Assad’s Big Push To Recover His Eastern Border

Bashar al-Assad hadn't had control of his Iraqi frontier for years.  It's a major headache; it's allowed Sunni rebels to supply themselves from Anbar, a favorable route for Gulf states hoping to keep the war going.  It's also allowed the Islamic State to slide supplies from its shrinking Iraqi domains to its shrunken Syrian ones. … Continue reading Assad’s Big Push To Recover His Eastern Border

Reuters: U.S. Allies Cuts Road to Islamic State Capital

From Reuters: U.S.-backed Syrian militias cut the last main road out of Islamic State-held Raqqa on Monday, severing the highway between the group's de facto capital and its stronghold of Deir al-Zor province, a militia spokesman said. The rapid collapse of the Islamic State's territory is no accident.  It took months to build up steam … Continue reading Reuters: U.S. Allies Cuts Road to Islamic State Capital

Andrey G. Karlov is Not Franz Ferdinand

The high-profile killing was everything one could want from a public assassination.  Cameras were live; the Western media, less prone to state censorship, watching.  The assassin even had a chance to deliver a short speech that was straight to the point, and then was promptly killed by Turkish security services.  From the standpoint of political … Continue reading Andrey G. Karlov is Not Franz Ferdinand

Why the Free Syrian Army Never Went Anywhere

As the Syrian civil war embarks upon an odd cease fire - one replete with exceptions and violations - it's worth looking back at some of the failures that led up to this point.  There are plenty to choose from, and that long sad path is better detailed elsewhere.  Instead, we'll focus on just one: … Continue reading Why the Free Syrian Army Never Went Anywhere

Russia’s Smart-Dumb Move Into Syria’s Civil War

As we are wont to do these days, we cry out, "The Russians are coming!"  But their next move is not further into Eastern Europe, where too many eyes are trained and a slowly gathering NATO grande armee is being assembled. It is into another, older civil war that Russian power is now deployed: Syria. … Continue reading Russia’s Smart-Dumb Move Into Syria’s Civil War

What Must Happen Before the Syrian Civil War Ends

The numbers are staggering: up to 250,000-320,000 dead, 7.6 million refugees internally, 4 million more over the border, for a total of around 11.6 million people displaced.  That's from a total population of around 18 million.  In other words, almost 2 out of every 3 Syrians has either been killed or has fled from their … Continue reading What Must Happen Before the Syrian Civil War Ends

What We Think We’ve Learned From Syria

It's been over a week.  That's the appropriate time to draw lessons, right?  Alright, let's make a quick run down of the situation. Without warning, Putin offered something approaching a good idea He did this to save Assad from an impending military strike (which despite Congressional resistance would probably have happened even without approval) and … Continue reading What We Think We’ve Learned From Syria

Even Bad Leaders Have a Tough Time Destroying Strong Nations

With the recent flurry over who's winning and who's losing in this whole Syrian disarmament thing, I found it a useful exercise to take a step back and focus on the bigger trends.  A lot of people are calling this a win for Putin and a loss for Obama, with some going so far as … Continue reading Even Bad Leaders Have a Tough Time Destroying Strong Nations

Even a Small Attack in Syria Could Tip The Scales (Because Small Guys Get Knocked Over Easier)

It is, in many ways, elementary.  Bigger is better, stronger, and more able to survive punishment.  The smaller something becomes, the more fragile it is.  A lot of fretting is going into the long-term effects of an air assault on Syria.  Most of it centers on how Americans feel about themselves following eight long years … Continue reading Even a Small Attack in Syria Could Tip The Scales (Because Small Guys Get Knocked Over Easier)