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Syrian Civil War

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https://maps.google.ca/maps/ms?authuser=0&vps=2&hl=en&ie=UTF8&oe=UTF8&msa=0&msid=214668381355121949879.0004c4ed0191c0333f79c

Note that I'm aware there is a more focused thread on Syria, but this is intended to be broader.

Anyway, I've created a map about the civil war and am looking if I've missed anything.

I'm also looking to spark discussion. Especially in comparison with what happened in Libya.

Libya's civil war was much quicker to start, and the rebels, right from the get-go, held more territory. Can the Syrian rebels win this battle with such a late start?

The rebels have focused on taking Aleppo, Syria's 2nd city, much as in Libya the rebels took Benghazi. The difference here is that Aleppo is actually larger than Damascus.

There is also much more of a demographic split. Alwaites (Shia) generally back Bashar, due to the fact that he is one of them. This is similar to how Sadam Hussein was a Sunni dictator of a Shia country, but in this case, it is reversed. Also in the mix are Christians, many of whom fear that a "Free" Syria could become an Islamic one. The two groups live beside one another, along the coast; yet, just east of here, is the Rebel stronghold. How will these Geodemographics play out?

Also, with Russia (and China) really settling in to back the government, and Turkey, a NATO member, strongly backing the rebels, could this conflict spill over in to the world at large? Perhaps sparking a second cold war between east and west?

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Canada and the US is also supporting the rebels with weapons but its not public knowledge, I guess. I heard one person say something about the US and Canada helping on news show. My guess NATO will be back into the Middle-East after the US election.

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Syria is arguably more complicated than Iraq and NATO or whoever getting involved on the ground (or even just in the air via no-fly zones etc) would probably be even bloodier.

Personally I don’t think Obama would get involved (other than sending arms and intelligence) unless things started to spill over and even then I don’t think it would happen until after November.

But that is the big problem. It could get much worse and spill over into other countries in the region.

On the other hand getting involved could inflame the whole thing.

Just look at that map and the countries on Syria’s borders.

Turkey has turned against Assad and is increasingly playing a bigger role in the world. It would love to see a friendlier Sunni gov. in Damascus. Assad has already started to pay Turkey back for it meddling in Syria by increasing its support to Turkey’s Kurdish rebels. But Turkey knows that escalating with Syria could throw its neighbour into chaos (hence Turkey not retaliating when its jet was shot down).

Iraq has strong ties with Syria and if Assad goes and Sunnis take over it will only have one ally and it would be and ever more isolated Iran.

And despite its pretty much total disappearance from the news Iraq is still very much unstable and violent. Nothing would get the Sunnis in Iraq more excited and violent than Sunnis taking over Syria. Would they take the initiative and try to topple Maliki? With most of the US gone he doesn’t have much help to hold on to power. He could unleash his Shia militia men and we could have another repeat of the mess/civil war that erupted after the US stormed in.

Iran CAN’T let Syria go. They would lose their closet ally and their channel to funnel arms to Hezbollah in Lebanon. Speaking of which....Lebanon’s civil war last for what? Like 15 years. Syria is much, much bigger and could....errr, WILL draw in the big boys (Saudi Arabia etc) to fight a proxy war to try to bleed each other dry.

None of this even takes into account Israel’s concerns and what all of this means for the Iranian nuclear program and the US policy toward the whole region. With Hezbollah cut off from its biggest supplier that is one less threat the US and Israel have to deal with in the event there is a strike against Iran’s facilities.

What about the role of Gulf countries like Qatar in Libya and Syria?

I recently read a piece that argued that the massacres and attacks by Assad’s forces weren’t random at all and are attempts at carving out Alawite enclaves in the event of the country disintegrating.

The author pointed out that this area (the red government held area on the above map) would have deep sea ports, an international airport, rich arable lands, fresh water and would be easier to defend if it was made up of next to no Sunnis.

What is that saying? In the middle east things usually get worse before they get much worse?

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Also, with Russia (and China) really settling in to back the government, and Turkey, a NATO member, strongly backing the rebels, could this conflict spill over in to the world at large? Perhaps sparking a second cold war between east and west?

Great powers don't enter wars or cold wars over a little piece of sand like Syria. Neither side would risk more for Syria than what Syria is worth: a bit of oil and a strategic position in the region. Neither the "east" nor the "west" would risk their nations and economies over that.

For regional powers like Iran, as j44 points out, the outcome in Syria is more crucial, and a wider proxy war of some sort in the region is not impossible (though still unlikely). However, I would guess that Iran would prefer to linger in the shadows as long as it can rather than seeking direct armed conflict. It's strategy is to stall through any and all means possible until its nuclear program reaches fruition. Actually I'd guess Iran would love to see the West get mired in Syria, which would make intervention in Iran itself just a few years later a complete political impossibility.

As for the civil war in Syria, Assad will use heavier and heavier weapons against the rebels and his own people if he feels the war is not going his way, including chemical and biological weapons if he feel it is his last resort. Unless entire bases and branches of the military controlling some of this weaponry defects, the rebels have little chance at victory without outside support.

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Is Iran stable enough to fight a cold/proxy war against the west and their islamic allies (that feels weird to say)

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Is Iran stable enough to fight a cold/proxy war against the west and their islamic allies (that feels weird to say)

Good question. It is obviously in trouble economically but keep in mind it doesn't have to match the west and the Saudis weapons to weapon. Small arms and IEDs could be enough to make things complicated. Iraw is a good example.

As much as the US policy toward Iran is criticized it seems to be working. Iran is in a terrible position....even if they are close to getting the bomb.

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There are reports that Iran has already airlifted some troops to Syria as far back as February.

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There are reports that Iran has already airlifted some troops to Syria as far back as February.

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2012/07/25/turkey-blocks-key-truck-route-along-syrian-border/

Iran's Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi said there are no Iranian troops in Syria and that the Syrian government is capable of confronting terrorists -- the regime's term for its opponents -- the semiofficial Fars news agency reported Wednesday. Vahidi was reacting to reports that accuse Iran of deploying troops in Syria to help quell the armed uprising against Assad's government.

I did a search for 'iran airlifted troops syria' and got one hit.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/9329366/Russia-accuses-US-of-arming-Syrian-rebels.html

Russia was supplying "anti-air defence systems" to Damascus in a deal that "in no way violates international laws," Lavrov told a news conference during a brief visit to Iran.

"That contrasts with what the United States is doing with the opposition, which is providing arms to the Syrian opposition which are being used against the Syrian government," he said, in remarks translated from Russian into Farsi by an official interpreter.

It was the first time Moscow has directly pointed the finger at Washington. Previously, it had said unidentified "foreign powers" were arming Syria's opposition.

What I suspect is that the US is arming the rebels, and Russia is aiding Syrian's government. So both sides have some complicity in making this situation worse than what it should be if Syria was left to it's own devices.

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I have no doubt that the US is at least helping get the arms to the rebels. Through Qatar or Turkey or others. They probably have special forces and intel officers on the ground too. And are sharing intel with the fighters.

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Right...only one. Need more?

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4234608,00.html

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/may/28/syria-army-iran-forces

http://india.nydailynews.com/business/4f44a320d381dc42f1245d86345ecd98/iran-sends-troops-to-syria

http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/05/28/217014.html

http://www.rt.com/news/syria-iran-cooperation-protests-969/

http://en.rian.ru/world/20120529/173732559.html

Hey...even your man, Alex says it's a go.

http://www.infowars.com/latest-iran-deploys-15000-troops-to-help-syrias-assad/

What I suspect is that the US is arming the rebels, and Russia is aiding Syrian's government. So both sides have some complicity in making this situation worse than what it should be if Syria was left to it's own devices.

I suspect that Thanksgiving is the busiest travel day of the year.

Edited by DogOnPorch

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Then there's Syria handing over SCUDs to Hezbollah...but that's OLD news, eh?

Well at least you had links this time.

Do you want links for this, too?

:lol:

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Then there's Syria handing over SCUDs to Hezbollah...but that's OLD news, eh?

Do you want links for this, too?

:lol:

Sure why not.

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Sure why not.

Link.

This is a Scud + launcher, GH. As I mentioned to bud, they should be fun to hide in somebody's house.

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Link.

This is a Scud + launcher, GH. As I mentioned to bud, they should be fun to hide in somebody's house.

So if Hezbollah has SCUDS, why do they piddle around with crude homemade rockets? Nice that out of the 4 top links the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th links are Israeli papers.

Let's take a look at one of the other links ..

http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=173217

Hizbullah sources confirmed on Thursday that the group had received a shipment of Scud missiles from Syria, the Kuwaiti paper Al-Rai reported.

But the missiles were old and unusable, according to the sources. Hizbullah also accused Israel of blowing the incident out of proportion to provoke a media ruckus.

“Our organization has many surface-to-surface missiles spread across all of Lebanon, in case Israel attacks the country again,” the Hizbullah sources said

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/36520789/ns/world_news-mideast_n_africa/t/israeli-officials-syria-gave-hezbollah-scuds/#.UBLnbaCDl8E

President Shimon Peres, speaking in Paris, charged that Syria is playing a double game, talking about peace, while "it is delivering Scuds to Hezbollah to threaten Israel," according to a statement from his office.

But we know that Israel had taken care of Syria's nuclear reactor a few years ago, so Israel's stance on this is hypocritical.

And we also have things like this ....

http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/u-s-to-sell-iaf-smart-bombs-for-heavily-fortified-targets-1.253750

Despite reservations in Washington regarding a possible Israeli strike on Iran, the American administration will supply Israel with sophisticated weapons for heavily fortified targets, the U.S. administration announced.

The U.S. Department of Defense announced it would sell the Israel Air Force 1,000 new smart bombs, rumored to significantly enhance the IAF's military capabilities. The deal was approved amid public and secret messages from Washington, with the Americans expressing their reservations about a possible Israeli strike against the Islamic Republic's suspected nuclear sites.

Meh.

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To be fair, though, these babies won't be easy for Hezbollah to employ. They are liquid fueled and use RFNA (red fuming nitric acid: HNO3 + NO2) + kerosene. RFNA is similar to WW2 rocket fuels used by the Germans and it capable of eating the flesh right off your bones. During WW2, Me-163 Komet pilots used to sit on a tank of this stuff which had the nasty habit of rupturing on landing. With a bit-o-luck, the tank was drained enough to not be fatal. But there were cases of opening up the cockpit only to find the metal belt buckels, buttons etc where the pilot sat.

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GH: So if Hezbollah has SCUDS, why do they piddle around with crude homemade rockets? Nice that out of the 4 top links the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th links are Israeli papers.

You're confusing Hamas with Hezbollah.

Edited by DogOnPorch

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Re: Scuds 'not working'...see my post re: nitric acid that Hezbollah would need to obtain.However, Hezbollah with Scuds is not to be taken lightly. There's a chance they could get all the parts for a WMD if they can get their mits on VX or Sarin.

Edited by DogOnPorch

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Is Iran stable enough to fight a cold/proxy war against the west and their islamic allies (that feels weird to say)

yah it is but I have enjoyed your analysis and would concur so far.

To understand Middle East political alliances is to simply understand the deserts. Sand always shifts with the wind forming new shapes. So do the alliances in the Middle East.

Edited by Rue

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Hezbollah ahs far more accurate missiles than the Gaza strip home made scuds.

In fact the intelligence on it is old, so old it is easily found such as with:

links

Indeed. While they do have the common variety Katushya, they didn't have the same problem getting larger factory made rockets from elsewhere as Hamas. That may be in doubt now with Syria blowing-up. Hamas...at least until recently...is limited to what they can import. Most of it would have to fit down a tunnel. Though I imagine that is less of a problem these days. Any real good stuff has to come in by sea (or road from Egypt). Several ships have been caught stuffed with weapons bound for Gaza, but no doubt, a few slip by.

It's quite telling that GH doubts every new development and even some old ones. It was common knowledge to me back in the 1970s-80s that Syria had chemical weapons. At least that's what the analysts were saying. Since post Yom Kippur 1973 or there abouts. Russian supplied and trained at first with factories eventually being built for Scuds and chemical precursors, etc.

I think, if one is to use the CBC comment section as a guide (hah), that some folks will go to great lengths to overlook the obvious sources of some things (Russia/China/Iran/North Korea/Pakistan) and replace them with cloak & dagger 007 stuff involving CIA/MI6/Mossad/etc parachuting or tunneling or teleporting into Syria with all manner of Zionist brand secret weapons.

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It's quite telling that GH doubts every new development and even some old ones. It was common knowledge to me back in the 1970s-80s that Syria had chemical weapons. At least that's what the analysts were saying. Since post Yom Kippur 1973 or there abouts. Russian supplied and trained at first with factories eventually being built for Scuds and chemical precursors, etc.

The only thing I denied is that the weapons came from Iraq. Are we clear on that? Not like you give a shit.

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The only thing I denied is that the weapons came from Iraq. Are we clear on that? Not like you give a shit.

Uh, you just doubted that Hezbollah now has Scud-Bs and decried the links due to excessive Jewishness. I'm thinking a good thread about the Moon Landings is in order.

:lol:

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Uh, you just doubted that Hezbollah now has Scud-Bs and decried the links due to excessive Jewishness. I'm thinking a good thread about the Moon Landings is in order.

:lol:

This is the definition of a troll people. Right here.

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This is the definition of a troll people. Right here.

Actually you're just upset that, once again, a simple search could have shown you the facts before shooting-off your mouth...errr...typing fingers.

I'm glad you NOW agree that Hezbollah has Scud-Bs.

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