The SYRIAN WAR Thread

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

  1. Alexander Mercouris

    Alexander Mercouris Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    I am no expert on US politics but that is a much closer vote in a Senate committee than I expected. Certainly it is not overwhelming. Most think that the Senate has a stronger majority for military action than the House. Could this mean that there's a chance of an upset in the House especially with public opinion running strongly against?
  2. Alexander Mercouris

    Alexander Mercouris Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    I think it has become completely obvious over the last few days that what is now principally driving this thing is the need to save the US's or should I say Obama's face? If you read the comments Obama and Kerry and even people like McCain are making it is all about "credibility". Whenever great nations decide matters of war and peace on the basis of face you know disaster threatens. Franz Joseph, Nicholas II and Kaiser Wilhelm II could all instruct about this as could the Japanese officials who launched the attack on Pearl Harbour.
  3. MarkPavelovich

    MarkPavelovich Commissar

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    The USA has painted itself into a corner whereby "we must strike or the world will not trust us to keep our word". Really? Come on.

    Actually, the USA has been barely recognizable as the same country since the opening salvos of the Snowden affair. The belligerence went to way over the top immediately, which is astonishing for a president who supposedly prided himself on being able to get with diplomacy what other leaders had had to get by bullying. But right away a stark contrast between the casual this-is-no-big-deal American public persona and the naked fury beneath was easily observable in official behavior. And since the USA - which just seems now to be blundering like a mad bull from one red rag to the next - cast its reddened eyes on Syria once again after a lengthy hiatus, the sabre-rattling has reached a crescendo. Putin's goading in his AP interview probably didn't help, but official America really does seem to have lost its grip on reality. Does it really believe nobody will be able to put the pieces together if it strikes Syria now, because....well, because it has to? It looks like there is a very good chance the blame in the chemical attack will end where it likely belongs, with the fake rebels who are a hodgepodge of mercenaries and religious nuts who are mostly not even Syrian and have no plans to stay there after their job is complete. And now Prince Bandar is dangling an all-expenses-paid war in front of them; Prince Bandar, who was so cosy with the Muslim Brotherhood when they were a visible part of the Syrian opposition. Israel, who initiated a seaborne missile test in the middle of a powder keg, without warning anyone (except their U.S. partners, who are notoriously trigger-happy) Do they think nobody will be able to connect the dots, and that things will just go back to the way they were before? Partners of decades are looking, aghast, as you might at someone who has shit his pants on a city bus. This is not just going away, no matter how this comes out.
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2013
  4. Moscow Exile

    Moscow Exile Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    Inside the Mind of a Russian Pussy Riot Supporter

    An opinion piece from the Moscow Times concerning Syria and the use of chemical weapons and an American illegal war of aggression written by the Russia/CIS bureau chief of Voice of America: "Russia's Gas Warfare History", which he closes as follows:

    "If Washington undertakes punitive strikes against Assad's military, the Russian chattering class might do well to step back and take a break from attacking the United States. Instead, as Russia stands one year away from the 100th anniversary of its August 1914 entry into World War I, Russians might find it interesting to contemplate the fact that their own soldiers were the first victims of modern gas warfare.

    In that case, the "fog of war" was real — and deadly.
    "

    Enter a Russian commentator, Konstantin Talitskiy, who uses as his avatar four Pussy-Riot-style balaclava bedecked heads:

    wow, what a biased article...
    Russian people - and the "chattering classes" in particular - are not against America. Russian people feel deep respect and admiration towards America. Unfortunately, Russian authorities do not represent Russian people, they are only empowering Putin's regime of croocks
    [sic] and thieves. Deeply inside, Russian people will praise American invasion to Syria because it is going to be yet another proof of Putin's political impotency and a promising sign that Russia might one day become the next to be addressed by the American global democracy reinforcement.


    Roll on the arrival of US cruise missiles in Moscow, bringing with them good news of democracy?

    Please rescue us, Uncle Sam, from the clutches of the Evil One by bombing the shit out of us?


    Talk about selling one's birthright for a mess of pottage!

    This bugger is willing to sell it for a Big Mac and a bottle of Coca-Cola.

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  5. Patrick Armstrong

    Patrick Armstrong Commissar

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    The stupidometer is off the scale and broken:

    Rep. Joe Wilson: Mr. Secretary, I don't mean to be rude, but where did the chemical weapons come from?

    Hagel: Well, there's no secret that the Assad regime has had chemical weapons — significant stockpiles of chemical weapons …
    Wilson: (interrupting) … from a particular country?

    Hagel: Well, the Russians supply them, others are supplying them with those chemical weapons. They make some themselves


    http://www.theatlanticwire.com/poli...-chemical-weapons-may-have-come-russia/69047/
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  6. Alexander Mercouris

    Alexander Mercouris Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    They are making it up as they are going along.

    Actually if you read Hagel's comment carefully, it is not completely clear that Hagel meant to say that the Russians are supplying Syria with chemical weapons. One interpretation of Hagel's words is that the Russians "supply" the Syrians with weapons but "others" supply the Syrians with chemical weapons and the Syrians make some chemical weapons themselves.

    When you get such a confused and muddled answer the truth almost invariably is that the respondent simply doesn't know the answer, can't bring himself to admit to the fact and therefore blurts the first thing that comes into his head. It comes after the ludicrous farce yesterday of Kerry saying that a Syrian general had defected only to admit minutes later that he was making assertions based on an opposition story, which might be untrue.

    The truth is we greatly exaggerate what intelligence can achieve and what governments in any particular situation actually know. The truth I suspect is that the US actually knows very little about Syria or about what is going on there. Consider for example how the US, Britain and France, though sharing intelligence with each other, have come up with completely different numbers of the victims of the alleged gas attack though each purport to count the numbers with absolute precision. That is why (as Putin rightly says) relying on intelligence to decide what took place near Damascus on 21st August 2013 is a total waste of time.

    What this situation urgently calls for is a proper independent investigation by the people on the spot. Given that the Chinese and the Russians are in agreement about this do you think there is any chance it might be agreed at the G20 summit? It occurs to me that if Obama really wants to get himself out of this hole he's dug himself into he could agree to this. The western public has not been informed that this proposal is on the table (and has been on the table since the moment this incident started). If Obama agrees to this, it should not therefore be too difficult for him and his minions to pretend that this was done entirely on his insistence and to chalk it up as a "victory".

    PS: I notice that Radek Sikorski, the Polish foreign minister, also alleged that Russia or to be more precise the USSR supplied chemical weapons and chemical weapons technology to Syria. The Russian Foreign Ministry issued a categorical rebuttal of this claim in which it said that Syrian chemical weapons technology has western sources.

    http://www.mid.ru/bdomp/brp_4.nsf/e...ea53cccb3545b7f644257bdd0040a9b4!OpenDocument
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2013
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  7. Patrick Armstrong

    Patrick Armstrong Commissar

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  8. MarkPavelovich

    MarkPavelovich Commissar

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    It could not be clearer, from this and other releases, that the UN is opposed to a strike on Syria by the United States, while a unilateral strike is illegal under international law. You cannot just "reserve the right to act unilaterally" except in self-defense. It also could not be clearer, from this and other releases, that the USA in general has now sunk to levels of global unpopularity that rival the depths explored by the Bush administration, and which the Obama administration was initially so successful at reversing. Since that was almost entirely based on expectation of what Obama would do and how he would lead, it is suggestive now of an evaluation that Obama has tragically failed that expectation.

    Moreover, it is somewhat unfair that the whole country is being blamed for the U.S. government's epic flailing and self-incrimination, because the American public plainly is opposed broadly to a military strike on Syria. As usual, the loudest mouths are being paid all the attention, but the deliberate disregard of public opinion while claiming to be the poster-child for democratic values is deeply, deeply, deeply troubling.
  9. Reggie Kabaeva

    Reggie Kabaeva Office Registrar (13th class)

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    Almost 100% on this as well...... garbage being peddled by the yahoo propaganda ministry on Assad's wife:

    http://shine.yahoo.com/healthy-livi...yrian-first-lady-asma-al-assad-193241101.html

    Some samples:

    “I’m not sure we are being told the truth about any of this. . .”

    “So Yahoo Shine is on the pro-war bandwagon now? LOL! Wow, it’s like 2003 all over again”

    “You mean she lives like all the Hollywood stars and British royals that our country can’t stop worshiping for some reason.”

    “Hey yahoo, how much are you getting pay to write this #$%$?”

    “Propaganda for the low information crowd. Its disgusting the way the press and media lick Obama’s heals.”

    “I really hate to say this, but how is this any different than what Michelle Obama does? 47% of Americans are on some sort of public assistance, while see jets around the globe on vacations, paid for by taxpayers. When’s the last time she turned down a photo op?”
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  10. MarkPavelovich

    MarkPavelovich Commissar

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    I particularly enjoyed the quivering fury of the office stuffed shirt from the State Department who called Assad's Instagram account "a disgusting publicity stunt" which featured Mrs. Assad "shopping for fancy shoes", among other pursuits, while her poor people are suffering in terrible poverty. Disgraceful!!!! I was instantly reminded of Condoleezza Rice plunking down a cool couple of thousand at Ferragamo for "fancy shoes" while Lake Ponchartrain was exploring Ward 5 in New Orleans.

    I'll see your disgusting publicity stunt, and raise you one faked chemical-weapons attack.
  11. Moscow Exile

    Moscow Exile Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    Inside an IHT (with a freebie Moscow Times inside) that I picked up this morning in the Moscow Holiday Inn at Sokol'niki there was this reprint from the opinion page of the New York Times: "What Sir William Would Do in Syria".

    Nice argument, but notice how at the very beginning its authors beg the question as regards who the guilty parties are:

    "The use of nerve gas in Syria is abhorrent, and those within the Syrian military command who ordered it are war criminals."

    Case proven , m'lud?
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2013
  12. Alexander Mercouris

    Alexander Mercouris Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    What is becoming increasingly obvious as the G20 summit moves on is that on the Syria issue it is the US and its allies that are in the minority not Russia. I have never seen Putin more confident and more dominant whilst Cameron has been reduced to a bizarre little speech explaining why Britain is still relevant.
  13. Moscow Exile

    Moscow Exile Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    All is not lost!

    Madonna has joined the anti-war camp!

    See:"Stay out": Madonna slams US for Syria strike

    Now all is needed is Red Hot Chilli Pepper, Paul McCartney, Sting et al. to jump on the bandwagon and the US fleet will withdraw.
  14. Alexander Mercouris

    Alexander Mercouris Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    After what I suspect was a major effort the US pulled together a joint statement with 10 of its allies at the G20 summit blaming the chemical weapons attack on Assad, saying the Security Council is paralysed and saying that Assad should be punished. Importantly however the statement made no reference to military action and one of the signatories (Italy) is clearly uneasy at the prospect. The signatories of the statement are the US, the UK, Japan, France, Italy, Spain, South Korea, Turkey, Canada, Australia and Saudi Arabia.

    What I find even more interesting is that Germany once again is not amongst the signatories
  15. MarkPavelovich

    MarkPavelovich Commissar

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    I question Madonna's committment to the anti-war campaign, as she has not yet scrawled "Bashar al-Assad is All Right" in grease pencil on her bare back and then spun around, accompanied by much ass-wiggling, to draw attention to it. Once you have come out in favour of Pussy Riot, casting them as struggling but repressed artists with an important message for the world, there's no rejoining the world of The Serious. Every vote against military action helps, but I doubt Madonna's will swing much weight. On the bright side, she has probably joined the ranks of the tin-foil hat brigade in the eyes of the press, although they were ready to canonize her for her support of Pussy Riot.

    Interesting link from my blog, an interview which casts the US-Russia conflict over Syria in Manichean terms, and paints this moment in history as now or never for the United States: if they don't win this one, it's game over. Consequently the escalation rather than sensible pick-your-battles backing down, from both sides.

    http://manuelochsenreiter.com/blog/2013/9/6/what-will-russia-do
  16. Glossy

    Glossy Dead Soul

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    That was a very interesting interview. Dugin sees a possibility of Russia physically intervening in Syria. Is that at all likely? It never occurred to me that this might be possible until I just read that interview, and it still seems extremely unlikely to me. Fantasy, really. But I haven't been following events closely, so what do I know? Does anyone else think that there is any possibility at all of Russia physically intervening in Syria in response to a US attack on Assad?
  17. Reggie Kabaeva

    Reggie Kabaeva Office Registrar (13th class)

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    Well, anything in war is possible, but I think it's probably unlikely unless Russian assets are attacked directly - which again, could happen but probably unlikely since the consequences of such an act would be catastrophic - though Israel, the wild card here, is quite capable of anything. Russia will probably do everything short of directly intervening by providing Syria with intelligence, radar data, and probably some pretty advanced weaponry that could be manned with Russian support crews. Putin is also probably under TREMENDOUS pressure not to back down and lose Syria to the USA since this would not only be a Geo-political defeat for Russia but international law as well. I agree with Dugin that if the US gets away with this, they will simply move on to Iran unimpeded & unconcerned with what Russia, China, the international community OR the American public thinks. After all, what are they gonna do about it other than blab?

    If I were Putin, I would coordinate a real plan to defend Syria with China, India, Iran and other regional players who oppose this insanity. It can be done without spilling blood, but it's definitely risky:

    I would send Mike Mcfaul packing and recall the Russian embassy staff from the US. The other nations I mentioned should do this as well. The effort must consist of several nations so it will not simply look like Russia versus the USA. I would put the Russian military on the highest alert and deploy mobile Topol-M's across all nine of Russia's time-zones and get the Tuplev bombers in the air with their nuclear payloads. The Typhoon, Akula, Oscar and Borei class subs will also be mobilized to neutralize US assets in the Pacific/Atlantic regions. I would have the Russian ambassador give a memorable speech in the UN general assembly claiming that the international system has failed and end it with "may god help us all." I would address the Russian nation live and implement some symbolic evacuations and make it clear that US assets in the region as well as the Saudi & Qatari oilfields will be targeted (NOT the US mainland) unless the US backs down and obeys international law. Yes, this will have shades of 1962 all over again, but what else can the international community do to stop this out of control empire from ravaging the globe?

    It's certainly a gamble, but I'm willing to bet that the Obama White house will probably decide that attacking Syria isn't the best policy unless they're prepared to commit global suicide. I'm guessing with the American public, US military & House of Representatives in open revolt over this, Obama will probably have to drop his war plans or risk a nuclear apocalypse. I know this seems extreme, but this will send a strong message that unilateral "regime change" by the US will no longer be tolerated without UN security council approval. Again, Russia will need major partners in with them on this to make it really credible. Iran could close the Strait of Hormuz and China could recall a chunk of the US national debt (I'm guessing these acts alone would probably send the US economy into free-fall). Things can be done to stop this madness, but these countries must have the will to do it.
  18. Moscow Exile

    Moscow Exile Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    Corporation of Lies: Washington, Pennsylvania Avenue

    Sometimes, from behind American politicians’ veil of lies the truth erupts - and it is even uglier.

    Over the past few days, the feeling that Washington has become a world centre of lies, distortions and something even worse has only become strengthened. Moreover, representatives in the U.S. capital from almost all branches of government are lying: politicians, ministers, diplomats, etc.

    Here, for example, is the lovely story about the launching towards the east of two missiles from the waters of the Mediterranean Sea. Remember, the Pentagon, almost crossing its heart, tried to persuade everyone that it had no hand in the matter. And then it turned out that it was supposedly a joint missile defence system test, carried out by the U.S.A. and Israel. Let us leave aside the fact that in the busy shipping lanes of the Mediterranean all countries are notified in advance about such exercises and that only a stupid person (or an agent provocateur) would carry out such launchings near a potential war zone: everyone knows that. But there was a four-hour silence and fuzzy negative responses that had their own eloquence. Well, they did not know that we were able to see them and track them. They say that all Russian equipment is rusty, cannot fly and cannot shoot. And then suddenly - wham! The early detection system detected the launch from start to finish. They had not not counted on that. Imagine how the phones were heating up (figuratively speaking) in Washington DC and its environs, as well as those of the Israeli Foreign Ministry and the General Staff of the Israeli armed forces, as they sought a way to get out of the scandal that they themselves had created.

    “The Russians? Spotted? That can’t be?”

    “It turns out that it can, sir. What are we going to say, sir?”

    As a result, they told half-truths: they acknowledged the launches and gave a muddled explanation about some missile tests.

    Vladimir Putin, of course, did not call the U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, a liar outright: that is not permissible at their level diplomacy. However, Putin quite clearly described the statements of the head of American diplomacy: “Well, he’s lying and knows he is, which is sad."

    At a hearing on Syria, a congressman simply asked Mr. Kerry if U.S. attacks against that country would lead to a strengthening of Al Qaeda’s position. Whereupon, glancing at him with his noble, grey and honest eyes, Kerry said, "No, and we say with all responsibility that they are not there."

    “The most basic combat unit is the so-called Al Nusra, a division of Al Qaeda. They know of this”, the Russian president said, revealing the American diplomat’s lies. And he has explained why he finds this unpleasant. “It was not very pleasant for me to hear this and so it is no surprise that we do not engage with them. We used to act on the premise that they were decent people. Well, he’s lying and knows he is, which is sad.”

    The most interesting thing is that Kerry has not said anything in response to this criticism: he just quietly decided not to fly to the St. Petersburg G20 summit, even though the day before he was going to do this.

    Only do not say that Americans pay no attention to such “little matters”, that they are supposed to be above that etc: they do, and how! At the same meeting the Secretary of Defence, Chuck Hagel, got carried away in his home country by his very unhealthy fantasies when answering the question “Where did Damascus get its chemical weapons from?” He stated: "Russia supplied them. Others supplied chemical weapons to the Syrian regime as well. Some things they do themselves." But as soon as surprised raised eyebrows appeared from the Russian side, the Pentagon immediately and officially apologized on behalf of its chief, explaining that Hagel had meant "conventional weapons ". What is most interesting is that most of the questions posed by members of the U.S. Congress were answered by the formidable Chuck with an air of “I’ve no idea” or “this has nothing to do with me".

    to be continued...
  19. Moscow Exile

    Moscow Exile Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    continued from above...

    Kerry tells the whole world that there is evidence of Assad’s use of chemical weapons, but does not produce one bit of evidence that would give cause for him to be believed. He has not even presented one test-tube of the stuff, as did Powell before the Iraq invasion. The Russian Foreign Ministry has published the results of an investigation undertaken by a United Nations certified laboratory into the use of these weapons of mass destruction in Syria. Its conclusions are watertight: the explosive material used and the poison itself (sarin) was homemade, using substances employed by Western countries for the production of chemical weapons during the Second World War. (British parliamentarians, by the way, are now demanding answers from their government into why it has delivered to Syria materials suitable for the production of sarin.) Kerry, however, asks the world to simply accept that "the evidence is there, and there’s plenty of it".

    Washington is lying when it says it was interested in a peaceful resolution to the problem. Deputies of the Russian State Duma and Federation Council had just started to form a parliamentary delegation to discuss the situation in Syria with their U.S. counterparts when John Boehner, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, said that he would not be meeting the Russian parliamentarians. And it is against such a background that in Washington they talk about their welcoming of any initiatives. Many other congressmen have refused to meet and to have discussions on this topic. People who are confident about their integrity and that they are in the right do not behave like that.

    American politicians are lying not only worldwide, but also to the United States. The same Chuck Hagel, apparently while still in Fantasyland, told congressmen that the operation against Syria would be a low-cost one: "To all intents and purposes, the cost of the operation will be in the range of tens of millions of dollars." The upkeep of each USN aircraft carrier costs Americans approximately $160 million per year. Off the coast of Syria there are now two such ships, each of which even in peacetime require $26 million a month. Two months (a 60- day campaign is being talked about) would cost $52 million. And do not forget that when undertaking military operations this figure can easily increase twofold, if not threefold. And each aircraft carrier requires another group of support ships and escorts etc., which under the most favorable scenario would cost another $100 million.

    Let's move on. If there is going to be an American attack against Syria, it will be carried out mainly by Tomahawks and precision bombs. The cost of one Tomahawk is $1.5 million. During the 78-day air war against Yugoslavia, the Americans and British used about 700 Tomahawks. Only during the first week of operations in Libya, the U.S. and its allies launched against air defence and other important targets in that country 199 cruise missiles, 192 of them fired by the Americans. So, gentlemen, you will have to fork out a billion at the very least. And if your aeroplanes do not return to their bases and aircraft carriers, or something happens to your ships, a second billion will go - and even more.

    However, the financial aspects of the war will not cause the Obama administration any concern, as a generous sponsor has been found: those sympathizers of democracy, the Arab monarchies. Probably one of the few truthful phrases sounded from the lips of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry were heard in those same hearings.

    “Actually, some of them have said that if the U.S. is ready to do all that we have done before in other countries, then they will cover these costs (themselves - Ed.)” Saying this did not even embarrass Kerry, though he did not specifically name the sponsors – that was not part of the plans, and no one speaks of it, but they are seriously talking about it.

    That's what I believe. So, as Gleb Zheglov [popular fictitious Russian detective – ME.] said: “He’s only interested in one thing: money.” Just what does that mean, comrade citizens? Does it mean that you can simply pay the US army, the United States itself, to fight a war for you as a common mercenary? It reminds me of what Winston Churchill wrote about the inhabitants of the Arabian Peninsula: "An Arab can’t be bought, but you can hire him.” Since then, the situation has changed: now it seems that the Arabs are hiring Americans at a reasonable price. Washington, as before, still has inflated cheeks as it tries to blow out the whole world. However, the customers of the music that is often performed on Capitol Hill and on Pennsylvania Avenue are sitting at their oases on the other side of the ocean. That may explain the fact that in some countries the United States is at war with "Al Qaeda ", whilst in neighbouring places it is arming them and even seeking to kill their enemies. It remains open to question whether the U.S. military will deliver the pizza to the house hot, and for some reason it seems that the answer to this question depends on the amount of payment it receives for its services.

    They say that Barack Obama will soon deliver an address to the American people. I have no doubt that he, with trustful eyes, will make a broadcast about democratic values and the right to liberty and the fight against tyranny; nor do I doubt the fact that most of what he utters will turn out to be mendacious. These things do not matter, because Washington, still intoxicated with its victory over the Soviet Union, considers all things said by him as truths, without noticing that he has become a corporation, the main product of which is, to some extent, a barefaced lie that few people believe.

    P.S. And yes, the last thing that Mr. Obama desires is that in no event should a strike be made against Syria on September 11, otherwise it might, you know, conjuring up the wrong associations.

    [Translated by Moscow Exile yesterday from the Komsomolskaya Pravda article: "Корпорация лжи: Вашингтон Пенсильвания авеню". Also posted by ME yesterday in "The Russian Spectrum".]
  20. Moscow Exile

    Moscow Exile Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    In my opinion, because Russia is not defending the Syrian government but the rule of International Law, there will be no physical intervention by Russian armed forces when the USA attacks Syria.

    Russia is NOT Syria's ally, though most would find that hard to believe when reading every day in the Western media that that is the case.

    The USA, however, believes that International Law is of no consequence whenever the results of its implementation conflicts with US interests, which are, of course, the bringing freedom, democracy, joy and happiness to the peoples of the world.
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