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Syria - the end of the beginning?


170 replies to this topic

#1 KAH

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 06:27 PM

In the Game of Thrones...

#2 Kouran

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 06:32 PM

It won't really matter if he is in dispair or not. His only hope is to break the opposition, and the only weapon he has is VX at this point. I give it a week at most before he gasses Aleppo.

#3 Cuellar

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 06:42 PM

Hopefully it is true that he's nearly done for.

As for chemical warfare, he will be really screwed if he resorts to that. No country in the world would support him then, and NATO would probably drop a smart bomb on his ass.

#4 snake

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 06:59 PM

Assad knows he's screwed already. His life is probably forfeit no matter what and it would seem from KAH's link that he knows it. Just a matter of how long he can hold on and how much damage he wants to inflict before the end. No matter what the Alawites and Christians are in for a hard time once the Sunni take control. Fire and Blood!!

#5 Horza

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 07:00 PM

It definitely looks like Russia is thinking about changing its position.

Add to that the growing material aid to the insurgency from the West and the Gulf states and we might be approaching a point where the regime's military advantage over the FSA slips below the level needed to sustain transport and communication links with its strongholds, which would be the beginning of the end.

#6 Lightning Lord

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 07:01 PM

Hopefully it is true that he's nearly done for.

As for chemical warfare, he will be really screwed if he resorts to that. No country in the world would support him then, and NATO would probably drop a smart bomb on his ass.


He's already really screwed. Hopefully he's not a sadistic madman and doesn't execute the Targaryen Gambit.

#7 KAH

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 07:01 PM

A bit more on the Syrian situation.


The rebels seem to have been largely successful in sapping government military strength; time is definitely not on Assad's side anymore.

I've argued before that the west coast of Syria represents a back-stop for Assad and the present regime, but if the previous article is to be believed, Assad does not think it represents an opportunity for him personally, it's Damascus or nothing for him. And I think maybe I know why.

This goes to the heart of the inherent weakness of dictatorial systems like that of Syria. If Assad was free to do what he wanted, he may have acted differently. But he is owned by a security force establishment who has deep interests in Damascus and Aleppo - if Bashar leaves, he could still rule a rump state; but they would lose everything. So they will not allow it. Bashar sticks to Damascus unless he can sneak out past his own lieutenants (presumably with his closest family) - if they find out that he is leaving, they'll kill him.

#8 Castel

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 07:05 PM

I have to say, I wasn't aware that the rebels were that successful, the last few reports I saw showed them using extremely primitive weapons and bombs and in trouble so it was a surprise to see this. But then again, I haven't been following the events in Syria.

He's already really screwed. Hopefully he's not a sadistic madman and doesn't execute the Targaryen Gambit.


Hopefully.

Edited by Castel, 06 December 2012 - 07:05 PM.


#9 Horza

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 07:08 PM

A bit more on the Syrian situation.


The rebels seem to have been largely successful in sapping government military strength; time is definitely not on Assad's side anymore.

I've argued before that the west coast of Syria represents a back-stop for Assad and the present regime, but if the previous article is to be believed, Assad does not think it represents an opportunity for him personally, it's Damascus or nothing for him. And I think maybe I know why.

This goes to the heart of the inherent weakness of dictatorial systems like that of Syria. If Assad was free to do what he wanted, he may have acted differently. But he is owned by a security force establishment who has deep interests in Damascus and Aleppo - if Bashar leaves, he could still rule a rump state; but they would lose everything. So they will not allow it. Bashar sticks to Damascus unless he can sneak out past his own lieutenants (presumably with his closest family) - if they find out that he is leaving, they'll kill him.


Also, what the rump state idea reflects is a belief this is a purely sectarian conflict, where it's all Alawites vs all Sunnis. In reality the regime still has the support of upper- and middle- class Sunnis in Damascus and Aleppo, many the Christian communities, much of the business class and other minorities like Druze and Turkmen. If he were to abandon them for some redoubt in Latakia it would just mean they'd cut a deal with the FSA and his Alawite mountain redoubt would then be at war with all other Syrians.

Edited by Horza, 06 December 2012 - 07:09 PM.


#10 KAH

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 07:15 PM

If he were to abandon them for some redoubt in Latakia it would just mean they'd cut a deal with the FSA and his Alawite mountain redoubt would then be at war with all other Syrians.




Many of those non-Alawites would and do fight for Assad...but would they die for him? My bet is that deals will be cut long before Assad leaves Damascus, which he no doubt realizes. The writing is on the wall.

The irony is that the security establishment will probably go down in flames with Assad, because they're stuck in denial that they can still win it all. The chief advantage of the rump state is that it would remove most of the opposition's guerilla advantage that they enjoy in Syria as a whole, while simultaneously denying them the military hardware Assad et al has got (by removing it or destroying it). But they're not going to use that advantage, it seems.

Edited by KAH, 06 December 2012 - 07:22 PM.


#11 Horza

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 07:33 PM

Or maybe they just don't think it's a workable plan. Sure, it's mountainous and has access to the sea, but what good is that if they're fighting a turbocharged FSA swelled by defections from the thousands of soldiers free from loyalist babysitting, with access to the rest of their heavy weapons arsenal and getting more from the Gulf and the West?

It might not even be logistically and militarily possible to remove enough material and manpower to the redoubt areas by this point, and certainly it would be hard to pull off without tipping their hands to their allies and the insurgency.

#12 Spooky Scary Jurble

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 07:37 PM

In the Game of Thrones...


sic semper tyrannosaurus

#13 snake

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 08:34 PM

Also, what the rump state idea reflects is a belief this is a purely sectarian conflict, where it's all Alawites vs all Sunnis. In reality the regime still has the support of upper- and middle- class Sunnis in Damascus and Aleppo, many the Christian communities, much of the business class and other minorities like Druze and Turkmen. If he were to abandon them for some redoubt in Latakia it would just mean they'd cut a deal with the FSA and his Alawite mountain redoubt would then be at war with all other Syrians.


I thought I just read that the Druze might be supporting the rebellion or being urged to by their leaders. Must go look.

ETA:

An article by Victor Kostev here.

The relevant passage,

The fact that Lebanese Druze leader Walid Jumblatt urged Syria's Druze to join the rebellion carries considerable symbolic significance. Jumblatt, whom Foreign Policy Magazine recently called "the weathervane", is known for aligning himself with the powerful of the day, and claims to look out always for his sect.


The article he used as a reference.

Edited by snake, 06 December 2012 - 08:46 PM.


#14 Shryke

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 08:40 PM

It won't really matter if he is in dispair or not. His only hope is to break the opposition, and the only weapon he has is VX at this point. I give it a week at most before he gasses Aleppo.


The US and the UN and basically everyone is watching his chemical weapons like a hawk and are just waiting to jump on top of them the minute it becomes necessary.

So that's at least hopefully not going to be a problem.

#15 Horza

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 08:47 PM

I thought I just read that the Druze might be supporting the rebellion or being urged to by their leaders. Must go look.


Jumblatt did, but that's wrapped up with his own agendas in Lebanon. Syrian Druze have been sitting it out, hence needing to be called to get off the fence.

#16 snake

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 08:51 PM

A NYT article the paints a very depressing picture. Link.

#17 Padraig

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 04:23 AM

A NYT article the paints a very depressing picture. Link.

Yes. Of all the countries that have seen strife in the Middle East/North Africa, this seems the most volatile (which says a lot). We'll see what happens if and when Assad goes but I do fear for it.

#18 Jaimeisnotazombie

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 04:55 AM

My friend is from Syria, he says if the rebals win they will take away all the womans rights.

#19 KAH

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 05:49 AM

Or maybe they just don't think it's a workable plan. Sure, it's mountainous and has access to the sea, but what good is that if they're fighting a turbocharged FSA swelled by defections from the thousands of soldiers free from loyalist babysitting, with access to the rest of their heavy weapons arsenal and getting more from the Gulf and the West?

It might not even be logistically and militarily possible to remove enough material and manpower to the redoubt areas by this point, and certainly it would be hard to pull off without tipping their hands to their allies and the insurgency.


Well, for one, it would open up for internal infighting for who would rule Syria after the Assads. The chances of a coherent government once Assad has removed himself from Damascus, is probably equal to zero. Call me a pessimist.

The other point you made is probably true to some extent. Assad would likely have to order the destruction of tanks, gunships and aircraft that is not in the west or in Damascus already, in order to prevent them from falling into rebel hands. Exactly how this hardware is distributed throughout Syria, is anyone's guess at this point.

#20 Spooky Scary Jurble

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 06:12 AM

My friend is from Syria, he says if the rebals win they will take away all the womans rights.


I know a Syrian too! He says Bashar Al Assad should be hanged in public, doesn't care about womens' rights.



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