Saturday, 31 January 2015
Expert: The US Strategy In Syria Is A Complete Mess"The United States cannot organize and regiment the entire opposition, but it can back any faction that retakes areas from ISIS. The only way to motivate the rebels to do so is to openly support their justified stance against Assad remaining in power.
Develop a strategy to remove Assad via diplomacy, information messaging, and military/economic power. The longer he is in place, the longer Syria will be divided. Once Assad goes, it will be possible to put the pieces of Syria back together again."
Friday, 30 January 2015
"There’s no denying Assad’s extraordinary brutality: Since the Syrian government turned over its chemical weapons, its most notorious weapon has been the barrel bomb — an oil drum or similar container filled with high explosives and metal fragments. Syria’s air force typically drops these bombs from a helicopter hovering at high altitudes, to avoid anti-aircraft fire. From that height, it is impossible to target with any precision. The barrel bomb simply tumbles to earth, making its dreaded swishing sound as its contents shift back and forth, until it hits the ground and detonates.
Barrel bombs are so inaccurate that the Syrian military does not dare use them near the front lines, for fear of hitting its own troops. Rather, it drops them on areas held by rebel groups, knowing that they will destroy apartment buildings, hospitals, schools, and other civilian institutions. Some civilians who have not fled the country have moved their families near the front line, preferring to brave snipers and artillery rather than the horror of the barrel bombs.
This, then, is the new banality of evil. When the Syrian government attacked civilians with chemical weapons, the United Nations Security Council pressured Assad to stop and to surrender his weapons. But as the Syrian government kills countless more civilians by indiscriminate attacks with conventional weapons, the Security Council, blocked by Russia, has largely stood on the sidelines. A number of states have condemned the slaughter, but have done little more to generate pressure to end it.
This selective concern is a gift to extremist recruiters who portray themselves as the only ones willing to stand up to Assad’s atrocities. Simply attacking the Islamic State is not going to end its appeal — a broader concern with protecting Syrian civilians is required."
Mobilization efforts on the rise in Syria’s war of attritionGiven a chance, and Syrians choose the revolution. We are many, they are few.
' “There are fighters who defect from the FSA and join the hard-liners,” he said. “But there are also cases when Nusra Front [Syrian] fighters defect and join FSA-aligned groups, because they end up becoming suspicious of what Nusra is up to, and their priority is to fight the regime.”
He said the FSA militias continue to be hampered by the low salaries that they pay, meaning their fighters regularly face the temptation to join the better-financed Islamists. For White, the regime faces the “fundamental problem that it is a minority regime with minority allies, whose willingness to keep paying the ‘butcher’s bill’ is uncertain.” '