Military Events in Syria and Iraq Thread #4

Discussion in 'World Events' started by Yazata, Apr 12, 2017.

  1. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

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    Don't confuse the Russian position with my own. I have explained the Russian position. For the Russians, the threat of terrorism is their top priority. Foreign bases are the top priority of Americans, not of Russians. The second priority aim is, I think, to stop an US regime change operation of the worst case, namely one which involves supporting terrorists against the state. To stop such regime change operations is important for a functioning multipolar world, because a multipolar world would requite a revival of international law.

    For the Syrian people, a secular government is clearly preferable to a fundamentalist islamistic one, given that Syria, even if mainly muslim, has a lot of non-muslim population. And actually the only secular forces worth to be mentioned are Assad and the Kurds.

    I'm a libertarian, not a democrat, so I never care about any democracy, American, Syrian, Chinese or Alien, neither now nor in any future. I reject states, and evaluate them only based on which is less evil. The worst evil state actually is the most dangerous one, the USA. If they would win, the result would be the development of the unipolar, US-ruled world toward a world government, which would become totalitarian. The alternative is the multipolar world, with several different power centers, international law ruling their relations, and leaving various states, even small states, sufficient freedom to develop themselves independently, with different culture, different laws, different rules, without any US starting regime change if they don't like the actual government there.

    Personally I'm not afraid of terrorism. I know that terrorism would be completely unimportant if not supported by the US, directly or via Saudi Arabia and Qatar. So, the Russian fight against terrorism is, in my opinion, simply part of the Russian fight against the US world rule.
     
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  3. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

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    The most interesting news seems to be about the infighting among the different terrorist groups in East Ghouta. It continues. There are already maps about the territory controlled by the two factions:

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    The green color in the big region (which is what is named "East Ghouta" is Djeish al Islam (DaI), which is ruled by Alloush, who is the leader of the delegation of the terrorists in Astana negotiations, thus, those which Russia and Iran tries to talk with. The other, grey part is controlled by a coalition "Feylak Rahman" which combines roughly everything else, with Hatesh (former Al Qaida) as the most important part. (The other two green places are not under DaI control, in Qaboun there is a wild mixture of them all, in the one below there is even Daesh.)

    An interesting point is that the Syrian army does not even stop the offensive against Qaboun. One could expect that they would stop to allow them to kill each other as long as they want, instead of giving them motivation to unify against the common enemy. But not, nothing changed, the attacks against Qaboun continues.
     
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  5. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    Wow, maps. It must be true then.
     
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  7. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    So you would back Israel's current regime, then, and oppose the Russian annexation and regime change in Crimea. And the '91 Gulf War, preventing the annexation of misogynist and totalitarian religious Kuwait by secular Iraq, enforcing international law as it must be enforced, was also ok by you. And the Russian co-option of Afghanistan, way back when, that may have set this current disaster in motion - good thing somebody prevented that expansion of an oppressive State, or bad?

    And Tibet, Korea, - - - -
     
  8. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

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    LOL, I have often enough mentioned particular errors in many maps.
    First of all, not "I would back" whatever. I consider a multipolar world, with states which regulate their problems following international law, as less evil than a unipolar world where the US does what they like, without caring about anything but their power. I can give some comments if I think what was legal resp. illegal according to international law. But this does not mean that I think international law is somehow just, simply international law is better than no law at all.

    I have not considered Israel's situation, so, sorry, I don't know and therefore do not support.

    The situation of Crimea as I see it is the following: 1.) Once the legal government is overthrown by some coup, revolution or whatever, it can ask external powers for help. This has been done as by the legal president, as by the legal government of Crimea. 2.) Separation of some part of some state is usually illegal according to the laws of the state, but this does not make the separation illegal from a point of view of international law. 3.) After separation, the Crimea is free to decide about joining the Russian federation.
    There is no "must be enforced" in international law. But, indeed, defending Kuweit against the Iraq aggression was legal from point of view of international law. Note: that it is legal does not mean I support it.
    From point of view of international law, the Soviet invasion into Afghanistan was illegal. What made it illegal was that the government of Amin was overthrown, Amin killed. The replacement was by another faction of the same communist regime, the new chief Karmal has been second in command before, and after Amin took power was send as an ambassador to Prague. From a pragmatical point of view, a good replacement, Amin was a dangerous fanatic and deserved his fate, but this does not make this action legal. The support of the islamic fundamentalists by the CIA, which has started before this invasion, was also a clear violation of international law.
    If you have in mind the cooperation of Russia with the US in their 2001 invasion, the situation is not completely certain. In principle, the state was in a civil war, and the Taliban government was never in control of the whole territory of Afghanistan, so they had as much right to consider themselves as the government of Afghanistan than the other factions. On the other hand, the justification for the US aggression was completely off - they requested to extradite bin Laden, but have not presented any evidence for any wrongdoing by bin Laden. Any state of law should have rejected this request. If the support of this given by Russia was legal or not is not clear to me.
     
  9. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    If Russia hates terrorism so much, why did Putin support Islamic terrorists like Akhmad Kadyrov in Chechnya, and now supports his terrorist son Ramzan?
     
  10. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

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    They are above important fighters against Wahabi terrorism. Without their support, there would be probably yet a lot of Wahabi terrorism in Chechnya, and in Russia too.
     
  11. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    So it is possible that certain Islamist rebels can become important allies?
     
  12. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

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    What is the point of the "so"? We have been talking about Kadyrow. He is Muslim, but not an Islamist.

    Depends on what you want. If you want what the US governments wants (whatever this is), they are important allies, so important that one continues to support them even if they proudly distribute videos where they headcut children. At least is what they were doing.

    If you don't want regime change of Islamist regimes, like in Iran, you can also have them as allies in the fight against other, more dangerous Islamist terrorists.
     
  13. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    In the Mosul battle, the Iraqis have apparently conceded that they aren't able to fight their way into the winding streets of the Old City, which they have surrounded on three sides. So they have launched a new attack against ISIS-held West Mosul from the north. (Their previous attacks have come from the south.) The goal seems to be to take the remaining newer parts of the city that are still in ISIS hands (basically the northwest quadrant of Mosul).

    They are claiming great success and naming many 'districts' taken, but the Iraqis always claim great success at the beginning of offensives, so it's anyone's guess what's happening on the ground. At the least, it will force ISIS to spread out their remaining forces.

    In Syria, the SDF have seemingly taken the city of Tabqa. Its ISIS defenders have taken up shelter inside the structure of the Tabqa dam or its power-houses, which they apparently hope will protect them from airstrikes, since nobody wants to destroy the dam. I'm guessing that they have it rigged with explosives. but if it ruptures and releases the waters of Lake Assad, the downstream devastation will be largely in their own ISIS controlled areas like nearby Raqqah. So they are apparently counting on the Americans and SDF caring more for their own people than they do.
     
  14. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

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    In Syria, there is a large new ceasefire agreement. So, the North Hama counteroffensive is officially finished. Russia seems to thing that taking two sufficiently important villages after the offensive, together with the sufficiently large numbers of joepistole's comrades killed, seems sufficient to deter them from future offensives. So that one can concentrate now on Daesh.
     
  15. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    I don't know very much about it.

    Who is signed onto it? The last cease-fire failed because Nusra Front (or whatever they call themselves now) wasn't included and their allies refused to cooperate as a result, so the majority of the "rebels" kept fighting.

    My impression of this latest cease fire is that it was negotiated over the rebels' (and Assad's) head, largely by Russia and Turkey. So my expectation is that it will quickly collapse.

    That would be good. I'd like to see Assad's forces take that collection of ISIS-held villages northwest of Palmyria and Tiyas. Then they could push across the desert in the direction of Raqqah and Deir Ezzor. I don't expect the largely-Kurdish (but increasingly multi-ethnic) SDF to occupy large Arab populations for long, so Assad might be in good position to pick up some of those pieces. Daesh is collapsing as we speak, so there's spoils to be had.
     
  16. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

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    In fact, the signatures are from Russia, Iran, and Turkey in Astana. It excludes as usual Daesh, Al Qaida and followers. It follows the classical Putin scheme: After a military victory in Northern Hama, where the offensive has miserably failed, lead to a lot of losses, and in particular to the loss of key villages and points for future attacks against Hama, they get a chance for peace.

    The question is yet open if this proposal will be really accepted. But there is at least information that some elite forces which have been in North Hama are now relocated to Palmyra, so it seems no big operations will be planned from the Syrian side. And joepistole's friends have yet to heal their wounds.

    Today, a new offensive has been started East of Damascus/Dumair through the desert in direction toward the Iraq border, and made today some advance of 35 km or so. Ok, this is desert, thus, simply 35 km to the next village, and this next village was taken. The enemy in this region was some US-paid group supported from the Jordanian side. so this is also more an anti-American action. It makes a lot of sense to establish a land connection to Iraq.

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    Another news is that joepistole's comrades in Qabun have asked for some ceasefire for negotiations. Given that the background is regular advances during the last day, and a danger of yet another split of the area into parts, and the proposal following the usual scheme (green busses to Idlib) was already negotiated long ago but finally rejected, there are good chances that this proposal will be accepted now. In this case, it would be time for a final map:

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  17. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

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    The agreement about the submission of Qabun, Tischreen, and Barzah is concluded, the first buses are already there, this will take some days, a first number is about some 8000 people will be send to Idlib. The first group is 1020 people, 562, men, 212 women, 246 children, 104 with weapons.

    The offensive along the Damascus-Bagdad highway continues too, the Syrian army has reached and attacked the Zaza checkpoint - the junction visible on the map above.
     
  18. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    He's just as much as Islamist as any fighter in Syria, but now that he's Putin's Islamist, they are allies. My point is that one can certainly be pragmatic about which Islamists one supports.
     
  19. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

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    I agree about the point of being pragmatic. I simply disagree with characterizing Kadyrow as an islamist. In Chechnya there is a de facto rule of traditional Chechen law, which is something very specific, and of course muslimic, but it is not Sharia law. The second Chechen war was, essentially, a fight between moderate traditional Chechen Sufi islam, with Russian support, and Saudi-Arabia supported, imported Wahabi islam.
     
  20. CptBork Robbing the Shalebridge Cradle Valued Senior Member

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    That's a nice little Christmas fantasy you're spinning, except that Kaydrow has never been a moderate Sufi, nor was his dad. They both fought against Russian forces in support of Chechnya's overwhelming victory in the first Chechen war, and they governed it as a Sharia state until Putin bought them out and brought them over to his side in the second tilt.

    Everyone knows you only consider someone to be a terrorist or imperialist if they make your ancestral Russian homeland look weak and stupid in one way or another.
     
  21. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

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    If you name him moderate or not does not matter, that the traditional Chechens are Sufi is a fact, and Sufi is a quite moderate variant of the Islam. That the Chechens are ready to fight for their independence is also traditional, they have preserved their traditions even during Stalin time. (BTW, I have no problem to admit that Russia looked very weak and very stupid during Yeltsin time. So, it was quite natural to try to separate at that time.)

    In Syria, the Tiger forces have restarted their operations in East Aleppo against Daesh (which have been stopped because of the Northern Hama offensive of joepistole's comrades), and already taken the village al Mahdum near the Jirah airbase.

    Along the Damascus-Bagdad highway, joepistole's comrades have started a counteroffensive, to take back what they have lost during the last days. They claim some success, the Syrian side denies.

    If there will be no further big fighting in Northern Hama is less clear than I thought, there are reports about fighting, we will see.
     
  22. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    There is nothing moderate about his campaign of terrorism and murder against homosexuals and anyone who opposes him, he issues fatwas, supports polygamy, and personally tortures people. He just happens to fight ISIS too.
     
  23. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

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    The point being? There is nothing islamistic about the relation of Chechens to homosexuals, this is simply traditional Chechen. I have talked with a Chechen about this, he told me the own family would kill you if they would learn that you are homosexual. For purely pragmatic reasons: If you fuck somebody from another family, and they learn about this, they would feel obliged to kill you. And this would start a blood feud between the families. In such a society there simply is no such thing as open homosexuality. And so there cannot be any mass murder or so of homosexuals too - you would not know which people to kill even if you want to do this.

    Polygamy is also simply traditional Islam, nothing islamistic. A fatwa is, in itself, also not islamistic, but simply part of the Islam, a religious court decision. Not seen anything what would tell me that Kadyrow is in a position to issue fatwas. There was some Grozny fatwa, but this was not his declaration. If he has tortured people or if this is only propaganda I don't know, this is the sort of question I do not care about simply because I have no chance to find out the truth.

    Here an actual map from East Aleppo, the Syrian army has taken not only the village Mahdoom, but also the nearby hill, and is attacking now two other nearby villages. The aim is, clearly, to avoid attacking the heavily fortified airbase itself, but to encircle it.

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