Iraq

Iraq: “The nail in the coffin” of the Syrian Revolution – Part II

In our article ‘Iraq – The nail in the coffin of the Syrian Revolution’, we discussed some of the general repercussions of ISIS’s adventures in Iraq. Here, we discuss the repercussions on the military situation on the ground.

Following the disastrous performance of the Iraqi army in Mosul, the overwhelming majority of which was Sunni, the government in Baghdad realized that under the current status quo, it cannot rely on Sunni men to fight for its cause. Instead, it needs to mobilize heavily indoctrinated Shi’ite militias, eager to fight ISIS, unafraid of death. However, building up effective militias is not a task that is feasible overnight – it takes months of selecting, arming, and training. Iran, being an expert in such operations, knows this; as such, there can be no immediate successful counter attack against ISIS.  Even if the militias were ready, regaining a city from an insurgent force is a far cry from losing it. Just ask Assad – it took him three months to dislodge a well-trained insurgent force from an area in which the odds were heavily stacked against them. Further, Assad already had the passionate, trained, and experienced fighters at his disposal. Maliki should take stock of this and beware that hot headed attempts to quickly reverse the ISIS gains could prove disastrous.

The strategy that Iraq will more than likely engage in is (more…)

Iraq: “The nail in the coffin” of the Syrian Revolution

Amongst the tumultuous changes happening in the region, perhaps time will tell that the most significant are the ISIS successes in Iraq. After a series of military defeats and failed offensives for the armed opposition in Syria, the repercussions are set to deal a final blow to their chances of a military victory against the Assad regime. We discuss these repercussions.

Ever since the beginning of the armed conflict in Syria, the opposition’s Western & Arab backers have been reluctant to provide large, constant, and consistent supplies of resources in the shape of arms, ammunition, and money. Amongst a myriad of reasons behind this stance, the most important are the fear of extremists rising to power in Syria, and the desire to maintain the institutions of the state, avoiding a potentially disastrous vacuum of power.

In this context, the ‘friends of Syria’ engaged in a policy that aims to tire Assad into the negotiating table, rather than making a serious attempt at enabling a rebel military victory. This policy comprised of ‘peaks and troughs’ of material support; Following successive rebel losses across the country, a major peak, The Lattakia offensive, appeared out of nowhere. While rebels often complained about the lack of weapon supplies from their patrons, this offensive, in combination with the push for Western Aleppo, is a shining (more…)