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Old 08-25-2012   #41
Wyatt
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his site is pretty self aggrandizing but still entertaining. The best part was how he contributed 8 months of his life to the libyan revolution but 6 months were spent as a non starter in jail.

If he wants to be a war tourist go ahead. Nice thing about doing it yourself is you can come and go when you please, but you have no support. Hope he doesnt feel entitled to sof help if he's about to get his head chopped off.

i may be biased as one of my favorite books of all time is "my war gone by i miss it so" by anthony lloyd
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Old 08-29-2012   #42
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Default Should the West support the rebels in Syria?

Yesterday, I started a 1- question poll reference the continually evolving situation in Syria.

Should the U.S. and Europe openly support the Syrian resistance?

What do you think? Vote here at this link if interested:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/ZRS5JDG

I'll post the results of all responses here later in the week.
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Old 08-29-2012   #43
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"Support" is a pretty broad word, the answers would be more revealing if the question were more specific.

"Support" as in verbal support, non-lethal material support, lethal material support, air support, boots on the ground? Big span there.
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Old 08-29-2012   #44
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Default Be wary, very wary

I voted yesterday and added a comment to another discussion board:
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We should acknowledge that the public in the West, especially in the USA, has a very short memory and is rarely patient for the "long haul". Today I listened on the BBC to a respected SME on Syria, who commented that the Assad regime could last far longer.

We are often told external, maybe Western help (lethal or non-lethal), is a "game changer" and will provide the "magic" to end a conflict quickly. With the recent exception of Libya, where the end result remains unclear, our help invariably last decades.

Are you prepared to help for years? Incidentally the USA, where most of this board's members reside, tried to help in the Lebanese Civil War, paying a high price and who ended that war - Syria. Makes you pause to think.
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Old 09-01-2012   #45
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Default What do the pictures & film prove? MANPADS

I've seen the limited MSM news clips of regime aircraft being fired upon, so it was interesting to find this blogsite with an array of film clips and links to commentaries:http://brown-moses.blogspot.co.uk/20...sa-7-anti.html

Plus the always valuable CJ Chivers:http://cjchivers.com/post/3061244157...o-air-capacity
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Old 09-05-2012   #46
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Default Syria Conflict: The No-Fly Zone Deception

Paul Smyth, a SWC member, has written this piece for CNN and he concludes:
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Calls for a NFZ in Syria must not ignore reality. The inconvenient truth is that Syria is not Iraq, Kosovo or especially Libya. The considerable logistic, operational and command challenges faced must not be overlooked or dismissed.
These obstacles may not be insurmountable, but the limitations of a NFZ remain, especially as a means of protecting the Syrian people or bringing the rebels battlefield victory.
Link:http://news.sky.com/story/980758/syr...zone-deception
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Old 09-08-2012   #47
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Default The reality of street fighting

Hat tip to CWOT via Twitter, a short photo sequence and clearly not a "level playing field" in Aleppo:http://www.globalpost.com/photo-gall...-aleppo-photos and a rather grim three minute video clip:http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/n...ren-death-toll
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Old 09-08-2012   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
Paul Smyth, a SWC member, has written this piece for CNN and he concludes:

Link:http://news.sky.com/story/980758/syr...zone-deception
David, Paul Smyth appears to be trapped in the historical paradigm of how to take aircraft out of the equation.

He correctly identifies the limitations of trying to enforce a NFZ through the threat of airborne interdiction but fails to apply some simple lateral thinking.

The deterrent of a NFZ is that if aircraft enter the designated NFZ area they will be engaged. This is the problem, to enforce this you need the costly means to instantly react.

There is of course a simpler method.

The response to breach of the NFZ does not have to be targeted at the particular aircraft... does it?

What about targeting the originating airfield? Doesn't have to be immediate. Crater that runway as soon as possible.

Helicopters are a more difficult proposition as are artillery weapons. Again simple.

If helicopters or artillery are used then instead of playing cat and mouse just have a list of military targets which can be dealt with sequentially in response to NFZ breaches or the use of artillery.

Why does the most complicated method always receive the most consideration?

.
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Old 09-13-2012   #49
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Default Syria: foreign intervention still debated, but distant

The latest IISS Strategic Comment, which ends with:
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While direct intervention in Syria remains remote, the issue will remain a burning one for Syrian opposition leaders and Western, Turkish and Arab policymakers as the toll increases. Without a legal UN mandate and solid Arab cover, the practical and strategic risks may well outweigh humanitarian considerations. Tragically, the longer they wait to intervene, the stronger the case for intervention will be - but the costs will also be greater.
I'd missed this aspect of a no-fly zone:
Quote:
Syrian coastal defences would need first to be nullified. (They boast, in particular, SS-C-5 Stooge (Bastion) supersonic anti-ship missile coastal defence missile batteries supplied by Russia within the last two years.)
Link:http://www.iiss.org/publications/str...d-but-distant/
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Old 09-19-2012   #50
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Default Syria's silent majority

A rather different glimpse into Syria:
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In the closing pages of his book, (Revolt in Syria: Eye-Witness to the Uprising) Stephen Starr describes a social system constructed on a lack of law and order, which is designed to instil fear. In this current crisis which is also an identity crisis, the author ponders the fate of the Syrian silent majority and the role they have to play.
Here is an example, albeit from 2010:
Quote:
A staffer at a private bank from Lattakia told me in 2010 that when his brother knocked down a pedestrian in a car accident on a Damascus street he fled the capital for a month while his family attempted to sort out the issue. His family paid money to the family of the deceased. The state was not involved in this as#pect of governance and the brother faced no legal judgment for his crime. Law and justice are realms so weak, corrupt and disin#genuous in the state system that Syrians have rejected them in serious matters; they are forced to govern themselves; they can place no trust in the state.
Link:http://www.opendemocracy.net/stephen...ising%E2%80%99
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Old 09-19-2012   #51
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From Nir Rosen, LRB - Among the Alawites

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Syria’s Alawite heartland is defined by its funerals. In Qirdaha in the mountainous Latakia province, hometown of the Assad dynasty, I watched as two police motorcycles drove up the hill, pictures of Bashar mounted on their windshields. An ambulance followed, carrying the body of a dead lieutenant colonel from state security. As the convoy passed, the men around me let off bursts of automatic fire. My local guides were embarrassed that I had seen this display, and claimed it was the first time it had happened. ‘He is a martyr, so it is considered a wedding.’ Schoolchildren and teachers lining the route threw rice and flower petals. ‘There is no god but God and the martyr is the beloved of God!’ they chanted. Hundreds of mourners in black walked up through the village streets to the local shrine. ‘Welcome, oh martyr,’ they shouted. ‘We want no one but Assad!’

...

In the coastal province of Tartus and other parts of the Alawite heartland, countless new loyalist checkpoints have been set up, manned by the Syrian Army or by paramilitary members of popular committees in a mix of civilian clothes and military gear. The countryside has armed itself. In May I visited the mountain town of Sheikh Badr in Tartus province. Forty-three townsmen in the security forces had been killed; seven others had been captured or were missing. While I was in the mayor’s office he received news that a wounded soldier had just been brought in. Sheikh Badr’s first martyr was killed in Daraa in April 2011, one month into the uprising. Its most recent, a colonel killed in Damascus, was buried two days before I visited.

...

Alawites aren’t wrong to feel that for all the fury of its repression, the state is at a loss to know how to protect them. It is this feeling, above all, that has led to the growth of the increasingly powerful independent loyalist militias who act with impunity and often embarrass the regime. The militias have been responsible for several massacres in Homs and Hama, but Bashar is in no position to bear down on his most diehard supporters. An engineer in Homs, an Alawite who had joined the opposition, told me that the first time he saw loyalist gangs in action was in March 2011. ‘It was random and nobody organised them,’ he said. ‘They only had clubs. But by July they were organised. Now they work on their own account … The most dangerous thing in a civil war is the people who live off it and depend on it financially. I saw this in Lebanon. In Homs it’s open civil war.’
The war has broken down into true civil war now, and one gets the feeling that there is no way this ends. Even if Bashar stepped down and the army disbanded itself, the fighting would continue, and perhaps even intensify as the Sunni town and local warlords fought amongst each other, opening a window for the Salafis and jihadists.

A true national tragedy for the people of Syria.

For the U.S., it's likely best to stay out of there - but what about Syria's chem/bio arsenal, not to mention its vast stock of weaponry, including handheld antiair missiles? Every nonstate actor in the region will be salivating to get at the Assads' stocks once state authority truly breaks down.
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Old 09-22-2012   #52
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Default Jihad in Syria by ISW

Quote:
This report examines the presence of jihadist groups within Syria, explains where various Syrian rebel groups and foreign elements operating in Syria fall along the spectrum of religious ideology, and considers their aggregate effect upon the Islamification of the Syrian opposition.

The Syrian conflict began as a secular revolt against autocracy. Yet as the conflict protracts, a radical Islamist dynamic has emerged within the opposition. There is a small but growing jihadist presence inside Syria, and this presence within the opposition galvanizes Assad’s support base and complicates U.S. involvement in the conflict.
Link:http://www.understandingwar.org/report/jihad-syria
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Old 09-23-2012   #53
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Default Ambassador Crocker on Syria

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Syria, you know, I was ambassador to Syria for three fun-filled years. .. Bashar is like his father except worse—less flexible, more doctrinaire, less agile and aware that he doesn’t have his father’s support. So I think this is—it’s going to be a fight to the finish....nowhere, I am afraid, could it be more bitter than in Syria, where we’re already seeing the signs of sectarian divisions, tensions and hatreds surface, even with Bashar still in the palace. You know, again, the past isn’t past in Syria.
Link:http://carnegieendowment.org/files/0...t_crocker1.pdf
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Old 09-23-2012   #54
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A staffer at a private bank from Lattakia told me in 2010 that when his brother knocked down a pedestrian in a car accident on a Damascus street he fled the capital for a month while his family attempted to sort out the issue. His family paid money to the family of the deceased. The state was not involved in this as#pect of governance and the brother faced no legal judgment for his crime. Law and justice are realms so weak, corrupt and disin#genuous in the state system that Syrians have rejected them in serious matters; they are forced to govern themselves; they can place no trust in the state.
Actually, this is not so terribly alien to Germans.

The German law books have 15 paragraphs about crimes that will only be prosecuted if the victim demands it.
A further 12 paragraphs are about crimes that are basically the same, but a state attorney can still go after them if (s)he sees a public interest in doing so.
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antragsdelikt

Germans (and people in Germany) are not obliged to report crimes (except the planning of certain crimes) in general (exception; police etc).

We would of course report such a homicide and police would go after the brother until it's believed that it really was an accident, but our legal situation does not demand that anyone reports the crime.
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Old 09-24-2012   #55
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Default Having tea with the enemy on the Syrian border

An odd article on accommodation, culture and insurgency. What I found noteworthy was the location:
Quote:
Jibata al-Khashab, located on the Syrian border with the occupied Golan, has been under the control of FSA battalions for the past two months.
I don't recall the FSA being near the Golan.

Link:http://www.opendemocracy.net/rita-fr...-syrian-border
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Old 09-24-2012   #56
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Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
Same holds with Syria as it did with Libya... arm the opposition at your peril.

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But I think I have said enough to show that, as the Manual says, while the principles of war remain unchanged, “The tactics and characteristics of the inhabitants and the nature of the theater of operations may necessitate considerable modification in the method” of their application to warfare on the North-West Frontier of India. – Gen Sir Andrew Skeen 1932
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Old 09-24-2012   #57
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An intrepid reporter Ghaith Abdul-Ahad has written this article:http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012...rs-joining-war

Interesting to note the differences between the Jihadists and the Syrians, although that does not explain the Jihadist's attrition rate completly.

He also has a PBS documentary, this was on the PBS website, but didn't load in the UK and I accessed it via:http://www.enduringamerica.com/home/...-frontlin.html

There is a second historical documentary, which is good round-up too.
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Old 09-25-2012   #58
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Via Twitter a Swedish report on the Syrian Jihadist movement:http://www.ui.se/upl/files/76917.pdf
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Old 09-29-2012   #59
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Default Turkey’s Syria problem

A good, comprehensive analysis:
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Turkey’s cooperation with the Gulf states, reportedly establishing a secret shared command centre in southern Turkey to coordinate rebel attacks, may be designed to contain the influence of others and control which groups get arms. But Turkey’s recent regional resurgence in the Middle East is at risk of drowning in the Syrian quagmire.
Link:http://www.opendemocracy.net/christo...-syria-problem
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Old 10-01-2012   #60
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Default With the regime's soldiers

A different angle to the war in Syria, an account by an ITN reporter on meeting snipers and other fighters on the government's side in Homs - with additional commentary set in Damascus:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worl...s-in-Homs.html

I assume there was a TV film report, but nothing on ITN's website appears to match.
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