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December 28, 2012



Splendid stuff. Could this be a very late runner for, if not B&T post of the year, then the most B&T B&T post of the year? Do B&T regulars have any better candidates?

Battalions are often named after historical Arab or Ottoman figures in order to help lure money from the Gulf kingdoms

Is there any real difference between this and Man City..?

(BTW. I hope I speak for more B&T regular visitors than myself in saying thanks to you guys our hosts & contributors for your strenuous efforts in giving us all another vintage B&T year. You have remained, IMO, the best thing on the web.)

Barry Freed

I sense an golden opportunity here for Bushmaster to rehabilitate their image post Sandy Hook massacre - the Bushmaster Brigade.

(Strategist certainly speaks for me. Favorite site on the interwebs.)


The Syrian War is not only synergeneticizing the Dragon's Den franchise, but also waving around a possible cross-mutationisation with the live TV "War Games" genre where, parameters and strategies having been deployed in the market place, everyone in the souk then fights to the death over loot redistribution:

Syrian rebels sidetracked by scramble for spoils of war

Looting, feuds and divided loyalties threaten to destroy unity of fighters as war enters new phase


Reported live from the war floor by a meld of John Simpson and Robert Peston.


Drug production definitely does involve looting the civilians under your control, though, because they're the ones growing the drugs. Militias don't grow drugs themselves, they just tax the people who do.


Obligatory SF reference: Market Forces by Richard Morgan. Venture capital firms investing in promising revolutions.

Nick L

@ajay Yes, but to borrow from Olson it's much closer to the 'settled bandit' model (skim off the top) than it is the 'roving bandit' model (take everything that isn't nailed down, burn the rest).


Well, people started producing heroin in Iraq.


Well, there's plenty of cannabis-growing know-how in the Bekaa valley, just next door. I think this could easily be exported into Syria once you get rid of the central government.

I'm no agricultural expert, but the Ghab plain along the northern end of the Alawite Mountains' eastern slope, down onto the Hama-Homs plain, would seem to replicate Bekaa conditions quite well. Very fertile soil, fed from the Orontes river and mountain springs.

Unfortunately, it's religiously mixed (Alawite majority in the southern end, Sunnis in the north, with a few Christian towns scattered about). Constant sectarian warfare would complicate matters, particularly since the Ghab is partly dependent on irrigation channels and pumping systems, which could be disturbed by the figthing.

On the other hand, the ethnic cleansing is just kicking off, could go either way. Syrian Arab Army reinforced by local shabbiha in the mountains to the west, and some really powerful salafi antigov militias in Jebel al-Zawia and Idleb to the northeast. My money is on the sunnis.

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