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Thread: Syria: a civil war (closed)

  1. #161
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Attacks by army defectors are transforming the Syrian uprising into an armed insurgency that threatens to spiral into civil war. The Free Syrian Army holds no territory, appears largely disorganized and is up against a fiercely loyal and cohesive military that will stop at nothing to protect the regime.
    Interesting and slightly contradictory... the military is "fiercely loyal and cohesive", yet there are enough defectors to transform the uprising into an armed insurgency.

    I wrote somewhere upthread that with foreign intervention out of the picture the only real game-changer I can see is the possibility of large scale defection or refusal to follow orders among the military.

    If anyone here has direct experience with the Syrian military, a question: how strong is this loyalty and cohesion, really? Is the loyalty to the government absolute, or is it tempered by loyalty to other members of the same service, with a possibility that units may refuse to engage defectors? To what extent is loyalty to the regime tempered with self interest... meaning is it possible that mid-range officers - the ones who actually command troops - might drop the regime if they conclude that it will fall and they don't want to fall with it.

    In many revolutions there's a tipping point where large numbers of people inside the tent conclude that the ship is sinking and they don't want to sink with it. The question is where this tipping point is in the Syrian case. Probably nobody has a really good answer, but it will be interesting to see.
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

    H.L. Mencken

  2. #162
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    To what extent is loyalty to the regime tempered with self interest... meaning is it possible that mid-range officers - the ones who actually command troops - might drop the regime if they conclude that it will fall and they don't want to fall with it.
    This is more likely.

    Some of the dynamics were mentioned here: http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...3&postcount=56

  3. #163
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    A couple of things I wonder about...

    Are there units in the Syrian military that are "favored"... given better assignments, better conditions, better equipment, perhaps seen as "elite"? If so, is that "elite" status based on actual competence or on a perception of higher loyalty, maybe selected for regional or family ties?

    Are promotions and status based on performance and competence, or on perceived personal loyalty to Assad?

    These phenomena (and others) create fault lines that may be invisible until real pressure comes on, but that can create fractures in organizations under pressure. Of course it's risky for an outside power to try to exploit or exaggerate those fault lines, if they exist, but they are worth watching.

    I realize that the military is Alawite-dominated, but I wonder how solid that bloc is. More specifically, I wonder if there are a bunch of Captains and Majors (or equivalent in Syrian terms) out there who feel they've been bypassed in favor of less capable but better connected officers. That's a common phenomenon in armies serving dictators (who often fear their own armed forces more than any enemy force), and it creates the kind of fissures that can drive defections when the pressure comes on.
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

    H.L. Mencken

  4. #164
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    Default Whether the answers are entirely truthful is a different matter…

    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    I realize that the military is Alawite-dominated, but I wonder how solid that bloc is. More specifically, I wonder if there are a bunch of Captains and Majors (or equivalent in Syrian terms) out there who feel they've been bypassed in favor of less capable but better connected officers.
    No one would be able to answer those questions better than an old spook. [LINK]
    If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed. – Mark Twain (attributed)

  5. #165
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    Default Angora Update

    All from Today's Zaman -

    Pressure grows on Syria but world powers divided (25 November 2011, Friday / REUTERS, BEIRUT):

    Syria faced a Friday deadline to sign an Arab deal allowing monitors into the country or incur sanctions over its crackdown on protests including halting flights, curbing trade and stopping deals with the central bank.

    Arab foreign ministers said in Cairo that unless Syria agreed to let the monitors in to assess progress of an Arab League plan to end eight months of bloodshed, officials would consider imposing sanctions on Saturday.
    ....
    The Arab League suspended Syria's membership two weeks ago, while this week the prime minister of neighbouring Turkey - a NATO member with the military wherewithal to mount a cross-border operation - told Assad to quit and said he should be mindful of the fate of fallen dictators such as Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini and Libya's deposed leader Muammar Gaddafi.
    EU says it looks to Turkey to help stabilize Mideast (25 November 2011, Friday / TODAY’S ZAMAN, İSTANBUL):

    The president of the European Parliament has said the European Union is looking to Turkey to help stabilize the Middle East, shaken by instability and uprisings since the start of this year.

    Jerzy Buzek, who is visiting Turkey this week, told Turkish deputies in Parliament on Thursday that he knows from his own experiences that a falling dictatorship is both dangerous and unpredictable, referring to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whose regime is threatened by an eight-month uprising that claimed nearly 4,000 lives. He said across the east Mediterranean, not just in Syria, there are multiple flashpoints and that the 27-nation bloc is looking to Turkey to help stabilize the region.

    He has said in recent months that Turkey’s leadership has stressed Turkey’s support for the struggle for freedom across North Africa and the Middle East and that many in the Middle East regard Turkey as a source of inspiration as a successfully modernizing society. He also said Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was the first Muslim leader to tell Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak to step down.

    “Your leaders have travelled to Egypt, Libya and Tunisia to promote the adoption of a constitution that secures secularism. And, more recently, you opened your doors, and hearts, to the Syrian opposition,” he said. Buzek added that Turkey has a lot to offer the international community, stating that it is still essential that Turkey and the EU work together to better coordinate their foreign policies.
    Foreign Minister Davutoğlu: Turkey can no longer tolerate Syrian bloodshed (25 November 2011, Friday / TODAY’S ZAMAN WITH WIRES, İSTANBUL):

    The Turkish foreign minister said on Friday that Turkey can tolerate no more bloodshed in Syria and is ready to take action along with Arab powers if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad fails to take steps towards ending his crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators.

    At a joint press conference Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu held with his Italian counterpart, Giulio Terzi, after a tête-à-tête meeting in İstanbul on Friday, Davutoğlu said he hoped the Syrian government would respond in a positive way to a plan by the Arab League to resolve the conflict. “Today is an historic decision day for Syria. It must open its doors to observers,” he added.

    “If it doesn't, there are steps we can take in consultation with the Arab league” he declared, adding: “I want to say clearly we have no more tolerance for the bloodshed in Syria. The attitude of friendly and fraternal countries on this subject is clear."
    but, Turkish military intervention was ruled out:

    Turkey also underlined that an uprising in Syria is its neighbor’s internal affair and that it will not allow any state to militarily intervene in Syria, ruling out any possibility that Turkey will become militarily involved. “We won’t send soldiers [to Syria], won’t intervene and won’t allow or create conditions for others to intervene,” Bülent Arınç, Turkey’s deputy prime minister told a local TV station in Bursa. Arınç, who is also the government’s spokesman, said any foreign intervention will create divisions not only in Syria but across the region as well. He added that incidents in Syria are developing along ethnic lines and that sectarianism is also playing a role.

    Arınç’s remarks came at a time when Syria’s armed opposition groups asked Turkey to create a buffer zone to shelter anti-regime fighters. Lt. Salem Odeh, a defector from Latakia, told Reuters this week that historic and religious ties with Turkey that go back to the Ottoman Empire mean Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s opponents -- generally wary of outside interference -- would accept a Turkish military role.

    “I just hope there will be a Turkish military intervention. It’s better, and they have longstanding blood ties from old times, and they are closer to the East than the West,” he added. Citing Israeli security officials, Israeli daily Haaretz reported on Thursday that they believe Turkey is moving toward a military intervention in Syria, in order to create a secure buffer zone for opposition activists. Accordingly, Turkey is expected to set up secure buffer zones on its border with Syria that would allow armed opposition groups to organize against the Syrian regime from bases protected by the Turkish military, according to Haaretz.

    However, Arınç categorically ruled out any discussion among government circles that Turkey is considering military intervention. “There is absolutely no such thing,” he underlined. “Some Turkish politicians and some countries are saying Turkey will intervene in Syria. This is totally wrong. This is impossible, we don’t think of it.”
    The last item doesn't deal with Syria as such - Poll: Turks are militaristic, don't like military service exemption (25 November 2011, Friday / KAZIM PIYNAR/BÜŞRA KIRKPINAR , İSTANBUL):

    According to the poll conducted by İstanbul Bilgi University, Bilkent University and KONDA, 74 percent of participants surveyed think that “Turks are soldiers.” Only 11 percent of the survey participants do not agree with that.

    In addition, most of the participants support mandatory military service as it is the current system in Turkey: only 15 percent say only those who desire to do military service should do so, while those who support mandatory military service are at 74 percent. However, 55 percent of the survey participants find the 15-month mandatory military service period “too long,” while those who approve of that time remain at 29 percent of the survey participants.

    Most of the survey participants do not approve the government's initiative to introduce a paid military service exemption: 25 percent of the poll takers said that this right should be given to everybody, while 60 percent of them do not support the idea.

    The poll also shows that Turkish people are warm to the idea of a professional military as 44 percent support this idea, while 30 percent do not and 21 percent partly support it.

    The Turkish military should have women is supported by 15 percent, while 75 percent do not support it.

    When it comes to conscientious objection to military service, 79 percent of the respondents are not aware of the concept, while 19 percent are. However, when asked if people should be able to make a choice between going or not going to the military depending on their beliefs, 82 percent of the survey respondents say “no,” while 14 percent say “yes.”
    The Bend of the Halys has not changed much in 4000 years.



    Regards

    Mike
    Last edited by jmm99; 11-26-2011 at 01:48 AM.

  6. #166
    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    The Russian government announced Tuesday that from December, a flotilla of warships will be sent to the naval base that it has in Syria. The authorities affirmed that the fleet will be led by the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov and also have a patrol vessel, an anti-submarine ship, and other vessels.
    http://english.pravda.ru/hotspots/te...ps_to_Syria-0/
    A scrimmage in a Border Station
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  7. #167
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Default The defectors again...

    http://www.businessweek.com/news/201...t-spreads.html

    Syrian Army Defectors Kill 27 Soldiers as Armed Conflict Spreads

    Syrian army defectors killed 27 members of President Bashar al-Assad’s security forces in an attack at dawn today, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

    The attack in the southern governorate of Daraa, where the nine-month uprising against Assad began, came after eight Syrian soldiers died in an ambush by deserters near Hama.
    Difficult to verify, of course, and hard to know if defections are increasing or will increase. Still, potentially an evolution that could adjust the terms of the stalemate that's developed.
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

    H.L. Mencken

  8. #168
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Syria: revolution or civil war?

    Catching up on my reading I found this first-hand report inside Syria by the BBC's reporter Paul Wood, who entered illegally and remains valid today after a fortnight:http://www.spectator.co.uk/essays/al...ivil-war.thtml

    He ends with:
    ..the longer this goes on, the greater the chance that a once noble struggle for democracy on the streets will become an ugly sectarian conflict.
    davidbfpo

  9. #169
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Intervention in Syria?

    A report by the Henry Jackson Society 'Intervention in Syria? An Assessment of Legality, Logistics and Hazards", which IMHO is wishful thinking and makes one wonder at the quality of pundits in this crisis.

    Link:http://www.henryjacksonsociety.org/c...tervention.pdf

    In my opinion even a "safe area" is impractical and the legitimacy of one along the Turkish border away from the urban areas where the killing is smacks of gesture politics.
    davidbfpo

  10. #170
    Council Member ganulv's Avatar
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    Default It sounds a little piggish (as in Bay of) to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    In my opinion even a "safe area" is impractical and the legitimacy of one along the Turkish border away from the urban areas where the killing is smacks of gesture politics.
    Some version of that sort of plan could include the creation of a government–not–in–exile by the current Syrian National Council. That sort of strategy would of course hand an Attack Your Opponents As Foreign Pawns Free card to the Assad government.
    If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed. – Mark Twain (attributed)

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    Default Are The Iraqi Government And Shiite Parties Supporting Syria’s President Assad?

    Syria is experiencing a bloody Arab Spring, which Iraq might be involved in. Starting in March 2011, protests broke out in Syria, which the government immediately cracked down upon, but was not able to stop. By the fall, there were demonstrations across the country, and Damascus was responding with more and more force; leading to defections from the army. Beginning in the summer, reports emerged that the Iraqi government, along with leading Shiite parties were backing Damascus with political, economic, and military support.

    continued

  12. #172
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    Default Syrian Strategy

    Consider the following analogy: Syrian Uprising vs. Warsaw Ghetto Uprising
    Just as the Soviets chose to let the Wehrmacht eliminate elements that were identified as being inconsistent with stability in a Soviet-dominated Poland, shouldnt we allow the current Syrian regime to eliminate the most radical elements of the opposition in an effort to foster a greater chance of stability after the regime has fallen?

  13. #173
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Strickland partially cited:
    ..shouldnt we allow the current Syrian regime..
    Currently this not a situation in which outsiders, let alone the USA or the West (EU / NATO), are allowing the regime to do anything. Syria, I might add Bahrain is less lethally repressive, is criticised, condemned and subjected to sanctions that appear to have more to do with "taking a stand" than changing regime policy.

    As for
    ..eliminate the most radical elements of the opposition..
    From my watching of the situation the Syrian regime would have to kill tens of thousands. Nor are the most radical elements easily separated from the mass of protesters, many would argue the regime's response is what is the radicalising factor.
    davidbfpo

  14. #174
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Serious Strategy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Strickland View Post
    ...shouldnt we allow the current Syrian regime to eliminate the most radical elements of the opposition in an effort to foster a greater chance of stability after the regime has fallen?
    No. That's the short answer. Long answer is 'Why do we care whether Syria is stable or not?' The mid east has not been stable for over 5,000 years and we aren't going to change that -- we were and are foolish to try.

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    Default UN Action Blocked

    Combined with the prior Turkish declination to take military action itself, and the Arab League decision to stand down (at least temporarily), the Russian and Chinese vetoes of the proposed UNSC Resolution (Lawfare brief by Jack Goldsmith), reinforce Peter Munson's points (and links), Syria and R2P.

    Regards

    Mike

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    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    The details and analysis may already be tucked away in a post or two within this thread, but does anyone know of research or critical analysis about the seemingly aberrant, though consistent, UN voting behavior of China and Russia?

    I understand that there are financials involved, as well as a sense of "sticking it to the West", but I continue to scratch my head at the full range of forces involved. Any books or papers you could recommended would be appreciated.

    As an aside, is it just that simple that China and Russia will veto anything where the US is perceived as instigating for the vote? Ambassador Churkin is quoted in today's LA Times that Western nations have undermined the chance for a political solution by "pushing the opposition towards power," yet Russia hasn't advocated any potential solution.
    Last edited by jcustis; 02-05-2012 at 07:26 PM.

  17. #177
    Council Member Surferbeetle's Avatar
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    Jon,

    I too would be interested in more background. In the meantime...

    Syria is used to the slings and arrows of friends and enemies, by Robert Fisk Wednesday 01 February 2012, The Independent

    True, the Syrian regime has never confronted opposition on such a scale. If the fatalities do not yet come close to the 10 or 20 thousand dead of the 1982 Hama uprising, which old Hafez al-Assad crushed with his customary ruthlessness, the widespread nature of today's rebellion, the defections from the Syrian army, the loss of all but one Arab ally – little Lebanon, of course – and the slow growth of a civil war make this the most dangerous moment in Syria's post-independence history. How can Bashar al-Assad hang on?

    Well, there's Russia, of course, and the Putin-Medvedev determination not to be caught out by the West at the United Nations as they were when they failed to oppose the no-fly zones over Libya that led directly to Gaddafi's collapse. And there's Iran, for which Syria remains the Arab bridgehead. And Iranian suspicion that Syria is under international attack principally because of this alliance may well be correct. Strike down Baathist Syria and its Alawi-Shia President, and you cut deep into the soul of Iran itself. And there's Israel, which utters scarcely a word about Syria because it fears that a far more intransigent regime might take its place.
    Tartus, Syria by wikipedia

    Tartus hosts a Soviet-era naval supply and maintenance base, under a 1971 agreement with Syria, which is still staffed by Russian naval personnel. The base was established during the Cold War to support the Soviet Navy fleet in the Mediterranean Sea.[7] During the 1970s, similar support points were located in Egypt and Latakia, Syria. In 1977, the Egyptian support bases at Alexandria and Mersa Matruh were evacuated and the ships and property were transferred to Tartus, where the naval support base was transformed into the 229th Naval and Estuary Vessel Support Division. Seven years later, the Tartus support point was upgraded to the 720th Logistics Support Point.[8]

    In 1991, the Soviet Union collapsed and its Mediterranean fleet, the 5th Mediterranean Squadron which was composed of ships from the Northern Fleet and the Black Sea Fleet, ceased its existence. Since then, there have been occasional expeditions by Russian Navy vessels and submarines to the Mediterranean Sea. The naval logistics support base in Syria is now part of the Black Sea Fleet. It consists of three floating docks of which one is operational, a floating workshop, storage facilities, barracks and other facilities.[8]

    Since Russia forgave Syria of three quarters, or $9.6 billion, of its $13.4 billion Soviet-era debt and became its main arms supplier in 2006, Russia and Syria have conducted talks about allowing Russia to develop and enlarge its naval base, so that Russia can strengthen its naval presence in the Mediterranean.[9] Amid Russia's deteriorating relations with the West, because of the 2008 South Ossetia War‎ and plans to deploy a US missile defense shield in Poland, President Assad agreed to the port’s conversion into a permanent Middle East base for Russia’s nuclear-armed warships.[10][11] Since 2009, Russia has been renovating the Tartus naval base and dredging the port to allow access for its larger naval vessels.[12]
    People's Republic of China–Iran relations and People's Republic of China–Syria relations by wikipedia
    Sapere Aude

  18. #178
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    Default Jon & Steve:

    In a word: Lawfare.

    Start with the 1977 USSR Constitution:

    Article 29

    The USSR's relations with other states are based on observance of the following principles: sovereign equality; mutual renunciation of the use or threat of force; inviolability of frontiers; territorial integrity of states; peaceful settlement of disputes; non-intervention in internal affairs; respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms; the equal rights of peoples and their right to decide their own destiny; co-operation among states; and fulfilment in good faith of obligations arising from the generally recognised principles and rules of international law, and from the international treaties signed by the USSR.
    Tibor Varady, THE IMPACT OF THE EAST-WEST DIVIDE ON INTERNATIONAL LAW – PATTERNS OF DISCOURSE AND THE WAVES OF 1989 (2010), which points out that Soviet practice (e.g., his Hungary) was, on its face, inconsistent with what was written. The Soviet explanation was an exception for "armed intervention for the purpose of 'safeguarding socialist democracy', or for the purpose of 'establishing democracy'" (Varady, p.9 pdf).

    Thus, one might fairly argue, as did Sir John Rodgers (Sevenoaks), 1977 Parliamentary Debate re: Helsinki Final Act (Belgrade Meeting), that the Soviets were consistent only in their planned inconsistency:

    To the Soviets, peaceful co-existence is merely an extension of the class struggle to the international arena—a political, economic, ideological struggle, but certainly not a military one. To the Soviet leaders detente helps to diminish the risk of a third world war, as can be seen in Mr. Brezhnev's speech to the Soviet Communist gathering last year.

    I should like to read a short extract from that speech. Mr. Brezhnev said that:

    "communists take as their starting point the general laws of the development of revolution and of the building of socialism and communism…. In our time, when detente has 524 become a reality, both in the international workers movement and amongst its opponents, there often arises the question how it influences the class struggle. Some bourgeois politicians express astonishment and create a fuss about the solidarity of Soviet communists and the Soviet people with the struggle of other peoples for freedom and progress. This is either naiveté or, most probably, the deliberate befogging of peoples' brains. For it is as clear as can be that detente and peaceful coexistence relate to interstate relations. This means that disputes and conflicts between countries must not be solved by means of war, by the use of force or by the threat of force. Detente does not and cannot in the least degree rescind or change the laws of the class struggle…. Strict observance of the principle of non-intervention in the affairs of other states, respect for their independence and sovereignty—that is one of the prerequisites of detente. We do not conceal"— I emphasise this— "that we see in detente the path to the creation of more favourable conditions for peaceful socialist and communist construction."
    That is exactly what the Soviets are doing at the moment. Having read those words one might well ask "When is intervention not intervention?" The only answer there can be is "when it is practised by the Soviets".
    Of course, in approaching issues of intervention and aggression, one should refrain from too much sanctimony - and, at the least, think about this quote:

    “The ethic of our work, as I understand it, is based on a single assumption. That is, we are never going to be aggressors. . . . Thus we do disagreeable things, but we are defensive. That, I think, is still fair. We do disagreeable things so that ordinary people here and elsewhere can sleep safely in their beds at night.

    "Is that too romantic? Of course, we occasionally do very wicked things.” He grinned like a schoolboy. “And in weighing up the moralities, we go in for dishonest comparisons; after all, you can’t compare the ideals of one side with the methods of the other, can you now? . . .

    “I mean, you’ve got to compare method with method, and ideal with ideal. I would say that since the war, our methods — ours and those of the opposition — have become much the same. I mean, you can’t be less ruthless than the opposition simply because your government’s policy is benevolent, can you now?” He laughed quietly to himself. “That would never do,” he said.
    Simon Chesterman, THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD WAR: INTELLIGENCE AND INTERNATIONAL LAW (2006; from le Carre, of course). One might ask: Who was speaking ? An "Us" or a "Them" ?

    As we know from the Chinese version of "Unrestricted Warfare" (which includes Lawfare) is that the First Rule is that there ain't no rules. The impact of intelligence activities on sovereignty has been on the table for a long time. Quincy Wright et al, Essays on espionage and International law (1962; 120 pp. pdf), esp. Quincy Wright's "Espionage and the Doctrine of Non-intervention in Internal Affairs" (starting at page 17 pdf).

    As a summary, we have Christi Scott Bartman, Lawfare: Use of the Definition of Aggressive War by the Soviet and Russian Governments (2009)

    Abstract

    This dissertation seeks to contribute to the understanding of the definition of the terms aggression and aggressive war by tracing the political, legal and military use of the terms by the Soviet Union from that posed at the 1933 Convention for the Definition of Aggression to the definition posed by the Russian Federation to the International Criminal Court in 1999. One might ask why the Soviet Union so adamantly promoted a definition of aggression and aggressive war while, as many have noted, conducting military actions that appeared to violate the very definition they espoused in international treaties and conventions. This dissertation demonstrates that through the use of treaties the Soviet Union and Russian Federation practiced a program of lawfare long before the term became known. Lawfare, as used by the Soviet Union and Russian Federation, is the manipulation or exploitation of the international legal system to supplement military and political objectives. The Soviet Union and Russian Federation used these legal restrictions to supplement military strategy in an attempt, not to limit themselves, but to control other states legally, politically, and equally as important, publicly, through the use of propaganda.
    When I peer deeply into his eyes, I see a nationalistic KGB lawyer.

    Hope this helps.

    Regards

    Mike

  19. #179
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    Default Slimmer and trimmer

    My faculty advisor (and teacher in this area - UN Charter, Geneva, etc.) told me that the quality of an article will improve in inverse proportion to its new length. So, cut the length in half, the quality will double.

    Reducing her dissertation length (over 200 pages) to 23 pages, Christi Scott Bartman, LAWFARE AND THE DEFINITION OF AGGRESSION: WHAT THE SOVIET UNION AND RUSSIAN FEDERATION CAN TEACH US (2011).

    I'd suggest reading the short version and then going to her dissertation.

    The article is part of a "Lawfare Project" by Case Western Reserve, LAWFARE!:ARE AMERICA'S ENEMIES USING THE LAW AGAINST US AS A WEAPON OF WAR? (Vol. 43, Nos. 1 & 2, 2011), with a bit more detail in a new post in the Lawfare thread, Case Western Reserve - Lawfare.

    Regards

    Mike

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    Default If in doubt, counterclaim ...

    The LA Times piece, Russia, China veto new U.N. resolution on Syria, presents three points to the Russian argument:

    The Russian U.N. ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, complained that Western nations had undermined the chance for a political solution by "pushing the opposition towards power."
    In short, the Western nations jumped the gun (committed "political aggression"; "economic aggression" via sanctions) by themselves intervening in support of the Syrian opposition without prior UN approval.

    The U.N. resolution would have condemned the Syrian government's "widespread and gross violations of human rights." Russia sought equal condemnation of Assad's armed opponents, a stance deplored as "reprehensible" by Rice.
    This is the equality of filth argument.

    The Russians also complained that the plan would have obliged the government to withdraw its forces from cities and towns, but no such requirement was imposed on insurgents.

    "When the Syrian government forces were pulling out, armed groups were pulling in," Churkin said.
    This is the equality of remedies argument.

    I'd bet (but cannot tell without peering into Churkin's eyes ) these arguments have nothing to do with the reasons why Russia and China blocked the resolution. They are "strategic legalisms"; that is, they support a policy unstated in the legal argument. What the real reasons are, I don't know.

    Regards

    Mike
    Last edited by jmm99; 02-06-2012 at 06:29 AM.

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