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Syria seems a much more confused battlespace with a Soviet / Post-Soviet backbone supporting feudal absolute power. Russia has returned to support of a Christian church — so it can’t be about “godless communism” — but retains strong alignment with the regime in Iran and the ophthalmologist in the middle. It looks to me like the Sunni-side Arab Emirates post by Hasan Hasan favors Sunni expansion (duh smile emoticon ) with murderous ISIS as its edge, not an evil entity worthy of destruction by both Shiites and Sunnis.


From the western perspective, medievalism is on full display, and, post-Enlightenment, battle is not reason and winning or losing in the same says nothing about metaphysics. Modern Obama has invoked the term “dumb war” for staying out of the Islamic partisan wars of the middle east. Having been right to do so, he’s narrowed the American scope to fighting “The Real Terrorists” (as opposed to Assad’s version of “The Terrorists”) and has had U.S. military campaigning against “ISIL” assets and leadership.

The conversation starter — a question: “Afghanistan II?”

Nope — not Afghanistan Two or too.

The prompt for the conversation came from this report on Russian battlefield losses in the Syrian Theater:

Nearly two weeks after the Russian intervention began in Syria, one could say it has not got off to a good start. Last week, the Syrian regime launched its first ground offensive against the rebels under Russian air support.

The assault, in Hama’s northern countryside, failed spectacularly – rebels affiliated to the Free Syrian Army destroyed at least 18 tanks and held their ground.

Hassan Hassan.  “How the Syrian crisis will change matters in Iraq”.  The National, October 13, 2015.

Considering the source and the role played by partisan opinion and reporting around the Syrian Tragedy, the report of so many tanks destroyed may do with buttressing.  Here it is:

The U.S.-made BGM-71 TOW missiles were delivered under a two-year-old covert program coordinated between the United States and its allies to help vetted Free Syrian Army groups in their fight against President Bashar al-Assad. Now that Russia has entered the war in support of Assad, they are taking on a greater significance than was originally intended.

Sly, Liz.  “Did U.S. weapons supplied to Syrian rebels draw Russia into the conflict?”  The Washington Post, October 11, 2015.

“We get what we ask for in a very short time,” one commander, Ahmad al-Saud, said in an interview. He added that in just two days his group, Division 13, had destroyed seven armored vehicles and tanks with seven TOWs: “Seven out of seven.”

Barnard, Anne and Karam Shoumali.  “U.S. Weaponry Is Turning Syria Into Proxy War With Russia.”  The New York Times, October 12, 2015.

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