At US ball games there is an often heard barker refrain: “Program, Program, GET your PROGRAM here! Can’t tell the players without a PROGRAM!”. Somehow I think we need a bigger supply of popcorn and programs to follow the action in the Levant.
Most recently, Russia (nominal historical foe) from whom we get our access to space and rent rides to the space station has started building a forward operating base in Syria and is flying in loads of staff and supplies.
© Sputnik/ Dmitriy Vinogradov
10:17 22.07.2015(updated 10:44 22.07.2015
Russia is doing a lot to increase the combat readiness of the Syrian Army to fight ISIL militants, Russia’s Ambassador to Syria Alexander Kinshchak said. According to him, it is in Russia’s interest to support fight against terrorism in Syria.
Smoke rises in the Syrian town of Kobani, as pictured from the Turkish side of the border near Suruc, Sanliurfa province, Turkey, June 27, 2015
© REUTERS/ Stringer
Syrian Prime Minister: US-led Coalition Actions in Syria ‘Unproductive’
DAMASCUS (Sputnik) — Moscow provides sufficient assistance to Syria in the fight against the Islamic State militant group, Russia’s Ambassador to Syria said.
“I think that we are anyway doing a lot to raise the level of combat readiness of the Syrian Army. In particular, we sometimes help [them] with advice when it is necessary,” Alexander Kinshchak told RIA Novosti in an interview.
It is in Russia’s interest to support Syria in the fight against terrorism, he added.
ISIL is a Sunni militant group in control of vast territories across Iraq and Syria. The jihadist group is also attempting to branch out to other countries in the region.
The Syrian government has been fighting ISIL jihadists on the ground to curb the group’s advance. A US-led coalition has been conducting airstrikes against ISIL positions in Syria and Iraq. The strikes are being carried out without permission from Damascus.
So first off, we need to remember to sort folks into Sunni vs Shia as that is the basic divide driving conflict between Arab / Muslim States in the region. These folks have been fighting and killing each other for about 1200 years now and show no sign of slowing down.
So Syria (foe) is mostly Sunni as is Saudi Arabia (ally) but the government of Syria is dominated by Alawites who are just like the Shia, only different a little, and are supported by Iran (foe) who IS Shia, mostly.
Now Obama (Dad was Shia) and Kerry just made a great “Nuclear Deal” with Iran (foe) letting them get $100 Billion+ to fund more Radical Militant Islam so maybe we’re sort of not seeing them as a foe so much any more though they continue to chant “Death To America” so maybe not so much…
Saudi (ally) was where most of the 9/11 attackers (foe, Sunni) came from. They are attacking Yemen (ally) but not the Government of Yemen (ally) the rebel part (foe) who are funded by Iran (foe). We’ve moved most of our stuff out of the facilities we had in Yemen (ally) so maybe more it’s not so much an ally as a smoking hole in the ground…
Turkey (NATO member, ally) has just let us use an air base there to better bomb ISIL (foe) who used to be ISIS (foe) but then changed from just wanting Syria (the last S) to wanting the whole Levant (that reaches from Lybia (old foe) through Egypt (ally, then foe, now ally, maybe – though they just shot up a dozen tourists and killed a few Mexicans (ally) so maybe not really what we want in a friend…), Israel (ally), Jordan (ally) and on around even to Greece (ally with an empty wallet and begging bowl).
So Turkey (ally) is bombing ISIL (foe) now and also bombing the Kurds (ally) in the PKK (Communists, so sort of foe, but ally to Obama, and fighting ISIL). The PKK Kurds (ally) have also blown up a few things in Turkey (ally) so who knows…
We have a major naval base in Bahrain which is a good ally of ours despite the rulers being Sunni and most of the people Shia and them not liking each other much…
Saudi (ally) is mostly Wahhabi which is a particularly strict form of Sunni, and doesn’t get along well with Shia much (unless they are the masters and overlords as in Bahrain, then they’re OK with that… sort of…) and Saudi has a small minority population of Shia up toward Kuwait (ally) who’s bacon we saved some years back from Iraq (foe) before it was Iraq (defeated) and now Iraq (ally). Even though they don’t like bacon. Or saving it. But then Saudi had a bomb go off up there blowing up a bunch of Shia in a Mosque… but nobody noticed much.
Now Iraq (ally) is more complicated…
It was mostly Sunni in the south and Shia in the north with some scattered Christians (as in Syria) some decades back. Now we have the Government (Shia ally) and the South (ISIL Sunni foe) divided and the Christians are mostly dead though some just got run out. (As in Syria, as was the case in “Christian Lebanon” some decades back). Lebanon (foe) is used as a staging ground for attacks on Israel (ally) now that the Christians are all dead or gone and Iran (foe) is funding things. Jordan (ally) had a pilot BBQed by ISIL (foe) so is pretty much clearly on our side, though only neutral toward Israel (ally) for now and up to their eyeballs in refugees from Syria (foe) and Iraq (officially ally large parts foe).
When ISIL (foe) attacked Iraq (ally after we bombed them enough) some time back in the south, the largely Sunni troops in that area handed them the keys to a few thousand HummVees, some very high tech armored cars and a few of THE BEST tanks in the world ( likely sold to Russia [foe] or China [‘trading partner’ – i.e. subtle foe] by now… to join the stealth helicopter parts Pakistan [reluctant ally] sold them after the Bin Laden raid we did on Pakistan [ally?] but I digress…) and headed out for a light snack and some R&R away from things like actually fighting their Brother Sunni in defense of their nation. Iran (foe) did offer to help the Iraq Government (Shia ally) but we didn’t like that idea… In the end, ISIL has some of THE best military gear on the planet that we could provide, free, to our ally-foes in the region. But what’s a few hundred $Billion among frienemies?
Glad I could clear the up for you…
So, as of now in the bottom of the 7th inning, I think I’ve covered most of the players in the Levant. There are some loose ends, like Libya where the country is divided into two major factions and it is still a race to see if The Muslim Brotherhood (foe) or ISIL (foe) wins, and Egypt, who were our allies before they became our foe but are back to being allies, when they aren’t murdering tourists or each other; maybe. But that’s a bit away from the main action.
Also I’ve not said anything about the flood of Libyan, Syrian, etc. etc. “refugees” invading Europe. Having done such a great job of it with their culture and “Religion of Peace” making their homelands paragons of peace and stability, they now want to escape to Europe; but don’t want to dump the belief systems that had them crapping in their own punch bowls in their own countries. Nope, they just want the good European Lifestyle until they can install Sharia and ‘fix it’…
But ignoring those omissions, I hope this listing of foe and ally has helped make it all clear just who’s on first as our ‘besties’… and who isn’t quite.
;sarc> of course…E.M.Smith