Wednesday, 5 October 2016

For the sake of the people of Aleppo, the rebels must surrender the city

History is punctuated by stories of city sieges; from ancient Greece to Sarajevo, the difficulty in taking a dense urban area in which fighters swim as fish in a sea of civilians has been reflected in the consequences contingent on failure or success. A besieging army that takes a city after arduous and dangerous combat with high levels of fatalities traditionally ends it in an orgy of rape, violence, drunkenness and fire, with no quarter for the defenders. A city that withstands a brutal siege works against the besieger in terms of not just a boost to morale for the defenders but a very substantial advantage; Vienna and Stalingrad both changed the course of the enemy invasions. To take high casualties then to withdraw exhausted is as destructive of a failed besieger as a defeat on the battlefield. 

So for the Syrian government and rebel fighters, a lot hangs on Aleppo. There are only three possible outcomes. The city falls, and the defenders are slaughtered, or the rebels withstand the assault and Assad is grievously weakened, or the rebels surrender for the sake of a civilian population without food, clean water or medical facilities. Of the three, it is clear that Assad will never lift the siege - he is all too aware of the consequence of failure. 

There is therefore only one option for the rebel defenders and their US, EU and Saudi Arabian / Islamist backers - for the sake of humanity, for human dignity, and for peace and mercy, they must surrender the city and secure the best terms that they can.


Cuffleyburgers said...

I think your analysis is correct in theory, Radders.

However I am unfortunately highly sceptical of the moral calibre of the rebel leaders and quite sure they have few qualms about sacrificing their neighbours' women and children in the process of trying to persuade the West to bail them out and hand them the keys of the palace in Damascus. The worst case scenario for the rebel leaders is a helicopter ride to Moscow or somewhere and a pleasant retirement somehwere nice.

So, sorry, I think they'll hold out for an improbably long time yet and I have no idea how the end game will play out. Just that it will be heartbreaking.

For what it's worth I think if the West hadn't been so vocal from the start that Assad had to go, the whole thing might well have fizzled out by now; so Cameron, Obama and the rest indirectly have a large qty of blood on their hands. Idiots.

rapscallion said...

I'm rather inclined to agree with Cuffleyburgers.
The rebel leaders (given their death worshipping cult) will never surrender Aleppo. I'm not convinced that the US, KSA/Islamist backers and least of all the EU care very much about humanity, human dignity, peace and mercy. The EU alone care little for the human dignity of hundreds of thousands it has condemned to poverty in southern Europe. I don't believe the other two parties do either.

The West should never have got involved in Syria, just like we should never have got involved in Libya, Iraq or Afghanistan. How many more deaths, how many more failures before Western politicians get it through their thick skulls that we should leave well alone? If these countries had wanted a liberal type western democracy they'd have accomplished it. They haven't done so for the reason that they don't want it. When all your law is based on the teachings of a 7th century paedophile what the hell do you expect

G. Tingey said...

You are probably correct - except Assad will ignore all the "rules" - same as he has been doing all along - & slaughter thousands of innocent people ...

There is no good outcome, anywhere in any or all of this

Poisonedchalice said...

Aleppo - a world heritage site. So much for that then. Only a few years back, I wanted to go on holiday to Syria - yep, seriously! I wanted to see the Mediterranean antiquities, the cultures of centuries past. It was a reasonable safe bet as well with Assad keeping control over the various fractured factions. Syrian tourism was opening up in much the same way as Morocco, but some distance behind. Girls wearing jeans and no head-scarfs; alcohol available with your meal at a restaurant. No look at it; and look at the rest of the middle east whilst your at it.

mongoose said...

... or 4) Assad wakes up tomorrow morning mysteriously dead. Only the Russians can do that now, and why would they? This is the old game being played once again on ancient territory. None of the players can afford to lose this hand and so it will be played to the death. As always, civilians first.

Dave_G said...

They're not known as 'Al-CIA-da' for nothing.....

fnord said...

After the last few years it is apparent that compared to what came after them Assad and Khadaffy represented the forces of sanity and civilization. So much for the Arab Spring, although we don't hear much on the west side of the pond from Tunisia or Morocco.

mikebravo said...

The Mohammedans are barbarians. Always were always will be. Go back as far as you like. When the Templars surrendered cities they were regularly offered safe passage and then the whole city was massacred. Men, women and children. They used to leave the mounds of bones lying outside the cities until they turned to dust. The surrounding agricultural areas were destroyed and left to rot - for hundreds of years.

No point discussing anything with them.

proglodyte said...


Jihad vs Crusades

Dan said...

The basic problem the rebels have now is that they've backed themselves into a corner. Assad, if he has decided to be a proper Middle Eastern tyrant, should really want the lot of them dead and gone so they cannot cause him any more problem (it was letting dangerous dissidents live that got him into trouble in the first place).

So, the rebels now know that as long as they are still in Syria after any conflict, they all have a de facto death sentence. As these people are rebels who have actually been fighting against a local government and know how to fight and are notably aggressive and rebellious people, it is highly unlikely that any other country would want to give them sanctuary either.

Basically, they're buggered. They have literally nothing to lose by carrying on fighting and their only way of stopping the Russians and Assad from carpet-bombing Aleppo into gravel is the number of mostly innocent civilians there too. Until they get given a climb-down option to get out of Aleppo and away from Assad, they have to keep fighting.

Dr Evil said...

I have been saying and posting the same surrender message for the last couple of weeks. The US should focus on ISIS and let Assad take back his country.

Anonymous said...

I was half watching another gang of alan snackbar men shooting up Aleppo and the narrator said something to the effect of;

"all Shias [enemies of sunni groups] are regarded as Iranians/Irainian sympathizers" and that,

"these groups are well armed by Gulf states"

click 'Aleppo siege intensifies'

There is no end to this R, these local Sunni boys, guerillas who like fighting - see it as their obligation [oh fucking hell] and the Syrian army [imho] are pathetic, unless backed by Russian units, they will offer nothing and or, puny resistance. Only a very determined force will sort it, and I don't think the Iranians are up to it - either.

For the poor Syrian civilians, innocents caught up in it, my heart weeps but I also beg, who would bring a child into this, can it be that the situation is not as bad as we are led to believe and then Sunni propaganda, is it?

Sunni warring against Shia, for that is what this [Aleppo/Syria conflict] is, and it is a 1400 year old contest and begets the pestilence of war on the middle east. One thing needs to be done, Turkey, Saudi/Gulf states and Iran need to be told to: BACK OFF and stop interfering in the Levant.

Finally, Israel de facto backs Bashar and therefore Russia AND that's never mentioned.

Anonymous said...

Raedwald said:

'There is therefore only one option for the rebel defenders and their US, EU and Saudi Arabian / Islamist backers - for the sake of humanity, for human dignity, and for peace and mercy, they must surrender the city and secure the best terms that they can.'

They won't do that. It would require a certain something they do not possess:

The Quality of Mercy - The Kremlin Stooge

The quality of mercy is not strain’d,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.


Anonymous said...

Steve, you should have joined the RC's you'd have made the perfect Divil's advocate - so yer wud.