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Patrick Bahzad
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By Patrick BAHZAD Aleppo, Mosul, Raqqa, Ghouta … A few years ago, nobody would have known these names. With the rise of the "Islamic State" in the Middle-East, and the civil war in Syria, those cities have become battlefields of... Continue reading
Posted Sep 16, 2018 at Sic Semper Tyrannis
The SAA/SAG don’t want a confrontation with YPG, IMO. They want to drive a wedge between YPG and the US so as to break up that alliance a d force the Kurds to look for the regime’s protection against Turkish incursions. The Iranians have interests of their own, most important to them is to get US forces out of Northern Syria. The rest of the chaos, they probably think they can deal with.
Not sure about how to divide them, but there’s certainly room for situations in which one of these players might want to be less involved than others. Russians didn’t seem to mind Israeli air strikes that much for example.
Golan won’t be on the table for a long time IMHO.
US/Coalition airpower is superior in the ME, but Russian air defenses could change the equation to some extent.
Don’t think oil and have much to do with it.
By Patrick BAHZAD Time and again since 2011, there have been reports about the erosion of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), with some observers even arguing that there is not much left of it. The influx of pro-regime foreign fighters... Continue reading
Posted Feb 16, 2018 at Sic Semper Tyrannis
J, thx a lot ! Same to you ;-)
I'm not saying IS will not try and maybe manage to keep some presence in Syria's East, they most probably will. I'm saying Iraq has always been central to their concerns and will continue to be the focus of their attention in the ME. There are several limiting factors to their ability to keep on going in Eastern Syria, one of them being the hostility of a large part of local tribes to IS. The other being the lack of a sizeable population that would be favourable to any larger scale comeback. With AQ groups, it's a different story. But IS as such, has more chances at keeping an operational base in Iraq than in Syria.
In Iraq, many casualties were EFP related. In Lebanon, it was car bombs. In Mosul, it was (S)VBIEDS. Besides, they wouldn't carry a flag saying "we dunnit", would they ?
TTG, I'm afraid that exactly what is going to happen, whether that is in 6 months or 6 years I don't know, but the end result is likely to be the same. Look at what happened in Iraq. Overall, US policies in the region lack the subtlety that would be required for informal agreements with non-State groups to group properly in the long run. Everything is too obvious.
Babak, I suspect IS has been working on some time on their "post-Califate" period, with emphasis on "deterritorialisation, globalisation and virtualization", i.e. reversing back to insurgency in some areas, ensure their - even marginal - presence on a global scale and expand in the cyberworld with more language versions of their propaganda, for example. In that regard, Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia look like two "hubs" they are intent on developing. I'm not so sure about India, but Indonesia and Malaysia definitely. Also because there are a significant number of Jihadis from these countries fighting in the ME.
Probably better get used to it. We've had 15 years of this already. Brace yourself for more.
Vicious cycle implies the US has the stamina and the (financial) resources to stay the course. Not even talking about human costs. And what for ? What would justify such an effort ? Are US taxpayers and citizens willing to make such a commitment ?
I don't think you'll ever going to see SAA troops shooting at US troops. That's not how proxy wars work.
If reason had prevailed, we would not have had any of the FP fiascos we have had.
"I don't really think a society like that of the contemporary West (with the exception of Russia and maybe Eastern Europe) has the will to fight a real conflict or cold war where our superior technology is not a decisive factor" - I think you're wrong.
Or phase 1 of a new proxy war with Iran ?
Agree, which is why I think it's adrift. Andrew Basevich's book "America's War for the Greater Middle-East" points out many of the strategic shortcomings that have been observed since Carter.
By Patrick BAHZAD As the war in Syria is entering a new phase, the US will have to deal with issues that will prove very difficult to incorporate into a single comprehensive strategy. There was an eerie sense of déjà... Continue reading
Posted Jan 18, 2018 at Sic Semper Tyrannis
getting narrower though !
There are various kinds of "deep France", their candidates could be anyone from Fillon, to Mélenchon to Le Pen (not the others though)
the electoral map shows differences indeed, linked mostly to economic differences and unemployment, to put it in simple terms. Macron will have to find political partners willing to support him and govern with him. Not easy.
Pat, Agree with you, nothing is carved in stone. Considering the French electoral system however, it's gonna be much more difficult for Le Pen to win this one. France presidential elections are a national ballot, popular votes wins.