Russian Syrian Times Are A-Changin’
Assad, after four years of blood and tears, won the day. Who lost and why, but first, let’s start with the military forces in the field:
Syrian Army – 280,000 men strong before the war, now about 140,000 and threatening to implode due to the majority (70%)Sunni component. Has set its strategy on population control (now at 56 %) rather than territory (now 40%), as it sits perched in the big cities, leaving the areas least densely populated of the country and the border area with Turkey inhabited by Kurds to whom it has favored access to military arsenals, in exchange for the compatriots of the PKK battling Turkey rather than claiming improbable democratic freedoms that no one in the Orient feels the need for.
In the villages, it has created a self-defense militia minus most Sunnis (90,000 men) placed in defense of their homes.
It suffered two defeats on the ground, the first – at the beginning – with the occupation of the suburbs of Aleppo and the second, recently, with the occupation of IDLIB province as a result of the fall of Jisr al-Shughour.
Precisely because of this surprise defeat has Russia decided to intervene with an operation that is ravaging the area of the Sanjak of Alexandretta on the Turkish border where the rebels are receiving money, support and supplies. With some strikes occurring across the border into Turkey meant to eliminate any and all hope of reinforcements to the troops trained by the CIA. Hence the feeble protests, destined to go unheeded but easing the USA’s conscience.
The Russian intervention, preceded by numerous warnings of “not wanting to bomb accidentally” and urging “meetings at the technical level” aimed at preventing accidents, has yielded the first important political results.
Netanyahu – rushed to Moscow and concluded a clear agreement about the limits of Israeli intervention in Syria: the Golan Heights and the area of Kuneitra. No attacks will be forthcoming by the Israeli army against Syria for fear of a direct confrontation with the Russians and subsequent internal problems given Israel’s populous former Soviet immigration – 600,000 people – many of them not Jewish.
The second “democratic” country that crash landed in the neutral zone was Jordan which initially allowed the selection and training on its territory of anti Assad volunteers recruited by the CIA. The cessation of Jordanian support has resulted in the failure of the rebel offensive in the border area of Deraa where the “southern front” had begun a “major offensive” – in concert with the attack on Idlib in the North that fizzled into nothing.
From now on the Syrian army (and its allies) will have air support, and this has resulted in the withdrawal of Israel and Jordan and has reduced the relentless bullying by the US and Turkey to listless statements. Skepticism about the ability of the Russians to win and a whiny NATO that recently withdrew Patriot missiles batteries from Turkey and is struggling to find any credibility as an effective force drops the curtain on the charade..
Hezbollah – Lebanese armed group supplied by Iran and born after the Israeli operation in Lebanon in 1982. Transforms into a political movement and gets about 50 % of the votes in the elections. Having sent an expeditionary force of 6 to 8,000 troops in support of the Syrian government, it currently occupies and oversees the Mountains of Qalamoun vital communication link between Damascus and Lebanon. They recently received armored vehicles (T72 and T55) from Russia and now have armored vehicles capable of countering the Israelis whom they consider their main opponent.
Pasdaran – Iranian Revolutionary Guards numbering 6 to 7,000. They are not part of the Iranian army, but are more of a militia. They operate in support of the Syrian regular forces alongside instructors and “experts” of the Iranian Armed Forces.
al Nusra Front – Unknown number, however, it’s considered having the largest number of “volunteers” and foreign nationals. It’s led by Abu Mohammed al Jolani and is financed by Turkey, which aims to take possession of Aleppo and Mosul.
Many Salafist elements militated in this group until Daesch started a fierce extermination competition designed to attract the greatest number of elements drawn to the aggressive dispatching of enemies. Currently oversees Idlib and the areas of Aleppo in rebel hands.
Ahrar ash-Sham (loosely translates to Free Syrians) – armed group supported by the tandem Turkey-Qatar, Turkey wanting to retain total control of the al Nusra Front, the first group who inaugurated the be-headings and supports the territorial ambitions of Erdoghan.
Jaish al-Islam (Army of Islam) – Led by Zahran Alloush, not numerically significant but important because it is the only one operating in the suburbs of Damascus and is funded by the Saudis (Bandar bin Sultan).
Ansar al Islam (knights of Islam) – additional acronym supported by the Saudis. The consistency of these groups varies according to the availability of financial resources, weapons and objectives. Just as described in “Seven Pillars of Wisdom” by TE Lawrence.
Southern Front – the only non-denominational group, operates in the area of Deraa and the Jordanian border. Consists of numerous Druze militants from the Jabal al-Druze at the intersection of Lebanon, Israel and Syria.
Kurds – Approximately 15,000, both men and women, the Kurds are operating within their territory on a thin strip straddling the border between Syria and Turkey (more than 800 km long).
They are backed by the US and Israel as are their compatriots in Iraq and Iran. All enjoy the possibility of coordination with the PKK (the former Communist Party “workers” in the days of the USSR). They are, however, fiercely opposed by Turkey (see Kobanî), because Turkey has been fighting them for more than twenty years, while stubbornly referring to them as “Mountain Turks” and because they are geographically obstructing the territorial ambitions of Erdoghan to annex the oil fields of Mosul.
Saudis – No soldiers directly involved, but the funds are almost all from them. They are the real losers, having lost the battle for control of Iraq; they are in check (as in chess) in Yemen by the Houthis and whooped in Syria. After the incident with the pilgrims in Mecca (with over a thousand deaths including 430 Iranians killed and “dispersed” and hundreds of wounded) they have lost face for not being able to protect guests-pilgrims even after employing a US-Israeli security agency. For the Arab and Islamic mentality, this is the real problem. The king is suffering from senile dementia (80 years old) and the struggle for succession is smoldering between the king’s son deputy crown prince bin Salman and crown prince and Interior Minister bin Nayef.
UNITED STATES – According to what leaked in the American media, from 2011 to date, approximately 30,000 foreign fighters have flowed into Syria all recruited and armed and trained and equipped by the US government in its various forms (Pentagon, CIA, DIA, POMED). As is the case since 1962 we have not yet learned that only involving the US military as instructors, counselors and advisors is not enough.
The influx of these “volunteers” (Libyans, Chechens, Tunisians, Moroccans, French, British, Turks and Saudis) sparked a bid to appear the most ferocious and cruel aimed at showing the greatest resolve to attract aspiring martyrs, or as I like to refer to them, “turd blossoms”.
And the winner is… Al Baghdadi recruited by the US in Abu Ghraib prison who promises medieval savagery, sex and money to whoever joins him. (Carly Fiorina has a point, albeit moronic, when she said she is equipped to fight ISIL because she has a degree in Medieval History) Equipment is made in USA (cars made in Japan…). Notoriety is assured by Israeli army radio and Mrs Rita Katz (Israeli living in the US who posts fake ISIL videos. And for the Syrian rebels we have Mr. Abdel Rahmane of The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a de facto one man bullshit operation broadcasting its flatulence from London.
THE POLITICAL SITUATION
The Russian irruption on the Syrian and Iraqi scene took place in an open and positive international context. No one, whether Arab or Western, has objected.
The Pentagon has taken a blasé attitude, mentioning half-heartedly the absence of Russian experience in the field of foreign wars (Georgia, Chechnya, Afghanistan), but in fact, the Russians have many other arrows to their bow.
For starters, they position themselves as mediators and not as belonging to a faction. In fact, they have been careful to maintain constant relations with all the parties involved, inviting them to Moscow for negotiation rounds parallel to those of Geneva (Moscow I, II, and III) and have used Iran’s 5 + 1 negotiations to constantly inform the Saudis on the progress of the meetings, which resulted in bin Salman meeting with Putin in Sochi..
For seconds, the Iranians are grateful for the intervention that relieves them from the need to increase aid to Syria, and the Saudis cannot wait to get out of the Syrian shithole and concentrate their efforts on their interior issues of , Mecca, succession to the throne, and the all to near Yemen.
Even the Turks, who contest the Iranian intervention, are not contesting the Russian one, preferable since it does not alter the regional balance.
For dessert, the Russian military presence alone has paralyzed the Southern Front (Jordan and Israel); the three battalions used in its defense are now being employed elsewhere (towards Jisr al-Shughour.and then Aleppo?) The sale of armored vehicles to Hezbollah secures communication lines between Damascus and Beirut.
All these moves have surprised only the French and the US, while intuitive in view of the peace negotiations where everyone wants to take the ground advantage and Syria’s objective to retake control the Idlib province from which they would then mop up Latakia and surroundings which contrary to popular belief has a majority of Sunni inhabitants. The eventual goal would be the elimination of the Aleppo bulge where the turd blossoms of the al Nusra Front are squatting, hemorrhoids ablazing without being able to move forward. This is why the principal targets of the Russian air attacks are this Turkish funded group.
Currently the mainstream presstitute media is talking about the partitioning of Syria and circulating brightly colored maps with eerily identical boundaries.
In reality there will be no division save possibly a few arid desert hectares. Bashar al-Assad will not accept any division. Division on a denominational basis is impossible for the simple fact that there is no entirely Christian territory unless one combines Lebanon with Syria and because a “Caliphate territory” may not be recognized even by North Korea and be an incentive for the Libyan ISIL.
The US government paved the way for Putin who maintained good relations with all the actors in the drama, used 28 aircraft for a fortnight, entered in the Arabian Peninsula with the general consensus (including Egypt’s) and is ready to mediate and manage the transition. Now Assad has become a nonexistent problem.
Next, The United States – and Obama personally – will have to explain to the world why Putin will solve the problem that he had predicted to last at least ten years.
In the meantime, Obomber is trying desperately to seek other aircraft for use in Iraq in order to free his and employ them to “threaten” the Russian presence. Italy is apparently willing to prostitute itself and took the bait. History will say that Italian planes arrived in Iraq and they defeated Daesch.