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LongLeftFlank

Red v Red for real in Syria

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I've noticed the battle harness of the Syrian troops is a big more modernized than what we have in CMSF. The helmuts for example look almost to be like the western style helmut.

Agreed. Nearly everyone, including the Russians, seems to have adopted kevlar and the coal-scuttle shape; the old steel pots are on their way out at least for first line troops. I'll probably use all Special Forces troops for the Republican Guard, using Ryujin's mod that puts them in green camo (and flak jackets).

2012_Syrian_Army.jpg

I'm also exploring using black-garbed Fighters for the paramilitary shabiha thugs. On the other hand, the FSA "good guys" will be Combatants, using Mord's awesome ragtag pack....

FSA_BabaAmr.jpg

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On the RL side of this, I do hope the evacuation of the US Embassy means that Predators (or Turkey-based warplanes) will be arriving shortly to take down some of the artillery presently bombarding Homs. Unfortunately, I'm not expecting that for a while, as there's no way of knowing if American citizens are still in-country.

Obama can't afford a hostage crisis in an election year, so I'd guess that Mr Cautious won't lift a finger until the bloodshed hits a level at which it starts to register on the American consciousness, and his GOP opponents demand action which will give him the cover to act. Unfortunately I suspect Newt thinks that the FSA are just a bunch of Al Qaeda Salafists, so it's up to Romney and he won't say anything until he wins some more states.

Alas, over the next few days the people of Baba Amr may pay a brutal price for America's (and Europe's) gridlock and compassion fatigue. I'm not the kind of self-hating liberal who seeks to lay all the world's ills at America's door, but Bush staked everything on a democratic transformation in the Middle East, and Obama has effectively endorsed that by staying in A'stan. It is stupid for the West to flinch now.

Intense bombardment with Katyushas based about 15km away. The FSA have no way to get at them.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RLYumYeujUA

This is the Warsaw uprising, happening right now.

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A mod to put the special forces helmet on the regular Syrian troops would be fairly easy, I think.

Yeah, but in high-density MOUT I want them able to split squads. I never bought Steve's reasoning on that. And I want scenario(s) to be playable with base CMSF only, so no Airborne.

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"Bush staked everything on a democratic transformation in the Middle East, and Obama has effectively endorsed that by staying in A'stan. It is stupid for the West to flinch now."

The problem is that history may well view those actions as counterproductive. Saw part of a doc yesterday that said yes, actions in Iraq and (current actions in) A'stan may have made the US "Homeland" safer, but weakened the US as a nation - financially etc.

That the Iraq Invasion for example saved the Taliban in A'stan and was the best recruiting tool for AlQ. Thought that was quite insightful.

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The savage bombardment continues. No military purpose whatsoever is being served here....

Main boulevard, opposite the Al Jouri mosque. Facing north.

Western edge of the district, opposite the Orontes valley and refinery. Facing south.

Cemetery area -- I think facing north toward high rises next to the stadium. They were regime sniper posts, but these buildings now are being rocketed.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=saopdamtSVM&feature=related

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It is pretty clear that the regime is fighting some kind of organized and reasonably well armed force, not just shelling civilians for fun, which actually lends some credence to Assad's propaganda and is at odds with ALL the media coverage I have seen so far.

Brewing up T-72's aren't happening by rocks and molotovs, and one of those BMPs had taken some large calibre cannon fire by the looks.

I'm a little uncomfortable with backing a shadowy force of militiamen, Libya is currently proving that replacing one strongman with 50 warlords is not necessarily an improvement.

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Well, centralized control for its own sake isn't worth much either when the incumbent strongmen in question have long shed any socialist/nationalist principles they might once have had in favour of open economic plunder by a tiny clique of cronies and a Praetorian guard. What hope for a better future, or even maintaining their ramshackle status quo, do the non-crony 99.9% have? Zero -- that's why they're up in arms even though they knew the likely consequences. They'd rather take their chances with warlords and mullahs, who are at least local.

Do you really believe that all these explosions (this is a single panorama from 2 minutes of footage) are carefully or even generally targeted on known or suspected points of resistance? This is nothing but pure malice, intended to punish the populace for hosting the regime's enemies.

BabaAmr_8Feb.jpg

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Well, centralized control for its own sake isn't worth much either when the incumbent strongmen in question have long shed any socialist/nationalist principles they might once have had in favour of open economic plunder by a tiny clique of cronies and a Praetorian guard. What hope for a better future, or even maintaining their ramshackle status quo, do the non-crony 99.9% have? Zero -- that's why they're up in arms even though they knew the likely consequences. They'd rather take their chances with warlords and mullahs, who are at least local.

Just to play devils advocate here, having visited Syria it didn't strike me that the population had zero. Generally it seemed like whilke the government was corrupt, it wasn't nearly as bad as many other countries. I believed at the time that reform was beginning the happen but inertia in the regime and entrenched interests were slowing it down to a crawl. At its best, the government was actually quite European/liberal even if it did occasionally pull its citizens off the streets for torture if they said anything stupid.

Bashar still has the support of a large section of his populace, despite the violence. Perhaps even majority support. In fact you could say that the regimes initial attacks on were calculated to force people to take sides - perhaps Bashar was gambling that he had clear majority support?

At any rate, there is no leadership amongst the Syrian rebels, no muslim brotherhood, not even a "NTC". For all his faults, Bashar is the only person in the country to prevent another Lebanon and I for one would hate to see that level of pointless sectarian violence.

My (ill informed) opinion is that we bail Bashar out of this crisis and then screw him hard for reform once this is done. At the very least encourage a clear alternative to him for power, but this needs time to happen.

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Well, if that's a hope at all, perhaps the US at least puts some Predator Hellfires on the artillery to signal that This Is Evil and bring him to the table. Implication is that the next steps involve annihilating his air defense net and forcing him to run from bunker to bunker.

Otherwise, this goes on the heap of inaction with Srebenica, Rwanda,Warsaw, etc. Boots on the ground? Not necessary or advisable. But we can definitely move the needle.

Oh, and I definitely hear you guys on the opposition. I'm not blind -- I see the AQ "bug" logos and hear the martyrdom music on the vids. Those scum are definitely in there and aren't going away. But that ugly confrontation can be fought out without mass bombardment of cities followed by kids dying of dysentery and cholera, which is inevitable when the water and sewage is blown up. This is just the beginning of the tragedy.

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We need to still see how things pan out in Lybia, Egypt etc. There is danger is assuming that "the people" want western style democratic secular government.

We may end up finding that we have merely assisted the rise of extremist religious/Islamic regimes.

As much as they were distasteful, The Shah, Saddam, Mubarek etc held these extremists in check,

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We need to still see how things pan out in Lybia, Egypt etc. There is danger is assuming that "the people" want western style democratic secular government.

We may end up finding that we have merely assisted the rise of extremist religious/Islamic regimes.

As much as they were distasteful, The Shah, Saddam, Mubarek etc held these extremists in check,

The Shah, Saddam, Mubarek etc were indeed distasteful and while they provided a veneer of stability, the lack of an effective way for the people to express their greivences caused the discontent we saw in the Arab spring.

If we want stability in the middle east we must promote robust government, not some petty strongmen. For this, I see the muslim brotherhood as a promising sign. While we might not agree with them, they appear to respect democracy and have a certain degree of tolerence for others. We may well get into massive diplomatic arguements with them but we disagree with Russia/China/Turkey etc all the time and it doesn't end in bloodshed.

My point is that we cannot expect the Middle East to suddenly start respecting gay rights and opening jewish owned strip clubs any time soon, especially with the recent cultural shift towards conservatism in the Islamic world. We should instead opt for true stability and effective governance over wide eyed idealism or short term fixes and let improved education and prosperity work its magic in the long game.

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Well, if that's a hope at all, perhaps the US at least puts some Predator Hellfires on the artillery to signal that This Is Evil and bring him to the table. Implication is that the next steps involve annihilating his air defense net and forcing him to run from bunker to bunker.

Otherwise, this goes on the heap of inaction with Srebenica, Rwanda,Warsaw, etc. Boots on the ground? Not necessary or advisable. But we can definitely move the needle.

Oh, and I definitely hear you guys on the opposition. I'm not blind -- I see the AQ "bug" logos and hear the martyrdom music on the vids. Those scum are definitely in there and aren't going away. But that ugly confrontation can be fought out without mass bombardment of cities followed by kids dying of dysentery and cholera, which is inevitable when the water and sewage is blown up. This is just the beginning of the tragedy.

Personally I think that any western involvement should not be overt at this stage, the cynical approach the west took in Libya really didn't do us any favours here. After Libya, hellfires are really not so different to troops on the ground - that distinction has been lost and the TV just shows the west beating on Arabs again. We will just have to accept a more indirect involvement and see what we can do with our good old spy agencies.

The sad thing is that the situation has got to the point where if Bashar stays he will be internationally isolated and paranoid enough to reverse any moves towards democracy he might have started (he certainly had a softer touch than his dad). If he goes the country will be badly destabilied and the crazies will start coming out of the woodwork, potentially triggering a bloody civil war and reversing economic groth and prosperity. Either way, foreign investment in Syria has been badly shaken, the economy wont recover for years and a generation will be scarred by the experience.

Fun times! :(

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Part of the issue is things are far more complicated than any of us generally like to deal with. Iraq is a really good example of just how wrong things can go if your assessment is predicated on your own reality and not the one that exists on the ground. Most of the "nations" of the middle east are entities created in the breakup of the british and french colonial empires. The assumption we have in the west about a national identity isn't necessarily that firmly rooted and intervention that doesn't take this into account can create a power vacuum. Granted the powers that be may be ones we abhor, but before you consider removing or neutering them, you'd best have a plan in place to establish security to allow the populace to develop the institutions they need for peaceful government.

The surge in Irag was essentially a years late policy to try to do what Shalikashvili had told Bush from the start. You need boots on the ground. Personally I think if we intervene in Syria without being willing to help establish security, we may feel better about not sitting idly by but I am not so sure it will necessarily turn out for the good.

On a more CMSF related note, I used to get annoyed hearing the constant repetetive chatter from the Red forces, but after watching these videos....well let's just say maybe it is more immersive than I realized. :D

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Having watched hundreds of these clips now, to the point I'm beginning to recognize backstreets, I can say that the takbir is not merely a war cry or sign of crazed Salafists behind the camera. It is often being chanted anxiously as a benison against evil, much like "Hail Mary, full of grace".

Paramilitary (shabiha) and/or police post and BRDM being attacked by FSA forces, although the actual attack is only heard not seen.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSuS06zfqtQ&feature=related

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Interestingly there are news stories breaking quoting state media about a terrorist attack in Aleppo. Except they all seem to use patronizing quotation marks, "terrorist attack" in Syria, implying that there is no such thing as a terrorist in Syria, only innocent civilians and evil government murderers.

Whoever is running the propaganda agenda here is doing a very good job.

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Well like I said, the terrorists and Salafist Sunni supremacists and would-be ethnic cleansers are definitely there, but they neither began this rebellion, nor are they calling the shots. But the evidence of my own eyes tells me the "evil government murderers" are there in force.

You seem like a decent guy, but if you're Israeli or old-school Orthodox Christian, or a cynical hard-bitten Iraq War vet, or just an old fashioned America firster saying "screw 'em, let 'em kill each other", I guess I'm not going to persuade you that the opposition aren't just wolves in sheeps clothing. So we'll have to agree to disagree.

This kind of ugly sectarian confrontation is brewing all over the melting pot countries of the Middle East (i.e. everywhere that isn't 100% Sunni Muslim like Saudi and the Emirate). Traditional Islam, which has never recognized a distinction between church and state, feels menaced by secular modernity, and is lashing out against it, backed by legions of the poor and ignorant. On the other hand, these people have no answers either and in the absence of real popular support they too will fall from power.

But propping up Assad or any other despot isn't going to prevent this confrontation or hold down the lid on that pot any longer. Socialism never worked any better in Arab nations than anywhere else, even when backstopped by oil wealth. Over time the Presidents have turned themselves back into old-fashioned hereditary despots, abandoning all pretense at wealth redistribution and instead channeling all largesse to a narrow clique of courtiers and Praetorians. These guys are incapable of commanding loyalty other than through terror.

T62s shooting. I think the building next to them is the "Consumer Centre" -- a kind of low end shopping mall

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Well like I said, the terrorists and Salafist Sunni supremacists and would-be ethnic cleansers are definitely there, but they neither began this rebellion, nor are they calling the shots.

That is an interesting point you just made there - just who is calling the shots? Without a clear replacement for Assad, removing him would slide the country into anarchy. I for one would not want a messy sectarian conflict on my conciousness - if it takes more deaths in the put-down then I am willing to turn my eyes. As you say yourself, there have been too many horrific civil conflicts in the middle east already. Any change in government should come through peaceful revolution.

The Egyptian and Tunisian revolutions put a new government in place that will take a while to shake out but I am cautiously optimistic, the Libyan revolution removed a tyrant but the replacement is looking very shakey. The downfall of Assad would in my opinion be a disaster as bad as Iraq that not only would potentially kill or injure hundreds of thousends of people but could also suck in neighbouring countries such Lebanon, Israel or Turkey.

This is not a good/evil conflict. It is a a population that may have legitimate greivences against its government but is now throwing itself towards savage civil war. I for one would rather pay bribes and keep my mouth shut in public than live for months in fear of random violence destroying my family and freinds.

Here is a question. If you wish to see Assad gone, how would this be achieved and what do you believe the eventual outcome will be 1-5 years on?

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But listen to yourself. That messy sectarian conflict is now underway and unavoidable. It was ongoing in Iraq long before 9-11; Iraqis killed by the regime in the 1990s vastly exceed those who perished in the US period. The genocidal power of an organized army, particularly with artillery and air power vastly exceeds that of a patchwork of sectarian neighbourhood militias, as dismal as the latter prospect is. The Lebanese civil war was a miserable affair but at the end no ethnic group or sect had been exterminated (although many have lost their ancestral homes). It's the "lesser" of two great evils.

As to Iraq, Libya, Tunisia and Egypt, it's far too early to write any of those revolutions off as chaotic failures; The sparse population of Libya is deeply tribal for example and any new "regime" must necessarily be local not Tripoli-centered. The new USA in 1785 didn't look so great either -- Virginia ravaged, Tories being "cleansed" out (some of my ancestors in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick), Continental Congress bankrupt and divided.

Peaceful revolution is simply no longer an option in Syria. Pick your poison.

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So far in this revolt we have seen around 6000 civilians killed. In my view, if Bashar gets hold of the situation we will see at least another 3000 deaths but he will remain in power. The west then imposes sanctions on the country which will last another 5-10 years and Bashar will start rounding up the remnents of the opposition and throw them in jail. Many will be tortured.

It is a terrible tragedy to watch, but the alternative is open ended and I don't feel like that risk is worth taking. The Lebanese civil war resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths (out of a population of only 3 million), the destruction of Beirut and instability in the region for decades afterwards. The massacre at Hama 'only' killed some tens of thousands and ended the rebellion permenently. Later on, there was repression and a lot of arrests but Bashars father didn't conduct the large scale killings that Saddam did.

From what I have seen so far, I have picked my poison and it is repression and organised brutality against a mostly innocent populace. It is a hard medicine and it should be washed down with active promotion of political Syrian opposition groups and international pressure for reform. Not that I would be too optimistic about that of course...

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Perhaps the point is that terrible things happen all over the world almost all the time. We only hear about the items that the "Media" reports on.

The reality that has been taught to the US thanks to Iraq and A'stan (as was learned by all previous empires) is that there are limits on what one can do to save people from themselves.

You can't easily change human nature in the same way one can't fight nature itself. Ultimately peoples eventually sort things out for themselves - usually bloodily. But, that's history and life... (unfortunately).

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I couldn't disagree more. Densely populated cities do NOT get sealed off and ruthlessly hammered with heavy artillery and tank shells and sprayed with 23mm Shilka meat choppers every day. Since 1980 you can count the number of these kinds of heavy firepower sieges on your fingers: Benghazi (interrupted), Fallujah, Grozny, Srebenica, Sarajevo, Vukovar, Basra (1980s), Khorammshar, Beirut (1982), Hama.* Before that you need to go back to Hue (or Phnom Penh)

Cities engulfed in bloody civil strife (primarily AK toting mobs) create a slightly larger list, e.g. Mogadishu, Kigali, Monrovia, various towns in Congo. I have also excluded cities that became extensions of larger conflicts as opposed to a specific siege - e.g. Ramadi, Tripoli.

EDIT I guess you could add Dubrovnik and Mostar amd perhaps some other Yugoslav towns to the list of sieges.

I am not contesting your premise, only your conclusion.

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