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LongLeftFlank

Red v Red for real in Syria

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I was referring to the long term historically well-proven method of bloodbaths to solve social, ethnic and religious disagreements - probably going back to Cro-Magnon vs those Nandy-pandy men.

Remember "Roman Peace?"

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Well in that case I'd say that Assad bombarding a bunch of cities to rubble will resolve nothing; at most it will buy him 2 years of smouldering discontent and frequent terrorism. The regime has no remaining capability to do anything but loot and terrorize, the genie is out of the sectarian bottle and the longer the opposition is repressed the more likely fanatical hardline elements will rule it when it inevitably does come to power. The reasonable reformers are also the easiest to kill, alas. Witness KR Cambodia, Taliban Afghanistan and Soviet Russia. Again, I'm not whitewashing the alternative -- it's an ugly phase the Arab world will have to go through, now or soon..

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I agree completely with your above post Erwin. Geez, even when you just consider the Israeli - Palestinian issue, which I sort of believe will never be resolved (except maybe by NBC type weapons)..

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Oh yes, nobody disagrees with that.

Best quote I ever heard on that was Howard Stern cutting off Robin when she started to read yet another piece on Palestinian "peace talks," saying "Y'know Robin 30 years from now someone will be sitting in that same chair reading that exact news item..."

But that's cold comfort to the poor innocent families who are getting their houses and water supplies caved in right now by randomly aimed BM21 rockets....

Well with all that fine humanitarian sentiment sincerely expressed, I'm off to the tropics for vacay. No CM mapmaking for 2 weeks, but I finally get to read "the Gun", along with Dan Yergin's latest and a biography of James K Polk. Good beach reading.

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More selected clips from the siege of Baba Amr and Homs.

The 25th day of shelling in Baba Amr. Note the eerie silence, except for the shells.

http://www.youtube.com/user/UgaritNewsEnglish#p/u/0/KYiEK5xGNHg

High quality BBC footage showing regime tanks and infantry advancing along city streets (first 30 secs only)

Combat footage purporting to be a Feb 24 FSA attack on "60 troops" holed up in a Baath Party HQ (more likely a police post) in al Hamadiya, Homs. Two destroyed BMPs are in front of the building. They basically hose the building down for most of the video... the most interesting part is the end starting around ~5:45

http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&feature=endscreen&v=lLlVbnpDk-I

The same vehicles burning and cooking off -- looks like they were destroyed in a night attack and the siege of the building (previous clip) went on into next day. Another night clip captures a loudspeaker giving the garrison "10 minutes to surrender".

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TPLP1FB0_nU&feature=related

Regime rooftop OP under MG fire by rebels (camera is fixed for entire vid)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=_PfAZ-3rby0

FSA technical fires a DShK HMG. Also, I'm now seeing a lot more RPGs in rebel hands in the background than a couple of weeks ago (although I suppose that could be faked for the benefit of the Assad forces). The rebels claim (unconfirmed) they are now getting French Mistrals.

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

Same technical (?) visible starting at 2:00 here. Note the sandbags.

http://www.youtube.com/user/UgaritNewsEnglish#p/u/2/pY2qcxt3ZX8

T72 in action in Bab Tadmur district of Homs (a BMP is already in position and firing). Numerous adhan broadcasts create an eerie cacophony in the background.

http://www.youtube.com/user/UgaritNewsEnglish#p/u/3/IzFChF279K4

Another cameraman with more ballz than sense, downrange of a tank shooting.

From the BBC

Mr Assad's security forces have been predictably resilient. A regime built around the Alawite sect has stacked its officer corps with co-religionists, fellow tribesmen, and family members.

The 4th Mechanised Division, which recently scrambled to regain control of Damascus' suburbs, is drawn entirely from that sect. So too is the Republican Guard and influential air force intelligence. The Shabiha, an Alawite militia, has also been a useful auxiliary.

In short, Syria's military has been turned into a ruthless confessional militia that is likely to see little future in a post-Assad Syria.

The country's demography means that only Sunni conscripts can fill up the rank-and-file. Although the regime has sought to limit their role in combat, a steady trickle of defections has been unavoidable.

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I think I agree with LLf's sentiments when it comes to this. Assad is exploiting sectarian tensions to keep himself in power. The longer he remains in power, the more the sectarian cauldron will boil. If the international community ignore the situation and just hope everything will go away if Assad turns enough neighborhoods into rubble, then Sunni's in Syria are more likely to look to groups like Al-Qaeda for support. There may be some merit in the view that no matter what happens, Syria will be governed along sectarian lines and that the most that can be hoped for is stability. Those who adhere to such a view however, should consider that the Sunni's are the majority. Therefore, a Sunni ruled Syria is far more likely to be a stable Syria in the long term. The year is no longer 1982. Assad is not merely cofronting an Islamist political movement but rather a large swathe of the Syrian population.

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You may be correct. But, we won't really know for many years if a Sunni-majority Iraq will be stable.

If we could get some oil out of Syria, the "international community" would already be liberating the place.

Unless there is profit to made, history shows that there has to be genocide showing up on western TV screens to get any IC action.

If there were some ME strategic advantage to be gained, that would also be a possible motive for intervention.

Going in just cos some tinpot dictator wants to kill off a few thou of his citizens... unlikely.

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The regime won't -- can't -- stop at a "few thou". As we speak every (Sunni) male remaining in Baba Amr is being trucked away by the 4th Mechanized Division, which is essentially an Alawite militia with tanks.

I expect that that on the sectarian militia pattern pretty much all these men will be shot and buried in mass graves, many after being savagely beaten and tortured in custody. The rationalization will be easy enough; it's too much trouble to keep them, much less make any serious attempt to sort the "guilty" from the "not so guilty".

Given enough time, they will attempt to repeat the process elsewhere in Homs, followed by Ar Rastan, Hama, Idlib, Halfaya and other rebellious cities.

Same thing happened in Saddam's Iraq from 1991-1994. About 150,000 corpses -- mainly Shiite -- have been uncovered, and the list of the "missing" from that period is about 3x that.

Once an army gets started on Einsatzgruppe work, it's the easiest thing in the world to continue. Human beings simply vanish in greater and greater numbers.....

....Unless the killers get interrupted, like the Serbs in Bosnia, the Sudanese Janjaweed or the Interhamwe Hutus, or face a determined opposition in guerrilla-friendly terrain capable of creating denied areas of refuge, like the Iraqi Kurds (and they needed a Western-enforced no-fly zone to survive).

Eventually, after killing about 50,000 men or so in this manner the regime might be able to "cow" the bigger urban centers of Damascus and Aleppo. The rebels will withdraw into the hill country near the completely porous mountain borders, where they will wage a long term insurgency, fed by Saudi financed arms. This movement will start off fragmented (as it is now), but will likely become increasingly Salafi / "Greater Sunnistan" / AQ influenced over time as the brutal fight drags on and the West continues to sit on its arse. This movement in turn will at minimum "re-destabilize" Iraq's (Sunni) Anbar, Lebanon and the West Bank (Hamas has already tossed over Iran and Assad in favour of the FSA), and possibly also cause troubles in Jordan, the Kurdish region and poorer areas of Turkey's Anatolian heartland.

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If we could get some oil out of Syria, the "international community" would already be liberating the place.

Really? Why don't the IC just invade North Dakota or the vast untapped oil and gas reserves in the US? C'mon man the oil greedy, military industrial complex argument is getting pretty tired. Much cheaper to develope oil sand and shale, or drill off the coast and Alaska. Better yet take Venezuela with a National Guard Battalion over the weekend. I don't blame you for your comments, you are just barfing up what you learned on campus and on CNN.

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The regime won't -- can't -- stop at a "few thou". As we speak every (Sunni) male remaining in Baba Amr is being trucked away by the 4th Mechanized Division, which is essentially an Alawite militia with tanks.

I expect that that on the sectarian militia pattern pretty much all these men will be shot and buried in mass graves, many after being savagely beaten and tortured in custody. The rationalization will be easy enough; it's too much trouble to keep them, much less make any serious attempt to sort the "guilty" from the "not so guilty".

I would be very interested to see a source for that. If that is true then a pretty thick red line has been crossed.

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Reliable news and footage from Baba Amr is now fragmentary as foreigners (correspondents and doctors) have fled or been killed, as have the rebel fighters. Only about 4000 of the 50,000 peacetime residents are said to remain. However, there are reports that all males over age 12 are being detained. I'd be delighted to hear this is not the case guys, but I see no reason to believe that it is not.

It's not like Assad is going to sign death warrants at his desk or anything; there is no Wansee conference for this. Killing detainees will be done for callous logistical reasons and then simply become routine.

Ddetention facilities are likely already overcrowded and the mukhabarat and military intelligence teams lack the resources or inclination to "investigate" each case in a systematic way, assemble evidence, cross check. Instead, soldiers will try to extract what intel they can on rebels (give us names!) through crude torture -- most victims will of course name names, indicating their own complicity. This will make it easy to rationalize executing them to make room for the next bunch. Who wants to guard, feed and provide medical care for them once their usefulness is gone? And what officer wants to take the risk of releasing a "known" enemy back into the populace? And what happens when they start showing their torture scars to Al Jazeera? No, mass shooting is the simplest answer and even if some of them never took up arms it's their own fault anyway for letting their neighbours do so. Allah will sort 'em out...

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All the above may, or may not, be true. However, Iran is where the focus is right now, and it's understandable why.

The use of military force is generally motivated by economic issues. If it were humanitarian, we would have had a few million US/NATO/UN troops in Africa for generations.

Am not at all saying that feelings expressed here are wrong. But, if we're talking realpolitik and what history teaches us...

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Syrian TV shot of the silent ruins of Baba Amr. According to the regime, all that destruction was the work of sinister "armed gangs" who evidently spent their time demolishing buildings in their own strongholds just for fun.... 'cuz you know armed gangs have nothing better to do.

_58843636_baba.jpg

Syrian tank crew killed after bailing out of their T72. When or where is unknown.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j5HuBig-6ow

Footage from the regime side -- snipers in action from the university high rises east of Baba Amr.

The Hebrew caption on the video makes me wonder: are some Israelis hoping Assad (the devil they know) prevails? Or speaking of reelpolitik, is it possible that Israel sees a strategic opportunity here in all this instability? If Syria, Lebanon and Egypt (re)lapse into Balkans-style sectarian strife and sectarian ethnic cleansing -- Salafist Sunni Arabs against everyone else -- then minority populations (Christians, Druse, some Shia Arabs) will carve out enclaves for themselves that will create a patchwork of buffer client states of Israel (perhaps with tacit Turkish support).

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Well, to name a couple, Iran has a strategic position to block the Strait of Hormuz (Oil), possible nuke capability, could interfere in both Iraq and Afghanistan... (vs Syria which lacks capabilities to create much of a mess beyond its own borders.)

That's the Iranian govt of course. The (esp younger) people themselves seem fairly fed up with the theocratic rule and restrictions. It must be a lot like living in Utah.

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Well, I think the focus isnt on oil just becuase its oil. mostly because we can all say bye bye to all our comforts if oil movements are messed with...but im just stating the obvious.

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I'm still working on my Baba Amr scenario and map. Here are some work in progress screens.

View south from the intersection of the two main commercial boulevards. As previously noted, I repurposed my Ramadi JOKER THREE residential map and added more 3-4 story buildings. I am also using the "Syrope" mod to more accurately reflect the terrain of Homs.

BabaAmr_pano_S.jpg

Close up of the same intersection, with regime troops looking down the commercial boulevard I just built. I haven't yet "roughed up" this map to reflect the brutalization of this area-- the final version will have some buildings rubbled and shot up, and lots of trash in the streets.

BabaAmr_circle_S.jpg

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Erwin, I'd say thats one hell of a stretch to compare the Mormons living in Utah, to the Iranians with their religious police in Iran. The two are so different the comparison is laughable...

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Thanks. Just looking at this map gives you a good idea why built-up neighbourhoods are such a tough nut to crack, particularly for a Soviet-modeled army trained to rely on AFVs for most of its firepower. And the FSA has relatively few AT weapons as well.

The regime has only prevailed in Baba Amr by finally concentrating enough reliable forces (at the expense of garrisoning other areas) to complete the siege and seal off all supply routes (e.g. tunnels). The artillery bombardment was pure terror; it had little to no effect on the rebels.

One interesting finding is that the regime army seems to be relatively infantry-poor; it cannot rely on its majority of Sunni conscripts for this kind of fighting. It doesn't have the reliable manpower to flood city after city with infantry working systematically house-to-house when facing any kind of resistance (even snipers).

This causes me to doubt very much the regime can repeat this process in more than one rebellious area at a time.

OK, I have a cute litte 5 year old girl trying to make it impossible to type so I will play with her. More later....

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You live in Utah?

Great map LLF!

No. Do you? Never been to Iran either.

However, I've visited Salt Lake City several times, as my best friend moved out there and lived there for years. I know at least you do not live in Iran, because you wouldnt be able to visit this site.

In Salt Lake City, no matter how conservative, you have the ability, and federal right to do things they cannot in Iran,such as freedom of speech, religion, and press. Etc etc. In one documentary I saw, interviewing young Iranian students in some large park in Tehran, a few ventured to complain about things like free elections and free speech, and then wondered aloud about the consequences to themselves and or family members even saying that much.

Im not gonna go back and forth on this. Any objective thought or comparison between the rights of individuals in Tehran vs Salt Lake City will bear out the truth.

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Well I have... Not healthy to one's career to say too much. It's a whole lot different being a ski tourist than living in a place for years. Anyway, this is seriously off-topic. 'Nuff said...

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