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Thread: Syria under Bashir Assad (closed end 2014)

  1. #821
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    Crowbat

    all this theory, guessing and speculation is not going to help anybody. One can't go demanding from some insurgents to do this or that like if they are a state: they are insurgents, not a state, otherwise they wouldn't be insurgents but the state. So, clean the table first (and the backyard too, then obviously the table is never going to get clean without the backyard getting cleaned), help the insurgents become a state and then demand things from them.
    This approach will lead to a huge humanitarian disaster, if insurgents are just insurgents, then they're just thugs, and I don't think they're just thugs. They have a political agenda, unfortunately too many competing ones to be successful. We can help them establish a shadow government now and begin training/educating those who will need to fill critical positions to avoid a vacuum. I understand your point about cleaning the backyard, but they can and should begin the critical preparation work for the next phase. If they don't those with the plan like MB will take over.

  2. #822
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrowBat View Post
    Sigh, more of usual speculation and guessing...
    That's... entertaining, given your own habit of simply declaring that early American intervention was "the right thing", while presenting no supporting evidence or logic beyond variants on the "because I said so" theme.

    Quote Originally Posted by CrowBat View Post
    Provided you are able to at least once answer a question: who has ever told you that 'Assadists' are 'unified'?
    Nobody told me that, neither have I said that. You have a way of putting words into other people's mouths, and assuming opinions that aren't there.

    Quote Originally Posted by CrowBat View Post
    Now try to arrange a 'truce' between these forces and the insurgents: even when Iranians were arranging truces with specific of insurgent held pockets around Damascus and Homs earlier this year, they first had to remove specific regime units from the given area in order to negotiate. Whenever they didn't there were renewed atrocities, looting, raping and all of that sort. Just like on the insurgent side, there are 'commanders' that are disobeying any corresponding orders - if for no other reasons then because they know they have too much blood on their hands and are afraid of retaliation (whether by their own or the 'other' side). And that's 'just for the start'...
    Yes, that's why "arranging" a large scale truce to serve our strategic purpose seems so far outside the realm of credibility.

    Quote Originally Posted by CrowBat View Post
    The Daesh's advance on Mosul came just about when the IRGC was about to go bankrupt because of US sanctions - by pure accident, I guess? Thanks to Daesh's advance, they're now free to finance themselves through Iraqi purchases of Iranian arms and ammo, Russian arms and ammo and wholesale raise of Shi'a militias in Iraq.
    Certainly the rise of ISIS has been very convenient for Iran and for Assad, and certainly they've taken full advantage of the opportunity. That doesn't necessarily mean they created ISIS to serve their own purposes: it could just as easily mean that they simply took advantage of events as they emerged.

    Quote Originally Posted by CrowBat View Post
    But 'no', I guess you'll say: that's taking things into context. We're discussing Syria, so who cares about Iraq here.
    You'd guess wrong.

    Quote Originally Posted by CrowBat View Post
    So, where is actually the problem?
    IMO the problem is that there's no viable end state goal and thus no real strategy, just an attempt to show some visible action against ISIS without excessive commitment. I think the actions being taken are aimed more at the domestic audience than at achieving any particular impact on the ground.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    I think further disunifying Assads security forces should be a primary effort by the resistance and their supporters, and this can be done if the resistance is willing to compromise.
    Is there any evidence that the resistance is willing to compromise, and do we have any viable and realistic way to disunify Assad's forces?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    No doubt we can defeat Assad, but should we until there is some hope there won't be a worse blood bath when he falls and everyone is vying for power and seeking revenge? We will end up taking the blame and our foreign friends who insisted we help remove Assad will imply we the morning after problem also.
    That's been the problem from the start, no? If Assad falls, that leaves a vacuum with an infinitude of factions fighting to fill it. That's not a reason to actively support Assad, of course, but it is a reason not to wade neck-deep into the scheisse.

    Quote Originally Posted by CrowBat View Post
    Throughout this time, the Daesh is attacking the Kobane pocket and has - according to Kurdish sources - reached a point only 5km outside this town, during the afternoon.
    Is it realistically possible to provide effective CAS to ground forces in Kobane or elsewhere without properly trained and equipped forces on the ground communicating with the air forces?

    Quote Originally Posted by CrowBat View Post
    Congratulations to whoever is writing that frikkin' targeting list: this is reminding me of similar air strikes on Bagram AB back in October 2001, when somebody was so eager to spend several dozens of GBUs (the cheapest went at something like US$500.000) to blast rusty hulks of long-since abandoned MiG-15UTIs, MiG-17s and Il-28s at the local junkyard... while a look into one of old issues of the World Air Power Journal could've provided clear and undisputable evidence that such target selection is simply stupid.
    If you assume that the purpose of the exercise is to degrade and destroy ISIS, it makes no sense. If the purpose of the exercise is to put on a show of "doing something about ISIS" for domestic consumption, while allowing the Saudis to get some princes into combat with minimal risk and the Emiraltis to showcase women's participation and earn some warm-and-fuzzy points in the west... maybe in that context it makes a bit more sense.

    If an action seems supremely irrational it's often because the purpose we assume is not the actual purpose of the action.
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

    H.L. Mencken

  3. #823
    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    That's... entertaining, given your own habit of simply declaring that early American intervention was "the right thing"...
    Since you obviously have never carefully read even one posts of mine: mind pointing at the place where I have said anything of this kind?

    Nobody told me that, neither have I said that. You have a way of putting words into other people's mouths, and assuming opinions that aren't there.
    That's a very precise explanation for what you're doing with my posts, and that all the time, thanks.

    Seems you don't like the same being done to you?

    Yes, that's why "arranging" a large scale truce to serve our strategic purpose seems so far outside the realm of credibility.
    Oh, really?

    Certainly the rise of ISIS has been very convenient for Iran and for Assad, and certainly they've taken full advantage of the opportunity. That doesn't necessarily mean they created ISIS to serve their own purposes: it could just as easily mean that they simply took advantage of events as they emerged.
    ...which is a well-formulated excuse for 'at best the regime was negligent, and at worst they facilitated the rise of the Daesh'...

    Is there any evidence that the resistance is willing to compromise...
    Do I really need to find you all of their corresponding statements?

    ...and do we have any viable and realistic way to disunify Assad's forces?
    Nope: the US is completely powerless in this regards - as it is in all other similar regards... Makes one wonder who to hell came to the idea to call the US a 'superpower'...

    That's been the problem from the start, no? If Assad falls, that leaves a vacuum with an infinitude of factions fighting to fill it.
    What kind of evidence can you provide in support of this speculation?

    Is it realistically possible to provide effective CAS to ground forces in Kobane or elsewhere without properly trained and equipped forces on the ground communicating with the air forces?
    Ever heard of something named 'INTERDICTION'?

    Rumour has it that this should've been a part of some 'air-land-battle' concept of the US military...

    Half the Daesh is presently converging on the Kobane, and nobody is attacking all of their columns moving in territory where there is nobody else but the Daesh to find.

    Meanwhile, they're assaulting YPG/FSyA positions 1 kilometre outside the town...

    If you assume that the purpose of the exercise is to degrade and destroy ISIS, it makes no sense. If the purpose of the exercise is to put on a show of "doing something about ISIS" for domestic consumption...

    If an action seems supremely irrational it's often because the purpose we assume is not the actual purpose of the action.
    Who said the action is 'supremely irrational' (except you)?

    If one doesn't destroy these refineries, one is not going to get contract to rebuild them. That's 'perfectly rational'.

    The problem is that if the declared purpose of this operation is 'destroying the ISIS', then why destroying the Syrian infra-structure? If some princes there want 'show', they can keep on flying air shows - or crashing F-15s against sand dunes while flying supersonic at minimal altitudes for fun...

  4. #824
    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    Crowbat

    This approach will lead to a huge humanitarian disaster, if insurgents are just insurgents, then they're just thugs, and I don't think they're just thugs.
    Bill,
    If 10 million of Syrian refugees (inside and outside the country), 400,000 dead (arguably, 'only' 200,000 of these 'confirmed'), and deployment of chemical weapons is no 'huge humanitarian disaster' already, I don't know what else might ever become one.

    The insurgents haven't had any other political agenda except removal of the regime. It was Turkey, followed by the USA and the West (France, UK, Germany, etc., etc.) that began requesting from them to declare political agendas - even imposing ultimatums on then to do so. Even as of mid-2012, when they were assaulting Aleppo for the first time, insurgents continued attempting to avoid any such declarations. And thus they received no aid when there was time to provide it - and thus prevent the spread of extremism.

    Instead, they were left to their own device - and exposed to extremists that arrived with pockets full of cash.

    Then, in autumn 2012, there was something like a 'last ditch attempt' - a series of efforts by different parties to 'sort insurgents out'. The only result of this was friction between insurgents along all imaginable lines, precisely because of insistence upon their declarations of political agendas.

    Syria is not functioning that way. Syrians do not think 'well in advance': grossly oversimplified, it can be said that 'they do and then think'. That might not sound 'logical' or even 'reasonable' to us, but that's the way they function.

    Correspondingly, one can't demand (or, better said: one shouldn't have) from them to state political agendas before they remove the regime: that's begging for precisely the kind of trouble we've seen emerging there ever since.

    Next point that should be kept in mind is this: Syria is never going to be something like 'unified political entity'. Syrians are traditionally diverse, not only in regards of their ethnic groups or religion, but especially in regards of their political interests. They are insistently (yet respectfully) 'pluralist' by their nature, history and tradition: 'insistently' because they insist on their own standpoints, 'respectfully' because - with few exceptions (see Jadid, Assad Sr. etc.) - they know to respect differing standpoints. This means: they'll always quarrel about politics. Always. Now, tomorrow, in 10 and in 100 years.

    Therefore, there is absolutely no need to now go 'teaching' them about establishing shadow governments, filling critical positions etc. After three years of all sorts of failures in doing exactly this, I would say it is about the time to realize: this is NEVER going to work.

    Again: they do not function that way.

    This does not mean there would be some sort of 'political vacuum' and 'anarchy' if the insurgents would topple Assad 'tomorrow in the morning'. Syrians are very good at self-organizing themselves, even with bare minimum of resources (or none at all). Despite all they went through, they're reasonable too, and know to reconciliate. In that sense, some recommended 'viewing':

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=al2fXeAvg38

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LwSnyQYy5SE (Probably the best part is one guy's definition of 'moderate Islam' in this report)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FavaA3w6eXw
    Last edited by CrowBat; 09-25-2014 at 09:21 AM.

  5. #825
    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    Kobane is about to fall: reports from late afternoon indicate the Daesh entering the town and the local CO of YPG forces announcing they'll fight to the last man.

    Daesh is already posting videos like this one, showing them on the south-eastern entry into the town:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EfJWgjj96-4

    ...while the US air is still blasting empty houses around Hassaka and the Tabqa AB...

  6. #826
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    It is all very strange Crowbat and I've yet to spot an official explanation from the allies (the UK bombers are only for Iraqi targets).

    We can all speculate. Notably is Turkey responsible, as it fears the Kurds as much as ISIS? Or a brutal calculation that pushing tens of thousands of Kurds from the Kobane pocket into Turkey, will bring Turkey in - to create a "safe zone". Incompetence is not a factor, although it appears there are no spotters on the ground to direct attacks.
    davidbfpo

  7. #827
    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    It's extremely strange, indeed.

    Firstly: 'allied air strikes'. Except for those official reports about four RSAF F-15S' flying a sortie against Syria, and a female UAEAF F-16E-pilot taking part too, from 23 September, all I've found so far was a brief 'news ticker' on the website of the Jordanian Ministry of Defence about involvement of the RJAF. Nothing has been said about number of sorties flown, though, and one of my contacts helping me with Arabic (my skills in that language are rather rudimentary) told me his understanding is that the RJAF's missions in question were actually 'flying recce over southern Iraq'...

    Yesterday I caught a glimpse at some report on the AJE, about the 'allies' - that is five air forces including the QEAF (Qatari Mirage 2000s), RBAF (Bahraini F-16Cs), RJAF, RSAF, and the UAEAF (F-16Es) - flying a total of 23 sorties in all of the time between 23 and 30 September.

    In words: twenty-three sorties in six days.

    Haven't found any kind of written confirmation for this online yet, but must admit: I gave up trying after the first few days.

    Overall, to me it appears as if Dempsey and Co were hard at trying to up-claim their participation, but the Gulf Arabs (and Jordanians) didn't actually do anything at all - except to provide bases.

    And regarding Turkey: wherever I check this evening, conclusion is the same. Obama is purposedly scarifying Kobane for Turkey to get involved in a war, move in and establish a 'buffer zone' inside Syria, in turn providing an 'instant ground force' to fight the Daesh with support of US air power - stationed at Incirlik, for example (and, this evening the Turkish parliament voted for a law granting permission for military to act in Syria as necessary). Turkey would profit from such a situation too - because the fall of Kobane, followed by Turkish troops moving in to establish the buffer zone demanded so much by Istanbul in recent days, would prevent creation of a large Kurdish-held area inside NE Syria. I.e. should it come into being (something I doubt Obama is going to left happen that easily), the Kurdish statehood would be limited to what the Kurds hold in Iraq, and a small part of Hassaka Province in Syria.

    Re. does Turkey fear Kurds as much as the Daesh: despite the fact that of candidates for Turkish presidency (and then the one with third highest number of voters) is a Kurd, Turkey is actually fearing Kurds more than the Daesh. Whether due to negligence or by design, it has left all possible Jihadists use it for entering Syria in the last two years. It has left the Daesh use local facilities (like hospitals) too. But, it has never left the YPG - which is de-facto Syrian off-shot of the PKK - to cross the border (into Turkey), get reinforcements or supplies: any YPG member trying to do that is immediately arrested.

    Finally, regarding 'spotters on the ground': according to all reports, and with exception of arranging Allen's meeting with various leaders in Jordan the next week, the US admin didn't contact any of Syrian insurgent groups ever since announcing incoming air strikes, on 22 September. Washington is not communicating with insurgents, and that's it.

    So, it might be no 'military incompetence', after all, rather political, but... well, they say that the way to hell is plastered with good intentions.

  8. #828
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    It is all very strange Crowbat and I've yet to spot an official explanation from the allies (the UK bombers are only for Iraqi targets).

    We can all speculate. Notably is Turkey responsible, as it fears the Kurds as much as ISIS? Or a brutal calculation that pushing tens of thousands of Kurds from the Kobane pocket into Turkey, will bring Turkey in - to create a "safe zone". Incompetence is not a factor, although it appears there are no spotters on the ground to direct attacks.
    Not really an explanation, but a couple of days on the news (NPR) the Pentagon spokesman was getting grilled my the press on this issue and his explanation was stunning. He said they didn't have an agreement to defend Koran as though that was a satisfactory answer. I suspect Crowbar is right about Turkey having something to do with it.

    We need remember there is a Kurdish nation even they don't have a state, so I see this explanation helping us Iraq since we're relying heavily on the Kurdish there. Those poor folks can't get a break.

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    Also of interest today in the news is that moderate sunnis in Aleppo said that ISIL made some mistakes, but that they were still brothers. I'm sticking with my belief we shouldn't be involved. We will get played like a violin by the Arabs, while we'll be convinced we're in charge. Seems we may be intentionally helping them eliminate the Kurdish in that area. If true are we supporting ethnic cleansing.?

    Provocative comment, but as a nation we need to do a better job of balancing realism and adhering to our values. Values we seem to be drifting away from.

  10. #830
    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    AFAIK, in most of the EU, and in many of federal states in the US, 'holding the ladder' for a thief trying to enter a home through the window, is equal crime to actually climbing that ladder and emptying the house. In some it's punishable to even turn the other way without alerting security services. Or isn't it?

    So, if one declares a war on the Daesh, and then looks the other way and bombs the JAN or some empty houses while the Daesh is slaughtering Kurds in Kobane and forcing 160,000 others to flee to become homeless refugees in Turkey.... what shall one think about this?

    Should somebody happen not to care about Kurds: well, imagine the outcry if the Daesh would force 160,000 Israelis to flee their homes....?

    Now, I have no doubt that some might say, 'hey, that's a part of the strategy, called 'let them rot' and designed to let the extremists ruin their reputation between the locals on their own which in turn should prompt the locals to act on their own. Theoretically, this sounds great, especially when supported by articles like the following one: The U.S. Can’t Destroy ISIS, Only ISIS Can Destroy ISIS.

    However, sad fact is that this article contains a number of illusions, i.e. theories that - to put it mildly - are simply not supported by facts one gets when taking a closer look at the situation there (in Algeria). Specifically:

    ...During the early 1990s the Algerian government fought one of the nastiest civil wars in recent history against a broad-based Islamist insurgency. The Armed Islamic Group (GIA) conducted a brutal insurgent campaign employing vicious terrorist tactics on par with today’s modern menace the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (known by the acronyms ISIS, ISIL or IS for Islamic State – you pick the one you like). GIA attacks were often indiscriminate and violent; involving large civilian massacres – quite ISIS like. While I always reserve extreme caution in endorsing any counterinsurgency or counterterrorism tactic utilized by the Algerian government, there may be one instructive lesson from Algeria’s strategy that we in the West and particularly the U.S. might examine for designing a plan to counter ISIS.

    The Algerian government, having already tried extreme brutality and overwhelming force, recognized the need to employ smarter tactics. Rather than tracking every GIA member to ground and in so doing causing harm to locals and further bolstering GIA’s popular support, the Algerians selectively employed what Luis Martinez, author of The Algerian Civil War 1990-1998, describes as the “Let Them Rot” strategy. The Algerian government, Martinez explains,“sought to avoid human losses for non-strategic zones, but also to lessen the demoralizing effects of the ‘dirty job’ on the troops.” (See pg. 150.) Algerian security services isolated districts with Islamist sympathies leaving the GIA emirs to govern via Islamist law and principles. Contained by the Algerian security services, GIA emirs employed their extreme practices and quickly alienated the local populace as the district, walled off from the rest of society, crumbled economically. Over time, the districts and the GIA emirs that ruled them, slowly "rotted" creating conditions favorable for the development of local militias to combat the GIA. Local businessmen and disillusioned Islamists were re-engaged over time by the Algerian government who offered employment through security positions and opportunities through economic development plans. In the end, the Algerian government didn’t destroy the GIA in these selected districts, they instead let the GIA defeat itself.
    ...
    Call it 'hair splitting' if you like, but:

    1.) Use of 'extreme brutality and overwhelming force': this was something that in nearly 95% of cases happened spontaneously, i.e. not on order from above, and not as a part of strategy, but because units involved were seeking revenge for massacres committed by Islamists.

    Even so, and although much-reported, such cases remained few in total numbers: under immense pressure from various European powers the authorities were doing whatever is possible to show that they are respecting human rights. Or how else would author like to explain a high number of Islamists that were arrested - and then released too, after a few months (all provided the author happens to know about this fact) - or the fact that Islamists found themselves 'embedded' with the population and convinced the security forces are afraid of them, in quite a few places and for quite a long time?

    2.) Algerian authorities, 'sought to avoid human losses in non-strategic zones, but also to lessen the demoralizing effects of the 'dirty job' on the troops.'

    It's now anything between 10 and 33 years since this war, and Algerian military and security services are in the process of retiring dozens of thousands of troops that were involved. And thousands of these are suffering immense psychological problems: this is not so because they were involved in 'dirty jobs', i.e. massacres, but because they have seen with their own eyes what the terrorists were doing to the population while in their teenage.

    Perhaps author would like to check his data on this issue before jumping to conclusions?

    3.) Perhaps the most important part: 'Algerian security services isolated districts with Islamist sympathies leaving the GIA emirs to govern via Islamist law and principles'.

    Frankly, in nearly 15 years of research about this conflict, I have never heard about such strategy/tactics. If anything of this kind has happened, then not as a part of strategy. Surely, Algerians would isolate specific districts and sometimes do so for several months. However, this happened because they lacked troop strength to go in, mop up and secure the area.

    Before anybody comes to the idea to complain that I'm making this up because it simply cannot be that the Algerians were lacking numbers: one of issues with the Algerian military is that - for obvious reasons (corruption, favourising etc.) - troops are not permitted to serve in their region of origin unless they have eight years of service in their books; i.e. all the active troops (including officers, of course) have to serve 'far away from home' for eight years, before they are permitted to re-deploy close to their area of origin. Except one does not know about this fact, it should be obvious that this practice/regulation has caused quite a number of problems with deploying specific units around the country during that war.

    Because of this problem, the authorities began organizing a sort of armed militia that was responsible for protection of their homes/villages/towns, that knew the local people and terrain etc.

    Thus, quite on the contrary: it can be said that the Algerian military did precisely the same mistake like the French in Algeria before, i.e. was deploying inexperienced conscript troops on a terrain unknown to them for most of the war.

    Therefore, any impression about 'isolated districts and letting the GIS to rot' is based on theories of somebody who has studied this conflict from very, very far away - to put it mildly.

    Now, before somebody comes to the idea to ask me, 'then how to hell did the Algerians then win, actually?' Well, they began deploying professional troops (primarily special forces) in ops supported by helicopters and advanced ELINT/SIGINT assets for actions against specific, carefully selected terrorist leaders. With these out, and with the population well informed about what the terrorists were doing to it, the rest was 'easy' (well: kind of), or at least a 'matter of time'.

    Furthermore, the 'letting the Daesh rot' idea is simply bad, and this for several reasons. Firstly, Daesh is already in deep problems with large parts of local population. It's not only that various Sunni tribes in Iraq are turning against it, but there was already an armed uprising against it in Dayr az-Zawr (and this only few months after it occupied this area), as can be read here, here, here (just for example).

    Reaction of the Daesh is always the same: mass slaughter.

    Thus, I would say that there is simply no time to 'let them rot': if one gives these idiots enough time, there will be nobody - especially no 'local population' - left to save.

  11. #831
    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    And now comes the next trouble (in addition to US ignorance of situation in Kobane).

    Following withdrawal of the JAN and Ahrar from positions in northern Aleppo - in the wake of US attacks on their local bases - the IRGC-QF and NDF have launched an offensive around the northern rim of this city in western direction and attacked the Hindarat Village, which is on the only road connecting Turkey with the liberated (insurgent-held-) areas of Aleppo. They have not yet captured Hindarat, but are already inside of it.

    Worse yet: additional regime forces should be on the way around Hindarat to Nubol and az-Zahra (Shia' villages near Menngh AB, 35km NW from Aleppo), i.e. are already assaulting Sayfat and Mt Antar, near Haritan and Anadan.

    Means: while we're about to see many more of 'TOW-videos' from Harakat Hazm, like the one below in the coming days, should the regime punch through to Nubol and az-zahra, the insurgents inside Aleppo will be besieged.

    http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=981_1412281376

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    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    As could've been expected...

    Following an assault of NDF armour, supported by the Brigade of al-Quds al-Filistini (IRGC-QF), the Ba'ath Party Militia and one of Hezbollah Battalions, the regime brought parts of Hindrat under its control, and established a major checkpoint on its northern entrance, and the hills overlooking the area.

    With this, it is overviewing the Kastillo road and al-Jundul roundabout: although these are still held by the FSyA and IF, all insurgent forces inside Aleppo are now de-facto under a siege.

    And: ISIS Fighters Enter Kobani
    ISIS fighters entered the Syrian town of Kobani near the Turkish border, a CNN editor said Friday.

    CNN editor Ram Ramgopal tweeted that Alan Minbic, a Kurdish fighter, told the network that jihadists had entered the southwestern edges of the besieged town, known as Ain al-Arab in Arabic.

    Heavy clashes erupted earlier Friday between Kurdish militiamen and ISIS jihadists who have besieged a key Syrian town near the Turkish border, an AFP correspondent reported.

    ISIS militants in Syria have advanced on Kobani, known as Ain al-Arab in Arabic, despite U.S. airstrikes in support of Kurdish fighters.

    Heavy mortar fire around the town was heard across the border and plumes of white smoke were rising up, the correspondent reported from the Turkish side of the border.

    "We are desperately watching what the murderer ISIS is doing," said 48-year-old Turkish Kurd Cafer Seven, who came to Mursitpinar border crossing 10 days ago from the Turkish city of Van.

    "We are in deep sorrow. Our brethren are under difficult conditions. This is brutality!" he said as he gazed at the heavy smoke rising over Kobane.

    Kurds have expressed anger and disappointment over Ankara's policy against ISIS, accusing the government of turning a blind eye to the group and refusing to allow Turkish Kurds to cross the border and fight in Syria.

    "There is a massacre being committed before the eyes of the world. The world remains silent when Kurds are being massacred," said Burhan Atmaca, 54, who also came to Mursitpinar to show solidarity with Kurdish fighters in Kobane.
    ...
    Congratulations Obama: call Assad and demand your medals there...
    Last edited by CrowBat; 10-03-2014 at 03:25 PM.

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    ... the political realist in me heartily agrees; I couldn't have said it better.

    Embracing Assad Is a Better Strategy for the U.S. Than Supporting the Least Bad Jihadis
    Assad is not going to be overthrown in the foreseeable future. He is hardly an ideal ruler, but he is rational, has run a longtime functioning state and is supported by many in Syria who rightly fear what new leader or domestic anarchy might come after his fall. He has not represented a genuinely key threat to the U.S. in the Middle East -- despite neocon rhetoric. The time has now come to bite the bullet, admit failure, and to permit -- if not assist -- Assad in quickly winding down the civil war in Syria and expelling the jihadis. We cannot both hate Assad and hate those jihadis (like ISIS) who also hate Assad. We fight, crudely put, with al-Qaeda in Syria and against al-Qaeda in Iraq. But restoration of order in Syria is essential to the restoration of order in the Iraqi, Lebanese, Israeli and Jordanian borderlands. Permitting Assad to remain in power will also restore a Syria that historically never has acted as a truly "sectarian" or religious state in its behavior in the Middle East -- until attacked by Saudi Arabia for its supposed Shi'ism.

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    A glorious idea, no doubt.

    Now, would you, or the author of that article, explain how is anybody supposed to 'make peace' with Assad - if he's neither in control of even 50% of all the gangs supposed to be fighting on his behalf, nor in control of what's going on outside Damascus?

    Alone the title of that feature is a shame and points at the author simply being clueless: what kind of 'least bad Jihadis' are the SF, SRF, Harakat Hazm, 13th Division-, 93rd Brigade-, 97th Brigade-, 19th Artillery Brigade FSyA etc.?

    And then think about following examples:

    1.) This 'regime' offensive that has cut off insurgents in Aleppo is run by the al-Quds al-Filastini Brigade, a Battalion each of Ba'ath Party Militia and Hezbollah, and only supported by (IRGC-commanded) NDF tanks and artillery. None of these formations is 'fighting for Assad', and only the BPM is 'Syrian'.

    2.) The very moment Assad attempts making anything more but 'temporary truce' with another of besieged-and-starved-to-death insurgent pockets (actually, most of such truces were negotiated by IRGC-QF officers, not by Assadists), he's likely to get assassinated by one of 'his own' gangs, simply because all them either have an ideology that's exclusive and totalitarian, or so much blood on their hands that they can't make peace without concern for their own security, or are little else but criminals.

    And overall: who has said that a Syria without insurgents and without the Daesh/Jihadists etc. is going to be 'stabile again'? Anybody here ready to bet the Alawites are then not going to start fighting each other, or at least not going to start fighting the SSNP, the BPM, the PLA, perhaps even the IRGC and Hezbollah - in order to re-establish their claim at exclusive right to rule?
    Last edited by CrowBat; 10-04-2014 at 08:53 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CrowBat View Post
    A glorious idea, no doubt.

    Now, would you, or the author of that article, explain how is anybody supposed to 'make peace' with Assad - if he's neither in control of even 50% of all the gangs supposed to be fighting on his behalf, nor in control of what's going on outside Damascus?
    I believe the point of the article is that Assad should be supported in regaining control of Syrian territory. As for the various forces fighting with the SAA they are only doing that because the US/UK/France/Turkey have been supporting the other guys. You can't push someone into a corner and then expect them not to use any and all measures to protect themselves. As the de facto government of Syria working with Assad means we assist conditionally; he leashes his dogs (and sends them back to where they come from) and in return we help him regain control of his country by shaping his actions, and restraining him where possible, through conditionality (stop doing X and we'll give you Y). No one said it was easy. The point is you can't help restore the Iraqi state and leave out the Syrians when they are both fighting the same enemy (which also happens to be our enemy). As for the Iranians they are merely doing what they have to to keep those maniacs as far away from their borders as they can (they are fighting in Iraq too don't you know). The best way to get the Iranians out of Syria and Iraq is to ... take their place. IMO. How is another question. I don't think large scale "BOG" is the answer. SoF (which can also collect valuable intelligence on the ground), artillery and air power might well be though.
    Last edited by Tukhachevskii; 10-04-2014 at 01:32 PM. Reason: Added qualifier; last three sentences.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tukhachevskii View Post
    I believe the point of the article is that Assad should be supported in regaining control of Syrian territory.
    By side the fact that you're proposing cooperation with a character responsible for deployment of chemical weapons against civilians (not only insurgents); detention and murder of at least 15,000, more likely 60,000 peaceful protesters; for wholesale destruction of nearly all major cities in Syria; for death of up to 400,000 Syrians in total (of which about 210,000 are 'confirmed'); for provoking a civil war with inter-religious and inter-ethnic 'flavour'; who is not only cooperating with such terrorist organizations like the IRGC, Hezbollah, PFLP etc., but depends on them for his naked survival...

    ...but: how?

    As for the various forces fighting with the SAA they are only doing that because the US/UK/France/Turkey have been supporting the other guys.
    First of all, you should define 'SAA' here. What is 'Syrian Arab Army' today? Where is it? For example: can you mention at least one battalion or brigade of the 'Syrian Arab Army' that is still existent?

    (PLEASE: just one battalion or brigade, I'm not asking for anything more.)

    ... As the de facto government of Syria working with Assad means we assist conditionally; he leashes his dogs (and sends them back to where they come from)...
    Assad is neither in control of the IRGC-QF, nor in control of IRGC's 'regulars' deployed in Syria, or in control of Iraqi Hezbollahis recruited by the IRGC and deployed in Syria to fight against insurgents: only Khamenei is (via Vahid). Assad is not in control of the Hezbollah. Assad is not in control of such 'native' militias like the NDF (this is commanded by IRGC-QF officers), not in control of the Ba'ath Party Militia, not in control of the SSNP's militia, not in control of the PLA, not in control of the PFLP. He's not even in control of various Alawite- or IC-run militias that could be considered 'closest' to the regime (indeed, some of them are run by members of the 'inner circle').

    He's only in control of quasi MOD and the chain of command inherited from the former Syrian Arab Army - the primary purpose of which is to represent that 'SAA' in the public, the air force (which is including the former air defence force), 2-3 brigades and few artillery regiments (all that is left) of the former Republican Guards Division and little else.

    So, how should he 'leash his dogs'? And what do you think would the IRGC-QF do if he comes to the idea to tell them, 'thanks a lot, you can now go home'?

    The point is you can't help restore the Iraqi state and leave out the Syrians when they are both fighting the same enemy (which also happens to be our enemy).
    Since when is the 'regime' in Syria fighting the Daesh?

    Except for Daesh's attack on Tabqa AB and nearby Army bases, can you cite one major clash between any of militias fighting for the regime and the Daesh?

    And if the regime in Syria is not fighting the Daesh (which is the case), then how can you say that this regime and the government of Iraq are 'fighting the same enemy'?

    As for the Iranians they are merely doing what they have to to keep those maniacs as far away from their borders as they can (they are fighting in Iraq too don't you know).
    I can even cite from the Iranian doctrine of national defence developed several years ago. That's why I do understand they're fighting this battle in Syria and Iraq, no problem with this.

    But, what's going to happen once they - supposedly - 'win' that war?

    Or, alternatively: what's going to happen if they lose?

    The best way to get the Iranians out of Syria and Iraq is to ... take their place. IMO. How is another question. I don't think large scale "BOG" is the answer. SoF (which can also collect valuable intelligence on the ground), artillery and air power might well be though.
    So, you want to replace the IRGC-QF's presence and influence between the Shi'a of Iraq with help of few SF teams?

    Good luck...

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    Quote Originally Posted by CrowBat View Post

    Good luck...
    Holy Moly Batman! Did I step into the Pentagon War room by accident? I do not recall, at any point, saying that I have the answers (unlike you apparently). What I did was proffer an opinion. If I were an ops planner I am sure I would have come up with an actual OPLAN that took all those factors into account. The world is not black and white; it is shades of grey The view of the world as being divided between good and evil is a peculiarly American one and which, moreover, seems to fail you at every turn. The world is, has been and will continue to be messy; there is no universal morality to which you can measure the standards of others (read Morgethau's Politics among Nations). You have to work with what you've got not with what you'd like. Furthermore, getting on a moral high horse and spitting on everyone is an activity fraught with danger (sort of like people who live in glass houses throwing stones). US actions of the past decade or more could easily be narrated or em-plotted into a similar story arc of evil and oppression against the little man.

    What exactly is your angle here? What's your beef bub?


    Hey! wait a minute... JMA is that you!?!?!?

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    I don't have a problem with you, per se, but with nearly all of ideas you mentioned.

    I don't know whether it's morale, or if I'm nave or something, but there are few things I'm insistent upon. First is that I insist calling a spade a spade, no matter what it takes. Second is I say what I think: I'm not acting one way while thinking the other, I'm not trying to be diplomatic for the sake of anything, and - for example - I can't 'make friends' with people that have plagiarised my publications even if they apologise. Kill me, I'm that way, and can't say why, but for similar reasons I couldn't make deals with mass murders.

    Back to the topic: in this very case, I do not see how can anybody expect to make deals with a mass murderer that is then actually a puppet? I find it silly alone to call him a 'president of Syria', whereas he's little else but a representative for a conglomerate of yet more mass murderers, criminals, and terrorists.

    Talking that way signals to me: 'Hey Tom, I've got no clue what I'm talking about, but this sounds like a damn good idea.'

    That's why I started asking for both, your knowledge and logic.

    For example: when you're talking about 'SAA', then tell me what kind of 'SAA' is there any more?

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but after studying the Syrian military for years, and following this war on day-by-day base ever since it erupted, I cannot but conclude that, to the best of my knowledge, there is none, nitchevo, nix, absolutely nothing left of the 'SAA' - and that since quite long. Theoretically, one could consider the 'NDF' for its 'successor/replacement', but this is not even that: the NDF does consist of a number of companies and whatever other sorts of 'detachments', 'task forces' etc., of the former SAA. But, these have been reformed and retrained into newly-established battalions, with their - entirely new - designations too.

    Without Iranians - i.e. without IRGC-QF's battlefield management staff - there would be even no unitary command of 'regime' forces.

    And what's this NDF? Better guards. Even all the possible detachments from former 'elite' SAA units (like the 1st, 3rd, or 4th ADs) - now only have a bare minimum of 'offensive support' capability (in terms of, 'they can provide company-sized tank detachments for support of specific, short-duration operations'), while the majority of militias grouped underneath the aegis of the NDF only have a bare minimum of defensive capability.

    Unsurprisingly, and to keep it short, the main military force of the 'Syrian regime' is not the NDF; it's a conglomerate of foreign - Iranian-controlled - militias (some of them, like certain Hezbollah units, with something like 'special forces' style of training). They're running the show: they're centrepieces of all offensives and all major defensive operations.

    That's why I'm asking: it's not only 'morale', and politics. It's practiality too. How do you - or anybody else - expect the regime to 'lash its dogs', say Iranians to go, and then 'regain control of Syria' if this is de-facto the only military-like force in its hands?

    Such expectations simply make no sense to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CrowBat View Post
    I don't have a problem with you, per se, but with nearly all of ideas you mentioned.


    Such expectations simply make no sense to me.
    Fair enough pal. I've long since given up on the SWC. The toxicity levels are too high for my liking. Its obvious this thread is your little fiefdom and I wish you all the best with your interesting endeavour (there are so many undiscovered SMEs out there just aching for their big break).

    I for one can't be asked anymore. There was a time when I would have passionately argued with the best of them but this "parrot is dead". I found my way here on the heels of my betters. I shall leave behind them too.

    I wash may hands of this silliness.

    T, Out

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    Why is it so that whoever is talking about 'SAA', whenever asked to explain what is 'SAA' today, to cite at least one of 'SAA' units that is still existent - and this does not matter what person or in what position, nor from what place on this planet - is offended?

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