Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Syrian army liberates Aleppo

Off-topic, business: Pilsner Urquell, the beermaker in my hometown that gave the name to 90% of the world's beer, was sold by SABmiller to Asahi, a Japanese beer company, for $7.8 billion, along with four less well-known post-communist European breweries. Because of anti-monopoly legislation, SABMiller+Anheuser Busch was forced to sell some breweries. The City of Pilsen, descendants of the old 19th century owners, and some Czech billionaires were among the prospective buyers.
The Battle of Aleppo is finally over. It lasted for more than four years – since July 2012. It's a very long time for this kind of suffering; the battle beats many big battles from the history textbooks, thus proving that the history hasn't "ended". Syria's second largest city – whose population exceeded 2 million before the war – was partly destroyed and lots of warriors as well as civilians have died.

Lots of people have celebrated Assad's victory last night. You may see that even the supporters of the government are full of God. This God stuff is everywhere in the region. None of them has noticed the positive regional correlation between "Allah" and "misery" yet.

The final outcome hasn't been clear for years. However, in recent months, it was rather clear that Assad would win. Look e.g. at this snapshot from September 2016. Most of the city was controlled by the Syrian government forces and a shrinking area in East Aleppo – with the population of 250,000 or so – was occupied by the Islamist rebels.

Many of these Islamist rebels didn't care about the reality on the ground. They promised not to leave the city. It may be cruel but when you have some rebels glued to the buildings who just won't leave and if you need to restore the law and order in the city, you simply have to burn them alive in the building. If I knew some better solution, I would probably communicate it to the Syrian government in order to save lives. ;-)

On the situation map, it looks like Assad (red) is controlling about a third of the Syrian territory – an equal part as each Daesh (grey) and the non-ISIS rebels (green). However, the counting by areas is misleading because the density of civilization isn't uniform. The places controlled by Bashar Assad currently include Syria's five largest cities. So he's obviously the top player in Syria again.

But Daesh has basically retook the historical town of Palmyra again. Outcomes in the whole Syria aren't clear yet.

Needless to say, much of the Western establishment – the same establishment that has unequivocally backed Hillary in the elections – found itself on the wrong side of the history again. The number of Western leaders who have shouted "Assad must go" but who have left before him has grown large – and is destined to jump hugely next month due to the changes in America.

However, it's not just the politicians who have helped to impose this – hurtful and unnecessary – civil war on the Syrian nation. If you make a search on Twitter, I think that well over 90% of the tweets you find may be described as pro-rebel propaganda.

The same men who were doing their best to kill as many Syrian government soldiers as possible just weeks ago are now beating their wives and forcing them to whine on Twitter. Some of the daughters of some of the most defiant rebel warriors may be real just like their crying. Wars are cruel. But it makes no sense to assume that one – Assad's army – stops fighting just a day before it is expected to celebrate the final victory in a big battle. It would make no sense whatever.

I don't have any doubts that if the rebels had won, they would treat the other side at least equally cruelly. We've seen it at other places.

News.vice.com is among those who play the victimhood card. For example, we read:
“I am waiting to die or be captured by the Assad regime… Pray for me and always remember us,” photographer Ameen al-Halabi wrote on Facebook.
It's not hard to find his Twitter account and see that he describes himself as "working for the Syrian Revolution". Well, given the fact that the "revolution" has failed, at least locally in your home, it is indeed likely that you will die or at least be captured by the winners – unless you escape in some clever way. You had much better opportunities to give up and escape even in recent months. A somewhat pragmatic person would probably choose to behave in this way. You didn't do it – so you have indeed decided to bet your life (or life outside prison) on an unlikely outcome. Should you be surprised by the consequences? You may be considered a hero by your allies or soulmates but you know, being a hero often has consequences.

This is a matter of common sense, Mr al-Halabi. You have been threatening the law and order in Syria for more than 4 years. Of course the winners may be inclined to punish you in some way. The very fact that the rebels like you didn't surrender even in recent weeks when your situation was basically hopeless for you shows that you're a bunch of fanatics.

Quite generally, I think that many people are about as shocked by Assad's victory in Aleppo as the leftwingers who were shocked by the Trump victory in the U.S. Needless to say, sometimes it's the very same people. Both groups have intensely brainwashed their members for a long time. "Trump just cannot win" and "Assad will have to go", they were repeating all the time. Well, the fact that you repeat such things doesn't make them true. To say the least, Trump and Assad have always had at least reasonable chances to win these two battles.

OK, this is a partial victory for Assad. It may be a proxy victory for Iran and for Russia, too. I actually think that it's indirectly a victory for Trump and his new America, too. All the plans that the Obama administration has "prepared" for Syria are crumbling – and it's happening while Obama is still the U.S. president. This outcome in Aleppo could persuade many more people that the U.S. foreign policies need to change rather dramatically.

America should no longer invest such huge amounts of money, efforts, and moral supports to random sides in conflicts that almost no Americans really understand. And I think that America should accept that Syria isn't a part of the U.S. sphere of influence so it's a classical place where America should forget about the idea that it dictates who governs the country.

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