Rebels lose ground to Assad forces in Syria war – TTG


Forces loyal to the Syrian government are taking advantage of deepening rifts among Syria’s feuding rebels to advance into rebel-held territory in the northern part of the country, overturning some long-held assumptions about the war.

The resignation on Sunday of a top leader in the U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army further underscored the extent to which rebel infighting is undermining the effort not only to topple President Bashar al-Assad but also to hold on to territories won by the opposition in the past two years of conflict.Col. Abdul Jabbar Akaidi, one of the chief recipients of what little American aid has been provided to the rebels, said he was standing down to protest the rebel bickering, which he blamed for the capture on Friday by Assad loyalists of the strategic town of Safira, southeast of the key city of Aleppo. 

The fall of Safira restored a vital supply link between Damascus and government forces holding out in the divided northern city and put regime loyalists on track to challenge other opposition strongholds in the province, almost all of which has been under rebel control for more than a year. Rebel commanders said the town fell after Islamist brigades failed to respond to a call for reinforcements by the Tawheed Brigade, Aleppo’s biggest battalion, which was forced to flee under a withering aerial bombardment inflicted by the Syrian air force. (Wash Post)


Things aren’t going too well for the Syrian rebels. Not only that, the Syrian army is evolving into something far more dangerous to its enemies than the conventional 60s era Soviet model army it once was. It is also gaining experience in joint operations with Hizbollah, the Quds Force and Iraqi Shia volunteers. Israel is worrying about the wrong threat.


On 23 October, the blogger “emptywheel” made a few observations in a posting entitled “On that Acknowledged Covert Op in Syria.”  

“Obama uses “covert” status as a legal fiction, nothing more"

"First, consider the coverage of the covert op — one acknowledged explicitly by Chuck Hagel in Senate testimony. NYT says President Obama actually signed the Finding authorizing arming the rebels in April, not June, as Hagel claimed, but Obama did not move to implement it right away.” 

"Where the hell was the IC getting its rosy scenario about Assad’s overthrow?"

"The other striking thing about the story is how it portrays Obama’s policies to have been driven by (unquestioned by the NYT) overly rosy assessments of Assad’s demise. It starts by portraying the 2011 belief Bashar al-Assad would fall as a near certainty (note the NYT doesn’t mention the other regimes — Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Yemen, among others, that haven’t fallen either).”


Emptywheel is off the mark on her first observation. A few months between the signing of a presidential finding and the beginning of the misguided effort to arm the rebels is not unusual. If anything, it's too hasty. The presidential finding to seek regime change in Iraq was signed by Bush the Elder shortly after the Gulf War. The INC began receiving covert money shortly after that. Clinton signed the Iraq Liberation Act in 1998 and the money flow increased dramatically. GW Bush’s AUMF came in 2002. In this decade plus, our strategy never strayed far from anybody but Saddam. Obama’s strategy for Syria is equally “well thought out…” anybody but Assad. The goals are equally misguided, but the process is normal and established. 

Emptywheel’s second observation certainly has some merit. If this retiree can read openly available information while feeding the squirrels and see that Assad’s demise was never imminent, can’t our IC do the same? I would wager that the NSA has monitored damned near every communication on both sides of the conflict. The problem is that it is all in Arabic and talented linguists are in short supply in the IC. The CIA relies too much (IMHO) on bilateral relations for their intel. We have the Israelis and Saudis whispering in our ears like a couple of Grima Wormtongues poisoning our assessments. Even with these limitations, the IC probably does manage to have a good idea of what’s going on. However, the Israel firsters and R2P crowd aggressively push their own agendas. In the end, the policy makers believe what they want to believe. The IC can do only so much.

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46 Responses to Rebels lose ground to Assad forces in Syria war – TTG

  1. confusedponderer says:

    “the Syrian army is evolving into something far more dangerous to its enemies than the conventional 60s era Soviet model army it once was. It is also gaining experience in joint operations with Hizbollah, the Quds Force and Iraqi Shia volunteers. Israel is worrying about the wrong threat.”
    TTG, you do mean the Syrian army becoming more dangerous by capability and not intent? Can you please elaborate?
    I see that the Syrians have a fully justified and understandable problem with the Israelis attacking them at whim. Every Israeli air strike at Syria is an act of war, not to mention the en passant violations of Lebanese airspace. The latter occur on an almost daily basis. Still, I can’t see Syria any time soon starting offensive action against Israel.
    As for “Anything but Assad” – by my observation the worst thing is that in America such a policy, once under way, stays on course no matter what. America in such matters is doctrinaire to a point that the Kermlin old guard would feel compelled to pay grudging respect.
    Case in point is America’s perpetual embargo on Cuba that persists for half a century now. Currently it is illegal for U.S. citizens to spend money in Cuba. That the embargo doesn’t work doesn’t matter – because lifting would be appeasement or something of the sort. Ludicrous.

  2. TTG,
    “It is also gaining experience in joint operations with Hizbollah, the Quds Force and Iraqi Shia volunteers. Israel is worrying about the wrong threat.”
    A most interesting observation, which perhaps you could expand. What kinds of operations against Israel might become increasingly feasible, in the light of this kind of cooperation, and presumably, intellectual cross-fertilisation?

  3. LeaNder says:

    “However, the Israel firsters and R2P crowd aggressively push their own agendas.”
    Admittedly I had to look up R2P. Responsibility to protect.
    ICRtoP – International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect:
    Registrant Privacy protected. Hmm? Why?
    Created On:26-May-2005 14:02:35 UTC
    Last Updated On:20-Oct-2013 03:22:08 UTC
    Expiration Date:26-May-2014 14:02:35 UTC
    Sponsoring Registrar:eNom, Inc. (R39-LROR)
    Registrant ID:d9528fce3504ca95
    Registrant Name:WhoisGuard Protected
    Registrant Organization:WhoisGuard, Inc.
    Registrant Street1:P.O. Box 0823-03411
    Registrant Street2:
    Registrant Street3:
    Registrant City:Panama
    Registrant State/Province:Panama
    Registrant Postal Code:NA
    Registrant Country:PA”
    Name responsibilitytoprotect
    Status REGISTERED (What this means)
    Registered June 23, 2008
    Expiry Date June 30, 2014
    Last update June 2, 2013, 2:33 am
    Name Enzo Maria Le Fevre
    Organisation European Programme for the Prevention of Genocide
    Language English”
    Not active yet, registered only:
    Registrar URL:
    Updated Date: 2013-02-16 21:26:12
    Creation Date: 2013-02-16 21:26:12
    Registrar Expiration Date: 2014-02-16 21:26:12

    Registrant State/Province: Nevada
    Registrant Postal Code: 89183
    Registrant Country: United States
    Admin Name: Torey Hodges
    Admin Organization:
    Admin Street: 144 Trumphet Lilly Ave.
    Admin City: Las Vegas”
    Torey Hodges:

  4. LeaNder says:

    The more important link may be the official UN link:

  5. turcopolier says:

    I was in a kriegspiel in 2011 in which the boys from WINEP played hard for the notion that the Syrian government would inevitably fall. As you imply it is now virtually inevitable that the GOS/Hizbullah coalition will succeed in suppressing the Sunni jihadi rebellion. pl

  6. turcopolier says:

    Perhaps Germany should intervene to “protect.” pl

  7. The Twisted Genius says:

    I see Syrian forces, or at least a sizable portion of those forces, gaining the capability and the intent to defend Syria in the same way that Hizbollah defends Lebanon. It won’t be an offensive force capable of overrunning Israel, but it will make Israeli military action against Syria more difficult and costly. In effect, Israel will have a second Hizbollah on its border. Freeing the Golan Heights could become a rallying cry for this new force further complicating Israeli calculations.

  8. confusedponderer says:

    Re: Germany should intervene to “protect.”
    Why on earth should we be so stupid?
    We have no dog in that fight, and personally, I’d pick Assad over the Jihadis any day of the week. The mere fact that he is an Alawite in Syria guarantees that he will pursue tolerance. He needs the other minorities to survive in face of a by inclination chauvinist if not outright hostile majority with substantial external support. He isn’t going to force any religion on anyone, that’s for sure.
    I mean, one just need to read carefully: Turkey’s FM Davutoglu said, commenting on Israel’s latest air strike into Syria, ‘Never acted with Israel against any Muslim country, never will’. So Syria is a Muslim country? The Alawites, Druze and Christians may want a say on that, too.,7340,L-4448461,00.html
    MEMRI put out something interesting in that context also:
    So we have a responsibility to protect the poor Syrians from the hated devil, Assad? And then, when we helped the opposition come to power and they start the big lets-put-the-infidels-in-their-place-already jamboree, we then have the responsibility to protect the Syrians from the Syrians we empowered? And then … we will have to protect the Syrians we empowered from the Syrians that we protected them from, because they’re all a bunch of zero sum gamers who give no quarter? Or will the beheading radicals and occasional cannibals become turn towards moderation and solve our little dilemma and flowers will bloom all over Syria?
    Why don’t we just take the place over and put it under French or Turkish rule again since the locals are obviously incapable of governing themselves as we think befits them?
    Frankly, Responsibility to Protect is bullshit, even when only looked at from a practical point of view. And that says nothing about its onerous legal implications.

  9. The Twisted Genius says:

    David Habakkuk,
    We conduct joint training exercises with our allies in order to become more effective at joint operations and more comfortable working with those allies. Ideas are shared and friendships are formed. This happens at all levels of the chain of command. As an Infantry lieutenant in the 25th Infantry Division, I worked with a Filipino infantry company on a joint amphibious exercise in the Philippines. More than a year later, that Filipino company commander and I met again while he was visiting my RECONDO school in Hawaii. He greeted me like a long lost brother. These relationships matter.
    The same is now happening in Syria. I predict that there will be much greater interoperability and trust between Hizbollah and Syrian forces along Israel’s northern border in the future. Perhaps a Shia coalition of the willing will take on the al Qaeda allied threat in Iraq once the jihadi threat in Syria is brought under control.

  10. Matthew says:

    DH: Most efficient way to measure Rebel losses: Simply read the number of sob stories peddled by Western NGO’s as Assad advances. These stories disappear when the Rebels advance.

  11. Fred says:

    Will the multi religous make up of the Syrian Army also impact how the conduct between Syrian’s and Hizbollah? Perhaps lessening the tension across religous groups?

  12. A Knowledgeable Insider says:

    Having actually read some of the real time intel, especially the analytical pieces put out by DIA and others, the IC actually did its job on the analytical front. I was always struck by the discrepancy between the Administration/Media portrayal of the Syrian Rebels being on the verge of victory while the IC gave the exact opposite picture–portraying the rebels as struggling to get the initiative and describing the Syrian Government as quite resilient.

  13. LeaNder says:

    Nitwit response from the top of my head:
    You may be surprised but not only the larger post 911 universe made me very hesitant about claimed idealistic endeavors, already Clinton’s war did.
    Your allusion to us Germans, which you suggest should take up the task, reminds me of US media pressure concerning the Yugoslav war. Europe needed to raise it’s military budgets (Time and others)to something close to the States’ budget, and start cleaning up in its own backyards. Personally, I would have preferred the Swedish or Swiss option post WWI + WWI. … But I can see that in the field of R2P the argument could be made it should be our responsibility.
    I also have to admit that before the Kosovo war, I was very, very hesitant to take a closer look at any wars apart from “war drums”/shaping public perception for support. Distrustful, basic mindset skeptic. Maybe even at the wrong time from your perspective. But yes, the genocide argument at that point raised my interest. But it only made me look closer, and to this day I am not convinced. I cannot pretend I ever was a fan of the KLA.
    During the last decade I occasionally encountered “balancing” voices from the pro-Israel camp, also deeply connected with the genocide question apart from us Germans, who perceived the Yugoslav wars as sign for future trends. All countries ultimately falling back into little ethnic enclaves again. … Empires fall, no doubt. I would prefer the equally idealistic vision of Europe in this context.
    But as you know, I do not know anything about tribal conflicts in the Arab world, or the history and reality of Islamists, and I deeply respect you for that knowledge. Not least since I realized that my emotional response to the “Arab spring” may well have been idealistically misguided. I didn’t believe you then, concerning Egypt, but I realize now you were right from the start.
    Off topic. This is an interesting article about Max Blumenthal Goliath:

  14. The Twisted Genius says:

    That’s reassuring. I’m glad the IC is competently doing its job. Too bad Kerry and others seem to rely more on YouTube for their intelligence briefs.

  15. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Is there a presidential finding that seeks regime change in Iran?
    If so, by whom it was signed and when?
    And if there is such a finding, does that mean that the United States policy will remain so under any future president?
    Furthermore, what does it take to rescind a presidential finding?
    Are there also presidential findings against the Russian Federation, the People’s Republic of China and North Korea?
    Do you know?

  16. stanley henning says:

    From the beginning I could not understand the US leadership desire to support the “rebels” against the Asad regime, not that I cared for Asad much either, but that I felt no one was considering the bigger picture in this whole mess, just as we wasted money and lives in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Vietnam for that matter based on shallow understandings that failed to consider an ancient Chinese Confucian view considering survival of one’s nation: “Where there are civil concerns it is also necessary to be prepared militarily and where there are military concerns it is also necessary to be prepared in the civil arena” (my translation) – in other words, seriously consider sensible survival of the nation, not shallow, emotional, and ill-influenced views.

  17. LeaNder says:

    Seemingly I keep forgetting you are a “Landsmann”.
    Although: confusedponderer makes sense. At least that was my state of mind too, when I stumbled accross Pat’s blog.
    Are you located in Hamburg? Did you ever tell us a little about you? Like what led you here?

  18. The Twisted Genius says:

    Bottom line – no, I don’t know. A presidential finding when used to authorize covert action, just by its definition, should not be known to those not involved in supporting the covert action or providing oversight of that covert action. That defeats the whole purpose of covert action. I have never heard of any evidence that there are such presidential findings concerning Iran, Russia, China or North Korea.
    How is a presidential finding rescinded? I imagine it would be by another finding. In the case of Iraq, it was superseded by the openly voted upon Iraq Liberation Act in 1998.

  19. The Twisted Genius says:

    That’s all possible. They’re cooperating now. I saw strange coalitions form in Lebanon in the 80s. Pragmatism can triumph, at least temporarily, in the region over sectarianism. And IMO, Hizbollah can be quite pragmatic. However, I’m not an expert in the region. I’m sure PL can offer you a more authoritative answer.

  20. turcopolier says:

    I was pulling her leg. R2P is an excuse to play teacher supervising the school yard in regard to the whole world. It is a TERRIBLE idea, literally terrible.
    A presidential finding is allowed by the national defense acts of 1947 and 1958. It authorizes warlike acts conducted n a hidden (covert) way in time of peace. A president can cancel any finding that he wishes to cancel. BTW, the overseas SIGINT operations were not authorized by findings. They are normal responses to intelligence requirements taskings. pl

  21. confusedponderer says:

    I’m from the heart of the Rhineland.
    How I came to SST … I had spent a while being in equal parts interested in and annoyed by US policy, with an emphasis on foreign policy and came looking for insights.
    I studied law, focusing on international law. Intl’law is an interesting subject, and I for my part, haven’t watched the news the same as before after that. It is a peculiar thing to watch news, and know the treaty they mention, only to realise when they talk BS about it, both the news persons and the politicos, the American ones more than others. It got so bad at some point around 2003 that I stopped watching TV news altogether because it got me reliably swearing at the screen.
    I have recovered, but still can’t watch ZDF for I haven’t forgiven them how they mix commentary with reporting. In that particular last newscast from the time it started like this: ‘The murderous butcher of Baghdad, Saddam Hussein, claims …’ *zap* I’d rather have soap commercials then. When death rays are invented they’ll be invented for dolts like that and I want one.
    I initially had welcomed Bush 43 and his ‘old hands’. It didn’t last long. Bush’s treaty busting before 9/11, though executed skilfully technically, for not much more reason than ‘because’, annoyed me immensely for its pointless destructiveness, and after 9/11 it got worse in any respect.
    The Iraq war then was a climax. When Powell held that faithful speech I watched it on TV and, with growing horror and disbelief, I checked all the items he brought up as refuted as he spoke. I realised that the US would go to war and needed an excuse. To me that came as a disappointment.
    I had at the time on a forum rancorous debates with self described US conservatives on the Iraq war. In itself it was an insightful if unpleasant experience. There was no room for debate, let alone dissent, and they craved a head on a spike and Saddam had to do.
    I wandered away from that and eventually landed here, greatly enjoying the informed comments of grown up and informed gentlemen, who kindly tolerate my confused pondering.

  22. Dan Gackle says:

    A small mercy: when one of the leading ideologues of R2P, Michael Ignatieff, deigned to return to Canada with the news that he was ready for his Prime Ministership now, he received the worst political drubbing in a generation.

  23. turcopolier says:

    “PL can offer you a more authoritative answer.” What was the question? pl

  24. VietnamVet says:

    This is post is informative and the comments intelligent.
    I have never been to the Middle East. Besides Canada and Mexico I haven’t been outside of the USA since I spent three years in S.E. Asia almost four decades ago. I admit my naivety. But, I have been struck by three profound events that have gone mostly unreported in the media:
    1) Putin’s checkmate of President Obama in Syria. We no longer live in a Unipolar World.
    2) Hezbollah’s stalemate with the IDF in 2006. As hinted in this post the alliance of the Shiite militia’s proven tactics and manpower with the next door secular state’s heavy weapons and air force is a far greater threat to Israel under the Likud leadership than any possible future Iranian nuclear weapons.
    3) The Iraq Invasion. This was crazy from the get-go. It was all for nothing.
    The shortsightedness and bungling of 21st century America can only be explained by a syndicate of Neo-conservatives (War Lovers) and Neo-liberals (War Profiteers) seizing control of the USA and running it contrary to the public interest.

  25. Fred says:

    “Will the multi religous make up of the Syrian Army also impact how the conduct between Syrian’s and Hizbollah? Perhaps lessening the tension across religous groups?” Fred

  26. The Twisted Genius says:

    Fred, Colonel Lang reminded me that the Baath government and army in Syria have always included all the groups including Shia and Sunni so working with Hizbollah is not difficult for them.

  27. Norbert M. Salamoon says:

    It id to be noted that Turkey has intercepted a shipment of Chemicals at the Syrian Border, and has also intercepted a marine vessel carrying arms.
    these news do not bode well for the Jihadists [a.k.a. rebels]

  28. Fred says:

    Yes, but aren’t there also Alawites, Christians and others included in that mix, even if they are only small portion?

  29. The Twisted Genius says:

    When we said the Baath government and army have always included all the groups including Shia and Sunni, that includes Alawites and Christians. The Alawites are at the top of the heap, but they are inclusive of the other groups.
    Here’s an excerpt from alakhbar english describing what Hezbollah is doing in Syria. As you can see, they also work well with others.
    – Hezbollah received delegations from a considerable number of Druze, Christian, Shia, and Ismaili groups who felt their minority communities were under serious threat. It did not comply with their training and arming requests, but provided them with the means to prevent their displacement.
    – Hezbollah, which has security and military ties to the regime, assists Syrian forces in providing protection to scientific academies and missile factories that were built over the past decade largely with aid from Iran.
    – Hezbollah operates a major scheme, perhaps the biggest, to help Syrian refugees in Lebanon and even inside Syria. This is not aimed at repaying the Syrians for taking in refugees from Lebanon in 2006. It is done quietly, out of conviction that refugees and displaced people are entitled to all possible humanitarian aid regardless of political views.

  30. Will Syrian refugees return under any forseeable situation?

  31. jr786 says:

    I spent a few months in Damascus in 1990, living in the Old City, near bab tuma. At that time, at least, there was still a small Jewish area within the Old City. In all the reporting, I’ve yet to see any mention of this, or if it even still exists. Does anyone know if it has survived?

  32. turcopolier says:

    Probably less than 500. pl

  33. LeaNder says:

    Thanks cp. This will create better synapses in my head. I didn’t pay much attention on US elections in 2000. The only thing I read about US elections pre 911 was an article in Die Zeit, if I remember it correctly in the culture section. It concentrated on hard right ideologues in Bush’s team. I don’t think the term neoconservatives was used. … In early 2001 only the Florida controversy drew my attention shortly.
    “I have recovered, but still can’t watch ZDF for I haven’t forgiven them how they mix commentary with reporting.”
    Do you have Wolf von Loyevsky in mind? I admittedly liked his wit. Didn’t know he both served in the army and studied law, before working in media:
    I wasn’t even aware he is a social democrat. I never watched much TV anyway. Concerning distortions by media both print and TV, it may well have kept me from studying journalism. I watched it really early.
    “The Iraq war then was a climax.”
    I guess I already had problems with the war in Afghanistan. Not because I am a fan of the Taliban, quite the opposite. But you tell me how international law supports the collective punishment of a state that gave residence to foreign terrorists and their followers. Has this event changed international law accidentally?
    But yes, the Iraq war drums were much worse and one of the most peculiar stories to watch unfold. Or the unanimous support by US media, for that matter. I guess that was the most difficult phenomenon for me to watch. None of the stories presented fitted well into the larger WOT narrative. Can “curveball” be related to the recent spy issue? … Or doesn’t it matter, since both US GOP and democrats ultimately shape intelligence for the public perception according to their larger ideologies?

  34. turcopolier says:

    “Can “curveball” be related to the recent spy issue?” No “Curveball” was a planted and false HUMINT source created by Ahmed Chalabi and abetted by the neocons for their own purposes. SIGINT intercepts of foreign leaders have been a regular and lawful (in the US) feature of US intelligence operations since Eisenhower was president and you never would have known if it had not been for the defector Snowden. As Michael Haydon said on Sunday we want to know what your actual intentions are and do not necessarily believe what you tell us. pl

  35. LeaNder says:

    “CP, I was pulling her leg.”
    I am always pleased if I manage to amuse you. 😉
    Concerning TTG’s allusion to R2P; CP no doubt is much more able to grasp the inherent problems posed by self-determination versus territorial integrity poses in the larger context. Something that comes to mind concerning KLA and Kosovo, anyway.
    Besides, always willing to learn, even if it is only about pulling legs. 😉

  36. Fred says:

    Thanks for the response and the reference to alakhbar english. Appologies if I’ve been obtuse.
    From the notes above Hezbollah seems to have initiated and adhered to a very long term strategy, unlike ourselves or our allies in the region.

  37. Alimhaider says:

    > “Clinton signed the Iraq Liberation Act in 1998 and the money flow increased dramatically. GW Bush’s AUMF came in 2002.”
    Money flow increased in 1998, indeed — after two disastrous efforts by the U.S. intelligence community to overthrow the Iraqi government, as I’m sure our host knows all too well. The U.S. waged war against Iraq first with its spies, then with its Iraqi opposition, and then finally with its military.
    When the dust has settled, the puddles gore have been cleaned up, and FOIA requests begin to be answered, who knows what historians will discover … but I doubt that it will be any discontinuity in U.S. policy.
    Who knows, perhaps historians will also one day learn why Damascus has complained for decades about NATO’s support for the Syrian Ikhwan — among them, Atta’s old friends in Germany, coddled by the BND until today and delisted on the eve of the current bloodletting in Syria.
    Nice article. Thanks

  38. turcopolier says:

    “the Iraq Liberation Act in 1998” This was basically an AIPAC/AEI/neocon tool designed to force Clinton into making the overthrow of the Iraq government the policy of the US. The senate staffers who wrote the bill boasted to me at the time that this was the game. I asked them why Saddam was so special to them since most of the rulers in the region were no better. They had no answer other than to mumble that he was a bad man. pl

  39. confusedponderer says:

    A general question on a hypothetical SIGINT plant scenario?
    Say, someone sets up a transmission on a given known frequency used by an opponent, places a transmitter device in opposition country so the transmission will be intercepted as coming from that location, and the opponent?
    Is that a realistic scenario? Has it happened?

  40. The Twisted Genius says:

    A successful deception would require more than than just a single transmitter. It requires the mimicking of actual traffic over time, the correct language, accents, mannerisms and code. Even the identity of a morse code operator can be discerned from the “fist” of the sender. Look at the deception plans surrounding Operation Overlord.

  41. Alimhaider says:

    All no doubt true – and not without parallel, such as the Gulf money spent on K-Street to gin up support for U.S. intervention in the Balkan’s civil wars.
    I’d respectfully suggest, though, that what Congress did in 1998 was little more than declare publicly what was already U.S. policy. Under Bush I, the U.S. was already providing covert support to Iraqi opposition groups. This policy was followed by the Clinton admin, and culminated in the failed coups of 1994 and 1996 – the latter a debacle every bit as bad as the Bay of Pigs … or worse, if it was timed to coincide with the ’96 election. And as for the reports of a third coup attempt in late 2000 … allahu a`lam.
    All which is to say, to my mind there seems to be a great deal of continuity as regard the end sought by U.S. policy makers in Iraq, i.e., regime change. What discontinuity there was concerned the means to obtain that end. And if blame’s to be affixed, I happily blame everyone involved – left, right, DoD, IC, Congress, and the Executive, esp. Bush, less for starting the Iraq war than for losing it. Iraq was a godawful mess under Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II, and it’s a godawful mess under Obama, and it’s getting worse.
    I’m rather old fashioned when it comes to bad men. It’s best if they belong to us. And for those that don’t, if they mind their manners, let ’em be. Clinton, Bush II, and Obama — the lot of ’em are teary-eyed do-gooders.

  42. Detailing the rivalry of Shia and Sunni over the centuries is there any good history in English?

  43. turcopolier says:

    As I have said on numerous occasions, the best work in English is “The Venture of Islam” three volumes by Marshall Hodgson. It is available in paperback. pl

  44. Jcarver says:

    It has happened using Trojan device …basic a device that would be a relay for transmissions made by unit in the Mossad to create maskirovka….transmissions picked up by American and British…

  45. Jcarver says:

    yes with a Trojan comms device acts as relay station for transmissions that are false to create a maskirovka for US and UK listening stations.

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