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Infograph of 10 days of rebel bombardment of Gov controlled #Aleppo

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146 dead -

52 children
33 women
61 men
 
1103 wounded -
432 children
356 women
315 men
28% were critically wounded
 
2300 shells launched
 
Including:
Mortars 
Gas canisters 
107mm rockets
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Al-Zinki reporter Abdo Amin "Khattab Abo Omar" was killed in Family House during clashes with #SAA #Aleppo

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Rebels who were killed at Family House:

 
~70 militants were killed in the offensive on #SAA controlled west #Aleppo

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#SAA were able to regain control of "Family House" after reversing a large-scale offensive by Rebels/Islamists on west #Aleppo

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How Britain funds the 'propaganda war' against Isis in Syria

 

 

  The British government is waging information warfare in Syria by funding media operations for some rebel fighting groups, in the foreign front of what David Cameron has called “the propaganda war” against Islamic State.  

(...)

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Al #Qaeda Is About to Establish an Emirate in Northern #Syria

http://foreignpolicy.com/2016/05/04/al-qaeda-is-about-to-establish-an-emirate-in-northern-syria/

 

 

   Al Qaeda has big ambitions in Syria. For the past three years, an unprecedented number of veteran figures belonging to the group have arrived in the country, in what can only be described as the covert revitalization of al Qaeda’s central leadership on Europe’s doorstep. Now the jihadi group’s Syrian affiliate, the Nusra Front — having spent nearly five years slowly building deep roots in the country — is laying the groundwork for al Qaeda’s first sovereign state.

 
   The Islamic State and al Qaeda use different tactics in Syria, but their ultimate objective there is the same: the creation of an Islamic emirate. Whereas the Islamic State has imposed unilateral control over populations and rapidly proclaimed independence, al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate has moved much more deliberately, seeking to build influence in the areas they hope to rule. This is a long-game strategy that the terrorist group began adopting in the late 2000s, first in Yemen, in 2011, and then in Mali, in 2012.
 
   But the Nusra Front in Syria has proved the first potentially successful test case. After years of painstaking work to increase its sway in northern Syria, Nusra Front recently launched consultations within its own ranks and among some sympathetic opposition groups about proclaiming an emirate. Given the stakes involved, al Qaeda has recently transferred a number of highly influential jihadi figures from its central leadership circles into Syria. Their mission is to assuage the concerns expressed by other Syrian Islamist movements and those members of Nusra Front who, for now, oppose the idea of an independent emirate.
 
   The presence of a militarily powerful and socially accepted al Qaeda emirate in northwestern Syria, led by several dozen veteran al Qaeda figures and heavily manned by local Syrian fighters, could have significant consequences for the Syrian crisis and for international security.
 
   The formalization of Nusra Front’s power in northern Syria would harden the group’s stance toward Syria’s moderate opposition. Proclaiming an emirate would require the group to assert overwhelming control — including the imposition of a strict interpretation of sharia — in the territories over which it would be asserting sovereignty. In all likelihood, incidents of capital punishment would dramatically increase, civilian freedoms would be restricted, and Nusra Front’s tolerance of nonreligious, nationalist, and civil opposition bodies would decline.
 
   The international implications of an emirate proclamation would be even more significant. The combination of an al Qaeda emirate and a revitalized al Qaeda central leadership in northern Syria would represent a confidence boost for the jihadi organization’s global brand. Al Qaeda would present itself as the smart, methodical, and persistent jihadi movement that, in contrast to the Islamic State, had adopted a strategy more aligned with everyday Sunni Muslims. Eventually, the decision would be made to initiate the plotting of foreign attacks, using Syria’s proximity to Europe and al Qaeda’s regional network to pose a far more urgent threat than the group ever posed in Yemen and Afghanistan. Should the Islamic State continue to suffer losses to its territorial claims in Iraq and Syria, we might also see some defections to the emboldened al Qaeda affiliate next door.
 
   How close is al Qaeda to proclaiming a Syrian emirate? Nusra Front seems to have slowed its emirate plans, at least temporarily, during Syria’s recent cessation of hostilities. That had allowed Syrian Islamist opposition groups to express their hostility to the group’s emirate plans. Some even raised the idea that Nusra Front should break its ties to al Qaeda in order to further integrate into the mainstream “revolutionary opposition.”
 
“For a short time, some consultation began outside of al-Nusra, but the response was very negative,” one well-connected Syrian Islamist said. “Syrians do not want an emirate.”
 
   The influential Syrian Islamist continued: “Since then, al-Nusra has refocused the consultation to within its own community, as that experience made some of al-Nusra’s Shura Council want to wait longer [before establishing an emirate], while others say it is their right to do it now. It is a very difficult discussion.”
 
   But now, with the cessation of hostilities effectively over and the political process in Geneva falling apart, Nusra Front’s leverage on the ground is increasing once again. The group is rebuilding a military coalition and plans to soon initiate major offensive operations south of Aleppo in order to spoil an attempt by the United States and Russia to introduce a truce in that city.
 
   If such escalatory conditions persist, the West’s best hope of thwarting al Qaeda’s ambitions is to dramatically scale up assistance to vetted military and civil components of the mainstream opposition inside Syria. Nusra Front has acquired its influence in Syria precisely because more moderate elements of the opposition have received insufficient backing to compete with its battlefield power and capacity to control territory. That needs to change.
 
   Whether we like it or not, the United States and its allies are now in an urgent battle for influence with al Qaeda’s most effective and successful affiliate yet. The consequences of ignoring, or losing, that battle are potentially catastrophic.
 
   Al Qaeda Central comes to Syria
  
   Veteran and senior al Qaeda figures began arriving in Syria in mid-2013, seeking to bolster Nusra Front’s leadership. The Islamic State’s aggressive emergence in Syria in April that year had resulted in the defection of a majority of Nusra Front’s foreign fighters to its side, spurring al Qaeda to reassert its jihadi “weight” there. Among the earliest arrivals were a third cousin of Osama bin Laden, Abdulmohsen Abdullah Ibrahim al-Sharikh (known as Sanafi al-Nasr); al Qaeda’s leader in Iran, Muhsin al-Fadhli; several veteran commanders on Saudi Arabia’s most wanted list, including Abdullah Suleiman Salih al-Dhabah (Abu Ali al-Qasimi); and major Syrian jihadi figures with decades of combat experience, like Radwan Nammous (Abu Firas al-Suri) and Abu Hammam al-Suri.
 
   For al Qaeda, establishing a durable presence in Syria represented an invaluable opportunity. The country is close to Europe, shares a border with Israel, and can benefit from jihadi facilitation, recruitment, and logistical support from Iraq, Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon. Theologically, Syria also stands at the heart of many apocalyptic prophesies from the Hadith regarding the end of the world and armies of holy warriors emanating from its territories.
 
   From mid-2012 until mid-2014, Nusra Front had emphasized its military contribution and aversion to corruption while downplaying its jihadi ideology. Syrians had therefore accepted and often even embraced its role on the battlefield, even as they privately expressed concerns about its long-term intentions. However, the Islamic State’s proclamation of a caliphate in June 2014 posed a substantial challenge to the jihadi credibility of Nusra Front, which until that moment had controlled no territory unilaterally, frequently cooperated with nationalist forces to govern areas, and was only imposing a bare minimum of sharia law.
 
   In the time since, the al Qaeda affiliate has slowly revealed more and more of its extremist face while trying to avoid risking its accepted status within the mainstream opposition. Nonetheless, concerns about Nusra Front’s long-term intentions for Syria did begin to emerge among other opposition groups in late 2014 — around the same time that the United States initiated airstrikes against apparent Nusra Front cells allegedly planning attacks on the West.
 
   This sparked the group’s partial “re-moderation” in late 2014 and early 2015, with al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri even secretly ordering the adoption, again, of a more moderate, friendly face for the organization and the cessation of foreign plotting. Nusra Front subsequently assumed a lead role in capturing much of northern Idlib province from Bashar al-Assad’s regime between March and June 2015, recementing its status as an invaluable ally to the revolution.
 
   Nusra Front’s emirate takes shape
 
   By mid-2015, Nusra Front had become a dominant military power in much of Idlib. Only the Syrian Salafi group Ahrar al-Sham wielded comparable power in the region. Despite having initially proclaimed its intention to share power and govern together with other civilian and military opposition bodies, Nusra Front soon launched unilateral attempts to rule over parts of Idlib city and the towns of Jisr al-Shughour and Ariha.
 
   Despite local civilian resistance, Nusra Front has remained determined to establish its influence, steadily expanding the scope of its control. In particular, the establishment of the “Liberated Districts Administration” as a body in charge of a broad range of governance activities indicated the group’s intent to formalize its control over territory and population. By summer 2015, following Nusra Front’s withdrawal of forces from northern Aleppo, Idlib had quite clearly emerged as the center of al Qaeda’s Syrian project.
 
   As Nusra Front attempted to consolidate its control in Idlib, bolstered by the newly arrived forces from northern Aleppo, perhaps the most influential living al Qaeda figure other than Zawahiri crossed into northern Syria. Having been released from an Iranian prison as part of a prisoner swap deal with al Qaeda’s Yemeni affiliate, former Egyptian special forces Col. Saif al-Adel was allegedly expressly ordered by Zawahiri to aid Nusra Front. “This is all part of al Qaeda’s plan,” a senior Salafi figure based in Idlib said. “Saif al-Adel is here to ensure that Zawahiri’s project in Syria is realized. Al-Sham has become everything to al Qaeda’s global strategy.”
 
   Almost certainly traveling with Saif al-Adel were three other key al Qaeda figures, all of whose histories connected them to the movement’s highest levels of leadership. Of the three, two were Egyptian nationals — Abu al-Khayr al-Masri and Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah (also known as Abu Mohammed al-Masri). Both have been implicated in the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa; Abu al-Khayr also was a former aide of Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri and happens to be married to one of Bin Laden’s daughters. The third individual was a Palestinian-Jordanian, Khaled al-Arouri, who is married to a daughter of Islamic State founder Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. If these three figures are still in northern Syria together with Saif al-Adel, then the significance of Al-Qaeda’s presence in Syria arguably now outweighs its presence in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
 
   What’s clear is that shortly after Adel arrived in northern Syria, Nusra Front initiated discussion within its senior leadership regarding the group’s overall strategy and the feasibility of establishing an emirate in Idlib. The discussions were seen as so important that two of Nusra Front’s most senior figures in southern Syria were transferred to Idlib so that they could take part, according to sources speaking to this author. One, Sami al-Oraydi, was the chief sharia official in Nusra Front and thus the group’s de facto deputy leader. The other, Iyad al-Toubasi (known as Abu Julaybib), was one of Nusra Front’s seven founding members in October 2011 and had gained notoriety in the south for having led a covert assassination campaign against opposition figures who resisted Nusra Front’s influence.
 
   Coming amid Russia’s intervention in Syria, Abu Julaybib’s arrival in northern Syria in late 2015 has been widely interpreted as a sign that Nusra Front is preparing for similar targeted attacks against any detractors of its emirate plans. “It’s a really scary move, to be honest,” a Latakia-based Islamist commander said. “Everyone knows what Abu Julaybib is capable of, and, given the circumstances, it can only point to one thing: more death.”
 
   Influential Nusra Front clerics then began an informal consultation process with a small number of conservative sheikhs in Idlib, Latakia, and Aleppo to judge the appetite for the group’s plans. “They didn’t get the answers they were looking for,” the Idlib-based Salafist told me. “It was a big shock to them. They really didn’t expect it.”
 
   Concerned by this early opposition, Nusra Front changed tack. In January, the group convened a meeting of leaders of armed groups in Idlib and proposed a grand military merger. In doing this, Nusra Front exploited its principal source of leverage over opposition groups: Although the vast majority of Syria’s opposition opposed an overt al Qaeda project on Syrian soil, the global jihadi movement’s Syrian affiliate remained an invaluable ally on the battlefield.
 
   While some groups in the room indicated an interest in a merger, Ahrar al-Sham rejected the proposition altogether due to Nusra Front’s allegiance to al Qaeda. Two sources who requested anonymity claimed Nusra Front’s leader, Abu Mohammed al-Jolani, had used that initial meeting as a sounding board for his emirate plans, by meeting on the side with two smaller jihadi factions — Jund al-Aqsa and the Turkistan Islamic Party — both of which expressed their support.
 
   Challenged by a fragile calm
 
   Already discouraged by the early negative responses, the cessation of hostilities that went into effect in large parts of Syria in late February posed a second challenge to Nusra Front. As its influence in Syria was directly linked to its capacity to demonstrate value on the battlefield, the decline in violence catalyzed a dramatic re-empowerment of Syria’s moderate protest movement and the revitalization of the most moderate elements of the opposition.
 
   In parts of Idlib, some protests even began to adopt slogans hostile to Assad’s regime and al Qaeda. In the town of Maarat al-Numan, Nusra Front’s patience wore out on March 11, when its fighters violently dispersed demonstrators and attacked the bases of the 13th Division, a Free Syrian Army (FSA) group vetted by the CIA and supported through a multinational command center in Turkey. The expulsion of the 13th Division from Maarat al-Numan sparked days of protests in Idlib and further afield, some of which (here, here and here) included leading members of Ahrar al-Sham. For the first time in several years, al Qaeda’s strategy in Syria appeared to have failed the group.
 
   Nusra Front quickly identified the cessation of hostilities as a threat to its influence and set about attempting to undermine it. Beginning around March 20, the al Qaeda affiliate convened a series of meetings with armed opposition groups active in northern Hama, Latakia, and southern Aleppo, with the intention of persuading them that their interests were better served in fighting than in supporting the political process in Geneva.
 
“They presented some convincing arguments,” an opposition commander who attended one of the meetings said. “But mostly, it seemed we were being threatened: If we didn’t join the operation, we would be seen as an enemy.”
 
   Three weeks later, simultaneous offensives were launched in all three operational zones — all led by Nusra Front. Within hours, Nusra Front had regained its status as a necessary opposition ally in its bitter and brutal revolutionary struggle, while the moderate opposition reassumed secondary importance. Remarkably, even the units of the 13th Division — which Nusra Front had openly attacked in Maarat al-Numan just weeks earlier — joined the offensive in southern Aleppo.
 
   While opposition groups had felt under increasing pressure to retaliate against continued regime violations of the cessation of hostilities, it’s unlikely that they would have been able to mount a significant offensive in northern Syria absent Nusra Front’s military power.
 
“Don’t you think we would prefer not to have al-Nusra in our trenches?” one FSA commander asked. “They represent everything we are opposed to. Sometimes, they are the same as the regime. But what can we do when our supposed friends abroad give us nothing to assert ourselves? We rely on others only because we cannot do the job by ourselves.”
 
   Now that fighting has resumed, Nusra Front has allegedly intensified its consultation process surrounding its plans for an emirate in Idlib. On al Qaeda’s invitation, Rifai Ahmad Taha, a highly influential Egyptian jihadi figure, crossed into northern Syria on April 1 from Turkey. Taha was a jihadi of serious repute: He was a founding member of Egypt’s radical al-Gamaa al-Islamiyya, suspected of involvement in the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings in east Africa, and was a signatory of Osama bin Laden’s 1998 fatwa against the United States and Israel.
 
   Though invited as an “independent” mediator, Taha in his job, according to three Islamist sources in Idlib and Aleppo, was to encourage unity within al Qaeda’s three circles of leadership (one other source claimed Taha was also in Syria to engage with those who advocated Nusra Front’s breaking of ties with al Qaeda). The first circle of leadership with whom he would engage consisted of Nusra Front’s core leadership surrounding Jolani, which had begun advocating a return to a “long-game” approach. The second included hard-line factions of Nusra Front’s military and religious leaders, who were pushing for the establishment of an emirate. And the third comprised an emerging and separate al Qaeda Central grouping, which wanted an emirate established as soon as possible, to serve as a stepping stone for a resumption of external attack plotting.
 
   Stopping Nusra Front’s emirate
 
   Taha, however, would not serve as a mediator for long. He was killed in a U.S. drone strike only four days after arriving in Syria. Alongside him was Abu Omar al-Masri, the former right-hand man of Emir Khattab — a Saudi jihadi famous for his leadership in Chechnya — who had been active in Syria as early as 2012. Since Taha’s death, Nusra Front has continued to very slowly expand the breadth of its consultation process, seeking to win some level of acceptance for its emirate plans.
 
   Internally, the al Qaeda affiliate remains split on how fast to establish the emirate. In the end, developments on the battlefield may play a role in determining the outcome of these debates.
 
   While a renewed cease-fire would likely spoil al Qaeda’s plans, a steady escalation of hostilities could potentially provoke a level of desperation within opposition ranks that may provide space for some limited level of grudging acceptance of the emirate. A rejuvenated version of the “Army of Conquest,” a rebel coalition including Nusra Front, now looks set to emerge in Idlib and Aleppo, as a consequence of the discussions initiated by the al Qaeda affiliate in January. This development indicates that some Syrians have already begun to tighten their cooperative bonds with Nusra Front, albeit out of a perceived military — and not ideological — necessity.
 
   Given the resumption of fighting in Syria, and the corresponding rise in Nusra Front’s fortunes, the group will almost certainly follow through on its plans and establish an emirate in Idlib by the end of 2016. It is now up to the United States and its allies to determine which portion of Syria’s mainstream opposition is confident enough to resist such a move. The first step is acknowledging that the vast majority of Syria’s mainstream opposition rejects, in principle, the presence of an al Qaeda emirate in their country and the imposition of transnational jihadi objectives onto Syrian soil.
 
   However, the West has not yet demonstrated its determination to provide sufficient support to the opposition so that it can offer a viable alternative to Nusra Front’s influence as a potential government in northern Syria. In the city of Maarat al-Numan, the 13th Division rebel group has been linked to local civil society bodies and a moderate judicial system headed up by several moderate Sunni sheikhs. However, these institutions weren’t powerful enough to effectively confront Nusra Front. And rather than offer significant help to one of its most prominent and popular Syrian “assets,” the United States simply stood by and watched silently as the 13th Division was attacked in Maarat al-Numan, and ultimately defeated, by al Qaeda.
 
   There is still an opportunity to rescue some of this lost opportunity. However, it will require a substantial expansion of military, political, and financial assistance to a broad spectrum of Syria’s opposition. There are currently more than 50 separate FSA groups that have been vetted by the CIA, all of which operate in coordination with locally legitimate civil, political, and judicial bodies. In dramatically expanding its support, the West should embrace an “ink spot” strategy that empowers these opposition strands in tandem. The aim should be to establish a gradually expanding network of empowered, internationally backed, and genuinely influential opposition communities, whose individual successes empower the others and provide a barrier to al Qaeda influence.
 
   If Western policymakers continue on their current course, however, al Qaeda will continue to advance along its path toward an emirate. Only by empowering local groups opposed to its transnational jihadi agenda can we avoid gifting northwestern Syria to al Qaeda on a silver platter.
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    • By LoooSeR
      Well, looking at amount of info that i can get about Al-Mukowama, i decided to make a separate thread about them where we (or just me) will collect information about Al-Mukowama aka Hezbollah aka Islamic Resistance of Lebanon. Will try to update this thread as often as new information will be avaliable.
       
         First section will be about Hezbollah military wing/Al-Mukowama in general. Second - infantry. 3rd - armor, 4th - special services.
       
         Creating this thread now, will add major updates later.
      ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________
       

       
       
         1. What is Hezbollah
          Hebollah is a Lebanon political party that represents southern Lebanon and shia communities interests and also is big part of social life in Lebanon (healthcare, construction, education, etc.). 
         "Hezbollah not only has armed and political wings – it also boasts an extensive social development program. Hezbollah currently operates at least four hospitals, twelve clinics, twelve schools and two agricultural centres that provide farmers with technical assistance and training. It also has an environmental department and an extensive social assistance program. Medical care is also cheaper than in most of the country's private hospitals and free for Hezbollah members." (yes, this is from wiki, but it represents social aspect of Hezbollah pretty well)
         Current views on organisation are very different, but all they can be generally divided in 2 point of views - first is that organisation aim is the abolition of the confessional political system imposed by the colonialists, replacing it with an Islamic states modeled on Iranian example second is that organisation gone though serious re-view of it's place and ideaology and accepted Lebanon internal politics rules and now work to improve shia communities place in Lebanon society. 
       
         A bit of history. 
         After South Lebanon occupation in 1982, different existing groups of shias (including radicals), that were not connected to "Amal" party (only shia party at the time in Lebanon) started to form a "Hezbollah" in Bekaa valley. Unification of different groups was happening in the same time with increasing connection with Iran, that was looking at possibilities of "exporting" Islamic Revolution to other countries in the region. Bekaa was de-facto controlled by Syria, which had direct impact (although not critical) on creation of Hezbollah. Syria allowed a connection of Hezbollah and Iran IRSG personal, that started to train first groups of Islamic resistance. Syrian officials and Hezbollah contact were limited, main questions were paths of weapons and supplies to formed organisation to combat Israelis in Lebanon and security issues.
         Following the conclusion of the Taif Agreement and end of Lebanon civil war in 1990, Syria became a guarantor of stability in Lebanon and had serious influence on internal policy of neighbor. Hezbollah/Lebanon Resistance was allowed to have weapons and continue their actions against Israel. Syrian officials did not interfere with economic re-building plan, that was put in place by Lebanon gov. After Israelis left Southern Lebanon in 2000, the "Hezbollah-Syria-Iran" axis did not stopped to work, actually it continued to work pretty well.
       

       
         "Cedar Revolution" in 2005 and withdrawal of Syrian forces changed political landscape of Lebanon, opening new possibilites for Hezbollah - for the first time organisation competed for a place in the government. On March 8, 2005, after only a few weeks after the assassination of Rafiq Hariri (Prime Minister Rafik Hariri of Lebanon in 1992-1998 and of 2000-2004. He was killed in Beirut in a terrorist act of 14 February 2005), when anti-Syrian sentiment in Lebanon were at the highest point, the General secretary of "Hezbollah" Nasrallah spoke in support of Syria. "Hezbollah" was to counter the paradigm, formed in Lebanon about orientation to the West and Saudi Arabia, and offered it's own project, but it was feasible "only with the preservation of regional partners".
         Over  course of 2000s "Hezbollah" was the main proponent of this vector of development. Support in Lebanon was achieved through large-scale social projects, including nondenominational, individual successes at the border with Israel and the active promotion of the Islamic Resistance. 
       
         "Arab Spring".
        "Hezbollah" with optimism greeted the events of the "Arab spring" in countries most affected by it, as it served Hezbollah's regional interests. The criteria according to which party estimated the riots, were formulated by March 25, 2011 by Nasralla: firstly, it is the position of the former regime in relation to arab-Israel conflict; secondly, the desire and the ability to implement major reforms. Despite the uniqueness of the situation in each country, "Hezbollah" is regarded massive unrest in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Libya, as a struggle against tyranny. The party supported the efforts of the Bahraini Shiites, aimed at achieving equality in political life. 
         The victory of the party "An-Nahda" in Tunisia, in terms of Hezbollah was an opportunity for Tunisia to find their own political identity and refuse Westernization. In the same way, Hezbollah welcomed the success of "Muslim Brotherhood" in Egypt, but later abandoned it because of the Syrian issue.  With regard to the events in Libya, "Hezbollah" has supported the overthrow of Gaddafi, but condemned Western intervention. It is worth mentioning that "Hezbollah" has long accused Gaddafi in the disappearance and alleged murder in 1978 of Musa al-Sadr, an important figure of the "Shiite revival" in Lebanon.
       
         Arab Spring and Syria
         "Hezbollah" approach to the assessment of events in the neighboring Syrian is radically different from the one described above, but based on the same criteria. Syria - an essential element of the "resistance front" (al-Jabhat Mumanaa) Iran-Syria-"Hezbollah", despite the fact that on the Syrian-Israeli border for a long time remained calm. 
         The armed fight against Israel until the complete liberation of Lebanese territory (including the Shebaa farms) and aid to the Palestinians in the struggle against the invaders were proclaimed as key objective of "Hezbollah". Therefore, anti-Israeli views are put at the center of patriotic party rhetoric. In this regard, "Hezbollah" is positioning itself not as a Shia party in the multi-confessional Lebanon, but as a nationwide movement. In fact, Hezbollah in Lebanon has formed a complete culture of resistance, supported by competent propaganda efforts: periodic celebrations in memory of the "fallen martyrs", publishing work, aimed at a better understanding of history, folk art contests, social program, etc. It resonates not only in the Shia community, but also attracts other communities of the country.
         The intervention in the armed conflict in Syria, on the one hand, distract "Hezbollah" from its main purpose - the protection of southern Lebanon, and the other side serves this purpose, as a possible regime change in Syria would weaken the party. Syria provides the main transit route for arms from Iran, "Hezbollah".
       

       
         However, this is not the main reason for the decision of "Hezbollah" to take part in the Syrian war. With the deepening of the conflict and the emergence of a growing number of foreign jihadists in Syria, it became apparent that the country was transformed into an arena for regional confrontation. Groups of Islamic radicals, and foregin-controlled FSA/"Moderate" opposition, have threatened the established order of things. Moreover, for "Hezbollah" is vital to prevent their penetration into Lebanese territory. Nasrallah, in one of his speeches, said: "Some insist that Lebanon's problem is that "Hezbollah" went to Syria. I would argue that the problem of Lebanon is that [we] were late.
      <...> If takfiri-terrorists prevail in Syria, we will all be destroyed".    It should be emphasized that "Takfiri" that Nasrallah and other Hezbollah-connected medias mentions, wrongly interpreted by many observers and journalists as the Sunni Islamism. "Hezbollah" maintains relationships with a number of Sunni Islamist groups. Summarizing the Syrian radical groups by "takfiri" term (no "murtads", comrades!), "Hezbollah" thus draws attention to the threat posed by these groups to religious minorities (including Shiites). Support for Syria by "Hezbollah" can not be considered only in the interfaith dimension. Mukowama actions and Hezbollah involvement in any way is not a support of the Alawite community, as many brain-dead journalists and sell-out medias tries to show it.  
         The factor of the need to protect Shiite shrines are used to mobilize the Lebanese community (and by some degree Iraqi shias as well), but, in general the party avoids movement to inter-confessional conflict, especially in Lebanon. The main motive of "Hezbollah" is not religious, but political. It is vitally important priority remains the preservation of the "axis of resistance" and the current balance of forces in the region. Therefore, the party comes to the Syrian events otherwise than to the "Arab Spring" as a whole: not as a confrontation between the people and the yet another tyrant regime, but as the United States  Israel and their allies attempts to change the regime in Syria. Following the logic of "Hezbollah", problems could be solved with the help of internal reforms Syria problem, while the intervention of Western countries, pressing their interests, must be prevented. In this context, "Hezbollah" has repeatedly stressed the readiness of Assad to reform and dialogue with the opposition.
         For a long period of "Hezbollah" refused to acknowledge their involvement in the conflict while expressing support for the Assad and Syrian government  with words only (or nearly words only). 
         In 2011, Nasrallah defined the party's position in relation to the events in Syria as:
      priority is stability and security; call for the Syrian people to choose the path of dialogue, rather than confrontation with the government, and to allow him to carry out the necessary reforms; non-interference in the Lebanese internal affairs of Syria; denial of sanctions promoted by the West and imposed on Lebanon.    Leaders of "Hezbollah" has repeatedly stressed their belief that the conflict will became long war, and hoped to avoid direct participation.    INTERVENTION IN CONFLICT will be covered in 5th posts in this thread.  
       
         2. "Military Wing" of Hezbollah [WIP]
       

       
         There is no military unit in Hezbollah political party structure per say, the armed organisation that is usually refered as Hezbollah is a separate structure called Lebanese/Islamic Resistance or Al-Mouqowama/Al-Mukowama/Al-Muqawama, created because of southern Lebanon occupation by Israel. Al-Mukowama continue to grow and improve and currently it is one of most combat effective forces (relative to their size) in ME.
         Al-Mukowama is basically smaller and poorer version of IDF and In fact in 2000s most of Al-Mukowama equipment was Israeli-made. Recruitment is conscript-based, with big number of active reservists (periodically going to training facilities). Officers are usually somebody with plenty of combat experience, some of which gone trough training in Iran (including specialists like ATGM gunners and etc.).
         From 2006 Al-Muqawama was working on their Armor branch of forces, which they revealed during later stage of Syrian war. Resistance also have pretty seroius insititute of military advisors, number of which were working in Iraq with shia paramilitaries, were spotted multiple times in different parts of Syria and rumors say that they are involved in Yemen conflict, although i have no photo or video evidence to confirm such claims.
         Overall numbers are unknown, but counting reservists it may reach 40k. Primarly Al-Muqawama forces are light infantry, which is well equipped by ME arab countries standarts. Each member usually have 2 sets of equipment with wood/forest/green and desert camos (usually locally produced), protection (bodyarmor and helmets), ammocarriers (plenty of old Israel gear copies) and so on. Squads have internal organisation similar to army units - grenadiers/infantrymens/sharpshooter with DMR/MG gunner, medic and so on. Tankers, Marksmans, RPG gunners - all have basic infantry training as well, they can be seen carrying some version of AK as secondary weapon. Resistance also have dedicated AT units, reconnaissance, AA, artillery. As i already said - this is pocket version of actual army without Navy and air forces.
         Currently Al-Muqawama have bases not only in Lebanon, but in Syria as well (Qusayr/Al-Quseir for example).
       

       
         3. Why it is allowed to exist in parallel to LAF [WIP]
         The simple question why inside of one country effectively 2 armies are allowed to exist can be answered in this 2 ways - Lebanon is not 1 country, it is more of a collection of communities that share borders, so it can have more than 1 armed groups that exist officially (How about Lebanese communists armed wing? Yes, they do exist)... or those 2 armies are doing what other army can't and second answer is something that i feel is closer to reality. 
         Because of sophisticated interal policy of Lebanon state, LAF to start to act needs approval from several interested groups (which plenty of times have conficting views), which lead to LAF being slow to respond or even incapable to do something that situation may require. And this is where Resistance comes into play - it can be used to do the job that official army should have been doing, but can't because it may start serious tensions in Lebanon. Primary example - Syria, through Syria-Lebanon border plenty of terrorists groups are trying to get into country and LAF is doing almost nothing to prevent it, which led to Al-Muqawama cleaning border and fight in areas in Syria, close to Lebanon (Arsal, Beeka, 1st and 2nd Qalamoun, battle for Zabadani being best examples).
         It appears that Lebanon intelligence service - the G2 - is closelly connected to Al-Muqowama. Abbas Ibragim, the head of G2, was once reported by Al-Manar as coordinator of Army and Al-Muqowama actions in recent years. On 12 December of 2015 his nephew (Mohammed Hussein Ibrahim) was KIA in Syria in SW part of Aleppo province, which also shows some connections between him and Al-Mukowama. Another interesting example of possible connection between LAF and Resistance is Saudi Arabia canceling military aid for LAF about a year ago, which Saudi officials explained as punishment of LAF for support of Al-Mukowama.
        Also:



       

      Lebanese President Michel Aoun with Hezbollah MP Mohammad Raad surrounded by Al-Muqowama fighters at a Hezbollah site in South Lebanon.
       
       
         4. Iran - Al-Muqawama connection [WIP]
         As i already noted, some Resistance personal gone trough training in Iran, for example - several Kornet ATGM teams before 2006 Lebanon war. It appears that in recent years Resistance advisors work with some of shia units that also have Iranian support, primarly in Iraq. There is not much information on this, but small pieces are getting to public. There was an event several years back when Iranian general was KIA during Israely strikes on Al-Mukowama base at Lebanon-Israel border. Another point - recently shown Al-Muqawama AT teams vehicles are armed with double Kornet launchers, which were spotted in Iran, AFAIK.
         Most blatant example of Iran-Hezbollah connections is this recently appeared photo of now dead Al-Muqawama officer Syed Aqeel Fahas with IRGC General Qasem Soleimani.
       

       
    • By LoooSeR
      Hello, my friends and Kharkovites, take a sit and be ready for your brains to start to work - we are going to tell you a terrible secret of how to tell apart Soviet tanks that actually works like GLORIOUS T-80 and The Mighty T-72 from Kharkovites attempt to make a tank - the T-64. Many of capitalists Westerners have hard time understanding what tank is in front of them, even when they know smart words like "Kontakt-5" ERA. Ignoramus westerners!
       
       
         Because you are all were raised in several hundreds years old capitalism system all of you are blind consumer dummies, that need big noisy labels and shiny colorful things to be attached to product X to be sold to your ignorant heads and wallets, thats why we will need to start with basics. BASICS, DA? First - how to identify to which tank "family" particular MBT belongs to - to T-64 tree, or T-72 line, or Superior T-80 development project, vehicles that don't have big APPLE logo on them for you to understand what is in front of you. And how you can do it in your home without access to your local commie tank nerd? 
       
       
         Easy! Use this Putin approved guide "How to tell appart different families of Soviet and Russian tanks from each other using simple and easy to spot external features in 4 steps: a guide for ignorant western journalists and chairborn generals to not suck in their in-depth discussions on the Internet".
       
       
       
      Chapter 1: Where to look, what to see.
       
      T-64 - The Ugly Kharkovite tank that doesn't work 
       
         We will begin with T-64, a Kharkovite attempt to make a tank, which was so successful that Ural started to work on their replacement for T-64 known as T-72. Forget about different models of T-64, let's see what is similar between all of them.
       
       
       

       
       
         
       
       
      T-72 - the Mighty weapon of Workers and Peasants to smash westerners
       
         Unlike tank look-alike, made by Kharkovites mad mans, T-72 is true combat tank to fight with forces of evil like radical moderate barbarians and westerners. Thats why we need to learn how identify it from T-64 and you should remember it's frightening lines!
       

       
       
       
      The GLORIOUS T-80 - a Weapon to Destroy and Conquer bourgeois countries and shatter westerners army
       
         And now we are looking at the Pride of Party and Soviet army, a true tank to spearhead attacks on decadent westerners, a tank that will destroy countries by sucking their military budgets and dispersing their armies in vortex of air, left from high-speed charge by the GLORIOUS T-80!

      The T-80 shooting down jets by hitting them behind the horizont 
          
    • By LoooSeR
      T-14 ARMATA 
      (edited)
              This thread is about glorious russian MBT T-14, known as "Armada", "T-95", "black eagle", "T-99" and other stupid Western names given to Object 148 (T-14 in some recent documents). Here is number of images connected to that vehicle.
       

      Official model of unknown "artillery vehicle". Yeah, Putin, we know that this is T-14. Note Gatling gun on turret right side.
       
      Artist impression of T-14 based on known model, by Fyodor Podporin. 
       

      T-14 will use Relikt ERA, which is considerable improvement over Kontakt-5 in resisting to tandem HEAT warheads and EFPs.

       
      Side skirts would be thicker on a real vehicle, i think. Relikt have AFAIK bigger size than Kontakt-5 ERA build-in blocks.

       
       
       
       
       
      Whole album with renders: 
      http://imgur.com/a/8Tn9b
       
      Video of same render from same artist:

       
       
            People expect that tank would have turret weapon system like what you see on the BMP-3 "Bakhcha-U" turret - a lot of weapons in one turret for one gunner to work with. T-14 is rumored to be equipped with 30 (or even 57) mm autocannon, 4-6 barrel gatling type MG/HMG, new 125 (2A82) or even 152 mm (2A83) smoothbore cannons. Turret is unmanned, crew of 3 would be located in frontal part of hull, behind very serious frontal armor inside of compartment, well protected from all directions. Cannon would be loaded by new autoloading device. I hope that Burevestnik is working on them, those guys managed to make 100 mm Naval gun with RoF of 300 shots per minute.
       
            I really like how turret looks, but i don't understand why there is such a big turret "busket" for unmanned turret with all ammo placed inside of hull in special armored housing. Also, i don't see gunner sight and proposed FSC radar on 3D model (i assume that panoramic sight is for commander). Laser sensors on 3D model are from T-90A variant of "Shtora".
       
            Some officials mentioned works on new active protection system, that consist of powerfull radar station, that can work on "long ranges" and engage incoming projectiles (missiles) with that gatling MG. Will this system survive development stage and be presented on serial tanks is unknown. Although turret for T-15 Armata-based IFV already was shown with new APS "Afganit".
       
            If you pay attention you may see that artist used T-80 rollers for Armata chassis, and this is not a mistake - according to some sources Armata heavy chassis will use T-80 or T-80-like rollers to save weight. And looking at rear part of that tank you may notice a engine deck from gas-turbine equipped version of the T-80, which can be mistake becuase MoD want Armata with new ~1500 HP diesel engine. 
    • By Darjeeling
      Greetings, I have been studying in the battle of Afrin since it started. Yet I still lack some information that can clearly analyse the opposite plan, war progress and order of battle of both side (Turkey army clear but YPG isn’t).
       
      I am spectacular interested in the process of the battle as it revealed the true strength of the 2nd largest NATO army. Also, the performance of YPG/YPJ militant against the regular modern army is meaningful to modern warfare study too.
       
      Hence, any kind man can help me on this field or even just give out a reading list?
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