Debate: Pros and Cons of FSA targeting transmission lines of Syrian Electricity

Pál Markó >
Syrian National Energy Grid:
By destroying transmission lines of the Syrian electricity grid south of Homs (blowing up some of the pylons) FSA would be able to cause a constant blackout in Damascus area.
This results in a significant setback in the countries economy, especially in the capital – what means less tax revenue for the goverment. Public institutions cannot function without electricity and tax incomes. In addition, the blackout gives better conditions for urban warfare at night.
Assad wouldn’t hesitate to implement this action – he has already done this cutoff at opposition controlled cities. If FSA could be called ‘terrorists’ for it, Assad himself can be called already so.
(And in parallel FSA should ransack as many weapons depot as they can, like they’ve did yesterday near Damascus.)

Brandon Fisichella >
Causing major blackouts in a city would hurt the people more than the government. We need to avoid that.

Pál Markó >
I disagree. If Syrians really want to topple the regime, lacking of electric power for some weeks or months is the minimum what everybody has to endure. Many Syrians have given their own or family members’ life to this cause. This ‘electric solution’ is like a general strike, very easy to make, and the pylons are also easy to rebuild within a month after Assad is off.
If Syrians themselves are not willing to do every possible, how do they want foreign countries to intervene??? FSA must publish a video before the action where they tell the people what will happen and why. (And that many opposition controlled cities already lacks not simply electricity, but even water supply.

Brandon Fisichella >
The masses are not fighting for some concept of nationalism or freedom, they want the conflict to end, and they want what is best for their families. Most people will not give up their electricity ‘for the greater good’ as it will hurt them and their families. This could be- and to be honest, justifiably so- large power base for Assad. Not only that, but the ways of a proper Gentleman’s war prohibits strikes against civilian targets, which power lines are. It would be easy enough to destroy the Syrian army with proper air support and funding/supplying of the rebels.

Pál Markó >
Your arguments are correct, but:
- power lines are not simply civilian targets (as a family’s house could be), they also supply all the factories – including oil refineries providing tanks with petrol (in good case these could be selectively cut off);
- seeing the scenes everyday I thought it is a total war, where the the opposing parties use all possible means – Assad considers it so;
- in modern warfare turning off the enemy’s electric network is a basic step;
- TV sets don’t work without power, so Assad’s propaganda could reach the people only through radio stations (what use generators to operate); FSA could make their own radio stations on the borders to balance this.
- this solution doesn’t cause pain, only discomfort; one year after people won’t even remember this whole trouble;
- needs no foreign intervention, Syrians can do it on their own.

Brandon Fisichella >
Ah, but consider this:
- The government- especially military installations- will have backup power, and targeting factories puts people out of work. In this sort of place, working means life or death.
- Honour always has a place in warfare, and in order to get a nation’s people on your side, you must treat them incredibly well
- The propaganda is not needed, as people will naturally see it as the allied forces attacking their power, and power outages can lead to much death and despair. This would only help Assads cause
-The tiniest amount of discomfort (even though like I said, people would die from it naturally) would be a large loss for an allied force, and would be a huge rallying factor for Assad.
- While it may not *need* intervention, it would be for the best. As history has shown us, revolutionary governments without guidance so very often go against their own values very quickly, and not to mention that the new government- on top of needing assistance- would need to be pro-western, and we may assure that with airstrikes and feeding intel.

Pál Markó >
Ok, FSA must wait with it, till western intervention has chance. But if it fails and military situation worsens, it still could be an option. Especially as Syrian economy crawls slowly towards the collapse, there can be a point when the uprising just would be crushed and economy also needs only a final blow. (A week ago with the fall of Baba Amr there was a feeling as if we were already at that point.)
By the way, the economic collapse would mean that Assad can’t pay his thugs, buy fuel and ammo for the tanks/weapons, or the whole state machine falls apart. This would result much more defections – finally victory to FSA, who isn’t payed from the budget.

Brandon Fisichella >
Or only more support for him as people loose their jobs and can no longer support their families, and see it as the allied forces fault. After all, while they may not have liked life before, at least they were able to do their best to provide for their families.

Pál Markó >
As far it can be known, inhabitants of beseiged cities didn’t turn against the revolution, even if they have no public utilities (water, electricity, mobile, net) or can’t support their families without a job. Even if the trouble can be traced back to FSA’s activity.
And if the general turnoff would give so much boost to Assad’s popularity, why don’t he make it himself and transfer the responsibility to the FSA?

Brandon Fisichella >
Well in the end it would still hurt his own economy even more, and it is entirely possible that it would be discovered. Not to mention that, much in the way the French army did in 1917 I think it was, if the army was ordered to do such a thing they may mutiny. They would then be attacking loyalists as well, and not the ‘enemy’. Although, granted, as we have seen the Syrian army is not the best in terms of morality.

Pál Markó >
Yes, when they turned off public utilities in opposition’s cities they’ve already punished Assad-fans living there too, without remorse.
And blowing up a pylon don’t need much members of official army, only an ‘action group’ of 5 men from shabeeha with some dynamite…

Brandon Fisichella >
Fair enough, I suppose. I would say leave it still as a last resort, however, only to be done if absolutely necessary.

Source: A Free World Today

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One Response to Debate: Pros and Cons of FSA targeting transmission lines of Syrian Electricity

  1. Fredy says:

    The cruel truth is if someone kills a million people and keeps his seat he is the King.

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