I'm going to begin a series of posts about the military realities on the round in Syria: not what we would like to see in terms of policy, but what we are likely to see in terms of fact on the ground. I increasingly fear, whether the ceasefire takes effect or not, the US is increasingly falling victim to an old, bad habit of focusing on our hoped-for policy goals rather than what is actually happening. We have a bad habit, from Vietnam to Iraqi WMD, of policymakers skewing and cherrypicking intelligence to favor a specific policy even if the intel does not support that policy.
I am no defender of the Asad regime, which is murderous, but it is winning. If the US-Russian ceasefire actually happens, it won't change that reality. It may delay (or buy time) but it will not change the fact that Russian intervention has transformed the battlefield. I want to take a hard look at the military realities, strategic goals, and potential outcomes, with as little wishful thinking as possible. Please stay tuned.