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War Against ISIS

This is a discussion on War Against ISIS within the Geo-strategic Issues forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; I think that Assad may have managed to turn things around across the board. It's no coincidence that he retakes ...


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Old June 10th, 2013   #31
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I think that Assad may have managed to turn things around across the board. It's no coincidence that he retakes Al Qusair, Hezbollah joins the fight on his side, and Russia announces that they're resuming deliveries on old contracts, and announces a new one, within a fairly small amount of time. Russia has inside information on the situation, and the fact that they're back to supporting Assad with material deliveries is telling. When it coincides with a major military victory, and the entry of a new ally, I think it's likely that Assad is gaining ground.
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Old June 10th, 2013   #32
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The Syrian Army is right now having issue with itself anyway. You must look at it from another view. Any Army in the world who has lots AWOL, abandon posts, units that switch sides , and etc gonna have problems period.
No doubts the Syrian army has ''issues'' but at the end of the day it has rallied around Assad and contrary to what some may believe - or like to believe - not all the Sunnis in the army have rallied to the rebels. It is 2013, and the Syrian army has not collapsed.

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The(Party of G-d) Hezbollah is the only group that is well organized to assist them in that area that is close by and they know not to bite the hand that feed you.
Hezbollah only has so many fighters and most will be retained on Lebanese territory. As I mentioned before, the main value in having Hezbollah fighters fight alongside the Syrian army is political, it demonstrates solidarity, that Assad is not alone. Bear in mind that Hezbollah now finds inself operating in unknown territory and can't always depend on a friendly local population. When it comes to fire support and local intel, Hezbollah fighters in Syria will rely on the Syrian army. They may even rely on the Syrian for resupply of food and ammo. And I don't get what you mean by well organised. Not well organised in comparison to whom? The rebels? The fact that the Syrian army has not managed to defeat the rebels is due to a number of factors and organisation may not be a vital or a decisive factor.

You mentioned in a previous post that Hezbollah fighters were well trained, maybe, but in comparison to whom? Not all the Hezbollah fighters in Syria are veterans from previous engagements against the IDF - in 2006 Hezbollah prevented the IDF from achieving its obejectives but losses amongst Hezbollah field units were high. IMO, taking into account that some senior Syrian army NCOs and mid-level officers will have had previous experience fighting various factions [Fatah, the Phalangist, Druze, Amal, etc] in Lebanon, and also against the Israeli's, on paper it is the Syrian army that is more experienced than Hezbollah! And it is the Syrian army that has all the trappings of a real army to enable it to maintain/sustain protracted combat operations - which it has been doing.

Ultimately, Hezbollah's open participation in the war in Syria will not turn out to be a game changer but that is not to say that their presence is not welcomed by the Syrian government and army. It will be a mistake to think that Hezbollah will provide what is needed for Assad and his forces to finally defeat the rebels.

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If Hezbollah is truly a good force you will see some improvement in Syrian units in the next 6 months as Hezbollah assist them with there morale.
Is morale the main issue? Judging by articles written by foreign journalists who have visited army units [I dislike the word embedded] and videos, many units do not suffer from morale issues and are highly motivated to take on the fight against what they call terrorists and foreign elements.

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

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/...n-8575647.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/...t-8574139.html

Embedded With the Syrian Army - YouTube

Last edited by STURM; June 10th, 2013 at 06:29 AM.
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Old June 10th, 2013   #33
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No doubt the Syrian army has ''issues'' but at the end of the day it has rallied around Assad and contrary to what some may believe - or like to believe - not all the Sunnis in the army have rallied to the rebels. It is 2013, and the Syrian army has not collapsed.



Hezbollah has only has so many fighters and most will be retained on Lebanese territory. As I mentioned before, the main value in having Hezbollah fighters fight alongside the Syrian army is political, it demopnstrates solidarity, that Assad is not alone. Bear in mind that Hezbollah now finds inself operating in unknown territory and can't always depend on a friendly local population. When it comes to fire support, local intel and probably even logistics, Hezbollah fighters in Syria will rely on the Syrian army.

You mentioned in a previous post that they were well trained, maybe, but in comparison to whom? Not all the Hezbollah fighters in Syria are veterans from previous engagements against the IDF. IMO, taking into account that senior Syrian army NCOs and mid-level officers will have had previous experience against Fatah, the Phalangist and other factions in Lebanon, and also against the Israeli's, on paper it is the Syrian army that is more experienced rhan Hezbollah! And it is the Syrian army that has all the trappings of a real army to enable it to maintain protracted combat operations - which it has been doing. Ultimately, hezbollah's presence in Syria will not turn out to be a game changer but that is not to say that their presence is not welcomed by the Syrian government and army.
One thing about military forces if your morale is low you will not get production from your military point blank. Overall the Syrian Army has problem with logistic, military airlift, and aircrafts. The Syrian Armed Forces lacks modern aircraft, helicopters, communication equipment, electric countermeasures and a good special forces. Hezbollah organized itself into a fighting forces and it starts with discipline and that what Hezbollah has that why its well trained it don't have to be compared to any army it already have the main thing all top military forces have. Having studying the Syrian Army they having show me that they are skilled and discipline as a armed force should be.
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Old June 10th, 2013   #34
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Nobody is disputing the fact that moral is an important factor and that the Syrian army has taken a beating. The Syrian army and Hezbollah are trained and equipped to fight different kinds of engagements - this is an important fact to consider. As a regular army, the Syrian army has many advantages over Hezbollah and the Syrian army - on paper - is better equipped and organised to conduct the kind of operations it's conducting now. Hezbollah independent anti-tank teams in 2006 displayed a lot of flexibility, innovativeness and initiative but we can also say with certain that the Syrian army has learnt a thing or two since the revolt started. Apart from 2006, has Hezbollah conducted any protracted operations similar to what it faces now, in terms of intensity? Hezbollah also has no heavy weapons that are essential for the kind of operations being fought, no armour and thus will have to rely on its Syrian allies. The presence of Hezbollah no doubt will be welcomed, will be a psychological boost and will enable some Syrian units to be rotated out to re-equip and rest but will not be a game changer.

The notion that Hezbollah will be a major factor in defeating the rebels does not fit with reality - we can't even say for sure - for lack of information - whether the presence of Hezbollah proved decisive in the fall of Al Qusair. There is nothing to prove that Hezbollah is more disciplined, better trained and better organised - as you suggest - than the Syrian army. And who says that the overall moral in Syrian army units are low? Can we say that for certain? And who's to say that 3-4 months down the road, that Hezbollah units will not have moral issues if no decisive results are achieved from their presence in Syria and if the attrition continues?

I also dis-agree with your assessment that the Syrian army lacks good special forces. Again, in comparison to whom? By Arab standards, the Syrian commandos/shock troops actually performed quite well in 1973 and 1982. You mentioned that Syria lacks lacks modern aircraft and helicopters. The aircraft they have are more than adequate for the kinds of roles there are performing against the rebels. Ask the rebels who are at the receiving end of bombing and strafing runs......

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Having studying the Syrian Army they having show me that they are skilled and discipline as a armed force should be.
You should get a copy of Pollacks 'Arabs at War'. It's probably the best available source - in English - on the various Arab armed forces and their combat performance in various wars fought..

Last edited by STURM; June 10th, 2013 at 12:51 PM.
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Old June 10th, 2013   #35
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I think that Assad may have managed to turn things around across the board. It's no coincidence that he retakes Al Qusair, Hezbollah joins the fight on his side, and Russia announces that they're resuming deliveries on old contracts, and announces a new one, within a fairly small amount of time. Russia has inside information on the situation, and the fact that they're back to supporting Assad with material deliveries is telling. When it coincides with a major military victory, and the entry of a new ally, I think it's likely that Assad is gaining ground.
Are they providing Assad's troops with intelligence on rebel movements/dispositions? Have they even got the capability for something like that? Also, are they delivering arms on all those BDKs out in the Med as rumor has it, or is it all delivered through Iran and Iraq or some combination of both?
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Old June 10th, 2013   #36
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Are they providing Assad's troops with intelligence on rebel movements/dispositions?
It's likely, though I don't know on what level and in what form.

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Have they even got the capability for something like that?
Using satellites, certainly.

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Also, are they delivering arms on all those BDKs out in the Med as rumor has it, or is it all delivered through Iran and Iraq or some combination of both?
Neither I think. They use civilian shipping, to the best of my knowledge.
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Old June 10th, 2013   #37
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This isn't a intelligence war. It's an extermination compaign against an insurgency. The government knows where they are at [Aleppo], where their suppy routes are [Turkey], who they are comanded by, they built these troops after all. Aswell as their aproximate strength.

All that is left is to send his forces into the meat grinder and to make sure he has something left to defend his power with. And I would hardly call hezbollah "highly trained". I would chalk that reputation up to Israeli mismanagement.
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Old June 11th, 2013   #38
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Some news, Russia has offered to send peacekeepers to the Golan heights, to replace the departing Austrians. Israel has consented, but the UN isn't keen on it, and current agreements make it impossible for a permanent Security Council member to deploy peacekeepers to that particular conflict zone.



It doesn't surprise me that Russia wants to increase its military presence inside Syria.
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Old June 11th, 2013   #39
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Israel has consented, but the UN isn't keen on it, and current agreements make it impossible for a permanent Security Council member to deploy peacekeepers to that particular conflict zone.
And it remains to be seen if the Israeli's will object to certain countries volunteering to have troops serve on the Golan. The Isreali's had previously objected to the participation of certain countries with UNIFIL but were overuled by the UN. Apart from Russia, probably no other country is willing to have troops sent there and understandably so. There is also the possibility that certain Arab countries will object to the presence of Russian observers in the Golan on the grounds that Russia is not an impartial party to the conflict.

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And I would hardly call hezbollah "highly trained". I would chalk that reputation up to Israeli mismanagement.
'Highly trained'' is a relative term wouldn't you agree? Quite a few Fatah, Amal, Druze and DFLP fighters received only the most basic of training prior to the Israeli invasion in 1982. Compared to other guerilla groups the IDF has fought, Hezbollah fighters in comparison are ''better trained'' but in 2006 - no surprises there - they displayed certain characteristics and flaws that would not be evident in a ''well trained'' regular army. They have displayed a lot of innovativeness and small unit independence/flexibility that other groups failed to achieve, but to be fair, Hezbollah had or have a few key advantages other groups didn't have.

Objectively speaking, they did prevent the IDF from achieving its objectives in 2006 and their actions over a certain period did play a part in Israel withdrawing from south Lebanon - not all of it was due to Israeli mis-management. Another group I can think off - much smaller than Hezbollah, no political involvement and enjoying much less grassroot support - that gave the Israeli's problems, was Ahmad Jibril's Poplular Front for Liberation of Palestine - General Command [PFLF-GC].
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Old June 13th, 2013   #40
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Front page BBC is saying the U.S. has confirmed Syrian chemical weapons attacks. Obama is offering "military support" to the rebels

My guess is a portion of those Hezbollah formations were probably made up of Iranian QUDS and Washington has decided to step in before the inevitable collapse of the rebels.
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Old June 14th, 2013   #41
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And what if there is absolute proof that rebels have also used chemicals? Will this have crossed Obama's 'red line' or will this inconveniant fact just be overlooked and swept under the carpet? Action and condemnation has to be taken against any side that uses chemicals not just the side that certain countries decide is the bad chap.

US offers 'military support' to Syrian rebels - Americas - Al Jazeera English

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/wo...g-8591214.html

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opi...049162160.html
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Old June 14th, 2013   #42
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And what if there is absolute proof that rebels have also used chemicals? Will this have crossed Obama's 'red line' or will this inconveniant fact just be overlooked and swept under the carpet? Action and condemnation has to be taken against any side that uses chemicals not just the side that certain countries decide is the bad chap.

US offers 'military support' to Syrian rebels - Americas - Al Jazeera English

Syria and sarin gas: US claims have a very familiar ring - Middle East - World - The Independent

Betrayal in Syria - Opinion - Al Jazeera English
Is it possible that Assad calculated this? What I mean is someone deployed chemical weapons on a limited scale that we know. The evidence points to the regime. Why use these weapons on such a limited scale to such little result?

Whoever gave the order for deployment must have reckoned on US and EU involvement surely? Does someone wish to widen the conflict and draw in the bigger players?
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Old June 14th, 2013   #43
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We have no way of knowing what really has happened for want of any detailed information. All we know is what we're told by the UN, the U.S., the rebels, the Syrian government and civilians unfortunate enough to becaught in the crossfire. What we do know for certain is that intelligence has proved to be faulty in the past and this might be the case again here; and that human testimony is far from perfect. And we do know that certain countries - frustrated that Assad is still the head of government and eager to do away with him for their own national interests - might be looking for just the right pretext to take things to a whole new level.

Syrian officials have pointed out to Western journalists, that the Syrian government has no reason to use chemicals as it has other more practical means of dealing with the rebels - what they won't say publicly is that their big worry is that use of chemicals might bring outside powers in. It is still possible however that some overzelous and desperate Syrian army units might have used them without official sanction - we can expect that some units might be out of touch with HQ for certain periods. By the same token, if 'jihadists', 'extremists' and 'Islamists' and 'Salafist' rebels get hold of chemicals, I won't be surprised if they are used on Syrian army troops. When and if this happens [I hope no one on either side gets hit by chemicals], it will be interesting to see what the reaction of Obama, Cameron, Hollande, King Abdullah and Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani will be.... Will Obama talk of his ''red line'' that has been crossed? Will the State Department spokesman condemn the rebels if hospital images of dying, half blinded and vomiting Syrian troops with blisters on their skin appear on Al Jazeera and BBC?

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middle...849859283.html

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Old June 14th, 2013   #44
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It's not in the interests of the Syrian regime to use WMDs. If they do use them, it would be a major mistake, while the rebels have little to lose, and definitely want international intervention.
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Old June 14th, 2013   #45
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It's not in the interests of the Syrian regime to use WMDs. If they do use them, it would be a major mistake, while the rebels have little to lose, and definitely want international intervention.
You finished my thought. There have been massive defections in the Syrian military and to use chemicals on such a small and ineffective scale doesn't make sense. The only way that adds up is if they-Assad's forces-were testing western resolve. What if the rebels wanted to make it look like Assad did it to force the hand of the West and thus turning the military balance in their favor? Not to mention multiple sources suggesting the rebels have used chemicals themselves. They have the means and the motive and also lack sufficient supplies/delivery systems for a massive chemical attack.
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