Thursday, 28 September 2017

Syrian Rebels Reddit: How Western Powers fail to understand how the Assadist Regime works

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 'Here a brilliant example for typical failure of the Western 'inteligentsya' to understand how the Assad regime 'works' - and thus a failure to comprehend the Assadist propaganda too.

 Namely, a gentleman working for one of think-tanks in the EU - 'Clingendael, Netherlands Institute of International Relations', has published the paper: Syrian Militias Supporting Assad: how Autonomous Are they?.

 For a paper concentrating on one of crucial issues of this war, this one is an abysmal failure.

 For example, it says:

 "Formed in 2013, the NDF has evolved into the administrative umbrella for Syrian armed groups loyal to Assad,10 with an estimated 50–60,000 members nationwide. Serving in the NDF originally also provided a way for Syrian men who had avoided conscription into the SAA to avoid prosecution or forced conscription by defending their home areas, although this benefit is reportedly being steadily rescinded."

 Mere 10 minutes of googling should turn at least half a dozen of links clearly showing the NDF was established 'already' starting in November 2012. I.e. not in 2013. Furthermore, not one Assadist ever attempted to make it secret: one of NDF's intentions was to intentionally criminalize whatever was left of the SAA (through offering higher salaries than the regime).

 And, as usually, the author is completely failing to mention the - crucial - IRGC's involvement in this process. Just like he's missing the point about the IRGC intentionally creating sectarian militias. Nah, the author does like if Assad paid for 'NDF' from his own pocket...

 "While the original shabiha-type groups were only able to fill security gaps in areas already under the regime’s control, their legalisation, combined with training and support provided under the NDF framework, upgraded the ability of some groups to contribute meaningfully to the battlefield successes of the Assad regime. Indeed, regular posts about their battlefield prowess and support for the SAA rapidly became a standard feature of their social media profiles."

 ?!? This is imposing the question: is the author unable of researching, connecting dots and drawing useful conclusions - or just clueless about the Syrian War...?

 Apparently, it's both. See here (p3):

 "Further expansion and professionalisation of armed groups loyal to the regime was brought about in October 2015 by the creation of the SAA’s 4th Corps following Russian intervention in the war. All loyalist armed groups were folded into this new Corps. Some groups, such as the Desert Hawks, were transferred to the remit of the NDF, which itself sat under the 4th Corps, while others, such as the Bustan group, which did not fall under the purview of the NDF, were still situated under the 4th Corps."

 and the note 15 reads:

 "Bustan is the name for a charitable group run by Rami Makhlouf that serves as an organising body for several militias, some of which sit within the NDF while others sit outside it, although still administratively under the 4th Corps. The criteria for which groups fell under or were pushed into the remit of the NDF, as opposed to just the 4th Corps, is unclear.)"

 With other words: yes, the author admits he is clueless about this war, and how the Assad regime works. He's not even able to list what units were put under the command of the IV Assault Corps, and thus can't know about their backgrounds. This is getting very clear in the table on Page 5, where the author is wildly throwing together various groups of 'NDF', IRGC, Hezbollah and whatever else on the same pile, and then can't cite the background for most of forces in question (fact is: even the Quwwat Nimr is paid by the IRGC, not by Assad, not to talk about all the others).

 On pages 6 and 7, the paper is attempting to discuss how the system of Assadist regime and its control works. Between others, this statement makes it clear the author/s have no clue about the basic function of two 'crucial' Assadist militias:

 "On the other hand, groups like the Desert Hawks and the Tiger Brigade are used by the regime as ‘rapid response units’, and are rushed across the country to assist regime forces in need of frontline paramilitary support."

 The regime permits these loyalist armed groups to boast of their battlefield successes...

 What a surprise, isn't it - considering that's in regime's very own interest.

 Overall, if this is 'the best' EU's 'inteligentsiya' is able of... then 'good night'.


 Because answering all these questions is so idiotically easy. So much so, it really leaves me at the loss of words how comes at least 'reasonably intelligent' people do not understand the Assadist system.

 Generally in Syria, top executive power is in hands of 'President' (Bashar al-Assad). His personal authority is the same like state authority and all of his powers are derived from it.

 Further down the chain of command, civilian authorities of Syria are divided into 14 governorates; the governorates are divided into a total of 60 districts, which are further divided into sub-districts.

 A governorate is governed by a governor, which is appointed by the President, nominally approved by the Syrian government. The governor is responsible – only to the president – for administration and public work, health, domestic trade, agriculture, industry, civil defence, and maintenance of law.

 Each governor is assisted by a local council, which is elected by a popular vote for four-years terms: each council elects an executive bureau from its members, which works with district councils and administers the day-to-day issues.

 Nominally, district councils were administered by officials appointed by the governor. These officials served as intermediaries between the central government and traditional local leaders (village chiefs, clan leaders and councils of elders). After six years of war, the reality is dramatically different.

 Before the war, local councils were dominated by members of the Ba’ath Party. Meanwhile, and especially in northern Hama, there are also representatives of the Syrian Socialist National Party (SSNP); in Aleppo and Homs there are Hezbollah/Syria, etc., etc., etc..

 Now, the essence of understanding the current system is knowing - and understanding - how it came into being. The background of all the militias fighting 'for Assad' is the same. As the war erupted and then spread, Ba'athist local councils began organizing their own militias. About 50% of staff of these were members of the Ba’ath Party with a minimum of military training, and armed by the regime already since earlier times (early 1980s).

 The importance of militias continued to grow with the dissolution of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA): more than half of its staff defected by spring of 2012, while a quarter was already lost in combat. The remaining units disintegrated through the orders to secure over 2,000 checkpoints all over Syria. In the course of this process, local militias absorbed all of the police and most of SAA’s functions (which was necessary due to massive defections).

 Concluding that local militias are more reliable and combat effective than the SAA, Iranian officers of the IRGC-QF (IRGC's Qods Force, i.e. 'Jerusalem Corps') then decided to expand and provide proper military training to units in question, and formalize their status. Additional militias came into being, most of which...nah: nearly all of which were recruited, established, trained and armed by the IRGC-QF. Initially, the system worked with help of local criminal networks. See so-called Shabbiha. Contrary to original militias of the Ba’ath (staffed by unpaid volunteers on temporary basis), these groups were staffed by so-called Shabbiha that served as professional militiamen. Regardless of their backgrounds militias took over the tasks of the police and began providing security.

 The status of such militias was formalized through the establishment of the National Defence Force (NDF), in November 2012. There was never any kind of trace of doubt: the 'NDF' was established by the IRGC. Every single of its units. But mind: the IRGC never established a centralized command of the NDF. Instead, it dealt - and continues to deal - with every single of militia originally established as 'NDF' as a separate entity.

 Ever since, militias are bolstered through intentional criminalisation of remaining SAA personnel: these are paid wages that make them unable to support their families, prompting continuous defections. In turn, militias are offering much higher wages and full amnesty from prosecution (whether of prosecution for defection or any other crime).

 How is then the Assadist regime controlling this situation?

 In a very simple fashion: through control of supplies. Then, as every stupid studying wars should know: supplies are the essence of war. No supplies = no war.

 In Syria, all the stocks of food (including state-sponsored grain and egg-imports), fuel, electricity, arms and ammunition, public transport, telecommunications (Syria Tel), and water supply for large cities, are controlled by:

 the president,

 his ‘Inner Circle’ (Maher al-Assad, Mohammed Makhlouf, Rami Makhlouf, Havez Makhlouf, and Thou al-Himmah Shaleesh), and

 the ‘Confidantes’ (Ali Mamlouk, Abdel Fattah Qudsiya, Jamil Hassan, Mohammad Nasif, Rustom Ghazaleh, Rafiq Shehadeh, Ali Younes, Mohammad Deeb Zaytoun, and Bassam al-Hassan).

 Persons in question are in control over a conglomerate of major companies, some of which are in private hands (like Syria Tel, owned by Makhloufs), while others are state-owned. Control over all of related companies is exercised via intelligence services responsible directly to the President (Air Force Intelligence and Military Security Intelligence). Therefore, the President, members of the ‘Inner Circle’, and the ‘Confidantes’ are in control over the water supply, bread supply, electricity supply, phone and internet services, and fuel and fertilizer supply.

 This means: anybody who wants to fight there - no matter for what reason - is dependable on the president, the 'Inner Circle', and the 'Confidantes' for arms, ammo, food, water, electricity etc. If these do not provide, the militia in question can't fight.

 ...which brings us to the topic of financing. This is a very complex issue, and I've discussed it already about a dozen of times (at least; the last time in the thread here). So let me just summarise it as follows: Assad regime is bankrupt since November 2011. Ever since, it's living from loans from Tehran. As of 2015-2016, the situation reached a point at which Tehran had to provide for up to 60% of Assadist budget. Nowadays, it's probably more. There is clear evidence for this and this is available online (can provide all the necessary links, if somebody is curious to pursue that story further).

 With other words: the IRGC finances the president, his 'Inner Circle', and the 'Confidantes' - in turn making them able to exercise control over various militias (for which fools in the West still think are 'NDF').

 The system of that control - exercised through such gangs like Quwwat Nimr - and distribution of supplies, is the essence of what is nowadays the 'SAA'. Means: there are 'divisional headquarters', based and still designated on old divisional designations of the SAA. Each of these is responsible for specific geographic area - and thus for supplying militias in the given area. That's why not only the Assadists but the Russians too have it as easy to claim, 'SAA' is doing this, and 'SAA' is doing that.

 Is that all really that hard to understand...?'

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