You are browsing the archive for Stratfor.

by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: Egypt 3.0, Israeli ‘Green Lights’, and, The House of Saud

7:02 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

That incident is sparking the Egyptian Revolution 3.0 version…

Egypt Opposition Urges Morsi to Step Down

…Egypt’s key opposition bloc has supported calls for President Mohamed Morsi to resign amid continuing protests across the country a day after clashes in the capital Cairo left one person dead and dozens injured, media reported.

According to Saturday’s statement from the National Salvation Front quoted by Al Jazeera, “the Salvation Front completely sides with the people and its active forces’ calls to topple the authoritarian regime and the Muslim Brotherhood’s control.”

The opposition bloc called on Egyptians to hold peaceful protests and demanded a trial for Morsi for “killings and torture,” ruling out dialogue with the presidency until bloodshed stops and “those responsible for it are held accountable,” the Qatar-based broadcaster reported.

At least one person was killed and over 50 injured, including five police officers, as police clashed with protesters outside the capital’s presidential palace on Friday evening. Police reportedly fired tear gas and protesters threw stones.

TV footage showed police beating a naked man. Egypt’s authorities said Saturday they regretted the beating, saying it was “an isolated act.”

An interesting wrinkle on Israel’s recent illegal incursion(s)…

The Fallout from the Air Raid on Syria: Why Israel is Concerned

…So far only two airstrikes have been publicly reported, amid a flurry of conflicting initial reports. Syria officially complained of the destruction of the Scientific Studies and Research Center in Jamarya northwest of Damascus. And a variety of news organizations reported that Israeli jets hit a convoy carrying advanced anti-aircraft defense systems toward Lebanon’s Bakaa Valley, presumably for delivery to Hizballah, the militant Shi’ite group closely allied with the Assad regime. If they had been deployed, those SA-17 ground-to-air missiles would intimidated Israeli pilots who now operate over Lebanese airspace with impunity, forcing them to higher altitudes and other operational precautions.

A Western intelligence official indicated to TIME that at least one to two additional targets were hit the same night, without offering details. Officials also said that Israel had a “green light” from Washington to launch yet more such strikes…

…In other words, it may be easier to attack the problem from the other side — simply destroy the weapons you’re afraid they’ll get their hands on. Among the buildings leveled at the military complex at Jamarya, outside Damascus, were warehouses stocked with equipment necessary for the deployment of chemical and biological weapons, relatively complicated systems typically manned by specially trained forces…

…No specific armed force was identified as threatening the compound. Intelligence officials said the concern was unconventional weapons “dripping” into control of extremists in the relative chaos of the rebel side.

One Western intelligence official told TIME the U.S. military was poised to carry out similar airstrikes around Aleppo if rebels threaten to take sites associated with weapons of mass destruction in that region

Some more… Israel targeted multiple targets in recent attack on Syria, U.S. intelligence official tells Time… And…

Israel May Feel Need To Strike Syria Again

An Israeli air attack staged in Syria this week may be a sign of things to come.

Israeli military officials appear to have concluded that the risks of attacking Syria are worth taking when compared to the dangers of allowing sophisticated weapons to reach Hezbollah guerrillas in neighboring Lebanon…

Now, here’s an interesting read on Turkey’s take…

Along with this broadside…Turkey’s Syrian Dilemma…!

I did find some humor, albeit gallows humor, when I saw this Grey Lady report today…

Syrian Opposition Leader Confers With U.S. and Russia

The leader of the Syrian opposition council, Sheik Ahmad Moaz al-Khatib, met here on Saturday with representatives of the United States and Russia — who fundamentally disagree on how to resolve Syria’s civil war — but the meetings were separate and there was no indication, officials said, that any progress had been made toward a workable plan to bring the violence to an end.

Moscow has been encouraged by Sheik Khatib’s suggestion, which he repeated here, that he would be willing to talk to Syrian government representatives under certain conditions. But European and American officials expect that offer to go nowhere now that the sheik’s colleagues in the opposition have attacked it.

The side meetings at the annual Munich Security Conference seemed to confirm the fissures over Syria, including a new disagreement between the United States and some of its European allies over whether to provide rebel fighters with more powerful weapons.

As if…!

Russia Denies Plan to Talk to Syria Opposition

Russia has categorically rejected Western media reports claiming that Moscow is planning to hold talks with Syrian opposition on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference about “a political transition for Syria.”

And, if you had any doubts about Russia’s allegiances…

Russia opposes humanitarian corridor in Syria, citing int’l air intervention fears

Military intervention in Syria is unacceptable even if it aims to create an air-protected humanitarian corridor, Russian FM Sergey Lavrov has said. Syria is one of most hotly debated topics at an annual Security Conference taking place in Germany.

­”Russia does not support the idea of a humanitarian corridor in Syria. Any use of military power is unacceptable, and not just because we still remember what it lead to in Libya,” Lavrov said while addressing the Munich Security Conference. “We need to see the world the way it is. We need to recognize that military operations bring more chaos into the international matters and can send off waves of instability that will be impossible to hide from in any of what we may think as an island of security.”

Lavrov confirmed that the Syrian chemical weapons arsenal is under full control of the country’s government, and poses no danger as long as it does not fall into the hands of the rebels. Such an event would be a “red line” nobody wishes to see crossed, he said.

Despite the worsening situation in the region, peace is still within reach, Lavrov explained: “The war in Syria could be over if all sides stuck honestly and loyally to the principles of the June 30 Geneva conference.”

Now, take a gander at this recent Stratfor report…

The Consequences of Intervening in Syria

The Saudi Gambit

…Supporting the jihad in Syria as a weapon against Iranian influence also gives the Saudis a chance to burnish their Islamic credentials internally in an effort to help stave off criticism that they are too secular and Westernized. It allows the Saudi regime the opportunity to show that it is helping Muslims under assault by the vicious Syrian regime.

Supporting jihadists in Syria also gives the Saudis an opportunity to ship their own radicals to Syria, where they can fight and possibly die. With a large number of unemployed, underemployed and radicalized young men, the jihad in Syria provides a pressure valve similar to the past struggles in Iraq, Chechnya, Bosnia and Afghanistan. The Saudis are not only trying to winnow down their own troubled youth; we have received reports from a credible source that the Saudis are also facilitating the travel of Yemeni men to training camps in Turkey, where they are trained and equipped before being sent to Syria to fight. The reports also indicate that the young men are traveling for free and receiving a stipend for their service. These young radicals from Saudi Arabia and Yemen will even further strengthen the jihadist groups in Syria by providing them with fresh troops.

The Saudis are gaining temporary domestic benefits from supporting jihad in Syria, but the conflict will not last forever, nor will it result in the deaths of all the young men who go there to fight. This means that someday the men who survive will come back home, and through the process we refer to as “tactical Darwinism” the inept fighters will have been weeded out, leaving a core of competent militants that the Saudis will have to deal with…

Please read that entire Stratfor report, it confirms everything I’ve been saying for years, about all of our MENA craptastic endeavors…!

*gah*

On a final note… Pepe still rulz, all the rest droolz…

by CTuttle

The Syrian Abyss…

7:30 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Foreign Policy’s David Rieff penned a must-read… Save Us from the Liberal Hawks…

Syria’s a tragedy. But it’s not our problem.

Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of (humanitarian) war. That, at least, is what much of the U.S. policy elite seems to be pushing for these days in Syria. That many of the “permahawks,” like Fouad Ajami, Max Boot, and Elliott Abrams, who championed the George W. Bush administration’s decision to overthrow Saddam Hussein, are now calling for supporting the uprising against Bashar al-Assad’s dictatorship should come as no surprise to anyone. Nor should similar calls from most of the liberal writers and editors associated with the New Republic magazine come as a shock. They, too, have been remarkably consistent, and the magazine’s current symposium on what needs to be done next in Syria is eerily reminiscent of the one it ran the year after the invasion of Iraq, which tilted so lopsidedly toward justifying the war, though not the way the Bush administration was prosecuting it.

What is surprising, though, is that despite the disaster of Iraq, looming withdrawal in what will amount to defeat in Afghanistan, and, to put it charitably, the ambiguous result of the U.N.-sanctioned, NATO-led, and Qatari-financed intervention that brought down Muammar al-Qaddafi’s regime, is how nearly complete the consensus for strong action has been even among less hawkish liberals, whether what is done takes the form of the United States and its NATO allies arming the Free Syrian Army, opening so-called humanitarian corridors, or encouraging Turkey and a coalition of the willing within the Arab League to do so. British columnist Jonathan Freedland summed up this view when he wrote recently in the Guardian that the West must not “make the people of Homs pay the price for the mistake we made in Baghdad.”…

Funny, I’ve been Crying ‘Havoc’ of late too… (Also see here, and, here)

Here’s a more reasoned approach… Western intervention in Syria won’t work, so what’s to be done to stop the killing?

Stratfor offered up a great analysis of the Syrian Abyss…

…The region’s regimes have been on the defensive due to the rise of political Islamism, growing public disillusionment and the sectarian Sunni-Shiite split, though foreign military intervention has been required to actually topple them, as we saw in Libya. Growing uncertainty in the region and the gradual weakening of these regimes gives jihadists an opportunity to reassert their relevance. Al-Zawahiri’s statement, however, represents a continuation of the central leadership’s inability to do more than issue taped statements from its Pakistani hideouts, much less engage in strategic planning…

…However, given Syria’s strategic location at the crossroads of so many key geopolitical fault lines, the meltdown of the Syrian state could easily result in a regional conflict. Most stakeholders oppose foreign military intervention in Syria for this very reason. Many states are eyeing the strategic goal of weakening Iran geopolitically through the ouster of the Alawite regime in Syria, but even that prospect may not be enough to offset the potential costs.

Jihadists’ Prospects in Syria

With or without foreign intervention, jihadists in the region have ample room for maneuver in Syria.
The most significant regional jihadist presence lies across the Syrian border in Iraq. These forces benefited from Damascus’ decision to back Sunni insurgents from 2003 to 2007. The consolidation of Shiite power in Iraq greatly weakened these forces. Now that Syria is unraveling and armed resistance to the regime is shaping up, the jihadist flow is reversing direction, with jihadists now entering Syria from Iraq…

The level of factionalization among the Syrian rebels works to the advantage of jihadists. Just as Iraq’s Sunni tribal forces, Islamists and Baathists cooperated with the jihadists against U.S troops and the country’s new Shia-dominated security forces, many elements within Syria’s Sunni population would be willing to align with jihadists given the constraints they face in battling the well-armed Alawite-dominated Syrian military.

Regional stakeholders are reluctant to see foreign military intervention, leaving the option of covert support in the form of supplying weapons to the Syrian rebels. Jihadists can be expected to make use of such covert support as they work to insert themselves in Syria. Even if weapons aren’t intended for jihadists, the increased flow of weapons and training into Syria provide an additional opportunity for jihadists to build on this support by offering more battle-hardened experience to a still disorganized armed resistance.

But while neither the domestic opponents of the Syrian regime nor the international stakeholders have an interest in seeing Syria collapse into sectarian conflict, jihadists want just that. As in Iraq, we could see bombings against Alawites and other non-Sunni groups, including Iranian and Hezbollah targets. This could be extended to attacks in Lebanon in an attempt to stoke a regional sectarian conflict…

As b at Moon of Alabama, had asked awhile back in one of his posts… Would the U.S. leave Denver in the hands of hostile armed religiously extreme revolutionaries?

The Syrians are sooo screwed…!

*gah*