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10 February 2012

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jonst

Difficult question Col that you will, rightfully, be loath to try and answer. But here goes.

Does a military intervention, with 'NATO troops', or without, have any chance of success? If success is deemed to be an overthrow of the present regime, and 'decent interval' between the withdrawal of 'NATO troops' and the outbreak of some kind of internal chaos?

I am certainly not advocating any intervention like this. I am trying to ascertain whether this may be a serious option, on the table, for discussion. Or do you...or any of our members here, think that the Admin/DOD thinks intervention is a non starter?

brenda

FWIW, Pepe Escobar, veteran journalist for Asia Times is reporting from the ground and says it is not a nationalist group opposing Assad. He claims it is a motley collection of mercenaries organized by CIA, Mossad and agents of Turkey. He has several reports in his Asia Times column and Alex Jones has a video interview with him.

Escobar's opinion is it is a push for regime change in Syria and if this is accomplished it will be a fundamentalist Islamist government that will eventually replace the secularist Assad government.

If true, and no reason to doubt Escobar's findings, he has excellent contacts it seems, and he does get his ass out there to see what's going on even if he is a tad anti-American -- but if true, it is sounding to me like a replay of CIA in Iran 1953. We know how well that one turned out :>(

JohnH

There is a lot that is not being covered in the standard media narrative. I remember reading reports (in Arabic) a year ago of an ambush of government forces outside Banyas.

The Arab League observers' report noted the presence of an armed resistance that has taken over some neighborhoods. They also noted their contribution to calming tensions.

More recently, Al-Akhbar published a series describing the flow of arms, weapons, and video equipment across the Lebanese border to Syria. Wounded rebels are being taken back to hospitals in Lebanon. An entire floor of one hospital is dedicated to treating the wounded.

I just watched Susan Rice talk about the opposition "finally having had enough and standing up for themselves."

So I guess the cat is finally getting out of the bag, and the official narrative is willing to allude to the presence of a low-grade civil war, mostly Shi'a against the rest.

turcopolier

JohnH

"mostly Shi'a against the rest" I think you mean Sunni. FWIW, I do not consider the Alawis to be Shia. Shia are monotheist in all their groups. the Alawis are not IMO, they are outside Islam. pl

turcopolier

brenda

"He claims it is a motley collection of mercenaries organized by CIA, Mossad and agents of Turkey." If so, where are the dead KIA or prisoners to be exhibited to the press? pl

turcopolier

jonst

IMO, the methods used in Libya would succeed if there was enough Turkish particiapation in providing a sanctuary area and eventually some sort of direct action. This would be very bloody, very expensiv and take a long time. Is it worth it? I don't know. That's a policy question to be answered by the governments not soldiers. pl

Russ

Pat is right. The Alawis are a syncretic religion beyond the pale. They are said to celebrate Christmas, use wine in their rituals and believe in reincarnation. If you lead a proper life you become a star in the heavens when you die. At one point the DruZe and Christian communities were considered allies of the regime. I don't know if this is still the case. In the past there was a Alawi community in Hatay province and this may be a issue for the Turks.
Russ

r whitman

If the Syrian rebels are sucessful in overthrowing Assad and the Egyptian rebels partially sucessful(in the sense that Mubarak is gone), I can see the Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza and Israel proper heading to the streets. The current Palestinian leadership is ineffective.

Augustin L

George Washington once said that: ''truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains taken to bring it to light.''
Colonel, I'm afraid Brenda is right the ''insurgents'' fighting are largerly comprised of jihadis,takfiris and criminal elements supported by western intelligence agencies and their auxiliaries. First, I will direct your attention to many reputable sources telling us how the butcher of Tripoli and Emir of the Lybian islamic fighting group is now in Syria: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/libya/8919057/Leading-Libyan-Islamist-met-Free-Syrian-Army-opposition-group.html

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/09/02/abdul-hakim-belhaj-libya-s-powerful-islamist-leader.html

To boot, a december 2007 west point study Al-qaeda foreign fighters in Iraq clearly states that the majority of the jihadis killing american troops in Iraq came from Darnah and the Lybian Islamic fighting group here's the study:
http://tarpley.net/docs/CTCForeignFighter.19.Dec07.pdf

In fact an article published in a decidedly anti-Assad
Spanish and pro-monarchist newspaper ABC by the photo-journalist Daniel Iriarte followed the
Al-qaeda terrorist on the turkish-syrian border.In the article the Al-qaeda fighters make no bones about who is training them, French and other Nato officers: http://www.abc.es/20111217/internacional/abcp-islamistas-libios-desplazan-siria-20111217.html

This article created a polemic amongst the spanish
neo-conservatives so much so that the former prime minister and staunch George W Bush ally Maria Aznar expressed his indignation and questionned the Atlantist
strategy of tacitly supporting islamists who had links to
those who bombed the Madrid metro.

Those who wish to further inform themselves and advance their understanding of the situation on the ground in Syria can read the report of the Arab league observers. The report was so balanced that it's prime sponsors
the "feudal monarchs of the gulf" refused to make it public before the critical UN vote, it was of course ignored by our fair and balanced press and Aljazeera.
Nonetheless it gives you a good idea of the nature and tactics used by the insurgents: http://www.voltairenet.org/IMG/pdf/Report_of_the_Head_of_the_League_of_Arab_States_Observer_Mission.pdf

P.s. Altough largely guided by domestic political considerations,Vladimir Putin flanked by leaders of the Orthodox church now is presenting himself as the protector of the Christians of the Orient. Following a renewed mandate one of his foreign policy priorities if he wins the presidential election will be the protection of persecuted Christians: http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=9050

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/02/08/uk-russia-putin-religion-idUKTRE81722Y20120208

May we live in interesting times!

JohnH

My bad! Yes, most of the rebels interviewed by Al-Akhbar were Sunni. One of the leaders was quite frank in his dislike for Shi'a and Alawi.

In the first of the series, the reporter interviewed a Christian family living in a town taken over by Sunni rebels. That family was afraid to go out.

One of the marvels here is that pro-Israel, Christian fundamentalists never talk about the effects of the civil wars on Christians. I guess they don't care about them because they lump Eastern Orthodox Christians together Islamo-fascists.

Jose

Sir, who backs the Salafist?

The Twisted Genius

This might be a good time to review what we were saying about the Syrian rebels last November when things were just heating up.

http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2011/11/uw-in-syria.html

I still don't know who the rebels are, but I'm sure there are several outside powers with their fingers in the pie. It would be interesting to know the strength of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood. Like in Egypt, their grass roots organization may be a lot more extensive and potentially effective than what's visible. I would bet they are the local pros in waging UW the right way... as quietly as possible.

CTuttle

Col. Lang, have you seen the Arab League report...?

http://www.columbia.edu/~hauben/Report_of_Arab_League_Observer_Mission.pdf

turcopolier

Jose

Various parties in the Gulf. pl

turcopolier

AugustinL

Leave Washington out of this or I will ban you. You are eager to condemn the West. The fact that a Libyan Islamist leader is in Syria means nothing as to the "sponsorship" of the rebels in Syria except that as I said thry are mainly Islamists and in the main Salafi. pl

turcopolier

r.whitman

The Egyptians have won nothing except to exchange one set of oppressors for another and it seems that a successful Syrian revolt will produce yet another medieval Islamist regime. The Palestinians would be wise to stay home. The Israelis are looking for an excuse to butcher them again. pl

Paul Escobar

Mr. Lang & all,

What any foreign government does seems to be a moot point. It seems like the revolutionary Sunni's will win, whether it's today or a few years from now.

As Russ pointed out, the Alawi are heretics to all. Worse than that, they are a minority surrounded by a vengeful majority.

The world has given these Sunni revolutions a blank check. Overnight, western reporters are understanding the frustrations of Syrian suicide bombers (like they never could in Palestine).

The Gulf kingdoms & Turkey are motivated enough to harass Syria until life becomes worse than death for the Alawi.

...

As a proud non-interventionist, I still believe there is one way our governments can intervene: Offer the Alawi escape to Venezuela.

Venezuela has the largest Syrian ex-pat community in the world. There are direct flights available between both nations. Though it's not reported much, many senior government officials are actually Syrians.

Should our governments put aside their enmity for the regime, they would be sparing Alawi women & children the religious persecution that would meet them - when the Sunni revolutionaries seize take power.

At the risk of sounding overly dramatic, the stakes sound like something out of the film 'Schindler's List'.

jonst

Regardless of who is supporting who....if you kill enough innocent people you are going to create insurgents who will fight you. Eventually. Iron law, I would argue, of human nature.

confusedponderer

No, IMO they don't talk about them because they are not going to heaven since, among others, those Eastern Orthodox Christians they haven't embraced Jesus Christ as their personal saviour.

That means, for the pro-Israel, Christian fundamentalists, they are practically heathen. Their interest in them is limited to converting them to Evangelical Christianity.

JohnH

The fighting has spread to Lebanon.
http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Local-News/2012/Feb-11/162912-tensions-still-high-in-tripoli-army-patrols-neighborhoods.ashx#axzz1m5d4x3Sm

Charles I

That's why its imperative some heavy fighting breaks out soon.

Thomas

So true.

YT

"Offer the Alawi escape to Venezuela."

Mr. Escobar,

The best among all worst options.

For an non-interventionist this is a display of clear rationale & foresight.

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