The SYRIAN WAR Thread

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

  1. Robert

    Robert Collegiate Registrar (14th class)

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  2. Patrick Armstrong

    Patrick Armstrong Commissar

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    More stupid things from Stupid Central

    Kerry

    “We will be able to hold [Syrian President] Bashar al-Assad accountable without engaging troops on the ground or any other prolonged kind of effort, in a very limited, very targeted, very short-term effort that degrades his capacity to deliver chemical weapons without assuming responsibility for Syria’s civil war. That is exactly what we are talking about doing; an unbelievably small, limited kind of effort.”

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news...evably-small-strike-on-syria/article14184543/

    And, who do they expect to believe Susan Rice this time around?

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs...-mislead-benghazi-make-case-syria_752969.html

    But not so stupid -- Biden is in lockdown at an undisclosed location

    http://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2013/...rd-10-million-grant-to-the-port-of-baltimore/
  3. Patrick Armstrong

    Patrick Armstrong Commissar

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    We need a more accurate word than "stupid"

    America's top diplomat suggested in a passing remark that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad could avoid a U.S.-led strike if he handed over all his chemical weapons, but the State Department quickly dismissed the comment as more of a "rhetorical argument" than an offer.


    In a London news conference this morning, Secretary of State John Kerry responded to a question about whether Assad could do anything to avoid war by saying "he could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week. Turn it over, all of it, without delay and allow a full and total accounting."


    http://gma.yahoo.com/did-us-offer-syrian-president-125806202--abc-news-topstories.html


    We should not forget that Kerry was not Obama's first choice to be SecState: Susan Rice was and she is now Nat Sec Advisor. I very much suspect that Kerry isn't even in the loop.
  4. Alexander Mercouris

    Alexander Mercouris Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    The Russians are running rings round the Americans on the Syrian crisis.

    It seems that Lavrov and Kerry had a telephone conversation in which Lavrov informed Kerry of a Russian proposal to the Syrians for Syria's chemical weapons to be placed under international control. In a panic at having Obama's casus belli taken away Kerry blurted out a statement that appeared to give Syria an ultimatum to do this in a week or face military action. That this was a panicked response to a Russian initiative is proved by the fact that Kerry is not actually in a position to issue such an ultimatum before Congress has voted on the question of military action. The result is that the State Department had to rush out a statement that Kerry was merely talking "rhetorically".

    To add to the chaos it seems that the Syrians are signalling that they are prepared to agree to Russia's initiative. It will be interesting to see what arguments the US now comes up with to reject what is looking increasingly like a Russian/Syrian initiative to end the crisis.

    Meanwhile all the indications are of a furious row going on behind the scenes between the US and the Germans, with the Germans criticising the statement some EU countries made with the US at the G20 summit before the EU had taken a position and the US criticising the Germans for siding once again with "Putin".

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/german-elections-blog-2013/2013/sep/09/merkel-unlikely-allies-syria
  5. MarkPavelovich

    MarkPavelovich Commissar

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    Please, please please let us hit Assad, and just maybe kill him if we're lucky...
  6. MarkPavelovich

    MarkPavelovich Commissar

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    I'm sure you noted where it was posted, as well - not just in The Grauniad, but in their "German Elections" blog. Plainly the paper at least and perhaps a broader spectrum in the UK would like to see Merkel gone and a more compliant "NATO ally" in the driver's seat. I noticed also that Ivo Daalder was quoted as tweeting (on the G20 vote), "Good. Better late than never. I understand Iraq war trauma. My worry was Libya repeat."

    The amazing thing about that is that he refers not to the horrific destabilized failure cluster-fuck that is Libya today after the kindly attentions of al Qaeda's de facto Air Force - AKA NATO - but to Germany's absention in that vote to authorize the use of force to "protect civilians". Being worried about a repeat of Libya in Syria would be the natural reaction of any human being appalled at how dreadfully NATO got it (deliberately) wrong on Libya and the needless bloodshed and the cataclysmic destruction and the lying and the unseemly (sick, really) jubilation when Gaddafi was brutally murdered.

    But Daalder is obviously made of sterner stuff, and not getting the chance to do it again was what bothered him most of all.
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2013
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  7. Patrick Armstrong

    Patrick Armstrong Commissar

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    I’ve been reading a lot of the comments on pieces about Syria, Obama and so on. Opposition to involvement is overwhelming (80% or more. I get the impression that opposition is actually rising over time.)

    A rather small proportion of commentators discuss the credibility of the accusation that Assad used the stuff with a small majority finding it not credible. An even smaller proportion question whether anything was used. I don’t notice any right-left tendency here at all. But the bulk of the comments don't discuss the veracity either way.

    I see these themes over and over again.

    The whole thing is just another example of the USA doing whatever its masters in Saudi Arabia – or is it Israel? – tell it to do. Contradictory theories here.

    Obama is an idiot and we are seeing that today: some are glad it’s being revealed, some are not. But a lot of gloating about Obama’s failure without much reflection on the implications. A common subset of this is wondering whether Obama is incompetent or actually planned all this. Which leads to a very common theme that Obama wants the Muslim Brotherhood/jihadists to win. A small number of commentators make the point that Obama is too indecisive and unreliable to go to war with. A few who actually want to intervene don’t want to do so with him as Commander-in-Chief.

    Perhaps the most common argument against intervention is that neither side is any better than the other. Often quote Sarah Palin here “Let Allah sort it out”. A common subset is that intervention against Assad will amount to fighting for Al Qaeda.

    A huge scepticism of the veracity of either Obama or Kerry. Many comments are simply a reiteration of how neither can be assumed to be telling the truth.

    Those who argue for intervention seem to have two main arguments:

    A. If they believe that Assad used the stuff 1. He must be stopped/punished 2. We must stop this nastiness. Usually in the second case little thought about what Step 2 would be but a deep assumption that somehow we can stop it. (this is your “humanitarian interventionist” who often rambles on about Rwanda which, apparently, we could have “stopped”. Only a few talk about the key influence of Rice or Powers.)

    B. The credibility/status of the USA is at stake and we must go in or lose face. (The USA is the “indispensable power” and must never be seen to waver or enemies will attack/laugh/take advantage. Sometimes accompanied by regret that Obama carelessly and stupidly committed the USA, but nonetheless we must follow through. A counter here is that Obama has only committed himself.) Or maybe the USA should “send a message”. Confused and rather knee-jerk.

    Putin is a real leader; sometimes admiration of Putin is expressed but more often it is a contemptuous comparison with Obama.

    Putin is our real enemy and this just confirms it (but often, contradictorily, this from someone who thinks Obama is wrong to get involved. So Putin is an enemy because he is against the US doing something that it should not do. Or is preventing the USA from doing something it should not do. These people haven’t thought things out; logically they should be thanking Putin.)

    As they say in the military, a total Juliette Foxtrot. (or, in the best contemptuous nick-name for Obama: Fubarack)
  8. MarkPavelovich

    MarkPavelovich Commissar

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    Well, we could have "stopped" Rwanda, or such was the feeling of General Romeo Dallaire when he was there; he was of the opinion that it would have required the commitment of only a small number of professional soldiers to have stopped the grisly genocidal massacre of the Tutsi people by the Hutu. In fact, that was what made him temporarily insane, wasn't it? He just cracked under the weight of guilt and fury that he could not get anyone to do anything; the government and the UN just dithered until it was too late. Nearly a million murdered, most of them hacked to death, in four months.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/dallaire/

    It's the subject of his book, Shake Hands With the Devil.

    “I passed by an assembly point where French soldiers were loading expatriates into vehicles. Hundreds of Rwandans had gathered to watch all these white entrepreneurs, NGO staff and their families making their fearful exits, and as I wended my way through the crowd, I saw how aggressively the French were pushing black Rwandans seeking asylum out of the way. A sense of shame overcame me. The whites, who had made their money in Rwanda and who had hired so many Rwandans to be their servants and labourers, were now abandoning them. Self-interest and self-preservation ruled.”

    Dallaire asked for only 5,500 soldiers. What he got was a cut in the contingent of 2000 he already had.

    http://blog.kloppmagic.ca/archives/2005/03/30/shake-hands-with-the-devil-romeo-dallaire/

    However, you're quite correct that it has no relevance to Syria, unless someone wishes to remark on the absurdity that if it did, the western powers would be allied with the side carrying out the genocide, rather than simply condemning the victims through indifference. I imagine those who cite it as an example mean to suggest that both actions required bold intervention without getting bogged down in a lot of silly questions, but to do the right thing would require intervention in Rwanda on the side of the Tutsis, and in Syria on the side of the Syrian government. That is plainly not going to happen, and those who cite Rwanda are just rooting for a rush to judgment that will result in an intervention without thinking too hard. Then we can apologize for the horrible mistake after Assad is dead and the country in the hands of the hapless Syrian National Council, the Muslim Brotherhood and al Qaeda.
  9. Glossy

    Glossy Dead Soul

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    The Snowden affair was a small PR win for Putin and Russia. Lots of Americans sympathize with Snowden, and they all saw Russia take him in. I'm guessing that the media outrage about Russia's law banning gay propaganda to minors was payback for that. By that logic, if Putin scores another PR win in the next few days, this time over Syria, it will be followed by more payback, i.e. by another anti-Putin campaign from Western media. If the diplomatic solution proposed by Russia is accepted by Obama and there are no strikes, Putin will look good, so the Western media will again try to find a way to make him look bad.

    Should Western bobsledders be rooting for strikes right now? Only if they have no conscience and are good enough to medal.
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2013
  10. Patrick Armstrong

    Patrick Armstrong Commissar

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    Coulda shoulda -- but foreign intervention changes the dynamic and the next thing you know you're the invaders. Somalia is a good example. We “did something” and it all went to shit. And Somalia is just as horrible today -- it just isn't in the news.

    Unless you’re prepared to take it over and run it (with some brutality if necessary) for years and years… But Haiti shows that that doesn’t work either…
  11. Patrick Armstrong

    Patrick Armstrong Commissar

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    Mercouris writes
    It seems that Lavrov and Kerry had a telephone conversation in which Lavrov informed Kerry of a Russian proposal to the Syrians for Syria's chemical weapons to be placed under international control. In a panic at having Obama's casus belli taken away Kerry blurted out a statement that appeared to give Syria an ultimatum to do this in a week or face military action.

    I notice that the assumption in the US seems to be that Kerry came up with his statement first and the Russians jumped on it. I am inclined to disbelieve this. But do you or anyone have evidence of the timeline?
  12. Patrick Armstrong

    Patrick Armstrong Commissar

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    For your amusement
    Help Obama raise money for World War III

  13. Alexander Mercouris

    Alexander Mercouris Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    I see if I can put this together, but what I understood happened was roughly along these lines:

    1. The proposal was first floated by the Russians at the G20 summit in the knowledge of the Syrian foreign minister's pending visit to Moscow to meet with Lavrov. The idea was to discuss it with him when he arrived;

    2. The discussions took place in Moscow. The Syrian foreign minister indicated that Damascus was open to the idea;

    3. Lavrov informed Kerry, who blurted his comment out.

    The latest talk is that the US, the UK and France are going to present a Resolution to the UN Security Council under Chapter VII. In my opinion this is simply a spoiling tactic. This is a Russian plan/proposal, which the Russians are still working on. If anyone should be proposing a Resolution to the UN Security Council it should be the Russians when their plan is ready. On past precedent the proposed western Resolution will impose on Syria deadlines that are impossible to meet and make demands that are impossible to accept.
    AKarlin likes this.
  14. AKarlin

    AKarlin Generalissimo Staff Member

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  15. MarkPavelovich

    MarkPavelovich Commissar

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    Well, according to this reference, "Russia floated the idea after Mr Kerry, in an apparently throwaway remark, said the only way for Syria to avoid attack was to hand over all of its chemical weapons within a week. Russia is understood to be against the idea of a UN resolution binding Syria to the handover."

    http://news.sky.com/story/1139734/syria-britain-and-us-back-un-resolution

    Clearly the USA is going to take credit for coming up with the plan, while blaming Russia for bandwagon-jumping and trying to meddle with the arrangement for its own advantage. Mind you, Sky News is so pro-American they probably bleed apple-pie juice, so I guess that's to be expected. Here's a related piece, which details how the "rebels" (the west stubbornly sticks to this label so it will not have to call them jihadi terrorists, which they are) are providing targets to their American handlers which will assist them with regime change. Hey, remember the good ol' days when the western policymakers swore blind that regime change was not the objective?

    http://news.sky.com/story/1139496/syria-rebels-give-us-targets-to-defeat-regime

    And in yet another related piece, Sky News' Stuart Ramsay comes up with a convenient explanation for why the chemical attacks on civilians use improvised and homemade-looking rockets - it's still Assad's rotten crowd, but they are government militia assisted by government soldiers.

    http://news.sky.com/story/1139417/syria-unorthodox-gas-attacks-point-to-militia
  16. Patrick Armstrong

    Patrick Armstrong Commissar

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    This report seems to have everyone's agreement that the germ of the idea appeared in Obama-Putin discussions at G20
    http://zeenews.india.com/news/world...yria-chemical-plan-at-g20-kremlin_875603.html
  17. MarkPavelovich

    MarkPavelovich Commissar

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    I agree that this is the way it most likely happened, and that the record which so reflects is accurate. But it's strange that if Obama discussed such a plan with Putin nearly a full week ago, (a) Obama did not see fit to discuss such a game-changing plan with his Secretary of State, or (b) that Kerry was so flummoxed by it that he reacted as if he'd never heard of it before.

    I agree with Alex that the emphasis now will be on turning this back toward an excuse for war, by attaching so many conditions to it that Assad will refuse to comply. However, it will hopefully not be forgotten - if war is what transpires - that Russia offered a bloodless way out and it was bent to serve the interests of those who desired war instead.
  18. Alexander Mercouris

    Alexander Mercouris Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    Thanks for this.

    What seems to have happened is that the US never expected that the Syrians would actually agree to the proposal and were left looking stumped when they did.

    Anyway today has been a day of frantic diplomatic activity. After some confusion yesterday the west tried to seize back the diplomatic initiative from the Russians by trying to put together a Chapter VII Resolution to the Security Council. The Russians have (rightly) rejected that idea. All a Chapter VII Resolution would do is set impossible deadlines and make impossible demands which would lead to military action if they were not acceded to or kept. If there were a Chapter VII Resolution the result as night follows day would be war not peace. Besides since this is accepted as a Russian proposal and since it is the Russians who are negotiating its terms with the Syrians and the UN Secretariat it seems to me that it is the Russians and the Russians alone who should be tabling any proposals to the UN Security Council. In fact what I understand the Russians are suggesting is that the peace plan should be presented in the form of a Security Council Statement rather than a formal Resolution. This is your territory not mine but I am guessing that such a Statement carries no legal force as such. I understand that the UN Secretariat is supporting this approach.

    Incidentally I understand that the Russians and presumably also the Syrians are also going to propose to the UN Security Council that the remit of the UN investigators should be extended to allow for a full investigation of the 21st August 2013 incident. It has been my belief that this whole situation has flared up precisely because that is not what the hardliners in the US and elsewhere want to see happen. If this is an integral part of the peace plan, as seems to be the case, that might explain why so many people in the US, London and Paris (not to mention Israel and the rebels) are unhappy.
  19. MarkPavelovich

    MarkPavelovich Commissar

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    Perfectly true, although neither of the international interventions in Somalia or Haiti was as a result of a threatened genocide or was one in which a genocide on such a massive scale was the experience, particularly when there were so many warnings it was coming. I sympathize with Dallaire, who must have suffered incredible toment in the knowledge that his plan likely would have worked but he was not granted the resources. It's quite possible or perhaps even probable that political events and decisions in Rwanda would have been relatively unaffected without a complete takeover by foreign intervention followed by an appointed caretaker government. But the massacre itself could have been averted, and should have been.

    More current commentary on the subject of foreign intervention in Somalia tends to bear out your suggestion that it was and is unwelcome, and is - at least in some opinions - preventing resolution of some of the country's most pressing problems.

    http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/g...-cause-of-civil-strife-says-analyst-1.1166568
  20. Patrick Armstrong

    Patrick Armstrong Commissar

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    wHAT MAKES YOU THINK THAT kERRY IS IN THE LOOP? hE WAS NOT )'S

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