US AIR STRIKES HIT DAMASCUS - Trump announces Syria air strikes in response to chemical attack


F-16’s and Abrams tanks are of little value in a country with terrain to Afghanistan than Iraq. Even less value in the hands of a military known for nepotism, incompetence and without much motivation for decent training.

Invasion and occupation needs boots on the ground. Neither are in much supply with the US or Saudis.*

*I don’t even remotely consider Israel willing to get involved. Saudi Arabia and Iran killing each other suits them just fine. Its why they don’t even bother getting involved in the Syrian Civil War beyond their self interest.

Plus the capper is that any sort of attack on Iran would be monumentally stupid in the long term. It would galvanize a population which mostly hates the current government. In the long term waiting for demographics to cause the Islamic Republic’s demise is the smartest move.


A relevant reminder of last year:

The memo:

Key quote:



That the salafist jihadi rebels did it themselves, in order to maintain Western support. Shortly before the attack, Trump had been suggesting a US withdrawal from the region.

Syria has plenty of oil.

The attack on Libya was related to French economic interests in North Africa, BTW.

Some discussion of Libya at the start, then goes into the broader AFRICOM issue. To quote the most relevant bit:


Yup, just like Iraq.

Unsurprisingly, people tend to prefer a stable autocracy to a foreign-driven eternal civil war. In the autocracy, so long as you don’t openly talk about overthrowing the government, most people are able to get on with their lives in relative peace and prosperity.

When foreign powers get involved, the imperfect-but-stable status quo is replaced by mass slaughter and destruction. The people of Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan are not pleased by their American “liberation”.

Before the war, Syria was one of the more peaceful and prosperous nations in the region.

It appears that the war began with a genuine people’s revolt, although there was probably some behind-the-scenes involvement from Western intelligence agencies. During the Arab Spring, the West was actively fomenting revolution across the MENA region.

However, that revolt never had the support of the majority of Syrians, and any “moderate” factions were soon supplanted by extremist jihadis. The Saudis and Americans have been pouring money, guns and fighters into the region for half a decade.

As for factions…in the north, you have Rojava and the Syrian Democratic Forces. Originally Kurdish-based, now heavily multi-ethnic thanks to the influx of refugees from the south. They’ve spent the last few years regularly stomping ISIS, but are now in retreat from the Turkish invasion. The Turks are working closely with ISIS, and are motivated by a desire to destroy Kurdish independence.

The Rojavans were previously supported by US airpower, but that disappeared as soon as the Turks invaded. They have now been forced to appeal to Assad for support, but it is unclear how much they’re actually getting.

In the south, you have Assad’s Syrian Arab Army vs the al-Qaeda aligned rebels that are supported by the West. The Russians and Iranians came in to support Assad when it looked as if the US/Saudis/etc might succeed at overthrowing the government. The recent Israeli airstrike was directed at Iranian forces, not Syrians.

Their leadership and training is sub-par, yes. However, they have been working hard at improving that over recent years, and the Yemeni war is providing them with a useful shakedown cruise. MBS has taken a personal interest in reforming the Saudi military.

You don’t need good troops when you have the technology to kill the enemy before they can fire back. Remember what happened to the Iraqi Republican Guard?

The Saudi war on Yemen is primarily an air and sea campaign. The Houthis are managing to hang on, but the war is still extremely one-sided. Apart from an occasional missile, the Houthis have no way to strike back. The Saudis are not as dominant as they would like to be, but they are nowhere near losing.


Key sentence at about 3:10.


I got the impression that Arab Spring surprised all the players, and scared the shit out of them.


Yeah, they were worried about the possibility of a real revolution, because it would mean replacing foreign-backed dictators with people who would resist Western dominance.

But they managed to successfully subvert that possibility. See Egypt for the clearest example.


On the surface, Arab Spring in Egypt failed because it didn’t stand for anything in particular (which was also its strength). That left a vacuum where, besides the ruling Bath party, the Brotherhood was the only other politicalish organization legally allowed to exist, plus they had boots on the ground from their social moderate programs. (Think YMCA.)

I wasn’t paying attention when the Brotherhood did its hard shift to fanatic. I’m not sure if that was a Long-Knives op or if the controlling group was always that way, and the moderate programs were only fronts. (Foreign involvement there possibly. If so, idiots!)

Naturally the military, as the other hand of the Bath Party, wasn’t going to stand for that.

It’s a shame. Those crazy protestors in Tahrir Square deserved better. They just wanted a better life and jobs.


According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, in 2011, an average of 14 tankers per day passed out of the Persian Gulf through the Strait of Hormuz carrying 17 million barrels of crude oil.

The largest class of tanker the Suez canal can handle is called (surprise!) the Suez-Max and is roughly 2/3 the size of the current largest class of tankers.
And it isn’t just the size, it’s also how many of them can use the canal at a time.


Interesting site, see it for more graphs, lists, technical details.

If the Suez canal is meant to compete with that, it might make sense to expand the ports to be able to handle supertankers and build a pipeline between them.


Impossible… That would’ve been an evolution


I always find Elijiah Magnier to be good value in explaining whats happening in Syria. Most people dont look at Syrian sources sympathetic to the regime. Not really sure why not apart from maybe not knowing where to find them. Isnt it better to look at both sides argument to see who is making more sense?


Unless of course who actually used chemical weapons is entirely unclear. And of course, we’re ignoring the violence against civilians by conventional means. And Russia has been making noise about retaliations.


If there were CW in that plant then it could have killed a lot of people. Judging from people walking around in the rubble around that facility I guess they had stopped storing CW there. Otherwise the pictures would involve lots of dead people.


I’m not sure why you’re replying to me, since I wasn’t the one who argued it wasn’t outrageous.


Because Im totally incompetent.



If there were CW here this guy shouldnt be standing up taking pictures.


No worries.


I wasn’t quite ready for what I was going to read going in and had some major problems figuring out what era this guy was tweeting from. You know, Saddam is almost an acronym of Assad.

I do take @Mister44’s point here. This attack looks very much like standard US foreign policy to me. It goes beyond that, it’s standard western foreign policy. The UK and France are in on it. Canada said it was the right thing. That’s why Alex Jones had a meltdown over it.

Someone in here (sorry, person, I can’t find this to give you credt) said that it’s weird that we police the way that Assad decides to kill the people of Syria, not the fact that he’s doing it. It sure is what we do, though. Our leaders have all agreed that shooting people, blowing them to pieces, crushing them under rubble of collapsing buildings, and so on are fine while poison gas is not.


IIRC, “pro-democracy” protesters take over streets, are “brutally suppressed” by Brotherhood “regime”, military steps in to “restore order”, kills thousands, Western govts and media cheer.



Here’s a helpful reference detailing Napoleon’s advance on and retreat from Moscow. The width of the lines represents the number of troops. Temperature during the retreat is noted at the bottom of the page.


It was more of extremists shifting tactics Moderate programs being a front. This is the same group which assassinated Anwar Sadat. However they were allowed to flourish because of the ancillary effect of driving out moderate/democracy minded people and groups. Something beneficial to a long running kleptocratic government. In the majority of the Middle East, Islamicism was appropriated for the purposes of supporting the government by scaring off democratic reformers. It wasn’t until OBL changed the rules of the game by appropriating it for a non-state actor that it was seen a threat to them.

The military in Egypt pretty much backing anyone likely to keep them employed and not deployed. An Islamicist government likely to lead to both loss of western backers and likely the kind of nasty civil war previously seen in Algeria and now Syria and Libya.


Well, I’m obviously not the only one who smells a rat here. Anyway, since the bombing of Serbia in 1999 (and including that), nothing good ever came of any American military intervention. American planes go home and f***ing stay there!