Syria – Is There A Way Out? First, There Are Some Realities The West Must Face

Syrian Civil War In A Nutshell

The Syrian Civil War has raged since March 2011. Approximately 250,000-300,000 people are dead, while another 11 million are displaced and continue to migrate to various parts of the Middle East and Europe. All the while, ISIS continues to acquire and hold territory throughout northeastern Syria and northwestern Iraq, realizing their goals of 1) establishing a Caliphate, 2) enforcing 7th-century Sharia law, and 3) initiating the end-of-the-world Apocalypse by fighting a last battle with the Christian armies of Rome in Dabiq, Syria.

Eighteen countries have met in Vienna to attempt to find a way forward, but we should note that although Iran was present, the Syrian government and opposition groups were not. So far, the entrenched and opposed positions of the Saudis and Iranians are making progress difficult. To achieve a basic understanding of the current situation and its inherent complexities, let’s review a few basic facts.

Facts of the Syrian Conflict, Inconvenient but Incontrovertible:

  • As shown in the map immediately below, the Syrian Civil War is not a simple two or three-sided dispute. The main parties are 1) The Syrian government regime [under President Bashar Al-Assad], 2) The government Opposition/Rebels [Syrian National Coalition, including a break-away portion of the Syrian Army], and 3) ISIS; but there is also 4) a Kurdish component consisting of Syrian [YPG/PYD], Iraqi [KDP/PUK–KRG], and Turkish [PKK] organizations, 5) Jihadists, including the al-Nusra Front (or al-Qaeda in Syria) and 6) Hezbollah [Lebanese Shia militants loyal to Iran].
  • Furthermore, the Opposition Rebels (Syrian National Coalition) are composed of 70-100 separate groups, each with distinct leadership, many who regularly fight among themselves.
  • Moreover, as with most Middle East disputes, religion is central to the disagreements. The Assad government is primarily composed of Alewites (a form of Shia Islam, the foundation of Iran), while ISIS and Al-Nusra both align with Wahhabism (the strict and ultra-conservative form of Sunni Islam, the foundation of Saudi Arabia). The Kurds are primarily Sunni but culturally secular, and Hezbollah is Shia.
  • While the West supports the Kurds in northern Iraq and northern Syria in their fight against ISIS, the Kurds in eastern Turkey complicate matters as Turkey (a NATO member) has had friction with its 15-20% Kurdish population, fearing they will seek to carve off an eastern part of Turkey to form a United Kurdistan (consisting of Eastern Turkey, Northern Syria, and Northern Iraq).
  • Turkey has inadvertently assisted ISIS by bombing the Kurdish PKK, inappropriately making Turkey’s internal Kurdish dispute a priority over the battle with ISIS.
  • Finally, each party to the conflict has outside backers providing strategic, tactical, and non-lethal support—setting up a potential proxy war between the major and regional powers. The Syrian regime is supported by: Russia, Iran, North Korea,  Iraq, Belarus, Egypt, Cuba, Venezuela, Angola, China, and Algeria. The Opposition Rebels are supported by: Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United States, France, United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, and the Netherlands. The Kurds are supported by: France, Australia, United Kingdom, United States, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, and Morocco.

Syria Area of Control

Russian Involvement:

  • Russia’s Putin bristles at a World dominated by the U.S., so he is constantly seeking to counter U.S. positions to establish what he perceives as balance.
  • Russia has now formally entered the Syrian conflict in firm support of their long-time ally (Government regime), supplying equipment (including 25+ fighter jets), strategy, logistics, and personnel.
  • Russia has initially focused on the so-called Opposition/Rebel forces, with only minor engagement with ISIS.
  • Russia has repeatedly said that the fate of Bashar Al-Assad is up to the Syrian people.
  • Russia’s primary interest is to keep their Russian Naval Facility in Tartus, one of two warm water ports outside the constrained Black Sea (the other is in Vietnam). The survival of Assad is not critical to Russia, but they won’t abandon him without another political foothold to keep their base.
Russian Airstrikes in Syria

ISW (Institute for Study of War) Russian Airstrikes in Syria

GravitySailor Analysis & Recommendations:

  • The Vienna peace talks should focus on a ceasefire between the Government Regime and the Opposition Rebels, while all parties should continue to engage ISIS on all fronts.
  • We must respect Syria’s sovereignty and their right to self-determination. Many in the West perceive President Bashar Al-Assad as a war criminal guilty of many atrocities, and there has been evidence presented. However, to prove this fact to the World, we must present evidence that is confirmed by the United Nations (Security Council) or the International Criminal Court. Russia is correct on this point, the U.S. lacks jurisdiction to decide Assad’s fate unilaterally. For the sake of the people, save the Assad issue for later and make a ceasefire the priority!
  • Provide incentive for a ceasefire. Because of the accumulated violence and vengeance over the last four years, it will be difficult to broker a ceasefire between the Government and Opposition forces. The solution? Initially give them both what they want—a ceasefire, dialogue, and a fresh political start. Assad has stated repeatedly that only the Syrian people can determine his fate as President, and he is correct.
  • Partner with Russia on major issues and stop bickering with them. The U.S. defense budget is larger than the next ten countries’ combined. We have hundreds of thousands of military personnel overseas, with nearly 800 installations across approximately 75  countries, including over 30 non-U.S. major military bases. We have 19 aircraft carriers, including 10 nuclear-powered super carriers. Russia has about 10 military bases outside Russia (most in central Asia) and a single aging aircraft carrier (the Admiral Kuznetsov). Their tiny naval base in Tartus is not a threat to U.S. interests—assure them they can keep it and use them to pressure Iran to call off Hezbollah and support a ceasefire.
  • Support all three Kurdish factions, and provide heavy weapons (including howitzers, mortars, rockets, machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades, grenade-launchers, and anti-tank weapons) to at least the Iraqi [KDP/PUK–KRG]. Ensure that the Turkish, Syrian, and Iraqi Kurds understand that they must work together, as their continued support depends on it.
  • Pressure Turkey to stop bombing the Kurdish PKK. We need the Kurds to defeat ISIS, and the Peshmerga are the only reliable ground forces capable of defeating ISIS. They are the proverbial boots on the ground that will ultimately defeat ISIS.
  • Include all major parties to the dispute in peace talks. We must engage Assad as well as the Opposition rebels.
  • Place a special emphasis on improving the relationship between the Saudis and Iran. The Shia-Sunni dispute originated after Mohammad’s death in 632, and it is safe to say they are not going to resolve all their differences. We must stress that there is room on this planet for both.
  • Finally, let’s focus on what we can all agree on—we must eradicate ISIS. Once a ceasefire exists between the Government and the Opposition, we should agree to coordinate with everyone, including Russia and Iran, to fight together to defeat ISIS.

Sincerely,

Mark G Capolupo


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R E Malm
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… “We must respect Syria’s sovereignty and their right to self-determination. Many in the West perceive President Bashar Al-Assad as a war criminal guilty of many atrocities, and there has been evidence presented. However, to prove this fact to the World, we must present evidence that is confirmed by the United Nations (Security Council) or the International Criminal Court.” … UN Ambassador Nominee Samantha Power Wants Sovereignty Redistribution Written by Joe Wolverton, II, J.D. Saturday, 08 June 2013 http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/foreign-policy/item/15654-un-ambassador-nominee-samantha-power-wants-sovereignty-redistribution … “Power reportedly later described those comments as “weird,” an examination of her participation in the creation of a UN doctrine calling for military intervention reveals that those comments are consistent with her philosophy — a philosophy that, if her nomination to head the U.S. delegation to the UN is confirmed, she will undeniably bring to the ambassadorial position at UN headquarters. Samantha Power rose to prominence in government circles as part of her campaign to promote a doctrine known as the Responsibility to Protect. Notably, this philosophy was also espoused by Hanan Ashrawi, a Palestinian lawmaker who has publicly questioned the reality of the Holocaust and who was a dedicated lictor of the late leader of the Palestinian Liberation Organization… Read more »
Jason Muller
Guest

Why America is losing its allies

Marie Kasaboski
Guest

West must face the fact that we have leaders in charge who want to destroy the west. We have to deal with our leaders along with the terrorists.

GravitySailor
Guest

Brian Sorensen I agree that the first priority is a ceasefire with Assad, then have everyone focus on ISIS together.

Brian Sorensen
Guest

The west also needs to stop arming, funding and training rebels to fight Assad. After all they are just mercenaries and many are known to switch over to ISIS for better pay after training. ISIS is a direct result of the west funding and training rebels in this region.

Bruce Hynes
Guest

GravitySailor – They’re no longer dangerous and we don’t have to put up with their foolishness.

GravitySailor
Guest

Brian Sorensen I will definitely read. I was referring to Hezbollah fighting against the opposition rebels, as all non-ISIS combatants must disengage from fighting Assad–at least for now.

Bruce Hynes
Guest

250,000 to 300,000? Well that’s lucky!

Brian Sorensen
Guest

Call off Hezbollah? I think you need to read some of the numerous articles on how they are fighting ISIS and standing with the Army. http://www.mintpressnews.com/they-accept-us-as-we-are-christians-join-forces-with-muslim-group-hezbollah-to-fight-isis-in-lebanon/210088/

Dimitrios Nikas
Guest

They done it with the K K K

Dimitrios Nikas
Guest

The way out is to collect money,, a dollar each ,, a billion or two and pay the MAFIA to get rid of them,.

John Holborn
Guest

Russia’s involved. All bets are off.

Bob Nixon
Guest

It was bad enough when they crossed that red line, but when the J V team came calling, things got nasty.

Nolan Mortensen
Guest

tell the world to stop cry to the us for help then

Clark Morehouse
Guest

there are plenty of other targets without human sheilds the Russians and the French have proven that, funny how history repeats it self.. about 15 minutes into this will prove my point,,https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0KTe4lHLlcs

Pierce Achtymichuk
Guest

GravitySailor excellent article. It confirms what I was ineptly trying to say in a short format.
my sons are both hard core science weenies going for their PHDs …we have very complex discussions on human evolution daily .
people involved with the study of human behaviour and in depth biology and psychology understand we are NOT masters of our biological imperatives , we can with great discipline overcome some of it . We are driven by the traits that allowed us to survive and evolve to what we are now
the problem is that we have not evolved ENOUGH yet to be the people we think we can be.
Its time more people researched this notion and stop blathering about the utopian ideals that ignore this.
Obviously we are samrt enough to

GravitySailor
Guest

Clark Morehouse, I agree with you that we have the capability, but it’s pretty tough to bomb Raqqa into oblivion when there are hunreds of thousands of innocents that are imprisoned under ISIS rule……..same thing in Mosul, Iraq’s 2nd largest city with close to 2 million people. We need to destroy ISIS, but not at staggering costs in collateral damage.

GravitySailor
Guest

You may be on to something Pierce Achtymichuk, check out http://gravitysailor.com/social/compassion-morality-justice/

Clark Morehouse
Guest

what you can’t figure it out, maybe you should reread your above statement and explain to me why the U.S hadn’t wiped isis off the face of the planet I know we have the capability,, but liberals don’t have the will

GravitySailor
Guest

Clark Morehouse Please elaborate Clark Morehouse

Tony Bidwell
Guest
Tony Bidwell
Guest
Clark Morehouse
Guest

and while you are at it open up the Webster Dictionary go to the Ts look up treason and read it aloud till you get it.

Clark Morehouse
Guest

Russia did in 72 hours what we couldn’t do in 18 months explain that if you can

Derek Singh
Guest

Your point is?

Derek Singh
Guest

These monsters created themselves. These people have been fighting and killing each other for thousands of years in the name of their god, long before the west even ventured into that region. STOP blaming the USA for all atrocities in that area. Most of the blame lies on their barbaric traditions and rules and lifestyle.

Derek Singh
Guest

These monsters created themselves. These people have been fighting and killing each other for thousands of years in the name of their god, long before the west even ventured into that region. STOP blaming the USA for all atrocities in that area. Most of the blame lies on their barbaric traditions and rules and lifestyle.

Derek Singh
Guest

I say the west should come together and have a massive invasion of the middle east. Terminate all the extremists and terrorists. Get rid of the barbaric rules and traditions. Take the oil away from the rich dictators and families and give it to the poor.

Danny Murray
Guest

Because of Greed,war will never end! 🙁

GravitySailor
Guest

Ed de la Garza Sadly, you are not completely incorrect. But we can still vote and elections still matter.

Matt Hill
Guest

Dexter King Israel is on stolen land, Israel is a Rothchild fabrication. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JGBoGKPZlQE

Pierre El-Nahas
Guest

Almajid Roud: He who is vulgar and insults is an ignorant idiot that cannot sustain a difference of opinion. You obviously are brainwashed by the DAESH murderous propaganda!

Ed de la Garza
Guest

GravitySailor Most Americans take no responsibility for what was done in Iraq or anywhere else for that matter, nor should they since the average citizen is powerless against their government’s stupidity anyway. There is hardly anything the average citizen can do regardless of who they vote for, they are all going to do what they are told to do by the west’s rich elite, within the united states and outside. everybody knows that.

Al Bakker
Guest

Maybe the US should stay the hell out of other countries for say if Bush had not invaded Iraq then all of this might not have happened-just saying and at this level the loss of life is colossal as we saw in Viet Nam so perhaps they should rethink their foreign policy

Alberto Cuadra
Guest
QUE ESTRATEGIA SE TIENE QUE ADOPTAR PARA COMBATIR AL ISIS? Cualquiera sea la estrategia para combatir a ISIS, tiene que pasar por considerar cual es la situación actual de ellos y hacia adonde se dirigen.  En este sentido lo primero que tenemos que tener en cuenta es contra quien nos enfrentamos.  Es ISIS los 250 mil hombres en armas en Syria e Irak o es algo mas? Para respondernos a esta pregunta citaremos las mismas palabras de Putin. “ISIS recibe ayuda proveniente de unos 40 paises, incluyendo a algunos del G-20”. De aquí tenemos que deducir mucho. Sobre todo que grado de aceptacion tienen en el mundo musulmán. Y estamos hablando de mas de mil milllones de gentes.  El mundo musulmán logicamente a estas alturas se ha polarizado. Los que estan con ISIS y los que no. Deducimos de todo el movimiento que hemos observado de los musulmanes (por lo vertiginoso de la comunicación) Y en el peor de los casos, estamos hablando mitad la poblacion, tanto fuera como dentro de sus países. Pero el caso es que ese 50% de la población musulmana pro ISIS es mas beligerante que la que no lo es. Ya que la otra mitad… Read more »
Ross Haskell
Guest

Could you repeat the part after ‘read this carefully’. 🙂

Ana Maritza Cveljo Clinaz
Guest
Ana Maritza Cveljo Clinaz

of course there is a way out.

Almajid Roud
Guest

Derek Singh i am sure you are the one who is brainwashed .

Bennett Riley
Guest

I hope English isn’t your first language

Nick Sutherland
Guest

Your not gunna take out a plane or helicopter with a freakin rpg unless they are landing/taking off

Nick Sutherland
Guest

Not by manufracuring them

Nick Sutherland
Guest

How do you think ISIS got there stingers and other ground to air missiles?

Edwin R Neumann
Guest

All it would take is for “the Pres” to give the orders to get it done. But having a “pres” who is one of them is really where the problems are. Partner with Russia?? .it.. is not what is needed. Donald Trump would kick their A$$eS. They also know that the time of their boy in charge in the US is coming to an end. You gotta make hay while the sun shines is simple wisdom.

Frank Chiappetta
Guest

Forget Assad for now. Partner with Russia to destroy Isis, then deal with Assad!

James Royse
Guest

What about the nuclear weapons? Quit thinking about land, air, and water units….

Jason Muller
Guest

U mean US and arabia

Tohid Mostafalou
Guest

World will be in peace without Israel and Arabia Saudi ( the two war mungers)

PK Balram
Guest

Who wants to debate?

PK Balram
Guest

Get your years right . It was 400 yrs ago.

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