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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; I noticed that after Nato installed patriots in Turkey with an intention of creating a no fly zone over Syria, ...


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Old January 11th, 2013   #1
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Why is the US retreating from Syria?

I noticed that after Nato installed patriots in Turkey with an intention of creating a no fly zone over Syria, subsequent to that Russia delivered a consignment of her advanced Iskander missiles to Syria, to which US responded by withdrawing her carrier strike group from waters bordering Syria.

Was the US retreating becasue they have no answer against the Iskander? they seem to have abonded the war squarely on rebels shoulders. Russia stands by her words that she will stop at nothing to prop up Assad regime against all odss, she seem to have done that. The war mongers have retreated, it seems Iskander deployment have saved Assad from regime change conspirators.
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Old January 11th, 2013   #2
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Iskander is a tactical ballistic missile, which AFAIK has no anti-ship capability, & even if it did have terminal homing which could target a ship, Syria is unlikely to be able to locate a US carrier precisely enough to get an Iskander within range of that terminal homing.

Also, what is your source for the delivery of Iskander missiles to Syria since the deployment of Patriots to Turkey?

Ah. I see. It comes from Mashreg, the Iranian revolutionary guard press. It also says "The Iskandar is a surface-to-surface missile that no missile defense system can trace or destroy". Hmm.
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Old January 11th, 2013   #3
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Also, what is your source for the delivery of Iskander missiles to Syria since the deployment of Patriots to Turkey?.
debka.com/article/22625/Assad’s-deadly-agenda-First-chemicals-next-Iskander-9K720

Countries who are in a rogue state list by US shoud start befriending Russia and forging closer alliances to an extent Assad has. It seems afterall that Russia is a friend Assad can count on amid a barrage of attacks from fellow muslims (sunnis) and the west alike.
I cant understand why the Iranians havent been able to forge closer alliances with Russia to an extent Assad has, if im not mistaken Assad was given S-300, the very SAM Russia could not supply to the Iranians subsequent to political pressure by Israel and US on Moscow. But it doesnt look like this pressure has worked when it comes to Assad becasue Moscow has gone to an extent of supplying Iskanders to Assad, a missile system that has never been exported before.

Only if the brother leader (Gadaffi) had the same support, his regime would still be around today...
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Old January 11th, 2013   #4
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Assad is still in power because of a lack of access to the country, the lack of appearance of a united opposition, and in small part, due to support from China and Russia. The first two reasons are primal. If Syria had the same coastline access as Libya, he'd be gone by now.
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Old January 11th, 2013   #5
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I noticed that after Nato installed patriots in Turkey with an intention of creating a no fly zone over Syria,
Turkey requested for Patriots to be deployed on its soil because it was worried about Scud attacks and because the move was politically symbolic as it demonstrated to Syria that Turkey could rely on NATO solidarity and that any moves by Syria on Turkey would lead to NATO involvement.

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Was the US retreating becasue they have no answer against the Iskander?
The main reason there has been no foreign intervention in Syria is largely because things are much more complex in Syria than they were in Libya, not because of any weapons that Syria may or may not have. If things spiral out of control in Syria, it could easily spill over into the Lebanon, Turkey [in fact it already has] and Israel. Although the Sunni Gulf Arabs want to get rid of Assad as this would considerably weaken and further isolate Iran, none of these countries have any enthusiasm for direct intervention and certainly not without Uncle Sam and NATO leading the way. There is a much, much, much greater risk of things going wrong in Syria - as a result of intervention - for the West than there was in Libya. It is not diplomatic support from Russia and China that has enabled Assad to cling to power but because a large part of the Alawite dominated army has remained on his side. No amount of diplomatic backing from China or Russia will be able to save Assad if and when the day comes when the Alawite officer class and elite decided to abandon him.

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But it doesnt look like this pressure has worked when it comes to Assad becasue Moscow has gone to an extent of supplying Iskanders to Assad, a missile system that has never been exported before.
As has been pointed out to you by Swerve, there is absolutely no firm evidence that Syria has received Iskanders......

Also, one simply cannot make direct comparisons with Iran and Syria and their relations with Russia as the history and geo-political enviroment of these 2 Arab countries differ greatly.

Last edited by STURM; January 11th, 2013 at 04:27 PM.
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Old January 11th, 2013   #6
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Assad is still in power because of a lack of access to the country, the lack of appearance of a united opposition, and in small part, due to support from China and Russia. The first two reasons are primal. If Syria had the same coastline access as Libya, he'd be gone by now.
I do not think the above is entirely true, in Libya Russia and China used diplomatic pressure to dissuade Nato from toppling Qadaffi, but to no avail. The main difference between Libya and Syria is that Russia is on the ground assisting Syrian military planners and replenishing the Assad war machine with supplies, hardware and money, not discounting the role also played by Iranian AlQods and their supply of Fateh missile over and above.

The lack of long coastline is a non starter, Iraq is not well endowed with long stretch of coastline either, but Saddam was toppled nonetheless...
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Old January 11th, 2013   #7
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... It is not diplomatic support from Russia and China that has enabled Assad to cling to power but because a large part of the Alawite dominated army has remained on his side. No amount of diplomatic backing from China or Russia will be able to save Assad if and when the day comes when the Alawite officer class and elite decided to abandon him.
Remember its not only China and Russia who are propping up Assad's regime, without the Iranian money the Assad regime is doomed. Iran has spent north of $5 billion to keep Assad firm on the throne. Even the very Alawite officers are paid with Iranian money as Assad's govt coffers have long dried up. This is a proxy war against Iran, and Iran knows this and so far Iran is still standing.

This war is instigated by the Sunni Sheikdoms of Saudi, Qatar who are very threatened by the Shiite sect led by Iran, they found willing conspirators in Nato, hoping that Syria was going to be a walk in a park but proving to be a hard nut to crack.

If Syria is not falling then the plot has fallen flat on its face, becasue they cannot proceed to Iran...
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Old January 11th, 2013   #8
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Assad is still in power because of a lack of access to the country, the lack of appearance of a united opposition, and in small part, due to support from China and Russia. The first two reasons are primal. If Syria had the same coastline access as Libya, he'd be gone by now.
This cannot be entirely true, in Libya Russia and China dissuaded the West against the Libyan attack through diplomatic channels, however in Syria, the plot is very diffent. Russian insturctor are on the ground helping Assad's army and sending them hardware, supplies and money. The most support comes from Iran, she is bankrolling the Assad regime, it is reported that Iran is propping-up the regime with $2 billion a month. This money is used to pay salaries of army personnel, withouts this money I suspect the Alawite officer could have lond abandoned the army.

The coastline argument is a non starter, Iraq has virtually no coastline but Saddam was toppled nonetheless and the common denominator in these instances is Russian support. The US thought Russia was bluffing when she insisted that she would not allow Nato do what it did to Gaddafi, and she is doing exactly that!
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Old January 11th, 2013   #9
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If Syria is not falling then the plot has fallen flat on its face, becasue they cannot proceed to Iran...
I take it you're not convinced by the multiple interviews with rebels who are simply disenfranchised Arab muslims who want their country back from the self aggrandising scumbag who sucks every penny made by the country to his own ends ?
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Old January 12th, 2013   #10
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This war is instigated by the Sunni Sheikdoms of Saudi, Qatar who are very threatened by the Shiite sect led by Iran, they found willing conspirators in Nato, hoping that Syria was going to be a walk in a park but proving to be a hard nut to crack.
A major lesson from Libya and Afghanistan is that the ''rebels'', ''freedom fighters'', ''resistance'', ''insurgents'' [call them what you want] usually don't turn out to be what those who ''supported'' them hoped they would be. Even if Assad falls there is no guarantee that the new government will be led by ''democratic'' freedom loving'', ''Western friendly'' individuals [look at what happened in Egypt and why do you think the Gulf Arabs and the West were largely silent when Assad the elder razed Hama to the ground in response to a campaign waged by the Muslim Brotherhood]. I have always maintained that what is happening in Syria - with regards to calls for Assad's overthrow - is largely directed at Iran and has to do with the ''silent cold war'' being fought between the Sunni Arabs and Shiite Iran for power and influence in the region.

What I find most ironic and hypocritical is that none of the Gulf Arabs states who are calling for Assad's ouster and who are so concerned about the welfare of ordinary Syrians are actual democracies themselves. Given the history of back stabbing, double dealing and hypocrisy practiced by all the players in the Middle East, I will not be surprised at all if at some point in the future [assuming of course that Assad's government manages to survive that long ] if the Sunni Gulf Arabs agree to drop their demands for Assad's ouster if he agrees to ditch Hezbollah and to end Syria's strategic relationship with Iran.

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/...y-7985012.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/...l-8304965.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/wo...r-8076945.html

http://www.agenceglobal.com/index.ph...ticle&Tid=2907

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opi...729670315.html

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opi...332627463.html

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opi...939708625.html

Unfortunately, like all previous wars/conflicts, it is the ordinary people on the ground - who just want to survive and take care of their families - who tend to suffer the most.

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The main difference between Libya and Syria is that Russia is on the ground assisting Syrian military planners
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Russian insturctor are on the ground helping Assad's army and sending them hardware, supplies and money.
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.

Last edited by STURM; January 12th, 2013 at 01:52 PM.
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Old January 12th, 2013   #11
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debka.com/article/22625/Assad’s-deadly-agenda-First-chemicals-next-Iskander-9K720...
Debka sometimes gets scoops, but I think its hit rate is pretty low. Very sloppy, e.g. calling Iskander a 'cruise' missile.

The only mainstream media outlet I can find to have reported this mentions it as a rumour, or 'uncomfirmed' (i.e. a rumour). Mostly, they've ignored it, perhaps because of its dubious origins.

As far as I can see, all these reports link back to a story by an Iranian called Reza Khalili, who may be relying on the Mashregh story - or vice-versa.
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Old January 12th, 2013   #12
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This cannot be entirely true, in Libya Russia and China dissuaded the West against the Libyan attack through diplomatic channels, however in Syria, the plot is very diffent. Russian insturctor are on the ground helping Assad's army and sending them hardware, supplies and money. The most support comes from Iran, she is bankrolling the Assad regime, it is reported that Iran is propping-up the regime with $2 billion a month. This money is used to pay salaries of army personnel, withouts this money I suspect the Alawite officer could have lond abandoned the army.

The coastline argument is a non starter, Iraq has virtually no coastline but Saddam was toppled nonetheless and the common denominator in these instances is Russian support. The US thought Russia was bluffing when she insisted that she would not allow Nato do what it did to Gaddafi, and she is doing exactly that!
I said "access" - 2003, Iraq, there was access, enough to stage a sizeable invasion quite successfully. Libya, plenty of access from the sea and air - it's a narrow country with a long sea border, pretty good for getting in the front door and back out.


Syria on the other hand ? Not so much - there's a narrow corridor to get into the country direct from the sea, and the rest is land bordering countries that either aren't well placed or are unsympathetic to regime change. Cynically, for most of Syria's neighbours, a stable dictatorship is preferable to having a fragmented country with a surplus supply of guns next door.

Which leads to my next point - that fragmented opposition - in Libya, the opposition rapidly presented a fairly united front, and better yet, senior members of the Libyan government defected. Syria, it's still messy and muddy.

I think you're overstating Russian involvement and it's effect.
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Old January 12th, 2013   #13
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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.
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I'd meant to indicate that there isn't good access to Syria per se - I don't think there's much of a solid secure route to get into and out of the country with solid national support? Whichever way you look, it's contested space, and I doubt any of the bordering countries really want to be seen to be the jumping off point for a western led intervention.

Ergo, it's not Russia scaring the US off, it's the sheer practical difficulties at hand ?
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Old January 12th, 2013   #15
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Ergo, it's not Russia scaring the US off, it's the sheer practical difficulties at hand ?
You're right. For countries contemplating on military intervention, there is much more risk and uncertainties involved - compared to Libya - due to Syria's location, its ethnic make up, etc. With Libya, airpower and aid to the rebrels, combined with the diplomatic isolation of Gadaffi achieved the results and there was no need for foreign boots on the ground and no need for 'rebuilding' the country - with Syria things could get more complicated as there might be a need for a foreign presence to get the country back on its feets after the fall of Assad. Iraq is a prime example of how things can get very messy due to miscaculation and poor planning. The various rebel groups have been claiming that with a ''no fly zone'' and with ''heavier'' weapons they can topple Assad but what if despite a 'no fly zone'' and 'heavier'' weapons, Assad still holds on and there is a need foe foreign troops - which NATO country has the poltical will to commit troops on the ground [and to keep them there to ensure the Alawites and other minorities don't suffer at the hands of the Sunni marjority], especially if Assad didn't use his chemicals and didn't attack Turkey?

What really amuses and puzzles me is when the press and various official spokesman talk about Syria's chemicals and the need to ensure they don't ''end up in the wrong hands''. The ''wrong hands'' off course are groups with supposed AQ links [AQ like the West and the Sunni Arabs wants to get rid of Assad] and groups that might not be aiming for a democratic post Assad government. Reading between the lines ones gets the impression that as long as the chemicals remain in Assad's hands then they're in the ''right hands''......!!

Syrian opposition forms chemical weapons unit - YouTube

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/...s-8393539.html

Inside Syria - What does 2013 have in store for Syria? - YouTube

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