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Old 08-03-2017   #541
Azor
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Default To CrowBat RE: Syria

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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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Old 08-03-2017   #542
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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.
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Old 08-04-2017   #543
Azor
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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…

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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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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #544
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Somehow the regime has managed this relief operation:
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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:
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Old 4 Days Ago   #545
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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.

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... 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; 4 Days Ago at 01:52 PM.
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Old 4 Days Ago   #546
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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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Old 3 Days Ago   #547
Azor
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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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