Clapper’s opinion on Syria’s future

"Clapper said his expectations for Syrian peace negotiations in Geneva are "pretty modest" and called prospects for a long-term political solution to the three-year-long civil war "problematic." He said his expects a "sort of prolonged stalemate" in which Assad's government does not have the strength to hold onto territory it clears, and the opposition has enough external support to keep fighting."  NY Times


I do not agree.

IMO the Syrian armed forces, Hizbullah infantry, Iraqi Shia volunteer militia, and Syrian pro-government militias backed by Iranian trainers and materiel will gradually grind down the opposition.   The key to successs in this endeavor will be economy of force as a principle.  In other words, conservation of forces and maximum application of materiel should be the method followed.  The resources available are not infinite, but neither are those of the rebels.   So long as Russia continues to use its Security Council seat to oppose rebel victory the Syrian government will be able to keep moving toward suppression of the rebellion.

Those who hope for a rebel triumph should contemplate the fact that the likely result of such a development would be a Sunni, jihadi government deeply hostile to the US, the West and Israel.  pl

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24 Responses to Clapper’s opinion on Syria’s future

  1. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Col. Lang:
    “Sunni, jihadi government deeply hostile to the US, the West and Israel” is quite acceptable as long as it wounds Iran.
    And what is to be the fate of Jordan?

  2. Poul says:

    Col. Lang
    I think the Israelis would be quite happy with a Salafist regime in Syria. Yes there would be the risk of chronic low level fighting at the Golan heights, but on the other hand a Salafist government would have a hard time buying sophisticated weapon systems (air planes & missiles) to become an actual threat to Israel. The West would not sell them anything so too with the Russians. Israel would also be able to sell themselves as the Shield of West against Jihadis reducing any critique of their occupation of Palestine.
    An added bonus would be that the Syrian Druze in the Golan very well could prefer Israeli citizenship instead of Syrian citizenship paving the way for international recognitions of Israeli annexation.

  3. turcopolier says:

    Poul and Babak
    Poul’s point would explain Bibi’s policy in this matter which may just be part of a general strategy of reducing the ME to chaos in order to render it harmless from the demented Likudnik point of view. as for Jordan, Abdullah’s government would be the subject of constant attack by the Syrian jihadi government pl

  4. bth says:

    So if the sides essentially exhaust themselves this summer with Assad still in charge of the government, I wonder how the economics of Syria work out? Russians provide money as does Iran, but then what? Saudis and Turks nor western powers will jump in. China always wants something but Syria has little to offer. Syria has no huge gas or oil fields to attract investment unlike Iraq and I can’t see tourism in play. Reconstruction will need lots of cash. From where?

  5. turcopolier says:

    the same question could have been asked of Lebanon and yet the country and Beirut have been rebuilt several times. pl

  6. Charles I says:

    Another prognostication, taking account of recent events in Iraq as well. From this perspective, a stalemate would be an an optimistic outcome. Jihadis will not stop moving to their end. ISIS wants an Islamic Syria+Iraq. Civil society will continue to deteriorate/disintegrate during a “stalemate”, whatever that entails, unless the international community seriously intervenes politically, militarily and economically. All our efforts – often completely reversed between the two countries – may tend toward the Jihadis and not the states or governments we say. As usual.

  7. Charles I says:

    PBS Frontline tonight
    Rebel forces try to unify against jihadis from the extreme Islamist group known as ISIS; more than 2,000 children have been killed in the fighting in the besieged city of Aleppo, Syria.

  8. turcopolier says:

    Charles I
    None of the data is reliable. It is just propaganda. As for who will win, you should not assume that the jihadis will win. many. many of them are dying in Syria and the population mostly favors the government. pl

  9. Fred says:

    Yeah, I saw 1/2 of that but the ‘rebels’ fighting the ISIS killed exactly 2 opponents, if that many, when clearing out what turned out to be the abandoned base. What it did portray was that ISIS was ruthless in butchering the leaders of the al Atreb (?). Of course the ‘new’ armed men (no women to be seen) who cleared that town of ISIS were greated as liberators. Especially in front of the armed men walking around with the camermen.

  10. The Twisted Genius says:

    I agree with Colonel Lang’s assessment and Poul’s observation. The Assad government has devised a sober strategy for eventual victory and are implementing that strategy with the necessary discipline to see it through. It will continue to be ugly and brutal, but effective. Our strategy, on the other hand, can best be summed up as follows… we don’t know whether to shit or go blind.
    I still think the best move for us is to deprive the Salafist jihadists of their financial resources as quickly and thoroughly as possible. No jingoistic posturing. No empty threats. Just some cold, hard, laser focused financial warfare. The jihadists will not go away, but they will be largely reduced to a bunch of angry men at the mosque.

  11. kao_hsien_chih says:

    I was under the impression that Lebanon’s reconstruction was largely financed by the Saudis and their Gulf allies, in attempt to shore up the Hariris’ position in that country, thanks to the ambiguous conclusion of that conflict. If Assad wins unambiguously, or at least enough to force the rebels underground, will there be such a flow of generous subsidies from outside for his gov’t to take credit?

  12. VietnamVet says:

    RFK said in 1968 of Rome “They made a desert and called it peace”.
    From Syria, East Congo, to Burma violence will fester until each ethnic group has its own land and borders; or the land is made unlivable.
    Today, war is a circumcised profit center limited to areas without nuclear weapons stretching along the borders of Islam in Africa and the Balkans through the Middle East to the Philippines. The failure to pacify Iraq and Afghanistan shows the lack of will of the American Empire to transform the world into its own image.
    The ongoing Holy War will continue forever and will blow-back unless war is renounced, violence quarantined, and funding to true believers / military contractors ended.

  13. charly says:

    Reconstruction also generates a lot of cash with all the homes, roads and factories that need to be rebuild

  14. turcopolier says:

    I was present at the reconstruction of downtown Beirut and most the money in Solidere came from Arab investors all over the ME. pl

  15. JohnH says:

    I was in Beirut three years ago. Much of downtown was rebuilt but largely vacant, as was most of the Green Zone. Solidere looked like an investors’ sink hole. Do you know if this has changed?

  16. Alba Etie says:

    There has been recent speculation that modest natural gas finds offshore from Syria will be commercially exploited soon . And there also is a large aquifer under the Golan Heights.

  17. Babak Makkinejad says:

    The best strategy for the United States, and her European minions, is to settle at the strategic level with Iran.
    This is not a matter of opinion.

  18. Charles I says:

    You ave taught me not to assume much. I understand the government’s popular support and that jihadi excess has increased it. I did say “may”. I admit my conception of conditions requisite for the maintenance of some form of civil society under government authority is much different from what can be sustained in Syria by a patient and victorious government and war weary populace. It appeared to me that wherever jihadi conflict is at this level, it is difficult for the locals to ever rid the whole state of them, and even chronic low level and periodically resurgent conflicts left spaces fatal to normal pre-jihadi civil society.
    I am assuming what normal is.

  19. Charles I says:

    This was part of my point above, although our host maintains Assad and allies are adept and resolute enough to do domestically what the American Empire cannot/will not do internationally.
    I just started watching HBO’s Rome and it is, however accurate, compelling.

  20. Bandolero says:

    “An added bonus would be that the Syrian Druze in the Golan very well could prefer Israeli citizenship instead of Syrian citizenship paving the way for international recognitions of Israeli annexation.”
    I wouldn’t put the Golan as an “added bonus.” I think it should be center stage. I think, besides that Israel is happy for any diversion of public scrutiny of it’s settlement policy, the Golan is what’s all the trouble about.
    Israel doesn’t need the Syrian Druze in the Golan or international recognitions of Israeli annexation. Israel needs an internationally recognized regime in Damascus that signs a document that the Golan belongs to Israel, and that’s it.
    So what Israel wants is a regime in Damascus, that somehow manages to get the status “internationally recognized” but that is in reality very dependent on Israel and it’s various proxy forces in the western and arab world. I think, that’s the real goal of the war, at least to what Israel is concerned. The rest of reasons – Iran, Hezbollah etc – are all diversion of attention, masks to divert public attention to the Golan item.
    I think, legitimzation for a Golan annexation is the one and only thing, that Israel really wants from this war.

  21. Bandolero says:

    Those times of Hariri are long gone. China is today much bigger than it was back then. News today from Xinhua: “The trade surplus stood at 31.86 billion U.S. dollars last month…”
    China is currently the main financial power backing Syria and I’m pretty sure the Chinese will take the financial lead when the war is won, too. What the Chinese want are reasonable business plans, and I’m sure the Baath can and will deliver that.
    Of course, the Chinese will not go it alone, and take others into the boat to divert risks, most likely, beside Iran and Russia, I’ld say, that ‘ll be the Germans and – due to their anti-brotherhood stance, which they share with Syria – the Emiratis.

  22. Phil Cattar says:

    Most Syrians will not want to hear this but the Lebanese have a lot more Phoenician dna in their bodies than the Syrians. If there is one thing that Lebanese/Phoenicians are very good at ,both physically and psychologically,it is rebuilding.Supposedly the Greeks came up with the word Phoenician based on the mystical bird Phoenix,a bird that could not be destroyed, to describe the ancient peoples of present day Lebanon.

  23. Thomas says:

    The Saudis are not going to give up on their Imperial Restoration project and will now provide “moderate” insurgents with Chinese Man-pads.

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