A Syrian Sea Change?

idlibWhen Michael Young and Joshua Landis agree about the situation in Syria, it’s usually worth paying attention.

The news is full of reports about rebel victories in Idlib and Jisr al-Shughur, and the clashes with Hizbullah in Qalamoun. Apparently, there are factions of Jabhat al-Nusra contemplating a break with Al-Qaeda, so as to make themselves more palatable to a notional Western ally. The Alawites are fleeing, the Syrian Army is weakening, Assad’s domain is shrinking, the Saudis are winning, the US-Iran deal is the key, etc.

I have nothing in particular to add, but as QN has been dormant for the past month or so (sorry, commenters, for freezing you out), I thought I’d open things up again. Classes are over, the summer is approaching, and I have a feeling that it’s going to be a hot one in the neighborhood.

Open thread.


246 thoughts on “A Syrian Sea Change?

  1. …because some like you believe the Jews are superior or some like me believe Arabs are superior…


    You can believe what you want and embarrass yourself any way you see fit. And instead of putting your words in my mouth, I never ever said “jews are superior” to anyone.

    And BTW, how could “the jews” (who don’t exist) possibly be superior to the Wild Kingdom anyway? The whole world is trying to emulate the Wild Kingdom, and doing a really bad job at it for sure!

    Posted by Akbar Palace | May 25, 2015, 9:57 pm
  2. These are your words Akbar:

    This series is a great way to decipher the many secret jewish/khazar codes creating havoc across the world. The “R” on Robin ‘ s costume is actually a Glatt Kosher symbol and is worn to show khazar superiority. Just ask Lally.

    POSTED BY AKBAR PALACE | MAY 25, 2015, 4:46 PM”

    You’re clearly saying Jews/Khazars are superior and are making a statement about it in the R symbol. So, you don’t just believe it you want to also flaunt it in front of everyone.

    I’m not putting anything into your mouth.

    Posted by Mustap | May 25, 2015, 10:18 pm
  3. Akbar,

    At first I thought you were joking in that comment. But now I’m not sure. Because it seems you meant it.

    I definitely was joking in my comment, and it’s obvious from the smiley at the end.

    Now, you made it clear to me and to everyone that you’re not only a neo-con but a supremacist Jew/khazar.

    O’ my God I was fooled by you. I need to be careful and treat you in light of the above revelations/discoveries.


    Posted by Mustap | May 25, 2015, 10:44 pm
  4. Mustap,

    Are you admiting to the forum that you thought I was being serious in that clearly facetious post?

    You should check with a psychologist. Some forms of autism make it difficult to pick up on social cues.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | May 25, 2015, 10:48 pm
  5. No Akbar, at the time you made that comment, I thought you were joking so I made my next comment as a reply joke.

    But, now I’m not so sure you were joking. It looks to me now after your comment at May 25, 2015, 9:57PM that you were more serious than what I was fooled to believe.

    I wonder who’s suffering from autism or who’s in need of psychiatric attention.

    May be you should consider visiting a practitioner.

    Posted by Mustap | May 25, 2015, 11:47 pm
  6. Mustap,

    kol khara you murderous da3esh lover

    Posted by roger | May 26, 2015, 9:21 am
  7. Obviously there’s one person on this blog instigating all this negativity… It’s time Mustap be permanently removed

    All in favor say aye

    Posted by Vulcan | May 26, 2015, 10:12 am
  8. Vulcan you are a joke – ban wise king lover (who turned Arab nationalist now that Al Saloul says so) but not the #1 zionist troll thug of this blogs history ? Get real brother. You don’t like Mustap trolling but you are kind of OK with the one Zionist groupie always hijacking the comment section about the grandeur of the Bloody Zionist thievery. For Allah’s sake why are you and me even writing here

    Posted by 3issa | May 26, 2015, 1:59 pm
  9. Threesa,

    You forgot the Trademark symbol. I’ll make the correction for you : Bloody Zionist thievery™

    And how, pray tell, are you going to prevent arabs like Vulcan from recognizing the Zionist Entity™? Let me guess, the death penalty? You guys are so afraid of free-thinkers so you either kill them or through them in jail.

    Then, after you guys are finished killing yourselves off, maybe you have enough people left to erase Zionism. But I’m not so sure.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | May 26, 2015, 2:49 pm
  10. Two trollers need to be banned here: Vulcan is way overdue for banning. This new brainwashed poop eating roger constantly creates threads with purely personal contents. His attention seeking blabbers are obvious even to the novice.

    I’d like Akbar to be suspended for a week or two but not banned especially now that we discoveredwith his recently revealed Khazar/jew supremacists views and his potential autestic condition. I kind of got used to him so I don’t want him to go away despite his drawbacks.


    It’s the best joke I heard from you so far describing yourself and Vulcan as free thinkers. Heeeeeee heeeeeeee heeeeee

    Posted by Mustap | May 26, 2015, 3:02 pm
  11. 3issa, I’ve had my share of disagreement with AP on several issues, however, I cannot see the similarities you suggest. I actually enjoy some of AP’s Jewish sarcasm, on the other hand, and at the risk of sounding against freedom of speech (like most Arabs), that Daeshi you stood in agreement with on several outrageous claims and never once tried to repudiate his sectarian and bigoted opinions, is beyond being tolerated. Not that QN will oblige, but I stand by my motion to ban him forever.

    Posted by Vulcan | May 26, 2015, 3:09 pm
  12. I’m willing to take one for the team, QN, ban us both Mustap and I forever. 😀

    Posted by Vulcan | May 26, 2015, 3:15 pm
  13. Mustap,

    You really love ISIS don’t you? Just say so, I won’t think of you any less.
    Oh and it looks like you have also have a thing for AP, it’s a free world

    Posted by roger | May 26, 2015, 3:25 pm
  14. Vulcan you need to be banned by yourself, you’re way overdue, and you cannot speak on my behalf.

    Roger What I like and don’t like is none of your business. Clean your mouth and keep it zipped.

    What you think or not think means zilch. Obviously you have nothing to say here except making your bad temper known to everyone.

    Posted by Mustap | May 26, 2015, 3:34 pm
  15. While drinking Qalamonade and making his worn out speeches to the gullible indoctrinating them with empty proclamations as to being اشرف الناس (most superior of all people), Nasrallah’s most superior brainwashed end up in in Qalamoun wilderness in ditches,مقتل-تسعة-عناصر-من-حزب-الله-بمعارك-في-القلمون

    Time to wrap them up in a ‘superior’ yellow cloth.

    Posted by Mustap | May 26, 2015, 4:23 pm
  16. Ohhhhh… Mustap’s in love with ISIS 🙂 This is so sweet…

    Posted by roger | May 26, 2015, 4:52 pm
  17. Every time Nasrallah takes a lemonade sip on TV while exhorting the gullible and poor to go sacrifice themselves, one cannot but feel the bitter sense of betrayal in the combined act of hypocrisy the man is displaying.

    Instead, of reminding the faithful of the thirst of Hussein in the desert before he died, Nasrallah goes ahead and sips the lemonade so vulgarly in front of all to see instead of taking the opportunity of re-enacting the last moments of the martyred grandson of the Prophet. He can’t tolerate even few moments of thirst until the show is over.

    What a counterfeit fake baloney of a sayyid he really and truly is.


    Posted by Mustap | May 26, 2015, 5:04 pm
  18. Impostors. They never cared about the grandson of the Prophet.


    Posted by Mustap | May 26, 2015, 6:17 pm
  19. WTF? Are you for real? Looks like you’re infatuated with your nassralla too. You’re observing every minute detail of his movements. You want to kiss his lemonade wet lips don’t you?

    Posted by Roger | May 26, 2015, 9:49 pm
  20. Guys for the love of Allah, Jesus, Buddha and Dawkins, can we just stick to content. Since QN is not banning anyone, how about ignoring posts you don’t agree with. I can’t believe we are not discussing just one of the many tumultuous events unfolding as we speak. It’s a shit storm out there.

    I’ll try setting the tone…..

    The Twittersphere is abuzz with news of the Syrian opposition gains across Syria. Not sure if it is exaggerated but I’m seeing a lot of unislamic, no, less than Islamic, no, free Syrian groups, okay with a tinge of Islamic cover take over many areas. There is a new committee made up of actual Syrians meeting in Cairo to discuss post-Assad Syria. Josh Landis is even acquiescencing to the fact that partition is inevitable. Nusra is fighting ISIS in Qalamoun, Nadim Qoteich is ripping it apart, Obama can go and F##k himself, Nasrallah has waged war on everyone opposing the party…..

    And I’m a few days away from travelling to Lebanon. Should I be carrying a pistol if I’m going to hike in the mountains?

    Posted by Maverick | May 26, 2015, 10:30 pm
  21. Roger,

    Kol what you’ve been saying above and keep your mouth full of it.

    Posted by Mustap | May 27, 2015, 12:13 am
  22. Oh dear, if only the content were as good as the style!

    Now a little remark from English 101 (or is it not?):

    When I say “I have no strong opinion on some assumption”, it means that I have no (dis)proof of it based perhaps on logical reasoning.

    When I say “I believe some claim to be true”, it means that there is something which I consider sufficiently convincing for me to buy the claim, regardless whether it is in fact true or not.

    Posted by Badr | May 27, 2015, 3:16 am
  23. And on the subject of banning, as I once noted before, I strongly believe – to use the term again – that the person by the alias “MUSTAP” was banned at least twice as far as I can tell from SC, for violating set rules there. I don’t know why QN does not follow some rules, perhaps he needs an administrator for the blog.

    Posted by Badr | May 27, 2015, 3:37 am
  24. Exactly what are you talking about Full Moon?

    Logic, reason, english 101, assumptions, proofs, banning, SC? It’s all jumbled up, full of no logic, no reason and full of mumbo jumbo: no strong opininon on assumptions based on logical reasoning!!! Wow are you for real?

    I thought you had something really logical to say when I encouraged you earlier.

    Obviously you have none.

    Posted by Mustap | May 27, 2015, 6:28 am
  25. This is how Hamas treats Palestinians. Don’t hold your breath for any UN or Arab League condemnation…

    Posted by Akbar Palace | May 27, 2015, 7:45 am
  26. Mustap’s deep in love, don’t expect any logic from him poor boy

    Posted by Roger | May 27, 2015, 7:46 am
  27. For the love of Allah, Jesus, Buddha and Dawkins…. let’s all just relax a bit and watch the latest from pbs.

    Obama at War

    Posted by Maverick | May 27, 2015, 8:20 am
  28. Sorry … Is it ?

    Posted by Ray | May 27, 2015, 12:15 pm
  29. I just finished listening to a Fox News program in which the main guest was some woman by name Kennedy. You could easily sense the bitterness in the air about the admission of the failed US invasion of Iraq under GWB. The woman even admitted that Saddam was good for Iraq and that he was a stabilizing force against the mullahs.

    However, since all the cast is of the neo-con breed they continued to insist on blaming Obama for the failure of an obviously ill-conceived and barbaric invasion of a sovereign country by an incompetent and naive president getting manipulated by an ideological group of morons seeking to achieve the un-achievable and straining the U.S. Beyond its capabilities.

    Posted by Mustap | May 27, 2015, 12:26 pm
  30. Ya3ni shou?

    Are you getting paid by the word or the hour ?


    Posted by Ray | May 27, 2015, 1:28 pm
  31. In his last indoctrination sermon, Nasrallah made a clear distinction between who will get the yellow cloth final wrap honours and who will be among the deprived and therefore doomed souls.

    Between sipping lemonade, he identified a group which he called the embassy Shiites. He made it clear that these will never be getting the yellow colored honors. According to him these are traitors and as such they could be eliminated at will. In other words, their blood is مباح.

    On the other hand, anyone who goes to Qalamoun will be assured of the greatest honor of the yellow colour which will accompany him all the way from the initial place in the ditch where he falls to the final ditch where his family will say final good byes.

    He’s a man of his word but not an authentic sayyid who truly cares about the grandson of the Prophet.

    Posted by Mustap | May 27, 2015, 1:58 pm
  32. Mustap,

    Take a break for a few days.


    Posted by Qifa Nabki | May 27, 2015, 2:09 pm
  33. Lebanon and the Start of Iran and Saudi Arabia’s Proxy War

    Posted by Vulcan | May 27, 2015, 3:48 pm
  34. Seems to me the LDF and Hezbollah are working well together. I don’t think Saudi Arabia has much influence. I’m sure you guys have more knowledge about that than I do.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | May 27, 2015, 4:00 pm
  35. Could this be the anticipated hot summer in Lebanon? Something’s about to give

    Posted by Vulcan | May 27, 2015, 4:13 pm
  36. AP,

    You seem really naive or you think we are stupid! Stop posting links that we are all aware of! LAF (NOT LDF for your info) are there to protect Lebanese territorial integrity. Even though they are dwarfed by the military grouping around them; they will do their patriotic duties.

    As for the rest of you attacking Mustapha/Iceman/ISIL Salafist…Let him be the Salafist romancing the Zionist that he is. Those who are attacking him; please do stop and offer intelligence discourse.

    Yalla bye.

    Posted by danny | May 27, 2015, 6:23 pm
  37. Danny,

    Sorry to insult your intelligence. Why is everyone so frickin’ angry? Maybe you have an answer.

    I am not hearing stories of Hezbollah and the LAF fighting each other, so I think the Wise Kingdom doesn’t have much influence in Lebanon right now. If you know something I don’t, feel free to share.

    No one here is “romancing the Zionist”.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | May 27, 2015, 11:13 pm
  38. AP,

    Are you heavy on the sauce (must be that cheap gin you bought)? Why on earth would LAF fight HA? Is that what you think should happen for the benefit of Israel?

    Posted by danny | May 28, 2015, 7:53 am
  39. Danny,

    I’m glad the LAF is collaborating with HA. It’s not my wish to see any fighting in Lebanon. Will that continue? The best thing to benefit Israel is peaceful coexistence.

    No one is forcing you to be rude. Or is that just ur nature?

    I enjoy this forum because there are people here who know a lot about Lebanon and aren’t afraid to discuss Lebanese politics without being snide.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | May 28, 2015, 8:07 am
  40. By a very daring Tunisian Political Scientist Doctor.

    In French. An open letter to Fanatical Muslims:

    Posted by Ray | May 28, 2015, 8:21 am
  41. If academic debates are still desirable on this blog recently overwhelmed by personal positions and inuendo.

    1) the Syrian war is de facto a constructed struggle between governemnt forces and its allies and a variety of rebel forces supported by KSA, Turkey and other interested parties. The outcome of that war has been made uncertain by the emergence of a non conventional force building on a new form of religious nationalism.

    2) ISIL (or daesh) is this unconventional force built on a new form of religious nationalism. Old forms of religious nationalism were developed by Hindu movements (RSS, BJP, etc.) and Islamic movements (Qutb and Islamic Brotherhood, etc.) as alternative models to capitalism and socilism and built a parallel to Western style identity movements built on civilizational discourses of purity and authenticity. But the new model of ISIL seems to build on a non-state based format of governmentality–thus the Islamic State is a misnomer–but rather on an autonomous zone model that idealizes tribal rules and alliances. That model is obviously not historical as the mythology may indicate: it is a material development of the Iraqi resistance period after 2003 where former baathists developed tribe- and region-based alliances that have developed into spheres of influences.

    It is this post-Westphalian model of “de-linked” regions that seems to be attracting foreign recruits and not the religious fervor of these recruits; local recruits are the result of alliances or allegiances enforced by sheer force and brutality and the promise of stability in a chaotic environment. Religion here is only an ideological cement of stability (purity) but is not foundational of that form of religious nationalism: it is the absence of the modern state and the delinking from capitalism under non centralized regional autonomy with localized institutional controls that are the real foundations of this unique phenomenon.

    Rebuild centralized state control and ISIL will disappear. But due to the weakness of regional states (in Iraq and Syria) this may not be as feasible.

    For what it is worth!

    Posted by Parrhesia | May 28, 2015, 10:58 pm
  42. To have any chance of rebuilding some kind of State, in Syria at least, the Assads must step down. It is incredible how the Iranians and the Russians are still stubbornly propping him up while the level of incompetence he is showing is evident. They will end up losing either way as the Rebels have almost completed the routing of Idlib province. Even if HA and other pro-Iranian militias gain victories here and there, Syria as a whole is lost to a war of attrition. And as you have stated in the above, the whole Islamic thing has been over exaggerated to scaremonger public opinion. Notice how ISIS only conquers places were the Syrian and Iraqi armies flee before putting up a fight, meanwhile in the Kurdish regions, ISIS have been pushed back and damaged significantly.
    Partition will be impossible, and complete victory is also a pipe dream, what the Iranians and the Gulfies/Turks with the U.S. As moderators should be seeking a post Assad Syria with a new constitution emphasising an all inclusive Government with protection of minority’s especially the Alawites.

    Posted by Maverick | May 29, 2015, 3:35 am
  43. If academic debates are still desirable on this blog recently overwhelmed by personal positions and inuendo.


    Reading your post above, it seem to me you posted your personal position as well. Join the club!

    It is this post-Westphalian model of “de-linked” regions that seems to be attracting foreign recruits and not the religious fervor of these recruits…

    How do you know that, did you take a poll? I think it is fairly apparent that most if not all these recruits are religious, muslim fanatics.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | May 29, 2015, 7:56 am
  44. Apart from donor organizations refraining from funding projects before a lebanese president is elected and after one year of relative stability, a surge in tourism, some ministries doing a good job, lebanon participating in regional and international dialogue … what is the role of a president? What’s all the fuss about?

    Posted by Ray | May 29, 2015, 8:25 am
  45. The reason/rationale for the success of ISIL/Nusra is the fact that the “safe haven” that they offer presently seems to be a heaven compared to the Assads reign of terror through the years.

    Turkey/KSA/Iran are jockeying for position to better serve their own interests. Unfortunately the locomotive that has left the train station has no stops until it crashes and burns totally. I can not see how anyone can put together a coalition of any parties to go back to the old Syria. It will burn for years to come irrespective of any Iranian or Russian dump of ammunition or armaments/fighters to prop up the current regime.

    Daesh seems to have morphed into a machine that’s being run by the cunning old Saddam Baathists; using jihadists to plow their way to “victory”. As far as USA/Obama insists on playing the fool and fueling further shia-sunni strife (by acquiescing to Iran’s militias) ; consider Iraq de facto fragmented as well.

    Lebanon seems to be an oasis of calm comparably…Unfortunately; the barbarians at the gate will not leave Lebanon alone. It’s turn will come and the 2.5 million refugees will absorb/destroy it.

    Posted by danny | May 29, 2015, 9:44 am

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