The Syrian government and Hizballah forces continued attacks against al Qusayr on the Lebanon border. Several news services have reported that government and Hizballah forces also are preparing to begin operations to recover those parts of Aleppo under the control of rebel groups.
There’s a nagging little voice from the angel on my shoulder that keeps asking why I should care if one group of contemptible Arab groups is slaughtering another in an age old battle for control of the same turf that they’ve been fighting over since the BEGINNING OF TIME. Or am I a cynic? You don’t have to answer that because I am clearly a cynic. Syria has been an enemy of the West since the Free French turned it back over to the local Alawite strongmen after the Second World War.
Muslim Brotherhood (al Qaeda)=Enemy
Two enemies are fighting over something that they both want. By doing this they weaken themselves. Who cares that the Russians are helping the Alawites (Assad Govt)? Besides John McCain.
Nobody knows how many pro-Iran Hizballah fighters have deployed in Syria. However, news service interviews during the past week reported up to 4,000 near Aleppo.
At Aleppo the government forces might be welcomed in some neighborhoods as rescuers. Neighborhoods under control of jihadist fighting groups have had to conform to a fundamentalist form of Islamic observance based on Sharia. But again, why do I care that the Muslims are forcing other Muslims to be more Muslim and perform clitorectomies or make their women wear black tents in the heat of summer? The answer is that I don’t. If you’re a Muslim, be a Muslim. If not, then be whatever you want to be, but the US doesn’t have a horse in that race.
In Aleppo recent visitors who traveled from Turkey reported that jihadist groups compete with each other for control of neighborhoods. The city has become balkanized. The groups controlling their enclaves seem settled, for a so-called civil war.
The Syrian Government controls nearly half of Aleppo and plan to take the city back in brutal house-to-house fighting. You can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.
Brief Operational Analysis of the Opposition
The numbers of Hizballah fighters in Syria are significant for a non-state militia force. However, the numbers are not large relative to the impact Hizballah fighters have had in changing the momentum of the fight in the government’s favor. The modest increase in fighters has had an asymmetrical effect. After two years of fighting that impact merits further examination. The opposition fighting strength appears to have remained relatively static, despite the fact that an overwhelming majority of the population is Sunni Arab. The only groups that seem to have grown and which have been reported in open sources are the jihadists who have received fighters from Tunisia and Libya and other Arab states. Lately, even these groups do not appear to be growing in strength..
The modest numbers of fighters seem to reinforce the judgment of the more perceptive and careful reporters that much of the press coverage about the ground fighting is exaggerated for propaganda purposes.
This is not something that the US should do anything about. We need to focus on supporting our allies, not giving weapons to people who hate us and will use them against us at the very first opportunity.