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Why is the US retreating from Syria?

This is a discussion on Why is the US retreating from Syria? within the Geo-strategic Issues forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; Originally Posted by swerve Access to Syria via its coast means access through areas with an Alawite majority. This is ...


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Old January 16th, 2013   #46
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Originally Posted by swerve View Post
Access to Syria via its coast means access through areas with an Alawite majority. This is not the best way to give help to anti-Assad rebels.
AFAIK the coastal region around Latakia is predominantly Sunnite Moslem with significant population of Nusyris/Alawites. I do not know that how much Alawite consolidation took place in that particular region after the beginning civil war.
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Old January 16th, 2013   #47
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I'm not aware of any route from the coast to the interior that doesn't pass through Alawite areas. There's a patchwork of Alawite, Sunni & Christian districts in that corner of Syria.
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Old January 16th, 2013   #48
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Like your statement that Iskanders are now in Syria, there is no evidence at all that Russian instructors are in Syria actively assisting the Syrian army. There is a small Russian marine detachment in Tartus though but their main role would be to assist in the evacuation of Russian nationals if things get worse.
...."Sources familiar with the Moscow-Damascus defence relationship confirmed the presence of Russian air-defence crews inside Syria. Their deployment would be a consideration when western contingency plans for Syria were being considered, they said.

Such a dense, layered and overlapping air-defence system would require a huge air campaign, heavily reliant on thousands of precision-guided missiles. The UK, France and other American allies in Europe used up their stocks of such weapons in Libya and although details are classified there have been reports that they have not yet returned to pre-Libya levels.

We know they pretty much ran out of them at the end of Libya. Given the budgetary constraints the Europeans are operating with, and in an era where every euro spent on defence is very heavily scrutinised, it is a hard sell to restock on this stuff, Ben-Ari said. And it would not be enough to be at Libya levels. You would need far more for Syria.

A Syrian air campaign would also require stealth aircraft and a great amount of signals intelligence, satellite imagery and aerial reconnaissance, all of which are US specialities. For all those reasons, Washington would not be able to lead from behind as it did in Libya"
Russian military presence in Syria poses challenge to US-led intervention | StratRisks
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Old January 16th, 2013   #49
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SOSO, I hate to do this to you, because I know it can be upsetting, but -
Santa Claus does not exist.
There is no tooth fairy.
The Nigerians who send you emails promising to make you rich aren't doing it because they're nice, kind people.
Just because it's on the internet, it doesn't make it true.

Michael Vail is a chat show host with a financial interest in exaggeration & dramatisation. He has no status. Despite the use of "we", it's his website. It isn't reliable.

The article you posted is not credible. To take one example, it claims that the UK, France & other European countries exhausted their stocks of PGMs in Libya & have none left for Syria. This is untrue, & anyone who has the least bit of knowledge of how many PGMs those countries have bought, & how many were used, knows it's nonsense. Let us consider France, to illustrate this. France bought 500 Scalp missiles. It fired 15 in Libya. 1424 AASM guided bomb kits had been ordered by France by the beginning of 2010, & substantial additional numbers since. It is currently in production against recent orders. 225 were dropped in Libya. The same is true for other weapon types, e.g. the LGBs & the 431 HOT missiles used, & the number used by other countries.

The RAF fired 230 Brimstone, for example, out of over 2000 bought up to then, most of which were still in inventory. It had a surplus of the original Brimstone, & has had hundreds converted to the dual-mode version, which was the most used variant in Libya. Plenty more, & more in production. The RAF used 900 Paveway IVs, which was far from all its stocks (the initial order alone was 2300), & has since ordered another 1600, which should be being delivered by now.

And so on.

You need to be more critical of your sources.

Last edited by swerve; January 16th, 2013 at 03:51 PM.
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Old January 16th, 2013   #50
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We're probably down to our last 900+ Stormshadow ?

I think some of the nations less used to getting into shooting matches are or were low on PGM's but the guys you'd expect to cause a riot (UK and France) as as stated, all stocked for fireworks night.

I dunno - we've all agreed from the outset that dismantling Syria's IADS would be a major undertaking, requiring a spot of planning.

I still think the key point is "and we don't want to go in" ...
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Old January 16th, 2013   #51
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Hold on, wait a minute!! You're seriously suggesting that the Syrian military - which is more capable than the Libyan military, is a factor holding back the 'West' from directly intervening in the conflict??
And when exactly have I said or suggested something like that? I suggest you read my previous posts and you'll find your answer on what I think about Syrian military as whole compared to Western war machine, you'll also find what I think what's the main reason why NATO is backing out of this mess.

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Originally Posted by STURM
You do realise that in the larger scheme of things that for Russia, Syria is much more important than Libya - both at present and during the Cold War??
Of course I'm aware of that and I'm saying that all along. Again, I suggest you read some of my previous posts where I've stated what I think Syria means for Russian Federation.

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Originally Posted by STURM
As I've explained twice before, the geo-political situation in Syria is much more complex and risky than it was with Libya [I base my assessements on facts not speculation]. There are more things that can go wrong for the 'West'' and more resources and more lasting presence will be needed if the 'West'' puts boots on the ground..........
Of course it's more complex than Libya was. Just look at the number of players in the game with different interests and Gaddafi found himself alone against the world. And who said they need to have their boots on the ground? Why not just launch an air campaign? Anyway, I think France is doing pretty good in Mali. So much for the problem of resources...

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Originally Posted by STURM
With Libya there was no need for a foreign military presence after the fall of Gadaffi, with Syria it could be very, very different. The Americans remember very well the major mistake they made in Iraq, with regards to not paying attention to the fact that they would have to play a role in rebuilding the country and helping ensuring state institutions could get back on their feet again. And look at Afghanistan, all the initial emphasis initially was on defeating AQ, there were very little plans for what came after, with regards to helping the Afghans get back on the feet again - the result was that in the 2002/3 period the Talibs made a comeback. If the strife continues in Syria after Assad's ouster, is the 'West' going to commit itself to staying in Syria? Is the political will, funding and resources even available?
I only partially agree on that one. I agree that they learned a lesson in Iraq and Afghanistan so now they won't stick around longer than they have to. Aside from securing Syria's chemical weapons, I doubt they would have the will and resources to "secure" anything else. Look what they did in Libya where they allowed them to "settle" things amongst themselves. Even though they are not divided by religious line, Libya is more complex than Syria in terms of ethnic diversity. You do know they were at the brink of another civil war? And where was West then? They were gone, so why should now be any different? All they cared about was to take down Gaddafi even if that meant Libya would cease to exist (to be divided by major tribes) just as same as they now want to see Assad gone. Hell, they even refuse to talk to him even though they all admit that rebels coming to power could prove to be even more disastrous to Syria and the entire region. The only logical conclusion is that they absolutely don't care about Syria at all. They just want to see Assad and Russians out of the picture, no matter the cost.

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Originally Posted by Feanor
Interesting. So you're positive that all the types you listed are still in service? And he's positive?
I can't claim for him, but I can say I trust the guy. He has a lot of field work. His only comment on this list was "it's a respectable air defense network". Respectable compared to what, I don't know, he didn't specified.

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Originally Posted by Feanor
Not that it matters, but the very act of listing randomly a bunch of MANPADS, tac-SAMs, division-SAMs, theater-SAMs, and of different generations at that makes me wonder about what your point here even is. Syria has a large and multi-layered IADS.
...
How is this relevant to the ability of the west to pound the Syrian military from the air and sea, with relative impunity?
I'm sorry, I obviously didn't understood your question for the first time and you obviously missed my post where I said all I wanted to do is to simply stress that even as it is, it's quite a huge system they got out there.
So I fail to see where I actually said or suggested that it's somehow relevant to the ability of the west to pound the Syrian military from the air and sea, with relative impunity? In fact, I think I was pretty clear when I said that it can be easily outmatched by NATO's war machine. So I suggest you to read some of my previous posts.

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And that's just it. Iraq was pushed through because the US had more credibility, and Iraq had fewer friends. Pushing through a similar move on Syria would be much harder.
Yeah, but you do remember that the US perceived Iraq and their alleged WMD's as a direct threat to US national security while in this case it's presented like their allies, Israel and Turkey, are the ones who are being threatened by Assad, like they're afraid chaos spilling over to their countries and the region, afraid of chemical weapons etc. and my guess is, if they were act it would be under the guise of protecting their allies while at the same time keeping their credibility intact. Or almost intact...

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Originally Posted by Feanor
Wanted or allowed it in exchange for something else?
I'd say wanted, though I don't dismiss the other possibility entirely. I don't believe in neutrality for 3rd world countries and you can imagine how annoying it can be for countries like US and RF?
So my best guess is they wanted him out too. Not having means and international support to do it themselves, like the West had, is another subject.
But aside from wanting him gone, maybe they've managed to get a little bonus on top of things, to "exchange" him for something else, who knows...
And if you look at it closely, why not? They've learned that even countries under US occupation, like Afghanistan and Iraq, can still do business with them. As far as I know, Russian Lukoil is in Iraq right now. Russia's portfolio of agreements also includes a package of contracts with Iraq worth more than $4 billion. The new Libyan authorities are interested in the hardware that was left in the country after the overthrow of the Gaddafi regime. The country has already signed a contract to upgrade 200 T-72 tanks. The Pentagon even concluded a contract with Rosoboronexport on Mi-17 helicopters for Afghan, worth $900 million.

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Originally Posted by Feanor
Hell, an Italian telecom company (and Italy's a NATO member state) was delivering comm gear to the Syrians in the middle of the conflict.
I've heard of that and to be honest I don't know what to make out of it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by swerve
Access to Syria via its coast means access through areas with an Alawite majority. This is not the best way to give help to anti-Assad rebels.
The entire Syrian army doesn't stand a chance in that potential conflict, so I fail to see how a certain region, even the one populated with Alawite's, can be that much of an obstacle.
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Old January 16th, 2013   #52
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And when exactly have I said or suggested something like that? I suggest you read my previous posts and you'll find your answer on what I think about Syrian military as whole compared to Western war machine, you'll also find what I think what's the main reason why NATO is backing out of this mess.
Below is what you earlier wrote,

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Let's face it - with its quite capable military and Russia at its back, Syria is too strong for NATO to simply bomb it back to stone age.
and my reply on Page 2 of this thread was based on that -

''Not sure what your personal definition of ''quite capable'' or even with which other military is the Syrian military ''quite capable'' in comparison with? Two years on, the Syrian military has been unable to contain the rebellion and has been losing ground, to the extent that some parts of the outskirts of Damascus are lost to the rebels and you're suggesting that one factor that has prevented foreign countries from intervening is because the Syrian military is ''quite capable''?''

Most, if not everyone, here is in agreement that Syria has [or had] an extensive integrated IADS, including large numbers of SAMs and Triple A. The question is how effective the IADS is, given the age of most of the equipment and that it has in all certainty already been degraded due to a loss of territory, bases and assets to the FSA.

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Of course it's more complex than Libya was. Just look at the number of players in the game with different interests and Gaddafi found himself alone against the world.
Here you are acknowledging that the situation in Syria is more ''complex'' than it was with Libya yet you're still insisting that nobody here can give you a valid/compelling reason as to why the West won't intervene in Syria. And you're insisting that the main reason the West hasn't intervened in Syria is due to the Russian factor.

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And who said they need to have their boots on the ground? Why not just launch an air campaign?
You're assuming that just because the West had no need to deploy boots on the ground in Libya - as airpower achieved the results intended - that the same will happen in Syria

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Originally Posted by Lcf View Post
So much for the problem of resources...
Stobi Wan and I were talking about Britain.

Top brass warn No 10: Avoid Mali escalation - UK Politics - UK - The Independent

And you'll probably agree that the resources allocated for the Mali mission by France would be a small fraction of what will be needed if a ground intervention was done in Syria, for obvious reasons. Unlike some others, I'm not convinced that foreign air power alone will do the job in Syria as was done with Libya - admittedly I could be wrong.

Last edited by STURM; January 16th, 2013 at 05:57 PM.
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Old January 16th, 2013   #53
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If this thread is going to stay open then some of the posters in here really need to pick up on the quality of posts and their engagement style, notwithstanding the attempts by more senior members to inject reason into the debate...
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Old January 16th, 2013   #54
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Having read through the posts here in this thread, it seems that some feel the US/Western Europe should become directly and actively involved in Syria, while others seem to be of the opinion that the Syrian military under the Assad regime is too effective and/or capable for the US/Western Europe to take action.

IMO frankly, neither are true presently.

Without going into whole lists of who has what and where, between standoff munitions, LO aircraft and formidable C4ISR resources, the Syrian IADS is not capable of preventing a rollback should the US and NATO which to do so. It would not necessarily be accomplished completely (MANPADS can be virtually anywhere) or without cost/casualties, but a dedicated SEAD/DEAD campaign would not end in Syria's favour.

What really needs to be asked for those advocating Western involvement, or arguing on why the West has not gotten more involved, are questions involving what would be considered a favourable outcome to the West. If it was only something simple (i.e. elimination of the Assad regime) then the West would likely have already had greater involvement. As has been learned though, if a regime falls, another needs to rise in its place otherwise chaos reins. Having Assad gone, but half a dozen intermingled warring factions in Syria is not IMO an improvement. The West is looking at how things are, and apparently waiting for a better alternative to Assad, chaos, or Western forces in Syria to appear.

Which makes sense if one looks at how long, and how much funding has been spent on Iraq and Afghanistan. The difficult and costly (in terms of treasure and especially blood) parts of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan was not invading or defeating the hostile military, it was attempting to run those countries and rebuild them. Without a pressing need to do so, why bother?
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Old January 17th, 2013   #55
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To reinforce what has been said before by other Mods and the attempts by various snr members to try and inject some reality constraints and sensibility into the debate

anything from this point on that even smells like trolling will be treated as such

/patience off

for those who are struggling to understand

When any thread attracts the attention of multiple Mods due to quality issues, then its a sure sign that positive reinforcement is not far behind

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Old January 17th, 2013   #56
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The entire Syrian army doesn't stand a chance in that potential conflict, so I fail to see how a certain region, even the one populated with Alawite's, can be that much of an obstacle.
Because you can't ship aid to anti-Assad forces through such a region without first securing a route through it, & to do that through rough country (look at a map, or some photos) with hostile & well-armed occupants needs soldiers. This makes it very different from Libya, where most of the main rebel-held areas had ports.

I am not arguing that it would be impossible for NATO to defeat Assad. That would be a very foolish argument. I am merely pointing out that it would be more difficult & much more complicated than the Libyan operation.
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Old January 17th, 2013
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Old January 17th, 2013   #57
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You still need to be more critical of your sources : look at how long Eisenhower has been out and what she's been doing. Her return to port is, if anything, over due.

CV Locations

She's been out six months including combat ops.

The entire article is a straight forward US hate-piece - if you're citing it as a source, it's overdue you left here.
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Old January 17th, 2013   #58
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Ok, the poignant truth here is that the West' retreat from Syria has more to do with Russian stance on Syria than any other fabricated reason, that can be brought forth by any Western spin doctoring.

it seems im not the only one who is harbouring such thoughts, here are other guys who share my centiments,Syria: Apocalypse Cancelled, Towards a Western retreat from Syria | "Before our very eyes"
What retreat? You keep going on about this imaginary retreat. There hasn't been one!

And please stop linking to conspiracy theorists, shock jocks, & Syrian propagandists. The internet is full of sites explaining in tedious detail exactly how the moon landings were faked, the September 11th 2001 events were a Western conspiracy, etc. Your latest find is one of these loonies. He's even published a book called "9/11: The Big Lie".

Did you notice where the latest website you've linked to is based? Where its author works? He's employed by the Syrian state.

Tell me, are you trolling, or just incapable of telling paranoid fantasists & paid propagandists from legitimate analysts? Whichever, please stop posting garbage.
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Old January 21st, 2013   #59
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Some updated info, Russia is (finally) evacuating civilians from Syria, two MChS planes are on their way, an Il-76 and a Yak-42.

NEWSru.com :: -

EDIT: A little update, the total number of civilians being evacuated is 150. This is not a total evacuation, merely a way out for people who want to leave. Large numbers of Russians will remain in Syria.

Last edited by Feanor; January 22nd, 2013 at 02:46 PM.
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Old January 25th, 2013   #60
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Retreating? No way!

The US are definitely NOT retreating from Syria. They just use more subtle tactics. They pay Syrian rebels salaries and provide them with weapons with help from Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Senator Lieberman himself voiced such policy. Believe it or not, but rumors circulate (according to diplomatic sources of the Guardian) that CIA agents helped Syrian opposition establish command and control within rebel ranks last year. And one of the leaders of Lybian rebels, who fought against Ghaddafi - Abdel Hakim Belhaj - was seen on the Turkish-Syrian border, and this person is also rumored to be a CIA operative. The US did not retreat, they simply conduct a 'covert operation'.
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