Open-Ended Syria Thread

Let's talk about the Syrian conflict; its context, participants and their motives, major events, media coverage, and trustworthy sources.

I’ll try to condense my interpretation of it to get us started:

I'm of the opinion the Syrian conflict, at its core, is a proxy war over the paths of a proposed natural gas pipeline and subsequently, which country/“world” (Saudi Arabia/First World or Iran/Second World) should receive the economic and hegemonic benefits a pipeline brings, complicated by another faction, Daesh/ISIL, is also trying to carve out a caliphate in the region.

Saudi Arabia and Iran are locked in a cold war to be the dominant regional power. This is escalated by the American/First World-backing of Saudi Arabia and the Russian/Second World-backing of Iran. Assad rejected the Qatar-Turkey pipeline (benefiting KSA), citing the protection of Russia’s economy as his motive. Russia is Europe’s main supplier of natural gas. The Western-allied Saudi Arabia would surely seek to kneecap Russia’s economy by flooding the market and stealing consumers.

Saudi Arabia and its allies saw the opening for regime change during the initial protests in Syria and became involved in hopes to install a pro-Saudi puppet. Iran and its allies, understanding the stakes, likewise became involved to protect their outpost.

Thus the escalation of what should have been an internal affair by outside powers competing for dominance and private ownership of natural resources.

Thoughts? Additions? Disagreements? Questions? Post ‘em.

(I'm going to be blunt: the “Middle East”, as a whole, has been weighing heavily on my mind lately and I'm lonely and want to discuss. That’s not a pass for shitposting, however. High-quality posts only.)

Other urls found in this thread:

The 8 Proxy Wars Going On in Syria Right Now:

I'm still confused over the lumping of "moderate rebels". Apparently it goes from secular leftists, tamer jihadists and liberals to anti-Assad conservatives, and so on. Is the media coverage just lazy? Or is there a united opposition with all these different groups?

None of them are "secular leftists".

A very small amount could be described as "secular" at best, but that's it.

I would stop referring to "Saudi Arabia" as a lone actor here. It's the US. Saudi Arabia is a tool of US foreign policy.

I also wouldn't refer to ISIS as nothing more than a "complication". They wouldn't exist without the support, direct and indirect, of the Saudi/US/Turkey axis which, until the recent dithering of Turkey, has been wholly aligned against Syria for the duration of the conflict.

The only "moderate" rebels (i.e. non-Jihadist or not aligned with jihadists), are the elements of the FSA that have gone over to the SDF. For example, Jaysh al-Thuwar, Liwa Thuwar al-Raqqa, and other elements of the Northern Sun Battalion.

This is another thing that stumps me. It seems to me that the "moderate rebel" is a catchall for Western-backed rebels, whether they be "moderates" or not. One, because it's easier, and two, because it obscures the fact that the U.S. is almost certainly arming anti-Assad radicals to help take him out or at least spread his military thin.

By this definition, no, none of them are leftists. I've never seen a leftist be considered a moderate rebel (Kurds are called by name).

Furthermore, in the beginning of the civil war, Assad released imprisoned jihadists knowing they'd likely join the rebels in attempt to delegitimize the movement and dissuade foreign funding. It didn't work.

Ah, I was trying to convey that. I'm aware of the claims Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and–to a lesser extent–the U.S. fund, train, and/or arm ISIS militants to force the Syrian government to fight on multiple fronts, weakening it.

Speaking of which, does anyone have any strongly credible resources on that? I've looked and haven't found anything damning enough for me to say those countries do, for certain.

In the early stages of the conflict, 2012 I believe that I've read those articles, there has been nuance in the groups involved, but now it's just "moderate" rebels as long as they're not ISIS. Even then those "moderate" rebels were shady, including the FSA; loose organization and occasional cooperation with Al-Nusra. Besides the big players there were those various negligible groups working with either of the two or operating alone. That was according to a single report, can't even remember what network it was. But other reports pretty much told the same story.

I also recall avidly watching the congress talks/debates in regards to Syria. One particular moment stands out to me - Kerry is speaking and defending the Obama administration's move to aid the rebels.

a Republican stands up and corrects him
Kerry falls silent

What a fucking embarrassment, not the correction, what he said: "only 20% are radicals"


and that was in 2012, I'd bet it risen to at least 70%, not counting the ones killed over the years.

Turkey's having huge problems with Al Bab, as you probably know if you're following the Euphrates Shield operation. 50 officers and soldiers tried to hand in their resignations recently, moral is incredibly low and a lot of the Turkish rebel proxies are growing increasingly unruly and are doing underhand deals with ISIS and selling them weapons.

There was that leaked Kerry tape recently

Additionally, if you watch any ISIS videos, you will see that they have massive amounts of US manufactured equipment, which of course has all conveniently been "captured" by the group

I'm sure there's a lot of sources about ISIS's oil route into Turkey, where most of their wealth came from

And of course, there's the extremely suspicious capture of Mosul, which doesn't really make any sense when you look at it. (globalresearch did an article on this which I can't find right now)

The links with Saudi Arabia are much clearer no doubt.

Yeah no doubt, interestingly a lot of the legitimately "moderate" fighters have been putting their arms down recently in amnesty deals from the government. The longer the conflict has continued the more the opposition has been dominated by jihadists.

Literally multi-dimensional Chess: the war

In my opinion, the Kurds are the only "good" group, though they are definitely not angels as both they and their Arab neighbors are known to have some battles motivated their races; though from what I understand it's usually the Arabs that initiate these battles as they are the dominate race in Syria

Our Middle East themed threads are always the best threads on the board


There have been reports lately of the SAA planning an offensive east of Aleppo towards Al Bab. Will probably be the first indication we get of Turkey's current attitude towards the Syrian government and the extent of their cooperation with Russia.

Yeah, more of a transfer of troops and equipment than any sort of actual battle.

Both Iraqi and Syrian Armies have a habit of running away and leaving shitloads of valuable equipment behind.

yeah they "ran away" and "just happened" to leave loads of valuable US equipment behind so ISIS could ravage the countryside for israel

Good interview with Theo Padnos, who was a prisoner of Al Nusra and Islamist rebels. He explicitly says that the revolution was Islamist from the start.

Would also advise reading this extensive article he wrote on his time being an Al Nusra captive.

You really can't chalk a disparity that big up to "a habit" or whatever. Why would ISIS even attack unless they knew what was going to happen? To any logical observer that would have looked like a suicide mission.

Thanks for this, by the way. I appreciate it, even if it's from HuffPo.


Although, I'll admit an inkling of sympathy for Iran and Russia–Iran, for wanting to curtail Saudi (aka Western) power after a long history of getting fucked over by the West, and Russia for fighting to prevent a permanent economic handicap. That said, they're still imperialist States meddling in the internal affairs of another country for their benefit and their military [proxies] are, like any other military, brutal toward civilians out of convenience.

What a fuckin' bombshell. Thank you, comrade.

I'm much more convinced of Saudi Arabia's support of ISIS, and Turkey's funding through the oil trade, but given the gravity of the statement, "Saudi Arabia and Turkey sponsor ISIS-tier terrorism", I don't want to believe it without undeniable evidence.

well, they are fueled by religious zeal, at least the useful idiots among them for sure.

I suppose I should also add I don't like Russia and Iran for being capitalist, and motivated by capitalism either. However, they're at the very least facing a genuinely existential threat. The West and its friends just want to amass more wealth and power and take out an enemy that's been playing defense for decades.

throw in that syria is the last piece of the Opium-Illegal Oil-Small Arms-Nuclear Materials pipeline and that Israel wants Assad gone along with US/UK's interest in removing all of their former assets and tying of the last of their 20th century ends and you have a solid narrative. If you support Russia you're supporting Iran and a super pipeline for Guns, Oil and Drugs if you support the US you are supporting Al Queda and ISIS

Either way you're supporting evil

Also the armoury in Mossul happened to be full of modern Western weapons and the Bank of Mossul happened to be full of American Dollars.

All coincidences people.

There was a very good post that I can't find right now on the SCW subreddit that said when on the offensive ISIS use rather blunt, but overwhelming tactics that are very good at breaking non disciplined or non motivated forces. You see this with Palmyra recently, ISIS overwhelmed SAA/NDF very quickly and tons of loot including a good few tanks. But they've been attacking t4 airbase for weeks and have had no real joy because its forces are disciplined and the defensive positions are a lot better.

It's worth noting that Syria and Russia/Iran aren't one homogenous bloc like the corporate media likes to portray - there have been a number of differences between the two - for example Russia seems to favour partition of Syria while the Syrian government are committed to reclaiming all of Syria's territory.

As far as I can see, the best possible solution to this - although it's unlikely - is the Syrian government and Rojava reaching some sort of agreement. If not, then they will just be used to continue the proxy war on behalf of their benefactors, even after any islamist threat is gone.

Thought I'd pass on this fantastic intelligence report on ISIS too. Well worth a read.

Details how ISIS governs, its command structure, laws, culture, population growth, infrastructure etc. Super thorough.

It doesn't really matter what Assad or Syria thinks because it can't enforce its will without Russia or Iran.

Obviously American imperialism has played a large part in destroying Syria but I hear so many MLs go on about protecting Syria's "sovereignty". And it's like, what sovereignty bitch? Iran and Russia both stepped in and saved Syria from jihadist madness, but it also lost its sovereignty in the process. Similar with Iraq.

Iran seems to be doing this across the ME, and whilst it's preferable to Saudi influence, it's not something worth jumping for joy about either.

On a number of occasions Russia has attempted to stop the fighting (in favour of a "political solution") and the SAA has continued. For example in Aleppo, when Russia essentially played along with the dominant narrative and demanded a ceasefire.

I understand what you are saying, but I don't think Russian sovereignty extends as far as you think in Syria, the government is still capable of making it's own decisions.

Just because you think it an unlikely result of the conflict, that doesn't mean you should stop supporting the prospect of a Syria free from imperial rule. As far as I can see, the only faction fighting for that is the SAA (and Rojava to an extent, although that is more complicated)

Russia betrayed the Syrian people when Putin gave Erdogan the go ahead to invade Northern Syria.

Besides the average Syrian stuck in the middle of this shit show, every actor in this is as bad as each other somehow Putin and Assad have won the PR game which says a lot about the west right now.
Sadly for the average Syrian, ISIS - the spookiest of spooks - infiltrated or piggybacked their movement and completely de-legitimised it.

please stop


If Russia and Iran completely withdrew all support Assad would be finished. Assad only has sovereignty as long as he doesn't go too far.

nothing secret about it. it's pretty common knowledge that the people of syria, by and large, don't support the jihadist movement sweeping their country.

you are the one advancing claims with nothing to back it up in the first place, so your criticism falls totally flat regardless

But the same is true of every other faction in syria. it sort of becomes meaningless when you look at it in that sense.

The question is: what groups in syria support right of self-determination of the syrian people?

The FSA would probably have won if it was a clean fight as eveyone was defecting from the SAA.

ISIS aligns ideologically with the version of Islam upheld by Saudi rulers. Saudi Arabia wants to gain more power in the Middle East. Jihad is the way they do it.

During the phase of the conflict in which said defections occurred, Syria had no significant foreign backers.

Yes, exactly. The regime wouldn't have been able to hang on if it wasn't for foreign intervention.

I'm 99% sure Saudi's rulers aren't stupid enough to support ISIS, it's far too aggressive for them to manage and could easily come back on them.
I think people conflate a lot of things and end up putting 2+2 together and getting 5.

You shouldn't participate in these sorts of discussions, you detract far too much from the overall quality of the board.

The shills are out tonight it seems…

They can just do so through one prince or another. The Saudi royal family is huge and they have plausible deniability.

development to win hearts and minds'''.

Otherwise, this is a great summary of ISIS' government, economy, military strategy, and theology, among other things. I just finished it after reading it in chunks.

I was particularly shocked to learn about 3-5% of its revenue comes from kidnapping for ransom, bank robbery, drug trafficking, and selling the organs of executed enemy fighters and malcontents on the black market; and the evidently not uncommon drug use among ISIS militants to–among other reasons–make them dependent on ISIS, the supplier (much like how pimps use addiction to trap their prostitutes).

I'll share a few more selections.

ISIS and the formation of al-Nusra during the beginning of the Syrian Civil War:

A good summary ISIS' perversion of Islam:

Earlier in the document, it also mentions if a government recognizes ISIS as a state, that also legitimizes it as The Caliphate and is thus subject to its rule.


pictures in Figure 8.1 of Islami Giyim store in Turkey show examples of an ISIL-inspired clothing line.

Thanks for sharing, comrade. This is a profoundly fascinating, informative document and I'm better having read it.

Free Syrian Army is the only secular group, and its leadership are ex-Syrian soldiers.

Most seculars I know online just left the country. There's no actual left in Syria and in the most of the Arab world. There's mostly the vague secular people that don't stand for anything kind of like "French secularists" that "stand" for liberty, freedom, equality… but not really actually since they don't have strong ideological basis for it other than well it's what the West tells me it's the modern thing.

Saudi is just a middle-man here. They have no interest what-so-ever in taking down Assad. It's US/Israel's interest here. Arming terrorist was an "error" from them too, by their measures… actually they fired the intelligence agency director that armed terrorist after Obama admin got really mad at them…

If they could find seculars who would fight they would do it happily.

I know Western media always told Saudi support Islamists in all the world which is a BIG LIE. Al Sauds themselves aren't religious or Islamists. You would know that after they took down Morsi in Egypt (Muslim brotherhood) and installed a secularist Army General. Or what about their channels' support for the Turkey coup against Erdogan where the were the first to claim that the coup has succeeded.

Saudi, UAE, Israel, USA are the sources of all evil in MENA in the last decades. Not saying Iran and Russia are saints but they just don't have the same means or power to do their share of evil.


some more good articles on Syria I've read recently:

about: Zahran Alloush, Jaysh al Islam, Eastern Ghouta.

about: Idlib

about: Turkish astronomer joining ISIS

about: some angsty young American goes and becomes an integral part of the ISIS command

I've heard quite a bit of evidence stating the opposite. It may have began as a secular group, but it's likely been infiltrated by religious extremists.

For example, it seems Syrian women and other vulnerable groups, like religious minorities, are scared of FSA and do not want to fall to their rule. While they may have their complaints with Assad's government, they appear to commonly see it as protecting them from the partisan religious militants that have infiltrated FSA.

See this short documentary on Syrian women for some examples:

Saudi Arabia has a vested interested in regime change in Syria. Assad rejected their natural gas pipeline path to "protect Russian economic interests" (that's one motive, but it's a little more complicated than that). Not only will the pipeline boost KSA's revenue, it will weaken Russia (which in turn hurts Iran, one of Russia's dependents due to Western sanctions) and solidify Saudi Arabia's place as the dominant regional force, having seized economic and hegemonic control of the region. A like-minded Sunni-led government would increase Saudi Arabia's social influence, as well.

Saudi Arabia is not merely a middle man, it's been in a cold war with Iran for decades. Syria is one of its newest proxy arenas.

It was 90% Sunni, 10% Shia, Christians, Kurds… so how?

A lot of them the FSA were from Assad's tribe.

Actual FSA is actually game over. Now the label is used by other groups with no relation to them and that doesn't take orders from them.

Enough with the pipeline BS. It's as simple as US wanting Syria in their side, it's Israel's neighbor and the only country that beaten them up (with Syria's help). Syria was under sanctions from US since forever for those exact reasons (which damaged Syrian people and caused them to revolt, since the sanctions doesn't affect all tribes in Syria equally), they are not a new enemy for US.

Saudis have no interest in increasing production specially with US in all-time top production now with fracking and the cheap price of oil. Also they can export oil to Europe with ships (it's 1/10 doing it in land) just as they used to do (and partly do) to America.

I'm sorry, I'm condensing things. Iran and Saudi Arabia are both scrambling to install a banana republic in Syria as they are competing with each other to be the major regional power. If Saudi Arabia/The US/The West/The First World doesn't secure Syria for itself, Iran/Russia/"The East"/The Second World almost certainly would and would become a much more powerful economic competitor, and it would maintain its current hegemony and influence, if not strengthen it.

May I ask why you're so adamant the US is most concerned with Israel, with regards to the Syrian conflict, aside from geographical proximity to its neighbor? Israel-Syria relations are strained, but the US would really be playing with fire to be involved int he conflict as it is now if its primary goal was to replace Assad with an ally of Israel. There's no one.

The Syrian army in Assad's father times was built by USSR, Syria was always a Russia's small brother since forever. Assad (2nd world) winning will simply change nothing.

They took down Morsi in Egypt from the same reason. Hillary said it a closed speech (WikiLeaks) that the reason they didn't liked him was because he wasn't pro-Israel, and we couldn't predict his actions or know his intentions about it.

Saudi and UAE funded the military coup and installed a General as president.

Saudi is one of the most pro-Israel regime, they actually historically made a deal with Britain to support the Zionism program in order to rule Saudi, while Cherif Mecca was the ruler back then but he refused to give up on Palestine.

Britain was promising both Cherif Mecca and Zionists with Palestine, but thanks to brother Lenin who shared the secret papers of Balfour Declaration and said Russia isn't going to take its part from MENA since commies are anti-imperialism.

The biggest interest Saudi might have in Syria, is a pro-1st world/pro-Saudi regime in Syria. This is more convenient than some stupid pipeline.

ISIS seem to be doing a huge push to take Deir Ezzor. Unclear at the moment as to exactly how well they're doing.

Situation reminds me of ISIS' recent retaking of Palmyra

Do the workers own the MoP in Rojava?

Communalism (and it's political strategy libertarian municipalism) does not organise around worker control of the MOP. Communalism, in contrast to nationalising or collectivizing property, seeks to bring the MOP and productive enterprise under the control of the municipal assemblies through a process of what is called the "municipalization of the economy", wherein production is done in accordance with the wishes of the confederal assemblies, and where control of the assemblies is managed through worker cooperatives which are under the control of the assemblies.

Rojava currently has a three-fold economy to handle their current economic needs:

In this economy, there is the social economy (which is the revolutionary economy where the MOP is municipalized), there's the war economy, and the private economy (made to encourage investment in the region).

As it stands, the most recent reports detail that 80% of Rojava's economy is under the control of the cooperatives:

"According to Dr Alan Semo, PYD (the dominant political party in Rojava) representative based in the UK, the cooperative system contributes approximately 80 per cent to Rojava’s economy and the private sector represents 20 per cent of the economy. The Kongra Star co-ops, which are women-only, are independent of the Tev-Dem co-ops which are mixed. What this means in practice is that women are owners and members of the co-op but they may still employ male workers as they do in the Warshin sewing co-op I visited. The co-op has eight women owners and four male employees." -

That doesn't sound correct. And if it is, that's basically nationalization under a different name, and hardly socialism.
That's just fucked up.

About 30% of the SDF is arabs now.
There really isn't much in terms of ethnic chauvenism in the Democratic Federal System of Northern Syria.

30% arab and from the very start the YPG was making an effort to arm other minorities in syria as well. Not much ethnic chauvinism and a lot of work gone into keeping it way.

Yeah, fuck, they've even got brigades of ethnic turks. It's sort of incredible in terms of what they've been able to accomplish.
Something like that takes a lot of goodwill and a lot of effort.

Is this our Syria General /sg/?

Zionist go home

That is libertarian municipalist economics. Read this essay:

It's definitely potentially excellent in a class sense. It's important to note though that this is a feature of Ocalan's ideas, not Bookchin's.

read more on nntpchan:

Mesopotamia: the War for Land and Water

Yet they're not libertarian municipalists. Although I haven't researched enough to know the finer points of democratic confederalism and how it is different from libertarian municipalists
I don't see how exploitation is potentially excellent in a class sense at all. It's essentially how liberals are fine with exploitation as long as 50% of the exploiters are women.

I said p-r-o-b-l-e-m-a-t-i-c and the board filtered it to excellent kek

fuck off


Why are you sperging over a picture?

I'm OP. I wanted a picture immediately identifiable as Syria.