The Many Conflicts of Syria

Kyle Shideler is the Director of Research and Communications at the Endowment for Middle East Truth (emetonline.org). He is a contributing author of “Saudi Arabia and the Global Islamic Terrorist Network: America and the West’s Fatal Embrace”.


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Since it evolved from the early Arab Spring-style demonstrations in some Syrian cities, to what is now, in the words of Bashar Assad, “a real state of war from all angles,” the Syrian conflict has drawn in nearly every interested party in the Middle East, leading to a confused and tumultuous situation with multiple interests at stake for every party.

Indeed we may be better served to talk about the multiple “conflicts” taking place in Syria, if we want to have any kind of accurate understanding of the situation as it now exists. Not all of them are shooting wars, but there are serious military and political conflicts being played out in Syria which will have consequences for the future of the entire region.

The first and most obvious conflict is that between the Syrian rebels and the regime of Bashar Assad. Taken as a whole the Syrian rebels’ position has improved substantially. Institute for the Study of War Fellow Joseph Holliday suggests that the Syrian opposition is reaching the point where it will control more territory than the regime, and has reduced the ability of Assad’s forces to maneuver outside of the urban territory they control in Damascus, Homs and other key areas. FSA commander Riad Al-Asaad stated in a recent interview that morale in the Syrian army was considered low and that in particular the elite 4th Armored Division, the Syrian Praetorian guard commanded by Bashar relative Maher Assad, had “completely collapsed.” Because of the rapid changes taking places within Syria, a plan for a buffer zone on the Turkish-Syrian border to protect Syrian refugees is now considered irrelevant by the FSA, which considers itself to be on the offensive now against Assad even as it complains of weapon and ammunition shortages.

Another growing potential conflict is between Turkey and the Syrian regime following the downing of a Turkish fighter jet somewhere near the Syrian border. Syrian officials and anonymous members of U.S. intelligence have suggested that the Turkish jet was likely inside Syria proper when fired upon, while the Turks have vehemently maintained that the jet was fired on in international waters. In response, the Turks have reinforced their positions on the Syrian border, including scrambling fighter jets in response to Syrian aircraft on the Syrian side. British papers have reported that the Syrian Air defense may have been assisted in downing the Turkish aircraft by Russian technicians. According to the reports, the downing of the aircraft was intended as “warning” to NATO not to risk intervention.

This hints at another existing conflict – Russia versus the United States.  While it engages in talks in Geneva with Western diplomats, the Russian bear continues to take steps to keep its Syrian client engaged and in the fight. Reports of Russian troops moving into Syria have continued at a steady pace since March, while the U.S. State Department complains ineffectually about the flow of Russian arms to Syria. The U.S. sees distancing Russia from Syria to be the key to solving the crisis. This has resulted in repeated efforts to produce joint agreements, such as the recent Geneva compromise.  This latest effort was promptly rejected by the Syrian opposition since it was watered down to secure Russian cooperation to the point that it failed to call for Assad to leave power despite calling for a “transitional” government. It’s high time the U.S. recognize that its interests in Syria are in direct conflict with Russian interests, and that Russia cannot realistically be expected to act as a partner in securing an Assad-free Syria.

Then there is the struggle for the soul of the Syrian opposition.  As reported by The New Republic, the Free Syrian Army, led primarily by former Syrian officers, is concerned about the growth of jihadist elements in Syria, which led them to execute the “Emir of Homs” Walid al-Boustani, a Lebanese-born jihadist with ties to Al-Qaeda-linked Fatah-Al-Islam.  Fortunately the history of cooperation between the Syrian regime and jihadist groups, including Al Qaeda, means that there is a strong element of distrust for these groups among the Syrian populace as a whole. However if the FSA should prove unable to effectively engage in opposition to Assad, while jihadist forces succeed in taking the fight to the enemy, this support may change.

The New York Times reported on the role of the CIA in Syria, which is seeking to keep arms from flowing to Al Qaeda-linked militants as outside forces, most notably Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, begin to traffic arms to the Syrian opposition. Unfortunately, it seems that the U.S. is intent on seeing arms directed to the Muslim Brotherhood, through its control of the Syrian National Council. The SNC has made clear in repeated statements that it intends to dominate the rebel forces in country by serving as the primary channel for foreign arms assistance. To that end it has established a “military council” to “support, organize and oversee” the FSA, a move backed by the U.S. The SNC has repeatedly stressed, in their own words, ”the importance of the SNC providing the political cover to avoid the uncontrolled distribution of arms as well as be able to control it later on.”

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  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

    My my, you are learning. Sesame street was brought to you by this letter…..

    • Jesusinator

      G <DIV style=”FONT-FAMILY: times new roman, new york, times, serif; FONT-SIZE: 12pt”> <DIV style=”FONT-FAMILY: times new roman, new york, times, serif; FONT-SIZE: 12pt”> <DIV dir=ltr> <DIV style=”BORDER-BOTTOM: #ccc 1px solid; BORDER-LEFT: #ccc 1px solid; PADDING-BOTTOM: 0px; LINE-HEIGHT: 0; MARGIN: 5px 0px; PADDING-LEFT: 0px; PADDING-RIGHT: 0px; HEIGHT: 0px; FONT-SIZE: 0px; BORDER-TOP: #ccc 1px solid; BORDER-RIGHT: #ccc 1px solid; PADDING-TOP: 0px”></DIV>

      • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

        Oh look! The headers are here, now they're not. Now they're back!

        It's the magical headers!

        And you're still just here wasting time playing games instead of debating issues.
        Go tell that to your muslim friendly work office that you sit in.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

    With English as a second language, you always fail to grasp American sarcasm.

    Yet, you always have the words to attack the things that don't deserve it. Like those horrible Jews that you call child killers.

    • Jesusinator

      So you think the Jews are horrible? It wasn't sarcasm roger. You use to link your profile with a youtube video called “USA a Nation of Cowards” <DIV style=”FONT-FAMILY: times new roman, new york, times, serif; FONT-SIZE: 12pt”> <DIV style=”FONT-FAMILY: times new roman, new york, times, serif; FONT-SIZE: 12pt”> <DIV dir=ltr> <DIV style=”BORDER-BOTTOM: #ccc 1px solid; BORDER-LEFT: #ccc 1px solid; PADDING-BOTTOM: 0px; LINE-HEIGHT: 0; MARGIN: 5px 0px; PADDING-LEFT: 0px; PADDING-RIGHT: 0px; HEIGHT: 0px; FONT-SIZE: 0px; BORDER-TOP: #ccc 1px solid; BORDER-RIGHT: #ccc 1px solid; PADDING-TOP: 0px”></DIV>

      • patriothere

        They are what they are.

        • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

          And so is the group using suicide belts and car bombs.

          • patriothere

            what freedom fighters?

          • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

            You consider suicide vests a step for freedom?

            Kind of makes it sound like you think the only freedom is found in death.

          • patriothere

            Sure. why not? Maybe the international community will sympathize with their plight when enough blood has been shed and put an end to the fighting and the occupation and make way for freedom and peace.

          • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

            Suicide vests are the lowest of the low. They show a total lack of regard for life.

            They are sloppy in that you can't target specifics and take out bystanders.

            For you to advocate their use is barbarism at it's most obvious.

          • Elisheva

            I have a vest I want to sell you Roger.

  • Alinsky Hero USA

    I knew Roger hated America.

    • Jesusinator

      Yep, and he calls himself an American <DIV style=”FONT-FAMILY: times new roman, new york, times, serif; FONT-SIZE: 12pt”> <DIV style=”FONT-FAMILY: times new roman, new york, times, serif; FONT-SIZE: 12pt”> <DIV dir=ltr> <DIV style=”BORDER-BOTTOM: #ccc 1px solid; BORDER-LEFT: #ccc 1px solid; PADDING-BOTTOM: 0px; LINE-HEIGHT: 0; MARGIN: 5px 0px; PADDING-LEFT: 0px; PADDING-RIGHT: 0px; HEIGHT: 0px; FONT-SIZE: 0px; BORDER-TOP: #ccc 1px solid; BORDER-RIGHT: #ccc 1px solid; PADDING-TOP: 0px”></DIV>

      • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

        Oh look the two of you are so happy together.

        Both muslim/muslim friendly 'hate' centered posters here.
        I'm not too surprised. Why not make up something else, like I'm 'anti-mars' or something?

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

    The comment speaks for itself.

    Just as your cry for jihad does.

    And the link to that video I like is this.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5gw4wTzyLX0

    People can decide for themselves what it means.

  • Alinsky Hero USA

    How would anybody NOT use two hands to use a bong???? It is not possible stupid.

    McVeigh and you would be best friends on navy's site.

  • Alinsky Hero USA

    Just showing that there is yet ANOTHER thing you are completely clueless about stupid.

    Just like you don't know any of the biblical rules for having sex because you have never had sex with a woman.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

    Just because you are all knowing about praying to allah and holding a bong doesn't mean you're an expert at anything more than eating cheetos.

    And why do you always bring up sex? I'm not interested.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

    Just because you are all knowing about praying to allah and holding a bong doesn't mean you're an expert at anything more than facing mecca and eating cheetos.

    And why do you always bring up sex? I'm not interested.

    • Alinsky Hero USA

      I know you are not interested, otherwise you would know the biblical rules for sex.

      • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

        Here, it's a quick guideline to your muslim rules on sex.
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DkhWfabSFkQ

        • Alinsky Hero USA

          Don't send me your cartoon porn. Freak.

          • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

            Only a muslim freak would consider it porn.

            Does looking at a naked goat offend you?
            It wasn't shaved, it has all the clothes God intended for it.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

    He wasn't naked, he was wearing a goat hair swim suit.

    • Alinsky Hero USA

      The man Roger, stop pretending you didn't just sent a naked picture of a man to this site.

      • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

        All these comments, and you have avoided discussing a single issue. You are a troll.

        Go back to the basement and use both hands on your bong for all I care.

        Muslims, and those that advocate violence such as yourself and wee are killing people in Syria and you'd rather try talking to me about naked men?

      • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

        All these comments, and you have avoided discussing a single issue. You are a troll.

        Go back to the basement and use both hands on your bong for all I care.

        Muslims, and those that advocate violence such as yourself and wee are killing people in Syria and you'd rather try talking to me about naked men?

        • patriothere

          Well you are wrong. Muslims are not killing people in Syria. The assad regime which is not muslim, is killing people in syria.

          • patriothere

            The assad regime is killing people in syria. Not muslims.

          • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

            Are the people of Syria Hindu's?

            You could try to actually challenge what I say.

          • patriothere

            The people of syria are christians. Assads regime is a godless regime. A secular regime. An alawite regime.

            You are wrong troll!

          • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

            The people of Syria are backed by Iran and fall into line with their clerics.

            You can't make this stuff up, you're not bright enough.

            So, who writes this for you?

          • patriothere

            The people of syria are backed by Russia. Not by Iran. You are wrong. The peopel of syria are christian and druze and muslim and are oppressed by a godless secular alawite regime. So it is a secular regime killing muslims and druze and christians and shia and sunni etc.

          • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

            Iran has troops in Syria.
            You just stick to your talking points and be a good dependable rented mouth.

            No one pays much attention to you anyhow.

            Why?

            6 minutes ago @ Breitbart.com – Protests to greet Ahma… · 1 reply · 0 points
            I'm like jesus, I'm gonna chase you money changers out of the temple and out of town and of course out of this forum. Me and ohsoquiet and a few other REAL AMERICANS who are being PAID to be here like you Israeli PR men. I'm here to chase you filth out.

          • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

            Of course muslims are killing people in Syria. It's not Baptist missionaries.

          • patriothere

            Assads forces are godless and secular. It's not cartoonish as you put it.

          • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

            They are muslims.

            They sure are not Christians.

          • patriothere

            There are thousands of christians in syria so you are wrong. Assad forces are godless and secular alawites. You are wrong.

          • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

            And you haven't shown them to be the ones fighting and slaughtering.

            You are wrong.

        • Alinsky Hero USA

          Lying and using hate speech agaist Muslims will not distract from the fact that you are sending pictures of naked men to people on this site.

          The only thing you ever talk about is personal attacks on WeeTodd and sex with goats and sending picture of nude men.

          Try to have a normal debate on the issues for once.

          • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

            When muslims live and act on surah 9, it's not hate speech.

          • patriothere

            But when jews live and act on deuteronomy it's ok?

            You hypocrite!

          • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

            You haven't shown that anyone is acting out on Deuteronomy.

          • patriothere

            Yes I have. read deuteronomy. Look what is happening all over the world.

          • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

            Only you only see that with muslims, they think Moses was a prophet but don't listen to a thing he said.

  • Jesusinator

    oh I get it. It's ok for you to twist comments

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

      No, you twist them.

      I just lay them out in their entirety.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

    Deny what statement? This one?

    "<DIV style="FONT-FAMILY: times new roman, new york, times, serif; FONT-SIZE: 12pt"> <DIV style="FONT-FAMILY: times new roman, new york, times, serif; FONT-SIZE: 12pt"> <DIV dir=ltr> <DIV style="BORDER-BOTTOM: #ccc 1px solid; BORDER-LEFT: #ccc 1px solid; PADDING-BOTTOM: 0px; LINE-HEIGHT: 0; MARGIN: 5px 0px; PADDING-LEFT: 0px; PADDING-RIGHT: 0px; HEIGHT: 0px; FONT-SIZE: 0px; BORDER-TOP: #ccc 1px solid; BORDER-RIGHT: #ccc 1px solid; PADDING-TOP: 0px"></DIV>"

    • Jesusinator

      This one:Roger 165p � 6 minutes ago No, you know I'm not for the things that made this country great.

      • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

        Oh, look magical headers went and disappeared again!

        I wonder if it has anything to do with the way you cut off the entire quote to look bad. Nah, can't be.

        • Jesusinator

          Monkey, go to bed.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

    Do the goats do monkeys?
    I hope for your sake they do. Otherwise you're going to be really out of sorts again in the morning.

    You make this way to easy. What a 'wee' small little tiny tiny little man.

    • Jesusinator

      Monkey, reply

      • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

        You didn't reply.

        Did the monkey forget to get out the talking points and attack something he doesn't understand?
        Does patriothere know you're working his shift?

        • Jesusinator

          good monkey. one more time

          • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

            One more time you prove you have nothing of substance to add to any important debate.

            Just an empty hate filled bigot.

          • Jesusinator

            You listen well monkey <DIV style=”FONT-FAMILY: times new roman, new york, times, serif; FONT-SIZE: 12pt”> <DIV style=”FONT-FAMILY: times new roman, new york, times, serif; FONT-SIZE: 12pt”> <DIV dir=ltr> <DIV style=”BORDER-BOTTOM: #ccc 1px solid; BORDER-LEFT: #ccc 1px solid; PADDING-BOTTOM: 0px; LINE-HEIGHT: 0; MARGIN: 5px 0px; PADDING-LEFT: 0px; PADDING-RIGHT: 0px; HEIGHT: 0px; FONT-SIZE: 0px; BORDER-TOP: #ccc 1px solid; BORDER-RIGHT: #ccc 1px solid; PADDING-TOP: 0px”></DIV>

          • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

            So, you're not even pretending this morning.

            It used to be cute, watching you pretend intelligence. You don't even think you can fool anyone now.

          • Jesusinator

            Are you happy I let you out of thecage so you can comment Monkey? <DIV style=”FONT-FAMILY: times new roman, new york, times, serif; FONT-SIZE: 12pt”> <DIV style=”FONT-FAMILY: times new roman, new york, times, serif; FONT-SIZE: 12pt”> <DIV dir=ltr> <DIV style=”BORDER-BOTTOM: #ccc 1px solid; BORDER-LEFT: #ccc 1px solid; PADDING-BOTTOM: 0px; LINE-HEIGHT: 0; MARGIN: 5px 0px; PADDING-LEFT: 0px; PADDING-RIGHT: 0px; HEIGHT: 0px; FONT-SIZE: 0px; BORDER-TOP: #ccc 1px solid; BORDER-RIGHT: #ccc 1px solid; PADDING-TOP: 0px”></DIV>

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

    As if you even have control over the other trolls in your office.

    You can call me monkey all day long from your goat barn. I don't care. The only monkey trapped here is you, and you're trapped by your muslim friendly hatred and bigotry.

    Now, I can get back to other stories where people actually care about issues. You never have.

  • stevefraser

    Now matter what, it isn't gonna turn out well for Israel, O's target in the ME.