Friday, March 22, 2013

Syria Civil War Maps Batch Twelve - First Quarter 2013

Many thanks to FSSP for this post

Libyan War Maps 
Syrian Arab Spring Protest Maps - Batch One
Syria Civil War Maps Batch Two - Syrian Air Defenses 
Syria Civil War Maps Batch Three - Twitter and News Update Maps 
Syria Civil War Maps Batch Four - The Soccer Map  
Syria Civil War Maps: Batch Five - Ceasefire Violations
Syria Civil War Maps: Batch Six - Houla   
Syria Civil War Maps: Batch Seven - June 2012    
Syria Civil War Maps: Batch Eight - Battle of Damascus 
Syria Civil War Maps: Batch Nine - September 2012 
Syria Civil War Maps Batch Ten - October 2012 
Syria Civil War Maps Batch Eleven - Propaganda Maps
Syria Civil War Maps Batch Twelve - First Quarter 2013

Syria Civil War Maps Batch Thirteen - Chemical Weapons Attack?
Syria Civil War Maps Batch Fourteen - Israel Strikes Again
Syria Civil War Maps Batch Fifteen - Second Quarter 2013
Syria Civil War Maps Batch Sixteen - The Coming Western Intervention
Syria Civil War Maps Batch Seventeen - Al Qaedastan in Iraq and Syria

When a visitor asked what we thought about the last few months of the civil war I responded with "stalemate."  Rebels make gains in the east as the government focuses on the north and south in order to  grind down the opposition there.  The slowness and lack of news has reduced public interest and therefore map production.  However, there are several themes in the maps that are made.

Ground Control:  No One Can Agree

Who controls what, is a question many ask.  However, depending on the map, the map maker's basis, and sources of information the rebels are either contained, much of Syria is contested, or the rebels de facto control most of Syria.

Political Geography Now probably has the most accurate map which shows much of Syria being fought over.

I like how the color scheme does not favor on side in a Western mindset of (Green equals good and red/black equals bad)
Meanwhile The Blogmocracy tells the story of rebel control in PolGeoNow stated contested territory.

The color scheme seems to favor the rebels though I do not like how blue means "contested".  I also have concerns about the extent of opposition held territory.
Chemical Weapons

One major storyline of this war is the West's fear that Syria will use its chemical weapons, give it to Hizbollah/Hezbollah/Hezbillah/whatever, or al Qaeda-aligned terrorists will seize the chemical weapons.  Israel is so concerned about this they actually bombed Syria to prevent a shipment.  It seemed that the Arabs were too busy in their Saudi-Iranian Cable War to be concerned about a "Zionist attack on brother Arabs."

The Center for Nonproliferation Studies released this map of important places in Syria's chemical weapon arsenal.  Note the limited areas of rebel control in this map.  They also have a nice interactive map with further details.

Israel's airstrike on Syria bypassed much of Syria's air defenses by going through its weak underbelly: Lebanon.  This map was made by Haaretz.
Kurdish Dreams and Nightmares

While most of the world focuses on the sectarian war of Sunnis versus minorities and vice versa, the Kurds in the northeast have been making gains.  Some Kurds, mostly those aligned with the Marxist Kurdistan Workers' Party, dream that they will be able to establish an alternative Kurdistan which would rival the pro-West Kurdistan Regional Government.  This would be the seventh Kudistan established since 1922.

The Kurdish website Ekurd created this map of the claim for a Western Kurdistan.  Note the maps claim of "Arabized Kurds" which could be used an excuse for future expansion as well as the terms "Southern Kurdistan" and "Northern Kurdistan."

Elsewhere the generally anti-United States website NSNBC quotes Kuwaiti Faisal al-Hamad, head of the National Party (note: several friends knowledgeable in Arab politics have not heard of this party) claims Israel and the United States are trying to establish a greater Kurdistan to threaten Turkey, Russia, and Iran.

Special Mentions

I wanted to point a few maps that show the diversity of conflict cartography.

The BBC used a map to help show the complex the of the mystery of who exactly massacred the village of Haswiya.  The article makes for a great, but sad, read.

Meanwhile I wish to thank amateur cartographers who map for the general public while the press overlooks the micro-geography of the war.

Yalla Souriya has been continuing to make daily updates on the war including this regional look at control in northwest Syria.

Other amateur map makers make their maps on Google Maps.  Damien made a late 2012 map of locations of "confirmed" MANPADs (personal anti-aircraft missiles).

View MANPADS presence in the Syrian conflict in a larger map

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