Showing posts with label Syria. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Syria. Show all posts

16 August 2018

Russia developing new tank warfare tactics in Syria

Russians Get Schooled In Syria

Russia has learned a lot about modern combat in Syria. Russian advisors were often called on to help devise new tactics to deal with problems Syrian troops were encountering. One of the more vexing situations had to do with the rebels using ATGMs (Anti-Tank Guided Missiles), including Russian models like the Kornet or the American TOW. Russian armor experts drew on their own history and more detailed knowledge of Israeli innovations (developed during the 1973 war) when they encountered Egyptian troops using lots of older model ATGMs.

15 August 2018

SYRIA’S WAR COULD BE ENTERING ITS LAST AND MOST DANGEROUS PHASE


BEIRUT - As Syria’s war enters what could be its last and most dangerous stretch, the Syrian government and its allies will have to contend for the first time with the presence of foreign troops in the quest to bring the rest of the country back under President Bashar al-Assad’s control. The government’s recent defeat of rebels in the southwest of Syria has put Assad unassailably in control of a majority of the country, his hold on power now facing no discernible military or diplomatic threat. But at least a third of Syria remains outside government control, and those areas are occupied both by Turkish and American troops. Turkey has deployed soldiers in the northwest, in parts of the rebel-held province of Aleppo and in Idlib, which Assad has identified as the next target of an offensive. About 2,000 U.S. Special Operations forces hold sway in the northeast, in support of their Kurdish allies fighting the Islamic State.

13 August 2018

Don’t Give Up Yet: There’s Still a Chance to Salvage Eastern Syria



The Issue

The U.S. ability to shape high-level outcomes in Syria is limited; Russia and Iran have outmaneuvered the United States. Eastern Syria still offers leverage to salvage a marginally but meaningfully better outcome for U.S. interests and the Syrian population. The United States must determine its sources of leverage, articulate its goals, connect those goals to a stabilization framework, and operationalize burden sharing under an eastern Syria framework. Failing this, the Assad regime will likely take over the east, which has proven to be the ultimate driver of instability and extremism in the country, with effects that will inevitably draw the United States back into the region. 

A Bleak National Picture

4 August 2018

Russian Jamming Poses a Growing Threat to U.S. Troops in Syria

BY LARA SELIGMAN

American troops deployed in Syria are increasingly having to defend themselves against Russian jamming devices—electronic attacks with potentially lethal consequences, according to U.S. military officials and analysts. Officers who have experienced the jamming—known as electronic warfare—say it’s no less dangerous than conventional attacks with bombs and artillery. But they also say it’s allowing U.S. troops a rare opportunity to experience Russian technology in the battlefield and figure out how to defend against it. U.S. Army Col. Brian Sullivan described one recent episode to reporters at the U.S. Defense Department last week. He said his troops had encountered a “congested … electronic warfare environment” while fighting in northeastern Syria during their nine-month deployment, which stretched from September 2017 to May 2018.

3 August 2018

The Syrian War Is Over, and America Lost

BY STEVEN A. COOK

Earlier this month, Syrian regime forces hoisted their flag above the southern town of Daraa and celebrated. Although there is more bloodletting to come, the symbolism was hard to miss. The uprising that began in that town on March 6, 2011, has finally been crushed, and the civil war that has engulfed the country and destabilized parts of the Middle East as well as Europe will be over sooner rather than later. Bashar al-Assad, the man who was supposed to fall in “a matter of time,” has prevailed with the help of Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah over his own people.

Washington is too busy over the furor of the day to reflect on the fact that there are approximately 500,000 fewer Syrians today than there were when a group of boys spray-painted “The people demand the fall of the regime” on buildings in Daraa more than seven years ago. But now that the Syria conflict has been decided, it’s worth thinking about the purpose and place of the United States in the new Middle East. The first order of business is to dispose of the shibboleths that have long been at the core of U.S. foreign policy in the region and have contributed to its confusion and paralysis in Syria and beyond.

2 August 2018

WAR FOR WATER? SYRIA, IRAQ AND TURKEY WILL NEXT FIGHT FOR RIVERS, REPORT SAYS

BY TOM O'CONNOR 

The next war in the Middle East could be fought over water as Iraq, Syria and Turkey scramble to assert claims to two vital rivers that run through the region, according to a new report. Nabil al-Samman, a Syrian expert on international waters, made the case for an upcoming "water war" in an article published Friday by Saudi newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat. The article defines the term as being used to refer in the Mediterranean to "the use of water as a weapon in order to control its sources, or the diversion of water as a commercial commodity controlled by powerful upstream states for political ends." The piece outlines a decades-long history of difficult relations and devastating conflicts that have set the stage for a potential upcoming crisis between Syria, Iraq and Turkey.

1 August 2018

China and the Reconstruction of Syria

By Guy Burton

The past year has seen an upturn in the fortunes of Syria’s government. President Bashar al-Assad and his armed forces have reduced the Islamic State threat in the east of the country and made advances in the south of the country. This month he took back control of Deraa, where the uprising first began, back in 2011. Despite the government’s evident satisfaction over reclaiming much of its national territory, it all comes with a huge challenge. Following seven years of war, much of the country is now in ruins, with homes, schools, hospitals, and factories destroyed.

27 July 2018

Daily Memo: A Russian Rejection in Syria, a Mexican Proposal in the US, a Japanese Visit to India


Israeli relations with Russia have hit a snag in Syria. On July 23, Israel rejected a Russian proposal whereby Moscow would try to persuade Iran to move its forces away from the Golan Heights. This may seem counterintuitive – Israel wants Iran as far away as possible, right? At issue is not what the proposal included but what it failed to include. The deal did not provide for the removal of long-range weapons, the closure of Syria-Lebanon border crossings, or the end to the production of precision weapons and related air defenses. And so Israel said no. There’s really only so much Russia could do. It has a limited number of troops in Syria, and it needs to maintain working relations with its sometimes ally Iran. The ball is in Israel’s court, and bilateral ties may hang in the balance. Meanwhile, Israel activated its David’s Sling air defense system and fired two Patriot missiles at a Syrian plane conducting a reconnaissance mission in Israeli airspace.

What’s going to happen when Assad wins the war in Syria?

By PATRICK LAWRENCE

Given the unexpected pace of events in recent weeks, the end of Syria’s seven-year agony appears to be very near. It is now all but certain that Bashar al-Assad’s government will win its long war against Sunni jihadists and their foreign supporters. The focus in Syria is already turning from conflict, casualty counts, and displacement to reconciliation, resettlement, and reconstruction.

It would be hard to overstate the significance of this outcome. Apart from bringing the most tragic conflict of the post-Cold War decades to an end, the larger consequences of a peace achieved in this way – political, diplomatic, strategic – are many.

26 July 2018

The Syrian War Is Over, and America Lost

BY STEVEN A. COOK

Earlier this month, Syrian regime forces hoisted their flag above the southern town of Daraa and celebrated. Although there is more bloodletting to come, the symbolism was hard to miss. The uprising that began in that town on March 6, 2011, has finally been crushed, and the civil war that has engulfed the country and destabilized parts of the Middle East as well as Europe will be over sooner rather than later. Bashar al-Assad, the man who was supposed to fall in “a matter of time,” has prevailed with the help of Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah over his own people.

19 July 2018

Turkey Has Made a Quagmire for Itself in Syria

BY BORZOU DARAGAHI
Source Link

AFRIN, Syria — Murmurs of kidnappings for ransom hung in the air, and shootings and bombings continued just outside the city. Two women walked along the street adjacent to the government compound. “I’m scared to speak because of there,” one said, pointing to the collection of buildings from which Turkey and its local allies run the Afrin enclave. “There’s no safety. There’s no security.” Inside the compound, Turkish officials and Syrian allies cited some good news about Afrin during a tour for international journalists sponsored by the Turkish government. Numerous major Turkish charities are operating inside Afrin, helping distribute aid, establish democratic governance, and train local security forces.

4 July 2018

How a victorious Bashar al-Assad is changing Syria


A NEW Syria is emerging from the rubble of war. In Homs, which Syrians once dubbed the “capital of the revolution” against President Bashar al-Assad, the Muslim quarter and commercial district still lie in ruins, but the Christian quarter is reviving. Churches have been lavishly restored; a large crucifix hangs over the main street. “Groom of Heaven”, proclaims a billboard featuring a photo of a Christian soldier killed in the seven-year conflict. In their sermons, Orthodox patriarchs praise Mr Assad for saving one of the world’s oldest Christian communities.

3 July 2018

Beyond fragility: Syria and the challenges of reconstruction in fierce states

Steven Heydemann

Beginning as early as 2012, the Bashar Assad regime in Syria has worked to put in place the legal and regulatory authorities to implement an ambitious vision of reconstruction as a process of authoritarian stabilization. With its military victory close at hand, the regime’s intent is to use reconstruction to reimpose its authority, tighten its control over Syria’s society and economy, and fundamentally alter Syria’s demography to achieve what Assad himself has characterized as a “healthier and more homogenous society.”

29 June 2018

In southern Syria, the US faces a Russia-Israel challenge

by Joe Macaron

Dynamics in the southern front in Syria have reached a tipping point. Russian-Israeli coordination is taking precedence over the ceasefire agreement that US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin reached on the sidelines of the G20 summit last year. Iran and the United States are both facing increasing pressure in the area, while both the Syrian regime and the Syrian armed opposition are on alert over a potential clash to settle the question of who controls the southwest border areas.
US' ambivalent role on the southern front

25 June 2018

The Escalating Conflict with Hezbollah in Syria

Hezbollah and Iran have accumulated a substantial amount of weapons and fighters in Syria that pose a threat to the United States and its allies in the region. In response, Israel has conducted a growing number of strikes against Iranian, Hezbollah and other targets in Syria. An escalating war has the potential to cause significant economic damage, lead to high numbers of civilian casualties and internally displaced persons, and involve more countries in the region than did the 2006 Lebanon War. The stakes are high, making it critical for Washington to help prevent such an escalation. 

19 June 2018

Iran, Russia: What’s at Stake in the Syrian Civil War

By Xander Snyder

This article was originally published by Geopolitical Futures (GPF) on 23 May 2018.

The era of foreign intervention in Syria is coming to an end – at least that’s what Russian President Vladimir Putin said when Bashar Assad, Syria’s president, visited Sochi last week. Granted, Putin’s statement was ambiguous – “in connection with the significant victories … of the Syrian army … foreign armed forces will be withdrawn from the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic” – but Russia’s Syria envoy clarified the next day that Putin was, in fact, calling on all militaries to vacate the country.

13 June 2018

Russia, Israel and Iran Strike a Deal in Syria

By: Pavel Felgenhauer

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman visited Moscow, on May 31, for talks with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and other Russian top brass. Lieberman was accompanied by several of his country’s top military officials, including the Israeli Defense Forces’ (IDF) military intelligence chief, Major General Tamir Hyman. The visit was described by both sides as highly important. It was apparently successful in promoting a deal to deescalate Israeli-Iranian tensions in Syria, with Russia acting as a major go-between and powerbroker. Shoigu was pleased and invited Lieberman to attend the May 9 grand Victory Day military parade in Moscow “next year,” since this time the Israeli defense minister could not make it (Militarynews.ru, May 31).

12 June 2018

Developing a Containment Strategy in Syria


Some U.S. policymakers have argued that the United States should withdraw its military forces from Syria. But the United States has several interests in Syria:  Balancing against Iran, including deterring Iranian forces and militias from pushing close to the Israeli border, disrupting Iranian lines of communication through Syria, preventing substantial military escalation between Israel and Iran, and weakening Shia proxy forces.  Balancing against Russia, including deterring further Russian expansion in the Middle East from Syrian territory and raising the costs—including political costs—of Russian operations in Syria. Preventing a terrorist resurgence, including targeting Salafi-jihadist groups like the Islamic State and al Qaeda that threaten the United States and its allies. 

8 June 2018

Iran Wants to Stay in Syria Forever

BY BORZOU DARAGAHI
Source Link

Hamid Rezai was among the latest batch of soldiers to die for Iran in Syria, killed by an alleged Israeli rocket attack on the T4 airbase near Homs. He was a 30-year-old native of the capital, Tehran, a pious young man whose father had also been a soldier and who left behind an infant daughter. At Rezai’s late April burial service, his weeping mother said there was no stopping him from volunteering to fight in Syria. “It offends me when people ask, ‘Why didn’t you stand in his way?’” she said, according to an account in the hard-line Mashregh News. “My son chose his own path.”

6 June 2018

U.S. MILITARY WILL LEAVE SYRIA BASE IN DEAL WITH RUSSIA, REPORTS SAY

Tom O’Connor 

The U.S. has reportedly considered abandoning one of its most significant military installations in Syria as it prepared to enter into talks with Russia and Jordan over a deteriorating security situation in the war-torn country’s restive south. The report, which first surfaced Sunday in Saudi Arabian newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat, came as Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said Tuesday that Moscow “supported the idea of holding a trilateral meeting at a level convenient for our partners,” according to the state-run RIA Novosti. The U.S. and its Middle Eastern ally Jordan are opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whose forces—backed by Russia and Iran—are planning a new offensive against rebels and jihadis across southern Syria.