EHSANI22 Profile picture
22 Feb, 16 tweets, 5 min read
#Russia ‘s military intervention in #Syria was arguably the decisive turning point that decided the war


When did Damascus decide to reach out to Moscow?

Did Washington know?

More importantly, could the U.S have done anything to prevent the intervention

2-As early as 2012, Damascus had become aware that the war posed an existential risk to the system. Messages were sent to key opposition leaders that unless the situation was soon brought under control, leadership will have no option but to reach to our "big allies"
3-When Damascus became convinced that opposition had no intention of rolling back the unfolding crisis, decision was made to reach out to the big allies. Initial communication with Moscow took place in 2012 via respective heads of security
4-Medvedev was #Russia 's President at the time. Security representative from Damascus was told it was best to wait for the elections when Putin was expected to be next in charge. Once that happens, the team was encouraged to come back & probe the issue again with Moscow
5-Once Putin took over, the team from Damascus reached out to #Russia a second time. This time, they found a receptive ear in Moscow. In the months that followed, intense negotiations took place about the shape, scope and other details of the planned intervention
6-The decision to postpone the actual intervention to Sep 2015 was based on Washington politics and the timing of the 2016 elections. Come the fall of 2015, the Obama Admin would soon be on its way out as the U.S would enter the all-consuming Presidential elections season
7-While Damascus was busy working on details of #Russia 's intervention, the leadership still hoped it can be avoided. Damascus had long concluded that #Turkey & its open borders presented biggest obstacle to ending the war. Jihadists had been using the border as an open highway
8-Obama in meantime was under more pressure from within his cabinet to stop the bloodbath. Videos & images of barrel bombs dropping on residential areas presented particular headache for the WH. Those images were very hard to allow to continue without threatening a response
9-It was at this time that an ex admin official decided to use his previous connections to explain to Damascus the changing tone inside the WH. Obama was put under increasing pressure to intervene unless Damascus puts a stop to its abhorrent military tactics
10-As the ex US Admin official made Assad personally aware of the pressure on Obama to act, #Syria 's leader listened and later indicated his own dismay at the way #Turkey was allowed to send scores of foreign jihadists into the conflict
11-The meeting concluded on a semi-hopeful note. If Washington could pressure #Turkey to stop and roll back its involvement in the conflict, Damascus would agree to stop its use of barrel bombs & abide by a number of other items that were raised during the meeting
12-Almost immediately after ex admin official reached Washington, Idlib fell to the opposition. When the conversation with Assad was relayed to key officials in the Admin, the response was cold dismissal. Why offer Damascus anything now when they are clearly on the run
13-What was totally missed in Washington was how imminent #Russia 's entry was by this time. Yet, Damascus still made one final attempt to find a solution before D day. Washington refused to play along. Assad was surely going down so why offer him anything was the thinking inside
14-Key to this story is the issue of trust. US officials often claim "the Syrians can't be trusted". Following the meeting in Damascus, the ex Admin official had asked if Syrian side was prepared to put things in writing. "Yes, we are" came the answer to the person's surprise
15-Between the constant faulty assumption that Assad is surely going down and the preoccupation with the ongoing Iran nuclear talks, Washington never took this private initiative with Damascus seriously enough. With hindsight, this was a major missed opportunity
16-Once Damascus concluded Washington was not receptive to this final throw of the dice to find a solution before announcing the intervention, the time had come to settle the ultimate victor of the military conflict once and for all. Putin would make that announcement at UNSC

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More from @EHSANI221

18 Feb

#Syria ‘s Old-style Baathists versus Bashar Assad’s liberalization policies

One thing that old-style Baathists understood was that being in the Arab nationalist anti-Western resistance camp had to go hand in hand with economic self-sufficiency

Boy, were they right
2-Since late 1960’a & early 1970’s Eco Self-Sufficiency became the hallmark of of #Syria ‘s political & social economy

Promote local industry to conserve on foreign currency and imports

Promote local agriculture to provide food security & heavily subsidized basic food staples
3-While self-sufficiency may made sense politically, it was an inefficient system that misallocated resources and allowed heavy handed Govt meddling in nearly every facet of Economic life. Many times, #Syria ‘s Govt found itself in the business of running businesses
Read 13 tweets
11 Feb
Head of #Syria State Security Housam Luca made a visit to Tafas in Daraa province (Yes, Daraa again)

Goal was to help calm restless citizens who have had a list of complaints against the state

Short Thread ==>
2-As #Syria ‘s Head of State Security Housam Luca finished speaking, local citizens in the crowd seemed to reply back with agitation and anger towards the officials present
3-Local Tafas / Daraa residents then ask one of their own to speak to Head of State security official and list their grievances that ranged from missing and imprisoned men to widowed mothers not able to find bread for their children
Read 5 tweets
11 Feb
Sharing a personal story to highlight the near collapse in the standards of living of most citizens in #Syria

-My cousin’s husband passed away this morning in Aleppo. He was diagnosed with cancer 3 months ago. He was an Agricultural Engineer who had worked for ICARDA

2-#Syria ‘s currency has lost so much value that local currency income l, assets or savings are nearly worthless

One dose of Chemotherapy for his cancer treatment was quoted at $3,000. Doctor told them they need at least 4-5 doses

This was an inconceivable amount for them
3-While chemotherapy is priced in US$ , local income in SYP to pay for the above is in free fall

Income 1

Family owns small apartment that it rents out. Rent? $30 a month (SYP 95,000)

Income 2

Son works at a local back. Salary? $35 a month (SYP 110k)

Total $65 a month
Read 8 tweets
9 Feb
Thread on @BDL_Lebanon

Since the crisis began, R.Salameh has repeatedly told the nation that his Eco & currency policies were consistent with what has long been asked of him by the Government

Is this true? What does he mean by this?

Answer is Yes and No

Here is why ==> Image
Every Central Bank operates on the basis of a mandate / remit given to it by the Government

Different countries have given different mandates to their Central Banks

Such differences emanate from specific historical experiences each nation & society had experienced in the past
The U.S was scarred by depression & significant market swings in early 1900’s and when its Central Bank (Fed) was formed, congress gave it a dual mandate:

“Maximum Economic Growth and stable prices”

Note how there is no mention of currency stability in the mandate
Read 18 tweets

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