[Marxism] Fwd: Russia, the Syrian Ceasefire, and the Unmaking of Peace – Splintered Eye

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Jan 7 12:08:33 MST 2017

However, once Russia had intervened they found that their goals were 
nearly impossible to achieve due to the conflicting nature of Assad’s 
allies. The Syrian army had been reduced to a fifth of its pre-2011 
size. Reflecting upon the state of the Syrian army, one Russian general 
wrote that Syrian soldiers were poorly motivated, corrupt and exhausted 
from the fighting. He went on to say that Russia would effectively have 
to re-build the entire army from scratch. What made matters more 
complicated for the Russian military was the fact that most of the 
fighting on behalf of the regime was being done by a series of different 
militias, private armies, and mercenaries. There was no overall command 
structure, and while each group had pledged allegiance to Assad, they 
weren’t taking orders from him, and each of the militias hated one 
another. This inter-militia rivalry cost the Syrian regime Palmyra in 
2015, when the two tribes entrusted with holding the city on behalf of 
the Assad regime, began fighting one another, which resulted in both 
groups pulling out and ISIS walking in.

There is a further division between the militias we need to take note 
off. Local Syrian and Palestinian tribes and groups, and International 
Shia Jihadis groups. The Syrian tribes are usually local to the areas 
they fight in, and their numbers vary. While they have pledged their 
loyalty to Assad personally, the Syrian regime does not control them, 
and this causes tension within the regime itself. In July 2016, the 
Tiger Force (Pro-Assad Tribal militia) captured Rammousa (outskirts of 
Aleppo) and re-took apartment complex 300, which use to house Syrian 
army officers and their families. Once they took the complex, despite 
efforts by the Syrian army to stop them, the Tiger Force began looting 
from the apartments and taking stuff that belonged to the officer’s 
families. They saw it as their reward for fighting, and the regime could 
do nothing to stop them. The Shia militias who come from Iraq, 
Afghanistan, Pakistan and Lebanon (including Hezbollah) do much of the 
actual fighting on behalf of the Assad regime, but as the Syrian 
militias, they do not take orders from Assad, rather they follow 
direction from Tehran. Iranian generals usually plan Syrian regime 
military efforts and almost never consult Syrian generals, only 
bothering to inform them when they need them to do something specifically.


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