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Thread: Syria under Bashir Assad (closed end 2014)

  1. #321
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    Default would Syria be a "small war"?

    This experienced observer thinks not:

    http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/newsmake...9605.html?vp=1
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 08-29-2013 at 09:20 PM. Reason: This was in a separate thread, now merged into main Syrian thread, so may appear out of sequence

  2. #322
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    Quote Originally Posted by graphei View Post
    I was reading earlier today on the AP newswire a Syrian Kurd stated it wouldn't make sense for Assad to use a chem weapon that close to his stronghold. However, it would make perfect sense for rebels to use it on some civilians and point the finger at Assad. We've been saying for months chemical weapons represented a "red line" and hinted force would be used. He certainly made an interesting point. Ultimately, there is no way of knowing who set off that weapon. None. Without that information, I doubt we won't see more out of the UN than a strongly condemnation. I'm sure both Assad and the rebels will quiver in abject terror when they read it.

    If Muslim nations take the lead, it may devolve into a sectarian war. Iran is focused on Western interference at the moment, so other Muslims taking the lead will throw a wrench in that. If Turkey and Saudi Arabia take the lead, I would expect to see the rhetoric change- most likely stop- and Syrian Shi'ite militias with new toys and training. It's not like they don't have decades of experience supporting proxies. I don't think boots-on-the-ground is an option for two reasons:
    1. It would be political suicide at home.
    2. Getting there is mighty tough with Iraq and Turkey in the way.

    Extremists will say whatever Muslim country comes to help the other side is a Puppet of the West, so that's about par for the course.
    I for one am not certain Assad's forces employed chemical weapons and remain apprehensive we're being played by the more extremist elements of the opposition. Having seen our intelligence community fail repeatedly based on bias sources, and seeing what they want to see, plus our adversaries are more than capable of running their own deception operations. Also think it is possible that Iranian surrogates (Assad's allies) may have done it without Assad's permission for some reason that Iran thinks will support their interests. However the Assad may well have directed it, but why?

    Can't help but wonder if this will be another USS Maine, Tonkin Gulf, or WMD in Iraq incident to justify some action.

    I have to disagree with your two reasons for not intervening. Turkey isn't in the way, Turkey is no friend of Syria and may well support an intervention. I'm not sure where Iraq stands, but they do seem to be closer to Iran than us at times. However, we have plenty of access through Turkey, Jordan and simply coming across the beach.

    It may or may not be a political disaster at home. If it goes bad and we accomplish nothing it will undo all the current administration's previous successes. However, I'm sure that will not influence the decision makers, because they're nation first, and personal interests a distant second.

  3. #323
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    The fallacy behind a "limited strike" in Syria (and yes, Carney and Kerry and Hagel and Dempsey will call it that--just watch the lips) is that there's nothing "limited" about the Syrian problem.

    No matter the first kinetic step taken, the US immediately assumes a significant problem set. I am not so sure we have enough apolitical talent to deal with the genie that some seem hell bent on letting out of the bottle. We for sure don't seem ready to handle our three wishes upon his release.
    Last edited by jcustis; 08-28-2013 at 08:54 AM.

  4. #324
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    I for one am not certain Assad's forces employed chemical weapons and remain apprehensive we're being played by the more extremist elements of the opposition. Having seen our intelligence community fail repeatedly based on bias sources, and seeing what they want to see, plus our adversaries are more than capable of running their own deception operations. Also think it is possible that Iranian surrogates (Assad's allies) may have done it without Assad's permission for some reason that Iran thinks will support their interests. However the Assad may well have directed it, but why?
    Possible reasoning, if indeed Assad did initiate it:

    The US doesn't want to intervene, but (unwisely IMO) committed itself to action if a "red line" is violated". Always worth making the other guy do what he doesn't want to do.

    A US strike will be limited: essentially the purpose of the strike is not to have an impact on Syria, but to show that the administration backed up its "red line". The strike will thus be survivable.

    A limited strike will gain the Assad regime the Muslim world street cred of being the ones fighting the Bad Americans without subjecting them to excessive risk. It also puts his antagonists in the uncomfortable position of being allied to the Bad Americans.

    A US strike would give the Iranians an excuse to intervene more openly.

    Not saying that's what happened (like the rest of us, I don't know what happened), only that there could be some internal logic to an Assad-sponsored chemical strike.
    “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”

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  5. #325
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    Easy solutions? I don't think so. Binary logic is a poor basis for foreign policy; i.e Syria is part of the axis of evil, therefore anyone that fights them is ipso facto on the side of good, therefore the US (as the self-appointed Universal good guy) will support them...er, even if "they" quite like beheading people in the name of Allah (who else?)

    From:http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/...OBCYAAAph6.jpg
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 08-28-2013 at 11:07 AM. Reason: Picture won't behave. Added somehow.

  6. #326
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    Support Assad

    Interesting stuff from Daniel Pipes thinking along similar lines to myself. Although, as a conservative (of the old fashioned European variety rather than the loony-toons in the US) I view Assads regime as the legitimate (de jure) government fighting exactly the same kind of fools we've been fighting in Afghanistan. The US sees only permanent enemies. I use a TEA model (came up with that myself, we Brits love our tea); threats, enemies, allies. Your threats determine your enemies and your enemies determine your allies. During the nineteenth century the French castigated the UK as perfidious Albion. We were not perfidious, we merely took each case on its merits. Today's enemies are tomorrow's allies, it's the threats that need addressing. Once the threats are dealt with we resume business as normal. The liberal universal perspective is prone to crusades against universal enemies who must either submit to the enlightened (the US) or be exterminated (a curious mirror image of Islamic universalist thought!).

    Or, here
    Last edited by Tukhachevskii; 08-28-2013 at 11:57 AM. Reason: Added a rant seeing as I'm in the mood....

  7. #327
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    For complex reasons the Syrian civil war has not led - yet - to a war beyond its frontiers, despite multiple, competing regional and external actors. Whether restraint has prevailed is a moot point, as some clearly prefer Syrians to die for their interests.

    In a curious way the present crisis is similar to that in the Spanish Civil War, when in a nearly forgotten episode international naval action was taken to enable the free, safe passage of merchant shipping, evacuation of foreign nationals and refugees. The Nationalists being accused of "breaking the rules" by seizing and sinking merchant shipping; with German and Italian "fraternal assistance". The action was limited and as we know it did not alter the end result. See:http://rwhiston.wordpress.com/2010/02/17/1/
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 08-29-2013 at 09:21 PM. Reason: This was in a separate thread, now merged into main Syrian thread, so may appear out of sequence
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  8. #328
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    The sage of London has spoken: http://www.lrb.co.uk/blog/2013/08/28...ning-in-syria/

    I think my version of his analysis was better: http://www.brownpundits.com/2013/04/...i-on-pakistan/

  9. #329
    Council Member graphei's Avatar
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    So happy. Not about Syria, but that there is such great discussion here.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    Having seen our intelligence community fail repeatedly based on bias sources, and seeing what they want to see
    This. This a thousand times. The intelligence cycle is backwards. Politicians come up with a course of action, and then the intel weenies bend over backwards to justify it.

    plus our adversaries are more than capable of running their own deception operations. Also think it is possible that Iranian surrogates (Assad's allies) may have done it without Assad's permission for some reason that Iran thinks will support their interests. However the Assad may well have directed it, but why?
    I may just have to shake my Magic 8 ball at those scenarios. I find it sad that it's probably more accurate than most of the reports at this point.

    I have to disagree with your two reasons for not intervening. Turkey isn't in the way, Turkey is no friend of Syria and may well support an intervention.
    My reference to boots on the ground was for Iranian forces, not ours. We can get there no problem. Not to mention, Turkey has been chomping on the bit for something to happen. This is happening in their backyard and they're none to pleased about it. Iran, however, is watching a friendly state crumble and their options for support are rather limited.

    I'm not sure where Iraq stands, but they do seem to be closer to Iran than us at times.
    My point was I don't know how Iraq would feel about an Iranian army marching through. Tehran caused them a lot of trouble recently. Furthermore, while they are lukewarm with Iran, Iraq wouldn't risk angering Turkey, and possibly Saudi Arabia. Iraq has more to lose with those two, than they have to gain with Iran.

    Is anyone else surprised by France besides me? Bueller? Bueller? I feel like I'm missing a key link here.

    Quote Originally Posted by jcustis
    The fallacy behind a "limited strike" in Syria (and yes, Carney and Kerry and Hagel and Dempsey will call it that--just watch the lips) is that there's nothing "limited" about the Syrian problem.

    No matter the first kinetic step taken, the US immediately assumes a significant problem set. I am not so sure we have enough apolitical talent to deal with the genie that some seem hell bent on letting out of the bottle. We for sure don't seem ready to handle our three wishes upon his release.
    At some point in time, I'm going to give you a great big bear hug.

    I have a bad feeling this is going to come down to sectarian war right now or sectarian war a little bit later.

  10. #330
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default The sage of London has spoken

    Omarali50,

    Tariq Ali may speak and write well, but his views have little resonance in London, let alone the rest of the UK. His way with words and sheer audacity gained him invitations, far beyond the "international left" to speak in yesteryear.
    davidbfpo

  11. #331
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    In a curious way the present crisis is similar to that in the Spanish Civil War,
    While we're making comparisons I would be delighted if someone could identify the "Ernest Hemingway equivalent" of the Syrian conflict then.

    Just don't tell me it's Matthew VanDyke please
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 08-29-2013 at 09:21 PM. Reason: This was in a separate thread, now merged into main Syrian thread, so may appear out of sequence

  12. #332
    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by graphei View Post
    I was reading earlier today on the AP newswire a Syrian Kurd stated it wouldn't make sense for Assad to use a chem weapon that close to his stronghold. However, it would make perfect sense for rebels to use it on some civilians and point the finger at Assad. We've been saying for months chemical weapons represented a "red line" and hinted force would be used. He certainly made an interesting point. Ultimately, there is no way of knowing who set off that weapon. None. Without that information, I doubt we won't see more out of the UN than a strongly condemnation. I'm sure both Assad and the rebels will quiver in abject terror when they read it.
    1. http://www.globalresearch.ca/us-back...rnment/5346907

    2. From July -

    OE Watch Commentary: The accompanying excerpts are important reports from the Turkish press: seven suspected individuals from the al-Qaeda-linked Al Nusrah Front were captured in antiterrorist operations in Adana, Turkey, and two kilos (4,5 pounds) of sarin gas were found in their apartments. According to the accompanying reports, they were planning attacks on the Incirlik Base in Adana and in Gaziantep, a city near Turkey’s border with Syria. These reports went relatively unnoticed due to the start of massive demonstrations.

    http://fmso.leavenworth.army.mil/Arc...Turkey_02.html
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  13. #333
    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by graphei View Post
    The intelligence cycle is backwards. Politicians come up with a course of action, and then the intel weenies bend over backwards to justify it.
    A scrimmage in a Border Station
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  14. #334
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    Relax. I'm sure our Drones will be home by Christmas.
    http://video.foxnews.com/v/262896172...tcmp=obnetwork
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 08-29-2013 at 09:21 PM. Reason: This was in a separate thread, now merged into main Syrian thread, so may appear out of sequence
    A scrimmage in a Border Station
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  15. #335
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    For complex reasons the Syrian civil war has not led - yet - to a war beyond its frontiers, despite multiple, competing regional and external actors. Whether restraint has prevailed is a moot point, as some clearly prefer Syrians to die for their interests.
    Has it occured to you that the "Civil War" in Syria might actually be the war of AQ & Happy Funtime Friends Club spilling into Syria, like from A-stan, Libya, ad nauseum?
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 08-29-2013 at 09:21 PM. Reason: This was in a separate thread, now merged into main Syrian thread, so may appear out of sequence
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  16. #336
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    I'll just leave this here, with some reading music -
    http://youtu.be/dxkUK3SQlWI

    It is not difficult to notice that the rebellion in Syria began to grow two years ago, almost at the same time as the signing of a memorandum in Bushehr on June 25, 2011 regarding the construction of a new Iran-Iraq-Syria gas pipeline… It is to stretch 1500 km from Asaluyeh on the largest gas field in the world, North Dome/South Pars (shared between Qatar and Iran) to Damascus. The length of pipeline on the territory of Iran will be 225 km, in Iraq 500 km, and in Syria 500-700 km. Later it may be extended along the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea to Greece. The possibility of supplying liquefied gas to Europe via Syria’s Mediterranean ports is also under consideration. Investments in this project equal 10 billion dollars. (1)

    This pipeline, dubbed the «Islamic pipeline», was supposed to start operation in the period from 2014 to 2016. Its projected capacity is 110 million cubic meters of gas per day (40 billion cubic meters a year). Iraq, Syria and Lebanon have already declared their need for Iranian gas (25-30 million cubic meters per day for Iraq, 20-25 million cubic meters for Syria, and 5-7 million cubic meters until 2020 for Lebanon). Some of the gas will be supplied via the Arab gas transportation system to Jordan. Experts believe that this project could be an alternative to the Nabucco gas pipeline being promoted by the European Union (with a planned capacity of 30 billion cubic meters of gas per year), which doesn’t have sufficient reserves. It was planned to run the Nabucco pipeline from Iraq, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan through the territory of Turkey. At first Iran was also considered as a resource base, but later it was excluded from the project. After the signing of the memorandum on the Islamic Pipeline, the head of the National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC), Javad Oji, stated that South Pars, with recoverable reserves of 16 trillion cubic meters of gas, is a «reliable source of gas, which is a prerequisite for the building of a pipeline which Nabucco does not have».It is easy to observe that about 20 billion cubic meters per year will remain from this pipeline for Europe, which would be able to compete with Nabucco’s 30 billion, but not the 63 billion from the South Stream.
    http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-geo...peline/5337452
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 08-29-2013 at 09:21 PM. Reason: This was in a separate thread, now merged into main Syrian thread, so may appear out of sequence
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    Council Member graphei's Avatar
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    AdamG- thanks for digging up those sources.

    As far as Dr. Daniel Pipes and anything that comes out of his factory is concerned, I'm very wary. Why? I'm going to keep this as professional as possible. Unfortunately, I'm familiar with his handiwork.

    In spite of his educational pedigree, I believe it evident Dr Pipes had his mind made up about Islam and the billion plus Muslims that inhabit his Earth when he started his course of study. Anyone who questions him or his findings is branded an anti-semite and added to his blacklist on Campus Watch. His academic witch-hunts are repugnant and antithetical to the spirit of free discourse.

    He panders to the fears of Americans and instead of using his education to dispel ignorance, he chooses to exploit it for his own monetary gain. He uses his media empire to "warn" parents their children are being brainwashed by terrorists if they study Islam in college. He has lent enthusiastic support for advocates of internment camps for Muslim Americans. In short, he is an extremist's best friend. He plays right into their hands, and he is frequently cited in their propaganda against the US as "proof" the US hates Muslims and seeks their destruction.

    Somedays, I think he's a modern day Heidegger- I take that back. It's not a fair comparison. Being and Time is still solid in spite of the author being a Nazi-####wad. I can't think of anything Dr. Pipes has published that will be that groundbreaking or last that long.

  18. #338
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AdamG View Post
    Has it occured to you that the "Civil War" in Syria might actually be the war of AQ & Happy Funtime Friends Club spilling into Syria, like from A-stan, Libya, ad nauseum?
    Yes, it is almost like the Soviet advisers with the Spanish Republicans -v- the far larger Italian military (manpower strong) and German military (with an emphasis on technology) assistance to the Spanish Nationalists.

    AQ et al IIRC had little presence, let alone overt support in Syria when the protests began and it took time, with copious amounts of Gulf money, for them to get involved. Civil wars have a history of becoming bloodier and terrible the longer they last - invariably for the non-combatants, not the fighters.

    I still consider this is a civil war, fought largely by Syrians.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 08-29-2013 at 09:22 PM. Reason: This was in a separate thread, now merged into main Syrian thread, so may appear out of sequence
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    An interesting European viewpoint, a policy briefing by the ECFR, a body I've never heard of:http://ecfr.eu/content/entry/comment...ening_in_syria
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 08-29-2013 at 09:22 PM. Reason: This was in a separate thread, now merged into main Syrian thread, so may appear out of sequence
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  20. #340
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    Tariq Ali may speak and write well, but his views have little resonance in London, let alone the rest of the UK. His way with words and sheer audacity gained him invitations, far beyond the "international left" to speak in yesteryear.
    He is bright and quick-witted, but I find his political and social analysis to be very paint by numbers.
    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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