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09 August 2012


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I simply dont think that attrition for the Syrian regime will be enough. Hafez al-Asad in 1982 used the siege, bombardment and clearing of the old city of Hama as an act of symbolic violence against the Muslim Brotherhood and the sunni population at large. It was localised but now the regime is fighting fires. It needs an act of symbolic brutality. A defeat in detail of the FSA in Aleppo must be carefully calibrated to demonstrate the potential fate of all who oppose the regime with arms without bringing more international opprobrium upon the regime. Discuss...


Martin J

I didn't say anything about attrition. Don't put words in my mouth. I am talking about a massive defeat like Hama that would set the Sunni insurgency back for years. pl


As terrible as what is going on in Aleppo is, this is exactly what militaries are maintained for . . .


Col, it was entirely my own words. Until now the regime has used attrition against the FSA as a tactic to wear the insurgency down. Its not working. Will the defeat in Aleppo be enough to defeat them psychologically? It didn't work in Homs.


Martin J

They do not appear to me to be doing anything of the kind unless you consider killing insurgent jihadis to be "attrition." you may try to define government strategy as "attrition" but it is not. In fact they are trying to be careful NOT to kill or wound sunni civilians. It is the enemy force that they are after. What is your point/ Is it that the government can never win so they might as well surrender now? pl


And they are succeeding, which is why Turkey and the USA are getting desperate. Notice today that our senior WH counter terrorism advisor is now talking about "no fly zones." See http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/08/08/syria-usa-idUSL2E8J8CNO20120808

I hope Assad drives all the head-and-hand choppers back into Turkey.



trying to fight the FSA in Damascus, Aleppo, Homs, Hama etc etc is stretching the Syrian military. Surely it is preferable to utterly defeat the FSA in Aleppo in a brutal manner than defeats them psychologically too. In Hama ALL who were in the old city in 1982 were considered combatants ie civilians included. Saddam defeated his insurgencies (1982 and 1991) in a similar manner. My point is: does it make sense for the regime to do the same this time around?

Jose L Campos

Something big must be happening in Syria. The ABC evening news said not a word about it.


Martin J

I did not say a word about defeating them "psychologically." That's your word. Do you have ant military experience or training? What i am talking about is defeat, real defeat, a defeat that puts them into a crippled state from personnel losses, failure of opinion on their behalf among those who woiuld be their friends and sponsorsboth at home and abroad. pl



Martin J wrote off line to tell me of his significant operational and planning experience in the ME. Impressive. NeverthSless, I think he is over estimating the strength of the syrian insurgency. pl


" the enemy can run a "gauntlet of fire" trying to escape." pl

FSA (Fake syrian Army) on the run...



Matthew said in reply to turcopolier...

“And they are succeeding, which is why Turkey and the USA are getting desperate”

Perhaps there is a distinctive possibility of regime change. That is change in Ankara.

“Gursel Tekin, the deputy chairman of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), has predicted that the Turkish FM Ahmet Davutoglu will be sacked after implicating Turkey in the Syrian crisis.”

I believe there is to be an emergency meeting of the Turkish parliament early next week.



Here is a simulation for possible outcomes after Assad. US, Saudi Arabia and Turkey participants in the simulation.


Alba Etie

Is Erdogan supportive of the wahabee/salafist movement ? Is that why the Turkish governmnet has supported the FSA ?



To update and inform, AKP is resisting an emergency meeting of the parliement and CHP the opposition does not have the votes to force one. 15 short, just now as the reporter on TV explained.

AKP made that mistake in March 2003 by taking the decision to the parliement, to let US forces go through Turkey at the beginning of the Iraq war. The correct course would have been to have a binding vote within AKP and then go to the parliement for a vote. This cost Turkey dearly, not to participate in the Iraq war, especially within the US military. So much is freely admitted by several Generals active at the time, retired now.

Gursel Tekin is just talking-Erdogan will never admit failure and sack Davutoglu. And Davutoglu is not being groomed for PM after Erdogan's term is finished. He is not populer enough within the party and does not have neccessary credentials for domestic politics.

Hillary Clinton is in Istanbul as I type this and am waiting for the press conference. Not much will come out of it. I am sure a no fly zone, or a buffer zone will be discussed, but neither side is willing to go at it alone. Meanwhile, the only side that is happy and satisfied so far are the Saudis, things are going their way, especially in Iraq.


Alba Etie,

My humble answer will be no, Erdogan and AKP in general are not supportive of wahabee/salafist philosphies, its too rich for their blood. Over the years Al Kaide, and some other salfists had attacked civilians in Turkey, and they are able to recruit a fanatic islamist here or there. But Erdogan and AKP are not too uncomfortable with the Moslem Brothers, such as in Egypt, they get along for now. Same goes for US policy.

They have some inclination towards the Saudis, maybe even sympathy, but it is not mutual. Saudis despise the Turks and modern Turkey for a million reasons.

As to why Turkey has supported FSA can come up with three very basic reasons. One, Assad gave Erdogan the finger despite promising reforms earlier in the conflict and not fulfilling them, two, people in Turkey are truly repulsed with the treatment of ordinary Syrians under Assad. That is the humanitarian reason. Turkey is too close to Syria, entire communities from across border are related to each other. Three, Turkey could not have stayed neutral, as it is part of the West, had to support the opposition, politically at first and materially later. However, AKP is making many mistakes, showing its inexperience in international affairs in direct proportion to the desired goals.

Ishmael Zechariah

I looked at the sights of the weapon on the photograph and read the author list. That was enough.

Ishmael Zechariah


Col. would you consider opening a thread on Turkish-Iranian relations? I was reading some Turkish/English papers and these articles stood out.

'Spring' likely to knock at Iran's door

A unified Syria without Assas is what Turkmen are after
http://www.todayszaman.com/news-289267-a-unified-syria-without-assad-is-what-turkmen--are-after.html Note the discussion of three regions emerging.

Turkey, Iran set to clash further before reaching a new understanding on ties http://www.todayszaman.com/news-289265-.html

Turkey says it will do ‘whatever is required' against Iran http://www.todayszaman.com/news-289166-.html

I would note Sec. Clinton also made strong statements this week against the PKK.

Babak Makkinejad

Yes, very good propaganda - unlike Western sources - with just enough truth mixed with outright fabrications and partial facts.

Someone read Mr. Erdogan the riot act and now he has fallen in line behind the brain-damaged US-EU-Saudi policy in Syria.

It pains me personally to observe the failure of a great statesman, whose policy of "Zero Problems with Neighbours" was undoubtedly the best for Turkey and for the wider region.

Erdogan will take the same place as Thieu, Lon Nol, Zia, and others who thought there is a margin in conforming to Western policies.

And what is Turkey going to do against Iran that will not harm her even more?

Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.



bth, thank you. I second your request to open a tread about Turkish-Iranian relations, which ties to almost everything that is going on in the Middle East at the moment.

The common belief in Turkish body politic has been that US support for Barzani somehow turns into tacid support for PKK, since it oparates from Northern Iraq bases and Barzani will not give them up. But recent support of Iran of PKK, and Assad as well, as can be gleaned from articles you linked, maybe a game changer. AKP goverment is ready to recognize an independent Kurdish state in Northern Iraq, in return for real help from Barzani to close the camps, with or without Turkish action. PKK is doomed.

Babak Makkinejad

There is zero chance of any Turkish Government recognizing an independent Kurdish state in Northern Iraq or in Syria or anywhere else.

Turkey cannot base her strategic interests on one person - Barzani - and the Barzani Clan (a literal Clan).

And then there is the other Clan in Northern Iraq - Talibani with whom Turkey has no understanding.

A fool's errand....

Babak Makkinejad

Wahabis and neo-Salafis have no philosophy; that much is a fact.

Another fact is that there is no Philosophy among Sunni Muslims; it died a 1000 years ago.

All you have is doctrine.

On Assad-Erdogan relationship: the men disagree and that is the reason for war, as far as I understand you.

Very medieval indeed.

And the humanitarian reason is another variant of "We rape in order to preserve Chastity".

And to top if off, the delusion that "Turkey is part of the West.".

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