Who Should We Send to Sing to Our Rebels in Syria?

 

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 08.06.44Well, goodness. Think anyone’s going to notice that? I hope not. It might make future allies a little uneasy about allying with us.

Russia has targeted Syrian rebel groups backed by the Central Intelligence Agency in a string of airstrikes running for days, leading the U.S. to conclude that it is an intentional effort by Moscow, American officials said.

The assessment, which is shared by commanders on the ground, has deepened U.S. anger at Moscow and sparked a debate within the administration over how the U.S. can come to the aid of its proxy forces without getting sucked deeper into a proxy war that President Barack Obama says he doesn’t want. The White House has so far been noncommittal about coming to the aid of CIA-backed rebels, wary of taking steps that could trigger a broader conflict.

U.S. officials said Russia’s targeting of its allies on the ground was a direct challenge to Mr. Obama’s Syria policy. Underlining the distrust, the Pentagon decided against sharing any information with Moscow about the areas where U.S. allies were located because it suspected Russia would use that information to target them more directly or provide the information to President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

“On day one, you can say it was a one-time mistake,” a senior U.S. official said of Russia’s strike on one of the allied rebel group’s headquarters. “But on day three and day four, there’s no question it’s intentional. They know what they’re hitting.”

U.S. officials say they now believe the Russians have been directly targeting CIA-backed rebel groups that pose the most direct threat to Mr. Assad since the campaign began on Wednesday, both to firm up regime positions and to send a message to Mr. Obama’s administration. …

One of Russia’s first targets was a CIA-backed group known as Tajamu al-Ezzeh or the Ezzeh Gathering in Hama province in central Syria, U.S. and rebel officials said.

The first strike on the group came at 9 a.m. on Sept. 30, catching its fighters off guard. Seventeen more strikes were launched against the group over the first three days of the Russian campaign, injuring 25 of Ezzeh’s fighters. Some of the injured had received CIA training, according to their commander, Maj. Jameel al-Salih. Four strikes on the first day targeted Ezzeh’s headquarters.

American officials and the allied commanders said several other rebel groups covertly backed by the U.S. and its coalition allies have also been targeted by the Russians. They include the First Coastal Division, whose base in northern Latakia province near the Turkish border was struck twice on Oct. 2 starting at 9:45 p.m., according to the group’s commander, Capt. Muhammad Haj Ali.

Members of the brigades said in interviews they believed they were being targeted by the Russians to weaken the moderates, without whom the West would have to accept Mr. Assad’s continued rule. The other rebel groups on the battlefield are too radical for the West to work with, they said.

U.S. officials and rebel leaders said the White House thus far has taken no tangible steps to offer the groups support.

Twitter rumor has it that both Russia and ISIS were targeting FSA Suqour al-Jabal at the same time in Aleppo last night, by air and ground.

Meanwhile, remember how just a while back we were all having earnest debates about the Iranian nuclear deal, and those of us who remained concerned about it were told we were off our rockers? (Remember how The New York Times launched the Congress Jew Tracker?) So, precisely as our own government and newspaper of record were brightly intimating that anyone who wasn’t fully on board with Obama’s plan must be a Zionist stooge, this is what Moscow and Iran were up to:

“Soleimani put the map of Syria on the table. The Russians were very alarmed, and felt matters were in steep decline and that there were real dangers to the regime. The Iranians assured them there is still the possibility to reclaim the initiative,” a senior regional official said. “At that time, Soleimani played a role in assuring them that we haven’t lost all the cards.”

Three senior officials in the region say Soleimani’s July trip was preceded by high-level Russian-Iranian contacts that produced political agreement on the need to pump in new support for Assad as his losses accelerated.

Their accounts suggest planning for the intervention began to germinate several months earlier. It means Tehran and Moscow had been discussing ways to prop up Assad by force even as Western officials were describing what they believed was new flexibility in Moscow’s stance on his future.

Before the latest moves, Iran had aided Assad militarily by mobilizing Shi’ite militias to fight alongside the Syrian army, and dispatching Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps officers as advisors. A number of them have been killed.

The decision for a joint Iranian-Russian military effort in Syria was taken at a meeting between Russia’s foreign minister and Khamenei a few months ago, said a senior official of a country in the region, involved in security matters.

“Soleimani, assigned by Khamenei to run the Iranian side of the operation, traveled to Moscow to discuss details. And he also traveled to Syria several times since then,” the official said. …

Khamenei also sent a senior envoy to Moscow to meet President Vladimir Putin, another senior regional official said. “Putin told him ‘Okay we will intervene. Send Qassem Soleimani’. He went to explain the map of the theater.”

Russian warplanes, deployed at an airfield in Latakia, began mounting air strikes against rebels in Syria last week.

Moscow says it is targeting Islamic State, but many of Russia’s air strikes have hit other insurgents, including groups backed by Assad’s foreign enemies, notably in the northwest where rebels seized strategically important towns including Jisr al-Shughour earlier this year.

In the biggest deployment of Iranian forces yet, sources told Reuters last week that hundreds of troops have arrived since late September to take part in a major ground offensive planned in the west and northwest.

Around 3,000 fighters from the Iranian-backed Lebanese group Hezbollah have also mobilized for the battle, along with Syrian army troops, said one of the senior regional sources.

The military intervention in Syria is set out in an agreement between Moscow and Tehran that says Russian air strikes will support ground operations by Iranian, Syrian and Lebanese Hezbollah forces, said one of the senior regional sources.

The agreement also included the provision of more sophisticated Russian weapons to the Syrian army, and the establishment of joint operations rooms that would bring those allies together, along with the government of Iraq, which is allied both to Iran and the United States.

One of the operations rooms is in Damascus and another is in Baghdad.

“Soleimani is almost resident in Damascus, or let’s say he goes there a lot and you can find him between meetings with President Assad and visits to the theater of operations like any other soldier,” said one of the senior regional officials.

Syria’s foreign minister said on Monday that the Russian air strikes had been planned for months.

Now right about then, if I recall rightly, the president said, “We must be willing to test whether this region is willing to move in a different direction.” He said the deal offered Iran an opportunity “to move in a new direction” away from a “policy based on threats to attack your neighbors and annihilate Israel.”

So he’s saying this even as Soleimani is “almost resident” in Damascus and running up frequent-flyer miles to Moscow, where he’s signing plans for Russian air strikes to support ground operations by Iranian, Syrian and Lebanese Hezbollah forces. Well, folks, if this is how you pass that test, I’m not sure how you can lose, really.

As for the the theory that welcoming Iran back in from the cold would bolster regional stability? High five, guys, you nailed that one:

Dozens of conservative Saudi Arabian clerics have called for Arab and Muslim countries to “give all moral, material, political and military” support to what they term a jihad, or holy war, against Syria’s government and its Iranian and Russian backers.

Although the clerics who signed the online statement are not affiliated with the government, their strong sectarian and anti-Christian language reflects a growing anger among many Saudis over Russian and Iranian involvement in Syria’s civil war.

And what do you think it might mean when Sultan bin Khalid Al-Faisal says ‘”With the United States and other Western powers disengaging from Middle Eastern conflicts, “We are going to have to take care of ourselves?”

Speaking fluent English, Sultan said with emphasis, “We are moving the armed forces to a level needed today to lead — lead — the Middle East.”’

I find that insinuation so … ambiguous.

But back to my original point. Hapless, strategically-blundering, and misguided thoughout our strategy may have been, we certainly backed quite a lot of rebel groups in Syria who are now being shot like fish in a barrel by Russians. They’re begging for help, but we’re “noncommittal.” When I ask myself, “How likely is anyone in the world, ever, to forget that the Americans seem to be the last people you want on your side when things go pear-shaped,” my answer, realistically, is three generations. It will take that long.

Meanwhile, I hope we’re at least airdropping those poor guys some moral support. Like maybe a nice James Taylor mix tape.

 

 

Published in Foreign Policy, General
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  1. jetstream Inactive
    jetstream
    @jetstream

    James, ultimately, America’s interest is national security. Killing Americans and destroying America is a goal of ISIS and other jihadist groups. Another vital interest is Russia occupying and dominating not just Syrian and Iraq but much of the Gulf region will have major consequences for the entire world.

    • #61
  2. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    jetstream:James, ultimately, America’s interest is national security. Killing Americans and destroying America is a goal of ISIS and other jihadist groups. Another vital interest is Russia occupying and dominating not just Syrian and Iraq but much of the Gulf region will have major consequences for the entire world.

    I agree with this, but I think that America also has moral interests. When Obama set up the Atrocity Prevention Board with Elie Weisel in 2012 to stop stuff like this from happening again, he had a high degree of public support. There are national security aspect to that: ISIS would never have been able to recruit as it did if it were not for the severity of the horrors of Assad; it would be neat if Iran understood that the US would respond negatively to atrocities, since it would make it less likely that they would commit them; Europe’s problems with Syrian refugees (mostly fleeing Assad rather than ISIS) are an economic and political problem severe enough to ultimately have US security consequences, etc. etc. etc.

    Even if there were not security and economic implications, though, it would be worth something to prevent it. How much seems like a democratic decision, but not nothing.

    • #62
  3. Manfred Arcane Inactive
    Manfred Arcane
    @ManfredArcane

    James Of England: Openly betraying our allies and condemning the vulnerable to a Russian backed genocide seems like an eccentric way to persuade them of our moral virtue.

    I have no idea what you are talking about.  The US hasn’t betrayed anyone, (though it may be betraying its own best interests).

    And if you want to send your sons to end Assad’s butchery, why you go right ahead and I and the rest of the Civilized world will applaud your noble sacrifice.  I’m not sending mine, and don’t you even think about sending them without their or my permission.

    • #63
  4. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    James Of England: Openly betraying our allies and condemning the vulnerable to a Russian backed genocide seems like an eccentric way to persuade them of our moral virtue.

    Michael Weiss is worth listening to about this, if you have an hour to spare.

    • #64
  5. Manfred Arcane Inactive
    Manfred Arcane
    @ManfredArcane

    Manfred Arcane:”First, the affinity we felt for the beleaguered countries of Europe (Great Britain, France, Poland, etc.) were much greater than any affinity we have for any ME country (Israel excluded) now. Immigrants from there made the US. That is a big, big difference.”

    James Of England:  The affinity felt for the beleaguering countries was also pretty strong. There were many more immigrants from Germany, Italy, and Ireland than all the allied countries combined. Americans aren’t so racist today as to deny the humanity of Arabs. Arab Americans are about a third of the size of the Jewish American population, and there are more of them today than there were Polish Americans when Poland was invaded.

    See this just doesn’t jive with reality.  We experienced ~300,000 casualties defending Britain and France in WWI.  That translates into over a million casualties equivalent for modern day US population.  You want to tell me what Arab country you think the American electorate would be willing to incur, oh, even 1/10th as many to defend today?   I will wait on your answer…

    • #65
  6. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Manfred Arcane: I have no idea what you are talking about.  The US hasn’t betrayed anyone, (though it may be betraying its own best interests).

    The US promised to support the FSA in 2012, and then did not. Similarly, the US intervention in Iraq has been pretty trivial.

    Manfred Arcane: And if you want to send your sons to end Assad’s butchery, why you go right ahead and I and the rest of the Civilized world will applaud your noble sacrifice.  I’m not sending mine, and don’t you even think about sending them without their or my permission.

    I’m not sure that you’re really grasping how democracy and a volunteer military works. I don’t have children, but I’ve gone to Iraq and been slightly wounded by AQ myself, which seems like a reasonable “next best thing”. I really can’t be in Iraq now, or I would be, and I don’t think that there’s much that I could usefully do in Syria. If, in the future, an opportunity opens up in Syria I might take it; I might be raising kids, though. When I have kids, I’ll sure as heck support their joining the military, as I support my cousins, ancestors, and friends who have done so.

    • #66
  7. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Manfred Arcane:

    Manfred Arcane:”First, the affinity we felt for the beleaguered countries of Europe (Great Britain, France, Poland, etc.) were much greater than any affinity we have for any ME country (Israel excluded) now. Immigrants from there made the US. That is a big, big difference.”

    James Of England: The affinity felt for the beleaguering countries was also pretty strong. There were many more immigrants from Germany, Italy, and Ireland than all the allied countries combined. Americans aren’t so racist today as to deny the humanity of Arabs. Arab Americans are about a third of the size of the Jewish American population, and there are more of them today than there were Polish Americans when Poland was invaded.

    See this just doesn’t jive with reality. We experienced ~300,000 casualties defending Britain and France in WWI. That translates into over a million casualties equivalent for modern day US population. You want to tell me what Arab country you think the American electorate would be willing to incur, oh, even 1/10th as many to defend today? I will wait on your answer…

    No, of course not. No one would propose such a thing. The world is a far more peaceful place than it was then, and people freak out about far smaller losses of life. The losses of the Vietnam and Korean Wars are also pretty hard to imagine in today’s environment (I don’t know if you feel like the American public had more in common with those guys than with Arabs).

    Happily, all proposals put forward for intervention are on a much smaller scale. Far fewer than 300k (let alone a million) would even be significantly inconvenienced. Unless the Iranians get a nuke, there’s really zero chance of casualties on a comparable scale to previous eras’ wars.

    • #67
  8. Manfred Arcane Inactive
    Manfred Arcane
    @ManfredArcane

    Manfred Arcane: “Fourthly, the Sunni-Shia schism buffers us so much from the Islamic Fundamentalism rampant in that part of the world that we should not overrate the threat IF presents to us…”

    James Of England:  It’s very easy to overstate the importance of the Sunni Shia rivalry. It wasn’t enough to stop Iran from being critical to the foundation of Al Qaeda, it’s not enough now to stop Iran from being the chief patron for Hamas. The Sunni Shia rivalry did not protect America from 9/11, it will not protect America from an Iranian nuke, and such.

    And how will American involvement in the ME protect us from an Iranian nuke, pray tell?  I’m all ears.

    And when 9/11 happened, lets see now what was the pretext OBL used to attack the US – oh yes it had something to do with US involvement in the ME didn’t it?  I’m sure, good sir, you know these details better than I do, so feel free to educate me if I missed something.

    With no infidels to serve as lightning rods for IF in the ME, it seems Muslims there succumb to internecine tendencies, of the kind we witness now in Syria and Yemen.  If we end up not needing ME oil in the future, and trade continues willy nilly notwithstanding the violence going on there, well then, why again should we care about that region?  Because we have small numbers of Arab Americans?

    • #68
  9. Manfred Arcane Inactive
    Manfred Arcane
    @ManfredArcane

    James Of England:

    Manfred Arcane: I have no idea what you are talking about. The US hasn’t betrayed anyone, (though it may be betraying its own best interests).

    The US promised to support the FSA in 2012, and then did not. Similarly, the US intervention in Iraq has been pretty trivial.

    Manfred Arcane: And if you want to send your sons to end Assad’s butchery, why you go right ahead and I and the rest of the Civilized world will applaud your noble sacrifice. I’m not sending mine, and don’t you even think about sending them without their or my permission.

    I’m not sure that you’re really grasping how democracy and a volunteer military works. I don’t have children, but I’ve gone to Iraq and been slightly wounded by AQ myself, which seems like a reasonable “next best thing”. I really can’t be in Iraq now, or I would be, and I don’t think that there’s much that I could usefully do in Syria. If, in the future, an opportunity opens up in Syria I might take it; I might be raising kids, though. When I have kids, I’ll sure as heck support their joining the military, as I support my cousins, ancestors, and friends who have done so.

    Good man.  The world needs more like you.  When you do have kids, though, be prepared for it to change how you look at the world.

    • #69
  10. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Manfred Arcane:

    Manfred Arcane: “Fourthly, the Sunni-Shia schism buffers us so much from the Islamic Fundamentalism rampant in that part of the world that we should not overrate the threat IF presents to us…”

    James Of England: It’s very easy to overstate the importance of the Sunni Shia rivalry. It wasn’t enough to stop Iran from being critical to the foundation of Al Qaeda, it’s not enough now to stop Iran from being the chief patron for Hamas. The Sunni Shia rivalry did not protect America from 9/11, it will not protect America from an Iranian nuke, and such.

    And how will American involvement in the ME protect us from an Iranian nuke, pray tell? I’m all ears.

    Eventually, we’ll either topple the Iranian Regime, or they’ll nuke someone (whether that’s Israel or the US isn’t clear). If we topple their most evil ally, the regime will lose both power and legitimacy and will lose a little of its tug towards atrocities. It’s a couple of steps in the right direction. Ultimately the involvement in the ME will probably have to involve something more direct.

    Showing that atrocities do not pay is helpful.

    Helping the Arabs to work with moderates rather than forcing them to work with AQ is helpful in reducing support for terrorist groups that have shared Iranian and Arab support.

    Defeating ISIS and supporting the Iraqi government weakens Iranian leverage over the Iraqis.

    Having the ultimate transition in Syria go relatively smoothly should be helpful in persuading the Iranian regime members to accept a transition if the question arises in a forceful manner.

    There are other impacts, but those are some of the main ones.

    And when 9/11 happened, lets see now what was the pretext OBL used to attack the US – oh yes it had something to do with US involvement in the ME didn’t it? I’m sure, good sir, you know these details better than I do, so feel free to educate me if I missed something.

    Sure. He focused particularly on American retreats, though, in Lebanon and Somalia. If we pay attention to OBL’s arguments, we should be careful to make sure that the people we publicly designate as allies get enough support to win. His argument that the US is a paper tiger have mostly been disproven by Iraq, but Syria and Afghanistan still leave a lot of scope for demonstrating consistency in principle.

    With no infidels to serve as lightning rods for IF in the ME, it seems Muslims there succumb to internecine tendencies, of the kind we witness now in Syria and Yemen. If we end up not needing ME oil in the future, and trade continues willy nilly notwithstanding the violence going on there, well then, why again should we care about that region? Because we have small numbers of Arab Americans?

    A Middle East without Infidels, you say? I guess Germany would have become less consumed by antisemitism, too, if they’d rid themselves of them. As an Antiochian Christian myself, I’d obviously be sad about the destruction of my church, and it’d be a shame for Lebanon and Egypt, too. A Middle East that was dominated by jihadi regimes (OBL’s complaints were not primarily about the West) that successfully destroyed Israel might find matters of domestic interest predominating, but the US would have to pull back from a lot of places; stop interfering in Sudan and Nigeria, and reduce support for India and Burma, for instance.

    And there would still be reasons to go after the US; whether it’s films, domestic scandals (a 9/11 mosque issue) or anger at US non-intervention (one of OBL’s complaints was about the failure to protect Bosnians).

    • #70
  11. Manfred Arcane Inactive
    Manfred Arcane
    @ManfredArcane

    James Of England: And when 9/11 happened, lets see now what was the pretext OBL used to attack the US – oh yes it had something to do with US involvement in the ME didn’t it? I’m sure, good sir, you know these details better than I do, so feel free to educate me if I missed something. Sure. He focused particularly on American retreats, though, in Lebanon and Somalia.

    you missed my point.  OBL objected to our physical involvement in Saudia Arabia.

    • #71
  12. Manfred Arcane Inactive
    Manfred Arcane
    @ManfredArcane

    James Of England: Middle East without Infidels, you say? I guess Germany would have become less consumed by antisemitism, too, if they’d rid themselves of them. As an Antiochian Christian myself, I’d obviously be sad about the destruction of my church, and it’d be a shame for Lebanon and Egypt, too. A Middle East that was dominated by jihadi regimes (OBL’s complaints were not primarily about the West) that successfully destroyed Israel might find matters of domestic interest predominating, but the US would have to pull back from a lot of places

    See this is all fanciful.  I don’t expect the ME to be dominated by jihadi regimes, rather I expect them to be destroyed by the healthy Muslims, and thereby inoculating themselves against that strain of Islamic insanity for years to come.  “Successfully destroying Israel”?  Really.  How does one do that and survive their and our retaliation?  Some ‘success’ that would be.

    I find you entirely too pessimistic.  The US Sixth Fleet that JG is clamoring for could destroy Iran as a going concern in a few days.  A few bombs take out the Kharg Island oil terminals through which 95% of Iran’s oil exports move, and a few more select targeting of infrastructure and, voila, Iran implodes.  Just like its demographics are threatening to do on their own.

    • #72
  13. James Gawron Inactive
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Manfred Arcane:

    James Of England: Middle East without Infidels, you say? I guess Germany would have become less consumed by antisemitism, too, if they’d rid themselves of them. As an Antiochian Christian myself, I’d obviously be sad about the destruction of my church, and it’d be a shame for Lebanon and Egypt, too. A Middle East that was dominated by jihadi regimes (OBL’s complaints were not primarily about the West) that successfully destroyed Israel might find matters of domestic interest predominating, but the US would have to pull back from a lot of places

    See this is all fanciful. I don’t expect the ME to be dominated by jihadi regimes, rather I expect them to be destroyed by the healthy Muslims, and thereby inoculating themselves against that strain of Islamic insanity for years to come. “Successfully destroying Israel”? Really. How does one do that and survive their and our retaliation? Some ‘success’ that would be.

    I find you entirely too pessimistic. The US Sixth Fleet that JG is clamoring for could destroy Iran as a going concern in a few days. A few bombs take out the Kharg Island oil terminals through which 95% of Iran’s oil exports move, and a few more select targeting of infrastructure and, voila, Iran implodes. Just like its demographics are threatening to do on their own.

    Manfred,

    Clamor! You were just describing the Sixth Fleet destroying Iran (implosion) to make me feel good. Actually, seeing it happen would really make me feel good.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #73
  14. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Manfred Arcane:

    And when 9/11 happened, lets see now what was the pretext OBL used to attack the US – oh yes it had something to do with US involvement in the ME didn’t it? I’m sure, good sir, you know these details better than I do, so feel free to educate me if I missed something.James Of England: Sure. He focused particularly on American retreats, though, in Lebanon and Somalia.

    you missed my point. OBL objected to our physical involvement in Saudia Arabia.

    No, no, I got that. That wasn’t the whole of OBL’s platform, though, or even all that much of a focus.

    Manfred Arcane: See this is all fanciful.  I don’t expect the ME to be dominated by jihadi regimes, rather I expect them to be destroyed by the healthy Muslims, and thereby inoculating themselves against that strain of Islamic insanity for years to come.  “Successfully destroying Israel”?  Really.  How does one do that and survive their and our retaliation?  Some ‘success’ that would be.

    I don’t know. It wasn’t me who was positing an infidel free Middle East. If you meant “American”, then “infidel” was an odd choice of words.

    Manfred Arcane: I find you entirely too pessimistic.  The US Sixth Fleet that JG is clamoring for could destroy Iran as a going concern in a few days.  A few bombs take out the Kharg Island oil terminals through which 95% of Iran’s oil exports move, and a few more select targeting of infrastructure and, voila, Iran implodes.  Just like its demographics are threatening to do on their own.

    Well, maybe. I don’t know how pessimistic I am; I think that intervention in Syria, aid to Iraq and Lebanon, and sanctions should be enough. That seems easier to get political support for than an attack on civilian infrastructure in Iran. I’m not even sure what the pretext would be for the latter. Would there be a warning?

    • #74
  15. Manfred Arcane Inactive
    Manfred Arcane
    @ManfredArcane

    James Of England: Well, maybe. I don’t know how pessimistic I am; I think that intervention in Syria, aid to Iraq and Lebanon, and sanctions should be enough. That seems easier to get political support for than an attack on civilian infrastructure in Iran. I’m not even sure what the pretext would be for the latter. Would there be a warning?

    Sorry, I wasn’t advocating these actions, only showing how vulnerable Iran is, and that it must be well aware of this fact.  Peter Zeihan explains that, as the US recedes from the ME as fracking makes us energy independent, Iran is going to miss our protection of the Persian Gulf oil lanes.  Maybe badly.  As is China.

    And Iranian fertility rate has dropped from way high to just below replacement rate.

    But Zeihan is a better source for what the future would hold if the US ‘retrenches’ (his words, distinguishing from ‘withdrawing’) in the ME than I (see below).

    PS. For a real fun debate on the future of US posture in the ME, try out this debate between Peter Zeihan and Joe Nye.  Fascinating stuff.  We need to get CB to process this and distill out useful insights for Ricochet:

    http://www.cfr.org/united-states/charting-next-american-century/p36194

    • #75
  16. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    Manfred Arcane:

    James Of England: And when 9/11 happened, lets see now what was the pretext OBL used to attack the US – oh yes it had something to do with US involvement in the ME didn’t it? I’m sure, good sir, you know these details better than I do, so feel free to educate me if I missed something. Sure. He focused particularly on American retreats, though, in Lebanon and Somalia.

    you missed my point. OBL objected to our physical involvement in Saudia Arabia.

    OBL doesn’t set my rudder one way or the other.

    • #76
  17. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    Manfred Arcane:

    James Of England: Middle East without Infidels, you say? I guess Germany would have become less consumed by antisemitism, too, if they’d rid themselves of them. As an Antiochian Christian myself, I’d obviously be sad about the destruction of my church, and it’d be a shame for Lebanon and Egypt, too. A Middle East that was dominated by jihadi regimes (OBL’s complaints were not primarily about the West) that successfully destroyed Israel might find matters of domestic interest predominating, but the US would have to pull back from a lot of places

    See this is all fanciful. I don’t expect the ME to be dominated by jihadi regimes, rather I expect them to be destroyed by the healthy Muslims, and thereby inoculating themselves against that strain of Islamic insanity for years to come. “Successfully destroying Israel”? Really. How does one do that and survive their and our retaliation? Some ‘success’ that would be.

    I find you entirely too pessimistic. The US Sixth Fleet that JG is clamoring for could destroy Iran as a going concern in a few days. A few bombs take out the Kharg Island oil terminals through which 95% of Iran’s oil exports move, and a few more select targeting of infrastructure and, voila, Iran implodes. Just like its demographics are threatening to do on their own.

    If they did, it would be as Fifth Fleet.

    • #77
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