Showing posts with label Syria. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Syria. Show all posts

8 August 2022

Islamic State’s Primed For Resurgence In Syria – Analysis

Matthew Becerra

While the US-led coalition’s breakup of the Islamic State’s proto-state – or “caliphate” – in 2019 was a significant victory, it failed to fully defeat the extremist group or remove the socioeconomic conditions that were conducive to the organization’s initial expansion. For the last three years, ISIS – The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria – has demonstrated considerable resilience against persistent coalition efforts at its eradication and has been slowly adapting, consolidating, and creating an environment favorable to its potential resurgence in central and northeastern Syria. Although defeated militarily, ISIS still has large numbers of fighters that it can call upon in the Syrian Arab Republic and has been waging a low-level insurgency against a multitude of actors, designed to showcase capability, undermine public confidence in local authorities, and to prevent reconciliation and stabilization efforts in cross-sectarian areas. The Islamic State aspires to regain its lost territory and influence following the collapse of its caliphate by exploiting the fragility of Syrian state structures.

2 August 2022

ISIS is a Problem of Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Sarhang Hamasaeed
Source Link

More than three years after its military defeat in Iraq and Syria, ISIS is a downgraded threat thanks to the collective efforts of the U.S.-led global coalition that coalesced to defeat it along with Iraqi and Syrian partners. While the extremist group’s capacity has been drastically reduced and millions of people have returned home, ISIS has managed to continue attacks year after year despite no longer holding territory. Meanwhile, some of the most difficult human legacies — the challenges facing the people the ISIS conflict left behind — are still with us, with no end in sight.

While the number of people still affected by the conflict undoubtedly reaches into the millions, the nuances of each group are important when it comes to understanding their status and formulating a response to address their problems and the lessons learned to inform future action.

26 July 2022

The Syrian Civil War’s Never-Ending Endgame


The Syrian civil war that has decimated the country for more than a decade, provoking a regional humanitarian crisis and drawing in actors ranging from the United States to Russia, has been drawing inexorably to a conclusion for years now. President Bashar al-Assad, with the backing of Iran and Russia, has emerged militarily victorious from the conflict, which began after his government violently repressed civilian protests in 2011. The armed insurgency that followed soon morphed into a regional and global proxy war that, at the height of the fighting, saw radical Islamist groups, including the Islamic State, seize control over vast swathes of the country. They subsequently lost almost all the territory they controlled in the face of sustained counteroffensives by pro-government forces as well as a U.S.-led coalition of Western militaries.

Though the fighting has waned in the past two years, parts of the country—such as the northwestern Idlib region—remain outside of government control. In early 2020, the Syrian army’s Russian-backed campaign to retake Idlib from the last remaining armed opposition groups concentrated there resulted in clashes with Turkish forces deployed to protect Ankara’s client militias. The skirmishes were a reminder that the conflict, though winding down, could still flare back up and escalate. The situation in the northeast also remains volatile following the removal of U.S. forces from the border with Turkey, with Turkish, Syrian and Russian forces all now deployed in the region, alongside proxies and Syrian Kurdish militias.

24 July 2022

CIA Director: Russian Invasion of Ukraine a ‘Strategic Failure’

Trevor Filseth L

Central Intelligence Agency director William Burns criticized the Russian government on Wednesday for attempting to purchase drones from Iran, suggesting that the move was an indication of the poor state of Russia’s armed forces.

“It’s true that the Russians are reaching out to the Iranians to try to acquire armed drones,” the CIA director and longtime U.S. diplomat said during his remarks at the Aspen Security Forum in Aspen, Colorado—confirming earlier reports that Russia had attempted to purchase drones from Tehran. Some Western experts had treated these claims with skepticism, noting Russia’s traditional role as an arms exporter to Iran rather than the opposite.

Burns acknowledged that relations between Moscow and Tehran were sometimes fraught, and suggested that the extent of the two nations’ cooperation on security issues remained unclear: “They need each other, they don’t really trust each other, in the sense that they’re energy rivals and historical competitors.”

America's Campaign Against Putin's War Crimes Can't Ignore Syria

TAREK KTELEH

During a surprise trip to Ukraine in June, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the creation of a new War Crimes Accountability Team that will assist Ukrainian officials in identifying and apprehending Russian war criminals.

"We will pursue every avenue available," Garland said, "to make sure that those who are responsible for these atrocities are held accountable."

It's a welcome initiative—but in its bid to hold Russian war criminals accountable, the Department of Justice shouldn't limit its efforts to Ukraine's borders. In my home country of Syria, Russian President Vladimir Putin's intervention to prop up murderous dictator Bashar al-Assad has enabled the regime to torture and slaughter tens of thousands of political prisoners. Holding those torturers and executioners accountable isn't merely the morally right thing to do—it's also part and parcel of the struggle against Putin's assault on the rules-based international order.

23 July 2022

War in Ukraine Could Change the Types of Weapons the Pentagon Wants, Raytheon CEO Says

MARCUS WEISGERBER

The war in Ukraine could alter the Pentagon’s future weapons buying plans, as military leaders look to better protect large, expensive equipment, the head of America’s second largest defense company said.

“What we're learning from the war in Ukraine is big, slow things are big, slow targets, whether it's warships or tanks,” Raytheon Technologies CEO Greg Hayes said in an interview Tuesday. “An asymmetric weapon can take out a multibillion dollar system.”

In Ukraine, both Ukrainian and Russian forces have used relatively cheap, modified commercial drones to drop explosives on military formations. Homemade weapons rigged with explosives were used by ISIS fighters in Iraq and Syria.

18 July 2022

The West Worries Too Much About Escalation in Ukraine

Dan Altman

As the world looks on while Ukrainians fight for their lives and their freedom, many feel a burning desire to do more to support them. The problem is not a lack of forces or resources—it is fear of provoking a wider, perhaps nuclear, war with Russia. That fear is why U.S. President Joe Biden and other NATO leaders have consistently made clear that they will not intervene directly in the conflict, instead limiting their help to weapons, money, intelligence, and sanctions. As devastating as events in Ukraine are today, a nuclear war with Russia could kill more people than Ukraine’s entire population of roughly 44 million.

NATO leaders understand that they must walk this fine line between aiding Ukraine and risking war with Russia, but they have no theory of how to do it. The German and French governments hem and haw about whether to provide Ukraine with tanks. When Poland proposed a plan to transfer MiG-29 fighter aircraft to Ukraine, the United States refused. U.S. Defense Department spokesperson John Kirby warned that it “raises serious concerns for the entire NATO alliance” and therefore was not “tenable.” Yet the United States was already shipping Javelin antitank missiles and Stinger surface-to-air missiles. Soon after, it began sending other weapons, including M777 howitzers and now HIMARS multiple rocket launchers. What is the difference? Those weapons do more to strengthen Ukraine’s combat power than MiG-29s, so the theory cannot be that Russia reacts more strongly to policies that do more harm to its interests. Why, then, missiles and artillery but not planes? The answer is that there is no answer. It is simply arbitrary.

16 July 2022

Is A Good World Order A Dead One?

Greg Pence

The proxy war waged by the United States against Russia in Ukraine can be seen as a continuation of the same keyword that Clinton used in the Kosovo war: “globalization.” Addressing the American people in the midst of the 1999 US airstrikes in Kosovo, he said that the issue of Kosovo’s independence was about globalization and the fight against tribal thinking. The political use of the dualism of tribal thinking, in which national interests take precedence over globalization, is something that has gone beyond its original idea of a model of free trade and peace between nations.

The American political structure believes in a kind of globalization that thinks above all about the dissolution of any traditional and political forms of human societies and does not believe in the survival of national governments, indigenous and local identities, and geographical boundaries. All people and nations must be integrated into the multinational corporations and the pro-Washington political economy network, which have come together as irresponsible and transnational institutions.

14 July 2022

Turkey: economic problems and international ambitions


Turkey is suffering from a significant economic downturn that began in late 2021, when the Central Bank cut interest rates and inflation accelerated. There is not a clear path out of the crisis for the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who is preparing to run for re-election in 2023 in the Republic of Turkey’s centenary year. Internationally, Erdoğan is making conciliatory moves towards several countries with which Turkey has had disputes in recent years while also pursuing a middle path with regard to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, meaning that Ankara has been able to preserve important trade and economic exchanges with Moscow while serving as a mediator between Kyiv and Moscow during the crisis.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has taken a conciliatory approach to many foreign-policy issues since 2021, which is a notable change given the many assertive and uncompromising positions he had adopted previously. From 2015 to 2020, Erdoğan deployed the Turkish Armed Forces to fight in conflicts in Libya, Iraq and Syria, established a permanent military base in Somalia and threatened Greece and Cyprus over disputed territorial claims. But by late 2020, these policies had produced few clear successes and serious economic problems began drawing Erdoğan’s attention to domestic matters.

7 July 2022

Cyber Attacks Are Escalating Israel’s ‘Campaign Between Wars’

David Siman-Tov

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) used to have two basic systemic situations: fighting in war and preparing for war. These dynamics existed for decades, but the situation began to change after the Second Lebanon War (2006). A few years later, a third dimension in IDF strategy appeared, as formulated by former IDF chief of general staff Gadi Eisenkot: “the Campaign Between the Wars” (CBW). Among the objectives of the CBW is to postpone war, disrupt the opponent’s initiatives, give Israel a dimension of initiative, and design the strategic arena.

At CBW, the IDF operates all the tools and methods, both overt and covert, including the cyber dimension. As early as 2009, the IDF defined cyber as a strategic and operational combat space and started preliminary organizational changes. The former commander of Unit 8200, the IDF’s cyber intelligence unit, addressed the need to create cyber superiority and the need for constant friction in order to turn the theory into practical capabilities. He also proposed establishing cyber offensive capabilities as part of Israel’s combat concept.

3 July 2022

‘BYE-Raktar’! Russian Lead In Counter-Drone Warfare, With Experience From Syria & Crimea, Deflated Turkish TB2 Drones – Analysis

Parth Satam

One of the reasons behind the losses of Turkish TB-2 Bayraktar drones at the hands of Russian air defense could be explained by Russia having long prepared for anti-drone warfare since 2015.

Statements and press releases from its Ministry of Defense (MoD) hint at very early efforts in electronic warfare and developing new tactics and procedures to detect and engage drones after learning from its and other militaries’ experience elsewhere.

Open-source information about its military indicates it has taken lessons from its experience in Syria and against jihadist rebel groups while supporting the Basher al-Assad regime, the September 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war between Armenia and Azerbaijan, UAVs used by the Houthis in Yemen, and lastly, the Libyan conflict between Turkish-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) and Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA).

29 June 2022

FUELING INSURGENCY: LIQUIFIED NATURAL GAS, ISIS, AND GREEN BERETS IN MOZAMBIQUE

José de Arimatéia da Cruz

In March 2021, roughly a dozen US Army Green Berets arrived in Mozambique to help train the Mozambican armed forces. In October, the USS Hershel “Woody” Williams made a port call to the capital described by the US ambassador to Mozambique as indicative of the “strength of the strategic partnership” with the United States. This increased security cooperation, which has made the United States the largest bilateral donor to Mozambique, comes as the southeast African nation attempts to contain a surging Islamic State affiliate.

Over the past five years, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria–Mozambique (ISIS-M), locally referred to as al-Shabaab (no direct connection to the Somali-based group), has organized an insurgency by leveraging economic grievances in a resource-rich, poverty-stricken region of the country. The insurgency finances its operations through illicit resource trafficking and recruits fighters with the promise of small loans to young men without opportunity. Today, the insurgency terrorizes the region of Cabo Delgado, in northern Mozambique, with tactics similar to Boko Haram’s razing of villages to capture sex slaves and youth fighters.

16 June 2022

Turkey Is Not the Answer to the War in Syria

Jonathan Meilaender

The world’s eyes, fixed on Syria only a few years ago, now hardly linger there as the world's focus on Ukraine and China grows. But Syria, Russia’s training ground for Ukraine, is now threatened by a new outburst of violence, one with implications beyond its own borders. For America, this crisis is an opportunity to regain lost leverage in the Middle East.

American troops are still in Syria. So are Russian troops. And so are Turkish troops. All three zones of influence share a common border. American and Russian troops patrol different parts of the territory controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces, the militia that defeated ISIS in Syria with the aid of American airpower, while Turkey controls parts of the northern border, its troops propping up Islamist proxies.

We reached this precarious situation through American error. America has partnered with the Syrian Democratic Forces since 2014 to defeat ISIS. The SDF’s predecessor organization, a Syrian Kurdish militia called the YPG, caught Washington’s attention with a courageous stand at the border town of Kobane. Unlike the Iraqi army and the Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga, at that time generally on the run, the YPG and its Arab allies stood and fought. American airstrikes turned what would have been a last stand into a great victory over ISIS, one that eliminated much of its heavy armor along with thousands of its fighters. Though the SDF proved a brilliant partner over the following years, even building a functioning multi-ethnic and semi-democratic statelet as ISIS was destroyed, it nevertheless came with one caveat: Turkish enmity.

11 June 2022

Turkey Is Not the Answer to the War in Syria

Jonathan Meilaender

The world’s eyes, fixed on Syria only a few years ago, now hardly linger there as the world's focus on Ukraine and China grows. But Syria, Russia’s training ground for Ukraine, is now threatened by a new outburst of violence, one with implications beyond its own borders. For America, this crisis is an opportunity to regain lost leverage in the Middle East.

American troops are still in Syria. So are Russian troops. And so are Turkish troops. All three zones of influence share a common border. American and Russian troops patrol different parts of the territory controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces, the militia that defeated ISIS in Syria with the aid of American airpower, while Turkey controls parts of the northern border, its troops propping up Islamist proxies.

We reached this precarious situation through American error. America has partnered with the Syrian Democratic Forces since 2014 to defeat ISIS. The SDF’s predecessor organization, a Syrian Kurdish militia called the YPG, caught Washington’s attention with a courageous stand at the border town of Kobane. Unlike the Iraqi army and the Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga, at that time generally on the run, the YPG and its Arab allies stood and fought. American airstrikes turned what would have been a last stand into a great victory over ISIS, one that eliminated much of its heavy armor along with thousands of its fighters. Though the SDF proved a brilliant partner over the following years, even building a functioning multi-ethnic and semi-democratic statelet as ISIS was destroyed, it nevertheless came with one caveat: Turkish enmity.

10 June 2022

Syria’s ‘Cold’ Civil War Could Easily Get Hot Again

Alexander Clarkson

Back in June 2011, when news began to filter out from Syria of the first signs of armed resistance against the Baathist regime of President Bashar al-Assad, few could have predicted the level of disruption to the global order that the conflict in Syria would go on to produce. After months of brutal violence against protesters inflicted by the Assad regime, local inhabitants around the town of Jisr al-Shughour in the northern province of Idlib seized a police station on June 4, triggering a major shift whose implications few observers fully understood. Two days later, armed resistance led by police officers who had defected to the opposition in the face of approaching Syrian military units marked the beginning of a conflict that would reshape the politics of the Middle East and Europe.

A vast toll of human suffering compounded by regime atrocities—including the use of poison gas—as well as the devastation wrought by the Islamic State, factional infighting among a fractured rebel movement and attempts by Syrian Kurdish militias to carve out their own quasi-state led to a fracturing of Syrian society that does not look like it will be resolved anytime soon. Huge waves of Syrian migration fueled by endless combat and economic collapse created a diaspora network of up to 11 million refugees spread across Lebanon, Turkey, Germany and many other states that now links the politics of the countries in which they have settled with developments in the communities from which they have fled. .

9 June 2022

Turkey’s Military Operations in Syria and Iraq


In the early hours of 18 April, Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) launched a military opera­tion inside Northern Iraq dubbed Claw-Lock. Simultaneously, Turkey intensified its military activities in Syria. Furthermore, on 23 May, President Tayyip Erdoğan an­nounced that Turkey will soon start a new military operation in Syria. These moves reflect Turkey’s new military strategy, based on area control, against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). So far, this new approach has yielded military success. How­ever, it is precisely military success that is reinforcing the tendency to deal with the Kurdish problem only in terms of security and military solutions and to rule out any long-term political solution to the problem. Europe should continue to support efforts towards seeking a solution that also addresses the political dimensions of the problem.

Claw-Lock is the latest in a series of cross-border operations by Turkey into Iraqi territory over the last three decades. These operations typically take place in spring, when climate conditions are more ben­eficial for military moves. Operations in spring also prevent the organisation and regrouping of the militants, who usually spend the winter passively waiting. This year Turkey is simultaneously attacking forces of the People’s Defense Units (YPG) in north-eastern Syria. Turkey’s Kurdish policy does not differentiate between Syria and Iraq, as Turkey considers them to be differ­ent theatres of the same struggle. During this struggle over the last years, Turkey has developed a new military approach with two geopolitical aims.

5 June 2022

Russia Warns Turkey Against Launching Northern Syria Offensive

Trevor Filseth L

Kremlin spokeswoman Maria Zakharova cautioned the Turkish government against launching a military intervention in northern Syria on Thursday, one day after Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced his intention to launch a punitive expedition into Syria targeting Kurdish militia units in two northern cities.

“We hope that Ankara will refrain from actions that could lead to a dangerous deterioration of the already difficult situation in Syria,” Zakharova said. “Such a move, in the absence of the agreement of the legitimate government of the Syrian Arab Republic”—referring to the Damascus-based government of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad—“would be a direct violation of Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

1 June 2022

The Best Bad Option: The Case for Leaving Syria

Mark Bhaskar

The time has come for the United States to withdraw from Syria. Participation in the conflict has long lost its strategic value for Washington, given Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s pyrrhic military victory and the territorial defeat of the Islamic State (ISIS) in March 2019. The United States lost its leverage to support a diplomatic resolution to the conflict when Turkey’s October 2019 military intervention catalyzed a U.S. withdrawal from all but a narrow strip of land containing the country’s oilfields, which is known as the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES). The United States’ decision to arm the Syrian Kurds, who comprised about 10 percent of Syria’s pre-war population, has alienated the country’s majority Sunni Arab populace and temporarily brought together longtime historical foes Russia, Iran, and Turkey. The approximately 900 remaining American soldiers are increasingly vulnerable, surrounded by hostile Iranian proxy fighters to the west, south, and east, and to the north by Turkish mercenaries who engage in near-daily artillery exchanges with Washington’s Kurdish allies, the People’s Protection Units (YPG). Leaving Syria will not only save American lives but will also place U.S. adversaries in a quandary by removing the common enemy of the Syrian conflict.

19 May 2022

Russians fire S-300 at Israeli jets in Syria; could impact tactics, geopolitics

ARIE EGOZI

TEL AVIV: The Israeli Air Force may change its mode of operation when striking Iranian-related targets in Syria following a recent incident where Russia fired a missile from an S-300 air defense system at Israeli jets — a move that a senior Israeli defense source described as a “very strange and worrying” act by Russian forces.

The incident, which occurred on May 13 and was first reported by Israel’s Ch13, happened following a strike into Syria, when Israeli planes were on a return flight home. While it is unclear what jets were used in the operation, Israeli F-15s, F-16s and F-35s have all been used previously for strikes into Syria.

18 May 2022

Road to Damascus The Russian Air Campaign in Syria

Michael Simpson, Adam R. Grissom, Christopher A. Mouton

The introduction of Russian airpower in Syria has been widely cited as a turning point in the Syrian civil war. To assess the strengths, weaknesses, and adaptations of Russian airpower in Syria, the authors developed a database that integrates operational histories, Russian airstrikes, and disposition of Russian aircraft from September 2015 to March 2018. In this report, the authors use these resources to analyze the relative effectiveness of Russian airpower against the Syrian opposition and ISIS. The authors also compare the application of airpower in Syria by Russia and the U.S. Coalition.

The authors find that Russia's employment of airpower was significantly more effective in engagements against the opposition than in conflicts against ISIS. They conclude that although Russia made key adaptations in Syria in joint operational planning, concepts of employment, forward basing, and advanced capabilities, it is unclear how effectively Russia might be able to export its expeditionary capability to other theaters. This research was completed in September 2019, before the February 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. It has not been subsequently revised.