Iran Signals Implicit Support for Assad Departure.

A poster of Syrian President Bashar al Assad agaisnt the desolation of war torn Syria. Image belongs to Getty Images.
A poster of Syrian President Bashar al Assad against the desolation of war-torn Syria. Image belongs to Getty Images. Joseph Eid took the photo.

April 26th, 2016.

Iran Signals Implicit Support for Assad Departure.

In a break from their long-held position, it appears that Iran is open to a deal that would see the Syrian President Bashar al Assad leave Syria as part of a formula to end the five-year Syrian war with a death toll  now estimated at 400,000.

Syria death toll likely as high as 400,000: UN envoy | Middle East Eye

This information emerged in a Press TV story posted on their you tube channel yesterday.

“Syria president rejected offer for resettlement in Iran”

This story, which must be taken seriously given the source, indicates that Iran is now willing to countenance Assad’s departure, after all, Iran could not have offered Assad refuge if they disagreed with his leaving.

As recently as April 10th senior Iranian spokesmen have stated that there would be no negotiation over the future of the Syrian President.

Syria War Update: Bashar Assad Removal Is ‘Red Line,’ Iranian Official Says

Iran official: Assad removal from Syria a ‘red line’ | The Times of Israel

This position, shared publicly by the Syrian government appears to have been one reason that the Geneva peace talks have never achieved anything so the apparent change in the Iranian position seems to indicate a broadening consensus that it may be in the best interests of Syria for a government of national unity to be formed without the President.

Betrayal?

Elements of the Iranian military and the Iran proxy Hezbollah have been involved in heavy combat in Syria and have taken severe casualties, judging by the funerals.

Many have stated correctly that it should be up to the Syrian people to decide Assad’s fate and many will see the shift in the Iranian position as a sell out and a betrayal, caving in to the demand for regime change after all this time.

Regime Change.

My understanding, is that when the Neoconservative chorus calls for regime change, this is merely a means to an end. The real goal is the destruction of the target state and the call for regime change is a ruse that is used as a vehicle to achieve this more sinister long-term goal.

The point is to demand the impossible and achieve the secondary goal on the back of the initial deliberately unrealistic demand for the leader to pack up and leave because Washington DC said so.

All of the war hype is focused on the “brutal dictator” and the idea that only if this one individual could be removed from power everything would be alright, childish nonsense in its own right but the real goal is the destruction of these states along the lines envisaged soon after 911 by the wonderfully malevolent Neoconservative US  official Paul Wolfowitz.

Before the onslaught in Iraq began in March 2003 the US President delivered an ultimatum to Saddam Hussein and his sons, “Saddam Hussein and his sons must leave Iraq within 48 hours. Their refusal to do so will result in military conflict.”  The US military would be entering Iraq even if Saddam chose to leave but:

“It is not too late for the Iraqi military to act with honor and protect your country by permitting the peaceful entry of coalition forces to eliminate weapons of mass destruction. Our forces will give Iraqi military units clear instructions on actions they can take to avoid being attacked and destroyed. I urge every member of the Iraqi military and intelligence services, if war comes, do not fight for a dying regime that is not worth your own life. “

When the US invaded Iraq the Iraqi military largely followed Bush’s advice and the invasion force was thus met with only limited resistance from loyalist political units while the bulk of the army stood down.

The Iraqi Government fell within weeks of the invasion as a result of this decision yet by May 2003 Paul Bremer, the ranking US civilian official in Iraq decided to disband the Iraqi Army.  This decision, Coalition Provisional Authority order number 2  was the cause of Iraq’s destruction as a nation-state and all the horror that followed until the present day.

So the Neoconservative goal is to destroy Syria entirely, the demand for Assad to leave is simply the impossible demand that masks the deeper goal. The same was true in Libya.

Conclusion.

If Assad’s departure is part of a process of forming a genuine government of national unity and thus ending the war and preserving the state this may be a worthy deal. It seems wrong that the authors of so much misery and destruction should be rewarded for their efforts but the first priority must be the preservation of life and the second the state.  Such is the chaos in Syria and the strength of the extremists of Al Nusra and ISIS that it is likely the insurgency will continue on its bloody way for several years even if there is a political deal and some type of unity government is formed.

The fate of Bashar al Assad is incidental when compared to the suffering and instability caused by the war and if Assad chose to leave his fate would be a far happier one than befell Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi.

Syrian Pilot Captured After Jet Downed in Aleppo Countryside.

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Video still shows the moment the Syrian Su22 jet struck the ground near al Eis in southern Aleppo yesterday.
The Syrian Air force SU22 burns as it falls to the earth.
The Syrian Air force SU22 burns as it falls to the earth.
Flattened Su22 lies in the fields of Aleppo yesterday.
Flattened Su22 lies in the fields of Aleppo yesterday.
Tela al Eis marked on Google earth.
Tela al Eis marked on Google earth.

Updated, April 9th, 2016

al Nusra Front claim the SU22 was shot down with a ZPU anti-aircraft heavy machine gun.

Orient News (better known as Al Nusra television) have conducted an interview with one of the fighters involved with the downing of the Syrian jet this week. The masked al Nusra fighter claimed that the jet was struck by a 14.5 anti-aircraft gun.  The fighter is referring to a weapons system popularly known as the ZPU which consists of either two or four machine KPV heavy machine guns, often mounted on the back of vehicles. It is classed as anti-aircraft artillery. These weapons are very common in Syria.

Orient News interviews the man who shot Assad jet down in Aleppo southern countryside

There is no way to confirm these claims but they fit with the known facts and make sense. Hilariously Orient News tried to claim that the warplane was bombing civilians, yet the al Nusra fighters boast completely refutes this pathetic propaganda claim because if the claims are correct the proscribed terror group were operating heavy weapons in the area, the shootdown and the Nusra claim make it clear there were legitimate military targets in al Eis this week.

A typical ZPU anti-aircraft heavy machine gun with the KPV heavy machine guns mounted on the back of a vehicle. The4se come in two and four gun varieties, this is a two gun example.
A typical ZPU anti-aircraft heavy machine gun with the KPV heavy machine guns mounted on the back of a vehicle. The4se come in two and four gun varieties, this is a two gun example.
A typical ZPU anti-aircraft heavy machine gun with the four KPV heavy machine guns mounted on the back of a vehicle.
KPV heavy machine guns mounted on the back of a vehicle in Syria.

April 6th, 2016.

Syrian Jet Downed in Aleppo-Pilot Captured.

A Syrian Air force Sukhoi Su22 jet has been shot down in southern Aleppo in the vicinity of the town of al Eis and the pilot has been captured by the jihadists of the al Nusra Front.   Tel al Eis has been the site of heavy fighting in recent days after insurgents launched a major offensive in southern Aleppo that saw them seize control of the small southern Aleppo village that government forces seized from the insurgents last November as part of their  Aleppo offensive.

The downing of the Su22 is the second Syrian Air Force jet lost in the past several weeks, in mid-March a MIG 21 was downed in Hama province, one pilot ejected but another died after unsuccessfully attempting to land the damaged jet. The cause of the SU22 downing is unclear but the MIG21 appeared to have been attacked with a portable SAM missile or MANPAD.

There is speculation that these jets may have been downed by new surface to air missiles provided to the insurgents by their sponsors however an examination of the history of the Syrian war shows that these latest incidents do not represent a significant departure from what has taken pace throughout the war.

List of aviation shootdowns and accidents during the Syrian Civil War – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Possible Implications.

According to the highly respected US journalist Gareth Porter the current partial ceasefire in Syria was due to a secret deal between the US and Russia. Under the purported deal Russia would restrict their bombing attacks to al Nusra and ISIS and in return the US woulkd convince their allies in Saudi Arabia and Turkey to completely stem the flow of weapons to the rebels.

Cutting Off Syrian Rebels’ Weapons – Consortiumnews

Events on the ground over recent weeks have supported the claims made by Gareth Porter;there has been a dramatic decrease for example in the use of anti tank guided missiles by the insurgents recently, with the dreaded TOW missiles –one of the major offensive weapons in the insurgents- all but disappearing from the battlefield in recent months.

Until the cause of the SU22 shoot down is ascertained specualtion is premature but if an entity or a state have been providing the likes of Jabhat al Nusra with surface to air missiles that could scuttle that deal and see a renewed escalation of the Russian role in the war.

In all likelihood iin this case the insurgents  got lucky on the back of a careless pilot but these are worrying signs that the nightmarish Syrian war may be nowhere near conclusion.

Syria War 2016 – Syrian Su-22 Fighter Jet Shot Down By Al-Nusra Front South Of Aleppo

SYRIA Militants shot down the Su-22 Chronicle of events

International Military Review – Syria, Apr. 6, 2016

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The name of the captured pilot has not been released yet, here the man, said to be a 52 year old Colonel is shown after capture.
The name of the captured pilot has not been released yet, here the man, said to be a 52 year old Colonel is shown after capture.