Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Syria: Fantasy war in the desert!

   Anyone watching the Syrian Civil War right now through the eyes of Western media is like some  guy who figures he knows what WWII was all about because he just watched Inglourious Basterds. Sure, it's a fun movie but it does fall a bit short on the historical accuracy front. Kind of like world popular media today. The Syrian narrative being presented on the nightly news is of brave rebel fighters battling oppressive dictator Assad whose forces go around shelling civilians and murdering babies. And while some of that is certainly true, the real devil lies in the details and omissions; truth being the first casualty of any war since the first shot gets fired. Hardcore war in the heart of the Middle East is complex and prone to lies especially these days when all the major powers are scrambling for the last easily tappable energy reserves on the planet; but that kind of big picture view never fits into a soundbite even if a foreign public wants to hear it.

  Which they don't.

  Still, for those who happen to care, the Syrian conflict is damn compelling in its wider implications for regional and global security in what's sure to be a very messy 21st century.

  Right now, the battle for Aleppo (Syria's largest city and the home of the business elites) is being billed as the make or break battle for Syria. It's hard to know what defector talk to believe but all of this final stand "talk" makes me think the Free Syrian Army are playing right into Assad's hands here. Let's face it, the major strengths of any guerrilla army since Spartacus are hit and run type tactics and not all out decisive battles against the enemy's frontline "teeth" divisions. Major battles involving light infantry versus heavy infantry, tanks and air power, even in urban areas, is not the kind of warfare that puts guerrilla troops to their best use. In fact, 'decisive' confrontations play mainly to the strengths of Assad's army where it's easier for him to motivate his government troops by telling them they're embarking on a big final push against the rebels. The alternative, years of attrition type warfare with no end in sight, is the kind of protracted war your troops may not think worth the paycheck.

The first casualty of the Syrian War is Photoshop!

   Another thing that's confusing is the Western media's constant insistence that the rebels are outmanned and outgunned. Sure, they're outgunned barring the occasional stolen T-72 or BMP but outmanned they certainly are not. If one fifth of the unemployed young men that make up 50% of Syria's angry youth can get their hands on an AK (and when has it ever been difficult to get your hands on an AK anywhere in the Middle East) that's a healthy dose of rebel fighters sending 7.62mm the Syrian Army's way. And that's not even taking into account all that Saudi money supplying covert arms through Lebanon and the plethora of foreign special forces running around observing the burgeoning mess. But nope, this Western portrayal of the rebels as oppressed freedom fighters fits with the whole Arab Spring narrative the West likes to push whenever there's energy in the vicinity. Democracy and all that other funny talk.

   These days, democracy is just a feel good word the suits on TV say when they want you to know who the good guys are.

   Democracy is likely to deliver up another theocracy like what's happening in Egypt in the aftermath of Mubarak. Let's face it, these rebel fighters (and they seem to come from all kinds of sketchy demographics including the Al-Qaeda franchise) are no saints. Setting up shop in dense urban areas among the civilian population, drawing artillery and rocket fire and then posting the inevitable parade of corpses on YouTube isn't exactly a Mother Teresa maneuver. Even she knew where to draw the line when shaking people down. Making the enemy look bad is one thing but hiding behind civilians and chucking corpses in front of news cameras is quite another. It's not exactly the honorable tactic of the good guys.

   Ooops! I just made myself spew beer all over my keyboard. Yup, I just said 'honorable' and 'war' in the same sentence. Perhaps it's just the romantic in me, hoping for an honorable desert war like maybe Afrika Korps v 8th Army in North Africa in 1942. But that kind of major army v army action on sandy terrain isn't going to be happening anytime soon in our desert proxy war timeframe. Unless of course if something really fun happens like Turkey invades Syria. That right there my friends is my secret little fantasy war in the desert that'll never happen. I'll indulge more in that later.

   Right now, if the FSA are serious about winning this thing they should stick to the tried and true tactics of guerilla warfare that have proven solid since time immemorial, that is, interdicting the enemy's logistics and supply routes with hit and run raids and ambushes. Instead, they seem determined to duke it out with frontline armored divisions using urban areas as cover. Also there's that old Mao maxim about controlling the countryside to control the cities but maybe that doesn't work so well when the countryside is a desert. In guerrilla warfare there's always the Sun Tzu tactic of trading land for time, a tried and true tenet of guerrilla warfare and time would seem to be on the rebel's side here because one thing seems for sure, the longer this war goes on, the weaker the Assad regime becomes. And then there's the whole atrocity factor that's playing in the FSA's favor when civilians start dying. That might be the whole rebel plan in the first place. Sure, it's a dirty tactic but clean went out the Mosque door a long time ago. It's a play straight from the old Vietnam playbook where the side with the big guns like the US (the Syrians in this case) drops an errant bomb that wipes out 40 women and children in some bamboo hut village and suddenly you've just recruited 100 peasant rice farmers into the Vietcong. I figure the FSA strategy here is that by fighting in the cities they can provoke Assad to naturally play to his strengths, artillery and heavy armor, thus racking up plenty of civilian casualties that'll swell the FSA with new recruits.

   It's dirty war and the dirtier it gets the bigger the FSA becomes.

   Maybe that's the whole crazy plan.

   The FSA could not hold the pockets they established in Damascus a few weeks back but Aleppo may be a juicier target to set up shop in. For one thing, Aleppo is primarily made up of Sunni middle class businessmen who have supported Assad up to now but only because he's left them and their cash alone. With the war reaching Syria's richest city it's a pretty good sign that the tacit agreement between Assad's Alawite leadership and the Sunni business class is cracking.  It's hard to say for sure what the Sunnis think now that Aleppo is on fire because polling a populace under shellfire ain't easy. With the FSA forcing Assad to level his business districts this means more Sunni refugees fleeing and more Sunnis recruited into the FSA with the added bonus of a small chance of foreign intervention. The Saudi's are already pumping millions into the FSA and there's also the Turkish factor which brings me to my favorite fantasy about this whole war.

  When the Syrians shot down that Turkish F-4 Phantom a few weeks back my war-dar started registering blips right off the scale and I got excited about the possibility of a regional war in the desert. But that's just the Rommel in me. I just got high on the possibilities for mechanized warfare in the desert not seen since El Alamein. Turkey invades Syria. That right there would make for an honorable tank duel in the desert.

  Truth is, who isn't tired of shitty heavy civilian casualty warfare where well equipped armies go up against guys with AKs? I'm talking the multitude of proxy resource conflicts where a bunch of goat herders go up against Predator Drones and find that their early warning radar (goats) are pretty shitty at warning early because no notifications get bleated when the Hellfire comes down the chimney pipe of the mud hut and wipes out four generations of Pashtun or Yemenis or Iraqis. Yeah, those bearded dudes in the graveyard of empires are resilient but that doesn't make the US mission in Afghanistan entertaining. Hell, you can IED a US convoy these days and not even make the nightly news. Let's face it, wars are pretty dull right now. Even the mainstream media doesn't give a shit. You know you've either lost or won a war when a war stops being news.  For the US, Afghanistan is kind of like watching your dog take a shit on someone's lawn. Do you walk away quickly and not give a fuck or stand there looking responsible while acting like you're going to pick up the turd with a Costco bag? That's the US mission in Afghanistan right now. Maintaining the illusion of responsibility. Sure, that war has always been ambiguous and mostly awful. But you know what would be less awful war-wise right now?

  Watching two equally matched modern nations going head to head in a wider regional war.

   That right there would at least be entertaining in the current sea of shitty heavy civilian casualty wars. Battles like Fallujah, Misrata and Aleppo suck because one side has all the heavy weapons. But proxy resource wars are par for the course these days as the planet gets increasingly overcrowded. With supply chains long, food resources subject to the vicissitudes of climate change and oil production pretty much maxed out, it's only a matter of time before the major powers clash directly for what's left. That's the scary future that makes this squabble in the desert a minor preliminary salvo.

   For the Turks, losing an F-4 Phantom wasn't exactly a major loss militarily. Sure, it's a bummer the pilot didn't bail out but Phantom's are basically Vietnam era flying double decker buses with the maneuverability of a cement truck in rush hour traffic. That Turk pilot never saw it coming and was probably sucker punched by one of Syria's Russian supplied S-300 SAMs (one reason NATO doesn't fancy a rerun of Libya over Syria). One thing F-4s always had going for them even in Vietnam, despite their lack of cannon was a pair of serious get-me-the-fuck-out-of-here engines that allowed the Phantom to run from any engagement it didn't fancy the odds in. To my mind, the Turkish F-4 incursion into Syrian airspace was a move designed to get the Syrians to turn their air defense radars on so they could be pinpointed for NATO airstrikes later on in the event Assad doesn't fall in a timely manner.

   Every time I think of Turks involved in war my mind automatically reverts to the Siege of Constantinople in 1453 when some Byzantine idiot forgot to lock the Kerkoporta Gate and allowed a bunch of Turks in to raise a flag on the battlements that sowed panic in the defenders; a ploy that ultimately led to the end of the last twinkle in the old Roman Empire's eye. Sure, the possibility of a Turkish invasion of Syria is practically zero but I'm not going to let that burst my bubble right now because I'm salivating on the idea of tank on tank action in open desert terrain which is a hell of a lot more fun than a bunch of rebels smoking hashish in a kebab joint getting shelled. Syria has a major beef against the Turks for water rights on the Euphrates and Tigris rivers. Those pesky Turks have big plans for hydroelectric power on those rivers and that pretty much sucks for the Syrians and Iraqis downstream who need that water for agriculture. The Turk's have a problem too with Syrian refugees spilling over their border possibly further destabilizing a region where their own ethnic Kurds are liable to stir up trouble. A limited invasion into Syria to create a refugee "buffer zone" might not be out of the question. It would also be a nice time for the Turks to redraw their southern border with Syria which is mountainous and difficult to defend. Still, it's unclear if they'd make such a ballsy move. Politicians in Turkey are wary of anything that might increase military prestige in a country where the military likes to throw its weight around the political arena.

   But this war is fun to think about.

   The tank on tank action would pit Turkey's modern arsenal of German supplied Leapord 1s and 2A4s  against Syria's aging but more numerous Soviet era T-72s, T-62Ms and believe it or not, T-55s (the most produced tank in history) but completely out of date. That'd make for a fun turkey shoot in the desert. Add in total Turk air superiority by way of US supplied F-16s and naval dominance off the coast and this war that'll never happen becomes even less fantastic. In fact, it'd get boring pretty damn fast. I see a rerun of the Yom Kippur War in the Golan Heights where less than 40 Israeli tanks held off over 500 Syrian tanks. Maybe the Israelis threatened to bust out a nuke, maybe they didn't, either way, the Syrians retreated.

Rebel held areas of Syria are primarily border regions for easy resupply.

 Bashar al Assad's days in power are surely numbered. Ever take a look at the guy? He's like that tall awkward friendless guy that joined your second grade class whose dad showed up with lollipops for everyone in the hopes that you might like his dick son. Just because dad was alpha and bought off or murdered the competition doesn't mean those genes automatically pass down to your jizz. Maybe there was a predominance of pussies on mom's side of the family that emasculated junior but either way, this war wouldn't be happening if dad was still in charge. One thing is for sure, I don't see Assad Junior going out like badass Gadaffi in some high speed car chase pistol in hand. Nope, Junior will probably opt for some beachfront property on the Black Sea in Russia. If he's lucky.

   Even if Assad bails with a few billion in pocket change what'll be left in Syria is anybody's guess. Very likely we'll be talking partition along old sectarian lines with Alawites, Druze, Kurds and Sunni Muslims looking to draw lines on prospective new homelands. The aftermath could be just as ugly as the war itself. Meanwhile, the major powers all see Syria as part of the global energy chess game. Damascus, the gateway to the Middle East. It certainly was in T.E. Lawrence's day when the British and Arabs recaptured it from the Ottomans during WWI. But these days the prizes have shifted further south and east and the Wahhabis (who even Lawrence knew were insane in 1917) were sitting on the real prize on the sun fried lava of the Saudi peninsula

   Meanwhile, Syria turns into the kind of war zone with a level of destruction not seen in Syria since the crusaders holed up in their citadels and tried to fend off Saladins armies. Even the ancient fortress of Krak des Chevaliers has not been spared, shelled by the Syrian army because some rebels rightly assumed it'd be a good place to hole up. The Arabs sure built wonderful castles back then so much so the crusaders copied their designs. Even Saladin could not break the crusaders at that fortress but then again, Saladin wasn't packing 155mm howitzers. There are reports from all around the country too that ancient treasure sites and museums have been looted so, along with Iraq's Mesopotamian treasures, all will likely wind up on the black market somewhere. Perhaps even venerable Saladin's green silk tomb cover bestowed by Kaiser Wilhelm could end up in some nouveau riche Chinese billionaire's ritzy apartment overlooking the endless grey Beijing smog.

Krak des Chevaliers: Not immune to modern artillery.

   What a sad end to history.

   That, I fear, is a pretty good template for how the 21st century is plays out. Us dumb apes begin to feed on ourselves and our past in search of simpler times, times before the resources got scarce and the planet got too small.

   Along with Iraq and Libya, Syria is the last of the Middle East's low hanging fruit to be subsumed by larger empires. From here on in, things get hotter and direct competition by proxy war gets harder to control. Meanwhile, countries devolve into surveillance and police states as governments try to suppress populations who decry increasing resources dedicated to grabbing the last strategic energy, food and freshwater reserves. Exciting times for those who like watching the world burn.

   Meanwhile, the Russians and Chinese love to stymy any Western inspired peace efforts at the UN because bringing Syria under the Western sphere of influence through some brokered peace deal that would get rid of Assad would be just a little too disconcerting now that the West has successfully locked down Iraq's energy reserves and taken Gadaffi out of the picture.

   The Iranians too, who've provided plenty of bumbling covert assistance to Assad would see the last gate in the Middle East fall. They're smart enough to know that if the Syria question gets settled, then the battle lines in the Middle East will be clearly and inexorably drawn.

   Battlefield Iran.

   The Iranians, despite their crazy theocracy, are smart enough to know where the real cross hairs will aim and they'll have to wonder if they will be the next domino to fall.


  1. He's back!!!

    Saw this pop up in my RSS feed and was amazed. Brilliant as per usual. Where were u man?

  2. YAY YAY YAY! New WT blog post! Super psyched - insightful and enjoyable as always.


  3. Top notch recap of the events, glad you're back!

  4. how about a before/after comparison of Libya now that it's been saved by Democracy?

  5. "Making the enemy look bad is one thing. but hiding behind civilians and chucking corpses in front of news cameras is quite another..."

    Would you remember to call Hamas and Hezbollah's bluff when they also pull similar stunts in any future encounters with Israel? Most people tend to forget these terrorist groups have no qualms with using innocent civvies as human shields when Israel is involved.

  6. HUZZZZZZZAH NEW ARTICLE!!!!!!!! Yeah yall guys can thank me anytime for the new post. I started the world famous "spam the comments" protest which was successful in less than a week. Yeah I know I'm pretty rad.

    - The Panther.

  7. I love you man. Fantastic stuff. Nobody merges stand-up comedy and WWIII as you do. I am jealous and impressed.

  8. I've spoken to some Lebanese guys who are in the know about what's going on and they would certainly back your assessment of western media coverage of Syria. These guys have absolutely no love for Assad and the Baath party but when the alternative is a full-scale religious and ethnic cleansing of Syria (which has what - 30 different ethnic groups)? Hold your horses, democracy. The FSA are already operating out of Lebanon and it's bad news for that unhappy neighbour watching the flames in the house next door grow ever higher.

  9. Qui bono?
    Die Saudis are coming out again very well out of this mess.
    Oil price - check,
    Shia bashing - check,
    We`re the friends of the West - check

  10. proxy of a proxy. little oil, phosphate, fertilizer and cement are nice and all but as far as proxy resource wars go there is little worth fighting for. Unemployed youth? We got that at home. Just the dull excitement of isolating Iran and increasing western hegemony. I've been expecting this conflict to shift gears a little bit after our election. Get pushed to it's conclusion. But I don't think the 'west' cares.

    the west: 'you know what? I just don't give a shit. Really. It thought I would, but I don't. I thought it would be fun to mess with Iran and Russia... but as I get older I realize that I give zero fucks. Not here. Not for this. As far as missiles and war is concerned this is literally fly over country. So whatever. Have fun. Shoot yourselves. But check it out, we're having a sale on munitions.'

  11. Glad for the new post, you always have a great insight into possibilities, glad to have you back

  12. Good to see a new post of WT bringing The Real when it comes to this shit. WT, you should invest in a protective covering for your keyboard, for all the future beer-spewing you'll be doing. I'd get one myself, but I already spent my money on popcorn to munch on during these interesting times.

  13. "These days, democracy is just a feel good word the suits on TV say when they want you to know who the good guys are."

    So true. Glad to see you back WT!

  14. Just watched the latest Al Jazeera report on Syria

    Corpses in front of cameras: Yes

    Residents of Aleppo wishing the rebels would go away: Yes

    Refusal by Alawite fighters to state their aims: Yes

    Total chaos: Yes

    You are accurate on all accounts Mr Wartard but nobody cares,

  15. Actually Hezbollah is not currently in the fight in Tripoli, Lebanon. It is between one Sunni neighborhood and and another Alwaite neighborhood. Assad attempted to get all of Lebanon involved in his Civil War, but the man he sent to kill leading politicians and religious figures was captured at the border and detained. Most recently the kidnappings, done by a Shi'ite clan have no allegiance to Hezbollah, and in fact told Nasrallah to basically "go f*** himself", this is none of his concern. I really do believe that the media has overhyped and downplayed certain aspects of Lebanon current connection to the crisis in Syria.

  16. Fine article with minor inaccuracies:

    Turkey does not have any F-15s, F-16s they do have, though.

    Those Syrian T-72s are downgraded T-72M1s - figured, since you bothered to write 'T-62M' instead of only T-62. Things would be very interesting if those exported T-72s ever were the version Soviet tank forces were equipped with.

    The Syrians sure wanted those S-300s, but sources conflict whether they do have them or not. They might as well have them, since Russia supplied Syria with Pantsir-S1-systems, the type of low-level air defense that would make NATO pilots shit brix.

  17. My bad. Obviously, Turkey has no F-15s. I meant F-16s. Thanks for spotting that.

    Russia has sold Syria the S-300 system but suspended a recent order. I'm likely to believe it'd be in Russia's interest to have made the sale, if only to thwart a NATO air campaign.

    Thanks for the heads up.

    1. I'll take your word for it on the S-300 news. I was confused myself.

      Keep up your excellent work!

  18. I may be completely wrong, but I didn't think T-72s were ever involved in the Golan and didn't make their debut til Lebanon.

  19. tacobat,

    You are correct, the T-72 first saw combat in Lebanon.

  20. The French just stated they want a no-fly zone over Syria. If we get a rerun of Libya, Assad won't last long.

  21. You forget the de facto autonomous Kurdes' area in the north-east border. I hoped myself for a Turkish involvment with that. The Krak things appeared to have been an hoax to push (if needed be) the biais from the West.

    Other than that great article. I've just read that and the post about war with Iran and really enjoyed it :) !

  22. Fantastic analysis! Keep em coming WT.

  23. Good article, thanks.

    Yes, it would be interesting to finally see the Leopard in tank on tank action.

  24. Hi WarTard,

    love your blog, keep the posts coming!!
    What do you think about the release of the this Azerbaijani killer?
    It really fueled up the tension between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
    It is really interesting if you put in in a bigger picture of a Russian-Iraninan alliance, Russian troops in Armenia, supply lines ready to be built through Georgia (see 2008 war, later plans e.g. http://irannewpearlharbour.wordpress.com/2012/04/13/russia-planning-troops-deployment-on-irans-northern-border-and-waiting-for-a-western-attack/)...

  25. What a refreshing read after a week and a half of political convention coverage.

  26. Before reading, Welcome back.

  27. It's a strange feeling reading your blogs and the like and knowing the world appears to be on a march to its own imminent destruction. I raise my glass to you for another well composed article.

  28. Great stuff as per usual.

  29. 'Tard, please comment on the recent goings on in Libya/Egypt. Think this will usher in another Brotherhood-type government in Libya?

  30. can you do an assessment of the china/japan sitch? i know nothing's gonna happen, but it'd be fun to see how it'd likely play out

  31. Fuck Wartard, gimme the rundown on China/Japan asap pls pls pls pls pls pls psl pls pls pls

    Is it wrong to kind of wish something does happen?

  32. I'm working on something.

    Gonna nurse some beers tonight and see what happens :)

  33. Any progress on the article Tard? Wouldn't want to start a certain protest now would we?

    - The panther

  34. Turkey and Syria now fighting >.>
    shit got real D:

    1. I doubt it will escalate to a full scale war. Assad has his hands full with the rebels, he can't genuinely want a war with a regional power and possibly NATO right now. It makes no sense to me that Assad would purposively shell the the turks.

      Turkey has to take an aggressive stance to placate their populace, but I don't see much benefit to them starting a full scale war with Assad.

      -The Panther

  35. I have read that it could be rebels lobbing mortars into Turkey in an effort to get them involved, perhaps even with Turkey's tacit approval.

    I personally think this latest cross border violence may be because Syria has decided the only way they can "crush the rebellion" (plz say in Darth Vader voice) is if China and Russia come to the government's aid, and the only way they can get China and Russia involved is if they start a shooting war with Turkey (and NATO by proxy). That's what I was thinking, on the bus, where I do my best thinking.

    WarTard, I can see a few reasons Turkey would go to war with Syria (in reference to The Pantser who commented earlier:

    Assad's forces must already be weakened, so a war with Syria will be even more of a cakewalk than it would have been 6 months ago.

    Turkey would have the goodwill of the Arab states who are calling for Assad's demise and in some places actively supporting the rebels with guns and ammo and money.

    Turkey would have wider regional dominance, desirable because of the pesky Kurds and the general instability of the Middle East.

    By fighting a presumably successful war against Syria, Turkey would cause havoc in the short run but may prevent longer term, more painful havoc in the long run (simmering sectarian violence a- la Iraq could be tamped down if Turkey was running the show USA vs Iraq style).

    Turkey may already be a willing pawn (more like a Knight or Rook) in a proxy war between Western powers (USA) and Russia/China. Ultra Violence Pre-approved, like an Amazon Visa.

    Also, I have no idea what I am talking about.


  36. the isrraeli tanks won golon hights because they are expensive and have nearly inpenitreble armor.

  37. Does the Kool Aid taste nice?

    Because you must be drinking the Jim Jones if you believe any tank in any war is invincible.

    As far as Israeli tanks go, the supposedly invincible Merkeva 2s got their nose seriously bloodied by Hezbollah heavy infantry in 2006. The RPG-32s proved effective in that dust up.

    For every battlefield innovation there is always a scramble for innovation to counter it. This has been true since the first hunter gatherer bashed in the skull of his water hole rival with the jawbone of a donkey.

    No innovation is invincible and military history is merely a chronology of point and counter point, sword versus shield, trebuchet versus castle and ultimately perhaps, nuke versus nuke where we all lose.

    The IDF won that tank duel due to awesome training, a superior tactical position and lack of co ordination among the Syrian forces (some tanks even lacked radio).

    I'm no fan of Israeli foreign policy but I'll be the first to admit that the IDF is one of the best "small" armies in the world.

    1. In fairness, at that point the Syrians weren't exactly masters of busting out homemade IEDs that could make AAA+ first world army tanks shit bricks, in the same way that we've seen IEDs transform the assumption that being a high-tech nation alone can win wars without those pesky politically unpopular accompanyments like serious infantry numbers on the ground.

      There's nothing inconsistent between pointing out that Israel had the technology advantage AND noting that they made damn sure they had the training and know-how to turn that tech advantage into field dominance (unlike another western army we can all think of, who admittedly had learned their lesson very well after after a few years in Afghanistan/Iraq, but did so the hard way after suffering a fuckload of body bags)

  38. War is a competitive learning environment. Gonna need some more from you wt. I admit I got excited when I saw Turkey had taken a stand, thinking of what your next post would be....

  39. Is Wartard a quarterly blog now?

    -The Panther

    1. We need a new WT post.

      I've got serious withdrawal symptoms.

    2. Agreed, would really appreciate a new post. I can only presume wartard is out campaigning fiercely for Romney.

    3. I miss the days when Wartard would write two articles a month

  40. Good analysis, not complete though. I am Syrian btw. But trust me most of the syrians now have made their minds. It's a matter of life and death. The alawites will kill each and every person involved in the revolution if the people back down, we have seen it back in the 80's and it's a mistake we won't make again.
    Btw the western media coverage is very weak on what's going on in syria, there are no reporters nor is there good coverage at all, most of the syrians believe they have been left alone in this fight actually!
    And what weapons from saudia arabia are you talking about?? Dude.. take it from someone who knows.. one, only one shipment of FAL guns has been made in june afterwhich it all stopped because the americans commanded their saudi puppets not to export weapons to people the americans were not sure where their loyality was to! Most of the weapons you see are looting from the syrian army stores.

    Yes we might outnumber them, but really you are comparing an AK-47 to a Mig-23 !! We just want to live in freedom, we want to live without being scared that the man or woman next to us might be secret police or that the man who just kicked us on the street might know an alawite commander so you better let him kick you etc etc! It's not too much to ask for! Welived in fear for 45 years, enough is enough. If you dont want us to revolt because of the fear for chaos, then please come to syria and let us go to the west and let's see how longyou will hold it out!

  41. Arrived from Google.

    Now a fan.

    Keep up the great commentary!

  42. The problem is that the revolt began in Syria's major cities, and the people of Syria's major cities cannot remain 'neutral' in this war. The riots that began this war were brtually crushed in the cities by Assad's military. Because of this atrocity, most of the urban population of Syria is strongly against the Assad regime, just as are the rural folk. Because this is a major war, starvation has become a threat to the cities controlled by Assad. Sorrounded as they are by rebel troops, it is no surprise that urban civilians tried to take the matter into their own hands and invited the rebels in. The rebels accepted of course, due to the prestige value and natural desire to put this war to a close. Moreover, they know the great difference between the Assad regime and, say, our own invasions of Vietnam and Iraq. The Assad people are ruthless, and likely wouldn't mind cleansing hundreds of towns of all potential militants.
    Seeing as they're materially disadvantaged but maintain the support of the people, the rebels don't have a bad plan all in all. Considering the dangers they would have been in if they were fighting Assad's tanks and planes from small towns or rural hamlets, it's very likely that the rebels decided that the best defense is offense, and that many of the advantages of open conflict enjoyed by the Assad professional air force and army, will be negated on an urban front.

  43. TL/DR; I feel that the Syrian rebels realize that the 'tried and true' path of guerrilla warfare is not applicable to Syria. Terrorist hit and run tactics are not a golden ticket to success. The Assad regime would just butcher any towns they feel sympathized with the rebellion. Better to attack than defend, and better to fight off tanks and humvees in a city than in a field.

  44. Way off base;
    These comments about the war currently raging in Syria, are way off base. Most people who listen to the US news media would draw much of the same conclusions. It’s not until you study other sources that you get a true picture of what is occurring in the Middle East. Of course the activity in the Middle East is over control of the oil business. But what you fail to realize is who is pulling the strings, who is the puppet master when it comes to the Middle East?
    There are two opposing groups locked into dialectical struggle over the Middle East by a third party.
    The two opposing groups are the Shiite Muslims and “The West” (which includes the USA and the State of Israel). The third party (puppet master) in this game is Russia. Russia is pitting the Shiite Muslims (their allies) against the west in order to gain control over the OPEC oil business. Mr Obama is simply a useful idiot who is being used by the Russians to enact soviet ideological subversion upon the countries which surround Saudi Arabia. The Russians used the Americans to destabilize the Middle East and then closed the door in their face by transferring power and control to the Muslim Brotherhood. Russia will do the same with Syria once it is overthrown. The final outcome will result in Saudi Arabia being surrounded on all sides by Shiite controlled countries which are allies to Russia. Mr Obama thinks he is solving world peace, by attempting to implement global socialism (Karl Popper). Further Mr Obama has dreams of grandeur, which place him in control of this global government. This is a pipe dream which the Russians continue to support with Mr Obama as they deceive and mislead him down the pathway of ideological subversion of the United States. The Middle East has oil, Russian wants control of it, the US has oil and debt, Russia wants the oil as payment for the debt … Starting to see the picture? The end game is total communist control of all natural resources by Russia.

  45. Need to study some geography before writing all these "desert" words.
    the western side of Syria is nothing close to being desert.

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