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Author Topic: Civil War in Syria  (Read 141476 times)
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Chuck Hagel 08
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« on: July 24, 2012, 01:29:23 am »

Which is funny, because they've always claimed they didn't have them.  link
Quote
Syria has refuted US allegations that it is developing chemical weapons, saying such claims are designed to further the interests of Israel.
It follows condemnation of the US by fellow Arab countries, Russia and the European Union for making threats against Syria over the war in Iraq.

A statement released by the Syrian Government condemned US "threats and falsifications", saying that the "escalated language of threats and accusations by some American officials against Syria" was aimed at "damaging its steadfastness".

"The cabinet rejected these accusations and allegations and saw them as a response to Israeli stimulus and a service to its [Israel's] goals and expansive greed," the statement added.

<snip>
Of course the rest of the world put their fingers in their ears and said "nah nah nah, I can't hear you, nah nah nah".
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However, both Spain and the UK, crucial US allies in the war in Iraq, have refused to back the US' claims.

UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, on a visit to Central Command in Qatar, refused to back Washington's line, saying Syria was run by "intelligent people who have the future interest and welfare of their country at heart".

Spain - another key US ally in the Iraq war - said Syria was a friend of Spain and ruled out military action against Damascus.

The US has also faced disapproval over its stance from France, the European Union and Russia.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has expressed concern that recent statements about Syria may further destabilise the Middle East, while the Secretary General of the Arab League, Amr Musa, said he was astounded by the threats.

Is it possible that Syria is making a desperate bluff in order to prevent NATO from getting involved?
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Chuck Hagel 08
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« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2012, 01:46:51 am »

What do you mean?  That they don't have Chem and Bio weapons? (they certainly do) or that they wouldn't use them in this situation?...but then why have them?

Has this been confirmed by international inspectors, or do they have them in the same sense that Saddam Hussein "had" them? (in a desperate bluff to thwart another Iranian invasion)
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Chuck Hagel 08
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« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2012, 02:02:27 am »

I'm reminded of this epic quote from Baghdad Bob:

"It has been rumored that we have fired scud missiles into Kuwait. I am here now to tell you, we do not have any scud missiles and I don't know why they were fired into Kuwait."


Is this in reaction to my skepticism? I was asking an honest question, as game theory would dictate that Syria is better off claiming to have weapons regardless of if they are actually there.
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Chuck Hagel 08
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« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2012, 02:09:44 am »

What do you mean?  That they don't have Chem and Bio weapons? (they certainly do) or that they wouldn't use them in this situation?...but then why have them?

Has this been confirmed by international inspectors, or do they have them in the same sense that Saddam Hussein "had" them? (in a desperate bluff to thwart another Iranian invasion)
I suppose it's possible, I seriously doubt it though.  Of course neither of us have any skin in the game.  Those that do should take the threat seriously though....no?  I'm guessing you wouldn't care if some of it fell into the hands of the Hezzys, but I'm sure those living in Tel Aviv and Beirut do though.

Of course I would not support intervention regardless of if Syria is being honest. I just don't want a self-preservation measure to be construed as a casus belli as it was for another embattled dictator 9 years ago.
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Chuck Hagel 08
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« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2012, 11:15:34 pm »

On that subject, it's probably good in the long run for Lebanon that the most experienced fighters are leaving their home to go die in Syria.  Maybe when all the sh**t settles, all the Xtians will leave Syria, settle in Lebanon and bring their numbers back to their historical rates.

I can't believe you are openly advocating ethnic cleansing of Syrian Christians. I thought that was merely an unstated assumption.

Aside from the obvious moral obstacle, do you not see any unintended consequences from such an action? Is it possible that the Christian refugees might look slightly more favorably toward the Shiites that protected them from religious persecution versus the West that backed Sunni extremists that drove them out of their homeland of thousands of years?
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Chuck Hagel 08
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« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2012, 03:53:22 pm »

I didn't realize that Christians actually constituted a plurality in any part of Syria; I just assumed they were an urban minority. Based on the map, the Christians might be more fortunate than I thought in that the areas in which they are predominant would most likely be absorbed into the Alawite rump state.
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Chuck Hagel 08
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« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2012, 12:14:03 pm »

More defections today, this time including the Prime Minister as well as other government officials.

I didn't realize that Christians actually constituted a plurality in any part of Syria; I just assumed they were an urban minority. Based on the map, the Christians might be more fortunate than I thought in that the areas in which they are predominant would most likely be absorbed into the Alawite rump state.

If the Alawites (and the Christians) elect to become part of Lebanon, the government there is going to want to consider renaming itself 'Phoenicia', considering just how much of the historical territory of ancient Phoenicia an extended Lebanon will cover:



Looks like Ralph Peters was eerily precognitive
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Chuck Hagel 08
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« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2012, 04:30:34 pm »

who should we support?

The rebels, certainly. These figures (to me) attract much more sympathy than the Libyan rebels, and we intervened militarily to support those.

I tentatively agree, although at this point I think the rebels should start to get serious about uniting and organizing themselves into a plausible alternative government now that it finally looks as if Bashar al-Assad's regime might be beginning to crumble.  Before today, I can understand why they didn't feel the urgency but since the lifespan of the regime is now being measured in weeks -not months- they need to quit procrastinating and get on to it.  Make it easier for the international community (and the United States) to lend its support to their cause. 

LOL
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Chuck Hagel 08
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« Reply #8 on: September 18, 2012, 06:37:50 pm »

Any particular reason why the two of you are acting like jackasses?  Having a bad day, perhaps?  Tongue

Yes, I was overly optimistic regarding the demise of Bashar al-Assad's regime -but it looked justified at the time.  

Give it a rest.  

Sorry, not to pick on you personally. I just thought at the time that such "optimism" was ridiculous (especially after we witnessed how long the Libyan fiasco took) and could be used for comic effect at a later date. Three months seems to be an adequate amount of time for my vindication.
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Chuck Hagel 08
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« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2012, 06:03:05 pm »

I guess Turkey has their Tonkin/Gleiwitz incident?
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« Reply #10 on: October 05, 2012, 05:47:05 pm »

Turkey actually had pretty friendly relations with Syria until all this started in 2011, so there's no reason for them to provoke and/or fabricate incidents. They're legitimately pissed about what Assad is doing.

And that's why they have stirred the hornet's nest by giving the rebels assistance and flying their planes over Syrian airspace?
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« Reply #11 on: October 08, 2012, 09:24:26 pm »


Is this is sitting back, I would like to know what you consider to be an appropriate response? Something more like this?

Fear of unintended consequences of the overthrow of "hostile" regimes (which previously were in the category of pro-American dictatorships) is justified, given previous experience.
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Chuck Hagel 08
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« Reply #12 on: October 09, 2012, 04:19:24 pm »

Romney seems to be of the same sentiment:

Quote
Mitt Romney declared on Monday the U.S. must join other nations in helping arm Syrian rebels to oust Syrian President Bashar Assad, casting President Barack Obama's efforts as weak and part of a broader lack of leadership in the Middle East and around the globe.

Hoping to bolster his own foreign policy credentials, the Republican presidential challenger said he would identify and organize those in the Syrian opposition who share American values, then work with American allies to "ensure they obtain the arms they need to defeat Assad's tanks, helicopters and fighter jets."

"It is essential that we develop influence with those forces in Syria that will one day lead a country that sits at the heart of the Middle East," Romney said.


I see Romney is studying the effective winning strategies of Charles Hughes, Wendell Willkie, and Barry Goldwater. Unfortunately for us, the election had no bearing on the outcome in those scenarios, and that trend will likely continue in this election.

(I'm going to take sh**t for this one)

Let me start by saying I DO NOT ADVOCATE THIS POSITION, but, playing devil's advocate here, Afghanistan did, it can be argued, go a long way towards hastening the Soviet Union's financial collapse.  Iran's economy is in the toilet.

Alright, I'll jump in so you don't have to. Though I don't actually believe Afghanistan was a huge, or even a significant factor in the economic woes of the Soviet Union.

Even in retrospect, supporting the Mujahedin was the correct choice. The vast majority of the Muhajedin groups we supported do not engage in violent activities against the United States. The Taliban was only one of many factions. A faction that is often at violent odds with the other factions that comprised the vast majority of the Mujahedin. And Al-Qaeda was really a non-player in the anti-Soviet resistance.

And about aid flowing to some people who might become future enemies...well, I don't hear anyone complaining about Lend-Lease.

No clue about the Syria rebel arms thing though. This area of the world has never been my area of expertise and the situation on the ground changes too often and is too poorly understood for me to really direct US policy or anything ridiculous. It's something very difficult from already well-understood history (eg. the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan)

How were American interests served by the aid to the Mujahideen? Moreover, how was the issue of who controlled Afghanistan important to American interests?
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Chuck Hagel 08
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« Reply #13 on: November 12, 2012, 01:38:57 am »


They have footage too
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Chuck Hagel 08
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« Reply #14 on: November 12, 2012, 03:50:19 pm »


Exactly what I thought. And the Kurds are equally opposed to Assad and the rebels, putting the Erdogan in an uncomfortable spot.

What do people think of Israel's involvement into this clusterinks? On the face of it Assad is trying to provoke an Israeli reaction to rally fence-sitters towards him, but it's so incredibly complicated. Aside from the internal sectarian factors there are now at least five foreign players in a civil war, each with disparate interests (Russia, Iran, Turkey+Gulf Arab states, US/UK/France, Israel).

I don't see what Israel hopes to accomplish by taking out Assad. Are they betting that the pros of weakening Hezbollah's ally and Iran's "route to the sea" (lol) outweigh the potential cons of having Muslim extremists across the Golan Heights border? Perhaps the rightists hope that drawing the United States in will be the back-door to war with Iran?
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« Reply #15 on: November 12, 2012, 05:41:04 pm »

Who says Israel *wants* to take Assad out? In public Assad has used da Joos to rally Syrians (and to justify the 50 year long State of Emergency), but in private he was content with the status quo.

That's why I found it so baffling. The current regime is the best the Israeli's can realistically hope for.

Quote
Part of me suspects Israel, the west, Turkey, and the Sunni Gulf Arab states are making a tacit deal to prevent the rise of an anti-western, , and actively anti-Israeli regime in Syria. There are simply no clear battle lines.

Even that premise clearly presupposes that all of those states view regime change as a desirable outcome. Really, the only rational beneficiaries of those would be the Saudis since they get to infect another country with their Wahhabist nonsense.
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Chuck Hagel 08
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« Reply #16 on: December 01, 2012, 04:05:44 pm »


As long as he did the last time you asked the question. Absent direct foreign intervention I suspect he'll survive 2013.
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Chuck Hagel 08
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« Reply #17 on: December 05, 2012, 09:58:40 pm »

I feel like the red avatars around here could benefit from reading this
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Chuck Hagel 08
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« Reply #18 on: December 06, 2012, 11:41:32 pm »

What if he starts to release? Would we then be absolved of that responsibility of causing them to be released and perhaps some of the collateral damages of our actions?

That's why he's not going to release. The chemical weapons are a dead man's switch.
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Chuck Hagel 08
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« Reply #19 on: December 08, 2012, 10:48:51 pm »

How about dropping "bombs" that are just spray neutralizing agents into the air?

When you have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.
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Chuck Hagel 08
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« Reply #20 on: December 14, 2012, 03:14:06 am »

I was thinking of a certain Spec Ops level of Call of Duty 3 with that comment there.

I see.

Glad to see you attacked me for questioning the reasoning of someone who makes strategic decisions based on a video game.
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Chuck Hagel 08
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« Reply #21 on: December 15, 2012, 03:13:00 am »

I was thinking of a certain Spec Ops level of Call of Duty 3 with that comment there.

I see.

Glad to see you attacked me for questioning the reasoning of someone who makes strategic decisions based on a video game.

It was your motivations for questioning his reasoning that struck me as suspect.

What do you mean by my motivation? My immediate motivation of detecting faulty logic or my greater motivation of opposing a knee-jerk response to a complex situation? The thought process seemed to consist of 1) Assad might use chemical weapons, 2) The US drops bombs with relative ease, therefore 2) should be used to solve 1), hence my observation. You seem to have judged my motivations not based on the content of my post, but on your preconceived stereotype of my political philosophy.
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Chuck Hagel 08
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« Reply #22 on: December 26, 2012, 12:56:00 am »

I'm still trying to figure out why our country gets so high and mighty when other countries use chemical or biological weapons, then we turn around and generously use depleted uranium ammunition against whoever gets in our way.

Consult Rudyard Kipling.
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Chuck Hagel 08
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« Reply #23 on: December 26, 2012, 12:59:29 am »

So would anyone be opposed to providing the rebels with masks?

I thought that the ostensible purpose for any Western intervention was to protect civilians. Even if masks had the protective effect that they must have in Black Ops 2, wouldn't it defeat the purpose of a purportedly humanitarian action if the recipients were the combatants themselves rather than civilians?
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Chuck Hagel 08
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« Reply #24 on: January 13, 2013, 09:15:06 pm »

You can play a game of this here or on an Android if you have one.

Still using video games as your main source of information on this conflict?
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