Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 11, 2012

U.S.-Turkish Air Exercise Part Of Bigger Plan For War On Syria

Before the war on Libya, France and Britain planned a military exercise against an assumed north African country. That maneuver turned into the war on Libya. Currently the U.S. air force is training with the Turkish air force how to defeat other countries' air defenses. Syria has a capable air defense and there is intensifying planing for a war against it.

We can conclude that the current maneuver is part of a bigger plan, like the British and French one was, and that it will probably turn into a war on Syria.

In June 2011 I wrote about Libya: Military Exercises As War Deception. Here is the first part of that post:


In November 2010 Britain and France signed a new defense cooperation pact. Under the umbrella of the agreement a week long common air force exercise was announced in January 2011:

The French Air Force has organized a large-scale, weeklong exercise with the British Royal Air Force - which is expected to send over Tornado fighters, aerial tankers and AWACS aircraft - as part of the enhanced cooperation agreed between the two countries, an Air Force spokesman here said Jan. 13.

The exercise, dubbed Southern Mistral, will be held March 21-25 in France, the spokesman, Maj. Eric Trihoreau, said.


On March 20 the U.K., France and the U.S. started to bomb Libya. Southern Mistral was superseded by a real war:

Due to the current international events, exercise Southern Mistral has been suspended.

There is a long history of announced military exercises as cover for starting a shooting war.


So far the excerpt from my June 2011 post. Now we read this: U.S. pilots plant SEAD with Turkish counterparts

SEAD is the acronym for "Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses". From the piece:

3/9/2012 - KONYA, Turkey (AFNS) -- The Turkish and U.S. air forces continue to combine their air assets and share tactics in large-force employments during Exercise Anatolian Falcon 2012 here March 5-16.
SEAD, the 480th FS's specialty, is any action taken to deter enemy surface-to-air missiles or anti-aircraft artillery. The objective is not the destruction of the ground-based threats but to subdue those threats until an air mission is complete.
For Anatolian Falcon 2012, each air mission has an objective such as the destruction of a plotted target or the defeat of enemy aircraft. Mission planners assign groups of aircraft-specific tasks, either offensive counter air, SEAD or ground attack.

Both nations employ the F-16 Fighting Falcon, a multi-faceted fighter aircraft that can combat threats in the air or on the ground.

While this warm up exercise happens the Washington Post today reports about intensifying administration planing for attacking Syria:

The Obama administration and its allies and international partners have begun serious discussions about potential military involvement in Syria, even as they continue to press for nonviolent solutions to the carnage there.

With little progress made in the two weeks since 70 countries and international institutions pledged in Tunis to concentrate their efforts on humanitarian and diplomatic fronts, there is a growing willingness to consider additional options.

Possibilities include directly arming opposition forces, sending troops to guard a humanitarian corridor or “safe zone” for the rebels, or an air assault on Syrian air defenses, according to officials from the United States and other nations opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Are we seeing the same plan that was executed in Libya now being executed against Syria?

  • Incite demonstrations against the foreign government
  • Have special operations snippers shoot at the demonstrators to turn them towards violence
  • Have a trained rebel force of extremists come in from the outside and supply money, weapons and communication equipment to anyone who wants to fight
  • Implement paralysing economic sanctions against the foreign government
  • Embed western media with the armed rebels to run an information campaign against the foreign government as "killing its own civilians"
  • Make exiles form an alternative government that can be recognized as legitimate
  • Prepare your air forces to fight against the foreign government troops
  • Spread rumors of air-attacks against the rebels to justify a "no-fly zone"
  • Should the rebels not be able to win on their own reinforce them with "no-fly zone" air attacks and more weapons

These steps were followed in Libya and we seem them being followed in Syria. It now seems obvious that the rebellion in Libya as well as current ongoings in Syria are each part of larger long range plans concocted and executed by the U.S. and its allies.

Posted by b on March 11, 2012 at 9:21 UTC | Permalink


Don't forget the Russians. They are keen on testing their S-300 systems in battlefield conditions.

Posted by: m_s | Mar 11 2012 9:42 utc | 1

one tries not to be a conspiracist, but then ...

Posted by: claudio | Mar 11 2012 10:10 utc | 2

In news-clips on AJ, it looks as if frensh civilian-clothed commandos are still paying cash for syrian kids to show up in "demonstrations".

Posted by: Alexander | Mar 11 2012 10:22 utc | 3

in the meantime

Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Sunday echoed Netanyahu's sentiments, calling for Iron Dome to be recognized as a national emergency project.

Barak said that classifying the system as such would allow him to request the acceleration of plans to operate and deploy additional Iron Dome batteries and complete the development and deployment of the Magic Wand, an additional system which would provide an added layer of defense against projectiles.

"We must ensure that the system will be deployed in the shortest time period possible in order to provide all of the state's citizens worthy protection against the threat of rockets and missiles, in the North as well as in the South," Barak stated.

Barak added: "The great success of the Iron Dome in intercepting rockets fired at Israeli cities in the last two days contributes to the security of Israel's citizens and to the freedom of the leadership to act to create deterrence."

seriously, how can anybody plan war on Syria and keep out Isreal?

Posted by: somebody | Mar 11 2012 10:36 utc | 4


freedom of the leadership to act to create deterrence.


Posted by: claudio | Mar 11 2012 10:46 utc | 5

it is complete and utter stupidity Claudio, if I was Israeli I would ask myself after this speech

a) am I worthy of protection?
"in order to provide all of the state's citizens worthy protection"

b) how dangerous is the situation really (Israeli media are under military censorship)
"in the North as well as in the South"

Posted by: somebody | Mar 11 2012 11:02 utc | 6

These regularly scheduled exercises have been going on for at least 15+ years, twice a year, with participation of various nations in NATO and others.

By the way, Turkey has kicked Israel out of Anatolian Eagle, which Israel/USA weren't too happy about, this was I think 3-4 years ago.

So, I don't understand what specifically indicates that this latest one is practice for an attack on Syria. It is in the nature of military exercises to practice suppression of air defences, so I wouldn't read too much into this. There is no mobilization of Turkish Armed Forces, that anyone has observed. Bombing Syria is not to be taken lightly, and such mobilization would definitely take place before anything of this kind happened--don't forget Syria has chemical weapons, which it wouldn't hesitate to use, if desperate. Hopefully it won't come to that and the Saudi/Qatar plans will be thwarted.

I think, or maybe just hope, that Turkey is realising that it should not interfere in Syria. It does realize that intervention in Syria is a great destabilizer of the whole Middle East, good for Israel and US but bad for Turkey. I'd think that the professional advice from the Foreign Ministry experts and the Army would be in this vein.

In 1991, Turgut Ozal, a very pro American president, wanted to join in the US invasion of Iraq, the Army refused, the Chief of Staff resigned, and the whole move stopped. He could not make the Army go along with his plans. Though Erdogan has more power than Ozal did, the army is hardly his pawn and they will have a say in what happens. They are the ones who do the fighting, and no love is lost between the Army and Erdogan.

Turkey refused to take active part in Libya bombings, it actively opposed involvement in the second Iraq war, the Turkish parliament was the only parliament that *voted* on the war, and it wasn't approved. The declaration of war is "passe" in the US as you know, all it takes is an executive order, and notification of Congress. I doubt Erdogan would be able to pass a motion for war, his MPs would rebel, enough of them would cross the floor, Turkish public opinion is heavily against involvement in Syria on US/Israeli side, so this is not a done deal by any means.

Even the minor cross-border operations into Iraq against Kurdish guerillas of PKK require parliamentary approval. Turkey is no banana republic.

Posted by: kodlu | Mar 11 2012 11:19 utc | 7

I do wonder what became of this here? Never heard of again since 2006?

"But Israeli intelligence officials are not so sure the war will resemble 1973, according to a report published in the Israeli daily Haaretz. They think the Syrians have learned the lessons of the summer's war in Lebanon. If war comes, it may resemble a Hezbollah campaign -- cross-border raids, hails of rocket fire and guerrilla-type combat using shoulder-held anti-tank rockets instead of traditional battles.

Amos Yadlin, head of Israeli military intelligence, said in July that Syria was creating a military force modeled after Lebanon's Hezbollah. He said it could well be the Front for the Liberation of the Golan Heights, which was formed in June and includes Palestinians refugees living in camps near Damascus."

Posted by: somebody | Mar 11 2012 11:29 utc | 8

This may explain why Nasrallah in his latest speech said that the liberation of Jerusalem is closer than ever.

Posted by: Sophia | Mar 11 2012 11:33 utc | 9

@kodlu - He could not make the Army go along with his plans. Though Erdogan has more power than Ozal did, the army is hardly his pawn and they will have a say in what happens. They are the ones who do the fighting, and no love is lost between the Army and Erdogan.

Erdogan had hundreds of officers arrested in the Ergenekon conspiracy case. It is by now a different army.

Posted by: b | Mar 11 2012 11:51 utc | 10

the analogies between Libya and Syria are striking, but also the differences:
- a referendum that approved political reform did take place
- there is an internal opposition engaged in dialogue, with outside sponsors (Russia, China) that hold some weight in the region
- Kofi Annan represents both the Un and the Arab league; without overstating his "independence", at the IAEA he showed he wasn't a tool of western imperialism
- the Arab League is splitting, or at a minimum is less than enthusiastic to repeat Libya, as shown by the case of the observers' report, by Saudi Arabia's pullout from the "Friends of Syria" conference, and by Kofi Annan's appointment
- as m_s said, Syria's AA defense are a tougher nut to crack

I just can't see NATO planes pitted against a real AA defense

and if ground aggression must be, let's hope for a "Lebanon 2006" repeat

Posted by: claudio | Mar 11 2012 12:03 utc | 11

and Israel is a neighbour, so if Syrian sovereignty dissolves non state actors will be free to attack ...

Posted by: somebody | Mar 11 2012 12:13 utc | 12

@kodlu - what you say holds up and until the beginning of the bombing of Libya; since then, Turkey has aligned with NATO rhetoric, if not strategy, in the Middle East

the litmus test on the regime change agenda is when you declare a head of state "illegitimate" and you order it to "step down", and Turkey is on board with this

if you want reform, you encourage dialogue and compromise; can you imagine the bloody democratization process of XIX century European states at the tune of asking the rulers to "step down" as a precondition to talks with the opposition?

Posted by: claudio | Mar 11 2012 12:22 utc | 13

Somebody @ 14 -- That article is about the proposed Obama budget, which will be fought tooth and nail by the Republican House, possibly some Dems. The R's want more cuts for social net programs, higher funding for the military, lower taxes on the richest rich. Cutting food inspection? Good. Cutting military expenditures? Bad. To them.

The House R's have already cut the Securities Exchange Commission budget repeatedly. When the SEC claims it does not have the money to hire enough lawyers to go after bad actors on Wall Street, they have the cuts to their budget to support that. Not that they did all that much before Wall Street and Big Banksters went crazy and ruined many economies.

Many of the most conservative (aka radical) House Repubs want to abrograte the budget agreement reached last year -- so they can hold the nation hostage again, threatening to not pay for items already budgeted and purchased/spent.

Posted by: jawbone | Mar 11 2012 14:40 utc | 15

Claudio @ comment 11 – fwiw, Kofi Annan was never at the IAEA. He was secretary-general of the UN, where he certainly showed more independence than the current office-holder… (and he wasn't much loved by the US admin amongst others).

Regarding the Syrian air defenses. I wouldn't put too much faith in it. Remember that bombing raid by the Israeli airforce a couple of years ago (the box on the Euphrates story) ? The Syrian side didn't offer much resistance. Sure they got some of those Russian S-300 systems since then, but are they trained enough to make effective use of it ?

Posted by: Philippe | Mar 11 2012 15:05 utc | 16

yeah, jawbone, I was just wondering why Israel was blundering into the Syria act. Proposed cuts could be a reason. As it stands now, the news will be atrocities in Gaza not in Syria.

Posted by: somebody | Mar 11 2012 15:23 utc | 17

"On Sunday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu visited the Iron Dome battery protecting Ashdod, and was briefed on the performance of the system. The IDF is hoping to secure funding from the government to enable the continued production and delivery of additional Iron Dome batteries and interceptors. ...

"The Iron Dome is designed to defend against rockets at a range of 4-70 kilometers. Each battery consists of a multi-mission radar manufactured by Israel Aerospace Industries and three launchers, each equipped with 20 interceptors called Tamirs.

The radar enables Iron Dome operators to predict the impact site of the enemy rocket and decide not to intercept it if it is slated to hit an open area. Each interceptor costs around $50,000 and usually two are fired at rockets slated for interception."

Posted by: somebody | Mar 11 2012 16:33 utc | 18

Let's see;The US and Israel are in cahoots with the Kurds in Iraq who are allied with the Kurds in Turkey fighting for an ethnic state in Turkey,and we've let the Israelis murder Turkish and American citizens at will, and Turkey is helping US?(and Israel?)
I have to go with Ricky Nelson on this one(again and again)"Fools rush in where wise men fear to tread",la la la.
Never have so few done so much to screw the world so much,to paraphrase that wonderful humanitarian Churchill.

Posted by: dahoit | Mar 11 2012 16:38 utc | 19

Off topic.....

CNN just did a piece on the one year anniversary of the Japan quake and tsunami, touting Japan's "recovery".

The words "nuclear" and "Fukushima" did not appear in the broadcast at any time.

Who the fuck do they think they are fooling?

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Mar 11 2012 16:56 utc | 20


Damn straight! They woldn't lead attention to USAs own nuclear-plants that are overcommissioned by 10 and 20 years, and would most definitely crumble in the event of an earthquake, nevermind a tsunami!

Posted by: Alexander | Mar 11 2012 19:13 utc | 21

@ Pissed Off American "Who the fuck do they think they are fooling?"

Possibly the 70% of Americans too stupid to point out Japan on a map. Also of course I'm sure the Nuclear Lobby will toss some advertising dollars CNN's way.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Mar 11 2012 19:41 utc | 22

Are we seeing the same plan that was executed in Libya... Er, yes. Worked well then. Same MSM..same sheeple. Al Jazeera's James Bays just despached to Turkey..
JAMES BAYS ‏ @baysontheroad Back to work - flying Doha to Ankara

Posted by: felix | Mar 11 2012 20:44 utc | 23

@Philippe #16 - ops... yes, of course, I'm sorry; please believe me when I say I knew it :-)

Posted by: claudio | Mar 11 2012 21:16 utc | 24

"seriously, how can anybody plan war on Syria and keep out Isreal?"
Posted by: somebody | Mar 11, 2012 6:36:53 AM | 4

Its is, and was, and is ALL and ONLY for ISRAEL. This time around the zionists have wielded the magic wand alright- getting all the other players to do the dirty work, take the bullets and the deficits while they reap the benefits (as usual), but this time with zero visibility in the public domain.

Posted by: Mercs for Hire | Mar 12 2012 1:53 utc | 25

"By the way, Turkey has kicked Israel out of Anatolian Eagle, which Israel/USA weren't too happy about, this was I think 3-4 years ago."

The "Turk-Israel split" is about as phony as the US-Israel one. Look under the covers and hunt behind the scenes- you'll find them doing business as usual. Mavi Marmara another scam with crypto jew Erdogan huffing and puffing and prancing like a Grade B diva. All fake. Observe the business pages during the same timeframe for the real truth of their symbiosis: it didnt skip a beat.

Posted by: Mercs for Hire | Mar 12 2012 1:59 utc | 26

Current thinking from Oklahoma City here.. The intervention waiting game: a window for a new opposition?

Posted by: felix | Mar 12 2012 2:03 utc | 27

@26, I refuse to answer someone who talks about "crypto-jew" Erdogan, whom I do not like at all. Keep your racist prejudices out of it. I don't know if he is jewish and I don't care, he certainly acts 100% Turkish conservative.

@10, yes and those legal cases against the officers have turned into such a farce that in the end the vast majority will be acquitted, unfortunately Turkish justice is as slow as Italian justice. There is no way all those officers will be sentenced, a lot of the evidence is digital cooked up evidence installed by viruses with huge inconsistencies. You can check out the blog which has some articles in English.

Perhaps I am too optimistic about the Army's refusal, but I guess time will show, if it comes to that, i.e., an invasion order.

Posted by: kodlu | Mar 12 2012 2:29 utc | 28

I hope kodlu is right, as without Turkey, there is no intervention. Bombing alone would not topple Assad. It barely worked in Libya where the rebels controlled half the country. In Syria they control neighborhoods and only temporarily.

Also, Syria has a doomsday arsenal. Any hint of a NATO campaign might cause Syria, in desperation, to launch a war on Israel, unloading its large missile arsenal before it's lost. Syria is much weaker, but may prefer that fight to fighting NATO. At least it might unify the country and make NATO intervention politically awkward.

Those two factors would make intervention unlikely, but I suspect Erdogan is being subjected to pressure and bribes from the west, and we can't be sure he wont relent. And I know the west would love to bomb Syria and change the regional balance in Israel's favor if it could.

Another factor is Saudi Arabia. There has been a significant protest movement in the eastern provinces and now there has been some disturbances in the west. That alone is not enough to threaten Saudi rule, but this things can spread. And combine that with an ailing king and an ailing crown prince at the same time, and one has to be worried. The west will not attack Syria if they think there is even a small risk KSA could start to fall apart at the same time.

Posted by: Lysander | Mar 12 2012 2:56 utc | 29

@Somebody: I see your comments lead in this direction, but I haven't seen you say it explicitly - Israel said it was about to conduct a big test of its missile defense system last week, and then this week it out of the blue starts a minor war with the PRC. The current Gaza fighting is largely a test of Israel's ability to sustain low-level conflict. In passing, of course, it also gives fodder for Congress to demand immediate spending to fund Iron Dome again, but mostly this war is just a field test of Israel's ability to absorb strikes from Syria without getting drawn fully into a war if the US moves forward with launching an attack.

Posted by: Bill | Mar 12 2012 14:54 utc | 30

Bill @ 30
Israel has used Gaza as a test shooting-field before, and is largely where they conduct tests of new weaponsystems.

Posted by: Alexander | Mar 12 2012 15:54 utc | 31

@16 - something spooked the Israeli pilots as they dumped their drop tanks and high-tailed it out of northern Syria - that normally indicates that the air defences have locked to the intruding aircraft. At the time, there was a report in the Guardian that the Syrians had identified the Israeli intruder aircraft but also spotted a larger number of Israeli aircraft waiting outside Syrian airspace to attacking Syrian air defences. A couple of aircraft can do little damage so perhaps the Syrians were prepared to let them go which also suggest that the box on the Euphrates was not a high value target as far as the Syrians were concerned. There is also no real evidence that the Israelis attacked anything that night - I've always wondered if the Israelis identified a building that the Syrians had demolished and then created a "legend" that it was a nuclear reactor.

Posted by: blowback | Mar 12 2012 15:56 utc | 32

'Erdogan had hundreds of officers arrested in the Ergenekon conspiracy case. It is by now a different army.'

since the mavi mamara affair , Erdogan has gone from hero to zero.

Posted by: brian | Mar 12 2012 20:48 utc | 33

Some recent tweets

Anand_Gopal_ Benghazi preacher says Libyan fighters in Syria. 3 apparently died in Homs siege: (ar)

Aziza23 RT @NOW_Syria: #CIA chief David Petraeus met #Turkey's PM for closed-door talks focusing on the crisis across the border in #Syria http: ...

And the neocons continue to press:

abuaardvark RT @michaeldweiss: The case against non-intervention in Syria : Michael Weiss and Ilhan Tanir

Posted by: b | Mar 13 2012 16:18 utc | 34

Syrian forces capture rebel stronghold near Turkey

BEIRUT (AP) — The Syrian army has recaptured the northern rebel stronghold of Idlib near the Turkish border, a major base that military defectors had held for months, a pro-government newspaper and an activist group said Tuesday.

The three-day operation to capture Idlib gives the regime some momentum as it tries to crush the armed resistance.

Posted by: b | Mar 13 2012 18:00 utc | 35

Syrian car bomb blasts

BBC reports: "..state TV says Syrian car bombs in government buildings and security headquarter by what they call "terrorists"

For Gods sake... Would you call it anything other than terrorists???

Hopefully they will get sane eventually, and start realizing that Assad has a legitimate right to fight terrorists in his own country.

Posted by: Alexander | Mar 17 2012 16:09 utc | 36

The terrorists are of course trying to sabotage Anans attempt to negotiate a ceasefire. The rebels/terrorists want a unconditional regime-change, not a ceasefire that would allow heads to cool, and truth to catch up with the west before a military intervention is approved. Assad have stated that political negotiations will be futile while there are armed terrorists operating in the Country.

Posted by: Alexander | Mar 17 2012 17:02 utc | 37

Paul Conroy, the photographer with Marie Colvin, held a speech at the Syrian Embassy in London, defending the Free Syrian army.. No mention of why Marie Colvin was killed by an IED.

The demo was split in two, on part for Assad, on part against. Those who doesn't want a regime change, the majority, are starting to see how important it is to stop the western push for intervention and regime change, so they are taking to the streets.

The may 7. election is nearing, and the recently approved new constitution makes the election more important and meaningful.

Posted by: Alexander | Mar 17 2012 17:14 utc | 38

Al Jazeera can no longer be trusted at all when reporting about Syria. They grossly exaggurate the support of the Free Syrian Army, and try hard to give a narrative of Assad having no support. I mean, this has been so for a while, but recently has reached grotesque dimensions. BBC appear neutral in comparison.

Posted by: Alexander | Mar 17 2012 18:10 utc | 39

Now to get really on the topic!

The Syrian Aviation Intelligence headquarter building was among those bombed today. This might be part of a "no-fly-zone"-op preparation.

Posted by: Alexander | Mar 17 2012 18:18 utc | 40

Here's a New York Times piece that explains some of Israels motivation for taking out Syria: to weaken iran start with syria

Here's an excerpt:

As President Bashar al-Assad’s government falters, Syria is becoming Iran’s Achilles’ heel. Iran has poured a vast array of resources into the country. There are Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps encampments and Iranian weapons and advisers throughout Syria. And Iranian-controlled Hezbollah forces from Lebanon have joined in butchering the Syrians who have risen up against Mr. Assad. Iran is intent on assuring its hold over the country regardless of what happens to Mr. Assad — and Israel and the West must prevent this at all costs.

Sadly, the opportunities presented by Syria’s meltdown seem to be eluding Israeli leaders. Last week, Israel’s military intelligence chief spoke of the 200,000 missiles and rockets in Gaza, Lebanon and Syria that could reach all of Israel’s population centers. And there is a growing risk that advanced Syrian weapons might fall into the hands of terrorist groups. Iran’s presence in Damascus is vital to maintaining these threats.

At this stage, there is no turning back; Mr. Assad must step down. For Israel, the crucial question is not whether he falls but whether the Iranian presence in Syria will outlive his government. Getting Iran booted out of Syria is essential for Israel’s security. And if Mr. Assad goes, Iranian hegemony over Syria must go with him. Anything less would rob Mr. Assad’s departure of any significance.

But Israel should not be the lone or even the principal actor in speeding his exit. Any workable outcome in Syria will have to involve the United States, Russia and Arab countries. America must offer Russia incentives to stop protecting the Assad regime, which will likely fall the moment Moscow withdraws its support. A force with a mandate from the Arab League should then ensure stability until a new Syrian government can take over.

The current standoff in Syria presents a rare chance to rid the world of the Iranian menace to international security and well-being. And ending Iran’s presence there poses less of a risk to international commerce and security than harsher sanctions or war.

Russia and China, both of which vetoed a United Nations resolution last week calling on Mr. Assad to step down, should realize that his downfall could serve their interests, too. After all, Iranian interventionism could wreak havoc in Muslim-majority areas to Russia’s south and China’s west. And a nuclear-armed Iran would pose a serious potential threat on Russia’s southern border.

That last bit about Russia is pure bull, Iran never was interventionalist.

Posted by: Alexander | Mar 17 2012 21:02 utc | 41

So there is no doubt, the reason "the west"/Israel are pushing for a regime-change in Syria, is to get ahead of the election (7. may), so Assad isn't democratically voted in.

Posted by: Alexander | Mar 17 2012 22:01 utc | 42

I've just read this in Private Eye, one of my favourite British magazines, famous for not having a web presence (no. 1309, 9th March, p.15).

Postcard from Syria
After 11 months of the revolution, most of the 300,000-strong military remain confined to barracks; as indeed they must, as at least 70 percent, in an increasingly polarbed environment, are Sunni conscripts at some risk of deserting. This is something their predominantly Alawi officers understand only too well, which is why landlines and mobiles arc pretty much banned from the barracks, and the television is permanently tuned to state-controlled stations.
Chief among the Alawi officer class is President Assad himself. A softly spoken London-trained ophthalmologist he may be, but he also graduated from the military academy at Homs as the best tank battalion commander of his class. There are only two units on which Bashar can rely: the Republican Guard and the 4th Armoured Division, headed by his brother Maher, along with assorted Iranian mercenaries.
These units are stretched to the limit. If unrest spreads and reinforcements are required, ....

Pretty much what I've been saying. The 4th Armoured are running left and right to put out one fire after another, while the first flares up again.

It's the big weakness of the Asads.

Posted by: alexno | Mar 18 2012 14:10 utc | 43

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