Monday, November 03, 2014

Big Fish in a Small Pond

Assad has survived in a battered realm by shrinking his area of control dramatically. Winning Syria is another matter altogether.

Syria, as defined by what Assad controls, is much smaller than it was three years ago:

Government-controlled Syria is truncated in size, battered and impoverished. But it carries on, underscoring how Syrian President Bashar Assad's government has clung to power, despite an armed rebellion to uproot him, now well into its fourth year. ...

After years of brutal back and forth, the government rules over Damascus and a sweep of territory west to the Mediterranean coastal region that includes Syria's biggest cities, along with some parts south of the capital. Rebels hold some suburbs in the countryside around Damascus and parts of the northwest. The extremist Islamic State group has imposed its rule over territory encompassing a third of both Syria and neighboring Iraq.

In January 2012, I wrote that Assad had too few troops to hold Syria and had to shrink down to a core Syria to survive.

Yet Assad, given the enormous casualties his forces have endured to achieve this limited and tenuous hold, is still losing this war.

I don't see how Assad gets a whole new war to recover given his problems.

Unless we remain stupid.

So call it 50-50 for Assad.

And the jihadis rather than better rebels have the bulk of the remaining chance of victory because of our idiocy.