BWW Discussion Meeting: Thursday March 4th 2021

Brown War Watch will be meeting Thursday March 4th at 7pm to discuss ongoing conflicts, developments in the military industrial complex, and pathways to peace. All political and spiritual beliefs welcome, united in the quest for a more peaceful planet. End the Endless Wars!

Please email brownwarwatch@brown.edu for the Zoom link.

THIS WEEK’S TOPICS FOR DISCUSSION

Syria

First we’ll talk about the ongoing conflict and regime change efforts in Syria. We recommend checking out this article from the security reform institute outlining some arguments as to why it’s time to stop those regime change efforts. If you’d like to know more about Syria also check out our timeline at the bottom of this post outlining some of what happened in Syria over the course of civil war there.

Iran

Secondly we’ll talk about Iran. Despite hopes that a new administration would bring a return to the Iran deal, US and Iran tensions are again on the rise. On this topic we recommend this article from Responsible Statecraft that outlines some predictable issues with building better ties between Iran and the US given where we currently stand. A small way you can help build a better relationship between Iran and the US is to fill out this demand from NIAC, imploring our current admin to work towards diplomacy rather than war.

An intersection

These topics are deeply intertwined, and in recent news a bombing in Syria by the US that targeted “Iran-backed” targets (in quotations because of the dubious nature of the use of such narratives in US media) occurred as a response to actions by an “Iran-backed” militia earlier last month. We will discuss this intersection, and our hopes for a peaceful path forward.

An incomplete timeline on the civil war in Syria

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2006-2011: Intense drought in Syria

2010: “Arab spring” protests/civilian actions started in Tunisia (subsequently spread to many other countries including Syria as well as Egypt, Yemen, Iraq and many others)

2011: Violent suppression of protests by Syrian government (under the leadership of Assad) and the start of a civil war

2011: The start of the expansion of ISIS

2012: UN backed peace talks on Syrian civil war (no agreement reached, US preconditions of Assad stepping down is a nonstarter for the peace process)

2012: Kurds informally secede and form autonomous state in Northeastern Syria

2013: Known start of US covert (CIA) train and equip programs of anti-Assad forces in Syria

2014: Reports of collusion between ISIS and Turkey

2014: (January) UN backed peace talks on Syrian civil war (no agreement reached)

2014: (Feb) Iran purportedly expands intelligence gathering and training programs in Syria

2014: (June) ISIS claimed land from Aleppo in Syria to Diyala in Iraq

2014: (August) US-led coalition airstrikes in ISIS start in Iraq

2014: (September) Official start of US train and equip program of anti-Assad forces (purportedly for the sole purpose of fighting Isis though the veneer was thin)

2014: (September) US-led coalition airstrikes against ISIS start in Syria

2015: (June) Turkish President Erdogan denounces the formation of the Kurdish state in Northeastern Syria, infamously saying he would “never allow” the state to form no matter the cost

2015: (October) Reports of Iranian soldiers in Syria (difficult to peer through western media bias and get an understanding on Iran’s involvement)

2015: (September) Coalition forms including Russia, Iraq, Iran, and Syria against ISIS (US refused involvement)

2015 (September) Russia’s Federation Council authorized Putin to deploy armed forces in Syria

2016: (August) Turkey launches artillery bombardment and airstrikes followed by ground assault targeting both ISIS and Kurdish forces

2016 (January) UN backed peace talks on Syrian civil war (no agreement reached, US preconditions continue to be an issue)

2016: (October) Clinton pushes no fly zones (which would have functionally targeted Russian aircraft)

2017: (April) US officially bombs first Syrian military target (coverage truly bizarre)

2017: (December) ISIS had lost 95% of its territory

2018: (April) Israel starts officially bombing Iranian targets in Syria (this has never stopped)

2018: (August) US starts bombing Damascus (a purported response to a chemical weapons use by Assad, the details of which remain unclear)

2019: Turkish forces launch military offensive further into Kurdish controlled North-Easetern Syria

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