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02 September 2017

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Karl Kolchak

I'm no fan of Assad, but having his regime reunify Syria and stop the madness of this war is by far the least worst option. Glad it appears to finally be over. Maybe the U.S. will learn a lesson about the humanitarian disasters that usually result from its foreign meddling, but I doubt it.

Kooshy

All Assad had to do, was not to leave and stand up to bully to become and be legitimate, he did that well without anybody forcing him or asking him. The rest don't matter, he saved and preserved syria' as sovereign country capable of standing up to west. IMO, Syria will not forget him

https://consortiumnews.com/2017/09/01/the-reasons-for-netanyahus-panic/

Jack

Sir

Obama, Hillary, Robert Ford and the cast of warmongers in the US Congress have much blood on their hands. It is incomprehensible that they would fund and arm jihadists to overthrow secular governments in Syria and Libya. Especially after the fiasco of Bush, Cheney, Powell and the coterie of neocons who turned a secular state albeit a dictatorship into chaos and anarchy. If there is a just God they will all rot in hell for the death and misery they have caused to millions.

IMO, Assad will be a changed man. I don't see how the complete destruction of his country will not have had an impact on his psyche. He knows who his friends where and who stood with him in his darkest hours.

These conflicts have solidified for me that the best foreign policy for the US is a policy of non-intervention. I concur with Ron Paul that we should exit all our foreign bases and bring our troops home and respect the sovereignty of other nations.

ISL

Dear Colonel,

Whereas many, particularly readers of SST, will continue to learn from the Syrian war, I see no sign that the US is learning lessons as indicated by strategy in Iraq, Afghanistan (where there probably is no solution), Yemen, and probably elsewhere. I think several of Assad's policies were very wise wrt decreasing sectarian tensions - Shiites bombing a Sunni city into a field of rubble (aka Mosul), and providing many opportunities for rebel groups to switch to the SAA side. This (and the possibility, that in a few years Saudi Arabia will fund new jihadi's) gives me hope for Syrians.

IMO, I think the underlying problem is that the US tends implement multiple contradictory strategies which are created by different committees (power centers in the administration) that are in disagreement and the president (Obama / Trump) refuses to take responsibility (the buck stops ....) and force consistency.

turcopolier

ISL

Yes, Afghanistan would require a lifeblood drinking sacrifice for a hundred years to achieve pacification and it would be waste of time. If the Saudi regime survives it will try to send more jihadis north. pl

Laguerre

I had the same word from a Syrian last week, whose father was a major intellectual opponent of Asad. Asad has won.

As to whether Syria will be better in the future, I would say there is a divide. Bashshar al-Asad himself is quite liberal, but the family is not. It is the family hardness which has kept the regime going.

What will prevent the hard family from doing what they want, in the wake of victory, is the minorities. First case, the Druze of Jebel Druze. They have stayed out of the battle, but in return they will expect a federalised Syria. Second case, the Kurds. Although they are supposed to have thrown in their lot with the US, they've always been ready to parlay with Asad, because they understand that when the US withdraws, they will have no other choice.

The idea of a federalised Syria already existed in 2015, and the same in Iraq. I should think it is the way things will go. I only know what it means from Iraq, where I had a conversation with an Iraqi politician in 2015. It means devolution of nearly all the budget to local control.

ToivoS

I googled "no military solution" + john kerry and got many hits beginning in october 2013 and ending on october 31, 2016. Obama repeated that nonsense many times also. I suppose they intuited that there would be no military solution favorable to the borg.

kao_hsien_chih

I wonder if "no military solution" comes with the caveat that whoever that seeks that solution does not want to pay the due price in blood and sweat, and, in a sense, the interventionista gang is right in the sense that they can probably never get the American people to pay that blood price for the solution that they want in Syria (or many other places). Apparently, there are people closer by, people who have more at stake, that will pay the due price in blood.

But there are surely "solutions" to the problems that the American people will pay the due price in blood, say, if the NoKos get too cute for their own good, and threaten us too directly too much, or, perhaps, if the interventionistas get too cute with their own schemes of aggression. That is something that we should wonder about sometimes.

Stumpy

Sir, I also propose that a hardening of the R+6 partnership is pinching off further attempts by the Borg to topple regimes or terraform the ME. I would go as far as to say a functional equivalent to NATO has been fostered by Russia and Iran. This is not to say that the effort will not be revisited as colonial projects expand in Africa and SE Asia. If the smoke coming from the Russian consulate in San Francisco is a sign,the US will imho remain a step behind in a reactionary posture. Even if the Russians have something to hide, so does the US and EU/NATO -- nothing new there. As you posit the question as to how Assad's to rebuild Syria, the new ME political environment will influence that to a great degree, with a stronger Hizbollah, a diminished Israel, and a powerful trade pipeline building along the Silk Road.

@ISL, you might agree that the US would have a leg to stand on if they had a history of delivering something better for the countries they meddle in, but leaving behind rubble and death is a terrible marketing strategy. If Trump defines success in Afghanistan with surging troop strength without specific objectives, he is horribly consistent with US FP doctrine since 1947.

Babak Makkinejad

Every one said that, including Iranian officilas. That is called Diplomacy.

Babak Makkinejad

Federalized Syria is not in the cards.

DH

"US officials familiar with the situation say that the Trump Administration is likely to announce a dramatic “ramping up” of US involvement in Libya, appointing a new US ambassador, and setting up a permanent US military presence in the nation."

https://southfront.org/us-looks-dramatically-escalate-involvement-libya/

Thirdeye

IMO the Takfiri war will give a big boost to Assad the way the Great Patriotic War gave a boost to Stalin. Stalin went from simply being a feared dictator to the leader who saw Russia through its greatest ever existential threat. In terms of loss of life, disruption and destruction, the Syrian experience has a lot in common with the Russian GPW experience. The message has also been driven home to Syrians that there are some reeeelly reeeelly bad people who would completely destroy their ancient society if given a chance. Whatever willingness there was to indulge sectarian demands is likely gone by now. With the remnants of the defeated caliphate likely to reconstitute themselves as a violent underground movement committing random terrorist acts, it is also likely to lend popular legitimacy to a repressive stance by the Assad government.

Per the article you linked, Syria is likely to emerge stronger both militarily and otherwise. They know which side their bread is buttered on in international relations and finance. R+6 wouldn't even have been considered a remote possibility 20 years ago. It's got military underpinnings now, with economic underpinnings likely to be strengthened with growth of the Eurasian economic sphere. Sanctions have shown the Syrians the complete folly of expecting anything good to come their way from the Euro-Anglo economic sphere. Training and fighting alongside Hezbollah, equalled only by the Houthis as an effective force in the Arabic world, and Russia, a contender for the most effective (adjusted for numbers) force in the world, has to have a profound effect on Syrian military culture and doctrine.

It's interesting that the concession of Assad winning is mostly from the catastrophe the SAA is bringing on ISIS and not any similar losses by the Al Qaeda affiliates in Idlib, East Ghouta, or Daraa. Beating the jihadis in Latakia and Aleppo is nothing to sneeze at, but it doesn't compare with the strategic collapse of ISIS. I'm willing to take that assessment as an admission that having the Syrian government backed up to the wall by ISIS was part of the US/Israeli/Gulfie strategy all along. That is the light in which I view attacks on Syrian government forces by the US and Israel, and the hands-off stance of the US towards ISIS forces moving to the Syrian front.

A.I.Schmelzer

The diplomatic endgame is certainly going to be interesting. I dont think the Druze will insist on federation (other then as a negotation ploy to get more titles and positions), they can likely be bought off with offices and positions. It will however get very interesting with the Kurds.

The Russians, as far as I get, would be fine with a "Kurdish march" that wards of Turkish expansionism, but the Assads would only entertain this if they felt sufficiently threatened by Turkey, which they imho arent right now.

Of course, Russia backing a "Kurdish march" is going to make things more interesting for Russo Turkish relations. Also, but much less so, for Russo-Iranian ones (although I dont think that Kurdish seperatism is very threatening for Iran, iirc their kurdish minority is fairly integrated).

turcopolier

richardstevenhack

I see. you were right all along. history screwed you. I worked with a lot of people like you. Mostly they believed that the "vision thing" was impossible. pl

Henshaw

Bashar's speech on 20 August sets out the Syrian Government's public position on Syria's future. He re-iterated the basics-

Everything linked to Syria is one hundred percent intra-Syrian.
The territorial integrity of Syria.
Arabism with its civilization aspect.
We will not allow others to gain through diplomacy what they failed to achieve through war.
War did not change our principles.
The Palestinian Cause is central.
Israeli occupation is the enemy.
Support for genuine resistance.

Most of this is standard stuff, but at least at the outset, there's not much room for negotiation with minorities.

http://www.presidentassad.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1617:president-assad-s-foreign-affairs-and-expatriates-ministry-conference-august-20-2017&catid=326&Itemid=496

Babak Makkinejad

Not even then, just look at Algeria. After 100 years under US occupation and tutelage, upon US departurr, Afghans would revert to type.

Babak Makkinejad

I think you are going through contortions in order to salvage your earlier prognostications.

turcopolier

Babak

You are right. People easily revert to type. pl

Ishmael Zechariah

re: "there's not much room for negotiation with minorities"
Henshaw,
Could you please define what you mean by "minorities", keeping in mind that Assad's Syria is a multi-confessional society?

Right now there are quite a few folks in MENA who regard concepts such as "minority rights" and "inclusiveness" as Borg levers for sedition and regime change. Are they wrong?

It will be interesting to see what happens to those minorities who served as tools of the Borg agenda and caused so much destruction and death. The izzies and the US will, no doubt, try to succor their "near proxies (the Jordanians and the Kurds" (per Crooke) but these groups will not be trusted again for at least a few generations. Betting on the wrong horse with such high stakes might not be good policy....
Ishmael Zechariah

guidoamm

For Syria it indeed turned out that the military solution was possible.

Not so for the US/NATO and their proxies

guidoamm

Assuming that mere destabilisation was not the aim (debatable), had the US/NATO coalition succeeded, it is likely Syria would have descended into anarchy and true civil war... in that light therefore, a military solution would have been pushed back indefinitely...

Semantics and perspectives...

Lemur

Update: Tiger Forces are now within 25 kms of Deir Ez Zor.

I wonder if the garrison will be able to push toward the liberating forces when they get closer?

Bandit

"Maybe the U.S. will learn a lesson about the humanitarian disasters that usually result from its foreign meddling, but I doubt it."

If only that were true. You have every reason to doubt any lessons being learned by the US or the neocons. They will just double down, as is their historical pattern.

It doesn't matter what administration is in office, the neocons are an evil cancer that has infected the entire US government and corporate state and the media. Peace is not on their agenda, and we can expect more interference in the ME , SE Asia, Africa and other parts of the world.

The US has already raked over Latin America and is ready to have another go with Venezuela. It is just a matter of time before the US creates another false flag pretext to get the flag-waving American citizens to support it. To be realistic, they don't really care if the citizens support their wars, they will launch them anyway, either covertly with proxy fighters or direct intervention. After 70 years on this planet I have become the eternal pessimist.

mike

Colonel –

Not in doubt at any time, except perhaps by those in DC who never looked at a demographic map of the population numbers in the different regions of Syria. Early on the SAA and their friendly militias sought to hold the high density centers in the west, which was their only possible strategy at the time but a good one.

Then they got Hezbollah, IRGC and Russian backing. But as important as the military support was Russian diplomatic expertise in Astana and Geneva - getting ceasefires and agreements by jihadis to move to Idlib Governate. Although I thought that was a mistake at the time, it seems to be working for them now. The turning point is generally thought to be finally winning the four year long Battle of Aleppo in November/December of 2016. Now the SAA have come east like gangbusters. They will win against Daesh there also.

By the way, the Kurdish YPG fighters in Aleppo’s Sheikh Maqsoud neighborhood were Assad’s unofficial ally in that victory. They collaborated fully with the final offensive of the government, providing manpower and blocking forces and moving quickly into jihadi areas in cooperation with the SAA. So maybe R+6 should really be R+7. The Kurds and their Arab allies in the SDF also freed the northeast from Daesh, thus securing the left flank of the SAA in their current push to Deir ez Zor.

Or add in the Coalition who have conducted over 11000 airstrikes against Daesh in Syria since September 2014. That certainly softened up Daesh for the SAA, even though the US and others in the Coalition previously supported the FSA. (Un)friendly allies??? I suspect some guests here will cry foul on this admittedly armchair analysis and call it politically incorrect. I stand by it.

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