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Ztolk
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(Originally posted on: 04-06-17 07:53:13 PM)
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So the Syrian government is fighting a civil war against internal rebels. ISIS is also fighting both of them. Russia is backing the Syrian government and the US is backing the rebels so there's a proxy war going on there, meanwhile the US is helping the Iraqi government fight ISIS and push it west and Russia is helping the Syrian government fight ISIS and push it east. The Kurds are also fighting ISIS from the North but Turkey is somehow involved in this and is fighting ISIS in (I think) both Iraq and Syria but also trying to keep the Kurds from getting too strong? Turkey is a NATO member so has an alliance with the US a and shot down a Russian plane but that sort of fizzled, and now it seems like Russia and Turkey are helping each other being mutually shady despite Turkey being a US ally in NATO. Then Iran is somehow involved but as far as I can tell doesn't seem to do anything despite always seeming to be a looming threat, and apparently are both fighting ISIS while fighting proxy wars with other groups fighting ISIS. Then Saudi Arabia has a massive well equipped military that it never seems to use except in Yemen which it's bombing with US help, and also there is a US drone bombing campaign also on Yemen? Usually Israel is the hotspot of conflict in the region but they've been pretty quiet, the only thing I've heard regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict lately is that their Prime Minister pissed off John Kerry so much that he and Obama allowed the UN to condemn their West Bank settlements.

I guess a lot of this stems from whatever the initial conflict was in Syria, I guess it's too late now to say the enemy of my enemy is my friend and have everyone team up against ISIS. Meanwhile ISIS and the Syrian government have just fucking wrecked a huge swath of the country leading to the massive refugee crisis which is a whole other can of worms.
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Reply 1 of 28 (Originally posted on: 04-06-17 10:29:54 PM)
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It's extremely complex so, sort of?

ISIS came into Syria later in the game, taking advantage of the instability of the civil war. Assad is basically calling all anti-government forces in Syria terrorists which was a pro move in 2004 but loses a lot of luster when people can watch you gas your own citizens.

Russia wants stability in the region more than anything and so are propping up assad despite his terrible behavior toward his people. Meanwhile it appears most syrians are caught in the middle and the whole thing is very sad.

Iraq is slowly making lots of gains against ISIS but that has slowed down recently since U.S. airstrikes have a habit of killing civilians and so thats been on a little bit of a hiatus.

Um... Iran has a huge habit of financing and arming sectarian militias on the sly so just because they aren't actively fighting with their own troops don't discount their involvement.

Also, from what I can tell, the Kurds are cool and good and Turkey and Egypt are bad.

On a macro scale the entire region has been thrown into chaos from the Iraq war and the arab spring. In the end we will see if that turns out to be a good or a bad thing. Right now it's not going so well.

Oh right Yemen. Well, I guess the U.S. bombs weddings there and stuff. I dunno. Maybe some terrorists hang out there sometimes? There does seem to be a lot of middle eastern people there and not a lot of oil so I guess it's a good place for target practice.
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Reply 2 of 28 (Originally posted on: 04-06-17 10:33:19 PM)
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Also there's pretty good circumstantial evidence that Assad and his Dad were really bad people who have been financing terror attacks since the 80s and Qaddafi was just kind of a convenient crazy man scapegoat who probably didn't have missiles. Also he lived in a giant extravagant tent and one time Trump rented him land when he made a speech at the U.N. lol.
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Reply 3 of 28 (Originally posted on: 04-06-17 10:34:48 PM)
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Israel is taking a very hard line stance about the west bank actually and doing more to legitimize and support Israeli settlers than they were before. It's actually a shift in policy for them and a troubling sign of things to come.
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Reply 4 of 28 (Originally posted on: 04-07-17 02:22:51 AM)
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Israel has also been implicitly supporting ISIS basically the entire time with air strikes against government/Hexbollah and rebel assets in Syria, more or less because a destabilized, weak Syria/Hezbollah is in their interest. Turkey also supported ISIS until fairly recently for similar reasons.

Basically you can't really take alliances seriously across the whole region, individual actors can work together to advance a cause in one theatre at the same time as they work against each other in other areas. A good example of this dichotomy can be seen between the US and Iran, where in Iraq, the US and Iran support (shiite-dominated) Iraq against ISIS, but in Syria the US works against Iran and Assad's forces AND against ISIS, Assad doesn't spend any effort attacking ISIS in Syria because he knows he can rely on international actors to do that...
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Reply 5 of 28 (Originally posted on: 04-07-17 02:25:01 AM)
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A big part of this is that there are a lot of actors involved who don't have much incentive to actually allow the conflict to end, who believe they benefit from a destabilized region. Israel is one, Turkey until recently believed it could benefit from destabilization, hard to say what the US really wants, Russia would rather have a destabilized ME than have the US regain its lost influence there,
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Reply 6 of 28 (Originally posted on: 04-07-17 02:25:30 AM)
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In short it sounds like you understand the situation pretty well Ztolk
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Reply 7 of 28 (Originally posted on: 04-07-17 04:42:17 PM)
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But basically the only group in there right now that isn't a pile of shit are the Kurds. Quite a few leftist Americans fighting with them in fact. It'd be fucking awesome if Rojava was allowed to exist, but it's never going to be. Capitalism is going to crush them and it's going to suck hard.
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Reply 8 of 28 (Originally posted on: 04-07-17 04:45:12 PM)
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There's a guest reading this thread, one of the admins check their IP to see if it's the NSA or FSB
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Reply 9 of 28 (Originally posted on: 04-08-17 02:39:54 AM)
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Iran is heavily involved in Syria. In fact, until Russia became much more involved, it was basically Iranian militias (not only Hezbollah but primarily them I suppose) doing most of the fighting for Assad. And I suppose they still do most of the fighting on the ground. The Syrian army has a reputation for being useless according to some Russians there, more interested in looting and getting bribes at checkpoints than in fighting, and much of Assad's forces are militias of various kinds, both Syrian and foreign.

Other than that, yeah, Ztolk, you understand it just fine.

I get the impression that the US under Obama didn't have a coherent plant after Russia got involved and direct American intervention stopped being a possibility that Obama would contemplate. They've been just reacting to events - like ISIS pops up and the US realizes they must do *something*, but they're not sure what that something should be and at any rate the political will to do much doesn't exist. Being anti-Assad means you have to work with all forms of Islamists, ranging from relatively moderate ones to, in practice, the local Al Qaida affiliate (they'll always be the Al Nusra Front in my heart), and that brings all sorts of strategic complications. At the end of the day, due to this lack of a coherent plan, the US can't but half-arse the job, so the only thing they're accomplishing is prolonging the war I guess.

ISIS was a godsend for Assad. There was a real prospect of his government losing the war at that point and going down, but lo and behold, a new force pops up that is much more interested in fighting the rebels than the Syrian army.

As for the Kurds, they're absolutely key to fighting ISIS, to the point that I can't see Turkey managing to undermine what they're building. Unless the US backstabs them, which is 100% on the table, of course.
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Ztolk
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Reply 10 of 28 (Originally posted on: 04-08-17 12:40:32 PM)
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I guess I understand the what but not the why.
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Reply 11 of 28 (Originally posted on: 04-08-17 04:32:53 PM)
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For the why we'll have to go back in time to a mustachioed British man drawing a line on a map and going "There you go, live with that!"

- paraphrasing John Oliver
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Reply 12 of 28 (Originally posted on: 04-09-17 07:43:54 AM)
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Quoted from Ztolk:
I guess I understand the what but not the why.
What kind of question would that be? Why is the Middle East?
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Reply 13 of 28 (Originally posted on: 04-09-17 10:17:02 AM)
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Also not sure what you mean by "the why". Islam is fundamentally a cult of death and they are following the commandments of Allah by devoting their lives to constant conflict and war?
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Reply 14 of 28 (Originally posted on: 04-09-17 11:41:33 AM)
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-_-
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Reply 15 of 28 (Originally posted on: 04-09-17 05:00:25 PM)
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Capitalism is the why.
Ztolk
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Reply 16 of 28 (Originally posted on: 04-09-17 06:39:00 PM)
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By the why I mean why these factions are bothering to fight and support a three-way war when they all have a common enemy.
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Reply 17 of 28 (Originally posted on: 04-09-17 11:27:32 PM)
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You mean Israel?
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Reply 18 of 28 (Originally posted on: 04-10-17 01:43:53 AM)
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Basically because ISIS is not as much of a threat to any party's interests as the other parties.

The Syrian government came relatively close to being toppled, but not by ISIS, but by the rebels. Turkey gets frequent ISIS attacks on its soil and has largely revised its strategy, but still, ISIS can kill some hundreds or thousands of Turkish citizens, but that's peanuts compared to the threat (from their point of view) of an independent and strong Kurdistan, and they've also been trying to strengthen Turkic rebels in Syria. Russia also gets the occasional ISIS attack since their involvement, but they benefit more from having Syria as a strategic partner/puppet in the region (although they're not that sold on Assad himself). For the rebels, ISIS is a serious threat, of course, but the Syrian government kills massively more people than ISIS. Saudi Arabia also gets ISIS attacks, but that's not much of a problem compared to the prospect of toppling Assad and weakening Iran's influence in the region (remember they're waging a war against Iran-backed forces in Yemen at the same time). Israel hasn't really been directly affected by ISIS, but they regard Syria and Iran as enemies. The US is reacting to events in a haphazard manner, but they're also driven by the strategic interest of curtailing Iranian and Russian influence in the region.

ISIS may only be the greatest threat to Iraq, and that's largely because the Shiite government is pretty inept at courting (or pretty adept at putting off) the Sunni majority in the north, where ISIS still holds a lot of land. And that's why they've been cooperating pretty well with the Iraqi Kurds. But then again, they don't have any other threats in Iraq - it's not like Syria.

Also, ISIS is seen as fundamentally already defeated in military terms. Finishing them off on the ground won't solve the terrorism problem and might actually make it worse for a while, so nobody's in any real hurry, with the exception of Iraq. The strategic fight for control over Syria is way more important.
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Reply 19 of 28 (Originally posted on: 04-10-17 02:28:02 PM)
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Quoted from Ztolk:
By the why I mean why these factions are bothering to fight and support a three-way war when they all have a common enemy.


It's really as simple as conflicting goals. The rebels can't work with Assad to get rid of Daesh, because Assad wants them dead (and vice versa). Daesh won't work with the rebels to get rid of Assad, because Daesh wants the rebels dead too (and vice versa again).
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Reply 20 of 28 (Originally posted on: 06-10-17 04:50:35 AM)
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Just in case y'all thought you had a handle on the dynamics at play here

https://www.theatlantic.com/news/archive/2017/06/iranian-kurds-likely-responsible-for-isis-attacks-in-tehran/529917/

So now we have ISIS-affiliated Iranian Kurds...

which I guess adds like a 5th layer here? Kurds are fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria but joining it in Iran -_-
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Reply 21 of 28 (Originally posted on: 06-10-17 09:29:25 AM)
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Well that's weird.
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Reply 22 of 28 (Originally posted on: 06-10-17 04:32:53 PM)
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Quoted from ice wolverine:
Just in case y'all thought you had a handle on the dynamics at play here

https://www.theatlantic.com/news/archive/2017/06/iranian-kurds-likely-responsible-for-isis-attacks-in-tehran/529917/

So now we have ISIS-affiliated Iranian Kurds...

which I guess adds like a 5th layer here? Kurds are fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria but joining it in Iran -_-


Well it looks like Sunni Kurds (which is interesting cause I thought most if not all Iranian Kurds were Shia) which isn't THAT unusual, Iran being Shia and Daesh being ostensibly Sunni. Still fucky, and also the source of this info appears to be Iran so take it with a grain of salt?
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Reply 23 of 28 (Originally posted on: 06-11-17 05:17:45 AM)
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ISIS usually attacks via nationals and there's only so many Sunni Iranians (and most of them are ethnic minorities) so in that sense it's perfectly believable.

What I can't wrap my head around is the Qatar crisis.
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Reply 24 of 28 (Originally posted on: 06-11-17 06:57:26 PM)
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Russia. They're trying to destabilize the US and its allies even more. We have a shit ton of troops in Qatar, and all the countries that are suddenly pissed at it are also our allies. A very dicey diplomatic situation, thankfully our President is....oh.
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