Archive for the ‘Syria’ Category

James Denselow has an illustrative article in the May issue of CTC Sentinel about the Syrian-Iraqi border and the “Ho Chi Minh Trail” that crosses it.

For example, I didn’t realise it was Jerry Bremer’s infamous “Order 2”, disbanding Iraq’s armed forces, including the 35,000-strong border guard, that “turned Iraq’s 2,270 miles of international boundaries into an ‘open house’.”

Equally illuminating (at least to me, see this blog’s title) is the fact that it was the withdrawal from Lebanon in 2005 which enabled Syria to reinforce the border security from some 700 men to roughly 10,000.

And here’s how it works (or doesn’t):

Syria has constructed 557 border posts, each spaced between 0.6 and 1.5 miles apart, as imposed by the topographical nature of the terrain. Each post is manned by between five and eight soldiers equipped with personal weapons and one fixed heavy weapon. The main weakness of such a personnel-heavy approach is that the Syrians have neither the training nor the equipment to conduct patrols at night, when the largest percentage of illicit transit occurs.

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