A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Harsh Realities on the Ground in Syria

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.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The realities in Syria are actually "happy" realities for those committed to fighting terrorism.

The jihadists are being defeated. One rat's nest after another is being cleared.

For those committed to other goals, perhaps the realities are not so happy.