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14 January 2016

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johnf

India's also getting into the reconstruction lark:

"India to deepen ties with Syria

India hopes to widen engagement with battle-torn Syria in key areas of counter-terrorism, including a strong intelligence sharing mechanism, to counter the threat posed by Islamic State when Deputy PM and Foreign Minister Walid Al Moualem arrives here on Monday on a four-day visit.Talks are also likely to focus on measures to enhance business and energy ties, given India’s significant investments in Syria’s oil sector."

http://www.almasdarnews.com/article/23547/

Matthew

Walrus:

1.

Brunswick

While the Syrian National Experience "should" bury the idea of an Islamic State imposed by force, there will be not only bitter divisions between those who fought, those who fought for the "wrong side", and those who sat on the fence.

One can also expect a "stabbed in the back" mythology to arise amongst the defeated.

Then, there are the jihadists who will simply go to ground and wait.

In some ways, the post war period will be more difficult than the war itself,

But victory will bring back the possibility of a Syrian Nation, and a Syrian future, stalled half formed during the Cold War.

Matthew

A new balance of power is arising? See http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/01/11/russia-is-arming-hezbollah-say-two-of-the-group-s-field-commanders.html

Trey N

I have no idea what lies in the future for Syria (except that the liver-eaters won't be feasting on all the minority citizens there, thank God) -- but I do have a pretty good feeling that the chickens may be coming home to roost for the KSA and Turkey. It's perfect Karma that these two rogue regimes tried so hard to destroy and partition the Syrian nation -- and now that same grisly fate could very well befall them, with the Kurds gaining independence in SE Turkey and the Shia minority doing the same in eastern Saudi Arabia (and as an added benefit, taking the oil fields with them -- no more oil $$$ to support foreign jihadis).

Yep, blowback is a real bitch...and this is looong overdue.

VietnamVet

Walrus,

For the Middle East and mankind to have a chance for some kind of a future, three things are required; the return of the refugees back home, strong borders and a peace settlement of the Sunni Shiite Holy War.

I am the glass is half full type of person. The mad dog War Parties have to be repudiated and the bad debt written down. Government money has to spent to provide jobs for citizens not war profits. Maybe this is impossible but I have to hope that change for good is possible. Empathy and fairness are human traits. There is reality and scientific knowledge. Mankind can work to together to end evil.

But, this is all foolishness if someone is intent on killing you and your community does not have police, blue helmet peacekeepers, or people’s protection units.

Brunswick

Matthew,

It's Hezboallah in Syria, who as they are the key to the northern flank of the R+6 operations, as the scale and tactics of the conflict is changing, will of course be being armed and trained on "heavy" weapons. So will the Palistinian Militia's.

The "question" is, when the "war" is "over",

- will they return to Lebanon with those weapons ( highly unlikely),
- will they return to Lebanon only with the experience and training,
- or will they stay in Syria, forming a political, military and economic link with the Shia provinces of Lebanon and quite possibly a reserve, conventional Hezboallah Army, able to strike down out of Syria to counter an IDF invasion of Lebanon?

turcopolier

Walrus

IMO the best you can hope for is; 1- the reconstitution of the Syrian state in all its territory 2- a renewed multi-confessional nature in that more or less secularized state 3- a lot of dead jihadis 4- re-construction on a grand scale funded from overseas (Europe and China)5- a return of some millions of the displaced. Syria is not a nation-state and IMO never will be. pl

sillybill

The most obvious change would be relations with the Kurds. They are the other part of Syria that has experienced nation building. They also have had a transformational experience. They have increased infrastructure,logistics, organisation, training and experience. They sort of expect some positive outcome from all their sweat and blood fighting ISIS. They've had a lot of good press lately. Major corporations treat at least the Iraqi part like a real country. We are becoming more accustomed to seeing them on the world stage.

I would expect that a future Syrian govt would agree with Turkey about keeping them east of the Euphrates, and that the Kurdish region in the far northwest of Syria will be treated differently than the Kurdish area in Syria's northeast which is part of the main body of Kurdistan.

different clue

I believe that neither Russia nor SAR will consider killing ISIS in Syria to be the end of the excercise. They will want to kill off all the other jihadi groups too. Russia (and silently China?) in particular will want to see every single jihadi-connected person physically killed in Syria to make sure none of them survive to show up later in the Caucasus again, or in the Central Asiastans, nor sneaking into Sinjiang.

I believe that the post-victory SAR will refrain from traditional pleasure-revenge and score settling, but not out of any magnanimity. They will do it in a spirit of "strictly bussiness" and perhaps it will take Russian pressure to make the SAR stick to a "strictly bussiness" approach. I think "strictly bussiness" will mean using every bit of intelligence and secret policing ability to determine which of the external refugees might pose a danger of holding silent grudges and watching for future rebellion opportunities . . . and not let them back in. The SAR will be very picky-choosy about who gets back in. If certain areas were visibly worst hotbeds of opposition, those areas will be kept un-rebuilt for a while to prevent the refugees therefrom from returning thereunto.

Syrian Kurds will be offered some kind of domestic autonomy deal without any privileges of making their own "mini-foreign policy" arrangement with other Kurds over the border. Hopefully they will accept that arrangement. Syrian Kurdish refugees will be allowed back with a lower level of vetting. (Hopefully any that have "turned jihadi" will be spotted and stopped).

If the post-victory SARgov does not understand the contribution of pro-natalist overpopulation policy and humid-zone agriculture concepts misapplied in a semi-arid zone to this social eruption, and if the post-victory SARgov does not understand that there will be more droughts and less water in a globally warming future world; then the SARgov will lead Syria over the next few decades into a future of Yemeni poverty and water-famine and more hopeless-population eruptions.

Fred

Walrus,

An R+6 victory in Syria will certainly damage the R2P crowd in the short term and further discredit (at least on policy grounds) all the pro-interventionists running for office here in 2016. I believe the Russians (and many others in Central Asia) gain by the killing of the jihadis who not only do not move on to other campaigns but won't be around to rally new recruits to the cause they lost. The eventual dismemberment of the Caliph's Islamic State is going to damage the attractive ISIS mythology. The remnants will certainly try to escape to Turkey - which is going to have to choose between open support or destruction of their clients. I question what is going to happen to those ISIS forces in Iraq? Are they going to continue efforts against the Baghdad government or will the ISIS leadership get de-capitated by the former Iraqi army members and leaders? Whoever is in charge there is going to have to choose soon or risk being decapitated themselves by ISIS.

Babak Makkinejad

A globally warming planet will be - on the average - more moist.

Antarctica is one of the driest places on Earth - largely because it is so cold.

The draught in the Near East has been persistent for 18 0r 19 years - it is not clear that it has been due to global warming. A 70-year long drought destroyed the Anasazi Culture; this could one such draught cycle.

AEL

Israel annexed the Golan decades ago. However, nobody recognized it, not even the USA.

Kyle Pearson

I reckon Iran will be watching very carefully to see how China gets along with the natives during the reconstruction of Syria.

johnf

I've read, but can't remember where, that a lot of IS fighters are leaving Syria/Iraq and moving on to Libya. There they will, I presume, become NATO's problem rather than Russia's. Will NATO do anything about them? I imagine Putin will want them to.

Fred

johnf,

If true then they are a problem for Libyan's who don't want to live under the medieval doctrine of the Caliph's believers. They won't, however, be taking a couple division's worth of tanks and artillery with them. (The stuff captured from Iraq's army). Europe will have a problem but so will all of Libya's neighbors in Africa.

Babak Makkinejad

Walrus:

I think narrowly, from a politico-military perspective, it seems to me that the Shia Crescent + Russia could be winners and their opponents the losers.

On the broader civilizational/cultural level, in my opinion, every single Muslim protagonist or antagonist has been a loser; the more they have fought among themselves, the further behind they have fallen from the Caravan of Progress, Reform, Modernization etc.

Within the World of Islam, this is the second time within 30 years that the Arab states have waged war against the core state of their own civilization; this second time they were aided and abetted by Turkey - establishing once again that they lack statesmen with any positive vision for the future or any grounding in history of that part of the world.

One winner - or not a loser - has been Pakistan by not falling into the dead-end position of taking sides in this dead-end fight.

One loser has been EU for having to endure the consequences of her own misguided policies.

Charles Michael

I agree to a certain extend:
EU definitively is a looser, poodles are no winners.

Is USA winning anything in this ? not on the short terms, probably not in the next decade.

IMO the era of the "white man burden" is ending as the thermodynamic industrial era.
Rendez-vous in 20 years ? maybe I see it. In 40 years ? sorry won't be with you.

different clue

Babak Makkinejad,

The problem with "on average" is that "on average" is made up by analytically mixing and merging all the separate distinct event regions. If Eastern North America gets wetter while Syria gets drier, the "on average" is net-overall wetter, but this does not get Eastern North American water to Syria.

If I am wrong about the one way direction of man made warmup, and the most recent drought in Syria is just a natural cycle drought, a naturally cycle-droughty climate still does not mix well with forced population-explosion policies and wet-zone style agricultural management. Pursuing these two things would still guarantee Syria a Yemeniform future, however natural and random the future droughts there.

kao_hsien_chih

I have trouble imagining that changes in domestic Syrian politics will be especially big.

In some sense, the various minorities (defined broadly, to include secular Sunni Arabs) in Syria have always been in a state of siege, actual or potential. They have feared that the Sunnis, especially those with fundamentalist leanings, would take over and persecute them. Past events, like Hama in 1983, kept giving proof to that belief and the current civil war, even if bigger and more "international" in scope, does not seem to differ drastically in that dimension. As others have noted, this will serve as a reminder that these besieged factions either live together or die separately. Most likely, this means that the Assad government may well be firmly secure for another generation.

The bigger questions await the "international" aspects of the game, I suspect. Whether wantonly or blindly, there will be more recriminations in the West, especially among "human rights/democracy" types, against the "sectarian" regime in Syria, which will indeed be more "sectarian" if, by that, one were to mean firmly anti-Wahhabi/Sunni-Fundamentalist. There seems to be a sort myth of "democratic Islamism" among certain circles in the West who seem to imagine that something like CDU/CSU can be crafted in the Sunni mosques, without the experience of, Western Christianity (and associated religious wars around Reformation), World War 2 and people like Josef Frings (I expect that BM will say something that could become democratic Islamism is emerging in Iran, with which I will concur). I don't think they will have learned enough of lesson to give up their beliefs just yet, which means the international confrontation with Syria will continue between the West and Syria/Iran/Russia. I wonder how the equation will change for the Gulfies and Turkey. Especially given their Yemeni misadventures and the likely re-emphasis on the fight against the Saudi monarchy after the Jihadis are suppressed in Syria, and possibly, Iraq, will the Gulfies be able to create more trouble using Islamic fundamentalists as pawns? About Turkey, I have no idea. It seems to me that the likely diplomatic-economic isolation in the region, after having burned bridges with Syria, Iran, Iraq, and Russia, will cost the supporters of Erdogan plenty and that they might reconsider, but I don't really know what to expect.

Porkchop Express

Colonel re: Point 4, and this is only third hand information I'm repeating and can't independently confirm, but as far as I've been told reconstruction plans and deals for the near future have already been inked. The caveat being only Syrian, Iranian, Russian and Chinese firms are being allowed access. The Russians have already signed a major development deal--the name of the firm I was not told. Western firms (particularly European and American) are being deliberately shut out of the process. Even Lebanese firms are being held at bay from joining in the reconstruction bonanza at the moment, but apparently there will be room for subcontractors eventually provided they're the "right" subcontractors.

Babak Makkinejad

No such global climate models exists that can elucidate the issue.

There are ways to discover if the draught is cyclical or not - you can look at growth circles of ancient trees (if available) or you can take core samples from land, lakes, pond, and rivers.

These 2 items above are an example of why all the Muslim protagonists and antagonists in the current struggle over Syria have been users; instead of sinking their resoruces into gaining data, and thus knowledge into their own local predicaments, they have indulged themselves in such dead-end activities.

Babak Makkinejad

Analogous to Franco's government in Spain after the end of the Civil War there.

Will

Annexed half of it. They were hoping to pick up the rest from the cadaver of the dead Syrian state. There is so much hypocrisy in foreign affairs. Germans were hanged for waging aggressive war to gain land. For Israel, it's always self-defense but they wind up with more land and expanded settlements.

Heard the jackass Woodard on Fox saying that Nixon was duplicitous in the Vietnam War in regard to the Christmas Bombing- duh How about Dubya, Clinton, Obama lying to us?

Kyle Pearson

Most "human rights" groups have behaved atrociously, regarding Syria.

Human Rights Watch has been exposed in scores of outright lies, and its executive director, Kenneth Roth (!) in scores -if not hundreds - more deceits and distortions. Avaaz is clearly nothing more than an extension of the US propaganda machine (one presumes coordinated via NED). Even Amnesty International - typically among the most conservative - has gotten on the wrong side of a few events/issues in a glaringly (to those who observe) biased way.

Moreover, the Western media has added to this group of stalwarts the myriad "Syrian human rights groups" like SOHR (referenced often and widely in the "respected" media and "papers of note") and its satellites which have been demonstrated by more responsible organizations (medical, political, military) to be chock full o' lies on pretty much anything they put out.

The "Democracy" crowd relies on all of these, but in the case of the Syrian war there are just too many demonstrable lies to ignore - unless one willfully forces oneself to do so.

>>>There seems to be a sort myth of "democratic Islamism" among certain circles in the West...

Frankly, I have yet to encounter anyone among the "Democracy", neo-Con, nor R2P crowd who knows enough about Islam to distinguish between Islamist, Shia, secular Muslim, Arab, or Persian.

It's quite absurd, actually - to see people who demand "representative government" for a foreign people, but haven't the slightest clue who among that foreign people would support the idea, and who would determinedly fight to destroy it.

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