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Thread: Syria under Bashir Assad (closed end 2014)

  1. #101
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Syrians in the Sheraton; a lesson in time wasting

    The title of the article on the Doha summit is 'Syrians in the Sheraton; a lesson in time wasting', a rather pithy commentary - with some odd asides:http://www.opendemocracy.net/michael...n-time-wasting

    So what can we read from this whole saga? The short answer is that the SNC are being side-lined, and they know it, and this is why they played for time. The Riad Seif initiative was a threat to their previous hegemonic control over the Syrian opposition, and they have fought for every inch they can to maintain as much of a foothold as possible in the new plan. Backed heavily by Qatar and the USA, the SNI is the only realistic plan forward at this current point. It brings together military personnel with politicians and other exiles to try and forge a coalition that can speak for Syria’s beleaguered people.
    Behind all the "spin" and diplomacy the fact remains that the USA does not want to get involved in the Syrian civil war. The Assad regime is hanging on.
    davidbfpo

  2. #102
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    This sounds to me like the three monkeys approach combined with a heavily rose-tinted set of lenses:

    We look forward to supporting the National Coalition as it charts a course toward the end of Assad’s bloody rule and the start of the peaceful, just, democratic future that all the people of Syria deserve.
    This sounds downright horrifying:

    The opportunity now, rebel supporters say, is for a much more coordinated strategy perhaps led by Washington.
    And this sounds fairly pragmatic, noting that it makes no specific reference to anything being promised:

    They "are waiting for the West," Salman Shaikh, a former adviser to the Qatari royal family and now director of the Brookings Doha Center, said via video link. "They don't want to be in this alone. Only the U.S. can bring this about."
    I agree that the Libyan intervention was not a failure: as you say, it accomplished the objective of removing Gaddafi without committing the US to a ground presence or another miserable state-building effort, and achieving an objective is not failure. Syria isn't Libya, though, and like David I don't see the US wanting to be involved in any major way. Possibly in a limited role, if there's a way to achieve the objective without commitment to another miserable state-building effort, but that's a big "if".
    “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

  3. #103
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default The Assad regime is hanging on

    The title was my very short comment a few posts back. In support is FP Blog's piece:http://www.foreignpolicy.com/article...ivor?page=full
    davidbfpo

  4. #104
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default A place to bookmark

    A "lurker" has recommended Malik Al-Abdeh, a London-based Syrian journalist's blogsite for insight on matters Syrian:http://syriaintransition.com/

    His latest piece in outline:
    The course of Syria's revolution since its idealistic early days has been a painful learning experience for many young activists
    Good insight here:
    A candid look at Syria today reveals a picture of tribal selfishness masquerading as populist nationalism; little wonder that scheming politicians, local toughs and extremists of every kind have prospered, and why violence, vulgarity and bravado have become the order of the day.
    Link:http://www.opendemocracy.net/malik-a...ivists-grow-up
    davidbfpo

  5. #105
    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Default 3 monkeys

    You folks are killing me these days

    If we go just a smiggin deeper at the State address, you get this:

    ... this additional assistance from the United States will provide food supplies, hot meals, and food vouchers for families who have fled the violence in Syria. This additional assistance will be provided through the World Food Program (WFP), which
    The WFP is the logistical arm of the UN (for those that didn't know).
    As for the Western assistance, we can't even get visas for humanitarian ops. AND, let's say we did get visas, who at the checkpoints would give a hoot

    From this end of the boondocks all I can say is we are in a holding pattern with promises of cash, vaccinations (too many to count) and maybe a light armored vehicle

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  6. #106
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    Default The Battle of the Supply Lines in Syria

    The Battle of the Supply Lines in Syria

    Entry Excerpt:



    --------
    Read the full post and make any comments at the SWJ Blog.
    This forum is a feed only and is closed to user comments.

  7. #107
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default MANPADS plus

    An interesting analysis of recent YouTube footage of Syrian insurgents with looted MANPADS; alas the author's credentials are not revealed, but they appear to know enough. There are a number of videos embedded too:http://brown-moses.blogspot.co.uk/20...lete-sa-7.html

    There's also a comment on recycling cluster bomblets by the insurgents:http://brown-moses.blogspot.co.uk/20...epurposed.html
    davidbfpo

  8. #108
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Syria off he Web

    A flurry of Tweets this afternoon, citing PA:
    2 US-based Internet-monitoring companies say Syria has shut off Internet nationwide
    Citing WaPO:
    100 percent of Syria's Internet has just shut down
    Link:http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/...ust-shut-down/

    Plus:
    Apparently,#Syria just went off line …I hear mobiles are also down....All 84 of #Syria's IP address blocks have become unreachable, effectively removing the country from the Internet.
    Link:http://www.renesys.com/eventsbulleti...354184790.html

    Why now? Is it the regime or the opposition?
    davidbfpo

  9. #109
    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    The Syrian government has blamed "terrorists" for the disconnection.
    "The terrorists targeted the internet lines, resulting in some regions being cut off," Syria's minister of information told a pro-government television station.

    According to activists, it has been known for similar communication cuts to occur in isolated areas before military operations.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-20546302
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  10. #110
    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    Syria's information minister claims that the Damascus government had nothing to do with the communications shutdown. "It is not true that the state cut the internet. The terrorists targeted the internet lines, resulting in some regions being cut off," Reuters quotes him as saying.

    That's rather unlikely, the web performance company CloudFlare notes in a blog post. "Syria has four physical cables that connect it to the rest of the internet. Three are undersea cables that land in the city of Tartous, Syria. The fourth is an over-land cable through Turkey. In order for a whole-country outage, all four of these cables would have had to been cut simultaneously."
    http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/.../syria-offline
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  11. #111
    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    Engineers working for the Assad regime in Syria have begun combining the two chemical precursors needed to weaponize sarin gas, an American official with knowledge of the situation tells Danger Room. International observers are now more worried than they’ve even been that the Damascus government could use its nerve agent stockpile to slaughter its own people.

    The U.S. doesn’t know why the Syrian military made the move, which began in the middle of last week and is taking place in central Syria. Nor are they sure why the Assad government is transferring some weapons to different locations within the country, as the New York Times reported on Monday.
    http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012...cal-weapons-3/
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 12-04-2012 at 10:16 AM. Reason: Fix quote
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  12. #112
    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    The Syrian military is prepared to use chemical weapons against its own people and is awaiting final orders from President Bashar Assad, U.S. officials told NBC News on Wednesday.

    The military has loaded the precursor chemicals for sarin, a deadly nerve gas, into aerial bombs that could be dropped onto the Syrian people from dozens of fighter-bombers, the officials said.

    As recently as Tuesday, officials had said there was as yet no evidence that the process of mixing the "precursor" chemicals had begun. But Wednesday, they said their worst fears had been confirmed: The nerve agents were locked and loaded inside the bombs.
    http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2...ads-order?lite
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  13. #113
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default More lethality - without CW?

    Given the mixed, even contrary reporting on Syrian chemical weapons I am not sure what is going on.

    Sometimes I suspect it is a "fig leaf" for enhancing Western diplomacy and reducing the leverage China, Iran and Russia have. You can almost hear the official statement "We had to act, Bashir was about to use CW"; maybe even a spectacular UN presentation?

    Enduring America notes:
    on chemical weapons, Lavrov suggested that Assad would not use them, and this would be a "red line" for Russia as well:

    “For us, any violations of international agreements in this area are unacceptable," Lavrov stressed.
    Link:http://www.enduringamerica.com/home/...surge-but.html

    Shashank Joshi questions whether CW is useful; it is July 2012 and may have been posted before:http://shashankjoshi.wordpress.com/2...ons-effective/

    I have not been following Syria closely and had missed this:
    For starters, the fall of Deir Ez Zor will free up large waves of (largely Iraqi) insurgents to attack to the north....Furthermore, the sudden emergence of large numbers of Iraqi fighters, many of them radical, in the east is concerning
    Yes Bashir's regime is getting more ruthless, notably in using air power in urban areas; such as a MIG-23:http://theaviationist.com/2012/12/05.../#.UMB5zuTtT0f

    There are also reports of Grad rockets being used; when will we see Scud SSM being used?
    davidbfpo

  14. #114
    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    The West is aware that its’ claims about the threat from the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons does not stand up to scrutiny, the Russian government has said.
    Read more: http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/ne...#ixzz2EHQ1baVx

    The Russian Foreign Ministry has told its NATO partners that it hopes there will be no attempts at military intervention in Syria.

    Lavrov advanced Russia’s firm position on Syria after a meeting of the Russia-NATO Council in Brussels on Tuesday.

    "We hope there will be no foreign interference," he said.
    http://rt.com/politics/syria-russia-...to-lavrov-314/
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  15. #115
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    By Shashank Joshi
    A round-up of where we stand on Syrian chemical weapons, and who is claiming what:
    Link:http://shashankjoshi.wordpress.com/2...cal-crescendo/

    Not much variation in the reporting, clearly based on official briefings.

    He also reports via Twitter that Czech CW defence troops are advising the Jordanians:http://www.nti.org/gsn/article/czech...syrian-threat/

    IIRC the Czech military as part of NATO took responsibility for CW defence and their specialised vehicles dominated the market awhile ago.
    davidbfpo

  16. #116
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Site Security at Syrian Chemical Weapons Sites: An Educated Guess

    A Turkish student @ Kings London comments, drawing upon the known Soviet experience with CW:http://turkeywonk.wordpress.com/2012...ducated-guess/
    davidbfpo

  17. #117
    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    The German government said Thursday it had approved participation in a NATO mission to deploy Patriot missiles to help member state Turkey defend its border against Syria and will send up to 400 troops.
    http://www.thelocal.de/national/2012...l#.UMDO13e-XJZ

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  18. #118
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Worrying about the wrong user?

    From FP one of the better comments on the situation; the title being 'Why Assad Won’t Use His Chemical Weapons; And why you should still be worried':http://www.foreignpolicy.com/article...pons?page=full

    Charles Blair ends with:
    Were chemical agents to fall into the hands of armed factions battling for control of the nation, the implications would be stark and ominous. So, the United States is right to worry about Syria's chemical weapons -- it may just be worried about them for the wrong reason.
    He does say earlier:
    The good news is that few terrorist groups would actually be able to use any [chemical] materials they acquired.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 12-07-2012 at 04:45 PM.
    davidbfpo

  19. #119
    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    'Why Assad Won’t Use His Chemical Weapons"
    File under "They couldn't hit an elephant at this distance." - General John Sedgwick, 09 May 1864
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  20. #120
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    INSIGHT: How Would Assad Use Chemical Weapons?

    The regime could use chemical weapons in a variety of ways, from a limited or demonstration attack to large-scale offensive or defensive use to fundamentally change the military situation. At present, reports that the regime is weaponizing relatively small quantities of agent suggest the former. Limited CW use could be controlled better in terms of effects and visibility. The regime might also find it easier to explain away small-scale strikes as the work of “terrorists” or as a justifiable response to the military situation and the threat to the country.
    Read more at Middle East Voices: http://middleeastvoices.voanews.com/...#ixzz2EVZojZ2l
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