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Fri Dec 7, 2012, 11:45 AM

 

Rebels circle Damascus airport; Russia, U.S. downbeat

Source: Reuters

BEIRUT - Rebels fighting to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad declared Damascus International Airport a battle zone on Friday, while Moscow and Washington both sounded glum about the prospects of a diplomatic push to end the conflict.

Fighting around the capital city has intensified over the past week, and Western officials have begun speaking about faster change on the ground in a 20-month-old conflict that has killed 40,000 people.

-snip-

The past week has brought a war previously fought mainly in the provinces and other cities to the threshold of the capital.

Cutting access to the airport 20 km (12 miles) from the city center would be a symbolic blow. The rebels acknowledge the airport itself is still in army hands, but say they are blockading it from most sides.

Read more: Link to source http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/07/us-syria-crisis-idUSBRE8AJ1FK20121207

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 01:39 PM

1. This is a war without any long range plan or post-end game.

Last edited Fri Dec 7, 2012, 03:14 PM - Edit history (1)

That's the conclusion drawn by an expert at the US Navy War College cited at the end of an earlier version of this same Reuters article: http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/12/07/uk-syria-crisis-idUKBRE8B40G820121207

But some analysts say there is no long-range plan.

"Western powers have been too focused just on their endgame, which was to see Assad go," says Hayat Alvi, associate professor of national security studies at the US Naval War College. "There is no substantive plan about any other contingencies, risks, and post-Assad scenarios."



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Response to leveymg (Reply #1)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 02:03 PM

2. From what I've read, I don't disagree with this.

 

I have no idea what would replace Assad. One thing is for sure, they seem very determined to do it. It's looking likely that it will happen.

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Reply #2)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 02:45 PM

5. Overthrowing Assad is just the beginning of the problems. What happens to the Alawite?

A large percentage of the Sunni opposition -- who the US has helped arm and coordinate -- want nothing more than to simply "cleanse" Damascus of the Alawite and take it over in the name of "the one and true faith". If that means slitting the throat of every Shi'ia they get their hands on, are we going to be a willing party to that?

What does that make us?

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Response to leveymg (Reply #5)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 03:18 PM

8. Christians as well.

 

They're already bombing their neighborhoods.

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Response to leveymg (Reply #5)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 03:27 PM

9. The Alawite's have made their bed, or better stated, coffins.

They've been oppressing the majority there for far too long, now they're gonna have to deal with the consequences. I don't know why you use the word "us"? We're not involved in this.

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Response to Daniel537 (Reply #9)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 04:01 PM

12. We are, of course, most definitely involved.

Putting the diplomatic squeeze on Assad.

Providing supplies and coordination for the opposition.

And, if the New York Times, is to be believed, sending Libyan arms to the Jihadis.

Oh, and not to mention, threatening to attack over chemical weapons.

So, yeah, we're involved, and, yeah, we will get to share the responsibility for whatever comes next.

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Response to Comrade Grumpy (Reply #12)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 04:07 PM

14. I don't have a problem putting the "squeeze" on Assad

The guy is a mass-murdering dictator who supports certain terrorist groups, so its not like he's any kind of Mother Teresa. But its not like we're fighting alongside the rebels, and the help we've given them is limited to small things like communications equipment. Hardly weapons of mass destruction. Ultimately i fear we're going to have to put a few boots on the ground to secure those chemical weapons stockpiles, but the Assad regime put itself in that situation by creating those nasty things in the first place.

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Response to Daniel537 (Reply #9)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 05:15 PM

15. I think that comment is analogous to anti-Semitism.

In fact, the charges against the Alawites of Syria are strikingly similar to the European anti-Semitism of years past; "they are oppressing the majority," etc. The blanket statements condemning a whole people are reprehensible, in my opinion. The radicals among the theocratic Sunnis (not all of them) are hoarse from shouting Alalu Akbar because they are enraged at those liberal-minded Alawites with their non-hijab, non-Mosque attending ways.

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Response to leveymg (Reply #1)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 02:33 PM

4. It's difficult to tell what is going on.

I recall the case of Peru in 1992 - the media were certainly not cheerleading the Shining Path guerrillas, but they were really worried that they were about to seize power there nationally. They rebels were in the capital, etc. They had maybe 10,000 armed fighters, but were shortly thereafter decimated. Even RAND Corp. thought they might win.

Syria is a complex case due to the nationality and communal mix of peoples. I see no clean resolution to this, let alone one based on "human rights" or "democracy."

Syria is the "near enemy" of just about every jihadist in the Arab and non-Arab world. The government is managing to kill an awful lot of them, but they keep coming.

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Response to David__77 (Reply #4)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 02:57 PM

7. Here's another case study in post-conflict outcomes: Cambodia.

We managed to destroy what infrastructure and centralized authority there was there, as well - Washington disliked the Cambodian regime because it wasn't nearly cooperative enough for us. Then, we just let things take their natural course.

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Response to leveymg (Reply #7)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 03:36 PM

11. This article mentions a possible failed state with waring clans.

 

The Middle East is very different than the United States. In many cases clans take precedence over the central government.

http://world.time.com/2012/12/06/is-syrias-civil-war-entering-its-final-act-or-poised-for-a-new-phase/

Different rebel factions —which have yet to be consolidated under a single military or political leadership —control pockets of territory throughout the country, while an autonomous Kurdish zone has emerged along the Turkish border, ceded by the regime to Kurdish militia at odds with the rebellion. And even the major cities, Damascus and Aleppo, now contain internal, ethnic and sectarian “borders” across which mortar and artillery fire blazes. Absent a negotiated political solution, U.N. Special Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi warned last weekend, Syria could become a “failed state” where government institutions “whither away” to be replaced by “lawlessness, warlordism, banditry, narcotics, arms smuggling, and worst of all, the ugly face of communal and sectarian strife.”

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Reply #11)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 04:01 PM

13. That's the "Beirut Model", one outcome. Another is wholesale "ethnic cleansing," but to where?

We may see a polyglot of outcomes across what was once Syria. No doubt, the Kurds will get their autonomous area on the border with Turkey, which promises decades of further conflict there.

The Sunni will simply take over most of the coastal and southern cities, driving out minorities. Most of the Christians will likely emigrate. The Shi'ia, perhaps, the best some of them can hope for is some sort of heavily armed ethnic enclave in the area in the coastal hill country where they originated.

Damascus will probably come under some sort of UN protectorate for a while. That may be delayed for quite a while as the various Salafist, nationalist, and al Qaeda factions wage their own fraticidal war of all-against-all for control over real estate and institutions in the successor regime, which will be anything but democratic in character. Another fractionated, failed state. We did it again.

The net result to this whole thing was to remove another targeted regime, as mapped out in the 1996 Clean Break regime change plan. On to Tehran. See, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Clean_Break:_A_New_Strategy_for_Securing_the_Realm

Syria as it was:

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 02:22 PM

3. Let The Rebels Do There Thing

 

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Response to kaspar411 (Reply #3)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 02:47 PM

6. We already have. If you like genocide, you will love the End Game to this civil war.

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Response to kaspar411 (Reply #3)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 03:27 PM

10. +1

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 05:32 PM

16. Isn't it time to give the "rebels" their real name?

"insurgents?"

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