travesty of the past fifty years.

This might be the most ridiculous thing anyone's ever said on this forum.

It is pretty bad, but...

Armstrong is clean and thus he won fair and square. He's taken over 500 drug tests and was exonerated every time. This is what happens when a bunch of euros can't stomach that an American beat them on their turf 7 years in a row. He is thus champion. End of story


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Insula Dei on December 26, 2012, 05:59:32 pm
Yeah, that's one of the most disgusting things I've ever read.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Simfan34 on December 26, 2012, 07:11:19 pm
Well, I'm disappointed but not really surprised at the reaction. In a forum where pornography is celebrated as artistic expression and prostitution considered liberating, I should have expected that a regime as modern and progressive as the Shah's would be given so little credit.

Ah, I assume you're all waving your arms at this point. Talking about how Mohammed Reza Pahlavi was a megalomaniac dictator or the like. From the people that exult Hugo Chavez. I suppose dramatic economic growth means very little to you people. Iran had been posting growth rates similar to that of Japan by the 1970s, had the revolution never occurred, it is likely Iran would have ranked within the top ten largest economies in the world by now. The rate of development in imperial Iran was frenetic, six, seven, eight percent per annum. And it wasn't just oil. One of the Shah's major goals was the diversification of the Iranian economy, and the country was experiencing steady, consistent industrialization, with several factories, auto plants, and steel mills opening regularly. And who can forget the infamous "Guess Who's Building Nuclear Power Plants?" ad? The Shah was ready for a post-oil economy, and wanted Iran to become a major economic power, with or without petroleum.

Let's not forget his social policies. Inequality was kept low because of the reforms of the White Revolution, redistributing lands to tenant sharecroppers that had once belonged to the clerics. The dramatic increases in literacy and education. The modernization of the health services of the country, electrification, irrigation, bringing the Green Revolution to Iran. All worthless, I suppose. Then there was his progressive social policies, extending higher education to the masses, allowing local councils. And his policies towards women, in education, in the workplace, in the armed forces. This was a major triumph, and even the revolution could not reverse that. Because Iranian women cannot be forced back into the chador, Iran remains fairly liberal in this regard, when compared to say, Saudi Arabia, but it still became very repressive by any decent standard.

I'm not even going to address apologism for that dictator-in-the-wings, Mosaddegh.

Allowing this state to collapse into what it has become was a moral travesty because it was the Carter Administration who refused to support the Shah in his time of need, allowing the disgusting Khomeini free passage in France instead of detaining him as they should have. The called for wishy-washy, unspecific "reform", emboldening agents of anarchy and protest. They refused to send arms and riot control goods to Iran- so where police would have used tear gas and rubber pellets, they were left with no choice but to use live bullets. By not standing up to the rioters' demands, the Carter Administration encouraged further unrest.

Of course, it is important to realize several in the West were more than willing to see the Shah fall, being afraid of his scheme to have Iran as a major world power, especially in the United Kingdom, where they were still bitter about the loss of "their" oil. Certainly Powell-esque voices of this sort only encouraged the negligent and malfeasant policy towards Iran. The Shah was a strong, reliable ally of the United States, but only to a point, and he always put his country's interests first. That unsettled some people, that the Shah was not some vain potentate willing to sell out his people in order to live in luxury.

It is a geopolitical travesty because, well, it allowed the Imperial State of Iran to become the Islamic Republic of Iran. It is almost unfathomable to conceive what the Middle East would have looked like had the Shah remained in power. No Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. No Iran-Iraq War, or at least, an Iranian floorwipe. No Gulf War. No Iranian backed Hezbollah or Hamas. No 9/11. No Iraq War. No Afghan War... that's only the beginning. Imagine a Middle East dominated by a progressive, pro-Western Iran, instead of a backwards Iran or Saudi Arabia. Just imagine it. In almost no way could any person alive today be worse off had the Shah stayed in power. I'm sure this, as you just said, disgusts you.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: TheDeadFlagBlues on December 26, 2012, 07:20:50 pm
Not to suggest I think that the "success" of Shah's economic policies justifies his disgusting regime, Simfan really needs to take this into consideration:
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/11/Solow_growth_model1.png)



Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Simfan34 on December 26, 2012, 07:28:19 pm
Not to suggest I think that the "success" of Shah's economic policies justifies his disgusting regime, Simfan really needs to take this into consideration:
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/11/Solow_growth_model1.png)



I'm not afraid to admit that while slightly familiar with the Solow growth model, I'm not entirely sure how this pertains to my argument.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: TheDeadFlagBlues on December 26, 2012, 07:38:46 pm
Not to suggest I think that the "success" of Shah's economic policies justifies his disgusting regime, Simfan really needs to take this into consideration:
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/11/Solow_growth_model1.png)



I'm not afraid to admit that while slightly familiar with the Solow growth model, I'm not entirely sure how this pertains to my argument.

The rapid Iranian growth rates weren't miraculous by any means and mirrored those seen around the world. Increasing capital investments in technologies that would yield far higher rates of production leads to rapid gains in standards of living. This rule is uniform and suggests that the rapid worldwide growth that occurred between 1950 and 2000 is due to optimization of easily applicable/currently existing technologies.  Do you support Park Chung-Hee, the PRI and Brazil's military rule simply because they managed to sustain high levels of growth in their respective countries? Seeing as its you, I wouldn't be surprised but my general point is that as long that civil society was maintained, some degree of foreign investment was allowed and basic investments in modern infrastructure were made; rapid growth was inevitable in this era.  

The Solow growth model illustrates this concept of convergence. My basic point is that it isn't remarkable by any means that Iran sustained a high level of growth during the Shah's reign. Then again, you also think that Stiglitz and Krugman are "dangerous" so your understanding of economics must be pretty shallow.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Simfan34 on December 26, 2012, 07:46:08 pm
Of course, I've never heard this hypothesis but I'm disinclined to believe it. 1950-2000 was hardly a period of "rapid worldwide growth", one should ask the stagnant Latin American economies, disintegrating African ones, or peaking European ones, or India, or the USSR, it goes on. The only major stories of the period was the expected European recovery and the strong emergence of several Asian economies.

There's no need to belittle my knowledge of economics. Though I'm sure you knew it would be extra-offensive to an economics major. ::)

Of that list, BTW, the only one I'm willing to support is Park Chung-Hee. The rest were incompetents and autocrats.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Lief 🐋 on December 26, 2012, 07:46:44 pm
Simfan's new post may be even worse. I don't know what kind of twisted perspective of reality results in thinking that the Shah was some progressive hero who brought economic growth and equality to the country and saved it from the dictator Mosaddegh, but the fact that he actually believes in this nonsense is more disgusting than a one sentence posting of hyperbole.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: sjoyce on December 26, 2012, 07:49:46 pm
I'd rather be free and poor than wealthy yet under the boot of a SAVAK agent.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: TheDeadFlagBlues on December 26, 2012, 08:00:37 pm
Of course, I've never heard this hypothesis but I'm disinclined to believe it. 1950-2000 was hardly a period of "rapid worldwide growth", one should ask the stagnant Latin American economies, disintegrating African ones, or peaking European ones, or India, or the USSR, it goes on. The only major stories of the period was the expected European recovery and the strong emergence of several Asian economies.

There's no need to belittle my knowledge of economics. Though I'm sure you knew it would be extra-offensive to an economics major. ::)

Of that list, BTW, the only one I'm willing to support is Park Chung-Hee. The rest were incompetents and autocrats.

(http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_mba5psXab41r4t7nto1_250.gif)

I'm done with this discussion, your mindset is warped.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Lief 🐋 on December 26, 2012, 08:00:52 pm
I actually wrote a paper in undergrad for one of my classes looking at American media portrayals of the Iranian revolution, and Simfan's perspective of the Shah and the revolutionaries is almost verbatim what the Wall Street Journal was printing in the winter of 79-80. The Shah was always portrayed sympathetically: he and his people were serious modernizers who knew how to run an economy; the revolutionaries were all hot-headed Muslim savages, whipped up into a riotous frenzy, who would destroy the Iranian economy. Never mind the fact that the revolution was supported by all strata of society, secular and religious, working and middle class, and never mind that the Shah was a murderous, nasty dictator, who created a society of stark inequality and corruption, robbing Iran of its oil wealth to fund his opulent palaces and have meals flown in from Paris.

I'd rather be free and poor than wealthy yet under the boot of a SAVAK agent.

If you lived in Iran in the late 1970s you'd probably be under the boot of a SAVAK agent and poor. I don't know where Simfan gets this nonsense that Iran was some prosperous place free of economic inequality.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Simfan34 on December 26, 2012, 08:05:56 pm
I'd rather be free and poor than wealthy yet under the boot of a SAVAK agent.

Ah, the security agency with 200 prisoners? How frightening. And then the one that became the truly frightening SAVAMA under the IRI? How ironic. The truth is the vast majority of instability in Iran was perpetrated either by fundamentalists or communists. The real radical fringe. Hardly your sort. Better to stay in the Imperial centre.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Nhoj on December 26, 2012, 08:07:01 pm
Back on the subject of Syria,
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2012/12/2012122614513868810.html
Quote
Syria military police chief defects to rebels


The head of Syria’s military police has defected from President Bashar al-Assad's government and accused the army of having turned into "murderous gangs", according to a security source in an online video.

In the video circulated by opposition activists on Wednesday, the military-clad officer said: "I, General Abdel Aziz Jassem al-Shallal, commander of Syrian military police, announce that I am defecting from the regime army, to join the people's revolution."


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Simfan34 on December 26, 2012, 08:18:25 pm
We're not done, Nhoj.

I actually wrote a paper in undergrad for one of my classes looking at American media portrayals of the Iranian revolution, and Simfan's perspective of the Shah and the revolutionaries is almost verbatim what the Wall Street Journal was printing in the winter of 79-80. The Shah was always portrayed sympathetically: he and his people were serious modernizers who knew how to run an economy; the revolutionaries were all hot-headed Muslim savages, whipped up into a riotous frenzy, who would destroy the Iranian economy. Never mind the fact that the revolution was supported by all strata of society, secular and religious, working and middle class, and never mind that the Shah was a murderous, nasty dictator, who created a society of stark inequality and corruption, robbing Iran of its oil wealth to fund his opulent palaces and have meals flown in from Paris.

I'd rather be free and poor than wealthy yet under the boot of a SAVAK agent.

If you lived in Iran in the late 1970s you'd probably be under the boot of a SAVAK agent and poor. I don't know where Simfan gets this nonsense that Iran was some prosperous place free of economic inequality.

Yes, because that's what they actually were. Of course, it's very easy to get people into revolutionary, fervour, especially when your cleric is telling you to. Many of these "secular" sectors you actually talk about were actually communist. And they did ruin the economy.

Murderous, nasty dictator. You, of course, bring up the festivities associated with the 2500th anniversary of Iranian monarchy. Funny how they always talk about the food, and never the massive new infrastructural projects, or the thirty two hundred schools built to also mark the occasion. Or the iconic Shahyad Tower, but that appeals to the aesthete in me.

And the palaces? A leader isn't allowed to build a new residence or two in a 40-odd year reign? The hypocrisy is killing me.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: sjoyce on December 26, 2012, 08:29:19 pm
I'd rather be free and poor than wealthy yet under the boot of a SAVAK agent.

If you lived in Iran in the late 1970s you'd probably be under the boot of a SAVAK agent and poor. I don't know where Simfan gets this nonsense that Iran was some prosperous place free of economic inequality.

True; merely suspending disbelief to make a point.

I'd rather be free and poor than wealthy yet under the boot of a SAVAK agent.

Ah, the security agency with 200 prisoners? How frightening. And then the one that became the truly frightening SAVAMA under the IRI? How ironic. The truth is the vast majority of instability in Iran was perpetrated either by fundamentalists or communists. The real radical fringe. Hardly your sort. Better to stay in the Imperial centre.

I'd be very interested in hearing your source for 200 prisoners. My numbers put it at "thousands" (Time, FAS). SAVAK was SAVAMA: they took over the same apparatus, and retained much of the personnel. And are you suggesting I'm a centrist now? And fearmongering of Tudeh. How Eisenhowerian.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Simfan34 on December 27, 2012, 06:23:20 pm
The Shah was progressive, and the advances made were heroic, so, yes, he was a "progressive hero".


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Silent Hunter on December 28, 2012, 04:05:44 pm
Syrian troops using killer gas bombs, says Syrian Observatory for Human Right

SYRIAN troops have deployed bombs containing a killer gas while fighting rebels in the central city of Homs.

"Activists in Homs say that six rebels died on Sunday night on the Khaldiyeh-Bayada frontline because they inhaled odourless gas and white smoke," said the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which relies on a network of activists, lawyers and doctors to document Syria's raging conflict.

"Gas spread in the area after regime troops threw bombs that gave off white smoke as soon as they hit the walls," said the Observatory, which added the bombs were deployed during street clashes with the rebels.

"Those who inhaled the gas felt nauseous and suffered severe headaches. Some suffered fits," it added.

"These are not chemical weapons, but we do not know whether they are internationally prohibited," Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said.

"Activists say it is the first time they have recorded these effects," he added. "They are not conventional weapons."

The Observatory called on the International Committee of the Red Cross to urgently send a specialised medical team to Homs, several of whose districts have been besieged by army forces for more than six months.

The Local Co-ordination Committees also reported the use of "bombs containing gases" in Homs.

"These gases lead to muscle relaxation, severe difficulty in breathing and the narrowing of the iris," said the LCC, a grassroots network of peaceful activists.

Amateur video filmed by activists and distributed online by the LCC showed a man laid out on a stretcher struggling to breathe as an unidentified doctor held an oxygen mask over his face.

"It's definitely a poisonous gas, but we don't know what type it is," said a field doctor.

http://www.news.com.au/news/syrian-troops-using-killer-gas-bombs/story-fnehlez2-1226543183488

Does tear gas have that sort of effect?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Frodo on January 06, 2013, 11:25:32 pm
Assad is going to die fighting:

Syria’s Assad is defiant in rare speech (http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/syrias-assad-is-defiant-in-rare-speech/2013/01/06/00f4f67a-5803-11e2-b8b2-0d18a64c8dfa_story.html?hpid=z2)

By Liz Sly, Updated: Sunday, January 6, 8:58 PM

BEIRUT — In a rare public appearance Sunday, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad dashed hopes that a negotiated settlement to the nation’s civil war would be feasible anytime soon, delivering a speech in which he offered no hint that he is prepared to surrender power, negotiate with his opponents or halt his crackdown on armed rebels.
(...)
Appearing weary but defiant as he addressed cheering supporters at the Opera House in central Damascus, the president sketched a plan for what he called a period of “transition,” in which a new government would be formed, a national pact would be drafted and a referendum would be held.

Assad’s proposals were vague, however, and made no mention of a mechanism under which he would surrender any of his powers, let alone step aside, as the opposition and most international governments have called for. He put the onus of responsibility for the plan on Western powers, which he said must end their support for the opposition before the implementation of a cease-fire and the convening of a national conference to chart reforms.

In his first public speech since June, Assad also made clear that his priority is to crush by force the nearly two-year-long uprising against his rule, labeling his opponents “terrorists” and “criminals.”


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: True Federalist on January 07, 2013, 01:31:06 am
That's been clear ever since the Soviets Russians said last year that they weren't going to take him in if he decided to flee.  He has no other choice now.  If he stops fighting, he's dead.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Blue3 on January 07, 2013, 02:33:07 am
There are some countries that have offered him asylum... but yeah, he's not going to take it. He's a madman on a killing spree.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Make Politics Boring Again on January 07, 2013, 02:43:40 am
Perhaps the Russians view Assad as a tool they can use to safely troll the west as long as he genuinely fears for his life. Fly/ship him some ex-Soviet hardware, accuse the west of supporting Islamic terrorists, frustrate US attempts to leave the Middle East, and cause trouble for key US allies Israel and Turkey. The only cost is some hot air from Washington.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Cory on January 07, 2013, 10:26:59 am
That's been clear ever since the Soviets Russians said last year that they weren't going to take him in if he decided to flee.  He has no other choice now.  If he stops fighting, he's dead.

I wonder if it really came down to it Russia would arrange for Belarus to take Assad in if he falls? Belarus doesn't have really anything to loose by taking him in, although it's clear that the Russians are already jockeying not to alienate the new Syria more then they need to.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Saturday's Cab Ride Home on January 13, 2013, 04:01:59 pm
You can play a game of this here (http://gamethenews.net/index.php/endgame-syria) or on an Android if you have one.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: SPC on January 13, 2013, 09:15:06 pm
You can play a game of this here (http://gamethenews.net/index.php/endgame-syria) or on an Android if you have one.

Still using video games as your main source of information on this conflict?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Saturday's Cab Ride Home on January 18, 2013, 11:51:16 am
Pro-Assad forces kill 106 civilians in sweep (http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/01/17/uk-syria-crisis-sohr-idUKBRE90G0AP20130117)

Nice way to continue to follow in Gaddafi's footsteps Assad.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Frodo on January 27, 2013, 07:55:26 pm
Israel is contemplating launching a pre-emptive strike on Syria's stashes of chemical weapons to prevent them from falling into the hands of al-Qaeda and other jihadist groups (http://seattletimes.com/html/nationworld/2020226589_apmlisraelsyria.html).


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: True Federalist on January 27, 2013, 11:48:58 pm
I don't see the problem here.  If the situation described, Assad either losing control over his CW or transferring them to Hezbollah, were to start to occur, it would make sense for Israel to act.  Thus it also makes sense to be making plans on what to do if it decides it must act.  War plans need not indicate a desire or intention to activate them.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Blue3 on January 29, 2013, 01:02:08 am
Mrs. Assad is pregnant with their 4th child:
http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/01/28/16745634-report-syria-president-assad-announces-wife-asma-is-pregnant?lite&ocid=msnhp&pos=5


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: True Federalist on January 29, 2013, 02:29:26 am
Mrs. Assad is pregnant with their 4th child:
http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/01/28/16745634-report-syria-president-assad-announces-wife-asma-is-pregnant?lite&ocid=msnhp&pos=5

Why do I suspect she'll soon be traveling to a foreign medical clinic for her pre-natal care?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Simfan34 on January 29, 2013, 02:33:51 am
I had an embarrassing soft spot for Asma al-Assad before this thing. Indeed, my whole opinion of Syria before the civil war could be described as tragically misguided. Hope for reform, hope for detente. I, in a way, was rooting for al-Assad. Of course, the war stamped this out. But this story made me wonder, made me fear, if I still have such a soft spot.

How embarrassing.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Blue3 on January 30, 2013, 07:36:50 pm
So, Israel bombed a Syrian arms convoy to Lebanon today... Syria agrees it was bombed in an act of aggression, but says it was a military research center near Damascus that was a rebel target:
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2013/01/2013130165625330449.html


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: njwes on January 31, 2013, 03:13:51 am
Sorry if this was addressed earlier in the thread, I only skimmed the first few pages, but for all the people who vehemently support the rebels and believe the West should supply them arms or even intervene militarily: why? Not to say you should like Assad, but how do you see a better outcome if the rebels win? Especially if they win with some extra toys from the West? Does anyone seriously not think the country will descend into sectarian, near-genocidal slaughter if the rebels win?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: dead0man on January 31, 2013, 03:55:08 am
So, Israel bombed a Syrian arms convoy to Lebanon today... Syria agrees it was bombed in an act of aggression, but says it was a military research center near Damascus that was a rebel target:
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2013/01/2013130165625330449.html
It was a convoy of missiles heading from Syria to southern Lebanon and the asshats there that will no doubt use them.  The latest rumor I heard was that they were actually Hezzies missiles in the first place and that they had taken to Syria for safe keeping and were moving them back because they weren't all that safe anymore.

The NY Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/31/opinion/global/will-syria-bleed-hezbollah-dry.html?_r=0) thinks the Hezzies might be bleeding themselves dry....well, maybe, we can certainly hope.

Quote
“THE conventional army loses if it does not win. The guerrilla wins if he does not lose.” Henry Kissinger’s observation, made during the Vietnam War, should be haunting Hezbollah, the Middle East’s most capable guerrilla force, as it becomes embroiled in an increasingly costly effort to save the Assad regime.

In a meticulously planned operation in October, units linked to the Free Syrian Army in the city of Qusayr near the Lebanon border killed Ali Hussein Nassif, who was quickly exposed as commander of all Hezbollah forces in Syria. His death shed light on the extent of the group’s involvement in the conflict.

Hezbollah’s interest in preserving Bashar al-Assad’s seat of power is well known, and its leader Hassan Nasrallah has spared no effort in reminding the world of his group’s political support for the embattled dictator. For three decades, the Assad dynasty’s support propelled Lebanon’s largely peasant Shiite population into the halls of government, backed by an armed wing whose firepower rivals that of many conventional national armies.

<snip>

Reports indicate that Hezbollah recently expanded its actions in Syria to include its most valued resource — its highly trained and strategically irreplaceable special forces units. Hezbollah’s secretive military wing is reportedly composed of 2,000 to 4,000 professional soldiers and thousands of reservists hailing from Shiite villages south of the Litani river and the Bekaa Valley, meant to be called into action to repel a future Israeli invasion. During the 2006 conflict with Israel, the loss of roughly one quarter of Hezbollah’s special forces was assumed to constitute the group’s most severe setback.

Varying reports from Syria suggest that the direct participation of these special forces units in combat zones nationwide has increased, and additional forces may be on the way. Secret contingency plans reportedly agreed upon at the highest levels of the Syrian government and Hezbollah indicate that Hezbollah had reportedly agreed to commit thousands of its most elite soldiers to defend the Assad regime, either from a “foreign invasion” or in the event that “urgent assistance” was needed.

With Syrian rebels consolidating their gains in outlying areas of Aleppo and Damascus, there are indications that Nasrallah has already begun to make good on his pledge. Earlier this month, a Saudi newspaper reported that four Hezbollah units, each consisting of 1,300 fighters, had been dispatched to assist the Syrian military in major cities, while the group’s elite 901 commando unit has reportedly been fighting in the Homs area since July. Most recently, Hezbollah’s reported deployments near Syrian chemical weapons facilities has spurred the Israeli government to threaten military intervention as a response to any potential attempt to transfer those weapons into Hezbollah bunkers in Lebanon.

<snip>


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Goodwin on January 31, 2013, 07:23:43 am
Sorry if this was addressed earlier in the thread, I only skimmed the first few pages, but for all the people who vehemently support the rebels and believe the West should supply them arms or even intervene militarily: why? Not to say you should like Assad, but how do you see a better outcome if the rebels win? Especially if they win with some extra toys from the West? Does anyone seriously not think the country will descend into sectarian, near-genocidal slaughter if the rebels win?

It's Western geopolitical madness aimed at stopping the Chinese and Russian influence within the Middle East and Africa. The Zbigniew Brzezinski policy. Nothing to do with freedom or democracy. Egypt is a mess, Libya is a mess, Syria is a mess, Iraq is a mess, Lebanon and Mali are in the process. The end goal is, of course, the destabilization of Iran. It always has been. The West have continually overthrown, or tried to overthrow, governments that don't promote their interests (Operation Gladio in Europe during the Cold War, Iran 53, Chile and Afghanistan in the 1970s, as well as Iran in 79, Latin America in the 1980s - Nicaragua and Panama, Afghanistan 2001 and Iraq 2003). Some of these were actually democracies as well - shock horror! 

Do I like President Assad? No. Do I like the so-called Free Syria Army? No way. If you want stability, bite the bullet and stick with the more secular Assad for now, reform can come later. If you want chaos then by all means root for the opposition, largely full of Islamist fighters and foreign mercenaries, but it won't get any better. Oh and here is a hint - if Saudi Arabia are endorsing / arming the opposition you know that democracy is not the goal.     

Why do I think this? I study Geopolitics at university, along with other geography / political modules. This doesn't mean that I'm right of course but I have some knowledge in this area and this is simply my opinion. It's incredibly ignorant to believe everything you see in the western press / media.

Read Samuel P. Huntington's book "The Clash of Civilizations".

Also Belgian MP Laurent Louis has recently said this in parliament:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCTZDH3WDjo



Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Insula Dei on January 31, 2013, 03:33:23 pm
One of the more disgusting things about a crisis like this is that you always have people who feel a need to prove just how clever they are at the expense of the actual people living without food or petrol in the bombed remains of their city. The Assad regime is not intent on 'stability' (even the idea of a continuation of the status quo is absurd at this point, really), it just wants to annihilate its opposition or, at the very least, take as many people as possible down with it. From the beginning of this mess Assad has shown himself to be ruthless and ready to employ whatever force necessary to stay in power (and a good deal more if people also need to be taught a lesson).

None of this is news. The Assad family hasn't exactly a very glorious history when it comes to maintaining 'stability' or respecting human rights. Are there tactical considerations behind the West's support for the rebels? Possibly, but that's highly irrelevant. It's not as if Russia and China are being objective observators in this whole mess. Really, arguing in favour of Assad because of what you *think* may happen when he goes down, is beyond the pale. Yeah, I know you know all these cool facts about shi'a and sunni muslims (and alewites! and suriacs!), but the way people throw around religious divides as the be-all and end-all of politics in the region is about as absurd as it would be for a student of the 19th century to look at the relations between the Great Powers exclusively trough the spectre of catholic vs. protestant nations. It is also a good deal less innocent.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Goodwin on February 01, 2013, 10:13:15 am
hmm.....sounds like I hit a nerve. I apologise for that but I stand by on what I said. For your information, I do not endorse any political party or organisations and I'm certainly not an apologist for the Assad regime. That being said however, I believe in the importance of national sovereignty, respect for international law, and the right for the Syrian people to decide their own political future without such a future being imposed on them by outside forces. I based my previous post on research that I have done on the crisis over the last couple of years. I'm simply against the genocide of the Syrian people and I hope peace comes quicker rather than later. How is Libya coming along after the murder of Gaddaffi? Any word on the Libyan blacks being killed by Libyan deathsquads? If the secular Assad falls then I wish the Alawite, moderate Shia and Sunnis, Jews, Druze and of course the Christians all very best and I urge no more violence, although I doubt this will happen.   

http://www.obv.org.uk/news-blogs/black-genocide-libya-why-silence
http://humanrightsinvestigations.org/2011/07/07/libya-ethnic-cleansing/

A favourite opposition argument is that peaceful protesters restrained themselves for a long time until the “brutal crackdown by the Assad regime”. However, Robert Fisk of the Independent – first real western journalist to visit Daraa (where the so-called uprisings began) – found a very confusing scene.

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/commentators/fisk/robert-fisk-inside-daraya--how-a-failed-prisoner-swap-turned-into-a-massacre-8084727.html

“Being the first western eyewitness into the town yesterday was as frustrating as it was dangerous. The bodies of men, women and children had, of course, been moved from the cemetery where many of them were found; and when we arrived in the company of Syrian troops at the Sunni Muslim graveyard – divided by the main road through Daraya – snipers opened fire at the soldiers, hitting the back of the ancient armoured vehicle in which we made our escape. Yet we could talk to civilians out of earshot of Syrian officials – in two cases in the security of their own homes – and their narrative of last Saturday’s mass killing of 245 men, women and children suggested that the atrocities were far more widespread than supposed.”

Who are these mysterious “snipers” firing at the Syrian soldiers and Robert Fisk then?

Notice that witness Leena says a number of dead bodies were lying in the street BEFORE the Syrian Army even turned up – who shot these then? The snipers?

The article continues to talk to other eyewitness of the tragic event. Many people in the comment section are beginning to say that Fisk was being biased. I’m not so sure – he is a respective journalist in the Middle East who has criticized Dictator President Assad on a number of occasions. 

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/commentators/fisk/robert-fisk-assad-faces-his-peoples-hatred--but-as-their-anger-grows-his-excuses-are-still-just-the-same-6287792.html

Now, do these snipers belong to the Free Syria Army or the Syrian Army? My conclusion is NO. Are these snipers working for someone else? There must be a chaotic third party involved. We know that Al Qaeda has been working in Syria along with Al Nusra and the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group – do the snipers belong to them? Who is funding these terriost networks?

Here are some references confirming the presence of Islamist networks terrorising Syria:
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/30/us-syria-crisis-town-idUSBRE90T0VH20130130
http://www.globalresearch.ca/syria-clinton-admits-us-on-same-side-as-al-qaeda-to-destabilise-assad-government/29524
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2013/01/28/al-qaeda-syria-bombing/1869959/
http://www.newser.com/story/154739/reporter-killed-by-sniper-in-syria-during-live-broadcast.html
http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2012/06/houl-j16.html




Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Insula Dei on February 01, 2013, 11:24:18 am
1. Yeah, Fisk is a very decent journalist. I'll happily grant you that.

2. A civil war is a civil war. It's a nasty, dirty conflict with atrocities on both sides. Noone is disputing that. What I have a problem with is pretending that there is any outcome of this conflict where Assad stays in place and where there is not a day of reckoning troughout all of the rebel heartlands. Or that Assad is good for 'stability'.

3. Your post wasn't the main trigger for my post, nor was my post directed mainly at you. It's just a certain trend in reporting on the Middle East that I find both tiresome and, as I said, far from innocent.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: danny on February 03, 2013, 08:38:39 am
Stability isn't necessarily a good thing, North Korea is currently a very stable hellhole. I actually think Libya has gotten better even though it has become less stable.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Blue3 on February 03, 2013, 04:25:59 pm
Surprisingly, Turkey is accusing Israel of "state terrorism" for bombing Syria:
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2013/02/20132317737493423.html


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: danny on February 03, 2013, 06:03:53 pm
Surprisingly, Turkey is accusing Israel of "state terrorism" for bombing Syria:
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2013/02/20132317737493423.html

You mean "surprisingly", right?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: njwes on February 03, 2013, 07:13:53 pm
Surprisingly, Turkey is accusing Israel of "state terrorism" for bombing Syria

Lol. The Turkish government's aware that they've been at war for what, 40 years now, right?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Blue3 on February 03, 2013, 10:18:08 pm
Surprisingly, Turkey is accusing Israel of "state terrorism" for bombing Syria:
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2013/02/20132317737493423.html

You mean "surprisingly", right?
That's what I wrote.

And it is surprising since Turkey has sent some artillery fire into Syria, and seem to want a military intervention. Yet they call Israel a sponsor of state terrorism for bombing them too...

Surprisingly, Turkey is accusing Israel of "state terrorism" for bombing Syria

Lol. The Turkish government's aware that they've been at war for what, 40 years now, right?
No they haven't... things have only soured between them since the Gaza war/blockade about 4 years ago

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israel%E2%80%93Turkey_relations#Diplomatic_and_political_relations


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: dead0man on February 04, 2013, 06:53:47 am
He was talking about Israel and Syria being in a technical state of war for 40 years.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: danny on February 04, 2013, 07:29:30 pm
Surprisingly, Turkey is accusing Israel of "state terrorism" for bombing Syria:
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2013/02/20132317737493423.html

You mean "surprisingly", right?
That's what I wrote.

And it is surprising since Turkey has sent some artillery fire into Syria, and seem to want a military intervention. Yet they call Israel a sponsor of state terrorism for bombing them too...


Obviously this is politics, the current Turkish government hate Israel so they say these things. In the same way, Turkey calls what Israel does to the Palestinians genocide, even in cases that are minor compared to what the Turks do to the Kurds. That is just the way politics work, and it isn't even remotely surprising if you follow the news.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: dead0man on February 14, 2013, 12:48:58 am
A senior commander in Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard reportedly killed in Lebanon (http://www.startribune.com/world/191081841.html)
Quote
An Iranian independent news website is reporting that a senior commander of Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard has been killed in Lebanon

The website — mashreghnews.ir — says Gen. Hassan Shateri was killed by "mercenaries of the Zionist regime," but provided no details about his death.

Shateri led Guard forces in Lebanon and oversaw Iranian-financed reconstruction projects there.

Iran is a close ally of Syria and the militant group called Hezbollah, which is a powerful player in Lebanon. Tehran provides political and military support to both.

Gen. Ghasem Soleimani, the head of the Guard's Quds Force, visited Shateri's family to express his condolences.

The Quds Force oversees external operations of the Guard throughout the world.

Shateri's funeral will be held on Thursday.
Well that's good news.  I like the "mercenaries of the Zionist regime" part.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: dead0man on February 14, 2013, 01:39:52 am
This fellow was Imadinnerjacket's personal representative in Lebanon.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: PR on February 20, 2013, 12:02:21 pm
Quote
RIYADH/DOHA, Feb 20 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia and Qatar share
the West's alarm at the rise of al Qaeda-aligned groups in
Syria, but say the answer is for outsiders like them to be more
involved in backing rebels there.

The two Gulf Arab states rooting for President Bashar
al-Assad's overthrow appear to be chafing at Western pressure to
keep out of the fight, arguing that building ties through aid
and advice to favoured opposition groups is the only way to
ensure other, hardline Islamist factions are sidelined.

The United States and Europe want to avoid arming rebel
militias for fear that weaponry will find its way to
ultra-orthodox Sunni Muslim groups close to jihadis like al
Qaeda.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sns-rt-syria-crisisgulfl5n0bbe9e-20130220,0,6983643.story (http://www.chicagotribune.com/sns-rt-syria-crisisgulfl5n0bbe9e-20130220,0,6983643.story)


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Benj on February 20, 2013, 12:50:44 pm
I think they're probably right. Being too hands-off gives the view, however wrong, that the US/the West just doesn't care who is in government in Syria. In turn, that feeds into support for jihadist groups, both on the usual anti-US/anti-Western lines and because the jihadis are the ones with weapons, so the rebels become more dependent on them the fewer weapons they can get from elsewhere.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Beet on April 18, 2013, 07:11:24 pm
Normally, Syria being out of the headlines like this (no posts in this thread for nearly two months) would be an indication the government is quieting things down, but that is not the case here. Assad is slowly, but surely, losing the war (although this report suggests differently: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/syria-live/are-we-seeing-bashar-al-assads-second-wind/article11222855/).

If it can be confirmed that Assad will certainly lose (which is far from certain), that strengthens the Saudi Arabian position.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ingemann on April 19, 2013, 04:31:04 pm
Stability isn't necessarily a good thing, North Korea is currently a very stable hellhole. I actually think Libya has gotten better even though it has become less stable.

It may be less stable but the difference between the Kims and Daffy versus Assad, are that Assad never really was phrone to erratic behaviour. We simply have no idea what North Korea will do tomorrow, while we have a good idea what Syria will do.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ingemann on April 19, 2013, 04:35:34 pm
Normally, Syria being out of the headlines like this (no posts in this thread for nearly two months) would be an indication the government is quieting things down, but that is not the case here. Assad is slowly, but surely, losing the war (although this report suggests differently: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/syria-live/are-we-seeing-bashar-al-assads-second-wind/article11222855/).

If it can be confirmed that Assad will certainly lose (which is far from certain), that strengthens the Saudi Arabian position.

Interesting article but there are one paragraph you should focus on

Quote
Food and fuel is still widely available in government-controlled Syria, albeit at inflated prices. Schools and public sector institutions remain open. Government salaries are still being paid.

That's really bad news for the rebels, because it sign of a regime with long term planning and it also mean that people under the regime's rule are better off than people in rebel territory. That more than anything will make the population side with the regime.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Mr. Morden on April 20, 2013, 07:46:38 am
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/britain-france-claim-syria-used-chemical-weapons/2013/04/18/f17a2e7c-a82f-11e2-a8e2-5b98cb59187f_print.html

Quote
Britain and France have informed the United Nations that there is credible evidence that Syria has used chemical weapons on more than one occasion since December, according to senior diplomats and officials briefed on the accounts.

In letters to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, the two European powers said soil samples, witness interviews and opposition sources support charges that nerve agents were used in and around the cities of Aleppo, Homs and possibly Damascus, said the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

The European reports are in part aimed at countering accusations by the Syrian government that opposition forces had used chemical weapons during fighting in the town of Khan al-Asal near Aleppo on March 19, killing 26 people, including regime troops. Syrian rebels have said that government forces used chemical weapons in the incident.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: RogueBeaver on April 25, 2013, 10:25:54 am
Breaking: Hagel has just announced that US intel confirms chemical weapons use by Assad.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: RogueBeaver on April 25, 2013, 10:38:11 am
Sarin, to be precise.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Silent Hunter on April 25, 2013, 11:24:09 am
If this is true, it is time to intervene.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Blue3 on April 25, 2013, 03:29:45 pm
Looks like the US is going to ask the UN to confirm, to be absolutely sure.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Beezer on May 06, 2013, 08:26:52 am
The plot thickens...

UN's Carla Del Ponte says there is evidence rebels 'used sarin' in Syria


A United Nations inquiry into human rights abuses in Syria has found evidence to suggest that rebel forces may have used chemical weapons, its lead investigator has revealed.

Carla Del Ponte, a member of the UN independent commission of inquiry on Syria, said that testimony gathered from casualties and medical staff indicated that the nerve agent sarin gas was used by rebel fighters.

"Our investigators have been in neighbouring countries interviewing victims, doctors and field hospitals and, according to their report of last week which I have seen, there are strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof of the use of sarin gas, from the way the victims were treated," Ms Del Ponte said in an interview with Swiss-Italian television, broadcast on Sunday.

"This was used on the part of the opposition, the rebels, not by the government authorities," she added, speaking in Italian.

Ms Del Ponte added that the inquiry has yet to see any direct evidence suggesting that government forces have used chemical weapons, but said further investigation was required before this possibility could be ruled out.

...


http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/uns-carla-del-ponte-says-there-is-evidence-rebels-used-sarin-in-syria-8604920.html


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: bgwah on May 06, 2013, 11:59:45 am
I suppose that complicates intervention a bit... ::)


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Beet on May 06, 2013, 12:01:14 pm
Both sides in this 'war' disgust me.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Blue3 on May 06, 2013, 12:07:39 pm
It's not like the Rebels are all on the same side... they're quite diverse. Most of the extremist rebels aren't even from Syria.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Frodo on May 07, 2013, 06:53:41 pm
Finally, a glimmer of hope:

U.S. and Russia Plan Conference Aimed at Ending Syrian War (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/08/world/middleeast/syria-golan-heights-united-nations.html?ref=global-home&_r=0&pagewanted=all)

By STEVEN LEE MYERS and RICK GLADSTONE
Published: May 7, 2013


MOSCOW — Russia and the United States announced on Tuesday that they would seek to convene an international conference within weeks aimed at ending the civil war in Syria, jointly intensifying their diplomatic pressure on the combatants to peacefully settle a conflict that has taken more than 70,000 lives and left millions displaced and desperate.

(...)

The announcement appeared to signal a strong desire by both countries to halt what has been a dangerous escalation in the conflict, with evidence of chemical weapons use, a surge in the number of civilians fleeing combat, and a refugee crisis that is overwhelming Syria’s neighbors. Israeli aerial attacks this past weekend on suspected munitions sites in Syria heightened and further complicated the tensions in the region.

Mr. Kerry’s visit also came as the Obama administration is facing increasing calls to intervene in the conflict with lethal military aid to the insurgency or perhaps stronger action such as enforcement of a no-fly zone over Syria to protect rebel-held areas. The effort to seek a negotiated solution with the Russians suggested the administration at least wanted to first make a public push in the diplomacy direction.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Blue3 on May 08, 2013, 12:08:33 am
That won't go anywhere. Neither Assad nor the rebels want to compromise with the other side.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: dead0man on May 11, 2013, 11:37:39 am
4 explosions inside Turkey on the border with Syria, Turkey moving air and ground forces to border.  Link shortly.

link (http://www.todayszaman.com/news-315179-turkey-sends-military-reinforcements-to-syrian-border-after-blast.html)


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: dead0man on May 11, 2013, 11:42:04 am
better article on the earlier explosions (http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/explosions-hit-turkish-town-on-border-with-syria-killing-four-and-injuring-22.aspx?pageID=238&nID=46682&NewsCatID=341)...up to 42 dead now


...seems there's been another explosion...link (http://www.suriyegercekleri.com/2013/05/11/televizyona-cikan-reyhanlili-vatandas-78-olu-300%E2%80%B2den-fazla-yarali-var-olu-sayisi-artabilir/)....I believe that's saying there are 78 dead now


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: dead0man on May 12, 2013, 10:33:54 pm
Turkey arrests 'pro-Damascus' bombers (http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/turkey-arrests-pro-damascus-bombers/story-e6frg6so-1226640622654)
Quote
TURKEY has arrested nine people over bombings that killed 46 in a town near the Syrian border and warned Damascus a red line had been crossed.

The Syrian government denied involvement in the twin car bombs that sowed death in Reyhanli on Saturday but Ankara said it was holding suspects who had confessed and accused Damascus of dragging Turkey into its civil war.

The attacks were the deadliest case of what observers see as an increasing regionalisation of the conflict that started in March 2011 and came as key brokers Washington and Moscow made an unprecedented joint push for peace talks.

"They want to drag us down a vile path," Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at a rally in Istanbul, urging Turks to be "level-headed in the face of each provocation aimed at drawing Turkey into the Syrian quagmire."

Speaking during a visit to Berlin, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu called the attacks a breach of Turkey's "red line" and warned that Ankara reserved the right to "take any kind of measure" in response.

<snip>


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: bgwah on May 13, 2013, 01:07:42 am
Why would Syria want Turkey in the war? Color me skeptical.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Mr. Morden on May 13, 2013, 01:15:02 am
Why would Syria want Turkey in the war? Color me skeptical.

Pro-Assad bombers doesn't necessarily mean bombers taking orders from Assad.  They could just be members of some pro-Assad militia lashing out at Turkey for aiding the rebels, not really thinking through the geopolitical consequences.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: True Federalist on May 13, 2013, 05:15:47 am
Why would Syria want Turkey in the war? Color me skeptical.

Pro-Assad bombers doesn't necessarily mean bombers taking orders from Assad.  They could just be members of some pro-Assad militia lashing out at Turkey for aiding the rebels, not really thinking through the geopolitical consequences.


Possible, but a false flag operation is also possible,


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: dead0man on May 13, 2013, 03:07:55 pm
Why would Syria want Turkey in the war? Color me skeptical.

Pro-Assad bombers doesn't necessarily mean bombers taking orders from Assad.  They could just be members of some pro-Assad militia lashing out at Turkey for aiding the rebels, not really thinking through the geopolitical consequences.


Possible, but a false flag operation is also possible,
Indeed.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: RogueBeaver on May 16, 2013, 09:32:06 pm
Russia's sending Assad advanced ASMs. (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/17/world/middleeast/russia-provides-syria-with-advanced-missiles.html?smid=tw-share&_r=0)


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Cory on May 16, 2013, 10:14:40 pm
Russia's sending Assad advanced ASMs. (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/17/world/middleeast/russia-provides-syria-with-advanced-missiles.html?smid=tw-share&_r=0)

Doesn't surprise me. Russia can't just allow it's ally to be overtaken because helping them wouldn't be "moral" in the eyes of the West.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: bgwah on May 16, 2013, 10:40:19 pm
Rebel caught on video eating heart of dead soldier: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-22523804 (not a link to the actual video)

Surprised nobody posted it... not.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: njwes on May 17, 2013, 12:05:20 am
Rebel caught on video eating heart of dead soldier: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-22523804 (not a link to the actual video)

Surprised nobody posted it... not.

But I'm SURE he's just a single bad apple sullying the reputation of otherwise noble rebel forces, right? Right??


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: dead0man on May 17, 2013, 02:32:04 am
Russia's sending Assad advanced ASMs. (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/17/world/middleeast/russia-provides-syria-with-advanced-missiles.html?smid=tw-share&_r=0)
The Navy arm of the Free Syrian Army must be getting fierce!


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Make Politics Boring Again on May 17, 2013, 02:48:05 am
Rebel caught on video eating heart of dead soldier: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-22523804 (not a link to the actual video)

Surprised nobody posted it... not.

The west supporting a rebellion by radical Islamists in a proxy war against Russia. Hasn't this happened before?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ○∙◄☻¥tπ[╪AV┼cVê└ on May 17, 2013, 02:54:36 am
Rebel caught on video eating heart of dead soldier: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-22523804 (not a link to the actual video)

Surprised nobody posted it... not.

The west supporting a rebellion by radical Islamists in a proxy war against Russia. Hasn't this happened before?

Don't worry, we always stay good friends with our allies in that part of the world like the Afghan Mujahideen and Saddam Hussein.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Mehmentum on May 17, 2013, 07:49:03 am
I've come to the point where I don't really care which side wins.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Saturday's Cab Ride Home on May 17, 2013, 08:12:29 am
Rebel caught on video eating heart of dead soldier: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-22523804 (not a link to the actual video)

Surprised nobody posted it... not.

But I'm SURE he's just a single bad apple sullying the reputation of otherwise noble rebel forces, right? Right??

Actually from the article:

Quote
The main Syrian opposition coalition said he would be put on trial.

Disturbing but not exactly a war crime in my view anyway, biting the heart of someone who's already dead doesn't hurt the dead person any more than they already are.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Make Politics Boring Again on May 17, 2013, 09:05:30 pm
Quote
The main Syrian opposition coalition said he would be put on trial.

Disturbing but not exactly a war crime in my view anyway, biting the heart of someone who's already dead doesn't hurt the dead person any more than they already are.

Maybe eating a dead person's body isn't a war crime per se, but committing an indignity against a human body is unnecessary and obscene. Especially when the Koran expressly forbids it.

I don't believe the promise. The Syrian rebellion ceased being an organized fighting force like in Libya long ago, and the longer it drags on the more the radical Islamist groups marginalize what's left of the genuinely pro-democratic opposition.

Assad played his cards well in turning the initially peaceful and non-sectarian demands for democracy into a sectarian bloodbath.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Saturday's Cab Ride Home on May 17, 2013, 09:18:02 pm
Well if the Koran forbids it, that's just evidence AGAINST someone being a radical Islamist.

Regardless it's a lot of debate over one person. I'm sure you could find more than a few cases of Assad's forces desecrating the dead.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Make Politics Boring Again on May 17, 2013, 11:34:46 pm
Well if the Koran forbids it, that's just evidence AGAINST someone being a radical Islamist.
The Bible forbids plenty of things. Doesn't stop self-proclaimed Christians from doing so.

Quote
Regardless it's a lot of debate over one person. I'm sure you could find more than a few cases of Assad's forces desecrating the dead.
There you go. By equating the rebels with Assad's forces, it's clear to everyone that there's no good side in this war. And if anything, Assad and Putin can occupy the moral high ground claiming they're preventing a genocide against minority groups. Putin expressly promised to make protecting Christians a priority of his foreign policy before retaking the presidency last year.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Blue3 on May 19, 2013, 01:47:09 pm
Yesterday, Assad said he liked the Russia-US idea of new peace-talks.

Today, Assad said he's happy because the peace-talks will fail and the US will have to deal with a regime victory.

Maybe it's not in our best interests to support peace talks?


http://finance.yahoo.com/news/assad-peace-talks-fail-america-160642097.html


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Tender Branson on May 22, 2013, 03:15:57 pm
Chancellor Faymann has said that if the EU fails to reach an agreement on the arms embargo for the Syrian rebels that's running out in June, Austria might pull out of the Golan completely. Currently, Austria has 400 soldiers in the Golan between Israel and Syria as part of a UN peacekeeping mission that started in the 70s. If Austria moves out, the Philippines will do so as well (they have said so a few weeks ago). Austria and the Philippines have almost all troops there, just a few Indian troops are there as well. Arming the rebels would be way too dangerous for our soldiers there, especially if they or the regime decides to attack Israel via the Golan. Vice Chancellor Spindelegger and Defense Minister Klug back the Chancellor on this issue.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Beet on May 22, 2013, 11:53:53 pm
I'm reposting a comment (http://www.economist.com/blogs/pomegranate/2013/05/iraq-and-syria) here found in The Economist by a man by the name or pseudonym of 'Mark Dowe' (p.s. I have explored this person's online footprint and he is one of the most knowledgeable people I have ever encountered on the Internet)

Jabhat al-Nusra has been steadily winning battles and gaining popular support since its inception in January 2012. Last month, its leader was forced to publicly clarify the group’s relationship with al-Qaeda. In a YouTube video posted on April 10, Abu Mohammed al-Jawlani said: ‘The sons of al-Nusra pledge allegiance to Sheikh Ayman al-Zawahiri’, Osama bin Laden’s right-hand man and the acting head of al-Qaeda.

With that declaration, Jawlani heightened suspicions in the West that significant elements of the Syrian opposition are ideologically and tactically aligned with al-Qaeda. Nusra is now deemed a ‘terrorist’ organisation by the United States.

Jabhat al-Nusra has attracted radical fighters, including those that fought battles in Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan. The organisation is considered one of the most effective groups battling the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The group’s roots can also be traced back to the activities of deceased al-Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi during the early 2000s. Fighting US forces in Iraq, Zarqawi is believed to have amassed fighters, sending some to Syria and Lebanon to establish branches of his network – so called ‘guesthouses’ to train and funnel fighters to Iraq. When it became clear the Syrian uprising of 2011 evolved into a full and bloodied civil war, many of those experienced fighters in Iraq detoured to Syria, with the goal of removing Assad in the hope of establishing an Islamic caliphate in the Levant.

The experience of the al-Nusra fighters as jihadists sets them apart from other groups, such as the ragtag Free Syrian Army. This experience helps Nusra to identify goals and to strategise more effectively, and they often plan in other countries. There tactics are reflective of their training in asymmetric warfare in Iraq – car bombings, suicide missions, and the targeting of security forces.

Nusra is now a well-disciplined and organised group that is gaining more and more ground against the Assad regime. Syrians are increasingly throwing their support behind the rebel groups, in spite of its Islamist ideologies. Previously, too, the United States had decried Jabhat al-Nusra as being the bogeyman of the West. Support – or at least resigned acceptance – comes from many sides now, some unexpected. Some, for example, say that al-Nusra’s Salafist leanings do not pose any risk to the freedom of Syrians or the type of power that will emerge in Syria after the war. Many Syrians believe that al-Nusra can protect the people, rather than exploit them (as has been the case with some other Free Syrian Army brigades). Others, though, such as Abdelbaset Sieda, president of the Syrian National Council, emphasises that al-Nusra’s radical ideology is a complete anathema to Syria’s moderate social environment which thrives on diversity, rather than narrow and literal interpretations of Islamic scripture.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Mr. Morden on May 26, 2013, 02:00:13 am
Hassan Nasrallah went on TV earlier in the day and made his most emphatic statement of support for Assad to date:

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/middleeast/la-fg-syria-fighting-hezbollah-20130526,0,7835258.story

Quote
The leader of the militant group Hezbollah on Saturday aligned his powerful movement squarely behind the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad and vowed victory against Syrian rebels, whom he assailed as proxy warriors for the West and Israel.

The televised comments by Hassan Nasrallah were the most definitive to date rallying Hezbollah to the defense of Assad's government, which has been trying to put down a revolt by rebels supported by the United States and its allies.

The comments came as Syrian government forces, assisted by Hezbollah militiamen, intensified their assault on the strategic Syrian town of Qusair, near the Lebanese border. Both sides reported fierce fighting in Qusair six days after Syrian forces and their Hezbollah allies launched an attack on the longtime rebel stronghold.

Then a few hours later, two rockets hit Beirut neighborhoods that are strongholds of Hezbollah:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2013/05/26/lebanon-hezbollah-beirut-syria/2361459/

Though we don't know who fired them.  Presumably either Israel or Syrian rebels?  Or Sunni islamists who are sympathetic to the Syrian rebels?  Who the heck knows anymore, with this many players now involved?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Beet on May 27, 2013, 01:35:04 pm
It's clear where this guy's sympathies lie, but he's still pretty funny (as he was during the Arab Spring):

http://angryarab.blogspot.com/


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: dead0man on May 27, 2013, 04:05:22 pm
A regular Baghdad Bob this guy is.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: dead0man on May 28, 2013, 02:49:22 pm
Russia sending S300 anti-aircraft weapons to Assad, nobody else likes this, Israel promises a response.

link (http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/05/28/18557392-israel-warns-of-action-over-russian-plan-to-give-missiles-to-syrias-assad?lite)
Quote
A senior Israeli defense official warned on Tuesday that Russia’s plan to send sophisticated anti-aircraft weapons systems to Syria’s President Bashar Assad was a “threat” and signaled Israel could take some form of unspecified action in response.

<snip>

Russia on Tuesday reiterated its intention to go ahead with the arms deal. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said it would “restrain some hotheads from escalating the conflict to the international scale," according to Russia Today.

His comments came after the European Union agreed to lift an arms embargo that prevented weapons from being sent to the rebels fighting Assad’s forces.

French foreign ministry spokesman Philippe Lalliot said France could potentially send arms to the opposition before the embargo expires on Aug. 1, but said it had no immediate plans to do so, Reuters reported.

<snip>

Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon told reporters that the looming shipment of Russian anti-aircraft S300 missiles was “a threat,” according to reports in the Haaretz newspaper and elsewhere.

“The shipments haven’t set out yet and I hope they won’t. If they do arrive in Syria, God forbid, we’ll know what to do,” he said.

<snip>

Ryabkov defended the deal with Syria. “Those systems by definition cannot be used by militant groups on the battlefield,” he said, according to Russia Today. “We consider this delivery a factor of stabilization. We believe that moves like this one to a great degree restrain some hotheads from escalating the conflict to the international scale, from involving external forces.”

<snip>


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Beet on May 28, 2013, 03:17:58 pm
The more Israel attacks Assad, the more credibility it gives to the regime.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: dead0man on May 28, 2013, 03:39:23 pm
To who other than bigots?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: politicus on May 28, 2013, 03:49:50 pm
The more Israel attacks Assad, the more credibility it gives to the regime.

Its hard to see that there are any population groups in Syria that would suddenly start to back the regime at this point just because of anti-Israeli sentiments.

Israel is clearly a secondary issue in the middle of a ferocious civil war.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Blue3 on May 30, 2013, 08:34:57 pm
Assad promises to attack Israel, if they bomb a site in Syria again

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2013/05/2013530194217674256.html


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Beet on May 30, 2013, 08:42:40 pm
To who other than bigots?

Uh, you do realize that most Muslims have an unfavorable opinion of Israel, right? (I may just be understating things a bit ;) )

But politicus is right that few are likely to change sides now.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: dead0man on May 30, 2013, 11:06:49 pm
To who other than bigots?

Uh, you do realize that most Muslims have an unfavorable opinion of Israel, right?
Yes and my point stands.  If you don't have a team to root for in this conflict and Israel blowing sh**t up causes you to pull for Assad, then yes, you're a bigot.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: King Jellybean on June 04, 2013, 01:47:39 pm
Assad promises to attack Israel, if they bomb a site in Syria again

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2013/05/2013530194217674256.html

and what would happen then?  Do you think that Israel would invade Syria?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ingemann on June 04, 2013, 02:13:29 pm
Assad promises to attack Israel, if they bomb a site in Syria again

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2013/05/2013530194217674256.html

and what would happen then?  Do you think that Israel would invade Syria?

Unless the entire Israeli government have been replaced with complete morons, it won't happen. First the Israel army have in the last 4 decades only worked as a occupation force.
Also the Israeli military have build for fast knock out, not long term military action, so the best they can hope for is weakening the government, rather than taking them out.
Even in Lebanon it worked more like a traditional occupation force. Israels other problem is that everybody hate them in Syria, the rebels moreso than the government.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Blue3 on June 04, 2013, 02:47:53 pm
North Korean military officers are now on the ground in Syria, helping Assad (http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4387732,00.html)

I think we can now say everyone is involved there.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: dead0man on June 04, 2013, 08:10:34 pm
Norks-have you tried firing some of your missiles into the sea?
Syria-it's more of an internal problem
Norks-have you tried an outdated political system that leads (as it always does) to mass starvation?  It's hard to rablle rouse on 79 calories a day
Syria-no, we don't hate money
Norks-don't you usually blame the Jews when you need to pull your people together
Syria-of course we tried that...that was the second, forth, seventh, eighth and ninth things we tried.  We even tried giving terrorists more missiles and the Jews blew up the building we hid them in, it's not fair really.  Do you know they have spy sharks and birds and sh**t? 
Norks-don't get me started!  Bad Korea is always trying to give our people information about how much better life is everywhere outside of Best Korea.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Cory on June 04, 2013, 09:00:45 pm
I think the Syrian Loyalists have promised reward to Hezbollah for their assistance in the war. In the article posted by Starwatcher it says that Hezbollah personnel are starting to man Syrian tanks and armored vehicles. I think Hezbollah is gaining the troops experience in using these weapons and will eventually incorporate tanks into their "army". We have to remember that Hezbollah is practically a nation-state with a standing army at this point.

Also keep in mind that Qusair is a key supply route for weapons and equipment from Syrian into Lebanon. Hezbollah is as a result "forced" to intervene to hold Qusair for the Loyalists to keep the route open.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: King Jellybean on June 04, 2013, 10:11:53 pm
Assad promises to attack Israel, if they bomb a site in Syria again

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2013/05/2013530194217674256.html

and what would happen then?  Do you think that Israel would invade Syria?

Unless the entire Israeli government have been replaced with complete morons, it won't happen. First the Israel army have in the last 4 decades only worked as a occupation force.
Also the Israeli military have build for fast knock out, not long term military action, so the best they can hope for is weakening the government, rather than taking them out.
Even in Lebanon it worked more like a traditional occupation force. Israels other problem is that everybody hate them in Syria, the rebels moreso than the government.

They could of course do airstrikes on anything going in or out and if attacked, can defend. It appears to be a complicated situation for them.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Citizen (The) Doctor on June 05, 2013, 12:49:29 am
North Korean military officers are now on the ground in Syria, helping Assad (http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4387732,00.html)

I think we can now say everyone is involved there.

This isn't a war anymore, it's a [inks]ing freakshow.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Mr. Morden on June 05, 2013, 01:33:31 am
North Korean military officers are now on the ground in Syria, helping Assad (http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4387732,00.html)

I think we can now say everyone is involved there.

This isn't a war anymore, it's a [inks]ing freakshow.

The next step is for some Minuteman volunteers to go to Damascus to protect the US border from incursions by Syrian refugees.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: King Jellybean on June 05, 2013, 08:03:48 am
North Korean military officers are now on the ground in Syria, helping Assad (http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4387732,00.html)

I think we can now say everyone is involved there.

This isn't a war anymore, it's a [inks]ing freakshow.

The next step is for some Minuteman volunteers to go to Damascus to protect the US border from incursions by Syrian refugees.

...or the French trying to re-establish the mandate. :P


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: bgwah on June 05, 2013, 02:07:32 pm
Qusair finally fell to government forces after two weeks of fighting: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-22778310

Bad news for the rebels. Without foreign intervention, it's looking like they will lose.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Beet on June 06, 2013, 08:34:40 pm
Qusair finally fell to government forces after two weeks of fighting: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-22778310

Bad news for the rebels. Without foreign intervention, it's looking like they will lose.

Nah, they still hold Aleppo, most of the entire north and eastern provinces.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: dead0man on June 06, 2013, 08:50:28 pm
Indeed.  It (Qusair) is much more important to Assad's boys than it was to the FSA.  It was good to deny it from them, but it wasn't a good place (or time) for a Waterloo.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Mr. Morden on June 07, 2013, 04:47:07 am
Qusair finally fell to government forces after two weeks of fighting: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-22778310

Bad news for the rebels. Without foreign intervention, it's looking like they will lose.

I don't think Assad can actually "win" in the sense that he'll never have enough forces to hold the whole country together at once.  But a stalemate that goes on for years and years is certainly possible.  How long did the Lebanese Civil War last?  15 years?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Filuwaúrdjan on June 11, 2013, 07:17:24 am
So it seems that Assad still has some European friends: http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2013/jun/11/bnp-nick-griffin-syria-assad


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Blue3 on June 13, 2013, 04:38:17 pm
U.S. government confirms multiple uses of chemical weapons by the Assad government, pledges to act


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Frodo on June 13, 2013, 09:25:07 pm
It seems we are going to provide 'direct military support' to the Syrian rebels:

U.S., citing use of chemical weapons by Syria, to provide direct military support to rebels (http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/us-concludes-syrian-forces-used-chemical-weapons/2013/06/13/59b03c66-d46d-11e2-a73e-826d299ff459_story.html?hpid=z1)

By Karen DeYoung and Anne Gearan, Updated: Thursday, June 13, 9:17 PM

The United States has concluded that the Syrian government used chemical weapons in its fight against opposition forces, and President Obama has authorized direct U.S. military support to the rebels, the White House said Thursday.

“The president has said that the use of chemical weapons would change his calculus, and it has,” said Benjamin J. Rhodes, Obama’s deputy national security adviser. Rhodes said U.S. intelligence had determined with “high certainty” that Syrian government forces have “used chemical weapons, including the nerve agent sarin, on a small scale against the opposition multiple times in the last year.”

Intelligence agencies estimate that 100 to 150 people have died as a result of chemical weapons use, he said.

Rhodes did not detail what he called the expanded military support, but it is expected initially to consist of light arms and ammunition. He said the shipments would be “responsive to the needs” expressed by the rebel command.

Obama has “not made any decision” to pursue a military option such as a no-fly zone and has ruled out the deployment of U.S. ground troops, Rhodes said.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Beet on June 13, 2013, 09:29:41 pm
Apparently the chemical weapons were only part of the reason for a decision that was coming anyway. According to Politico,

“The decision was ultimately driven by the discovery Assad used [chemical weapons] but there were a number of other factors in place that were also important,” conceded an administration official with direct knowledge of the deliberations.

“Would we have made [the determination Assad had breached the red line] even if we didn’t have the evidence? Probably.”

This seems more related to the promotion of Susan Rice and John Kerry than anything else. Apparently, Tom Donilon and Chuck Hagel were not as enthusiastic as Rice.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: bgwah on June 13, 2013, 09:36:16 pm
I wonder how far Obama will go with this.

Arming Sunni Islamists to beat Russia in a proxy war? Why does that sound familiar...


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Old Man Svensson on June 13, 2013, 09:36:22 pm
Assad promises to attack Israel, if they bomb a site in Syria again

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2013/05/2013530194217674256.html

and what would happen then?  Do you think that Israel would invade Syria?

Israel would do what they nearly did in the Six Day War and torch the place to ash. We in the West seriously underestimate Israel as a ruthless military force nowadays.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Lumine on June 13, 2013, 09:41:02 pm
And just like that Israel and the US are really going to increase their popularity in the Middle East...


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ○∙◄☻¥tπ[╪AV┼cVê└ on June 13, 2013, 10:13:21 pm
Qusair finally fell to government forces after two weeks of fighting: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-22778310

Bad news for the rebels. Without foreign intervention, it's looking like they will lose.

I don't think Assad can actually "win" in the sense that he'll never have enough forces to hold the whole country together at once.  But a stalemate that goes on for years and years is certainly possible.  How long did the Lebanese Civil War last?  15 years?


That's nothing compared to the Colombian civil war.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ○∙◄☻¥tπ[╪AV┼cVê└ on June 13, 2013, 10:14:18 pm
Apparently the chemical weapons were only part of the reason for a decision that was coming anyway. According to Politico,

“The decision was ultimately driven by the discovery Assad used [chemical weapons] but there were a number of other factors in place that were also important,” conceded an administration official with direct knowledge of the deliberations.

“Would we have made [the determination Assad had breached the red line] even if we didn’t have the evidence? Probably.”

This seems more related to the promotion of Susan Rice and John Kerry than anything else. Apparently, Tom Donilon and Chuck Hagel were not as enthusiastic as Rice.

Oh goodie, another black female Stanford alum as National Security Advisor who is a warmonger.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Blue3 on June 14, 2013, 04:15:51 pm
I think the bigger factors were how Hezbollah and Iran are now investing everything in Assad quite openly, and Russia trying to plays us for fools.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Mynheer Peeperkorn on June 14, 2013, 06:30:14 pm
A weaker, gayer Assad would be great for the region, as he will recognize Golan Heights as Israel's territory and he will not give arms to Iraq's terrorists.



Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: dead0man on June 16, 2013, 12:13:29 pm
Iran to send 4000 Iranian Revolutionary Guards to Syria (https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&ie=UTF-8#sclient=psy-ab&q=iran%20to%20send%204000&oq=&gs_l=&pbx=1&fp=caa84096235e7292&ion=1&bav=on.2,or.r_cp.r_qf.&bvm=bv.47883778,d.eWU&biw=1366&bih=643)-link goes to Google search

Quote from: The Independent UK
The Independent on Sunday has learned that a military decision has been taken in Iran – even before last week’s presidential election – to send a first contingent of 4,000 Iranian Revolutionary Guards to Syria to support President Bashar al-Assad’s forces against the largely Sunni rebellion that has cost almost 100,000 lives in just over two years.  Iran is now fully committed to preserving Assad’s regime, according to pro-Iranian sources which have been deeply involved in the Islamic Republic’s security, even to the extent of proposing to open up a new ‘Syrian’ front on the Golan Heights against Israel.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Tender Branson on June 16, 2013, 12:17:26 pm
Iran to send 4000 Iranian Revolutionary Guards to Syria (https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&ie=UTF-8#sclient=psy-ab&q=iran%20to%20send%204000&oq=&gs_l=&pbx=1&fp=caa84096235e7292&ion=1&bav=on.2,or.r_cp.r_qf.&bvm=bv.47883778,d.eWU&biw=1366&bih=643)-link goes to Google search

Quote from: The Independent UK
The Independent on Sunday has learned that a military decision has been taken in Iran – even before last week’s presidential election – to send a first contingent of 4,000 Iranian Revolutionary Guards to Syria to support President Bashar al-Assad’s forces against the largely Sunni rebellion that has cost almost 100,000 lives in just over two years.  Iran is now fully committed to preserving Assad’s regime, according to pro-Iranian sources which have been deeply involved in the Islamic Republic’s security, even to the extent of proposing to open up a new ‘Syrian’ front on the Golan Heights against Israel.

Good that we are getting out of there right now ...


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: politicus on June 16, 2013, 12:22:34 pm
Wonder how Ankara is going to react to actually having Iranian troops in Syria. Iran having bases in the Mediterranean is one of the "worst case scenarios" the Turks have. Of course they will likely wait and see how it all develops, but its still a provocation.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Tender Branson on June 16, 2013, 12:24:39 pm
Here is a more alarming version of this:

Quote
Syrian forces training to storm Israel's border

TEL AVIV – Thousands of Syrians are currently training in Iran to serve as a force ready to storm Israel’s northern Golan Heights, according to informed Middle Eastern security officials.

The officials said between 3,000 and 5,000 Syrian men were being trained in the event Syrian President Bashar al-Assad decides to open a front against the Golan Heights, which borders Syria.

The training is being overseen by the Al Quds Force, the elite unit of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard responsible for the country’s extraterritorial operations, the sources said.

The Syrian forces are slated to return to their country next month, the sources added.

This is not the first report of Iran aiding Syria in preparations for ground attacks against Israel.

In May, WND reported the Iranian-backed Hezbollah was establishing training camps near the Syrian capital of Damascus to prepare for possible guerrilla warfare targeting the Golan Heights, according to informed Middle Eastern security officials.

The officials said the camps are training Palestinian groups as well as special units connected to Assad’s Baath party for operations against Israel if such actions are green-lighted by Syria in the near future.

The officials said that for the time being, Russia has urged Assad against taking any action targeting Israel.

On Saturday, the New York Times reported that as a way to keep the pressure on Assad, American warplanes and antimissile batteries will remain in Jordan following a military drill currently underway.

The Times further reported on CIA training for the rebels in Jordan under a covert program as well as a U.S. campaign to send weapons to the rebels via Jordan.

The Washington Post further reported on a U.S. decision to send weapons to the rebels through Turkey.

Link (http://www.wnd.com/2013/06/syrian-forces-training-to-storm-israels-border)


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: politicus on June 16, 2013, 12:28:58 pm
An attack on Israel would be a major mistake at this point. With Hezbollah and Iranian support they have a good chance of defeating the rebels. Opening up another front will jeopardize this.





Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: dead0man on June 16, 2013, 12:31:54 pm
Indeed, that seems like the stupidest of plans.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: bgwah on June 16, 2013, 03:52:59 pm
I think they're probably smart enough to not strike first, at least. Perhaps they're just trying to deter Israel from getting more involved in the conflict?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Cory on June 16, 2013, 09:51:36 pm
Here is a more alarming version of this:

Quote
Syrian forces training to storm Israel's border

TEL AVIV – Thousands of Syrians are currently training in Iran to serve as a force ready to storm Israel’s northern Golan Heights, according to informed Middle Eastern security officials.

The officials said between 3,000 and 5,000 Syrian men were being trained in the event Syrian President Bashar al-Assad decides to open a front against the Golan Heights, which borders Syria.

The training is being overseen by the Al Quds Force, the elite unit of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard responsible for the country’s extraterritorial operations, the sources said.

The Syrian forces are slated to return to their country next month, the sources added.

This is not the first report of Iran aiding Syria in preparations for ground attacks against Israel.

In May, WND reported the Iranian-backed Hezbollah was establishing training camps near the Syrian capital of Damascus to prepare for possible guerrilla warfare targeting the Golan Heights, according to informed Middle Eastern security officials.

The officials said the camps are training Palestinian groups as well as special units connected to Assad’s Baath party for operations against Israel if such actions are green-lighted by Syria in the near future.

The officials said that for the time being, Russia has urged Assad against taking any action targeting Israel.

On Saturday, the New York Times reported that as a way to keep the pressure on Assad, American warplanes and antimissile batteries will remain in Jordan following a military drill currently underway.

The Times further reported on CIA training for the rebels in Jordan under a covert program as well as a U.S. campaign to send weapons to the rebels via Jordan.

The Washington Post further reported on a U.S. decision to send weapons to the rebels through Turkey.

Link (http://www.wnd.com/2013/06/syrian-forces-training-to-storm-israels-border)

It was actually kind of interesting until I noticed it was World Net Daily.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ingemann on June 17, 2013, 06:19:46 am
A weaker, gayer Assad would be great for the region, as he will recognize Golan Heights as Israel's territory and he will not give arms to Iraq's terrorists.

In foreseen future no Syrian government will recognise the Israeli annexation of the Golan Heights, in fact even if the rebels are like their wqestern supporters dream about a bunch secular liberal democrats, they will still not recognise the Israeli claims. As for giving weapon to "terrorists" in Iraq, that's a thing of the time when American desicion makers had wet dreams about invading Iraq, since USA have mostly pulled out of Iraq and the Iraqi government is quite friendly toward Assad, I really doubt you see him sending support to the Iraqi Sunnis today.
 
...and BTW your post is exactly why we should stay out of the Syrian conflict as you people keep making it to a issue about Israel, which may be the worst possible way to way to look at it.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: njwes on June 19, 2013, 02:33:48 am
Apparently we're only going to be supplying the rebels with small arms and ammunition. I'm sure that'll prove useful :P I've gotta hand it to Brobama on this one, he's really having his cake and eating it too.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: njwes on June 19, 2013, 03:54:24 pm
Great piece in the NYT today

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/23/magazine/the-price-of-loyalty-in-syria.html?hp


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ingemann on June 19, 2013, 04:41:27 pm
Great piece in the NYT today

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/23/magazine/the-price-of-loyalty-in-syria.html?hp

Thanks, it's one of the greatest pierce I have read yet. 


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Citizen (The) Doctor on June 20, 2013, 12:29:52 am
Great piece in the NYT today

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/23/magazine/the-price-of-loyalty-in-syria.html?hp

Really good piece illustrating the lack of any real good-bad divide in this conflict.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Saturday's Cab Ride Home on June 20, 2013, 11:19:59 am
Trying to portray the people who started this in a sympathetic manner is pretty vile. The article says "The price of loyalty"...yeah loyalty to a murderous brutal dictator.

If I was an Alawite in Syria, I'd just convert out of it. No way I want to be on the side of a brutal murderer like Assad.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: politicus on June 20, 2013, 11:27:12 am
Trying to portray the people who started this in a sympathetic manner is pretty vile. The article says "The price of loyalty"...yeah loyalty to a murderous brutal dictator.

If I was an Alawite in Syria, I'd just convert out of it. No way I want to be on the side of a brutal murderer like Assad.

Alawite is de facto an ethnic identity more than a religious one per se, you cant just convert out of it. Its like the old Ulster joke, "Are you a Catholic or a Protestant?". "I am an atheist". "Yes, but are you a Catholic atheist or a Protestant atheist?". Only even more true in Syria.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Insula Dei on June 20, 2013, 11:36:28 am
Trying to portray the people who started this in a sympathetic manner is pretty vile. The article says "The price of loyalty"...yeah loyalty to a murderous brutal dictator.

If I was an Alawite in Syria, I'd just convert out of it. No way I want to be on the side of a brutal murderer like Assad.

Alawite is de facto an ethnic identity more than a religious one per se, you cant just convert out of it. Its like the old Ulster joke, "Are you a Catholic or a Protestant?". "I am an atheist". "Yes, but are you a Catholic atheist or a Protestant atheist?". Only even more true in Syria.

You might be well-advised to not try and explain this to BRTD.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: njwes on June 21, 2013, 07:19:43 pm
Trying to portray the people who started this in a sympathetic manner is pretty vile. The article says "The price of loyalty"...yeah loyalty to a murderous brutal dictator.

If I was an Alawite in Syria, I'd just convert out of it. No way I want to be on the side of a brutal murderer like Assad.

What if you were devout and didn't want to convert out of it? There are people out there with sincere religious convictions, though I know it's very hard for many lefties to comprehend ;)

More generally, I'm really not convinced that the religious minorities would have been treated any better had there been a relatively swift and peaceful transfer of power. As the article indicates, sectarianism began to become apparent very very early on, before the situation had even devolved to all-out civil war. I'm also thinking of the Coptic Egyptians' experience as a parallel


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: LastVoter on June 21, 2013, 08:08:18 pm
Trying to portray the people who started this in a sympathetic manner is pretty vile. The article says "The price of loyalty"...yeah loyalty to a murderous brutal dictator.

If I was an Alawite in Syria, I'd just convert out of it. No way I want to be on the side of a brutal murderer like Assad.
lol BRTD


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Mr. Morden on June 21, 2013, 10:48:23 pm
The US has secretly been training Syrian rebels at bases in Jordan and Turkey since late last year:

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/middleeast/la-fg-cia-syria-20130622,0,4448399.story


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Saturday's Cab Ride Home on June 21, 2013, 11:18:42 pm
Trying to portray the people who started this in a sympathetic manner is pretty vile. The article says "The price of loyalty"...yeah loyalty to a murderous brutal dictator.

If I was an Alawite in Syria, I'd just convert out of it. No way I want to be on the side of a brutal murderer like Assad.
lol BRTD

yes yes I know, no one outside the US EVER converts and it's impossible for Hispanics to be Lutherans. Because CULTURE OMG!


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Beet on June 21, 2013, 11:31:47 pm
Eh, the problem is, rebels taking up arms against the government don't necessarily have any moral high ground against said government, since they're using the same brutal and murderous methods to achieve ends that may not be any better.

Sure, the peaceful protesters had the high ground over Assad, and him violently cracking down on them is what makes him brutal and murderous, but many of those people were Alawites. Early in the uprising, there was a lot of Alawite unrest, and Latakia participated in the mass protests. It was a protest center; Assad cracked down violently on them too. So who says that Assad owns Alawitism? Why should the Alawites be forced to give up their faith just because it is shared by Assad? Why shouldn't he be the one who has to convert? Is there any evidence that he is even devout?

There is a myth that the same people who were protesting in March 2011 are the ones who later took up arms, but this is mostly false. Most of the protesters were urban, in places like Latakia, and then died down after the civil war began. The people who took up arms were rural conservative elements who still form the backbone of the opposition. In urban areas, the Assad regime has a lot of genuine support, and not just among Alawites.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Saturday's Cab Ride Home on June 21, 2013, 11:44:40 pm
I agree it's unlikely that Assad is truly a sincere Alawite (no one would be surprised if it was revealed he has hordes of whiskey and scotch stashes in the presidential palace), but that just provides more of a point against that Alawites are "forced" to support him. I mean if I lived in a country where a nominally Christian dictator (obviously not really Christian of course) was carrying out such a brutal campaign of repression against non-Christians, I'd obviously renounce membership in whatever church he had if it was supporting him. I could still be a Christian independent of that obviously.

And once again, just about all troop estimates show that no more than 20% of the anti-Assad forces are Islamist. Remember in 2011 how we kept hearing how all of the Libyan rebels were radical Islamists with all the "evidence" that the regime was providing to back up its claim? It's amusing how many folks were willing to parrot Gaddafi's propaganda.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: njwes on June 22, 2013, 12:40:46 am
And once again, just about all troop estimates show that no more than 20% of the anti-Assad forces are Islamist. Remember in 2011 how we kept hearing how all of the Libyan rebels were radical Islamists with all the "evidence" that the regime was providing to back up its claim? It's amusing how many folks were willing to parrot Gaddafi's propaganda.

But I don't think anyone's claiming that all of the anti-Assad forces are Islamist. 20%, if that figure is true, is quite a lot, and certainly sufficient to cause enormous and even intractable problems in Syria if/when Assad falls.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Хahar 🤔 on June 22, 2013, 12:40:57 am
It's worth noting that since Assad Sr. took power many decades ago, the regime has gone to great lengths to try to downplay the heretical elements of Alawite belief or erase them altogether. Evidently Damascus was well worth the Hajj.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: LastVoter on June 22, 2013, 04:40:22 am
Trying to portray the people who started this in a sympathetic manner is pretty vile. The article says "The price of loyalty"...yeah loyalty to a murderous brutal dictator.

If I was an Alawite in Syria, I'd just convert out of it. No way I want to be on the side of a brutal murderer like Assad.
lol BRTD

yes yes I know, no one outside the US EVER converts and it's impossible for Hispanics to be Lutherans. Because CULTURE OMG!
Well no, you actually offer a valid example of conversion, under the threat of force.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: politicus on June 22, 2013, 06:00:58 am
It's worth noting that since Assad Sr. took power many decades ago, the regime has gone to great lengths to try to downplay the heretical elements of Alawite belief or erase them altogether. Evidently Damascus was well worth the Hajj.

This is an important point and I think that if the regime falls we are likely to see a renaisance of genuine Alawism with a remergence of the elements scrapped or downplayed under the present regime.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Saturday's Cab Ride Home on June 22, 2013, 09:46:10 am
Trying to portray the people who started this in a sympathetic manner is pretty vile. The article says "The price of loyalty"...yeah loyalty to a murderous brutal dictator.

If I was an Alawite in Syria, I'd just convert out of it. No way I want to be on the side of a brutal murderer like Assad.
lol BRTD

yes yes I know, no one outside the US EVER converts and it's impossible for Hispanics to be Lutherans. Because CULTURE OMG!
Well no, you actually offer a valid example of conversion, under the threat of force.

The force here isn't for belonging to some psuedo-Islamic offshoot but for supporting a brutal dictator. As Beet pointed out one does not need to support a murderous to dictator to continue to claim to believe in this fake version of Islam.

I find it odd though you'll cite under force to be a "valid" example of conversion, but somehow a Hispanic in the US becoming a Protestant entirely of their own decision isn't?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: politicus on June 22, 2013, 09:58:23 am
Trying to portray the people who started this in a sympathetic manner is pretty vile. The article says "The price of loyalty"...yeah loyalty to a murderous brutal dictator.

If I was an Alawite in Syria, I'd just convert out of it. No way I want to be on the side of a brutal murderer like Assad.
lol BRTD

yes yes I know, no one outside the US EVER converts and it's impossible for Hispanics to be Lutherans. Because CULTURE OMG!
Well no, you actually offer a valid example of conversion, under the threat of force.

The force here isn't for belonging to some psuedo-Islamic offshoot but for supporting a brutal dictator. As Beet pointed out one does not need to support a murderous to dictator to continue to claim to believe in this fake version of Islam.

Who are you to claim the Alawites got it wrong? You got a hotline to Allah?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Saturday's Cab Ride Home on June 22, 2013, 10:02:04 am
I agree with the view of most Muslim groups (and Xahar) that Alawites are too divergent from Islam to be considered Muslim. Now mind you that as I am not Muslim I don't consider this a negative, since I don't consider real Muslims to be any more correct than the Alawites are. It's like if a Muslim or an atheist was saying Mormons aren't Christian.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: DC Al Fine on July 01, 2013, 04:24:11 pm
Syrian rebels behead a Catholic priest (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2352251/Horrific-video-shows-Syrian-Catholic-priest-beheaded-jihadist-fighters-cheering-crowd.html)

And we are arming these people?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: politicus on July 01, 2013, 04:36:47 pm
Syrian rebels behead a Catholic priest (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2352251/Horrific-video-shows-Syrian-Catholic-priest-beheaded-jihadist-fighters-cheering-crowd.html)

And we are arming these people?

Not necessarily directly since its a very diverse group, but its impossible to avoid that some small arms will end up with the fanatics.

If a limited number of weapons end up with the Jihadists, while the wast majority end up with moderate groups it could still be worth it.

Lots of savagery at both side at the moment, but an Assad win aided by Hezbollah is an almost unbearable thought. A rebel victory gives some hope in a best case scenario.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Spamage on July 01, 2013, 04:40:56 pm
Syrian rebels behead a Catholic priest (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2352251/Horrific-video-shows-Syrian-Catholic-priest-beheaded-jihadist-fighters-cheering-crowd.html)

And we are arming these people?

A few months ago I was reading an article on how some rebels have sacked, defiled, and stolen from countless Christian churches, but this is clearly much worse.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Blue3 on July 01, 2013, 07:12:08 pm
Not all rebels are working together. There are different factions. And we're not arming all of them.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Saturday's Cab Ride Home on July 02, 2013, 12:13:57 am
Yeah because it's not like the guy was a pro-Assad collaborationist or anything like that. ::)


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Spamage on July 02, 2013, 12:46:32 am
Yeah because it's not like the guy was a pro-Assad collaborationist or anything like that. ::)

"Catholic.org linked to the video and reported: 'Syrian terrorists have beheaded a Catholic priest who they accused of collaborating with the Assad regime. Those accusations have not yet been verified.'"


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Jbrase on July 02, 2013, 01:02:36 am
Yeah because it's not like the guy was a pro-Assad collaborationist or anything like that. ::)

WTF. You are seriously defending their actions based on the chance that he worked with the regime?

Is your  hate for catholics that strong?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Snowguy716 on July 02, 2013, 02:32:41 am
Well, when you can live your life with a guaranteed assurance that you will not be beheaded, it's much easier to defend the practice.

Check your privilege, BRTD.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Fmr President & Senator Polnut on July 02, 2013, 03:03:50 am
WTF is wrong with you BRTD? I mean, seriously?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: MaxQue on July 02, 2013, 03:21:46 am
To his defence, if it was some random pro-Assad guy which was beheaded, we wouldn't even hear about it. People are acting as if being a priest make them immune to war events.

Right now, in wars, you are supporting B, you are a potential victim of A. Even if you are a priest. People are lacking a lot of realism here.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Saturday's Cab Ride Home on July 02, 2013, 10:00:15 am
Yeah because it's not like the guy was a pro-Assad collaborationist or anything like that. ::)

WTF. You are seriously defending their actions based on the chance that he worked with the regime?

Is your hate for catholics that strong?

It doesn't have anything to do with him being Catholic or not. Basically see Max's post. But I'm not going to believe the description on a video uploaded to YouTube by an account that posts only pro-Assad propaganda and is obviously a tool of the regime that rebels go around killing Catholic priests for no reason, and is mostly just being promoted now by right wing sources (I mean seriously, The Daily Mail) that love to parrot the Assad regime's propaganda because they prefer Assad to Obama.

And actually from a more neutral source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-23138679

Quote
The video's title referred to the killing of a priest and a bishop, but none of the victims can be identified and none of those featured in the video refer to such an event.

After analysing the footage, local activists and Human Rights Watch said it was most likely filmed in a different location several months before Fr Murad was killed.

Instead, he "died when he was shot inside his church" in Ghassaniya, three separate local sources told the Daily Telegraph newspaper.

The Custody of the Holy Land, a Franciscan order which is the official custodian of religious sites in the Middle East, had also issued a statement two days after Fr Murad's death saying Islamists shot him.

"Islamists attacked the monastery, ransacking it and destroying everything," it said. "When Father Francois tried to resist, defending the nuns, rebels shot him."

Obviously if the guy was killed by jihadists and he was not an Assad collaborationist, it is a horrible crime (though not carried out by the people Obama is arming.) But we conclude that whoever it is on that video was indeed an Assad supporter.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: DC Al Fine on July 02, 2013, 10:08:34 am
So he was shot by Islamists during an attack on a monastery instead of beheaded? That makes me feel better ::)

Given Assad's deplorable record and the rebels' questionable backgrounds, neutrality should be our policy here.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: AkSaber on July 02, 2013, 11:42:50 pm
Given Assad's deplorable record and the rebels' questionable backgrounds, neutrality should be our policy here.

True. Choosing a lesser of two evils is still choosing evil.

And what sense does it make to force, at gunpoint, "democracy" on a nation who is not ready for it?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Saturday's Cab Ride Home on July 03, 2013, 12:07:37 am
So he was shot by Islamists during an attack on a monastery instead of beheaded? That makes me feel better ::)

Given Assad's deplorable record and the rebels' questionable backgrounds, neutrality should be our policy here.

I said above that this is obviously a horrible crime if he was not actually an Assad collaborationist. However the responsible group is Jubhat al-Nusra, not the Free Syrian Army, which Obama is arming.

Furthermore, let's look at the events timeline:

-Fighters in Syria capture and behead two members of Assad's Shabiha paramilitary.
-Jihadists not directly linked to the main Syrian rebel forces attack the monastery in late June killing the priest.
-A video is uploaded to YouTube by an account that only uploads pro-Assad propaganda videos and is obviously a mouthpiece of the regime claiming the priest is beheaded in it.
-All sorts of right wing sources run with it screaming about how the rebels are all barbarians and this is who Obama is arming.

It was an Assad propaganda ploy and you fell for it hook, line and sinker. This article here sums it all up: http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/articles/485700/20130702/syria-catholic-priest-beheading-video-murad.htm

Basically confirmation that the video occurred several months ago, the two individuals being executed were Assad loyalists and it was 120km from where the monastery was attacked.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Jbrase on July 11, 2013, 02:40:24 pm
Quote
U.S. and Western weapons have been reaching Iranian-backed Shiite militias fighting to keep Bashar Assad's forces in power in Syria.

Analysts say it's unclear if the weapons were captured, stolen or bought on the black market in Syria, Turkey, Iraq or Libya. Propaganda photographs from Shiite militias posted on dozens of websites and Facebook pages show the weapons were acquired in new condition, said Phillip Smyth, an analyst for Jihadology.net, a site affiliated with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Many of the weapons are things the militias "shouldn't really have their hands on," Smyth said. Iranians love to show "they have weapons and systems that are very close to the Americans."

The ability of Assad's allies to obtain U.S. weapons is one of many reasons the United States should not supply Syrian rebels with weapons, which President Obama said he would start to do last month, said Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., former chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2013/07/10/us-weapons-syria-shiites/2503953/


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Blue3 on July 12, 2013, 08:40:27 am
Al Qaeda kills Free Syrian Army commander

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2013/07/20137127710849717.html

If anything, I think this should solidify our support for the FSA.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Lief 🐋 on July 12, 2013, 07:23:33 pm
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/07/12/us-syria-crisis-idUSBRE96B08A20130712

FSA (moderate rebels) declare war on Islamist rebels.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: True Federalist on July 12, 2013, 07:41:04 pm
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/07/12/us-syria-crisis-idUSBRE96B08A20130712

FSA (moderate rebels) declare war on Islamist rebels.

Not too surprising.  An Islamist government wouldn't be much better for them than an Assad win and unless they expel the Islamists from their midst they have no hope of ever getting enough support to topple Assad.  Of course the question now is can they do it or will the what had been a two and a half way war that is now a three way war become a two way war between Assad and the Islamists?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Mopolis on July 12, 2013, 08:37:21 pm
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/07/12/us-syria-crisis-idUSBRE96B08A20130712

FSA (moderate rebels) declare war on Islamist rebels.
On a (tangentially) related note, how many historical examples are there of true three-way wars (that is, a war in which all three belligerents are at war with each other)?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Mr. Morden on July 12, 2013, 09:18:20 pm
The Kurds have also fought independently of the FSA and the Islamists, and in some cases have had skirmishes with them, though I think they mostly keep their distance.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Cory on July 13, 2013, 12:28:46 am
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/07/12/us-syria-crisis-idUSBRE96B08A20130712

FSA (moderate rebels) declare war on Islamist rebels.

It's like the Spanish Civil War kind of. With the loyalists and rebels trading places of course. Like the Nationalists, Assad leads a unified front consisting of most of the military and almost all of the elite/crack units. The Rebels have a fractured coalition that can hardly keep from fighting itself lat alone overcome the quality issues they face in comparison to the Assad troops.

The Rebels are like the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War. With the anarchists, communists, socialists/republicans and Trotskyites all fighting each other as well as the Fascists.

A similar comparison could be made to the Russian Civil War, with the Rebels being the divided Whites and the Bolsheviks the unified Assad Loyalists.

The side with better unification and organization typically wins these kind of Civil Wars.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: dead0man on July 13, 2013, 10:07:32 am
Maybe now people will have less qualms about giving aid to the FSA?



Also, Israel believed behind recent Syria strike (http://security.blogs.cnn.com/2013/07/12/israel-believed-behind-recent-syria-strike/)
Quote
A series of explosions on July 5 at a critical Syrian port was the result of airstrikes by Israeli warplanes, according to multiple U.S. officials.

Regional media widely reported the predawn explosions at Latakia, but no one had officially claimed responsibility.

Three U.S. officials told CNN the target of the airstrikes were Russian-made Yakhont anti-ship missiles that Israel believes posed a threat to its naval forces.

The officials declined to be named because of the sensitive nature of the information.


So far, the Israeli government has also declined to comment to CNN.

Israel's defense minister Moshe Yaalon denied involvement, according to one Israeli news site.

"It has been a long time that we are not intervening in Syria's bloody war. Red lines were presented and we maintain them," said Yaalon, according to YNet News. "There is an explosion here or an attack there, somewhere in the Middle East, most of the time they accuse us."

Israeli and U.S. intelligence are also watching closely for additional shipments of Russian arms to Syria from Russian warships located off the coast.

The United States believes some supplies, including ammunition and small arms, have been unloaded in recent weeks. So far, there has been no indication of heavy weapons or helicopters that the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad anticipates.

CNN has reported at least three previous Israeli airstrikes against Syrian targets in recent months in instances where it believed weapons were being transferred to Iranian backed Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon that could also threaten Israel.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Saturday's Cab Ride Home on July 13, 2013, 11:37:19 am
Well now people can shut up about all rebels being Islamists or al-Qaeda.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Saturday's Cab Ride Home on July 13, 2013, 10:19:53 pm
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/07/12/us-syria-crisis-idUSBRE96B08A20130712

FSA (moderate rebels) declare war on Islamist rebels.
On a (tangentially) related note, how many historical examples are there of true three-way wars (that is, a war in which all three belligerents are at war with each other)?

The most obvious example is Bosnia before the Bosniaks and Croats managed to forge a cease-fire agreement.

But as Morden pointed out this was already basically a three-way war, since the Kurdish fighters obviously don't like Assad, but don't really like the FSA either (read they don't like any non-Kurdish government controlling the whole country including their region.) Right now they have kind of an unofficial agreement with the FSA to leave them alone and let them fight Assad on their own terms, but I understand there have been a few skirmishes between the FSA and Kurds.

Africa has also had quite a few civil wars where the sides were basically government (corrupt, incompetent and quite thuggish) and rebels (far more thuggish, absolutely savage, and not incompetent in the sense that they were more capable and efficient at killing people than the government) and as a result lots of villages and regions set up their own militias all about protecting their own area and keeping both the government and rebels out. But they weren't really allied or a "side" per se.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Cory on July 29, 2013, 12:40:08 am
I think this situation is more grey then people are making it out to be. As far as the Loyalists are concerned they are fighting for a secular Syria against the Islamic Fundamentalist dominated Rebels backed by foreign fighters who wish to transform Syria into the next Afghanistan. I hope nobody is naive enough to thing the "NTC" folks have any real sway in the Rebel movement on the ground. This war has taken on a new dimension. It's not Assad vs The People anymore. It's Secular Urban/Shia vs Islamic Conservative Rural Sunnis.

I can't help but think that if I were in Syria I would support the Loyalists.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Saturday's Cab Ride Home on July 29, 2013, 01:06:01 am
That's flat out false. By all estimates Islamists make up no more than 20% of rebel forces. Plus the main rebels have been killing more Islamists than Assad's forces lately. I still hold all Assad supporters to be bloodthirsty thugs.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Cory on July 29, 2013, 02:43:47 am
That's flat out false. By all estimates Islamists make up no more than 20% of rebel forces. Plus the main rebels have been killing more Islamists than Assad's forces lately. I still hold all Assad supporters to be bloodthirsty thugs.

What a silly thing to say. History isn't as black and white as you seem to think. Real life is grey.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Saturday's Cab Ride Home on July 29, 2013, 12:35:55 pm
So then what about people who supported Franco and Pinochet because of "OMG COMMUNISM!!!11!!!"


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: danny on July 29, 2013, 01:13:59 pm
I think this situation is more grey then people are making it out to be. As far as the Loyalists are concerned they are fighting for a secular Syria against the Islamic Fundamentalist dominated Rebels backed by foreign fighters who wish to transform Syria into the next Afghanistan. I hope nobody is naive enough to thing the "NTC" folks have any real sway in the Rebel movement on the ground. This war has taken on a new dimension. It's not Assad vs The People anymore. It's Secular Urban/Shia vs Islamic Conservative Rural Sunnis.

I can't help but think that if I were in Syria I would support the Loyalists.

Syria has very few native Shi'ite, those thousands of shia fighting on Assads side are foreign jihadists fighting coming in from all over the Middle East, because of Iranian influence.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Hnv1 on July 29, 2013, 02:06:23 pm
Assad's military is close to taking Homs. if they succeed they will probably halt the offence and fortify the landmass they hold now (most of the Alawites majority area).
Were heading toward a standstill 


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Filuwaúrdjan on July 29, 2013, 03:51:24 pm
Sort of notable that coverage of the war in the British media has declined since Assad started winning again.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Cory on July 29, 2013, 10:11:13 pm
So then what about people who supported Franco and Pinochet because of "OMG COMMUNISM!!!11!!!"

They were supporting those regime because they preferred them to socialism. Not because they were "murderous thugs" who liked killing because it was fun. There are people like that in every cause.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Beet on July 29, 2013, 11:53:57 pm
When BRTD takes a side, he tends to go Berzerker. While I don't agree with him, I kind of understand it...


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Blue3 on August 21, 2013, 07:20:58 pm
UN Security Council is getting reports that a nerve gas attack has killed over 1000 in Damascus suburbs.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Fritz on August 21, 2013, 10:12:15 pm
Is this going to be Obama's war?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Citizen (The) Doctor on August 22, 2013, 02:16:54 am
UN Security Council is getting reports that a nerve gas attack has killed over 1000 in Damascus suburbs.

That should be the trigger point then. There's gonna be too much pressure to act.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: True Federalist on August 22, 2013, 01:36:46 pm
UN Security Council is getting reports that a nerve gas attack has killed over 1000 in Damascus suburbs.

That should be the trigger point then. There's gonna be too much pressure to act.

Not really.  As it done so on previous occasions, Russia is already saying this was a false flag operation by the rebels.  This certainly won't get the UN involved. Nor do I see the US eager to bear the costs of policing this mess.  Europe may want to, but does it have the capability?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: AkSaber on August 22, 2013, 02:48:33 pm
UN Security Council is getting reports that a nerve gas attack has killed over 1000 in Damascus suburbs.

That should be the trigger point then. There's gonna be too much pressure to act.

Not really.  As it done so on previous occasions, Russia is already saying this was a false flag operation by the rebels.  This certainly won't get the UN involved. Nor do I see the US eager to bear the costs of policing this mess.  Europe may want to, but does it have the capability?

Exactly what I thought happened. Since Assad is allowing UN chemical weapons inspectors into his country (http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/UN-says-Assad-govt-agrees-to-allow-chemical-arms-inspectors-into-Syria-323098), it tells me he wants nothing to do with a chemical attack.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Blue3 on August 22, 2013, 08:14:16 pm
Then why did Assad order the area of the attack be bombed earlier today, except to destroy evidence?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: AkSaber on August 23, 2013, 03:10:39 am
Rebels located there maybe?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: danny on August 23, 2013, 05:43:12 am
UN Security Council is getting reports that a nerve gas attack has killed over 1000 in Damascus suburbs.

That should be the trigger point then. There's gonna be too much pressure to act.

Not really.  As it done so on previous occasions, Russia is already saying this was a false flag operation by the rebels.  This certainly won't get the UN involved. Nor do I see the US eager to bear the costs of policing this mess.  Europe may want to, but does it have the capability?

Exactly what I thought happened. Since Assad is allowing UN chemical weapons inspectors into his country (http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/UN-says-Assad-govt-agrees-to-allow-chemical-arms-inspectors-into-Syria-323098), it tells me he wants nothing to do with a chemical attack.

Of course Russia is saying that, Assad is their ally, they even supply him with weapons.

As for the UN inspectors, here's a quote from your article:
Quote
The UN inquiry will only try to establish whether chemical weapons were used, not who used them.

I don't think Assad has much to worry about from the UN.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Silent Hunter on August 23, 2013, 11:06:24 am

Not really.  As it done so on previous occasions, Russia is already saying this was a false flag operation by the rebels.  This certainly won't get the UN involved. Nor do I see the US eager to bear the costs of policing this mess.  Europe may want to, but does it have the capability?

Of course it does; it's got carriers, it's got Tomahawks and its got a good deal of fighter jets.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Clarko95 on August 23, 2013, 06:39:40 pm
Then why did Assad order the area of the attack be bombed earlier today, except to destroy evidence?

Um, you can't get rid of the chemical traces of the attack with conventional explosives....?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: AkSaber on August 23, 2013, 07:14:26 pm
Of course Russia is saying that, Assad is their ally, they even supply him with weapons.

And we arm every other dictatorship in the Mideast (except Iran). If this were happening in Saudi Arabia we'd stick up for them.

Um, you can't get rid of the chemical traces of the attack with conventional explosives....?

True. :)


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: danny on August 23, 2013, 08:44:10 pm
Of course Russia is saying that, Assad is their ally, they even supply him with weapons.

And we arm every other dictatorship in the Mideast (except Iran). If this were happening in Saudi Arabia we'd stick up for them.

And if the US says something like this you would be the first to claim it invalid because of that, but somehow Russia gets a free pass from you.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: True Federalist on August 23, 2013, 10:03:58 pm

Not really.  As it done so on previous occasions, Russia is already saying this was a false flag operation by the rebels.  This certainly won't get the UN involved. Nor do I see the US eager to bear the costs of policing this mess.  Europe may want to, but does it have the capability?

Of course it does; it's got carriers, it's got Tomahawks and its got a good deal of fighter jets.
And whatcha gonna do when your stocks run low?  Unless Uncle Sugar gets involved the ability of Europe to sustain an air war in Syria is limited. Europe was barely able to handle being the frontman on Libya and that was with a good deal of US logistical support.  Syria is tougher than Libya for a whole host of reasons.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Saturday's Cab Ride Home on August 23, 2013, 10:20:39 pm
Actually the French played the main role in wiping out Gaddafi's air force, and that part of the operation went incredibly easy.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: patrick1 on August 23, 2013, 10:26:18 pm
Actually the French played the main role in wiping out Gaddafi's air force, and that part of the operation went incredibly easy.

Without US Support, the Europeans have logistics problems operating in blue water and in force projection.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: AkSaber on August 24, 2013, 02:18:35 am
And if the US says something like this you would be the first to claim it invalid because of that, but somehow Russia gets a free pass from you.

I know I will not believe a word the interventionists say. The last 11 years have proven those people will exaggerate, lie, and manufacture evidence to support their accusations.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Snowstalker's Last Stand on August 24, 2013, 02:21:48 am
And if the US says something like this you would be the first to claim it invalid because of that, but somehow Russia gets a free pass from you.

I know I will not believe a word the interventionists say. The last 11 years have proven those people will exaggerate, lie, and manufacture evidence to support their accusations.

I agree; manipulation and forgery of evidence has been done numerous times by Western nations to justify military intervention (see Vietnam, Kosovo, Iraq, etc.). That certainly doesn't mean you should trust what Moscow says.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: AkSaber on August 24, 2013, 02:27:13 am
And if the US says something like this you would be the first to claim it invalid because of that, but somehow Russia gets a free pass from you.

I know I will not believe a word the interventionists say. The last 11 years have proven those people will exaggerate, lie, and manufacture evidence to support their accusations.

I agree; manipulation and forgery of evidence has been done numerous times by Western nations to justify military intervention (see Vietnam, Kosovo, Iraq, etc.). That certainly doesn't mean you should trust what Moscow says.

Is it sad I trust Russia more than our country?

It kinda feels that way... O_o


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: dead0man on August 24, 2013, 02:42:54 am
Is it sad I trust Russia more than our country?
Yes, quite.  Understandable though...sort of.  I mean, there is little reason to trust what western govts say when it comes to this sort of thing....but there seems to be even less reason to trust what Putin and his cronies say.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: dead0man on August 24, 2013, 03:54:53 am
and like many have feared/expected, it's spilling over into Lebanon now.  link (http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Thirteen-killed-in-blasts-outside-two-mosques-in-Lebanons-Tripoli-324053)
Quote
Twin explosions hit two mosques in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli on Friday, killing at least 42 people and wounding hundreds, intensifying the sectarian strife that has spilled over from the civil war in neighboring Syria.

The apparently coordinated blasts - the biggest and deadliest in Tripoli since the end of Lebanon's own civil war - struck as locals were finishing Friday prayers in the largely Sunni Muslim city. Lebanese officials appealed for calm.

The explosions in Tripoli, 70 km (43 miles) from Beirut came a week after a huge car bomb killed at least 24 people in a part of the capital that is controlled by the Shi'ite Muslim movement Hezbollah.

A recent resurgence of sectarian violence in Lebanon has been stoked by the conflagration in Syria, where President Bashar Assad is fighting a largely Sunni-led rebellion. Both Hezbollah and radical Sunni groups in Lebanon have sent fighters over the border to support opposing sides in Syria.

Medical and security sources said the death toll from Friday's blasts in Tripoli had risen to 42 by late afternoon. Hundreds more were wounded, they said. Earlier, the Lebanese Red Cross said at least 500 people were hurt.

The first explosion hit the Taqwa mosque, frequented by hardline Sunni Islamists, and killed at least 14 people there, according to accounts earlier in the day.

Further deaths were reported from a second blast outside the al-Salam mosque, which the Interior Ministry said was hit by a car laden with 100 kilograms (220 pounds) of explosives.

<snip>

Near the Taqwa mosque blast site, angry men toting AK-47 assault rifles took to the streets and fired in the air while other men threw rocks at Lebanese soldiers nearby.

<snip>

Lebanese officials called for calm as tensions rose in Tripoli, a Mediterranean port that has seen some of the worst Syria crossover violence. Sunni gunmen have sporadically clashed with fighters from the city's minority Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam to which the Assad family belongs.

Former internal security chief Ashraf Rifi, whose home was damaged by the second blast, warned that Lebanon was facing a gathering storm of violence.

"We are still in the beginning of the storm and we must remain aware and try to protect this nation," he said, speaking outside his home. "This storm has become a huge, grave danger."

Witnesses at the scene of the blasts said anger was rising among locals, who were shouting out accusations that Assad's government or Hezbollah were behind the attack.

<snip>
So, the big question for the west in the next 5 years is....do we side with the hardline Shia/Iranians/Assad/Hezzies or with the hardline Sunnies/Salafis/Wahabists or just let them kill each other (with tens of thousands of innocent Muslims killed in the "cross fire")?  Or is there (hopefully) some third option I'm not seeing.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Silent Hunter on August 24, 2013, 04:27:55 am
Actually the French played the main role in wiping out Gaddafi's air force, and that part of the operation went incredibly easy.

Also, for all the stuff that occurred later, the actual invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq went off with very few hitches.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: True Federalist on August 24, 2013, 07:36:00 am
Actually the French played the main role in wiping out Gaddafi's air force, and that part of the operation went incredibly easy.

Also, for all the stuff that occurred later, the actual invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq went off with very few hitches.

Wars don't end with the initial invasion tho.  Even if the west limits itself to being the Free Syrian Air Force, much as we did in Libya, Syria will be both costlier and longer than Libya, especially if we also get drawn into the fight against the Syrian Islamic Front.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Silent Hunter on August 24, 2013, 12:15:41 pm
MSF says it has treated 3500 with symptoms consistent with that of chemical weapon exposure (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-23827950)


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Cory on August 26, 2013, 05:16:40 pm
Secretary Kerry's statement seems to indicate that it is a matter of when, not if the USA intervenes militarily.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Beet on August 26, 2013, 05:32:08 pm
I suppose Obama isn't going to ask Congress for a formal declaration of war?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Blue3 on August 26, 2013, 08:19:35 pm
That hasn't happened since World War II.


I highly doubt it will involve any invasion. It will just be missile attacks from air and sea, and some more covert special forces operations. As it should have been 2 years ago. Assad and his regime must go.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Snowstalker's Last Stand on August 26, 2013, 08:31:45 pm
What we did in Libya won't work. We'd eventually knock out the Syrian Army, but they're in FAR better shape than Gaddaffi's forces were, most of the fighting is in concentrated urban areas, and the country is far more evenly divided than Libya was. There would certainly be NATO casualties, and probably even more FSA casualties (for the record, the FSA is not too much better than Assad) than there would have been had we stayed out.

And of course, the West (and Russia/the USSR and China, let's not leave anyone out) has yet to atone for all the atrocities it has committed against civilians since the end of World War II, so I'm a bit annoyed by Kerry's righteous tone here.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Mr. Morden on August 26, 2013, 10:07:31 pm
From reading the media coverage of the likely US military response to Assad's use of chemical weapons....

Sounds like this'll be something like Operation Desert Fox in 1998, when the US and UK bombed Iraq for four days, in retaliation for Saddam Hussein's lack of cooperation with weapons inspectors.  A limited operation of a few days designed to "punish" the target regime, not to dislodge it from power.  No indication that the US or NATO is going to become the air force of the Syrian rebels, a la what happened in Libya.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Eraserhead on August 26, 2013, 11:05:52 pm
Here we go again...



Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: AkSaber on August 27, 2013, 02:33:28 am
And of course, the West (and Russia/the USSR and China, let's not leave anyone out) has yet to atone for all the atrocities it has committed against civilians since the end of World War II, so I'm a bit annoyed by Kerry's righteous tone here.

Yeah. When Syria allegedly uses chemical weapons it's the crime of the century.

But when our leaders let depleted uranium be used against completely innocent and defenseless targets... well they got in our way. ::)


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Benwah [why on Earth do I post something] Courseyay on August 27, 2013, 08:48:46 am
So it seems this time it's the good one. I'd be cautious though since everything has been so disappointing from the beginning in Syria...

Fabius said it can't remain unanswered.
Le Drian, the French Ministry of Defense is in the Gulf.
The Charles de Gaulle, the French aircraft carrier is on the way to Syria.

According to Olivier Ravanello, maybe the only worthy journalist remaining on itélé, the French diplomacy would have told them that something could happen before Monday.

Hollande gonna make a speech in the coming hours.

It has to be confirmed but it's just been told on itélé that Russia would have already said they wouldn't retaliate if some strikes were made in Syria (which would confirm that Russia really only always is what it shows, some pure...

(http://www.itinerarium.fr/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/poutine-torse-nu.jpg)

...gonflette (bubbled muscles).

I hardly imagine Russia engaging into retaliations, at least military ones.

Turkey said it didn't care of UN veto, and would open some of its air bases.

So, so far we would have:

France
UK
Turkey
US

So far the most likely would seem something more or less like Libya, the US using tomahawks to destroy some military facilities and French and UK planes in the air to disable facilities too but also maybe striking offensive moving troops, eventually a total NFZ, but this seems less sure. NATO would once again be the logistic base (sight...).

In any case, if there effectively is a coalition, the mission will have to be clearly and loudly defined, and hopefully the official opposition will also be clearly associated to this and will also finally speak with a clear and united voice. Still something more or less like Lybia then.

The earlier this conflict will be sorted out, the better it will be for the whole region, we really don't need a black flag in the Mediterranean sea, and so far that's what we were helping by doing nothing on the long term.

My biggest worry for that whole region remains always the same for a while now, that totally screwed up piece of land decades after decades, Iraq. At all levels, sociologically, economically, politically, religiously, and yeah, notably through depleted uranium, and phosphore in Fallujah, on the health and ecological level. It has the potential to turn in something worse than it's never been in the coming years, and having Syria as a permanent training ground thanks to an ever going civil war was really not helping. Helping the Syrian cause would make that less young Syrians would join the black flags and have war as only perspective for the future. Offering them the perspective of a true solid help not depending on the black or green flag with a sword would make that only true international Jihadists would remain once the regime is moved, that is a few thousands of people, and Iraq and the whole region around really doesn't need more than that to know a deeper destabilization.

All of this being said, one more time, it's Syria, so it still have the potential to be once again freaking disappointing, from all parts.

In any case, still according to Olivier Ravanello, nothing would begin as long as UN observers are there, but hey, UN just said it suspended its mission there for safety reasons.

If something actually happens I wonder who would dare openly make the 1st step...

Barack Obama for the 1st time daring openly opening something?
The UK stopping to be the ever followers of either French or Americans??
Or, once again, France...

Well France has an historical responsiblity in having set this kinda Alawit regime in Syria, and  notably in the building of its military culture, it would have a kind of historical legitimacy/responsibility, outside of the fact that it also happens in an area where it is, at a lot of levels, directly concerned, the hottest spot on Earth nowadays, the beautiful Mediterranean Sea.

Hopefully this association of languages will be stopped to be associated to something shameful the soonest possible...

(http://images.lpcdn.ca/435x290/201207/23/535736-porte-parole-ministere-syrien-affaires.jpg)


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Benwah [why on Earth do I post something] Courseyay on August 27, 2013, 09:26:51 am
So for those who would have missed it like me, apparently there's a new thread (http://uselectionatlas.org/FORUM/index.php?topic=178354.0).


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Joe Republic on August 27, 2013, 12:49:29 pm
(http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/files/2013/08/BSm0bOBCYAAAph6.jpg)


(http://s3-ec.buzzfed.com/static/enhanced/webdr02/2013/8/24/18/enhanced-buzz-21855-1377383565-35.jpg)


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: robbin_hunting on August 27, 2013, 01:13:42 pm
and like many have feared/expected, it's spilling over into Lebanon now. 

Lebanon is a sad story of never ending violence... Hizbullah has weapons, so do Palestinian Refugees, Syrian Refugees, Other Lebanese Political Parties... Lebanon is a war zone, never been an independent and peaceful country ever before.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Come grasp the mighty avatar of our admin on August 27, 2013, 04:56:16 pm
Assad and his regime must go.

Cool. Do you have a strategy for what would be next?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: LastVoter on August 27, 2013, 10:18:54 pm
Assad and his regime must go.

Cool. Do you have a strategy for what would be next?
That's not the point.... Just turn it into a company town for an oil giant.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: TNF on August 28, 2013, 07:05:40 am
That hasn't happened since World War II.


I highly doubt it will involve any invasion. It will just be missile attacks from air and sea, and some more covert special forces operations. As it should have been 2 years ago. Assad and his regime must go.

Do tell us more about this secret strategy you've been let in on.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Benwah [why on Earth do I post something] Courseyay on August 28, 2013, 07:21:45 am
and like many have feared/expected, it's spilling over into Lebanon now. 

Lebanon is a sad story of never ending violence... Hizbullah has weapons, so do Palestinian Refugees, Syrian Refugees, Other Lebanese Political Parties... Lebanon is a war zone, never been an independent and peaceful country ever before.

Hmm, pardon?

I guess people living there could explain you a kind of difference between what happened between 1975 and 1990 there, and what happened since then.

Some violence in Lebanon? It already happened and would continue to happen here and there at times, and indeed the worse it be in Syria, the worse it could turn in Lebanon.

Something as harsh as they knew in the past?

Really, you never know, but if they wanted an actual new civil war, it's a long time it would have begun I'd say...

People aren't machines who make civil wars for the sake of matching their reputations, I suppose at least.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: robbin_hunting on August 28, 2013, 09:40:04 am
and like many have feared/expected, it's spilling over into Lebanon now. 

Lebanon is a sad story of never ending violence... Hizbullah has weapons, so do Palestinian Refugees, Syrian Refugees, Other Lebanese Political Parties... Lebanon is a war zone, never been an independent and peaceful country ever before.

Hmm, pardon?

I guess people living there could explain you a kind of difference between what happened between 1975 and 1990 there, and what happened since then.

Some violence in Lebanon? It already happened and would continue to happen here and there at times, and indeed the worse it be in Syria, the worse it could turn in Lebanon.

Something as harsh as they knew in the past?

Really, you never know, but if they wanted an actual new civil war, it's a long time it would have begun I'd say...

People aren't machines who make civil wars for the sake of matching their reputations, I suppose at least.

The news are too focused on Syria, so the echos of the Syrian Civil war in Lebanon are almost unheard internationally. The reality is that the whole country is hanging on a thread, there are Kidnappings, assassinations, bombs, high crime, visibly armed militias here and there... I don't know what is preventing Lebanon from slipping into a new civil war, but it certainly isn't "if they wanted an actual new civil war, it's a long time it would have begun", the people who carry the weapons and the civilians aren't the ones to call a civil war... I don't know who calls it, but it certainly not the common people...


Title: Re: Arab League Approves Sanctions Against Syria
Post by: Frodo on August 28, 2013, 07:08:16 pm
There is no oil in Syria.

Perhaps not, but getting rid of the Assad regime would further isolate the mullahs of Iran and leave terrorist groups like Hezbollah hanging in the wind and vulnerable to Lebanon (now freed of Syrian domination) and Israel.  I am sure both states would be more than happy to put Hezbollah in its place. 

That is my interest in the matter -geopolitical. 

Personally I am terrified of the prospect of a bosnia-type situation emerging. Supporting any one side would likely just lead to ethnic conflict on an even wider scale. Also I am not so sure that toppling the Syrian gov. would be as easy as Libya (and that obviously took a good amount of time).
------------------------

Well, we avoided intervening for about two years now, and your fears have become a self-fulfilling prophecy.



Title: Re: Arab League Approves Sanctions Against Syria
Post by: MasterJedi on August 28, 2013, 08:28:29 pm
There is no oil in Syria.

Perhaps not, but getting rid of the Assad regime would further isolate the mullahs of Iran and leave terrorist groups like Hezbollah hanging in the wind and vulnerable to Lebanon (now freed of Syrian domination) and Israel.  I am sure both states would be more than happy to put Hezbollah in its place. 

That is my interest in the matter -geopolitical. 

Personally I am terrified of the prospect of a bosnia-type situation emerging. Supporting any one side would likely just lead to ethnic conflict on an even wider scale. Also I am not so sure that toppling the Syrian gov. would be as easy as Libya (and that obviously took a good amount of time).
------------------------

Well, we avoided intervening for about two years now, and your fears have become a self-fulfilling prophecy.



Didn't you hear, nonintervention is the in thing. All problems are solved by doing nothing (so says people on the left and right) until you actually do nothing and the situation gets worse.


Title: Re: Arab League Approves Sanctions Against Syria
Post by: True Federalist on August 28, 2013, 09:48:27 pm
There is no oil in Syria.

Perhaps not, but getting rid of the Assad regime would further isolate the mullahs of Iran and leave terrorist groups like Hezbollah hanging in the wind and vulnerable to Lebanon (now freed of Syrian domination) and Israel.  I am sure both states would be more than happy to put Hezbollah in its place. 

That is my interest in the matter -geopolitical. 

Personally I am terrified of the prospect of a bosnia-type situation emerging. Supporting any one side would likely just lead to ethnic conflict on an even wider scale. Also I am not so sure that toppling the Syrian gov. would be as easy as Libya (and that obviously took a good amount of time).
------------------------

Well, we avoided intervening for about two years now, and your fears have become a self-fulfilling prophecy.



Would intervention two years have necessarily produced a better outcome?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Frodo on August 28, 2013, 10:11:03 pm
There is no oil in Syria.

Perhaps not, but getting rid of the Assad regime would further isolate the mullahs of Iran and leave terrorist groups like Hezbollah hanging in the wind and vulnerable to Lebanon (now freed of Syrian domination) and Israel.  I am sure both states would be more than happy to put Hezbollah in its place.  

That is my interest in the matter -geopolitical.  

Personally I am terrified of the prospect of a bosnia-type situation emerging. Supporting any one side would likely just lead to ethnic conflict on an even wider scale. Also I am not so sure that toppling the Syrian gov. would be as easy as Libya (and that obviously took a good amount of time).
------------------------

Well, we avoided intervening for about two years now, and your fears have become a self-fulfilling prophecy.



Would intervention two years have necessarily produced a better outcome?

Yes, for the following reasons:

1. Fewer civilians would be killed or displaced -the refugee crisis would be minimal in relation to what it is now.
2. With the relatively quick overthrow of the regime, Al Qaeda/al Nusra elements would still be inconsequential
3. We would have an outsized influence not only on whatever government is formed, but also over the Syrian people grateful for our assistance
4. Iran would be deprived of a crucial ally, leaving it weaker in the region, and thus more vulnerable to American pressure with regard to its nuclear ambitions.  Perhaps it might even effect regime change there.  
5. Hezbollah would be left high and dry, thus contributing to Israel's security on its northern frontier.
6. We would not be facing the prospect of Syria becoming another post-Cold War Yugoslavia.
7. Deprived of its client-state (and foothold in the region), Russia would lose whatever residual influence it has left in the Middle East.

All this is assuming the Libyan-style intervention in question had been designed to aid the rebels in overthrowing the Assad regime, as opposed to merely making a damned statement of our displeasure like President Obama is urging...    


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: True Federalist on August 29, 2013, 04:18:42 am
All this is assuming the Libyan-style intervention in question had been designed to aid the rebels in overthrowing the Assad regime, as opposed to merely making a damned statement of our displeasure like President Obama is urging...    

It also assumes that a Libyan-style intervention would have had a similar effect in Syria.  That is a rather large assumption to make.  You are making the same damn mistake that Rumsfeld and Cheney made about Iraq, that optimistic assumptions about how the aftermath of fighting will inevitably become the reality.  Yeah, we can smash Assad's military, just as we did Saddam's, but winning the war is the easy part.  Winning the peace is even more important and there is no reason to think Syria would fall into line as easily as you think it would.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Eraserhead on August 29, 2013, 07:46:46 am
All this is assuming the Libyan-style intervention in question had been designed to aid the rebels in overthrowing the Assad regime, as opposed to merely making a damned statement of our displeasure like President Obama is urging...    

It also assumes that a Libyan-style intervention would have had a similar effect in Syria.  That is a rather large assumption to make.  You are making the same damn mistake that Rumsfeld and Cheney made about Iraq, that optimistic assumptions about how the aftermath of fighting will inevitably become the reality.  Yeah, we can smash Assad's military, just as we did Saddam's, but winning the war is the easy part.  Winning the peace is even more important and there is no reason to think Syria would fall into line as easily as you think it would.

Preach it, brother.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Benwah [why on Earth do I post something] Courseyay on August 29, 2013, 10:02:57 am
All this is assuming the Libyan-style intervention in question had been designed to aid the rebels in overthrowing the Assad regime, as opposed to merely making a damned statement of our displeasure like President Obama is urging...   

It also assumes that a Libyan-style intervention would have had a similar effect in Syria.  That is a rather large assumption to make.  You are making the same damn mistake that Rumsfeld and Cheney made about Iraq, that optimistic assumptions about how the aftermath of fighting will inevitably become the reality.  Yeah, we can smash Assad's military, just as we did Saddam's, but winning the war is the easy part.  Winning the peace is even more important and there is no reason to think Syria would fall into line as easily as you think it would.

A 'war', means nothing, there are countless different kinds of military interventions, countless different kinds of political contexts, etc.

Comparing the situation in Iraq with the situation in Syria is, well, odd.

The news are too focused on Syria, so the echos of the Syrian Civil war in Lebanon are almost unheard internationally. The reality is that the whole country is hanging on a thread, there are Kidnappings, assassinations, bombs, high crime, visibly armed militias here and there... I don't know what is preventing Lebanon from slipping into a new civil war, but it certainly isn't "if they wanted an actual new civil war, it's a long time it would have begun", the people who carry the weapons and the civilians aren't the ones to call a civil war... I don't know who calls it, but it certainly not the common people...

I'm aware of the situation in Lebanon by its different shades.

Regardless of the fact that you would hardly start a civil war or something close to this without the fuel of the civilian population, still, people, no matter who start what, don't make civil wars out of nowhere, in general anybody needs a concrete reason to do something, and I don't really see who would have some interest to turn Lebanon into fire right now.

And even if someone want war, you need to be at least 2 to make war, escalations don't automatically work. And I overall really don't see the population easily slipping into this. Watching closely at the actual very harsh civil war in Lebanon shows how the fact that a lot of clueless young easily jumped into that was important to spread the fire all over.

Violence is always possible but we are in a totally different context than before, totally different dynamics that led to a civil war.

All of this being said there is this Lebanese saying that I love which makes that you indeed need to always be cautious when you speak about Lebanon:

If someone tried to explain you the Lebanese Civil War and that you think you understood everything, it's that you have been badly explained... :)



Title: Re: Arab League Approves Sanctions Against Syria
Post by: AkSaber on August 29, 2013, 07:00:10 pm
There is no oil in Syria.

Perhaps not, but getting rid of the Assad regime would further isolate the mullahs of Iran and leave terrorist groups like Hezbollah hanging in the wind and vulnerable to Lebanon (now freed of Syrian domination) and Israel.  I am sure both states would be more than happy to put Hezbollah in its place. 

That is my interest in the matter -geopolitical. 

Personally I am terrified of the prospect of a bosnia-type situation emerging. Supporting any one side would likely just lead to ethnic conflict on an even wider scale. Also I am not so sure that toppling the Syrian gov. would be as easy as Libya (and that obviously took a good amount of time).
------------------------

Well, we avoided intervening for about two years now, and your fears have become a self-fulfilling prophecy.



Didn't you hear, nonintervention is the in thing. All problems are solved by doing nothing (so says people on the left and right) until you actually do nothing and the situation gets worse.

How can we possibly believe anything the interventionists say when their entire case against Iraq was a lie?

Besides, the interventionists are complete hypocrites. They want to intervene for humanitarian reasons, yet happily bomb weddings, funerals, and use depleted uranium against innocent people?


Title: Re: Arab League Approves Sanctions Against Syria
Post by: MasterJedi on August 29, 2013, 09:30:39 pm
There is no oil in Syria.

Perhaps not, but getting rid of the Assad regime would further isolate the mullahs of Iran and leave terrorist groups like Hezbollah hanging in the wind and vulnerable to Lebanon (now freed of Syrian domination) and Israel.  I am sure both states would be more than happy to put Hezbollah in its place. 

That is my interest in the matter -geopolitical. 

Personally I am terrified of the prospect of a bosnia-type situation emerging. Supporting any one side would likely just lead to ethnic conflict on an even wider scale. Also I am not so sure that toppling the Syrian gov. would be as easy as Libya (and that obviously took a good amount of time).
------------------------

Well, we avoided intervening for about two years now, and your fears have become a self-fulfilling prophecy.



Didn't you hear, nonintervention is the in thing. All problems are solved by doing nothing (so says people on the left and right) until you actually do nothing and the situation gets worse.

How can we possibly believe anything the interventionists say when their entire case against Iraq was a lie?

Besides, the interventionists are complete hypocrites. They want to intervene for humanitarian reasons, yet happily bomb weddings, funerals, and use depleted uranium against innocent people?

Happily? If you think they're purposely bombing weddings and funerals I think there's something wrong with the way you see things.


Title: Re: Arab League Approves Sanctions Against Syria
Post by: AkSaber on August 29, 2013, 11:54:02 pm
There is no oil in Syria.

Perhaps not, but getting rid of the Assad regime would further isolate the mullahs of Iran and leave terrorist groups like Hezbollah hanging in the wind and vulnerable to Lebanon (now freed of Syrian domination) and Israel.  I am sure both states would be more than happy to put Hezbollah in its place. 

That is my interest in the matter -geopolitical. 

Personally I am terrified of the prospect of a bosnia-type situation emerging. Supporting any one side would likely just lead to ethnic conflict on an even wider scale. Also I am not so sure that toppling the Syrian gov. would be as easy as Libya (and that obviously took a good amount of time).
------------------------

Well, we avoided intervening for about two years now, and your fears have become a self-fulfilling prophecy.



Didn't you hear, nonintervention is the in thing. All problems are solved by doing nothing (so says people on the left and right) until you actually do nothing and the situation gets worse.

How can we possibly believe anything the interventionists say when their entire case against Iraq was a lie?

Besides, the interventionists are complete hypocrites. They want to intervene for humanitarian reasons, yet happily bomb weddings, funerals, and use depleted uranium against innocent people?

Happily? If you think they're purposely bombing weddings and funerals I think there's something wrong with the way you see things.

Yeah, cause their cries of sorrow and regret are so deafening.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Mr. Morden on September 01, 2013, 12:47:36 am
You guys should all watch this lengthy discussion with Syria expert Josua Landis on the state of the civil war there:

http://bloggingheads.tv/videos/21398

Though if you're pressed for time, they get to the heart of the matter in this ~11 minute clip:

http://bloggingheads.tv/videos/21398?in=22:52&out=34:04

Some quick notes on Landis's take from the discussion:

-The conspiracy theories, about the chemical weapons attack being a false flag by the rebels, don't really make any sense for a host of reasons (including the scale of operation, and the implausbility of so many people being in on it without the truth leaking out).  Of course, that doesn't rule out the possibility that it was a lower level commander rather than Assad who ordered it.

-The Islamists wield influence among the rebel ranks that's disproportionate to their numbers, and they're responsible for most/all recent rebel victories.  The FSA is in bed with Islamist groups, and contracts out operations to them all the time.

-Because of the FSA's alliance with Islamists, the US doesn't really like the idea of the rebels "winning" and them getting the chemical weapons, but neither does it want Assad to win.  The US supports the rebels just enough to stop them from losing, but not enough to allow them to win.  Thus the US's policy has the effect of creating an everlasting stalemate, prolonging the war indefinitely.

-The US's stated policy goal is a negotiated settlement between the parties for some kind of unity government, but that's completely implausible because of how much the parties hate each other.

-*However*, if the stalemate continues for years and years, and the battle lines start to freeze, then what you get is de facto partition of Syria into two (or more) countries, with Assad controlling the south and west, and the rebels controlling the north and east (with the Kurds potentially controlling their own plot of land in the northeast).  Partition might not actually be such a bad outcome, considering that all other scenarios are so awful.  However, no one actually wants to discuss this as an option right now.  Maybe that'll change in another year or two or three though.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Beet on September 02, 2013, 05:26:34 pm
The problem for the US is, it looks like a stalemate from afar, but the battle lines are not going to freeze forever. The rebel and regime controlled areas are too geographically dispersed. There is a parallel here with the Chinese civil war. The rebels are like the communists, who control the rural areas, are strong in the north thanks to the country on the northern border, and which have the moral upper hand but whom the US is afraid if because of their radicalism. The government is like Chiang Kai Shek and the nationalists, who started out with overwhelming military superiority but are slowly, steadily losing it through attrition and losing ground for strategic reasons. They control most of the cities and provincial capitals, but the rebels are surrounding one stronghold after another and choking it off. The Syrian army has basically been fighting a series of Stalingrads, trying to keep their bases reapplied through Goering-style "air bridges".

Kudos to Al Qaeda for excellent deployment of guerilla warfare. Simply by forcing Assad into desperately deploying WMD they gave revealed the fundamental desperation of his situation. Like the strategies of Vo Nguyen Giap, the Al Qaeda guerilla strategy in this war should be studied at US war colleges for years to come.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ○∙◄☻¥tπ[╪AV┼cVê└ on September 03, 2013, 01:16:20 am

Kudos to Al Qaeda for excellent deployment of guerilla warfare. Simply by forcing Assad into desperately deploying WMD they gave revealed the fundamental desperation of his situation. Like the strategies of Vo Nguyen Giap, the Al Qaeda guerilla strategy in this war should be studied at US war colleges for years to come.

(http://www.surfersam.com/funny-pictures/funny-pictures-bomber-school.jpg)


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Frodo on September 13, 2013, 06:40:55 pm
Obama concedes to Russia; will remove military trigger on Syria

By Julian Pecquet    - 09/13/13 06:03 PM ET

President Obama is prepared to bow to Russian demands that he give up a military trigger in the pending UN resolution on Syria, administration officials told reporters on Friday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that the United States must take the threat of force off the table if Syria is to turn over its chemical weapons arsenal to the international community. Russia is expected to veto any resolution that would include an automatic military trigger if Syria's Bashar Assad fails to comply.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/global-affairs/un-treaties/322235-obama-bows-to-russian-demands-to-remove-military-trigger-on-syria#ixzz2eoqsZFSr


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: True Federalist on September 13, 2013, 07:28:50 pm
There never was a chance for a military trigger in the UN resolution.  So long as Obama does not concede the ability for the US to act without explicit UN authorization, then an attack is still possible if Assad, as expected, fails to live up to his part of the bargain.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria[WARNING]
Post by: t_host1 on September 14, 2013, 03:14:02 pm
This is what McCain and alike are supporting Obama to arm and align with;

 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2420263/As-rebels-behead-Assads-thugs-children-question-really-sides-Syrias-bloodbath.html


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Silent Hunter on September 14, 2013, 04:00:01 pm
There never was a chance for a military trigger in the UN resolution.  So long as Obama does not concede the ability for the US to act without explicit UN authorization, then an attack is still possible if Assad, as expected, fails to live up to his part of the bargain.

If the Syrians don't comply, the US and Russia will go for a Chapter VII resolution (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-24091633)


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: PR on September 16, 2013, 12:56:33 am
So I have not been impressed with President Obama's handling of Syria. While it's a good thing that the chemical weapons arsenal is presumably going to be destroyed, I am not convinced that the Obama administration's actions were really responsibl for that. And besides: a lot can still go wrong. Events move fast, the situation is perilous, and I fail to see much of a plan if the agreement between Russia and the US does not work.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Silent Hunter on September 16, 2013, 11:19:19 am
Turkey has said its warplanes shot down a Syrian helicopter that violated its airspace.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Snowstalker's Last Stand on September 16, 2013, 02:09:39 pm
West decides to start World War III anyway, Turkey to lead the charge. (http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/turkish-official-turkish-jet-shot-syrian-helicopter-entered-20269745)


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: LastVoter on September 16, 2013, 02:17:52 pm
West decides to start World War III anyway, Turkey to lead the charge. (http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/turkish-official-turkish-jet-shot-syrian-helicopter-entered-20269745)
Lol
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syria%E2%80%93Turkey_relations#Timeline


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Nhoj on September 16, 2013, 02:31:27 pm
Yes snowstalker once again proves how much he knows.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Frodo on November 01, 2013, 02:33:04 pm
Political science says Syria’s civil war will probably last at least another decade

BY MAX FISHER
October 23 at 1:39 pm


The Obama administration appears to be deadlocked over what to do in Syria, forcing a policy of inaction, according to a widely circulating New York Times story. But U.S. officials will likely have years more time to debate what to do about Syria's civil war, which could continue into and perhaps through the next presidential administration. According to a review of the political science on the duration of civil wars, Syria's conflict will most likely last through 2020 and perhaps well beyond.

Syria's conflict began with April 2011 protests and subsequent crackdowns. It's not clear the precise moment when it became a civil war, but many media organizations began referring to it as such around early or mid 2012. At most, you might say the war has been waging now for two years. According to studies of intra-state conflicts since 1945, civil wars tend to last an average of about seven to 12 years. That would put the end of the war somewhere between 2018 and 2023.

Worse, those studies have identified several factors that tend to make civil wars last even longer than the average. A number of those factors appear to apply to Syria, suggesting that this war could be an unusually long one. Of course, those are just estimates based on averages; by definition, half of all civil wars are shorter than the median length, and Syria's could be one of them. But, based on the political science, Syria has the right conditions to last through President Obama's tenure and perhaps most or all of his successor's.

Here's what the research shows:
----------------------------------------------------------

Linky (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/10/23/political-science-says-syrias-civil-war-will-probably-last-at-least-another-decade/)


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Frodo on November 09, 2013, 04:29:08 pm
Syrians on Both Sides of the War Increasingly See Assad as Likely to Stay (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/09/world/middleeast/syrians-and-observers-increasingly-see-assad-as-likely-to-stay.html?ref=international-home&_r=0&pagewanted=all)

By ANNE BARNARD
Published: November 8, 2013


BEIRUT, Lebanon — A growing number of Syrians on both sides of their country’s conflict, along with regional analysts and would-be mediators, are demanding new strategies to end the civil war, based on what they see as an inescapable new reality: President Bashar al-Assad is staying in office, at least for now.

They say the insistence from the United States-backed opposition that Mr. Assad must go before peace talks can begin is outdated, failing to reflect the situation on the ground. Rather, they say, a deal to end or ease the violence must involve Mr. Assad and requires more energetic outreach to members of his government and security forces, with concrete proposals and reassurances that could bring compromise.

They also contend that the American-backed exile opposition coalition that remains at the center of Washington’s policy has little relevance and no respect from combatants on either side. These critics of American policy say that the United States and its coalition ally are helping guarantee that diplomacy remains paralyzed as Syrians die.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Beet on January 18, 2014, 03:40:41 pm
MIT study of Ghouta chemical attack challenges US intelligence

http://rt.com/news/study-challenges-syria-chemical-attack-681/

A new MIT report is challenging the US claim that Assad forces used chemical weapons in an attack last August, highlighting that the range of the improvised rocket was way too short to have been launched from govt controlled areas.

In the report titled “Possible Implications of Faulty US Technical Intelligence,” Richard Lloyd, a former UN weapons inspector, and Theodore Postol, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), examined the delivery rocket’s design and calculated possible trajectories based on the payload of the cargo.

The authors concluded that sarin gas “could not possibly have been fired at East Ghouta from the ‘heart’, or from the Eastern edge, of the Syrian government controlled area shown in the intelligence map published by the White House on August 30, 2013.”


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: NewYorkExpress on January 23, 2014, 01:23:12 pm
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/iran-hassan-rouhani-calls-for-free-and-fair-elections-in-syria/ (http://www.cbsnews.com/news/iran-hassan-rouhani-calls-for-free-and-fair-elections-in-syria/)
Hassan Rouhani called for "free and fair elections" in Syria...


Problem is if Assad is participating it's highly unlikely that the elections would be free or fair...


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: patrick1 on January 23, 2014, 06:23:31 pm
You know Ive been meaning to bump a Syria thread for a while to see what some of the more strident anti Assad, pro-intervention folks are at now.  Ive been following the non-traditional forms of news and some videos coming out unfiltered directly from Syria. The FSA aligned forces have really gotten ugly. The al Nasra and ISIL elements are just absolutely appalling and worse than Assad. Do we really want to take sides with groups composed of the Takfiri types who are carving peoples heads off?  Looking with a jaundiced eye, Im glad that these extremists in al Nasra and ISIL have been killing each other and not turning their energies toward us. God help the Alawi and Christians and moderate Sunnis if these type had a say in governance.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Snowstalker's Last Stand on January 23, 2014, 07:10:28 pm
The moderate rebels have been displaced and are now fighting the Islamist groups in the country, who are gaining strength there and in Iraq; I doubted their viability as both a long-term fighting force and as a government anyway. The government has basically won on the ground thanks to rebel infighting and the West pulling military aid.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: True Federalist on January 23, 2014, 07:17:42 pm
The West would have had to act far more decisively that it was ever likely to act for a desirable outcome in Syria to emerge.  The window of opportunity is gone.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Frodo on January 23, 2014, 07:28:27 pm
The West would have had to act far more decisively that it was ever likely to act for a desirable outcome in Syria to emerge.  The window of opportunity is gone.

It's been gone for years now. 


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Snowstalker's Last Stand on January 23, 2014, 08:18:00 pm
The West would have had to act far more decisively that it was ever likely to act for a desirable outcome in Syria to emerge.  The window of opportunity is gone.

It's been gone for years now. 

It was never there.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Mr. Morden on January 23, 2014, 11:02:44 pm
The government has basically won on the ground thanks to rebel infighting and the West pulling military aid.

The government still seems to be light years away from being able to retake the rebel-held territory in the north and east.  Seems like the country's been divided, and locked in a stalemate for some time now, and that could continue for years to come.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Snowstalker's Last Stand on January 23, 2014, 11:20:03 pm
The government has basically won on the ground thanks to rebel infighting and the West pulling military aid.

The government still seems to be light years away from being able to retake the rebel-held territory in the north and east.  Seems like the country's been divided, and locked in a stalemate for some time now, and that could continue for years to come.


True, but said rebel territory is mostly just sparsely-populated desert.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: patrick1 on February 02, 2014, 09:42:47 am
cnn.com has a story about barrel bombs on their main page right now. Where is their coverage of the extremists on the other side looping people's heads off and committing massacres? There seems to be zero sense of balanced, actual reporting.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Snowstalker's Last Stand on February 02, 2014, 09:44:50 am
cnn.com has a story about barrel bombs on their main page right now. Where is their coverage of the extremists on the other side looping people's heads off and committing massacres? There seems to be zero sense of balanced, actual reporting.


News media stands to gain from a war with Syria, so of course they want to drum up support for "humanitarian intervention".


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ingemann on February 02, 2014, 03:33:58 pm
The government has basically won on the ground thanks to rebel infighting and the West pulling military aid.

The government still seems to be light years away from being able to retake the rebel-held territory in the north and east.  Seems like the country's been divided, and locked in a stalemate for some time now, and that could continue for years to come.


True, but said rebel territory is mostly just sparsely-populated desert.

It's more complex than that, the great central arid region are under government control, the rebels control in the north and east are the rich but relative thinly populated farm land along the Euphrates River.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Frodo on March 16, 2014, 01:19:17 pm
Seems the writing is on the wall for the rebels:

On third anniversary of Syrian rebellion, Assad is steadily winning the war (http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/on-third-anniversary-of-syrian-rebellion-assad-is-steadily-winning-the-war/2014/03/14/f189649a-bd1a-4c9e-9060-755984ea92c8_story.html)

By Liz Sly, Published: March 14

BEIRUT — Three years into the revolt against his rule, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is in a stronger position than ever before to quell the rebellion against his rule by Syrians who rose up to challenge his hold on power, first with peaceful protests and later with arms.

Aided by the steadfast support of his allies and the deepening disarray of his foes, Assad is pressing ahead with plans to be reelected to a third seven-year term this summer while sustaining intense military pressure intended to crush his opponents.

The strategy is not new, but in recent months it has started to yield tangible progress in the form of slow but steady gains on several key fronts on the battlefield that call into question long-held perceptions of a stalemate.

Most notably, the government has pushed the rebels back or squeezed them into isolated pockets in large swathes of the territory surrounding Damascus, diminishing prospects that the opposition will soon be in a position to seriously threaten the capital or topple the regime.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Frodo on April 19, 2014, 10:43:51 am
According to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, 75% of Syria's stockpile has been destroyed (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/19/world/middleeast/program-to-destroy-syrias-chemical-weapons-is-75-complete-group-says.html?ref=world&_r=0).


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Miles on April 28, 2014, 04:40:25 am
Assad seeking reelection on June 3. (http://www.france24.com/en/breaking/20140428-syrian-president-bashar-al-assad-run-june-3-election/?ns_campaign=reseaux_sociaux&ns_source=twitter&ns_mchannel=social&ns_linkname=breaking&aef_campaign_ref=partage_aef&aef_campaign_date=2014-04-28)


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Snowstalker's Last Stand on May 08, 2014, 06:12:05 am
ISIS literally crucifying people. (http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-27245852)


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Deus Naturae on July 14, 2014, 06:43:56 pm
Al-Nusra Front declares emirate in Aleppo. (http://www.sacbee.com/2014/07/12/6551851/al-qaida-affiliate-declares-emirate.html)


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: bgwah on August 24, 2014, 02:50:18 pm
This thread has fallen all the way to page 3. It's essentially all the same conflict but this still seems most appropriate in this thread for now-

ISIS takes Assad's last base in Raqqa: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-28918792

The Division 17 base was taken in July.

In other news, non-ISIS rebels fearing fall of Aleppo (to Assad) is coming soon: http://online.wsj.com/articles/syrian-forces-advance-on-aleppo-rebels-fear-another-siege-1407860811


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Deus Naturae on August 25, 2014, 12:46:52 pm
Syrian Christians beg the US to stop supporting rebels. (http://swampland.time.com/2014/01/30/syrian-christian-leaders-call-on-us-to-end-support-for-anti-assad-rebels/)


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ○∙◄☻¥tπ[╪AV┼cVê└ on August 26, 2014, 04:18:52 am
Syrian Christians beg the US to stop supporting rebels. (http://swampland.time.com/2014/01/30/syrian-christian-leaders-call-on-us-to-end-support-for-anti-assad-rebels/)

But Hillary said we weren't and should be helping the Christian killing rebels.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: True Federalist on August 26, 2014, 04:23:16 pm
Syrian Christians beg the US to stop supporting rebels. (http://swampland.time.com/2014/01/30/syrian-christian-leaders-call-on-us-to-end-support-for-anti-assad-rebels/)

Why did you post a link to a seven month-old story?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: National Progressive on August 27, 2014, 02:03:43 am
The first American citizen killed fighting for ISIL: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/27/world/middleeast/american-fighting-for-isis-is-killed-in-syria.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&version=HpSumSmallMedia&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0 (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/27/world/middleeast/american-fighting-for-isis-is-killed-in-syria.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&version=HpSumSmallMedia&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0)

Quote
WASHINGTON — Like many teenage boys who grew up in the Midwest in the 1990s, Douglas McAuthur McCain was a fan of Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls and loved to play basketball.

But as he grew older, he lost interest in basketball as he shuttled between two suburban Minneapolis high schools. He never graduated, and in his late teens, he began to have run-ins with the law. In the decade that followed, he was arrested or cited nine times on charges including theft, marijuana possession and driving without a license.

Mr. McCain moved back and forth from Minneapolis to San Diego and then abroad. Officials now know he ended up in Syria, where three days ago, Mr. McCain became the first American to die while fighting for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. He was 33.

The rebels who killed him were fighting for the Free Syrian Army, a rival group backed by the United States, and they went on to behead six ISIS fighters — but not Mr. McCain — and then posted the photographs on Facebook.

Is it just me or did anyone else laugh at the guy's name?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: BaconBacon96 on August 27, 2014, 03:04:17 am
The irony of that name.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: dead0man on August 29, 2014, 09:34:52 am
Syrian rebels surround Filipino UN peacekeepers in Golan Heights (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/29/syria-rebels-filipino-un-peacekeepers-golan-heights)
Quote
Syrian rebels surrounded dozens of defiant Filipino peacekeepers in the Golan Heights on Friday and demanded they give up their weapons, hours after taking 43 Fijian soldiers hostage, authorities said.

Seventy-five Filipino members of a United Nations peacekeeping force were defending two posts on the Syrian side of Golan Heights, and were prepared to fight back rather than surrender, their commander in Manila said.

"We can use deadly force in defence of the UN facilities," Colonel Roberto Ancan told reporters.

"I [would] just like to emphasise our troops are well-armed, they are well-trained … they are well-disciplined warrior peacekeepers."

<snip>
I read elsewhere that the local UN suit told them to raise a white flag and the commander said he didn't have one.  Good luck to them.

edit-it's also apparently a veteran squad of dudes with a lot of experience fighting these exact kind of assholes.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: dead0man on September 01, 2014, 12:27:19 pm
After a 7 hr firefight, the Filipino peacekeepers walked 2 miles to safety.  The Fiji soldiers are still hostages.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Indy Texas on September 01, 2014, 05:28:22 pm
We need to call a truce with Assad and focus on ISIS for the time being. If we could work with the Soviet Union to defeat fascism in Europe, we can work with Assad's Syria to defeat Islamism in the Middle East.

Assad is a threat to the Syrian people. ISIS is a threat to all people. We have to pick the least worst option.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: True Federalist on September 01, 2014, 06:39:37 pm
We need to call a truce with Assad and focus on ISIS for the time being. If we could work with the Soviet Union to defeat fascism in Europe, we can work with Assad's Syria to defeat Islamism in the Middle East.

Assad is a threat to the Syrian people. ISIS is a threat to all people. We have to pick the least worst option.

For decades we've tried working with dictators to defeat Islamism.  It hasn't worked very well, just as it didn't work all that well in containing the previous menace, Communism.  However since we haven't been attacking Assad with anything other than words, I fail to see the need to call a truce.  What we need is to step up our support for the Kurds, FSA, and perhaps the Jordanians.  While Israel won't like it, nor do I think it is in the offing anytime soon, I think the Sykes-Picot/Mandatory borders drawn up after World War I may need to be discarded and new borders effectively drawn up with independent Alawite and Kurdish states and a greater Syria, hopefully a greater that originates as a greater Jordan that is a constitutional Hashemite monarchy.  The reason I say that the Israeli's wouldn't like it is that is in their own interest that a greater Syria not be established as a singular state, no matter what government it has.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Mr. Morden on September 01, 2014, 08:25:57 pm
We need to call a truce with Assad and focus on ISIS for the time being. If we could work with the Soviet Union to defeat fascism in Europe, we can work with Assad's Syria to defeat Islamism in the Middle East.

Assad is a threat to the Syrian people. ISIS is a threat to all people. We have to pick the least worst option.

In the absense of evidence that ISIS has concrete plans to launch terrorist attacks in the West, I fail to see how ISIS in Syria is enough of a threat to merit bombing them, just so that Assad can retake territory from them.  ISIS in Syria is bad for Syria.  Assad in Syria is bad for Syria.  Why should we bomb one of them to help the other?  Especially since bombing ISIS in Syria and thus helping Assad risks unraveling the US's existing alliances with Sunni governments in the region.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: politicus on September 03, 2014, 09:09:35 am
We need to call a truce with Assad and focus on ISIS for the time being. If we could work with the Soviet Union to defeat fascism in Europe, we can work with Assad's Syria to defeat Islamism in the Middle East.

Assad is a threat to the Syrian people. ISIS is a threat to all people. We have to pick the least worst option.

In the absence of evidence that ISIS has concrete plans to launch terrorist attacks in the West, I fail to see how ISIS in Syria is enough of a threat to merit bombing them, just so that Assad can retake territory from them.  ISIS in Syria is bad for Syria.  Assad in Syria is bad for Syria.  Why should we bomb one of them to help the other?  Especially since bombing ISIS in Syria and thus helping Assad risks unraveling the US's existing alliances with Sunni governments in the region.


Allowing one part to win the civil war would create, ya now, peace. Which would be an advantage to most of the Syrian people - provided it isn't the crazies in ISIS that wins. An Assad win would surely entail massive revenge on the rebels, but it would still cost fewer lives than continued warfare.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Blue3 on September 06, 2014, 12:24:08 am
Is peace more important than a decent government that respects human rights?

That's not what America is founded on.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ingemann on September 06, 2014, 02:18:53 am
Is peace more important than a decent government that respects human rights?

That's not what America is founded on.

"sign"... out of respect to all Americans, who are not this thick, I will not say what I think USA was founded on.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: politicus on September 06, 2014, 09:41:54 am
In the last edition of Foreign Affairs American Middle East expert and former CIA analyst Kenneth Pollack suggests that the US should build a brand new Syrian army to fight both IS and the Assad regime. He claims that while it would cost over 100 billion dollars it would still be better than the alternativ. Thoughts?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenneth_M._Pollack (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenneth_M._Pollack)


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: True Federalist on September 06, 2014, 11:51:58 am
In the last edition of Foreign Affairs American Middle East expert and former CIA analyst Kenneth Pollack suggests that the US should build a brand new Syrian army to fight both IS and the Assad regime. He claims that while it would cost over 100 billion dollars it would still be better than the alternative. Thoughts?

Well, the obvious thought is that it would only work if we had the complete cooperation of Turkey.  (Jordan would also be a possibility, but I can't see Jordan being willing to take the risk if this goes badly or the US loses interest before it is done.)


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ingemann on September 06, 2014, 12:39:17 pm
In the last edition of Foreign Affairs American Middle East expert and former CIA analyst Kenneth Pollack suggests that the US should build a brand new Syrian army to fight both IS and the Assad regime. He claims that while it would cost over 100 billion dollars it would still be better than the alternativ. Thoughts?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenneth_M._Pollack (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenneth_M._Pollack)


I think this may be one of the worst ideas suggested, unless it's because USA plan to inset a brutal military junta in Syria.

1: It's not like USA have been very successful at building armies in the area.
2: This army will lack any democratic oversight.
3: This army will lack any popular support in Syria.
4: This army will lack any base in Syria, and will fundamental be a bunch of mercenaries funded by USA.
5: The recruitment base of these will be exile Syrians and Syrian refugees, the first group seem to lack any connection to the Syrian situation and the second group are in no way representative for the general Syrian population.

In short unless this is a plan for USA to set up their own military dictator, this suggestion seem like a disaster. The only way I could see this being even somewhat useful, is if this force are used in Iraq and used to conquer ISIS territory first in Iraq and later in eastern Syria. Of course the way USA would use such a force would be in southern Syria at the Jordanian border, where they serve to weaken first the less terrible Islamist and later the SAA, resulting in ISIS doing even better.

So in my eyes, he's suggesting using 100 billion dollars to help ISIS taking over most of Syria.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Simfan34 on September 06, 2014, 12:56:30 pm
I don't see why we should consider this after what happened when we tried that in Iraq.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Indy Texas on September 07, 2014, 10:02:37 pm
Is peace more important than a decent government that respects human rights?

That's not what America is founded on.

America wasn't founded on forcing other countries to respect human rights.

Go back to your peanut farm, Jimmy Carter.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Mr. Morden on September 10, 2014, 03:56:15 am
Obama is apparently going to ask Congress for authority for him to send arms to the Free Syrian Army:

link (http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_OBAMA_ISLAMIC_STATE?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2014-09-09-19-53-00)


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: dead0man on September 11, 2014, 09:49:25 pm
The Fiji UN force has been released.  In good health.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: PR on September 11, 2014, 10:52:21 pm
The Fiji UN force has been released.  In good health.

Well, that's good news.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: dead0man on September 11, 2014, 11:13:46 pm
Yep.  Not sure why their plight wasn't a bigger news story, but I understand some chick in England is pregnant....


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: politicus on September 11, 2014, 11:23:45 pm
Yep.  Not sure why their plight wasn't a bigger news story, but I understand some chick in England is pregnant....

Fiji is a small, remote and unimportant country.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: dead0man on September 12, 2014, 12:00:45 am
Sure, but they were wearing light blue helmets at the time.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: True Federalist on September 12, 2014, 12:04:07 am
Yep.  Not sure why their plight wasn't a bigger news story, but I understand some chick in England is pregnant....

Fiji is a small, remote and unimportant country.

And they were working for the even less important UN.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: njwes on September 12, 2014, 12:55:35 pm
Can't wait for the blowback from Obama's new half-billion $$$ plan to arm the "moderate" Syrians!


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Deus Naturae on September 21, 2014, 01:12:31 pm
Syrian rebels sign truce with IS. (http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/140912/syria-rebels-non-aggression-pact-near-damascus)


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: True Federalist on September 21, 2014, 05:20:49 pm
Syrian rebels sign truce with IS. (http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/140912/syria-rebels-non-aggression-pact-near-damascus)

Just to be clear, this is one group of rebels, an Islamist group that was both under pressure from IS and unlikely to obtain US assistance.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Deus Naturae on September 21, 2014, 06:33:54 pm
Syrian rebels sign truce with IS. (http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/140912/syria-rebels-non-aggression-pact-near-damascus)

Just to be clear, this is one group of rebels, an Islamist group that was both under pressure from IS and unlikely to obtain US assistance.
Where are you getting that from? Because that's not what the article I linked to says...


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Frodo on September 21, 2014, 07:00:20 pm
Apparently Syria has more chemical weapons facilities we didn't know about:

Exclusive: Syria reveals more chemical weapons facilities to watchdog - sources (http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/09/17/us-syria-crisis-chemicalweapons-exclusiv-idUSKBN0HC1GA20140917)

BY ANTHONY DEUTSCH
THE HAGUE Wed Sep 17, 2014 10:35am EDT


Quote
(Reuters) - Syria has revealed a previously undeclared research and development facility and a laboratory to produce the poison ricin to the global chemical weapons watchdog, diplomatic sources told Reuters.

Syria has detailed three new facilities to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) as part of an ongoing review of the state's toxic arsenal, three sources said.

The disclosures appeared to support assertions from Western governments in recent months that the regime of President Bashar al-Assad had not been fully transparent to the world body in detailing its chemical weapons program.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: True Federalist on September 21, 2014, 09:56:18 pm
Syrian rebels sign truce with IS. (http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/140912/syria-rebels-non-aggression-pact-near-damascus)

Just to be clear, this is one group of rebels, an Islamist group that was both under pressure from IS and unlikely to obtain US assistance.
Where are you getting that from? Because that's not what the article I linked to says...

Yes it does, tho the fractured translation to English from French by AFP does obscure that this is between "the two parties", which means this deal is between the IS and one of the many rebel groups in Syria.  Where it says "moderate and Islamic rebels" the AFP article doesn't mean "moderate rebel groups" and Islamic rebel groups".  As the cited source (http://syriahr.com/en/index.php?option=com_news&nid=2334&Itemid=2&task=displaynews) in that article makes clear, this was an agreement with one group, one it calls "the Islamic battalions" which may refer to the Islamic Front, tho that isn't clear as the IF could only be considered to be moderate in comparison with the IS, and there are also a multitude of small Islamist groups with shifting names in Syria.

I seriously doubt that any group with an openly antidemocratic Islamist agenda will be getting any US support.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Tender Branson on November 18, 2014, 12:22:20 pm
The Assad regime's forces are just one step away from taking the major city of Aleppo back, according to a few Turkish newspapers.

15.000 FSA (Free Syrian Army) rebel fighters have abandoned the city today.

Turkey says about 2-3 million more Syrian refugess could cross borders if Aleppo falls to the Assad regime again.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Cory on November 18, 2014, 03:20:14 pm
The Assad regime's forces are just one step away from taking the major city of Aleppo back, according to a few Turkish newspapers.

Wonderful news!

Also can we all stop pretending to think there is any hope of the "moderate" Syrian rebels becoming a force to reckon with, let alone a serious possibility for victory in the war?

It's Assad or IS/Al-Nusra. I'm sorry but that's just the way it is. It wasn't like that at first, but it is now.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ingemann on November 18, 2014, 04:56:07 pm
The Assad regime's forces are just one step away from taking the major city of Aleppo back, according to a few Turkish newspapers.

15.000 FSA (Free Syrian Army) rebel fighters have abandoned the city today.

Turkey says about 2-3 million more Syrian refugess could cross borders if Aleppo falls to the Assad regime again.

Here's a little article from 2013 whicvh explain some of the trouble the rebels had in Aleppo

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/08/us-syria-crisis-rebels-idUSBRE9070VV20130108 (http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/08/us-syria-crisis-rebels-idUSBRE9070VV20130108)


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Frodo on February 17, 2015, 10:37:20 pm
Looks like the Hezbollah fighters in Syria are about to get a taste of their own medicine:

Syrian rebel leader vows guerrilla war in south against Hezbollah, govt (http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/02/12/us-mideast-crisis-syria-south-idUSKBN0LG2CF20150212)

BY TOM PERRY
BEIRUT Thu Feb 12, 2015 12:58pm EST


Quote
(Reuters) - A Syrian rebel commander in the south vowed to wage guerrilla war against the Lebanese group Hezbollah and Syrian government forces which have launched a major offensive against insurgents in the sensitive border region near Israel and Jordan.

The offensive that got under way this week is focused in an area south of Damascus that is the last notable foothold of the mainstream armed opposition to President Bashar al-Assad, who has consolidated control over much of western Syria.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (http://syriahr.com/en/), which tracks the war, says the push is being spearheaded by Hezbollah, and that government forces and allied militia have made significant progress.

The Syrian army said on Wednesday that territory including four hills and three towns had been secured from insurgents it identified as members of the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front.

The mainstream rebels known collectively as the Southern Front are dismissive of Nusra's role in the area. The battle -- the most serious effort to date by the state to take back the south -- was mostly brought to a halt on Thursday by snow.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Frodo on May 15, 2015, 05:02:46 am
The ancient city of Palmyra (a UNESCO world heritage site) is under threat from advancing rebel militants (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-32735677). 


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Beet on May 16, 2015, 10:44:21 pm
Syrian government continues to use chemical weapons despite 2013 deal. (http://www.economist.com/news/middle-east-and-africa/21651127-bashar-assad-using-chlorine-against-his-people-gassing-continues)


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Mr. Morden on July 01, 2015, 02:20:07 am
*bump*

So, is this conflict going to continue forever?  Can any side be said to have "momentum" right now?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: BaconBacon96 on July 01, 2015, 02:42:54 am
*bump*

So, is this conflict going to continue forever?  Can any side be said to have "momentum" right now?


Right now, momentum is with the Kurdish forces in their battles against ISIS and with the rebels fighting the government, although that situation could turn around at anytime.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Yelnoc on July 01, 2015, 02:43:45 pm
*bump*

So, is this conflict going to continue forever?  Can any side be said to have "momentum" right now?


"Momentum"? No, not really. The Kurds made big gains recently, but the Arab population around Tal Abyad doesn't seem particularly happy to be added to the Kurdish confederation; there appears to be an ongoing ISIS insurgency in that area. And if Turkey actually follows through and invades the strip from Jarablus to the Afrin border, that would most certainly halt Kurdish momentum, and be a great boost to Al Qaeda (Al-Nusra and Friends) and the other paramilitary groups we call "the rebels" fighting in the Aleppo region.

If I had to make a prediction, I'd guess that Assad will abandon his "four corners" strategy and pull back to a more easily defensible line from Damascus to Latakia, leaving the rebels to squabble over interior Syria. But interior Syria and western Iraq will probably be a hellhole of one kind or another for years to come.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ingemann on July 02, 2015, 05:17:30 am
*bump*

So, is this conflict going to continue forever?  Can any side be said to have "momentum" right now?


"Momentum"? No, not really. The Kurds made big gains recently, but the Arab population around Tal Abyad doesn't seem particularly happy to be added to the Kurdish confederation; there appears to be an ongoing ISIS insurgency in that area. And if Turkey actually follows through and invades the strip from Jarablus to the Afrin border, that would most certainly halt Kurdish momentum, and be a great boost to Al Qaeda (Al-Nusra and Friends) and the other paramilitary groups we call "the rebels" fighting in the Aleppo region.

If I had to make a prediction, I'd guess that Assad will abandon his "four corners" strategy and pull back to a more easily defensible line from Damascus to Latakia, leaving the rebels to squabble over interior Syria. But interior Syria and western Iraq will probably be a hellhole of one kind or another for years to come.

This is a rather good analyse, Assad are loking like he's beginning to focus on his core territories, and leaving "government" areas outside this to loyalist Sunni tribes and the random religious minority (mostly Druzes, as the Assyrians outside the core territories have mostly joined the Kurds). So what we're de facto seeing are a split up of Syria into several state-like structures. From a Druze run As-Suwayda Governorate, the Kurdish areas (who seem to be in alliance with the last "moderate" FSA units and the Assyrians), Al Nusra (Al Qaeda) around Aleppo and ISIS. With areas near the Iraqi border being fought over by Sunni tribal loyalist and ISIS and Daara being a cluster fought over by a ISIS, Al Nusra (includes FSA), the Druzes, local Shias etc.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Torie on July 04, 2015, 09:20:02 am
*bump*

So, is this conflict going to continue forever?  Can any side be said to have "momentum" right now?


"Momentum"? No, not really. The Kurds made big gains recently, but the Arab population around Tal Abyad doesn't seem particularly happy to be added to the Kurdish confederation; there appears to be an ongoing ISIS insurgency in that area. And if Turkey actually follows through and invades the strip from Jarablus to the Afrin border, that would most certainly halt Kurdish momentum, and be a great boost to Al Qaeda (Al-Nusra and Friends) and the other paramilitary groups we call "the rebels" fighting in the Aleppo region.

If I had to make a prediction, I'd guess that Assad will abandon his "four corners" strategy and pull back to a more easily defensible line from Damascus to Latakia, leaving the rebels to squabble over interior Syria. But interior Syria and western Iraq will probably be a hellhole of one kind or another for years to come.

This is a rather good analyse, Assad are loking like he's beginning to focus on his core territories, and leaving "government" areas outside this to loyalist Sunni tribes and the random religious minority (mostly Druzes, as the Assyrians outside the core territories have mostly joined the Kurds). So what we're de facto seeing are a split up of Syria into several state-like structures. From a Druze run As-Suwayda Governorate, the Kurdish areas (who seem to be in alliance with the last "moderate" FSA units and the Assyrians), Al Nusra (Al Qaeda) around Aleppo and ISIS. With areas near the Iraqi border being fought over by Sunni tribal loyalist and ISIS and Daara being a cluster fought over by a ISIS, Al Nusra (includes FSA), the Druzes, local Shias etc.

How you put up all of the above text without a map? :(


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Yelnoc on July 04, 2015, 09:30:39 am
*bump*

So, is this conflict going to continue forever?  Can any side be said to have "momentum" right now?


"Momentum"? No, not really. The Kurds made big gains recently, but the Arab population around Tal Abyad doesn't seem particularly happy to be added to the Kurdish confederation; there appears to be an ongoing ISIS insurgency in that area. And if Turkey actually follows through and invades the strip from Jarablus to the Afrin border, that would most certainly halt Kurdish momentum, and be a great boost to Al Qaeda (Al-Nusra and Friends) and the other paramilitary groups we call "the rebels" fighting in the Aleppo region.

If I had to make a prediction, I'd guess that Assad will abandon his "four corners" strategy and pull back to a more easily defensible line from Damascus to Latakia, leaving the rebels to squabble over interior Syria. But interior Syria and western Iraq will probably be a hellhole of one kind or another for years to come.

This is a rather good analyse, Assad are loking like he's beginning to focus on his core territories, and leaving "government" areas outside this to loyalist Sunni tribes and the random religious minority (mostly Druzes, as the Assyrians outside the core territories have mostly joined the Kurds). So what we're de facto seeing are a split up of Syria into several state-like structures. From a Druze run As-Suwayda Governorate, the Kurdish areas (who seem to be in alliance with the last "moderate" FSA units and the Assyrians), Al Nusra (Al Qaeda) around Aleppo and ISIS. With areas near the Iraqi border being fought over by Sunni tribal loyalist and ISIS and Daara being a cluster fought over by a ISIS, Al Nusra (includes FSA), the Druzes, local Shias etc.

How you put up all of the above text without a map? :(

This map, from yesterday, should help you make sense of the situation

(https://pietervanostaeyen.files.wordpress.com/2015/07/01072015_2000px-syria.png)

Feel free to ask if you have any questions. The situation is quite complex, but I've been following it long enough to have a decent understanding at least of the factions involved.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Çråbçæk on July 04, 2015, 12:09:26 pm
How many of the boundaries are dynamic (for lack of a better word) and are more prone to skirmishes; and how many are largely "settled".

Also what's the deal with that government territory within Kurdistan?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ingemann on July 04, 2015, 12:45:14 pm
How many of the boundaries are dynamic (for lack of a better word) and are more prone to skirmishes; and how many are largely "settled".

The YPG government borders and to lesser extent the (green) rebels in the north west and YPG

Beside that the government and ISIS rarely attack each others, as the regime focus on the heavier populated north west. ISIS do attack government enclaves in the east and the government ISIS enclaves in the west, but mostly they ignore each other.

Quote
Also what's the deal with that government territory within Kurdistan?

The Kurds are not really rebels, they're more neutrals (between SAA and FSA) and they do have something of a pro-Assad bias. SAA and NDF several times retreated into Kurdish areas, where they gave the Kurds their heavy weaponry. The government areas in north east are Sunni Arab (loyalist tribes) and Assyrian areas. There have been some conflict between NDF and local pro-Kurdish militias, but everytime the YPG and SAA have stopped the fighting and mediated between the groups.

Ironic further west local remnants of FSA have joined the Kurds, but that's more a common hatred of ISIS which unite them.

The Assyrians in the east have mostly changed loyalty from the government to the Kurds, because the Kurds deliver better protection of them. They have their own militias, but they're inferior to YPG.

YPG have also stopped the Yadizi militias from murdering every Sunni Arab they come across, but there's some indications that YPG look the other way, when the local Arabs cooperated too much in the massacres of Yadizi and sex slavery of their women. Some pro-ISIS tribes have left areas conquered by the Kurds, through that's just as much because of the local anti-ISIS tribes.

A aspect to look at is the Druzes in the south, in general the Druzes while loyal to the government have not taken much part in the fighting. But the local FSA/Al Nusra have massacred Druzes and tried to force convert them. The  Druzes in general have quite a reputation as soldiers and like the Kurds there's much which indicate that this reputation are not undeserved.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Hnv1 on July 04, 2015, 04:29:10 pm
The FSA is holding an enclave on the doorstep of Damascus, that could imply Assad's control of the capital not as strong as he signals if he can't root out a rebel enclave in his capital's backyard 


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Torie on July 05, 2015, 10:30:21 am
Is the way out of the box here some sort of de facto partition of Syria? That seems to be where Iraq is going. Everybody seems to hate everybody in the Middle East.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ingemann on July 05, 2015, 03:51:07 pm
Is the way out of the box here some sort of de facto partition of Syria? That seems to be where Iraq is going. Everybody seems to hate everybody in the Middle East.

Yes and no, we could easily cut of a Kurdish state from Syria (if Turkey wouldn't make a hissy fit over it). But beside that western Syria are too mixed for a partition. While maps show that the Alawites live at the coast, half of them likely live spread out inland, together with different Christian, other Shia and Druze group. So a ethnic partition would take massive ethnic cleansings.

Another problem are that a partition basedf on the borders and factions on the map, would result in a Al Nusra (Al Qaeda) and a ISIS state. This are not a viable solution. The only solution of ISIS are the complete destruction of it, Al Nusra on the other hand, while connected to Al Qaeda are more moderate than ISIS but still horrible and it's mostly based on local Syrians rather than foreign adventures. So maybe a compromise could be reached. But still do anyone want a Al Qaeda Emirate in  northern syria.

A interesting aspect are that if we look on culture and dialects, a split are more possible. Eastern Syria are connected to the culture and dialects in Iraq and if Iraq was partitioned, it would make sense for eastern Syria and Sunni Iraq to join into one state. the western Syrian state would likely still have a Sunni Arab majority, but instead of 60-70% of the population they will barely make up 50%


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Indy Texas on July 05, 2015, 09:08:06 pm
Under Assad: Ballet in Palmyra

Under ISIS: Public executions in Palmyra

(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CJHr7m2UMAADi__.jpg)


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ○∙◄☻¥tπ[╪AV┼cVê└ on July 05, 2015, 09:12:56 pm
This map now shows some spillover into Lebanon.

(https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/11/Syrian%2C_Iraqi%2C_and_Lebanese_insurgencies.png/1024px-Syrian%2C_Iraqi%2C_and_Lebanese_insurgencies.png)

Gray: ISIS
Yellow: Kurds
Green: Syrian opposition
White: Al nusra
Blue: Hezbollah
Orange/Pink/Red: Respective central governments


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: muon2 on July 05, 2015, 10:01:23 pm
Is the way out of the box here some sort of de facto partition of Syria? That seems to be where Iraq is going. Everybody seems to hate everybody in the Middle East.

Yes and no, we could easily cut of a Kurdish state from Syria (if Turkey wouldn't make a hissy fit over it). But beside that western Syria are too mixed for a partition. While maps show that the Alawites live at the coast, half of them likely live spread out inland, together with different Christian, other Shia and Druze group. So a ethnic partition would take massive ethnic cleansings.

Another problem are that a partition basedf on the borders and factions on the map, would result in a Al Nusra (Al Qaeda) and a ISIS state. This are not a viable solution. The only solution of ISIS are the complete destruction of it, Al Nusra on the other hand, while connected to Al Qaeda are more moderate than ISIS but still horrible and it's mostly based on local Syrians rather than foreign adventures. So maybe a compromise could be reached. But still do anyone want a Al Qaeda Emirate in  northern syria.

A interesting aspect are that if we look on culture and dialects, a split are more possible. Eastern Syria are connected to the culture and dialects in Iraq and if Iraq was partitioned, it would make sense for eastern Syria and Sunni Iraq to join into one state. the western Syrian state would likely still have a Sunni Arab majority, but instead of 60-70% of the population they will barely make up 50%

I suspect that if colonial thinking were applied to today's situation there would have been an offer to grant Turkey control over Alawite Syria as a protectorate in exchange for the creation of Kurdistan and full partnership in war against ISIS.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ingemann on July 16, 2015, 03:45:10 am
When you didn't think that ISIS could get more cartoonish evil.

Quote from: ISIS have blown up a BABY in terror group's most sickening act yet, sources claim
Senior Iraqi sources say IS forces wired up a baby with explosives and then blew the poor child up as part of a training exercise.

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/isis-blown-up-baby-terror-6059342 (http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/isis-blown-up-baby-terror-6059342)


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Çråbçæk on July 16, 2015, 08:18:06 am
Jesus Christ


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Simfan34 on July 16, 2015, 12:49:49 pm
Another problem are that a partition basedf on the borders and factions on the map, would result in a Al Nusra (Al Qaeda) and a ISIS state. This are not a viable solution. The only solution of ISIS are the complete destruction of it, Al Nusra on the other hand, while connected to Al Qaeda are more moderate than ISIS but still horrible and it's mostly based on local Syrians rather than foreign adventures. So maybe a compromise could be reached. But still do anyone want a Al Qaeda Emirate in  northern syria.

You're not seriously suggesting Jabhat al-Nusra is the "moderate" option these days, right?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Yelnoc on July 17, 2015, 04:26:38 pm
Another problem are that a partition basedf on the borders and factions on the map, would result in a Al Nusra (Al Qaeda) and a ISIS state. This are not a viable solution. The only solution of ISIS are the complete destruction of it, Al Nusra on the other hand, while connected to Al Qaeda are more moderate than ISIS but still horrible and it's mostly based on local Syrians rather than foreign adventures. So maybe a compromise could be reached. But still do anyone want a Al Qaeda Emirate in  northern syria.

You're not seriously suggesting Jabhat al-Nusra is the "moderate" option these days, right?

Ideologically, Nusra and the Islamic State are identical. But tactically they couldn't be more different. Where Daesh is open about their desire to establish a global caliphate, Nusra is framing their goal as one of "liberating" Syrian and establishing a caliphate within the borders of the Syrian Republic. Also, Nusra is much more open to coalition with other rebel groups, for instance, in Aleppo under Ansar al-Sharia. So its reasonable, I think, to say that Nusra tactics and aims are more "moderate" than the Islamic States', despite the other obvious similarities.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Bacon! 🔥 on July 18, 2015, 01:00:59 am
who are the "Authenticity and Development Front"?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: BaconBacon96 on July 18, 2015, 01:23:38 am
who are the "Authenticity and Development Front"?

One of the many loose coalitions of non-ISIS rebel groups. A mix of Islamists and others it seems, reportedly funded by Saudi Arabia. I'm not sure if it still exits.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ingemann on July 18, 2015, 02:00:17 pm
Another problem are that a partition basedf on the borders and factions on the map, would result in a Al Nusra (Al Qaeda) and a ISIS state. This are not a viable solution. The only solution of ISIS are the complete destruction of it, Al Nusra on the other hand, while connected to Al Qaeda are more moderate than ISIS but still horrible and it's mostly based on local Syrians rather than foreign adventures. So maybe a compromise could be reached. But still do anyone want a Al Qaeda Emirate in  northern syria.

You're not seriously suggesting Jabhat al-Nusra is the "moderate" option these days, right?

There are more "moderate" (or rather less extreme) groups outside the Kurdish areas, but honestly only JAN and ISIS are really the only rebel groups (beside the Kurds and their Arab/FSA auxiliaries) which truly matters, and here you can talk with Al Nusra and even reach compromises (which is why so many minor groups ally with them) while still being horrible people.ISIS on the other hand is a bunch of nihilistic monsters, the only deal you can reach with them, is when they burn in hell. As such JAN are the closest thing Syria have to a unified moderate force which matters. Which is why I think we should not support the rebels and stay entirely out of the conflict.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Mr. Morden on July 30, 2015, 08:40:39 pm
Am I correct in my impression that things are starting to look rather bad for Assad?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Zezano on July 30, 2015, 08:43:41 pm
There were never any moderate rebels. Most of them were not Syrian. They are mercenaries for the West and Saudi Arabia and other corrupt Gulf States. Bashar Assad is one of the few sane leaders in that region who respects religious minorities such as Christians. The United States and all it's allies such as Turkey, Israel, and Saudi Arabia supported the rebels. The media doesn't tell you  the truth unless you listen to Russia Today.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Cory on July 31, 2015, 02:15:36 pm
There were never any moderate rebels. Most of them were not Syrian. They are mercenaries for the West and Saudi Arabia and other corrupt Gulf States. Bashar Assad is one of the few sane leaders in that region who respects religious minorities such as Christians. The United States and all it's allies such as Turkey, Israel, and Saudi Arabia supported the rebels. The media doesn't tell you  the truth unless you listen to Russia Today.

How much do you make on a per post basis? I'm honestly curious.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: The Last Northerner on August 07, 2015, 01:08:57 am
Am I correct in my impression that things are starting to look rather bad for Assad?


Are you ready for the Alawite Genocide?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: palandio on August 07, 2015, 08:35:03 am
Am I correct in my impression that things are starting to look rather bad for Assad?

On the international/diplomatic level I'm not sure, the situation is complex.

On the military level his troops are over-stretched, the losses in the past four years were too high and he is increasingly running out of recruits. In many Alawite villages one third or so of the male part of the age cohort 18-30 years is dead. Hezbollah is focussing on the Syrian-Lebanese border region (Western Qalamoon, now Zabadani and coming soon Madaya and Wadi Barada). Iraqi voluntaries have gone back to Iraq to fight Daesh there. The Aleppo salient is costly and prevents Daesh and non-Daesh rebels from fighting each other, but giving it up would be a disastrous signal to parts of his middle-class passive support base. The break-down of the Idlib salient was kind of natural, the problem for Assad now is that the rebel offensive continues in the Al-Ghab plain (and soon Northern Latakia province?) and the Alawite core support regions are endangered. The permanent loss of the Palmyra region with its oil and gas resources would be an economic problem.

On the other hand you can compare the situation from 2 years ago to the current situation and see that the non-Daesh rebels have achieved very little since then (conquering the Idlib salient and some territorial gains in the South). They still control at most 15% of Syria and it doesn't depend on counting area or population. The strongest regional rebel alliance is now that in the Idlib region but on the other hand this is exactly the region where the Nusra Front has purged the "moderate" rebels in the last year and the US would probably have difficulties cooperating with what has remained.

So overall Assad is losing, but very slowly.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: StateBoiler on August 11, 2015, 04:39:04 pm
Am I correct in my impression that things are starting to look rather bad for Assad?

On the international/diplomatic level I'm not sure, the situation is complex.

On the military level his troops are over-stretched, the losses in the past four years were too high and he is increasingly running out of recruits. In many Alawite villages one third or so of the male part of the age cohort 18-30 years is dead. Hezbollah is focussing on the Syrian-Lebanese border region (Western Qalamoon, now Zabadani and coming soon Madaya and Wadi Barada). Iraqi voluntaries have gone back to Iraq to fight Daesh there. The Aleppo salient is costly and prevents Daesh and non-Daesh rebels from fighting each other, but giving it up would be a disastrous signal to parts of his middle-class passive support base. The break-down of the Idlib salient was kind of natural, the problem for Assad now is that the rebel offensive continues in the Al-Ghab plain (and soon Northern Latakia province?) and the Alawite core support regions are endangered. The permanent loss of the Palmyra region with its oil and gas resources would be an economic problem.

On the other hand you can compare the situation from 2 years ago to the current situation and see that the non-Daesh rebels have achieved very little since then (conquering the Idlib salient and some territorial gains in the South). They still control at most 15% of Syria and it doesn't depend on counting area or population. The strongest regional rebel alliance is now that in the Idlib region but on the other hand this is exactly the region where the Nusra Front has purged the "moderate" rebels in the last year and the US would probably have difficulties cooperating with what has remained.

So overall Assad is losing, but very slowly.

He'll be fine. If the Iran deal passes Congress, Iran will send small arms over to Syria to shore him up. Iran won't let him fall unless they control the successive leader, at which point it wouldn't matter, nothing would change.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Mr. Morden on August 11, 2015, 10:13:44 pm
World powers now trying to make a new diplomatic push:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/12/world/middleeast/new-diplomacy-seen-on-us-russian-efforts-to-end-syrian-civil-war.html?_r=0


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: palandio on August 12, 2015, 04:34:48 am
[...]
So overall Assad is losing, but very slowly.

He'll be fine. If the Iran deal passes Congress, Iran will send small arms over to Syria to shore him up. Iran won't let him fall unless they control the successive leader, at which point it wouldn't matter, nothing would change.
He'll be fine in the sense that Damascus and Latakia won't be overrun within the near future. From what I read I get the impression that his main problem isn't a lack of small arms, but of manpower. Iran is reluctant to send large numbers of Revolutionary Guard fighters to Syria (they are sending Afghan Shia fighters under Iranian command, though). But as Mr. Morden pointed out, there's movement on the diplomatic level.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ingemann on August 12, 2015, 02:18:53 pm
There's no doubt that the war have hit Alawites hard, but the number of the percent of Alawites who died have been overrated. First of all they're not the only ones fighting for Assad, the army are also made up of other groups (including Sunni, who is suspected to make up half of his forces), and even if all the estimated government losses was Alawites, and the Alawites was as small a group as the smallest estimates, the losses would be significant but not even close to disasterous.

But there's no doubt manpower is serious a problem, simply because Assad need to both fight, keep control over his territories and still run the Syrian state. Of course he shortening of fronts could help this. Of course we should also remember that while Assad have lost some territory this year, it's not even close to what he gained last year. The Syrian state have gotten much better control over its core territories, but at the same time many of its enclaves and bases in the rest of the country have been lost. The great rebel triumph in the south have not been a great success when we look at the de facto result.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: The Last Northerner on September 24, 2015, 10:38:59 am
Russia confirms involvement in Syrian Civil War, claims fight against Islamic extremists (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/russia/11845635/Vladimir-Putin-confirms-Russian-military-involvement-in-Syrias-civil-war.html)

US trained 'moderates' defect to Al Qaeda associates. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/11882195/US-trained-Division-30-rebels-betrayed-US-and-hand-weapons-over-to-al-Qaedas-affiliate-in-Syria.html)


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Great Again: Roy Moore's Handmaid's Tale on September 30, 2015, 07:50:52 am
Russia conducts airstrikes in Syria:

http://us.cnn.com/2015/09/30/politics/russia-syria-airstrikes-isis/index.html


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: politicus on September 30, 2015, 08:58:32 am
Russia conducts airstrikes in Syria:

http://us.cnn.com/2015/09/30/politics/russia-syria-airstrikes-isis/index.html

Might be a game changer. Lets hope so.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ag on September 30, 2015, 09:38:36 am
Russia conducts airstrikes in Syria:

http://us.cnn.com/2015/09/30/politics/russia-syria-airstrikes-isis/index.html

Might be a game changer.

At best, it would have some positive impact in Ukraine.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Silent Hunter on September 30, 2015, 11:46:51 am
Well, they'll probably do a lot against IS, but the civilian casualties will probably be high.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ag on September 30, 2015, 03:04:21 pm
Well, they'll probably do a lot against IS, but the civilian casualties will probably be high.

They will, probably, do even more against the pro-US anti-Assad groups.

In any case, Putin, as is common for him, is simply implementing the old (anti-)Soviet jokes. They used to ask: "How to get our troups from Czechoslovakia without losing prestige?" The proper answer was: "Through Romania".


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ag on September 30, 2015, 09:36:30 pm
Hm. Given the first day of Russian action, it seems that the best we can hope for in this case is that the additional waive of refugees caused by it will not be too large.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: TheDeadFlagBlues on September 30, 2015, 11:02:56 pm
Russia is bombing the FSA, not ISIS.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ○∙◄☻¥tπ[╪AV┼cVê└ on September 30, 2015, 11:05:27 pm
Russia is bombing the FSA, not ISIS.

The US will be really sad if they kill that one guy who wasn't a jihadist and wanted western style democracy.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Mehmentum on September 30, 2015, 11:08:30 pm
Congratulations Russia, you've succeeded in making this clusterf*** even worse.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Frodo on September 30, 2015, 11:09:09 pm
Russia is bombing the FSA, not ISIS.

I don't honestly care anymore if the FSA is smashed.  What distinctions I thought existed were erased after the few rebels we did train and arm handed over their weapons post-haste to the nearest Islamist outfit.  

 


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ○∙◄☻¥tπ[╪AV┼cVê└ on September 30, 2015, 11:15:38 pm
At this point, the only reasonable thing for the US to do would be to pressure Assad and Putin that in exchange for the US and the Kurds not attacking Assad or funding those that attack Assad that the Kurds be left alone in an autonomous region.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: TheDeadFlagBlues on October 01, 2015, 12:12:10 am
Russia is bombing the FSA, not ISIS.

The US will be really sad if they kill that one guy who wasn't a jihadist and wanted western style democracy.

No one is under the illusion that the FSA desires "western-style democracy" but the idea that the Syrian rebels are jihadis is inane garbage, peddled by fools who don't recognize the distinction between the political Islam of the Muslim Brotherhood and the political Islam of ISIS or the Al-Nusra Front.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: tpfkaw on October 01, 2015, 01:05:49 am
At this point, the only reasonable thing for the US to do would be to pressure Assad and Putin that in exchange for the US and the Kurds not attacking Assad or funding those that attack Assad that the Kurds be left alone in an autonomous region.

That's already the Russian position.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ingemann on October 01, 2015, 07:53:57 am
Russia is bombing the FSA, not ISIS.

The US will be really sad if they kill that one guy who wasn't a jihadist and wanted western style democracy.

No one is under the illusion that the FSA desires "western-style democracy" but the idea that the Syrian rebels are jihadis is inane garbage, peddled by fools who don't recognize the distinction between the political Islam of the Muslim Brotherhood and the political Islam of ISIS or the Al-Nusra Front.

Okay if you say so... so  enlighten us.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Hnv1 on October 01, 2015, 09:43:43 am
I guess we'll see Russia supporting a joint ground effort by Hizz\Iran\Assad in retaking lots of ground to create a ISIS vs Assad 1 on 1 game that will force the west to accept the survival of the old regime. US moves are very much limited now


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ingemann on October 01, 2015, 10:07:56 am
I guess we'll see Russia supporting a joint ground effort by Hizz\Iran\Assad in retaking lots of ground to create a ISIS vs Assad 1 on 1 game that will force the west to accept the survival of the old regime. US moves are very much limited now

Let's see what USA get:

They avoid a Islamist regime in Syria.
They avoid a genocide, through not a general mass murder.
American ME allies who have supported anti-western terrorism, waste their money and young men in Syria.
Russia and Iran get the blame and get to pay for it.

I personally think Obama have played his cards very quite well.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) on October 01, 2015, 05:30:30 pm
Im hoping the RF-AF creates shock and awe amongst the rebel groups. Letting the Assad government fall will just lead to 1990s Afghanistan, a heaven for terrorist groups.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Frodo on October 01, 2015, 09:59:37 pm
I guess we'll see Russia supporting a joint ground effort by Hizz\Iran\Assad in retaking lots of ground to create a ISIS vs Assad 1 on 1 game that will force the west to accept the survival of the old regime. US moves are very much limited now

Let's see what USA get:

They avoid a Islamist regime in Syria.
They avoid a genocide, through not a general mass murder.
American ME allies who have supported anti-western terrorism, waste their money and young men in Syria.
Russia and Iran get the blame and get to pay for it.

I personally think Obama have played his cards very quite well.

I'm not so sure of that.  While the Assad regime may have been given another reprieve by its Russian and Iranian allies, it will never reclaim the bulk of the territory it lost to the rebels (including the Islamic State).  The Sunni-dominated areas will either see continued chaos or rule by Islamists. Much like the situation in Iraq.   



Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: StateBoiler on October 02, 2015, 10:01:00 am
Quote
At this point, the only reasonable thing for the US to do would be to pressure Assad and Putin that in exchange for the US and the Kurds not attacking Assad or funding those that attack Assad that the Kurds be left alone in an autonomous region.

And what army will be on the ground guaranteed to uphold that?

Putin's action here has exposed American, European, and UN maneuvers in Syria as worthless. So yeah, "provide the Kurds autonomy", because once that is threatened it's not like anyone is coming to help.

(https://scontent-lax3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xtp1/v/t1.0-9/12046760_142424669444039_7531544719700835979_n.jpg?oh=15f1032b6e6b30784c1dabd6c25c0031&oe=568C82B3)




Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: politicus on October 02, 2015, 11:01:53 am
Quote
At this point, the only reasonable thing for the US to do would be to pressure Assad and Putin that in exchange for the US and the Kurds not attacking Assad or funding those that attack Assad that the Kurds be left alone in an autonomous region.

And what army will be on the ground guaranteed to uphold that?

Putin's action here has exposed American, European, and UN maneuvers in Syria as worthless. So yeah, "provide the Kurds autonomy", because once that is threatened it's not like anyone is coming to help.

(https://scontent-lax3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xtp1/v/t1.0-9/12046760_142424669444039_7531544719700835979_n.jpg?oh=15f1032b6e6b30784c1dabd6c25c0031&oe=568C82B3)


You would need proper independence for the Kurds in Syria and Iraq for this to work. Autonomy would be a mess, always gives whoever controls the central government an excuse to interfere.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ag on October 02, 2015, 11:26:35 am
Gentlemen, relax. These are the early days. Russians can be counted on making a bloody mess of anything they touch. Give them a bit more time :)


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ingemann on October 02, 2015, 12:19:33 pm
I guess we'll see Russia supporting a joint ground effort by Hizz\Iran\Assad in retaking lots of ground to create a ISIS vs Assad 1 on 1 game that will force the west to accept the survival of the old regime. US moves are very much limited now

Let's see what USA get:

They avoid a Islamist regime in Syria.
They avoid a genocide, through not a general mass murder.
American ME allies who have supported anti-western terrorism, waste their money and young men in Syria.
Russia and Iran get the blame and get to pay for it.

I personally think Obama have played his cards very quite well.

I'm not so sure of that.  While the Assad regime may have been given another reprieve by its Russian and Iranian allies, it will never reclaim the bulk of the territory it lost to the rebels (including the Islamic State).  The Sunni-dominated areas will either see continued chaos or rule by Islamists. Much like the situation in Iraq.   

ISIS will not survive in the long term, the question are whether the local tribes rebel and replace them, or some kind of Lebanon-style unity government are created between the regime, "FSA" (likely as representants of some of the Sunni tribes) and Kurds, who afterward destroy ISIS. I think the former are the most likely scenario
JAN, the Salafi and the Muslim Brotherhood are better off, as they can slide back into the background and become part of the FSA coalition.
Any Islamist groups who going through the peace process and comes out alive on the other side, will change their skin like a snake and sell themselves as some kind "Islam Democrats" party (with their own army like Hezbollah) in post-civil war Syria. JAN will likely break their bond with Al Qaeda in such a scenario.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ingemann on October 04, 2015, 01:10:10 pm
Map with Russian Airstrikes until now

(http://www.mediafire.com/convkey/3f31/1i75nfut3z30z9czg.jpg)

The only thing I do find surprising are that the Russians have bombed ISIS


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Hnv1 on October 04, 2015, 04:08:53 pm
Interesting to see the Russians able again to perform (small) force projection, not so many years ago the general consensus in the military "world" was that their army is in shambles and unable to deploy. So I see the modernization process is starting to pay off


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Frodo on October 05, 2015, 10:09:41 pm
I guess ISIS will just have to settle for fighting Russian 'crusaders' as opposed to the Americans that they craved:

Russian Soldiers to Join Fight in Syria (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/06/world/middleeast/russian-soldiers-join-syria-fight.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0)

By ANDREW E. KRAMER and ANNE BARNARD
OCT. 5, 2015


Quote
MOSCOW — Ratcheting up the confrontation over the Syria war, Russia said Monday that its “volunteer” ground forces would join the fight, and NATO warned the Kremlin after at least one Russian warplane trespassed into Turkey’s airspace.

The saber-rattling on both sides reflected a dangerous new big-power entanglement in the war, as longstanding differences between Russia and the United States over President Bashar al-Assad of Syria and his opponents increasingly play out not only in the halls of the United Nations but on the battlefield in Syria. (...)

A Russian ground force could fundamentally alter the conflict, which has left 250,000 people dead and displaced half the country’s population since it started in 2011.

Although President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia said he would not put troops in Syria, the plan for so-called volunteers was disclosed Monday by his top military liaison to the Parliament, Adm. Vladimir Komoyedov. It seemed similar to Russia’s stealth tactic in using soldiers to seize Crimea from Ukraine in March of 2014 and to aid pro-Moscow rebels in eastern Ukraine.

Moreover, American military officials said they believed that more than 600 Russian military personnel were already on the ground in Syria, not counting aircrews, and that tents for nearly 2,000 people had been seen at Russia’s air base near Latakia, in northwest Syria near the Turkish border.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ingemann on October 06, 2015, 03:27:06 pm
Interesting to see the Russians able again to perform (small) force projection, not so many years ago the general consensus in the military "world" was that their army is in shambles and unable to deploy. So I see the modernization process is starting to pay off

It's not really that impressive, Russia have had bases in Syria for decades, so what we see is a expansion of existing infrastructure. Also they have reformed their army: They have chosen a twofold strategy; the bulk of the army are conscripts with little ability to be force projected, but who can defend the homeland and invade near neighbours, quality-wise they seem to be below most western armies, but above most developing countries, of course we have only seem them in use against Georgians and Ukrainians, who both have done well against them, but both of those are better than we would think at first (the Ukrainian morale have been incredible). Beside that they have a "relative" small force which be used to force projection.

I think it will be interesting if the Russians decides to use their infantry offensive in Syria, I wouldn't be surprised if we see a rebel collapse and the rebels reduced to asymmetric warfare like in the American occupation of Iraq. Of course I doubt we will see a long term survival of their forces, when dealing with SAA brutality while the Russian army keep any large scale uprising down.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Silent Hunter on October 08, 2015, 11:36:09 am
Interesting to see the Russians able again to perform (small) force projection, not so many years ago the general consensus in the military "world" was that their army is in shambles and unable to deploy. So I see the modernization process is starting to pay off

A few cruise missiles - even if I believe it is the first time the Russians have fired those in anger - don't mean that much.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: dead0man on October 08, 2015, 11:52:33 am
they have morale issues (https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=morale+of+the+russian+army&tbs=qdr:y)

How that plays out is anybody's guess. 


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ingemann on October 08, 2015, 01:07:42 pm
they have morale issues (https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=morale+of+the+russian+army&tbs=qdr:y)

How that plays out is anybody's guess. 

I doubt it's a major issue, the threat to Putin have always been the mothers to soldiers movement, not the soldiers, Russian soldiers have shown themselves willing to die for their land, no matter how moronic a conflict they enter. Of course the conflict with Ukraine is a problem simply because how Russians and Ukrainians see each others, but in Syria (in general positive). But in Syria everybody can defend intervention, they will likely send relative few troops and it can easily be sold to crush Islamic terrorist abroad rather than in Russia.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: (CT) The Free North on October 08, 2015, 01:20:27 pm
Its so cute watching Russia trying to be a hegemonic power again.


I maintain the US needs to stay out of this completely. Picking winners does nothing for us, and we will ultimately just fuel more anti-americanism regardless of what position we take. If Putin wants to experiment with absurd adventurism in the Middle East....thats his prerogative. At the end of the day, Russia doesn't have the economy nor the popular support to sustain a prolonged military campaign in the region regardless of how many times O'Reilly suggests they are going to 'take over the Middle East'.

 


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ingemann on October 08, 2015, 02:41:19 pm
Its so cute watching Russia trying to be a hegemonic power again.


I maintain the US needs to stay out of this completely. Picking winners does nothing for us, and we will ultimately just fuel more anti-americanism regardless of what position we take. If Putin wants to experiment with absurd adventurism in the Middle East....thats his prerogative. At the end of the day, Russia doesn't have the economy nor the popular support to sustain a prolonged military campaign in the region regardless of how many times O'Reilly suggests they are going to 'take over the Middle East'.

This is a little more complex than this. The Russian intervention may seem like a attempt "to be a hegemonic power again", and to some point that's correct. But there's also other aspects, Syria have for decades been a Russian allied, Russia's main one in the Middle East. Syria was also before the war home to a large Russian community. The rebels also get support from terrorist organisation which also active in Russia, and at last Russia need this conflict to either end or be clearly in the regime favour before January 20, 2017. The regime, while not in danger of collapse, was not making gain. So it made sense for Russia to intervene and do it now.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ingemann on October 20, 2015, 02:53:15 pm
Interesting article from the Independent.

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/with-russias-help-the-syrian-army-is-back-on-its-feet-and-fiercer-than-ever-a6698866.html (http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/with-russias-help-the-syrian-army-is-back-on-its-feet-and-fiercer-than-ever-a6698866.html)


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: whiplash on October 20, 2015, 10:48:26 pm
It is all clear with the Arab world. Those who don`t follow your branch are aliens, those who support them are aliens as well.  Sunnis are in minority, so almost the whole world is against Sunnis and Assad


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Angel of Death on December 07, 2015, 01:09:29 pm
Sadly enough, this thread should probably be stickied for the foreseeable future.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ingemann on December 07, 2015, 04:55:19 pm
Syria and Iraq 30 November 2015

(https://imagopyrenaei.files.wordpress.com/2015/11/syria-iraq-kurdistan-30n.png)

http://www.imagopyrenaei.eu/portfolio/military-situation-syria-iraq-kurdistan/ (http://www.imagopyrenaei.eu/portfolio/military-situation-syria-iraq-kurdistan/)

The most interesting factors right now:

FSA and JAN have attacked YPG at Afrin/Efrin, PYD is beating them and gaining ground, there's rumour that the Turks have ordered FSA (which is Turkmen militias in the area) to attack, there's also rumour that Russia support YPG with bombings.

FSA (this time a Arab moderate Islamist group) is also attacking the Kurdish enclave in Aleppo with the usual lack of results.

YPG are also pushing forward against ISIS in the east in Hasakah.

Rumours tell that the Kurds want to cross the Euphrates, but Turkey threaten with war if the Kurds attack ISIS territories there.

The regime are making small but important gains in northern Latakia, Aleppo, Homs and Daraa against FSA/JAN, while they have also pushed against ISIS at Palmyra and eastern Aleppo.

The Turks have after "suggestions" by Washington stopped taking part in bombings in Syria.

Turks are claiming they're setting up a base in the Mosul area in Iraq (on Kurdish territory, but with the local Kurds blessing... there's a long explanation for that, let's leave it with that), the Iraqi government call for them to leave the area again.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Angel of Death on December 07, 2015, 08:25:11 pm
That map doesn't distinguish al-Nusra from the other rebels, but perhaps any such distinction would be a dubious notion in the first place.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: palandio on December 09, 2015, 05:34:37 am
The idea that al-Nusra should be distinguished from the other rebels came up about one year ago when there were violent clashes between al-Nusra and rival rebel groups like the SRF and the Hazzm Movement.

Many observers at that point thought that al-Nusra was trying to establish an IS-like mini-caliphate in the province of Idlib.

But after al-Nusra's victory against SRF and Hazzm, it went on to form a military alliance together with the other remaining rebel groups. In my view a territorial distinction between the different components of this alliance has become close to impossible.

Many surviving members of SRF and Hazzm have either become members of groups like the Levant Front which is cooperating with al-Nusra, or have fled and then regrouped and are now fighting under the SDF banner together with the Kurds. For example the clashes in the Afrin/Azaz area mentioned by ingemann are not only between FSA/JAN and the Kurdish YPG, but an Arab SDF group called Army of Revolutionaries is also fighting against FSA/JAN in this area.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ingemann on December 09, 2015, 03:08:01 pm
That map doesn't distinguish al-Nusra from the other rebels, but perhaps any such distinction would be a dubious notion in the first place.

Not dubious, Al-Nusra are clearly not part of FSA, which is just a common term for groups which seek western support, and their claimed territory is not meaningless. But as FSA group are more likely to fight each other than JAN, it makes sense to just call them rebels on some maps. There's also other distinctions, JAN are more a party, while FSA are mostly local groups of militias, who just use FSA as common term. But if you want to know their territory, you can use Wikipedias map.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ingemann on December 09, 2015, 03:21:00 pm
The idea that al-Nusra should be distinguished from the other rebels came up about one year ago when there were violent clashes between al-Nusra and rival rebel groups like the SRF and the Hazzm Movement.

Many observers at that point thought that al-Nusra was trying to establish an IS-like mini-caliphate in the province of Idlib.

But after al-Nusra's victory against SRF and Hazzm, it went on to form a military alliance together with the other remaining rebel groups. In my view a territorial distinction between the different components of this alliance has become close to impossible.

Yes to some degree, but the "Turkmen" rebels are one of the more interesting "new" groups, as they clearly have direct Turkish support. They're mostly Islamist and local Turkmens are part of them (they're mostly a Turkmen-Arab mix). Of course the difference between Turkmen and Arabs are often unclear, they share faith, practice intermarriage with each others and as a border population theyu're usual bilingual in Arab and Turkish, which is why the number Turkmens lies between a few hundred thousand to the Turkish number of 3-4 millions.

Quote
Many surviving members of SRF and Hazzm have either become members of groups like the Levant Front which is cooperating with al-Nusra, or have fled and then regrouped and are now fighting under the SDF banner together with the Kurds. For example the clashes in the Afrin/Azaz area mentioned by ingemann are not only between FSA/JAN and the Kurdish YPG, but an Arab SDF group called Army of Revolutionaries is also fighting against FSA/JAN in this area.

I'm a little careful about the whole SDF thing, I'm not sure how much it's independent Arab groups, or simply a few Arabs backed by Kurds for PR purposes. We should also remember that many Syrian "Arabs" in the north are simply Kurds who have adopted the Arab language, and as they lack connections with Arab tribes and are connected to Kurdish tribes, this makes the identities of Kurds, Turkmen and Arab very fluid.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: palandio on December 09, 2015, 03:54:04 pm
That map doesn't distinguish al-Nusra from the other rebels, but perhaps any such distinction would be a dubious notion in the first place.

Not dubious, Al-Nusra are clearly not part of FSA, which is just a common term for groups which seek western support, and their claimed territory is not meaningless. But as FSA group are more likely to fight each other than JAN, it makes sense to just call them rebels on some maps. There's also other distinctions, JAN are more a party, while FSA are mostly local groups of militias, who just use FSA as common term. But if you want to know their territory, you can use Wikipedias map.
You are right that Al-Nusra is not part of FSA. At the same time different rebel groups (including Al-Nusra) are fighting side on side and often share control of places. That is why from a military/territorial point of view distinguishing between all the rebel groups (including al-Nusra) turns out to be difficult. That's also the reason why I think that distinguishing between Syrian Army and Hezbollah is impractical, although some maps make this distinction.
[...]
Yes to some degree, but the "Turkmen" rebels are one of the more interesting "new" groups, as they clearly have direct Turkish support. They're mostly Islamist and local Turkmens are part of them (they're mostly a Turkmen-Arab mix). Of course the difference between Turkmen and Arabs are often unclear, they share faith, practice intermarriage with each others and as a border population they're usual bilingual in Arab and Turkish, which is why the number Turkmens lies between a few hundred thousand to the Turkish number of 3-4 millions.
Yes, the "Turkmen" rebels are a very interesting phenomenon, but not one that is as easily depicted on a map as the frontline between rebels and loyalists.
Quote
I'm a little careful about the whole SDF thing, I'm not sure how much it's independent Arab groups, or simply a few Arabs backed by Kurds for PR purposes. We should also remember that many Syrian "Arabs" in the north are simply Kurds who have adopted the Arab language, and as they lack connections with Arab tribes and are connected to Kurdish tribes, this makes the identities of Kurds, Turkmen and Arab very fluid.
The SDF still stands and falls with the Kurds. At the same time some of its Arab components are somehow relevant militarily, although much weaker than the YPG:
- Shammar tribal militias have been backing the YPG in Hasakah province almost since the beginning, and the Shammar tribe is quite powerful.
- The anti-IS rebels in Raqqa province might fit your description.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ingemann on December 09, 2015, 05:17:43 pm
That map doesn't distinguish al-Nusra from the other rebels, but perhaps any such distinction would be a dubious notion in the first place.

Not dubious, Al-Nusra are clearly not part of FSA, which is just a common term for groups which seek western support, and their claimed territory is not meaningless. But as FSA group are more likely to fight each other than JAN, it makes sense to just call them rebels on some maps. There's also other distinctions, JAN are more a party, while FSA are mostly local groups of militias, who just use FSA as common term. But if you want to know their territory, you can use Wikipedias map.
You are right that Al-Nusra is not part of FSA. At the same time different rebel groups (including Al-Nusra) are fighting side on side and often share control of places. That is why from a military/territorial point of view distinguishing between all the rebel groups (including al-Nusra) turns out to be difficult. That's also the reason why I think that distinguishing between Syrian Army and Hezbollah is impractical, although some maps make this distinction.

Yes the Hezbollah-SAA distinction is just weird, NDF-SAA would make more sense, but it's impossible to show.

I'm a little careful about the whole SDF thing, I'm not sure how much it's independent Arab groups, or simply a few Arabs backed by Kurds for PR purposes. We should also remember that many Syrian "Arabs" in the north are simply Kurds who have adopted the Arab language, and as they lack connections with Arab tribes and are connected to Kurdish tribes, this makes the identities of Kurds, Turkmen and Arab very fluid.
The SDF still stands and falls with the Kurds. At the same time some of its Arab components are somehow relevant militarily, although much weaker than the YPG:
- Shammar tribal militias have been backing the YPG in Hasakah province almost since the beginning, and the Shammar tribe is quite powerful.
- The anti-IS rebels in Raqqa province might fit your description.

I know Shammar are official part of SDF, but I wouldn't count them, there's really not many other SDF forces in that part of the country, and most of the Arab SDF around Kobane are remnants of FSA groups, which ISIS drove out, Shammar on the other hand I'm rather sure if the regime had been stronger in Hasakah and the Kurds weaker, they would have joined the regime. I'm sure they don't really have a problem with Kurdish autonomy (especially because in that case they can share the sweat oil and gas money with the Kurds), but they're seem weird to include in SDF, as their militias are a major force on their own.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: National Progressive on December 10, 2015, 03:41:51 pm
Alleged e-mail of El Chapo threatening ISIS in an e-mail for disrupting his drug shipments. No comment on how the Trump campaign will react to this:

http://www.torontosun.com/2015/12/10/drug-lord-el-chapo-threatens-to-destroy-isis-in-e-mail (http://www.torontosun.com/2015/12/10/drug-lord-el-chapo-threatens-to-destroy-isis-in-e-mail)
Quote
Drug lord 'El Chapo' threatens to destroy ISIS in e-mail

BY TED RATH, POSTMEDIA NETWORK
FIRST POSTED: THURSDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2015 01:51 PM EST | UPDATED: THURSDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2015 02:07 PM EST
Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman
In this Feb. 22, 2014 file photo, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is escorted to a helicopter in handcuffs by Mexican Navy marines at a navy hanger in Mexico City. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo, File)

Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, the Sinaloa cartel boss and world's most wanted drug lord, has threatened ISIS with retaliation if it continues to destroy his drug shipments to the Middle East that go through the terror group's "caliphate."

And he's not mincing words.

"I pity the next son of a whore who tries to interfere with the business of the Sinaloa cartel. I will have their hearts and tongues torn from them," El Chapo reportedly wrote ISIS in an e-mail leaked to a Mexican blogger with ties to the cartel.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Frodo on December 10, 2015, 07:40:11 pm
Putin seems to be proving Obama right as he sinks deeper into the quagmire, and it looks like Iran is beginning to view Syria as a lost cause as it steadily withdraws its troops:

Quote
Western sources said there are indications that Iran—which has taken significant casualties including the deaths of several senior IRGC commanders—has withdrawn more than half of its forces in a sign of frustration—and perhaps mounting tension with Moscow over strategy.

Officials said Putin’s own frustration with the battlefield effectiveness of Assad's forces and their allies on the ground helps explain his willingness to join peace talks that have convened twice in Vienna this fall. Obama and Kerry hope that an agreement among the many countries that are party to the conflict—including Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey—will begin a process that removes Assad from power, something they call a prerequisite to ending the wider Syrian conflict and allowing for the defeat of ISIL.

“The lack of significant military progress by pro-regime forces only emphasizes the failure of Assad's leadership, which explains why Putin has been so willing to publicly back the idea of Assad's departure as part of a political settlement,” said one U.S. intelligence official.

Kerry hopes to discuss those topics with Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov when he goes to to Moscow, the latest in a stepped-up pace of meetings between the two countries: Putin and Obama held two informal meetings in November and a formal session at the United Nations in late September. That suggests that an administration debate about whether to isolate or engage the Russian leader diplomatically has tilted decisively toward the latter option.

Kerry will also cajole Russia to join another round of the Syria peace talks the Obama administration wants to convene in New York City on December 18. On Tuesday, Russia's U.N. envoy said more preparatory work needed to be done before they will agree to such a meeting.

http://www.politico.com/story/2015/12/vladimir-putin-russia-syria-216609


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: palandio on December 11, 2015, 11:17:25 am
I believe it when I see it. "Western sources" have not proven to be reliable very often over the last five years when it comes to interpreting the situation in Syria. It could also be that Iran was using its own IRGC forces for immediate response after the fall of Idlib and Jisr-ash-Shogur and that the plan was from the beginning to replace the lower ranks with Iraqis, Afghans and Pakistanis when available.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ingemann on December 11, 2015, 01:47:23 pm
I believe it when I see it. "Western sources" have not proven to be reliable very often over the last five years when it comes to interpreting the situation in Syria. It could also be that Iran was using its own IRGC forces for immediate response after the fall of Idlib and Jisr-ash-Shogur and that the plan was from the beginning to replace the lower ranks with Iraqis, Afghans and Pakistanis when available.

Yes, I can't really see the sources as reliable, plus Putin have the entire time sought a negotiation solution (just one which included Assad and ensured a pro-Russian regime in power afterward). We also have the problem that the two strongest rebel fractions (I don't count the Kurds as rebels) are JAN and ISIS, which the West won't and can't accept taking part in negotiations. In fact in ISIS case not even the Gulf states would accept them taking part in negotiation (Turkey may)

Also the largest non-ISIS non-JAN Islamist group (Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham) taking part in negotiation have here set up its 9 demands. The group are a major part of Islamic Front, the Saudi supported coalition.

(http://m10.imgup.net/Islamic-fr3b6e.jpg)

Quote from: translated summary
1:All Iranian and Russian military personnel must leave Syria.
2:The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) should be disbanded, along with their paramilitary units – they reference the Shabiha.
3:All of Syria shall be united – no partition.
4:Syria will become an Islamic state.
5:No negotiations with the Syrian Government.
6:Fighting ISIS is secondary because rebels have lost family members because of the war with the Syrian Army.
7:Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham asserts – once again – that Syria will be an Islamic state.
8:A secular Syria will only empower ISIS.
9:Any agreement without Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham will be considered “unsuccessful” and “unofficial”.

I don't speak or read Arab, so if the summary is wrong please tell me.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Mr. Morden on December 13, 2015, 11:58:11 pm
USA Today has a graphic on the respective number of allied airstrikes in Iraq vs. Syria:

(http://i.imgur.com/m2BsHJm.jpg)


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Frodo on December 19, 2015, 06:41:48 pm
Bashar al-Assad's future is still up in the air:

After Years of War in Syria, U.N. Passes Resolution on Talks (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/19/world/middleeast/syria-talks-isis.html?hpw&rref=world&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=well-region&region=bottom-well&WT.nav=bottom-well&_r=0)

By SOMINI SENGUPTA and DAVID E. SANGER
DEC. 18, 2015


Quote
UNITED NATIONS — For the first time since the nearly five-year-old Syrian civil war began, world powers agreed on Friday at the United Nations Security Council to embrace a plan for a cease-fire and a peace process that holds the distant prospect of ending the conflict.

A resolution adopted unanimously by the Security Council reflected a months-long effort by American and Russian officials, who have long been at odds over the future of Syria, to find common national interests to stop the killing, even if they cannot yet agree on Syria’s ultimate future.

But there remain sharp disagreements to be reconciled between the American and Russian positions, and huge uncertainty about what the plan will mean on the ground. A dizzying array of armed forces have left Syria in ruins, killed 250,000 and driven four million refugees out of the country, threatening to destabilize the nations where they are seeking new homes.

“This council is sending a clear message to all concerned that the time is now to stop the killing in Syria and lay the groundwork for a government” that can hold the country together, Secretary of State John Kerry said at the Security Council.

Later on Friday, he added: “No one is sitting here today suggesting to anybody that the road ahead is a gilded path. It is complicated. It will remain complicated. But this at least demands that the parties come to the table.”

The resolution makes no mention of whether Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, would be able to run in new elections, which it says must be held within 18 months of the beginning of political talks. That process will begin sometime in January at the earliest, Mr. Kerry and his Russian counterpart, Sergey V. Lavrov, conceded. Privately, officials believe it may take significantly longer.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ingemann on December 25, 2015, 06:29:42 am
A interesting report about Syrian rebel groups from the Tony Blair Faith Foundation

http://tonyblairfaithfoundation.org/sites/default/files/If%20the%20Castle%20Falls.pdf (http://tonyblairfaithfoundation.org/sites/default/files/If%20the%20Castle%20Falls.pdf)

I know that Blair is really not very popular right now, but the rapport are a interesting look into the ideology of the different groups. So read it with a open mind.

(http://tonyblairfaithfoundation.org/sites/default/files/Syria-Matrix_InPage-01.png)

(http://tonyblairfaithfoundation.org/sites/default/files/Syria-Matrix_InPage-02.png)


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: palandio on December 25, 2015, 11:33:35 am
Interesting read. Fits together with the ISW report I linked to in the other thread a week ago:
http://understandingwar.org/sites/default/files/Syrian%20Opposition%20Guide_0.pdf

The conclusions are both times questionable, but both reports give a good overview on the situation, much better than what one might extract from the usual news agency articles.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Angel of Death on December 27, 2015, 12:59:34 am
Do you still stand behind your assessment that Assad is slowly losing the war?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: palandio on December 27, 2015, 06:34:16 am
Honestly I didn't see the Russian intervention coming when I stated that Assad was losing slowly on August 07. (And it was in preparation at least since July, in coordination with Iran.)

Assad's fate depends on the commitment of both Russia and Iran (+ its proxies). For the next months I would expect them both to stay in Syria and maybe even expand their forces. As long as no other foreign force (Turkey? Not too likely...) intervenes directly against Assad (not counting supporting rebels), I expect continued advances for the regime. (Remember that I might be proven wrong again.) For the moment Russian and Iranian interests in Syria are not the same, but perfectly reconciliable, let's see what happens on the long run.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Cory Booker on December 27, 2015, 12:09:44 pm
If Obama didn't hesitate at first to bomb Syria & went ahead with the initial war, like advisors told him too, this would of been avoided. But, Libya was mishandled.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ingemann on December 27, 2015, 12:18:46 pm
Honestly I didn't see the Russian intervention coming when I stated that Assad was losing slowly on August 07. (And it was in preparation at least since July, in coordination with Iran.)

Assad's fate depends on the commitment of both Russia and Iran (+ its proxies). For the next months I would expect them both to stay in Syria and maybe even expand their forces. As long as no other foreign force (Turkey? Not too likely...) intervenes directly against Assad (not counting supporting rebels), I expect continued advances for the regime. (Remember that I might be proven wrong again.) For the moment Russian and Iranian interests in Syria are not the same, but perfectly reconciliable, let's see what happens on the long run.

I personal think one of the most interesting development in the last month are not the regimes successful but glacial advances, but the Kurdish conquest of Tishreen Dam and their crossing of the Euphrates, which Turkey have set as a red line for the Kurds. The Kurds seem to have decided that it's better to keep ISIS alive as a bogeyman, while they expand their area of control rather than decapitate ISIS by taking Raqqah, losing western support and having to deal with the post-ISIS warlords. At the same time they place Erdogan in a situation where he either have to show himself as impotent or official support ISIS.

The Kurds have historical been lousy players on the international scene, but now... wow... they have shown themselves to be masters of strategy, the Syrians, Iraqi and Iranian all dance after their melody, and all the Turks attempts to limit the Kurds result in them losing face or alienate their allies and friends. Of course a element are that the Kurds simply are better people than the Sunni Arabs (who right now come across as orcs out of a Tolkien book). But it's also because the ideology (a form of left libertarian decentralism) the Syrian and Turkish Kurds sell, while threatening under the Cold War, simply come across as both nicer but also non-hypocritical, compared to what most national liberation movements usual sell, and to make it even better, the Iraqi Kurds have now begun to attempt to get Iraqi/Kurdish Jews to migrate back to Kurdish areas (it will fail, but the message are more important than success).


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ingemann on December 27, 2015, 12:27:43 pm
If Obama didn't hesitate at first to bomb Syria & went ahead with the initial war, like advisors told him too, this would of been avoided. But, Libya was mishandled.

It would have been a bigger failure than this miserable war have been. Just look at LIbya and imagine that Libya had 4 times as many people plus simmering ethnic and religious conflicts. If you think this conflict have been bad, iot would have been nothing compared to the mess Obama's advisors suggestion would have caused.

 But you want to know how this conflict could have been a lot less bloody? If we had said to Assad "we look the other way while you end this conflict". The result had been another Hama Massacre, but several hundred thousand fewer people would have died, we would not have millions of refugees in Syria and abroad and it would all have been over in 2012.



Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Çråbçæk on December 27, 2015, 12:42:46 pm
Do Syrian and Iraqi Kurdistan in any way act like a single entity?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Famous Mortimer on December 27, 2015, 12:47:05 pm
Do Syrian and Iraqi Kurdistan in any way act like a single entity?

Not at all.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ingemann on December 27, 2015, 01:08:35 pm
Do Syrian and Iraqi Kurdistan in any way act like a single entity?

Not at all.

Their leaders are in fact quite hostile toward each others, the Iraqi Kurds have always been close to Ankara (the ruling KDP had it own civil war with PKK backed PUK in the 90ties), while the Syrian Kurds are part of Turkish Kurdish movement (PKK) and rather close to the Assad regime. But here's the thing while the leaders of the Iraqi Kurds don't like PKK/PYD, the common Kurds doesn't share this antipathy and feel a strong national brotherhood, which mean that the ruling KDP in Iraqi Kurdistan have had to support Rojava.

Put in another context KDP are conservatives, while PKK/PYD are libertarian socialist and PUK social democratic/democratic socialist.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Frodo on December 28, 2015, 12:08:45 pm
Ramadi has been liberated from ISIL (http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/iraq-forces-sweep-ramadi-after-landmark-victory/ar-BBnYyCB?li=BBnb4R7).


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Grand Wizard Lizard of the Klan on December 28, 2015, 12:40:15 pm
So only Fallujah left, and then Mosul awaits (I don't believe that Mosul liberation actually will be next goal as Iraqi authorities says)
Good, Iraqi Army with Iranian support actually can do something positive. Although I heard that
Quote
The city of Ramadi was recaptured by federal forces, with the Popular Mobilisation -- a paramilitary force dominated by Tehran-backed Shiite militia groups -- remaining on the fringes.

it's not true and any militias were not supporting army in this final offensive. Anybody knows which one is true?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: swl on December 30, 2015, 12:15:45 pm
[...]
Western (and Russian) countries will for sure push for a post war regime that 80% of the fighters of the ground disapprove. We have many more years of mess in front of us...


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Simfan34 on December 30, 2015, 01:53:04 pm
So only Fallujah left, and then Mosul awaits (I don't believe that Mosul liberation actually will be next goal as Iraqi authorities says)
Good, Iraqi Army with Iranian support actually can do something positive. Although I heard that
Quote
The city of Ramadi was recaptured by federal forces, with the Popular Mobilisation -- a paramilitary force dominated by Tehran-backed Shiite militia groups -- remaining on the fringes.

it's not true and any militias were not supporting army in this final offensive. Anybody knows which one is true?

The absence of militias was reported on Newshour last night as well.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ingemann on January 02, 2016, 06:23:10 pm
[...]
Western (and Russian) countries will for sure push for a post war regime that 80% of the fighters of the ground disapprove. We have many more years of mess in front of us...

Any government in Syria are likely to have 80% disapproval.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ingemann on January 02, 2016, 06:35:12 pm
So only Fallujah left, and then Mosul awaits (I don't believe that Mosul liberation actually will be next goal as Iraqi authorities says)
Good, Iraqi Army with Iranian support actually can do something positive. Although I heard that
Quote
The city of Ramadi was recaptured by federal forces, with the Popular Mobilisation -- a paramilitary force dominated by Tehran-backed Shiite militia groups -- remaining on the fringes.

it's not true and any militias were not supporting army in this final offensive. Anybody knows which one is true?

The absence of militias was reported on Newshour last night as well.

Okay this is complex, there's suspicions that the reason that we don't hear about Shia militias are because they have been "integrated" into the army (de facto they have just gotten a more military sounding name instead being named after some martyr). Of course at the same time it's believed that the army integrated militias which was used in Ramadi was tribal Sunni ones from the Saudi border. These Sunni tribal groups have been loyal to the Iraqi government, since Salafists/Al Qaeda/proto ISIS took over their area around a decade ago, their behaviour pissed the local (very conservatives) tribes off enough to, that they drove them off and allied with the Shia government, who have treated them with kid's gloves ever since, and now use them when they reconquer Sunni areas. Of course there's not enough off them when Iraq are going to retake Mosul, so it may be Shia and Sunni units who will retake that areas, worst case are that the Kurds use Yadizis and Assyrians militias.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Frodo on January 10, 2016, 05:52:12 pm
I hope they're right:

Syria's chemical weapons destroyed, monitoring group says (http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/05/middleeast/syria-chemical-weapons/)


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ingemann on January 17, 2016, 04:43:28 pm
I hope they're right:

Syria's chemical weapons destroyed, monitoring group says (http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/05/middleeast/syria-chemical-weapons/)

Honestly it doesn't make a lot of difference, it haven't been used on large scale in this conflict (for PR reasons and because chemical weapons are lousy to anti-partisan warfare, it's mostly useful as part of a MAD doctrine) and the Syrian regime have all the know how to make new ones, when they doesn't have to deal with this civil war anymore.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ingemann on January 17, 2016, 04:52:34 pm
Also in other news the Kurds are making gain in northeastern Aleppo Governorate, while the regime are doing well in Latakia Governorate, where the rebels are in disorder in the Turkmen Mountains. Getting rid of the rebels there will free up government forces.

Also ISIS have had to cut their warriors salaries in half. The only reason ISIS may survive this year are because no one are really interested in their Syrian territories.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Grand Wizard Lizard of the Klan on January 17, 2016, 05:54:49 pm
The only reason ISIS may survive this year are because no one are really interested in their Syrian territories.


I've heard that SAA is planning offensive on Al-Qaryatayn so probably not that "not interested".


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: palandio on January 18, 2016, 02:22:31 pm
Al-Qaryatayn is a small town in the desert and the front in this area is more or less where it was at the beginning of the Russian intervention. (Remember that ISIS temporarily captured Maheen after the intervention until the SAA recaptured it.)

At the moment the SAA and its supporters are heavily invested on other fronts, in particular Latakia governorate (against non-ISIS rebels) and Greater Aleppo (against both ISIS and non-ISIS rebels), but also to a lesser degree Greater Damascus and Daraa. If Al-Qaryatayn plays a role, then mainly due to the danger that an ISIS presence there presents to the connections between Damascus, Homs and the Central Syrian oil/gas fields.

Priorities for the SAA are securing the coastal region and Greater Aleppo and weakening the Northwestern rebel alliance. Assad's nightmare is that otherwise the rebels with Turkish and Saudi support could try to seize Aleppo and endanger Latakia while the SAA stands in Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ingemann on February 06, 2016, 02:48:19 pm
Government gain around Aleppo since september

(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CadtE3FXEAA1eha.jpg)

The most strategic significant gain is the connection to the Shia enclaves Nubl & Zahraa, as it cut off the rebels in north east from the Turkish border, forcing them to transport over the Turkmen mountains instead, which are much worse for transport.

The gain against ISIS on the other hand was a much bigger moral gain, as the Kuweries airbase was full of pro-government refugees (mostly government officials and their families). If it had fallen to ISIS it would have hurt the moral of the government supporters.

The gain south of Aleppo are not especially important, it's relative easy to take lowland, but it show a increased weakness on the rebel side, that the regime have made significant gains in one of the rebel strongholds


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Simfan34 on February 06, 2016, 03:05:23 pm
These "Turkmens" aren't actually Turkmens, right?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ingemann on February 06, 2016, 03:13:49 pm
These "Turkmens" aren't actually Turkmens, right?

Turkmen in this context are just Turks who dwell in post-Ottoman Arab territories. They're not more related than the average Anatolian Turk with the central Asian Turkmens.

As for how many of them there exists it's rather unclear, the only difference between them and the average Syrian Sunni Arab are their patrilineal ancestry, they share religion and both they and their Sunni Arab neighbours are likely both bilingual in Arab and Turkish (and often trilingual in Kurdish too).


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Benwah [why on Earth do I post something] Courseyay on February 06, 2016, 04:58:04 pm
Sad news for Syria, one more...

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2016/02/06/aniseh-makhlouf-mother-syrian-president-bashar-assad-dies/79929336/

(http://vid.alarabiya.net/images/2016/02/07/40445506-ed1b-4b2b-9a79-d7259ed7d36f/40445506-ed1b-4b2b-9a79-d7259ed7d36f_16x9_788x442.jpg)

4 down, 1 away, then 2 left, on the, well, left

Might be a turn in Syria War, would eventually give an emotion to the 2 remaining brothers...



Unless the actual turn being that Russia recently discovered Go game, there's been such a fuss about that lately, then, after wanting to be chess world champions during Cold War, they might have decided to be Go world champions in their new trolling 'Cold War' now.

Map of the game, Syria, decisive point to win, Alep, game partner, the 2 guys on the left of the pic, those managed to have a good enough control of that game lately.

(https://i0.wp.com/libnanews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/download.aspx_.jpeg?w=490)

Besieged locality of Yarmuk, southern Damas, UN pic, for one pic that can be viewed, haven't seen others, but radio descriptions have been enough...

They're becoming as good at it as they were at chess, and are apparently winning again...

Apparently fights on the ground already began in Alep between regime and rebels, 120 already reported dead on both sides according to France24, and numbers of people fleeing that sick Go game oscilates between 20 and 70 thousands so far.



Personally, I'd be in IS, I might be like:

Both Russians are putting lots of forces on Alep to [definitely?] win the war on the [sane] rebels.

We're being more and more screwed on the East by heavier Western bombings.

Wouldn't it be time to try to gather a lot of our forces and so cool American equipment to try to crack Damas down...?


Thankfully I'm not in IS.

No matter they still control a 'state', they already managed to spread to the world, and international money from some bored Saudis would still be available if needed...



Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: palandio on February 07, 2016, 06:33:04 am
I just read an analysis by Fabrice Balanche for the Washington Institute, fitting together with what ingemann wrote. He describes the recent advances of the pro-Assad forces in Greater Aleppo (with a map) and how they fit into the bigger strategy (with a map). He also argues that Russia has been quite successful in accomplishing its short-term strategic goals, differently from what many Western observers had said before.
http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/view/the-battle-of-aleppo-is-the-center-of-the-syrian-chessboard

Probably Benwah is right and "The battle of Aleppo is the center of the Syrian Go board" is a better title.

With regards to "If I were IS I would try to attack Damascus": The so-called IS has already been weakened by Western and Russian airstrikes and Iraqi, Kurdish and Syrian ground fighting. I doubt that they have the military capacity to launch an open assault on the Syrian capital. Both regime and rebels have at least 20.000 fighters engaged in Greater Damascus (probably more), but it's rarely in the news because it's not chess but some extreme variation of Go (see the picture of Yarmuk you posted). What the IS has already tried and what it is still trying is the infiltration and takeover of besieged rebel-dominated suburbs of Damascus. The future of IS is to spread like cancer, the biggest tumors will be cut.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Çråbçæk on February 07, 2016, 08:14:48 am
What I'm worried about is the Mosul Dam. That wasn't stable even at the best of times, and given that I assume "dam maintenance" isn't high on anybody's priorities at the moment, it's basically a ticking time bomb (especially if Daesh decide to go out with a bang)


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ingemann on February 08, 2016, 02:55:16 pm
What I'm worried about is the Mosul Dam. That wasn't stable even at the best of times, and given that I assume "dam maintenance" isn't high on anybody's priorities at the moment, it's basically a ticking time bomb (especially if Daesh decide to go out with a bang)

Mosul Dam are to my knowledge under the control of the Kurds and have been since 2014. So I don't think you need to worry over it.


Probably Benwah is right and "The battle of Aleppo is the center of the Syrian Go board" is a better title.

With regards to "If I were IS I would try to attack Damascus": The so-called IS has already been weakened by Western and Russian airstrikes and Iraqi, Kurdish and Syrian ground fighting. I doubt that they have the military capacity to launch an open assault on the Syrian capital. Both regime and rebels have at least 20.000 fighters engaged in Greater Damascus (probably more), but it's rarely in the news because it's not chess but some extreme variation of Go (see the picture of Yarmuk you posted). What the IS has already tried and what it is still trying is the infiltration and takeover of besieged rebel-dominated suburbs of Damascus. The future of IS is to spread like cancer, the biggest tumors will be cut.

I don't really think that ISIS are any major threat in this conflict. We focus on it because of its success in Iraq, but their success in Syria have been on secondary fronts, where it have focused on weaker and more disorganised rebel groups and besieged government enclaves. The moment they attacked the more well organised Kurds, they lost many of their best soldiers and they have been on retreat ever since.

The most important conflict area in Syria are around Aleppo, the moment the government have ended the rebels there, the rest of the conflict will just be a clean up and a potential agreement between the regime and the Kurds about autonome kurdish area. ISIS don't really matter, they control areas with little value to the regime or the Kurds, which is why they been ignored in favour of the rebels in the Syrian heartland.

Also a interesting fact the villages of Dael and Ibta in southern Syria have driven the local rebels out and raised the Syrian flag. The area have little importance, it's poor and populated by Sunnis, the rebel offensives in the area have been complete failures and the government have mostly ignored it, except for beating the the rebel offensives. But the fact that the local have tired of the rebels to the point, where they expel them and join the government, are interesting and could mean that we could see a complete collapse of the rebels in the area. 


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ingemann on February 08, 2016, 03:57:42 pm
A interesting pre-war ethnic/religious map of Syria

(http://gulf2000.columbia.edu/images/maps/Syria_Ethnic_summary_lg.png)

http://gulf2000.columbia.edu/maps.shtml (http://gulf2000.columbia.edu/maps.shtml)

There's also a map which also show population density of the different groups

(http://gulf2000.columbia.edu/images/maps/Syria_Ethnic_Detailed_lg.png)


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Grand Wizard Lizard of the Klan on February 08, 2016, 04:51:07 pm
I have also in my map folder few maps connected with countries also touched directly or indirectly by Syrian Civil War

(http://i.imgur.com/gwmIwBa.jpg)
(http://i.imgur.com/fkizVTS.png)
(http://i.imgur.com/GIoJNWD.png)
(http://i.imgur.com/BgwoI3Y.jpg)
(http://i.imgur.com/usFthio.jpg)
(http://i.imgur.com/kbaDI6r.jpg)


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Grand Wizard Lizard of the Klan on February 11, 2016, 10:45:44 am
http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/war-isis-poland-join-fight-against-daesh-exchange-more-nato-troops-1543139




Title: Major Powers Agree on Syrian Peace Plan
Post by: Frodo on February 11, 2016, 07:38:20 pm
U.S., Russia and other powers agree on ‘cessation of hostilities’ in Syria’s civil war (https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/kerry-searches-for-common-ground-on-the-syrian-conflict/2016/02/11/1bc6482c-d042-11e5-90d3-34c2c42653ac_story.html?hpid=hp_rhp-banner-main_ussyria-505pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory)

By Karen DeYoung
February 11 at 7:04 PM


MUNICH —
Quote
The United States, Russia and other powers have reached agreement on a “cessation of hostilities” in Syria’s civil war that allows for immediate humanitarian access to besieged areas, Secretary of State John F. Kerry announced here early Friday morning.

The end of hostilities, which Kerry avoided calling a cease-fire, is scheduled to go into effect “in one week’s time,” Kerry said. Humanitarian access to towns and cities in Syria where food and medical supplies have been blocked, sometimes for months, is to begin immediately.

“It was unanimous,” Kerry said. “Everybody today agreed on the urgency of humanitarian access. What we have here are words on paper. What we need to see in the next few days are actions on the ground.”

Agreement came after day-long consultations that lasted until early Friday here. Hours earlier, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov huddled with his counterpart from Iran, Russia’s ally in backing the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad, and Secretary of State John F. Kerry sat down with allies backing the Syrian opposition, before all parties gathered for a joint meeting at which the deal was struck.

Lavrov called cessation of hostilities the “first step” toward a full cease-fire.

Quote
Under the agreement as initially drafted, two committees would be formed of the 17 countries that are part of the so-called International Syrian Support Group, or ISSG, formed in November at Kerry’s urging. The group, including Russia and Iran in addition to U.S. allies in Europe and the region surrounding Syria, developed a formula for peace talks between the Syrian government and the opposition, with a U.N. resolution mandating its terms for a cease-fire, formation of a transition government and eventual negotiations.

(...) One of the new committees would monitor humanitarian access and deliveries, troubleshooting and adjudicating claims of interference. The second committee would monitor the cease-fire. Details of what some diplomats called a less-formal “cessation of hostilities” have still not been firmed up.

The goal is to ensure that charges of violations would be directed to the committee, rather than responded to in kind. Any fighting group that signed on to and complied with a cease-fire would be exempt from airstrikes. It presumes that the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra, considered by all parties to be terrorist groups, would not participate. Opposition groups embedded with al-Nusra in the anti-Assad fight would have to decide whether to sever those links and separate themselves geographically from the militants.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Famous Mortimer on February 11, 2016, 07:49:45 pm
This is at least the third time this exact same plan has been announced. I'll believe it when it actually happens. As far as I can tell, the parties have just agreed that the end goal will be a coalition government and a united front against ISIS. They still can't agree on specifics though.


Title: Re: Major Powers Agree on Syrian Peace Plan
Post by: ingemann on February 12, 2016, 07:24:22 am
U.S., Russia and other powers agree on ‘cessation of hostilities’ in Syria’s civil war (https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/kerry-searches-for-common-ground-on-the-syrian-conflict/2016/02/11/1bc6482c-d042-11e5-90d3-34c2c42653ac_story.html?hpid=hp_rhp-banner-main_ussyria-505pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory)

By Karen DeYoung
February 11 at 7:04 PM


MUNICH —
Quote
The United States, Russia and other powers have reached agreement on a “cessation of hostilities” in Syria’s civil war that allows for immediate humanitarian access to besieged areas, Secretary of State John F. Kerry announced here early Friday morning.

The end of hostilities, which Kerry avoided calling a cease-fire, is scheduled to go into effect “in one week’s time,” Kerry said. Humanitarian access to towns and cities in Syria where food and medical supplies have been blocked, sometimes for months, is to begin immediately.

“It was unanimous,” Kerry said. “Everybody today agreed on the urgency of humanitarian access. What we have here are words on paper. What we need to see in the next few days are actions on the ground.”

Agreement came after day-long consultations that lasted until early Friday here. Hours earlier, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov huddled with his counterpart from Iran, Russia’s ally in backing the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad, and Secretary of State John F. Kerry sat down with allies backing the Syrian opposition, before all parties gathered for a joint meeting at which the deal was struck.

Lavrov called cessation of hostilities the “first step” toward a full cease-fire.

Quote
Under the agreement as initially drafted, two committees would be formed of the 17 countries that are part of the so-called International Syrian Support Group, or ISSG, formed in November at Kerry’s urging. The group, including Russia and Iran in addition to U.S. allies in Europe and the region surrounding Syria, developed a formula for peace talks between the Syrian government and the opposition, with a U.N. resolution mandating its terms for a cease-fire, formation of a transition government and eventual negotiations.

(...) One of the new committees would monitor humanitarian access and deliveries, troubleshooting and adjudicating claims of interference. The second committee would monitor the cease-fire. Details of what some diplomats called a less-formal “cessation of hostilities” have still not been firmed up.

The goal is to ensure that charges of violations would be directed to the committee, rather than responded to in kind. Any fighting group that signed on to and complied with a cease-fire would be exempt from airstrikes. It presumes that the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra, considered by all parties to be terrorist groups, would not participate. Opposition groups embedded with al-Nusra in the anti-Assad fight would have to decide whether to sever those links and separate themselves geographically from the militants.

Russia and Syria only agree to "cessation of hostilities" against groups which aren't international recognised as terrorists, which mean that they will continue to bomb ISIS, JAN  and several other groups, including several which are active around Aleppo.

Translation: this agreement are worth less than toilet paper.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ingemann on February 21, 2016, 04:14:47 pm
https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2016/02/18/the-media-are-misleading-public-syria/8YB75otYirPzUCnlwaVtcK/story.html (https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2016/02/18/the-media-are-misleading-public-syria/8YB75otYirPzUCnlwaVtcK/story.html)

A interesting pierce on the "siege of Aleppo"

Quote
The media are misleading the public on Syria

COVERAGE OF the Syrian war will be remembered as one of the most shameful episodes in the history of the American press. Reporting about carnage in the ancient city of Aleppo is the latest reason why.

For three years, violent militants have run Aleppo. Their rule began with a wave of repression. They posted notices warning residents: “Don’t send your children to school. If you do, we will get the backpack and you will get the coffin.” Then they destroyed factories, hoping that unemployed workers would have no recourse other than to become fighters. They trucked looted machinery to Turkey and sold it.

This month, people in Aleppo have finally seen glimmers of hope. The Syrian army and its allies have been pushing militants out of the city. Last week they reclaimed the main power plant. Regular electricity may soon be restored. The militants’ hold on the city could be ending.

....

I have also found a piece from Washington Institute
http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/view/ethnic-cleansing-threatens-syrias-unity (http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/view/ethnic-cleansing-threatens-syrias-unity)

What makes its interesting is not so much the article (which I still recommend people read), but more the demographic graphs in the article.

As example they have quite different projection of the Syrian demography than the we usual see (the traditional are usual based on the last census in 1960)

(http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/uploads/Images/Email/SyriaPopulationBySect.jpg)

But it also show the ethnic make up of the government controlled regions

(http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/uploads/Images/Email/RefugeesBySectSyria.jpg)

and the percent of the population living in areas controlled by the different fractions.

(http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/uploads/Images/Email/2015PopulationSyria.jpg)

Also in general news from Syria.

The government seems to keep the ceasefire with "FSA", while they attacking ISIS east of Aleppo.

The Kurds on the other hand are attacking first "FSA" and second ISIS east of Aleppo. ISIS seems in a state of near collapse on these fronts.

The Turks seems to have transported JAN (better known as Al Qaeda)troops from Idlib province (through Turkish territory) to the town of Azaz to defend it from YPG. 


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Famous Mortimer on February 22, 2016, 06:48:04 am
Kurds are attacking the FSA?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Grand Wizard Lizard of the Klan on February 22, 2016, 01:05:56 pm
Kurds are attacking the FSA?

In Northern Aleppo they are allied with some part of opposition forces and they are not fighting against FSA but most often some minor Islamist guerrillas like Islamic Front or Jaysh al-Mujahedeen.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ingemann on February 22, 2016, 03:31:51 pm
Kurds are attacking the FSA?

In Northern Aleppo they are allied with some part of opposition forces and they are not fighting against FSA but most often some minor Islamist guerrillas like Islamic Front or Jaysh al-Mujahedeen.

kataak are mostly correct (the Kurds in Aleppo are fundamental a neighbourhood militias, who have tried to stay neutral, but de facto have been allied with the regime), but this is a little more complex. This isn't happening in the Kurdish enclave in Aleppo, but at the Afrin canton, and the term FSA are rather meaningless, the groups kataak mention are often include when people talk about FSA.

For some more context, we tend to see the Kurds as a unified whole, but even through the three original cantons (Afrin, Kobane and Jazira) was under PYD/YPG control, they had different local leaders and interest. Kobane and Jazira have more less united now with Jazira saving Kobane from ISIS.

But there was some important demographic difference. Kobane was religious homogene with the local Kurds being Sunnis, Jazira was more heterogene, but Sunni still dominated (especially as religious minorities was mostly non Kurdish). Afrin on the other hand are much more heterogene, with the population being a mix of Sunnis, Alevis (official Shia de facto a kind of Anatolian folk religion which mix Islam with Kurdish pre-Islamic paganism, Turkic shamanism and Christianity to my understanding) and Yedizi. This mean that Afrin from the start was more pro-regime than the other two cantons and much more hostile toward the Sunni Arab rebels (even Sunni Kurds tend to look down on Arabs, as the Kurds was used by the Ottomans to beat down Arabs when they became uppity). Afrin stayed mostly neutral but kept a good relationship with the government (Shia) enclaves on its eastern border, regime loyalist fleed into Afrin as other government base fell to the rebels early in the conflict.

But a few month ago FSA (IF and some Turkmen Islamist groups if I remember correctly) declared that if Afrin didn't give up several villages to them they would attack Afrin. The Kurds asked them to f**k off, and FSA attacked them. The result was that the Afrin Kurds conquered several villages from FSA (surprise). As the goverment cut of the rebels east of Afrin from the rest of rebels in Idlib. The Kurds stated a new offensive and have conquered the southern part of the strip, while Turkish artillary keep them from conquering the northern part. Instead they have continued into ISIS territory, where they have conquered several villages.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Benwah [why on Earth do I post something] Courseyay on February 22, 2016, 06:47:38 pm
(http://i.f1g.fr/media/figaro/805x453_crop/2016/02/22/XVM0282a87c-d931-11e5-a1bb-a102948c9c73.jpg)

Now about 180 dead people in IS recent terror attacks in Homs (60) and Damas (120), biggest terror attack since the beginning of conflict.

So, yeah, being more and more militarily screwed on both sides, IS effectively focuses on Damas apparently, but they do it through what they can do the best, terror.

Those guys can't be militarily beaten.

Just like you couldn't win against AQ militarily, and the more the US went on it in the 2000s, the more AQ did spread around the world.

Happenning exactly the same for IS with a far bigger speed.

About the impact it can have on Syria, question would be on much some eventual harsh repeated terrorism can destabilize the Syrian regime.

The more they're hunting IS on the ground the more Damas walls would be in danger. I heard the regime army was on the gate of Raqqa, right?

And the more IS is wipped out from Syria and Iraq, the more they might want to 'discover new countries'...



Ah and, while we're at Homs, I've been surprised to hear that there were still people 60 there...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5-xBFo85vQ


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Hnv1 on February 25, 2016, 06:36:21 am
Turkish armoured units taking part in fighting against IS near Mosul\IRaw


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Frodo on March 10, 2016, 11:58:59 pm
Discussions have begun on the probable de facto dismemberment (http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-federalism-idUSKCN0WC2V8) of Syria, though the various countries being carved out of it will only be regarded as autonomous entities, and not formally independent.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Frodo on March 27, 2016, 11:12:32 am
Palmyra has been liberated (http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-palmyra-idUSKCN0WT04R).


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Benwah [why on Earth do I post something] Courseyay on March 27, 2016, 12:09:26 pm
Palmyra has been liberated (http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-palmyra-idUSKCN0WT04R).

Ban Ki Moon saluting this, awful to have to thank Russia and Assad, isn't it?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: dead0man on March 30, 2016, 08:11:10 am
In Syria, militias armed by the Pentagon fight those armed by the CIA - LA Times (http://www.latimes.com/world/middleeast/la-fg-cia-pentagon-isis-20160327-story.html)
Quote
Syrian militias armed by different parts of the U.S. war machine have begun to fight each other on the plains between the besieged city of Aleppo and the Turkish border, highlighting how little control U.S. intelligence officers and military planners have over the groups they have financed and trained in the bitter five-year-old civil war.

The fighting has intensified over the last two months, as CIA-armed units and Pentagon-armed ones have repeatedly shot at each other while maneuvering through contested territory on the northern outskirts of Aleppo, U.S. officials and rebel leaders have confirmed.
le sigh


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Benwah [why on Earth do I post something] Courseyay on March 31, 2016, 03:59:37 pm
At one point you must just laugh, really, and I have to thank all those guys for this, and the 'le sigh' wasn't bad either.

Thanks all of you, you lighten my mood, I laughed good, really.

[/f**king French humour again maybe]

[/f**king Syrian humour though]

[/Americans aren't bad either]


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: BundouYMB on April 04, 2016, 03:49:14 pm
The relatively small but strategically important town of Al-Qaryatayn has been liberated: https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/breaking-syrian-army-liberates-quraytayn/

Sets the stage for the Syrian Army's huge coming push towards Deir ez-Zor.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: palandio on April 06, 2016, 04:28:59 am
The first cease-fire is now dead on the South Aleppo front and other fronts and seems to have been only a break in which both sides rearrange their artillery...


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Grand Wizard Lizard of the Klan on April 14, 2016, 03:56:34 am
Well, I don't know if all know but there were parliamentary elections in Syria yesterday.
http://alwaght.com/en/News/48938
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-idUSKCN0XA2C5

Aleppo
(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Cf8bmvgW4AALyL-.jpg)

Damascus
(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Cf8beo1WEAAZ5eW.jpg)
(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Cf7AzKHWwAA357M.jpg)

As-Suwayda
(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Cf7x4KUXIAEZqSh.jpg)
(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Cf7x4W6XIAAzXHg.jpg)

Tartus
(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Cf6_3KFWsAAZ_HO.jpg)
(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Cf6_3T2WEAAD2ZK.jpg)

Homs
(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Cf6_aQqWEAADtgn.jpg)
(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Cf6_dQCWEAAw1Hq.jpg)

I wonder what will be result for ar-Raqqah *canned laughter*


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: swl on April 14, 2016, 05:40:32 am
I am wondering what's the %age of Syrians living in government controlled areas?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Grand Wizard Lizard of the Klan on April 14, 2016, 05:52:12 am
I guess on territories controlled by Syrian Republic lives majority of population (which remained in Syria).


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ingemann on April 15, 2016, 01:25:11 pm
I am wondering what's the %age of Syrians living in government controlled areas?

10 million out of the 16-17 million people in Syria.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: palandio on April 22, 2016, 03:19:18 am
Clashes between pro-regime militias and the Kurdish-dominated police force Asayish in the city of Qamishli (province of Hasakah, north-eastern Syria) are escalating. There have been minor incidents in the past, and temporarily stable truces imposed by the regime and PYD/YPG. This time the will to compromise on both sides seems to be questionable, and the party that would benefit is Daesh who are already moving troops in the direction of Shaddadi.

(For some general background, see also ingemann's post from February 22, 2016, 03:31:51 pm)


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ingemann on April 25, 2016, 10:44:13 am
Clashes between pro-regime militias and the Kurdish-dominated police force Asayish in the city of  (province of Hasakah, north-eastern Syria) are escalating. There have been minor incidents in the past, and temporarily stable truces imposed by the regime and PYD/YPG. This time the will to compromise on both sides seems to be questionable, and the party that would benefit is Daesh who are already moving troops in the direction of Shaddadi.

(For some general background, see also ingemann's post from February 22, 2016, 03:31:51 pm)

I read up on this, and it seem to have started with some NDF guard began the fighting and it's here it becomes complex and ugly.

The local NDF are from the Tayy/Shammar tribe. They're Sunni Arabs. This tribe have been closely allied with the regime for decades and was settled in the area for that reason and as part of the Arabization process. They took part in the 2004 Qamishli massacre against the local Kurds, in fact they may have started the conflict which lead to massacre.

In general the local NDF are your typical Sunni Arab paramilitary (or soldiers) group, chest beating thugs who's useful against unarmed civilians, who they can terrorize, rape and plunder, but mostly useless against organised forces. The only difference from the rebel groups (outside JAN and Daesh) are that they "fight" under the regime's banner. It's a typical example in the difference between the NDF groups, NDF recruited among Druzes, Alawites, Christians and Ismailittes are better organised, through we also have example of Sunni NDF who's better than this.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ingemann on May 28, 2016, 06:10:42 am
The Kurds have a few days ago started a offensive on Raqqa. It seems to have ended again. The offensive have in general been a success, and seem to mostly have ended because the Kurds are unwilling (wise enough) to attack Raqqa yet. According to "Raqqa is being slaughtered silently" a anti-ISIS resistant group, the people of Raqqa seem more terrified of a Kurdish conquest than continued ISIS rule.

At the same ISIS is on the offensive against FSA in north Aleppo, where Azaz may fall in a close future (unless we see a Turkish intervention). This may also be why the Kurds have stopped their offensive at Raqqa, as the destruction of FSA north of Aleppo would leave them and SAA as the only alternative to getting rid of ISIS in the area and it would make Turkish threats against Kurdish expansion in the area seem to be pro-ISIS. Also it's unlikely the Turks will intervene, as the Russians will likely shoot down any Turkish plane in Syrian territory and may even attack Turkish ground units (and no it wouldn't allow Turkey to call on NATO).


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: palandio on June 07, 2016, 04:19:19 pm
During the last week the Kurdish-dominated SDF have been advancing towards the Daesh-held city of Manbij near the Turkish border from the east and are already encircling it from the north, south and east.

This is interesting for several reasons. Turkey has said in the past that it would not allow the Kurds to cross the Euphrates, because the area between Azaz in the west and the Euphrates in the east which currently is mostly under control of Daesh should become a Turkish-influenced "safe zone".

- But Turkish proxies (FSA etc.) in the area around Azaz and Marea are now in a dire situation (see ingemann's post) and everyone sees that there is no realistic chance that they could conquer the "safe zone". So if Turkey continues preventing the Kurds from attacking Daesh in the "safe zone", this would be perceived as even more blatantly pro-Daesh than in the past.
- The SDF forces that are engaged in the battle of Manbij are at most 20% Kurdish, at least the SDF say so.
- SDF seems to have American backing.

Not too much attention has been paid to the Eastern Ghouta campaign. Eastern Ghouta is a rebel enclave east of Damascus, in fact the biggest of the Damascus suburb enclaves and also the only one that includes vast agricultural areas. For over one month Nusra-affiliated groups and the long-dominating Salafi Islamist group Jaish al-Islam have fought each other in a bloody conflict until they reconciled two weeks ago. But the Syrian Army has already profitted from the weakened rebel defense and conquered large swaths of land in the south of the enclave, including valuable farmland. From a broader perspective the Syrian Army has been continuously advancing in the Damascus suburbs over almost the whole duration of the war, dividing rebel-controlled areas and besieging the remaining enclaves. In other parts of the country the development has been much less continuous.

South of Aleppo rebels have conquered some villages during the past weeks, the cease-fire seems to matter no longer. Russia has detached some of its troups from Aleppo due to the cease-fire and Hezbollah has detached troups due to a potential hot conflict with Israel looming on the horizont. We see that without friends the Syrian Army in Aleppo is in difficulties. On the other hand the rebels are not achieving that much, if that is the strongest attack they can mount.

For the first time in two years the Syrian Army has entered Raqqa province from Ithriyah in Hama province and is advancing towards Daesh-held Tabqa. Has the race towards Raqqa begun? Is this the begin of a major offensive? Will there be coordination with the SDF? In other news Syrian Army advances around Palmyra and toward Deir ez-Zor are slow and there are set-backs like the repeated loss of the Shaer gas field.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: palandio on June 08, 2016, 02:06:03 pm
Being under attack from the SDF in Manbij, Daesh is retreating from the Azaz/Marea front, hence allowing the pro-Turkish rebels to reverse their recent losses (mentioned in ingemann's post) and even to gain further territory. This strengthens the pro-Turkish rebels and their backers and might raise the tensions between Turkey and SDF even more. Very clever.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Mehmentum on June 20, 2016, 03:57:37 pm
Syrian Civil War + Spillover, January 2016.
(https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/archive/1/11/20160111020458%21Syrian%2C_Iraqi%2C_and_Lebanese_insurgencies.png)

June 2016
(https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/11/Syrian%2C_Iraqi%2C_and_Lebanese_insurgencies.png)


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Vice President PiT on June 20, 2016, 04:12:27 pm
     ISIS is finally giving way!


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: swl on June 22, 2016, 02:06:19 pm
It looks good in Iraq, I guess Mosul should be taken in the next months... However in Syria the Syrian army seems to weak to take back Raqqa.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: palandio on June 22, 2016, 03:50:56 pm
The Syrian Army's Raqqa offensive seems to have turned into a costly desaster, due to strategic mistakes, a surprise Daesh counter-attack, lack of communication between different units and an un-coordinated retreat that left some units behind enemy lines. One might almost say 'business as usual'. While lifting the sieges of Kuweires and Nubl/Al-Zahraa has been a major moral boost for pro-regime fighters, recent events once again might give them the sentiment that in critical situations their commanders tend to waste their lives due to military incompetence.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Green Line on June 22, 2016, 03:54:59 pm
I don't see how the Iraqi Army is going to retake Mosul and actually hold it long term without US troops doing the heavy lifting.  This is the army that broke almost immediately when ISIS moved in.  I fear any Iraqi gains are going to be fragile and easily reversed.  This is going to be a problem for a long time to come.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Ebsy on June 26, 2016, 06:05:59 pm
http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2016/06/26/iraq_takes_back_full_control_of_fallujah_from_isis.html

Fallujah has been retaken by the Iraqis with relatively little damage to the city itself.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: palandio on July 11, 2016, 10:25:02 am
The most important development of the past two weeks has probably been the advance of the regime forces in the Mallah farms north of Aleppo, supported by the Russian Airforce. The effect of this is that now the Castello Road, which was the last supply-line to insurgent-held Eastern Aleppo, is under fire control by the regime, effectively cutting it and laying siege on Eastern Aleppo. Prices in Eastern Aleppo are already skyrocketing.

Insurgents so far have been unable to reverse these gains and might instead try to make further advances in the Southern Aleppo countryside.
There has also been an insurgent offensive in Latakia province, which has resulted in the gain of the town of Kinsibba, but which now has stalled.

The regime on the other hand has continued its advances in the Damascus suburbs, in particular the Eastern Ghouta.

Attempts by ISIS to break the siege of Manbij have been unsuccesful, and the SDF are slowly advancing into parts of the city.

An attempt by the American-supported "New Syrian Army" to cut the connection between the ISIS-occupied parts of Iraq and Syria at al-Bukamal on the Euphrates has resulted in failure.

Also regime operations against ISIS near Deir ez-Zor and Palmyra seam to be purely defensive for the moment, the offensives being postponed due to the army being busy in Aleppo and Damascus.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ingemann on July 11, 2016, 06:03:53 pm
palandio bring up some good points.

I think the three most important fronts the rest of the year will be the Kurd attempts to cut ISIS off from Turkey and connect Afrin with the rest of Rojava. This will weaken ISIS to the point where it may collapse before Christmas

Whether East Aleppo end up completely besieged. This will strengthen the regimes position in the north and enable the regime to use Aleppo more offensive

The potential fall of Eastern Ghouta. A third of the regimes forces are around Damascus. The fall of EG would free up thousands of soldiers to use on other fronts.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: palandio on July 13, 2016, 01:03:06 pm
I think the three most important fronts the rest of the year will be the Kurd attempts to cut ISIS off from Turkey and connect Afrin with the rest of Rojava.
I think that the recent succesful SDF/Kurdish offensives against ISIS have shown that from a military standpoint they could cut ISIS off from Turkey within a short time. The question will be if Turkey will permit it like it is reluctantly tolerating the current offensive on Manbij. If no, the question might also involve players like Russia and the US and things could get really complicated.
Quote
This will weaken ISIS to the point where it may collapse before Christmas
ISIS is already far weaker than it was one or two years ago. But who is ready to take over its remaining territory? Will the Iraqi Army be able to find enough Sunni allies in Niniveh province? Will the non-Kurdish component of the SDF be strong enough to fight battles that for the Kurds are not a priority? Will the Syrian Army have weakened the rebels enough that it can deploy more forces to the East?
Quote
Whether East Aleppo end up completely besieged. This will strengthen the regimes position in the north and enable the regime to use Aleppo more offensive
What do you mean? Offensives from Aleppo towards the east? Or towards the west? In any case it's interesting to see how much both regime and rebels are investing into the battle of Aleppo.
Quote
The potential fall of Eastern Ghouta. A third of the regimes forces are around Damascus. The fall of EG would free up thousands of soldiers to use on other fronts.
Yes, that seems to be the primary motivation of the regime in their recent Eastern Ghouta and Daraya offensives.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Californiadreaming on July 27, 2016, 04:38:55 pm
The Syrian Army's Raqqa offensive seems to have turned into a costly desaster, due to strategic mistakes, a surprise Daesh counter-attack, lack of communication between different units and an un-coordinated retreat that left some units behind enemy lines. One might almost say 'business as usual'. While lifting the sieges of Kuweires and Nubl/Al-Zahraa has been a major moral boost for pro-regime fighters, recent events once again might give them the sentiment that in critical situations their commanders tend to waste their lives due to military incompetence.
Out of curiosity--did Russia help the Syrian Army in its failed Raqqa offensive?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Californiadreaming on July 27, 2016, 05:44:33 pm
     ISIS is finally giving way!
Yep, thankfully. :)


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Californiadreaming on July 27, 2016, 05:45:34 pm
Syrian Civil War + Spillover, January 2016.
(https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/archive/1/11/20160111020458%21Syrian%2C_Iraqi%2C_and_Lebanese_insurgencies.png)

June 2016
(https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/11/Syrian%2C_Iraqi%2C_and_Lebanese_insurgencies.png)
What exactly explains the ISIS retreat in southern Syria and western Iraq, though?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: palandio on July 28, 2016, 11:35:12 am
What seems to be the loss of a huge territory by ISIS in Southern Syria and Western Iraq is just the loss of some desert outposts, sadly.
In Southern Syria the US-backed and Jordan-based New Syrian Army has captured the al-Tanf border crossing from ISIS, but overall success has been limited so far. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Syrian_Army
In Western Syria the Iraqi Army and allies have made progress in the densely populated parts of Anbar province (Ramadi, Fallujah etc.) which has allowed it to take back some desert outposts.

But maps like these can be really deceiving. Optically they give too much value to deserts and wasteland on the one side, and on the other side important devolopments like the encirclement of East Aleppo, the SAA progress in the Damascus suburbs or the future capture of Manbij by the YPG are barely visible.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Californiadreaming on July 28, 2016, 12:43:15 pm
What seems to be the loss of a huge territory by ISIS in Southern Syria and Western Iraq is just the loss of some desert outposts, sadly.
In Southern Syria the US-backed and Jordan-based New Syrian Army has captured the al-Tanf border crossing from ISIS, but overall success has been limited so far. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Syrian_Army
In Western Syria the Iraqi Army and allies have made progress in the densely populated parts of Anbar province (Ramadi, Fallujah etc.) which has allowed it to take back some desert outposts.

But maps like these can be really deceiving. Optically they give too much value to deserts and wasteland on the one side, and on the other side important devolopments like the encirclement of East Aleppo, the SAA progress in the Damascus suburbs or the future capture of Manbij by the YPG are barely visible.
Thank you very much for this information!

Also, though, off-topic, but out of curiosity--given your extremely large amount of knowledge about this topic, can you please respond to this question of mine here?:

http://uselectionatlas.org/FORUM/index.php?topic=241654.0


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Angel of Death on July 31, 2016, 12:20:16 pm
It's worth mentioning that al-Nusra has now dissociated itself from Al-Qaeda, although the consensus seems to be not to overstate the importance of this.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: palandio on August 23, 2016, 05:14:37 am
Recent devolopments:

In Aleppo the Syrian Army was able to complete the siege of East Aleppo at the end of July, cutting the last rebel supply line in the north-west.
But within the next few days a long-prepared, massive rebel offensive, headed be the ex-Nusra Front (now Levant Conquest Front), resulted in a rebel breakthrough in the south-west, establishing a new (unsafe) supply line and cutting the main regime supply line towards West Aleppo.
The result is that now both sides have only unsafe new supply lines through recently conquered territory and the fighting is far from being over. The north-western rebels (Army of Conquest, Conquest of Aleppo) have once again shown that they are one of the strongest military actors on the ground.

Continued government advances in the Damascus suburbs (nothing new).

Heavy clashes are going on between regime forces and Kurds in al-Hasakah. In principle these are similar to the clashes in Qamishli in April which were ended by a ceasefire, but now there is the potential to develop into an all-out war with serious repercussions in other parts of Syria. In al-Hasakah it is probably the Kurds who have the upper hand, but this may not be the case in Sheikh Maqsoud and Afrin, when fighting against everyone else. A useful background article might be this:
http://carnegieendowment.org/syriaincrisis/64375

Which leads us to the recent diplomatic developments between Turkey and Assad's foreign backers. As a result Turkey might not support the rebels anymore (except for its proxies in the Azaz-Marea pocket), and in turn Russia, Iran and Assad might become very hostile towards the Syrian Kurds in general. But this would both be a 180 degree turn-around, I don't know how likely this is.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: palandio on August 24, 2016, 04:21:33 am
It seems that I missed the news of the week by a few hours:

Turkey and some of its proxies have started an offensive on ISIS territory near Jarabulus in Aleppo province. While Turkey has supported its proxies earlier by artillery from Turkish territory, it is the first time that Turkish tanks and special forces have entered Syria for fighting purposes.

Things will get interesting when Turkey+proxies meet the SDF/YPG a few miles further south in the recently captured Manbij area.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Angel of Death on August 24, 2016, 06:22:52 am
Maybe this is a bit semantic, but that would make this the first overt invasion of Syrian territory by a sovereign country in this civil war, does it not?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Ebsy on August 25, 2016, 02:33:09 am
I guess the big question is, does Turkey continue to advance into ISIS/Kurdish held territory or are were they just grabbing the low hanging fruit in Jarabulus.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: palandio on August 25, 2016, 04:33:43 am
Maybe this is a bit semantic, but that would make this the first overt invasion of Syrian territory by a sovereign country in this civil war, does it not?

This is indeed a bit semantic. The event that I had in mind when I wrote "for fighting purposes" was the following: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomb_of_Suleyman_Shah#Second_relocation_.282015.29

Apart from this one might of cause argue that the overt presence of Iranian and Russian troops in Syria is an invasion. But since they are fighting on the sides of the nominal government, it is in my opinion a different thing.

I guess the big question is, does Turkey continue to advance into ISIS/Kurdish held territory or are were they just grabbing the low hanging fruit in Jarabulus.

I'm quite sure this is part of a bigger campaign aimed at impeding the connection of the Kurdish cantons of Kobane and Afrin. Capturing the border crossing in Jarabulus is not worth much when it was closed anyway.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Come grasp the mighty avatar of our admin on August 31, 2016, 06:15:27 am
Another ISIS leader bites the dust

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-37224570


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: palandio on August 31, 2016, 10:27:28 am
Recent developments:

The Turkish offensive in the Jarabulus area has turned into Turkey+proxies vs. SDF/YPG, as many had been expecting. The Kurds' relations with both the US and Russia have soured.

The rebel pocket in Darayya south of Damascus has surrendered, rebel fighters and their families are transferred to Idlib, many civilians are preliminarily relocated to regime-held areas.

ISIS-friendly al-Nusra split-off Jund al-Aqsa and some FSA groups have started an offensive against regime-held areas north of Hama, so far resulting in the capture of the towns of Halfaya and Taybat al-Imam.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Nhoj on August 31, 2016, 01:36:20 pm
Another ISIS leader bites the dust

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-37224570
He wasn't just the spokesperson either. He was a early follower of zarqawi and second-in-command of the organization. 


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: swl on September 04, 2016, 04:33:00 pm
I guess the big question is, does Turkey continue to advance into ISIS/Kurdish held territory or are were they just grabbing the low hanging fruit in Jarabulus.
It seems that Turkey backed FSA announced their goal to move towards Al-Bab and Manbij. Interesting to note that Turkey was already proposing to create a "buffer zone" in this area 2 or 3 years ago, and didn't receive much support. A lot of time was wasted.
Turkey is also planning to "normalize" its relations with Assad. Maybe this will lead to an agreement not to attack each other if/when the FSA and Assad army meet south of Al Bab.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: palandio on September 05, 2016, 05:11:17 am
Two or three years ago ISIS was stronger, hence it would have been more difficult to gain ground against them.
YPG was weaker and an attack against ISIS would have helped the YPG, which was and is clearly not the Turkish intention. But now there is the danger of YPG/SDF actually linking up Afrin and Kobane, which was not there two or three years ago.
Assad did not yet have Russia's open support. Without a big buddy in the background he might have felt more endangered by the Turkish invasion and an all-out war between Syria and Turkey might have been the result. Of course the Turkish Army would have been stronger, but there would have been losses and unrest in Hatay province. The risk would have been high.

Now of course the "buffer zone" has a price tag, and in my opinion it might be East Aleppo. Turkey has already bought away some of the more "moderate" rebel factions from the Aleppo front, which are now fighting against ISIS and YPG/SDF instead. During the last days the Syrian Army and other pro-regime forces like Hezbollah have succesfully recaptured the Artillery Academy in South-West Aleppo, reverting the gains of the last rebel offensive and completing the encirclement of East Aleppo again.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Joe Republic on September 09, 2016, 01:22:52 am
Not sure if this has been posted already, but here's an interesting constantly-updated map of who controls where:

http://syria.liveuamap.com/

(click the legend on the top right for the color code)

You can also scroll over to other areas to see where ISIS has footholds, i.e. Iraq, Egypt, Libya, Afghanistan.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Simfan34 on September 09, 2016, 10:50:52 am
We are betraying the Kurds for Erdogan and will almost certainly come to regret this.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ingemann on September 09, 2016, 01:48:02 pm
We are betraying the Kurds for Erdogan and will almost certainly come to regret this.

Unlikely while I despise Erdogan and think the Kurds are the best faction in the entire region (including Israel). The Kurds are used to be betrayed, and doesn't have a tradition of terror outside the region. Also USA seem (to for once) smart enough that they keep supporting the Kurds, they just limit the Kurdish influence, until they have a excuse to nsupport YPG again. Also the Germans seem to have decided to simply throw their vallet after the Kurds.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: YaBoyNY on September 09, 2016, 04:38:56 pm
We are betraying the Kurds for Erdogan and will almost certainly come to regret this.

Unlikely while I despise Erdogan and think the Kurds are the best faction in the entire region (including Israel). The Kurds are used to be betrayed, and doesn't have a tradition of terror outside the region. Also USA seem (to for once) smart enough that they keep supporting the Kurds, they just limit the Kurdish influence, until they have a excuse to nsupport YPG again. Also the Germans seem to have decided to simply throw their vallet after the Kurds.

That's probably because Erdogan hasn't done much to endear Germany.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Mr. Morden on September 09, 2016, 06:41:13 pm
"US, Russia reach cease fire deal":

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/russian-foreign-minister-lavrov-says-he-was-thinking-of-calling-it-a-day-on-syria-talks-with-the-united-states/2016/09/09/f37ca320-75ff-11e6-9781-49e591781754_story.html


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: specific_name on September 09, 2016, 11:45:03 pm
Not many people are taking into account that Erdogan may have flipped sides. Or at least triangulated between the Western bloc and the Russia-Shia bloc.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: palandio on September 13, 2016, 04:42:53 am
There has certainly been a rapproachment between Turkey and Russia. Turkish-Western relations on the other hand have become much more complicated. But international diplomacy on the Syrian question is far more complex than two sides or a triangle. Everyone has his own interests and engages in temporary alliances, cooperations or nonaggression pacts.

In other news: Syrian-Israeli escalation.
Jihadist rebels have started a new offensive against regime-held areas in Quneitra province, with Israel bombing some Syrian artillery positions. The Syrian air defense claims to have downed an Israeli fighter jet and an Israeli drone. Israel confirmed the attacks, but said they missed their targets. This might become interesting.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Nhoj on September 14, 2016, 01:23:47 pm
There has certainly been a rapproachment between Turkey and Russia. Turkish-Western relations on the other hand have become much more complicated. But international diplomacy on the Syrian question is far more complex than two sides or a triangle. Everyone has his own interests and engages in temporary alliances, cooperations or nonaggression pacts.

In other news: Syrian-Israeli escalation.
Jihadist rebels have started a new offensive against regime-held areas in Quneitra province, with Israel bombing some Syrian artillery positions. The Syrian air defense claims to have downed an Israeli fighter jet and an Israeli drone. Israel confirmed the attacks, but said they missed their targets. This might become interesting.
If they had taken down a jet they would have proof and a bigger retaliation from Israel , a drone is possible though.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: palandio on September 15, 2016, 04:27:33 am
That's what I think, too. Still clearly a sign of rising tensions.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Enduro on September 15, 2016, 01:15:34 pm
"US, Russia reach cease fire deal":

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/russian-foreign-minister-lavrov-says-he-was-thinking-of-calling-it-a-day-on-syria-talks-with-the-united-states/2016/09/09/f37ca320-75ff-11e6-9781-49e591781754_story.html


Not sure if it's going to last.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Famous Mortimer on September 15, 2016, 01:54:33 pm
These ceasefire deals are frankly stupid and counter productive.

All they do is offer the different factions time to reground and get their sh**t together.

Why is no one working on a lasting political solution? Especially when it's clear what that political solution will be to everyone involved.

Assad in exile in Russia. Half Baath/half FSA coalition government with a Christian and/or former Communist as president. I can kind of see why Russia/Assad don't push for this, since they have a chance of winning outright if they just power though, but why aren't the Americans pushing harder for this?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Buffalo Bill on September 15, 2016, 03:11:35 pm
It's time for sanctions against Syria until Assad is gone.  We should be inviting Israel to help us with the pressure.  Iran's threat will lessen once he's out of power.  As I said before we need to be bringing refugees here and sending humanitarian aid to those in harms way over there.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Ted Bessell on September 17, 2016, 06:02:29 pm
The Coalition apparently hit Syrian Regime forces with an (accidental?) airstrike, killing 80+ of their troops.

http://www.cnn.com/2016/09/17/middleeast/syria-claims-coalition-airstrike-hit-regime-forces/index.html


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: riceowl on September 17, 2016, 11:07:43 pm
Why is no one talking about this? This is a problem.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Saturday's Cab Ride Home on September 18, 2016, 11:44:13 am
Let me get out the world's smallest violin...


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Simfan34 on September 18, 2016, 12:02:09 pm
Let me get out the world's smallest violin...

...


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ingemann on September 18, 2016, 01:50:05 pm
Why is no one talking about this? This is a problem.

It's not a problem, in a few weeks this will be mostly forgotten.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ingemann on September 18, 2016, 01:51:54 pm
Let me get out the world's smallest violin...

Those 80+ troops are part of a force which defend several hundred thousands civilians from ISIS.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Saturday's Cab Ride Home on September 18, 2016, 02:10:05 pm
Let me get out the world's smallest violin...

Those 80+ troops are part of a force which defend several hundred thousands civilians from ISIS.

Who have killed just as many, and spend more time fighting the main people who actually fight ISIS than ISIS themselves.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ingemann on September 18, 2016, 03:41:04 pm
Let me get out the world's smallest violin...

Those 80+ troops are part of a force which defend several hundred thousands civilians from ISIS.

Who have killed just as many, and spend more time fighting the main people who actually fight ISIS than ISIS themselves.

These soldiers defend the Deir ez-Zor besieged (enclave). This is like celebrating the death of Russian soldier in St. Petersburg while the Germans besieged it, because Russian troops behaved badly on other fronts. Many of these soldiers are likely conscripts, and defend a city, those (Sunni) population wil be butchered in the thousands (because they belong to a tribe hostile to ISIS) if ISIS wins, while the soldiers will likely be tortured, raped and murdered if they're taken alive by ISIS.

So unless you're really into the snuff porn videos ISIS produce, this is potential a pretty horrible thing. Of course in a greater political context this city matters very little. Assad defend it to keep a stronghold in east Syria and because it would send a wrong signal, if he let a city loyal to the regime fall in ISIS hands.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Mr. Morden on November 07, 2016, 07:47:30 am
So what's the deal with the Raqqa offensive?  Are the rebels going to knock out IS just so that they can in turn be knocked out by Assad?  Or is there some viable path forward for a Raqqa that is held by rebel groups in the long term (not IS or Assad)?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: palandio on November 07, 2016, 10:11:34 am
There is no such thing as the rebels.

There is ISIL, there are the SDF (which include the YPG) and there is a broad spectrum of other rebel groups with varying supporters and various degrees of islamism.

The current Raqqa offensive is an SDF offensive. Relations between the SDF and Assad are complicated at times, sometimes even hostile (e.g. Hasakah clashes), but there is cooperation, too (e.g. north of Aleppo). Hopefully Raqqa at some point will be part of a united federalized Syria through a diplomatic solution.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: King Jellybean on November 07, 2016, 10:23:00 am
This could actually work out. If the Kurds break the back of ISIS by taking Raqqa, that gives solidifies the Kurds and potential gives forces non-Baathists and Western interests a potential solid leg to stand on. It will probably fall through but the Kurds seem to be the type of people we that we can have a lot less guilt dealing through. The only problem of course is Turkey but from what I have seen, the Kurds seem to have more western values than the Turks or anyone else there.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ingemann on November 08, 2016, 03:26:25 pm
So what's the deal with the Raqqa offensive?  Are the rebels going to knock out IS just so that they can in turn be knocked out by Assad?  Or is there some viable path forward for a Raqqa that is held by rebel groups in the long term (not IS or Assad)?

No to all it.

The whole Raqqa offensive is a excuse for Turks to set up a territory in Syria, which will ensure the Kurds doesn't connect Afrin with the rest of Rojava. Unless it gives the Turks a excuse to attack the Kurds, they won't go after Raqqa.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ingemann on November 08, 2016, 03:31:13 pm
This could actually work out. If the Kurds break the back of ISIS by taking Raqqa, that gives solidifies the Kurds and potential gives forces non-Baathists and Western interests a potential solid leg to stand on. It will probably fall through but the Kurds seem to be the type of people we that we can have a lot less guilt dealing through. The only problem of course is Turkey but from what I have seen, the Kurds seem to have more western values than the Turks or anyone else there.

The Kurds don't want Raqqa, the only reason they made noises about was to keep their American sponsors happy, and outside some easy targets, the Kurds will likely avoid further expansion. The reason being the Turkish threat against further Kurdish expansion to the west and the American support of the Turkish threats.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: palandio on November 25, 2016, 04:41:22 pm
The region of al-Bab (which is still ISIS-hold) is seeing an escalation between Turkey and its proxies on the one side vs. YPG/SDF and Assad loyalists on the other side (and everyone vs. ISIS of course). There seems to be a clear reapproachment between the YPG and the loyalists after the souring of relations in the summer/autumn (al-Hasakah clashes, Assad reluctantly allowing Turkey into Syria in the first place). This is of course dangerous because it could turn into a NATO member (Turkey) vs. Syria (+Russia) conflict. It seems that the Russians have not yet taken position in public, but I would be surprised if this were an Assad solo.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Grand Wizard Lizard of the Klan on December 12, 2016, 04:07:29 pm
Well, SAA and Aleppo citizens now are celebrating complete liberation of the city.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: BundouYMB on December 12, 2016, 04:35:15 pm
Well, SAA and Aleppo citizens now are celebrating complete liberation subjugation of the city.

FTFY


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Grand Wizard Lizard of the Klan on December 12, 2016, 04:37:20 pm
Well, SAA and Aleppo citizens now are celebrating complete liberation subjugation of the city.

FTFY


2/10, try harder.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: BundouYMB on December 12, 2016, 05:29:46 pm
Well, SAA and Aleppo citizens now are celebrating complete liberation subjugation of the city.

FTFY


2/10, try harder.

"try harder" at what? The SAA used chemical weapons in residential areas in Aleppo. They've bombed the city indiscriminately over the last few years. They've been starving out residents during this farcical "siege" of the city. Have you been watching too much RT lately? Do you really think people are in the streets celebrating this? I never took you for being that stupid.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Beet on December 12, 2016, 06:02:16 pm
The Turks could have intervened back in '14 or even '15, taken out Assad, and set up a friendly government. Now they have Russian armed forces to their north and south, and a US president less friendly to NATO than the other side. No wonder Erdogan wants to make nice.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: BundouYMB on December 12, 2016, 06:06:20 pm
The Turks could have intervened back in '14 or even '15, taken out Assad, and set up a friendly government. Now they have Russian armed forces to their north and south, and a US president less friendly to NATO than the other side. No wonder Erdogan wants to make nice.

Yes, they could have, but as has been said before but the Turks only decided to intervene when the Kurds started making a little too much progress. I ing hate Erdogan.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Vice President PiT on December 12, 2016, 06:06:39 pm
The Turks could have intervened back in '14 or even '15, taken out Assad, and set up a friendly government. Now they have Russian armed forces to their north and south, and a US president less friendly to NATO than the other side. No wonder Erdogan wants to make nice.

     Turkey would have been rather foolish to make a move against Assad. It was obvious from the start that he had Russia in his corner.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Zioneer on December 12, 2016, 07:06:49 pm
Frankly, my main concern in this whole conflict is religious minorities. I do not want religious minorities to be wiped out or slaughtered. I had hoped that overthrowing Assad early on would have given a better government to all of Syria and preserved the rights of religious minorities, but then many of the rebel forces radicalized, then ISIS happened and started slaughtering everyone who wasn't part of their specific apocalyptic creed of Wahhabism, so.... I guess I'm in favor of Assad? I might be in favor of Assad and his surviving brothers being arrested as some sort of palace coup, and possibly installing someone less vicious in charge, but that looks very unlikely as a possibility.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: BundouYMB on December 12, 2016, 07:27:30 pm
Frankly, my main concern in this whole conflict is religious minorities. I do not want religious minorities to be wiped out or slaughtered. I had hoped that overthrowing Assad early on would have given a better government to all of Syria and preserved the rights of religious minorities, but then many of the rebel forces radicalized, then ISIS happened and started slaughtering everyone who wasn't part of their specific apocalyptic creed of Wahhabism, so.... I guess I'm in favor of Assad? I might be in favor of Assad and his surviving brothers being arrested as some sort of palace coup, and possibly installing someone less vicious in charge, but that looks very unlikely as a possibility.

If Assad somehow "won" (which is impossible, assuming winning means regaining complete control of Syria, because the Syrian army at the very least lacks the capability to ever regain the territory controlled by the Kurds) there would 100% be a genocide of Sunnis... and the very process of Assad "winning" would be unbelievably bloody in the first place given the SAA's tactics so far (which largely consists of bombing things to rubble from a distance and hoping the enemy dies with the civilians, since the SAA is so unbelievably corrupt and incompetent they can basically never win a ground war even when they vastly outnumber their opponent and have vastly superior weaponry.)

The least bad faction is clearly the Kurds, but the Kurds also completely lack the capacity to come anywhere close to "winning" and don't even desire to gain anymore territory (their only gains outside of the territory they consider part of Kurdistan have been at the behest of their American backers, and they have a). limited capability to gain anymore b). no desire to gain anymore and c). with Trump's election America likely won't even be pressuring them to gain anymore.)

Nothing good will come out of this chaos. There is no major faction to "support" or "root for." Every major player in Syria is rotten now.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Mike67 on December 12, 2016, 08:19:26 pm
Syria and Russia are lowering the boom on ISIS and with Aleppo pretty much controlled by Syria and Russia I think the tide has definitely turned.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: BundouYMB on December 12, 2016, 08:54:08 pm
Syria and Russia are lowering the boom on ISIS and with Aleppo pretty much controlled by Syria and Russia I think the tide has definitely turned.

ISIS was never in Aleppo. There were miscellaneous, disorganized rebel groupings controlling various districts of the city.

And speaking of ISIS, they just reclaimed a major city from the Syrian government (Palmyra.) The Syrian government attributed the loss to "carelessness during tactical reconnaissance" and "failure to notice the enemy was fortifying the area" meaning the commanders had no actual idea of the state of the situation in the area surrounding the city. This is what I mean when I say the SAA is completely corrupt and incompetent above all else.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Mopolis on December 12, 2016, 10:01:09 pm
Frankly, my main concern in this whole conflict is religious minorities. I do not want religious minorities to be wiped out or slaughtered. I had hoped that overthrowing Assad early on would have given a better government to all of Syria and preserved the rights of religious minorities, but then many of the rebel forces radicalized, then ISIS happened and started slaughtering everyone who wasn't part of their specific apocalyptic creed of Wahhabism, so.... I guess I'm in favor of Assad? I might be in favor of Assad and his surviving brothers being arrested as some sort of palace coup, and possibly installing someone less vicious in charge, but that looks very unlikely as a possibility.

If Assad somehow "won" (which is impossible, assuming winning means regaining complete control of Syria, because the Syrian army at the very least lacks the capability to ever regain the territory controlled by the Kurds) there would 100% be a genocide of Sunnis...

Assad is not going to kill 80% of his own people.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Storebought on December 12, 2016, 10:20:16 pm
The loss of Palmyra shows that Russia clearly (1) has not been targeting ISIS infrastructure during any of its missile bombardments (2) does not have the capability of fighting a two-front war against the West in the Middle East and eastern Europe at the same time. That's the sole reason why Russia wants US cooperation fighting "terrorism" in Syria: they need US assistance in propping up Assad so that they can have a free hand to conquer the Baltic states like they always wanted.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Zioneer on December 12, 2016, 11:49:34 pm
Frankly, my main concern in this whole conflict is religious minorities. I do not want religious minorities to be wiped out or slaughtered. I had hoped that overthrowing Assad early on would have given a better government to all of Syria and preserved the rights of religious minorities, but then many of the rebel forces radicalized, then ISIS happened and started slaughtering everyone who wasn't part of their specific apocalyptic creed of Wahhabism, so.... I guess I'm in favor of Assad? I might be in favor of Assad and his surviving brothers being arrested as some sort of palace coup, and possibly installing someone less vicious in charge, but that looks very unlikely as a possibility.

If Assad somehow "won" (which is impossible, assuming winning means regaining complete control of Syria, because the Syrian army at the very least lacks the capability to ever regain the territory controlled by the Kurds) there would 100% be a genocide of Sunnis... and the very process of Assad "winning" would be unbelievably bloody in the first place given the SAA's tactics so far (which largely consists of bombing things to rubble from a distance and hoping the enemy dies with the civilians, since the SAA is so unbelievably corrupt and incompetent they can basically never win a ground war even when they vastly outnumber their opponent and have vastly superior weaponry.)

The least bad faction is clearly the Kurds, but the Kurds also completely lack the capacity to come anywhere close to "winning" and don't even desire to gain anymore territory (their only gains outside of the territory they consider part of Kurdistan have been at the behest of their American backers, and they have a). limited capability to gain anymore b). no desire to gain anymore and c). with Trump's election America likely won't even be pressuring them to gain anymore.)

Nothing good will come out of this chaos. There is no major faction to "support" or "root for." Every major player in Syria is rotten now.

Well, "support" in the sense that if he stays in power in the areas he currently controls, I would be alright with that, as long as the minorities are not slaughtered. And beyond lackluster attempts to drive people out of villages, I don't think Assad will mess with the Sunni population too badly. All of the religious minorities themselves are not as numerous as the Sunni population, and Assad knows that. He needs to keep at least some Sunnis loyal, even with a shrunken territory and population, and he needs to protect his own Alawites as well as the Syrian Christians and Druze. I don't think the Yazdis are in Syria, only Iraq, so I don't think he'll bother with them. Hopefully the Yazdis will be okay after the butchery ISIS loosed upon them.

And I also support the Kurds in the territory that they claim, though I understand there's a lot of competing interests in that area, what with Turkey, Iraq itself, other Kurd factions, and so forth disputing the Kurdish authority in those areas.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Hnv1 on December 13, 2016, 10:41:05 am
Well, SAA and Aleppo citizens now are celebrating complete liberation of the city.
If you follow the twitter reports from this citizens it's usually terror as Assad's troops are executing children and citizens in Eastern Aleppo


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Grand Wizard Lizard of the Klan on December 13, 2016, 01:23:52 pm
Well, SAA and Aleppo citizens now are celebrating complete liberation of the city.
If you follow the twitter reports from this citizens it's usually terror as Assad's troops are executing children and citizens in Eastern Aleppo


There are even no proves of those "mass executions" and as always both sides are flooding Twitter with fake news. I am saying both because often pro-SAA accounts are also posting some bullsh**t.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Citizen (The) Doctor on December 13, 2016, 03:05:19 pm
So the UN's now considered fake news?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Grand Wizard Lizard of the Klan on December 13, 2016, 04:04:40 pm
So the UN's now considered fake news?


Well, Reuters stated that UN base on some reports, similarly as Western media are basing on SOHR or some strange "organisations" which are not even based in Syria. During this conflict mainstream media failed so much that for me it is not shocking that even UN spokesman can be misinformed.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Mr. Morden on February 02, 2017, 03:13:56 pm
Trump team shelves Obama team’s plan to arm Kurds for an attack on Raqqa:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/obamas-white-house-worked-for-months-on-a-plan-to-seize-raqqa-trumps-team-deemed-it-hopelessly-inadequate/2017/02/02/116310fa-e71a-11e6-80c2-30e57e57e05d_story.html


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Blue3 on February 02, 2017, 08:24:17 pm
That doesn't make sense.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Blue3 on April 06, 2017, 06:40:50 pm
So, there's been some news in this area recently...


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: bronz4141 on April 06, 2017, 08:24:30 pm
I say let Assad do what pleases him, but it still is sad. We should be careful of intervening.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Blue3 on April 06, 2017, 08:34:29 pm
We just bombed a Syrian military airfield with at least 50 tomahawk cruise missiles.

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/u-s-launches-missiles-syrian-base-after-chemical-weapons-attack-n743636


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: buritobr on April 07, 2017, 08:17:01 pm
Well, not only Obama and Hillary used to help ISIS, but now Trump is helping ISIS too.

Why don't the NATO powers "fight for democracy" in Saudi Arabia?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Silent Hunter on April 10, 2017, 04:44:51 am
The story about Russia and Iran threatening force may well be fake. (http://21stcenturywire.com/2017/04/09/russia-and-iran-continued-targets-of-fake-news/)


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Mr. Morden on July 19, 2017, 04:42:27 pm
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/report-trump-ending-secret-cia-program-to-arm-syrian-rebels/

Quote
President Trump is ending a covert CIA operation to arm and train Syrian rebels fighting against President Bashar al-Assad, something Russia has long desired, according to a Wednesday report in the Washington Post.

The Obama administration introduced the operation in 2013, as a part of its efforts to push Assad out of power, and its effectiveness has come into question even among its backers. But the timing of the decision raises questions for the White House, as it fends off accusations that the president and his team obscured his interactions with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, earlier this month.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: NewYorkExpress on August 20, 2017, 07:06:05 pm
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/syrias-assad-reject-security-cooperation-with-the-west/2017/08/20/b3844c06-8598-11e7-96a7-d178cf3524eb_story.html?utm_term=.4d477e4eab80 (https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/syrias-assad-reject-security-cooperation-with-the-west/2017/08/20/b3844c06-8598-11e7-96a7-d178cf3524eb_story.html?utm_term=.4d477e4eab80)

Quote
Syrian President Bashar Assad on Sunday refused any security cooperation with Western nations or the reopening of their embassies, until they cut ties with opposition and insurgent groups.

Shortly after Assad gave his speech, a shell hit the first international fair in the country since the war began six years ago, killing and wounding several people.

Assad’s defiant comments come at a time when his troops and pro-Iranian militiamen are gaining ground across the country under the cover of Russian airstrikes. Many countries have ceased calling for him to step down.

Speaking before dozens of Syrian diplomats in Damascus, Assad praised Russia, Iran, China and Lebanon’s Hezbollah for supporting his government during the conflict.

He said Syria will look east when it comes to political, economic and cultural relations.


“The direct support of our friends, politically, economically and militarily, made our advance on the ground greater and the losses of war less. Therefore, they are our partners in these achievements on the road to crush terrorism,” Assad said


“Let’s be clear. There will be no security cooperation nor opening of embassies or even a role for some countries that say that they want to play a role in ending the crisis in Syria before they clearly and frankly cut their relations with terrorism,” Assad said. “At that point maybe we can speak about opening embassies


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: swl on August 24, 2017, 03:47:42 pm
https://twitter.com/LCarabinier/status/900082096609341446

Nice map with evolution over the last 2 years


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Çråbçæk on August 30, 2017, 09:07:12 am
In Iraq, the government has taken Tal Afar with ease, but ISIS are holed up in a small suburb of the city.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Tender Branson on August 31, 2017, 02:35:52 am
In Iraq, the government has taken Tal Afar with ease, but ISIS are holed up in a small suburb of the city.

The Tal Afar area is now completely cleansed from IS, even the suburbs you mentioned.

Remaining areas under IS control: the Hawiya pocket and the desert/Euphrates valley in the West.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: palandio on September 03, 2017, 03:12:59 pm
First SAA advancing units have reached the besieged regime-hold part of Deir ez-Zor. Technically the siege might be considered broken, although it will take some time until the SAA manages to fully secure its supply lines.

Edit: Premature, but will probably be true tomorrow, more or less.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Cory on September 05, 2017, 07:05:29 am
First SAA advancing units have reached the besieged regime-hold part of Deir ez-Zor. Technically the siege might be considered broken, although it will take some time until the SAA manages to fully secure its supply lines.

Edit: Premature, but will probably be true tomorrow, more or less.

Glorious news.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: palandio on September 05, 2017, 03:28:48 pm
This is not over yet. ISIS will counterattack very soon. And large parts of the city are still held by ISIS, the battle for them will be brutal.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Tender Branson on September 23, 2017, 02:20:12 pm
This is not over yet. ISIS will counterattack very soon. And large parts of the city are still held by ISIS, the battle for them will be brutal.

Huge progress is being made right now in both Syria and Iraq:

In Syria, 90% of Raqqa has been cleansed from the Islamist fu**ers and the Russian-backed Assad forces have reached Deir-el-Zor and cleansed the surrounding areas (they even crossed the Euphrates to the north). Meanwhile, the Kurds are moving south towards DEZ and the Euphrates valley.

In Iraq, the army has started their liberation of the remaining Hawija pocket, which is now almost half cleansed.

IS only has some areas of the lower Syrian Euphrates Valley left. The other remaining area is just uninhabitated desert.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: NewYorkExpress on September 23, 2017, 02:29:46 pm
http://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2017/09/23/553138494/mother-and-daughter-who-opposed-bashar-al-assad-regime-brutally-murdered-in-turk (http://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2017/09/23/553138494/mother-and-daughter-who-opposed-bashar-al-assad-regime-brutally-murdered-in-turk)

Quote
The killing of two opponents of President Bashar Assad's regime has left their family and the wider relocated Syrian opposition community reeling in shock and fearing for their lives.

Police discovered the bodies of Orouba Barakat, 60, and her daughter, Halla, 23, who is a U.S. citizen, on Thursday night in their Istanbul apartment, reportedly after friends and colleagues were unable to reach them for several days.

Orouba was a member of the Syrian National Coalition, the political opposition group that has participated in internationally brokered peace talks to bring an end to the Syrian war.

Her daughter, Halla, who spent her childhood in Raleigh, N.C., was a journalist who worked with opposition station Orient TV.

Even on her personal Facebook page, the younger Barakat documented the violence taking place in her country, with posts about children killed in airstrikes and photos of victims of mass killings.

Turkish media outlets, citing police sources, reported that the women had been repeatedly stabbed. There were also other, unconfirmed reports that their throats had been slit.

A police investigation is underway, and as of Saturday, there have not been any official statements about circumstances of their deaths or any suspects.

But relatives and opposition activists immediately characterized this as a politically motivated killing.

Shaza Barakat, Orouba's sister, said Saturday that she suspected the Syrian government is to blame.

"Because Hafez al-Assad had been displacing us since the 1970s," she told NPR, referring to the former Syrian president and father to Bashar Assad. "We paid a high price — displacement, torture, suffering — we don't have a country."

"Orouba was always standing against all that, defending people's rights and demanding justice. We are people, we have human rights, and we deserve justice."

In an earlier post on Facebook mourning her sister, Shaza wrote: "The oppressor chases the good everywhere."

Ghassan Aboud, the founder of Orient TV, wrote on Facebook: "No truce and no reconciliation with the monsters."

Thousands of opponents of the Assad regime have been tortured or killed in jails in Syria. In the course of the Syrian war, many have fled to Turkey and other neighboring countries and have sought to organize a political opposition that could force the Assad family from power.

But with the Syrian government, backed by Iran and Russia, now gaining the upper hand in the country's civil war, fear of retribution is spreading among this community.

That is why so many reacted to these killings by blaming the Syrian government, explained Rami Jarrah, a Syrian journalist who supports the opposition.

It sounds like Bashar Al-Assad ordered the killing (or at least was indirectly responsible)


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Kingpoleon on September 23, 2017, 11:39:46 pm
http://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2017/09/23/553138494/mother-and-daughter-who-opposed-bashar-al-assad-regime-brutally-murdered-in-turk (http://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2017/09/23/553138494/mother-and-daughter-who-opposed-bashar-al-assad-regime-brutally-murdered-in-turk)

Quote
The killing of two opponents of President Bashar Assad's regime has left their family and the wider relocated Syrian opposition community reeling in shock and fearing for their lives.

Police discovered the bodies of Orouba Barakat, 60, and her daughter, Halla, 23, who is a U.S. citizen, on Thursday night in their Istanbul apartment, reportedly after friends and colleagues were unable to reach them for several days.

Orouba was a member of the Syrian National Coalition, the political opposition group that has participated in internationally brokered peace talks to bring an end to the Syrian war.

Her daughter, Halla, who spent her childhood in Raleigh, N.C., was a journalist who worked with opposition station Orient TV.

Even on her personal Facebook page, the younger Barakat documented the violence taking place in her country, with posts about children killed in airstrikes and photos of victims of mass killings.

Turkish media outlets, citing police sources, reported that the women had been repeatedly stabbed. There were also other, unconfirmed reports that their throats had been slit.

A police investigation is underway, and as of Saturday, there have not been any official statements about circumstances of their deaths or any suspects.

But relatives and opposition activists immediately characterized this as a politically motivated killing.

Shaza Barakat, Orouba's sister, said Saturday that she suspected the Syrian government is to blame.

"Because Hafez al-Assad had been displacing us since the 1970s," she told NPR, referring to the former Syrian president and father to Bashar Assad. "We paid a high price — displacement, torture, suffering — we don't have a country."

"Orouba was always standing against all that, defending people's rights and demanding justice. We are people, we have human rights, and we deserve justice."

In an earlier post on Facebook mourning her sister, Shaza wrote: "The oppressor chases the good everywhere."

Ghassan Aboud, the founder of Orient TV, wrote on Facebook: "No truce and no reconciliation with the monsters."

Thousands of opponents of the Assad regime have been tortured or killed in jails in Syria. In the course of the Syrian war, many have fled to Turkey and other neighboring countries and have sought to organize a political opposition that could force the Assad family from power.

But with the Syrian government, backed by Iran and Russia, now gaining the upper hand in the country's civil war, fear of retribution is spreading among this community.

That is why so many reacted to these killings by blaming the Syrian government, explained Rami Jarrah, a Syrian journalist who supports the opposition.

It sounds like Bashar Al-Assad ordered the killing (or at least was indirectly responsible)

It sure does take a lot of realism to ignore the fact that Assad's victory would almost certainly mean death for tens of thousands of political opponents. I'm glad the United Nations is willing to fight such inhumane - no, inhuman - leaders and their allies...


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: NewYorkExpress on October 17, 2017, 08:19:17 pm
http://thehill.com/policy/defense/355906-us-backed-fighters-say-raqqa-liberated-from-isis (http://thehill.com/policy/defense/355906-us-backed-fighters-say-raqqa-liberated-from-isis)

Quote
U.S.-backed forces said Tuesday that they have liberated the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria’s (ISIS) self-declared capital of Raqqa in northern Syria.

There are roughly 6,500 ISIS fighters left in both Syria and Iraq, and only about 100 are “all but isolated in their quickly shrinking territory” of Raqqa, said Army Col. Ryan Dillon, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition fighting the group.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on Tuesday declared that Raqqa had been liberated and fighting has ended. The group, a U.S.-backed mix of Kurdish and Arab fighters, has been slowly taking back the city from ISIS over the past four months.



Dillon, who spoke to reporters at the Pentagon from Baghdad via video feed, said ISIS was on the “verge of a devastating defeat” and more than 90 percent of the city has been cleared, but U.S.-led forces are continuing to oust the fighters


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Fmr. Acting Southern Del. The Saint on October 17, 2017, 08:28:28 pm
http://thehill.com/policy/defense/355906-us-backed-fighters-say-raqqa-liberated-from-isis (http://thehill.com/policy/defense/355906-us-backed-fighters-say-raqqa-liberated-from-isis)

Quote
U.S.-backed forces said Tuesday that they have liberated the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria’s (ISIS) self-declared capital of Raqqa in northern Syria.

There are roughly 6,500 ISIS fighters left in both Syria and Iraq, and only about 100 are “all but isolated in their quickly shrinking territory” of Raqqa, said Army Col. Ryan Dillon, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition fighting the group.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on Tuesday declared that Raqqa had been liberated and fighting has ended. The group, a U.S.-backed mix of Kurdish and Arab fighters, has been slowly taking back the city from ISIS over the past four months.



Dillon, who spoke to reporters at the Pentagon from Baghdad via video feed, said ISIS was on the “verge of a devastating defeat” and more than 90 percent of the city has been cleared, but U.S.-led forces are continuing to oust the fighters

Winning!!!

(Not saying this in a Trump-related way. Just happy that the forces of good are further weakening ISIS)


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: NewYorkExpress on October 17, 2017, 08:32:33 pm
http://thehill.com/policy/defense/355906-us-backed-fighters-say-raqqa-liberated-from-isis (http://thehill.com/policy/defense/355906-us-backed-fighters-say-raqqa-liberated-from-isis)

Quote
U.S.-backed forces said Tuesday that they have liberated the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria’s (ISIS) self-declared capital of Raqqa in northern Syria.

There are roughly 6,500 ISIS fighters left in both Syria and Iraq, and only about 100 are “all but isolated in their quickly shrinking territory” of Raqqa, said Army Col. Ryan Dillon, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition fighting the group.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on Tuesday declared that Raqqa had been liberated and fighting has ended. The group, a U.S.-backed mix of Kurdish and Arab fighters, has been slowly taking back the city from ISIS over the past four months.



Dillon, who spoke to reporters at the Pentagon from Baghdad via video feed, said ISIS was on the “verge of a devastating defeat” and more than 90 percent of the city has been cleared, but U.S.-led forces are continuing to oust the fighters

Winning!!!

(Not saying this in a Trump-related way. Just happy that the forces of good are further weakening ISIS)

No one accused you of imitating our President.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Fmr. Acting Southern Del. The Saint on October 17, 2017, 08:38:08 pm
http://thehill.com/policy/defense/355906-us-backed-fighters-say-raqqa-liberated-from-isis (http://thehill.com/policy/defense/355906-us-backed-fighters-say-raqqa-liberated-from-isis)

Quote
U.S.-backed forces said Tuesday that they have liberated the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria’s (ISIS) self-declared capital of Raqqa in northern Syria.

There are roughly 6,500 ISIS fighters left in both Syria and Iraq, and only about 100 are “all but isolated in their quickly shrinking territory” of Raqqa, said Army Col. Ryan Dillon, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition fighting the group.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on Tuesday declared that Raqqa had been liberated and fighting has ended. The group, a U.S.-backed mix of Kurdish and Arab fighters, has been slowly taking back the city from ISIS over the past four months.



Dillon, who spoke to reporters at the Pentagon from Baghdad via video feed, said ISIS was on the “verge of a devastating defeat” and more than 90 percent of the city has been cleared, but U.S.-led forces are continuing to oust the fighters

Winning!!!

(Not saying this in a Trump-related way. Just happy that the forces of good are further weakening ISIS)

No one accused you of imitating our President.

I know, just wanted to note that just in case.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: diptheriadan on October 18, 2017, 04:58:55 am
I've heard that the Al-Nusra Front (or something like that) is making a comeback in the West.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: kelestian on October 18, 2017, 10:14:52 am
Al-Nusra controlled Idlib province. Some times ago there were rumours that according to Astana agreement Turkey would attack Nusra positions and give these territories to moderate rebels, but at the end Turkish forces colluded with islamists against Kurds in Afrin canton.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ingemann on October 21, 2017, 08:21:38 am
I've heard that the Al-Nusra Front (or something like that) is making a comeback in the West.

Al Nusra or whatever they call themselves this week (Tahrir al-Sham) have always been strong in Idlib, the reason it haven't end the other rebel in the region, was because they served as a "moderate" "alternative" for the Gulf Countries and Turkey to fund. But with the losses elsewhere, the fall in foreign funding and the influx of rebels from enclaves which Assad allow them to leave, Al Nusra have lost the reason not to end the other rebel groups, which in general are deeply incompetent and those fighters are barely qualified to be cannon fodder.

What do ths mean in a greater context? They're losing and they're losing badly, I would be surprised if the rebel survives to 2019.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Kingpoleon on October 22, 2017, 02:06:38 pm
Al-Nusra is good enough, as they weaken Assad to where he can’t crush the Syrian National Council or the Syrian Democratic Council, the two good rebel groups. Ideally, Assad will waste enough forces on them for George Sabra, Suheir Atassi, Moaz al-Khatib, and Abdulbaset Sieda. Ideally, the SNC, SDC, and Rojava would sign an alliance against Assad and ISIS.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: NewYorkExpress on October 22, 2017, 05:23:59 pm
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-41714754 (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-41714754)

Quote
Russia has accused the US-led coalition of bombing the Syrian city of Raqqa "off the face of the earth" during the fight against so-called Islamic State.

Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) took Raqqa last week and on Sunday said they had taken Syria's largest oilfield.

Pictures suggest much of Raqqa is in ruins, and Moscow compared it to the Allied destruction of the German city of Dresden in World War Two.

The US-led coalition says it tried to minimise risks to civilians.

Russia has itself been accused of committing war crimes for its bombardment of Aleppo last year.




UN war crimes investigators said last week that there had been a "staggering loss of civilian life" in Raqqa.

Syrian activists say between 1,130 and 1,873 civilians were killed and that many of the civilian casualties were the result of the intense US-led air strikes that helped the SDF, an alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias, advance.

Given what Moscow did to Aleppo, they don't have the right to criticize us about carpet-bombing anyone, at this time.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Cory on October 25, 2017, 07:52:24 am
Al-Nusra is good enough, as they weaken Assad to where he can’t crush the Syrian National Council or the Syrian Democratic Council, the two good rebel groups. Ideally, Assad will waste enough forces on them for George Sabra, Suheir Atassi, Moaz al-Khatib, and Abdulbaset Sieda. Ideally, the SNC, SDC, and Rojava would sign an alliance against Assad and ISIS.

Here is a rough map of the situation in Syria/Iraq right now:

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/11/Syrian%2C_Iraqi%2C_and_Lebanese_insurgencies.png

Can we please drop this fantasy notion of the Syrian Rebels somehow defeating the Assad regime? Especially considering they have Russian support it just Isn't. Gonna. Happen.



Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: NewYorkExpress on October 26, 2017, 09:19:17 pm
https://in.reuters.com/article/mideast-crisis-syria-tillerson/no-role-for-assad-in-syrias-future-u-s-s-tillerson-idINKBN1CV2HQ (https://in.reuters.com/article/mideast-crisis-syria-tillerson/no-role-for-assad-in-syrias-future-u-s-s-tillerson-idINKBN1CV2HQ)

Quote
President Bashar al-Assad and his family have no role in the future of Syria, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Thursday ahead of peace talks aiming at a political transition scheduled to resume next month.



Tillerson said that the Trump administration backed the Geneva peace talks as the only way to end the more than six-year-old war and move to a political transition and elections.

He was speaking after holding talks with U.N. Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, who announced that stalled peace talks between the Syrian government and still-to-be-united opposition would resume in Geneva on Nov. 28.

“The United States wants a whole and unified Syria with no role for Bashar al-Assad in the government,” Tillerson told reporters in the Swiss city at the end of a week-long trip that took him to Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Pakistan and India.





“It is our view and I have said this many times as well that we do not believe that there is a future for the Assad regime and Assad family. The reign of the Assad family is coming to an end. The only issue is how that should that be brought about.” 

When the Trump administration came into office it took the view that it was “not a prerequisite that Assad goes” before the transitional process started, he added. 

Is Tillerson talking sense here, or is there a future without Assad in Syria's future?


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Çråbçæk on October 26, 2017, 09:22:48 pm
I think the Ba'athist regime will stay, but it would be for the best if the Assad figurehead is allowed to shuffle on. You can't really lead a country when a significant portion of the population think you are literally Hitler.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: True Federalist on October 26, 2017, 10:35:17 pm
I think the Ba'athist regime will stay, but it would be for the best if the Assad figurehead is allowed to shuffle on. You can't really lead a country when a significant portion of the population think you are literally Hitler.

Why can't you lead a country? Hitler literally managed to do it until the day he died.  If Assad actually were a figurehead, he'd have been eased from power back in the days before the Russians  went all in and it looked like the best the regime could hope for was a stalemate.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Ebsy on November 03, 2017, 01:08:47 pm
Deir ez Zour (Syria) and Al Qaim (Iraq) were liberated from ISIS today. The SAA have launched an offensive towards the border crossing at Al Qaim as the SDF continue cleaning up IS pockets Northeast of Deir ez Zour.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Tender Branson on November 04, 2017, 06:35:37 am
Deir ez Zour (Syria) and Al Qaim (Iraq) were liberated from ISIS today. The SAA have launched an offensive towards the border crossing at Al Qaim as the SDF continue cleaning up IS pockets Northeast of Deir ez Zour.

Looks like IS is done in Iraq.

The only IS area left there is uninhabitated desert north of Al Qaim.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Kingpoleon on November 05, 2017, 10:00:41 pm
I think the Ba'athist regime will stay, but it would be for the best if the Assad figurehead is allowed to shuffle on. You can't really lead a country when a significant portion of the population think you are literally Hitler.

Why can't you lead a country? Hitler literally managed to do it until the day he died.  If Assad actually were a figurehead, he'd have been eased from power back in the days before the Russians  went all in and it looked like the best the regime could hope for was a stalemate.

If Assad is not overthrown, all of his current political opponents will die. Not even the Russians support that. If we could arrange a deal agreeing to back them against China in Africa, I could totally see them agreeing to withdraw support for Assad. Without them, Iraq's government might agree to assist in defeating Assad, and Israel definitely would.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Ghost of Ruin on November 05, 2017, 10:10:02 pm
http://thehill.com/policy/defense/355906-us-backed-fighters-say-raqqa-liberated-from-isis (http://thehill.com/policy/defense/355906-us-backed-fighters-say-raqqa-liberated-from-isis)

Quote
U.S.-backed forces said Tuesday that they have liberated the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria’s (ISIS) self-declared capital of Raqqa in northern Syria.

There are roughly 6,500 ISIS fighters left in both Syria and Iraq, and only about 100 are “all but isolated in their quickly shrinking territory” of Raqqa, said Army Col. Ryan Dillon, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition fighting the group.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on Tuesday declared that Raqqa had been liberated and fighting has ended. The group, a U.S.-backed mix of Kurdish and Arab fighters, has been slowly taking back the city from ISIS over the past four months.



Dillon, who spoke to reporters at the Pentagon from Baghdad via video feed, said ISIS was on the “verge of a devastating defeat” and more than 90 percent of the city has been cleared, but U.S.-led forces are continuing to oust the fighters

Winning!!!

(Not saying this in a Trump-related way. Just happy that the forces of good are further weakening ISIS)

Well, the forces of 'not nearly as bad as ISIS' anyway.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: True Federalist on November 05, 2017, 11:50:54 pm
I think the Ba'athist regime will stay, but it would be for the best if the Assad figurehead is allowed to shuffle on. You can't really lead a country when a significant portion of the population think you are literally Hitler.

Why can't you lead a country? Hitler literally managed to do it until the day he died.  If Assad actually were a figurehead, he'd have been eased from power back in the days before the Russians  went all in and it looked like the best the regime could hope for was a stalemate.

If Assad is not overthrown, all of his current political opponents will die. Not even the Russians support that. If we could arrange a deal agreeing to back them against China in Africa, I could totally see them agreeing to withdraw support for Assad. Without them, Iraq's government might agree to assist in defeating Assad, and Israel definitely would.

Why would Israel want to get rid of Assad?  He's a known quantity and Israel hasn't exactly been in the habit of late of taking risks in the hopes that something better will happen when it very well could be worse.

Iraq's government also isn't about to take active measures against Iran's ally.

As for Russia, why wouldn't Putin support Assad getting rid of opponents?  Putin certainly doesn't mind when his own opponents get killed.  Plus I fail to see either why it would be to our advantage to support Russia over China in Africa or why Putin would believe that we'd actually follow through on such a backing.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: MB on November 06, 2017, 10:36:34 pm
I'd reluctantly rather have Assad than an islamist government. But I think it would be better for Syria and for the world if he steps down and allows an election to take place, once the war is over. I think the only solution is a confederated Syria.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: kelestian on November 07, 2017, 09:16:45 am
Election would solve the problem? In Syria? Where there were not fair elections in 50 years?

I think solution can be autonomy for kurdish regions and for de-escalation (opposition) territories and maybe if government give quarter of parliamentary seats to opposition and quarter to Kurds. But there are two major problems - kurds controll too much territory, half of their territory now is with Arab majority. And second - Idlib province and an-Nusra


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ingemann on November 12, 2017, 12:04:05 pm
I think the Ba'athist regime will stay, but it would be for the best if the Assad figurehead is allowed to shuffle on. You can't really lead a country when a significant portion of the population think you are literally Hitler.

Why can't you lead a country? Hitler literally managed to do it until the day he died.  If Assad actually were a figurehead, he'd have been eased from power back in the days before the Russians  went all in and it looked like the best the regime could hope for was a stalemate.

It's more complex, Assad have real power, but it's very much limited by other actors in the Regime. What we need to understand about the Assad family is that they're a compromise candidate. The Assad represents the air force, which are dominate by the Sunni middle class, these knew that the Alawite and pretty much every other minority group would start fight to the last man to avoid a Sunni leader of Syria, so when the air force couped Salah Jadid in 1970, they used Hafez Assad to show, they didn't want to establish a Sunni dominated state, and this was accepted.

So the Assad family are important, and Bashar Assad is pretty much the only possible choice in that family, because the rest of the family are either in exile (his uncles and cousins), a mad dog (his brother), stupid thugs (the extended family) or underage. So in case Assad suddenly died, they had to find another compromise candidate (Suheil al-Hassan would be the most likely candidate, when we look at the Regime from outside, which is likely the reason he seems to avoid politics with all his might).


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: Kingpoleon on November 12, 2017, 02:34:41 pm
I think a Confederation and potential independence are the only possible solutions. If Rojava, the Syrian National Council, and the Turks can agree to a map, I think it’s possible that we see an eastern confederation of Syria.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: kelestian on November 13, 2017, 01:34:14 am
Rojava is the biggest enemy of the Turks in Syria. They'd prefer Assad ruling rather than Kurdish autonomy.


Title: Re: Civil War in Syria
Post by: ○∙◄☻¥tπ[╪AV┼cVê└ on November 13, 2017, 01:39:46 am
I'd reluctantly rather have Assad than an islamist government. But I think it would be better for Syria and for the world if he steps down and allows an election to take place, once the war is over. I think the only solution is a confederated Syria.

Ideally Assad steps down and they have free democratic elections as a multi-party democracy. But realistically, Assad is the best option.