Friday, 5 October 2012

Update from Syria: Rebels have gained ground but overall stalemate

Barry Rubin has interviewed Jonathan Spyer on PJ Media who has returned from Syria. In it Syper compares this trip with that at the beginning of the year and  says that whereas it was dangerous to cross the border from Turkey then, it can now be done openly with ease, although Syria still controls the skies.
He also says that Saudi financed armed groups in Syria are not effective:
In general, the Saudi record suggests that Riyadh is good at creating terror organizations, less good at creating effective military groups. I think this is borne out in the Syrian context.
  Worryingly his impressions of the Muslim Brotherhood contingent are different:
They are well-armed, well-equipped, and well organized, and were without doubt the most impressive organization I saw in the city from an organizational and military point of view. They also gave the impression of discipline and commitment. The commitment, of course, is to Muslim Brotherhood-style Sunni Islamism.
According to Spyer the mainly non islamist FSA seem well equipped but not as disciplined or unified as the MB. That sounds like another Iran 1979 situation could eventually arise whereby the secular Mujahideen were massacred by the Ayatollahs once the war against the Shah was won. This war is however more complicated.

Whatever the case, no sides hold any love for Israel. Whoever wins this civil war will aim their guns at Israel should they get the opportunity. The only problem is that Syria is now the fault line for the Shia-Sunni conflict. The sunnis supported by the USA can not afford to lose this war, and neither can Iran supported by Iraq, Russia and China. The sides will fight to a bloody standstill. Lebanon will not remain inviolate. There is a reckoning to be had with Hezbollah which is shia and has actively interfered to prop up Assad.


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