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Thread: Syria under Bashir Assad (closed end 2014)

  1. #521
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    It appears I have had a few posts deleted - which is irritating in itself.
    Deleted or moved ?

    If a moderator were to tell JMM what style of response to use, I'd tell him to go to hell.

    -------------------------------------

    Generally (not directed at Mark), as to this thread, the constant back and forth ad hominems and snarks destroy whatever value the substantive messages contain.

    Regards

    Mike

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    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrowBat View Post
    First you babble about 'US image is ruined' ('already since Korean War')
    What I said was that involvement in foreign wars, directly or by proxy, has generally damaged the US image, rather than improving it. That does not equate to a "ruined image", as war is not the only thing the US does.

    Quote Originally Posted by CrowBat View Post
    and then - in response to my explanation about ruined US image in the Arab world and explanation that there is a need to change this, and about importance of Syria for Arabs - you come back to tell me that 'importance of Syria to Arabs is quite peripheral to that question'...?
    The importance of Syria to Arabs is in itself a weak to nonexistent argument for US involvement in Syria. Even if you could present a reasonable argument to suggest that US involvement in Syria would improve the US image with Arabs, which you haven't, improving your image with anyone doesn't even begin to be a viable reason to get involved in a war. It is certainly not a vital or even pressing national interest.

    Quote Originally Posted by CrowBat View Post
    Aha. So, that's 'history', so you must insist you CAN'T learn anything from that? But Syria is 'future', which you can't influence (or which is unimportant, and 'pure guessing'), eh?
    You can learn what happened. If you want to claim that it's still happening, you have to demonstrate that, not assume it.

    Quote Originally Posted by CrowBat View Post
    No, you didn't. You were more than happy to start babbling about the issue on Clinton admin's negotiations with Taliban.

    Or, would you like to say that this was all the USA did in Afghanistan in the 1990s?
    In order by approximate date, and very briefly:

    '90-'96: Very little

    '96-'98: Sporadic negotiation offering various carrots and sticks to try to persuade the Taliban to cough up bin Laden, and move toward a more pro-western stance.

    '98 (post embassy bombings)- 2001: Drive-by shootings via cruise missile, followed by sanctions (which of course terminated any pipeline plans by US companies).

    Overall the Clinton administration treated Afghanistan as a minor annoyance and a matter of minimal importance. Watching the Nasdaq was a lot more fun than watching Afghanistan in those days.

    So what?

    Quote Originally Posted by CrowBat View Post
    Wait, wait, wat: so, 'they' do have 'influence'?!? Wow! Eureka! If you keep on getting it in this fashion, you might manage to understand the system and what I'm talking about all thet time - in only about some 15-16 years from now.
    If you're going to come along with some variation on the old "the corporations run America" thing, don't bother. It's old, it's boring, we've all heard it before, and it's not worth anyone's attention. Beyond occasional examination of the concept's enduring appeal to the small minded and the closed minded, it's not an idea worthy of attention.

    Quote Originally Posted by CrowBat View Post
    OK. So, you're back to insisting on ignoring everything that's said to you? No problem. Go few posts back and _read_ what I wrote. After _reading_ what I wrote, try also to _understand_ what I wrote.
    Maybe you should try reading and understanding, because you are contradicting your own argument. Look at the points you are trying to make.

    First you suggest that corporate America has pressing reasons to get the country involved in Syria.

    Then you suggest that corporate America controls the government.

    If that's the case, why is the US not involved in Syria? More to the point, why is there zero enthusiasm from any sector in the US for involvement in Syria? Actual observed fact: US corporations are not pushing for involvement in Syria. Not at all... as in zero effort. They don't care. There's no evidence that any organized sector in the US political landscape wants to get involved.

    Obviously your perceptions of US corporate interest are not shared by any of the various sub-sectors in the US corporate world, and I suspect that their evaluation of their own interests is more credible than your evaluation of their interests. US corporations may or may not have the power to get the US involved in Syria... we'll never know, because they aren't trying to get the US involved.

    What we actually see is a rare unanimous conclusion across the US political spectrum: the US has no national interest at stake in Syria that justifies the expense and risk of involvement in the Syrian Civil War, directly or by proxy. If you want to contest that conclusion, you'll need to produce a much more convincing argument than those you've presented so far.
    “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

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    You are right Mike, I need to remind myself to ...




    Quote Originally Posted by jmm99 View Post
    Deleted or moved ?

    If a moderator were to tell JMM what style of response to use, I'd tell him to go to hell.

    -------------------------------------

    Generally (not directed at Mark), as to this thread, the constant back and forth ad hominems and snarks destroy whatever value the substantive messages contain.

    Regards

    Mike

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    http://www.debka.com/article/23627/I...y-in-civil-war

    Israeli officer: With 30,000 Al Qaeda fighters in Syria, Israel re-evaluates its neutrality in civil war

    speaking on condition of anonymity, reported that more than 30,000 al-Qaeda-linked fighters are active in Syria, a huge increase over the 2,000 jihadis present there two years ago. With jihadis in control of Syrian territory on Israel's northern borders, the high-ranking officer said “many discussions are taking place behind closed doors about the possibility of rethinking its strategy” of neutrality in the Syrian civil war.
    Israel’s recourse to military action against the jihadist threat from Syria would require learning US military tactics for combating terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The IDF has no experience of this kind or scale of warfare. It would have to re-write its war doctrine and retrain substantial commando forces in preparation for long years of close-up combat against the jihadist enemy.
    Israel would also need to carefully weigh the pros and cons of a military campaign against al Qaeda’s Syrian deployment, taking into consideration that resorting to a campaign against al Qaeda would ease the pressure on the Assad regime and its allies, Iran and Hizballah. That is a hard call to make.

  5. #525
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    Bill:

    Oh man will things get complicated now. But of course, we can console ourselves with the knowledge that the chem weapons are out of circulation...maybe.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

  6. #526
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    Israel’s recourse to military action against the jihadist threat from Syria would require learning US military tactics for combating terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The IDF has no experience of this kind or scale of warfare. It would have to re-write its war doctrine and retrain substantial commando forces in preparation for long years of close-up combat against the jihadist enemy.
    I don't doubt that the Israelis might fight some way to get involved if they perceived a significant threat, but would they go to the extent of "close-up combat against the jihadist enemy" within Syria? How would the Syrian Government/Iran/Hezbollah crowd react to that? Common enemy, yes, but a very improbable set of allies who would be looking for any possible way to backstab each other.

    Not impossible I guess, but potentially very messy. I would expect the Israelis to be quite hesitant about getting ground forces involved in any lasting deployment, but as always we will see...
    “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

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    http://www.smh.com.au/world/alqaeda-...204-hvb26.html

    Al-Qaeda breaks ties with Syrian affiliate, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant

    The break between al-Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, announced on jihadist websites, served both sides, said William McCants, a scholar of militant Islam at the Washington-based Brookings Institution.

    Al-Qaeda cut ties with a group that was besmirching the al-Qaeda name among other militants, while ISIL bolstered its image as a force to reckon with.

  8. #528
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    http://www.debka.com/article/23627/I...y-in-civil-war

    Israeli officer: With 30,000 Al Qaeda fighters in Syria, Israel re-evaluates its neutrality in civil war
    Bill,

    I always have m' doubts over Debka as a reliable source.

    In contrast to Debka's report is the documented Israeli humanitarian aid across the DMZ on the Golan Heights, primarily in providing medical treatment to civilians and less certainly injured others. IIRC this has appeared in this thread before.

    Nor would I describe Israel's stance as 'neutral', especially given the limited number of air strikes on suspected supplies from the Syrian regime to Hezbollah, an active participant in the civil war.
    davidbfpo

  9. #529
    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    The matter with 'al-Qaida breaking with Syrian affiliate', aka ISIS (or Da'ash, as Syrians call it; this nick is supposedly making the ISIS Jihadists especially mad), is nothing new. Because of their attrocities and unpopularity between the population and outside, Zawahiri was in deep troubles with them since months, ordering them all the time out of Syria. They simply wouldn't listen...

    But, I must wonder about Israeli figures. Together with a French chap, I've spent the last two weeks scrounging all possible sources of open source INT for details about 'foreign Jihadists' in Syria. One of conclusions was that - perhaps - it was so that up to some 12,000, perhaps even 15,000 ('overoptimistic' if I'm to ask) foreigners (non-Iraqis and non-Syrians) might have joined the ISIS inside Syria over the last year or so. But, many of them have left ever since, or were simply KIA, and a big part (at least 800) defected to join the JAN, recently.

    Similarly, we couldn't find evidence but for about 7,000-8,000 'Jihadists' with the ISIS in Syria presently (including about 2,000 'Europeans'). Furthermore, and although it meanwhile enforced allegiance with various Syrian tribes, this organisation includes perhaps 500 Syrians (definitely less than 5% of its total force).

    Obviously, such a small 'force' can't really control such huge swats of Syria as it does (namely from the town of Azzaz, and especially the thermal power plant east of Aleppo, all the way to Dayr az-Zawr). But, a part of this 'problem' is solved by their savage brutality against any kind of opposition.

    Still, I understand this as an indication that there 'might' be more of them. The question is only: where? I.e. where have the Israelis found this ballance of 20,000+?

  10. #530
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default The media war

    Two reports on media reporting, one from Chatham House (UK) and the second from USIP (US), which reviews social media reporting - which I have not read.

    Chatham House's report has some very pithy passages:
    The ensuing conflict has become a ‘war without real people’ in the eyes of most westerners, who now regard the Syrian civil war as an Alien vs Predator-type contest, complete with severed heads, flayed skins and bitten hearts, in which Al-Qaeda competes with the regime as centre stage for Western fears. They seem to be winning. The regime, for all its ruthless and blood-soaked cruelty, is beginning to look the lesser of two evils in the eyes of foreign nations.

    (Ends with) It would be an even greater shame if through the absence of independent reporting in Syria, we now choose to forget such people exist, normal Syrians, and believe instead the cardboard cut-out image of a war fought between rebel thugs, extremist hoods and regime goons.
    Link:http://www.chathamhouse.org/publicat...BHZJVN,7UFSC,1

    Link to USIP report:http://www.usip.org/publications/syr...ated-civil-war
    davidbfpo

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    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    Sad but true - even more so because monitoring developments in Syria on day-to-day basis can get a true 'popcorn cinema'.

    Take the situation in Aleppo of the last few days:

    Because of cease-fires agreed with several of insurgent pockets in Rif Dimashq area (Barzeh, Moadamiyeh), the regime was free to move significant reinforcements from there to Aleppo. After travelling via Kfar Nasser and al-Safira, these - including SSNP's Guard, Arab Guard, and of course all the possible Iranian-supported Hezbollahi militias - are usually converging on Nayrab AB/Aleppo IAP, from where they are pushing into eastern outskirts and the Old City of Aleppo. In this fashion they are attempting to cut off the FSA and Ahrar ash-Sham units that are hodling southern and eastern parts of this city. The corridor between the insurgent-held areas north of Aleppo and insurgents inside the city - held by the Liwa Tawhid Brigade - is meanwhile only 5km wide. And Liwa Tawhid has not only to stop this regime advance, but also attacks from the ISIS.

    Namely, after securing much of NE Syria, a major ISIS force is trying to reach the NE Aleppo through an advance via al-Raay and Akhtarin. It was somewhere in this area that an ISIS column opened fire on a village populated by Syrian Turks, and then on Turkish border forces, to which the Turkish military responded with artillery and tank fire, and then with an air strike of its F-16s, which should have destroyed one ISIS pickup and a bus, on 2 February. But, because Turkish military operation remained limited, this advance had to be stopped on 3 Febraury by a counterattack of Kurdish Jabhat al-Akrad militia on Manbij (reminder: Jabhat al-Akrad is PYD's proxy, providing the excuse of 'Kurds fighting together with insurgents against the regime'; seems the PYD's standpoint is that one simply can never know about the outcome of this war...).

    'Interestingly', the regime is ignoring the ISIS-held termal powerplant east of Aleppo, or ISIS advance from the NE, and the Jabhat al-Akrad, and 'instead' pushing towards north, from Naqharin on Sheikh Najjar Industrial City. Almost as 'thank you', the ISIS then car-bombed the HQs of the Tawhid Brigade and the Suqour ash-Sham Brigade in Aleppo, killing their COs and a number of high-ranking officers.

    Here a video of NDF troops fighting inside Sallahaddin District of Aleppo:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-6xlS-Es2E

    Lt Gen Fahd Jassem Freij, Chief of Staff of Syrian Armed Forces visiting Aleppo, 31 January 2014:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPf9MfMdF5U

    al-Manar TV with 'SyAA troops' (read: NDF or BPM) in Karam al-Qusayr, in Aleppo:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bv42wHdjlY0

    Ahrar ash-Sham's T-55 in action outside Aleppo:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tgBqohJBGKc

    IF's T-62 in action (outside Aleppo?):
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RwevOgBOb_8

    FSyA T-55 fighting ISIS outside Aleppo:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8NT2DrJ4iQM

    DIY-cannon attack on ZSU-23-4 outside Aleppo:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPK19usv0Jk

    Now, in order to ease their situation (i.e. streamline their frontlines and thus free additional forces), the IF, Ahrar ash-Sham (Anadan Brigade) and the JAN have decided to launch a new attack on Aleppo Central Prison (ACP), some 7km north of that city, on 4 February (the FSyA was apparently too busy fighting inside Aleppo). For this purpose, the JAN appears to have deployed the ex-ISIS group of about 800, led by Abu Sulayman al-Muhajir (a Belgian of Algerian origin) and Saifuallah ash-Shishani (Chechen, not to be mixed with the other Shishani). They loaded an 'armoured truck' with about 12,000kg of C-4 and Semtex and - supposedly - a Briton of Pakistani origin named Abu Suleiman al-Britani drove it against the main entrance of the ACP.

    al-Britani's truck:


    According to pro-regime sources, this truck was hit by some 6-7 RPG-rounds while still some 100m short of its objective, and blew up in a tremendous detonation - instantly killing two regime officers that were monitoring it through their bionculars. One of several videos of the aftermath:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y84bzUfsLKs

    The attack on ACP failed, and the JAN suffered extensive losses. Regime claims at least 150 'militants' KIA and 100 WIA, but some of pro-regime sources are now praising 'the 6th Mechanized Armoured Division' for having killed 500 'rats', supposedly 'despite' the 'ISIS' being supported by 'British (intelligence) contractors', 'equivalent of the Green Berets' that hould have overhauled 'ISIS T-62 tanks' - driven by Chechens and Saudis.

    By side that there is no (and there was never any) '6th Division' in Syria, whether 'mechanized' or 'armoured' (the ACP might be held by some survivors of the former 56th Armoured Brigade)...

    But, to add salt to the injury of the JAN, in their reports like this one (see below), ISIS is now complaining about taking part in this operation but being left down by practically every (insurgent) organization:


    Translation:
    Peace be upon you,

    Firstly, god is my witness, and me down in anger if i speak falsely.

    Secondly, Abu Maria Maysara Al-Jabouri proposed to Sheikh Saifallah Al-Chechani that the state [ISIS] fight alongside the rebels in Aleppo, but he staunchly refused, may he rest in peace. His pledge to ISIS could have been, were it not for his preexisting pledge to Abu Uthman Doko Omarov Emir of the Caucasus. And from there began the secret, and God only knows.

    Thirdly, when the attack began today, Sheikh Saifallah and Jaish Al-Muhajireen spearheaded the attack. The news of freeing the prison was released before that of Sheikh Saifallah's martyrdom, in order to emphasize the victory we, ISIS, played a hand in alongside our brother in the other combat groups in Kuwairis.

    The attack was preceded by a message to Al-Muhissni indicating a powerful operation conducted by Al-Nusra and Ahrar [Al Sham] was underway.

    Fourthly, when the attack had begun. the majority of the Ahrar [Al Sham] and [Liwa] Tawhid combat groups slowly withdrew from the flank, leaving their attacking brothers targets of accurate shelling/mortar fire from the Alawites... The majority of the martyrs belonged to the Jaish Al-Muhajireen and Saifallah's combat groups.

    Lastly, I have nothing to say but that Abu Omar Al-Kuwaiti has returned and recovered, as with Al-Jabouri. If an attack is contrived, prepare yourselves, and know that in victory there is much good to be gained, that is something the lords of sedition [Rebels] do not realize. As for the death of Saifallah, he was a hinderence to their [insurgent] doomed conspiracy.

    Oh lord my honor is credible, were i a liar, strike me.

    Note: the Central Command of Liwa Al-Tawhid though it could take advantage of the conspiracy by paying its dues, so it executed many brothers in Talrifaat... They are a people of betrayal... One conspiracy is not enough. I saw the faces of those who did not acknowledge god's might.
    So, the ISIS - which is only attacking Syrian insurgents - is boasting that it has led this assault on the ACP, although at the same time explaining it refused to particpate and was then left-down by the IF and Liwa Tawhid - and the regime is 'confirming' this...

    This is better than if written by anybody in Hollywood.
    Last edited by CrowBat; 02-08-2014 at 01:30 PM.

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    http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...ssad-forces-un

    Syria children maimed and tortured

    First point first

    It was not clear what methodology for the findings was used and the summary of the report posted on the UN website did not say how investigators obtained their information.
    Many more allegations in the article
    While Assad's forces have used children as human shields in the fighting, the report also condemned rebels for "recruitment and use of children both in combat and support roles, as well as for conducting military operations".
    Actual UN report/summary at this link, much more graphic depiction.

    http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.as...=#.UvewW42YbIW
    Last edited by Bill Moore; 02-09-2014 at 06:24 PM. Reason: add a link

  13. #533
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    'Fan's of SSMS are going to like this video:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4fokVfd7mY

    Looks like CBU-version of the (Iranian-made) Fateh-110 (Teshreen in Syrian military parlance).

    ...and discussion of regime's deployment of BM-30 MLRS by Brown Moses Blog (meanwhile, there are some good photos of entire BM-30 rounds, not only empty wreckage).

    In other news:

    - After Ibn Sultan has organized arms shipments worth about US$1 billion for the SF and SRF (two new coalitions of ex-FSA, moderate insurgents: Southern Front, presently doing very well around Dera'a, in southern Syria; and Syrian Revolutionary Front, created in Idlib from 14 different ex-FSA brigades), and because he apparently did so on his own (i.e. without any 'amens' from the DC), the King there said he's gotta go.

    Sultan was replaced by king's son, Prince Mutaib Ibn Abdullah (former Minister of the SANG):
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wveJ0ZbnMlQ

    Simultaneously, after Idriss insisted on getting people from other political parties (but Qatar-supported Moslem Brotherhood) into the SNC and SMC - but also after his quarrels with Ma'arouf (wealthy businessman who is chief of SF, and supported by Saudis) - he was fired too, and replaced by Col Abdel-Illah al-Bashir (al-Noeim tribe) as new chief of (what is left of) FSyA:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gyl4Kay77ug

    Otherwise, there are not too many true 'news' from the battlefields. In the north, the SRF and IF have attacked ISIS-held Azzaz (last Jihadist stronghold, 35km NW of Aleppo), but apparently failed to take it.

    The regime exploited this opportunity to capture the village of Sheikh Najjar: some have misunderstood this with the capture of Sheikh Najjar Industrial City, NE of Aleppo (which would indeed be a massive blow for insurgents). Liwa al-Tawhid stopped them well outside the latter (thanks to another shipment of ATGMs).

    In the south, the SF is very quiet about its advance on Khirbet Ghazala and Ghariyyat al-Gharbiyah, yesterday, where they cut the highway between Dera'a and Damascus and captured a major ammo depot too. Essentially, what's left of the regime garrison inside northern Dera'a is now cut off.

  14. #534
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    Default Thirty-four months later

    A broad ranging review of the situation in Syria and the stance of the external players - of note excluding Israel - is provided by WoTR:http://warontherocks.com/2014/02/the...state-of-play/

    Yesterday on Twitter there was a new map of how Syria looks now, I will try to find a link and / or copy it here.
    davidbfpo

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    We'll see if this agreement works, at this point Assad is no longer a legitimate leader for Syria, but still major questions on what happens if his regime falls. Iran and Russia will still support Assad to pursue their own interests as will Lebanese Hezbollah, so selectively providing arms and other aids to vetted insurgent groups may not be enough to turn the tide.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/...14b_story.html

    U.S., allies agree on standards for which opposition groups in Syria will receive aid

    The United States and its principal European and Arab allies have agreed on a unified way of providing Syrian rebel groups with aid, classifying them into those who should receive arms supplies and other assistance, those who are ineligible because of clear extremist ties, and those whose eligibility requires further discussion, according to U.S. and allied officials.
    “The idea is that no country will act unilaterally and all will abide by the same understanding,” said one Arab official. The official called the listing a “living document” that will be constantly updated as rebel alliances shift.

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    Default Syria’s uncontainable threat

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinio...14b_story.html

    A discussion in Damascus

    “We are not just fighting Assad,” says one man. “We are fighting Russia, Iran and Hezbollah.” Accurate. “The Western countries,” adds another, “are just waiting around.” True enough. Their sympathies are with the more moderate Free Syrian Army, but the radical Islamist group Jabhat al-Nusra “gives us food and assistance.” It is clear who has more resources.
    From a U.S. perspective, this disaster is not just humanitarian but strategic. A Somalia-like future for Syria would be an uncontainable regional and global threat. Lebanon is already being overwhelmed, with one out of four people now a Syrian refugee, adding tension to a combustible sectarian mix. In Jordan, the influx has left public services near the breaking point. Jordanian border guards routinely intercept automatic weapons, hand grenades and bombs with remote detonators coming out of Syria. “Some are headed to sleeper cells in Jordan,” a Jordanian general told me, and “others are in transit to other countries.”
    This has led some to propose a radical option: Tacitly concede defeat, accept that Assad is ascendant and engage him in a counterterrorism strategy. But that would not only reward mass atrocities, it would also be the acceptance of Russian and Iranian strategic dominance in the Middle East and the betrayal of our current friends. And it would reward mass atrocities.

    More in this opinion piece, and IMO if there was ever a wicked problem with no good solutions this is it.

  17. #537
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    Since yesterday evening, there is a regime assault on Sheik Najjar Industrial City north of Aleppo. The involved force is said to consist of a mix of about two 'task forces' in size (something like 8 companies/2 battalions), with 20 T-55s and T-72s, supported by UAVs.

    Note: this attack was launched by night. Given the 'history' of nocturnal attacks on insurgents in Syria by now, this - plus involvement of UAVs - is making it crystal clear who's in charge of that operation.

    For those that might be wondering about what do the Syrians 'actually' think, here a very useful report, titled Aleppo Mapping Project.

    My experience is that similar 'wild mix of reasons, motives etc.' can be found everywhere else around that country.

    Also interesting, is this article from Israel, citing quite some Hezbollah losses in Syria so far: 350 KIA and about 1,000 WIA.

    Some of latest rumours I've heard are even higher (about 450 KIA and more than 1,300 WIA).

    Whatever, the point is that the Hezbollah has three small brigades deployed around Qalamoun Mountain Range (along the central part of the Lebanese-Syrian border), with two inside Syria and one inside Lebanon. Since none of these is larger than about 1,200 people, that's quite a chunk of losses they have suffered in about one year of fighting.

  18. #538
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    CrowBat, thank you for your informative updates, much appreciated.


    Quote Originally Posted by CrowBat View Post
    Since yesterday evening, there is a regime assault on Sheik Najjar Industrial City north of Aleppo. The involved force is said to consist of a mix of about two 'task forces' in size (something like 8 companies/2 battalions), with 20 T-55s and T-72s, supported by UAVs.

    Note: this attack was launched by night. Given the 'history' of nocturnal attacks on insurgents in Syria by now, this - plus involvement of UAVs - is making it crystal clear who's in charge of that operation.

    For those that might be wondering about what do the Syrians 'actually' think, here a very useful report, titled Aleppo Mapping Project.

    My experience is that similar 'wild mix of reasons, motives etc.' can be found everywhere else around that country.

    Also interesting, is this article from Israel, citing quite some Hezbollah losses in Syria so far: 350 KIA and about 1,000 WIA.

    Some of latest rumours I've heard are even higher (about 450 KIA and more than 1,300 WIA).

    Whatever, the point is that the Hezbollah has three small brigades deployed around Qalamoun Mountain Range (along the central part of the Lebanese-Syrian border), with two inside Syria and one inside Lebanon. Since none of these is larger than about 1,200 people, that's quite a chunk of losses they have suffered in about one year of fighting.

  19. #539
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Islamists kill AQ's envoy in Syria

    Twitter is alive with confirmed reports that Abu Khaled al-Suri, senior Al-Qaeda & co-founder of Ahrar al-Sham, was killed today in Aleppo, in a suicide attack on his HQ - possibly by another Islamist faction ISIS.

    Background brief:http://www.longwarjournal.org/archiv...chief_repr.php
    davidbfpo

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    Default

    A fascinating commentary on the Christian communities:http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/chr...ynamics-syria/

    It ends and this is just the first two passages:
    Christian militia and political dynamics in Syria are by no means as simple as notions that all Christians side with the regime or look to the regime as their protector. As we have seen, sect affiliation and geography matter here, and divisions in alignments are particularly sharp in northeastern Syria.

    However, one common thread is apparent: the rebel forces on the ground have overwhelmingly failed to attract Christian support for their cause, however many Christians may be in the opposition-in-exile. Christians on the ground look to the regime, Kurds or have formed their own independent groupings generally working with the latter while opposed to the regime, but they have not joined the various FSA-banner formations or other main rebel groupings in significant numbers.
    davidbfpo

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