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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; Ruthlessness is a morale-related trait, contributes directly to the effectiveness of any armed force. Morale did help many armies and ...


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Old June 17th, 2013   #61
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Ruthlessness is a morale-related trait, contributes directly to the effectiveness of any armed force. Morale did help many armies and militias throughout history.

Ex: Well-armed and well-trained men who have poor morale can be defeated by a poorly-armed yet inspired force.

I agree that we cannot make any judgements now, but that doesn't keep us from understanding how things are going on the ground with logic.
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Old June 17th, 2013   #62
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I agree that we cannot make any judgements now, but that doesn't keep us from understanding how things are going on the ground with logic.
But please explain, how do you know for certain, that AQ elements are more effective than other rebels - especially given that both sides are economical with the truth and exaggerate? That's my question....
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Old June 17th, 2013   #63
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1. They are better trained and their commanders have tons of experience. This is evident in Afghanistan, Iraq and pretty much the whole Middle East.

2. They have a foothold in Iraq and can easily smuggle weapons and men in Syria.

3. They're fighting for a religious idea, considered to be one of the most powerful ways to boost morale.
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Old June 17th, 2013   #64
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But you still haven't told me anything to convince me that the AQ elements amongst the rebels are really the ''best'' as you claim. What you have given me are past examples that are open to enterpretation and are factually wrong, e.g. ''They are better trained and their commanders have tons of experience. This is evident in Afghanistan, Iraq and pretty much the whole Middle East.'' It doesn't answer my question or back up your statement....

What is evident and what did they achieve in Iraq? The Americans didn't leave Iraq because they were unable to put down AQ guerillas. What have AQ elements and affliated organisations achieved in Yemen, the rest of the Middle East, as well as in the Philippine and Indonesia? Have they [according to you, people who have tonnes of experience and are well trained] actually achieved their aims anywhere? And why mention Afghanistan at all? In Afghanistan from the 2002/2003 period onwards - when the bulk of AQ had already crossed/scaped into Pakistan and the Taliban made their comeback - it was the Pashtun Taliban not AQ elements who were the biggest threat to foreign troops and the Karzai government.

Better train in comparison to whom and based on what evidence? How can you say that for sure? Having tonnes of experience doesn't automatically equate with being ''better'' - that tonne of experience could be the wrong experience.... e.g. The Iraqis had 8 years of experience fighting against Iran, they had previously sent a contingent to Syria in 1973 and had years of experience fighting the Kurds. How did all that experience help them in 1991?

Anyway, I think its best we get back to topic.
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Old June 17th, 2013   #65
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"But you still haven't told me anything to convince me that the AQ elements amongst the rebels are really the ''best'' as you claim. What you have given me are past examples that are open to enterpretation and are factually wrong, e.g. ''They are better trained and their commanders have tons of experience. This is evident in Afghanistan, Iraq and pretty much the whole Middle East.'' It doesn't answer my question or back up your statement...."

They're not factually wrong.

1. They do have 30-40 years of experience in guerrilla fighting.

2. They are better-trained, and are now considered the best-equiped Al Qaeda affiliate in the world. Analyst Says Rebel Group Fighting Assad is Best Equipped Al Qaeda Affiliate in the World - Hit & Run : Reason.com

It's correct.

I actually waited several hours for that news article to come out :p

"
What is evident and what did they achieve in Iraq? The Americans didn't leave Iraq because they were unable to put down AQ guerillas. What have AQ elements and affliated organisations achieved in Yemen, the rest of the Middle East, as well as in the Philippine and Indonesia? Have they [according to you, people who have tonnes of experience and are well trained] actually achieved their aims anywhere? And why mention Afghanistan at all? In Afghanistan from the 2002/2003 period onwards - when the bulk of AQ had already crossed/scaped into Pakistan and the Taliban made their comeback - it was the Pashtun Taliban not AQ elements who were the biggest threat to foreign troops and the Karzai government."

Achieving their goals does not matter. Their effectiveness matters as we are trying to measure the same faction's effectiveness in a totally new war. They were effective even in anti-Qaeda environments.

They did participate in Afghanistan but in a minor role in the 80's against the Soviets. And that was a situation where they achieved their goals

"Better train in comparison to whom and based on what evidence? How can you say that for sure? Having tonnes of experience doesn't automatically equate with being ''better'' - that tonne of experience could be the wrong experience.... e.g. The Iraqis had 8 years of experience fighting against Iran, they had previously sent a contingent to Syria in 1973 and had years of experience fighting the Kurds. How did all that experience help them in 1991?"

They are better trained in comparison to the rest of the rebels. Some are mercs, some are Syrians who don't even know how to use a rifle, some are foreigners who've been trained in camps in Turkey, etc. But the Al Qaeda rebels are better trained, they have bases all over the world. They do have much experience. And no, experience in guerrilla fighting cannot be 'wrong' experience. Regular army tactics may be used in inappropriate environments rendering them ineffective, but guerrilla tactics are usually universal in principle and experience gained from conducting guerrilla warfare cannot be flawed. The Iraqi defeat in 1991 could be associated to a poorly trained military and poor morale, and now, the rebels have both these factors.
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Old June 17th, 2013   #66
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"But you still haven't told me anything to convince me that the AQ elements amongst the rebels are really the ''best'' as you claim. What you have given me are past examples that are open to enterpretation and are factually wrong, e.g. ''They are better trained and their commanders have tons of experience. This is evident in Afghanistan, Iraq and pretty much the whole Middle East.'' It doesn't answer my question or back up your statement...."

They're not factually wrong.

1. They do have 30-40 years of experience in guerrilla fighting.

2. They are better-trained, and are now considered the best-equiped Al Qaeda affiliate in the world. Analyst Says Rebel Group Fighting Assad is Best Equipped Al Qaeda Affiliate in the World - Hit & Run : Reason.com...
There's some confusion here. Al-Qaeda was founded at the end of the 1980s. Its founder was 16 years old 40 years ago.

Jabhat al-Nusra, the organisation referred to, is very new. It may have individuals within it with considerable experience of guerrilla fighting, but - 30-40 years? Where? Against who? Certainly not in Syria. And where is there evidence of organisational continuity, enabling the preservation of organisational knowledge & experience? None is offered by any of the sources.

"Best-equipped" does not equal best. You need to know how to use equipment.
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Old June 17th, 2013   #67
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There's some confusion here. Al-Qaeda was founded at the end of the 1980s. Its founder was 16 years old 40 years ago.

Jabhat al-Nusra, the organisation referred to, is very new. It may have individuals within it with considerable experience of guerrilla fighting, but - 30-40 years? Where? Against who? Certainly not in Syria. And where is there evidence of organisational continuity, enabling the preservation of organisational knowledge & experience? None is offered by any of the sources.

"Best-equipped" does not equal best. You need to know how to use equipment.
Jabhat al-Nusra, according to a Lebanese salafist, has been receiving all kinds of support from al-Qaeda since it's formation. The leader of the organization has also declared an alliance with Zawahiri in Iraq.

Syrian rebels pledge loyalty to al-Qaeda

Under the black flag of al-Qaeda, the Syrian city ruled by gangs of extremists - Telegraph

And according to this one, they have taken control over much land in the north.

Syria: Jabhat al-Nusra split after leader's pledge of support for al-Qaeda - Telegraph

Al-Qaeda's Syrian wing takes over the oilfields once belonging to Assad - Telegraph

So you see they cant do this without support from Al Qaeda and it's commanders.
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Old June 18th, 2013   #68
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You're obfuscating, that's what you're doing. And you keep on falling back to the same argument that just because AQ has lots of experience and is supposedly better trained, that it is the most capable of all the rebel factions in Syria.

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Achieving their goals does not matter.
If ''achieving their goals does not matter'' why even bother to take up arms in the first place? The key fact remains that AQ has not managed to achieve its goal - that of driving out secular regimes, driving out completely the Western military presence in the Middle East and getting the masses to form a strict Islamic state - anywhere. Not in Afghanistan, not in Iraq, not in Somalia and not in Yemen. They have failed miserably. The Arab Spring - which clearly showed that the Arab masses did not want what AQ intended them to have - made AQ irrelevant, it was only recent events in Syria that gave AQ a new lease of life and a purpose.

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And that was a situation where they achieved their goals
What a load of b***ocks. From a military sense, they achieved NOTHING, in terms of goals. Certain Afghans [groups like Rasul Sayaf and Haqqani] cultivated the Arabs because of the cash resources the Arabs had at their disposal, period. The real serious fighting - ones that actually achieved results over a certain period - were done by a number of Pashtun and non-Pashtun groups - which mostly stayed away from the Arab volunteers and wanted nothing to do with them.

Let's get this clear. When I say ''achieving goals'' I mean achieving a set of military or political objectives.

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Jabhat al-Nusra, according to a Lebanese salafist, has been receiving all kinds of support from al-Qaeda since it's formation. The leader of the organization has also declared an alliance with Zawahiri in Iraq.
And so what? It still doesn't change the fact that AQ doesn't have 30-40 years of experience, as you claim.

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They are better trained in comparison to the rest of the rebels. Some are mercs, some are Syrians who don't even know how to use a rifle, some are foreigners who've been trained in camps in Turkey, etc.
And all the fighters who fight in your AQ elements have more formalised training? They have advanced small arms tactical skills, have received intensive small unit training, are expert night fighters, etc.? By your logic, these elements will be at Assad's palace soon and next they'll be in the Galilee on their way to Tel Aviv after badly mauling the IDF.

Here's news for you. The beauty of AQ is that anyone can wake up in the morning and decide that they are part of AQ. Doesn't make them ''well trained'' or ''better''. Yes, they may be more ruthless, even more dedicated and be willing to die but from a strictly military sense it does not make them ''better''. And just because a certain group spins the armed Jihad line, it doesn't automatically mean that it is affiliated or is part of AQ.

I'm done with this.

Last edited by STURM; June 18th, 2013 at 05:14 AM.
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Old June 18th, 2013
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Old June 18th, 2013   #69
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You're obfuscating, that's what you're doing. And you keep on falling back to the same argument that just because AL has lots of experience, that it is the most capable of all the rebel factions in Syria.



What a load of b***ocks. From a military sense, they achieved NOTHING. The Afghans cultivated the Arabs because of the cash resources the Arabs had at their disposal. period. The real serious fighting - ones that actually achieved results over a certain period - were done by a number of Pashtun and non-Pashtun groups.

Let's get this clear. When I say ''achieving goals'' I mean achieving a set of military or political objectives. The Arab elements played an extremely minor role in the eventual Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan.



And so what?? It still doesn't change the fact that AQ doesn't have 30-40 years of experience, as you claim.



And all the fighters who fight in your AQ elements have more formalised training? they have advanced small arms tactical skills, have received intensive small unit training, are expert night fighters, etc.? Hell, by your logic, these elements will be at the Assad's palace soon.

Here's news for you. The beauty of AQ is that anyone can wake up in the morning and decided that they are part of AQ. Doesn't make them ''well trained'' or ''better''. And you're assuming that just because a certain group spins the armed Jihad line, that it is actually affiliated or is part of AQ?

I'm done with this.
May I take a moment of your precious time to point out a few links that were clearly visible in the post above?

Under the black flag of al-Qaeda, the Syrian city ruled by gangs of extremists - Telegraph

Al-Qaeda's Syrian wing takes over the oilfields once belonging to Assad - Telegraph

Syria: Jabhat al-Nusra split after leader's pledge of support for al-Qaeda - Telegraph

Analyst Says Rebel Group Fighting Assad is Best Equipped Al Qaeda Affiliate in the World - Hit & Run : Reason.com


They have the best weapons among all of al-Qaeda's groups and have made great gains in the North and the East. Other rebel groups have failed to do this, subsequently being crushed in various cities in the western and southern part of Syria. However, the fighting in Aleppo, in which ex-al-Nusra fighters are participating, has been ongoing for months, maybe a year. This does show that they're capable.

"What a load of b***ocks. From a military sense, they achieved NOTHING. The Afghans cultivated the Arabs because of the cash resources the Arabs had at their disposal. period. The real serious fighting - ones that actually achieved results over a certain period - were done by a number of Pashtun and non-Pashtun groups."

They joined with the goal of kicking out the Soviets from Afghanistan. Regardless of their effectiveness on the battlefield, their goals have been met and achieved.

"
Let's get this clear. When I say ''achieving goals'' I mean achieving a set of military or political objectives. The Arab elements played an extremely minor role in the eventual Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan"

Which contradicts your above statement.

"And so what?? It still doesn't change the fact that AQ doesn't have 30-40 years of experience, as you claim."

I don't know to what extent you're willing to ignore facts and links which I'm showing you, but here's some evidence for ya.

Al-Qaeda - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Quote:
Al-Qaeda (/lˈkaɪdə/ al-ky-də; Arabic: القاعدة‎ al-qāʿidah, Arabic: [lqɑːʕɪdɐ], translation: "The Base" and alternatively spelled al-Qaida and sometimes al-Qa'ida) is a global militant Islamist organization founded by Osama bin Laden at some point between August 1988
Without any experienced commanders or a small number of experienced men, they wouldn't have been able to take large swathes of land in Syria. Think about it.

"And all the fighters who fight in your AQ elements have more formalised training? they have advanced small arms tactical skills, have received intensive small unit training, are expert night fighters, etc.? Hell, by your logic, these elements will be at the Assad's palace soon."

You constantly ignore a statement that I have constantly repeated (and you yourself having made the statement as well) that effectiveness among rebel factions does not mean they are superior to the Syrians.

And yes, they are receiving more formalized training. CIA instructors are already present in Syria, training camps have already been set up in Turkey and Lebanon where Salafist influence is dominant, and money from Gulf businessmen keeps coming in. This is not logic. This is a fact, proven and documented and displayed on various internet sources, whether you like it or not.

"Here's news for you. The beauty of AQ is that anyone can wake up in the morning and decided that they are part of AQ. Doesn't make them ''well trained'' or ''better''. And you're assuming that just because a certain group spins the armed Jihad line, that it is actually affiliated or is part of AQ?"

Your deliberate ignorance on this matter is flabbergasting. Have you not read any of the links that I have posted earlier?

This is a new one right here, just in case you won't bother to go back.

Al-Nusra Front - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Quote:
The Al-Nusra Front or Jabhat al-Nusra (Arabic: جبهة النصرة لأهل الشام‎ Jabhat an-Nuṣrah li-Ahl ash-Shām, "Front of Defence for the People of Greater Syria"), is an Al Qaida associate operating in Syria.[8] The group announced its creation on 23 January 2012 during the Syrian civil war.[9] It is described as "the most aggressive and successful arm of the rebel force".
Al-Qaeda affiliate playing larger role in Syria rebellion - PostPartisan - The Washington Post

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The extremist group is growing in part because it has been the most aggressive and successful arm of the rebel force. "From the reports we get from the doctors, most of the injured and dead FSA are Jabhat al-Nusra, due to their courage and [the fact they are] always at the front line," said a message sent today to the State Department by the moderate Free Syrian Army representatives, warning of the extremists' rise.
There you go. That's more evidence and 'facts' than you could have hoped to see. If you're going to continue claiming that I'm not showing you facts, then it's a waste of time discussing the matter.
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Old June 18th, 2013   #70
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Cool down for a while, won't you fellas...
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Old June 18th, 2013   #71
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Cool down for a while, won't you fellas...
Don't worry, it's all right :p
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Old June 19th, 2013   #72
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They joined with the goal of kicking out the Soviets from Afghanistan. Regardless of their effectiveness on the battlefield, their goals have been met and achieved.
Their goal was to drive out the Soviets and to establish an Islamic state in Afghanistan, based on the teachings of Wahabism. This state, led by an ''Amir'' would later be part of a Caliphate encompassing other similar states.

Their goals ''have been met and achieved''?

AQ wanted the same in Iraq, in Yemen, in Turkey and in other places - the overthrow of secular leaders and the establishment of an Islamic state. They failed miserably .....

Syria has given AQ a new sense of purpose and it will remain to be seen if they actually [for once] achieve all their objectives. At the end of the day despite both wanting to see the end of Assad, the West and AQ have different ideas as to the kind of Syrian government they want formed, in a post Assad period.

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Which contradicts your above statement.
How on earth does it ''contradict'' my statement?? The Arabs played a minor role in the whole thing [which you admitted to in a previous post] and even if there had never been an Arab presence in Afghanistan, the end result would have been the same - the Soviets would still have withdrawn. Again, the serious fighting - the ones that actually produced results over a period - was done by the Afghans and most Afghan groups stayed away from the Arabs because they viewed them as much more trouble than they were worth. For the few Afghan factions that had Arab volunteers amongst its fighters [incuding the Rasul Sayyaf faction], the main value in having the Arabs there was that it led to cash donations and aid pouring in, not the fighting value of the Arabs.

The only people who made it sound as if the presence of the Arabs was a decisive factor was OBL - in several well documented interviews he gave - and AQ propaganda.

None of any serious books written on the subject mentions anything of the kind -

Islam and Resistance in Afghanistan - Oliver Roy

Ghosts Wars - Steve Coll

Taliban - Ahmad Rashid

Soldiers of God - Kaplan

Al Qaeda - Rohan Gunaratna

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Your deliberate ignorance on this matter is flabbergasting.
Speak for yourself mate.

''The beauty of AQ is that anyone can wake up in the morning and decide that they are part of AQ. Doesn't make them ''well trained'' or ''better''. And just because a certain group spins the armed Jihad line, it doesn't automatically mean that it is affiliated or is part of AQ.''

I stand by with what I wrote [above] in the previous post. I'm not at all disputing the fact that AQ has a presence in Syria and that they're AQ afilliated groups there. What I dismiss is the simplistic notion that just because a particular faction spins the armed jihad anti-western, anti-secular line and is described as ''jihadist' or ''extremist'', that this automatically means that it is actually part of or affiliated with AQ.

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Have you not read any of the links that I have posted earlier?
I never denied that AQ had a big presence in Syria - has become a major player and is a major problem for Assad - and that Syrian rebel factions have openly declared their ties with AQ.

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1. They do have 30-40 years of experience in guerrilla fighting.

2. They are better-trained, and are now considered the best-equiped Al Qaeda affiliate in the world.
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Originally Posted by Alex_David View Post
1. They are better trained and their commanders have tons of experience. This is evident in Afghanistan, Iraq and pretty much the whole Middle East.
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Originally Posted by Alex_David View Post
I said best fighters in all the rebel factions, not superior to their opponents.
What I do contest is your assertion that the AQ elements are the most ''experienced'' and are ''better trained''.

And I still stand by my opinion that being ''experienced'', being ruthless, being more willing to lay down your life compared to fighters in other factions and being more religiously motivated DOES NOT automatically equate with actually being combat effective and tactically proficient ........

And yes, I'm very aware that the line you're spinning is that AQ elements - by virtue of being ''better trained'' and ''experienced'' - are ''better'' than their counterparts in other factions and not the Syrian army.

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That's more evidence and 'facts' than you could have hoped to see. If you're going to continue claiming that I'm not showing you facts, then it's a waste of time discussing the matter.
As for your so called ''evidence and 'facts'', what you've posted are links from the Telegraph and the Washington Post mentioning the presence and major involvement of AQ groups [which I never denied or contested], a Wiki page on Al-Nusra, a Wiki page on AQ and a link containing a short report citing intelligence agencies mentioning that al-Nusra is the best equipped Al Qaeda affiliate in the world. All well and good.

However, when I asked you for facts [facts you claimed to have given but were ignored by me], I meant actual facts to back up your repeated claim that AQ - by being the most experienced and best equipped rebel faction - is actually the ''best'' of all the factions.... This, you have not provided me with.

Just to refresh your memory -
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Originally Posted by Alex_David View Post
I said best fighters in all the rebel factions, not superior to their opponents.
You keep harping on about AQ's experience. Yes, AQ indeed has decades of experience formenting armed Jihad in various countries but my stand is that this so called experience doesn't mean that it has been passed on to the fighters currently in Syria and doesn't necessarily make the AQ fighters the best of all the factions in Syria.

If you noticed, Swerve said something similar -

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It may have individuals within it with considerable experience of guerrilla fighting, but - 30-40 years? Where? Against who? Certainly not in Syria. And where is there evidence of organisational continuity, enabling the preservation of organisational knowledge & experience? None is offered by any of the sources.

"Best-equipped" does not equal best. You need to know how to use equipment.

Last edited by STURM; June 19th, 2013 at 11:25 AM.
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Old June 22nd, 2013   #73
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Hezbollah emerged as a resistance force against Israel during Israel's presence in South Lebanon. Iran came into the picture a bit later. Saying that Hezbollah is a tool of Iran is a wee bit oversimplistic. Hezbollah enjoys Iranian help and support but has a grievance against Israel, over the Sheba Farms, yet Iran - despite having a tremendous amount of influence - does not dicate everything Hezbollah does.
Iran pays for, trains, and equips Hezbollah. They also supply the ideology. I'm sure Hezbollah members were born to Lebanese mothers but Iran owns their asses. It doesn't matter what they started as, but what they have become. Evolution is a powerful force.

Small fish controlled by a slightly larger one.
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Old June 23rd, 2013   #74
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Iran pays for, trains, and equips Hezbollah. They also supply the ideology. I'm sure Hezbollah members were born to Lebanese mothers but Iran owns their asses. It doesn't matter what they started as, but what they have become. Evolution is a powerful force.

Small fish controlled by a slightly larger one.
Yes I agree with that. Hezbollah and Iran has problems with Israel. Just read the Washington Post now said that CIA is training the rebels how to use anti-tank weapons. The Iranian MOIS or secret service been in Lebanon in late 80's The Iranian MOIS was formed in 1984. The heavy training of Hezbollah started in the late 90's. Just like CIA are training the Syrian Rebels the MOIS and IRGC trained Hezbollah. I know I'm off subject was Syrian name Axis of Evil by President Bush in 2001? Ok If that's the case US already had plans to take Assad out anyway. No one know how many Iranian MOIS agents or U.S. CIA agents in Syria. The Syrian Armed Forces having a hard time fighting on it own soil most of the fighting is urban warfare. I'm still stay with the best Assad's strategic option is to have heavy Iranian and Hezbollah assistance. The rebels already had assistance from western nations in secret but Qatar and Saudi Arabia already stated that they will assist the rebels with weapons.
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Old June 23rd, 2013   #75
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It doesn't matter what they started as, but what they have become. Evolution is a powerful force.
On the contrary, I think it does matter and it is very important to look at how they started off because that influences everything. Hezbollah started off as a resistance movement against the Israeli presence in Lebanon but Shiites in general initially did not display the hostily towards the Israeli's as the PLO, DFLP, AMAL and Druze did - that came later. Evolution - as you mentioned - is indeed a powerful force, but history is also an extremely vital aspect. Despite the major influence that Iran has over Hezbollah, in the past Hezbollah has done things that have displeased the Iranians, thus the notion that Hezbollah always dances to every Iranian tune is not valid.

I firmly believe that if Iran [which now has a new leader] reaches some kind of a deal with the West over the nuclear issue, the Iranians will instruct Hezbollah to downgrade its involvement in Syria, the problem here is that Nasrullah mght not play along - simply because he can't afford to, even if it means annoying Iran. Another area in which backer and patron can clash is over the Sheba Farms. Even if the Iranians disagree, if the opportunity was presented Hezbollah might eventually settle the Sheba Farms issue if a mutally benefical solution could be reached. At the end of the day, Hezbollah needs Iran badly but Iran also needs Hezbollah, it is mutually beneficial.

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