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dkf

(37,305 posts)
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 08:01 PM Sep 2013

Syrian defector says Assad has lost direct control, CW control fractured, in hands of Alawites.

"The man overseeing the chemical weapons in general is Ali Mamlouk, but effective control of the weapons is becoming fragmented," Sheikh, who served for almost two decades in chemical weapons units, told Reuters from an undisclosed location in northern Syria. "Assad himself has lost overall command and control." Mamlouk, on a list of Syrians targeted by EU sanctions since 2011, was promoted last year to head national security after its chief was killed in a bombing in Damascus. Considered to be a member of Assad's inner circle, Mamlouk is one of two Syrian officers indicted last August in Beirut for allegedly plotting to incite sectarian violence in Lebanon. Efforts to reach Mamlouk for comment were unsuccessful.

Sheikh said the arsenal is now in the hands of chemical weapons-trained loyalists of Assad's Alawite clan, a Shi'ite offshoot sect, and is being used for limited attacks that have killed dozens of rebels.

"Most of the chemical weapons have been transported to Alawite areas in Latakia and near the coast, where the regime has the capability to fire them using fairly accurate medium range surface-to-surface missiles," Sheikh said.

Some chemical munitions remain in bases around Damascus, and have been deployed with artillery shells. "It is a matter of time before fairly large warheads are used," he said.

A US official, asked about Sheikh's comments, told Reuters: "This is one concerning scenario we're taking a close look at." Reports of use of chemical weapons in the battlefield have become more frequent in recent weeks. A U.N. team of inspectors has been denied access and has been unable to verify the claims.

http://www.jpost.com/Features/In-Thespotlight/Syrias-chemical-weapons-built-to-counter-Israel-315411

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Syrian defector says Assad has lost direct control, CW control fractured, in hands of Alawites. (Original Post) dkf Sep 2013 OP
This contradicts the report that crude rockets were used. He has no direct knowledge of leveymg Sep 2013 #1
Yes. I was thinking if the Alawites are in danger of being massacred it makes sense to want the CWs dkf Sep 2013 #2
Isn't this exactly what I've been telling you will happen for almost two years, now? leveymg Sep 2013 #3
You probably have but until delving into the weeds recently... dkf Sep 2013 #4
I haven't slept well for a while. leveymg Sep 2013 #6
Even if we "call off" the Saudis etal, isn't the place armed to the teeth? dkf Sep 2013 #11
I believe the hope in the WH is a Kosovo solution - division of the country with guarantees to all leveymg Sep 2013 #15
Re-reading the thread over and over and seeing more each time... dkf Sep 2013 #16
have the Saudis "call off the dogs". Reality check- Assad starting killing people when they started KittyWampus Sep 2013 #22
Once we intervene militarily, how do we get out? Yo_Mama Sep 2013 #5
You're asking all the right questions. leveymg Sep 2013 #8
Speaking of good questions, saw a great hand-written sign at HardTimes99 Sep 2013 #13
I think we all know the answer to the third question. leveymg Sep 2013 #18
Well, if one interprets 'the bill' metaphorically, one could argue that HardTimes99 Sep 2013 #19
Now that reality is beginning to seep back, maybe we can all start being human to each other again. leveymg Sep 2013 #23
I think you are correct on all accounts jaysunb Sep 2013 #7
I can't see the Alawite giving up their only military advantage unless we prove that we are truly leveymg Sep 2013 #9
+ Infinity! - nty HardTimes99 Sep 2013 #14
I agree that there will be no "happy ending" to this mess jaysunb Sep 2013 #17
If this is true, then bombing will just be gas on the fire. roamer65 Sep 2013 #10
Kicked and recommended. Uncle Joe Sep 2013 #12
yes, thank you for posting this, dkf. leveymg Sep 2013 #20
This is the best and most informative thread I've seen in this matter. jaysunb Sep 2013 #21

leveymg

(36,418 posts)
1. This contradicts the report that crude rockets were used. He has no direct knowledge of
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 08:11 PM
Sep 2013

events on 8/21, but he's probably right about the fragmentation of command and control. This does reinforce the impression that the battlefield situation is increasingly chaotic, with the regime forces moving back into Latakia taking their best weapons with them, which includes the VX stocks which are in binary form with artillery shells and more sophisticated missiles to deliver them. If the Sunni continue to make incursions into the Alawite area, they probably will be deployed and used against targets at significantly greater range.

The Alawite forces left in Damascus will probably continue fighting to the last, rather than give up all of the capital.

This indicates that US strike would have no effect other than further splintering with an increase in uses of chemical weapons by all sides.

Looks like it's time to negotiate a non-battlefield end-game, or else we will be responsible for a major genocide.

 

dkf

(37,305 posts)
2. Yes. I was thinking if the Alawites are in danger of being massacred it makes sense to want the CWs
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 08:17 PM
Sep 2013

It's beginning to make sense.

leveymg

(36,418 posts)
6. I haven't slept well for a while.
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 08:34 PM
Sep 2013

This is only going to get very much worse if we actually take the next step and directly intervene.

Literally, the only way we can stop genocide is to threaten the Saudis/GCC states with dire consequences if they don't call off the dogs. But, I wonder if we even have the power to enforce such an effort to stop an genocidal end-game in Syria. If we changed direction about 120 degrees, and pushed the UN to convene a peace settlement that makes both the Shi'ia and Sunni (who believe they can win militarily) deeply unhappy,maybe, just maybe we can avoid a cataclysm.

People don't want to admit just how economically and politically weakened the United States and large parts of Europe have become, and how relatively strengthened the Saudis and Chinese are today than a decade ago.

 

dkf

(37,305 posts)
11. Even if we "call off" the Saudis etal, isn't the place armed to the teeth?
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 08:49 PM
Sep 2013

I swear I heard it is almost pointless for the US to add weapons as the place is swimming in them.

leveymg

(36,418 posts)
15. I believe the hope in the WH is a Kosovo solution - division of the country with guarantees to all
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 08:57 PM
Sep 2013

parties. The difference here is that unlike the former Yugoslavia, when you carve up Syria, the remains are pretty scrawny and not particularly sustainable, particularly for the Shi'ia and the Christians, most of whom will probably have to emigrate as refugees.

The Kurds will do okay, as they will link up with their own in the surrounding region, but that threatens Turkey and to a lesser degree Iraq and Iran.

The Sunnis and Druze will be stuck with a devastated country, and unless the peace is perfect (unlikely), we're looking at many heavily armed factions fighting among themselves for a long time to carve up the south, center and eastern parts of the country. Somalia is closer to the likely outcome than Croatia.

Then, there's the other interested party, Israel, which seems likely to try to extend its own influence further into Syria, as it has into Lebanon. Once the militias lose their focus on killing each other (something the Israelis will try to sustain as long as they can, because it's traditionally how they play things), there is always that to keep people armed and angry.

I'm afraid, I see poor prospects for what's left of post-Assad Syria. And, what I just mapped out is probably near to a best-case scenario

 

dkf

(37,305 posts)
16. Re-reading the thread over and over and seeing more each time...
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 09:03 PM
Sep 2013

And yes, my stomach is sinking.

We are about to light a match in a forest of dried timber.

Which makes me wonder if we know what we are doing. Are Obama etal smarter than we think or are they completely oblivious?

 

KittyWampus

(55,894 posts)
22. have the Saudis "call off the dogs". Reality check- Assad starting killing people when they started
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 09:15 PM
Sep 2013

agitating.

It started as civilians protesting.

Yo_Mama

(8,303 posts)
5. Once we intervene militarily, how do we get out?
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 08:24 PM
Sep 2013

Because do we have the ability to safely control the CW without basically overrunning the country and getting in a major war?

The military seems to think we do not.

If a joint UN action were taken, perhaps the Assad regime could be offered protection with a major force on the ground in exchange for a negotiated political settlement - elections, hand over weapons, enforced peace. That would be very dangerous for the troops, because a lot of actors on that stage wouldn't cooperate, so the UN probably won't do it.

But it is very unrealistic of us to assume that we can simple bomb the place and solve the problem, and if we do that and things get worse, we are going to be responsible for that and drawn into a very nasty situation.

leveymg

(36,418 posts)
8. You're asking all the right questions.
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 08:41 PM
Sep 2013

So, you are way ahead of the Administration which has staked out a completely untenable position.

 

HardTimes99

(2,049 posts)
13. Speaking of good questions, saw a great hand-written sign at
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 08:55 PM
Sep 2013

yesterday's protest in Los Ángeles.

Sign said simply:

How long will it take?
How much will it cost?
Who will get the bill?

 

HardTimes99

(2,049 posts)
19. Well, if one interprets 'the bill' metaphorically, one could argue that
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 09:07 PM
Sep 2013

the people of Syria (and, to a lesser extent, her neighbors) will be the ones getting the bill. But, in an even larger metaphoric sense, we are all Syrians. The whole thing (including your eloquently descriptive posts in this thread) has been making me alternately rage and weep today, not least for all the wonderful people of Syrian descent whom I met at yesterday's demo.

leveymg

(36,418 posts)
23. Now that reality is beginning to seep back, maybe we can all start being human to each other again.
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 09:18 PM
Sep 2013

That's my greatest hope, and I believe, the only good thing that can come out of this.

Up until now, it's been smoke of war and spinning mirrors of professional perception managers and their proxies in the media. The truth is much more awful than any version they have served up, and that is sobering. Or, it should be.

It may be too much to expect of any professional politician, but I really think if anyone is capable of changing course, and acknowledging the obvious, it may be Obama. I wish him strength, because I know he cannot be sleeping well, either.

jaysunb

(11,856 posts)
7. I think you are correct on all accounts
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 08:35 PM
Sep 2013

I've spoken w/ several Syrian locals and to a man they all believe a political bargain that would leave Assad in power would be the best for all concerned, particularly the Christian population.
Also, most have said emphatically that Assad is not completely in control.

It's been my hope all along--and continues to be--that Obama will use a positive response from Congress as leverage to secure all CW from the Assad regime.

Good post.

leveymg

(36,418 posts)
9. I can't see the Alawite giving up their only military advantage unless we prove that we are truly
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 08:45 PM
Sep 2013

a reliable neutral arbitrator, and I don't see how they can be convinced of that after two and a half years of our acting as a completely biased and nontransparent proponent of regime change in favor of the clients of Saudi Arabia and the GCC.

We cannot eliminate the battlefield chemical weapons in Syria. We can merely devolve their control, and that will only make their use more likely over a longer time.

It will take a power greater than the United States to impose any peace other than the peace of the graveyard in Syria.

jaysunb

(11,856 posts)
17. I agree that there will be no "happy ending" to this mess
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 09:04 PM
Sep 2013

as there will be a blood bath (ethnic cleansing) no matter who winds up on top.

roamer65

(36,742 posts)
10. If this is true, then bombing will just be gas on the fire.
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 08:46 PM
Sep 2013

The Alawites will increase the use of CW's to offset the gains of the Sunni mercenaries.

No doubt at this point that Hezbollah probably has gained access to some of this arsenal.

leveymg

(36,418 posts)
20. yes, thank you for posting this, dkf.
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 09:08 PM
Sep 2013

It's given us a chance to discuss stuff that a lot of us haven't been ready to face until now.

jaysunb

(11,856 posts)
21. This is the best and most informative thread I've seen in this matter.
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 09:13 PM
Sep 2013

The "hair on fire" crowd make it difficult to have a reasonable conversation.

My thanks to all the participants here....kind of reminds me of the old DU.

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