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  • Can you call something chutzpah when it is so clearly driven by desperation? In any case, colour me impressed by the imagination of the man. I'm trying to conjur up a mental picture of Avigdor Lieberman, Ahmet Davutoglu and whatever Saudi & Qatari Princes are in charge of foreign affairs sitting down in the smoke filled room to plot Syria's demise. Really struggling. Even for an ME audience this is going to be a tough sell.

    Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem, on a visit to Iran, criticised Sunni powers in the Middle East, saying Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey are supporting a plot hatched by Israel to destroy Syria. The three countries have all been backing rebels trying to overthrow authoritarian President Bashar al-Assad.

    "Israel is the mastermind of all in this crisis," Moallem told a joint news conference in Tehran with his Iranian counterpart Ali Akbar Salehi.

    "They (Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey) are fighting in the same front."
    Syria lashes out at Saudi, Qatar, Turkey

    Meanwhile Aleppo is emptying as the offensive cranks up and once loyal groups such as Christians are trying to work out how they can get in good with the new boys (if they can actually work out who is in charge).
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    • Originally posted by JAD_333 View Post
      THE nail? hard to say - the disparity in military power is still vast. A nail? hell yes. With Damascus & Aleppo both subject to heavy fighting in the past few weeks Assad is bleeding money as well as support. I'll just end up repeating myself if I go on at much length, but suffice to say that the longer this goes on & the nastier this gets the more certain is his demise. The power to protect friends & threaten enemies is ebbing away. This had to end over a year ago for Assad to hold on. Agree with Panetta on this:

      "It's no longer a question of whether he's coming to an end, it's when."
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      • Originally posted by Bigfella View Post
        I'm trying to conjur up a mental picture of Avigdor Lieberman, Ahmet Davutoglu and whatever Saudi & Qatari Princes are in charge of foreign affairs sitting down in the smoke filled room to plot Syria's demise. Really struggling. Even for an ME audience this is going to be a tough sell.
        Reminds me of Mohammed Sad al-Sahaf in Iraq blithely asserting everything was going well as the US troops and tanks advanced up the road behind him
        In the realm of spirit, seek clarity; in the material world, seek utility.

        Leibniz

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        • Originally posted by Parihaka View Post
          Reminds me of Mohammed Sad al-Sahaf in Iraq blithely asserting everything was going well as the US troops and tanks advanced up the road behind him
          I always figured some big multinational chemical, oil or pharma company should have snapped him up. Guys who can stay on message like that don't just grow on trees. They are born, not made. Poor guy probably ended up driving a cab in baghdad. Terrible waste of talent if you ask me.
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          • Assuming this is accurate either some of the FSA units are better armed & trained than I thought or some of Assad's boys are rank amateurs. Guess the problem wiht running an army largely made up of the people you are now fighting is that they may no longer want to fight for you.

            Syrian rebels seized a strategic checkpoint northwest of Aleppo on Monday after a 10-hour battle, securing them free movement between the northern city and Turkey, an AFP journalist said.

            "The Anadan checkpoint, five kilometres northwest of Aleppo, was taken this morning at 5:00 am (0200 GMT) after 10 hours of fighting," said General Ferzat Abdel Nasser, a rebel officer who deserted the Syrian army a month ago.

            By securing this position, the rebels now control a direct route between the Turkish border and the city of Aleppo, where the Syrian army launched an offensive Saturday to dislodge the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA), composed of deserters and armed civilians.

            An AFP journalist on the ground said that the rebels captured seven tanks and armoured vehicles, and destroyed an eighth vehicle.

            Six soldiers were killed and 25 were taken as prisoners, General Ferzat told AFP by phone, adding that four of his own men died in the fighting.

            - Agence France Presse
            Syrian rebels seize strategic checkpoint between Aleppo and Turkey, according to rebel officer - Al Jazeera Blogs
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            • So, from the Western security perspective, we've got 3 elements of extraordinary combustibility in Syria:
              • Large stockpile of chemical (and biological?) weapons.
              • Large and growing contingent of Jihadist elements in the FSA and a (surely desperate) Hezbollah on the side of the government.
              • Utter chaos if Assad falls.


              As soon as Assad's bank account counts down to zero, those three will combine together, and we will be faced with the greatest intelligence and special operations challenge since the Iraq war, this time, with the Russians thrown into the mix for good measure. Thus, some time before or right around the November elections, the US and allies will be in a very complex and dangerous ground war in Syria.

              Am I missing something?

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              • Originally posted by citanon View Post
                Am I missing something?
                No, that about covers it internally, though you also have to throw the Kurds (therefore Turkey) and Lebanon into the mix. And of course Israel, primary target for any chemical weapons that go astray.
                In the realm of spirit, seek clarity; in the material world, seek utility.

                Leibniz

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                • Originally posted by citanon View Post
                  So, from the Western security perspective, we've got 3 elements of extraordinary combustibility in Syria:
                  • Large stockpile of chemical (and biological?) weapons.
                  • Large and growing contingent of Jihadist elements in the FSA and a (surely desperate) Hezbollah on the side of the government.
                  • Utter chaos if Assad falls.


                  As soon as Assad's bank account counts down to zero, those three will combine together, and we will be faced with the greatest intelligence and special operations challenge since the Iraq war, this time, with the Russians thrown into the mix for good measure. Thus, some time before or right around the November elections, the US and allies will be in a very complex and dangerous ground war in Syria.

                  Am I missing something?
                  Purely Zraver speculation, if the Assad regime really looks like it is going to fall expect PoG to move on Lebanon. The loss of Syria means no secure pipeline from Iran unless they can secure Lebanon for themselves.

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                  • btw, Turkish Army started to concentrade at Syrian Border according Hurriyet.

                    GAZ

                    5th Armored Brigade, 106th Artillery Regiment and an AAA unit (stingers?) joined to 1st border regiment according to this paper.
                    Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none; be able for thine enemy rather in power than use; and keep thy friend under thine own life's key; be checked for silence, but never taxed for speech.

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                    • Originally posted by zraver View Post
                      Purely Zraver speculation, if the Assad regime really looks like it is going to fall expect PoG to move on Lebanon. The loss of Syria means no secure pipeline from Iran unless they can secure Lebanon for themselves.
                      Then they get themselves into the war that IDF has been preparing to fight since 2006.

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                      • Originally posted by citanon View Post
                        Then they get themselves into the war that IDF has been preparing to fight since 2006.
                        I didn't say they were going to go after Israel but that they would make a grab for the rest of Lebanon.

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                        • Originally posted by Big K View Post
                          btw, Turkish Army started to concentrade at Syrian Border according Hurriyet.

                          GAZ

                          5th Armored Brigade, 106th Artillery Regiment and an AAA unit (stingers?) joined to 1st border regiment according to this paper.
                          A Syrian/Turkish war with Turkey stomping the snot out of the Syrians and imposing order is about the best outcome the world could hope for.

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                          • Originally posted by zraver View Post
                            I didn't say they were going to go after Israel but that they would make a grab for the rest of Lebanon.
                            I know, but what makes you think the IDF is going to sit back and let that happen? What makes you so sure they are not looking for an opportunity to reduce the Hezbollah threat? I've thought for the past few months that the IDF will be ready to move against Hezbollah in the aftermath of an attack on Iran, but I'm not so sure the Syrian situation wouldn't move up their time table.

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                            • Originally posted by citanon View Post
                              I know, but what makes you think the IDF is going to sit back and let that happen? What makes you so sure they are not looking for an opportunity to reduce the Hezbollah threat? I've thought for the past few months that the IDF will be ready to move against Hezbollah in the aftermath of an attack on Iran, but I'm not so sure the Syrian situation wouldn't move up their time table.
                              Because PoG in control of all of Lebanon is good for Israel's security. PoG has proven to be following a very traditional path from radicalism to realpolitik in the areas they effectively rule. There is no reason to assume this would change. Furthermore with Shia, Duze and Maronite communities pushing back it would be a full time job just remaining in control.

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                              • If PoG move on Lebanese govt. I wouldn't assume that Turkey & the US just sit by & watch. Both (esp US) may be reluctant to committ forces, but weapons & money may be easier. Also gives an excuse to park a naval taskforce off the coast.
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