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Subject: Forecasting Likelyhood of Turkey imposing No-Fly Zone for Syrian Air Force
Deep_Web_Guy    10/14/2012 1:17:45 PM
There are several indicators hinting that Turkey may impose a no-fly zone over Syria. It certainly has the dominant air assets to do so, however the Syrian air defenses are stout. I've used standard Bayesian statistics to make my prediction. If anyone proposes better updates to the probabilities of any factors, I'd like to hear it. http://deep-web.org/using-osint-research-and-bayesian-stats-to-predict-turkey-imposing-a-no-fly-zone-in-syria/ Bottom line prediction is 60% as of 13OCT12.
 
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WarNerd       10/15/2012 3:38:13 AM
You are only considering positve factors, add some negatives.
 
What is the possible political cost to suppress the Syrian air defenses? Because the decision makers are politicians, not military.
 
This should be considered from 3 aspects -- Turkish casualties, Syrian casualties, and material costs. Note that these will not be expected or average costs, in politics one is tragedy, 2 is a disaster, and any others after that are a statistic.
1 -- Turkish casualties are the most critical, with immediate, and very negative, impact for Erdogan. It should be also be noted here that polls show a majority of the Turkish population does NOT want Turkey to become involved in Syria.
2 -- Syrian casualties are next, because the Assad regime and the world press will play them up. Turkey can probably weather that in the West, but in the Arab world it will feed the Sunni-Shia conflict and the Arab fears of the return of the Ottoman Empire (the Turks having historically, and are still, even more capable than the Persians).
3 -- The material cost is politically minor, mostly because it only becomes a factor after the rest is over. You can probably ignore it.
Mitigating factors are available for each of those is as follows:
1 – US support. The US has the SEED capabilities to take out the missile sites with danger, plus US casualties are not a Turkish concern. However the Whitehouse is unwilling to commit without UN sanction, which will not be forthcoming due to Russian and Chinese vetoes. France might be convinced to lead an intervention, like they did in Libya, giving the US political cover to do the heavy lifting.
2 – Turkey has to secure the open backing of the majority of the leaders of the Arab and Muslim states. At this time a majority want still more negotiation first, probably hoping that the situation will resolve itself before they have to be blamed for taking a stand.
3 – get the US to do it.
 
Have fun.
 
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LB       10/16/2012 12:52:49 AM
Actually it would be surprising if Turkey even considers such an action without a NATO or UN umbrella.
 
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Deep_Web_Guy       10/16/2012 1:11:32 AM

 
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Deep_Web_Guy       10/17/2012 12:31:10 AM
Thanks for the input. Others corroborated some of your factors.  Factors which haven't occurred can't be added.
 
With some feedback from other sources, additional factors have been added that lower a Turkish No-Fly zone down to 20%


Bayesian math is below along with other factors. AGain, if anyone has further factors or proposed adjustments, just let me know.
+++++++++++++++
Update 16OCT12, yet again

I've been given lots of feedback to take in new factors. Main flaw is that I have ignored negative factors, so I will update my Likelihood factor.

Last left at L=5.858
Additional Factors

Syrian Air Defences are superior and will require neutralizing: P(e|h) = .20 & P(e|nh)=.40
Political Will by Turkey to get involved in Syria : P(e|h) = .4 & P(e|nh)=.6

new R= 0.11 x 5.858x .12/.4 x .4/.6

R=0.21479

Percentage = .21470/(1+.21479) = 17%

With 1 sig fig it rounds to 20% which I think is more believable.
Chime in if you think this is right.
 
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WarNerd       10/18/2012 5:35:03 AM
Syrian Air Defences are superior and will require neutralizing: P(e|h) = .20 & P(e|nh)=.40
The Syrian air defenses in the area of the no fly zone will have to be neutralized, without exception. No one is willing to fly CAP in an Air Defense Zone. That is why in Libya as soon as the go ahead was given to establish a no-fly zone the first thing was a massive attack on the SAM sites, and incredulous looks and replies along the line of “What did you expect?” when the Arab League complained that they had not authorized strikes against ground targets.
 
The only questions are:
1. -- Can the Turks do it (with acceptable casualties) on their own?
and
2. -- If not will the US be willing to do it for them?
Political Will by Turkey to get involved in Syria : P(e|h) = .4 & P(e|nh)=.6
1. -- Highly dependent on the above. Also dependent on the ability to get support and authorization from the Arab League, and/or the UN.
2. – You can set the probability of the UN Security Council voting to support intervention in Syria at zero (0). Even if the Russians back down the Chinese will not. The General Assembly probably would vote out a resolution, if they could get it to a vote -- Not likely.
3. – The Arab League is the wild card. With enough support from the member states Turkey may be willing to intervene without UN approval.
 
Some of this may already be present in your assumptions. You need to document them better so people can follow and duplicate your reasoning. You may also want to have separate calculations for some of these other chains of reason so they are easier to follow, then feed the results into the main equation.
 
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LB       10/18/2012 1:42:55 PM
It would be rather ironic for the Arab League,  which doesn't include Turkey as observer much less a member, to vote to authorize the old Ottoman Empire to reoccupy Syria (the old heart of pan Arab nationalism).
 
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Reactive    Scope   10/19/2012 10:03:54 PM
How can you make an accurate prediction without factoring in the unknown quantities here: 
 
Turkey seems to me to be being used as a useful pretext, the unnecessary Turkish involvement of the UN hints (imo at least) that given the absence of a Security Council resolution there is a viable legal route through to intervention. Turkey is no poodle and it will largely depend on their desire (and that of other NATO countries) to be rid of Assad and at what cost that is to be achieved, technically they don't need much more in the way of justification and in that case their actions seem thus far aimed at creating the opening required for further intervention. It is also possible that a wait-and-see approach with tacit support for rebels is regarded as viable unless the situation deteriorates.  
 
As we saw with Libya, the original UN resolution was used as a gateway through to wholesale engagement of Gadaffi's forces - I would expect the same in this case, the Beirut bombing, currently being blamed on Syria may provide further leverage for a greater scope of intervention. 
 
Some form of military intervention is inevitable sooner or later in my view for two reasons a) that Assad consolidating power is probably an unacceptable outcome for various parties and b) that in the event of regime collapse, stocks of chemical weapons must at some point be secured. 
 
However, I find it unlikely Turkey would unilaterally declare a no-fly zone, far easier to bring in the NATO members that would in any case be necessary politically for Erdogan and to enable cruise missile strikes and SEAD from US assets in theatre.  
 
 
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WarNerd       10/20/2012 1:56:05 AM
Some form of military intervention is inevitable sooner or later in my view for two reasons a) that Assad consolidating power is probably an unacceptable outcome for various parties and b) that in the event of regime collapse, stocks of chemical weapons must at some point be secured. 
Assad consolidating power is probably the preferred outcome to the governments worried about securing his CW stocks if the regime collapses, even if they would never admit it publically. I understand that the Pentagon recommended a minimum of 65,000 troops for securing the facilities, and the plan has some major deployment and mobility bottlenecks that have not been overcome yet.
 
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