Vladimir Putin is more than happy to keep his one remaining Arab client well supplied with every tool of murder available in the Russian arsenal. Tanks and artillery not enough to subdue the country? Ship some helicopters and more attack aircraft. Cluster bombs not doing the trick? Provide diplomatic cover as the regime escalates using the Scud missiles you supplied. And make sure the Assad regime’s machine of murder never runs out of bullets, shells and spare parts. Russia could have crippled the Syrian army within six months of the imposition of an arms embargo.
Putin and Assad’s strategy means to play the Syrian regime against a growing Sunni AQ-type threat overshadowing its own anti-western characteristics and the Shiite Hezbollah presence.
Naive Obama may have misgauged the true effects of the Soviet demise, which appears to have removed the ideology of the former state but not the program mechanics by which it operated.
Damian Clairmont killed fighting with al-Qaeda-linked rebels in Syria – Canada – CBC News – 1/16/2014. Watch both videos. I found the second frightening:Interviewee Muhammad Robert Heft states, “It’s just the extreme of what happens. You’re going to save the world. I call it the khalifa complex. They suddenly think that picking up an AK-47 and shooting a few people that we’re going to live happily ever after. It’s so wrong. It’s taken us fourteen-hundred years as Muslims to become dysfunctional, and we want it back in twenty-four hours. It’s just not going to happen that way.”
How is it going to happen?
Political calculus suggesting that Syria has become a battleground between two of the same personality — different talk, same walk — continues to hold in my thinking, but Bashar al-Assad may have the edge with the gift provided by the Al Qaeda affiliates: if not him, them.
The west has gotten the message and, as ever, seems not to have a good return for it other than to perhaps redouble its efforts with General Idris and what remains of a more moderate FSA, which seems hardly in the news these days (except when it gives up a major weapons depot to hardened Islamists).
The draw of vulnerable “Clairmonts” to serious battle reenactment in foreign space is not the least new in the west, but my impression is the numbers have gone up. These are not a handful of Somali youth from the American midwest lighting out for Mogadishu and a lesson in al-Shabaab realpolitik.
There is an open and extensive conflict under way in the middle east, and these wish for their glorious role in it.
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The battle is also important politically and psychologically. For the regime, al-Qusayr offers a chance to display its strength to allies and enemies alike. A victory would boost its resilience and affirm the commitment of its supporters.
Given the brutal dictatorship on one side and Islamofascist zeal on the other, I can’t assign Jeffrey White’s fine military analysis any emotional valence. With more than 92,000 dead in Syria and 3.5 million homeless, one may only hope the civil war resolves; however, I suspect even if Assad defeats rebel forces at al-Qusayr, that won’t happen.
Less involved Syrians — noncombatants, innocents, old men, women, and children, etc. — will never forgive the Assads for bombing the living daylights out of their business and residential digs and for heightening their suffering in ways far beyond and far different from what may have been required to suppress a revolution.
Not that I’m cheering rebels who may have indulged in some share of atrocity, battlefield obscenity — that’s about where I would put cutting out a man’s heart and biting it — and massacre. Add: firing line execution to that shame. At least with that, the troops who have taken no prisoners may not expect to be merely captured themselves should the fortunes of war turn against them.
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http://livestre.am/4s6rh (90 minutes)
Introduction: “Tzachi Hanegbi, member of the Knesset, Likud, and former Israeli minister of intelligence, addresses The Washington Institute’s 2013 Soref Symposium. Thursday, May 9, 2013.”
The concept of “integrity” constitutes a global western theme in relation to the Islamic Small Wars.
In essence, the west anchors itself in empiricism, talks policy in the open, and the broader and more inclusive the conversation in participation, comprehension, and reach, the better for mankind.
The cited video, accessible worldwide with exception existing only in states too autocratic or too fragile and tender (or all three) provides a good example of the intellectual process. It has breadth and depth and may be viewed as easily in Riyadh or Islamabad as it is accessible in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
In this video, the Jewish question, oh my, actually comes up in the final minutes.
I may remind readers, Chomsky’s disingenuous rhetoric notwithstanding, that all of the world’s states contain a something-majority, whether Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Muslim or something else: count on the world’s one Jewish-majority state surviving as such, and that specifically as the center of a global ethnic and religious commune with its heart ever in Jerusalem and its body in the spirit of the Land of Israel.
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