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Syria and Obama


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#41 John Drake

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 02:51 PM

Post-Rwanda, our interventions have been relatively successful until the Bush declared combat missions were over in Iraq. The troubles in Bosnia were largely stopped on the surface level, which was the aim, and also in Kosovo and Macedonia, plus the British were incredibly successful in stopping violence and stabilising Sierra Leone under the leadership of General Richards (just left his post of Chief of the Defence Staff) and Blair.

 

None of the above bear any comparison to the tinderbox situation in Syria.


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#42 ckn

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 03:02 PM

Lots of what if's in that post, also has it ever crossed your mind that the "rebels" were responsible for the chemical attack in Damascus? As its the "rebels" who have the most to gain and assad who has the most to lose from a US&nato military intervention.

See my post above about the likelihood of it being a rebel attack.

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#43 GeordieSaint

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 03:23 PM

None of the above bear any comparison to the tinderbox situation in Syria.

 

I wasn't even suggesting it was; just refuting JohnM's post about intervention.


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#44 JohnM

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 03:59 PM

Post-Rwanda, our interventions have been relatively successful until the Bush declared combat missions were over in Iraq. The troubles in Bosnia were largely stopped on the surface level, which was the aim, and also in Kosovo and Macedonia, plus the British were incredibly successful in stopping violence and stabilising Sierra Leone under the leadership of General Richards (just left his post of Chief of the Defence Staff) and Blair.

 

By intervention, I meant well, you know, how helpful we've been over India and Africa over the last 500 years....oh, and Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt, Sudan, Palestine, Israel, Rhodesia, South Africa, all countries that have benefitted from our "intervention" over hundreds of years. 

 

Population of Sierra Leone is 5 million, which puts us in a good place if we ever have to intervene in Scotland.

 

Population of Syria is 20 million backed by Iran at 75 million, so intervention is a tad different, especially as all side seem to have Allah on their side.

 

I reckon. I see the UN inspectors were sniped at today. Which side did that, I wonder?   

 

I just trust and hope that we do not launch a missile attack on Syria. It'll be like intervening in a particularly bloody domestic. You know, hubby and wife knockin ten bells out of each other but turn on anyone who tries to intervene. We'll end up with the whole of the middle east against us.



#45 Mumby Magic

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 04:10 PM

Seriously what are all the World affairs to do with the US?


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#46 walter sobchak

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 04:32 PM

Seriously what are all the World affairs to do with the US?


And it's junior partner the UK.

#47 walter sobchak

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 04:41 PM

See my post above about the likelihood of it being a rebel attack.


It wouldn't be the first time that the "rebels" had used chemical weapons in Syria, UN human rights investigator Carla del ponte Accused the "rebels" of using the nerve agent sarin early this year.

#48 Northern Sol

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 11:21 PM

I disagree.  I'm a huge fan of dialogue before war every time but there are some times that the world just needs to put aside petty differences and send an unequivocable message.
 
The only reason the major crackpots in the world haven't used chemical weapons against their enemies since the Iraq/Iran war forced changes to UN treaties is the threat of an excessively punitive smacking down by the world's powers.  It's one of the big taboos out there in terms of state warfare.
 
If Syria gets away with it then where next?  There's no government in the world that can't get the resources to make and use chemical weapons.
 
So, if the nutjobs near the Israeli border decide to stop Israeli settlers by using chemical weapons then should we just shrug and look away because it's not in our back-yard?  What about the next African genocide?  Far easier to chemically destroy millions of civilian enemies than have to chase them with your soldiers, just sit back and lob chemical weapons at them.  What about if India or Pakistan decide that instead of firing occasional conventional artillery shells at each other that they should chemically get rid of the human difficulties on the other side of the border?  What if Argentina decides the best way to stop the Falkland Islanders from protesting about an invasion is to wipe out Port Stanley with chemicals?
 
Then, what if someone decides that chemicals aren't enough, bring in biological weapons or even a nuke?  The only thing stopping a nuke is that it's hard to make without tipping off half the world but biological weapons can be quite easily made with a few nutjob scientists and a few vats of a biological accelerant.  Unlike chemical weapons, most biological ones are highly persistent, just look at our very own anthrax island of Gruinard.  The scary thing is that they're even easier to use than chemical weapons.
 
Where do you draw the line on where the world should intervene and say "that's enough?"  For me, it's the first toe over the line of using a weapon classified as a Weapon of Mass Destruction by the UN under one of the many treaties.   There's no part of that wedge that's thin enough to be allowed in the door.
 
We've already shamefully turned our eyes to the millions of people killed in genocides in Africa over the last couple of decades because it's too difficult, is this the next one that we don't bother dealing with because it's too difficult?  Should we just retreat behind our borders and hope the rest of the world will leave us alone?


Sounds like a good idea to me.

The problem with Westerners is that they were brought up on Star Wars good versus evil morality stories and interpret events in this way. E.g. WW2 is seen as good (allies) vs axis (bad); inconvenient facts such as Stalin (allied therefore "good") and the bombing of Dresden (done by allies so must be "good") tend to be forgotten.

In Syria, you have two sides who are "bad". If you target Assad then you aid the FSA (and vice versa); both sides have genocidal ambitions. There is no plan of how to make things better beyond "let's bomb the bad guy". So we do that and then what? Well having bombed Assad's military, we obviously can't leave him in power as he might aid terrorists who would wish to kill us, so mission creep begins and we end up trying to "nation build" yet again. Or at least we pretend to whilst the FSA go about wiping out various minority groups and fighting amongst each other. Nothing positive can come from this.

AS for the Argentinians using gas on the Falklanders. That actually would be our business but I really can't see how they would deliver the poison gas as they wouldn't be able to get within a hundred miles of the Falklands.

#49 Northern Sol

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 11:23 PM

See my post above about the likelihood of it being a rebel attack.


But the UN said that the rebels did have chemical weapons. Now either the UN are lying or the situation is a little more complex than you paint it.

#50 JohnM

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 08:18 AM

"If you target Assad then you aid the FSA (and vice versa); both sides have genocidal ambitions."

 

I still have the feeling that there are more than two sides to this and if we intervene, then they'll all be against us.



#51 ckn

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 10:12 AM

It was actually Al-Qaeda who did the chemical bombing and they got the weapons from their Israeli suppliers.  Here's proof:

 

 

Surely that's enough to convince anyone.


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#52 Northern Sol

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 10:20 AM

Galloway in "not very honest" shocker.

 

I'm not sure that his opinions should have much bearing one way or another on what anyone else should think.



#53 ckn

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 10:37 AM

But the UN said that the rebels did have chemical weapons. Now either the UN are lying or the situation is a little more complex than you paint it.

As I mentioned above, having a few barrels full of sarin components is massively different proposition from having a dispersion mechanism capable of firing it and not wiping yourself out at the same time.  Unless you're completely competent in a pristine lab then your components will have shelf lives of days and will most likely be quite useless, the easiest way to combat that is to have a binary distribution system that combines during flight.  The easiest way to do that is put it in an artillery shell that does all the spinning and combination for you, unfortunately you then have to design an artillery shell to do the job for you, a standard HE round will incinerate the chemicals.  Then you have the artillery side, it's a far harder proposition firing an airburst round that disperses at the right altitude than a standard HE one that explodes on contact.

 

Unless I've really missed the stories about the rebels having sophisticated military labs, government grade munitions and highly trained artillery crews then I just can't see the rebels having the skills to do that.  Yes, they could have chemical weapons and use a few suicide bombers to disperse it but then the casualties (injured and killed) would be in the hundreds if they were extremely lucky rather than thousands.

 

If I'm wrong then I'm wrong but on these things the simplest answer is usually the correct one:  the Assad government fired the weapons from their pre-positioned military bases, in range of the affected areas, that have known chemical weapon stores from their fully surveyed and accurately positioned artillery guns crewed by very experienced gun crews.  Anything else is just unlikely and stretches credibility just a wee bit far.


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#54 Steve May

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 11:53 AM


If the whole world was united against what's happening in Syria, it might be different. But it isn't. Russia and Iran to name but two key players are not onside at all.

 

 

The Russians have a big problem with Islamic fundamentalism in their own backyard and they won't want more of it by having Syria collapse and provide a base.

 

The Iranians probably have a similar problem although they don't talk about it, and what's more they have nuclear armed aggressors on pretty much all sides.

 

It's fairly logical for both governments to back Assad, regardless of how much of a nasty piece of work he is, simply as a backstop against  further destabilisation on their own patches.   They're not going to magically get "on side".

 

If the West wants to intervene, then they have to weigh up the costs of getting Iran, and more importantly Russia, involved on the other side.

 

The only sensible course of action is to encourage a negotiated peace.  Anything else starts to risk a cascade into a proper shooting war between the West and countries that a bit better placed to fight back than Iraq or Afghanistan.

 

The risk of 2014 being a rerun of 1914 is just too great.  We should stay the hell out of it.


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#55 GeordieSaint

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 11:54 AM

If I'm wrong then I'm wrong but on these things the simplest answer is usually the correct one:  the Assad government fired the weapons from their pre-positioned military bases, in range of the affected areas, that have known chemical weapon stores from their fully surveyed and accurately positioned artillery guns crewed by very experienced gun crews.  Anything else is just unlikely and stretches credibility just a wee bit far.

 

You are not allowed to use subject matter expertise on threads like this! ;) Very interesting read. I remember a couple of chlorine bombs going off in Iraq at the height of secterian violence in 06 but the effects were minimal due to the lack of expertise and delivery capability. This if confirmed in Syria, would require expertise and a robust delivery system to cause such carnage; the rebels do not have that capability. Therefore if Assad had nothing to hide, why would he and his regime prevent the UN Inspectors immediately entering the area to verify what happened?

 

By intervention, I meant well, you know, how helpful we've been over India and Africa over the last 500 years....oh, and Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt, Sudan, Palestine, Israel, Rhodesia, South Africa, all countries that have benefitted from our "intervention" over hundreds of years.  

 

I just trust and hope that we do not launch a missile attack on Syria. It'll be like intervening in a particularly bloody domestic. You know, hubby and wife knockin ten bells out of each other but turn on anyone who tries to intervene. We'll end up with the whole of the middle east against us.

 

But a decent list of positive interventions could also be drawn up over hundreds of years too. I appreciate you meant well but we have had a positive effect worldwide in the past as well, which people do tend to forget. That said, it doesn't mean I am an advocate of getting involved in Syria. I don't think we have the capacity or will to get involved other than limited air strikes against known weapons facilities, which I gather is all the US/UK/French are thinking about presently. But the fact remains that this was an awful episode and frankly the UN is not doing its job. Do we let both sides continue to commit atrocities? What precedent does that send around the world if the UN does not intervene? The world could certainly become a much darker and dangerous place if something is not done.


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#56 GeordieSaint

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 11:57 AM

The Russians have a big problem with Islamic fundamentalism in their own backyard and they won't want more of it by having Syria collapse and provide a base.

 

The Iranians probably have a similar problem although they don't talk about it, and what's more they have nuclear armed aggressors on pretty much all sides.

 

It has nothing to do with Islamic Fundamentalism regarding the Russians and the Iranians. It has everything to do with economic power, regional influence and countering the interests of the West.


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#57 Northern Sol

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 12:12 PM

Do we let both sides continue to commit atrocities? What precedent does that send around the world if the UN does not intervene? The world could certainly become a much darker and dangerous place if something is not done.

The precedent was set a long time ago. The list of conflicts without UN intervention is very long. It's just that most people don't realise this because those conflicts get very little media attention. Congo is a perfect example.



#58 Steve May

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 12:21 PM

It has nothing to do with Islamic Fundamentalism regarding the Russians and the Iranians. It has everything to do with economic power, regional influence and countering the interests of the West.

 

 

You want to look up Dokka Umarov, self proclaimed Emir of the Caucasus Emirate and a man with a $5m bounty on his head from the US government.

 

Nice bloke.  Keeps organising for people to get blown up in Russia. 

 

Islamist actions in Russia have now reached as far north as Tartarstan, which is about 500 miles from Moscow.  In Russian terms, that's next door.

 

 

The Russians are very serious about combating Islamic terrorism, having fought numerous brutal wars in the Caucasus region recently, and they will back Assad to keep a lid on it.

 

The whole thing is a mess, one we are better off out of.


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#59 Steve May

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 01:57 PM

See my post above about the likelihood of it being a rebel attack.

 

Let's just, for a moment, imagine that it was a rebel attack.

 

Should we therefore pile in on Assad's side?


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#60 archibald

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 02:14 PM

While they're both shooting, stabbing, torturing each other with "conventional" weapons we can just let them get on with it. However, when one side plays dirty as it were, there's probably some little known rule that compels intervention. So, instead of a drawn out "can't we all just get along" saga, why not just launch a week of constant, uncompromising bombardment. Give the proper weapons an airing not the ones that cause mild discomfort.




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