[Marxism] Fwd: Everyone wrote off the Syrian army. Take another look now | Voices | The Independent

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Oct 19 14:32:51 MDT 2015

Luke Staunton commentary on FB:

[Robert] Fisk must really be an addled old fool hankering for a ganzer 
macher [Yiddish for big shot], what a sorry paean this is. The 'Syrian 
Arab Army' has been wracked by desertions, an acute shortage of manpower 
and increasing unrest from Assad's Alawite base as its sons have been 
funnelled into the machine. To speak of the Syrian Army seems strange, 
it is now dependent on the Iranian coordinated 'National Defence Force', 
IRGC Quds forces, Hezbollah, mercenaries from Iraqi Shia militias, 
Afghans, Pakistanis and now Russian intelligence, helicopters, jets and 
cruise missiles (before they were just supplying them).

Despite this they had recently suffered several defeats: losing Idlib 
city, losses in the Hama countryside, the inability to dislodge rebels 
in Zabadani, Kafranboudah and elsewhere, incursions on the coastal 
region and Latakia. This is when Russia became directly involved in 
combat operations. This against the rebels who are numerically greater 
but underequipped (the US has directly blocked shipments of anti-air 
MANPADS to them for years) and have had to contend with not only 
fighting forces allied with the al-Assad regime but also ISIS (see for 
example the rebel offensive in early 2014 that managed to push ISIS out 
of ar-Raqqa and Aleppo before being stretched on multiple fronts and 
without adequate supplies, or more recently in Aleppo where they are 
caught between the regime and ISIS, the latter have been advancing on 
the rebels and ceding territory to the regime in the wake of Russian 

I'm not sure why Fisk omits some of achievements of the noble Syrian 
Arab Army in this paean: why not laud the levelling of civilian areas, 
the daily barrel bombs, the great breadth of the imprisonment and 
torture networks, the Shabiha, the sieges on the likes of al-Waer or 

Its also very roseate to still be talking of a Syrian state: Russian 
intervention looks more like securing its interests and creating a 
buffer for the de-facto partition of Syria. And what a morbid example of 
the sort of binary geopolitical thinking (perhaps consider imperialisms, 
whether US or Russian, are mutually sustaining) to write the paragraph 
below on the day when Russia bombed two of the remaining hospitals in 
Southern Aleppo and killed an entire extended family of 48 people in a 
strike on the Homs countryside:

"The Syrians have found that the Russians do not want to fire at targets 
in built-up areas; they intend to leave burning hospitals and dead 
wedding parties to the Americans in Afghanistan."

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