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US to attack Syria in "unbelievably small, limited strike" if they don't give up chemical weapons

praktik

TRIBE Member
Ya, cracks in the facade though - basically a product of each country's national interest diverging more seriously so what is seen as good for Israel is now not guaranteed to be seen the same for America - who needs to gain cred on the Arab street that Israel has basically abandoned decades ago...

But culturally its a big mountain to move and it will take a while yet before we can say that the Israel lobby would be "just another lobby".
 

JamesM

TRIBE Member
should move this back to the general forum again.

looks like it's picking up steam. Russia is sending warships, Putin is saying they will defend syria at G20.

Also CNN is plastering the footage now. full propaganda, and the EU agrees Syrian government behind the attacks. Prays USA won't attack until a full investigation is completed.
 

Lojack

TRIBE Member
A common opinion about the increase in Russian naval vessels in the eastern Med is that it is just for show. There is no chance they'll risk a wider conflict by supporting Syria in the event of an American attack.

I believe those commentators are blinded by their own bias that such a possibility is impossible.

"It would be well for your government to consider that having your ships and ours, your aircraft and ours, in such proximity... is inherently DANGEROUS. Wars have begun that way, Mr. Ambassador."

From The Hunt for Red October (film).

Remember, the plan goes out the window once the first shots are fired. Every general and politician should remember that.
 

praktik

TRIBE Member
How US Grand Strategy in Syria led to the idea of Missile Strikes

Juan Cole | link

Are there any grand strategy considerations behind the Obama administration’s desire to bomb Syria? Yes, though they rest on doubtful premises.

The increasing importance of al-Qaeda-linked radical Sunni fundamentalist groups to the civil war in the north of Syria has posed a dilemma for the Obama administration, which began calling for the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad in late spring of 2011.

The US now doesn’t want the regime to fall relatively quickly as in Libya, because the al-Qaeda affiliates have become too powerful and could well take over Damascus. Highly undesirable. The US does not want that outcome, and neither do Israel or Saudi Arabia, the two pillars of US policy in the region.

So US policy is to join with Saudi Arabia and Jordan to encourage a second front at Deraa with anti-al-Qaeda fighters a la sons of Iraq and limiting access for heavy weapons to Jabhat al-Nusra at the northern front by intercepting them in Turkey. Turkey and Qatar are upset with this policy and both try to subvert it, undisturbed by the al-Qaeda tendencies of their allies.

So far the Sons of Syria haven’t exactly come together quickly, and this strategy is likely a multi-year effort. It also has the potential for provoking a Syria-Jordan War, since Jordan is clearly the base.

The chemical attack in Ghouta seems likely a military response to these Jordan-trained, Deraa-based guerrillas coming up into Rif Dimashq. The Obama administration’s plans for a missile strike in response to the chemical attack is part of the southern, “Sons of Syria” strategy comes because that strategy cannot succeed if the regime is allowed to use chemical weapons to level the playing field. The US will therefore threaten the Baath regime with a rapid Libya-like overthrow, with US air support given to the rebel cause, if Damascus goes on using chemicals. The US hopes that the Baath will be afraid of a Libya scenario and will therefore agree to fight fair, and then the US, Saudi Arabia and Jordan will continue with the ‘Sons of Syria’ strategy with the further fighting playing out with conventional weapons.

In the meantime, the radical Sunnis of the north will be left in place but starved of the resources needed to make further progress against the regime there. The US strike will not only punish the regime for chemical weapons use but also opportunistically attempt to degrade some regime capabilities, presumably especially those useful in the Deraa-Rif Dimashq front.

There are three big problems with the US intervention strategy:

1. There is enormous space for mission creep

2. The premise that the regime can be forced to fight the southern rebels fairly is not entirely plausible

3. The US-Jordan-Saudi rebel forces are Sunni and could well be radicalized by their fight with the Alawite army; the idea that people keep the ideology you pay them to have is simplistic.

As for mission creep, the Baath regime may believe that the threat of sustained US air intervention is a bluff, and may call that bluff by continuing to fight the ‘Sons of Syria’ with chem units. The US at that point would either have to go in hard or go home, and as Les Gelb admitted, it is impossible in Washington circles to advocate cutting one’s losses in the face of a failed gambit.

One way the incipient Washington strategy could succeed is if Russia and Iran can be enlisted in forcing the regime to stop using chemical weapons. It would not shorten the civil war, but it might avoid a US quagmire. The signs that President Obama will go back to the UN Security Council are positive, and might be a step toward this outcome.
 

stryker

TRIBE Member
Here's a really good documentary on the history of Syria.

For a better understanding of what's going on watching this is indispensable.


History of Syria
 

Persephone

TRIBE Member
Well this is an unexpected development...

Russia Urges Syria to Give up Chemical Weapons to Avoid US Attack: BBC News - Syria crisis: Russia urges Assad to give up chemical weapons

Give up weapons, Russia urges Syria

Russia has asked Syria to put its chemical weapons stockpiles under international control and then have them destroyed, in an attempt to avoid US military strikes.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the offer was made during talks with his Syrian counterpart, Walid Muallem.

Mr Muallem said he welcomed the initiative.

The US is threatening strikes accusing the Syrian regime of war crimes, though Damascus denies the claims.

US Secretary of State John Kerry, in Europe to garner support for the military action, has once again warned that taking no action is riskier than launching strikes.

When asked at a news conference whether there was anything Syrian President Bashar al-Assad could do to avoid military action, Mr Kerry replied that he could hand over his entire stockpile of chemical weapons within the next week.

US officials subsequently clarified that Mr Kerry was making a "rhetorical argument" rather than a serious offer.

However, Mr Lavrov later said he had urged Mr Muallem during talks in Moscow to "not only agree on placing chemical weapons storage sites under international control, but also on their subsequent destruction".

He said he had also told Mr Muallem that Syria should then fully join the Chemical Weapons Convention.

Mr Muallem told reporters through an interpreter that Syria welcomed the Russian initiative.

He praised Russia for "attempting to prevent American aggression against our people".

UK Prime Minister David Cameron said the destruction of the weapons would be a "huge step forward", but warned that it should not be used as a "distraction tactic".

'Pay the price'
The Russians have been the main international ally of Mr Assad's regime throughout Syria's two-and-a-half-year civil war.

Russia has blocked three resolutions against Syria in the UN Security Council, and has dismissed evidence linking Mr Assad's forces to a chemical attack in Damascus on 21 August.

The US says Syrian government forces used poison gas to kill 1,429 people in the attack.

Mr Assad's government blames the attack on rebels fighting to overthrow him, in a conflict that the UN says has claimed some 100,000 lives.

The UN sent weapons experts into Damascus to probe the attack.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said on Monday that if the experts concluded chemicals had been used, he would consider asking the Security Council to set up a zone in Syria where the weapons could be destroyed.

Meanwhile, the Syrian leader gave an interview to US network PBS in which he warned the US against intervention, saying the Middle East was "on the brink of explosion".

"You're going to pay the price if you're not wise with dealing with terrorists. There are going to be repercussions," he said.

"You should expect everything. The government is not the only player in this region. You have different parties, different factions, different ideologies. You have everything in this decision now."

Mr Assad did not explain whether his comment was a threat that Syrian-backed groups such as Hezbollah would launch retaliation, or a warning that strikes would bolster al-Qaeda-linked groups.

He calls the rebels "terrorists" and has often insisted that they are linked to al-Qaeda.

He also denied using chemical weapons saying there was "no evidence" to hold his government responsible for the 21 August attack.

The White House immediately dismissed his statement.

"It doesn't surprise us that someone who would kill thousands of his own people, including hundreds of children with poison gas, would also lie about it," said spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan.

'Heavy lift'
US officials have admitted they have no "irrefutable" evidence of Mr Assad's involvement in the August attack but say it common-sense that his government was responsible.

US President Barack Obama has cleared his schedule this week to focus all his attention on building support for the Syrian intervention.

He has acknowledged he faces a "heavy lift" to win congressional backing.

A poll carried out by ABC and the BBC on Friday suggested more than 230 of the 433 members in the House of Representatives were either opposed or likely to oppose strikes.

Just 44 representatives said they would support or were likely to support action, and a large proportion are still undecided on the issue.

Many US politicians and members of the public remain concerned that military action could draw the nation into a prolonged war and spark broader hostilities in the region.
 

praktik

TRIBE Member
Is the road to peace in Syria running through Iran??

George Packer: The Administration’s Contradictions on Military Action in Syria : The New Yorker

---

also anybody see the assad family instagram stuff?

Assad's Bizarre Instagram Account: Propaganda With a Comments Section - Megan Garber - The Atlantic

Instagram

"Which is all to say that this particular Instagram feed does what most Instagram feeds tend to do: It offers a carefully crafted performance of daily banalities. With the difference here being that most Instagram feeds, and most of their mundanities, do not belong to dictators."
 

alexd

Administrator
Staff member
Obama's rogue state tramples over every law it demands others uphold

You could almost pity these people. For 67 years successive US governments have resisted calls to reform the UN security council. They've defended a system which grants five nations a veto over world affairs, reducing all others to impotent spectators. They have abused the powers and trust with which they have been vested. They have collaborated with the other four permanent members (the UK, Russia, China and France) in a colonial carve-up, through which these nations can pursue their own corrupt interests at the expense of peace and global justice.

Eighty-three times the US has exercised its veto. On 42 of these occasions it has done so to prevent Israel's treatment of the Palestinians being censured. On the last occasion, 130 nations supported the resolution but Barack Obama spiked it. Though veto powers have been used less often since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the US has exercised them 14 times in the interim (in 13 cases to shield Israel), while Russia has used them nine times. Increasingly the permanent members have used the threat of a veto to prevent a resolution being discussed. They have bullied the rest of the world into silence.

Through this tyrannical dispensation – created at a time when other nations were either broken or voiceless – the great warmongers of the past 60 years remain responsible for global peace. The biggest weapons traders are tasked with global disarmament. Those who trample international law control the administration of justice.

But now, as the veto powers of two permanent members (Russia and China) obstruct its attempt to pour petrol on another Middle Eastern fire, the US suddenly decides that the system is illegitimate. Obama says: "If we end up using the UN security council not as a means of enforcing international norms and international law, but rather as a barrier … then I think people rightly are going to be pretty skeptical about the system." Well, yes.

Never have Obama or his predecessors attempted a serious reform of this system. Never have they sought to replace a corrupt global oligarchy with a democratic body. Never do they lament this injustice – until they object to the outcome. The same goes for every aspect of global governance.

Obama warned last week that Syria's use of poisoned gas "threatens to unravel the international norm against chemical weapons embraced by 189 nations". Unravelling the international norm is the US president's job.

In 1997 the US agreed to decommission the 31,000 tonnes of sarin, VX, mustard gas and other agents it possessed within 10 years. In 2007 it requested the maximum extension of the deadline permitted by the Chemical Weapons Convention – five years. Again it failed to keep its promise, and in 2012 it claimed they would be gone by 2021. Russia yesterday urged Syria to place its chemical weapons under international control. Perhaps it should press the US to do the same.

In 1998 the Clinton administration pushed a law through Congress which forbade international weapons inspectors from taking samples of chemicals in the US and allowed the president to refuse unannounced inspections.
In 2002 the Bush government forced the sacking of José Maurício Bustani, the director general of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. He had committed two unforgiveable crimes: seeking a rigorous inspection of US facilities; and pressing Saddam Hussein to sign the Chemical Weapons Convention, to help prevent the war George Bush was itching to wage.

The US used millions of gallons of chemical weapons in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. It also used them during its destruction of Falluja in 2004, then lied about it. The Reagan government helped Saddam Hussein to wage war with Iran in the 1980s while aware that he was using nerve and mustard gas. (The Bush administration then cited this deployment as an excuse to attack Iraq, 15 years later).

Smallpox has been eliminated from the human population, but two nations – the US and Russia – insist on keeping the pathogen in cold storage. They claim their purpose is to develop defences against possible biological weapons attack, but most experts in the field consider this to be nonsense. While raising concerns about each other's possession of the disease, they have worked together to bludgeon the other members of the World Health Organisation, which have pressed them to destroy their stocks.

In 2001 the New York Times reported that, without either Congressional oversight or a declaration to the Biological Weapons Convention, "the Pentagon has built a germ factory that could make enough lethal microbes to wipe out entire cities". The Pentagon claimed the purpose was defensive but, developed in contravention of international law, it didn't look good. The Bush government also sought to destroy the Biological Weapons Convention as an effective instrument by scuttling negotiations over the verification protocol required to make it work.

Looming over all this is the great unmentionable: the cover the US provides for Israel's weapons of mass destruction. It's not just that Israel – which refuses to ratify the Chemical Weapons Convention – has used white phosphorus as a weapon in Gaza (when deployed against people, phosphorus meets the convention's definition of "any chemical which through its chemical action on life processes can cause death, temporary incapacitation or permanent harm").

It's also that, as the Washington Post points out: "Syria's chemical weapons stockpile results from a never-acknowledged gentleman's agreement in the Middle East that as long as Israel had nuclear weapons, Syria's pursuit of chemical weapons would not attract much public acknowledgement or criticism." Israel has developed its nuclear arsenal in defiance of the non-proliferation treaty, and the US supports it in defiance of its own law, which forbids the disbursement of aid to a country with unauthorised weapons of mass destruction.

As for the norms of international law, let's remind ourselves where the US stands. It remains outside the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, after declaring its citizens immune from prosecution. The crime of aggression it committed in Iraq – defined by the Nuremberg tribunal as "the supreme international crime" – goes not just unpunished but also unmentioned by anyone in government. The same applies to most of the subsidiary war crimes US troops committed during the invasion and occupation. Guantánamo Bay raises a finger to any notions of justice between nations.

None of this is to exonerate Bashar al-Assad's government – or its opponents – of a long series of hideous crimes, including the use of chemical weapons. Nor is it to suggest that there is an easy answer to the horrors in Syria.

But Obama's failure to be honest about his nation's record of destroying international norms and undermining international law, his myth-making about the role of the US in world affairs, and his one-sided interventions in the Middle East, all render the crisis in Syria even harder to resolve. Until there is some candour about past crimes and current injustices, until there is an effort to address the inequalities over which the US presides, everything it attempts – even if it doesn't involve guns and bombs – will stoke the cynicism and anger the president says he wants to quench.

During his first inauguration speech Barack Obama promised to "set aside childish things". We all knew what he meant. He hasn't done it.

from the guardian
 

ndrwrld

TRIBE Member
y'all really think it was Assad who is responsible for the gas attack, or the rebels ?
at least now we know where all that ammo that DHS bought went to.
 

Ho||yw0oD

TRIBE Member
We are oversimplifying to say there are Assad forces v. rebels. Within the rebels there are multiple factions that span across a spectrum from conservatism to radical "progressivism".
 

ndrwrld

TRIBE Member
varying reports of casualties...dozens dead ( including 11 children ) from an Assad sent chemical strike.
Nuke that prick from Orbit !
 
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