Everyone has been waiting for the Syrian war to end. It's now showing early signs of tapering gradually, but gives no reasons to rejoice. The scenario looks even gloomier than the ongoing war.
Raqaa, which IS refers as the "caliphate's capital," is barely 240 miles from the Syrian capital, Damascus. Less than a week ago, IS overran the Syrian air base at Tabqa (5 hours drive from Damascus) which was the last military position held by the Syrian Army in Raqaa. More than 170 Syrian soldiers lost their lives and at least 250 were brutally executed by terrorists after being forced to walk a long distance wearing only their underwears. Many Assad supporters are hurt at the inability of the Syrian Defense Minister to protect the forces at Tabqa and are demanding his resignation. The terrorists have taken control of the Tabqa Dam which has been hugely beneficial for them. The dam generates plenty of electricity needed in the surrounding areas. IS terrorists purposefully didn't destroy the dam nor hurt the dam's staff to ensure it continues functioning smoothly. They were already loaded with a steady supply of sophisticated weapons coming from the West, directly and via some of the Gulf leaders. Additionally, the abundance of military hardware seized from the Iraqi army in June 2014 gave a huge boost to their arsenal.
There is nothing such as sanctions or arms embargo for IS. The international community considers it acceptable for them to sell plundered oil anywhere they like and buy whatever they need.
IS controls 60% of Syria's oil - the oil wells at Raqaa and Deir Ezzor provinces in northern & eastern Syria - with a total production of approximately 180,000 barrels / day and massive smuggling of stolen oil into the international market providing an oil revenue of $4 million daily (inclusive of the oil resources in Iraq under IS control). The United States apparently seems comfortable over much of these resources controlled by the bootleg petro-caliphate rather than Assad. However, with more than half a dozen terrorist groups romping around Syria, Obama's dilemmas are getting insurmountable, circling the drain like a bunch of hair swirling to clog it up.
Few days ago he confirmed he wouldn't be sending troops to Iraq. A day later he stated he didn't yet have a plan to deal with ISIS in Syria either, followed by the startling news that Jabhat al-Nusra and Ahrar as-Shaam siezed the Quneitra Crossing at Golan Height in southern Syria, capturing 43 UN peacekeepers. Quneitra Crossing is on the demarcation line with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, bringing Al-Qaeda less than 200 yards of the territory controlled by Israel. Al-Nusra wants to annex Quneitra to Darraa Governorate, parts of which it controls. In other words, Al-Qaeda is now Israel's neighbor!
Our heartache and despondency over the increasing possibility of Assad's defeat set aside, sponsors of Syria's proxy war are scratching their heads with trembling hands. False optimism and the dose of their own medicine leaves them bewildered and stupefied. Ace champion of Salafist terrorists, the Saudi King, is now visibly unnerved. After taking care of their fighters with weapons and training worth billions of dollars, this pharisee urgently appeals to the US to combat IS's "genocidal agenda." Since the takeover of Anbar Province in Iraq, the 'caliphate' is next door to the Saudi border along southwestern Iraq. Obama's lethargy is giving cold feet to Abdullah al-Saud. With IS's voracious appetite to expand its 'caliphate,' the chickens may come home to roost any time unless the United States continues to loyally guard the House of Saud.
Anxious and desperate to avoid missteps to salvage his image as an outgoing President, Barack Obama is almost fifty percent gray and a picture of a befuddled little creature. With only two more winters left to be spent in the WH, he doesn't have much time; and the fallout from political gaffes are largely intertwined. With nothing but missteps for the past six years, it's hardly practical to avoid them now. Choosing to be a recluse through inaction won't help.
Some analysts suggested last year that victory in Syria wouldn't be clean sweep as in Libya 2011 and Iraq 2003. It would happen with the dismemberment of Syria and Assad might be left with a rump portion. The uncanny resemblance of that perspective with the direction in which the scenario is currently drifting is obvious. As it progresses it could get worse. Watching Assad surrounded by wolves may not be pacifying enough for the sponsors of the proxy war against him. They would prefer to throw him to the wolves as with Qaddafi and Saddam. Enemy's enemy is not always a friend, and certainly not this time.