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Thread: Syrian Civil War Developments

  1. #2911
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    Quote Originally Posted by DOR View Post
    Please take this to a more appropriate thread.
    You opened the door.

    Quote Originally Posted by snapper View Post
    That is just 689,000 Syrians who do not believe Assad is "neutered" who are fleeing him.
    You can't read, can you? NOT OUR PROBLEM. Get this through your head. We don't care. Assad is neutered in OUR EYES. We don't care what anyone else believes.
    Last edited by WABs_OOE; 12 Feb 20, at 16:32.

  2. #2912
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    Quote Originally Posted by WABs_OOE View Post
    You can't read, can you? NOT OUR PROBLEM. Get this through your head. We don't care. Assad is neutered in OUR EYES. We don't care what anyone else believes.
    Then you are blind or prefer not to recognise the truth.

  3. #2913
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    Quote Originally Posted by snapper View Post
    Then you are blind or prefer not to recognise the truth.
    You're showing your ignorance to the hilt. No,you are too damned dumb to recognize the truth. We stepping aside to allow the butchers to butcher each other. That is a strategic move since the days of Constatine - to get your enemies to fight each other.

  4. #2914
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WABs_OOE View Post
    Pricesly. Without the US going into Iraq, Saddam would have crushed the destablization factors that toppled Qaddafy and neutered Assad.
    Can you explain in what way Assad is neutered ?

    He's in charge of a shattered country so i'd like to think his concerns would foremost be limited to repairing and recovering his country.

    PR wise he's on the up. The west wanted to get rid of him, their proxies failed and in the end the west ended up on his side fighting IS.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    Can you explain in what way Assad is neutered ?
    He went from a man seeking nukes to be of one of many warlords fighting for his survival. He ain't doing squat against us nor Israel.

  6. #2916
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DOR View Post
    Oh, and just a reminder that elective wars against people who had nothing whatsoever to do with 9/11 don't actually add to national security. In fact, by wasting national resources, lives, and international good will, they severely inhibit one's security.
    Quote Originally Posted by WABs_OOE View Post
    Korea, Vietnam, Syria, Libya. Kosovo.

    And as much as you disagree with Iraq, Saddam and Qadaffy are gone, Assad is neutered, and Iran has gone silent. I say that's a strategic plus over what was before.

    Stick with economics. Reading allies and enemies are not your fortay.
    What DOR says is very common sentiment i see in general whenever this topic as he puts it of 'elective wars' comes up IRL.

    You're right the public does not know how to read allies and enemies because nobody tells them how to. The media gives it out in drips & drabs but nobody there to connect the dots. Then the opposition jumps in and muddies the water further.

    Why does what DOR said there matter ?

    I was surprised to recently learn that Trump's base reacted negatively to that 58 tomahawk strike on Syria for using chemical weapons. You know the one where the Russians were given the one hour advance warning.

    If congress cannot tie Trump's hands then his base will do it. We are dealing with another breed of Republican here.

    What DOR says is what his base believes. Maybe this is one reason he keeps firing the generals in his cabinet. Increasingly they serve no purpose for him. It's no surprise Bolton didn't last long maybe the bigger surprise is how he landed up in the administration in the first place.
    Last edited by Double Edge; 13 Feb 20, at 23:18.

  7. #2917
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WABs_OOE View Post
    He went from a man seeking nukes to be of one of many warlords fighting for his survival. He ain't doing squat against us nor Israel.
    The nuke thing is over but Assad needs help to rebuild. Where is that help to come from ?

    If the Americans leave Iraq then Iranian control of Iraq will be complete.

    If Assad plays ball then both Iraq & Iran help him rebuild.

    For Israel to be safe the land bridge from Iran to the Mediterranean has to be disrupted.

    The Israelis hit Hezbollah from time to time in Syria. This will continue.

    So how does Israel remain safe in this scenario ?

  8. #2918
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    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    The nuke thing is over but Assad needs help to rebuild. Where is that help to come from ?

    If the Americans leave Iraq then Iranian control of Iraq will be complete.

    If Assad plays ball then both Iraq & Iran help him rebuild.
    This is an extremely rosy picture that history does not bore out. Iran will not control Iraq. There's enough anti-Persian groups in Iraq to make the Iranians extremely miserable. Note the term anti-Persian.

    Neither Iraq nor Iran has enough money to spare to help Assad and while he may (strongly doubtful at this moment because of Turkey) be able to reconquer Syria, the Syrian insurgency ain't going nowhere. Any military strength he would have left would not be able to threaten Israel.

  9. #2919
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WABs_OOE View Post
    This is an extremely rosy picture that history does not bore out. Iran will not control Iraq. There's enough anti-Persian groups in Iraq to make the Iranians extremely miserable. Note the term anti-Persian.
    I'm going on just the population. There's two Shia's for every Sunni.

    Americans left Iraq with a balanced military of sunni & Shia. Maliki comes in and starts letting the Sunni's go. He turned the Iraqi military into his personal Shia militia. This then leads to other problems and Americans get invited back. So that is one precedent.

    There is certainly a portion of people who do not want to see the Americans leave because they fear an Iranian take over. Meaning they don't think they can push back. There is certainly disgust among the Iraqi public as to what they see as overbearing influence from Tehran.

    But who will stand up to it.

    I get the impression that Iran is doing to Iraq what the Paks are doing to Afghanistan. As Iraq tries to assert itself, the Iranians will try to pull it back.

    The Neocons wanted Iraq to be a competing Shia power. Iran won't allow that.

    Neither Iraq nor Iran has enough money to spare to help Assad and while he may (strongly doubtful at this moment because of Turkey) be able to reconquer Syria, the Syrian insurgency ain't going nowhere. Any military strength he would have left would not be able to threaten Israel.
    Oh you see the insurgency as weighing him down. He has Iranian support here. But it isn't Iranians doing the fighting. Iranian public do not like to see their own coming back in body bags. So they're using Afghan kids as cannon fodder. Solemani had a rep for being a child killer due to this.
    Last edited by Double Edge; 14 Feb 20, at 19:18.

  10. #2920
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    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    I'm going on just the population. There's two Shia's for every Sunni.
    Iran-Iraq War. Iraqi Shia willingly sided with Saddam against Khomeni's Iran.

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    I get the impression that Iran is doing to Iraq what the Paks are doing to Afghanistan. As Iran tries to assert itself, the Iranians will try to pull it back.

    The Neocons wanted Iraq to be a competing Shia power. Iran won't allow that.
    And you will get another Afghanistan where warlords will sell their services to the highest bidder and at times, that won't be Iran just as Afghan warlords did not answered to Islamabad when the bribe was insufficent.

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    Oh you see the insurgency as weighing him down. He has Iranian support here. But it isn't Iranians doing the fighting. They're using Afghan kids as cannon fodder. Solemani had a rep for being a child killer due to this.
    Won't do Assad any good with car bombs going off in Dasmascus.

  11. #2921
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WABs_OOE View Post
    Iran-Iraq War. Iraqi Shia willingly sided with Saddam against Khomeni's Iran.
    What's interesting with that war is Iran didn't use the Shias against Saddam back then but the Kurds

    What Iran’s revolution meant for Iraq | Brookings | Jan 24 2019

    Both sides also targeted minority communities in the other for subversion: Iran worked on the Kurds, Iraq on the Arabs in Khuzistan and the Baluchis.
    Curious isn't it. When these days Iraqi Shias are loyal to Teheran. I suppose back then the Shias were unorganised and had no choice but to comply with Saddam. There can also be an Iraqi identity at play.

    Now i understand the reason behind the Iran embassy siege in London in 1980 where the SAS was called in. The terrorists wanted a free Khusistan and i wondered Khuizis what. Who are these people : )

    The biggest blunder was committed by Saddam here. We know Khomeini landed in Tehran from Paris but where was he before Paris.

    Iraq! He moved to Najaf in 1965 and was there until 1978 where Saddam was using him to subvert the Shah's regime. Cold war days. Then there was some falling out between the two and Saddam expels Khomeni who goes to Paris. After his arrival in Tehran he then uses his networks against Saddam and that's how the war starts.

    Saddam then entices the former generals of the Shah to work against Khomeni. Same generals he was working against when he was friends with Khomeni. He gets the Shah's former army chief.

    The point here is Iran has been trying to subvert Iraq since Khomeni. Back then there was a strong man in charge of Iraq. There is none today.
    Last edited by Double Edge; 14 Feb 20, at 19:16.

  12. #2922
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    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    The point here is Iran has been trying to subvert Iraq since Khomeni. Back then there was a strong man in charge of Iraq. There is none today.
    That is not an Iranian advantage. All this means is that there would be more than one group fighting each other for control and the Iranians would always face hostile opposition.

  13. #2923
    A Self Important Senior Contributor troung's Avatar
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    https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/02/10...tarian-crisis/

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    REPORT
    Desperate, Thousands of Syrians Flee Toward Turkish Border
    With bloodshed and tensions rising between Syria and Turkey, the last rebel holdout of Idlib is turning into the biggest humanitarian crisis of the war.
    BY ELIZABETH TSURKOV | FEBRUARY 10, 2020, 4:48 PM
    Syrian people displaced from the south of Idlib province arrive at a camp for the internally displaced
    A Syrian girl rides in the back of a truck as people displaced from the south of Idlib province arrive at a camp for the internally displaced near Dayr Ballut, near the Turkish border in the rebel-held part of Aleppo province in Syria's northwest, on Feb. 4. RAMI AL SAYED/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES
    As snow fell on northern Syria this past week, it covered thousands of fleeing families unable to find even a piece of tarp to shelter themselves.

    The wintry weather, along with the bloody onslaught by the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, has turned the flight of displaced civilians in Idlib and Aleppo toward the Turkish border into the biggest humanitarian crisis yet in a war that for almost a decade has normalized mass atrocities. “No one prepared camps ahead of time, there are no tents, people are sleeping in cars and in the streets,” said Ahmad, a resident of northern Aleppo, who is attempting to help the displaced. (Like many of those interviewed for this story on WhatsApp, Ahmad wants only his first name used for fear of retribution.)

    The lucky among them stay with relatives or rent a home, but very few can afford this. Homeowners in areas abutting the Turkish border are charging the displaced exorbitant sums in rent—a common price is $350 per month for a two-bedroom house, when an average salary in the region, which has rampant unemployment, is about $50.

    According to new data from the United Nations, since Dec. 1, 2019, 689,000 civilians have been displaced by the government’s offensive against the last rebel holdout in Idlib, most of them women and children. Some 100,000 have been displaced only in the past week. The rapid progress of regime forces and waves of displacement it produced escalated tensions between Turkey and the Syrian forces backed by Russia. Another five Turkish soldiers were killed in recent days in an attack carried out by Assad’s forces, precipitating retaliation against Syrian army targets by Turkish forces dispatched to northwestern Syria.

    “I think there are now more Turkish soldiers in Idlib than armed revolutionaries,” said Yasser, a tracker of regime airstrikes and military movement in Idlib, referring to the mass influx of Turkish soldiers and heavy weaponry into Idlib, the last bastion of the Syrian armed opposition. In early February, Turkey began dispatching multiple convoys made up of hundreds of jeeps, armored personnel carriers, tanks, multiple rocket launchers, and electronic warfare equipment into Idlib, in an effort to prevent the collapse of the last rebel-held pocket in Syria, amid rapid regime advances against it.

    The fate of Idlib’s 3 million to 4 million residents now depends on Turkey’s ability to deter further regime advances. In Ankara’s eyes, a mass influx of refugees would be politically destabilizing. Turkey’s willingness to send in thousands of troops and heavy weaponry with no air cover and against Russia’s wishes shows that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is willing to take significant risks to prevent the last rebel pocket from collapsing. Turkey established several new observation posts manned by newly arrived troops. After its observation posts came under attack in early February, Turkey began firing artillery at advancing regime forces on several occasions. Thus far, Turkey has not attempted to enter the fray with its air force, which has been significantly weakened due to purges after the 2016 attempted coup.

    Russia and the Assad regime still control the skies and use this dominance to destroy hospitals, bakeries, and other civilian areas in what appears to be the purposeful depopulation of entire towns, pushing civilians to flee toward the shuttered Turkish border. About 1 million civilians have been displaced in Idlib, northwestern Syria, since the start of the Syrian regime’s offensive in late April 2019, according to U.N. data.

    “These are people who’ve been displaced time and time again. People are completely exhausted, and the capacities of NGOs are also exhausted,” said Asmahan Dehny, the emergency response program coordinator at the Syrian humanitarian nongovernmental organization Violet, which helped evacuate impoverished families unable to afford their escape and recently established communal tents to receive them.

    The prospect of returning to live under the Assad regime terrifies most Idlib residents, even as the rebels ruling over them lost much of their popular support due to their abusiveness. A majority of Idlib’s up to 4 million residents were displaced from their homes by the regime and expect to be executed or jailed and tortured if they fall into the regime’s hands. “Even people who have nothing to do with the revolution or the factions feel that they are the target,” said Maher, a displaced novelist residing in Idlib. Similarly to many others in Idlib with whom Foreign Policy spoke in recent days, he pointed to the case of Ahmad al-Jifal, a 69-year-old man with mental health issues, who refused to leave Maarat al-Numan. After the city was captured by a Russian-backed militia in January, the fighters executed him and set fire to his corpse.

    But very few who are left can afford to escape Idlib. The cheapest and most perilous smuggling attempt to Turkey costs $350 and usually ends in being caught, beaten, and sent back by Turkish border guards. Despite the risks, a greater number of Idlib residents are making this trip, usually by borrowing from friends and relatives living abroad. According to Maher, “the fence along the border and the border police reinforcements on the Turkish side of the border are making smuggling incredibly difficult. There are people who’ve tried six, seven times to cross into Turkey, getting arrested and deported each time. People are expecting death.” He said he hopes to finish a novel he’s writing about a French and Syrian archeologist digging in the ancient city of Ugarit before the regime reaches his border village.

    Veteran humanitarian NGO workers are at a loss about how to handle this unprecedented crisis. “Even if we manage to secure food and water for all the displaced, we can not provide them with shelter or areas that are safe from the torrential rains to set up a tent,” said Ziad al-Sebai, the director of the media office of the Syrian humanitarian NGO Watan. “Imagine how many babies from the previously displaced and the new waves will get sick and die due to the cold and malnutrition.”

    READ MORE

    People walk near heavily damaged buildings in the rebel-held city of Idlib in northwestern Syria on Sept. 16.
    Idlib Faces a Fearsome Future: Islamist Rule or Mass Murder
    A series of agreements between Russia and Turkey, which called for establishing a demilitarized zone in Idlib and allowed Turkey to erect observation posts in Idlib starting in late 2017, broke down in April 2019; negotiations between Russia and Turkey to revive it have not been successful. Russia is determined to achieve a decisive military solution for Idlib and told Turkey it would not accept a cease-fire, even with significant concessions from the rebels. This uncompromising position was pushed by the Russian Ministry of Defense, overriding less gung-ho elements in the Russian administration.

    To make matters worse, in January, Iran became much more actively involved in the campaign against the last rebel-held pocket. Previously, Iranian officials promised Turkey to stay out of the fighting in the area, wishing to preserve their relationship with Turkey. The reopening of the dormant front in western Aleppo, manned by pro-Iranian militias (including Iraqi, Afghan, and Pakistani fighters overseen by the Quds Force) and units within the Syrian army that are close to Iran (such as the 4th Division), signaled a shift. The rebels, forced to rebuff attacks both in southern Idlib and western and southern Aleppo, could not hold their ground. The headway of the regime turned into an all-out stampede.

    “Just being able to repel attacks has become a victory in an of itself,” said Mannar, a rebel with the National Liberation Front, hours after he was forced, with a small group of fighters, to withdraw from his village of Kafr Halab, ceding it to the Iranian-backed militias. “The regime annihilated the village.” Mannar has been fighting the regime since the age of 15. He is determined to return to the front after evacuating his family to the border.

    The regime’s advances on the ground also stemmed from Russian support: Training and guidance from Russian officers and mercenaries boosted the capabilities of pro-regime militias, and night vision equipment provided by Russia allowed the regime’s forces to advance during the night. In 2019, Russia altered its targeting policy in Idlib. While previously, the regime and Russia relied on indiscriminate fire across the rebel-held territory to terrorize the population, break its spirit, kill, and destroy, they now concentrate their indiscriminate airstrikes and artillery shelling on stretches of territory close to the front lines, leading nearly all civilians to escape. At the same time, Russia began relying more heavily on surveillance drones that call in airstrikes by jets. These precise strikes ensured that fighters heading to and from the front lines are targeted and killed. Even groups as small as two fighters on a single motorcycle have been hit in these precise strikes.

    “We have lost many [fighters] because of the drones. When we hear them, we truly feel immense fear,” said Qusay, a veteran fighter in the ranks of the Islamist jihadist Hayat Tahrir al-Sham. “The central fighter in their ranks is the drone,” he said, describing how he and a group of fighters got stuck in a house near the front lines and could not go out to even procure food for over a day because “the drones are always in the skies, searching, and unlike the jets, there is no warning when they take off” from military air bases.

    Speaking to Foreign Policy over the messaging app Telegram, the communications director of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, Taqi al-Din Omar, said that “when the Russian occupier and Iranian occupier (and particularly Lebanese Hezbollah) launched a large-scale offensive on Idlib, they attacked from multiple directions (at times from six directions at the same time), using incredibly intense air strikes and artillery. The occupiers were able to achieve superiority over the mujahideen, forcing them to retreat from bombed-out areas.”

    While the regime is able to rely on a large army, with many of its soldiers press-ganged into service, as well as local and foreign Shiite militias, the rebels have been unable to properly compensate for their attrition. The armed opposition factions do not publicize their losses, but daily observation of death notices on Facebook pages and WhatsApp groups of rebels indicate that the numbers have long ago exceeded 1,000 who are not easily replaceable, as many were hardened fighters with years of experience in combat under heavy fire.

    Recognizing their inability to resist the advancing pro-regime forces and wishing to avoid further attrition, the factions chose to withdraw much of their fighting force from the front lines when faced with the fierce regime onslaught. Amir, a fighter with Jaysh al-Nasr, a Free Syrian Army group, who was injured in the latest offensive, said that “right now, the factions still have strength, but we can’t attrition all of it. If all of us go down [to the front lines] we will not be able to resist for more than a month, while the regime can fight for years.” Echoing conversations with many rebels in recent months, he said, “I started losing hope. My morale is zero.”

    The rapid losses of the opposition and the decisive role played by the foreign actors intervening in Idlib are making the population lose faith in the rebels’ ability and willingness to resist. Those removed from the battlefield—and often resentful of the leading rebel group in Idlib, the authoritarian Hayat Tahrir al-Sham—insist that a secret deal exists between Russia and Turkey under which certain areas will be “sold” or “surrendered” to the regime. By this logic, widely accepted in Idlib, resistance is futile. As a result, pleas by rebel leaders, rebel commanders, and preachers close to the factions for civilian men to remain in their homes and fight rather than retreat are met with a lackluster response.

    The regime’s progress deprived hundreds of thousands of their homes, now thoroughly looted and at times torched by the conquering forces. The immense poverty of the population in Idlib meant that many could not afford to even hire a car to take them toward the Turkish border and had to be rescued by the Syria Civil Defense in large convoys, able to carry only a few belongings with them. Those more well-off left with the entire contents of their houses, knowing they will not be able to return.

    Feb. 11: This story has been updated with comment.

    Elizabeth Tsurkov is a Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute focusing on the Levant.

    Twitter: @Elizrael
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    To sit down with these men and deal with them as the representatives of an enlightened and civilized people is to deride ones own dignity and to invite the disaster of their treachery - General Matthew Ridgway

  14. #2924
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    Quote Originally Posted by WABs_OOE View Post
    Pricesly. Without the US going into Iraq, Saddam would have crushed the destablization factors that toppled Qaddafy and neutered Assad.
    The "destabilization forces" that neutered Assad and toppled Gaddafi are a bigger threat to US natl. security (and even more to European security) than Assad and Gaddafi ever were. Letting Saddam crush them would seem to have been the better option then wouldn't it? In fact, if Saddam had been there ISIS might have never been formed in the first place.

    The Iraq war was Georgie boy's revenge crusade against the man who tried to kill his daddy. There was no method to that madness. No thought to how much it would destabilize the Middle East, no thought to how it would distract everyone and reduce deployments to the much more important conflict in Afghanistan and certainly no thought to how many people would lose their lives in Iraq. The loss of US govt. credibility due to the lies and deceit about Iraqi WMD is yet another of the unintended consequences.

    I wonder if the Europeans agree that hundreds of thousands of Syrian and Libyan refugees streaming into their countries is an acceptable price to pay for getting rid of Gaddafi, Saddam and neutering Assad. Although to be fair, they were the ones with the hard-on for killing Gaddafi more than the US.
    Last edited by Firestorm; 15 Feb 20, at 01:34.

  15. #2925
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WABs_OOE View Post
    That is not an Iranian advantage. All this means is that there would be more than one group fighting each other for control and the Iranians would always face hostile opposition.
    To be clear, i'm not saying things would be better with Saddam. Trying to look forward.

    Quote Originally Posted by WABs_OOE View Post
    This is an extremely rosy picture that history does not bore out. Iran will not control Iraq. There's enough anti-Persian groups in Iraq to make the Iranians extremely miserable. Note the term anti-Persian.
    We end up back in 2010 after the US leaves. There is no reason to remain in Iraq. A year from now i expect they wind up and leave.

    Depending on how Iran plays this, those groups you mention start up again.

    When the Iranian militias were fighting IS, their slogans & songs weren't anti-IS. They were anti-Sunni.

    Who killed Ali, those who love Ayesha, bashing Abu Bakr etc.

    There is a real Sunni fear that they will be at risk. The same thing happened with Assad and the Gulf sent those terrorists over. Al Nusra etc.

    If it remains sectarian and contained then we wait until things clear.

    If it leads to another IS, then others will be drawn in.
    Last edited by Double Edge; 15 Feb 20, at 02:20.

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