The SYRIAN WAR Thread

Discussion in 'International Politics' started by AKarlin, May 6, 2013.

  1. Patrick Armstrong

    Patrick Armstrong Commissar

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    I see no interest. Surely the Israelis are perfectly happy to see two of their enemies fighting it out resulting in a weak Syria. It is this conviction that makes me suspect that the alleged Israeli origin of this message is just more disinformation or slip-shod reporting.
  2. Mohsen Mawali

    Mohsen Mawali Dead Soul

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  3. AKarlin

    AKarlin Generalissimo Staff Member

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    They're not.

    What they are interested in, however, is crippling Syria's military capabilities - including their chemical weapons. That means whichever side eventually takes over - potentially after many years of internecine warfare - won't be able to pose even the minimal threat to Israel that a CW-equipped Syrian military poses. A weakened Syria will also mean that Israel will be able to strike into it to take out Hezbollah depots and supply routes that much more easily.

    Egging on the US to carry out airstrikes against Assad fully fits into that position, so I wouldn't put it past them to fake those phone calls (although not saying they did). After all the Israelies spy on the US, sell its military technology to China, and have even killed US military personnel to manipulate its government. They are ruthless in doing whatever it takes to guarantee their own security.

    At least this is my interpretation.
  4. Patrick Armstrong

    Patrick Armstrong Commissar

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    OK. That's a motive. After all, Bibi understands that Barry is an idiot who can be manipulated.
  5. Moscow Exile

    Moscow Exile Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    Moskovsky Komsomolets has an article today that claims Putin “has almost agreed” to “a strike against attack Syria”: “Путин почти согласился на удар по Сирии”

    “Для этого нужны лишь доказательства

    Президент РФ Владимир Путин заявил, что не исключает согласия Москвы на военную операцию в Сирии, если вина Дамаска в применении химического оружия будет доказана.”

    ["We simply need the evidence

    President of the RF Vladimir Putin has announced that he does not exclude Moscow's agreement to a military action in Syria if Damascus' guilt in using chemical weapons is proven.]
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  6. Mohsen Mawali

    Mohsen Mawali Dead Soul

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    He clearly reiterated that he doesn't believe the evidence presented.
    Thus it's a smart ploy: it demonstrates good faith, while it puts US/FR backs against the wall.
    Because if they insist to act alone on such sketchy evidences, they will be shown to be aggressors in search of any excuse.
  7. Alexander Mercouris

    Alexander Mercouris Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    This is a misunderstanding of the interview. Here is the complete transcript of the interview provided by Associated Press.

    [ ]

    The relevant exchange is the following one:

    "AP: What would Russia's position be if you became convinced that it was by the government of Syria, would you agree to military action?

    Putin: I do not exclude this, but I would like to draw your attention to one absolutely key aspect. In line with international law, only the UN Security Council could sanction the use of force against a sovereign state. Any other pretext or method which might be used to justify the use of force against an independent sovereign state is inadmissible and can only be interpreted as an act of aggression."

    Putin was simply being careful to avoid the trap Chirac fell into at the time of the Iraq crisis in 2003. Chirac appeared to say that the France would vote against military action against Iraq under any circumstances, which allowed the British especially to say that there was no point in going to the Security Council because the French stance meant that the Security Council would be prevented from authorising military action in any event and regardless of what happened or of what the facts in Iraq were. In reality Chirac's words were misrepresented but the damage was done and Blair and his minions were able to misuse Chirac's words to get their way in the parliamentary debate that authorised military action against Iraq.

    Of far more importance than these words is that the Putin has defined the pending attack on Syria as "aggression". By doing so he has made it clear that in Russia's view it is the US and its allies that are currently posing the threat to peace. In passing I would add that this is also the view of the Vatican and of the UN Secretariat. In that context note Putin's broad hint that in the event of an attack on Syria Russia might unfreeze deliveries of S300 missiles to Syria in order to help Syria defend itself from what Putin has said would be an "aggression". In other words the pending US attack on Syria would intensify Russian military deliveries to Syria

    On the broader issue of Russia's stance in the Syrian crisis and in the light of the repeated comments Patrick Armstrong and I have made that Syria is not Russia's ally and that Russia is not defending Syria,

    "Putin: We aren't defending the government. We are defending something completely different. We are defending the contemporary order of the world. We are defending the modern international order. We are defending the discussion of the possible use of force exclusively within the confines of international order and international rules and international law. That's what we are defending. These values are absolute. When issues related to the use of force are solved outside the UN and the UN Security Council, the danger arises that such illegitimate decisions could be made against anyone under any pretext....."

    Putin goes on to discuss how precisely such a pretext was used to attack Iraq.

    Given how often Putin and Medvedev and Lavrov have explained all this, it really is astonishing that there are people (including it seems Prince Bandar and the Saudis) who still refuse to understand it.

    Lastly, Putin also says at considerable length what I and others have been saying all along, that the proper way forward is for there to be a full investigation of this incident by the UN investigators who can then provide details of their findings to the Security Council, which will then decide what to do. "Intelligence assessments" based on secret methodologies and which contain no evidence are no substitute for this. Putin's specific words were as follows:

    "Putin: We will be convinced by a deep and specific probe containing evidence that would be obvious and prove clearly what means were used by whom. After that, we will be ready to take the most resolute and serious action".

    I would add that given that both Russia and China have now called for such an investigation, it is clear that the people who are preventing a proper investigation from happening are the three western powers on the Security Council: the US, Britain and France. If the western powers really wanted to find out what happened near Damascus on 21st August 2013, they would authorise the impartial and independent UN investigation that Russia and China have both said they support. There would be no difficulty to get a Resolution through the UN Security Council to do that. The reason it is not happening is not because of "Russian obstruction" or because the Security Council is "paralysed" but because the western powers don't want it.

    PS: I have been struggling with connection problems and this caused an incomplete version of this comment to go up earlier.

    PPS: As I said, I am struggling with connection problems here. Since I wrote the above Associated Press appears to have removed the complete text of Putin's interview from its website. It now only provides a summary, which in my opinion is inaccurate and which misunderstands the key points. Putin's own website will probably publish the text of the interview tomorrow and I will update this comment then.

    PPS: Thanks to Mark Chapman and the person I know as Peter I am now able to provide a link to the full transcript of Putin's interview with Associated Press.
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2013
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  8. Drutten

    Drutten Collegiate Secretary (10th class)

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    Wait a minute. Wasn't it this chemical attack that had everything pointing at the rebels (or some faction thereof) being responsible?

    To me this all sounds like Curveball all over again. Bad intelligence and a striking unwillingness to rectify it.
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  9. Alexander Mercouris

    Alexander Mercouris Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    Well I have now been provided with a classic example of news management.

    As we all know AP conducted an interview with Putin earlier today. The full text appeared on its website earlier. After a short time the full text appears to have been deleted and replaced by various "summaries" which report the interview in accordance with AP's own interpretations and presuppositions. These distort what Putin actually said. Other western news agencies then report the interview not on the basis of the actual text but on the basis of AP's "summaries" adding to them interpretations of their own. The result is that we get further and further away from what Putin actually said. Meanwhile the actual text of the interview is not published on Putin's website for at least a day, that probably being a condition attached to the interview by AP, by which time of course the misinterpretation of the interview has become accepted truth.
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  10. Alexander Mercouris

    Alexander Mercouris Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    Absolutely! I might add that we know from interviews Lavrov has given that the Russians and the Chinese supported sending investigators to investigate this incident months ago but that this failed to happen because of endless haggling on the Security Council as the western powers sought (in the end successfully) to limit the UN investigators' remit. That is why we have the ludicrous situation where the UN investigators are permitted to say whether a chemical weapons attack took place but not who was responsible for carrying it out.
  11. MarkPavelovich

    MarkPavelovich Commissar

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    I think this is a misunderstanding; AP's coverage of it was in a section called "Big Story" and it is still there. Perhaps a link to it appeared on AP's homepage which was taken down, but there does not seem to have been any serious effort to keep it out of the public eye. It can be found here:

    http://www.bigstory.ap.org/article/aps-interview-president-vladimir-putin

    That should not suggest I disagree news management goes on all the time; in fact, I find the press - generally speaking - to be the most shameless whores in any venue of employment (except, perhaps, for real whores, and in that case the lies are the same, but in one instance you at least get sex for your money).

    For those who have become accustomed to mealy-mouthed dissembling, I strongly recommend this interview - it is indeed refreshing. I confess to a bit of a fondness for Putin, both as a leader and as a character, but even his detractors will have to admit the man knows how to provide a direct answer to a direct question. Curious about whether Russia has secretly shipped the S-300 to Syria? Absolutely not; Putin says so in so many words. Is the new Russian propaganda law "anti-gay", and are homosexuals routinely discriminated against in Russia? No, they're not, and nobody who saw or read the interview should be in any doubt that it is against the law to do so. Those who parse the interview will find no end of innuendo comparing Russia's economy, personal freedoms and other qualities favourably to those of the United States, while he fillets the intelligentsia and his detractors in the press with humor and realism. I was extremely impressed although I already had a high opinion of Mr. Putin's ability to think on his feet, avoid traps and showcase his broad knowledge of the world as it really is.
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  12. Alexander Mercouris

    Alexander Mercouris Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    I accept this. As I said before I have been struggling with connection problems all day and I suspect this has contributed to my failure to find the link to the transcript.
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  13. MarkPavelovich

    MarkPavelovich Commissar

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    Be grateful you don't have to deal with the firewalls and browser bastardizations I do at work. Because of the clunky way they make Wordpress work, I have to go through a series of awkward steps to post a comment to my own blog because I cannot access the site Admin functions. I am sure it was because of those problems that Peter beat me to displaying the AP transcript link on my blog, because there was only 4 minutes' difference between us and I wasted at least that fumbling around trying to get to the comment venue after finding the link. Not that it matters, because I probably saw the comment soliciting help to find the link long before Peter did - he's good. But in this instance it was not difficult to find and I believe AP simply moved it with no ulterior motive.
  14. Patrick Armstrong

    Patrick Armstrong Commissar

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  15. MarkPavelovich

    MarkPavelovich Commissar

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    Indeed. Disregarding for a moment that he most certainly did set a "red line" - and the phony rebels would be the most credible verification authority for his having done so, since they provided such an enthusiastic response to it - if Obama truly is concerned for the fate of "international credibility", he will pull the big "master power" switch on America to the "off" position for a few days until people come to their senses. As no less a worthy than the President of the Russian Federation pointed out, we now have a global situation in which Russia is the defender of international law and the practice of managing the use of force through international agreements, while the self-styled Beacon of Freedom is arguing for letting it all hang out and if-it-feels-good-do-it. Against the wish, broadly speaking, of its own population,

    http://nepajac.org/syriaactionnew.htm

    not to mention a gathering wave of resistance worldwide. Other nations - except for the chickenhawk behavior of a few me-too handwavers (cough* France* cough) - have proposed the perfectly reasonable position of waiting until the investigation is complete before deciding whether or not to punish Damascus for something of which it might be completely innocent. What's going to happen in the meantime - is Assad going to invade Europe?

    More significant, to me, was the remainder of his remark, which was not quoted: "...because we give lip service to the notion that these international norms are important."

    Oh, now international norms are important? What about the international norm which happens to be a law and says you cannot strike another country militarily without the agreement of the U.N. except in the exigencies of self-defense? Obama got round that one by simply announcing the United States reserves the right to act unilaterally. Fine, then; get the fuck out of the U.N., and stop blathering about freedom and joy and human rights - settle down with a will to being the rogue state you are, so the world can shoot you down like a mad dog. Nothing I hate more than a leader with multiple-personality disorder. He's both right and wrong that American credibility is on the line. He's right that it was, but the country's leadership was tested and found wanting, and there's no way to walk that back now. Save your magic speeches for a more gullible audience, Mr. Obama.
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2013
  16. Patrick Armstrong

    Patrick Armstrong Commissar

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    The weird-shito-meter just went to 11.
    Secretary of State John Kerry said at Wednesday’s hearing that Arab counties have offered to pay for the entirety of unseating President Bashar al-Assad if the United States took the lead militarily.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs...updates/#e68f139f-e012-476c-876e-2467ba30e5e3

    Incompetent fools is an understatement that lies some distance below whale shit.

    So we turn to Gibbon:
    "Human history is little more than the record of mankind's crimes, follies and misfortunes."

    You betcha.

    Personally I'm 65. I don't envy you 30-year olds. I have less time left on the planet than you do, but it's still a better future.
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  17. MarkPavelovich

    MarkPavelovich Commissar

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    Jesus Q. Johnnycake on a silver surfboard. My, there's a ringing endorsement, what? A cluster of absolute monarchies in which the penalty for exhibiting homosexual behavior - an avowed human right the USA has sworn to defend anywhere it appears on this good earth - is death or life imprisonment and, in the case of the principal instigator, where women are not allowed to drive cars or vote, has offered to hire the world's biggest military to squash the leader of a secular nation in which Jews, Muslims and Christians live together in peace.

    What a disgrace. What a sick, twisted disgrace.

    I notice in breaking news, just before they shut down for the day, that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed the resolution on the Use Of Force, 10-7. History being made right in front of your eyes, kiddies. International law means squat; it's what the world's last remaining superpower wants to do that directs what is law at any given moment. I notice there was some debate earlier as well over whether Russia could be considered a superpower, from the point of view whether Russia would retaliate, so apparently they are taking that seriously. And still saying "Yes", not to put too fine a point on it.
  18. Alexander Mercouris

    Alexander Mercouris Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    Meanwhile the British newspapers are also busy with editorials today based on the assumption that Putin in his interview with Associated Press hinted that he might be about to agree to an attack on Syria. As I said previously, this is based on a misreading of the interview or, to be more precise, on a reading of AP's own summaries of the interview.

    However what I find much stranger is that all the newspapers with editorials today (the Times, the Daily Telegraph and the Guardian) all assume that Russia has made no constructive proposal in the crisis. I cannot provide links to the Times and Daily Telegraph editorials since they are all behind paywalls but the Guardian editorial is typical.

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/sep/04/g20-syria-putins-show-editorial

    The reality is the diametric opposite. Russia has been pushing for negotiations between the rebels and Assad since the Spring of 2011. It is the rebels supported by the west who have refused every proposal for negotiation unless Assad goes.
  19. Robert

    Robert Collegiate Registrar (14th class)

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    Kosovo and Iraq made it clear that the Western powers feel free to ignore international law when it suits them. If and when the West finds itself confronted with an Eastern alliance with a greater military power than its own it may come to regret the precedent it has set and its lack of concern for legality in international affairs. Such a prospect may seem very far off to the boys in Washington but I suspect the next generation may find chickens coming home to roost.
  20. AKarlin

    AKarlin Generalissimo Staff Member

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