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Thread: Syria in 2017 (April-December)

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    Default The End of American Support for Syrian Rebels Was Inevitable

    By Faysal Itani at DefenseOne

    Introduction:

    Where the insurgency is concerned, Trump and Obama have plenty in common.

    This week, the Trump administration reportedly cancelled a long-running covert program to support vetted Syrian rebels in the war against the regime of Bashar al-Assad. While this move has provoked a small outcry among Assad’s opponents, the development itself is far from surprising. Furthermore, it is incorrect, as some have insisted, to view the cancellation as a gratuitous concession to Russia—adecision like this, which aligns with years of deliberate U.S. strategy and Trump’sown stated goals, cannot be considered a concession. It is almost certainly true that Trump hopes this decision will make Russia more cooperative on ceasefires between the regime and the insurgency. But if that does not happen or if it fails to pacify Syria—a likely outcome—this would not alter an already-dismal strategic situation for the Syrian opposition, one that may well be acceptable to the United States.

    The Trump administration’s decision to end this program represents the logical endpoint of years of evolution in U.S. policy. While the effort was conceived under Barack Obama, it was always at odds with America’s broader goals—a tension that Trump has long recognized and is now acting upon.

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    Default Khan Sheikhoun Sarin: update

    The April 2017 Sarin CW attack on Khan Sheikhoun features in sixty posts on the Forum, mainly in the Syrian threads and the Russian Info Ops thread.

    Thanks to a "lurker" for the pointer to commentary by Eliot Higgins @ Bellingcat, which starts with:
    Following the July 4th, 2017 publication of the OPCW fact-finding mission (FFM) report on the April 4th, 2017 Khan Sheikhoun Sarin attack in Syria, questions were raised about claims made by the veteran journalist Seymour Hersh in his June 25th, 2017 article in Welt, “Trump‘s Red Line“. The OPCW FFM report flatly contradicted claims made in Hersh’s article, namely how a Syrian SU-24 supposedly fired a precision-guided munition at a Jihadi command and control center in the north of Khan Sheikhoun, with the resulting explosion inadvertently releasing toxic gases from “medicines and chlorine-based decontaminants” stored in the basement of the building, along with unspecified weapons and munitions.
    Hersh’s claim contradicted the OPCW FFM report, which stated that Sarin had been detected in environmental samples and in tests on the victims of the attack. Not only that, but Hersh’s reporting also contradicted claims made by the US, French, Syrian, and Russian governments.
    Link:https://www.bellingcat.com/news/mena...ite-know-move/
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 07-31-2017 at 01:44 PM. Reason: 45,436v
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    Default Report: 4 US-backed Syrian rebels defect to government

    By: Bassem Mroue, The Associated Press
    http://www.militarytimes.com/flashpo...to-government/

    BEIRUT — A small number of U.S.-backed rebels have defected and joined government forces south of the country days after the U.S. announced an end to a CIA program that backed opposition fighters, Syrian opposition activists said Saturday.

    The defection of at least four rebels came after The Washington Post reported that the White House has decided to halt the CIA supply-and-equip program for Syrian rebels.

    U.S. President Donald Trump essentially confirmed the existence of the program and its cancellation Monday night when he lashed out at The Washington Post. The president tweeted that the newspaper “fabricated the facts on my ending massive, dangerous, and wasteful payments to Syrian rebels fighting (Syrian President Bashar) Assad.”

    The defection also came as Col. Ryan Dillon, the spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group, told CNN this week that “the coalition supports only those forces committed to fighting” the Islamic State group...

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    Quote Originally Posted by OUTLAW 09 View Post
    Azor...now do you finally realize just how correct I and CrowBat have been? We critiqued Obama ME FP because he did not understand what was actually ongoing inside Syria and Trump has no idea what the heck he is doing for any FP.
    Meanwhile, I would 'upgrade' this thesis to: 'he (and other Western cleptocrac... erm... 'governments') acted intentionally'.

    Just like in Libya of 2011, and right from the start, the idea of most of our governments - and almost all the media - here in the West was that the uprising in Syria is one of 'al-Qaida against a secular government'.

    Ever since, these governments and all the possible talking heads - and there are true armies of these, ranging from the likes of Oblablas and Steinmeiers, via all the Landis', Tamimis, Listers etc. - are tearing themselves and each other apart (and everybody who happens to pass by) with new 'revelations' about 'al-Qaida in Syria' and whatever else. Primarily because that's all they were ever interested in seeing in this conflict; sadly, also because that was of crucial importance for Israel, too (then, a democratic Syria was just the last thing all of them were ever curious to see, just like a democratic Libya... or even such Venezuela). For this purpose, out of an unimportant and anything else than 'influential' presence, they created a temporary parallel universe through exaggerating and pointing out - de-facto _advertising_ a few thugs. And then they continued repeating the same 'song' - until this became reality, first in the case of the Daesh, then in the case of this JAN/HTS comedy.

    I'm no conspiracy theoretician - and feel free to call me 'naive' and 'idealist' as much as you like - but, if this is not reminding of well-known campaigns 'pro' US food- and tobacco-industries from the 1970s and 1980s (all of which where wholeheartedly supported by top experts from Harvard University - who, BTW - were all paid for by the same food- and tobacco-industries)... I do not know what else might ever do so.

    All of this is now 'past tense'. Present times is that a pluralist revolution was successfully suppressed and replaced by gangs of extremists of all possible sorts, and that no solution for the stinking pile of BS so skilfully created in Syria is in sight.

    The war can thus go on.

    Congratulations everybody.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CrowBat View Post
    Meanwhile, I would 'upgrade' this thesis to: 'he (and other Western cleptocrac... erm... 'governments') acted intentionally'.

    Just like in Libya of 2011, and right from the start, the idea of most of our governments - and almost all the media - here in the West was that the uprising in Syria is one of 'al-Qaida against a secular government'.

    Ever since, these governments and all the possible talking heads - and there are true armies of these, ranging from the likes of Oblablas and Steinmeiers, via all the Landis', Tamimis, Listers etc. - are tearing themselves and each other apart (and everybody who happens to pass by) with new 'revelations' about 'al-Qaida in Syria' and whatever else. Primarily because that's all they were ever interested in seeing in this conflict; sadly, also because that was of crucial importance for Israel, too (then, a democratic Syria was just the last thing all of them were ever curious to see, just like a democratic Libya... or even such Venezuela). For this purpose, out of an unimportant and anything else than 'influential' presence, they created a temporary parallel universe through exaggerating and pointing out - de-facto _advertising_ a few thugs. And then they continued repeating the same 'song' - until this became reality, first in the case of the Daesh, then in the case of this JAN/HTS comedy.

    I'm no conspiracy theoretician - and feel free to call me 'naive' and 'idealist' as much as you like - but, if this is not reminding of well-known campaigns 'pro' US food- and tobacco-industries from the 1970s and 1980s (all of which where wholeheartedly supported by top experts from Harvard University - who, BTW - were all paid for by the same food- and tobacco-industries)... I do not know what else might ever do so.

    All of this is now 'past tense'. Present times is that a pluralist revolution was successfully suppressed and replaced by gangs of extremists of all possible sorts, and that no solution for the stinking pile of BS so skilfully created in Syria is in sight.

    The war can thus go on.

    Congratulations everybody.
    On the contrary, the relevant appointed public officials and P3 analysts are more than capable of understanding the nuances of each situation and recommending appropriate policies. However, the elected officials and representatives, the mainstream media and the electorate itself, are incapable of doing either.

    The portrayal of the entire Syrian Arab rebellion as one of aggressive Sunni Arab Muslim supremacism on the order of Al Qaeda and Daesh is clearly false; so too the lionizing of the Kurds and the conflating of the KRG with the PKK/PYD. As for Assad and his allies, one’s opinion of the rebellion should not determine one’s opinion of his regime or its crimes both at war and at peace. Long before 2011, the Assad dynasty had acquired offensive chemical weapons and had attempted to develop nuclear ones as well, and these capabilities were far more threatening to the West and its interests than any Syrian rebels. The threats from Assad’s allies Iran and Hezbollah were well-known until recently, when certain governments decided to engage with the former and partner with both.

    Despite all of these lies, errors and omissions, the facts are that:

    • The secular/moderate rebels are not capable of winning the war, even with Turkish support
    • Only the U.S. has the ability to oust foreign pro-Assad forces from Syria


    A U.S. occupation and reconstruction of Syria would require:

    • The forcible expulsion of more than 30,000 pro-Assad foreign forces
    • Disarmament and internment of at least 200,000 Syrian combatants
    • Clashes with Iranian and Russian forces with wider implications
    • An occupation force of at least 410,000, and probably closer to 2,050,000*
    • An additional 400,000 to 600,000 armed local auxiliaries*
    • 4-7 years of occupation and reconstruction**
    • An ongoing U.S. presence in Syria for more than 50 years as well as a deep bilateral relationship**


    The Syrian Revolution began to eat its children years ago, as the revolutions in Libya, Egypt, Iran and Algeria already have. To this day, the center-left and left-wing revolutionaries who helped overthrow the Shah in Iran – and who faced much worse repression under Khomeini – propagate the myth that the CIA installed both leaders. Why? Because that myth is easier to swallow than the truth that the revolution was perverted from within. Contemporary Russians can be found who argued that Western financiers backed the Communist and National Socialist seizures of power in Russia and Germany, respectively.

    You will recall that the Russian Revolution was incredibly “pluralist”, which was one of its problems. Note also that the more successful English Revolution of 1642 was not finally resolved until 1689 in England, and 1775 in the United States…

    Like it or not, the Free Syrian Army needed overwhelming foreign support to win the war and then win the peace, and they did not fail to win due to a conspiracy hatched in Washington, Tel Aviv or Berlin.





    *Based upon the forces committed to Operation Banner and the Second Chechen War
    **Based upon the occupations of Germany and Japan

  6. #546
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    There is a nice verb in German, for which there is no translation to English.

    It's called 'zerreden'.

    It's the best description of such 'explanations' about Syria, like your's.

    Example?

    First let Assad detain and disappear 60.000-120.000 peaceful, secular activists; congratulate him for 'reforms' like letting 5,000 Islamists out of his jails, where these were extremised; then let Qatar, Kuwait and Turkey sponsor extremist gangs organized by these while doing whatever is possible to curb foreign support for secular armed groups (including taking away all of their MANPADs)...add plenty of such nonsense like 'Turkey is supporting moderate Syrian insurgents', 'CIA is doing the same too'...preferably while establishing a close alliance with Marxist/Maoist terrorist group that's completely foreign to the country in question - and then declare the entire affair for 'no matter of national interest', before, finally, concluding it just couldn't work.

    Then, sigh, fighting a war for... well, gauging by Afghanistan: meanwhile it's 40+ years and there's no end in sight... is, what: 'cheaper'?

    Than what?

    (Disclaimer: and of course, there's no conspiracy; then any similarities to earlier, well-known and well-documented cases - are pure coincidence.)

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    Default To CrowBat RE: Syria

    Quote Originally Posted by CrowBat View Post
    There is a nice verb in German, for which there is no translation to English.

    It's called 'zerreden'.

    It's the best description of such 'explanations' about Syria, like your's.

    Example?

    First let Assad detain and disappear 60.000-120.000 peaceful, secular activists; congratulate him for 'reforms' like letting 5,000 Islamists out of his jails, where these were extremised; then let Qatar, Kuwait and Turkey sponsor extremist gangs organized by these while doing whatever is possible to curb foreign support for secular armed groups (including taking away all of their MANPADs)...add plenty of such nonsense like 'Turkey is supporting moderate Syrian insurgents', 'CIA is doing the same too'...preferably while establishing a close alliance with Marxist/Maoist terrorist group that's completely foreign to the country in question - and then declare the entire affair for 'no matter of national interest', before, finally, concluding it just couldn't work.

    Then, sigh, fighting a war for... well, gauging by Afghanistan: meanwhile it's 40+ years and there's no end in sight... is, what: 'cheaper'?

    Than what?

    (Disclaimer: and of course, there's no conspiracy; then any similarities to earlier, well-known and well-documented cases - are pure coincidence.)
    There are two words in English that may still have some currency in your stomping grounds: Western betrayal.

    If we must still suffer hearing about the incomparable bravery of a handful of people with clandestine printing presses in Copenhagen and Brussels, and about how the Free French Forces were the fourth-largest of the Allies in 1945, then I suggest you get used to hearing about how the YPG fighters are liberal, democratic and pluralistic heroes.

    Firstly, where did you arrive at this figure? Is it pre-Civil War? Even the lower bound would be more than four times higher than the non-political prison population. Assad was not “congratulated” for detaining some 200,000 people during the course of the war and murdering more than 10,000 of them.

    Secondly, where do Saudi Arabia and Jordan fit in among the foreign sponsors? You are actually confirming my argument that direct U.S. intervention was necessary rather than “leading from behind”. One can infer that given the lessons of Operation Cyclone, the U.S. objective was never to establish a strong, liberal democratic state in Syria, but to set it ablaze and make it ungovernable by Assad and Khamenei. If the objective was the latter, then Operation Timber Sycamore was the most efficient means of doing so.

    Thirdly, the primary Western interest in the Syrian Civil War is preventing spillover, including Islamist terrorism. The PKK/PYD has made itself very useful in that regard, by establishing a truce of sorts with Assad, and fighting Daesh. Of course, we will reap the whirlwind of an ethnic war for Kurdish independence, a political struggle for leadership of the Kurds whether independent or not, continued sectarian war between Sunni and Shia, and a struggle between the unitary states in question and the centrifugal forces of autonomy and outright secession.

    As Americans made clear in 1918 and 1945, they care little for unfinished business so long as they are protected by two great oceans. As the British learned over a period of centuries, dabbling in “offshore balancing” not only worsens the carnage and destruction, but it usually opens the gates to the next existential threat.

    As for Afghanistan, “victory” is possible so long as the definition of that victory is restricted. There will be no strong and friendly state in Afghanistan (there never was a strong Afghan state to begin with), but there can be an autonomous client region in the north, not unlike the KRG in Iraq.

    Lastly, none of your points alter the fact that the liberation of Syria and its reconstitution as a liberal democracy, would have required a major U.S. national commitment on the order of those it has made to France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea. You will note that the Special Operations Executive or its post-1945 iterations did not liberate Europe from either of its 1939 occupiers.

    I would enjoy seeing the relative success in Tunisia be replicated beyond its borders, but it may well be short-lived and due to unique local factors.

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    External intervention in a civil war is never easy.

    Syria is no exception, sadly for its people there is little prospect of peace after over six years of war (Wiki refers to the start as March 15, 2011). It is easy to foresee the Syrian diaspora being quite large (bigger than the Palestinian) and with "camps" scattered around its periphery.

    Once the Assad regime decided to bludgeon the protestors the die was cast. I do not think there was ever a chance the regime would reform itself. There was a potent "witches cauldron", with a fair amount of external advice and training. Having "kept the lid" on protests and repressing the Homs / Hama revolt in 1982, why would it think the trusted, reliable methods wouldn't work once more?

    Yes the "West" has an interest in the region, Syria was rather low down the list of priorities. The USA's interest had a large complicating factor, the defence of Israel - I do find it curious how careful and guarded Israel has been, almost as if the conflict suited it's interests.

    Were the policies followed by the USA wise, let alone practical? I am unsure if other Western countries had much impact on the USA, with the exception of France.

    Was there a "golden hour / day /month" when external intervention could have ended the civil war? No.
    davidbfpo

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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo
    External intervention in a civil war is never easy.
    No, it isn’t, but by the same token, few civil wars have occurred without external intervention.

    The Syrian Civil War is hopelessly intertwined with the Iraqi Civil War as well as the other anti-authoritarian popular uprisings throughout the Arab world. It is as much a Gordian knot in our time, as the Thirty Years War was for 17th Century Europe.

    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo
    Once the Assad regime decided to bludgeon the protestors the die was cast. I do not think there was ever a chance the regime would reform itself. There was a potent "witches cauldron", with a fair amount of external advice and training. Having "kept the lid" on protests and repressing the Homs / Hama revolt in 1982, why would it think the trusted, reliable methods wouldn't work once more?
    I disagree that the repressions of 1979-1982 informed Assad’s course of action in 2011. The former uprising was largely a militant Islamist one led by the Muslim Brotherhood whereas the latter uprising was peaceful, popular and anti-authoritarian. Whereas Hafez al-Assad could rely upon the Soviets and other allies to prevent foreign intervention on behalf of the Islamist rebellion, his son was much more isolated in 2011 and had seen the Western response to the uprisings in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia already.

    I strongly believed that Assad was following the advice of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, who suppressed the uprising in Iran in 2009-2010, and who had assumed that they could achieve the same success in Syria. Yet Syria is not Iran…

    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo
    Was there a "golden hour / day /month" when external intervention could have ended the civil war? No.
    I completely agree. As I have said to Outlaw and CrowBat many times, the reconstruction of Syria as a liberal democracy would have required a major and enduring U.S. or Western commitment.

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    Default Update

    Somehow the regime has managed this relief operation:
    The Syrian military has broken a siege of the eastern city of Deir al-Zour, surrounded for years by so-called Islamic State, state media say. An estimated 93,000 civilians have been trapped in an enclave on the western bank of the River Euphrates since 2015.
    Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-41162683


    A recent map from IHS Conflict Monitor:
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 09-05-2017 at 06:03 PM. Reason: 52,420v
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    Somehow the regime...
    It wasn't 'the regime', but Hezbollah. Look whom Zahreddine (commander of the former southern pocket) thanked as first when interviewed on the TV.

    ... has managed this relief operation:Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-41162683...
    ...which is the usual nonsense spread about this war by the Western MSM.

    Namely, the only party 'besieged' there was the Assadist garrison, and people besieged by it. For details see SiegeWatch.org's entry on Dayr az-Zawr.

    Note the entry about WFP's airdrops: run by Russian aircraft, these airdrops functioned as supplies for the garrison, not for civilians. Namely, the thugs commanding the garrison have either taken them away, or even sold them to civilians they are besieging there.

    With other words, and as tragic as it sounds: even the Daesh treated the population of Dayr az-Zawr better than Assadists.

    But, why should anybody in the West care...
    Last edited by CrowBat; 09-17-2017 at 01:52 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Azor View Post
    Firstly, where did you arrive at this figure? Is it pre-Civil War? Even the lower bound would be more than four times higher than the non-political prison population. Assad was not “congratulated” for detaining some 200,000 people during the course of the war and murdering more than 10,000 of them.
    Ah yes, excuse me: 60,000 disappeared and 200,000 others detained...

    No wonder I concluded it's pointless do discuss this war with you, long ago.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CrowBat View Post
    Ah yes, excuse me: 60,000 disappeared and 200,000 others detained...

    No wonder I concluded it's pointless do discuss this war with you, long ago.
    I'm afraid that you sometimes play fast and loose with the timeline and the facts in Syria, conflating Bashar's and Hafez's policies, as well as the pre-war and wartime periods. All I asked was for clarification...

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    Default Who has what in Iraq & Syria

    From the NYT series of graphics on the rise and fall of ISIS, a map showing the position October 2015 to October 2017.


    There are other graphics. Link:https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/...and-back.html?

    From the BBC a map showing who has what; from IHS Conflict Monitor:
    Link (part of a wider article):http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-41679377
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    Default Who will govern and who will rebuild Raqqa?

    An ICSR commentary that was republished by CNN, which raises many more questions too. Personally I cannot see anyone volunteering the funding and more to rebuild Raqqa or anywhere else in Syria. I exclude those supporting the Bashir Assad regime.
    Link:http://edition.cnn.com/2017/10/18/op...ion/index.html
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    Default Qatar Confesses Secrets Behind Syrian War

    I offer this article for readers to assess themselves. It comes from a previously unheard of news website, which on my second reading maybe pro-Assad. It starts with:
    A television interview of a top Qatari official confessing the truth behind the origins of the war in Syria is going viral across Arabic social media during the same week a leaked top secret NSA document was published which confirms that the armed opposition in Syria was under the direct command of foreign governments from the early years of the conflict.
    Link:http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-1...ind-syrian-war

    I asked a SME to have a peek and they responded:
    I am a bit skeptical. Lots of Saudi vs Qatar disinformation going on at present. This seems part of that. Weird that the Arabic is unheard, and the translation does not mesh entirely with the claims in the article made on the basis of the same video.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 10-31-2017 at 11:59 AM. Reason: 64,069v 24hrs later 12k up in 2 months
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    Must be 'truth, nothing but the truth, so God help me' - then back in February-March 2011, everybody here in the West was sending inquiries about who's in command of the protesting in Syria...

    But then, there's plenty of such BS flying around the internet in regards of Syria, lately. Here another example:

    Top US commander in Afghanistan Gen. Nicholson: Pentagon has seen ISIS escape Iraq & Syria battlefield for Libya and other African countries

    Yeah. And Iran is delivering ballistic missiles to the Houthis... via Oman... or hidden behind sacks of rice on board of dhowes bound for Hodeida...because the Saudis said so...

    It really looks like plenty of people at the Pentagon (apparently in Tampa too) are suffering from various versions of collective hallucinations...

    ... though only on straight days: on uneven days, they're all suffering sudden, though temporary blindness - and can't find a single IRGC in Syria.

    Perhaps somebody there might want to check air conditioning - or the Pentagon is full of people that might need some fresh air...

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    ...ah yes: talking about the IRGC....

    ...and because even some of best think-tanks in the USA and the EU seem entirely unable to understand what's actually going on in Syria...

    ...here a somewhat 'raw' Write-up & Collection of Links on Assadist Regime and its Functions, Financing (i.e. IRGC’s Sponsoring), and Troop Strengths

    Should anybody be 'sceptic' about all the stuff collected and concluded there, check the following: late last year, I've put together an 'ORBAT' (Order of Battle) for Assadist forces in Syria, and published this on the ACIG.info forum (requires a registration to read). Between others, this contained an estimate for the total strength of the famed Quwwat Nimr (aka 'Tiger Force'), of about 1,600.

    Early this year, a slightly updated version of the same was published on the website of Truppendienst, military magazine of the Austrian Ministry of Defence (see: Assad Streitkräfte) - citing a figure of 1,500 combatants for the Quwwat Nimr (unsurprising, considering their losses in Aleppo and Palmyra, in period November 2016 - January 2017).

    Everybody who only could - but especially all sorts of online 'experts' on this war - were ridiculing me for that. Supposedly, 'Tiger Force has thousands of troops'.

    Now lookie here: by side that the Quwwat Nimr suffered something like 50% of casualties during latest fighting against the Daesh... but it turns out I was right, and that gang is meanwhile down to only some 1,000:

    https://twitter.com/IvanSidorenko1/s...19851772698214

    Guess, all those calling me names for my analysis and reporting about what's going on in Syria must feel 'very much confirmed' now.

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    Here two quick reads for fans of ideas like 'War in Syria is over' and 'Russia's victory in Syria':

    The first is here, and the second here.

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    Reading the latest piece by Charles Lister & Dominic Nelson published by the Middle East Institute - All the President's Militias: Assad's Militiafication of Syria - left me wondering: is it an accident that the two authors are drawing a number of conclusions that are the same like mine expressed a month ago in A Write-up & Collection of Links on Assadist Regime and its Functions, Financing (i.e. IRGC’s Sponsoring), and Troop Strengths...?

    The only thing they have surely missed - almost certainly because they never cross-examined financial backgrounds of the groups in question, and the 'battlefield organisation' of the Assad-Regime and the IRGC-QF (includes Hezbollah) in Syria - is the conclusion that it's the IRGC that's controlling all of the militias in question.

    Reason?

    Because, and as anybody with serious interest in monitoring, discussing, and understanding warfare should know - supplies (whether of money, beans, bullets or gas) are the essence of any war. No supplies = no war.

    Thus, the party that pays most of the bills is also the party that's controlling the war.

    In the case of Syria, and because it's paying 200,000-250,000 combatants deployed there (no matter of what nationality, and including at least 80,000, probably up to 150,000 Syrian nationals) - there's only one such party. That's the IRGC-QF.

    ...which in turn means that recommending the US government such things like,

    ...in dealing with pro-Iranian militias in Syria, the U.S. government should make greater efforts to publicly map said militias and to designate those deemed to have violated international law, in particular through maintaining direct links to the I.R.G.C.’s Quds Force...
    ....is missing the point, actually: except for 25,000-30,000 directly subordinated certified killers (see 'Quwwat Nimr/Tiger Force', 'Republican Guards', '4th Division', 'IV Assault Corps', 'V Corps', air force, and various HQs of 'SAA Divisions'), EVERYBODY THERE is controlled by IRGC-QF.

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