Nov 24 (3/5): Russia: Formally at War

Further adventures in legal formalism!

Also: Why the phrase “that’s just semantics” should never, ever be fucking used again. Ever. It doesn’t mean what people think. The degree to which definitions matter in Syria right now beggar belief.

So this is great:

The distinction between Turkish backed forces and Turkish militry that I labored over,  like, fucking ages ago it feels like in sorting this shit out is still playing a role in confusing people about what’s going on and even what is allowed, “allowed” being a kind of crazy concept in war but a vital part of how we try to keep abuses in check. War is awful enough.

Any attorney who gets gruff for making fine legal distinctions should just point to this conflict, tell whomever they’re talking to that it really can be life or death, drop the mic, hop into their Beemer, and drive away.

Of course, for anyone following this conflict, the issue of “Who gets to kill who?” invariably leads to the next question:

What the fuck is Russia doing these days anyway?

As has been mentioned on several occasions, this question from the SDF has steadily been growing in volume for some time now. But, yeah, the SDF increasingly would like to know what exactly anyone thinks Russia is or is not doing and how that relates to fucking anything.

Of course, it relates to everything. It’s a pretty good question.

The international community was, in many ways I think, relieved that Russia took on this mess that NATO members were so obviously unequipped to deal with. But this is very much not what was expected.

Thus far, the biggest effect Russia’s movements seem to be having in the east is that, as with the US forces, their presence or absence  determines where TFSA press their attack. And if you want to know why, all you need to do is see what they’re doing to people who even look at them funny in the west.

Basically, the US and Russia are terribly dangerous objects that move around and which the TFSA seek to avoid bumping into. The placement and shape of ground fighting contorts and conforms itself around the presence of these behemoths, but basically just flows around to where they are not, like so much dirty water spilling about.

Russia’s other big function is to make the Turkish border patrols look like assholes by playing good cop, but that seems somewhat less important—though it makes great copy for Russian news outlets with really outstanding visuals.

There is one horrible caveat:

I now see that there may be additional strategic incentives (imperatives?) to move into places where they can “dump refugees.”

So we can expect to see some kind of fucked up “anchor baby” concept where Turkey will claim that TFSA are truly just helping out the refugees even though there are only even refugees there to help because they just put them there to give them a justification to be there.


The use of refugees/IDPs as pawns becomes more obvious every time is see it, but it’s not getting any less gross.

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