Saturday, 10 September 2016

Syrian Victories in Aleppo Defeat US ‘Ceasefire’ Plan

The latest advances of the Syrian army in south west Aleppo mean that the Jihadis have now effectively lost all the gains they made during their offensive in late July and early August.  The only  result of the offensive was to cause the Jihadis extremely heavy casualties.
Some have questioned why the Jihadis launched a conventional attack on south west Aleppo whose outcome was always doubtful and which was certain to lead to heavy losses rather than stick to the insurgency tactics which have served them so well in the past?
The short answer is because the offensive against south west Aleppo was insisted upon by the Jihadis’ foreign sponsors for whom maintaining a Jihadi “rebel” presence in eastern Aleppo is an overriding political priority. 
Briefly, if the Syrian government can show that it is firmly in control of what are by far Syria’s two biggest and most important cities – Damascus and Aleppo – as well as the area between these cities which forms the populous spine of the country, which includes the key province of Latakia and the two central cities of Hama and Homs, then it is extremely difficult to argue convincingly that it is not the actual as well as the legitimate government of Syria. 
However great is the military importance of the other areas of Syria the Jihadis control – and the importance of the ‘safe zone’ the Turkish military is currently busy creating for the Jihadis in north east Syria should not be underestimated – in political and economic terms these areas are peripheral.  No force which is confined to these areas can plausible claim to be the government of Syria.
The importance the US government attaches to the city of Aleppo is shown by the proposal it made to the Russians at the G20 summit in Hangzhou.  The Washington Post has revealed that it not only required the Syrian army to withdraw completely from the area of the Castello road, which it seized back in July, but it also insisted on a total ceasefire in south west Aleppo.
When the plan was drawn up and presented to the Russians last week the Jihadis were still in control of the Ramousseh district and the area known as the ‘Aleppo artillery base’.  A ceasefire in south west Aleppo at that time would have left these in Jihadi control, consolidating the gains the Jihadis had made in their offensive against government position in south west Aleppo at the beginning of August
The US in fact clearly crafted its ceasefire plan on the basis of the gains the Jihadis made during their offensive against south west Aleppo in early August.  That fits in with the theory previously floated by the Moon of Alabama and others (see here and here), that the US was heavily involved in planning and preparing the Jihadi offensive, as it in fact all but admitted back in April.
If the truth be said the US ‘ceasefire plan’ looks suspiciously like a device to facilitate an eventual Jihadi takeover of the whole of Aleppo when the ceasefire eventually broke down, as it would have been bound to do.  If so, then it is a further example of the way the US constantly tries to achieve via the negotiations table what its proxies fail to achieve on the battlefield.
The fundamental problem – as the Russians must by now surely understand – is that the US is not interested in the sort of “compromises” Peskov is talking about. 
As its ceasefire plan shows, the US remains committed to regime change in Syria, and it sees its negotiations with the Russians as nothing more than a means to that objective.  The US’s angry response to the collapse of its latest plan to achieve that shows how committed to this objective it still is. 

[Posted at the SpookyWeather blog, September 10th, 2016.]

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