Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Syrian civil war rages on

The last few members arrive in the conference room and we all take our assigned seats at the roundtable. It always reminds me of King Arthur's Roundtable as we think we all play an equal role and meet every so often to conduct high priority meetings in order to make decisions which will impact the world. Secrets, security and shadows everywhere we go. Nobody knows we exist, nobody knows what we do and everyone feels the impact one way or the other.

I sit across the table from my contractor as well as my handler at the agency. Two generals were seated next to me to my left while I have members of the royal family to my right. In total we count 24 people in the conference room. We are all highly disturbed about the attack on HQ and eagerly await the debriefing of the initial security sweep as well as analysis. The conference room is filled with royalty, diplomatic immunity, military intelligence and financial genius. It does feel as we do make the world go round.

One of the generals is given the first word. Introductions are not necessary, we all know and either respect or disrespect each other. He stands up and after a brief greeting issues an update on the Syrian situation. Syria has made it to the front and center of today's conference. I just noticed that the GNU officer who contacted me earlier is also present at this meeting which is a rather unexpected turn of events.

The fighting in Damascus as well as Aleppo has intensified. The rebels have down a fighter jet and captured its pilot in Deir Ezzor which was the first time the Free Army accomplished such a task and shows that the rebels received heavy weaponry from its supporters, mainly from the West. The rebels have begged for anti-aircraft weapons and this is the first confirmation that outsiders have interfered with the civil war.

China as well as Russia, both Syria allies, do their part to ensure limited interference and veto proposals dictated by the West when it comes on how to deal with Syria. Bouthaina Shabaan, an Assad aide, was dispatched to China where he met Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and his team in order to discuss a cease fire. China said it will invite the opposition as well and hear them out.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation, 57 nations strong, wants to suspend Syria. OIC is meeting in Mecca, Saudi Arabia to discuss such a move which faces strong opposition from Iran, Syria's closest ally. The Syrian National Council which operates out of Turkey and supports the rebels continues to dig its knees in the sand and begs the West to implement and enforce a no-fly zone in the same manner it did in Libya last year.

Damascus, which many compare to the Libyan rebel stronghold of Benghazi, enters its fourth day without communications and experiences a shortfall in food, energy as well as medication. Government forces conduct security sweeps and the latest such sweep ended in the arrest of 22 rebels. The Syrian war left over 21,000 people dead, 1.5 million displaced and 150K refugees in Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq.

The Assad regime has suffered a range of setbacks including its Prime Minister who claimed that Assad faces intense internal pressure from loyalists who want to flee as well as the constant scrimmages with rebels. A total of 27 generals have deserted and joined the Free Army, but not a single battalion has switched sides which shows that the Assad regime has enough military brass left to control the military and potentially crush the rebellion which held the country in a gridlock for the past 17 months.

Assad can count on the loyalty of the Republican Guard as well as the Fourth Armored Division, an elite combat group, and the 27 Brigadier Generals are nothing in comparison to the 1,200 they have among their ranks. There are roughly 100 senior ranking generals all of whom remain loyal to Assad.

As the general finishes his quick overview of the Syrian situation the main question remains which side to support. Whose victory would be more beneficial to our cause. There will be a vote and I can already tell that it will be a split decision. The rebels get a lot of direct support from outside forces, maybe it is time to offer support to the Assad regime in order to end the violence and get Syria back on track. The general thanks us for our time and takes his seat.

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