« UFOs explained! | Main | More evidence that U.S. shale will not collapse in 2015 »

December 31, 2014


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Disagree here, as perhaps expected.

This will cycle with hot and cold periods as per the conflicts in Africa (and I guess Iran-Iraq as well) in the 80's and 90's.

States don't really hit walls per se. When states collapse, it's usually a collision of several things, generally unpredictable. The Ottomans, for example, was a fairly unviable state for a long time before WWI finally did it in.

Lastly, when checking reports about morale and digging deep, you always gotta compare to the morale of the opponents... It's all relational.

Note the actual prediction, sir.

Then I disagree that 2015 is the year. I will state that 2014 was the year this process occurred especially in the West (aside from areas south of Damascus) of the country, and as such, is continuing forward.

I'd also think that it would be important to understand what concessions are made, so as to understand what people are continuing to fight for. Without a strong sense of this (I hate Assad and he must step down seems to be a nonstarter), it's hard to think of this violence process as having been digested to something other than what it is.

Lastly, the statement I disagreed with was that the SAA "would slowly lose the war". And I disagreed that you could make any sort of determination about what's happening without a relational comparison between SAA and its opponents. This does not matter if you think no one will win and Syria becomes anarchic with some Taliban to pick up the pieces afterwards. Whenever I read about wars, a substantial element I've always read has been the hopeful readings of enemy morale. But just because it sucks for the SAA to get the men that they need, doesn't necessarily mean that they are done or close to it. More substantial knowledge and analysis has to happen.

Shah8, I am completely lost as to what you think the post says. Let me condense it.

(1) The Syrian government can no longer go on the offense, except around Aleppo. And not even there for much longer.

(2) Therefore it will begin to negotiate local ceasefires, unless faced by an existential threat.

(3) Al Nusra is a potential existential threat, but only a potential one. Therefore you should watch it.


Your comment may have been better phrased as: "A stalement does not qualify as losing." Good point.

You also might be stating that point (2) assumes low opposition morale, because otherwise government ceasefire offers will not be accepted by the opposition. If opposition morale remained high, then Assad would slowly lose the war, in the sense of slowly losing his ability to stay in control of anything. Good point.

But if your disagreement goes beyond that, then I must say that I don't understand. It is a terrible internet habit to exaggerate points of contention, of which I am often guilty. But it is a terrible habit nonetheless.

I'm essentially (and always had been)disagreeing with your first point. I am saying that states tend to be "where there is a will, there is a way", and if you want to gauge whether the state has had it, you must also gauge its opponents. Do they have superior access to men, superior propaganda in order to get aid from the populace, etc. In other words, there's no such thing as an analyzed exhausted state in isolation.

Exhaustion, as the febrile heartbeat beneath your fingers, are only for the moment. Violence cycles, and offenses resume at a later point, however the state manages to resume it. Violence only ends at the forcible sheathing of the sword, and that means some sort of genuine winner, politically or militarily.

Much of 2014 has had the SAA negotiating ceasefires all over the western part (north of Damascus) of the country, so the idea that this process is going to start, is wrong. This process has already started, with many small adversaries that are themselves exhausted.

Virtually the only active adversaries left on the field (and fighting) seems to be the folks in the outlying Damascene suburbs and the borders of Israel and Jordan, and I find it questionable that they are able to swim among the fishes down there enough to make existential trouble. There doesn't seem to be too much fighting towards the Iraqi border, so the SAA might leave that for now, since it is, as you say, exhausted.

The comments to this entry are closed.