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The Middle East - nice and new and “smart!”

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Posts

  • hippofanthippofant ティンク Registered User regular
    Random out of the blue question: Can someone explain to me why US refueling of Saudi aircraft over Yemen was even a thing? Aren't they just next to each other? I'm confused as to why it was even needed, never mind what sort of actual hit it will cause to Saudi operations.

  • [Tycho?][Tycho?] Registered User regular
    There was another supposed chemical attack in Syria yesterday, though in a bit of a twist it targeted government held Aleppo. As usual the chemical stuff is so murky and politically loaded I'm hesitant to speculate on it, but here's a link:

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/syria-gas-attack-aleppo-state-media-rebels-injured-latest-a8650796.html

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    Synthesis
  • KaputaKaputa Registered User regular
    edited November 2018
    Three US soldiers dead in an IED blast near Ghazni city, Afghanistan. Brings the total to five this November. On the 24th a US soldier was killed by small arms during a "combat operation" in Nimroz Province - I'm curious about that one, since Nimroz rarely makes the English-language news about Afghanistan, and doesn't seem to be a major focus of fighting in recent months. In the past the US has engaged in direct combat with al-Qaeda militants in the southern provinces, and overall I think the US is more aggressive towards ISIS and AQ in Afghanistan than it is toward the Taliban, so I wonder if that's what was going on here.

    edit- source (BBC). This article says the Nimroz death appears to have been an accidental shooting.

    Kaputa on
  • Jealous DevaJealous Deva Registered User regular
    edited November 2018
    hippofant wrote: »
    Random out of the blue question: Can someone explain to me why US refueling of Saudi aircraft over Yemen was even a thing? Aren't they just next to each other? I'm confused as to why it was even needed, never mind what sort of actual hit it will cause to Saudi operations.

    The arabian peninsula is surpisingly large. The usual 2d map projections shrink it down because it is close to the equator, but it is huge.

    For comparison with the US:

    https://cartographia.files.wordpress.com/2008/05/middle20east-area20comparison.gif

    Jealous Deva on
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  • SolarSolar Registered User regular
    Yeah SA is fucking massive

    Couscous
  • Jealous DevaJealous Deva Registered User regular
    It really makes you appreciate the size of the old middle eastern empires. The Achemainads controlled basically that entire map at their height, and the Ottomans held all of it aside from Iran but with some additional territory in North Africa and the Balkans for 400 years.

    Kayne Red RobeSolar
  • JusticeforPlutoJusticeforPluto Total Goober Registered User regular
    hippofant wrote: »
    Random out of the blue question: Can someone explain to me why US refueling of Saudi aircraft over Yemen was even a thing? Aren't they just next to each other? I'm confused as to why it was even needed, never mind what sort of actual hit it will cause to Saudi operations.

    The arabian peninsula is surpisingly large. The usual 2d map projections shrink it down because it is close to the equator, but it is huge.

    For comparison with the US:

    https://cartographia.files.wordpress.com/2008/05/middle20east-area20comparison.gif

    Mid air refueling also means that your planes spend less time on the ground and more time over the target area.

  • PhillisherePhillishere Registered User regular
    It really makes you appreciate the size of the old middle eastern empires. The Achemainads controlled basically that entire map at their height, and the Ottomans held all of it aside from Iran but with some additional territory in North Africa and the Balkans for 400 years.

    There's a reason some historians call Europe, Russia, and the Middle East the "Children of Rome."

    vikgp60d3g4x.png


    Commander ZoomFencingsax
  • CouscousCouscous Registered User regular
    It really makes you appreciate the size of the old middle eastern empires. The Achemainads controlled basically that entire map at their height, and the Ottomans held all of it aside from Iran but with some additional territory in North Africa and the Balkans for 400 years.

    Isn't a lot of that more "controlled" even by the standards of the time?

  • Jealous DevaJealous Deva Registered User regular
    edited November 2018
    Couscous wrote: »
    It really makes you appreciate the size of the old middle eastern empires. The Achemainads controlled basically that entire map at their height, and the Ottomans held all of it aside from Iran but with some additional territory in North Africa and the Balkans for 400 years.

    Isn't a lot of that more "controlled" even by the standards of the time?

    Well in both cases the Arabian Peninsula interior was mostly nomads that paid homage to the Achemainads or Ottomans (or Romans/Byzantines) but were effectively independent aside from occasionally acting as auxiliaries. The Achemainads pretty effectively controlled the modern Oman/UAE/Quatar areas and the Ottomans the West coast (Mecca, Medina, on into North Yemen)of the peninsula in real terms but beyond that it was probably pretty sketchy.

    Otherwise though they both pretty well controlled the populated areas of the middle east, with the usual caveats like that Egypt is pretty much Mars if you go more than 20 or so miles away from the Nile or Coast.

    Jealous Deva on
  • KaputaKaputa Registered User regular
    edited November 2018
    I guess I was on the ball with my speculation about the US soldier death in Nimroz being al-Qaeda related. LWJ quotes the military as saying that he died “while conducting an operation to eliminate al-Qaeda militants in Nimroz province.”
    The military says an “initial review” has concluded that he “was likely accidentally shot” by partner Afghan forces during a “close-quarter battle” with “multiple barricaded al Qaeda shooters.”

    It's not really clear how many fighters AQ has in Afghanistan, but I wouldn't be surprised if the number is larger than when the US initially invaded.

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  • [Tycho?][Tycho?] Registered User regular
    Just in case we had any doubts:
    At least five of the 37 Republican Senators who voted against advancing a resolution limiting the United States's involvement in the war in Yemen have received campaign contributions from pro-Saudi lobbying groups.

    https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/11/pro-saudi-lobbyists-paid-5-senators-voted-yemen-bill-181129075933213.html

    Of course, a bunch of those who voted in favour of the bill probably also had received Saudi cash, it being so ubiquitous in DC.

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    KaputaDarkPrimusRchanenYoutube
  • KaputaKaputa Registered User regular
    The US has been bombing Somalia more often than usual as of late.
    The US military once again targeted Shabaab, al Qaeda’s branch in Somalia and East Africa, in an airstrike in the central Somali province of Mudug on Nov. 27. The US has now launched six strikes in Mudug since Nov. 19...
    ...
    The US has conducted 36 strikes against Shabaab so far in 2018, already eclipsing last year’s total of 31.
    I've seen less and less reporting about the conflict in Somalia over the last few years, yet the US's military involvement - at least if measured by air strikes - has only escalated. Last year was the previous record for US air strikes in the country, this year beats it.

    I am unsure if this represents a change in the intensity of the conflict on the ground or if it's more a change in how the US military operates under the current government.

    TicaldfjamCouscousSynthesis
  • CouscousCouscous Registered User regular
  • FencingsaxFencingsax It is difficult to get a man to understand, when his salary depends upon his not understanding GNU Terry PratchettRegistered User regular
    No shit?

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  • PolaritiePolaritie Sleepy Registered User regular
    That's a nice start, but...

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  • AresProphetAresProphet I see a darkness in my fate I'll drive my car without the brakesRegistered User regular
    edited December 2018
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-12-03/qatar-to-withdraw-from-opec-from-january-1

    Qatar intends to withdraw from OPEC

    Probably has something to do with KSA and Russia scheduling a discussion for output cuts. Qatar hasn't been getting along with the Saudis in recent years and has fewer and fewer reasons to align their interests.

    AresProphet on
    oh, gimme some time
    show me the foothold from which I can climb
    yeah, when I feel low
    you show me a signpost for where I should go
  • KaputaKaputa Registered User regular
    edited December 2018
    Yemen's peace talks don't sound super promising so far. The southern government sounds uncompromising:

    Yemeni FM's remarks at Sweden peace talks trigger anger in Sanaa
    "They [the Houthis] should withdraw from the institutions of the state and hand them back to the legitimate government," a defiant al-Yamani told Al Jazeera.

    "They should respect the will of the international community and surrender their arms, ammunitions and missiles."

    US ices Iran out of Yemen talks
    The Iranian Foreign Ministry recently informed Sweden, which is hosting this week's UN-sponsored talks, of its desire to send a senior adviser to Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to the shuttle diplomacy between the Houthi rebels and the internationally recognized government of Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi in Stockholm. But the request was denied, according to several Iranian sources, because of US pressure.

    Since the US and Saudi narrative is that the Yemen war is a proxy war against Iran and is necessary because of how dangerous and influential Iran is, it seems pretty sort of hypocritical to exclude the Iranians from peace talks ostensibly aimed at ending the war. As the article points out, the US similarly excluded Iran from peace talks in Syria several years ago, and we all remember how much that helped.

    Kaputa on
    hippofantJusticeforPlutoTicaldfjamRchanen
  • SolarSolar Registered User regular
    The US hates Iran, is why. It's the only reason I can think of why they're so consistently belligerent towards them compared to other nations with similar domestic rights problems.

  • PhillisherePhillishere Registered User regular
    Solar wrote: »
    The US hates Iran, is why. It's the only reason I can think of why they're so consistently belligerent towards them compared to other nations with similar domestic rights problems.

    Boomer despise Iran. The hostage crisis was the defining moment, and the reason for the ascendancy of Reagan and right wing politics.

    Also, Saint Bush was involved in a plan to delay the hostages until after the election to help Reagan. They’ve always been assholes:

    https://www.nytimes.com/1991/04/15/world/new-reports-say-1980-reagan-campaign-tried-to-delay-hostage-release.html

    BigJoeMCommander ZoomTicaldfjamTNTrooperHarry DresdenLovely
  • KaputaKaputa Registered User regular
    edited December 2018
    Erdogan has been rattling his sabre again.
    Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan declared on Wednesday that he would launch an operation within days into northeast Syria, where some 2,000 U.S. troops stand alongside the SDF. He said the target was not U.S. soldiers.

    The Pentagon warned that any unilateral military action would be “unacceptable”.

    Nonetheless after the invasions and occupations of the northern Aleppo border region and Afrin Canton I can't dismiss this as bluster. The SDF has warned that they will fight any Turkish assault and that their battles with ISIS along the Syrian/Iraqi border will cease if they are forced to confront Turkey. The latter part of the warning seems motivated to pressure the US into deterring the Turkish assault, which is a tactic the SDF has used before to mixed success. Occupied Afrin still sees semi-frequent insurgent attacks on Turkish-backed forces, including a car bombing earlier today.

    Hopefully the threats come to nothing. It may come down to how committed the Trump administration is to an indefinite occupation of northern Syria.

    Kaputa on
  • [Tycho?][Tycho?] Registered User regular
    Kaputa wrote: »
    It may come down to how committed the Trump administration is to an indefinite occupation of northern Syria.

    I could see other powers wanting to test this. Trump has giving the military a pretty free hand in dictating policy, on the one hand. But on the other he campaigned on, and seems to instinctually support, drawing down and withdrawing troops. Throw on his disdain for normal diplomacy in favour of one-on-one ~*deals*~ and his notoriously short attention span, and I could see somebody betting that a bit of bold action could work out.

    And frankly who is going to defend the US presence in Syria? The usual think tanks and lobbyists that want to fight Russia and Iran at every turn, but how many politicians will defend Middle East War v3.2.2?

    mvaYcgc.jpg
  • KaputaKaputa Registered User regular
    [Tycho?] wrote: »
    Kaputa wrote: »
    It may come down to how committed the Trump administration is to an indefinite occupation of northern Syria.

    I could see other powers wanting to test this. Trump has giving the military a pretty free hand in dictating policy, on the one hand. But on the other he campaigned on, and seems to instinctually support, drawing down and withdrawing troops. Throw on his disdain for normal diplomacy in favour of one-on-one ~*deals*~ and his notoriously short attention span, and I could see somebody betting that a bit of bold action could work out.

    And frankly who is going to defend the US presence in Syria? The usual think tanks and lobbyists that want to fight Russia and Iran at every turn, but how many politicians will defend Middle East War v3.2.2?
    I mostly agree, though if Trump does withdraw in the face of Turkish aggression, the media and some Democrats will have a field day with criticism of the US's betrayal of its anti-ISIS Kurdish allies.

    But most Americans will hear "US out of Syria" and think "ok good" (not unreasonably), so how WaPo feels about it probably won't matter much.

    There's a few factors pushing in different directions - relations with Turkey, influence in Syria, opposing Iran, maintaining pressure on ISIS (assuming Washington cares about that anymore) - so I think it's pretty hard to guess how the US will respond if Turkey insists on attacking SDF territory.

  • KaputaKaputa Registered User regular
    Erdogan: New military operation in Syria to 'start at any moment'
    Turkey may launch a new military operation in northern Syria at any moment, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, adding US President Donald Trump had given a positive response to Turkey's plans.

    Well, we may have our answer soon. If this is has been a bluff, he's taken it pretty far and might find it difficult to back down. And if the US really gave the green light then further Turkish aggression seems inevitable.

  • [Tycho?][Tycho?] Registered User regular
    Kaputa wrote: »
    [Tycho?] wrote: »
    Kaputa wrote: »
    It may come down to how committed the Trump administration is to an indefinite occupation of northern Syria.

    I could see other powers wanting to test this. Trump has giving the military a pretty free hand in dictating policy, on the one hand. But on the other he campaigned on, and seems to instinctually support, drawing down and withdrawing troops. Throw on his disdain for normal diplomacy in favour of one-on-one ~*deals*~ and his notoriously short attention span, and I could see somebody betting that a bit of bold action could work out.

    And frankly who is going to defend the US presence in Syria? The usual think tanks and lobbyists that want to fight Russia and Iran at every turn, but how many politicians will defend Middle East War v3.2.2?
    I mostly agree, though if Trump does withdraw in the face of Turkish aggression, the media and some Democrats will have a field day with criticism of the US's betrayal of its anti-ISIS Kurdish allies.

    But most Americans will hear "US out of Syria" and think "ok good" (not unreasonably), so how WaPo feels about it probably won't matter much.

    There's a few factors pushing in different directions - relations with Turkey, influence in Syria, opposing Iran, maintaining pressure on ISIS (assuming Washington cares about that anymore) - so I think it's pretty hard to guess how the US will respond if Turkey insists on attacking SDF territory.

    Yeah Trump (and frankly most leaders) aren't the type to back down, but the resulting flurry of diplomatic activity could result in something new and interesting. I'm just spitballing of course.

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  • KaputaKaputa Registered User regular
    Turkey Delays Military Operation on Syria Over U.S. Pullout
    After the U.S. exit, Turkish forces will fight both Islamic State and Kurdish militants, Erdogan said.

    From the sounds of it, Turkey is just giving the US time to get its troops out before attacking. Maybe they'll try and convince France to leave too.

    Meanwhile I'm expecting to hear news of SDF-Damascus talks before long here, though the government is often intransigent and might not prove an easy negotiating partner.

  • ArbitraryDescriptorArbitraryDescriptor Registered User regular
    If anyone still thought there was an ounce of strategic consideration buried in the Syria withdrawal:

    https://www.axios.com/russia-proposal-syria-israel-iran-united-states-c6d0bde9-583a-4dab-8a38-b2a212a16292.html

    Axios reporting that Russia had previously offered to broker an Iranian withdrawal from Syria in exchange for Israel brokering a US withdrawal and freezing sanctions on Iran.

    Israeli saw the the part about lifting Iran sanctions and told them to shove it. Now Donny "Best Deals" Trump has given up the only other leverage in the deal.

    So basically: this was known to be something Russia was willing to pay for; and he just left it on the table and wandered off.

    hippofantfedaykin666RchanenshrykeThawmusArdolFencingsax
  • TraceTrace GNU Terry Pratchett; GNU Gus; GNU Carrie Fisher; GNU Adam We Registered User regular
    https://apnews.com/ec2ed217357048ff998225a31534df12
    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw American troops from Syria was made hastily, without consulting his national security team or allies, and over strong objections from virtually everyone involved in the fight against the Islamic State group, according to U.S. and Turkish officials.

    Trump stunned his Cabinet, lawmakers and much of the world with the move by rejecting the advice of his top aides and agreeing to a withdrawal in a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last week, two U.S. officials and a Turkish official briefed on the matter told The Associated Press.

    Any lingering thoughts I had about Erdogan not wanting to basically conquer Syria are gone now.

  • MayabirdMayabird Pecking at the keyboardRegistered User regular
    Erdogan thinks he's going to bring back the Ottoman empire. It's like the entire world is going into imbecile nostalgia mode. The Brexit idiots think they'll somehow bring back their old empire once they throw off Europe, Putin acts like he's the Tsar, there's all the MAGA shit here that wants to bring back the Confederacy, North Korea has already turned itself back into the Hermit Kingdom...

    Harry DresdenTicaldfjam
  • KarozKaroz Registered User regular
    It's funny how the old timey nationalistic bent of so many countries isn't being seen as a direct path to world war 3.

    You're just putting a bunch of alpha males in a room and suddenly surprised when the fists start flying.

    JusticeforPlutoBlackDragon480RchanenHarry DresdenTicaldfjam
  • Commander ZoomCommander Zoom Registered User regular
    yeah... "funny".

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  • CouscousCouscous Registered User regular
    edited December 2018
    Quartz reporter:

    US Middle Eastern policy is somehow going to get even more nonsensical.

    Couscous on
  • ElkiElki get busy Moderator, ClubPA mod
    Protests have been happening in Sudan for the past few days, and like most protests in Sudan the spark was the common one of rising prices + cutback in government subsidies, and then the protests quickly turning into general anti-government ones with attacks against the party headquarters in various cities. No one seems to have an accurate count of how big they are, but they're definitely geographically widespread and I'm sure that's a concern for the government. Unlike most other protests, this one didn't start out in the capital, but started in periphery cities and spread to Khartoum eventually.

    As far as I can tell it's almost entirely leaderless, except for some old figureheads desperately trying to claim credit.

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    Kaputa
  • MillMill Registered User regular
    I'm curious to see how Israel runs with the US withdrawal in Syria. It's easy to forget they are a formidable regional power in the region. They can't bring the resources that the US can, but they've shown in the past that they an easily kneecap the other regional power simultaneously, while be attacked. So Russian, Iran, Turkey and Syria might not get the free reign they were hoping for with a US withdrawal if Israel decides their interests warrant them to act in Syria. Not sure what their stance is on the Kurds. Also worth noting that Israel gives less a fuck about world opinion than the US, so if they do something, they can pick something incredibly dickish and detrimental to the other powers in the zone, that the US would have opted not to do.

    Plus, did Edrogan do a purge of his military. So not sure Turkey is quite the military power it used to be. Putin has also been pissing away Russia's military strength on various petty things. Assad's forces haven't exactly fared well in the whole conflict. Iran is probably the only other major power that is operating at equivalent strength to what they had at the start of the conflict, but if I were Iran, I might not want to commit too many resources to Syria; especially, if Israel decides to be a dick and make it pricey. The problem for Iran, is that while Trump's shit was of benefit to them in Syria, it could fuck them in regards to Afghanistan. I mean if I was them, I'd probably want to have the resources ready to go to safe guard their interests in the parts of Afghanistan that they've made some headway into, while also keeping their border secure. I believe that's also front where they could expand influence if the US leaves and not have to worry about strong rival stymieing their efforts.

    Harry DresdenTicaldfjam
  • KaputaKaputa Registered User regular
    Syria sends forces to SDF frontline
    Syrian troops have sent reinforcements to the eastern province of Deir el-Zour close to an enclave controlled by the Islamic State group and along the front with U.S.-backed Kurdish-led fighters, a war monitor and pro-government pages on social media said Saturday.

    Turkey masses troops near Kurdish-held Syrian town (Manbij)

  • AimAim Registered User regular
    Syria government accelerating mass executions of political prisoners. Washington Post

    Looks like they want to clear up any possible future political opponents while they have a freer hand with the war being largely won but not over.

    Karoz
  • PhyphorPhyphor Building Planet Busters Tasting FruitRegistered User regular
    The Knesset has been dissolved and new elections will be held in April
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/israel-headed-to-elections-as-netanyahus-coalition-dissolves-parliament/2018/12/24/4aa6fa2c-077d-11e9-88e3-989a3e456820_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.1ef23b8c9d78

    It will be interesting to see if Netanyahu continues to win, there's no indication he will step down

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  • FencingsaxFencingsax It is difficult to get a man to understand, when his salary depends upon his not understanding GNU Terry PratchettRegistered User regular
    I'm putting this here, although technically it could be in the East Asia thread.
    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-46777848

    A Saudi Woman has locked herself into her hotel room in Bangkok in order to prevent being sent back home, where she says she might be killed.

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  • SynthesisSynthesis Honda Today! Registered User regular
    edited January 7
    Mayabird wrote: »
    Erdogan thinks he's going to bring back the Ottoman empire. It's like the entire world is going into imbecile nostalgia mode. The Brexit idiots think they'll somehow bring back their old empire once they throw off Europe, Putin acts like he's the Tsar, there's all the MAGA shit here that wants to bring back the Confederacy, North Korea has already turned itself back into the Hermit Kingdom...

    ...you mean with the record 3 summits held between the North and the South? As oppose to the fifty previous years, when there were a total of zero summits? Not to mention the last several years of opening overseas culture into North Korea since Kim Jong-un took power, to the point where it could have a potential backlash against the Pyongyang government's incredible reach into people's lives (as oppose to its purpose, which was to cement Kim's own cultural and political clout over any potential rivals)? With the leader of South Korea literally visiting Northern territory for the first time since Korea became independent?

    This isn't the East Asia thread, but I think you might be thinking of a different hermit kingdom. Even with denuclearization stalled (and the South's foreign troop deployment not going anywhere), we're still seeing an enormous breakthrough in North-South relations--this hermit kingdom just permtited South Korean troops to enter for inspections of dismantled border posts for the first time since the Korean War. Even if tomorrow all negotiations between Seoul and Pyongyang ceased, we'd still be in uncharted territory.
    Mill wrote: »
    Plus, did Edrogan do a purge of his military. So not sure Turkey is quite the military power it used to be. Putin has also been pissing away Russia's military strength on various petty things. Assad's forces haven't exactly fared well in the whole conflict. Iran is probably the only other major power that is operating at equivalent strength to what they had at the start of the conflict, but if I were Iran, I might not want to commit too many resources to Syria; especially, if Israel decides to be a dick and make it pricey. The problem for Iran, is that while Trump's shit was of benefit to them in Syria, it could fuck them in regards to Afghanistan. I mean if I was them, I'd probably want to have the resources ready to go to safe guard their interests in the parts of Afghanistan that they've made some headway into, while also keeping their border secure. I believe that's also front where they could expand influence if the US leaves and not have to worry about strong rival stymieing their efforts.

    Like...what else? Excluding the Syrian civil war, which is far and away the most draining factor on the Russian Armed Forces, and has been for years now, in terms of equipment, fuel, caskets going back home, etc., and proved to be a serious challenge that was probably well underestimated. Granted, we could certainly seen an escalation in separatist areas of east Ukraine, but the Russian Fed. has been pouring money into Syria since long before the Euromaidan revolt and coup.

    Iran--particularly Iran's well-established proxy and paramilitary assets--have also felt the drain. Hezbollah in particular has felt the drain, both in Iraq (which is a shared area of operations frequently with Syria), and in Syria itself, where its been hit pretty hard by Israel (the Israeli military seems to be exacting a much greater cost than they're taking in that particular arena). The Syrian Civil War has also had a great deal of political cost on Hezbollah, potentially, in Lebanon and elsewhere, where its close cooperation with the Syrian military (the air force in particular) and its sustained losses are scene as a waste of a "criminal regime that never raised a finger in Palestine's defense." An ultimate victory might help with that, but they're still paying the costs on a daily basis in the meantime.

    Synthesis on
    Orca wrote: »
    Synthesis wrote:
    Isn't "Your sarcasm makes me wet," the highest compliment an Abh can pay a human?

    Only if said Abh is a member of the nobility.
  • KaputaKaputa Registered User regular
    Syrian rebel factions in Idlib Province have been engaged in serious fighting for days. Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (salafi-jihadist coalition formed and led by an AQ spin-off) has apparently decisively defeated Nour al-Din al-Zinki Movement, forcing their remnants to flee from Idlib into Turkish-controlled areas to the north. Nour al-Din al-Zinki got sorta infamous among observers of the war a few years back; the US was giving them weapons, but then some of their members beheaded a child on film, which the US said it would "take into account" or something similarly non-committal.
    “Zenki had been a thorn in Tahrir Al Sham’s side and one of the most stubborn challenges to its dominance, and now it has been defeated,” said Sam Heller, a senior analyst at the International Crisis Group.

    The Observatory said that hundreds of Zenki fighters and other defeated National Liberation Front affiliates retreated to territory held by Turkey-backed rebels in Afrin, which Hayat Tahrir Al Sham cut off from other territory in Idlib.

    According to this article, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham followed this up by directly attacking Turkish-backed rebel factions north of the area they took from al-Zinki. Since Turkish troops are stationed in that region, that's a pretty bold move, although the article notes that Turkey and its proxies are massed to the east in preparation for war with the SDF, and were apparently caught off guard by HTS's attack.

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