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Syrian rebels gaining upper hand?

Syrian rebels gaining upper hand?

With so much going on in the domestic political arena, it’s easy for attention to get distracted from the Iranian-Hezollah-Russian attempt to keep Bashar Assad in power.

Other than when there is a heavy one-day body count, Syria is not in the U.S. news media radar.

This analysis at The Jerusalem Post suggests the rebels are gaining the upper hand:

As the UN Supervision Mission in Syria ceases its activities, there are indications that the Syrian rebels are beginning to gain the upper hand against President Bashar Assad’s regime. The rebels have scored notable achievements  against government forces in recent days. There are corresponding signs of growing demoralization among regime troops, and among those sections of the  population still supporting Assad.

The advantage in the civil war in Syria has ebbed and flowed. The rebels began to establish “liberated zones” in  parts of the country around last October. In late February, the regime launched  a determined, bloody counterattack to reconquer these areas, and largely achieved this in time for the “cease-fire” of April 10. With the cease-fire now  in tatters, the indications are that the momentum of the insurgency has picked up again, and is now driving forward against the regime’s forces.

There’s more analysis at the link.


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radiofreeca | June 20, 2012 at 4:18 pm

Over the long term, it would appear that Assad will fall – the Russians can’t be looking good to the Sunni Arab world, and Syria would just be a long-term drain. So eventually I would think they’d just move on – a la both they and we did in Afghanistan.

We found how it’s impossible to put down guerrilla movements if there’s a sanctuary-state next door, and Syria is surrounded by sanctuary-states: Turkey, Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, Jordan.

Also, the Alawites are a small minority – the fact that they have decided to create sanctuaries for themselves indicates a mind-shift that they plan on losing control of the rest of the country. And nobody wins when they are playing defense.

Cassandra Lite | June 20, 2012 at 4:36 pm

The moment it looks like the opposition will definitely succeed in driving out Assad, we’ll read a NYT story, leaked by the White House, that the Obamas were behind the whole operation all along.

    persecutor in reply to Cassandra Lite. | June 20, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    No Cassandra, the NYT article will tell us that Dear Leader personally approved every person on the Rebel’s kill list!

      So you say Obama approved each and every one …

      “The International Committee of the Red Cross is deeply shocked and dismayed by the death of one of its staff members, Hussein Saleh, who was killed this morning while on duty in the north of Abyan governorate,” the ICRC said in a statement.

      “It was an air strike. We have no additional details whatsoever,” ICRC spokesman Hicham Hassan said in Geneva.

      On Tuesday, U.N. human rights investigator Christof Heyns called on the Obama administration to justify its policy of assassinating rather than capturing al Qaeda or Taliban suspects, increasingly with the use of unmanned drone aircraft that also kill civilians.

      We all knew eventually this would happen. The decision to stop adding to the population of Gitmo justified the policy of assassinating rather than capturing al Qaeda or Taliban suspects.

        Cassandra Lite in reply to Neo. | June 20, 2012 at 5:12 pm

        The ICRC is a loathsome organization that has for years denied entry to Israel’s version of the Red Cross. ICRC vans and ambulances have frequently been used by Hezbollah, so we can only hope that this story makes some sort of splash in the news after an enterprising reporter discovers the truth that the dead man was— Wait. Did I just use the term “enterprising reporter” in conjunction with “truth”? Wow, that was must’ve been the mother of all brain farts. My apologies.

With Iran, Russia and China talking about “war games” in Syria, I can only expect the need for lots of popcorn.

    AIG in reply to Neo. | June 20, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    Turns out, that was a false report. And it makes sense, China isn’t too interested, and Russia can barely hold exercises in its own country.

Is this an opportunity for Hilary Rodham Clinton and her crone allies to do for Syria what we have done for Libya: plunge the nation into lawlessness and subject the citizens to rule by gang? How’s that hopey-changey stuff working in Libya, by the way?

stevewhitemd | June 20, 2012 at 6:42 pm

Rantburg has been following this closely. It indeed ebbs and flows.

Biggest news is that Russia is sending two amphibious assault ships and naval infantry (Marines to us) to Tartus, a port in Syria that has been their main base in the Med the last four decades. The infantry ostensibly are to protect Russian installations at the port, but I’m guessing there are a lot of weapons and ammo that will be turned over to the Syrian army. Russia has tried to deliver weapons by sea before but has done so in civilian ships that were turned back, usually by Cyprus, after complaints were made.

Russia’s plan in the Syrian civil war (for that is what it is) is to keep a useful client state if they can, keep their access in Tartus, and continue to stir the pot in the Middle East in ways that are useful to them. That Syria is Iran’s lapdog, and Iran is anti-US, is useful to Russia.

Also keep in mind that the Syrian rebels include a substantial number who are clearly Salafist in orientation and belief, and thus allied to the Muslim Brotherhood and similar organizations. If they were to gain power they would be anti-Iran but would also be virulently anti-Israel and anti-US. We could go from the frying pan to the fire.

    radiofreeca in reply to stevewhitemd. | June 20, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    Russian “Naval Infantry” isn’t really equivalent to “Marines” – what the Russians have really is “Infantry at Sea” or naval infantry. From what I have read, the NI are going to be used to guard the port district and Russian ships there – they’re not sending enough troops or support (artillery, transport, etc.) to do more than that.

    While I agree that some portion of the rebels are Islamist, it’s not clear to me how they would align – would it be with Saudi/Sunni interests or Iran. Or just splinter. It might make things better in Lebanon for Israel (or not). Lord knows what will happen with all those chemical weapons. Hopefully the Russians will get control of them – they’ve got their own set of challenges with Islamists – they don’t need a chem attack in Moscow.

chilipalmer | June 20, 2012 at 7:53 pm

I was sorry to see this post about Syria, what are known as its rebels, and the suggestion that the topic has been experiencing a lack of attention. Syria is bad but so is most of the world today. Obama considers our military his personal re-election squad. Those not on the squad are assigned to diversity training and preparing attacks on catastrophic man-caused global warming. Obama and his UN pals are moving us into Kuwait now I read. Fortunately Obama can keep printing billions in US tax dollars to hand out to thugs in the Middle East and Africa to kill or drive out remaining Christians. I also read the story about Russia moving in on Syria was a lie. I’m glad the billions of tax dollars we spend on propaganda are doing their job.

BannedbytheGuardian | June 20, 2012 at 7:59 pm

Actually I think Syria Iran & Israel could fall . Who is going to step in there ? No one.