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Thread: Syrian Civil War Developments

  1. #2476
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    Huge Advances by Syrian Army Transform Syrian War

    Whirlwind advances of Syrian army send ISIS reeling and position Syrian army to recover all of central and eastern Syria from the Mediterranean to the Iraqi border.
    http://www.globalresearch.ca/huge-ad...an-war/5595555

    It seems Aleppo and these latest advances will see Assad definitely established as the powerhouse in Syria for some time to come. Very little to negotiate if he controls virtually the entire country. Seems likely when ISIS is defeated they will turn their attention back to completing victory in the west and south. Anyone read any analysis on Assad's prospects of completing a total victory and any geopolitical actor willing to prevent such from happening?
    Last edited by tantalus; 24 Jun 17, at 22:08.

  2. #2477
    Assad troops enter ISIL-held town of al-Sukhna in Homs- Monitor reports artillery and rocket firing at ISIL positions in lead-up to entry into southwestern part of al-Sukhna.

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    Interesting conversation of the 'Iranian land bridge' aka Shia Crescent;



    The 'Shia Crescent' plan, which it was known the Iranians had, was one good reason the Iranian Nuclear deal - which left some 'verification' to the Iranians themselves was in my view not sufficient. Now they have more money to fight conventionally and want to create what in the above video they call a 'land bridge' to the Med with Iraq and Syria reliant on their proxy 'militias' (not to mention the war they supply and foment in Yemen). An Iranian Shia Empire from the border of Afghanistan to the Mediterranean has the power to engulf Lebanon - where they of course support Hezbollah already and if and when the attack the Israel is launched is then a matter of whim. Nor would the other Sunni majority nations necessarily be safe - the proxy Saudi - Iranian war is ongoing.

    The West's interests is in peace in the area, the Muscovite to oppose our interest and thus they are in Syria and supplying weapons to Assad and his murderers and Iran. It was a mistake that we did not take out Assad early on - before Moscow got involved. Still however we have to aim for a balance of power that brings peace and prevents the 'Land Bridge'.

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    Padishah Shahanshah Senior Contributor xerxes's Avatar
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    Looks interesting. I ll have a look.
    Thank you

    Don't mean to pick on you, but the glorified land bridge storyline has been beaten to death by the latte-sipping East Coast intellectuals in The Economist, Guardians, WSJ, NY Times and many other outlets (love them all btw). Not exactly news nor any different than the Saudi arc running from Cairo to Riyadh to Islamabad. Or the political islam arc, running from Istanbul to Doha. Or this ,,,, and this .... or that ... or that of Israeli arc running from Tel Aviv to Washington, NY and thereback again ...

    Looking for the day, when we would see similar panel that talks to Saudi atrocities/terrorism in Yemen. Everyone seems to forget that Boeing and BAE are arming the Saudis in their rampage. Apparently terrorism is OK, if done through high technological means/hardware.
    If we contrast the rapid progress of this mischievous discovery of gunpowder with the slow and laborious advances of reason, science, and the arts of peace, a philosopher, according to his temper, will laugh or weep at the folly of mankind. - Edward Gibbon

  6. #2481
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    Quote Originally Posted by xerxes View Post
    Looks interesting. I ll have a look.
    Thank you

    Don't mean to pick on you, but the glorified land bridge storyline has been beaten to death by the latte-sipping East Coast intellectuals in The Economist, Guardians, WSJ, NY Times and many other outlets (love them all btw). Not exactly news nor any different than the Saudi arc running from Cairo to Riyadh to Islamabad. Or the political islam arc, running from Istanbul to Doha. Or this ,,,, and this .... or that ... or that of Israeli arc running from Tel Aviv to Washington, NY and thereback again ...

    Looking for the day, when we would see similar panel that talks to Saudi atrocities/terrorism in Yemen. Everyone seems to forget that Boeing and BAE are arming the Saudis in their rampage. Apparently terrorism is OK, if done through high technological means/hardware.
    I am not sure I could be described as a "latte-sipping East Coast intellectual". I did live for a while on the Eastern side of England but in Central Europe we do not have an eastern coast; the Northern coast is the Baltic, to the South West the Adriatic and to the South East the Black Sea. My family home though is in Galicia, the northern side of the Carpathian and Tatra mountains.

    Regarding your "arc" concerns in the West we refer to the current day Iranian imperialist project as the 'Shia Crescent' forming a 'land bridge' from the Iranian border in the East across Iraq and Syria to the Mediterranean in Syria and Lebanon. I am not sure the other 'arcs' - Istanbul to Doha or Cairo to Riyadh to Islamabad and certainly not the 'Isaeli arc' - Tel Aviv to Washington, NY - would form a contiguous whole in the same manner as the current Iranian regime aspires to create. Of course becoming subservient to Shi'ite Ayatollahs of Iran is not entirely welcomed by the millions of Sunni Muslims within this area. See for example; https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/in...ute-to-Lebanon

    Obviously I am not a Muslim and do not chose between the branches though I do find some of Shia 'Twelver', 'Fiver' and 'Sevener' and the whole 'occultation' business... lacking intellectual consistency as it were. You cannot blame the Sunni's, who the Iranians and their allies have been waging war against in Syria and Iraq for resisting. Nor can blame Israeli apprehensions or legitimate concerns of the Gulf Sunni States and Egypt; I must remind you that the Houthi Shi'ites (who I believe are 'Fivers'), armed and payed by Iran ('Twelvers'), are not the legitimate Government in Yemen and their assault of Sana'a and the setting up of the 'Supreme Revolutionary Committee' was an illegal action and is an illegal authority.

    I am no fan of the Sauds and their inhumane Wahhabism but I can see why they might feel threatened by this Iranian backed Shi'ism both to the north and in their back yard as it were. Personally I am more inclined toward the Hashemites from a purely historic point of view; Sykes - Picot betrayal and Iranian 'Revelutionary' Shi'ite imperialism are among the main causes of the current Islamic war, though the failure of any Arab State to create a not partisan and uncorrupt state mechanism has certainly not helped. I mean do you really believe the Sauds would have invaded Iran? Iran was never threatened - the P5+1 nuclear deal - again insured Iranian territorial security but when Iran persists in attempting to create a neo Shi'ite Empire by conventional means with greater resources due to the nuclear deal that allows them to sell their oil and gas etc - including to Belarus lol - it is pretty clear that they are on a clear neo imperialist path and are not going to stop. The down side to the nuclear deal - of which I was never a fan - is that the convential war steps up. Swings and roundabouts. What is the Muscovite role in this? The whole Muscovite strategy is what might be 'deconstructivist' - their goal is relatively easy to achieve sadly; to create chaos. From starting new shipping routes North Korea to the attempted Montenegrin Coup, meddling in democratic elections - including the Brexit vote I have reason to believe, helping Assad and his band of murders - cause as much chaos as possible wherever possible. Since they do not have the resources of the West they are attempting a form of world wide vandalism campaign; wherever the West seeks to organise peace and restore order they see a chance to stir the pot, lower the moral authority of international institutions and and raise the costs to any military operations that seek to restore order. Sadly the Assad regime and the Iranians do not see that they being played for fools.

    This is not me being anti Iranian either; have visited Iran twice myself - last time to take relief after the Eastern Azerbaijan earthquake in 2012. I think the people are great and I would love to spend more time learning about Zoroastrianism, visiting the tomb of Omar Khayyam and Cyrus etc (though the 'Cyropaedia' was written by Xenophon)... Historically speaking Persia was civilisationly one of the 'greats' on a par with ancient China, India and the Greco Roman 'Western' civilisation - sometimes way ahead. The Three 'Kings from the East' at Jesus birth were probably Zorastrian Magi, Cyrus was mentioned in the Bible and Khayyam was a mathematician, philosopher and wrote poetry extolling the virtues of wine although he was a Muslim. The loss of the more enlightened civilisation of not only Persia but the greater Islamic world is in part due the never ending sectarian wars and the extremism and the intolerence it produces in my view. It is not my immediate concern and never was my area of concern primarily except as a historian; destroying the city of Zenobia (Palmyra) and the ancient artifacts of Babylon etc in Iraq (mostly done by Daesh) is but an example of this extemist intolerance and 'civilisation' and progress in understanding and knowledge cannot be regained until both Persia and the Muslim community in general can regain some sense of tolerance.

    I presume from your chosen name of 'Xerxes' that you have some inkling of the Persian history. Forgive me if I am wrong.

  7. #2482
    Padishah Shahanshah Senior Contributor xerxes's Avatar
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    A different perspective
    Iran's foreign minister in conversation with Charlie Rose; you can discount some of his biased comments, but the rest represents a good summary of the other's side point of view.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3UoWNubYSE


    Quote Originally Posted by snapper View Post
    I am not sure I could be described as a "latte-sipping East Coast intellectual". I did live for a while on the Eastern side of England but in Central Europe we do not have an eastern coast; the Northern coast is the Baltic, to the South West the Adriatic and to the South East the Black Sea. My family home though is in Galicia, the northern side of the Carpathian and Tatra mountains.
    Hehehe
    My comment was directed mostly to the editorial/journalism behind the newspapers i mentioned who like to intellectualise everything, have panels etc. And to be fair, I do read them all and like them all. So I guess I am being a bit of hypocrat. Though, i would classify WSJ as the most conservative of all. Nonetheless, it has an amazing wealth of news.

    Quote Originally Posted by snapper View Post
    Regarding your "arc" concerns in the West we refer to the current day Iranian imperialist project as the 'Shia Crescent' forming a 'land bridge' from the Iranian border in the East across Iraq and Syria to the Mediterranean in Syria and Lebanon.
    Is it a shia empire or a Persian empire? I would say the Shia' part is simply leverage and a marketing front.
    I reckon that the Shah would have done the same thing, but under a different brand. The historical insecurities goes back to the time of Qajars and western interferences.

    Quote Originally Posted by snapper View Post
    I am not sure the other 'arcs' - Istanbul to Doha or Cairo to Riyadh to Islamabad and certainly not the 'Isaeli arc' - Tel Aviv to Washington, NY - would form a contiguous whole in the same manner as the current Iranian regime aspires to create. Of course becoming subservient to Shi'ite Ayatollahs of Iran is not entirely welcomed by the millions of Sunni Muslims within this area. See for example; https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/in...ute-to-Lebanon
    About the other arcs. Why not ? they are all up to mischiefs.
    Yes granted there is no land corridor between Turkey and Qatar or others. But in symbolic sense.

    Quote Originally Posted by snapper View Post
    Obviously I am not a Muslim and do not chose between the branches though I do find some of Shia 'Twelver', 'Fiver' and 'Sevener' and the whole 'occultation' business... lacking intellectual consistency as it were. You cannot blame the Sunni's, who the Iranians and their allies have been waging war against in Syria and Iraq for resisting. Nor can blame Israeli apprehensions or legitimate concerns of the Gulf Sunni States and Egypt; I must remind you that the Houthi Shi'ites (who I believe are 'Fivers'), armed and payed by Iran ('Twelvers'), are not the legitimate Government in Yemen and their assault of Sana'a and the setting up of the 'Supreme Revolutionary Committee' was an illegal action and is an illegal authority.
    The whole Shia-sunni thing is a bit overblown. Although historically, the rift goes back to a 1,000 years, the violence is pretty recent (~20-30 years). Last time, they were at each other throats (in a religious sense) was during the Ottoman and the Safavid wars (though I maybe wrong here).

    My point is that the western media (those Starbucks latte-sipping Liberals), are over-educating people on the historical context of Shia-sunni. One of the best example, is the current Qatar rift, everyone in the social media was confused how could a Sunni majority country be accused of being too close to Iran. Why the confusion ? because, people are conditioned to classify middle east into a Shia and Sunni components and the Qatar allegation just didn't make sense based on that level of conditioning.

    Fact it, allies are made of conviniance like everywhere else. On the chess board, it just make sense for Qatar and Iran to be closer (though not too close), and it makes sense Oman to be neutral etc. Look how fast Saudi Arabia got close to Israel. The Saudis don't even recognize Israel as a nation worth existing.

    Quote Originally Posted by snapper View Post
    I am no fan of the Sauds and their inhumane Wahhabism but I can see why they might feel threatened by this Iranian backed Shi'ism both to the north and in their back yard as it were. Personally I am more inclined toward the Hashemites from a purely historic point of view; Sykes - Picot betrayal and Iranian 'Revelutionary' Shi'ite imperialism are among the main causes of the current Islamic war, though the failure of any Arab State to create a not partisan and uncorrupt state mechanism has certainly not helped.
    Couldn't agree more.
    But Iran's mischief, in relative and absolute sense is/was eclipsed by the US invasion of Iraq (a greater mischief). And that had a very significant (direct and indirect) consequence on the region. Yet, you still hear the republicans still support that failed cause. Somehow it is ok for GOP to get over excited at supper time, launch a war the day after, cause complete havoc, but it is not ok for Iran to defend itself.

    Westerners may not understand this, but Iran's deep involvement in Iraq, its insecurities are a direct side effect of devastation of Iran-Iraq war and how it was isolated. (Though i would iran's isolation in the 8 years war was largely of its own making)

    Quote Originally Posted by snapper View Post
    I mean do you really believe the Sauds would have invaded Iran? Iran was never threatened - the P5+1 nuclear deal - again insured Iranian territorial security but when Iran persists in attempting to create a neo Shi'ite Empire by conventional means with greater resources due to the nuclear deal that allows them to sell their oil and gas etc -
    You need to go back in time to Iran-Iraq war and how billions flowed to Saddam's coffer to wage it war against Iran. Iran's leaders are from the generations that went through that war. It left a lot of scars and people don't forget that easily.

    Why is that the West can complain about Iran's behaviour in the past 20-30 years (one just needs to listen to Fox News), but Iran cannot complain about its opponents's mischief from a historical context. The nuclear deal doesn't re-baseline history.

    Quote Originally Posted by snapper View Post
    The down side to the nuclear deal - of which I was never a fan - is that the convential war steps up. Swings and roundabouts.
    Great for the 401k that are holding General Dynamics, Raytheon, Northrup Grumman etc.
    It is river of prosperity for the west

    Quote Originally Posted by snapper View Post
    The whole Muscovite strategy is what might be 'deconstructivist' - their goal is relatively easy to achieve sadly; to create chaos. From starting new shipping routes North Korea to the attempted Montenegrin Coup, meddling in democratic elections - including the Brexit vote I have reason to believe, helping Assad and his band of murders - cause as much chaos as possible wherever possible. Since they do not have the resources of the West they are attempting a form of world wide vandalism campaign; wherever the West seeks to organise peace and restore order they see a chance to stir the pot, lower the moral authority of international institutions and and raise the costs to any military operations that seek to restore order. Sadly the Assad regime and the Iranians do not see that they being played for fools.
    I see this more from an economic point of view. The windfalls of hydrocarbons has receded, so the nationalist card is being played by Moscow. But it is very much on borrowed time as the terminal value of O&G resources in the next 50 years goes down and with it, its geo-political significance and premium.

    in 50 years from now, oil would be a commodity like aluminum or iron ore.

    Iran's and Moscow's "alliance" was of convinance. Russia needed its continuation control of ports and airfields in Syria and Iran needed its corridor. But make no mistake, Tehran dislikes Russia even less than the US.

    On Assad, does he really have a choice ?

    Quote Originally Posted by snapper View Post
    This is not me being anti Iranian either; have visited Iran twice myself - last time to take relief after the Eastern Azerbaijan earthquake in 2012. I think the people are great and I would love to spend more time learning about Zoroastrianism, visiting the tomb of Omar Khayyam and Cyrus etc (though the 'Cyropaedia' was written by Xenophon)... Historically speaking Persia was civilisationly one of the 'greats' on a par with ancient China, India and the Greco Roman 'Western' civilisation - sometimes way ahead. The Three 'Kings from the East' at Jesus birth were probably Zorastrian Magi, Cyrus was mentioned in the Bible and Khayyam was a mathematician, philosopher and wrote poetry extolling the virtues of wine although he was a Muslim. The loss of the more enlightened civilisation of not only Persia but the greater Islamic world is in part due the never ending sectarian wars and the extremism and the intolerence it produces in my view. It is not my immediate concern and never was my area of concern primarily except as a historian; destroying the city of Zenobia (Palmyra) and the ancient artifacts of Babylon etc in Iraq (mostly done by Daesh) is but an example of this extemist intolerance and 'civilisation' and progress in understanding and knowledge cannot be regained until both Persia and the Muslim community in general can regain some sense of tolerance.

    I presume from your chosen name of 'Xerxes' that you have some inkling of the Persian history. Forgive me if I am wrong.
    No worries
    All fair points you raised. I would just again make the point that although the shia-sunni rift plays all over media these days, it was dormant for better part of the 20th century and 19th century. And it can easily go to bed as fast as it came.

    You just need to look at the rapprochement of Saudis with the Shia Iraqi. Whom they have ignore for almost 10 years.

    I was born in Iran
    Last edited by xerxes; 14 Oct 17, at 17:40.
    If we contrast the rapid progress of this mischievous discovery of gunpowder with the slow and laborious advances of reason, science, and the arts of peace, a philosopher, according to his temper, will laugh or weep at the folly of mankind. - Edward Gibbon

  8. #2483
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    Quote Originally Posted by xerxes View Post
    A different perspective
    Iran's foreign minister in conversation with Charlie Rose; you can discount some of his biased comments, but the rest represents a good summary of the other's side point of view.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3UoWNubYSE
    I think it is a good interview but of course I do not believe a word. He's better than Lavrov but that's as far as it goes.

    Quote Originally Posted by xerxes View Post
    Is it a shia empire or a Persian empire? I would say the Shia' part is simply leverage and a marketing front.
    I reckon that the Shah would have done the same thing, but under a different brand. The historical insecurities goes back to the time of Qajars and western interferences.
    I am well aware that religious divergences are often used as an excuse for baser motives of accumulation of Empire; the Tsars went to war to save their 'Orthodox Brothers' in the Balkans ostensibly but in reality it was just an excuse to enlarge the Muscovite Empire, sadly some Serbs still believe the Muscovites were in earnest. It was common in Europe earlier - and even until recently - Northern Ireland being portrayed in part as a Catholic/Protestant conflict. While religion may not be the real or original motivation of such conflicts sadly portraying actions as such inflates enmities.

    Quote Originally Posted by xerxes View Post
    About the other arcs. Why not ? they are all up to mischiefs.
    Yes granted there is no land corridor between Turkey and Qatar or others. But in symbolic sense.
    The difference between symbolic and actual is great in terms of future implications.

    Quote Originally Posted by xerxes View Post
    The whole Shia-sunni thing is a bit overblown. Although historically, the rift goes back to a 1,000 years, the violence is pretty recent (~20-30 years). Last time, they were at each other throats (in a religious sense) was during the Ottoman and the Safavid wars (though I maybe wrong here).

    My point is that the western media (those Starbucks latte-sipping Liberals), are over-educating people on the historical context of Shia-sunni. One of the best example, is the current Qatar rift, everyone in the social media was confused how could a Sunni majority country be accused of being too close to Iran. Why the confusion ? because, people are conditioned to classify middle east into a Shia and Sunni components and the Qatar allegation just didn't make sense based on that level of conditioning.

    Fact it, allies are made of conviniance like everywhere else. On the chess board, it just make sense for Qatar and Iran to be closer (though not too close), and it makes sense Oman to be neutral etc. Look how fast Saudi Arabia got close to Israel. The Saudis don't even recognize Israel as a nation worth existing.
    Well I do not claim to understand even half of middle eastern motives and undercurrents; as I said it was never my particular field - I do not have roots in the region obviously; you almost certainly understand better than I. I understand Saudi - Israeli rapprochment because of their mutual apprehension regarding Iranian policy. This I would argue does Iran no good in the longer term. Making enemies and threatening to destroy other nations etc is not conducive to making friends in general. Attempting to create an Iranian Shia Crescent is bound to disturb others. Playing innocent is not really an option when Iranian forces and militias are clearly involved in Syria and Iraq. The Hezbollah connection is well known. These are not the deeds of a peaceful nation at peace with itself or it's neighbours.


    Quote Originally Posted by xerxes View Post
    But Iran's mischief, in relative and absolute sense is/was eclipsed by the US invasion of Iraq (a greater mischief). And that had a very significant (direct and indirect) consequence on the region. Yet, you still hear the republicans still support that failed cause. Somehow it is ok for GOP to get over excited at supper time, launch a war the day after, cause complete havoc, but it is not ok for Iran to defend itself.
    We could argue rights and wrongs of the Iraq war forever. Short term it was possibly 'morally right' even if no WMD were found. Longer term clearly it acted in favour of Iran.

    Quote Originally Posted by xerxes View Post
    You need to go back in time to Iran-Iraq war and how billions flowed to Saddam's coffer to wage it war against Iran. Iran's leaders are from the generations that went through that war. It left a lot of scars and people don't forget that easily.
    What do you expect when Iran keeps Western hostages, persues a nuclear program and clearly aims at dominating it's neighbours? Iran is still doing this today sadly. Today's Iran started with a revolution and is still trying to export it basically.

    Quote Originally Posted by xerxes View Post
    Why is that the West can complain about Iran's behaviour in the past 20-30 years (one just needs to listen to Fox News), but Iran cannot complain about its opponents's mischief from a historical context. The nuclear deal doesn't re-baseline history.
    History is in the past - the future is ours to shape for our childrens sake. I am a Polish Ukrainian and our countries still have historical grudges from WW2 in particular. I cannot change what happened but I will do all I can to make a better future both.

    Quote Originally Posted by xerxes View Post
    I see this more from an economic point of view. The windfalls of hydrocarbons has receded, so the nationalist card is being played by Moscow. But it is very much on borrowed time as the terminal value of O&G resources in the next 50 years goes down and with it, its geo-political significance and premium.

    in 50 years from now, oil would be a commodity like aluminum or iron ore.
    I hope you are right.

    Quote Originally Posted by xerxes View Post
    Iran's and Moscow's "alliance" was of convinance. Russia needed its continuation control of ports and airfields in Syria and Iran needed its corridor. But make no mistake, Tehran dislikes Russia even less than the US.
    Well I could say alot here but perhaps it is the wrong thread to explain in.

    Quote Originally Posted by xerxes View Post
    On Assad, does he really have a choice ?
    We ALL have a choice.

    Quote Originally Posted by xerxes View Post
    No worries
    A pleasure to meet another civilised Persian.

    I see that KRG evacuated Kirkut - Qasem Soleimani is apparently there.

  9. #2484
    Padishah Shahanshah Senior Contributor xerxes's Avatar
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    Thanks

    Your comments about choices, you are absolutely right, yet I wonder.
    Shah of Iran chose to not crush the revolution (and in process not killing tens of thousands), and we all know what came out of that indecision.
    If we contrast the rapid progress of this mischievous discovery of gunpowder with the slow and laborious advances of reason, science, and the arts of peace, a philosopher, according to his temper, will laugh or weep at the folly of mankind. - Edward Gibbon

  10. #2485
    Padishah Shahanshah Senior Contributor xerxes's Avatar
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    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/21/w...T.nav=top-news


    Good article from NY Times. I have read something similar to this on FT a while back.

    One of the reason why the Guard got so strong, is due to US sanctions in Bush/Obama era that target the economy as a whole (severely impacting the commoners) but in process empowered these guys. When one tightens the noose or builds a dam because one just can, the flow gets diverted through other pathways. The flow always find a path. The John Boltons of that era, despite all of their academic and work credential, where just not smart enough to realize that. They were looking for blood and in process created conditions that led the Guard to grow so powerful and now we are seeing the consequences. And now again the Guards have their allies back in Washington: the know-it-all shoot-from-the-hip republican retards in charge of the country.
    Last edited by xerxes; 23 Oct 17, at 03:20.
    If we contrast the rapid progress of this mischievous discovery of gunpowder with the slow and laborious advances of reason, science, and the arts of peace, a philosopher, according to his temper, will laugh or weep at the folly of mankind. - Edward Gibbon

  11. #2486
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    If s*** is gonna go down in Syria in the next few months, we might well have reached that juncture:

    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/u-s-all...eld-from-isis/

    Look for the pro-Assad axis powers to make their play.

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