"After almost twenty months, Syria's internal war appears to be approaching a decisive stage. Since early October, rebel forces have been on the offensive in key theaters, while regime forces are stretched thin, increasingly on the defensive, and giving ground. The conflict is evolving from a war of attrition (with the two sides primarily exchanging casualties) to a war of positions, with rebel forces seizing checkpoints, reducing the regime presence in the provinces, interdicting roads, and pressuring key regime strongholds and facilities. Barring a major change in Bashar al-Assad's approach or massive intervention by Hizballah and Iran, the regime's military situation will likely continue to deteriorate, perhaps dramatically, in the weeks ahead." Jeffrey White
"... while regime forces are stretched thin,"
White's conclusion that the Syrian Army is "stretched thin" is based on a belief that most of the Syrian Army is unreliable and cannot be used in counter-guerrilla operations. If that is true and if only 30% or 50% of the Army is usable, then the failure of the government to mount a continuous series of operations to clear the north of rebel forces is understandable. White does not make it clear what the basis is for his judgment that large parts of the Syrian Army are unreliable. He is a meticulous analyst and i am sure that he has some solid basis for this judgment. There are parts of various governments who have the means to know exactly which Syrian units have been employed and with what frequency. Is this article a reflection of that kind of certain knowledge?
White also opines that foreign assistance to the rebels would have a significant effect on the outcome of the war. Well, of course it would. The Syrian forces are very dependant on their equipment; aircraft, armored vehicles and artillery pieces to be exact. Training and equipping of the rebels with weaponry that is effective against these systems would be very effective and possibly decisive. The training could be done in Turkey or Jordan. France has recognised the rebel kaleidoscope of groups as the government of Syria. Is this a prelude to French action in this area? pl
"The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has exposed Obama and is forcing a reset of their mutual equations even before the US president gets started on his second term in the White House. Asia Times
Yes, the Gaza attacks are about Obama and not about HAMAS. Natanyahu is demonstrating to BHO that he can do as he pleases and that the Congress will back him and not the president of the United States. It will be interesting to learn what Obama will do about that, if anything. pl