Syria Video Discussion: What Now After Russia’s Intervention?

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PHOTO: A billboard in Syria with Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Assad, and Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah


On October 21, the University of Birmingham hosted a discussion among four academics of the issues raised by Russia’s intervention in Syria — and what should happen next.

Even though much has changed in the past two months, the conflict and its core issues remain. So do the questions. Is a political resolution possible? Should Russia’s intervention — and possibly the Assad regime — be supported? Or is there an alternative, such as protected zones, to offer better possibilities for political discussions as well as safe havens for civilians?

The panellists are Stefan Wolff (International Security), Derek Averre (Russian Studies), and Scott Lucas (International Politics). The chair is Berny Sebe (North African Studies).

0:00 — Berny Sebe
10:15 — Stefan Wolff
20:26 — Derek Averre
31:05 — Scott Lucas
40:32 — Q&A

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Scott Lucas is Professor of International Politics at the University of Birmingham and editor-in-chief of EA WorldView. He is a specialist in US and British foreign policy and international relations, especially the Middle East and Iran. Formerly he worked as a journalist in the US, writing for newspapers including the Guardian and The Independent and was an essayist for The New Statesman before he founded EA WorldView in November 2008.

77 COMMENTS

    • “”With Assad, it’s possible to deal in the future”” — Very strange assessment for someone who is living in Tel Aviv. Maybe you should take away your sunglasses to have a more better and clear view?

      1..At least since the Harriri murder at 2005 Assad is playing a double game: Relative calm on the Golan Heights — but going together with Nazrallah and his Terrorist Mafia Gang ruling at Bekaa valley.

      2..The reason why Syria and Libanon are so important for Khamenei: Both countries are the Base for the action of Hizbollah.

      3..Since 2011 there had been several airraids of Israel Defense Forces at Syria. The January 2013 Rif Dimashq airstrike was an aerial attack in Rif Dimashq Governorate of Syria, made on a convoy, that was believed to be carrying advanced anti-aircraft weaponry from Syria to the Lebanese Shi’a militia Hezbollah.The convoy was attacked on January 31, 2013. According to several media sources, Israeli forces allegedly conducted the strike, however Israel hasn’t officially responded to the allegations.

      The convoy was attacked while parked at a facility of the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center, Syria’s main research center on biological and chemical weapons, at Jamraya, several miles northwest of the Syrian capital of Damascus. In addition to Russian-made SA-17 anti-aircraft missiles, secondary explosions from the attacked munitions also damaged a building of the Scientific Studies and Research Center. Satellite images taken a few days after the attack showed a scorched and blackened parking lot at the center, where the arms convoy was apparently hit.

      Israel did not officially confirm responsibility for the bombing, but Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak suggested that it could have been behind the attack, saying on 3 February,
      “I cannot add anything to what you’ve read in the newspapers about what happened in Syria several days ago, but I keep telling, frankly, that we’ve said – and that’s another proof that when we say something we mean it – we say that we don’t think that it should be allowable to bring advanced weapon systems into Lebanon.”

      Delivering advanced weapon systems into Lebanon with the help of the Assad Regime – that`s exactly the point.

      4..Everybody understands the difficulty to talk with crazy Islamists nobody can talk with.

      But the prospect that the Assad regime continues rearming Hizbollah with the help of Iran using Palestine, Syria and Lebanon as a war base is much more threatening?

      Note: One reason Iran needs Syria is Irans connection to Hizbollah.
      Sending Assad to Sibiria means that his connection will be broken.

      • Gunny,

        I agree with all what you said about HA, Iran and the importance of the Shia crescent to Iran.

        However, what worries me more, is the farther Sunni Islamisation of this region. We have to prevent this by all means, even if this means supporting the butcher against the beheaders.

      • 2..The reason why Syria and Libanon are so important for Khamenei: Both countries are the Base for the action of Hizbollah.

        The reason why Syria and Lebanon are so important for the Saudis and US, is that destabilizing then isolates Iran. Hezbollah is a resistance group that stands between Lebanon and Israel occupation.

        3..Since 2011 there had been several airraids of Israel Defense Forces at Syria.

        Note they never attack ISIS or Al Qaeda, only Syria, hence why they are described as the air-force of ISIS

        4..Everybody understands the difficulty to talk with crazy Islamists nobody can talk with

        Which makes backing them, as the US and Saudi Arabia are doing, all the more absurd.

        • It wasn`t the question.

          1..The question is why Khamenei and a lot more the iranian Hizbullahis and Pasdaran hardliners are keen to invade Syria?

          2..Rafsanjani has described that “extremism” in Iranian politics should be limited to statements instead of being “manifested in actions.”

          resumen: If even Rafsanjani is talking about iranian extremism of talking and action – why don`t you understand that there is no way even to find a path of roaring and barking with iranian jihadists?

          Dealing with your lies isn`t everybodies cup of tea.

          3.. IDF has organized air raids against Hizbollah only.

          But the question is – are Iranians inside syria to bring Assad more torture methods?

          The Testimony of the Detainee: Mazen Besais Hamada
          On Air Force Branch-Mazzeh Military Airport
          And Military Hospital 601 in Mazzeh, Damascus
          Violation Documentation Center in Syria

          October 2013

          After that, they took me to the “planes’ security” again where I stayed from July 2012 till December 2012. Then, at the beginning of 2013, they transferred me, with another 50 detainees to the “new building” where thirteen of us were put in Cell 11 that was only 1.10*1.10 cm2. Among the detainees were Tarek Sheikh from Rastan city in Homs, and Tarek Qaseedeh who was a doctor in Mujtahid Hospital.

          Few days later, I was late in the bathroom because I was suffering from constipation, so five guards started beating me severely by a “tube” on my stomach, waist and head for more than 10 minutes till I started losing conscious when they took me back to the cell.

          At midnight, I felt a terrible pain in my waist, and when I went out to the toilet I was peeing “blood” and the pain increased little by little, especially that we were not allowed to use the bathroom but twice a day i.e. once every 12 hours. I remained in pain for ten days till the prison commander; Lieutenant Colonel “Suhail”came and checked if any of the detainees was sick or needed anything. I told him about my condition so he ordered one of the agents to write down my name in order to transfer me to the hospital. Indeed, on the next day, at about 9 in the morning, they called my name to take me to Military Hospital 601 as I heard the agents whispering.

          One day between mid-January and the beginning of February, about eight in the morning, the agents called me, then they blindfolded me and asked me to climb up a bed. When I did, they pushed the bed very violently that I fell down in an ambulance. On the way to the hospital, the agents kept hitting me severely with the bottoms of their guns. They also kicked me with their feet on my stomach and head. One of the agents said in a vernacular accent “I wish he’s dead before we get to the hospital”.

          The sick detainees there were not allowed to talk to each other, yet I could see the other detainees from under the piece of clothe by which they blindfolded me. One of them was unconscious as he had a fracture in his skull “his brain was seeming” as he had been beaten brutally on the head which caused him that big fracture that left him on the verge of death. Another detainee was whipped harshly on his feet that they became like “an elephant feet” because they were very swollen that each foot weighed about 40 kg. There were traces of torture all over his body.

          At midnight of the same day, i asked one of the guards to take me to the bathroom so he ordered one of “the hard laborers”-who was from Daryya city- to do so. The bathrooms reeked so much. They consisted of a toilet, a bathroom and a third place where there was a small sink.

          As soon as I opened the door of the toilet, I was freaked out for there was three bluish bodied lying there with their underwear. Those bodies had long hair and beards. It seemed that they had spent a long-term detention. Their eyes were pulled out during torture, and they were piled above each other.

          I immediately shut the door and went to the bathroom to pee, however I saw two other bodies, fully dressed with long hair and beards too, yet these bodies seemed to have died not very long time before. They seemed to have died recently.

          I closed the door again and headed to the small room where the small sink is. There, I saw a young man’s body; he was about 17, with white complex and blond hair. He only wore underwear, and traces of torture were all over his tiny body with other traces of burnings caused either by boiling water, boiling oil or other substance.

          Scared to death, I went back to the room. The guard asked if anything was wrong with me. I replied that I saw bodies of dead men in the bathroom, yet he did not pay any attention to my words.

        • Hezbollah is a resistance group that stands between Lebanon and Israel occupation.

          Then it must have been the Israelis in Zabadani and Qusayr that these terrorists were “resisting”?

          Lol, Israel can occupy Lebanon anytime. It pulled out because there is nothing to do there. The place is useless. Bunch of subsistence farmers live in south Lebanon.

  1. I don’t see how you can “deal with” Assad. Not only is he is brutal Fascist butcher, but he is a constant liar. No kind of agreement with him would be worth the paper it was written on.

    Nor can you deal with his allies in ISIS.

    What you can do is walk away and ignore what is going on.

      • “”Assad is easy to deal with.””

        Yes – a massmurderer (250.000 war victims at syria + 90.000 not identified victims + Tenthousands syrians tortured to death + a widespread concentrationcamp system at syria + shabiha + 14 syrian security services committing massacres against syrians)
        are more than enough reasons to send Assad to Sibiria.

        The Testimony of the Detainee: Mazen Besais Hamada
        On Air Force Branch-Mazzeh Military Airport
        And Military Hospital 601 in Mazzeh, Damascus
        Violation Documentation Center in Syria

        October 2013

        The agents in the branch used to beat severely all the detainees who went to sign their forced confessions. One day, one of the detainees named Muhammad Azab from Darayya city in Damascus Suburbs went out to sign his confessions. He was only 17. Despite he was a kid, they made him- under severe torture- confess that he was a murderer.

        When he finished, the agents started beating him, headed by Assistant Hafez Sulaiman with other agents such as: agent Shahoud, Mustafa Azar and Daniel who was from Lattakia. They all beat him on his head with “an iron tube”, then they burned his face, especially his cheeks, and his neck with a “straw lighter” that is a special tool used normally to weld and mend refrigerators, which caused him many serious burnings.

        Scared to death, I went back to the room. The guard asked if anything was wrong with me. I replied that I saw bodies of dead men in the bathroom, yet he did not pay any attention to my words. That guard nicknamed himself as “Ezra’eel/The Angel of Death”

        “Ezra’eel” as he wanted to be called was a jailor from Shahoud family from Tartous Governorate. His task was to kill those who were at the verge of death.

        As for the way the killing was carried out, Mazen says:

        Ezra’eel usually came-late night- carrying a “metal tube” in his hand after he got really drunk. He shouted at the sick detainees saying ” The divine court has sentenced you to salvation”, then he chose his victims of the elderly whom he beat severely on their heads till they die, as one of the “hard Laborers” from Daryya said adding that each week between 15 to 20 bodies are being taken to an unknown destination by a huge “refrigerator”

        Two days after that, they brought one of the detainees-from Shb’aa in Damascus countryside- whom I had met earlier in Mazzeh Military Airport. He was suffering chronic skin infections resulted from the poor hygienic condition inside the detention, in addition to being infected with leprosy “Vitiligo” and scabies as well.

        I can vividly remember who were in charge of torturing him in Mazzeh Military Airport.one of them was Fawaz Zabea’ from Occupied Golan (Special Tasks),the other one was Fayez from Mahkan Village in Deir Ezzor, and the thirds one was Yousef, a Kurdish from Malkieh (Derek) whose father worked in Rmeilan oil fields. He was a recruit in Aqraba Airport, then he defected and fled to Erbil in Kurdistan, Iraq.

        When that detainee arrived, he was “detached”, that is, he was hallucinating. The guards put him in the same bed I was occupying. And as “the hard laborer” told me exactly, Ezra’eel came after midnight carrying his “metal tube” and smelling like drinking. He beat the detainee on his head till he was completely unconscious and his blood was over the whole place. Few hours later, he died so i called the “hard laborer” who took his body to the bathroom.

  2. The whole of the internal politics of the middle east since the 1950s could pretty much be summed up like this: repressive regimes employing brutal and systematic barbarity to crush political dissent. This not only includes, but is specifically focused on, those movements that seek to build peaceful societies. The appearance of the “extremists”, i.e. the jihadis, from the late 80’s onwards only played into the hands of the middle eastern regimes and outside powers by giving them licence to continue business as usual.

    Why is that relevant here ? First of all, 75 years of dictatorship and repression didn’t go unnoticed by outside powers, but has been encouraged, stimulated, supplied and unchallenged to point where it’s accepted as the norm, to the point where it’s common to hear in papers like the UK’s Guardian that “those people are better off under dictators”, like was said about Africans “those people were better off under colonialism.”

    Secondly, Prof Lucas’s call for safe zones will never happen realistically, as that would break 75 years of tradition of crushing civilised opposition. The absolute last thing that the regimes or the outside powers would want to see is a functioning peaceful society: it is the ultimate red line, it would lead to the collapse of world order in their eyes, because the system relies on major powers and their clients knowing whats best for those people. Like the Assad regime did, it’s better to let all the extremists out of jail and run riot than face the risk of a peaceful society.

    Thirdly, it pushes people into that false choice: it’s either the dictators or the extremists and there is no alternative, for people inside and outside. But it’s slipped everyone’s attention that for nearly a century, those regimes have been systematically crushing peaceful political dissent.

    Something has to give here, and this war will continue until it does.

    • “”The absolute last thing that outside powers would want to see is a functioning peaceful society.””

      KSA wants to have a Syrian Islamist society as Iran – solely the type of Islamism at KSA and Iran is different. Russia wants to have the same repression at Syria as at Moscow but additional it wants to prevent that Syria comes under Western influence.

      For the sectarian part of the middle east war (between sunni & shia) this war wan`t stop soon because up to now the experience of mutually acceptance is missing on both sides.

      • “KSA wants to have a Syrian Islamist society as Iran”
        No. KSA will support islamist groups that it believes to be firmly under its thumb e.g. Jaish al-Islam, and even then it’s wary, but otherwise it will support secular groups. It’s promotion of Wahhabism through mosques and madaaris is unrelated to this policy. See both Egypt and Libya as an example. In the former it helped ‘secular’ as-Sisi overthrow the Brotherhood, and in the latter it throws its lot with Haftar, while Qatar supports the islamist government in Tripoli. The Riyadh conference it hosts can hardly be called islamist either. KSA despises most form of Islamism that are not in line with its own, seeing them as a threat.

        • KSA always had demanded to be the religious leader in the Islamic community of all believers. Additional King Abdullah is the leader of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation councel (OIC) in which he called for Islamic unity and overcoming the schism.

          In order to promote the global spread of Islam, a wide range of instruments of international Islamic organizations (including Muslim World League) and private charity societies (eg, World Assembly of Muslim Youth) KSA is supporting.

          After proselytizing activities of Saudi Arabian organizations are increasingly challenged in the context of anti-terrorism debate, the government officially strives to achieve greater control of this activity. According to a constitutional order the state religion is Islam, embossing is the flow of the followers of Salafism.

          At least it is complicated to understand why KSA is supporting secular movements/politics. Wouldn`t it be seen as a threat against the strict and hardline order of KSA if there would develope kind of democrazies in the surrounding?


          • KSA always had demanded to be the religious leader in the Islamic community of all believers

            Yes they are dictators and will not tolerate anyone who doesn’t follow orders.

            Additional King Abdullah is the leader of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation councel (OIC) in which he called for Islamic unity and overcoming the schism.

            Abdullah is dead and the KSA has overtly and actively widened the schism.

            In order to promote the global spread of Islam, a wide range of instruments of international Islamic organizations (including Muslim World League) and private charity societies (eg, World Assembly of Muslim Youth) KSA is supporting.

            Yeah like Al Qaeda and other death cults

            Wouldn`t it be seen as a threat against the strict and hardline order of KSA if there would develope kind of democrazies in the surrounding?

            Which goes to show that the so called moderates it supports in Syria are not going to being democracy. The KSA would not be supporting pro democracy groups.

          • KSA has money, which a starved strongman like Sisi will always happily take in exchange for political obedience. Democratic or not, secular societies usually keep to themselves. As long as Saudis can keep their citizens’ standard of living high, then they don’t have to worry much about their citizens taking notes from some democracy on the block. Which is good, as internal dissent in their case will more likely bring a more fanatical regime in place rather than a democratic government. The House of Saud are relative moderates compared to the Wahhabis it keeps in check.

            The Ikhwan and a number of islamist groups are more than eager to export their ideology. ME borders as a colonial construct mean little to them; they’re an insult more than anything. Here’s where conflict ensues, and why Saudis have little tolerance for them. Even Qatar sponsors the Ikhwan provided they don’t attempt to spread their influence at home, but focus outward.

            Stability trumps everything else in regards to their policy making.

            • “”Little tolerance……………””

              So far as I know KSA islamist groups are spreading islamist ideology at Pakistan and Afghanistan – German goverment officials have discussed the problem with the Saudis because after the Paris Attacks people are getting highly sensible against salafists.

              But can`t see Saudi Aggressiveness to change ME borders – it looks more that Saudis want as you have said that everything stays calm and that the balance of power isn`t changing. But the trigger of the ME breakdown and following desaster was Hardline Shia Iran – they didn`t have recognized ME borders if you look to Libanon where Hizbollah has created a Hizbollah State insidethe State Libanon.

              To stabilize Bekaa valley shia enclave all Hizbollah troops are gathered around the Libanon border inside Syria (Quneitra) They really didn`t care about borders the same as their brothers inside Iran, too.

              The Saudi Alliance of 34 sunni states is interesting but the alliance above all including turkey could be really threatening against Iranian interests – if they want.

              • So far as I know KSA islamist groups are spreading islamist ideology at Pakistan and Afghanistan – German goverment officials have discussed the problem with the Saudis because after the Paris Attacks people are getting highly sensible against salafists.

                I never claimed otherwise. I already stated that their proselytizing efforts are separate from their policy making. They don’t mind others accepting Islam as the Saudis understand it. Why would they? It helps them spread influence, and the type of Islam they preach requires Muslims to be extremely obedient to their leaders.

                However, the Saudi brand of Salafism doesn’t endorse worldwide jihad. If such things are being preached at Saudi-funded madaaris, it’s not because KSA decrees it so. The problem is that Salafi-Jihadism is just a violent, expansionist version of Salafism. They disagree on politics, but otherwise they agree on most other issues, and due to that it’s easy for a Salafi to turn to Salafi-Jihadism, especially if conditions for radicalization occur. Take Yemen for example – a large amount of ordinary Yemeni Salafis started working with AQAP only once they were expelled by the Houthis from their homes when they overran a good deal of Yemen. They make up almost a half of anti-Houthi resistance in the city of Ta’iz, and there’s plenty of suspicion that they’ll do AQAP’s work and help AQ establish themselves in the city – in which they already have a presence – if the opportunity arises.

                The separate currents of Salafism must be differentiated – not all are dangerous or even violent. The SJs are just the most active ones and thus the most heard of.

          • KSA wants to have as many supporters and dependents internationally as it can. But KSA is not too keen on Islamism, because it knows that with islamism, it will be its own head head on the chopping block first. Wahhabism that is supportive of the monarchy yes. But Salafism that wants to overthrow the order or pose them a challenge, of course not.

    • False equivalency. The West does not want to crush civil society in Syria. The West is actually helping Civil society in Tunisia, Morocco, Libya, Egypt, Kurdistan, Iraq, Jordan, Afghanistan, etc.

      You trying to make the West look as bad as Russia and Assad is pathetic. Go look at Bosnia, East Timor, Albania, Ukraine, Georgia, Turkey, Venezuela, etc. etc. and tell me where does the west want civil society to fail?

  3. You are right.

    Repressive regimes have indeed been the rule in the Middle East — since the 1950s BC. Or earlier.

    The whole tradition is based on the belief that people cannot govern themselves peacefully, and that any state of freedom will be like “Lord of the Flies”. According to this belief, you must have a strong ruler and strict laws (with police, jails, executions and torture) to keep people in line. In Chinese history, it is known as “Legalism”.

    What is known as “the West” challenges this belief and is therefore a subject of fear and loathing.

    Religions with a strong, vengeful, dominant male god are based on the same belief. It is all top-down rule, based on fear.

    • No, the last 75 years of repression isn’t how it’s always been, not by a long way. And “the West” doesn’t challenge this belief, it does it’s best to make sure it keeps going.

      In fact, if you really know your history, you could say that the modern form of the “Lord of the Flies” method started when Earl Grey reformed the UK Parliament in the 19th century to widen the electoral base: he said something like “with these changes, I do not intend to abolish privilege, but rather protect it.”

      Protecting the West’s “privilege” to tell people in the Middle East that they know whats best for them is the reason for the mess in Syria dragging on for 5 years.

      • The growth of moderate sunni islamic governments in the region would be a good starting point -specially ones not deeply rooted in salafism and wahhabism-, here I´m thinking of people like the late Ahmed Kuftaro or Muhammad al-Yaqoubi.

      • “No, the last 75 years of repression isn’t how it’s always been, not by a long way. And “the West” doesn’t challenge this belief, it does it’s best to make sure it keeps going.”

        I can’t think of any period in history when there has been any real freedom or democracy in the Middle East outside Israel.

        The West challenges this belief by demonstrating that a state can run well enough without tyranny and torture. That people can mock the current elected leader without being “disappeared”.

        Obviously the West is far from perfect, but it is a different way of life, and gives the victims of tyrants ideas. (Is Tom Paine available in an Arabic translation?)

        The apparent support of western states for tyrants such as the rulers of Bahrain is I think mainly caused by the laziness of diplomats. They like to have one well known man to talk to in each country, and they like him to stay in power. It avoids all the hard work of getting to know the new government after each election. The changes of Presidents and policies in the USA every few years must drive Arab diplomats to distraction.

        • Tom Paine is often quoted by Islamists. The model Islamic revolutionary, apparently. The muslim brotherhood types always invoke Paine when talking about fighting Israel, for example. As for there not being a period of history, well, there is lots of information out there if there you look:

          https://www.reddit.com/r/AskHistorians/comments/3ikxu2/when_was_the_last_time_the_middleeastern_region/

          International politics isn’t built on the laziness or hard work of diplomats. It’s built on political, economic and military interests. Like Libya, the British were working hand in glove with Ghaddafi’s torturers one minute (as is being piece by piece revealed in the courts) and the next minute they were providing the very same Islamists they’d been hunting on Ghaddafi’s behalf with air support against his army ! Because they knew that Ghaddafi’s time was up and they decided to back who they thought would be the next ones in power. That’s the British way. Ask BP, who I believe still have the largest oil concessions in Libya.

          I don’t think that the victims of that repression, the ones who survive anyway, are too impressed with the answer “yeah, our democracy backed the dictator and may have sold him a load of weapons and torture equipment and stuff, but, well, our diplomats were just lazy, we’ll look into firing them and get some new ones. Don’t expect an apology though, you’ll have to go through the courts for that”

          • Where is the West suppressing civil society and democracy in the past 30 years since the demise of communism?

            You need to update your database.

      • date palm, that makes no sense. Tell me where is the west against the democratization of the Middle East? If you could offer a liberal democratic KSA or Qatar, the West would seize that in a second. It would be so much more stable and peaceful that these 2nd rate monarchs of the sand.

      • date palm, please provide evidence that the West wishes to suppress democratization in the M.E., in the past 30 years. I don’t mean suppress communism back in the 70s. I mean suppress civil society. You know the difference, right?

        • The big one for me was Algeria in 1992. Not forgotten.
          And you have the support for Sisi in Egypt more recently of course.

          These are big events that make headlines. But the smaller things that keep the system going along, like the constant sale of torture equipment, the training of police forces, the links between western intelligence services and despots (follow the Libya torture court case for insight into how close the West and the dictators are), the bribery and financial corruption and so on, aren’t reported because they are day-to-day things. But people in the middle east know who’s the boss, and it’s either the British, the French or the Americans.

  4. You need to accept some important truths……………….

    1. Assad is there to stay.

    2, Though he will not publicly admit it, Obama knows Assad is there to stay.

    3, The majority of Syrians support Assad.

    4. Putin is stronger than ever before.

    So, where does that leave Scott, Weiss, Lister, Arab dictators, gunny and friends?…………

    Answer: now that you’ve lost, all you can do is to continue to pump out lies and propaganda. Higgins has already started.

    Go get the money before Qatar stops paying.

    • Reality check Mike….

      The outcome of this conflict is not incumbent upon what Obama, Putin or Qatar’s Emir can resolve. Those that you believe to be the puppeteers are in fact mainly confined to react to the stimulus arriving from the ground.

      • I’ll simplify it for you……………….. the concerted effort by the Arab dictators, the West and Turkey to overthrow Assad has failed. Putin has put and end to it.

        All you have left to do is continued pumping of propaganda. Chemical weapons!!!!!!!!!!! Genocide!!!!!!!!!!!! Mass murderer!!!!!!!!!!!! blah, blah, blah

          • As I’ve pointed out, the plan to overthrow Assad was concocted by Robert Ford/CIA under the GWBush administration and his Arab king BFFs.

            It was dropped in Obama’s lap.

            Yes, the West and the Arab kings wanted to overthrow Assad.

            Total failure.

            Now, the Sauds are talking about sending “special forces” into Syria. LOL! They’ll get their butts whooped by battle hardend Syrian military with the support of Russian air force.

            Sauds are getting whooped by bare footed Houthis in Yemen. Houthis killed Saudi commander and a bunch of others last week.

            Qataris captured a couple days ago in Iraq.

            Doubtful they want to get completely embarrassed. The West is not going to help them in Syria or Iraq.

            Obama has just stated that the US wants to work WITH Russia in defeating ISIS. US can’t work with Russia and Sauds at the same time. It’s one or the other. Obama has chosen to work with Putin. Obama has thrown the ISIS supporting Wahhabis to the curb.

            Putin “outed” Obama regarding the ISIS oil going to Turkey. Obama has been watching it for years. Did nothing. Putin is doing something about it. Putin is the only world leader truly fighting ISIS.

            What happens with Erdogan should be interesting. I’m sure when Kerry met with Putin he told him that the US had nothing to do with shooting down the Russian jet. Further pointing out that Erdogan is a madman.

            • “As I’ve pointed out, the plan to overthrow Assad was concocted by Robert Ford/CIA under the GWBush administration and his Arab king BFFs.”

              Mike the arab spring is the first cause and not a CIA conspiracy. Assad always was Israel´s perfect neighbour can you understandt that?.

        • “All you have left to do is continued pumping of propaganda. Chemical weapons!!!!!!!!!!! Genocide!!!!!!!!!!!! Mass murderer!!!!!!!!!!!! blah, blah, blah”

          The “pumping of propaganda” is a trade mark of your Iranian and russian masters -the same ones that hate and kill your fellow american countrymen whenever they can-. Jeez! one hell of a patriot you are…

          • There’s a lot of propaganda out there. From all sides.
            Even my US media is pumping out half-truths, lies and propaganda. All in the name of of “national security”.

            Those killing my fellow countrymen are Sunnis.

            Green on blue…….. Sunnis. World Trade Center….. Sunnis. San Bernadino……. Sunnis.

            I’m not going to mention the attacks in Canada, GB, Paris and others, but, they were ALL done by Sunnis.

            ISIS….. Sunnis, al Qaeda…. Sunnis. al Nusra….. Sunni. Every group targeted by the West in Iraq and Syria……… ALL Sunnis.

            • False. Those killing your fellow countrymen are organizations with a specific political and religious orientation.

              Evidently you can’t tell the difference between the many tendencies that sunnism encompasses and that turns you into a perfect victim of russian/iranian propaganda.

              • Sunnis are killing my fellow countrymen and innocents throughout the world.

                ISIS, al Qaeda, al Nusra, Boko Harem and the many other terrorist groups are ALL Sunni.

              • “ISIS, al Qaeda, al Nusra, Boko Harem and the many other terrorist groups are ALL Sunni.”

                And because of that you decided that the best thing to do is to turn yourself into a pro-russian/iranian pamphleteer?. Great…

    • You forget that Assad himself is an Arab dictator, and one of the worst. Your repeated claim that a majority of Syrians supports him seems very unlikely. Consider how many have lost relatives in the bombing: they are hardly likely to support him. Consider how many are refugees, inside or outside the country.

      It would be good to see Russia prosperous and successful, but I don’t think Putin’s machismo policies are helping at all. However, unlike Assad, he does seem to be genuinely popular, with no need to rig elections.

      • Refugees are running from Sunnis. Most go to Damascus where they are protected by the Syrian government.

        Assad a dictator? My fellow Christians and all other religions practice openly in Syria. The dictators are the Arab kings. No freedoms in the Sunni kingdoms. Sauds behead women and children.

        Homs has been liberated by the Syrian Army. The residents are thankful.

        Assad is not a dictator.

        • “Refugees are running from Sunnis. Most go to Damascus where they are protected by the Syrian government.”

          Refugees are running from the bombing campaing of your masters you genius.

          “Assad is not a dictator”

          Lol. When was he elected???.

  5. 1) Assad is the obstacle to russia extracting themselves with some sort of semi face saving agreement in place (if only to be broken when they leave) so i wouldnt count on that
    2)Id doubt that
    3) Thatl explain his manpower issues and the fact his force is virtualy iranain now, if they supported him he’d have no shortage of native volunteers instead he cranks up conscription and foriegn manpower to hang on…..in effect the civil war is over this is iran + russia vs syrian people now really
    4)With oil this low and set to stay that way? on top of the damage hes done to foriegn relations with sanctions ,turkey, eastern europes increasing drills

    • 1. Russia are not the ones who need a face saving agreement, Washington is.
      2. You can doubt it but you;d be wrong.
      3, The fact that Assad is still in power and the majority of his fighters are Sunnis prove that the majority of Sunnis support Assad. That and the recent ORB poll that shows Assad has majority support in Syria
      4. Turkey is a lose canon. The damage to foreign relations was the plan all along at the State department. Eastern Europe’s increasing drills are just further provocations on Washington’s part. If defending his country is going to damage some foreign relations, what choice did Putin have?

      • “The fact that Assad is still in power and the majority of his fighters are Sunnis prove that the majority of Sunnis support Assad”

        Flase. He is recruiting randomly from the bottom of the pot. He needs the asistance of two air-forces to barley survive and even with all that he must do an appalling effort to gain back some square miles of territory.

      • The only reason there are Sunnis in his army is because they are conscripts and he kills sunnis who refuse but does not kill alawites that refuse.

    • Mike,

      Narwani is an effective propagandist, but much of the claimed information in this article was fed to her by regime officials and other claimed info is distorted or incorrect.

      S.

      • Scott,

        I’ve followed Narwani on Twitter for more than four years. She knows her stuff. She’s not fed info by the government. I’ve cross referenced her info with other sources. It all adds up.

        Compare the info she’s put forward to what you have. Narwani gets into the details, you don’t. Well, you can’t. You need to keep it simple so to suit your agenda.

        Last month, U.S. rep. Tulsi Gabbard came out and called it out on CNN……… “an illegal CIA war against a sovereign government”. A war coordinated by CIA agent Robert Ford posing as US ambassador to Syria.

        Scott, Gabbard pretty much sums it up………. it’s the CIA, not “protests”

        • Mike,

          Put forth any supposed detail from Narwani’s articles and I’ll dissect it. I have worked with her, so I know how she compiles her stories.

          And invoking someone else’s “agenda” to defend Narwani? Truly the definition of irony, methinks…..

          S.

  6. Scott I think you were a bit unsure on the question about Obama’s hesitancy. MosaicMagazine had two good articles by Doran, and a good reply by Eliott Abrams. I don’t think it is too mysterious. He wants to clip the wing of US international leadership as he sees that as imperialism.

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