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September 05, 2011

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Another factor: Qaddafi made extensive use of African mercenaries, whose willingness to fight on his behalf was always questionable and crumbled when things got really tough. There's no equivalent in Syria.


Well, Libya didn't really have a professional military. That said, in a protracted civil war I wouldn't be surprised to see Assad calling in foreign assistance, including but not limited to Iranians and possibly Hezbollah. (Which, if I were an Israeli strategic planner, would be making me twitchy as hell.)

That touches on an issue I didn't get into: a hypothetical civil war in Syria would look very different from the Libyan conflict. The ethnic mix, the geography, the diplomatic situation, the internal politics -- all utterly different. If a civil war happens (I think it's unlikely, though possible), it will have a completely different "look and feel" from the Libya conflict.

But this is a bit separate from the question of military intervention.


Doug M.

Update, three months later: the Yakhont missiles were delivered last week. This had been in the works for a long time, since before the Arab Spring, but it's still interesting that it went through.


Doug M.

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