5.8.15

Partitioned Syria

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Syria: Negotiating Ethnic Cleansing And A Temporary Partition

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By Moon of Alabama

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The U.S. has no interest to defeat the Islamic State or to end the conflict in Syria and Iraq. Instead it is following a policy, successfully so far, which is designed to split Syria as well as Iraq into autonomous statelets which later may or may not realign into loose confederacies. There are now attempts to somewhat formalize that situation.
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Many of the recently inserted 60 Pentagon trained mercenaries are by now captured, wounded or dead. Last night Jabhat al-Nusra captured another five of them. Mary Wheeler thinks that the whole theater around these few idiots was possibly just a fake to find a reason for the declaration of a U.S. imposed no-fly zone over north Syria. An illegal invasion of Syria to justify an even more illegal U.S. annexation of Syrian land and air space.
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Media accounts describe the 60 fighters as the "first U.S. trained rebels". The 10,000 Syrian and foreign mercenaries the CIA trained and equipped since at least 2012 at a cost of $1 billion per year are conveniently put down the memory hole. The many more jihadis financed, trained and equipped by Jordan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar who went to join the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra are also missing from such accounts. 
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The media insist that the whore's just born seventh child originates from an immaculate conception.
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The U.S. may, for now, get its wish for a splintered Syria and Iraq. After four years of a massive onslaught from outside actors the Syrian government is no longer able to control all of the country. It needs to buy time to recuperate resources and wait for a major change in international policies. There has been a flurry of diplomacy recently, mostly pushed by Russia, to somewhat formalize the current situation.
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The chief of the Syrian intelligence was recently in Saudi Arabia and the Saudi chief of intelligence will visit Syria at the end of the month. The Russia foreign minister Lavrov met several parties in Moscow and over the last two days in Doha. He spoke with the Syrians, with Hamas, with the leader of the U.S. proxy Syrian exile group, with Hizbullah, with Qatari and Saudi liaisons to Jabhat al Nusra and the Islamic State as well as with secretary of state Kerry. The Syrian foreign minister Muallem and the Russian deputy foreign minister Bogdanov will soon touch down in Tehran.
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There are certainly some deeper discussion about longer term issues going on but one of the more urgent negotiating points is the fate of some 40,000 Shia Syrians in two insurgent besieged towns just north of Idlib. These are under daily artillery barrage from Nusra and other jihadi groups and the humanitarian situation in Kafraya and Al-Fou’aa is dire. The Syrian army currently supplies the towns by air and local forces so far held off all attack but there is no way to relief the towns from the ground and no longer term solution. Meanwhile Hizbullah is besieging and operating against several hundred jihadis in Zabadani near the Lebanese border. Unlike in earlier operations Hizbullah will not let any of its enemies flee from this cauldron.
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A complicate deal is in the making that would exchange the besieged 40,000 civilians in Kafraya and Al-Fou’aa for the militants in Zabadani. Such a deal would be a "negotiated ethnic cleansing". There are many parties involved including Hizbullah and Jabhat al Nusra and the exchange would take place under the supervision of the United Nations. Nothing is fixed yet and transferring such a huge number of people through enemy territory and lines will be difficult to achieve.
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Should the deal go through and the evacuations successfully executed a model would have been found that could then be repeated in other areas. In the end some homogenous territories would be defined, each under rule of one armed entity, and some of the fighting over enclaves would die down.
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But that state would be far from peace. The fighting would continue along internal border areas with no side giving up yet on its maximalist aims. Neither the more secular Sunnis nor the Alawi, Shia, Kurds or the Druze want independent statelets. They want to be Syrians. The Syrian government will reassert itself, if needed with the help of Russian paratroopers. The war will still go on for a long time.