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Assad's strategic options

This is a discussion on Assad's strategic options within the Geo-strategic Issues forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; Having followed the conflict closely since its inception, I have often thought long and hard about the possible outcomes and/or ...


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Old May 31st, 2013   #1
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Assad's strategic options

Having followed the conflict closely since its inception, I have often thought long and hard about the possible outcomes and/or long term ramifications of this conflict. It is clear from the recent Government actions of strategic withdrawal to the north and the west that Assad plans to, perhaps as a last resort, create an Alawite fiefdom in the west. In my opinion, it seems like a sound plan of action. I would do the following things to expedite this process;

1. Strengthen the alliance with Hezbollah (authorise more advanced weapons shipments and finance - thereby using Hezbollah as the strategic deterrent to Israel).
2. Offer the Kurds autonomy and finance in return for military support against the rebels (thus encircling the rebels).
3. Split the rebels by making peace with the moderates and attack the extremist elements with prejudice.

Once the west is consolidated and stabilised future campaigns to retake the anterior of Syria could be initialised. This plan of action would allow the Syrian state to recuperate economically and provide relief for the armed forces. I was interested on receiving more informed opinions on this scenario.

Last edited by spikehades; May 31st, 2013 at 08:20 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old June 1st, 2013   #2
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Originally Posted by spikehades View Post
Having followed the conflict closely since its inception, I have often thought long and hard about the possible outcomes and/or long term ramifications of this conflict. It is clear from the recent Government actions of strategic withdrawal to the north and the west that Assad plans to, perhaps as a last resort, create an Alawite fiefdom in the west. In my opinion, it seems like a sound plan of action. I would do the following things to expedite this process;

Once the west is consolidated and stabilised future campaigns to retake the anterior of Syria could be initialised. This plan of action would allow the Syrian state to recuperate economically and provide relief for the armed forces. I was interested on receiving more informed opinions on this scenario.
The rebels are well aware of this scenario, and believe that as long as Assad is in power that he will eventually return and kill them and their families. The fighting is unlikely to end if Assad attempts to do this. It would also leave the rebels without access to the sea.
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1. Strengthen the alliance with Hezbollah (authorise more advanced weapons shipments and finance - thereby using Hezbollah as the strategic deterrent to Israel).
This is likely to bring a direct response by Israel. I suspect that it is likely to happen anyhow when Hezbollah’s either at maximum effort in Syria, or if their losing badly. An Israeli incursion into southern Lebanon to destroy Hezbollah’s weapons when most of their fighters are in Syria, and close their supply and retreat routes for a while, could cripple Hezbollah, possibly destroy it if they become too weak to defend themselves against the other parties in Lebanon’s government.

And as things are going it there is a good chance it would not upset a majority of the global Sunni population.
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2. Offer the Kurds autonomy and finance in return for military support against the rebels (thus encircling the rebels).
The Kurds have defacto autonomy, and hate and distrust Assad as much as anyone else. The Kurds are staying out of the major conflict, already fighting the Sunni foreign extremists groups that consider them apostates to be killed. So there is nothing of significant value to be gained by either party.

The Kurds also know that too much autonomy could also upset Turkey enough to intervene, and Assad knows that the Kurds could call on the Iraqi Kurds, which are a significant military power, for help when he tries to reconquer them, they don’t merge earlier.
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3. Split the rebels by making peace with the moderates and attack the extremist elements with prejudice.
Not going to happen. As noted above, all the rebels believe that if Assad stays, they and their families die. It has been standard policy since the family came to power. The Rebels are not even willing to negotiate until Assad agrees to leave.
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Old June 1st, 2013   #3
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Very interesting point you make about Israel. Do you believe they may see an opportunity here what with thousands of Hezbollah fighters fighting in Syria, that they could be vulnerable now? And with Assad hinting at an offensive in the Golan perhaps Israel will make the preemptive move if it feels threatened.

Also it struck me ass odd that Assad would mention fighting the Israeli's while he struggling to hold onto his country as it is. Could it be to rally support behind him since Israel isn't everyone's favorite country in that neck of the woods?
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Old June 1st, 2013   #4
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At the moment the Syrian government is still paying public servants in the Kurdish area. At some point an official accommodation must be reached with them. [Mod Edit: Text deleted, as you are advocating the use of chemical weapons, against the rebels, in a civil war.

You have been warned against trolling by Preceptor on 6 August 2012 and had that thread closed for trolling. You did not succeed at your attempt at trolling back then, you will not succeed now. Please go ahead and try the patience of the Mod Team, again; and find out how quickly you will be banned.]

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Old June 1st, 2013   #5
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At the moment the Syrian government is still paying public servants in the Kurdish area. At some point an official accommodation must be reached with them. I think its time that heavier weapons should be brought to bear against the rebels. Thermobaric weapons, cluster munitions, and perhaps even chemical weapons.
Various sources have said that chemical weapons were used, by both sides but so far the casuality counts have been fairly low, I don't think that the regime wants to escalate to a point that they would be seen as gassing their own people but the same could be said of the rebels as it would indicate that both sides were desperate to win at all costs including killing of their own side for a public relations victory.

Moscow disappointed political games prevented investigation into chemical weapons use in Syria — RT News

BBC News - Syria chemical weapons allegations

Five myths about chemical weapons - The Washington Post

and cluster weapons

Syria: Mounting Casualties from Cluster Munitions | Human Rights Watch

I'm not sure if the Syrians have thermobaric (fuel/air) weapons but they could probably make them easily enough or buy them from Russian sources.

Edit :they have thermobaric weapons and a article that claimed they used them but i cant get it to load here at work, sorry for the lack of link but it was just a quick google search away.

Last edited by EXSSBN2005; June 1st, 2013 at 03:10 PM.
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Old June 1st, 2013   #6
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Iirc one of the articles I read stated that an alleged chemical weapon attack in Syria was actually use of thermobaric munitions by the government.

What I really have to wonder is why you would think this would make a significant difference? The government has already fired Scuds (Luna-B) at the rebels, to little effect, why do you think heavy weapons will resolve the issue?
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Old June 1st, 2013   #7
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At the moment the Syrian government is still paying public servants in the Kurdish area. At some point an official accommodation must be reached with them. I think its time that heavier weapons should be brought to bear against the rebels. Thermobaric weapons, cluster munitions, and perhaps even chemical weapons. As the rebels become increasingly adulterated by foreign extremist militants with links to al qaeda the possibility for a return to civil society in Syria diminishes. Therefore the Syrian government must arrest the rebels advance immediately and swiftly in order to have a chance at turning the tide against the thugs with guns.
Convince me you're not trolling.
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Old June 2nd, 2013   #8
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Come on Bonza, everything he wrote after "I think" is aimed at starting an argument.....please....
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Old June 2nd, 2013   #9
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Also it struck me ass odd that Assad would mention fighting the Israeli's while he struggling to hold onto his country as it is. Could it be to rally support behind him since Israel isn't everyone's favorite country in that neck of the woods?
Standard middle eastern leader call for support from the masses that are trying to take him down. Saddam did much the same thing during Desert Storm, except he didn’t have to worry about Israeli retaliation. The Israeli’s can attack Assad, or rather his troops, easily, which is why his fight with Israel is virtually all talk so far.
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Very interesting point you make about Israel. Do you believe they may see an opportunity here what with thousands of Hezbollah fighters fighting in Syria, that they could be vulnerable now? And with Assad hinting at an offensive in the Golan perhaps Israel will make the preemptive move if it feels threatened.
Reports are Hezbollah fighters are streaming across the border to support Assad.
Hezbollah's Syrian Adventure | Foreign Policy
With most of Hezbollah’s in Syria, Israel won’t have a better chance to destroy their rocket and missile dumps in southern Lebanon. In addition probably all the current weapons going into Syria have been drawn from Hezbollah’s northern supplies to avoid revealing the location of weapons in the south. So an Israeli attack would leave Hezbollah doubly weakened. Hezbollah will undoubtedly immediately head back to try and defend anything left.

If Assad is winning at the time of the Israeli attack then Hezbollah abandoning him is likely to reverse the fight. If Assad is losing and the Israelis move fast, they can cut Hezbollah’s lines of supply and retreat, leaving them trapped between the Israeli army and a Sunni population bent on revenge.

Things won’t be much better for Hezbollah in northern Lebanon, where it looks like a blood feud has started between Hezbollah’s Shia supporters and everyone else. Foreign Sunni imams have declaring jihad and calling for fighters to travel to Lebanon to support the attacking.
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/28/wo...anted=all&_r=0

So this is probably the best chance that Israel is likely to ever have to bring about the destruction of Hezbollah. How likely do you think it is that they will pass it up?
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Arab spring reintegration or further disintegration of the region?

Though this article covers the entire region yet the Syrian Civil war can bee seen from it's spectacles. There has only been speculations let us wait till the Geneva- 2 then only it will be clear what course of action Syrian struggle will take place. S 300 whether arrived or not, Mig 29 will be supplied or not and how far Hezbollah can go in side Syria? the Syrian issue has become one of the most controversial swamp in the recent past of global geopolitics.

Arab Spring – Reintegration or further disintegration of the region? | The Kurdistan Tribune

[Mod edit: You are consistently discussing politics in threads (and have demonstrated little or no interest in defence matters). You not only have a track record of attempting to troll, you also provide a link that is only about the politics of disrespect directed towards 'western imperialist powers'. Not only is it disrespectful, it contains content that lacks logic and demonstrate an inability to reason (which I assume you agree with). If indeed you do agree with the content, you are done with this forum. We cannot reason with you. You are officially warned:-
Do not be a nationalistic troll.
We note that this is not your first warning from the Mod Team. We closed a previous thread because of your use of dubious and defective sources like Global Firepower as a source to support your point of view.

You have just returned from a 7-day ban, to help you remember prior instructions from the Mod Team. We are at the stage where we no longer believe a short ban will help, in your case. Do not continue to try the patience of the Mod Team.

Follow all Moderator or Super Moderator instructions given in this thread; tolerance mode for further rubbish like posts that defy logic turned-off (and make sure that future posts also conform to the Forum Rules).]

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Old June 2nd, 2013   #11
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Old June 3rd, 2013   #12
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Iirc one of the articles I read stated that an alleged chemical weapon attack in Syria was actually use of thermobaric munitions by the government.

What I really have to wonder is why you would think this would make a significant difference? The government has already fired Scuds (Luna-B) at the rebels, to little effect, why do you think heavy weapons will resolve the issue?
Well I wouldn't dare assume I know a great deal about the Russian way of making war but could it be possible the therm artic explosives are an attempt to increases the dubious effectiveness of the scuds? Bigger explosions and concussive blast would probably be more devastating than a standard warhead. Again just thinking out loud but the Russians seem to be interested in the use of smaller thermobaric munitions for use in an urbanized setting. Could the Russisns be offering strategic advice in the employment of scuds armed in such a way, based on the Russian army's experience fighting in Grozny? It would seem a good way to blast hidden fighters out of fighting positions in pulverized building/ rubble.
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Old June 3rd, 2013   #13
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Standard middle eastern leader call for support from the masses that are trying to take him down. Saddam did much the same thing during Desert Storm, except he didn’t have to worry about Israeli retaliation. The Israeli’s can attack Assad, or rather his troops, easily, which is why his fight with Israel is virtually all talk so far.

Reports are Hezbollah fighters are streaming across the border to support Assad.
Hezbollah's Syrian Adventure | Foreign Policy
With most of Hezbollah’s in Syria, Israel won’t have a better chance to destroy their rocket and missile dumps in southern Lebanon. In addition probably all the current weapons going into Syria have been drawn from Hezbollah’s northern supplies to avoid revealing the location of weapons in the south. So an Israeli attack would leave Hezbollah doubly weakened. Hezbollah will undoubtedly immediately head back to try and defend anything left.

If Assad is winning at the time of the Israeli attack then Hezbollah abandoning him is likely to reverse the fight. If Assad is losing and the Israelis move fast, they can cut Hezbollah’s lines of supply and retreat, leaving them trapped between the Israeli army and a Sunni population bent on revenge.

Things won’t be much better for Hezbollah in northern Lebanon, where it looks like a blood feud has started between Hezbollah’s Shia supporters and everyone else. Foreign Sunni imams have declaring jihad and calling for fighters to travel to Lebanon to support the attacking.
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/28/wo...anted=all&_r=0

So this is probably the best chance that Israel is likely to ever have to bring about the destruction of Hezbollah. How likely do you think it is that they will pass it up?
Perhaps, or Assad is hoping that by Israel entering the war against an Arab nation he can rally more support for his regime and make it seem ( at least to locals) that the entire war is an Israeli/CIA plot as indigenous propaganda portrays. It seems to me that its for domestic consumption. Would the FSA fight a common enemy and be seen fighting more or less on the side of the Israeli's. seems like such a scenario could weaken Arab support for the rebels.
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Old June 3rd, 2013   #14
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Well I wouldn't dare assume I know a great deal about the Russian way of making war but could it be possible the therm artic explosives are an attempt to increases the dubious effectiveness of the scuds? Bigger explosions and concussive blast would probably be more devastating than a standard warhead. Again just thinking out loud but the Russians seem to be interested in the use of smaller thermobaric munitions for use in an urbanized setting. Could the Russisns be offering strategic advice in the employment of scuds armed in such a way, based on the Russian army's experience fighting in Grozny? It would seem a good way to blast hidden fighters out of fighting positions in pulverized building/ rubble.
Scuds are too inaccurate for such purposes. Even with the much more modern Tochka-U, it took extremely professional crews, during the battle for Komsomolskoye, to use them effectively against massed insurgent formations, and even then in a situation where they were funneled into a known location. Russian use of thermobaric munitions is most common through TOS-1 systems, against strong points like Komsomolskoye, or during the battles for Grozny. I doubt they would be advising the Syrians on the use of Scuds in such a manner. Thermobaric warheads are probably used by RPG and RPO type weapons.

EDIT: The Syrians just found Sarin in an insurgent weapons cache.

http://vz.ru/news/2013/6/2/635349.html

This comes shortly after a chemical weapon factory was discovered in Iraq. And after, on May 6th, a UN commission stated that the chemical weapons used in Syria, were likely used by the anti-government forces.

Meanwhile Russia seems to be intent to deliver at least some of the MiG-29Ms, that Syria originally bought. Reports put the number at over 10, so we're probably talking about 1 squadron (12).

http://lenta.ru/news/2013/05/31/mig/
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Old June 3rd, 2013   #15
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Perhaps, or Assad is hoping that by Israel entering the war against an Arab nation he can rally more support for his regime and make it seem ( at least to locals) that the entire war is an Israeli/CIA plot as indigenous propaganda portrays.
For me, the question is what will the West and the Arab Gulf states will do if Assad makes significant gains on the battlefield and starts to re-capture a lot of the territory taken by the rebels? As I see it, it is obvious that Assad's main strategy will be to ensure nothing happens to bring the Israeli's into the conflict and to further militarily weaken the rebels in the hope that the West and the Arab Gulf states will be left with no choice but to start talking with him - there is not much else he can do as his options are limited. And as for the rebels, their biggest fear - which they will not mention publicly - is that they will be left out in the cold if indeed, Assad reaches some sort of agreement with the West and the Arab Gulf states.

Robert Fisk: Hezbollah has been lured into unknown territory in Syria as it wages costly battle for survival - Comment - Voices - The Independent

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/wo...a-8590636.html

Inside Story - Syria - exploding beyond its borders - YouTube

Inside Story - Gauging Hezbollah's role in Syria - YouTube

Just who has the most to gain if the killing in Syria goes on? - Comment - Voices - The Independent

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/wo...h-8641380.html

Last edited by STURM; June 3rd, 2013 at 08:21 AM.
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