Small Wars Journal

Syria

What to Make of Turkey’s Recent Dust-Up in Syria

Putin’s effort to divide NATO through the recruitment of Erdogan has run aground in Syria, where the Russian-backed forces of Bashar al-Assad were recently battered by superior Turkish aircraft and weaponry. After Syrian and Russian aircraft attacked a Turkish column and killed 33 (some report as many as 100) Turkish troops, Erdogan’s forces downed Syrian fighter planes, destroyed Syrian tanks and artillery pieces and killed Syrian soldiers.

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All the King’s Men: Authoritarianism, Loyalty and the Syrian Collapse

While the true social and economic origins of the Syrian civil war stretch back decades, the longstanding culture of government corruption and purchased loyalties hastened the final spiral toward war. Like in pre-war Iraq under Saddam Hussein, loyalty and favor had been traded like currency among the upper echelons of Syrian society since the early days of Hafez al-Assad’s rule.

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Amid Humanitarian Crisis, Syrian Regime Intensifies Idlib Offensive

Of the three million people in Idlib province, U.N. sources estimate more than one million have been displaced—with approximately 586,000 displaced since December 1, and the number is rising rapidly. With Turkey and other nations closing their borders, and harsh winter conditions in the region, what is the humanitarian situation in Idlib?

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Being a Proxy: The History of Cooptation Offers Lessons to Learn - Are the Kurds Learning Them?

They know the drill. Emerging threats, foreign intervention, local alliances, and historic letdowns. Abandonment should not come as a surprise. Great powers have instrumentalized Kurdish nationalism for grand strategy, but cooptation implies agency from the proxy—a willingness to offer its strategic advantages for support or protection. U.S. withdrawal in face of the Turkish incursion in Kurdish-controlled northern Syria shines a light on the challenges of proxy warfare.

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A Month After U.S. Withdrawal, What is the State of Play in Syria?

In the month since President Trump’s October 6 phone call with Turkish President Erdogan and the announced U.S. withdrawal from northeast Syria, the picture on the ground has changed immensely. Moscow has emerged as the key power broker in Syria. The Kurds, looking for protection from Turkish forces, are in Russian-brokered talks with the Assad government. These discussions could pave the way for an expanded Syrian government presence in the northeast for the first time in years.

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Should the U.S. Carry Out Punitive Strikes in Reaction to Chemical Weapons Attacks in Syria?

The international community, with the U.S. at the helm, has made it clear chemical weapons attacks are a uniquely abhorrent violation of international norms and laws. One that justifies punitive military strikes against the Syrian regime. Some might wonder if the Syrian regime could be deterred by more significant military action. Probably not.

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Should We Send Armed Contractors to Syria? SWJED Mon, 01/28/2019 - 3:21pm
Should we replace American forces in Syria with armed contractors? Erik Prince thinks so. In an article for FOX News, Prince and retired General Anthony Tata suggested that a group such as the World War II Flying Tigers be formed to replace the US forces being withdrawn from Syria.

Levantistan and The Confederacy of Afghanistan: How Redrawing the Map Can End America’s Wars

Nation-state borders are not sacrosanct. Exchanging land for peace is always a viable option, and this could provide a solution to America’s involvement in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Although multiple solutions are available, we will focus on two: merging nations and fragmenting nations. Merging nations would entail merging Iraq with Syria, and merging Afghanistan with Pakistan. Fragmenting nations would break up the two nations into numerous smaller nations, as happened to Yugoslavia, albeit peacefully.

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