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The Newsroom => International Defence and Security => Topic started by: Chris Pook on September 17, 2004, 02:03:04

Title: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Chris Pook on September 17, 2004, 02:03:04
Sorry about eating up more bandwidth but this topic looked interesting and may be noteworthy

The Korean reference is covered in this thread

http://army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,19221.30.html


http://chrenkoff.blogspot.com/
Quote
Syrians, Syrians everywhere
 
Agence France Presse reports that a German newspaper Die Welt will report - based on "unnamed western security sources" - that Syria has tested chemical weapons on civilians in the war-torn Sudanese province of Darfur, resulting in dozens of deaths.


"Die Welt said the sources had indicated that the weapons tests were undertaken following a military exercise between Syria and Sudan. Syrian officers were reported to have met in May with Sudanese military leaders in a Khartoum suburb to discuss the possibility of improving cooperation between their armies.

"According to Die Welt, the Syrians had suggested close cooperation on developing chemical weapons, and it was proposed that the arms be tested on the rebel SPLA, the Sudan People's Liberation Army, in the south. But given that the rebels were involved in peace talks, the newspaper continued, the Sudanese government proposed testing the arms on people in Darfur."
Just lovely - if true (via the Best of the Web).

You might recall a few months ago in North Korea, when a giant explosion leveled the Ryongchon train station and much of the neighborhood, "Syrian technicians" were among the casualties.

Seems like, with Iraq knocked out, Syria is getting awfully keen to fill in the vacancy at the Axis of Evil.

I was trying to find a couple of other links that I have seen that referred specifically to the relationship of the Syrian government hiding Iraqi Baathists and equipping and training "recruits" for Iraq.

Anybody else got any links about Syrian activity?
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Chris Pook on September 17, 2004, 04:18:26
http://sg.news.yahoo.com/040914/1/3n4ir.html

Here is the Agence France Presse / Die Welt article referred to above.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: pbi on September 17, 2004, 11:46:48
They should be careful. The US warned them once already to behave themselves.

Cheers.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Chris Pook on September 17, 2004, 12:32:58
The AFP story was picked up by the Washington Times
http://washingtontimes.com/world/20040916-102058-3651r.htmThi


Curiously they mention that they have had other reports that they published

Quote
This is not the first report of chemical weapons use in Sudan.
      The Washington Times reported last month that Sudan's air force sprayed a village in the Darfur region with a powder that killed two persons and dozens of cattle.
      A Sudanese air force Antonov plane in May dropped several rectangular plastic sacks containing a white, flourlike powder on a wadi â ” a dry riverbed â ” in the lower part of the village, eyewitnesses told The Times.
      The Times report said a jet fighter on the same day dropped a bomb on the other side of the village that produced a poisonous smoke that affected about 50 villagers.

As to the western source of the reports, the US doesn't appear to be the origin (from the same article)

Quote
State Department spokesman Richard Boucher cast doubt on the newspaper report, saying he had no information on such an attack and that it would have been unlikely for an attack of this type to have taken place without the United States knowing about it.

Coupled with the silence of the US on the North Korean blast it makes me wonder if US intelligence's reputation has been so degraded that the US interests are better served these days by keeping quiet and let information get out by other means.

Another interesting observation from this article about the USMC operating in Chad, the Black African, as opposed to the Arab African, desert state adjacent to the Darfur region of Sudan, training and upgrading the Chad border guards.   http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/0917/p06s01-woaf.html.   This is usually the stomping ground of the French Foreign Legion.

A year or so ago I remember reading an article about the USMC conducting joint training with the FFL in Djibouti, the tiny coastal country on the other side of Sudan.   Sudan appears to be bracketed, even if tenuously.

The article also mentions an uptick in US cooperation with other countries of the Sahel, like Nigeria.


Is this part of an emerging containment strategy?   Divide Dar-al-Islam and Isolate?


In Iraq the main players are Shiite Arabs, Shiite Persians, Sunni Arabs, Sunni Kurds and Socialists of all types.

Folks like Al-Zarqawi and Bin-Laden have been calling for a unified front against the West but as is becoming obvious to the west there is precious little trust amongst the communities, resulting in the current speculation about civil war.  

In today's National Post, an item from memri.com   suggests that Zarqawi at least is starting to exhibit a degree of frustration and seeing an "everybody's against me" situation.   "The war in Iraq is against a "tri-partite Satanic alliance of heresy and deceit" of Americans, Kurds and Shiites: "The first are the Americans who carry the banner of the cross; the second are the Kurds through their peshmerga forces, which are reinfoced by Jewish military cadres; the third are the Shiites, the Sunnis enemies, represented by the army of treachery.... the Party of Satan" The article appeared on the Editorials page.


So if I can summarize, the battle lines may be starting to become a little clearer.

On one side there are the Wahabist Arab Muslims engaged with the Iranian Mullahs and the Syrian Socialists actively cooperating with the North Koreans.   The Mullahs and the Wahabists are best served by Muslim unity against the West.

On the other side is everybody that has a historical grievance against the Arabs.   This includes Black Africans of the Sahel (sold by Arabs for slaves for millenia, the Americas were just a market that flourished for a while and dried up), the Spanish, the Austrians, the peoples of the Balkans recruited to be slave soldiers, the Hindus of India (who were so busy fighting Muslims that they let the British in to help in their wars), the people of the Steppes (the northern Alliance in Afghanistan), native peoples of Indonesia and the Phillipines (the Dhow culture of Sea Traders/Raiders that "converted" these lands is, I believe, predominately an Arab culture) and finally the Persians (the people the Iranian Mullahs claim to represent).

If all of these other Muslims can be directed toward the predominately Wahabist Sunnis then the "clash of civilizations" might be avoided.   This seems to be a likely and developing US strategy.

Zarqawi's outburst suggests that they might be having some success - Al Sadr may represent the "army of Treachery" and/or he just represents the limits of the Mullahs control.   They can't control al Sadr, let alone his followers, or Iraqi Shiites and are having difficulty at home.   They can influence but at this time the can't dominate.

There are an awful lot of fault lines there for the Great Satan to exploit.

A final thought, from a longterm strategic point of view, as opposed to a short-term presidential election point of view, instability in Iraq and Islam is not necessarily a bad thing.   It gives the west more freedom of action. It supplies a magnet for all the malcontents. It forces the malcontents to constantly watch their back.   It uses up the malcontents resources.   All of which means that the can't be spending as much time and effort on consolidating forces for major attacks on the west.

In short a very Cold War strategy, both sides try to generate domestic instability in their opponents camp and fight small engagements at long range, often covertly, often by proxy.

Mullahs = Kremlin,  Syrians = Cuba,  Al Qaeda and JI  = Red Brigades and RAF (German Red Army Faction)?

Which brings us back to mysterious explosions in North Korea.


Jeez, I think I have outdone myself today. ;)

Cheers.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Chris Pook on September 17, 2004, 14:21:36
http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/0917/p08s03-comv.html

CS Monitor Editorial - Dancing with Damascus
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Chris Pook on September 17, 2004, 14:42:02
If the Dancing With Damascus article describes Isolating Syrian Generals from Syrians at large, does this article http://washingtontimes.com/op-ed/20040916-085027-3843r.htm describe Isolating Extremist Wahabist Sunni Arab Muslims?
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Bruce Monkhouse on September 17, 2004, 14:50:03
Very good article.
 Kirkhill, it looks like your posting to yourself but thats not the case, I'm finding this very interesting but know very little of this region so myself and I'm sure others are just lurking. Thanks
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: devil39 on September 18, 2004, 11:16:20
Kirkhill,

However unlike the Cold War and Kennan's grand strategy of "Containment", I don't think this current war is going to be merely about containment and meeting the enemy encroachment wherever its ugly head pops up around the world.  

This is going to be about selectively, over time, taking out regimes that do not follow any civilized and acceptable rule set.  

Check out Thomas Barnett's articles I have posted.   He most recently worked in the Sec Def's office on Tranformation.     His book "The Pentagon's New Map"   is a very interesting and seductive postulation of a new grand strategy for the US.   A good companion book would be Niall Ferguson's "Colossus- The Price of America's Empire".



Barnett links

http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/published/pentagonsnewmap.htm

http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/published/esquire2004.htm

http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/weblog/archives/000711.html



Norman Podhoretz on parallells between the Truman doctrine/Kennans Containment Strategy and the new "Bush Doctrine"

http://www.commentarymagazine.com/A11802017_1.pdf



Niall Ferguson:

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2004/0406.wallace-wells.html


Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: pbi on September 18, 2004, 11:42:36
Hi Devil. Good to see you on here. More stuff to read!!! Can't keep up as it is!!

Cheers
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: devil39 on September 18, 2004, 13:39:05
pbi,

As you well know, one of the fringe benefits of a tour is that there is nothing else to do but work and catch up on your reading.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Chris Pook on September 18, 2004, 14:40:06
Hi devil39,

I was beginning to think I had spouted so much bafflegab as to be completely unintelligible.   Thanks for throwing me a lifeline. ;)

Also thanks for the references, I appreciate the recommendations, I was just about to pick up Barnett last week, guess I'll have to dig into my pockets now after all.

Just a point of clarification, I was making a case for Isolation as opposed to Containment, in the same sense that IIRC a shepherd works his flock to isolate a particular sheep.   An essentially random pass of the dogs through the flock, followed by a determination that the target in question is not in one group but is in the other.   The passes continue, reducing the size  of the mini-flock the target can hide in, until the target is isolated.   At that time the target can be dealt with.

You are right, the Cold War analogy is not exact, because as you say the end-game was essentially about Containment.   This was because neither side could afford the many and varied costs associated with concluding the match.   Eventually the game played out as a Stalemate with one side conceding because they could no longer afford to play.

I think the difference here is, that unlike the USSR/Warsaw Pact, which with the experience of centuries of empire building by the Russians, which had a large population with internal lines of communication, a degree of ideological cohesiveness and a massive resource and industrial base to exploit,   the modern Emirs of the Terrorists of the Salafis of the Wahabis of the Sunnis of the Muslims are a pretty disparate group.   Therefore they are ripe for picking off individually.  

The same goes for the failed states out there.   The leaders of those states by and large are out for personal gain.   They don't do alliances well, they can't trust anybody because they no nobody trusts them.   As well they are geographically isolated in countries that often they can't control themselves because the terrain is too harsh to allow ready communication.

So to summarize again, what I was thinking was I might be seeing a strategy for dealing with these people of Isolating them from untrustworthy allies and populations that endure them but don't actively support them except under coercion, setting them up for the direct application of pressure.

The pressure could come from coercion - put forces into the wild spaces in their backyards or cut off their revenues and access to western universities, from bribery - guarantee them contracts in return for good behaviour (eg a word of support, donations to the cause....) or direct action (remove them from power, benignly or otherwise).  

The methodology is not new, in fact the stated goals are not new as a review of Fergusson's Empire will show - improving the lot of the rest of the world in a search for lasting peace (make everybody happy and there will be no wars - unfortunately we have to wait for the second coming for that).   It's just the latest attempt.

It has as good a chance as succeeding as all the others have.     It will likely bring improving changes to someplaces for a generation or two,   someplaces longer, someplaces it will fail. Someplaces it will probably fail disastrously or be envied and there will be the seeds for the next change.

To me it seems as natural   a cycle as breathing.   Peace, Order and Good Governance - Challenge at the fringes from the disadvantaged and the envious - Empire - Overstretch - Disorder - Reorder - Peace, Order and Good Governance.

It is a cycle as old as forever.   Just because we keep repeating ourselves doesn't mean that it is a futile endeavour to keep trying to impose POGG.   Its just like weeding the garden or polishing boots.   The weeds grow back, the boots get dirty ..... pull the next batch of weeds, polish the boots again.
This time round its the Yanks turn to weed and polish.   Those that want them to succeed would be well advised to assist.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/ArticleNews/TPStory/LAC/20040911/COTHAKUR11/TPComment

This article was in today's Globe and Mail, it is by Ramesh Thukra, an Indian, Rector at the Tokyo UN University.

I thought this paragraph was revealing.


Quote
They came to deliver us from local tyrants and stayed to rule as foreign despots. In the name of enlightenment, they defiled our lands, plundered our resources and expanded their empires. Some, like the rapacious Belgians in Congo, left only ruin, devastation and chaos whose dark shadows continue to blight. Others, like the British in India, left behind ideas, ideals and structures of good governance and the infrastructure of development alongside memories of national humiliation.


While most lefties tend to see Imperialism in "Belgian" terms, many conservatives, myself amongst them tend to see it in "British" terms.   What I found most interesting was the line
Quote
the British in India, left behind ideas, ideals and structures of good governance and the infrastructure of development alongside memories of national humiliation
.

Why the humiliation?   Because it can undermine a man, or woman, to be helped - to realize that they were not capable of getting the job done themselves, especially when it involves strangers from far away places.

No end in sight, but it has to be done, keep polishing........

Gawd that's depressing.



Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Chris Pook on September 18, 2004, 15:54:43
By the way devil, just read Wells'review of Ferguson.

Suffice to say, I am a fan of Ferguson and find Wells' characterizations somewhat hyperbolic.   Empire requiring slaughter, rape, pillage and general doses of nastiness.... if that were true then the Belgian empire would have outlasted the Brits and their "liberal" empire.

POGG requires effort.   Empire is the application of POGG over an ever increasing geographic territory, and then large amounts of maintenance.   Eventually the Empire runs out of funds, bodies or interest and it collapses.   And apparently precious little thanks.....

On the other hand

I feel that Revolutions, which are the overthrow of the established order and the ultimate demise of POGG going wrong, are products not of the masses but of the people in the board room aspiring to the top chair.  

Strangely when the Brits went into Basra many of the locals called them "Uncle" (in some cases it may have been true rather than an honorific) because, despite the various rebellions many of the underclasses had fonder memories of the Brits than their subsequent indigent rulers.   I have heard similar sentiments expressed by former "colonials" currently residing in Canada.   In fact for some the ultimate problem they had with the Brits was not that they "invaded", but that they left.

Wells doesn't quite see things that way.

Having said all of the above, I think that Empire as a concept is a neutral concept.   In execution it can be positive, benign or disastrous, but it always takes work.   And as everybody knows, work is tiring and often unrewarding and unappreciated.

If one man's terrorist is another man's freedom-fighter, one man's Empire is another man's Government.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: devil39 on September 18, 2004, 17:43:07
Kirkhill,

I would agree that Empire should be viewed as a neutral concept with the potential to be positive or negative.   Ferguson argues that the US should admit their "Empire" and concentrate on executing it as a positive force.   He argues that in order for America to be a positive force they will have to stay the course where they intervene.   Japan, Germany, Puerto Rico and Hawaii are positive examples where the US has stayed the course.   Haiti, Cuba, Nicaragua and the Phillippines are examples of the US attention deficit disorder towards Empire and the consequent inability of those countries to prosper, or at least to achieve their full potential.

Ferguson argues that the US suffers from 3 deficits that have to date limited its success as an empire in comparison to the British empire.

1.   Economic deficit.   The US has become the worlds biggest debtor since 1985

2.   Manpower deficit.   The US military is chronically short of troops and civil administrators to stay the course with its current commitments, let alone taking on new ones.  
 
3.   Attention deficit.   He feels this is the most difficult to overcome and as we discuss it now the US is in danger of prematurely halting the reconstruction   of Iraq and Afghanistan.

I would think that the US should be able to continue to intervene internationally when required, provided the long term benefits of intervention are realized through the long term commitment toward regeneration.  


Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Chris Pook on September 24, 2004, 21:34:32
Quote
Ferguson argues that the US suffers from 3 deficits that have to date limited its success as an empire in comparison to the British empire.

1.  Economic deficit.  The US has become the worlds biggest debtor since 1985

2.  Manpower deficit.  The US military is chronically short of troops and civil administrators to stay the course with its current commitments, let alone taking on new ones. 

3.  Attention deficit.  He feels this is the most difficult to overcome and as we discuss it now the US is in danger of prematurely halting the reconstruction  of Iraq and Afghanistan.

I would think that the US should be able to continue to intervene internationally when required, provided the long term benefits of intervention are realized through the long term commitment toward regeneration. 


devil39, sorry it took so long to get back to this topic - been giving it some thought (just as well you can't smell smoke on these things).

Of the three deficits I was trying to figure out which one I thought was most important, economic, manpower or attention.  I couldn't.  They are all intertwined. 

No money. Can't afford to hire Americans to fight overseas. Americans die the sacrifice makes people want to get out of there - Attention deficit essentially - reward not worth the sacrifice.

Then it occured to me that maybe the two of us Ferguson and myself, can't speak for you, are seeing it wrong.  Maybe we are looking at a Public Empire rather than a Private Empire.

The British Empire that I most commonly associate with is the Late Victorian, Edwardian Empire that finally died out in the 1960's - characterized by military looking civil servants, the District Commissioner Wallah in shorts, knee-socks, solar topee and Sam Browne belt. An employee of the state running a department in a vast Crown Corporation.  Supplying Peace Order and Good Government and filling the coffers of Her Majesty's Government.

But if the Americans have an Empire, and I stipulate they do, their Empire doesn't look anything like the British Empire.  No government chappies in pith helmets lounging at Raffles.  But if they don't have the government chap, what is his counterpart?  I think the counterpart is the Harvard educated consultant with an MBA.

I think that the American Empire is a Private, for Profit Corporation rather than a Crown Corporation.  If it has a British analogy it is the British Empire before the Sepoy Mutiny in India in 1857.  That was when the Reformers, with the best interests of the natives at heart, took over the Empire from the various private corporations that were running it.

If we look at Iraq in that sense what do we see.

Suppose the following:

Step one - spend as few american dollars on manpower as possible, hire local soldiers and police with Americans as Stiffeners and Trainers (think East India Company, Skinners Horse, Gurkhas and the Indian Army).  So far a very British solution.

Step two, and this is the American solution, rather than sending out civil servants on the US government payroll, send out consultants to be paid by the Iraqis.  This has the added benefit of not just reducing the draw on American coffers but actually swelling them as Iraqis pay Americans.  Making headway on deficit number one, the economic deficit.

Step three - encourage Americans to do business in Iraq. 

Now some will argue that the security climate in Iraq doesn't allow for investment.  If you are thinking in terms of investment bankers and Wall Street you would be right.  But there is another kind of American - the kind that Sheila Copps sees in her nightmares.  The kind I had a lot of experience with in the fishing industry in Alaska.

These essentially are the cowboys and the gamblers.  People that will take any risk if there is a prospect of a dollar at the bottom.  Risk being capsized on an iced-up crabber in the Bering in return for $100,000 paychech for 4 weeks of hard work and sleepless nights? No problem.  Risk being shot or blown up for a similar paycheque driving truck, putting up cell towers, repairing oil wells, running construction companies?  They are queueing up.  The prospect of low taxes, few lawmen, no speed limits, SUVs and your own personal sidearm do not constitute deterrents.

They may not be John Kerry's, or Jacques Chirac's, cup of tea but they represent a well known side of America.  And when the go they take with them Hollywood and Britney Spears, Coca Cola and Budweiser, Levis and Nikes,  and they also take with them an awful lot more egalitarian view of the world than the locals have, even if a good chunk of them could be fairly described by the PC set as racists and chauvinists.

So looking at the three deficits again, starting with the bottom first,

Solve the attention deficit by getting their attention - show them how they can make a dollar

Solve the manpower problem by keeping the government out of it , privatize commercial enterprises and nationalize security

Solve the economic deficit by decreasing government expenditures and increasing revenues by selling what you know best, for the Americans that is "knowledge".


The American Empire got this far on the backs of Coca-Cola and Hollywood, perhaps they, Morgan-Stanley and Blackwater can take them on from here.

Oh by the way getting back onto the track of this thread, it seems while the Syrians are still talking a good game for there domestic population, there seems to be a move to start back-pedalling:

http://washingtontimes.com/commentary/20040923-084644-8505r.htm
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: devil39 on September 25, 2004, 00:35:32
Kirkhill,

With respect to the private/economic empire, it has been argued and likely is a fact of life.   In the long run, I don't believe that there is the strength of character and/or incentive to make the contracted consultant stay the course when absolutely required.   Nor the promise to support him militarily when absolutely required.   This is a feasible course of action however, and may in the long run lead to a more institutional type of empire in a more acceptable, gradual nature.

From a military perspective, it will be harder and harder each year to recreate the imperial force that commanded respect in the height of the British Empire.   That kind of discipline cannot be imposed upon less willing subjects in this day and age.   Todays "stiffeners" must come with PGMs, Javelins and the "Deus ex machina" that only the US Military can provide.   This is possible, and the early campaign in Afghanistan provided a very good example of how money and modern munitions could motivate the friendlies and dissuade the bad guys.   This will only go so far however as the operation in Tora Bora has been suggested to prove.

The British Empire was primarily and initially about commerce, the real management came afterward as a sense of duty and responsibility.

Robert D. Kaplan's "The Man Who Would Be Khan", and "Supremacy By Stealth" are good depictions of where the US might find its bureaucrats, governors and managers, perhaps todays equivalents of the colonial administrator.   Kaplan suggests that it is the US Miliitary that will provide this class of committed, well educated and multi-talented individuals.   Individuals who accept deployment as a cost of doing business and are satisfied with promotion, an elevated social status externally, and the equivalent of the OBE to hang from their black tie at the end of their days.



Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: PPCLI Guy on September 25, 2004, 00:40:43
Ferguson argues that the US suffers from 3 deficits that have to date limited its success as an empire in comparison to the British empire.

1.  Economic deficit.  The US has become the worlds biggest debtor since 1985

2.  Manpower deficit.  The US military is chronically short of troops and civil administrators to stay the course with its current commitments, let alone taking on new ones. 

3.  Attention deficit.  He feels this is the most difficult to overcome and as we discuss it now the US is in danger of prematurely halting the reconstruction  of Iraq and Afghanistan.


And of course the neoliberal would add a moral deficit.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: devil39 on September 25, 2004, 01:06:47
Ferguson argues that the US suffers from 3 deficits that have to date limited its success as an empire in comparison to the British empire.

1.   Economic deficit.   The US has become the worlds biggest debtor since 1985

2.   Manpower deficit.   The US military is chronically short of troops and civil administrators to stay the course with its current commitments, let alone taking on new ones.  

3.   Attention deficit.   He feels this is the most difficult to overcome and as we discuss it now the US is in danger of prematurely halting the reconstruction   of Iraq and Afghanistan.


And of course the neoliberal would add a moral deficit.

Of course.  

But you and I have frequently agreed to disagree on most subjects of this nature.

The US moral deficit is considerably less prevalent in my opinion than that of most, if not all, nations in history who have wielded the sort of power that the US currently is capable of.   I believe that history will confirm this eventually, perhaps long after you or I are capable of lucid comment (you will succumb before me, therefore I should likely have the last word!).   :   )
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: PPCLI Guy on September 25, 2004, 01:25:06


Of course.  

But you and I have frequently agreed to disagree on most subjects of this nature.

I think that I would actually be dissapointed if we ever did agree.

Quote
The US moral deficit is considerably less prevalent in my opinion than that of most, if not all, nations in history who have wielded the sort of power that the US currently is capable of.   I believe that history will confirm this eventually, perhaps long after you or I are capable of lucid comment (you will succumb before me, therefore I should likely have the last word!).   :   )

Fair enough.   My observation was more Caligula-esque than Bush-esque.   I was drawing a parallel, rather than siding with the neo-liberals.

As to our respective capacities for lucid comment - of course I will succumb before you.   I have been lucid for many more years than you...including most of the last 15. :)
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Acorn on September 25, 2004, 03:07:59
So, I have to ask: does the existence of "neo-conservatives" require the creation of "neo-liberals?"

Acorn
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Acorn on September 25, 2004, 03:11:53
And to bring things back to Syria:

My take is that the vast majority of current commentators on Syria haven't a clue. But maybe my opinion is clouded by many years of physical experience in the region.

Acorn
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: PPCLI Guy on September 25, 2004, 09:40:39
So, I have to ask: does the existence of "neo-conservatives" require the creation of "neo-liberals?"
Acorn

From Duncans World Politics in the 21st Century:

Neoliberalism:   A philosophical position that argues that progress in international relations can only be achieved through international cooperation.   Cooperation is a dynamic rather than a static process.   By focusing on understanding the dynamics of the web of relationships driving the international system, states and other international actors can effectively use the international institutions spawned by the system to promote peace and cooperation

As I understand it, in the Post WWII era, the debate between the two main schools of thought in International Relations, Realism and Idealism spawned neoliberalism.   Try this link:

http://www.globalpolicy.org/globaliz/econ/histneol.htm
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Bert on September 25, 2004, 13:36:39
In light of Devil39's posts, here is article on the "US Empire" from another
point of view.


The American Empire

ww.stratfor.com
19 March, 2003

Al Qaedas goal always has been to unify the Islamic world under an Islamic government
to create, in effect, an Islamic empire that is ready to both protect the interests of the
Islamic world and to expand Islamic influence. It is doubtful that al Qaeda will achieve this
goal. Indeed, it is Stratfor?s view that al Qaeda?s actions will, contrary to its intentions or
 expectations, generate the exact opposite effect -- the creation of an American empire.

In a sense, the American empire already was created by the nearly simultaneous fall of
the Soviet Union and the Japanese economy. With the fall of the Soviet Union, the
United States became the only power capable of projecting military force globally.
With the crash of Japan?s economy and the extraordinary expansion of the American
economy in the 1990s, the United States also became the dominant global economic
power, the primary source of capital and innovation. These two forces combined to give
the United States overwhelming political power and with that came the ability to shape
the international order as it wished.

American power did not match the American appetite for power. The U.S. did not
perceive itself as having major global interests and its economy was less dependent
on either imports or exports than were those of other major powers. Nevertheless,
the United States had an interest in maintaining the stability of the international
economic order. In general, this meant maintaining and expanding market capitalism
in other countries and developing an international free trade regime with the inevitable
protectionist aspects that domestic American politics had come to require.

On another level, the United States, no longer riveted by any serious threats to its
national security, had the luxury to focus on the moral character of regimes. It
intervened in Somalia to end appalling hunger; in Haiti to put a stop to a brutal
and repressive regime; in Bosnia and Kosovo to limit Serbian excesses. All of these
were elective operations. The United States did not undertake these missions
because it had any overriding interests at stake, but because it had a massive
surplus in politico-military power and could afford to indulge. When Somalia proved
more complex and painful than the United States was prepared to endure, it
withdrew. When the Haitian operation failed to provide the promised blessings,
the government changed its focus.

The central reality of the 1990s was this: while the United States had the ability
to impose a global order, it clearly did not need one and the cost of imposing
one outstripped any benefit that the United States might derive from it. Although
the U.S. was clearly the world?s leader in every sense, and even thought of itself as
the leader, it did not wish to take on the disciplines of leadership or assume the
cost of forming a global order. Leadership includes developing coherent principles
for governing the international system, deploying the power to impose that system
and the willingness to create appropriate institutions with which to govern.

The lack of American appetite for power in the 1990s resulted in a subsequent lack
of any predictable, coherent behavior in the international system. Instead, Washington's
principles were vague, its political and military power was diffuse and the institutions
it chose to operate through (namely the United Nations and NATO) were both
relics of the Cold War and were fundamentally unsuited to the tasks at hand.

Nothing is more dangerous than power without appetite or fear. Appetite and fear
focus power, make it predictable and make it possible for other nations to craft
policies that accommodate, avoid or resist that power. Where there is neither
appetite nor fear, power is unfocused and therefore inherently unpredictable.
That unpredictability was the mark of U.S. policy between the fall of the Berlin Wall
and Sept. 11.

For most of the rest of the world, the 1990s was like living with a huge gorilla whose
intentions were generally good if somewhat addled. It was impossible to predict what
the gorilla might become interested in next, what it might do and the consequences
of its actions. For other nations, the United States potentially could be the solution
to their problems, but, if unfocused, also could be dangerous.

Other countries therefore had two predominant goals. One was to try to take
advantage of a relationship with the United States. The other was to try to form
coalitions large enough to focus the U.S. or at least render it predictable to some
degree. The latter was difficult. Working with the United States was more profitable
than resisting it. Thus every time a coalition started to form, the U.S. government
would shift its policy slightly, perhaps seducing one of the potential coalition members,
and the effort would collapse.

The rest of the world did not find this situation amusing. U.S. power and indifference
posed a threat to their national interest. The problem did not derive from any defect
 in the American character, but from geography and power. The United States was
physically secure from the rest of the world and so powerful and prosperous that it
needed little from that world. American self-sufficiency and the power to secure what
little it needed collided with the very different experience of the rest of the world.

Nowhere was this clearer than in Somalia. The United States, under former President
George Bush, intervened for humanitarian reasons, stayed to try to build a nation,
then pulled out when the nationals resisted. From the American point of view, this
was a humanitarian mission that just didn?t work out.

From the standpoint of the Islamic world -- and particularly that of al Qaedas
founders -- this was an example of the random and unpredictable nature of U.S.
foreign policy, coupled with a lack of moral fiber. Washington?s actions may have
been well intended, but were perceived as an unwarranted, imperial intervention.
Worse, the intervention was perceived as an imperial move by a nation with no
appetite for empire.

Somalia led directly to Sept. 11. Al Qaeda was part of the international community
that found U.S. behavior erratic, unpredictable and ultimately weak. Al Qaedas
goal -- building an Islamic empire -- required that it challenge the U.S. and
demonstrate that the United States was both inherently weak due to moral
corruption and that it would be incapable of destroying al Qaeda. For al Qaeda,
challenging the United States would change the psychology of the Islamic world,
 thereby undermining the perceived power of the United States.

Sept. 11 redefined the world for the United States. It turned the world from a
vaguely irrelevant, generally harmless place in which there were economic
opportunities and the chance to do good deeds into one that was deadly. It also
created a focus for U.S. power that changed the dynamic of the entire
international system. Prior to Sept. 11, the United States had only a vague interest
in the international system; after the attacks this international system -- and the
destruction of al Qaeda, to be precise -- became an obsession.

The problem for the United States, however, is that destroying al Qaeda is not a
straightforward action. The group has dispersed itself globally, which forces the
United States to follow suit. Prior to Sept. 11, the United States completely
dominated the world?s oceans and space. This allowed it to go anywhere and see
everything, but its ground forces were deployed fairly randomly. For example,
thousands of troops were still deployed in Germany, more from habit than from need.
The U.S. presence in Eurasia was essentially without a mission and not particularly deep.

Over the past 10 months, the United States has not only dispersed its forces
throughout Eurasia and the surrounding islands, but also has moved deeply into
the governments, intelligence agencies and security apparatus of many of these
countries. U.S. forces have been deployed, in small numbers, to areas ranging
from Europe and Georgia to the "stans" and the Philippines. More important, in
many of these countries small numbers of U.S. forces are "advising" (i.e. commanding)
native forces while U.S. advisors monitor and influence decisions from the these countries?
Ministries.

Sept. 11 created an unintended momentum in U.S. foreign policy that has led
directly to empire-building. Empires are not created by salivating monsters
seeking power. Such empires usually fail. The Romans did not intend to build an
empire, but each step they took logically led to the next and in due course
they had an empire. In turn, being an empire profoundly changed their institutions
and their self-definition. Aside from a deep belief in their own virtue, becoming an
empire was not an intention but an outcome.

The United States does not intend to become an empire. Its birth was the first
great anti-imperial exercise. It certainly has little economic need for empire because,
like the British, it can trade for what it needs. But the logic of empire does not
consist of avarice nearly as much as fear. The Romans? first impulse to empire was
defensive. So, too, the American impulse is entirely defensive. The United States
is not trying to build an empire: It simply wants to stop al Qaeda. However, to do
so is to follow the classic imperial process.

Driven by the need to defeat al Qaeda, American forces are deploying to scores
of countries around the world -- sometimes overtly, sometimes secretly;
sometimes in uniform and sometimes as secret agents. In all of these countries,
the United States is engaged in reshaping domestic policies. Al Qaeda cannot be
rooted out unless the social fabric of these countries can be managed.

Few will dare resist. The United States is enormously powerful and has been
transformed from a vaguely disinterested gorilla into a brutally focused and deadly
viper, ready to strike anywhere. Given U.S. power and the American mood, few
nations are prepared to risk U.S. displeasure by refusing to cooperate in the fight
against al Qaeda. Indeed, many see it as a chance to profit from collaboration with
Washington.

In practice this means that, in the course of defeating al Qaeda the United States
is becoming an integral part of the domestic policy process and implementation in
virtually all countries around the globe. Those that resist are potential targets for
 American attack. This was an inevitable -- but unintended  consequence of the
attacks of Sept. 11.

The intention is to defeat al Qaeda; the means to do so is a global war against them.
This requires the United States to be present in a majority of countries, overseeing
processes that are part of a sovereign nations purview, therefore, in effect, usurping
its sovereignty. Since the war itself requires reconstructing social orders, the
American presence will have to intrude deeply into these societies. Since the war
against al Qaeda could take a generation, the U.S. will be there for a long time.

Most American policymakers would deny that this is their intention. All would be
 sincere, but the unintended consequence is the nature of politics. In this case,
the unintended consequence is empire. U.S. power, having met an obsessive
need, is moving throughout the world. Where it meets resistance, it has no
choice but to plan war. The United States can neither decline combat with al
Qaeda nor avoid the consequences of such combat.

The United States has been a democratic republic, an anti-imperial power. Now
it is an imperial power, not in the simplistic Leninist sense of seeking markets, but
in the classical sense of being unable to secure its safety without controlling
others. The paradox is that al Qaeda -- ultimately a very minor power -- is driving
the world's greatest nation toward this end.

The problem, of course, is that all of this is visible tactically to Americans. They
see the deployments into each country. They see the acceptance of advisors
 into ministries. They have come to expect cooperation by police in Yemen,
bases in Kyrgyzstan, information from Egypt and accommodation from Germans
or Russians. They expect it, but have not yet constructed a coherent picture
or named what they are getting into: empire. Empires begin not with rabid
manifestoes, but with short-term solutions leading only one way.

The dispersal we see today will last at least as long as the Cold War dispersals,
and will be even harder to abandon. There will be resistance to an American
empire, from great powers as well as small. There will be burdens to be borne
in holding this empire that cannot be abandoned. The American dilemma is that
it is better at winning an empire than explaining it or even admitting what has
happened.

The United States is taking control of countries throughout the world, bringing
benefits and making threats. But the United States has no theory of empire.
How can a democratic republic and an empire coincide? Once, this was an
interesting theoretical question. Now it is the burning -- but undiscussed --
question in American politics.

The issue is not whether this should happen. It is happening. The real issue,
apart from how all this plays out, is what effect it will have on the United States
as a whole. A global empire whose center is unsure of its identity, its purposes
 and its moral justification is an empire with a center that might not hold.
As the obvious becomes apparent, this will become the focus of a pressing
debate in the United States.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Chris Pook on September 25, 2004, 16:29:50
Great post Bert. :salute:

Just as an interesting numbers exercise based on this article

http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/article.cfm?Id=1645

I came to the following conclusions.

The US will create up to 48 Regular Force Units of Action, approximately 24 heavy and 24 light/medium (18 Light and 6 Medium?) yet to be taken

It will also create 34 Guard/Reserve Units of Action.

The Regs will deploy every three years

The Guard will deploy every six years.

Divisions will comprise about 4 UAs of mixed sources.

The intent is to sustain the deployment cycle indefinitely.

Based on these numbers the US could deploy as follows:

1 Corps in Iraq with

one Heavy division of 4 UAs - Heavy (Abrams and Bradleys)  to form a backbone and respond to conventional military threats
four Mixed divisions of 4 UAs comprising 1 UA-Heavy, 1 UA-Guard, 2 UA-Light to supply regional security and work with national forces.

If we assume 2000 bodies per UA, not including external support, keep in mind that UAs are supposed to deploys with a high degree of internal support, this results in a fighting force of 20 UAs or about 40,000 people.

In Reserve the US will still hold

16 UA-Heavy or  4 Heavy Divisions
16 UA-Light/Med or 4 Light Divisions
30 UA-Guard or almost 8 Guard Divisions.

They will not be short of capability to defend themselves or react to crises.  Willpower may be another matter......

As to the 40,000 F-Echelon Forces in Iraq, if we assume that each of the Mixed Regional Security Divisions requires its 3 non-Heavy UAs to support and train 3 similarly sized Iraqi Army/Facility Protection/Border Guard Units then we add 4x3x3x2000 72,000 Iraqis to the 40,000 Americans.  And if we further assume that each Iraqi Military/Paramilitary unit supports 3 similarly sized Police Units
then we generate a total force for stabilizing Iraq of 3x72,000 Iraqi police or 216,000 plus 72,000 Iraqi military/paramilitaries plus 40,000 American soldiers.  Total force = 328,000 bodies.  Roughly the type of numbers that Shinseki called for a year or two ago.  But it is largely a domestic, not a foreign force.

And it can be sustained indefinitely.

And at the same time the US still has forces in reserve to repeat the performance.

Leaves a fair amount of support for those Bud-drinking, dollar-driven cowboys I was referring to earlier.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Chris Pook on September 25, 2004, 17:22:31
Quote
And to bring things back to Syria:

My take is that the vast majority of current commentators on Syria haven't a clue. But maybe my opinion is clouded by many years of physical experience in the region.

Acorn

I would be really interested to hear your understanding of the Syrian situation. :)

Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Chris Pook on September 25, 2004, 21:52:52
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A48704-2004Sep24.html?

Quote
Syria's Baathists Under Siege
Party Reformists Seek Reduced Size, Influence

By Scott Wilson
Washington Post Foreign Service
Saturday, September 25, 2004; Page A13

DAMASCUS, Syria -- As editor of the Baath Party newspaper, Mehdi Dakhlallah has risen to a position of rare power within the institution that has dominated most elements of public life here for more than four decades. Now the balding, rotund intellectual is trying to tear his party apart.

In sober editorials, Dakhlallah has argued that the party is too big, too meddlesome and too removed from its founding principles of social justice, socialist economics and Arab nationalism. The young people who are joining today, he laments, are drawn only by the promise of preferential treatment in university admissions and lucrative jobs in Syria's largely state-controlled economy. He wants the party to return to its ideological roots by becoming smaller, more democratic and, most controversial to his colleagues, less influential in government.

"The Baath Party is not going to change the world," said Dakhlallah, 57, who joined amid the revolutionary fervor of the late 1960s. "Right now we're fighting to separate the party from government. This is an essential step in changing and developing this country."

A year and a half after Iraq's Baath Party vanished with the U.S. invasion, Syria's branch is under siege from within its own ranks. Dakhlallah is among a vanguard of intellectuals trying to reduce the party's influence with the blessing of President Bashar Assad, who during four years in power has grown frustrated with the opposition many of its members are putting up to his plans for economic reform.

Since the revolution that brought it to power 41 years ago, the nearly 2 million-member party has grown into a parallel government, monitoring education, political and economic policy through a network of committees from the national to the village level. Assad is slowly dismantling the system of privileges the party has accumulated, allowing him to set the pace and extent of change at a time when Syria is in the cross hairs of the Bush administration's push to bring democratic reforms to the Middle East.

Assad, the party's titular head, has selected more than a quarter of his cabinet from outside party ranks since inheriting the presidency on the death of his father, Hafez Assad, four years ago. He is purging the Baath-dominated military of senior officers by enforcing for the first time regulations on mandatory retirement age, and he may push to remove the article of the Syrian constitution that guarantees his party "the leading role in society and in the state." At the same time, fewer young people are joining the party.

But as Assad, an ophthalmologist by training, works to remove the party as an obstacle to reform, he is also trying not to upset the political base that sustained his father for three decades. He is facing strong resistance from a group of septuagenarian holdovers from his father's administration and from provincial party leaders accustomed to influencing everything from teacher promotions to the price of vegetables in the market.

Those pushing hardest for reform within the party are primarily political ideologues, such as Dakhlallah, who do not hold posts with influence over state industry or the powerful intelligence services, where most of the opposition to change is coming from. A smaller party might be more amenable to Assad's economic reforms, and a new set of leaders could emerge from among those pushing hardest for change.

"Assad encouraged introspection within the party, and it is having a big conversation with itself that is not yet resolved," said Peter Ford, the British ambassador here. "But as of now you still can't ignore the party. You must work with it."

Hani Murtada, a soft-spoken pediatrician, is fighting the party from the outside at the president's direction. A year ago, Assad appointed Murtada minister of higher education, making him one of seven members of his 25-person cabinet who is not a party member.

Murtada was given control of a system comprising four public universities and 225,000 students but with a shortage of qualified teachers, classrooms and curricula. Since then, he has licensed Syria's first private universities, created e-learning programs in a country that still blocks certain Web sites, and dismantled the privileges extended to teachers and students who belong to the party. Soon, he said, "all 17 million people in this country will be treated the same."

In the past, 25 percent of university admissions went to party members whose test scores did not meet minimum standards, usually by only a few points. Murtada said he cut that to 10 percent this year and will eliminate it altogether for the next school year. A knowledge of English, he said, is a better ticket to promotion than party membership. He allows the party's education committees to comment on appointments but not to dictate them as in the past.

"Many look at the party now as an important symbol. But as something that controls the country, that is over," Murtada said in a recent interview. "The general vision of the country has changed completely in the last three years. They once thought the state should manage everything, and we have seen this is nonsense."

Assad, according to Syrian officials and Western diplomats, is increasingly concerned by the demographic challenge facing the country. Each year 300,000 young Syrians enter the labor market, while the economy grows at only 3 percent a year, not nearly fast enough to absorb the new job seekers.

So far the most notable economic change has been the recent licensing of three private banks, a step Assad proposed three years ago. Party leaders, many of whom have substantial stakes in the state-run banks and other government-controlled entities, resisted the move until party doctrine was amended to allow Assad to proceed.

Many opposing the changes are in their seventies; the president, a generation younger, is waiting them out. He is also enforcing mandatory retirement, commonly waived for powerful military officers in the past. Western diplomats here say several hundred party members in the officer corps will be out over the next eight months, including the directors of four intelligence services.

 
"The end result will be to get the Baath Party out of the government and, particularly, out of making economic policy," said Waddah Abdrabbo, editor of the Economist, an independent weekly newspaper. "These people know that change is coming. They can fight it for a year or two, but in the end they will not be able to do anything about it."

Damascus University was once fertile ground for party recruiting when Soviet-style socialism and Arab nationalism captured the imaginations of many students across the Middle East. Today a broader range of political opinion is reflected in its sunny courtyards.

Dima Bawadikji, 18, said she joined the party in high school because she believed "any party member would have an easy life." A freshman studying library science, Bawadikji was the only one among five children in her family who joined the party, which in high school meant special picnics and sports days for members.

Sitting next to her on the shady steps of the journalism building, Amer Hassan, a 24-year-old student of English literature, said he joined the party a decade ago even though he "didn't know anything about it." Only a few people from his high school class in the southern province of Daraa didn't join, and he said he feared that failing to do so would hinder his ability to travel abroad, which he hopes to do some day.

"This party has been around for more than 30 years, and it's done nothing for us," Hassan said. "This president is a good one, and I respect him. But he can do nothing against these people because they run everything."

On the streets of Daraa, 70 miles southeast of Damascus, Yasseen Damara's smoky waiting room fills with men in military uniform and in the red-checked kaffiyehs of Bedouin farmers. He is the province party boss, and he is a busy man.

His calendar is filled with the weddings and funerals of provincial notables, and he is in constant contact with the provincial governor, another party member, for consultations ranging from the status of medicine in the hospital to problems with the electricity grid. Assad, father and son, look down on him from his wall as he works through committee reports on youth, economics, politics and education.

If vegetable prices in the market are too high, a party member will tell the vendor they should come down. The education committee recommends teachers for promotion, though Damara insists ability is the deciding factor. Despite his post, he said, two of his children were recently denied admission to the highly competitive local nursing school.

The changes being proposed by the intellectuals in Damascus make little sense to Damara, 51, a beneficiary of the party for decades. Land reform that followed the 1963 Baath revolution quadrupled the size of his father's tiny wheat, barley and garbanzo fields in the village of Maarea, making the farm profitable enough to sustain his family of eight. He joined the party in high school and never left.

"The party is still close to its principles, even though some individual members have made mistakes," said Damara. "It will always be the leading party. Why? Because its goals will always be supported by the people."
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Chris Pook on September 25, 2004, 22:08:16
This one is really curious. Syria trying to get rid of Saddam's scientists to Iran.....

Ran today in the Telegraph

 http://www.opinion.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2004/09/26/wiran26.xml&sSheet=/portal/2004/09/26/ixportaltop.html


Quote
Syria brokers secret deal to send atomic weapons scientists to Iran
By Con Coughlin
(Filed: 26/09/2004)

Syria's President Bashir al-Asad is in secret negotiations with Iran to secure a safe haven for a group of Iraqi nuclear scientists who were sent to Damascus before last year's war to overthrow Saddam Hussein.

 
 
Western intelligence officials believe that President Asad is desperate to get the Iraqi scientists out of his country before their presence prompts America to target Syria as part of the war on terrorism.

The issue of moving the Iraqi scientists to Iran was raised when President Asad made a visit to Teheran in July. Intelligence officials understand that the Iranians have still to respond to the Syrian leader's request.

A group of about 12 middle-ranking Iraqi nuclear technicians and their families were transported to Syria before the collapse of Saddam's regime. The transfer was arranged under a combined operation by Saddam's now defunct Special Security Organisation and Syrian Military Security, which is headed by Arif Shawqat, the Syrian president's brother-in-law.

The Iraqis, who brought with them CDs crammed with research data on Saddam's nuclear programme, were given new identities, including Syrian citizenship papers and falsified birth, education and health certificates. Since then they have been hidden away at a secret Syrian military installation where they have been conducting research on behalf of their hosts.

Growing political concern in Washington about Syria's undeclared weapons of mass destruction programmes, however, has prompted President Asad to reconsider harbouring the Iraqis.

American intelligence officials are concerned that Syria is secretly working on a number of WMD programmes.

They have also uncovered evidence that Damascus has acquired a number of gas centrifuges - probably from North Korea - that can be used to enrich uranium for a nuclear bomb.

Relations between Washington and Damascus have been strained since last year's war in Iraq, with American commanders accusing the Syrians of allowing foreign fighters to cross the border into Iraq, where they carry out terrorist attacks against coalition forces.

"The Syrians are playing a very dangerous game," a senior Western intelligence official told The Sunday Telegraph.

"The Americans already have them in their sights because they are doing next to nothing to stop foreign fighters entering Iraq. If Washington finds concrete evidence that Syria is engaged in an illegal WMD programme then it will quickly find itself targeted as part of the war on terror."

Under the terms of the deal President Asad offered the Iranians, the Iraqi scientists and their families would be transferred to Teheran together with a small amount of essential materials. The Iraqi team would then assist Iranian scientists to develop a nuclear weapon.

Apart from paying the relocation expenses, President Asad also wants the Iranians to agree to share the results of their atomic weapons research with Damascus.

The Syrian offer comes at a time when Iran is under close scrutiny from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) which is investigating claims that Iran is maintaining a secret nuclear bomb programme.

The Iranians, who possess one of the world's largest oil reserves, insist that their nuclear programme is aimed solely at developing nuclear energy. Last week relations between Teheran and the IAEA deteriorated further after the Iranians reneged on a commitment to suspend their nuclear programme.

In a move that will raise suspicions in Washington that Iran is trying to build an atomic bomb, Teheran announced that it was to press ahead with plans to enrich 37 tons of uranium into the gas needed to turn the radioactive element into nuclear fuel. Nuclear experts estimate that when the process is complete the Iranians will have enough enriched uranium for five nuclear bombs.

The IAEA responded by passing a resolution setting a November 25 deadline for Iran to clear up suspicions over its nuclear activities or risk having the issue referred to the United Nations Security Council for possible sanctions. The resolution also demanded that Iran halt all activities related to uranium enrichment, a part of the nuclear fuel cycle that can be used for both energy and weapons purposes.

In a further gesture of defiance, Ali Shamkhani, the Iranian defence minister, announced that the Iranian army has taken delivery of a new "strategic missile".

The missile, unnamed for security reasons, was successfully tested last week, Shamkhani was quoted as saying by state television. It was unclear if the weapon in question was the Shahab-3 medium-range missile, acquired by the Revolutionary Guards in July last year. An improved version was successfully tested in August.

The Shahab-3 is based on a North Korean design and is thought to be capable of carrying a one-ton warhead at least 800 miles, which puts Israel well within its range.

The Iranians yesterday also accused America of "lawless militarism" in Iraq and called Israel the biggest threat to peace in the Middle East. "The attack against Iraq was illegal," Kamal Kharrazi, Iran's foreign minister told the UN General Assembly. He thanked Kofi Annan, the UN secretary-general, for stating the same in a television interview last week.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Chris Pook on September 27, 2004, 12:19:01
Kind of curious juxtaposing these to articles.

http://washingtontimes.com/world/20040926-103904-7454r.htm

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/newspaper/0,,1-1281064,00.html

On the one hand Assad is surprising diplomats by being conciliatory to the US, according to one newspaper with a right wing slant.  While another right wing newspaper claims that the Mossad is assassinating Hamas leaders in Syria. (Unofficially confirmed in Ha'aretz).
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Acorn on September 27, 2004, 21:47:03
I could spend quite a bit of time replying, but I simply can't afford too much, so the "cole's notes" below will have to do for now. Anyway, looking at the articles Kirkhill posted:

First, Ba'ath Party reform has been in the works for a few years now. What it usually boils down to is re-distribution of wealth in the guise of reform. The intent is to mollify internal forces (more below.)

Regarding contacts with Iraq and Iran on a CBW front, most of what get's published is of very questionable providence. There are the Syrian equivalents of Ahmad Chalabi and his party, firing off "reports" of buried Iraqi chemical weapons in Eastern Syria, Iraqi scientists and senior regime figures hiding in Syria (as an example one early report was that Saddam himself was ensconced the the "luxurious Cham Palace Cote d'Azure hotel" in Lattakia. Said hotel is "luxurious" by no standard I've ever encountered.) Look at such stuff with a jaundiced eye.

The bottom line on many reports from "sources in Syria" is that they are highly suspect. Given recent history I'd also be suspicious of "US intelligence sources" (which obviously sounds better than "Bob, the messenger boy for the Middle East desk at some lower-level CIA office").

Bashar al Assad, Syria's young president, has a tight rope to walk. On the one hand he tries to be as conciliatory as possible to the West (particularly the US) but on the other hand he has a restive population with high unemployment - mostly in the critical 18-30 year old male group. He must be seen to be taking a "principled stance" (to use the Ba'ath Party terminology) against Israel and the occupation of the Golan Heights. He must be seen to support the Palestinians, an issue which has become the central cause for most Arabs - even non-Muslims.

He is also faced with an entrenched establishment which has clear "rice bowl" interests. He doesn't have the power base of his father, so he is forced to allow some forces (sometimes called "old guard" though this is a misnomer) a freer hand than the old man would have put up with. This allows some other powerful individuals to expand their own power bases; men like Bashar's brother-in-law, Asef Shawkat, deputy head of military intelligence (some say he is the de-facto head, with MGen Hassan Khalil serving as the "front man") or MGen Ghazi Kanaan, head of political security and former number one in Lebanon.

Is young Assad a reformer? Of a sort, I would think. Certainly he would like to reform the obviously broken economy. I'm not sure he'd be so keen to political reform.

As a final observation: the impression I get from many commentators with a certain political bent is that Syria is an oppressive police state, much like the former Soviet Union. In fact this is not so. Yes, it is something of a police state, but most of her citizens accept that as the price for personal safety. There is also a fairly free economy - taxation is generally ignored - though there is some indication that one wouldn't want to be too successful, lest a "partner" appear.

Maybe more another time.

Acorn
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Chris Pook on December 03, 2004, 20:57:28
A couple of interesting articles here on Syria and Syrians. 

The first one describes the Conveyor belt for moving Mujahedeen from Syria to Iraq (border doesn't look to tight) and speculates on Iraqi activities in Syria.  Suggests as Acorn noted that the authorities may not have a particularly tight grip on the place.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2004/12/02/wirq102.xml

The second one concerns a Syrian that stowed away on a truck in France that was carrying missiles into one of the Royal Navy's dockyards.  When captured he declared he was an asylum seeker.
 
Anyone want to buy some swampland?

http://www.thesun.co.uk/article/0,,2-2004560515,00.html


Asylum scandal at
Navy war HQ 
 
 
 
Security scare ... carrier Invincible
 
 
 
 
  FULL NEWS INDEX
   
 

 
By TOM NEWTON DUNN
and VIRGINIA WHEELER

AN ASYLUM seeker sneaked into a top Navy base in a lorry carrying secret MISSILE PARTS.

The stowaway sparked a massive alert by riding undetected beside a crate holding the new weapons system.

The man, a Syrian believed to have crept into the truck in France, managed to pass two armed checkpoints at HMS Nelson in Portsmouth and get within yards of warships including the aircraft carrier Invincible.

As red-faced top brass ordered a probe into the fiasco, a source said: â Å“If he did it so easily, imagine what an al-Qaeda terrorist could do.â ?
 
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Bruce Monkhouse on April 26, 2005, 09:56:43
http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/World/2005/04/26/1013365-ap.html

April 26, 2005 
Syrian troops end 29-year military presence in Lebanon in farewell ceremony
   
MASNAA, Lebanon (AP) - The last Syrian soldiers crossed into Syria on Tuesday, waving and flashing victory signs, surrendering to international and Lebanese popular demands and ending its 29-year military presence in its smaller neighbour. Syrians across the border danced and waved flags welcoming them home.
At a farewell ceremony near their shared border, a Syrian commander told Lebanese troops: "Brothers in arms, so long." The soldiers responded, "So long."
A commander of Lebanese soldiers then addressed his words to the Syrians, saying: "Brothers in arms, thank you for your sacrifices." His soldiers repeated, "Thank you for your sacrifices."

After the hour-long ceremony, the Syrian intelligence chief in Lebanon, Maj. Gen. Rustom Ghazali and 10 carloads of intelligence agents crossed into Syria at the border point of Masnaa. The last 250 Syrian troops in Lebanon, who'd participated in the ceremony at the nearby army air base at Rayak, weren't far behind.
At the crossing, about 25 Lebanese civilians saluted Ghazali, who got out of his car and accepted a poster from a Lebanese man that said: "Thank you Syria." On the Syrian side, hundreds of Syrians waved flags and danced in the streets of Jedeidit Yabous, waiting for the soldiers to emerge.

The Syrians entered Lebanon in 1976, ostensibly as peacekeepers in the year-old civil war. After the war ended in 1990, about 40,000 Syrian troops remained, giving Damascus the decisive say in Lebanese politics.
Anger over the Feb. 14 assassination of former premier Rafik Hariri helped turn the tide against Syria's longtime presence in Lebanon. Unconvinced by Syrian and Lebanese government denials of involvement, pressure to leave snowballed. Huge "Syria Out" demonstrations in Beirut brought down the pro-Syrian government, and UN and U.S. pressure intensified on Damascus until it withdrew its army.

Shaaban al-Ajami, the mayor of nearby Lebanese border village of Majdal Anjar, said he was happy to see the Syrians leave: "I feel like someone who was suffocated and jailed and has finally emerged from jail."
In the capital, Beirut, meanwhile, relatives of Lebanese prisoners held in Syrian jails scuffled with the army and beat legislators' cars with the Lebanese flag during a demonstration Tuesday outside parliament demanding the release of their loved ones. Two protesters were seen being loaded into a Civil Defence ambulance while two others received first aid at the scene of the demonstration in downtown Beirut.

With the Syrians leaving, its Lebanese allies in the security services also were collapsing. Maj. Gen. Jamil Sayyed - often described as the enforcer of Damascus' policy - announced his resignation Monday, and another top security commander left the country with his family. Lebanon's new Cabinet, led by Prime Minister Najib Mikati, went to Parliament on Tuesday to seek a vote of confidence that will allow preparations for May elections.
Gen. Ali Habib, Syria's chief of staff, said in a speech during the departure ceremony, that President Bashar Assad had decided to pull out his troops after the Lebanese army was "rebuilt on sound national foundations and became capable of protecting the state."
Habib said Syria had no "ambitions in Lebanon, except to protect it."

By withdrawing, Habib, said that Syria will have "fulfilled all its obligations toward" UN Resolution 1559, which called on it to pull out.
UN secretary general Kofi Annan has dispatched a team led by Senegalese Brig. Gen. Mouhamadou Kandji to verify the withdrawal.
Habib stressed that the withdrawal does mean an end to Syrian-Lebanese ties.
"The relations do not emanate from (Syria's) military presence. The relations will continue and become stronger at present and in the future," he said, then took a swipe at the United States, saying, "anyone who thinks that the history of people can be eliminated by statements made by this or that state is mistaken."

Lebanese army commander Michel Suleiman lauded the role of Syria's army in Lebanon, crediting it with rebuilding the army, maintaining peace among the country's 17 sects and ending the 1975-90 civil war.
He pledged continued co-operation between the two countries in several fields, including the fight on terror.
"Together we shall always remain brothers in arms in the face of the Israeli enemy," said Suleiman.

The farewell ceremony opened with Lebanese and Syrian military commanders placing a wreath of flowers at a cornerstone they laid for a monument to commemorate the Syrian military presence in Lebanon. As military honours were read out, troops punctuated the ceremony with chants supportive of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
The 250 Syrian soldiers in red berets and camouflage, the last Syrian troops remaining in Lebanon, shouted "we sacrifice our blood and our souls for you, oh Bashar!" during the ceremony at Rayak, a few kilometres from the Syrian border.
Recipients of medals exchanged as a sign of appreciation included Ghazali, the Syrian intelligence chief in Lebanon, and Brig. Gen. Asef Shawkat, Assad's brother-in-law whom he had recently appointed as Syria's chief of military intelligence.

On the Lebanese side, Suleiman received a medal from the Syrian government.

Shortly before the ceremony began, Brig. Gen. Elias Farhat, director of the Lebanese Army Orientation Department said, "Those are the ones left," referring to Syrian soldiers who marched in Rayak, holding their AK-47 rifles to their chests.
He said the Syrian withdrawal does not mean an end to Lebanese-Syrian relationship. "The military deployment of the Syrian army is part of this relationship which links the two countries," he said.

Farhat pointed to the 1991 Lebanese-Syrian Brotherhood, Co-operation and Co-ordination Treaty, which calls, among other things, for the two countries to closely co-ordinate on security and defence matters and jointly work to fight sabotage, espionage and prevent any hostile activity against any country.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Thucydides on April 26, 2005, 14:47:13
The Lebanese I encountered in Cyprus and even here always struck me as being energetic and commercial people. IF the American "Commercial Cowboys" reffered to in an erlier post move in fast, I think the Syrians will find themselves outmanoeuvred, since they have little capacity to respond to that kind of challenge
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Ex-Dragoon on August 05, 2006, 21:26:21
From the August 5 2006 edition of the Los Angeles Times:

 
Quote
    5:19 PM PDT, August 5, 2006   
 
Syria Wants to Talk, But Bush Won't Answer the Phone
Damascus has effectively cooperated with Washington on terrorism, says Syria's ambassador.
By Imad Moustapha, IMAD MOUSTAPHA is the Syrian ambassador to the United States.
August 4, 2006


LATE LAST MONTH, a number of congressmen called me and asked for an urgent, unscheduled meeting. There, at the Rayburn House Office Building, we spent a couple of hours discussing in-depth the crisis in the Middle East. The paramount concern of these legislators was not the typical Capitol Hill rhetoric (offering unconditional support for Israel, or delivering the routine condemnation and demonization of Syria). Instead, they simply wanted to know what they could do to stop the ongoing massacre in Lebanon.

Their frustration and exasperation about the total nonchalance of the U.S. administration was overwhelming. The very first question they had for me was to clarify the confusion about whether the White House is talking to Syria or not. Although the media have reported that no contacts have been made between the two countries over the last three weeks, administration officials have sent vague signals that this might be happening through back channels.

But no communication whatsoever has taken place. U.S. policy remains to ignore the Syrian government. And it remains fundamentally wrong.

It hasn't always been this way. When President George H.W. Bush faced Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait in 1990, he realized the strategic need for Syria and knew how to lure us into the American-led alliance: by inviting Syria to the Madrid peace conference.

As a result, and within a short period of time, the Clinton administration engaged Syria and Israel in serious peace talks that, had they succeeded, would have created a very different paradigm in this troubled area.

In Syria, we consider the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin as the fatal blow that felled the peace efforts, and since that tragic event, Israel has had no leader with the courage or vision required to accept the inevitable "land for peace" compromise enshrined in U.N. Security Council resolutions 224 and 338.

In sharp contrast, the current U.S. administration has publicly dissuaded Israel from responding to the repeated Syrian invitations to revive the peace process. Syria still hopes that this position might change, as there exists a growing alienation against the U.S. and its policies in the Arab and Islamic world, which is undoubtedly creating fertile breeding conditions for terrorism.

Syria thought that the atrocious events of Sept. 11, 2001, would be a much-needed wake-up call for the Bush administration.

After Sept. 11, we cooperated with the U.S. in fighting terrorism. Syria had been fighting extreme fundamentalist movements in the region for the previous three decades, so we promptly initiated intelligence and security cooperation with the U.S., providing a wealth of information about Al Qaeda, some of which was described in a letter to Congress by former Secretary of State Colin Powell as "actionable information" that led to "saving American lives." Consequently, bilateral relations improved dramatically at the time, much to the chagrin of the neoconservative cabal that doggedly opposed any engagement with Syria, no matter how productive.

This effective cooperation ended when Syria and the U.S. found themselves at odds over how to address the Iraqi problem. Syria fiercely opposed the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq and continues to do so. The fact that Hussein was Syria's archenemy did not blind our eyes to the grave consequences such an occupation would bear on our region: bloodshed, destruction, instability, extremism and the ugly face of sectarianism.

The Bush administration never forgave Syria for its opposition to the war. Despite the fact that Syrian-U.S. intelligence and security cooperation continued, even after the fallout on Iraq, well up to January 2005, heavyweights in the White House continued to engage in a rhetorical campaign against Syria. Members of Congress, influenced by the powerful pro-Israel lobby, overwhelmingly passed the Syria Accountability Act in November 2003, enacting trade sanctions on Damascus without serious debate or reference to the crucial intelligence support provided by Syria.

Concurrently, administration officials devised a new "policy" toward my country: Don't talk to Syria at all, and maybe its regime will collapse.

That is why the U.S. decided to change its 20-year position toward Syrian involvement in Lebanon. Suddenly, Syria's "stabilizing and necessary presence" in Lebanon became, overnight and without any change in Syria's behavior, "an evil occupation that should immediately be ended."

The underlying idea behind demanding Syrian withdrawal was simple: It would precipitate the fall of the Syrian regime, and the U.S. would end up with a new government in Damascus that is both Israel-friendly and an ally of the U.S. Does that have any resemblance to the neoconservative justification for the war on Iraq?

To the dismay of U.S. policymakers, this belligerent attitude only rallied Syrians behind their own government.

Ultimately, the Bush administration has to realize that by trying to isolate Syria politically and diplomatically, the U.S. continues to lose ability to influence a major player in the Middle East. In the wake of the ongoing instability in Iraq and violence in Palestine and Lebanon, it begs the larger question: Has isolating Syria made the region more secure?

Currently, the White House doesn't talk to the democratically elected government of Palestine. It does not talk to Hezbollah, which has democratically elected members in the Lebanese parliament and is a member of the Lebanese coalition government. It does not talk to Iran, and it certainly does not talk to Syria.

Gone are the days when U.S. special envoys to the Middle East would spend hours, if not days, with Syrian officials brainstorming, discussing, negotiating and looking for creative solutions leading to a compromise or settlement. Instead, this administration follows the Bolton Doctrine: There is no need to talk to Syria, because Syria knows what it needs to do. End of the matter.

When the United States realizes that it is high time to reconsider its policies toward Syria, Syria will be more than willing to engage. However, the rules of the game should be clear. As President Bashar Assad has said, Syria is not a charity. If the U.S. wants something from Syria, then Syria requires something in return from the U.S.: Let us address the root cause of instability in the Middle East.

The current crisis in Lebanon needs an urgent solution because of the disastrous human toll. Moreover, the whole Middle East deserves a comprehensive deal that would put an end to occupation and allow all countries to equally prosper and live in dignity and peace.
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Interesting POV....
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Tiamo on August 06, 2006, 00:59:34
Well written article. Syria has been on and off with Washington for decades, yet, the relations between Syria and the US never reached this level of isolation before. I believe the current US administration has put itself at a great disadvantage by distancing Syria in a time where the US is bogged down in Iraq, and possibly facing Iran, been dismissed by Hezbollah, Hamas, Palestinians and most of the Arab world as a player that can effectively bring solutions to the table. This is one of the many reasons why groups like Hezbollah and Hamas are now going about their way to achieve what they need, instead of relying on US mediation.

Syria is and remain the other major player in the ME (aside from Israel), so shunning out the Syrians demonstrates the US administration is planning to go pro-Israel instead of attempting to mediate between all the parties in bringing about a peace.

Also, interesting thing about this article the mention of US attempt to encourage the Syrians to rise against their government. Instead, (and mostly due to what happened in Iraq), the general population (thought oppressed by the current regime) choose to stand by its government, something the US administration didn't expect.

Great article and thx for sharing...
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Ex-Dragoon on August 06, 2006, 02:16:24
Syria could do a lot by condeming Hezbollah and their attacks on Israel as well might make the current administration take a second look.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Tiamo on August 06, 2006, 08:45:17
Syria could do a lot by condeming Hezbollah and their attacks on Israel as well might make the current administration take a second look.

It will be baseless since Syria had already made more important things like fighting terrorism, sharing intelligence. Still the current US administration is unable to envision Syria as a major player in the ME. They thought they could by pass Syria, work with Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq, yet we've seen the results so far!!

You'll also need to look at the pressure from within Syria itself. The Golan heights were lost during the 1967 war (When Hafaz Al-Assad was Minister of Defense), the Syrian people until today dream of freeing the Golan. The government is under pressure to reach a solution to that problem. So when a small group like Hezbollah fights the Israelis, many Syrians will view the current position the government is taken as "weak", so imagine if Syria goes against Hezbollah and in support of Israel. There will be no reason for the people of Syria nor the Syrian army to stand behind its government, hence, there will likely follow either : a) revolution   b)  military coup.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: rmacqueen on August 06, 2006, 09:57:12
Unfortunately, this does seem to be a recurring theme within the Bush government.  If you do anything to upset them they cut you out with little regard for the downstream consequences.

Syria could be a dominate player in the region and a foil to any Iranian expansionism if the US would involve them.  Their military is fairly strong but they do have to walk a very fine line given the prevailing feelings towards Israel in the region.  Excluding them will only ensure that any peace plan will fail as politically Syria will have no choice but to oppose it.  The current US administration seems to have a very myopic view that ignores realities to their own peril.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: paracowboy on August 06, 2006, 11:25:40
Syria sponsors the worst terrorists out there, sponsors a raging insurgency in a foreign nation, sponsors a puppet tyranny in another foreign nation, is run by a dictatorship, shields war criminals, and launches missiles by proxy into yet another nation whenver they want to make a point, and WE'RE supposed to feel sympathy for THEM?

Yeah.  ::)
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: CanadaPhil on August 06, 2006, 11:56:57

............. the Syrian people until today dream of freeing the Golan.

They also until today dream of "freeing" "Palestine", just like they did in 1948, 1967 and 1973.

But as many children, and those who knowingly choose to wage war sometimes realize, dreams don't always come true.

I  think Israel just got a little sick of being awoken in the middle of the night by Syria's bad dreams.


Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: GAP on August 06, 2006, 12:09:50
Syria sponsors the worst terrorists out there, sponsors a raging insurgency in a foreign nation, sponsors a puppet tyranny in another foreign nation, is run by a dictatorship, shields war criminals, and launches missiles by proxy into yet another nation whenver they want to make a point, and WE'RE supposed to feel sympathy for THEM?

Yeah.  ::)

There's the public Syria, and then, there's the real Syria. The US has been seen to be dealing with the Public Syria, and have now, probably for good reason, decided not to. You are right, there is nothing that Syria offers, that it does not take away by it's support for Terrorist Organizations. They are not a friend of the US, but up until now it served the purpose of the US to deal with them.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: tomahawk6 on August 06, 2006, 12:25:49
Regime change in Syria that involves the replacement of the Baath Party would really transform that region and yank out the props under Hizbollah. It would also strengthen Lebanon. Right now Hizbollah is very close to usurping the leadership of Lebanon from the elected government. This would be a very dangerous pattern for future countries that host powerful terror groups.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: paracowboy on August 06, 2006, 12:58:06
Regime change in Syria that involves the replacement of the Baath Party would really transform that region and yank out the props under Hizbollah. It would also strengthen Lebanon. Right now Hizbollah is very close to usurping the leadership of Lebanon from the elected government. This would be a very dangerous pattern for future countries that host powerful terror groups.
that's not acurate, as the "elected" government was put in place by Syria.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: CanadaPhil on August 06, 2006, 14:17:27
Here is another Syrian view. However, it is not the familiar soft spoken ambassador noted above who is often a guest on CNN to provide uniformed North Americans with the warm & fuzzy view of his government.

It is the Syrian Deputy Minister of Religious Endowment, Dr. Muhammad Al-Sattar calling for Jihad and likening Jews to the descendants of Apes and Pigs.

It aired July 21st  on Syrian TV.   

http://www.memritv.org/view.asp?P1=1206

I can only imagine what kind of reaction there would have been if a member of the US Congress or a member of any western parliament had made a remark likening Muslims to the descendants of Apes and Pigs?

Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Tiamo on August 06, 2006, 18:57:05
Quote
Regime change in Syria that involves the replacement of the Baath Party would really transform that region and yank out the props under Hizbollah. It would also strengthen Lebanon. Right now Hizbollah is very close to usurping the leadership of Lebanon from the elected government. This would be a very dangerous pattern for future countries that host powerful terror groups.

Any regime change in ANY Arab government ANY where in the ME will produce (if democratic) an Islamist government. If a puppet regime is installed that does not abide to the people's and armed forces well, it will be toppled in few years. This had happened before during the colonial wars of 1920s and will happen in the future. Latest examples:

Algeria 1994 produced democratic Islamic party as majority
Turkey 2000, Islamic party...
Iran, Islamic party....
Iraq, Islamic party (Sheaa).....
Palestine, Islamic party.....
Jordan (Islamist are majority)......
Egypt (The Muslim Brotherhood on the rise again)......
Lebanon (mark my word, the next democratic government will be mostly Islamists).
Mauritania (keep an eye there as Islamist gain popularity)...
Saudi Arabia (local elections produced a sweeping win for conservative officials)
Kuwait ...... conservatives holding power in the parliament.

I don't know what change the U.S. is seeking, but any change happens after now will produce an Islamic majority. As I said it before, Israel and the US has the best chance to make peace now with the current Arab regimes.

Quote
that's not accurate, as the "elected" government was put in place by Syria.

Incorrect, the current Lebanese government is 100% democratic with no intervention at all from Syria. The pro-Syrian members in the parliament are smaller than the Saad Hariri coalition (the majority party).

The events occurring in Lebanon now would never have never happened should Syria had remained in Lebanon. It is an irony! Obviously, when the Syrians were in Lebanon, they'd interfere in all aspects of people lives, but for the very least people had a life!
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Thucydides on August 06, 2006, 23:30:18
"Democracy" is only a method.

Perhaps many of the cultures in the Arab middle east need to go through a constitutional monarchy or a total social rebuild similar to Japan post 1945 in order to create the social and political organizations which are needed to create a stable society and prevent (or at least limit the possibility of) takovers by radical elements.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Tiamo on August 08, 2006, 15:43:25
Quote
Perhaps many of the cultures in the Arab middle east need to go through a constitutional monarchy or a total social rebuild similar to Japan post 1945 in order to create the social and political organizations which are needed to create a stable society and prevent (or at least limit the possibility of) takovers by radical elements.

This is what Britain and France have been doing in the region from 1920-1940 and look where it ended up !!! They used to shuffle things around Arab-Style ( We'll help you do this if you help us do that, then we'll help someone else against you so they help us achieve some other thing in another region....... )
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: CanadaPhil on August 16, 2006, 11:43:33
From the Memri TV Project,

Here is Syrian cleric Muhammad Al-Bouti on Al Manar (aka Hezbollah TV) saying it is perfectly OK to bomb and destroy American, Israeli, & other groups "hostile to Islam" around the world.

http://www.memritv.org/view.asp?P1=1230
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Tiamo on August 16, 2006, 14:12:17
Quote
Here is Syrian cleric Muhammad Al-Bouti on Al Manar (aka Hezbollah TV) saying it is perfectly OK to bomb and destroy American, Israeli, & other groups "hostile to Islam" around the world.

Wasn't there a post on these forums that talked about a radical Israeli Rabbi who claimed Arabs should be eliminated and killed. Everyone jumped on board that this is the opinion of one radical should not be taken as the opinion of the whole nation , or am I wrong here ?
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: paracowboy on August 16, 2006, 14:29:39
or am I wrong here ?
yes, you are, and you know it. There are no huge rallies in Israel calling for the deaths of all Muslims. There are no enormous outpourings of hatred amongst Jews aimed at any race or religion. In the rabbi's (we'll continue to call him that, although he's hardly a man of God) case, it IS a single oddity, whereas amongst the Muslim community, it's virtually the status quo.

You're trolling again.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Tiamo on August 16, 2006, 14:36:17
Quote
yes, you are, and you know it. There are no huge rallies in Israel calling for the deaths of all Muslims. There are no enormous outpourings of hatred amongst Jews aimed at any race or religion. In the rabbi's (we'll continue to call him that, although he's hardly a man of God) case, it IS a single oddity, whereas amongst the Muslim community, it's virtually the status quo.

Does Syria occupy ANY Israeli land ? Is Syria in violation of ANY UN resolutions ?  NO!

While on the other hand, Israel occupies illegally lands since 1967 in a legal war which Israel started against its Arabs neighbours, AND Israel is in complete violation of UN resolutions since 1967 until our nowday.

p.s. Jews live in Syria too and the Syrian constitution guarantees their safety. Syrians nor any Arabs have any problems with Jews, but they have issues with settlers occupying their land and that happens to be extremist Jews, so they simply are mixing the two together. Same with the war on Terror, we all respect the Muslim community, yet it seems most Terrorists nowadays are belonging to extrimist Muslim ideology.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Bruce Monkhouse on August 16, 2006, 14:39:37
United Nations Holds Canada In Continuing Violation of Lubicon Human Rights
http://www.tao.ca/~FOL/pa/humanr.htm


...I guess we don't have the same good friends in high places like Syria does.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: CanadaPhil on August 16, 2006, 14:40:35
Does Syria occupy ANY Israeli land ?


Nope. But we all know that is not by choice huh.



Is Syria in violation of ANY UN resolutions ?  NO!


LOL, I dont think you are looking closely enough. No surprise there.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: paracowboy on August 16, 2006, 14:41:42
Does Syria occupy ANY Israeli land ? Is Syria in violation of ANY UN resolutions ?  NO!

While on the other hand, Israel occupies illegally lands since 1967 in a legal war which Israel started against its Arabs neighbours, AND Israel is in complete violation of UN resolutions since 1967 until our nowday.

p.s. Jews live in Syria too and the Syrian constitution guarantees their safety. Syrians nor any Arabs have any problems with Jews, but they have issues with settlers occupying their land and that happens to be extremist Jews, so they simply are mixing the two together. Same with the war on Terror, we all respect the Muslim community, yet it seems most Terrorists nowadays are belonging to extrimist Muslim ideology.
how is this, in any way, a response to my post? What point did you address? We were discussing a specific rabbi's extremist philosophy, and you brought this up. Some sort of bizarre tangent. THAT is why you are so often accused of trolling.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Bruce Monkhouse on August 16, 2006, 14:43:21
A bizarre tangent that was quickly shot down.......so for once, address the view that Paracowboy proposed to you.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Tiamo on August 16, 2006, 14:44:03
United Nations Holds Canada In Continuing Violation of Lubicon Human Rights
http://www.tao.ca/~FOL/pa/humanr.htm


...I guess we don't have the same good friends in high places like Syria does.

Syria as well has been criticized negatively for its human rights. However, no UN security resolutions on this subject. You're comparing apples to oranges.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: big bad john (John Hill) on August 16, 2006, 14:46:34
Syria as well has been criticized negatively for its human rights. However, no UN security resolutions on this subject. You're comparing apples to oranges.

There might not have been any UN resolutions on the matter, But I have seen Syrian Police and Troops clear a demonstration.  They didn't seem to care about human rights when they were firing on the crowd.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Tiamo on August 16, 2006, 14:49:15
paracowboy: My response is directly related to your point. Why do Syrians rally against Israel and call for the destruction of Israel ?? Because simply Israel is occupying their land. You're saying the Israelis are not protesting against Syrians, why should they ? No Arab nation is occupying an Israeli land.

Which goes to take us back to the Rabbi vs Sheikh issue. Why would you stand with a Rabbi tgat says death to all Arabs, while Israel occupies those Arabs lands!
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Bruce Monkhouse on August 16, 2006, 14:51:10
So if the Six Nations in Brantford started chanting "death to all white men",...thats OK?
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: CanadaPhil on August 16, 2006, 14:56:15
paracowboy: My response is directly related to your point. Why do Syrians rally against Israel and call for the destruction of Israel ?? Because simply Israel is occupying their land.

 ::)

That is very convenient twisting of the facts. The Golan was NOT OCCUPIED until MULTIPLE ATTACKS over multiple wars started by Syria! So what was the excuse before then.......

Oh yeah... The destruction of the State of Israel and the slaughtering of the Jews. Seems like a recurring Syrian theme.

Tamouh, you just don't get it. When a nation deliberately starts a war of conquest and THEN LOSES!, if the price to pay is the forfeiture of some land to try to guarantee the security of the attacked party, then thats just too bad.

Ring.... Ring.......

Hey Tamouh.... The Prussians just called. They want Poland back!

Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Tiamo on August 16, 2006, 14:57:06

Bruce:

Quote
So if the Six Nations in Brantford started chanting "death to all white men",...thats OK?

I don't have well understanding of the Canadian Aboriginal subject and what were the agreements/laws governing this relation, so I'd not comment on something I don't know about. But we all agree Hate is Hate. Whether you say death to Jews, Muslims, Christians , White, Black, Indo, English, Arabic, Chinese .....hate is not tolerable.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: CanadaPhil on August 16, 2006, 15:02:25
 ;D

LOL.... making a swoooshing motion over my head and making a race car sound.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: paracowboy on August 16, 2006, 15:11:36
paracowboy: My response is directly related to your point. Why do Syrians rally against Israel and call for the destruction of Israel ?? Because simply Israel is occupying their land. You're saying the Israelis are not protesting against Syrians, why should they ? No Arab nation is occupying an Israeli land.
and how does that jibe with Saudis, Yemenis, Iranians, Indonesians, Thais, Afghans, etc, etc, calling for the death of Israel, and the annhilation of Jews world-wide? Israel occupied Syrain soil after being attacked by Syria. Your rebuttal is specious at best. As per your established SOP.

Quote
Which goes to take us back to the Rabbi vs Sheikh issue. Why would you stand with a Rabbi tgat says death to all Arabs, while Israel occupies those Arabs lands!
do not, ever, say that I stand with any extremist. I do not. Especially those who attempt to justify their idiocy in the name of Religion. I, personally, do not care how anyone chooses to worship an invisible man who lives in the sky.

None of your posts have yet to show that you accept the basic idea of the war we are engaged in: Islamic Extremists are the threat to our secular, representative, free-market society. Israel is not. It is an ally (of sorts).

With the collapse of Communism, we ended that threat. The war against it, however, gave birth to the next threat, which is, (by whatever nom du jour you choose to apply) Islamic nutjobs who want to re-establish the Caliphate, and willingly butcher, murder, and torture anyone who disagrees. And they have shown that they will bring their savagery to foreign shores.

Israel is not our enemy. Islamic whackos are. And no amount of appeasement will stop them, nor will ignoring them. The first they see as weakness, the second merely gives them room to plan and orchestrate their misdeeds ON OUR SOIL.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: CanadaPhil on August 16, 2006, 15:16:50

Israel is not our enemy. Islamic whackos are. And no amount of appeasement will stop them, nor will ignoring them. The first they see as weakness, the second merely gives them room to plan and orchestrate their misdeeds ON OUR SOIL.

+1
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Tiamo on August 16, 2006, 16:54:57
Quote
With the collapse of Communism, we ended that threat. The war against it, however, gave birth to the next threat, which is, (by whatever nom du jour you choose to apply) Islamic nutjobs who want to re-establish the Caliphate, and willingly butcher, murder, and torture anyone who disagrees. And they have shown that they will bring their savagery to foreign shores.

Israel is not our enemy. Islamic whackos are. And no amount of appeasement will stop them, nor will ignoring them. The first they see as weakness, the second merely gives them room to plan and orchestrate their misdeeds ON OUR SOIL.

While we both agree that Extrimisim is an issue, and we need to vigorously combat those who want to destroy our way of life and turn us back to the stone age (e.g. Taliban ideology). We do however disagree on the reasons behind some extrimists hate to America or West.

I don't know any sane or educated Syrian wants to turn Syria into another Saudi. There are very few who exist for sure, but the majority do despise Wahabisim as much as Zionisim.

I believe those who are calling for the death of Israel and America are not doing so because of their hate for democracy, freedom of rights , freedom of speech.....but rather (as was said in a post on the promise land & peace thread) because they blame their problems on the West and on top of that list is Israel continued occupation and oppression of the Palestinians.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: ArmyVern on August 16, 2006, 17:26:58
Why do Syrians rally against Israel and call for the destruction of Israel ?? Because simply Israel is occupying their land. You're saying the Israelis are not protesting against Syrians, why should they ? No Arab nation is occupying an Israeli land.

Tamouh,

Your outlook is revisionist history. Pro-Syrians call the strategic Golan Heights Israeli Occupied Syria, while pro-Israeli call the strategic Golan Heights Israel proper.

Perhaps some research is in order of the Yom Kippur War - Oct 1973.

6 Oct 73: While Israeli forces are at a low state of readiness due to Yom Kippur (the holiest day in the Jewish calandar) Egypt and Syria (backed by other Arabic nations) launch surprise attacks on Israel. For 48 hours, both Syria and Egypt overwhelmed Israeli Forces. Egyptian Forces were able to advance 15 miles into the Sinai. Syrian Forces were able to advance about the same distance into the strategic areas of the Golan Heights then contained within the 1973 Israeli border.

8 Oct 73: With Israeli Forces now fully functional, and Israeli Reserves fully called-up and operational, Israel is able to push back advancing Egyptian and Syrian troops swiftly to their own previous 6 Oct borders. Beyond this, and due to the threat from Syrian forces, Israel kept pushing Syrian forces beyond the 6 Oct Syrian/Israeli border, in fact, Israel advanced to within 35 miles of Damascus. Imagine that. The closest line of Israeli advance on Damascus is actually marked in Syria. A hill overlooking Damascus has Arabic writing on the side of it which denotes it as the Hill of Shame and is meant as a reminder of how close Israel got. I have a picture of it here somewhere that I will try to pull up.

24 Oct: Cease-fire is brokered by the U.N., at which point in time, Israel withdraws from the Hill of Shame overlooking Damascus to the agreed upon AOS (of which I already posted a map) in the UN cease-fire agreement.

What it all comes down to is that Syria continues to insist that both the AOS and territory on the Israeli side of the AOS, east of the 6 Oct border is "Israeli Occupied Syria" and must be given back. But is it really? I'd say not.

Syria invaded, they lost and with that loss they gave up some ground. Happens all the time in wars. In fact, Israeli did withdraw somewhat from Syria upon the cease-fire agreement. But the kicker is they only withdrew as far as Israel was comfortable with. They won, I guess it's up to them.

So Israel did not give all the Syrian territory back (but again they won the war!!) but they did give some back, or else the Israelis would still be sitting on a lonely hill-top 35 miles outside of Damascus looking in, where rightfully they could still be. Time to get over the Israeli Occupied Syria agruement because the Israelis won it fare and square and were even generous enough to give back (in the cease-fire) all that other territory up to and including the Hill of Shame. 

Moral of the story is: if you go to War with someone you'd best be willing to give up ground should you happen to lose. Better yet, don't go to war with someone if you can't win.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: paracowboy on August 16, 2006, 17:44:10
I don't know any sane or educated Syrian wants to turn Syria into another Saudi.  
no, the Ba'athists in Syria are entirely focussed on one thing: maintaining their grip on total power in Syria, and expanding that power in every neighbouring nation, especially Lebanon. To that end, they employ any and all manner of shenanigans, to include manipulating the Palestinians into invading a foreign nation, and constantly keeping the effects of those manipulations distorted in the eyes of their own populace, much as the Soviet Union used the Imperialist Running Dogs, and the Nazis used Bolshevism/Zionism as boogeymen to distract their populations.

Quote
they blame their problems on the West and on top of that list is Israel continued occupation and oppression of the Palestinians.
their perceptions of Israel's occupation, as preached to them by their totalitarian governments seeking to keep power, and by the various other factions attempting to use them to gain power. If the various neighbouring states truly cared about the Palestinian cause, they would have made sure those poor suffering Palestinians lived in more comfort in their various refugee camps. But, that wouldn't have made for good propaganda, and wouldn't have allowed them to use the Palestinians to strike by proxy.

There are no good guys, but the Palestinians are amongst the worst of the bad guys, and they're being used by other bad guys, principally the odiously hypocritical Syrians. And they've established such a cult of death, that they enjoy it. Gnawing on old hates like a dog with a soup bone. Teaching their children to commit murder and suicide, instead of attempting to better their lives. Israel has offered any number of times over the decades to rectify their behaviour in the '30s and '40s, and to compromise. But they ain't goin' away. After the millenia of mistreatment, they exist for the sole purpose of defending Jews, and keeping them alive. They won't back down, and the only alternative is to deal with them. But the Palestinians won't, and the Syrians can't allow it. They stand to lose too much. Considering that they hold that ground due entirely to their own efforts, and in the face of the entire world's antipathy, continued calls for them to surrender it can only be seen with a cynical eye.

The "Palestinian Cause" - yet another method for the Islamoloonies to excuse their fall into savagery from feudalism. Funny how it's always somebody else's fault.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: muskrat89 on August 16, 2006, 18:08:28
Quote
LOL.... making a swoooshing motion over my head and making a race car sound.

Phil - if you can't offer anything more substantive to the thread than peanut-gallery comments, keep them to yourself.

I strongly suggest that you re-read the forum guidelines, before you get introduced to the Warning System.

Thanks.

Army.ca Staff
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Tiamo on August 16, 2006, 19:33:16
ArmyVern: I agree from a Military perspective Syria and Egypt had lost the 1973 war. Israel pretty much "conquered" the lands they currently control. I'm aware of the 35km to Damascus. In fact, when the news reached Damascus that the Israelis were about to invade the capital, all ministers, merchants and "loyalist" families packed their belongings and travelled North to Aleppo. Damascus was pretty much empty from any resistance when the Israelis stopped at 35km mark (so much for the defenders of the realm)

However, trace this back abit to 1967, Israel wages a war against Egypt and Syria , occupying the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt and Golan Heights from Syria, Eastern Jerusalem from Jordanian, Gaza/West Bank from Arab Forces.

The UN resolution 242 does not call for the return of the land Israel had acquired by defeating the Arab leagues in 1948. But it does recall for Israel to return the land it "conquered" in the 1967 war. While you could argue that because Syria/Egypt attacked the Israelis in 1973 they've lost that claim for return of the land through the UN resolution. Yet, we can also argue that because Syria/Egypt initiated the 1973 war because they felt the Israelis had no intention of returning the land they've acquired through 1967 war (e.g. the strong fortification of Sinai Peninsula).

The question here remain on the political front, does Israel and the Arabs want to return back to the initial UN resolution in this matter ? Will the Syrians agree to have an Israeli state next to its borders. Will the Israelis agree to return back the land they've acquired through a war they've started in exchange for peace and security the same way they have with the Egyptians ?

One issue keeps playing a major problem in the Arab-Israeli peace process is who is in control of what? It is not just a matter of land, but much more:

- Settlements built inside the 1967 occupied lands Will they be evacuated ? Will the settlers agree to live under the Syrian or Palestinian control as long as fair policies are ensured ? What if a Palestinian/Syrian claims a settler house was built on his land ?
- Waters and rivers in these lands, water is a major issue in the ME
- The fair return of the Palestinians refugees to their homes, how and who can they claim these homes?
- The security for Israel and its borders
- The sovereignty of all nations including fair access to their borders, sea ports and air space.

Will Israel give up all the advantages it has right now for a lasting peace with Syria ? Will the Syrians agree to these terms in exchange of full cooperation with the Israelis ?

I know one thing, when Jordanian, Palestinians, Syrian and Lebanese went to Oslo . The Syrians asked all Arab parties to stay united and no agreement be made unless all issues are resolved at once. However, the Jordanian and Palestinians felt they can get a "better deal" if they negotiate with Israel alone. This have definitely not worked well for either. Jordan hasn't resolved its Palestinian refugee problem, and the Palestinians.....well, lets leave it there.

I strongly believe the ME issue can only resolved by all parties sitting and hammering all points. All parties must make concessions if they wish to live in lasting peace together and must acknowledge the right for each to exist as an independent and sovereign nation.

paracowboy: You know, I find myself sometimes pondering the same thing. Are the Arab rulers and Muslim clerics using the Palestinian issue to manipulate the people in the same way Israelis are using the same issue to manipulate the West ?

I agree, Syrian regime is focused on maintaining their grip on Power. Is that why the Syrian government is not making peace with Israel ?
I've said in a previous post somewhere else, if peace is made between the Arabs and Israel, there would be no reason for the Arab citizens not to rise against their oppressing government. I sometimes wonder, are the Arab rulers smarter than we've estimated ? Did they find the weak spot of all Arabs and Muslims ??

The Palestinian refugee camps are jokes. What the Arabs have provided to the Palestinians is nothing compared to what the West have provided the Palestinians. Yet, the Arab rulers emerge as the saviors of the Palestinians!

Are the Arab rulers a curse on the ME ? Well, they could be. But I know alot of people who also blame the West for that curse. They say if it wasn't for British and French interference from the 20s-40s and until nowdays, we most likely wouldn't have had these military regimes controlling the Arab lives.

Who brought the Saud house to power ? Britain..
Who brought the turbulence to Damascus ? France..
Who divided Lebanon from Syria and gave the Turks the Askandaron ? France..
Who created the current middle east border ? Britain & France

This is where pan-Arabisim/Baathisim comes into play. Their concept is: since Britain & France put the borders between the Arabs, then they must be trying to divide the Arabs (which in some ways true).

My last comments....I remember the days of Saladin. He fought against the crusaders, and the crusaders fought against him. However, nobody was winning but blood was being shed in the name of religion. At the end, Saladin signed a peace treaty with King Richard of England in Ramala, 1192. In which Jerusalem remains in the hands of Muslims and stay open for Christian pilgrims. A year later, Saladin died of mysterious illness! Unfortunately, many know his courage, but few know his philosophy and nobility.

Can the Arabs and Israelis make a noble peace like that ? Can the Syrian government sit down with the Israeli and hammer their differences?
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: ArmyVern on August 16, 2006, 20:23:35
Tamouh,

It just doesn't compute. Twice now these states have invaded Israel...and lost. Because they lost the 2nd time in 1973, you now want to roll back the clock to the 1967 borders and that UN resolution.

If a country goes to war (twice now) and loses, it can not yell scream and cry foul, well we lost but roll back the borders to 2 wars ago because that is what benefits us. If that's to be the case, lets settle this by rolling back the borders through a millenia of wars...and give it all back to the Hebrews...who were there first. Why not? Why does Syria get to decide which war should count? Losers don't get to make those decisions, a well-known fact that has resulted in borders which are now in existance throughout the world. Why do Arabic countries that invade Israel seem to be the only ones in the world who do not expect their borders to change when they lose in a war?

Why do they totally ignore the fact that they invaded twice, and they lost. Of course 67 benefit the Syrians and that's why they want them but their arguement has little basis in the realities of war.

OK mom, if we win this war against Israel we will keep all their territory that we win (and hopefully we will drive them into the sea)....but if we lose we'll cry foul and ask for the borders to get set back to how they were when we chose to invade them two wars ago. Funny how that works isn't it?

Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Tiamo on August 16, 2006, 21:13:56
Quote
It just doesn't compute. Twice now these states have invaded Israel...and lost. Because they lost the 2nd time in 1973, you now want to roll back the clock to the 1967 borders and that UN resolution.

Two questions:

1) How would you feel if in 1967 Syria started the war and presume it resulted in the Syrians reaching the port of Haifa. a UN resolution is made requiring Syria to withdraw back to the Golan Heights. Israel later attempts to return these lands through war with no success, and Syria ignores the UN resolution ?

2) Based on that above, if Syria now initiate a war with Israel , return back the Golan Height and continues its forces towards the Haifa port then propose a peace to the Israelis on the term Syria keeps the city of Haifa, will that be acceptable ?

** I should add....take these two questions in a Political perspective, not a Military point of view. In Military for the victor goes the spoils.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: cplcaldwell on August 16, 2006, 21:42:35
UNSCR 242 does not call for the return of all lands conquered by Israel in 1967. In fact, if the rule of law is applied to all of the resolution it does not require Israel to return any territory until it gets peace inside secure borders.

One can no more accept the clause
Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict;

Without accepting the entire resolution, next sentence of which states
Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force;


 And let's note the phrase free from threats or acts of force

So 242 is up in the air, in my opinion, until Syria stops playing footsie with a Hezbollah that wants to fight Israel. Once the Syrians bugger off, they'll get Golan. Just like Egypt got Sinai. Or if we extend it further, once Iran stops messing around and Israel gets secure borders the whole shooting match is over.

242 can't be used to beat the Israelis unless it is equally employed to give them a secure peaceful border.

It's like saying that part of a contract must be enforced on the first party even though the second party is in material breach of other parts of it.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Tiamo on August 16, 2006, 21:51:01
Quote
So 242 is up in the air, in my opinion, until Syria stops playing footsie with a Hezbollah that wants to fight Israel. Once the Syrians bugger off, they'll get Golan. Just like Egypt got Sinai. Or if we extend it further, once Iran stops messing around and Israel gets secure borders the whole shooting match is over.

Correct, the resolution calls for both side to make peace. This is where things stumbling, weren't the Arabs saying in Oslo: "Peace for Land" ?

Also ironic....the conflict started between Palestinians/Israelis, then grew to include Syria, Jordan and Egypt, then Iraq, then Lebanon and now Iran. It just seems the longer this conflict keeps on going, the more complex it will get and harder to reach a solution which appeases everyone.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: cplcaldwell on August 16, 2006, 22:05:41
Yes that was exactly what the Arabs were saying in Oslo in 1993, 26 years after 242 was passed.But I don't recall Syria being at the table, so were they part of the solution?

And it would have worked without the intifada (2nd one right?). But again, was that a result of Sharon going to the Temple Mount or Arafat using it as pretext to start the insurrection?

Perhaps we can get back to it some day. Which we almost had after the Sharm al Shakh agreements. Until Hamas repudiated the agreements.

 <edited to add that bit at the top about Syria being at Oslo>
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Tiamo on August 16, 2006, 22:16:54
Quote
Yes that was exactly what the Arabs were saying in Oslo in 1993, 26 years after 242 was passed.

And it would have worked without the intifada (2nd one right?). But again, was that a result of Sharon going to the Temple Mount or Arafat using it as pretext to start the insurrection?

Perhaps we can get back to it some day. Which we almost had after the Sharm al Shakh agreements. Until Hamas repudiated the agreements.

Incorrect, the whole Peace process died with the assassination of Isaac Rabin by a radical Jewish extremist and it is still buried in his grave.

The reason we got to the Oslo accord mainly due to the attention 1st Intifada brought...the secondary was the promise George Sr. made to Arafat after Gulf War I that the US will resolve the Israeli-Palestinian issue. Well, GW Bush didn't, Clinton did get closer....but all died in 1995.

cplaldwell, Temple Mount doesn't exist no more. If you want to resurrect 2000 yo story, then no point of carrying this conversation, we can go back to Abraham and how the Arabs/Jews are cousins, then go even further to Adam and conclude we're all from the same father ?

Sharon did NOT visit the Temple Mount, Sharon attempted to enter the Aqsa mosque, something he knew would ignite an outrage from the Palestinians and Muslims world wide.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Freddy G on August 16, 2006, 22:29:11
Sharon did NOT visit the Temple Mount, Sharon attempted to enter the Aqsa mosque, something he knew would ignite an outrage from the Palestinians and Muslims world wide.

Is there anything, besides letting themselves be killed, that Israel and Jews in general can do that will not ignite an outrage from the palestinians and idiotic Islamist radicals worldwide?

They got criticized and attacked for pulling out of Gaza, pulling out of Lebanon, and also for defending themselves inside their borders against MUSLIM terrorists. Why should they bother giving anything to the people who will try to kill them at every opportunity?
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: cplcaldwell on August 16, 2006, 22:55:32
Respectfully no. The Peace Process did not die with Rabin in 1995.

Certainly Netanyahu's insistence the PLO curb the violence and suicide bombings emanating from inside Gaza and the West Bank and his construction of settlements on the West Bank did little to advance the process (96-99). But it was Arafat who walked away from the table at Camp David on 24 July 2000 over a few thousand hectares and the right of return (which they will never get) without putting a counter proposal on the table to Clinton.

I think it is more likely we got to Oslo ('93) as a result of the Madrid Conference ('91) . Subsequent rounds were definitely at the behest of Bush I, in order to get the Palestinians a home. These rounds got a Jordanian-Israeli peace ('94) and damn near got a Syrian-Israeli peace. If I remember the first Intifada is generally considered to have been 1987-90. Although the first Intifada brought the Europeans and Russians to the table I think it was the negotiations that got us Oslo, not a year or two of riots, a couple of years of civil disobendience and a final year of pacification by Arens.

Temple Mount, whatever, it's a common usage, you don't want to use it, okay, we'll call it al Haram al Sharif, another common usage. ( You'll never now how hard I had to look to find that reference...)

Sharon went to al Haram al Sharif in September 2000. There is ample evidence from inside even the PLO that Arafat had something up his sleeve after Camp David failed. As to what exactly happened that day, there are a number of accounts.

Anyway, my library is now a mess and I need a smoke. Perhaps tomorrow.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: tomahawk6 on March 18, 2007, 14:56:29
Never thought I would agree with Chirac but in this instance I do. Defanging Syria would have helped the Lebanese government, short term anyway. The Syrian military would have been degraded and possibly the Assad government would have been overthrown but if not Assad would have been issued a warning.If Iran didnt enter the war on Syria's behalf they would have been exposed as being weak.

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1173879109084&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

French President Jacques Chirac told Israel at the start of the war in Lebanon that France would support an Israeli assault on Syria, it was reported on Sunday.

Army Radio reported that in the message, which was delivered by Chirac to Israel via a secret channel, the French president suggested that Israel invade Damascus and topple the regime of Bashar Assad. In exchange, Chirac assured Israel full French support for the war.

According to the message delivered from Paris, Syria was responsible for the flare up in the North and encouraged Hizbullah to attack.

"Former prime minister Ariel Sharon had explained to the French in the past that Iran is the main one responsible for Hizbullah's armament in Lebanon, while Chirac saw Syria as the primary one responsible for the matter," former Israeli ambassador to France Nissim Zvilli told Army Radio in an interview.

"President Chirac saw Syria as directly responsible for the attempt to undermine the Lebanese regime," he said. "He saw them as directly responsible for the murder of [former Lebanese prime minister] Rafik Hariri and directly responsible for arming Hizbullah. Likewise, he saw Syria as the one giving Hizbullah orders on how to operate."

In March of last year, some four months before the war began, Chirac warned Syria that the international community would respond harshly to any attempt to destabilize Lebanon.

"Syria must understand that any act that encroaches upon the stability of Lebanon, be it through the shipment of weapons or assassinations, is an act that contradicts with its standing in the international community and will trigger a response from the international community," Chirac said at the time.

During the war, France was one of the foremost proponents of sending a multinational UNIFIL force to police the Israel-Lebanon border, and even offered to lead it.

Towards the end of the war, however, diplomatic officials said France had changed its mind out of concern that its badly strained relations with Syria would lead Hizbullah to target French soldiers.

France, the officials pointed out, was instrumental in pushing through UN Security Council Resolution 1559, which forced Syria out of Lebanon. In addition, it was a key force behind the establishment of the commission of inquiry into the assassination of Hariri, who was a personal friend of Chirac.

AP and Herb Keinon contributed to this report.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Shec on March 18, 2007, 15:10:40
Quote
In exchange, Chirac assured Israel full French support for the war.


Gee, with that assurance and $1.25 one can get a cup of coffee.  Israel's been screwed by France before (after the 1967 war) so why would it believe them? 
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Cdn Blackshirt on March 18, 2007, 16:37:04
Agreed.  Chirac is a weasel and would've hung Israel out to dry.


Matthew. 
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: ModlrMike on March 18, 2007, 20:54:23
We all know how well this would have worked given France's previous successes in the Middle East.  ::)
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: hoist-monkey on March 18, 2007, 21:38:12
 ;D
Chirac would have sent an Airbus A380 full of white sheets.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Argh to the Zee on March 19, 2007, 02:45:06
;D
Chirac would have sent an Airbus A380 full of white sheets.

Making fun people who bled and died along our own troops in the great war? 4,266,000 of them bled and 1,397,800 of them died fighting the same fight and the same enemy as our troops.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: E.R. Campbell on March 19, 2007, 10:33:31
Making fun people who bled and died along our own troops in the great war? 4,266,000 of them bled and 1,397,800 of them died fighting the same fight and the same enemy as our troops.

Yes, they died.  They also mutinied in 1917 and put, essentially, the entire burden of attacking* the Germans on to the British (including Canadian) forces.  There would be fewer crosses in our war cemeteries had the French fought the whole war with us – it was, after all, their war in the first bloody place.

The problem is not the courage or integrity of the French people – they have both in exactly the same proportion as Afghans, Bulgarians, Canadians, Danes, etc, etc.  The problem is that France’s political culture – since about the 14th century – has been headed, almost consistently, in a ‘perverse’ direction.

For a variety of reasons – 500+ year old reasons, in many cases – France has adopted a highly centralized, statist political culture and it has, consistently, led the French to make serious strategic misjudgements.  I would argue that the last time the French got their strategy right was during the Hundred Years War!  While I celebrate Napoleon as a brilliant field commander and a pretty fair despot/emperor/civil administrator he was, in my not at all humble opinion a strategic nincompoop who failed, utterly, to understand his own (continental) or the British (maritime) strategies and why the latter could not help but overcome the former, as implemented.

In the 19th century the French made a tragic error and institutionalized the (Napoleonic) idea that there exists a self perpetuating elite which can be selected, educated and mentored so as to be able to manage the affairs of France and, by extension, the world.  I believe that the grandes écoles have seriously weakened French strategic decision making for more than 100 years – but, despite having their graduates at the centre of a depressing series of French strategic failures – including abject surrender – they are much admired.

French leadership reached and then maintained its nadir in the 20th century.  I see no signs that it will improve any time soon.  In fairness, British leadership, in the Edwardian era, was equally weak: signing the entente cordialewith France (1904) must go down as Britain’s greatest strategic blunder in over 500 years.

France is neither Canada’s friend nor even a trustworthy ally.  It is the only country since 1945 to attack Canada’s sovereignty directly.
 
----------
* The French did not abandon their trenches – they just refused to undertake offensive operations.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Argh to the Zee on March 19, 2007, 16:22:41
France is neither Canada’s friend nor even a trustworthy ally.  It is the only country since 1945 to attack Canada’s sovereignty directly.

I must of missed that Franco Canadian War that happened sometime in the last 60 years. I also missed the memo saying NATO members are no longer allies or friends.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Roy Harding on March 19, 2007, 16:30:20
I must of missed that Franco Canadian War that happened sometime in the last 60 years. I also missed the memo saying NATO members are no longer allies or friends.

I'm guessing you weren't around in 1967.  I'm also guessing that you weren't taught in school about De Gaulle's famous little speech in Montreal.

Quote
In July 1967, de Gaulle visited Canada, celebrating the centennial of its existence as a nation with a World's Fair known officially as Expo '67. On July 24th, during a speech made from a balcony on Montreal city hall, to a large crowd gathered below De Gaulle uttered Vive le Québec then added, Vive le Québec libre ("Long Live Free Québec"). Harshly critized by English-speaking Canadians and the Canadian government for this unprecedented breach of diplomatic protocol, it was seen by many Canadians as an insult to the thousands of Canadian soldiers who twice fought and died for the freedom of France. De Gaulle's stance was nonetheless welcomed by a part of the Quebec population that favor that province's sovereignty. Outraged, the Government of Canada under Prime Minister Lester Pearson, a soldier who served in World War I and a Nobel Peace Prize winner, cancelled the remainder of De Gaulle's tour and he returned to France where he was also heavily criticised by a large part of the French media.

Complete text of the quoted article can be found here:

http://www.chemistrydaily.com/chemistry/Charles_de_Gaulle

One can be an ally without being a "friend".  Just ask the Germans and Russians pre-WWII.


Roy

Edit:  Typo.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: George Wallace on March 19, 2007, 16:32:27
I must of missed that Franco Canadian War that happened sometime in the last 60 years. I also missed the memo saying NATO members are no longer allies or friends.

How soon they forget! ....... or is it the rewriting of history to suit a political agenda?

I would hope that you remember the name Charles de Gaulle and his little speech in Montreal in 1967?  Perhaps you will also remember him kicking Canada and all other NATO countries out of their Bases in France in 1963?   He also removed France from most of the NATO alliance activities and treaties.......but who are we to hold that against him or his nation?
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: hoist-monkey on March 19, 2007, 18:13:51
Making fun people who bled and died along our own troops in the great war? 4,266,000 of them bled and 1,397,800 of them died fighting the same fight and the same enemy as our troops.

I was not making fun of the "French People", I am of French descent on both sides of my family and very proud of it.
I have little respect for the French government and their policies.

The only time France will ever care about the rest of the world is when the Germans get restless and need to go on a vacation in Paris again, and then
we will see how fast we are allies again. I am also 1/4 German and more proud of that.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Argh to the Zee on March 19, 2007, 21:13:33
So they never ATTACKED our sovernity. French troops never landed and tried to wrest control of PQ, now did they?

The Americans seem to send subs into OUR waters, but no one talks about that. They are still friends and allies.

Didnt France send troops to A'stan? In fact, are some not there right now? (I remember they pulled regular forces out early this year, but they still have special forces there as far I know)
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Thucydides on March 19, 2007, 21:20:43
So they never ATTACKED our sovernity. French troops never landed and tried to wrest control of PQ, now did they?

The Americans seem to send subs into OUR waters, but no one talks about that. They are still friends and allies.

Didnt France send troops to A'stan? In fact, are some not there right now? (I remember they pulled regular forces out early this year, but they still have special forces there as far I know)

Attacking our sovernity by publicly suggesting that one of our provinces should no longer be part of Canada is different than disagreeing where the territorial boundaries are.

The French do have troops in Afghanistan, but this is because the French see this operation as supporting the French National Interest, in the same manner WE are in Afghanistan because it is in OUR national interest
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Argh to the Zee on March 19, 2007, 21:25:20
[quote author=a_majoor link=topic=58919.msg545412#msg545412 date=1174350043
The French do have troops in Afghanistan, but this is because the French see this operation as supporting the French National Interest, in the same manner WE are in Afghanistan because it is in OUR national interest
[/quote]

So we're no better then the French then? :P Or does it seem taht do to both of us being countries of the West, our National intrests will line up somtimes, which is why we are friends, and allies.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Roy Harding on March 19, 2007, 22:28:25
[quote author=a_majoor link=topic=58919.msg545412#msg545412 date=1174350043
The French do have troops in Afghanistan, but this is because the French see this operation as supporting the French National Interest, in the same manner WE are in Afghanistan because it is in OUR national interest


So we're no better then the French then? :P Or does it seem taht do to both of us being countries of the West, our National intrests will line up somtimes, which is why we are friends, and allies.
(Emphasis added)

Quote
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition.  2000.
 
better1
 
SYLLABICATION:   bet·ter

PRONUNCIATION:     btr

ADJECTIVE:   Comparative of good1. Greater in excellence or higher in quality. 2. More useful, suitable, or desirable: found a better way to go; a suit with a better fit than that one. 3. More highly skilled or adept: I am better at math than English. 4. Greater or larger: argued for the better part of an hour. 5. More advantageous or favorable; improved: a better chance of success. 6. Healthier or more fit than before: The patient is better today.

ADVERB:   Comparative of well21. In a more excellent way. 2a. To a greater extent or degree: better suited to the job; likes it better without sauce. b. To greater advantage; preferably: a deed better left undone. See Usage Notes at best, have, rather. 3. More: It took me better than a year to recover.

NOUN:   1. One that is greater in excellence or higher in quality. 2. A superior, as in standing, competence, or intelligence. Usually used in the plural: to learn from one's betters.

VERB:   Inflected forms: bet·tered, bet·ter·ing, bet·ters

TRANSITIVE VERB:   1. To make better; improve: trying to better conditions in the prison; bettered myself by changing jobs. See synonyms at improve. 2. To surpass or exceed.

INTRANSITIVE VERB:   To become better.

IDIOMS:   better off In a better or more prosperous condition: would be better off taking the train instead of driving; felt better off after the rise in stock prices. for the better Resulting in or aiming at an improvement: Her condition took a turn for the better. get (or have) the better of To outdo or outwit; defeat. think better of To change one's mind about (a course of action) after reconsideration: I almost bought an expensive watch, but then I thought better of it.

ETYMOLOGY:   Middle English, from Old English betera. See bhad- in Appendix I.

"Better" used by itself is usually interpreted as a "moral" term.  "Morals" have little place in international relations - nations have interests - read Jack Granatstein on the subject (Who' War Is It Anyway? - I don't have the book handy, so I can't make a proper reference - let me know if you need the rest of the citation), and NO place in an objective debate or discussion.  When used as a qualifier, "better" makes reference to specific quality (see definition above).

So I throw your question back at you - in which specific actions or qualities do you think France is "better"?

Roy
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: TCBF on March 19, 2007, 22:41:26
"The only time France will ever care about the rest of the world is when the Germans get restless and need to go on a vacation in Paris again ..."

- Rather unfair.  Some of their best breeding stock was killed off 1870-1945.  The current civil war brewing in the suburbs will soon separate the wheat from the chaff, however.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Argh to the Zee on March 20, 2007, 02:07:06
So I throw your question back at you - in which specific actions or qualities do you think France is "better"?
Roy

None, I do not think they are better then us. I however, also, do not think they are enemies or in the ranks of the Taliban, they are a good, proper Western Nation. (proper as in they are properly, and truly part of political "west" ) Thus they are our friends (since the west needs to stick together to stave of the Middle Eastern extremists) and our allies, via being part of NATO.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: ParaMedTech on March 20, 2007, 02:49:55
RZ350, since you don't seem to get it that France is no longer part of the military aspects of NATO...

From the French Foreign Affairs website
http://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/en/france_159/discovering-france_2005/france-from-to-z_1978/defence_1983/france-and-nato_1435.html

"France is one of the founding members of the Atlantic Alliance created by the 1949 Washington Treaty. Since leaving the integrated NATO structure in 1966, France has continued to participate fully in the activities of the political bodies." (emphasis mine)

Further, while France still deploys troops in support of NATO ops, they do so as part of their larger objective (A European Defence Identity, or  "Lets keep the Americans, who kept the Soviets from marching along the Champs Elysee to the Bay of Biscay, out of our back yards") which is expanded upon in the same page, and further elaborated on on this page:

http://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/en/france_159/discovering-france_2005/france-from-to-z_1978/defence_1983/france-and-european-defence_1434.html

I'll agree that France is a proper "Western" nation, they now display most, if not all, of the attributes that are leading to the decay of the "Western" world.  We may share interests, but we are most emphatically not friends (even if you believe that nations have friends).  Friends come over to my house and drink my beer.  The French, not so much.

DF
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Argh to the Zee on March 20, 2007, 14:16:58

I'll agree that France is a proper "Western" nation, they now display most, if not all, of the attributes that are leading to the decay of the "Western" world.  We may share interests, but we are most emphatically not friends (even if you believe that nations have friends).  Friends come over to my house and drink my beer.  The French, not so much.

DF

That is the least objective thing I have ever heard, ever. The Western world is not decaying. its advancing. It gets freer, richer and more powerful ever year, not the other way around. Then again, what I said was not objective or fact based either, but I recon if you wont give me facts to back your argument, I wont either.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: ParaMedTech on March 20, 2007, 14:33:41
Sure.   Race riots, ghettoization, anti-semitism, 15,000 dead old people whose families won't even come back from the beach to claim the bodies....all signs of progress in your world I guess.   :boring:

Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Argh to the Zee on March 20, 2007, 16:13:56
Sure.   Race riots, ghettoization, anti-semitism, 15,000 dead old people whose families won't even come back from the beach to claim the bodies....all signs of progress in your world I guess.   :boring:

There was even more anti Semites , oh, I recon, about 70-60 years ago. A lot more. In fact, if I remember, about 6 million dead Jews as result.

Race Riots? I think the good ol USA has had more of them in recent time then France.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Aden_Gatling on March 20, 2007, 17:58:46
Race Riots? I think the good ol USA has had more of them in recent time then France.

!!! Don't follow the news much, eh?
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4405620.stm (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4405620.stm)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2005_civil_unrest_in_France (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2005_civil_unrest_in_France)
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: geo on March 20, 2007, 19:24:55
Hmmm
Whac could I say about France & Canada
1763  France sold "new France" down the river
1778  France enters the war on the US side.  In part to satisfy it's taste for revenge (though it ruined the treasury)... bringing on the French revolution
1967  Charles DeGaule flaps his gums about "vive le Québec Libre" & skips town before he got his *** kicked outa town
2006  Ségolène Royale - a potential candidate for the Presidency - flaps her gums about "la liberté et souveraineté du Québec" (Québec Libre).....

Thank you very much, don't need your help we're doing fine without ya!
Don't let the door hit ya in the A$$ as you go out the door....
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: tomahawk6 on September 12, 2007, 20:06:09
There is no question that Israel struck at a target in northern Syria.A fuel tank was found just across the border in Turkey.One interesting tidbit was that the Israeli planes were able to neutralize the Pantsyr-S1 air defense system.Valuable intel if the US must strike at Iran.

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3448829,00.html

Report: Israel spots nuclear installations in Syria


Washington official says Israeli surveillance shows possible Syrian nuclear installation stocked by North Korea, Israeli Arab newspaper claims target of alleged raid last week was Syrian missile base financed by Iran

Israel believes that North Korea has been supplying Syria and Iran with nuclear materials, a Washington defense official told the New York Times. “The Israelis think North Korea is selling to Iran and Syria what little they have left,” he said.

The official added that recent Israeli reconnaissance flights over Syria revealed possible nuclear installations that Israeli officials estimate might have been supplied with material from North Korea.

 

Meanwhile on Wednesday the Nazareth-based Israeli Arab newspaper The Assennara cited anonymous Israeli sources as saying that Israeli jets "bombed a Syrian-Iranian missile base in northern Syria that was financed by Iran... It appears that the base was completely destroyed."

According to the Times, American officials confirmed Tuesday that Israeli jets launched an airstrike inside Syria. Sources said that Israel struck at least one target in northeastern Syria, but could not provide more details.

 
The most likely target was, according to some administration officials, weapon caches sent by Iran to Hizbullah through Syria.

North Korea commented on the incident Tuesday, calling it a "dangerous provocation", Chinese News Agency Xinhua reported on Tuesday.

"This is a very dangerous provocation little short of wantonly violating the sovereignty of Syria and seriously harassing the regional peace and security," a North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

"The Democratic People's Republic of Korea strongly denounces the above-said intrusion and extends full support and solidarity to the Syrian people in their just cause to defend the national security and the regional peace."
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: tomahawk6 on September 16, 2007, 15:49:20
The Israelis and Syrians are being very secretive about this operation. I suspect the Syrians were caught with their hand in the cookie jar.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article2461421.ece

Israelis ‘blew apart Syrian nuclear cache’

IT was just after midnight when the 69th Squadron of Israeli F15Is crossed the Syrian coast-line. On the ground, Syria’s formidable air defences went dead. An audacious raid on a Syrian target 50 miles from the Iraqi border was under way.

At a rendezvous point on the ground, a Shaldag air force commando team was waiting to direct their laser beams at the target for the approaching jets. The team had arrived a day earlier, taking up position near a large underground depot. Soon the bunkers were in flames.

Ten days after the jets reached home, their mission was the focus of intense speculation this weekend amid claims that Israel believed it had destroyed a cache of nuclear materials from North Korea.

The Israeli government was not saying. “The security sources and IDF [Israeli Defence Forces] soldiers are demonstrating unusual courage,” said Ehud Olmert, the prime minister. “We naturally cannot always show the public our cards.”

The Syrians were also keeping mum. “I cannot reveal the details,” said Farouk al-Sharaa, the vice-president. “All I can say is the military and political echelon is looking into a series of responses as we speak. Results are forthcoming.” The official story that the target comprised weapons destined for Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Lebanese Shi’ite group, appeared to be crumbling in the face of widespread scepticism.

Andrew Semmel, a senior US State Department official, said Syria might have obtained nuclear equipment from “secret suppliers”, and added that there were a “number of foreign technicians” in the country.

Asked if they could be North Korean, he replied: “There are North Korean people there. There’s no question about that.” He said a network run by AQ Khan, the disgraced creator of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, could be involved.

But why would nuclear material be in Syria? Known to have chemical weapons, was it seeking to bolster its arsenal with something even more deadly?

Alternatively, could it be hiding equipment for North Korea, enabling Kim Jong-il to pretend to be giving up his nuclear programme in exchange for economic aid? Or was the material bound for Iran, as some authorities in America suggest?

According to Israeli sources, preparations for the attack had been going on since late spring, when Meir Dagan, the head of Mossad, presented Olmert with evidence that Syria was seeking to buy a nuclear device from North Korea.

The Israeli spy chief apparently feared such a device could eventually be installed on North-Korean-made Scud-C missiles.

“This was supposed to be a devastating Syrian surprise for Israel,” said an Israeli source. “We’ve known for a long time that Syria has deadly chemical warheads on its Scuds, but Israel can’t live with a nuclear warhead.”

An expert on the Middle East, who has spoken to Israeli participants in the raid, told yesterday’s Washington Post that the timing of the raid on September 6 appeared to be linked to the arrival three days earlier of a ship carrying North Korean material labelled as cement but suspected of concealing nuclear equipment.

The target was identified as a northern Syrian facility that purported to be an agricultural research centre on the Euphrates river. Israel had been monitoring it for some time, concerned that it was being used to extract uranium from phosphates.

According to an Israeli air force source, the Israeli satellite Ofek 7, launched in June, was diverted from Iran to Syria. It sent out high-quality images of a northeastern area every 90 minutes, making it easy for air force specialists to spot the facility.

Early in the summer Ehud Barak, the defence minister, had given the order to double Israeli forces on its Golan Heights border with Syria in anticipation of possible retaliation by Damascus in the event of air strikes.

Sergei Kirpichenko, the Russian ambassador to Syria, warned President Bashar al-Assad last month that Israel was planning an attack, but suggested the target was the Golan Heights.

Israeli military intelligence sources claim Syrian special forces moved towards the Israeli outpost of Mount Hermon on the Golan Heights. Tension rose, but nobody knew why.

At this point, Barak feared events could spiral out of control. The decision was taken to reduce the number of Israeli troops on the Golan Heights and tell Damascus the tension was over. Syria relaxed its guard shortly before the Israeli Defence Forces struck.

Only three Israeli cabinet ministers are said to have been in the know � Olmert, Barak and Tzipi Livni, the foreign minister. America was also consulted. According to Israeli sources, American air force codes were given to the Israeli air force attaché in Washington to ensure Israel’s F15Is would not mistakenly attack their US counterparts.

Once the mission was under way, Israel imposed draconian military censorship and no news of the operation emerged until Syria complained that Israeli aircraft had violated its airspace. Syria claimed its air defences had engaged the planes, forcing them to drop fuel tanks to lighten their loads as they fled.

But intelligence sources suggested it was a highly successful Israeli raid on nuclear material supplied by North Korea.

Washington was rife with speculation last week about the precise nature of the operation. One source said the air strikes were a diversion for a daring Israeli commando raid, in which nuclear materials were intercepted en route to Iran and hauled to Israel. Others claimed they were destroyed in the attack.

There is no doubt, however, that North Korea is accused of nuclear cooperation with Syria, helped by AQ Khan’s network. John Bolton, who was undersecretary for arms control at the State Department, told the United Nations in 2004 the Pakistani nuclear scientist had “several other” customers besides Iran, Libya and North Korea.

Some of his evidence came from the CIA, which had reported to Congress that it viewed “Syrian nuclear intentions with growing concern”.

“I’ve been worried for some time about North Korea and Iran outsourcing their nuclear programmes,” Bolton said last week. Syria, he added, was a member of a “junior axis of evil”, with a well-established ambition to develop weapons of mass destruction.

The links between Syria and North Korea date back to the rule of Kim Il-sung and President Hafez al-Assad in the last century. In recent months, their sons have quietly ordered an increase in military and technical cooperation.

Foreign diplomats who follow North Korean affairs are taking note. There were reports of Syrian passengers on flights from Beijing to Pyongyang and sightings of Middle Eastern businessmen from sources who watch the trains from North Korea to China.

On August 14, Rim Kyong Man, the North Korean foreign trade minister, was in Syria to sign a protocol on “cooperation in trade and science and technology”. No details were released, but it caught Israel’s attention.

Syria possesses between 60 and 120 Scud-C missiles, which it has bought from North Korea over the past 15 years. Diplomats believe North Korean engineers have been working on extending their 300-mile range. It means they can be used in the deserts of northeastern Syria � the area of the Israeli strike.

The triangular relationship between North Korea, Syria and Iran continues to perplex intelligence analysts. Syria served as a conduit for the transport to Iran of an estimated £50m of missile components and technology sent by sea from North Korea. The same route may be in use for nuclear equipment.

But North Korea is at a sensitive stage of negotiations to end its nuclear programme in exchange for security guarantees and aid, leading some diplomats to cast doubt on the likelihood that Kim would cross America’s “red line” forbidding the proliferation of nuclear materials.

Christopher Hill, the State Department official representing America in the talks, said on Friday he could not confirm “intelligence-type things”, but the reports underscored the need “to make sure the North Koreans get out of the nuclear business”.

By its actions, Israel showed it is not interested in waiting for diplomacy to work where nuclear weapons are at stake.

As a bonus, the Israelis proved they could penetrate the Syrian air defence system, which is stronger than the one protecting Iranian nuclear sites.

This weekend President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran sent Ali Akbar Mehrabian, his nephew, to Syria to assess the damage. The new “axis of evil” may have lost one of its spokes.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Carcharodon Carcharias on September 16, 2007, 16:26:41
Just goes to show that any sane nation, including ours, does not want 'out of control' regimes with such power.

Iran is definatley on the radar!

If countries such as these ever get nukes, a new and serious danger will emerge.

Scarey thought!


Wes
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: time expired on September 16, 2007, 17:19:21
About 6 months ago I read on Jane's Defense site that Iran was
assisting Syria with the construction of 6 chemical warfare facilities.
I was a little surprised that non of the media picked up on this,after
all Jane's is a well respected source,maybe there could be some
connection here?.
                      Regards
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: TCBF on September 16, 2007, 17:53:07
Some speculation a few years back that any re-incarnated WMD progam of Saddam's that existed after Gulf War I was driven from Iraq to Syria during Gulf War II.


Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: geo on September 16, 2007, 18:50:47
Hmmm.... I would describe this as being "A clear and present danger".
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: DBA on September 18, 2007, 17:13:25
About 6 months ago I read on Jane's Defense site that Iran was
assisting Syria with the construction of 6 chemical warfare facilities.
I was a little surprised that non of the media picked up on this,after
all Jane's is a well respected source,maybe there could be some
connection here?.
                      Regards

"Proof of cooperation between Iran and Syria in the proliferation and development of weapons of mass destruction was brought to light Monday in a Jane's Magazine report that dozens of Iranian engineers and 15 Syrian officers were killed in a July 23 accident in Syria."
JP Article link (http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1189411428847&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull)
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: geo on September 18, 2007, 17:20:36
An "accident" eh!
Fancy that, Pitty!
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: tomahawk6 on September 23, 2007, 13:20:36
Quite amazing feat for the Israelis to pull off a nuclear burglary prior to taking military action. Would make a great movie I think.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article2512380.ece

Quote
bombed it this month, according to informed sources in Washington and Jerusalem.

The attack was launched with American approval on September 6 after Washington was shown evidence the material was nuclear related, the well-placed sources say.

They confirmed that samples taken from Syria for testing had been identified as North Korean. This raised fears that Syria might have joined North Korea and Iran in seeking to acquire nuclear weapons.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Flip on September 23, 2007, 13:50:49
Quote
Would make a great movie I think.

No Doubt!!

Waiting for a prescription to be filled I read an article in a popular
aviation magazine. I wish I'd spent the 7 bucks now.

The article was about an Iraqi owned 727 used for "humanitarian"
flights to Syria being actually used to smuggle WMD out of Iraq
before the second gulf war started.

Seemed to weird to be credible at the time - I should have been more
open minded.  ;D

This magazine issue was out about 9 months ago (ish).
 

 
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Flanker on September 29, 2007, 04:04:41
Just goes to show that any sane nation, including ours, does not want 'out of control' regimes with such power.

Iran is definatley on the radar!

If countries such as these ever get nukes, a new and serious danger will emerge.

Scarey thought!

Wes

Let's get back to reality.
At this time the regime that is 'out of control' and that has already got nukes illegaly is not Syria or Iran.
It is Israel.

Why don't you put it on your radar?
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Carcharodon Carcharias on September 29, 2007, 04:57:41
Let's get back to reality.
At this time the regime that is 'out of control' and that has already got nukes illegaly is not Syria or Iran.
It is Israel.

Why don't you put it on your radar?


Do you actually think Israel is 'out of control'? You can't even grasp the true concept of reailty! Ever been to a muslim country?

Are you trolling or just deliberatly stirring the pot for an audience?

Sounds like you're batting for the other side to me.




Wes
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Flanker on September 29, 2007, 05:03:37
Do you actually think Israel is 'out of control'?

Exactly.
1. Regular aggressive acts against neighbor countries.
2. Ignoring UN resolutions
3. Illegal acquiring nuclear weapons

This is all real.
Not virtual, as Collin Powel's anthrax or whatever he brought to show at UN security council last time to support the US invasion in Iraq.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Carcharodon Carcharias on September 29, 2007, 05:07:06
I think you are on the wrong website pal.

Ya, another empty profile. Figures.  ::)

Keep on living in a fantasy world wearing rose coloured glasses, you'll be alright, head in the sand and all.


Wes
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Flip on September 29, 2007, 13:21:08
Flanker!

Simple list with simple thoughts.

Israel is a multicultural, multiethnic, liberal, constitutional democracy.
Not that unlike the one you live in.

Do you want to see it destroyed?

Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran and Syria all would like to see it and it's people destroyed.
This has been demonstrated.

What great virtue do you ascribe to these others?






Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: tomahawk6 on September 29, 2007, 15:48:45
This makes for an interesting read. Kind of a recap of what we have already said here.

http://www.tothepointnews.com/

Written by Dr. Jack Wheeler
Wednesday, 19 September 2007

One of India's top ranking generals assigned to liaise with the Iranian military recently returned to New Delhi from several days in Tehran - in a state of complete amazement.

"Everyone in the government and military can only talk of one thing," he reports. "No matter who I talked to, all they could do was ask me, over and over again, 'Do you think the Americans will attack us?' 'When will the Americans attack us?' 'Will the Americans attack us in a joint operation with the Israelis?' How massive will the attack be?' on and on, endlessly. The Iranians are in a state of total panic."

And that was before September 6. Since then, it's panic-squared in Tehran. The mullahs are freaking out in fear. Why? Because of the silence in Syria.

On September 6, Israeli Air Force F-15 and F-16s conducted a devastating attack on targets deep inside Syria near the city of Dayr az-Zawr. Israel's military censors have muzzled the Israeli media, enforcing an extraordinary silence about the identity of the targets. Massive speculation in the world press has followed, such as Brett Stephens' Osirak II? in yesterday's (9/18) Wall St. Journal.

Stephens and most everyone else have missed the real story. It is not Israel's silence that "speaks volumes" as he claims, but Syria's. Why would the Syrian government be so tight-lipped about an act of war perpetrated on their soil?

The first half of the answer lies in this story that appeared in the Israeli media last month (8/13): Syria's Antiaircraft System Most Advanced In World. Syria has gone on a profligate buying spree, spending vast sums on Russian systems, "considered the cutting edge in aircraft interception technology."

Syria now "possesses the most crowded antiaircraft system in the world," with "more than 200 antiaircraft batteries of different types," some of which are so new that they have been installed in Syria "before being introduced into Russian operation service."

While you're digesting that, take a look at the map of Syria:



Notice how far away Dayr az-Zawr is from Israel. An F15/16 attack there is not a tiptoe across the border, but a deep, deep penetration of Syrian airspace. And guess what happened with the Russian super-hyper-sophisticated cutting edge antiaircraft missile batteries when that penetration took place on September 6th.

Nothing.

El blanko. Silence. The systems didn't even light up, gave no indication whatever of any detection of enemy aircraft invading Syrian airspace, zip, zero, nada. The Israelis (with a little techie assistance from us) blinded the Russkie antiaircraft systems so completely the Syrians didn't even know they were blinded.

Now you see why the Syrians have been scared speechless. They thought they were protected - at enormous expense - only to discover they are defenseless. As in naked.

Thus the Great Iranian Freak-Out - for this means Iran is just as nakedly defenseless as Syria. I can tell you that there are a lot of folks in the Kirya (IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv) and the Pentagon right now who are really enjoying the mullahs' predicament. Let's face it: scaring the terror masters in Tehran out of their wits is fun.

It's so much fun, in fact, that an attack destroying Iran's nuclear facilities and the Revolutionary Guard command/control centers has been delayed, so that France (under new management) can get in on the fun too.

On Sunday (9/16), Sarkozy's foreign minister Bernard Kouchner announced that "France should prepare for the possibility of war over Iran's nuclear program."

All of this has caused Tehran to respond with maniacal threats. On Monday (9/17), a government website proclaimed that "600 Shihab-3 missiles" will be fired at targets in Israel in response to an attack upon Iran by the US/Israel. This was followed by Iranian deputy air force chief Gen. Mohammad Alavi announcing today (9/19) that "we will attack their (Israeli) territory with our fighter bombers as a response to any attack."

A sure sign of panic is to make a threat that everyone knows is a bluff. So our and Tel Aviv's response to Iranian bluster is a thank-you-for-sharing yawn and a laugh. Few things rattle the mullahs' cages more than a yawn and a laugh.

Yet no matter how much fun this sport with the mullahs is, it is also deadly serious. The pressure build-up on Iran is getting enormous. Something is going to blow and soon. The hope is that the blow-up will be internal, that the regime will implode from within.

But make no mistake: an all-out full regime take-out air assault upon Iran is coming if that hope doesn't materialize within the next 60 to 90 days. The Sept. 6 attack on Syria was the shot across Iran's bow.

So - what was attacked near Dayr az-Zawr? It's possible it was North Korean "nuclear material" recently shipped to Syria, i.e., stuff to make radioactively "dirty" warheads, but nothing to make a real nuke with as the Norks don't have real nukes (see Why North Korea's Nuke Test Is Such Good News, October 2006).

Another possibility is it was to take out a stockpile of long-range Zilzal surface-to-surface missiles recently shipped from Iran for an attack on Israel.

A third is it was a hit on the stockpile of Saddam's chemical/bio weapons snuck out of Iraq and into Syria for safekeeping before the US invasion of April 2003.

But the identity of the target is not the story - for the primary point of the attack was not to destroy that target. It was to shut down Syria's Russian air defense system during the attack. Doing so made the attack an incredible success.

Syria is shamed and silent. Iran is freaking out in panic. Defenseless enemies are fun.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Flip on September 29, 2007, 16:08:33
Quote
Syria is shamed and silent. Iran is freaking out in panic. Defenseless enemies are fun.

They wouldn't be so managable now if Saddam were still in business.  ;)

So........ I wonder who will play the lead in the movie?  ;D

Mark Wahlberg?



 



Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Carcharodon Carcharias on September 29, 2007, 16:35:04
Flanker!

Simple list with simple thoughts.

Israel is a multicultural, multiethnic, liberal, constitutional democracy.
Not that unlike the one you live in.

Do you want to see it destroyed?

Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran and Syria all would like to see it and it's people destroyed.
This has been demonstrated.

What great virtue do you ascribe to these others?








Flanker is a troll seeking an audience. He is argumentitve, and controversial pretty much on everything we say, just read his posts. An audience seeker who willl burn out on here sooner than later. He's already given himself enough rope to implode by his own demise.

Ignore him.

Wes
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Flip on September 29, 2007, 16:41:05
Wes,

As usual, I agree with you.

But, I'm trying to perfect my "Simple Arguments For Simple People Method"  ;D





Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Flanker on September 29, 2007, 17:05:24
Flanker!

Simple list with simple thoughts.

Israel is a multicultural, multiethnic, liberal, constitutional democracy.

So what?
All this, does not help to justify Israel's aggressions, ignoring UN resolutions and clandestine manufacturing of nuclear weapon.

Quote
Do you want to see it destroyed?

No, I am just wondering why you are blaming Iran or Syria that has not done any thing yet and persistenly close your eyes on Israel who has already done all that.
Why?
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Flip on September 29, 2007, 17:13:17
Iran and Syria haven't done anything yet!? :rofl:

Read some history.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Flanker on September 29, 2007, 17:21:29
Iran and Syria haven't done anything yet!? :rofl:

Read some history.

I am still asking the same question.
Syria and Iran have no nuke bombs, Israel has already built them illegaly.
Why are there so much media attention to Syria and Iran and no attention to Israel at all?
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Spandrel on September 29, 2007, 17:22:22
Actually, Flanker, there's not much that's "Clandestine" about Israel's nuclear program.  More like an "open secret" that no one denies.

No one in the Levant is innocent, they all have blood on their hands.  Rather than be emotive on the subject, maybe some research will back up your allegations.  Some hints are  from one of my previous posts here (http://forums.army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,60276.msg559486.html#msg559486).

However, your blinders must come off - if you swing the tar brush, everyone who deserves some must get it.  There are no innocents there - trying to accuse someone in the Levant of murder is like handing out speeding tickets at the Indy 500.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Spandrel on September 29, 2007, 17:24:19
Oh, Flanker, I just saw your last.  Trying to help you out here...

You are not going down a good path.  I suggest that you not be so one-sided if you expect anyone to take you seriously.  Sources, research, documentation and objectivity are your friends if you try to make a point here.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: tomahawk6 on September 29, 2007, 19:20:07
Six anti-Syrian politicians have been asassinated is it bad luck or Syria trying to destablize Lebanon ? I think its the latter. Where did hizbollah get all the missiles they hit Israel with last year ? Iran by way of Syria. In Gaza we see rocket attacks from there by Iranian rockets. In Iraq we have captured hundreds of Iranian Quds Force agents a senior officer just last week was captured. Iran is supplying weapons and money to both AQ and the pro-Iranian shia militias. You probably dont see a pattern here but I do. Israel struck a target deep inside Syria and curiously there has been no comment by Israel or Syria. No anti-israel outcry from the arab states either which has got to be a first.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Carcharodon Carcharias on September 29, 2007, 19:25:08
This Flanker is just a troll guys, time to ignore it.

He has his agenda, and thats to stir the pot and get attention. He has had his audience, now its time to phuck him off via frog marching!

I am all for giving a bloke a fair go on here, but his credibility is in the negatives, and he's cut his own throat. Examine his posts, they speak for themselves.

Flanker = waist of band width on here.

Wes

EDITed not to 'OFFEND' those so politically 'correct' inclined.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Flip on September 29, 2007, 19:26:27
No one has stated the obvious.

Israel has never called for or attempted the destruction of
Syria or Iran.

If Israel has nukes it's for self defence.
If Syria or Iran has nukes it's for making trouble.

It's a simple but meaningful distinction.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Shec on September 29, 2007, 19:43:39
No one has stated the obvious.

Israel has never called for or attempted the destruction of
Syria or Iran.

If Israel has nukes it's for self defence.
If Syria or Iran has nukes it's for making trouble.

It's a simple but meaningful distinction.

Thankyou for making that essential point.    At their passing out parade all IDF recruits take the oath "Masada Shall Not Fall Again" .  For if it does it will surely be the end of the world as Megiddo, or Armageddon, is only a short 3 hour drive away.   

As for your observation that this will make a rivetting movie, it certainly has all the ingredients for one (except maybe for Chuck Norris). And perhaps the real star of the show is the IDF's Sayaret Matkal.  Originally modelled on the SAS they:

Quote
Commandos captured nuclear materials before air raid in Syria'


------------------------------------------------------------------------------
JPost.com Staff , THE JERUSALEM POST Sep. 23, 2007

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Soldiers from an elite Israeli unit captured nuclear material originating in North Korea from a secret Syrian military installation before IAF jets bombed it, a report by Britain's Sunday Times wrote Saturday night, quoting "informed sources in Washington and Jerusalem."

According to the sources quoted by the report, the alleged IAF attack was sanctioned by the US on September 6, after the Americans were given proof that the material was indeed nuclear related.

The sources confirmed that the materials were tested after they were taken from Syria and were found to be of North Korean origin, which raised concerns that Syria may have been trying to come into possession of nuclear arms.

The report said that the commandos, from the legendary General Staff's Reconnaissance Unit (Sayeret Matkal), may have been disguised in Syrian army uniforms. It also stated that Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who used to head the unit, personally oversaw the operation.

Israeli sources admitted that special forces had been accruing intelligence in Syria for several months, the report said, adding that evidence that North Koreans were at the site was presented to President George Bush during the summer.

The report said North Korean and Chinese diplomats believed that North Koreans were also killed in the subsequent "IAF air strike."

Meanwhile, Newsweek quoted Binyamin Netanyahu adviser Uzi Arad as saying, "I do know what happened, and when it comes out it will stun everyone."

This was their greatest snatch since they seized a state of the art Russian built Egyptian AA radar station and helicoptered it back to Israel in 1969 and their greatest raid since Entebbe. 
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Greymatters on September 29, 2007, 23:11:37
So what? All this, does not help to justify Israel's aggressions, ignoring UN resolutions and clandestine manufacturing of nuclear weapon.  No, I am just wondering why you are blaming Iran or Syria that has not done any thing yet and persistenly close your eyes on Israel who has already done all that.   Why?   

Thats Flanker in the back...   (http://www.cranberrycoastcoc.com/troller.jpg)

Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Tiamo on October 06, 2007, 01:36:48
I do agree with CSA 105 post. All sides in the ME are no better than the other one. Personally, I think if the Arabs possessed nukes while Israel had none nor Israel had support from the US, Tel Aviv would be flatten by now. On the other hand, lets not forget the Israel did consider using Nuclear Bombs on Egypt during the 1973 war.

During the cold war , the USSR served as a backer for the Arab states ensuring Israel wouldn't think about using its nuclear power. But since the fall of communisim most Arab states find themselves with no supporters and hence the nuclear arm race.

Back on topic, Syria already have a small research only nuclear facility, and obviously like any other country in that part of the world would want to guarantee their safety (just as Israel does) by owning nuclear weapons. I think should the Iranians or Syrians own any nuclear weapons, they're far more likely to use it against their own people than Israel. After all, it works to the 'leaders' advantage to keep Israel on the map as a way of controlling their population.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Carcharodon Carcharias on October 06, 2007, 03:39:56
I think should the Iranians or Syrians own any nuclear weapons, they're far more likely to use it against their own people than Israel

Or sell/supply them to an extremist islamic front against us, yes the west, and thats not generally at the USA either.

IMHO, Iran will not get any nuclear capability in the forseeable future, because this will be simply quashed by random surgical airstrikes, which will come sooner than later, so do a 'wait out' on the national news. Its coming one day to a theatre (of ops) near you.


Wes

Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: TCBF on October 06, 2007, 12:32:22
Taking out infrastructure is one thing - 'de-militarizing' the technicians who know how to use that infrastructure is another. 

You will recall the bizzare wave of fatal 'accidents' that mysteriously shredded the ranks of British scientists who were working on the American SDI ('Star Wars') research contracts  in England the 1980s.

Recall as well the 'accidental' landing in a school compound of a 'stray' US helicopter during the raid on the (empty) Son Tay POW camp in Noth Vietnam years ago. Turned out the 'school' was the classroom and quarters used by 'foriegn' air defence specialists who regettably did not survive the incident.  Oooops. Sorry about that.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: GAP on October 26, 2007, 12:57:04
Syria air strike target 'removed'  
 Article Link (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7063135.stm)

Newly-released satellite images of the presumed site of an Israeli air raid on Syria last month suggest that a large building has been completely removed.
US research group, the Institute for Science and International Security, obtained and analysed the images.

The industrial-style building may have been a nuclear reactor under construction, says the ISIS.

A BBC correspondent says the images are not conclusive. Nor is it certain that they show the site hit by Israeli jets.

The Israeli strike has been shrouded in mystery and speculation.

Originally Israel did not even admit that the 6 September raid had been carried out, and its military censor ordered a complete blackout on information.

But Syria said Israeli warplanes violated its airspace in what it called a "hostile act", and Israel eventually acknowledged the mission some four weeks later.

Intelligence sources hinted at a possible link with North Korea's nuclear programme.

'Resemblance'

On Wednesday the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), an independent organisation, released satellite images pre-dating the attack, of a facility in northern Syria that it believes was the target.

They showed both a large industrial building and a pumping station near the Euphrates river.


 SEQUENCE OF EVENTS
6 Sept: Syria says air defences fired at Israeli jets, which "dropped some ammunition without causing any material damage"
Week one: Israel says nothing; US officials say Israel struck an unspecified target; one US source hints at links to North Korea
Week two: N Korea denies any link to Syria; Israeli opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu admits Israel made strike
Week three: Syrian president says a military construction site was hit and speaks of "retaliation"; Israel confirms strike on "military target" 

The ISIS said the building bore a resemblance to the Yongbyon nuclear facility in North Korea.

"The length of the outer walls of the structures are approximately the same," the institute said in its analysis.

"From the image, the Syrian building is similar in shape to the North Korean reactor building, but the Syrian building is not far enough along in its construction to make a definitive comparison," it said.

The ISIS has now produced a more recent image of the same site taken on 24 October, more than six weeks after the alleged air attack.

The image appears to show that the building has been completely removed and the ground scraped clean.
More on link
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Thucydides on October 26, 2007, 13:14:23
IMHO, Iran will not get any nuclear capability in the forseeable future, because this will be simply quashed by random surgical airstrikes, which will come sooner than later, so do a 'wait out' on the national news. Its coming one day to a theatre (of ops) near you.

I suspect the Iranians will have a rash of industrial accidents at or near their sites (high speed centrifuges are very sensitive to voltage fluctuations or other events that unbalance them, for example), who knows, maybe that is already happening. It would be much harder to figure out if this was a result of Achmed's innatention or action by Western or Israeli SOF operators, while airstrikes are pretty unambiguous.

Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Flip on October 26, 2007, 13:31:26
Ah yes!

The time honoured, "series of unfortunate events". ;D

Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: geo on October 26, 2007, 14:34:16
... "living in interesting times"
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Greymatters on October 26, 2007, 16:59:34
Unbelievable what manages to get put out in open sources these days... good stuff!
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: tomahawk6 on October 26, 2007, 17:50:54
Syrian weapons facility [that Israel struck]  has since been dismantled by the Syrians.

(http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?blobcol=urlimage&blobheader=image%2Fjpeg&blobheadername1=Cache-Control&blobheadervalue1=max-age%3D420&blobkey=id&blobtable=JPImage&blobwhere=1192380657754&cachecontrol=5%3A0%3A0+*%2F*%2F*&ssbinary=true)
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: TCBF on October 27, 2007, 18:08:08
Syrian weapons facility [that Israel struck]  has since been dismantled by the Syrians.

- Wow. That was quick.  They must have some pretty strict environmental remediation laws!

 ;D
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: tomahawk6 on October 27, 2007, 19:52:37
or something to hide  ;D
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: geo on October 27, 2007, 22:51:45
Hide, hide what?... it was an empty building, honest :(
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: tomahawk6 on October 27, 2007, 23:16:30
It does seem to be a twin of one of the structures at one of the north korean nuclear sites. The Norks traded nuclear stuff for wheat. Looks like they got the better deal. :)
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Greymatters on October 27, 2007, 23:25:10
Trading nuclear stuff for missiles is always bad, looks like the deal blew up in their face...  ;D
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: sdfgsdfgfd on October 28, 2007, 09:22:36
well if north korea traded there nuclear program equipment for syrian anti aircraft gear it would be even funnier lol
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Shec on November 02, 2007, 10:06:11
Tac nuc?   

US Air Force struck Syrian nuclear site

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
JPost.com Staff , THE JERUSALEM POST  Nov. 2, 2007

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The September 6 raid over Syria was carried out by the US Air Force, the Al-Jazeera Web site reported Friday. The Web site quoted Israeli and Arab sources as saying that two strategic US jets armed with tactical nuclear weapons carried out an attack on a nuclear site under construction.

The sources were quoted as saying that Israeli F-15 and F-16 jets provided cover for the US planes.

The sources added that each US plane carried one tactical nuclear weapon and that the site was hit by one bomb and was totally destroyed.

At the beginning of October, Israel's military censor began to allow the local media to report on the raid without attributing their report to foreign sources. Nevertheless, details of the strike have remained clouded in mystery.

On October 28, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told the cabinet that he had apologized to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan if Israel violated Turkish airspace during a strike on an alleged nuclear facility in Syria last month.

In a carefully worded statement that was given to reporters after the cabinet meeting, Olmert said: "In my conversation with the Turkish prime minister, I told him that if Israeli planes indeed penetrated Turkish airspace, then there was no intention thereby, either in advance or in any case, to - in any way - violate or undermine Turkish sovereignty, which we respect."

The New York Times reported on October 13 that Israeli planes struck at what US and Israeli intelligence believed was a partly constructed nuclear reactor in Syria on September 6, citing American and foreign officials who had seen the relevant intelligence reports.

According to the report, Israel carried out the report to send a message that it would not tolerate even a nuclear program in its initial stages of construction in any neighboring state.

On October 17, Syria denied that one of its representatives to the United Nations told a panel that an Israeli air strike hit a Syrian nuclear facility and added that "such facilities do not exist in Syria."

A UN document released by the press office had provided an account of a meeting of the First Committee, Disarmament and International Security, in New York, and paraphrased an unnamed Syrian representative as saying that a nuclear facility was hit by the raid.

However, the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency, SANA said media reports, apparently based on a UN press release, misquoted the Syrian diplomat.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This article can also be read at http://www.jpost.com /servlet/Satellite?cid=1192380718519&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: tomahawk6 on November 02, 2007, 10:27:19
Shec the sat photos in this thread would indicate no nuclear weapon was used in the attack. Its pretty well determined that it was the Israelis who did it. A drop tank with Israeli markings came down in Turkey.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Shec on November 02, 2007, 10:39:45
Thanks Tomahawk 6.  I didn' think so, its based on an Al Jazeera report which would never miss an opportunity to spread some "lets slam the Great and Little Satan" hyperbole.  Tac Nuc is such a giant step that whether or not Syria had a  program would cease to be the issue.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: GAP on November 02, 2007, 10:44:05
Watch.....within the next year that report will be disseminated throughout the Arab world and there will be many that take it as the gospel.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: tomahawk6 on November 02, 2007, 11:00:13
There was zero outcry in the arab world when the attack occured which would indicate that the Syrians lack credibility because of their close ties to Iran.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Tiamo on November 02, 2007, 11:09:02
Quote
There was zero outcry in the arab world when the attack occured which would indicate that the Syrians lack credibility because of their close ties to Iran.

I believe te Arabs in general didn't care much to the Syrian response which was the typical "we reserve the right to retaliate". Something the rest of the Arab world have heard many times from Syria without any results. Some Arabs do see Syria deserves to be hit due to its alliance with Iran. This is especially true in the case of Gulf countries vs Syria & Iran.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: SeaKingTacco on November 04, 2007, 19:19:00
There is like a 0% chance that anyone, leastwise the US, could have gotten away with exploding a couple of nuclear weapons inside Syria and then covered it up.  If it was done, there would have been seismic evidence on hundreds of monitoring stations owned by governments and universities around the world- yet, no one has mentioned a thing.  There should be at least trace amounts of fallout showing up down-range.  Again, nothing heard.  Finally, it defies belief that a nuclear attack could be authorized by the US and not have at least some of those details leaked afterwards.

To me, it looks like the Syrians got caught with their hand in North Korea's nuclear cookie jar and the Israelis (probably assisted by the US and maybe even Turkey and a few others)  shut'em down- conventionally.  And now the Syrians are terrified to admit that the couple of billion they just spent on Russian Air Defence equipment was a huge waste of money and that they can be undressed by the Israelis or the US anytime that they feel like it.

Sucks to be them.  And Iran, too.  I'm sure the lesson was not lost on them, either.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: geo on November 04, 2007, 23:17:11
+1 SKT
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: FastEddy on November 06, 2007, 00:09:17

[/quote]

+1 SKT, right on target (no pun intended).

Cheers.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: TCBF on November 06, 2007, 00:21:25
... The Norks traded nuclear stuff for wheat. ...

- Dead-end economics.  It's far cheaper just to grow the wheat.

 ;)
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Mr.Newf on November 22, 2007, 21:11:56
LINK (http://edition.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/meast/11/22/israel.syria.ap/index.html)

Quote
Israeli expert: Syrian site probable bomb plant

Tel Aviv University chemistry professor Uzi Even, who worked in the past at Israel's Dimona nuclear reactor, said satellite pictures of the site taken before the Israeli strike on September 6 showed no sign of the cooling towers and chimneys characteristic of reactors

More on link.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Thucydides on December 02, 2007, 01:01:22
A slightly different explanation as to what was going on:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article2983719.ece

Quote
December 2, 2007
Israelis hit Syrian ‘nuclear bomb plant’
Uzi Mahnaimi in Tel Aviv and Michael Sheridan in Seoul

ISRAEL’S top-secret air raid on Syria in September destroyed a bomb factory assembling warheads fuelled by North Korean plutonium, a leading Israeli nuclear expert has told The Sunday Times.

Professor Uzi Even of Tel Aviv University was one of the founders of the Israeli nuclear reactor at Dimona, the source of the Jewish state’s undeclared nuclear arsenal.

“I suspect that it was a plant for processing plutonium, namely, a factory for assembling the bomb,” he said. “I think the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] transferred to Syria weapons-grade plutonium in raw form, that is nuggets of easily transported metal in protective cans. I think the shaping and casting of the plutonium was supposed to be in Syria.”

All governments concerned - even the regime in Damascus - have tried to maintain complete secrecy about the raid.

They apparently fear that forcing a confrontation on the issue could spark a war between Israel and Syria, end the Middle East peace talks and wreck America’s extremely complex negotiations to disarm North Korea of its nuclear weapons.

The political stakes could hardly be higher. Plutonium is the element which fuelled the American atomic bomb that destroyed the Japanese city of Nagasaki on August 9, 1945.

Critics in the United States say proof that North Korea supplied such nuclear weapons material to Syria, a state technically at war with Israel, would shatter congressional confidence in the Bush administration’s diplomatic policy.

From beneath the veil of military censorship, western commentators have formed a consensus that the target was a nuclear reactor under construction.

But Even said that purely from scientific observation, he had reached a different conclusion - that it was a nuclear bomb factory, posing a more immediate danger to Israel. He said that satellite photos of the site, taken before the Israeli strike on September 6, showed no sign of the cooling towers and chimneys characteristic of nuclear reactors.

Syria’s haste after the attack to bury the site under tons of soil suggested that hundreds of square yards were contaminated and there were fears of radiation, the professor added.

Since then the Syrians have sealed up the location, levelled the site and diverted curious journalists to a place that had not been attacked by Israel.

The professor’s theory fits with authoritative technical evidence about North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme. The North Koreans are able to produce weapons-grade plutonium, which is electro-refined, alloyed and cast into shapes ready to be machined to fit into a warhead, according to a team of distinguished American nuclear weapons scientists who visited the country’s laboratories.

One of those scientists, Siegfried Hecker, was allowed to hold a sample and was told that it was “good bomb grade plutonium”, because it had a very low content of plutonium240, the isotope which reduces the overall quality of the material.

Assembly of a Nagasaki-type bomb involves mating a plutonium core with a uranium wrap and inserting a small quantity of polonium and beryllium to initiate the chain reaction.

“Plutonium is highly dangerous material,” explained the Israeli professor. “It is easily oxidised in air unless protective measures are taken. The oxide is easily dispersed as dust in air when machining plutonium to create the ‘pit’ [a hollow sphere in many nuclear weapons] and thus can be inhaled, causing a fatality in minute quantities.

“Plutonium pellets are handled and machined exclusively in a large array of ‘glove boxes’, to protect the technicians and their environment. That is why you need a relatively large containment building and cannot assemble a nuclear weapon in your garage - unless you are suicidal of course.”

The debris from a destructive raid on a weapons-building facility could therefore contain toxic radioactive waste. But the main danger for Syria would be the telltale exposure of the elements to surveillance and detection by America. This would explain the cover-up at the site.

North Korea, for its part, has more than enough plutonium to sell some of its stock to Syria.

The same team of visiting US scientists estimated that by late 2006 the nation had made 40-50kg (88-100lb) of the material. Between six and eight kilograms are needed for a weapon.

For the US and its allies the Syrian connection raises the deeply worrying possibility that North Korea has succeeded in building what the US scientists called “a sophisticated design with smaller dimensions and mass so as to fit onto a . . . medium-range missile”.

That puzzle was complicated when North Korea announced that it had tested its first nuclear bomb on October 9 last year. The yield of the blast was small - less than a 20th of the Nagasaki bomb - suggesting to some scientists that the device was sophisticated and small while others believed the North Koreans had simply not made a very good bomb.

Professor Even believes the North Koreans have not yet perfected small warheads. “The mechanical dimensioning at this stage is extremely demanding (less than 0.01mm). So is the casting of the explosives around the plutonium core and the initiation of the implosion,” he said.

The question is under urgent study by nations who might one day be targets of a North Korean device sold to Syria or Iran. Iran is known to have financed missile and weapons deals between North Korea and Syria, causing concern to Israel and the US. One day after the Israeli attack, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president of Iran, sent his nephew with a personal letter to Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian leader.

The professor’s theory of a clear and present danger that Damascus would get the bomb may be the only credible explanation why Israel carried out a military strike against Syria and risked an all-out conflict.

Indeed on September 6 Israel was ready for war with Syria. Israeli sources said its military chiefs assumed Syria would launch a retaliatory attack, but no reprisal came.

Meanwhile, President Bush has authorised his chief negotiator, Christopher Hill, to go on talking to North Korea in the search for a peaceful solution. Hill will visit Pyongyang this week to pursue negotiations after international technicians got to work on disabling the reactor at Yongbyon, the source of North Korea’s plutonium.

The North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il is supposed to make a full declaration of his nuclear programmes by December 31. The US says that must include information on his weapons deals with Syria and Iran.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: S.M.A. on April 24, 2008, 20:05:31
Interesting. I'm surprised this hasn't been posted here yet.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080424/ap_on_...pe/nkorea_syria

Quote
Congress getting evidence on suspected nuclear facility
By PAMELA HESS, Associated Press Writer
21 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - A top U.S. official says the Syrian nuclear reactor allegedly built with North Korean design help and destroyed last year by Israeli jets was within weeks or months of being functional.

The official says the facility was mostly completed but still needed significant testing before it could be declared operational. The official spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

No uranium — the fuel for a reactor — was evident at the site.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

WASHINGTON (AP) — A top member of the House intelligence committee said classified information being shared with members of Congress Thursday shows that an alleged Syrian nuclear reactor built with North Korean help and destroyed last year by Israeli jets threatened to spread nuclear weapons technology.

"This is a serious proliferation issue, both for the Middle East and the countries that may be involved in Asia," said Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich.

The Syrian reactor was similar in design to a North Korean reactor that has in the past produced small amounts of plutonium, a U.S. official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the information. The reactor was not yet complete but was far enough along to demonstrate a resemblance to the North Korean reactor at Yongbyon.

The official said no uranium — the fuel for a reactor — was evident on site.

CIA Director Michael Hayden and other intelligence officials went to Capitol Hill to brief Congress on the evidence related to the bombed Syrian facility, scheduling appearances before the House and Senate armed services, intelligence and foreign affairs committees.

Hoekstra and Intelligence Committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, told reporters after the closed meeting that they were angry that the Bush administration had delayed briefing the full committee for eight months.

"There's not a clear and compelling case as to why this information is being made available to the committee today. There has been no change in circumstances as to the reasons why we were not told eight months ago," Hoekstra said.

Bush's failure to keep Congress informed has created friction that may imperil congressional support for Bush's policies toward North Korea and Syria.

That makes it "very difficult for them to move forward any policy initiatives in the Middle East or Asia any time soon," Hoekstra added.

The reactor site has been veiled in secrecy until this week, with U.S. intelligence and government officials refusing to confirm until now suspicions that the site was to be a nuclear reactor.

White House press secretary Dana Perino said the Bush administration would issue a public statement later in the day.

The administration has thus far refused to reveal why it chose to release the information now, but the briefings come at a critical time in the diplomatic effort to get North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons.

As part of that process, the North is required to submit a "declaration" detailing its programs and proliferation activity, but the talks are stalled over Pyongyang's refusal to publicly admit the Syria connection. However, officials say the North Koreans are willing to accept international "concern" about unspecified proliferation.

By disclosing North Korean-Syrian cooperation to Congress, the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog and the public, the administration may have overcome that impasse by giving North Korea a "concern" that it can acknowledge in the declaration.

North Korea was aware that the administration would be releasing the information and its Foreign Ministry said Thursday that a visit to Pyongyang this week by a U.S. delegation to discuss the declaration made progress. It did not elaborate.

At the same time, the administration's release of the intelligence shines light on alleged malfeasance by Syria, which has signed an international treaty requiring it to disclose nuclear interests and activity, and vindicates Israel's decision to destroy the suspect site.

Syria has not declared the alleged reactor to the International Atomic Energy Agency nor was it under international safeguards, possibly putting Syria in breech of an international nuclear nonproliferation treaty.

In the Syrian capital of Damascus, legislator Suleiman Haddad, who heads the parliament's foreign relations committee, told The Associated Press that the videotape does not deserve a response.

"America is looking for any problem in order to accuse Syria," Haddad said by telephone. "Do we need Korean workers to work in Syria?"

"It is regretful to say that America is putting us among its enemies and therefore this talk (at Congress) does not deserve a response. America is trying to create an atmosphere of war in the region," Haddad said. He did not elaborate.

Israeli warplanes bombed the site in Syria on Sept. 6, 2007. Private analysts said at the time it appeared to have been the site of a reactor, based on commercial satellite imagery taken after the raid. Syria later razed the site. A new, larger building has been constructed in its place.

House Foreign Affairs Middle East Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-N.Y., sharply criticized the administration for the delay in the release of the information and the press leaks surrounding it.

"This is the selective control of information that led us to war in Iraq," he said.

U.S. officials were also briefing members of the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, at its Vienna headquarters.

John Rood, the under secretary of state for arms control, called IAEA chief Mohamed elBaradei on Thursday morning to detail the presentation and an interagency intelligence team was in Vienna to brief IAEA representatives either Thursday or Friday, a senior U.S. official said.

The revelation of alleged North Korean cooperation with Syria comes at a sensitive time for Pyongyang.

Associated Press Writers Barry Schweid, Matthew Lee, Edith Lederer, and Bassem Mroueh contributed to this report. end quote...
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: RobJackson28 on April 24, 2008, 20:17:17
I wouldn't go so far as to call that "proof" of nuclear ties between the two countries; compelling evidence none-the-less.

Edit: Thanks for the change of title.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: S.M.A. on April 24, 2008, 22:26:30
Yet another website link on the nuclear ties between Syria and North Korea, plus pictures from the link showing the Syrian nuclear plant before and after an Israeli Air Force strike: :o

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/fe65ca72-1209-11dd...&nclick_check=1 (http://www.ft.com/cms/s/fe65ca72-1209-11dd-9b49-0000779fd2ac,Authorised=false.html?_i_location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ft.com%2Fcms%2Fs%2F0%2Ffe65ca72-1209-11dd-9b49-0000779fd2ac.html%3Fnclick_check%3D1&_i_referer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.drudgereport.com%2F&nclick_check=1)

Quote
North Korea ‘helped Syria build N-plant’
By Demetri Sevastopulo in Washington

Published: April 24 2008 15:36 | Last updated: April 24 2008 15:36

(http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z181/MSantor/SyrianDPRKmadenukeplant.jpg)
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Rodahn on April 24, 2008, 22:39:51
While it may very well be a N Korean built/supported facility, I'm skeptical regarding the validity of the intelligence, given the past performance regarding "weapons of mass destruction".....
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: tomahawk6 on April 24, 2008, 22:50:13
Israel had compelling evidence about this being a nuclear facility before they attacked the facility. The design of the facility is identical to N. Korean nuclear facilities. North Koreans were at the facility. Notice the lack of condemnation from Syria or other arab countries.

http://forums.army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,66084.0.html
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Rodahn on April 25, 2008, 09:13:17
As I said earlier Tomahawk, it may very well have been. But even your link notes possible.... Hardly what I would call irrefutable proof....

Washington official says Israeli surveillance shows possible Syrian nuclear installation stocked by North Korea, Israeli Arab newspaper claims target of alleged raid last week was Syrian missile base financed by Iran

Israel believes that North Korea has been supplying Syria and Iran with nuclear materials, a Washington defense official told the New York Times. “The Israelis think North Korea is selling to Iran and Syria what little they have left,” he said.

The official added that recent Israeli reconnaissance flights over Syria revealed possible nuclear installations that Israeli officials estimate might have been supplied with material from North Korea.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: geo on April 25, 2008, 10:36:35
From a personal perspective, the fact that Syria has been 95% "mumm" on the whole thing SCREAMS the loudest.
If this were a fertilizer plant or something, the Syrians woulda been screaming blue murder about the unjustified and unprovoked violence of the Zionist sw?&*.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: tomahawk6 on April 25, 2008, 10:41:19
Clearly you believe what you want to believe. A few pic's of the facility before and after the air strike.

(http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/0dLzaq1aLH9Sd/340x.jpg)
(http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/0bybgRWgKHcaR/610x.jpg)
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: tomahawk6 on April 25, 2008, 10:42:11
(http://img103.imageshack.us/img103/3717/snap2yi8.jpg)

(http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/06Jmbyb4XX2Ds/610x.jpg)

(http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/0drV6i3416eOL/610x.jpg)
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: tomahawk6 on April 25, 2008, 10:46:52
Compare the after strike photo to the sat photo on the right. The Syrians have scrubbed the site completely one might think that is odd in itself.

(http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z181/MSantor/SyrianDPRKmadenukeplant.jpg)
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: E.R. Campbell on April 25, 2008, 11:03:42
But I'm sure you understand the problem, T6. After the Iraqi WMD intelligence fiasco no one needs to take US evidence seriously, no matter how clear it may be. And we can be sure that an immense crowd of the usual suspects will pooh-pooh it and an even larger crowd will, willingly, disbelieve - just because it's American.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: geo on April 25, 2008, 11:07:45
Aye, there's the rub!
The boy who cried "wolf" one time too often...
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: tomahawk6 on April 25, 2008, 11:14:08
Israel evidently had an agent at the facility and that agent supplied enough evidence for the IAF to launch a very daring raid deep into Syria. I dont think the raid would have been initiated if the target wasnt of strategic importance to Israel.

As for WMD every western intelligence agency felt that Iraq had WMD,it wasnt just a US claim.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: geo on April 25, 2008, 11:20:46
Israel has agents in all places they believe they have a vested interest in knowing "what's going on"...
They reserve the right of carrying out preemptive strikes on anything / anywhere they believe threatens their present or future existence.

Also... Israel certainly provided tangible proof that the much vaunted Syrian air defence system acquired from Russia wasn't all that it was touted to be...... wonder how much Syria spent on the deal ???  Do you think they can get a refund ???
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: E.R. Campbell on April 25, 2008, 11:23:55
...
As for WMD every western intelligence agency felt that Iraq had WMD,it wasnt just a US claim.

Very true but, as we all know, the truth is irrelevant in the propaganda wars.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: geo on April 25, 2008, 16:11:50
Very true but, as we all know, the truth is irrelevant in the propaganda wars.

The truth is an inconvenience.....
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Carcharodon Carcharias on April 25, 2008, 16:28:48
While it may very well be a N Korean built/supported facility, I'm skeptical regarding the validity of the intelligence, given the past performance regarding "weapons of mass destruction".....

Regardless, these countries should never be allowed this technology.

WRT you being skeptical, if you found you had a tumour, would you rather leave it alone, and take the chance that it is NOT cancer, or would you have it removed anyways.

Its bad enough Pakistan and India have the bomb. Letting any of these other questionable islamic countries have the technology is equal to giving kids bic lighters in a dynamite factory.

My 2 cents.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Thucydides on May 29, 2008, 13:55:37
From the Jeruselem Post:

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1211872842227&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Quote
US suspects Syria hiding nuclear facilities
By JPOST.COM STAFF

Although American efforts to defuse the nuclear crisis with Iran have yet to bear fruit, the Bush administration now appears to be focusing on yet another nuclear program which they believe is under secret development, this time in Syria.

In a report published by the Washington Post on Thursday, the US is said to be appealing to the United Nations to send inspectors to search for hidden nuclear facilities in the country. According to the report, the Bush administration suspects that Syria is hiding at least three sites, which they believe were intended to support a nuclear reactor which was destroyed in September.

On September 6, Israeli warplanes reportedly bombed a nuclear reactor deep in Syrian territory. Damascus has repeatedly denied ever having built a reactor, and soon after the bombing, bulldozed the area and erected buildings on top of the site. Israel has never formally admitted to carrying out the attack.

US intelligence suspects that at least three secret facilities may have been used to provide fuel for that nuclear reactor, the report states.

In a briefing to US congressmen earlier in the year, intelligence officials suggested that the Syrian reactor was nearly operational at the time that it was bombed. Yet no fuel source has ever been found for the reactor - a fact which has baffled experts. The suggestion that nuclear facilities still exist in the country and remain hidden potentially solves that problem.

US government officials declined to describe the specific sites that have drawn interest, or to discuss how they were identified, according to the Washington Post report.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: tomahawk6 on June 01, 2008, 02:31:52
I think what concerns the Pentagon is the possibility of centrifuges in at least one underground facility near Deir el-Hajjar.While a nuclear program is certainly worrisome and from an Iranian standpoint dispersing the nuclear program makes it harder to detect and easier to employ nuclear weapons from Syria against Israel than from Iran. Iranian missiles of various categories have been deployed in Lebanon,Syria and now Gaza. If a shooting war resumes Israel could face an onslaught of conventional missiles that would be hard to defend against and would require Israel to invade Gaza,Lebanon and Syria a tall order for the IDF. The Olmert government has to be forced from office if Israel is to really protect itself.He has to go down in Israel's history as their least effective PM.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: jonz67 on October 26, 2008, 15:53:16
Just saw this on the BBC site.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7692153.stm
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: tomahawk6 on October 26, 2008, 16:59:14
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7692153.stm

US helicopter-borne troops have carried out a raid inside Syria along the Iraqi border, killing eight people including a woman, Syrian authorities say.

The official Syrian news agency Sana said the raid took place in the Abu Kamal border area, in eastern Syria.

It said that American soldiers on four helicopters had stormed a building under construction on Sunday night.

The US says it is investigating. It has previously accused Syria of allowing foreign militants into Iraq.

"Four American helicopters violated Syrian airspace around 16:45 local time (1345 GMT) on Sunday," state television and Sana news agency said.

It said that "American soldiers" who had emerged from helicopters "attacked a civilian building under construction and fired at workmen inside, causing eight deaths".

"The helicopters then left Syrian territory towards Iraqi territory," Sana said.

"We are in the process of investigating this," Sgt Brooke Murphy, a US military spokesman, told the AFP news agency in Baghdad.

The area is near the Iraqi border city of Qaim, which had been a major crossing point for fighters, weapons and money travelling into Iraq to fuel the Sunni insurgency.

Washington has accused Damascus of turning a blind eye to the problem.

Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Rifleman62 on October 26, 2008, 19:42:28
US ammo only hits civilians, mainly women, children and old people as well as hospitals. Every world news agency and the spokesperson for the  "innocents" on the receiving end just cuts and pastes the date, time and location. The rest is SOP.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: tomahawk6 on October 26, 2008, 19:59:00
DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) - U.S. military helicopters launched an extremely rare attack Sunday on Syrian territory close to the border with Iraq, killing eight people in a strike the government in Damascus condemned as "serious aggression."
A U.S. military official said the raid by special forces targeted the foreign fighter network that travels through Syria into Iraq. The Americans have been unable to shut the network down in the area because Syria was out of the military's reach.

"We are taking matters into our own hands," the official told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the political sensitivity of cross-border raids.

The attack came just days after the commander of U.S. forces in western Iraq said American troops were redoubling efforts to secure the Syrian border, which he called an "uncontrolled" gateway for fighters entering Iraq.

A Syrian government statement said the helicopters attacked the Sukkariyeh Farm near the town of Abu Kamal, five miles inside the Syrian border. Four helicopters attacked a civilian building under construction shortly before sundown and fired on workers inside, the statement said.

The government said civilians were among the dead, including four children.

A resident of the nearby village of Hwijeh said some of the helicopters landed and troops exited the aircraft and fired on a building. He said the aircraft flew along the Euphrates River into the area of farms and several brick factories. The witness spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the information,

Syria's Foreign Ministry said it summoned the charges d'affaires of the United States and Iraq to protest against the strike.

"Syria condemns this aggression and holds the American forces responsible for this aggression and all its repercussions. Syria also calls on the Iraqi government to shoulder its responsibilities and launch and immediate investigation into this serious violation and prevent the use of Iraqi territory for aggression against Syria," the government statement said.

The area targeted is near the Iraqi border city of Qaim, which had been a major crossing point for fighters, weapons and money coming into Iraq to fuel the Sunni insurgency.

Iraqi travelers making their way home across the border reported hearing many explosions, said Farhan al-Mahalawi, mayor of Qaim.

On Thursday, U.S. Maj. Gen. John Kelly said Iraq's western borders with Saudi Arabia and Jordan were fairly tight as a result of good policing by security forces in those countries but that Syria was a "different story."

"The Syrian side is, I guess, uncontrolled by their side," Kelly said. "We still have a certain level of foreign fighter movement."

He added that the U.S. was helping construct a sand berm and ditches along the border.

"There hasn't been much, in the way of a physical barrier, along that border for years," Kelly said.

The foreign fighters network sends militants from North Africa and elsewhere in the Middle East to Syria, where elements of the Syrian military are in league with al-Qaida and loyalists of Saddam Hussein's Baath party, the U.S. military official said.

He said that while American forces have had considerable success, with Iraqi help, in shutting down the "rat lines" in Iraq, and with foreign government help in North Africa, the Syrian node has been out of reach.

"The one piece of the puzzle we have not been showing success on is the nexus in Syria," the official said.

The White House in August approved similar special forces raids from Afghanistan across the border of Pakistan to target al-Qaida and Taliban operatives. At least one has been carried out.

The flow of foreign fighters into Iraq has been cut to an estimated 20 a month, a senior U.S. military intelligence official told the Associated Press in July. That's a 50 percent decline from six months ago, and just a fifth of the estimated 100 foreign fighters who were infiltrating Iraq a year ago, according to the official.

Ninety percent of the foreign fighters enter through Syria, according to U.S. intelligence. Foreigners are some of the most deadly fighters in Iraq, trained in bomb-making and with small-arms expertise and more likely to be willing suicide bombers than Iraqis.

Foreign fighters toting cash have been al-Qaida in Iraq's chief source of income. They contributed more than 70 percent of operating budgets in one sector in Iraq, according to documents captured in September 2007 on the Syrian border. Most of the fighters were conveyed through professional smuggling networks, according to the report.

Iraqi insurgents seized Qaim in April 2005, forcing U.S. Marines to recapture the town the following month in heavy fighting. The area became secure only after Sunni tribes in Anbar turned against al-Qaida in late 2006 and joined forces with the Americans.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem accused the United States earlier this year of not giving his country the equipment needed to prevent foreign fighters from crossing into Iraq. He said Washington feared Syria could use such equipment against Israel.

Though Syria has long been viewed by the U.S. as a destabilizing country in the Middle East, in recent months, Damascus has been trying to change its image and end years of global seclusion.

Its president, Bashar Assad, has pursued indirect peace talks with Israel, mediated by Turkey, and says he wants direct talks next year. Syria also has agreed to establish diplomatic ties with Lebanon, a country it used to dominate both politically and militarily, and has worked harder at stemming the flow of militants into Iraq.

The U.S. military in Baghdad did not immediately respond to a request for comment after Sunday's raid.

Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: tomahawk6 on October 27, 2008, 14:00:22
It has now been confirmed that the special ops guys got their man. Abu Ghadiyain, Al Qaeda's senior coordinator operating in Syria now at room temp. :)
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: WB on October 27, 2008, 19:15:43
Abu Ghadiyain and Haji Omar Khan? Sweet!

Today is a good day. :)

EDIT

From http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2008/10/us_strike_in_syria_d.php (http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2008/10/us_strike_in_syria_d.php)

Quote
Al Qaeda leader Abu Ghadiya was killed in yesterday's strike inside Syria, a senior US military intelligence official told The Long War Journal. But US special operations forces also inflicted a major blow to al Qaeda's foreign fighter network based in Syria. The entire senior leadership of Ghadiya's network was also killed in the raid, the official stated.


Emphasis added.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Cognitive-Dissonance on October 29, 2008, 17:25:56
Is no one else here worried about the horrible precedent set here by the USA?

It seems the USA is done with its covert operations and has gone straight through with aggressive style incursions into foreign countries. It seems like, with the Iraq war and continuing escalations, the USA is just finished with following international law and any international reconciliation.

And people wonder why events such as 9/11 happen, and why Iran and Syria are so antagonistic towards us. Continued unilateral actions as some omniscient international superpower does not create a better future for relations in the region whatsoever. It seems the concept of blowback was not learned through 9/11, was it?

Let's not also forget about the innocent civilians killed in this action. RIP to those killed, my condolences go out to their families.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Ex-Dragoon on October 29, 2008, 17:37:03
::) Here we go again...
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Cognitive-Dissonance on October 29, 2008, 17:46:42
::) Here we go again...

I would appreciate some commentary instead of sarcasm, if you are so inclined to disagree with me then I would very much appreciate a debate regarding this issue.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Ex-Dragoon on October 29, 2008, 17:57:09
Why do you want a debate? To you everything about the West and the US is evil and wrong. You cannot have a debate with someone who has made up their minds and has shown themself inflexible in their views. Have you seen the intel the US used to plan the attack. Are you so sure that this attack was not justified? I would say no, based on your post. You want an argument not a debate.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Bruce Monkhouse on October 29, 2008, 17:58:16
Is no one else here worried about the horrible precedent set here by the USA?

No precedent here.  Some naval book reading should be in your future.


I would appreciate some commentary instead of sarcasm, if you are so inclined to disagree with me then I would very much appreciate a debate regarding this issue.

Bring something new to the table with some actual thought in it and you might get it....
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: tango22a on October 29, 2008, 18:03:20
Cog-Dis:
May I ask you have you never heard of "the end determines the means"?
If some a$$hat is shooting up your house and when you grab your trusty C7 and pursue him only to come up against some other armed person who says " wait a minute buddy you can't chase him any farther, and no firing across the border either!" Meanwhile a$$hat is wearing a s**t-eating grin and has also dropped his drawers and is mooning you in the near distance. This goes on day after day but now a$$hat is firing RPGs and laying IEDs on your front lawn.Not only is this a danger to you and yours but also to your friends' property around your place. ....what to do?...what to do?... Finally you get pissed-off enough to sneak by a$$hat's buddy the border guard and you pursue your tormentor up to his place of residence where you proceed to level the place. Remember you are only doing this AFTER A$$hat has destroyed your home and injured or killed many of your friends and family.

Now for the $64,000 Question?.... Are you justified in what you've done?

tango22a
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Ex-Dragoon on October 29, 2008, 18:07:28
Well looking at this statement by Cog-Diss
Quote
And people wonder why events such as 9/11 happen
Then 9/11 was justified? Then he wonders why we react to him the way we do.... please....

If you feel the US deserved 9/11 then I think you should do all of us serving members a favour and put in your release. I would never want to serve with someone like you.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Cognitive-Dissonance on October 29, 2008, 18:13:31
Why do you want a debate? To you everything about the West and the US is evil and wrong. You cannot have a debate with someone who has made up their minds and has shown themself inflexible in their views. Have you seen the intel the US used to plan the attack. Are you so sure that this attack was not justified? I would say no, based on your post. You want an argument not a debate.

Please do not strawman my argument. I live in the West, as such I don't think its inherently evil or wrong. I am just very critical recently because of the actions of our governments. As a matter of fact you can have a debate with someone who has "made up their minds", that is the point of a debate. Instead of waving aside and claiming moral superiority please actually touch the points I made. Attacking a town in a foreign country without any permission is an aggressive and illegal act. Say we flip this on the other hand. What if Cuba, using their own intelligence, found a "terrorist" cell in Florida and decided to unilaterally attack that? Would they be justified? No they would not be, as the USA is not here.

Attacking through other nations and violating international laws and sovereignty is not how you create the proper relations in a region that already hates us so much because of the things we continue to do, like this action here.

Quote from: Ex-Dragoon
Then 9/11 was justified? Then he wonders why we react to him the way we do.... please....

If you feel the US deserved 9/11 then I think you should do all of us serving members a favour and put in your release. I would never want to serve with someone like you.

Please again do not strawman or put words into my mouth. I did not say 9/11 was justified, as no act of violence such as that terrorist attack is. What I am saying is its understandable why it happened. Instead of throwing it aside as an "evil" act, randomly done by people who "hate our freedoms" it is better to analyze the real root causes of 9/11. Those root causes being our involvement and continuing interventionism in the Middle East which has only incited more hatred and anger by the population there. Again, I further emphasize the point that I do not believe 9/11 was justified or right, but merely trying to understand why it happened and how we can prevent future events like it.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: tango22a on October 29, 2008, 18:24:00
Cog-Dis:

Living proof that you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink

tango22a
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Bruce Monkhouse on October 29, 2008, 18:32:01
He's trolling.......noticed how he conviently skipped my post about this not being precedent?

Stop feeding him.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Cognitive-Dissonance on October 29, 2008, 18:48:50
He's trolling.......noticed how he conviently skipped my post about this not being precedent?

Stop feeding him.

I am in no way trolling. I simply missed your post because it didn't even make a point. All you did was state there was no precedent set, how is that an argument? I would like to hear you back up your claim that it has not set a bad precedent, as I have backed up my claim that is has set a bad precedent with my post. You on the otherhand simply replied that it was not a precedent.

Instead of labeling my criticisms of the mainstream views on this forum as trolling I would very much appreciate actual debate on the issues. I have so far, in my posts, brought up my issues without any insults, harsh language or sarcasm. I have brought up my posts in a professional and mature method, and I hope I can have some discussions in the same vein.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Snafu-Bar on October 29, 2008, 19:03:24
 Someone commits a heinous crime and flees the country, the crime is considered one that requires hunt down and removal from the gene pool. Mission is exectued in secrecy and is completed successfully upon foreign soil. The ONLY people who should be concerned or even remotly interested are the Taliban and Al Quieda. Sure some may speculate that relations between the US and Syria are now strained, but when haven't they been strained?

 Nothing changed with regards to the diplomacy process, the only thing that HAS changed is there are a few less terrorists for the west to worry about.

 Cheers.

 

edit to fix grammar and ad Al Q to the mix.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: WB on October 29, 2008, 19:04:36
I'd like Cog-Dis to address tango22a's point. Here's the situation as I see it:

-The Coalition in Iraq is at war with insurgents, and some of those insurgents are using Syria as a place to plan, rest, and launch attacks from.

-If the Syrian Government is unable to manage it's own borders, then the US is justified in picking up it's slack.

-If the Syrian Government is unwilling to stop the insurgents, then their sovereignty is worth about as much as any other enemy state.

-Therefore, the US has conducted a raid into Syria to disrupt insurgent operations.

Where do you see the problem?
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: tango22a on October 29, 2008, 19:07:34
Cog-Dis:

For a precedent please refer to US Troops pursuing Mexicans who had entered US territory  robbing and killing US citizens.I think in 1916-17.

tango22a
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Cognitive-Dissonance on October 29, 2008, 19:17:25
I'd like Cog-Dis to address tango22a's point. Here's the situation as I see it:

-The Coalition in Iraq is at war with insurgents, and some of those insurgents are using Syria as a place to plan, rest, and launch attacks from.

-If the Syrian Government is unable to manage it's own borders, then the US is justified in picking up it's slack.

-If the Syrian Government is unwilling to stop the insurgents, then their sovereignty is worth about as much as any other enemy state.

-Therefore, the US has conducted a raid into Syria to disrupt insurgent operations.

Where do you see the problem?

All very good points and I will do my best to address them.

This is an interesting argument regarding sovereignty and foreign interests. However I think you are making an assertation that these insurgents are, objectively on a world scale, a threat. However I need to address this claim. They are a threat to the United States, however because Syria and other nations are not involved in this war then therefore I do not believe the United States has gained the right to trespass on a nation's sovereignty. My biggest issue is this was done with no consultation with Syria itself. Did we hear about the United States attempting dialogue and perhaps extradition with the Syrian government? As the majority of the Iraqi Insurgents are Iraqis, and not Foreign fighters, the presence of insurgents (possibly Iraqi) could be a political or security issue for the Syrian government and perhaps they would be interested in removing them. However thats the problem, is there was no attempted dialogue. There was no attempt at resolution, only unilateral and illegal actions.

By continually antagonizing nations in the Middle East all we do is set up the stage for yet another war in the Middle East, not reconciliation and open-dialogue. Some would argue that dialogue with Syria is pointless but this argument is pessimistic and militaristic.  However by proceding with dialogue at least the United States then can continue on a step by step force escalation, not unilateral actions that only antagonize the people in the region and hamper the attempts of peace and stability in the Middle East.

We have international laws, international agreements etc. so that we can foster a proper environment of cooperation in the world. Otherwise we degrade into Hobbesian foreign relations where human life and nation rights are simply trampled over for the sake of expansion of influence.

Quote
Cog-Dis:

For a precedent please refer to US Troops pursuing Mexicans who had entered US territory  robbing and killing US citizens.I think in 1916-17.

tango22a

Very much different circumstances for one, and by precedent I am referring not to the supposed fact that the USA has no precedent to do such an action, but rather that this current action is setting a poor precedent for the future. Furthermore that precedent is a very poor one in fact, and in a time when we did not hold international relations in a more rational and reconciliatory way.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Bruce Monkhouse on October 29, 2008, 19:19:12
From a well respected published military historian who says he has better things to do than engage with someone who is just using rhetoric, and no facts, to base a discussion on.


Quote
Bruce
From my point of view as someone who has worked in a national operations environment, his opinion fails the smell test in a number of areas including these:

a. the Syrians did no more than issue a proforma protest. No recall of ambassador, no breaking of relations and no 'rent a crowd' protests.

b. international law allows incursions/attacks onto foreign soil in hot pursuit. It may have been difficult to justify in this case, but I can think of many, many instances when the US invoked hot pursuit going back to the Indian Wars. Certainly it is a standard practice in recent years against specific targets.

c. international law does not require a nation to await an attack from a potential enemy if there is confirmed intelligence that such an attack is being planned or certain other criteria are met. The raid probably comes close enough to fall into this category.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: tango22a on October 29, 2008, 19:29:19
Cog-Dis:

I am almost positive that if the Syrians had been warned that this would have been passed to the insurgents who would have either left the target area or set up the target area as a killing zone. In war you NEVER telegraph your punches.

tango22a
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Cognitive-Dissonance on October 29, 2008, 19:32:45
From a well respected published military historian who says he has better things to do than engage with someone who is just using rhetoric, and no facts, to base a discussion on:

Bruce
From my point of view as someone who has worked in a national operations environment, his opinion fails the smell test in a number of areas including these:

a. the Syrians did no more than issue a proforma protest. No recall of ambassador, no breaking of relations and no 'rent a crowd' protests.

b. international law allows incursions/attacks onto foreign soil in hot pursuit. It may have been difficult to justify in this case, but I can think of many, many instances when the US invoked hot pursuit going back to the Indian Wars. Certainly it is a standard practice in recent years against specific targets.

c. international law does not require a nation to await an attack from a potential enemy if there is confirmed intelligence that such an attack is being planned or certain other criteria are met. The raid probably comes close enough to fall into this category.



I thank your friend for his points and I will address them.

a. Syrian response is not that important in this sort of situation. In fact I would say that the Syrian lack of real response to this is a smart move, as in letting the facts speak for themselves and keeping them out of the spotlight. Remember, the Syrian government has a poor reputation in the world and would gain little from putting the spotlight on themselves. However that case may be, the act itself is what I am dealing with, not the response of the government.

b. I very much doubt this was a hot pursuit. If you look on a map, the city was 8km from the border. The way the operation was carried out was clearly a planned one in advance, by Special Operations assets and with helicopter support. Such an operation does not in any way look like one of hot pursuit. As such, the "hot pursuit" argument falls flat as this was obviously an intended raid with long time period of planning.

c. This is true in the case of actual nations in the context of an internationally known event. I don't believe you can extrapolate that onto a raid of enemy combatants and insurgents. Furthermore, the wanton disregard for collateral damage and civilian life in this operation (leading to 9 civilians killed I believe) shows again the United States disregard for international relations in its dealings with other countries. Instead of attempting this through the proper venues, the USA has once again shown it is quite willing to simply disregard the environment of dialogue and cooperation and instead go for war, death and destruction.

Quote
I am almost positive that if the Syrians had been wrned that this wouuld have been passed to the insurgents who would have either left the target area or set up the target area as a killing zone. In war you NEVER telegraph your punches

This is a very good point, Tango. With that in mind however, its not that black and white. This isn't such an easy question as "Bad guys were there, lets go get them, hooah". There are many things that need to be questioned. I think in this case, with the USA's history and current relations and reputations in the world regarding its unilateral and aggressive actions, it would have been a far better and reconciliatory move to withhold any such operation. Instead the USA continues to use the same actions, the same strategies it has used in the past, and therefore setting us up for even worse relations with the Middle East in the future. The United States really should have erred on the side of caution, as their illegal and unilateral action into Iraq has already strained their relations with the world, let alone the Middle East where it is seen as proof of the United State's "infidel aggression".
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: tango22a on October 29, 2008, 19:41:57
Cog-Dis:

I Quit!! It's pointless to continue this. I certainly hope somebody with more brains than I will take up the cudgels. It's just like firing spit-balls at a battleship!

tango22a
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: WB on October 29, 2008, 19:47:24
Quote
My biggest issue is this was done with no consultation with Syria itself. Did we hear about the United States attempting dialogue and perhaps extradition with the Syrian government? As the majority of the Iraqi Insurgents are Iraqis, and not Foreign fighters, the presence of insurgents (possibly Iraqi) could be a political or security issue for the Syrian government and perhaps they would be interested in removing them. However thats the problem, is there was no attempted dialogue. There was no attempt at resolution, only unilateral and illegal actions.

(http://blog.pharmalive.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/o_rly.jpg)

Quote
Earlier Hoda Abdel Hamid, Al Jazeera's correspondent in the northern Iraqi city of Irbil, said the purported US raid seemed to be in contradiction to comments by US officials that Syria had improved its border security. The Americans had actually praised the role of Syria over the past year, which made the alleged raid puzzling, our correspondent said. Muallem, who had been in London for talks with his British counterpart, said US officials knew "full well that we stand against al-Qaeda".

"They know full well we are trying to tighten our border with Iraq,"
he said.
http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2008/10/2008102815052252838.html

This is what I take from that blurb:

-The US is in diplomatic talks with Syria about the border

-Syria is saying they stand against Al Queda, and they are attempting to tighten the border

-The US appreciates these attempts

-But the border didn't get tight enough, fast enough, and the US took action to ensure that an HVT did not escape a known location

Even if Syria is telling the truth, and they really do stand against AQ, the US was still justified on the grounds that they needed to pick up Syria's slack.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Cognitive-Dissonance on October 29, 2008, 19:58:57
http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2008/10/2008102815052252838.html

This is what I take from that blurb:

-The US is in diplomatic talks with Syria about the border

-Syria is saying they stand against Al Queda, and they are attempting to tighten the border

-The US appreciates these attempts

-But the border didn't get tight enough, fast enough, and the US took action to ensure that an HVT did not escape a known location

Even if Syria is telling the truth, and they really do stand against AQ, the US was still justified on the grounds that they needed to pick up Syria's slack.


Before I answer your queries, please refrain from dragging this debate down into meaningless banter by bringing in silly internet memes. Not only a silly one, but a tired, old and overused one at that.

If the USA was in talks, I think its very very disgusting to jeopardize their attempts at real dialogue and security issues by impinging on Syria's sovereignty. I still assert that the US actions were illegal (as they are), and are a bad lane to start going down in future Middle East relations. Does anyone here agree with me that this is a poor action to be considering and to be undertaking when our relations in the Middle East are already as poor as it is?
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Ex-Dragoon on October 29, 2008, 20:04:13
Are you so certain that even if the US in good conscious offered to sit down at a table, that these countries and entities would even sit down and negotiated fairly with the US/West?
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: WB on October 29, 2008, 20:21:42
First off, the bird ******* rocks.

Second off, if you were Syria and I were the US, and our negotiations were anything like this debate, I would have raided your sovereign *** a long time ago. Because ya know what? When diplomatic means are ineffective, I reserve the right to violence in order to secure the safety of my troops.

When you're trying to balance hearts and minds with force protection, ya gotta draw the line somewhere. Killing this AQ cell was deemed worth the cost to international relations.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Carcharodon Carcharias on October 29, 2008, 21:42:54
And people wonder why events such as 9/11 happen,
Let's not also forget about the innocent civilians killed in this action. RIP to those killed, my condolences go out to their families.

Alright, I am arc'd up over this one! yes, and I will bite.

It really disturbs me a great deal to read such horrible comments which are apparently coming from 'someone' within the ranks of the CF, who is supposed to be 'one' of our own (??). For this reason I am beginning to doubt if this person is one of our brothers in arms. If so, his real identity, and (IMHO) ABHORENT behavior should in fact be noted and passed on up the chain. Is this person still a serving member? If Militia, NES perhaps? Although we each have opinions, his, in my opinion is outright callous and dangerous. I would openly question his LOYALTY to his peers, his Unit and especially his country.

Cog-Dis/Army Goon, you are way out of line with that 9-11 comment! That cut me to the bone! Your own words tell me you are saying the USA deserved what they got in 2001, and should get more of the same for this incident. Shame on you for spewing such shyte on this site. Your whole post is outragous, and I find it as palletable as dog shyte!!

Your words are an insult to all of us who have fought, those that have been KIA/WIA, and are stuck with a lifetime of rehab from physical and emotional injuries. We also cannot forget their families and friends who have to live with things the way they are now for the rest of their lives.

RIP to the families of the Terrorists? I nearly fell over reading that! Just remember, its these people who are kiiling and wounding your Canadian brethern, my Australian fellow Diggers, and our US and other Allies soldiers, and you feel sorry for the families of those trying to kill us?  Holy crap!!!

As for the 'civilians' killed on this operation, take away their ammo pouches, RPGs and AKs, and you have 'innocent' civilians, when moments before they were gun toting cowardly terrorists who would GLADLY slit your throat with your own bayonet and film it for your own family to see.

How gullable and niave are you!! Its showing, and so are your TRUE COLOURS.

You need a huge reality check! Not that it would help, as we know where you stand and where your loyalties are now.

Gents and ladies, I think what we have here is an audience/attention seeking TROLL with an agenda that I sensed (and noted) was 'hidden' in another post. That agenda is now in full blossum, and let the meltdown commence. We are only giving him what he wants.

At days end we know the facts, he knows SFA. That we all can agree on, except for the TROLUP in this case.

Remember all, we are talking about a person who has admitted that PT in the CF scares him. He'll never leave the safety of the bosum of dear ole Canada. Need I say more about his character and quality he possesses and has demonstrated openly for us on this site. His posts speak for themselves.

Please remember back if/when he comes back and responds in his gutless fashion and troll mentality.

He is nothing, but he is feeding off our emotion, including mine. I hope he feels better now for doing so. How bloody pathetic is that!

EDITED for spelling due to irritation.

Yes, disgusted beyond a joke.

OWDU
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: tomahawk6 on October 29, 2008, 21:57:45
The bad guys have learned that in these situations always claim civilian deaths,even if there were none. In this case 7 male bodies were displayed on location.This raid was conducted by 8 special operations operators from TF 88,these men are highly trained and just do not shoot indescriminately.

Quote
US strike in Syria "decapitated" al Qaeda's facilitation network
By Bill RoggioOctober 27, 2008 4:51 PM
Al Qaeda leader Abu Ghadiya was killed in yesterday's strike inside Syria, a senior US military intelligence official told The Long War Journal. But US special operations forces also inflicted a major blow to al Qaeda's foreign fighter network based in Syria. The entire senior leadership of Ghadiya's network was also killed in the raid, the official stated.

Ghadiya was the leader of al Qaeda extensive network that funnels foreign fighters, weapons, and cash from Syria into Iraq along the entire length of the Syrian border. Ghadiya was first identified as the target of the raid inside Syria late last night here at The Long War Journal. The Associated Press reported Ghadiya was killed in the raid earlier today.

Several US helicopters entered the town of town of Sukkariya near Abu Kamal in eastern Syria, just five miles from the Iraqi border. US commandos from the hunter-killer teams of Task Force 88 assaulted the buildings sheltering Ghadiya and his staff.

The Syrian government has protested the attack, describing it as an act of "criminal and terrorist aggression" carried out by the US. The Syrian government claimed eight civilians, including women and children, were killed in the strike. But a journalist from The Associated Press who attended the funeral said that only the bodies of seven men were displayed.

The US official said there were more killed in the raid than is being reported. "There are more than public numbers [in the Syrian press] are saying, those reported killed were the Syrian locals that worked with al Qaeda," the official told The Long War Journal. "There were non-Syrian al Qaeda operatives killed as well."

Those killed include Ghadiya's brother and two cousins. "They also were part of the senior leadership," the official stated. "They're dead. We've decapitated the network." Others killed during the raid were not identified.

The strike is thought to have a major impact on al Qaeda's operations inside Syria. Al Qaeda's ability to control the vast group of local "Syrian coordinators" who directly help al Qaeda recruits and operatives enter Iraq has been "crippled."

Ghadiya's staff

The identity of Ghadiya and several members of his senior staff have been known since February 2008 when the US Treasury identified Ghadiya, his brother, and his two cousins as members of the network. The US Treasury department publicly designated Ghadiya, his brother, Akram Turki Hishan Al Mazidih, and his two cousins, Ghazy Fezza Hishan Al Mazidih and Saddah Jaylut Al Marsumis as senior members of al Qaeda's foreign facilitation network.

Ghadiya, whose real name is Badran Turki Hishan Al Mazidih, was an Iraqi from Mosul. He was working as an al Qaeda logistics coordinator in Syria since 2004, when he was appointed to the position by Abu Musab al Zarqawi. After Zarqawi's death, he "took orders directly, or through a deputy" from Abu Ayyub al Masri, al Qaeda's current leader in Iraq,

Ghazy Was Ghadiya's "right-hand man," the Treasury stated. "As second-in-command, Ghazy worked directly with [Ghadiya], managed network operations, and acted as the commander for [Ghadiya's] AQI [al Qaeda in Iraq] network when [Ghadiya] traveled."

Akram directed al Qaeda operations along with Ghadiya in the Al Qaim region right on the border with Syria. He smuggled weapons from Syria into Iraq, and ordered "the execution of AQI's enemies," Treasury stated. "Akram also ordered the execution of all persons found to be working with the Iraqi Government or US Forces."

Marsumi was an al Qaeda financier who "facilitated the financing and smuggling of AQI foreign fighters from Syria into Iraq." He helped Syrian suicide bombers enter Iraq, and also wired hundreds of thousands of dollars to Ghadiya to facilitate operations.

All four men lived openly inside Syria. The US Treasury identified Ghadiya, Ghazy, and Akram as living in Zabadani. Marsumi lived in the village of Al Shajlah.

A senior US general and the Iraqi spokesmen both noted that al Qaeda leaders were openly living inside Syria, and the Syrian government did nothing to shut down the network.

"The attacked area was the scene of activities of terrorist groups operating from Syria against Iraq," Ali al Dabbagh, Iraq's spokesman told Reuters. "Iraq had asked Syria to hand over this group which uses Syria as a base for its terrorist activities."

Major General John Kelly, the commander of Multinational Force - West, described Syria as "problematic" during a briefing on Oct. 23. "The Iraqi security forces and the Iraqi intelligence forces feel that al Qaeda operatives and others operate, live pretty openly on the Syrian side," Kelly said. "

Background on al Qaeda's Syrian facilitation network

Syria has long been a haven for al Qaeda as well as Baathists who fled the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. Terrorists and insurgents took advantage of the long, desolate, and unsecured border, which stretches more than 460 miles along Iraq's western provinces of Anbar, Ninewa, and Dohuk.

At the height of the Iraqi insurgency, an estimated 100 to 150 foreign fighters poured into Iraq from Syria each month. Operations in Anbar and Ninewa have pushed that number down to 20 infiltrators a month, according to the US military.

Wanted insurgent leaders, such as Mishan al Jabouri, openly live in Syria. Jabouri, a former member of the Iraqi parliament, fled to Syria after being charged with corruption for embezzling government funds and for supporting al Qaeda. From Syria Jabouri ran Al Zawraa, a satellite television station that aired al Qaeda and Islamic Army of Iraq propaganda videos showing attacks against US and Iraqi forces.

Al Qaeda established a network of operatives inside Syria to move foreign fighters, weapons, and cash to support its terror activities inside Iraq. An al Qaeda manual detailed ways to infiltrate Iraq via Syria. The manual, titled The New Road to Mesopotamia, was written by a jihadi named Al Muhajir Al Islami, and discovered in the summer of 2005.

The Iraqi-Syrian border was broken down into four sectors: the Habur crossing near Zakhu in the north; the Tal Kujik and Sinjar border crossings west of Mosul; the Al Qaim entry point in western Anbar; and the southern crossing at Al Tanf west of Rutbah near the Jordanian border. Islami claimed the Al Tanf and Habur crossing points were too dangerous to use, and Al Qaim was the preferred route into Iraq.

The US military learned a great deal about al Qaeda's network inside Syria after a key operative was killed in September of 2007. US forces killed Muthanna, the regional commander of al Qaeda's network in the Sinjar region.

During the operation, US forces found numerous documents and electronic files that detailed "the larger al-Qaeda effort to organize, coordinate, and transport foreign terrorists into Iraq and other places," Major General Kevin Bergner, the former spokesman for Multinational Forces Iraq, said in October 2007.

Bergner said several of the documents found with Muthanna included a list of 500 al Qaeda fighters from "a range of foreign countries that included Libya, Morocco, Syria, Algeria, Oman, Yemen, Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Belgium, France and the United Kingdom."

Other documents found in Muthanna's possession included a "pledge of a martyr," which is signed by foreign fighters inside Syria, and an expense report. The pledge said the suicide bomber must provide a photograph and surrender their passport. It also stated the recruit must enroll in a "security course" in Syria. The expense report was tallied in US dollars, Syrian lira, and Iraqi dinars, and included items such as clothing, food, fuel, mobile phone cards, weapons, salaries, "sheep purchased," furniture, spare parts for vehicles, and other items.

The Combating Terrorism Center at West Point later conducted a detailed study of the "Sinjar Records," which was published in July 2008. The study showed that al Qaeda had an extensive network in Syria and the Syrian government has allowed their activities to continue.

"The Syrian government has willingly ignored, and possibly abetted, foreign fighters headed to Iraq," the study concluded. "Concerned about possible military action against the Syrian regime, it opted to support insurgents and terrorists wreaking havoc in Iraq."

Al Qaeda established multiple networks of "Syrian Coordinators" that "work primarily with fighters from specific countries, and likely with specific Coordinators in fighters’ home countries," according to the study. The Syrian city of Dayr al Zawr serves as a vital logistical hub and a transit point for al Qaeda recruits and operatives heading to Iraq.

A vast majority of the fighters entering Iraq from Sinjar served as suicide bombers. The Combating Terrorism Center at West Point estimated that 75 percent conducted suicide attacks inside Iraq.

Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Cognitive-Dissonance on November 03, 2008, 15:52:04
Alright, I am arc'd up over this one! yes, and I will bite.

It really disturbs me a great deal to read such horrible comments which are apparently coming from 'someone' within the ranks of the CF, who is supposed to be 'one' of our own (??). For this reason I am beginning to doubt if this person is one of our brothers in arms. If so, his real identity, and (IMHO) ABHORENT behavior should in fact be noted and passed on up the chain. Is this person still a serving member? If Militia, NES perhaps? Although we each have opinions, his, in my opinion is outright callous and dangerous. I would openly question his LOYALTY to his peers, his Unit and especially his country.

Cog-Dis/Army Goon, you are way out of line with that 9-11 comment! That cut me to the bone! Your own words tell me you are saying the USA deserved what they got in 2001, and should get more of the same for this incident. Shame on you for spewing such shyte on this site. Your whole post is outragous, and I find it as palletable as dog shyte!!

Your words are an insult to all of us who have fought, those that have been KIA/WIA, and are stuck with a lifetime of rehab from physical and emotional injuries. We also cannot forget their families and friends who have to live with things the way they are now for the rest of their lives.

RIP to the families of the Terrorists? I nearly fell over reading that! Just remember, its these people who are kiiling and wounding your Canadian brethern, my Australian fellow Diggers, and our US and other Allies soldiers, and you feel sorry for the families of those trying to kill us?  Holy crap!!!

As for the 'civilians' killed on this operation, take away their ammo pouches, RPGs and AKs, and you have 'innocent' civilians, when moments before they were gun toting cowardly terrorists who would GLADLY slit your throat with your own bayonet and film it for your own family to see.

How gullable and niave are you!! Its showing, and so are your TRUE COLOURS.

You need a huge reality check! Not that it would help, as we know where you stand and where your loyalties are now.

Gents and ladies, I think what we have here is an audience/attention seeking TROLL with an agenda that I sensed (and noted) was 'hidden' in another post. That agenda is now in full blossum, and let the meltdown commence. We are only giving him what he wants.

At days end we know the facts, he knows SFA. That we all can agree on, except for the TROLUP in this case.

Remember all, we are talking about a person who has admitted that PT in the CF scares him. He'll never leave the safety of the bosum of dear ole Canada. Need I say more about his character and quality he possesses and has demonstrated openly for us on this site. His posts speak for themselves.

Please remember back if/when he comes back and responds in his gutless fashion and troll mentality.

He is nothing, but he is feeding off our emotion, including mine. I hope he feels better now for doing so. How bloody pathetic is that!

EDITED for spelling due to irritation.

Yes, disgusted beyond a joke.

OWDU

My implications with 9/11 were not that the USA deserved it whatsoever. No nation deserves to have such a horrid act committed upon them and my heart goes out to those who died in the attacks. However what I believe is just as important as remembering the victims, but also finding out how it happened, and to prevent it in the future. Its been consistently proven that the situation in 9/11 happened because of our antagonistic involvement in the Middle East. Look at our interventionism both overt and covert and you'll see that their hatred and motivations to attack us aren't justified, however they are understandable. Who I am debating is those who advocate a clear black and white message of "us vs them". Its not so simple to say they are evil and are out to "destroy our freedoms", that is a cop out and it establishes and fixes nothing.

Furthermore if you read the article you would see that women and children were killed in the attacks. They were reported as civilians, not as terrorists. Also, these are not the same people we are fighting in Afghanistan. My heart goes out to the innocent women and children, who were reported as civilians by the reports given from the aftermath of the attack. If you can show me definitive proof that these were "terrorists" then I would be persuaded to rephrase my condolences.

As to my status, I am not NES, nor am I a former member. My profile shows my current qualifications and history, and call me spook-paranoid but I like to keep some anonymonity when speaking on a public internet forum, so excuse me if I do not wish to give up anymore personal information on such a widely accessed public forum.

As to questions of my loyalty to my unit and my country I refuse to answer such antagonistic baits. I have proven my loyalty and continue to proudly serve in the Canadian Forces, and will continue to serve for years to come. Loving ones country, army and unit does not mean it should be given a free ticket of criticism. If anything I am obligated as a professional to bring about these topics, as it creates open dialogue. I do not appreciate character assassinations of the type that you are openly invoking. You can continue to search through my posts and ridicule my character however I have yet to see real debate.

-C/D
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Shamrock on November 03, 2008, 16:40:02
You can continue to search through my posts and ridicule my character however I have yet to see real debate.

Again, you're not here to debate.  You're not here to convince any of us you're right or we're wrong.  You're here to confirm your own rightness in your own head.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: D3 on November 03, 2008, 16:55:01
Hopefully Syria learns a lesson from this: Secure your borders with Iraq and keep terrorists out and this won't happen again.  This harbouring terrorists crap used to work when they had their big brothers the Soviets backing them, but not anymore.  Get used to it.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Carcharodon Carcharias on November 03, 2008, 18:35:12
My implications with 9/11 were not that the USA deserved it whatsoever.  Its been consistently proven that the situation in 9/11 happened because of our antagonistic involvement in the Middle East. Look at our interventionism both overt and covert and you'll see that their hatred and motivations to attack us aren't justified, however they are understandable. Who I am debating is those who advocate a clear black and white message of "us vs them". Its not so simple to say they are evil and are out to "destroy our freedoms", that is a cop out and it establishes and fixes nothing.

Furthermore if you read the article you would see that women and children were killed in the attacks. They were reported as civilians, not as terrorists. Also, these are not the same people we are fighting in Afghanistan. My heart goes out to the innocent women and children, who were reported as civilians by the reports given from the aftermath of the attack. If you can show me definitive proof that these were "terrorists" then I would be persuaded to rephrase my condolences.

As to my status, I am not NES, nor am I a former member. My profile shows my current qualifications and history

As to questions of my loyalty to my unit and my country I refuse to answer such antagonistic baits.  I do not appreciate character assassinations of the type that you are openly invoking. You can continue to search through my posts and ridicule my character however I have yet to see real debate.

-C/D

Dear Sir,

This is not a personal attack, just stating a VALID opinion.

You cannot be debated, thats already been proven. For our Mods to comment on such troll-like behaviour adds weight to my opinion of you. Its your integrity on here, not ours, and you've set the precidence. IMHO you appear to be the type who would question authority on the battlefield and would wind up getting your mates killed because you hestitated by NOT squeezing the trigger. I certinally would not want you in my Troop/Platoon, but fear naught ole chum, you'll never be going anywhere dangerous outside of the borders of Canada, oh and thats IMHO, but again who am I.

A response from you exactly as I thought it would be. I am not ridiculing you, just calling a spade a spade, and luring an active troll out from under it's rock. All I have quoted are your OWN words, which breed nothing but sheer and utter contempt and disloyality to your mates, your Unit, the CF and this ongoing war as a whole. Don't try talking your way out of the US deserving 9-11 comment, you said it, and I am not the only one who understood what you said.

Excuses are like AHs, Cog-Dis! With almost 33 yrs in two armies, and yes, time on the two way rifle range (do you know what that means??), I've heard them all  ::)

At least I and others know what you are and what your agenda is, and thats all that counts.

As for your military service which you openly tell us all is current, your MOC is that of a Regular Army soldier, why is it not that of a Militia soldier (oh, its not Militia bashing, I did my time in that and absolutely loved it), and what about the new MOS, why not use that? 031, or R031 for that matter is incorrect, and misleading. How about being honest and ensure this is corrected. I guess time will tell won't it.

Don't try to mislead us by falsly telling us you are a Regular Force member when you are not. You are openly telling a 'porky pie' (rythmic slang for a lie). Its times like this when perhaps an imposter is present. Too many secrets. I still doubt your authenticity. Take a look at my profile, I have nothing to hide.

Oh, and they are the same Enemy BTW, different nationality perhaps, but same goals, but you're the Subject Matter Expert, afterall never setting foot on hostile ground, and gathering your info from INet sources, makes you 'in the know', and I and others, who have experienced some 'hairy assed' traumatic incidents know SFA in your eyes, and you see us as war mongering sociopaths, thriving off the blood of innocent civilian casualties. Even though as a part time soldier, you are definatly in the wrong job. My men would eat you alive!

We all have opinions, but agendas full of anti US rant and a cocky attitude with a chip on one's shoulder to boot do not mix well with me, but again who am I.

When you grow up (sure you might be legally an adult), and get some real life 'every day' experience, shy of some twisted text book, INet source, or questionable leftist Uni friends, then get back to me.

Do have a happy day.

Peace, love, and harmony,

OWDU
Veteran

re-EDITed for clarity and the usual spelling mistakes
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: 2 Cdo on November 03, 2008, 18:45:38


As for your service, your MOC is that of a regular army soldier, why is it not what you are, a militia member (oh, its not militia bashing, I did my time in that and loved it), and what about the new MOS? 031, or R031 for that matter is incorrect, and misleading.

Don't try to mislead us by falsly telling us you are a Regular Force member when you are not.



I'm curious now as to which regiment he is a member, and I truly hope it isn't mine!
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Enfield on November 03, 2008, 20:53:30
Is no one else here worried about the horrible precedent set here by the USA?

It seems the USA is done with its covert operations and has gone straight through with aggressive style incursions into foreign countries. It seems like, with the Iraq war and continuing escalations, the USA is just finished with following international law and any international reconciliation.

And people wonder why events such as 9/11 happen, and why Iran and Syria are so antagonistic towards us. Continued unilateral actions as some omniscient international superpower does not create a better future for relations in the region whatsoever. It seems the concept of blowback was not learned through 9/11, was it?

Let's not also forget about the innocent civilians killed in this action. RIP to those killed, my condolences go out to their families.

Ok, it's a quiet night - I'll bite.

1- According to Western and international legal tradition, national sovereignty and territory integrity are not absolute. There are many cases when outside powers and organizations are expected to intervene, with military force, inside a sovereign nation.  Only China, Russia, N. Korea, et. al., dispute this.  Examples of justfied intervention might include NATO in Bosnia and Kosovo, East Timor, Somalia 1992-93, Britain in Sierra Leone, and many, many others.  The precedent was set long ago, and was most recently embodied, officially, in the Bush Doctrine of pre-emptive strikes.

2- Sovereignty can be violated when a nation state fails to treat it's citizens in a humane manner, or when a state is unable or unwilling to exercise control of it's territory, which is the case in this example.  You used the example of Cuba attacking terrorists in Florida. That is not a reasonable example - the US Government is able to control it's territory, making action by Cuba unnecessary. Cuba, in this case is left with other options which it can rationally choose to take - decide getting rid of these terrorists is worth war with the US, use other means (assassination, like Russia uses on dissidents), or go to a international organization. However, unless a state has no other options, it is unlikely to trust an international committee with its own security and the lives of its citizens. But I digres.

3- The existence of networks that facilitated the movement of foreign volunteers into Iraq, through Syria, was well known and well documented, even as the first US troops crossed the Iraqi border in 2003.  It has been discussed many times by American and Iraqi leaders and media commentators and 'experts'. Yes, a large degree of the Iraqi insurgency was carried out by Iraqis - but a siginificant part of the worst attacks, such as suicide bombings, were carried out by foreigners. In the past year, as the situation in Iraq stablilized, common Iraqis were less interested in civil war, and foreign fighters became more prominent.  I'll refer you to the "Iraqi Insurgency" article in Wikipedia (yes, I realize it's not the ideal source, but frankly it's a good place to start, and I'm not going to troll the 'net finding sources).

4- This is not news to Syria. The insurgent networks in Syria were a subject of discussion between US and Syrian leadership since the US invaded - however, Syria (and Iran) perceives it's best interests to be served by exercising a degree of control over the insurgency, allowing them to gain from the eventual outcome. For five years Syria has chosen to allow these networks to exist on their soil. Likely, they were allowed exist in limited and tightly controlled circumstances.  For a similar example, but of what can go wrong, look up the experience of Jordan and the PLO - Black September, 1970. 

5- Whether you were for the invasion of Iraq or against it is immaterial at this time - we have the war we have, and the question for decision makers is how to deal with the problems we have now. Your immediate reaction may be "Withdraw!" or "Negotiate a settlement!". Withdrawal, at this stage, would equal chaos. A negotiated settlement - between who? Should Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the US sit down and carve up a new Iraq?  Should domestic extremist parties - Shia and Sunni - divide up the country between hateful, warring sides?

6- I think that the solution Gen. Petraeus (and others) have started forward is a good one - neighbourhood solutions, local settlement of issues, local security - and the statistics agree with this assessment, although the future remains shaky.  I believe that the option presented by the US (increased local security, gradual withdrawal of US troops) is the best option for Iraq, and although imperfect, far better than alternatives. Therefore, individuals/entities/groups/states that attempt to interfere with this process - and in so doing, cause massive death, destruction and harm to many innocents - need to be halted. I'll call these individuals 'spoilers', as they have a singular goal: prevent the solution advanced by the US, at any cost.

7- Within Iraq, Iraqi and US forces are able to deal with such 'spoilers', and have been very successful in doing so. However, this issue is trans-national - what to do? Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Turkey do not allow insurgents to operate from their territory (although the majority of foreign fighters are Saudi), and are not complicit in the movement of foreign fighters to Iraq. Syria and Iran do, at the least, allow such networks to exist - to pretend that much of anything happens in totalitarian police states like Syria and Iran that the regimes do not know about, especially involving the movement of large numbers of young men, is ludicrous.

8- Syria proved unwilling to deal with the problem on its soil. Importantly, it is also unable to retaliate against the US - starting a wider war over this issue, at this time, would be dangerous and ill-considered. So, a known insurgent base with a high-profile leader was attacked by relatively miniscule forces - 8-10 soldiers on the ground, a few helicopters.  Perhaps this will make Syria or Iran pause and reconsider - if so, it is worth it. Even if the flow of extremists into Iraq is slowed, temporarily, it is well worth the work of less than a dozen soldiers and a half dozen air crew.

9- You believe innocents died in this attack. Unfortunately, it is unlikely conclusive proof of this will ever be available. You'll never believe the US reports, and I'll never believe that the Syrians didn't rig this for publicity.  So, until disinterested aliens come down, with 3-D colour and full sound recordings of every detail of the attack, we'll have to let that one lie.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Cognitive-Dissonance on November 04, 2008, 03:31:35
Ok, it's a quiet night - I'll bite.

1- According to Western and international legal tradition, national sovereignty and territory integrity are not absolute. There are many cases when outside powers and organizations are expected to intervene, with military force, inside a sovereign nation.  Only China, Russia, N. Korea, et. al., dispute this.  Examples of justfied intervention might include NATO in Bosnia and Kosovo, East Timor, Somalia 1992-93, Britain in Sierra Leone, and many, many others.  The precedent was set long ago, and was most recently embodied, officially, in the Bush Doctrine of pre-emptive strikes.

2- Sovereignty can be violated when a nation state fails to treat it's citizens in a humane manner, or when a state is unable or unwilling to exercise control of it's territory, which is the case in this example.  You used the example of Cuba attacking terrorists in Florida. That is not a reasonable example - the US Government is able to control it's territory, making action by Cuba unnecessary. Cuba, in this case is left with other options which it can rationally choose to take - decide getting rid of these terrorists is worth war with the US, use other means (assassination, like Russia uses on dissidents), or go to a international organization. However, unless a state has no other options, it is unlikely to trust an international committee with its own security and the lives of its citizens. But I digres.

3- The existence of networks that facilitated the movement of foreign volunteers into Iraq, through Syria, was well known and well documented, even as the first US troops crossed the Iraqi border in 2003.  It has been discussed many times by American and Iraqi leaders and media commentators and 'experts'. Yes, a large degree of the Iraqi insurgency was carried out by Iraqis - but a siginificant part of the worst attacks, such as suicide bombings, were carried out by foreigners. In the past year, as the situation in Iraq stablilized, common Iraqis were less interested in civil war, and foreign fighters became more prominent.  I'll refer you to the "Iraqi Insurgency" article in Wikipedia (yes, I realize it's not the ideal source, but frankly it's a good place to start, and I'm not going to troll the 'net finding sources).

4- This is not news to Syria. The insurgent networks in Syria were a subject of discussion between US and Syrian leadership since the US invaded - however, Syria (and Iran) perceives it's best interests to be served by exercising a degree of control over the insurgency, allowing them to gain from the eventual outcome. For five years Syria has chosen to allow these networks to exist on their soil. Likely, they were allowed exist in limited and tightly controlled circumstances.  For a similar example, but of what can go wrong, look up the experience of Jordan and the PLO - Black September, 1970. 

5- Whether you were for the invasion of Iraq or against it is immaterial at this time - we have the war we have, and the question for decision makers is how to deal with the problems we have now. Your immediate reaction may be "Withdraw!" or "Negotiate a settlement!". Withdrawal, at this stage, would equal chaos. A negotiated settlement - between who? Should Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the US sit down and carve up a new Iraq?  Should domestic extremist parties - Shia and Sunni - divide up the country between hateful, warring sides?

6- I think that the solution Gen. Petraeus (and others) have started forward is a good one - neighbourhood solutions, local settlement of issues, local security - and the statistics agree with this assessment, although the future remains shaky.  I believe that the option presented by the US (increased local security, gradual withdrawal of US troops) is the best option for Iraq, and although imperfect, far better than alternatives. Therefore, individuals/entities/groups/states that attempt to interfere with this process - and in so doing, cause massive death, destruction and harm to many innocents - need to be halted. I'll call these individuals 'spoilers', as they have a singular goal: prevent the solution advanced by the US, at any cost.

7- Within Iraq, Iraqi and US forces are able to deal with such 'spoilers', and have been very successful in doing so. However, this issue is trans-national - what to do? Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Turkey do not allow insurgents to operate from their territory (although the majority of foreign fighters are Saudi), and are not complicit in the movement of foreign fighters to Iraq. Syria and Iran do, at the least, allow such networks to exist - to pretend that much of anything happens in totalitarian police states like Syria and Iran that the regimes do not know about, especially involving the movement of large numbers of young men, is ludicrous.

8- Syria proved unwilling to deal with the problem on its soil. Importantly, it is also unable to retaliate against the US - starting a wider war over this issue, at this time, would be dangerous and ill-considered. So, a known insurgent base with a high-profile leader was attacked by relatively miniscule forces - 8-10 soldiers on the ground, a few helicopters.  Perhaps this will make Syria or Iran pause and reconsider - if so, it is worth it. Even if the flow of extremists into Iraq is slowed, temporarily, it is well worth the work of less than a dozen soldiers and a half dozen air crew.

9- You believe innocents died in this attack. Unfortunately, it is unlikely conclusive proof of this will ever be available. You'll never believe the US reports, and I'll never believe that the Syrians didn't rig this for publicity.  So, until disinterested aliens come down, with 3-D colour and full sound recordings of every detail of the attack, we'll have to let that one lie.


Some very relevant and good points regarding sovereignty and absolutism. I agree, territorial sovereignty is not absolute and other nations do have justifications for impinging on that. Let me make myself clear, I am not making a blanket statement against the need to sometimes go outside of territorial boundaries. However I think I have argued effectively in my previous posts that in this case it was not warranted, and detrimental to the United States' situation in the Middle East. One must understand, and look at it from other perspectives. For instance in this case it brings the question of "If I were a Syrian or Middle Easterner, how would I see such an act?"?. This type of question really brings some interesting perspectives into play and does show that these kind of acts can be detrimental to the spirit of international and foreign relations. Thats why I believe that this excursion was wrong. However you bring in a valid point, how do we balance the need for the proper spirit, while still keeping the security interests at hand. In that case I would look to further foster better relationships with the neighbours in the Middle East so incursions like this would not be necessary in the future, instead I think this simply furthers the divide.

With that in mind Enfield I am very much in gratitude for your well thought out post, this is the sort of debate I am interested in. One of issues and topics, not the supposed loyalties, integrities and character of each person arguing.

@OverWatch

You can continue to twist my words on 9/11 to suit your purposes, but nowhere did I state that the USA deserved it. This is merely you putting words into my mouth to simply create a strawman that can be easily taken down. As for your character assassinations, I believe that what you are posting will be shown for what it is, simply attacks on my character and not on the issues I brought up. You may not like me as a person, or of my supposed character or integrity, however you have yet to debate my actual points that I brought up.

-C/D
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: tango22a on November 04, 2008, 16:15:45
Hey Guys:

If We ignore the TROLL maybe he'll ESFOAD!!

tango22a
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Enfield on November 04, 2008, 19:28:15
However I think I have argued effectively in my previous posts that in this case it was not warranted, and detrimental to the United States' situation in the Middle East. One must understand, and look at it from other perspectives. For instance in this case it brings the question of "If I were a Syrian or Middle Easterner, how would I see such an act?"?. This type of question really brings some interesting perspectives into play and does show that these kind of acts can be detrimental to the spirit of international and foreign relations. Thats why I believe that this excursion was wrong.

1- Foreign fighters have been flowing through Syria into Iraq for five years, causing massive destruction and loss of life, with the knowledge and complicity of the Syrian regime.  Syrian leadership believes it has a vested interest in maintaing the Iraqi insurgency and ensuring chaos, just as it believes it has a role in maintaining anarchy in Lebanon and fighting a proxy war through Hezbollah with Israel. 

2- If I were a Syrian, I would be unhappy that my government was intentionally fomenting unrest in Iraq, and that my governmet had given up a degree of national sovereignty by allowing armed foreigners to act from my soil.  I would see the role my government played in civil strife in Lebanon and Iraq, it's mad pursuit of nuclear weapons, and a continual support for extremists it can't really control or manage.  Generally, I would be embarassed that Syria constantly places itself in an aggressive regional position, and be consistently slapped down for it.   

3- Frankly, the view of a Syrian or Middle Easterner is largely irrelevant at this point: the view that matters is of the US leaders who are accountable to their soldiers, their soldiers families, and are responsible for fixing the mess in Iraq. US leadership that ok'd this raid were acting in the best interests of the stakeholders that mattered.  Syria itself is largely a pariah state, and it's regional neighbours are likely quite happy to see it slapped a bit.  The US'  response was proportionate, if not cautious - 8-10 soldiers and a few helicopters does not begin to describe what the US could inflict on Syria, at the drop of a hat, should it choose too.  Or, observe the news from the Afghan - Pakistan border - almost weekly strikes. Syria got off easy.

4- What "international and foreign relations"?? The fact that if a State is complicit in acts that kill US troops and cause anarchy in another country, that the US will come knocking, is hardly a surprise and I would expect it of any nation.  To the best of my knowledge, relations were barely altered by this laregly symbolic raid - Syria remains a pariah, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait still sell us oil, Iran carries on it's agenda, although maybe a little more circumspectly, and Israel continues on. The true result is that a network that imported suicide bombers that carried out mass casualty attacks on Iraqi civilians was disrupted.

5- What was the alternative? I know of no international law, organization or process that could deal with Syrian and Iranian support for foreign fighters in Iraq. Syria will carry this policy forward until they think they will benefit from a negotiated solution - a solution that pushes the US out, and installs Pro-Syria and Iranian leaders in a fragmented Iraq. Syria has been complicit for five years in moving insurgents into Iraq, a fact that has been protested many times. If Syria is unhappy with the repercussions - easy. Stop allowing terrorists to come from your soil. 
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Carcharodon Carcharias on November 04, 2008, 20:47:13
Enfiled, this TROLL is just feeding off us, he does not even have a clue what debate really means. He simply wants to feed off the emotions of real soldiers, and gets some cheap thrill from that, along with emphasising his pro terrorist political views. Best let him starve and he will find another site to express his anti US anti and Canada sentiment.
Pretty sad when someone in our own uniform has crossed over to the other sides politcal beliefs, that is if he really is a serving member.

For the record, I like others, love a good debate, and I respect those opinions of others who can have their say, but this INDIVIDUAL is over the top, and his AGENDA is being flaunted in front of our own eyes. We all can agree that this INDIVIDUAL loves stirring the pot.

Simply a classic example of why some animals in the wild eat their young.

He's on IGNORE from now on, and no doubt on Mod Doppler 4!

Meanwhile,  :pop:

Cold beers,

OWDU
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: tango22a on November 04, 2008, 21:47:28
Will some kind moderator Please Lock this down,thanks. This thread has become pointless at this time.

For the gentlemen that stood up to this TROLL....a BIG Thank You, as I have been off-'net for five days and this TROLL persists in beating a dead horse! He's not getting anywhere and we're just wasting time and giving ourselves major headaches.


NOT very cheerfully,

tango22a

Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: George Wallace on November 04, 2008, 21:54:02
We have a motion on the Floor.

Seconded by Wes.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: WB on November 04, 2008, 22:04:06
I'd like Cog-Dis to have one last shot at addressing every one of Enfield's points from both of his posts individually.

If he won't do that, then there's no doubt in anyone's mind that he's just here to troll.

If he does do it, he'll have to deal with the points at which is logic falls apart head on.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: tango22a on November 04, 2008, 22:20:26
Cog-Dis says his Heart goes out to those who were slaughtered. I'm glad he has a Heart because he definitely doesn't have Two brain cells to rub together!

tango22a
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: GAP on November 04, 2008, 22:37:48
I'd like Cog-Dis to have one last shot at addressing every one of Enfield's points from both of his posts individually.

If he won't do that, then there's no doubt in anyone's mind that he's just here to troll.

If he does do it, he'll have to deal with the points at which is logic falls apart head on.

Right after he finishes his evening shift at Timmies.....
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Carcharodon Carcharias on November 04, 2008, 22:40:30
We have a motion on the Floor.

Seconded by Wes.

Yes, confirmed.

Seriously now, if this INDIVIDUAL responds, we will hear nothing but more anti US propaganda, pro enemy sympathy, and the denouncing of our governments for being in this war, which in my opinion shows disrespect for those of our brethern who have fallen, and those wounded, and those that have served there. I've had a giant gutfull of this weak and one sided INDIVIDUAL.

Not so seriously now....

If I was a rich MF, I'd buy Cog-Dis/Army Goon a one way ticket (coach class, sorry no 1st class) to Shyteland (AKA various fronts on this GWAT), so he can help the other side, and be sympathetic to their cause, maybe he can take that Khadir terrorist mob with him too (but they can go crated in the cargo hold)?

Again seriously...

Until then, lets put a dirty-great-big-giant PADLOCK on this thread quicksmart!

Cheers from a tropical rainy spring day,

OWDU
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Bruce Monkhouse on November 04, 2008, 23:19:50
I'm locking this as dogpiling does nothing but make everyone look bad.

I will unlock it when Cognitive-Dissonance PM's me a point by point response to Enfields post with thought out counterpoints backed up by the kind of research that Enfield has done.

If he fails to do that then he is what some have called him and it will stay locked......
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Bruce Monkhouse on November 05, 2008, 01:13:57
I have unlocked this as C-D as sent me his reply.

Folks, you have two choices, proper replies or put this thread on ignore.
Dogpiling is not an option.
Bruce
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Cognitive-Dissonance on November 05, 2008, 04:59:01
Very good points Enfield, thanks again for the discussion instead of simply labelling me a "pro-terrorist" and waving away my arguments. Thanks also to Bruce for unlocking the thread, now on to the debate:

1- Foreign fighters have been flowing through Syria into Iraq for five years, causing massive destruction and loss of life, with the knowledge and complicity of the Syrian regime.  Syrian leadership believes it has a vested interest in maintaing the Iraqi insurgency and ensuring chaos, just as it believes it has a role in maintaining anarchy in Lebanon and fighting a proxy war through Hezbollah with Israel.

While this may be the case, again my point being that the destruction of these assets are not worth the political and international relations damage caused by it. By making incursions into Syria to destroy these foreign assets, I believe that you're only worsening the situation. If anything, in the eyes of those sympathetic to the Iraqi Insurgency this is only "proof" of American's "imperialism", so to speak. Its very easily manipulated by enemies of the United States into a propaganda tool, and very easily so (picture this, "American imperialists bomb and kill innocent civilians inside sovereign Arabic nation!"). So it is of my opinion that the end results do not outweigh the immediate and short term benefits of eliminating this threat. Its very short sided on a geopolitical scale.

As for Syrian involvement, while there is most likely involvement there is still a lot of forced information coming in from the United States side that reeks of dubious claims in order to legitimize their operations in Iraq. The United States has always claimed the problems of Iraq are from foreign fighters, when recently it has been proven that only some 5% of Iraqi Insurgents are actual foreign. GlobalSecurity has this to say about Syrian involvement in particular:

"Yet while coalition forces often suspect Syria of assisting insurgents, Syrian denials are adamant and hard evidence is lacking." (from Here (http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ops/iraq_insurgency.htm) )

Now I am not suggesting that the Syrians are happy go lucky and are simply innocent in this regard. They are most likely aiding the actions of foreign fighters going into Iraq by simple inaction. That being said, the hard evidence is still not there on direct Syrian involvement. And even so, again the problems of Iraq come from deep seated ethnic tensions, not the often claimed problem of foreign fighters.


2- If I were a Syrian, I would be unhappy that my government was intentionally fomenting unrest in Iraq, and that my governmet had given up a degree of national sovereignty by allowing armed foreigners to act from my soil.  I would see the role my government played in civil strife in Lebanon and Iraq, it's mad pursuit of nuclear weapons, and a continual support for extremists it can't really control or manage.  Generally, I would be embarassed that Syria constantly places itself in an aggressive regional position, and be consistently slapped down for it.

It's very easy to say this from our perspective but one must be careful not to get caught up in our own experiences and how we view things. You have to understand that in their nations, the reputation and legitimacy of United States foreign affairs has already been massively destroyed because of constant American interventionism. Thus they are unlikely to see American claims of fighting insurgency and bringing peace and stability as legitimate. Personal responsibility is easy to tout while we talk about this in the comfort of our homes in the West, while they are having to hear information filtered through various competing outlets, each with much more overt agendas than objective western media. With that in mind we need to always be careful of our actions in the region, because information is easily used against us in this regard. Futhermore I don't think the majority of those unsympathetic to American causes in the Middle East would be mad about arming foreign fighters, as they see the invasion of Iraqi and occupation to be illegitimate and illegal from the beginning.

3- Frankly, the view of a Syrian or Middle Easterner is largely irrelevant at this point: the view that matters is of the US leaders who are accountable to their soldiers, their soldiers families, and are responsible for fixing the mess in Iraq. US leadership that ok'd this raid were acting in the best interests of the stakeholders that mattered.  Syria itself is largely a pariah state, and it's regional neighbours are likely quite happy to see it slapped a bit.  The US'  response was proportionate, if not cautious - 8-10 soldiers and a few helicopters does not begin to describe what the US could inflict on Syria, at the drop of a hat, should it choose too.  Or, observe the news from the Afghan - Pakistan border - almost weekly strikes. Syria got off easy.

The USA is not only responsible to be accountable to only their soldiers. If the USA wishes to continiue to be a big player in the geopolitical stage, they have an obligation to be accountable to all. Human life is still human life and the threshold of destruction, collateral damage and operations needs to be high, but not too high to warrant risking the lives of innocent civilians. Its a difficult question and theres no easy ratio or equation to know when the risk outweighs the costs. However I believe the response in this sense may have been "good" in terms of short-term military strategy, but I believe the long-term geopolitical repercussions are much more serious than taking out a few insurgents. The trade off is destroying some operatives, in exchange for further destroying the legitimacy of US foreign relations. I believe that trade off is seriously troubling, not just for the bad precedent but even from an American perspective; it destroys reconciliation efforts with the Middle East. If the USA wants to not get into more quagmires like Iraq, and more terrorist attacks on their home soil they need to understand the root problems of the Middle East. Much of these problems come from Western interventionism, both overt, covert, political, military and economic.

4- What "international and foreign relations"?? The fact that if a State is complicit in acts that kill US troops and cause anarchy in another country, that the US will come knocking, is hardly a surprise and I would expect it of any nation.  To the best of my knowledge, relations were barely altered by this laregly symbolic raid - Syria remains a pariah, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait still sell us oil, Iran carries on it's agenda, although maybe a little more circumspectly, and Israel continues on. The true result is that a network that imported suicide bombers that carried out mass casualty attacks on Iraqi civilians was disrupted.

Ofcourse I will acknowledge that the immediete effects aren't changing the status quo, and you are correct in that regard. However I still posit that the long-term precedent with this, coupled with so many other incidents of US unilateralism sets a bad precedent and bad foundation for future reconciliation with the people of the Middle East. How are common Syrians supposed to support the USA when all they hear about is American invasions of neighbouring nations, and incursions into their country? These are very easily manipulated situations and they need to be avoided so the regimes don't have any more ammunition at their disposal for misinformation.

5- What was the alternative? I know of no international law, organization or process that could deal with Syrian and Iranian support for foreign fighters in Iraq. Syria will carry this policy forward until they think they will benefit from a negotiated solution - a solution that pushes the US out, and installs Pro-Syria and Iranian leaders in a fragmented Iraq. Syria has been complicit for five years in moving insurgents into Iraq, a fact that has been protested many times. If Syria is unhappy with the repercussions - easy. Stop allowing terrorists to come from your soil.

The alternative in this certain situations is to see that the benefit of not provoking even more outrage in a region strife with anti-Americanism, is larger than the benefit of destroying a small insurgent compound. Now as for what alternatives the military leaders themselves had, without regards to geopolitics? Well I won't try to stray too far out of my lane in saying this but I am sure there are ways in which an eye can be kept on the movements and travel of insurgents can be monitored from these already known location, and from there they can intercept movements across the border. Though I admit this may not be feasible, so in that case my strongest argument is still that the large-scale geopolitical benefit outweighs the short-term, micro-scale military goals of destroying insurgent military infrastructure.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: PanaEng on November 05, 2008, 13:02:51
Thanks Bruce for letting the discussion continue and thanks to Enfield and C-D for logical arguments and counter arguments. Both have brought up good points.

C-Ds mistake was to start up with pretty emotional references which only bring out emotional responses - and I don't blame them. If you want to have a logical debate, stay away from referring to emotional subjects or making emotional appeals or taking one side of the story at face value. And that goes for most of the other responders as well.

What I would add, and this is counter to C-D central argument that this raid did more damage geo-politically than good, is that there is no surprise there to the middle east countries and peoples; they are used to this "unilateral" behaviour so this doesn't increase their animosity toward us measurably. On the other hand, this is showing Syria and Iran where the line in the sand is - about time!

cheers,
Frank
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Enfield on November 05, 2008, 20:35:54
By making incursions into Syria to destroy these foreign assets, I believe that you're only worsening the situation. If anything, in the eyes of those sympathetic to the Iraqi Insurgency this is only "proof" of American's "imperialism", so to speak. Its very easily manipulated by enemies of the United States into a propaganda tool, and very easily so (picture this, "American imperialists bomb and kill innocent civilians inside sovereign Arabic nation!"). So it is of my opinion that the end results do not outweigh the immediate and short term benefits of eliminating this threat. Its very short sided on a geopolitical scale.
First, US (or Western, or European) foreign policy and security policy cannot be held hostage to notions of Syrian or Iranian public opinion.  Second, Syrian media is no doubt working very hard to maintain the idea of Evil American Imperialist Crusader, no matter what the US actually does.  On the day of the raid, I'd bet my house that the Syrian Gov't killed more Syrians than the US military, but that will never make the headlines in Damascus, so arguing about perception is largely irrelevant. Popular (and officially sanctioned) Syrian opinion is already so anti-American that a raid like this is hardly going to change much. Besides, given that Syrian public opinion has zero influence on Syria's policies, what does it matter?

As for Syrian involvement, while there is most likely involvement there is still a lot of forced information coming in from the United States side that reeks of dubious claims in order to legitimize their operations in Iraq. The United States has always claimed the problems of Iraq are from foreign fighters, when recently it has been proven that only some 5% of Iraqi Insurgents are actual foreign. GlobalSecurity has this to say about Syrian involvement in particular:

"Yet while coalition forces often suspect Syria of assisting insurgents, Syrian denials are adamant and hard evidence is lacking." (from Here (http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ops/iraq_insurgency.htm) )

Now I am not suggesting that the Syrians are happy go lucky and are simply innocent in this regard. They are most likely aiding the actions of foreign fighters going into Iraq by simple inaction. That being said, the hard evidence is still not there on direct Syrian involvement. And even so, again the problems of Iraq come from deep seated ethnic tensions, not the often claimed problem of foreign fighters.

I could line up quotes from websites - in fact, here's several from the GlobalSecurity.org site you cited:
"...[as of 2005 there were three factions] The main one, still owing allegiance to jailed dictator Saddam Hussein, is operating out of Syria. It is led by Saddam's half-brother Sabawi Ibrahim al-Hassan and former aide Mohamed Yunis al-Ahmed, who provide funding to their connections in Mosul, Samarra, Baquba, Kirkuk and Tikrit. Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri is still in Iraq."
" London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies estimates roughly 1,000 foreign Islamic jihadists have joined the insurgency. And there is no doubt many of these have had a dramatic effect on perceptions of the insurgency through high-profile video-taped kidnappings and beheadings."
"One group of Ansar al-Islam militants captured in the Kurdish region during early August 2003 consisted of five Iraqis, a Palestinian and a Tunisian. It was reported that the men had five forged Italian passports for another group of militants. It is estimated that at least 150 members of Ansar al-Islam have entered Iraq with the help of smugglers within the last few weeks."
"The recalcitrant cleric Muqtada al-Sadr is widely perceived as an Iranian proxy, while in a television interview, Muayed al-Nasseri, commander of Saddam's "Army of Muhhammad," said his group received weapons and cash form both Iran and Syria."
 
- but I could go on forever with various quotes from various reputable sources.  I'd only add that whatever we see in open media (who have almost no real access to the insurgency) is a shadow of what American forces in Iraq see, hear about, and monitor.  Given Syria's record of interference n Lebanon, it's support for Hezbollah, and it's proxy conflicts aganst Israel, I have no doubt they have the will and capacity to support anti-American insurgents in Iraq. Therefore, when American authorities present facts regarding Syrian complicity in fighter networks, I'll believe it, unless they suggest something wild or outlandish.

It's very easy to say this from our perspective but one must be careful not to get caught up in our own experiences and how we view things. You have to understand that in their nations, the reputation and legitimacy of United States foreign affairs has already been massively destroyed because of constant American interventionism. Thus they are unlikely to see American claims of fighting insurgency and bringing peace and stability as legitimate. Personal responsibility is easy to tout while we talk about this in the comfort of our homes in the West, while they are having to hear information filtered through various competing outlets, each with much more overt agendas than objective western media. With that in mind we need to always be careful of our actions in the region, because information is easily used against us in this regard. Futhermore I don't think the majority of those unsympathetic to American causes in the Middle East would be mad about arming foreign fighters, as they see the invasion of Iraqi and occupation to be illegitimate and illegal from the beginning.
I don't understand why we need to be careful of our actions in the region - Syrian popuar opinion should guide Western foreign policy?
Does the President of France evaluate a trade policy based on how it will play in Saskatchewan?
Anyways, as Syria is already a pariah state pursuing destructive, anti-social policies, I don't see what else can go wrong. And why should Syria matter? It has no means to retaliate, There's a reason Syria was raided and not Iran.

The USA is not only responsible to be accountable to only their soldiers.
You're right - they are accountable to American voters and taxpayers, and are obligated to always act in the best interests of American citizens. Always.

If the USA wishes to continiue to be a big player in the geopolitical stage, they have an obligation to be accountable to all.
The US has an obligation to be accountable to all if it wishes to continue to be a big player on the world stage???
Come again?

Ok, Poli Sci 101:
1) Might makes right.
2) History is written by the victors.
3) God is on the side of the big battalions.
4) States do not have permanent friends, they have permanent interests.

The US is a hyper-power because it has by far the world's largest, most prosperous and most innovative economy, coupled with a dynamic scientific and intellectual community, and fields a military exponentially more powerful than anything before, and anything existing.
Being a "big player in the geopolitical stage" has nothing to do with accountability to others; otherwise, we'd be discussing Swedish foreign policy and the US, Russia, China would be relegated to the level of Bolivia.  Like all states, the US will go along with international norms/treaties/organizations to the extent it furthers the interest of the US. Because, in the end, the US is accountable to American citizens - just like Iceland is accountable to Icelanders, and Poland is accountable to the Polish.

The trade off is destroying some operatives, in exchange for further destroying the legitimacy of US foreign relations. I believe that trade off is seriously troubling, not just for the bad precedent but even from an American perspective; it destroys reconciliation efforts with the Middle East. If the USA wants to not get into more quagmires like Iraq, and more terrorist attacks on their home soil they need to understand the root problems of the Middle East. Much of these problems come from Western interventionism, both overt, covert, political, military and economic.
I believe this raid just added to the credibility and legitimacy to American foreign relations, because it fulfills the Bush Doctrine, and transplants the policies of the Afghan/Pak theatre to the Iraq theatre.  I think it forces nations like Syria to take the US seriously, and shake them of the misconception that the US is too "tied down" to react or retaliate against further aggression. Globally, the presence or threat of American military force is the single greatest stabilizer (well, perhaps second after the global standard of the US dollar) - just as the Royal Navy kept the peace in the 1800s. The re-assertion of the capacity and will of America to intervene reinforces this stabilizing factor.

Ofcourse I will acknowledge that the immediete effects aren't changing the status quo, and you are correct in that regard. However I still posit that the long-term precedent with this, coupled with so many other incidents of US unilateralism sets a bad precedent and bad foundation for future reconciliation with the people of the Middle East. How are common Syrians supposed to support the USA when all they hear about is American invasions of neighbouring nations, and incursions into their country? These are very easily manipulated situations and they need to be avoided so the regimes don't have any more ammunition at their disposal for misinformation.
I see no true reconciliation in the Middle East - it's hardly as if this US raid prevented the signing of a sweeping Mid East Peace Accord tomorrow. In the long run, this (and future such raids) will contribute to Mid East stability by preventing pariah nations like Syria from acting as 'spoilers'.  Syria has NOT acted as a legitimate stakeholder in Iraq, and acts against US policies in Iraq that will eventually create peace and stability there.   

The alternative in this certain situations is to see that the benefit of not provoking even more outrage in a region strife with anti-Americanism, is larger than the benefit of destroying a small insurgent compound. Now as for what alternatives the military leaders themselves had, without regards to geopolitics? Well I won't try to stray too far out of my lane in saying this but I am sure there are ways in which an eye can be kept on the movements and travel of insurgents can be monitored from these already known location, and from there they can intercept movements across the border. Though I admit this may not be feasible, so in that case my strongest argument is still that the large-scale geopolitical benefit outweighs the short-term, micro-scale military goals of destroying insurgent military infrastructure.
The small insurgent compound was not just a nest of foot soldiers - it was a key transit point, and home to a High Value Target. The seriousness of this attack was not lost on US policy makers - it was deliberately chosen for the High Value of the Target.
"An eye" cannot be kept on the movement and travel of insurgents to the degree necessary  - if that were possible, there would be no insurgency left in Iraq. Perfect situational awareness is a pipedream.

my strongest argument is still that the large-scale geopolitical benefit outweighs the short-term, micro-scale military goals of destroying insurgent military infrastructure.
As there has been no backlash in foreign relations - even Syria is barely compalining - and as a insurgent leader is dead and a network disrupted, I guess that's it then. The benefits of the raid did outweigh the costs.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: 2 Cdo on November 06, 2008, 17:14:21
I'll go with game, set, match for Enfield. ;D I can't wait for some tired, anti-US rhetoric masquerading as a rebuttal!
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Bruce Monkhouse on November 06, 2008, 20:40:40
I'll go with game, set, match for Enfield. ;D I can't wait for some tired, anti-US rhetoric masquerading as a rebuttal!

Yea, but maybe he will spread it over an even bigger post.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Carcharodon Carcharias on November 06, 2008, 22:02:31
;D I can't wait for some tired, anti-US rhetoric masquerading as a rebuttal!

I/we, and others hear you.

As far as I am concerned, this world is going ghey or green in a spiriling vomit of PCness, and I don't know whether to laugh, cry or....... shoot  ;D

However the phrase 'enough rope' comes to mind, and he has this already.

Meanwhile from the Batcave, and in the interim, I remain  :pop:

Cold XXXX's,

Wes

Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: S.M.A. on November 21, 2008, 19:34:06
A more recent article.

http://www.denverpost.com/ci_11026964?source=rss

Quote
Syrian site bore evidence of reactor
U.N. inspectors say the Israeli-bombed facility in the desert was tainted with uranium.
By Joby Warrick
The Washington Post
Updated: 11/19/2008 10:58:44 PM MST


WASHINGTON — The Syrian facility bombed by Israeli planes last year bore multiple hallmarks of a nuclear reactor, and the ruined site was contaminated with uranium, U.N. nuclear inspectors confirmed Wednesday in a report that largely backed Bush administration accounts of a secret atomic program in the Syrian desert.

The report stopped short of declaring the Syrian facility to be a nuclear reactor, noting that Damascus had taken extensive steps to sanitize the site before officials of the International Atomic Energy Agency were allowed to visit. But agency officials said Syria had failed to provide blueprints or other documents to support its claim that the destroyed building had a nonnuclear purpose.


In a separate report, the agency also heaped new criticism on Iran for failing to cooperate with U.N. inspectors in clearing up questions about past nuclear research that appears linked to a military weapons program.

The report said Iran continues to expand its capacity for making enriched uranium, a key ingredient in both commercial nuclear power and nuclear weapons.

The IAEA has been engaged in contentious negotiations with both Syria and Iran as it seeks to assess claims that both countries were secretly planning to make nuclear weapons. Syria has denied having nuclear ambitions, while Iran contends that its nuclear program is exclusively for electricity production.

The Syrian facility, on the banks of the Euphrates River near the village of Kibar, was obliterated by Israeli bombs on Sept. 6, 2007.

While the Bush administration previously released photographs and other evidence suggesting that the building was a partly completed nuclear reactor, the new IAEA report provides independent support for the U.S. claim.


Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: geo on November 23, 2008, 14:22:19
Israel certainly snookered all that modern Russian Air defence hardware that had been put in place.

and then Syria removes every single last trace of the facility before it can be inspected.... kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar I guess...
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: twistedcables on November 25, 2008, 16:22:03
 :argument:

http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSTRE4AO3Y520081125?feedType=RSS&feedName=worldNews

By Mark Heinrich

VIENNA (Reuters) - A bid by Syria for aid in planning a nuclear power plant poses no proliferation risk and a Western move to block the project could discredit the U.N. nuclear watchdog, its chief said in remarks released on Tuesday.

Major Western nations want the project shelved because Syria is being investigated by the watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), over U.S. intelligence asserting that it tried covertly to build a nuclear reactor designed to make plutonium for atomic bombs.

Their push has met resistance at an IAEA board of governors meeting from Russia, China and developing states who see no grounds for "politicizing" IAEA nuclear energy development aid without proof a country has violated non-proliferation rules.

An IAEA report last week said a Syrian building demolished in an Israeli air raid last year bore similarities to a nuclear reactor and uranium particles, possibly remnants of pre-enriched nuclear fuel, had been found in the area.

But it stressed that the findings were preliminary and more on-site checks, and Syrian documentation to prove its denials of covert nuclear activity, were needed to draw conclusions.

IAEA Director Mohamed ElBaradei said the intervention by Western powers against Syria had no legal basis and there was no way Syria could abuse the project -- a feasibility study for a nuclear power plant -- for military ends.

Barring IAEA aid to a country on the basis of unproven allegations "is not part of our lexicon, it's not part of our statute," he told a session of the agency's 35-nation board on Monday in remarks released by his office.

"INNOCUOUS" STUDY

The disputed $350,000 project is a "technical and economic feasibility and site selection" study for a nuclear power station in Syria. It would run from 2009 to 2011.

ElBaradei said all equipment that would be provided to Syria under IAEA auspices was "relevant to the project and...of an innocuous nature."

"None of it requires any safeguards," he added, referring to IAEA oversight meant to prevent diversions into nuclear bomb-making.

He warned if the Syria project were blocked over "political considerations," the IAEA would lose credibility with developing states seeking peaceful nuclear power and it would discourage cooperation by states under investigation.

Diplomats said a deal was being discussed under which a U.S.-led Western group would drop objections, enabling the project to be adopted by consensus, if the IAEA pledged to stagger it to ensure no equipment was introduced until the end.

"Some Western powers want ElBaradei to back down but he will not," said a senior diplomat familiar with the deliberations.

"If it works, a compromise would be noting all the West's reservations in the official summary of the meeting and let the project go forward, albeit with delayed equipment purchase. It would be a face-saver," he said. 

The meeting recessed for much of Tuesday to allow negotiations. It was adjourned later without a result and will reconvene on Wednesday, when a decision is expected.

An IAEA official said the governors could easily revisit the Syria study next year if by then the inquiry found Damascus to be in "non-compliance" with safeguards rules, as North Korea and Iran were previously, which led to cut-offs of IAEA aid.

Tensions between ElBaradei and U.S. officials over their suggestions he is "soft" on alleged nuclear proliferators, something he denies, have simmered for years.

"The latest clash between ElBaradei and the Bush administration goes back to his insistence on maintaining the agency's independence, following due process and preventing the IAEA from becoming a kangaroo court," said a senior IAEA official who asked for anonymity due to political sensitivities.

(Editing by Mark Trevelyan)
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Greymatters on November 26, 2008, 19:55:30
Very true but, as we all know, the truth is irrelevant in the propaganda wars.

Ours or theirs?   :o
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: S.M.A. on February 04, 2010, 14:41:21
A war of words that hopefully won't escalate any further:

Canadian Press (http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/capress/100204/world/ml_israel_syria)


Quote
JERUSALEM - Israel's outspoken foreign minister harshly warned Syria Thursday against drawing the Jewish state into another war, saying the Syrian army would be defeated and its regime would collapse in a future conflict.  


Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman also advised Syria to abandon its dreams of recovering the Israeli-held Golan Heights in a speech that ratcheted up simmering political tensions between the two longtime foes and sparked an urgent damage control campaign from the prime minister's office.


Lieberman's exceptionally sharp words followed Syrian President Bashar Assad's accusation on Wednesday that Israel was the one avoiding peace, and the Syrian foreign minister's earlier threat that Israeli cities would be attacked in a future conflict.  


The Syrians "have crossed a red line that cannot be ignored," Lieberman said in a speech at Bar-Ilan University, near Tel Aviv.


"Our message must be clear to Assad: 'In the next war, not only will you lose but you and your family will lose power,"' he added.


Lieberman heads the ultranationalist Yisrael Beiteinu faction. He has stirred controversy before with statements that Israeli-Arab lawmakers who meet Palestinian militants should be executed and that the president of Egypt could "go to hell." He later apologized for the comment directed at the Egyptian leader.


Lieberman's bellicose language contrasted sharply with a statement Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued late Wednesday, saying Israel seeks peace. It also said Netanyahu "would be willing to go anywhere in the world, and doesn't rule out any assistance by a fair third party, to promote the political process in order to begin peace talks with Syria without any preconditions."
 

In another statement Thursday, Netanyahu's spokesman Nir Hefetz said the prime minister spoke with Lieberman about the Syria issue.


"The two clarify that the policy of the government is clear: Israel seeks peace and negotiations with Syria without preconditions. Having said that, Israel will continue to act aggressively and persistently to any threat toward it," the statement read.


In a third statement, the prime minister's office said Netanyahu will ask his ministers to refrain from speaking out about the Syrian issue.


Syria demands the return of the Golan Heights - the strategic plateau Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast war - as the price of any deal.


But Lieberman said there would be no such thing.


"We must make Syria recognize that just as it relinquished its dream of a greater Syria that controls Lebanon ... it will have to relinquish its ultimate demand regarding the Golan Heights," Lieberman said.


There was no immediate comment from Syrian officials to Lieberman's remarks.


Several rounds of indirect peace talks between Syria and Israel in 2008 ended without agreement.


Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak warned earlier this week that the absence of peacemaking with Syria could result in a regional war.

 
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: S.M.A. on April 14, 2010, 21:06:50
Quote
WASHINGTON (Reuters (http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/reuters/100414/world/international_us_syria_usa)) - The United States voiced concern on Wednesday that Syria may have supplied Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas with Scud missiles that can hit deep inside Israel, potentially altering the military balance between the long-time foes.

A day after Israeli President Shimon Peres accused Syria of handing over "sophisticated Scud missiles to Hezbollah that threaten Israel," the White House said it had warned Damascus of a possible "destabilizing effect" for the region.


"There's concern that this is under consideration, but it's unclear whether or not the missiles have been transferred," said a U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity.


Such a development could threaten U.S. President Barack Obama's diplomatic outreach to Syria and create new obstacles to the confirmation of a new U.S. ambassador to Damascus after a five-year absence.


One Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Scuds were smuggled in to Hezbollah, an Islamist group backed by Iran and Syria, over the past two months.

Another Israeli official said the missiles were believed to have come without launchers but called that "irrelevant" since they were placed in improvised silos. There was no immediate word on where in Lebanon the missiles were stationed.


(...)
 
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Retired AF Guy on April 17, 2010, 12:34:40
It appears that some people may have jumped the gun on this story.

Quote
On Friday, American sources said it was unclear whether the missiles were indeed transferred to the Lebanese group.

"We think the intent is there," a senior US official told Reuters. "We believe a transfer of some kind occurred but it is unclear if the rockets themselves have changed hands," the senior official said.

Another official said doubts were growing that Syria had delivered the Scuds in full and allowed them to transit to Lebanese territory: "We don't believe it happened."

"It's unclear at this point that a transfer has occurred ... and the United States has no indications that the rockets have moved across the border," a third US official said.

 Full story here.  (http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3877146,00.html)
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Thucydides on April 25, 2010, 23:36:35
Political disarray in Washington:

http://www.commentarymagazine.com/blogs/index.php/pollak/283866

Quote
The Scud Saga Continues
Noah Pollak - 04.25.2010 - 8:15 AM

Michael Young, the opinion editor of the Beirut Daily Star, has a fine column parsing the latest developments on Syria, Lebanon, and the Obama administration. He confirms the interpretation I made recently on this blog, that the administration is puzzled at the failure of its opening gambits and unsure of what to do next:

    The problem is that Washington is of several minds over what to do about Syria…because there is no broad accord, and because the president has not provided clear guidance on resolving Mideastern problems, there is confusion in Washington. And where there is confusion there is policy bedlam, with everyone trying to fill the vacuum. That explains why the Syrians feel they can relax for now, and why the Iranians see no reason yet to fear an American riposte.

    Lebanon should be worried about American uncertainty. When there is doubt in Washington, it usually means the Israelis have wide latitude to do what they see fit here. With much of the Lebanese political class openly or objectively siding with Hezbollah, rather than shaping an American approach to Lebanon that might reinforce its sovereignty, we can guess the calamitous effect of that abdication.

Young’s worry is confirmed by this remarkable report from Foreign Policy’s Josh Rogin:

    As for why Syria seems to be playing such an unhelpful role, “that’s the million-dollar question,” the [Obama administration] official said….”We do not understand Syrian intentions. No one does, and until we get to that question we can never get to the root of the problem,” the official said. “Until then it’s all damage control.”

This is quite simply amazing. The Assads, father and now son, have run the same foreign policy for decades. It is a very simple model, and one that gets discussed in detail on a regular basis: They are the arsonists who sell water to the fire department. The administration official should start his odyssey of discovery by reading Bret Stephens’s 2009 Commentary essay, “The Syrian Temptation — and Why Obama Must Resist It.”

Bashar is a promoter of a remarkable array of death and destruction in the Middle East: killing American soldiers in Iraq, murdering Lebanon’s pro-democracy community into submission, killing Israelis, arming Hezbollah, hosting Hamas, and so on. This is intended not only to make Syria into a bigger player than it would otherwise be, but allows Bashar to maintain his illegitimate police state of a regime by constantly invoking foreign threats. And it ensures that the United States and other western powers will continuously drag themselves to Syria to beg for cooperation. “The road to Damascus is a road to peace,” Nancy Pelosi famously declared on her visit in 2007, unintentionally confirming to Assad the wisdom of the mayhem he sponsors. This is like saying that the road to the brothel is a road to virginity.

In the Obama administration, there are a few people, like Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs Jeffrey Feltman, who understand Syria. But foreign policy is run from the top. The person who doesn’t get it is the president, who seems confused by the failure of the region’s dictators and terrorists to respond constructively to his sensitive reorientation of American foreign policy. Right now he is stuck between his ideological commitments and the reality of their failure, and in the meantime the Middle East’s rogues are not waiting around for The One to figure out what level of nuance he ultimately wishes to pursue. They see naivety and irresolution, and they capitalize.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Rifleman62 on April 26, 2010, 11:08:22
Quote
When there is doubt in Washington, it usually means the Israelis have wide latitude to do what they see fit here

I don't think so. Not after the recent mishandling by Washington of the proposed new housing, leaked by a member of the opposition who was in the coalition Israeli government, and the snubs by the President and the Administration to PM Netanyahu.

No bows to the Israelis thank you very much!
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Thucydides on April 26, 2010, 11:52:40
I think what the article is really saying is Washington has fewer levers available to use when it comes to dealing with Israel. Israel is facing existential threats to its very existence, but is no longer seeing help or support from Washington (and when the POTIS bows to the King of Saudi Arabia and makes "smart diplomacy" noises to Israel's avowed enemies but seems to have no stick or will to back up their intentions, while making angry noises over a long planned and entirely legal housing development in Israeli territory, that idea rises very fast indeed).

Given these alarming developments, Israel may increasingly decide to take measures on its own, without regard to what Washington thinks or how Israel's actions might affect Washington's interests in the region.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Rifleman62 on April 26, 2010, 13:12:15
The Israelis may as well proceed with the backbone they have, the current US Administration lacks, and take out Iran's ability to manufacture WMDs. Almost the entire UN (joke) and the CBC hates them anyway.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: HavokFour on July 19, 2010, 18:06:29
From: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/syria-bans-full-islamic-face-veils-at-universities/article1645185/

Quote from: The Globe and Mail
Syria has forbidden the country's students and teachers from wearing the niqab — the full Islamic veil that reveals only a woman's eyes — taking aim at a garment many see as political.

The ban shows a rare point of agreement between Syria's secular, authoritarian government and the democracies of Europe: Both view the niqab as a potentially destabilizing threat.

“We have given directives to all universities to ban niqab-wearing women from registering,” a government official in Damascus told The Associated Press on Monday.

The order affects both public and private universities and aims to protect Syria's secular identity, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the issue. Hundreds of primary school teachers who were wearing the niqab at government-run schools were transferred last month to administrative jobs, he added.

The ban, issued Sunday by the Education Ministry, does not affect the hijab, or headscarf, which is far more common in Syria than the niqab's billowing black robes.

Syria is the latest in a string of nations from Europe to the Middle East to weigh in on the veil, perhaps the most visible symbol of conservative Islam. Veils have spread in other secular-leaning Arab countries, such as Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon, with Jordan's government trying to discourage them by playing up reports of robbers who wear veils as masks.

Turkey bans Muslim headscarves in universities, with many saying attempts to allow them in schools amount to an attack on modern Turkey's secular laws.

The issue has been debated across Europe, where France, Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands are considering banning the niqab on the grounds it is degrading to women.

Last week, France's lower house of parliament overwhelmingly approved a ban on both the niqab and the burqa, which covers even a woman's eyes, in an effort to define and protect French values — a move that angered many in the country's large Muslim community.

The measure goes before the Senate in September; its biggest hurdle could come when France's constitutional watchdog scrutinizes it later. A controversial 2004 law in France earlier prohibited Muslim headscarves and other “ostentatious” religious symbols in the classrooms of French primary and secondary public schools.

Opponents say such bans violate freedom of religion and personal choice, and will stigmatize all Muslims.

In Damascus, a 19-year-old university student who would give only her first name, Duaa, said she hopes to continue wearing her niqab to classes when the next term begins in the fall, despite the ban.

Otherwise, she said, she will not be able to study.

“The niqab is a religious obligation,” said the woman, who would not give her surname because she was uncomfortable speaking out against the ban. “I cannot go without it.”

Nadia, a 44-year-old science teacher in Damascus who was reassigned last month because of her veil, said: “Wearing my niqab is a personal decision.”

“It reflects my freedom,” she said, also declining to give her full name.

In European countries, particularly France, the debate has turned on questions of how to integrate immigrants and balance a minority's rights with secular opinion that the garb is an affront to women.

But in the Middle East — particularly Syria and Egypt, where there have been efforts to ban the niqab in the dorms of public universities — experts say the issue underscores the gulf between the secular elite and largely impoverished lower classes who find solace in religion.

Some observers say the bans also stem in part from fear of dissent.

The niqab is not widespread in Syria, although it has become more common in recent years, a development that has not gone unnoticed by the authoritarian government.

“We are witnessing a rapid income gap growing in Syria — there is a wealthy ostentatious class of people who are making money and wearing European clothes,” said Joshua Landis, an American professor and Syria expert who runs a blog called Syria Comment.

The lower classes are feeling the squeeze, he said.

“It's almost inevitable that there's going to be backlash. The worry is that it's going to find its expression in greater Islamic radicalism,” Landis said.

Four decades of secular rule under the Baath Party have largely muted sectarian differences in Syria, although the state is quick to quash any dissent. In the 1980s, Syria crushed a bloody campaign by Sunni militants to topple the regime of then-President Hafez Assad.

The veil is linked to Salafism, a movement that models itself on early Islam with a doctrine that is similar to Saudi Arabia's. In the broad spectrum of Islamic thought, Salafism is on the extreme conservative end.

In Gaza, radical Muslim groups encourage women to cover their faces and even conceal the shape of their shoulders by using layers of drapes.

It's a mistake to view the niqab as a “personal freedom,” Bassam Qadhi, a Syrian women's rights activist, told local media recently.

“It is rather a declaration of extremism,” Qadhi said.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: tomahawk6 on April 27, 2011, 01:51:25
When is the UN going to demand a no fly zone for Syria ?
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Journeyman on April 27, 2011, 01:53:41
When is the UN going to demand a no fly zone for Syria ?
:rofl:   But they're a "respected" Arab state. A Syrian no-fly zone would be kowtowing to the Israeli lobby.


....oh, you were serious   :-[
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: tomahawk6 on April 27, 2011, 22:26:38
There are signs that the 4th divison of the Syrian Army may have fired on the 4th Division in Deraa. The 5th divison may see itself as the protector of the civilian populace.The 4th division is led by Maher Assad. There are rumors that the rebels have trapped Maher Assad and Rustom Ghazali[Assad's man in Deraa] or might even have captured them. Bottom line is that there are elemnets in the Army tht dont approve of the heavy hand being used against civilians.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: old medic on April 28, 2011, 22:10:45
When is the UN going to demand a no fly zone for Syria ?

Push in U.N. for Criticism of Syria Is Rejected
By NEIL MacFARQUHAR
Published: April 27, 2011
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/28/world/middleeast/28nations.html

UNITED NATIONS — An attempt by the United States and its European allies to condemn Syria in the United Nations Security Council was rebuffed on Wednesday, as the willingness to intervene in the region — strong enough to lead to military action against Libya under similar circumstances just weeks ago — appeared to evaporate.

Western nations failed to secure the simplest of Security Council measures: a press statement calling on Syria’s leaders to stop the violence against their own people.

Envoys for several wary Council members that had agreed to at least abstain in the vote against Libya, particularly Russia, spoke out against any international intervention on Wednesday, while Lebanon would have found it impossible to support criticism given the influence Syria holds over it. The required unanimity among the 15 members for a press statement was impossible.

“The current situation in Syria, despite the increase in tension, does not represent a threat to international peace and security,” said Alexander Pankin, the Russian deputy permanent representative to the United Nations. Intervening would be “an invitation to civil war,” he said. All council members addressed the body after it became clear that no consensus would emerge. .......................



UN seeking urgent access to Syria's Deraa
By JORDANA HORN,  JPOST CORRESPONDENT
04/29/2011 02:50
http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=218371


Security Council hears that Syrian army is carrying out a major operation int he city, firing at civilians preventing medical care.
 
NEW YORK – The UN undersecretary- general for political affairs told Security Council members Wednesday that the United Nations wants urgent access to the city of Deraa in southern Syria, so that it can assess the humanitarian needs on the ground.

Reliable sources, B. Lynn Pascoe told the body Wednesday, report that the Syrian army is carrying out a major operation in Deraa, both firing at unarmed civilians and preventing the wounded from getting medical care. Pascoe estimated the current death toll of demonstrators as being between 350 and 400...............


Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: 57Chevy on May 18, 2011, 08:02:41
                         From the Gazette and shared with provisions of the Copyright Act

Tanks shell Syrian town, West piles on pressure
 Khaled Yacoub Oweis, Reuters May 18, 2011
http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Tanks+shell+Syrian+town+West+piles+pressure/4802132/story.html#ixzz1MhUbsyBm

AMMAN — Tanks bombarded a Syrian border town for the fourth day on Wednesday in a military campaign to crush protests against President Bashar al-Assad, under mounting Western pressure to stop his violent repression of demonstrators.
 
Troops went into Tel Kelakh on Saturday, a day after a demonstration there demanded "the overthrow of the regime", the slogan of revolutions that toppled Arab leaders in Egypt and Tunisia and challenged others across the Middle East.
 
Assad had been partly rehabilitated in the West over the last three years but the United States and European Union condemned his use of force to quell unrest and warned they plan further steps after imposing sanctions on top Syrian officials.
 
Human rights groups say Assad's crackdown has killed at least 700 civilians. Authorities blame most of the violence on armed groups backed by Islamists and outside powers, saying they have also killed more than 120 soldiers and police.
 
"We're still without water, electricity or communications," a resident of Tel Kelakh said, speaking by satellite phone.
 
He said the army was storming houses and making arrests, but withdrawing from neighbourhoods after the raids. In a sign that the army was coming under fire in the town, he said some families "are resisting, preferring death to humiliation".
 
Syria has barred most international media organisations from operating in Syria, making it hard to verify reports from activists and officials.

article continues at link...

Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: sean m on May 21, 2011, 16:11:27
Here is an interesting article from sky news and why the armed forces seem to be still supporting the Assad regime

http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/World-News/Sky-News-Analysis-Tim-Marshall-Looks-At-Why-The-Bashir-Al-Assad-Regime-Has-Not-Collapsed/Article/201105115987446?lpos=World_News_First_Home_Page_Feature_Teaser_Region_0&lid=ARTICLE_15987446_Sky_News_Analysis%3A_Tim_Marshall_Looks_At_Why_The_Bashir_Al_Assad_Regime_Has_Not_Collapsed_
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: 57Chevy on May 21, 2011, 20:57:56
---
...particularly Russia, spoke out against any international intervention
---
“The current situation in Syria, despite the increase in tension, does not represent a threat to international peace and security,” said Alexander Pankin, the Russian deputy permanent representative to the United Nations. Intervening would be “an invitation to civil war,” he said.


Russia has not asked Syria yet to host its naval base in Tartus - Syrian diplomat (April 01, 2011)
http://www.interfax.com/newsinf.asp?y=2011&m=4&d=1&pg=11&id=233285
MOSCOW. April 1 (Interfax) - Syria expects Russia to finally decide on the idea to set up a full-fledged Russian naval base at Port Tartus, said Syria's Charge d'Affaires in Russia Suleiman Abou Diyab.

"Russia must decide on its own whether it wants to set up a base there," he said in an interview with Interfax.

The Syrian diplomat also said that Moscow has not contacted Damascus over this proposal.

During its dispute with Ukraine over the presence of the Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol, Russia was eyeing the prospect of deploying a naval base in Tartus, he said. "But we subsequently learned from media reports that Russia was no longer considering this," he added.

He declined to speculate on how much Syria is interested in this project.

"This issue will be discussed when it is raised. But the theme remains on the agenda. It is for Russia to decide whether it will be taken up again," Abou Diyab said.

He also said he doubted that the mass unrest in Syria will impact the delivery of Russian Bastion mobile coastal missile systems with Yakhont anti-ship missiles to Syria.

"If the contract [to deliver Bastion systems and Yakhont missiles] exists, why should it not be implemented? Contracts must be fulfilled," he said.

The Russian Navy's logistics support post at Port Tartus is the only Russian military base in the far-abroad. An agreement to deploy Russian naval installations was signed by the former Soviet Union and Syria back in 1971. The Tartus base was intended to support the Russian Navy's operations in the Mediterranean, primarily to repair and supply warships of the 5th tactical (Mediterranean) squadron.

Since 1991, when the squadron ceased to exist, Russian warships have visited Tartus only on separate occasions.

The Tartus naval logistics facility, based in Syria, is comprised of three PM-61M floating piers, with only one in service; a repair vessel, rotated once in six months, warehouses, barracks and other auxiliary facilities.

Tartus is not a permanent base and is intended only for temporary mooring, repair and resupplies. It also includes floating maintenance plants, which can repair ships directly in the sea.

Israel has expressed its concern to the Russian government on many occasions over Moscow's plans to deliver Yakhont missiles to Syria. Israel argues that if supplied to Syria these weapons may fall into extremists' hands
                                                             _____________________

Russian Naval activity Tartus    ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tartus)

The city hosts a Soviet-era naval supply and maintenance base, under a 1971 agreement with Syria, still staffed by Russian naval personnel. In particular, the Russian Navy's 5th Mediterranean Squadron has been using the base. It has been reported that Russia and Syria are conducting talks about permitting Russia to develop and enlarge the base in order to establish a stronger naval presence in the Mediterranean, and amidst the deteriorating Russia relations with the west in conjunction with the 2008 South Ossetia war‎ and the plans to deploy US missile defense shield in Poland, it has been asserted that President Assad has agreed to Tartus port’s conversion into a permanent Middle East base for Russia’s nuclear-armed warships. Moscow and Damascus additionally announced that it would be renovating the port, although there was no mention in the Syrian press. On September 19, ten Russian warships docked in Tartus. According to Lebanese-Syrian commentator Joseph Farah the flotilla which has been moved to Tartus consists of the Moskva cruiser and four nuclear missile submarines. According to Farah upgrades of the port facilities are already under way. Since 1992 the port has been in disrepair with only one of its three floating piers remaining operational, but the facilities now are being restored.
 
On September 22, 2008, Russian Navy spokesman Igor Dygalo said the nuclear-powered battlecruiser Peter The Great, accompanied by three other ships, sailed from the Northern Fleet's base of Severomorsk. The ships will cover about 15,000 nautical miles (28,000 km) to conduct joint maneuvers with the Venezuelan navy. Dygalo refused to comment on Monday's report in the daily Izvestia claiming that the ships were to make a stopover in the Syrian port of Tartus on their way to Venezuela. Russian officials said the Soviet-era base there was being renovated to serve as a foothold for a permanent Russian navy presence in the Mediterranean.
 
On July 20, 2009 RIA Novosti reported that the base would be made fully operational to support anti-piracy operations. It will also support a Russian naval presence in the Mediterranean as a base for "guided-missile cruisers and even aircraft carriers".

                                           Articles shared with provisions of The Copyright Act
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: milnews.ca on May 24, 2011, 22:15:45
Quote
Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced that targeted sanctions would be imposed against members of the current Syrian regime.  This action is in response to the on-going and violent crackdown by the military and security forces against Syrian civilians who are peacefully protesting for democracy and the respect of human rights.

“Canada is gravely concerned at the excessive use of force by the Syrian regime against its own people, which has reportedly resulted in the deaths of hundreds of civilians and the detention of thousands more,” said Prime Minister Harper. “The sanctions being announced today are a repudiation of Syria’s blatant violation of its international human rights obligations that threaten the security of the entire Middle East.”

Canada is also concerned about the humanitarian situation in cities and towns that remain under military lockdown, and by reports that hundreds of Syrians are fleeing the country.

Our Government will be implementing the following sanctions against Syria which are aimed at pushing for democratic reform:

    A travel ban to Canada imposed on designated people associated with the current Syrian regime;
    An asset freeze against people associated with the current Syrian regime and entities involved in security and military operations against the Syrian people;
    A ban under the Export and Import Permits Act on the export from Canada to Syria of goods and technology that are subject to export controls; and,
    A suspension of all bilateral cooperation agreements and initiatives with Syria.


The measures announced today directly target members of the current Syrian regime and individuals and entities involved in the crackdown. They are not intended to cause harm to the Syrian people ....
A bit more in news release here (http://www.pm.gc.ca/eng/media.asp?category=1&pageId=26&id=4127).
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: apeaceofconflict on June 12, 2011, 13:33:14
Hello-- long-time reader, first time poster here.

I'm just curious given the recent events in Syria and the UN working on a resolution to condemn the violence, whether people on this forum supported an intervention by foreign forces? Why or why not?

Do you think the violence in Syria is likely to spread and destabilize the region, particularly to Lebanon or Israel?
Thank you for your thoughts.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: E.R. Campbell on June 12, 2011, 14:02:51
You might want to define "foreign."

Who has a vital interest in settling Syria's problems? Who has the resources and political will to intervene? Does anyone want to intervene when it will look like it, the intervenor, is doing Israel's bidding? What does Responsibility (R2P) to protect really mean?

My short answer is: No.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: aesop081 on June 12, 2011, 14:15:16
My answer is no. We intervened in Libya and as soon as that happened, every left-wing nutjob demanded we leave and ranted about "evil NATO" and "illegal war" and other rubbish like that.

Let Syria deal with Syria. It will be a lesson to the left that they cant have it both ways.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Infanteer on June 12, 2011, 14:20:16
What do we gain by having soldiers there?  Is it worth the bones of one Canadian grenadier?
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: reverse_engineer on June 12, 2011, 14:55:55
What do we gain by having soldiers there?  Is it worth the bones of one Canadian grenadier?

No and it's not worth a single foot or leg either.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: 57Chevy on June 12, 2011, 15:44:22
Here are a couple of good reasons.....The Russian Federation and China.

article from Al Arabiya News
Anne Allmeling: Why Syria’s Bashar Al Assad is not afraid
Sunday 12 June
http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2011/06/12/153004.html
                               ___________________________
from IPS
Russia, China Shield Syria from Possible U.N. Sanctions
Thalif Deen
http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=56011
UNITED NATIONS, Jun 9, 2011 (IPS) - A resolution inspired by Western nations critical of civilian killings in politically-beleaguered Syria is facing threats from two veto-wielding permanent members of the Security Council: Russia and China.

If and when the resolution is adopted by the 15-member Council, perhaps next week, it will be diluted to avoid the customary call for economic or military sanctions against a country accused of "ruthlessly crushing" civilian protests.

"It is pretty obvious the Russians and the Chinese are protecting their own economic and military interests in Syria," an Asian diplomat told IPS, "just as Western nations traditionally continue to protect Israel from any form of sanctions at all."

A country with vibrant political, economic and military ties to both Russia and China, Syria depends heavily on the two countries for arms currently used against demonstrators in the three-month-old revolt against the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

article continues at link...
                                              __________________________

and Tartus;   http://forums.army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,100607.0.html  (reply #6)

If it comes to "foreign" involvement, then let the Russians and the Chinese veto masters
take care of their own interests in the Syrian pit.

Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Lowlander on June 12, 2011, 16:30:47
What do we gain by having soldiers there?  Is it worth the bones of one Canadian grenadier?

What about Canadian Highlanders, fusiliers, guardsmen, riflemen, dragoons, hussars, etc
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Beadwindow 7 on June 12, 2011, 17:42:24
I lean toward yes.

First, as a first world nation that wags it's fingers at a lot of countries that don't have great human rights record, I feel we should back it up. Does the nation itself have the political will and stomach for it? Probably not.

While not common knowledge, Canada does have some vested interest in Syria. As of Dec 2010, Canada was the third largest foreign direct investor in Syria due to a $1.2 billion Suncor/Petro Canada gas project. In 2009, official trade statistics recorded a total of $61.3 million in Canadian exports to Syria. Canadian Archaeologists have been involved in digs in Syria since the 90's. Hell, there are annual Terry Fox runs in Syria.
( http://www.canadainternational.gc.ca/syria-syrie/bilateral_relations_bilaterales/index.aspx?lang=eng )

Add to this Canada's contributions to both the major UN Military missions in the Region. Op DANACA's contribution to UNDOF since the 70's, and Op JADE's contribution to UNTSO the 50's. While the situation in Syria doesn't seem to have a huge affect on the missions currently, it does possess the ability to destabilize the area.  And accepting the fact that our contributions to these 2 missions are much much smaller than they used to be, Canadian soldiers did give up their lives under the UNDOF flag.

I'm sure we won't see it, but I personally would be open to a mission in Syria. Besides, I'd love to see how Silver Mike is doing in Damascus.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Infanteer on June 12, 2011, 18:55:15
So, we should risk an intervention on the scale of Iraq/Afghanistan for a Suncor project and some dreamy reminisces of UN missions from a generation ago?
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Beadwindow 7 on June 12, 2011, 19:04:59
So, we should risk an intervention on the scale of Iraq/Afghanistan for a Suncor project and some dreamy reminisces of UN missions from a generation ago?

I didn't specify anything of the scale of Iraq/Afghanistan. If anything, IMO we've shot ourselves in the foot with Libya by setting a precedent. Why are we there and not Syria? I'd argue the point that Canada has more national interest in the Syrian region than in Libya. While I won't presume the scope of a mission to Syria, there is a UN framework there.

What I'm saying is that in my opinion, due to our history and our interests, and that we are pushing for certain roles on the international stage, a case could be made for our involvement in an intervention in the area.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Infanteer on June 12, 2011, 19:07:58
I didn't specify anything of the scale of Iraq/Afghanistan.

So then what?  When I hear intervention, I think troops doing something decisive.

Or should we just harass the Assad regime and hope it goes away?
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Pieman on June 12, 2011, 19:16:43
What I am wondering is: Why intervene so readily in Lybia but do nothing about Syria?
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: aesop081 on June 12, 2011, 19:18:17
there is a UN framework there.

A UN framework that has failed to resolve the situation after how many years ? Is a current running UN mission somehow an advantage ?

Quote
and that we are pushing for certain roles on the international stage, .

We are certainly living up to those aspirations in other places. Further more, what would you have us intervene in Syria with ?

What I am wondering is: Why intervene so readily in Lybia but do nothing about Syria?

Our Crystal ball was working the same as yours when we commited to the Libya mission.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Pieman on June 12, 2011, 19:36:18
Quote
Our Crystal ball was working the same as yours when we commited to the Libya mission.
Really? You have a Crystal ball? What about tarot cards? Try those instead. ;)

Quote
The fact that the "ok, what now?" questions are popping up seems to indicate that the "Libya model of intervention" may not be a viable one in the future.  Of course, Iraq 1991-2003 could have told us that.
Good answer, thanks for that. I am a little surprised to see people posting about how going into Lybia was  a mistake. Came across to me as a mistake in the tactical sense, underestimating the Lybian forces to hold it together,
rather than stop intervening in situations like this all together. But perhaps it is a better tactic to let things take their course on their own, especially when things are made worse by our involvement.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: aesop081 on June 12, 2011, 19:53:43
especially when things are made worse by our involvement.

Are you saying that things in Libya are worse as a result of international involvement ?

underestimating the Lybian forces to hold it together,

I don't believe that to be the case.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Pieman on June 12, 2011, 20:08:09
Quote
Are you saying that things in Libya are worse as a result of international involvement ?
I don't know one way or another. If people are saying it is a mistake to have gone in there, doesn't that indicate a negative impact?

Quote
I don't believe that to be the case.
Then what is the case? Was NATO not expecting that as a result of our involvement in going into Lybia, that their leader Gaddafi would be overthrown? Were they not expecting this to happen quickly?
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: aesop081 on June 12, 2011, 20:24:56
doesn't that indicate a negative impact?

2 seperate issues. It was a mistake because the political bind it puts us in now, the "why here and not there" argument that will undoubtably be used to force us into another country. The impact on the ground has been far from negative.

Quote
Was NATO not expecting that as a result of our involvement in going into Lybia, that their leader Gaddafi would be overthrown? Were they not expecting this to happen quickly?

Indeed but that is not, IHMO, a factor of NATO underestimating the regime but a case of NATO overestimating its political resolve to see it to the end and do what is needed.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Beadwindow 7 on June 12, 2011, 21:13:28
A UN framework that has failed to resolve the situation after how many years ? Is a current running UN mission somehow an advantage ?

Considering that UNDOF's mandate is to supervise the ceasefire and monitor the buffer zone, I wouldn't say they failed to resolve the situation, as that was never the job.

I do see a current UN mission as an advantage. While I'm not advocating upscaling it to a Chapter VII mission and sweeping North through the country, the use of existing UNMO's to verify the claims of human rights abuse, as one of the tenets of the UN being the promotion of human security, could be a benefit to the passing of resolutions pushing for peace ops.

Sure, I'll admit that we can't depose the regime short of invading the country, and that we're overburdened with what we have on our plate, and even sending that observers would probably be as useful as pissing in the wind. However, I don't see the right in involving ourselves in Libya, straight up bombing the country, and then doing nothing but pushing sanctions in another region where we HAVE a history of trying to keep peace. Seeing as the vote above is whether you support foreign intervention in Syria, and doesn't specify what kind of intervention, in my personal opinion, I am open to some kind of intervention. What kind, I can't say for sure, but I'd like to see something.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: aesop081 on June 12, 2011, 21:23:45
Considering that UNDOF's mandate is to supervise the ceasefire and monitor the buffer zone, I wouldn't say they failed to resolve the situation, as that was never the job.

That UNDOF is still required to monitor a ceasefire is the failure.

Quote
However, I don't see the right in involving ourselves in Libya, straight up bombing the country, and then doing nothing but pushing sanctions in another region where we HAVE a history of trying to keep peace.

We have a history in many places, should we feel the need to re-commit resources there if another crisis comes up ?

Should we involve ourselves everywhere from now on because we did in Libya ?
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: 57Chevy on June 12, 2011, 21:29:57
the "why here and not there" argument that will undoubtably be used to force us into another country.

That may well be the readily used argument phrase, but IMO, that alone won't be forcing anyone
into similar situations in other countries.

Even though non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and others are now reporting that the number of men, women and children killed, since the protests began in March, has exceeded 1,100, with up to 10,000 or more detained.

There is the requirement of fact finding missions initiated by the UN (HRC) of which the Syrian government
has not responded.

$1.2 billion Suncor/Petro Canada gas project. In 2009, official trade statistics recorded a total of $61.3 million in Canadian exports to Syria.

peanuts in comparison to the Russians

from the earlier article:
Darling said that in January 2005 the Kremlin forgave some 9.8 billion dollars of Damascus's 13.4-billion-dollar Soviet-era debt, thus paving the way for new arms agreements, many of which included upgrades to platforms already in Syrian service such as its MiG-21, - 23 and -29 squadrons.

Some of the more recent Russian sales to Syria include the 96K6 Pantsir-S1E (NATO designation: SA-19 Grison) self-propelled, short- range gun and missile air-defense system, the Buk-2M Ural (SA-17 Grizzly) medium-range theater-defence missile system, plus 10-20 new MiG-29SMT Fulcrum combat aircraft (signed in 2007), with another deal for four MiG-31Eh Foxhounds still under negotiation.

Russia is also reportedly creating a naval base at the Syrian port of Tartus, and possibly another at Latakia, he said.

China's military trade with Syria is not as voluminous as Russia's, said Darling, but it does provide Damascus with missiles and missile technology.

From 2002 through 2009, Russia signed 5.8 billion dollars worth of arms agreements with Syria, and with China worth 800 million dollars.
---
                                        ___________________________________

Another reason that I did not mention earlier is Iran and their supreme Idol.
from Express.co.uk
William Hague: Iran aiding Syria
Monday June 13 2011 by Alison Little
http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/252396/William-Hague-Iran-aiding-SyriaWilliam-Hague-Iran-aiding-Syria#ixzz1P6wucLwZ

“The Syrian regime is undoubtedly being assisted by the Iranian government in many ways, both the provision of equipment for them and advice on techniques on how to crush protest,” Mr Hague said.
 
His comments came amid continuing reports of violence and threats by Syrian forces against protesters. Mr Hague said he was working to get backing for a UN resolution criticising Syria.
 
But he cautioned that the chances of a UN Security Council agreement were “on a knife edge”.
 
He went on: “It is an extraordinary example of hypocrisy that the Iranian government, which positioned itself on the side of protests in Egypt and Tunisia, is assisting the Syrian government in actively and brutally suppressing protest and that tells you a great deal about the regime in Iran.”
 
Thousands of Syrians have fled to the Turkish border to escape the violence and Britain is pledging humanitarian support at the border including shelter, medicine and food.
                                              _________________________
                                  Articles shared by provisions of The Copyright Act

 

 
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: aesop081 on June 12, 2011, 21:35:42
That may well be the readily used argument phrase, but IMO, that alone won't be forcing anyone
into similar situations in other countries.

It is the same "we must do something" argument that put enough public pressure on Governments that they intervened where they did not really want to. The "why no us" evolution will undoubtably see us doing it again. It may not be Syria but it will be somewhere.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: 57Chevy on June 12, 2011, 22:31:34
It may not be Syria but it will be somewhere.

Perhaps elsewhere on the world stage in a country with a lesser military partnership.

Economic sanctions in Syria are possible to enforce and maintain without adverse humanitarian issues arising as a result.
Considering the Syrian alliances, a military intervention similar to that of Libya could/would destabilize the entire region.
(including the European underbelly)
I see it as very thin ice.
IMO Syria is the fuse that Iran hopes to ignite.
 
I can agree that caution must be exercised by all parties regarding Syrian resolutions.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: lethalLemon on June 12, 2011, 22:42:51
I vote maybe.

Why? They need to be put in their place, Syria has been known to be guilty of firing missiles into Israel along side Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza/West Bank (Palestine). International powers can use this uprising as a double edged sword to not only restore order and peace in the region, but also as a "foot in the door" to end the violence by these terrorist cells attacking Israel (and/or Palestine). Now, I don't know if that would at all be possible, this is just speculation as I believe that there's some sort of international regulation against saying your mission is one thing, but then also doing another. On another hand, if a nation such as Canada were to jump in with the intervention teams, this could spark outside resistance from other countries (especially in such a volatile region) and you'd have yourself facing quite a bloodbath. If we look at Libya though, the CF is participating in the largest ordinance drop missions since... what was it? Korea or WW2? Outside resistance has not been present, so it's clear that the people/allies of a lot of these neighbouring nations do not support these tyrants, which is a good sign but in my opinion I would not risk jumping into Syria... too close to Lebanon for comfort.

However, this brings me to my next point. Now bear with me, I know this is going to seem a bit outlandish: The USA has large oil corporations with interests and assets in Libya and Egypt, that's why they jumped so quickly to suppress the revolt. It's possible that the UN is not jumping to their feet and doing something about the revolt in Syria because there's nothing of any real value to the USA or EU in that country... except people, but then again I don't know that for sure. I don't know much about Syria as I used to. Once again, please note, this is just speculation and should be taken entirely serious.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: aesop081 on June 12, 2011, 23:17:38
The USA has large oil corporations with interests and assets in Libya

Of all the oil companies owned by Libya (National Oil Company and its subsidiaries), only the Waha Oil Company has American involvement ( ConocoPhillips 16.3%, Marathon Oil 16% and the Hess Corporation 8%). One other US company, Occidental Petroleum Corporation, operates in Libya.

The numbers in terms of production and value don't look to smashing. US imports of Libyan oil are not that significant either at 70 000 barrels per day in 2010.

In my estimation, Libya is not about American oil.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: lethalLemon on June 12, 2011, 23:37:20
Of all the oil companies owned by Libya (National Oil Company and its subsidiaries), only the Waha Oil Company has American involvement ( ConocoPhillips 16.3%, Marathon Oil 16% and the Hess Corporation 8%). One other US company, Occidental Petroleum Corporation, operates in Libya.

The numbers in terms of production and value don't look to smashing. US imports of Libyan oil are not that significant either at 70 000 barrels per day in 2010.

In my estimation, Libya is not about American oil.

Hmm, alright, but like I said, it was just speculations; food for thought.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Urmimu on June 13, 2011, 06:53:51
Intervention in Syria without a U.N. mandate would be akin to shooting ourselves in the foot.  Most of us can only guess at why Libya was picked as the stepping stone.  It may not have been about oil but it sure is comforting to know that what is being delivered will continue to flow.  It would be foolish to believe that U.S. interests in the region have no influence on our decision to participate.  If they have no reason to go there, neither would we.  Yes, it's unfortunate that the government is cracking down on protesters but aside from sanctions there really is not much else to do at this point.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: apeaceofconflict on June 13, 2011, 06:57:52
Of all the oil companies owned by Libya (National Oil Company and its subsidiaries), only the Waha Oil Company has American involvement ( ConocoPhillips 16.3%, Marathon Oil 16% and the Hess Corporation 8%). One other US company, Occidental Petroleum Corporation, operates in Libya.

The numbers in terms of production and value don't look to smashing. US imports of Libyan oil are not that significant either at 70 000 barrels per day in 2010.

In my estimation, Libya is not about American oil.

See:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/conflict-in-libya-us-oil-companies-sit-on-sidelines-as-gaddafi-maintains-hold/2011/06/03/AGJq2QPH_story.html (http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/conflict-in-libya-us-oil-companies-sit-on-sidelines-as-gaddafi-maintains-hold/2011/06/03/AGJq2QPH_story.html)

This suggests that the oil factor is bigger than what you are saying:

"By the time Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited in 2008, U.S. joint ventures accounted for 510,000 of Libya's 1.7 million barrels a day of production, a State Department cable said. "

Also "He said experts believed that only 30 percent of Libya had been explored and that there was “much more oil to be discovered.”

The oil companies have also invested significant amounts in the last 5 years in exploration, and future production.


Also, there is the matter of the possible unreported nuclear facilities that were recently brought to the UN by the IAEA.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Retired AF Guy on June 13, 2011, 09:01:50
See:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/conflict-in-libya-us-oil-companies-sit-on-sidelines-as-gaddafi-maintains-hold/2011/06/03/AGJq2QPH_story.html (http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/conflict-in-libya-us-oil-companies-sit-on-sidelines-as-gaddafi-maintains-hold/2011/06/03/AGJq2QPH_story.html)

This suggests that the oil factor is bigger than what you are saying:

"By the time Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited in 2008, U.S. joint ventures accounted for 510,000 of Libya's 1.7 million barrels a day of production, a State Department cable said. "

Also "He said experts believed that only 30 percent of Libya had been explored and that there was “much more oil to be discovered.”

The oil companies have also invested significant amounts in the last 5 years in exploration, and future production.


Also, there is the matter of the possible unreported nuclear facilities that were recently brought to the UN by the IAEA.

Libyan oil production courtesy of the U.S. Dept. of Energy's  Energy Information Agency (EIA) (http://www.eia.gov/countries/cab.cfm?fips=LY):

Quote
Exports
With domestic consumption estimated around 270,000 bbl/d in 2010, Libya's net exports (including all liquids) were slightly over 1.5 million bbl/d. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA) the vast majority (around 85 percent) of Libyan oil exports are sold to European countries namely Italy, Germany,
France, and Spain. With the lifting of sanctions against Libya in 2004, the United States has increased
its imports of Libyan oil.  According to EIA January through November estimates, the United States imported an average of 71,000bbl/d from Libya in 2010 (of which, 44,000 bbl/d was crude), up from 56,000 bbl/d in 2005 but a decline from 2007 highs of 117,000 bbl/d.
My Emphasis.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: aesop081 on June 13, 2011, 10:35:28
See:

This suggests that the oil factor is bigger than what you are saying:


I took my numbers from the US department of energy's 2010 data. You just cherry-picked one part that suited what you had to say, probably because when you clicked to go to page 3, you got advertising like i did.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: FoverF on June 13, 2011, 17:34:46
Well yes, I would support foreign (ie not Canadian) intervention in Syria.

There are a lot of people being killed, for the sake of standing up to their corrupt dictator. That's not something anybody likes to see.

IF there was a foreign power with local and regional support, who would be able to intervene in an effective manner, I would (morally and vocally) support them. This would be up to and including overthrowing the Al-Assad government, and (if required, briefly) occupying the country to re-establish order. I would also be willing to see my tax dollars go towards these goals in some direct or indirect way.

There are several flies in the ointment here, including a lack of an appropriate agent to intervene, the fear of a weaker government unable to resist Islamo-fascist influence, the inevitable regional backlash against any western-supported government using violence in the region (and lets face it, any country capable of intervening has western support), etc.

It's the right thing to do, but it's a minefield. I'd support anybody who has a chance to sort it out. Especially if they're foreign.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Colin P on June 14, 2011, 15:24:54
I fully support offering up a free flight in a C17 to turkey/Iraq where Peace protesters can march across the border to confront the Syrian military and convince them to settle this dispute with the proper conflict resolution tools.
I have no doubt the committed members of the peace organizations will volunteer for this important mission. If they don’t we can tell them it’s a flight to fly protesters to support the return of the Golan heights and to embarrass Israel , by the time they find out the truth it will be to late.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: 57Chevy on June 15, 2011, 18:54:27
                                      Article shared with provisions of The Copyright Act
US naval movements around Syria. Hizballah moves rockets
DEBKAfile/Exclusive Report June 14
http://www.debka.com/article/21026/

debkafile's military and intelligence sources report that Monday, June 13, the US deployed the USS Bataan amphibian air carrier strike vessel opposite Syria's Mediterranean coast with 2,000 marines, 6 war planes, 15 attack helicopters, including new V-22 Ospreys,  and 27 choppers for landing forces aboard.Also this week, US naval units went operational in the Aegean, Adriatic and Black Seas as part of the joint US-Ukrainian Sea Breeze 2011 exercise.
The USS Monterrey cruiser armed with Aegis surface missile interceptors has additionally been stationed in the Black Sea. Western sources additonally report a build-up of ship-borne anti-missile missile strength in the Mediterranean basin.

This huge concentration of naval missile interceptor units looks like preparations by Washington for the contingency of Iran, Syria and Hizballah letting loose with surface missiles against US and Israeli targets in the event of US military intervention to stop the anti-opposition slaughter underway in Syria.
Moscow, Tehran and Damascus, in particular, are taking this exceptional spate of American military movements in and around the Mediterranean as realistically portending American intervention in Syria.

This concentration of US might also the effect of deterring the Turkish government from going through with its decision to send Turkish troops into Syria.
The plan was to create a protected buffer zone where the thousands of refugees in flight from the Assad regime's military crackdown would be kept safe on Syrian side of the border and out of Turkey.

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyep Erdogan is averse to be seen working hand in glove militarily with any US interference in Syria.

At the same time, Western intelligence sources in the Persian Gulf are sure Washington is coordinating its military movements with Ankara and that Erdogan quietly agreed to place Turkish bases at US disposal for an operation in Syria.

Debkafile's military sources also report that Monday, June 13, Hizballah began shifting the long- and medium-range rockets it had stored in northern Lebanon to locations in the center of the country.

Western military sources first thought the Lebanese Shiite group was taking the precaution of keeping its arsenal safe from a spillover of violence from Syria. Tuesday, however, they learned that Iranian intelligence had advised Hizballah to remove its rockets out of range of a possible American operation in Syria.

Tuesday, Iran capped these events with three separate warnings to the Obama administration against military interference in Syria.

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehman-Parast said Tuesday: "The Americans are not allowed to launch a military intervention in any country of the region including Syria."

He accused "Israel and the USA of standing behind the riots in Syria, Iran's closest ally in the Arab world… with particular aims…of provoking terrorist groups in Syria and in the region to carry out terrorist and sabotage operations."

Another spokesman warned: "Western attempts to set the model of Libya in Damascus are doomed to failure."

Iranian Vice President Reza Rahimi accused the United States of preparing and executing "the slaughter of Muslims" worldwide.

Iran's ground forces commander Brig. Gen. Kioumars Heidari added this threat: Any new military move by the US in the region will impose heavy costs on the country far greater than the costs it paid in Iraq and Afghanistan."
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: cupper on June 18, 2011, 20:08:13
It is  a bit of a moot point anyway. With the current political state of the US being so dysfunctional that they couldn't organize a p*ss-up in a brewery, along with a complete lack of willingness to do anything which would lose war-weary voters, and a military stretched beyond it's capacity, there won't be any move by the US to send forces to intervene.

Call me jaded, but having spent all of the Bush and Obama administrations living outside the DC Beltway, I shake my head and wonder how they ever became the World's Greatest Superpower.   
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: tomahawk6 on June 18, 2011, 20:25:58
Turkish troops will be rolling south into northern Syria sooner than later.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Fishbone Jones on June 19, 2011, 00:34:44
It is  a bit of a moot point anyway. With the current political state of the US being so dysfunctional that they couldn't organize a p*ss-up in a brewery, along with a complete lack of willingness to do anything which would lose war-weary voters, and a military stretched beyond it's capacity, there won't be any move by the US to send forces to intervene.

Call me jaded, but having spent all of the Bush and Obama administrations living outside the DC Beltway, I shake my head and wonder how they ever became the World's Greatest Superpower.

And why should they intervene? Because the world expects them to make everything right all the time? Then shits all over them when they don't do what everyone expects? Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

If I was Obama, I'd let the whole ME light itself up and my biggest concern would be "who brought the hot dogs".

As to the question of how they became a superpower, I'll sure as hell bet it's not because of the general population of the US right now. Inside, or outside the beltway. ;)
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: cupper on June 19, 2011, 16:21:06
And why should they intervene? Because the world expects them to make everything right all the time? Then shits all over them when they don't do what everyone expects? Damned if you do, damned if you don't.
:nod:

I agree wholeheartedly, there is no reason to intervene, as there was no justifiable reason to intervene in the Libya either. With the exception of keeping the lid on the Arab-Israeli conflict, the US has no other real strategic interest in what happens in Syria.

As for the rest of the world expecting the US to make everything right, I don't really think that has ever been the case. In reality, what typically happens (Iraq and Afghanistan being the exceptions) is that the rest of the world sits back and waits to see what the US does, and then decides if it is politically expedient for them to commit their own country's resources, and what the minimum commitment is.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Colin P on June 24, 2011, 14:41:34
Turkish troops will be rolling south into northern Syria sooner than later.

I think under the old party, that would have happened, under the current government I doubt it.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: 57Chevy on June 24, 2011, 17:18:02
                                           Shared with provisions of the Copyright Act

Syria - Turkey Border Clashes Possible?
Friday, June 24, 2011

Turkish And Syrian Forces In Tense Cross-Border Standoff -- The Telegraph
http://warnewsupdates.blogspot.com/2011/06/syria-turkey-border-clashes-possible.html

Turkish and Syrian forces engaged in a tense cross-border standoff on Thursday as a fresh military operation against Syrian dissidents threatened to spark a major regional crisis.

An elite Syrian army unit advanced to within quarter of a mile of the Turkish border, expanding an onslaught against opponents of President Bashar al-Assad.

Escalating an already acute refugee crisis, hundreds of Syrian civilians cut their way through a border fence into Turkey as they fled an advance into the frontier village of Khirbet al-Joz by the army's Fourth Division and Presidential Guard, led by Mr Assad's feared brother Maher.

read more at link...
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Thucydides on July 01, 2011, 08:22:50
As Syria destabilizes furthur:

http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/syria%E2%80%99s-future-alawite-military-coup-or-regional-civil-war/?print=1

Quote
Syria’s Future: Alawite Military Coup, or Regional Civil War

Posted By Farid Ghadry On July 1, 2011 @ 12:00 am In Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Syria may be on the brink of a civil war far bloodier than anything seen for a long time in the Middle East. To make matters worse, it could spill over into neighboring countries by pitting Sunni and Shia Muslims against one another, a conflict whose power has already been seen in Iraq

Iran, Hezbollah, and their allies in Iraq and elsewhere are often extremist Shia Muslims; the radicals further west — as in Saudi Arabia, Hamas, and the Muslim Brotherhood — are Sunni Muslims.

Syria is on the borderlands between these two doctrines. Most of its people are Sunni Muslims but there are also Christians, Druze, and Alawites. Who are the Alawites? While arguably Alawites are not Muslims at all, they claim to be Shia Muslims. Syria’s government is also aligned with Iran and Hezbollah — in other words, the Shia Muslim forces.

And therein lies the danger. The ruling Alawites comprise only about 12 percent of Syria’s population but largely dominate the government. The bloody repression of the opposition, which is largely Sunni, is creating communal tensions. Sunni Muslims, who outnumber Alawites by a margin of more than five-to-one, may view this as a Sunni-Alawites and equally a Sunni-Shia conflict.

The Syrian dictatorship has thus begun a blood feud regardless of these potential consequences. Many Syrians I have spoken with inside the country are seething with anger over the Alawite-led government’s butchering of Sunnis. They are equally aware that Hezbollah and the Iranian regime support President Bashar al-Assad, Syria’s dictator, secretly and cheer him publicly.

To try to convince enraged young revolutionaries that this is not religiously fostered but rather the work of thugs who happen to be Alawites is futile. Whether the revolution succeeds, is repressed, or continues, a communal war could be the result.

And a Sunni-Alawite bloodbath in Syria could lead to something similar happening in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Lebanon. The result could also be a sectarian war that might last for generations.

The best option would be a military coup led by an Alawite general who would free political prisoners, initiate real and major reforms, imprison those guilty of corruption and murder in the current government, and bring a transformation to democracy. By bringing the Alawites credit for ending what is widely perceived as an Alawite regime, such an act could defuse hatreds and lead to national conciliation.

Thus, there is an additional factor making the downfall of the Assad regime even more important and pressing. Otherwise, both Syria and the region will pay a high price, with the victims being mostly innocent victims of communal and religious hatred on both sides. Hopefully, there is a Syrian general who understands this situation. Equally, it is vital that those in the West understand there is limited time and that a successful revolution in Syria followed by national conciliation is in everyone’s interest.

Article printed from Pajamas Media: http://pajamasmedia.com

URL to article: http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/syria%e2%80%99s-future-alawite-military-coup-or-regional-civil-war/
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Thucydides on July 31, 2011, 13:49:51
Cracks appearing in the Syrian establishment. Perhaps the most important issue is to discover what will replace the Assad regime?

http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2011/07/top-syrian-generals-defect-announce-formation-of-free-syrian-army-to-fight-assad-video/

Quote
Top Syrian Generals Defect – Announce Formation of Free Syrian Army to Fight Assad (Video)
Posted by Jim Hoft on Sunday, July 31, 2011, 7:16 AM

The End of the Murderous Assad Regime May Be Near–
A top general in Syria defected on Friday and released video urging the army to quit killing freedom protesters and join the Free Syrian Army.

General Riad El As’ad directed his message to Assad and his allies in Iran and Hezbollah.

It has been widely reported that the Iranian regime and Hezbollah have been assisting the the Assad regime.

Syrian Major-General Riad El As’ad is joined by other officers in the video.

(7:00 AM CST – This translated video currently has only 52 hits.)

Arutz Sheva reported:

    A Syrian Major-General has deserted Assad’s army along with a group of other officers and joined the rebels.

    In an Arabic video clip posted on Youtube on July 29, 2011, the officer, Major-General Riad El As’ad is seen in the company of other officers, announcing the establishment of the “Free Syrian Army whose main goal will be to fight the army of oppression headed by President Bashar Assad”.

    As’ad accused the Assad regime of crimes against the Syrian people and called on the officers and soldiers in the Syrian army not to aim their weapons at the people. He further called on them to join the Free Syrian Army.

    The major-general warned that the Free Army will eliminate any soldier who acts to harm his own people. The present army commanders do not represent the army, he continued, they are acting for the criminal gang that controls the media and prevents the people from obtaining truthful information on what is happening.

After years of killing, tyranny, and oppression, the kingdom of silence is silent no more.

And, where has our president been? Silent.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Tiamo on August 03, 2011, 22:22:46
Quote
Cracks appearing in the Syrian establishment. Perhaps the most important issue is to discover what will replace the Assad regime?

http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2011/07/top-syrian-generals-defect-announce-formation-of-free-syrian-army-to-fight-assad-video/

It has been a long time indeed!! The article you've posted above is inaccurate.

The defected Syrian Army Officer on that website is listed as Major-General. However, quick check on his rank reveals he is a Colonel in the Syrian Army (Later videos claim he is Colonel in the Syrian Air Defence).

As for intervening or not in Syria, first you want to know what the Syrians want on the ground, and I know for certain they don't want intervention. They believe Al-Assad regime can be toppled without outside intervention as long as Western Powers cut off all sources of economical means (particularly Oil) to the regime.

From the ground, the Syrian regime appears to be desperate and running out of options. Many cities are experiencing long line ups for fuel (diesel) because most of it being diverted to military operations. The Syrian army in general had been weakened by decades of neglect, corruption and low morals. The only real army in Syria at this time is the 4th Division controlled by Maher Al-Assad (Brother of Bashar Al-Assad).

Turkey is the only country to be able to flex its muscle and its army is more than capable to defeat Al-Assad regime on its own.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: cupper on August 03, 2011, 23:04:46
One has to wonder how much of an effect Mubarak's trial is going to have on the situation in both Libya and Syria. Will those leaders decide to fight to the bitter end or use more force to quell opposition rather than face the humiliation that Mubarak is experiencing.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: reason on August 09, 2011, 21:31:35
Why is nobody paying attention?

I'm calling it now, as many of you have already done. We're going to see amplified media on Syria and Iran VERY soon! (This is already happening) Israel will be talking about the horrible things happening in Syria, the U.S. will be demanding the violence stops, etc. And, before mid September, If any military intervention happens, I think Saudi Arabia will join Turkey aswell, then Iran will have to take side, when this happens, Israel will have the best opportunity to attack Iran's facilities, then WW3 follows.

if any military intervention on Syria happens, it will be not like Lybya or Iraq, all hell will break loose.

Out of all of this, Russia stands to be the one to watch. Both Iran and Syria are vital allies of mother Russia and I doubt very seriously if they will stand by and just watch as NATO, the U.S. and Israel pound the hell out of Syria and Iran. I do believe, this WILL be the start of World War III! With so much focused on the nuclear weapons programs, the chance one or more will be used during the process is almost a certainty!
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: PPCLI Guy on August 09, 2011, 22:05:20
Why is nobody paying attention?

I'm calling it now...... I do believe, this WILL be the start of World War III! With so much focused on the nuclear weapons programs, the chance one or more will be used during the process is almost a certainty!

What an odd screen name you have.

Perhaps some of the following might have been more appropriate:

Screed?
Diatribe?
Troll?
Emotion (as opposed to, say, reason)?
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: opp550 on August 09, 2011, 22:40:47
I seriously doubt Russia or China will launch a nuclear war over Syria or Iran. They might get a little angry on the surface, but will most likely jump with joy as the US starts another costly war (For them).
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: reason on August 10, 2011, 03:33:11
RUSSIAN ENVOY: NATO IS PLANNING ATTACKS ON SYRIA, IRAN
http://wrc559.com/2011/08/06/russian-envoy-nato-is-planning-attacks-on-syria-iran/
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/192596.html

Quote
Even as it finds itself still embroiled in Libya,  NATO is preparing to launch a military assault on Syria in order to create a  beachhead for a future attack on Iran, claims Russia’s envoy to NATO Dmitry  Rogozin.
“The planning [of the military campaign] is well  underway. It could be a logical conclusion of those military and propaganda  operations, which have been carried out by certain Western countries against  North Africa,” Rogozin  said in an interview with the Izvestia newspaper published on Friday.
The envoy added that attacks on Syria and Yemen  were part of a build-up focused around regime change in Iran.
“The noose around Iran is tightening. Military  planning against Iran is underway. And we are certainly concerned about an  escalation of a large-scale war in this huge region,” Rogozin said.
Rogozin has been known to make embellished  statements about NATO’s military adventurism in the past, so whether there will  actually be an intervention in Syria remains to be seen.
Moscow has consistently warned NATO not to meddle  in Syria, saying the country should be left to resolve its own problems as  violence that has killed 1,600 civilians since March continues to plague the  country.
Speculation surrounding an attack Iran, which  Rogozin claims is the long term goal of the assault on Syria, has peaked in  recent weeks.
Efforts by Palestinian leaders to achieve full  statehood, set to be heard by the United Nations in early September, has prompted  speculation that Israel is planning a surgical strike against Iran’s nuclear  facilities in September as a means of distracting from and ultimately derailing  the prospect of such an agreement.
Last month, former CIA agent  Robert Baer said that comments made by former Mossad head Meir Dagan “tell  us with near certainty that Netanyahu is planning an attack, and in as much as I  can guess when it’s going to be, it’s probably going to be in September before a  vote on the Palestinian state.”



Russia has a navy base in Tartus, Syria.
Russians also use other Syrian ports.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Journeyman on August 10, 2011, 09:05:08
Russia has a navy base in Tartus, Syria
Hmmm.....a collection of workshops, empty barracks, and some logistic assets intended to support the Russian Mediterranean Squadron -- which was disbanded in 1991.

Yep, that's a pretty compelling reason to believe armageddon is on the horizon.  :pop:



Edit to add: While I regret giving the tinfoil-hat wackjob "wrc559" any further attention, citing his website as a source for anything (other than to chuckle at conspiracy theorists) speaks volumes about one's "reason."  ::)

Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: reason on August 13, 2011, 02:22:05
lol. yeah, maybe i was starting to believe in the conspiracy a little too much about a WW3.
i cant help but think its possible tho. with iran and syria being very close allies also having ties to russia, turkey and saudi want to intervene, backed by nato, israel / rest of the arab nations likley to get involved. who knows what will happen.


im continually following the news in syria.

Quote
Syria uprising may lead to regional war
The brutal crackdown in Syria continues unabated, and is likely to become the stage for a regional conflict involving Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the rest of the Gulf.

http://www.haaretz.com/news/middle-east/syria-uprising-may-lead-to-regional-war-1.378391

Thousands of Egyptians have already signed a petition circulating on Facebook that calls for the expulsion of the Syrian ambassador from their country. For once, it is not an Israeli ambassador who receives such attention. The initiators of the petition hope to have over one million Egyptians sign the appeal, which may push the current Egyptian military government to publicly condemn Syrian President Bashar Assad.

New Syrian Facebook pages have decided to use humor to recruit people to the opposition, ironically describing the recent events in Syria as if they happened in Britain. Turkey, however, does not find the situation in Syria so funny.

   
A Syrian national shouts slogans against President Bashar Assad during a demonstration outside Syria's embassy in Cairo.

Photo by: AFP

In recent days, the Turkish army summoned hundreds of officers for reserve duty, placing them in bases near the border with Syria. Turkish sources report that the military has been on high alert along the border to prepare for a massive flight of Syrian refugees into the country, as well as for the possibility of NATO strikes in Syria. Only hours after Turkey's foreign minister visited Damascus did the government understand that Prime Minister Erdrogan's ultimatum to Assad fell on deaf ears, after news broke that the city of Homs was being battered by Syrian security forces.

The protests and the bloodshed continued on Friday, when human rights organizers claim 13 protesters were shot to death by Syrian security forces. According to reports, live fire was shot at thousands of worshippers on their way home from Friday prayers in the town of Dir al-Zur. Crowds went out into the streets across the country calling for Assad to step down.

While Turkey prepares for the worst, Iran refuses to print any news on the uprising in its state-run newspapers, while the government has warned that Syria may become the center of an international war. Iran has also transferred approximately five billion dollars to Syria in recent weeks, and according to Iraqi sources, Iran has demanded that Iraq transfer ten billion dollars to the Syrian government.

The involvement of Iran, Turkey, Saudia Arabia, and other gulf states has turned the Syrian uprising from an internal event - resulting from mass poverty, oppression, and a lack of economic and political future - into a potential regional war. Syria, whose regional strategic importance is based less on oil and natural resources, and more on its strong relationship with Iran and ability to intervene in Iraqi affairs, has been able to prevent the establishment of a military front against it. As opposed to the immediate international consensus that allowed for a military offensive in Libya, there has been no initiative to promote a similar UN Security Council in regards to Syria.

In contrast with Libya, where armed resistance could potentially serve as an alternative political power, there is no telling where Syria is headed. Will it end up as chaotic as Iraq, which suffered a difficult period of civil strife after the fall of Saddam? Will a new Syrian regime look toward Iran or the West for support? Will Turkey be able to rely on a new regime with an unchanged military to block the Kurdish PKK party from gaining power? Does the Saudi monarchy prefer a despised, yet well-known leader with whom it could negotiate for hefty sums of money? Such questions also preoccupy the West, which has not yet called for Assad to leave his castle.

In the absence of any outside military pressure, and while Syria can lean on Iran's power of deterrence, it is difficult to determine whether Assad's days are numbered. The military has implemented a strategy of separating the country into isolated cities, giving each one its own special "treatment" that the government hopes will serve as a lesson for others. This is the tale of cities such as Dara, Dir al-Zur, Idlib, Hama, and others that have essentially turned into ghost cities, or areas that where leading a normal life has become quite difficult.

This strategy, which presumes that the uprising could last for quite some time, has developed steadily over the last five months. Assad himself has even said that the rebellion may last up to two years. And despite the number of defectors (approximately 2,000), the president is able to preserve unity within his military's ranks. For now, at least, it seems as though Assad is here to stay.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: aesop081 on August 13, 2011, 09:31:26
i cant help but think its possible tho.

Your use of capitalization is also possible.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: DanKnee on August 17, 2011, 16:50:57
Your use of capitalization is also possible.

I can't help but post this quote I saved from George Wallace.

"Capitalization is the difference between helping your Uncle Jack off a horse, and helping your uncle jack off a horse."
George Wallace, Milnet
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: milnews.ca on August 18, 2011, 12:16:59
Quote
Canada reiterates its strong condemnation of the ongoing violent military assault by the Assad regime against the Syrian people. This campaign of terror must stop.

The Assad regime has lost all legitimacy by killing its own people to stay in power.

I join with President Obama and other members of the international community in calling on President Assad to vacate his position, relinquish power and step down immediately. The Syrian people have a right to decide for themselves the next steps for Syria's future.

Canada has taken decisive action imposing sanctions that directly target members of the current Syrian regime and those who provide it with support.

Canada stands with the Syrian people in their efforts to secure freedom and democracy, and looks forward to a new Syria that respects the rights of all of its people and lives in peace with its neighbours.
PM statement, 18 Aug 11 (http://pm.gc.ca/eng/media.asp?id=4266)
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: 57Chevy on August 18, 2011, 14:19:10
                                             Shared with provisions of The Copyright Act

Experts Skeptical Syria's Assad Will Resign
http://www.voanews.com/english/news/Experts-Skeptical-About-Assad-Departure-128006503.html
Cecily Hilleary | Washington August 18, 2011

President Barack Obama has issued his strongest call to date for Syria’s Bashar al-Assad to relinquish power. In a statement released Thursday the U.S. leader has said that "the future of Syria must be determined by its people, but President Bashar al-Assad is standing in their way."

article continues.......

President Obama: "The future of Syria must be determined by its people, but President Bashar al-Assad is standing in their way."
http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/08/18/president-obama-future-syria-must-be-determined-its-people-president-bashar-al-assad
Macon Phillips on August 18, 2011

Today, President Obama called for the President of Syria, Bashar al-Assad, to step aside and took the strongest financial  action against the Syrian regime thus far.  Here is President Obama's full statement on the situation in Syria: (at link)
                                            ________________________________________

Photo:
A demonstrator poses with an effigy of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad during a protest Istanbul June 24, 2011. Due to restricted foreign media access, few images of anti-government protests within Syria have made it out of that country.

Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: 57Chevy on August 18, 2011, 21:53:24
                          Shared with provisions of The Copyright Act

Harper, Obama call on Assad to step down — but military action ruled out
Steven Edwards/Postmedia News/18 August

http://www.canada.com/news/Harper+Obama+call+Assad+step+down+military+action+ruled/5272684/story.html#ixzz1VQo8BWvj

UNITED NATIONS — The United States on Thursday ruled out launching military action to protect civilians in Syria as it led co-ordinated calls with Canada and other U.S. allies for Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down over the Syrian government's escalating bloody crackdown on peaceful protesters.
 

While U.S. President Barack Obama said in a statement that Syrian civilians had "braved ferocious brutality at the hands of their government," a senior administration official said during a White House briefing for journalists that the call for Assad's departure did not come with a military protective screen for the protesters.
 

The position is in stark contrast to that which the United States and many of it allies — among them Canada — took with their decision to launch strikes against Libya to protect Libyan civilians under threat from dictator Moammar Gadhafi's forces.
 

"I don't think that anybody believes that (military intervention) is the desired course in Syria — not the United States and our allies, nor the Syrian people themselves," said the administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were to be the public faces for the new measures against Syria.
 

"So the simplest way to bring this to a conclusion is for the Syrian people to get the democratic transition they are demanding and for President Assad to step aside."
 

Administration officials stressed how the stepped-up pressure on Syria came from a "chorus" of U.S. allies, while Clinton emphasized at a news conference that the United States "understood the strong desire of the Syrian people that no foreign power should intervene in their struggle."
 

The Syrian crackdown has been one of the bloodiest within the broader Arab Spring uprisings, which have forced the collapse of governments in Tunisia and Egypt, sparked civil war in Libya and significant unrest elsewhere — but which have also hastened substantial reform in Morocco.
 

The United Nations has said that at least 2,000 people have been killed in Syria since the uprising began in mid-March, and that thousands were missing or detained.
 

But Obama's statement early Thursday marked the U.S. government's first explicit call for Assad to step down. Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued his own communique a short time later, as part of a co-ordinated campaign that also saw a joint statement from the leaders of Britain, France and Germany and another from the European Union's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton.

article continues...


Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Journeyman on August 23, 2011, 09:37:49
From CBC (http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2011/08/23/syria-troops-killings.html)
Quote
UN votes to demand Syria end bloody crackdown
 
The United Nations' top human rights body voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to demand that Syria end its
 bloody crackdown and co-operate with an international probe into possible crimes against humanity.

Well, since they voted overwhelmingly, I guess this crisis is pretty much wrapped up.   :nod:
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: milnews.ca on August 23, 2011, 10:13:37
From CBC (http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2011/08/23/syria-troops-killings.html)
Well, since they voted overwhelmingly, I guess this crisis is pretty much wrapped up.   :nod:
"Harsh Letter to Bad Guy Team - UP!"
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Journeyman on August 23, 2011, 10:18:49
"Harsh Letter to Bad Guy Team - UP!"
Well, they didn't actually make any demands of Syria -- they just voted overwhelmingly that at some point they were going to.   ;)
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: milnews.ca on August 23, 2011, 10:20:46
Well, they didn't actually make any demands of Syria -- they just voted overwhelmingly that at some point they were going to.   ;)
Ah, then more like, "Harsh Letter to Bad Guy Team - Prepare to move!"
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: sean m on November 01, 2011, 23:05:38
Interesting video, the journalist is in Syria and gets the opinions of Syrian citizens. Who knows if this video is bias or not.  Seems odd, since I had thought, that the Assad regime did not let in foreign media. The reporters seems to be transported by the Syrian government, it is ironic that almost everyone he meets are pro Assad or more anti protesters. The video states that the protestors are mainly sunni.

http://www.youtube.com/user/journeymanpictures?blend=1&ob=4#p/c/3A4C018BB1B234EC/2/Zh7ksVJuseg
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: PJGary on November 17, 2011, 04:38:48
Thoughts, Gentlemen? I find it interesting that there is even the slightest talk of military action.

from: http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2011/11/16/pol-syria-mackay.html

Quote
Canada is watching violence in Syria but stepping in would require more thought and possibly a UN resolution, Defence Minister Peter MacKay says.

MacKay spoke about Syria hours before meeting with Israeli counterpart Ehud Barak to talk about regional security and a series of agreements on defence cooperation between Canada and Israel.

As France pulls its ambassador from Damascus, Syria's capital, and the country's suspension from the Arab League takes effect, MacKay says any possible military action needs "further contemplation" and possibly a UN Security Council resolution "to mirror the path that we followed with respect to Libya."

"There's a number of things that would have to happen. It is a much more complex situation in many ways, given the circumstances on the ground in Syria," MacKay said Wednesday morning.

"But I can assure you in our capital and in capitals around the world, NATO countries are discussing what is happening in Syria."

The mission in Libya was a UN-sanctioned NATO mission intended to protect civilians from attacks. That mission started in March and culminated with deposed leader Moammar Gadhafi being captured and killed in October. It has raised questions about why, with Syrian civilians facing similar danger, western countries haven't intervened.

In the House of Commons, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said Canada has imposed sanctions on the regime's key players and called on President Bashar al-Assad to resign.

"The campaign of violence and terror against the Syrian people must end," he said.

"Canada stands with the Syrian people at their time of need."

Baird also repeated a recommendation that any Canadians still in Syria leave the country while there are still commercial flights.

Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: milnews.ca on November 20, 2011, 20:36:08
Update:  DefMin quoted saying "ready if needed":
Quote
While any intervention in Syria would have to follow a series of United Nations sanctions, Canada's armed forces are ready to offer assistance if necessary, Defence Minister Peter MacKay said Sunday.

In an appearance on CTV's Question Period, MacKay said there are a "cascading number of sanctions that would have to happen before there would be any type of intervention."

But, speaking from the Halifax International Security Forum, he added that "Canada has certainly a great deal of ability to lend support in a situation, as we saw in Libya."

MacKay said there is constant planning taking place at armed forces headquarters and, as a result, "certainly we've prepared for all inevitabilities."

The defence minister said he finds it encouraging that some of Syria's military have been defecting rather than follow orders to attack civilians. The UN estimates more than 3,500 people have been killed in the government crackdown on dissent.

"That is exactly what we wanted to prevent and did prevent in Libya," he said ....
CTV.ca, 20 Nov 11 (http://winnipeg.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20111120/mackay-middle-east-111120/20111120/?hub=WinnipegHome)
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: 57Chevy on November 20, 2011, 22:33:01
                     From Haaretz and shared with provisions of The Copyright Act

I never doubted this maneuver from the Russian Federation.
 
http://www.haaretz.com/news/middle-east/report-russia-warships-to-enter-syria-waters-in-bid-to-stem-foreign-intervention-1.396359

Russian warships are due to arrive at Syrian territorial waters, a Syrian news agency said on Thursday, indicating that the move represented a clear message to the West that Moscow would resist any foreign intervention in the country's civil unrest.
Article continues.....
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: E.R. Campbell on November 21, 2011, 05:39:59
A UNSC Resolution is needed, MND MacKay says, according to this article, reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act from the Globe and Mail:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/un-must-okay-any-military-move-on-syria-mackay-says/article2242729/
Quote
UN must okay any military move on Syria, MacKay says

STEVEN CHASE, LES PERREAUX AND OLIVER MOORE
OTTAWA AND HALIFAX— Globe and Mail Update

Published Sunday, Nov. 20, 2011

Canada is ready to assist an international military intervention in Syria should sanctions and diplomacy fail, but the United Nations authorization that Ottawa says it would first require is neither imminent nor inevitable.

Still, the Harper government announced Sunday it was posting a warship to the Mediterranean until the end of 2012, a frigate that could be useful for evacuations or naval blockades if the violence in Syria descends into civil war.

Barely three weeks after the Harper government formally ended its role in the NATO bombing mission that helped oust Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, Ottawa says it’s prepared to offer assistance if necessary in Syria, where Bashar al-Assad’s bloody campaign of oppression against his own people has killed about 3,500.

There is deep unease, however, among Canadian decision-makers and the international community about the prospect of sending armed force to Syria to protect civilians – a conflict that could easily ignite a regional war and transform into a quagmire.

Syria borders Israel and Turkey and has strong ties to Iran; and the Syrian air force is far bigger and more modern than Libya’s, with a daunting array of anti-aircraft missiles.

Defence Minister Peter MacKay, who spent the weekend with major international military and security players at a forum in Halifax, said nobody is eager to enter the fray.

“With all of the brainpower that we had in this building in the last 72 hours, I didn’t hear anybody say ‘Let’s charge into Syria,’ ” he told reporters.

“What I heard was ‘Let’s contemplate the next move very cautiously,’ knowing … if you break it you own it.”

Mr. MacKay said he hopes that China and Russia can be persuaded to agree to levy economic sanctions on Syria through the United Nations as a next step.

He told CTV’s Question Period that Canada’s armed forces are “prepared for all inevitabilities” but said in the case of Syria, there are a “cascading number of [international] sanctions that would have to happen before there would be any type of intervention.”

The Defence Minister said a UN Security Council resolution is a “necessity in this instance” before Canada would agree to join an international effort to intervene in Syria, where Mr. al-Assad is viciously cracking down on protestors.

“I think it’s fair to say that a lot of dictators are on notice, that this type of behaviour is not going to be tolerated,” Mr. MacKay said.

“Now how we go about it and what comes next, is done on a some would call it an escalating scale, before making any final decisions around intervention.”

The Conservative government said HMCS Vancouver, which helped patrol the waters off Libya, will remain in the Mediterranean as part of a NATO counterterrorism effort, Operation Endeavour, until relieved by HMCS Charlottetown in early 2012.

“There’s no question that [Syria is] weighing heavy on our mind,” Mr. MacKay said. “The primary purpose is to contribute to antiterrorist operations in the region. But there’s no question having a ship in the region, in the event that Canadians need direct assistance or evacuation … gives us that capability to respond, should certain things transpire.

Asked if he would take military intervention against Syria off the table, Canada’s defence minister told Global TV’s The West Block that he would not.

“We, again I would say to you, are very cautious when you get into the projecting of military intervention. But to answer your question, no, I don’t think we should suggest that it’s not an option. It’s not the preferred option, it never is.”

Mr. MacKay told the Halifax International Security Forum this past weekend that the NATO-led airstrikes that helped oust Mr. Gadhafi are not a template for actions elsewhere.

Iran is a nuclear threat, Egypt is again in turmoil and Yemen teeters on the brink of collapse, but it was Syria that caused the most squirming at a weekend gathering of top global security officials.

The generals and defence ministers who met at the Halifax forum shared many congratulatory slaps on the back for their role in ridding the world of Mr. Gadhafi.

But they worked at every turn to dampen expectations Western countries would take similar action to help oust Mr. al-Assad.

Lieutenant-General Charles Bouchard, the Royal Canadian Air Force general who led the NATO mission in Libya, cautioned against applying the Libyan model to Syria.

“Libya should not be a blueprint for the future. Libya is just one more campaign from which we should take lessons,” Lt.-Gen. Bouchard said.

“One is in the Middle East, the other is in North Africa. I don’t want to sound flippant, but the neighbours make a difference,” he added, pointing out the border Syria shares with Turkey is just one factor that seriously complicates matters compared to Libya.

James Appathurai, a top NATO political official, pointed out that just on process the groundwork is far from being laid. The NATO mission in Libya was backed by a UN Security Council mandate and had broad regional support.

The Syrian uprising causes discomfort among decision-makers for good reason, according to Radwan Ziadeh, co-founder of the Syrian Center for Political and Strategic studies. While Middle Eastern regimes like Iran must temper despotic impulses because of the need to sell oil, Syria is far less constrained by diplomatic considerations.

“For years now, Syrian foreign policy has hinged on making trouble with its neighbours,” said Mr. Ziadeh. “Syria depends on unrest among neighbours. If you want to bring stability to Iraq, to Lebanon, to Syria, to Iran, you have to change the Assad regime.”

But the way to do that is far from clear.

Mr. Ziadeh said the West could be honest about the limitations of its power and the double standard it applies in these cases. The West intervened in Libya because the mission was relatively easy. It won’t intervene in Syria because it would be bloody and expensive.

Senator John McCain said he favours recognizing Syria’s transitional council, a move also favoured by Mr. Ziadeh and a number of other experts.

Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak suggested Mr. al-Assad’s downfall is well underway and may be complete without much Western help.

“I think that [al-Assad] went beyond the point of no return, there’s no way he will resume his authority or legitimacy over his people,” Mr. Barak said during an on-stage interview at the forum.

“It’s not a linear process, but now will go on an even steeper slope. People within his armed forces, civil service, start to see the end, how to hedge their personal bets.”


This, requiring a UN imprimatur for military actions, would be (broadly) consistent with 60+ years of Canadian policy under both Conservative and Liberal governments. (Yes, I am aware of the exceptions.)
 
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: 57Chevy on November 25, 2011, 22:24:21
                        From Prison Planet and  shared with provisions of The Copyright Act

Russia Arms Syria With Missiles To Defend Against NATO Attack
Paul Joseph Watson, 24 Nov
http://www.prisonplanet.com/russia-arms-syria-with-missiles-to-defend-against-nato-attack.html

We now know what those six Russian warships that reportedly entered Syrian territorial waters last week were carrying. Aside from representing a show of strength to discourage NATO powers from launching a military attack, on board were Russian technical experts ready to help Damascus set up a sophisticated missile defense system sold to them by Moscow.
 
“Russian warships that have reached waters off Syria in recent days were carrying, among other things, Russian technical advisors who will help the Syrians set up an array of S-300 missiles Damascus has received in recent weeks, a report in the London-based Arabic language Al Quds-Al Arabi said Thursday. Citing sources in Syria and Russia, the paper said that Moscow sees a Western attack on Syria as a “red line” that it will not tolerate,” reports Arutz Sheva.
 
The S-300 missiles, which according to the report will be used to “deflect a possible attack by NATO or the U.S. and EU,” are long range surface-to-air missiles developed by Russia in 1979 for the purpose of protecting large industrial and military bases from enemy attack aircraft and cruise missiles.
 
The system is widely regarded as one of the most powerful anti-aircraft arrays in modern warfare, having the ability to track up to 100 targets and engage 12 at any one time. Russia recently tried to sell the same system to Iran but the transaction was halted after pressure from the U.S. and Israel.

article continues at link
                               ______________________________________________

Russian S-300 Surface to Air Missile System
http://www.darkgovernment.com/news/russian-s-300-surface-to-air-missile-system/

The S-300P surface-to-air missile system—currently manufactured, deployed, and exported by the Russians—is designed to detect, track, and destroy incoming ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and low-flying aircraft. Also known by its NATO designation, SA-10 Grumble, the system has been modified several times since its inception: the most recent variants are the S-300PMU-1 (SA-10D) and the S-300PMU-2 (SA-10E Favorit).

more at link
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Retired AF Guy on November 25, 2011, 23:24:03
                        From Prison Planet and  shared with provisions of The Copyright Act

Russia Arms Syria With Missiles To Defend Against NATO Attack
Paul Joseph Watson, 24 Nov
http://www.prisonplanet.com/russia-arms-syria-with-missiles-to-defend-against-nato-attack.html

We now know what those six Russian warships that reportedly entered Syrian territorial waters last week were carrying. Aside from representing a show of strength to discourage NATO powers from launching a military attack, on board were Russian technical experts ready to help Damascus set up a sophisticated missile defense system sold to them by Moscow.
 
“Russian warships that have reached waters off Syria in recent days were carrying, among other things, Russian technical advisors who will help the Syrians set up an array of S-300 missiles Damascus has received in recent weeks, a report in the London-based Arabic language Al Quds-Al Arabi said Thursday. Citing sources in Syria and Russia, the paper said that Moscow sees a Western attack on Syria as a “red line” that it will not tolerate,” reports Arutz Sheva.

...........................


i would take anything coming out of Alex Jones with a grain of salt. First, there have been no indications that the Syrians have recently received the S-300 missile system. Even if they did it would take time (months?) to make the systems operational. The other thing is that there are no indications that NATO or anyone else is planning on attacking/intervening in Syria. Finally, the biggest threat to Assad is not external, but internal.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: tomahawk6 on November 26, 2011, 00:40:33
The Israelis defeated Russian air defenses when they took out the nuclear reactor that the North Koreans had given them.

The Free Syrian Army killed 10 regime air force personnel including 6 pilots.The Syrian Air Force is a bastion of the regime.Targeting the air force would be key in overthrowing the regime.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: 57Chevy on November 26, 2011, 20:31:35
Tomahawk,
                   Agreed about the grain of salt. The Russians may be there more for intel reasons.
However Syria announced an intention to buy the S-300P in 1991 and now seems to possess the system according to Wikipedia.

From Debkafile and shared with provisions of The Copyright Act
US carrier strike force enters Syrian waters. Russian carrier en route
Special Report 26 Nov
http://www.debka.com/article/21521/
The Syrian crisis aassumed a big power dimension this week with the build-up of rival United States and Russia naval air carrier armadas in Syrian waters, debkafile's military sources report.

The USS George H.W. Bush arrived Wednesday, Nov. 23, in the wake of the three Russian warships anchored earlier opposite Tartus which established a command post in the Syrian port. They will be augmented by Russia's only air carrier the Admiral Kuznetsov, which is due in mid-week.

By deploying 70 ship-borne fighter-bombers plus three heavy guided missile cruisers and five guided missile destroyers opposite Syria, Washington has laid down military support for any intervention the Arab League in conjunction with Turkey may decide on.

Bashar Assad can see for himself that Washington has hoisted a nuclear aerial umbrella to protect its allies, Israel, Turkey, and Jordan, against the retaliation his armed forces high command pledged Friday for the deaths of six Syrian air force elite pilots in an ambush Thursday.

For some time, Ankara has been weighing the creation of a protected haven for rebels and refugees inside Syria. France has proposed slicing "humanitarian corridors" through Syria for them to flee safely from military tank and gunfire and secure supply of food, medicines and other essential supplies to the cities under army siege.

Both plans would depend on being safeguarded by substantial ground and air strength inside Syria which would certainly face fierce resistance from Assad's military.

The Arab League has scheduled weekend meetings to decide how to proceed after Damascus ignored its Friday deadline for accepting hundreds of monitors. Saturday, Nov. 26, AL finance ministers will discuss economic sanctions. In the past 48 hours, at least 70 people were reported killed as the Syrian army continued its crackdown in the face of spreading armed opposition.

The Russian Kuznetzov carrier and its accompanying strike vessels will join the three Russian warships parked opposite Tartus for more than a week. It will enter the same Syrian offshore waters as the USS Bush and the US Sixth Fleet, which is permanently posted in the Mediterranean.

The Syrian crisis is therefore building up to a superpower face-off unparalleled since the Cold War between America and the Soviet Union ended in the nineties, debkafile's military sources note.

While Washington clearly stands ready to back operations against the Assad regime, Moscow is drawing a red line around his presidential palace in Damascus. The Kremlin is warning the US, NATO and the Arab League that they will not be allowed to repeat their feat in Libya of overthrowing Muammar Qaddafi against Assad.

In the face of this escalating big power standoff and the high possibility of the Syrian ruler deciding to lash out against his country's neighbors, the Israeli, Jordanian and Turkey armies have declared a high state of war preparedness.
           _____________________________________________________________

France on the "humanitarian corridors" and also shared as above.

France seeking support for intervention in Syria
Dina Zayed and John Irish
Reuters 24 Nov
http://news.nationalpost.com/2011/11/24/france-seeking-support-for-intervention-in-syria/

CAIRO/PARIS — France will seek Arab support on Thursday for a humanitarian corridor in Syria, the first time a major power has swung behind international intervention in the eight-month uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.
 
Foreign Minister Alain Juppe, who first floated the proposal for a humanitarian intervention on Wednesday, gave more details of the plan and said he would propose it to a meeting of Arab League foreign ministers gathering in Cairo to discuss Syria.
 
After months in which the international community has seemed determined to avoid any direct entanglement in one of the core countries of the Middle East, the diplomatic consensus seems to be changing.

The Arab League suspended Syria’s membership two weeks ago, accusing Assad of failing to fulfill a Nov. 2 pledge to halt the violence and withdraw troops from cities.
 
This week, the prime minister of regional heavyweight Turkey — a NATO member with the military wherewithal to mount a cross-border operation — compared Assad to Hitler, Mussolini and Gaddafi, and called on him to quit.
 
Juppe said international monitors should be sent to protect civilians, with or without Assad’s permission. He insisted the proposal fell short of a military intervention, but acknowledged that humanitarian convoys would need armed protection.
 
“There are two possible ways: That the international community, Arab League and the United Nations can get the regime to allow these humanitarian corridors,” he told French radio on Thursday. “But if that isn’t the case we’d have to look at other solutions … with international observers.”
                       ___________________________________________________

Map at link.


Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: milnews.ca on November 27, 2011, 21:26:43
"Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today issued the following statement (http://www.international.gc.ca/media/aff/news-communiques/2011/354.aspx?lang=eng&view=d):
Quote
“Canada welcomes the Arab League’s courageous decision to put sanctions on the Assad regime.

“This is another important signal from Syria’s neighbours that the egregious behaviour of the Assad regime will not be tolerated.

“We are encouraged to hear of the Arab League’s plans to engage with the United Nations. The senseless violence occurring in Syria can no longer be ignored by the United Nations. We call on the UN to follow the Arab League’s decision and further isolate this reckless and illegitimate regime.

“We stand with the Syrian people, who seek to realize a brighter future for themselves—one that respects freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

“Canadians in Syria should leave now by commercial means while these are still available.”
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: 57Chevy on November 27, 2011, 21:47:18
Americans have been asked to leave immediately (Nov 23)
Breaking: Americans urged to leave Syria “immediately”
http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/10940707-breaking-americans-urged-to-leave-syria-immediately
                                _____________________________________-

In case someone wants to know

Canadian Embassy in Syria

Contact Information for the Canadian Embassy in Syria

Canadian Embassy - Damascus, Syria
Lot 12, Autostrade Mezzeh
PO Box 3394
Damascus, Syria
Tel: 963 (11) 611-6692
Fax: 963 (11) 611-4000
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: 57Chevy on November 28, 2011, 14:09:03
                               Shared with provisions of The Copyright Act


UN says 'crimes against humanity' committed in Syria
You Tube video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l4uccjTC0cg
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Jarnhamar on November 28, 2011, 15:53:58
Nice place



http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2011/11/28/syria-sanctions-reaction.html?cmp=rss

Quote
A United Nations probe has found that Syrian troops killed hundreds of children and committed other "crimes against humanity" since the government crackdown began in March.

A panel of independent experts says at least 256 children were killed by government forces as of early November, with some boys sexually tortured and a two-year-old girl shot to death just to prevent her from growing up to be a demonstrator.

Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: milnews.ca on December 01, 2011, 14:15:47
If Jack Granatstein's assessment (http://www.cdfai.org/the3dsblog/?p=700) of this Debka web site info (http://www.debka.com/article/21524/) ("usually reliable") is correct, Canadians may be part of a team looking at "humanitarian corridors" in Syria:
Quote
.... Monday, Nov. 28, debkafile reported a group of military officers from NATO and Persian Gulf nations had quietly established a mixed operational command at Iskenderun in the Turkish Hatay province on the border of North Syria:

Hailing from the United States, France, Canada, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, with Turkish officers providing liaison, they do not represent NATO but are self-designated "monitors." Their mission is to set up "humanitarian corridors" inside Syria to serve the victims of Bashar Assad's crackdown. Commanded by ground, naval, air force and engineering officers, the task force aims to move into most of northern Syria.

Laying the groundwork for the legitimacy of the combined NATO-Arab intervention in Syria, the UN Independent International Commission set up to assess the situation in Syria published a horrendous report Monday, Nov. 28 on the Assad regime's brutalities. It documented "gross violations of human rights" and "patterns of summary execution, arbitrary arrest, enforced disappearance, torture including sexual violence, as well as violations of children's rights." ....
Full Debka report attached for a touch more context.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Chris Pook on December 01, 2011, 18:15:03
Strangely enough the dominant ethnicity in N. Syria is (IIRC) Kurd.  The same people that the Turks have trouble with.  The same people the Iraqis have trouble with.  The same people that were protected under a No Fly Zone in Iraq after Gulf War I.

Will the new Turkish government support a Kurdish State based on Aleppo-Latakia - A "friendly" muslim buffer between the Turks and the Arabs (and the Persians)?
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: 57Chevy on December 01, 2011, 19:42:44
Would this mean that it's alright to use force, but not to exagerate ?  ::)

From Reuters and shared with provisions of The Copyright Act

Islamic body urges Syria to stop "excessive force"
Asma Alsharif, JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia 01 Dec

(Reuters) - The world's largest Islamic body urged Syria on Wednesday to "immediately stop the use of excessive force" against its citizens to avert the threat of foreign intervention.

Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, told a news conference in the Red Sea City of Jeddah that foreign ministers attending an OIC meeting called on Damascus to quickly enter into a dialogue with its opponents and rejected foreign intervention in Syria.

"The executive committee (of the OIC) ... urges the Syrian authorities to immediately stop using excessive force against citizens and to respect human rights," a final statement said.

Syrian security forces have been using lethal force to crack down on demonstrations that began in March against 41 years of rule by Bashar al-Assad's family. Assad says his forces are confronting saboteurs inspired by foreign powers.

Wednesday's OIC meeting came after the Arab League suspended Syria and imposed sanctions over its violent crackdown on eight months of protests.

The League has demanded that Damascus allow a 500-strong monitoring mission into Syria.

A technical committee of the Arab League is scheduled to meet in the Qatari capital Doha on Saturday to discuss and announce what sanctions will be imposed on Damascus.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem left after the end of the meeting on Wednesday without speaking to journalists.

NO TO OUTSIDE INTERVENTION

Ihsanoglu earlier said the 57-member body wanted to try to resolve the crisis in Syria within the OIC without foreign intervention, saying the group opposed any plans to take the issue to the international community.

"We are keen to preserve Syria's safety, security and stability, and insist on rejecting the internationalisation of the Syrian crisis and on working towards resolving it within the broader Islamic family as represented by the OIC," Ihsanoglu said at the start of the meeting.

"We need to reiterate our stand against any internationalisation of the Syrian crisis," he told the meeting.

But at a news conference after the session, Ihsanoglu warned that Syria's failure to heed calls for a peaceful resolution would make internationalisation inevitable.

"If this problem is not solved within this family, it will go to other places ... We think and Syria thinks that it is better to solve the problem within this framework," he said.

Asked if the OIC had considered expelling Syria from its ranks, Ihsanoglu said that was not considered.

"Even in the Libyan crisis lately, the organisation did not take such a decision because expulsion does not achieve any goals but cuts lines of communication," he said.

Syria's biggest trade partner Turkey suspended all financial credit dealings with it on Wednesday and froze its government's assets, joining the Arab League in isolating President Bashar al-Assad over his military crackdown on opponents.

United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahayan said he was still hoping Syria would admit observers and avoid sanctions.

European and Arab diplomats say the top United Nations human rights forum will paint a grim picture of events in Syria at a special session on Friday which is likely to condemn the Syrian government for crimes against humanity.

A U.N. report said on Monday Syrian forces have committed murder, torture and rape against pro-democracy protesters.

Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Jed on December 01, 2011, 19:55:23
If Jack Granatstein's assessment (http://www.cdfai.org/the3dsblog/?p=700) of this Debka web site info (http://www.debka.com/article/21524/) ("usually reliable") is correct, Canadians may be part of a team looking at "humanitarian corridors" in Syria:Full Debka report attached for a touch more context.

I seem to recall that these plans were CONOPS done by tasked pers in the old UNTSO or UNDOF missions.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Retired AF Guy on December 01, 2011, 20:11:13
If Jack Granatstein's assessment (http://www.cdfai.org/the3dsblog/?p=700) of this Debka web site info (http://www.debka.com/article/21524/) ("usually reliable") is correct, Canadians may be part of a team looking at "humanitarian corridors" in Syria:Full Debka report attached for a touch more context.

In the past, I've always taken anything from Debka with a grain of salt. The same goes for the reports here, especially the part about Canadian officers going to Turkey to setup some kind of intervention force in Syria. The thing is that I seem to remember our defence minister stating, recently, that Canada has no plans to intervene in Syria. The one part that I could believe is about the Turks intervening in northern Syria, but they've been saying that for some time, so nothing really new here.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: 57Chevy on December 02, 2011, 20:15:13
Shared with provisions of The Copyright Act

Russia delivers missiles to Syria
AFP 01 Dechttp://www.yourmiddleeast.com/news/russia-delivers-missiles-to-syria_3246

Russia has delivered supersonic cruise missiles to Syria despite the violence shaking the Arab country and Israel's furious condemnation of the deal, a news report said on Thursday.

"The Yakhont supersonic anti-ship cruise missiles have been delivered to Syria," a military source told the Interfax news agency without disclosing when the shipment was made.

Russia signed a contract reportedly worth at least $300 million (222 million euros) in 2007 to supply its traditional Arab world ally with a large shipment of the cruise missiles.

Reports said Russia intended to deliver 72 of the missiles to Syria in all.

The deal immediately angered Israel, which fears the weapons may fall into the hands of Hezbollah militants in neighbouring Lebanon.

Russia has since also come under growing pressure from Washington, which wants all military sales to President Bashar al-Assad's regime halted because of his deadly crackdown on Syrian street protests.

But Moscow has defended Assad against global pressure and this week argued that its arms sales were permitted under international law and would continue.
                                     ___________________________________________

P-800 Oniks (Yakhont)

The P-800 Oniks (Russian: П-800 Оникс, alternatively termed Yakhont (Яхонт) for export markets; "Oniks" is onyx, and "Yakhont" is ruby or sapphire in English) is a Russian (former Soviet) supersonic anti-ship cruise missile developed by NPO Mashinostroyeniya as a ramjet version of P-80 Zubr. Its GRAU designation is 3M55. Development reportedly started in 1983, and by 2001 allowed the launch of the missile from land, sea, air and submarine. The missile has the NATO reporting codename SS-N-26. It is reportedly a replacement for the P-270 Moskit, but possibly also for the P-700 Granit. The P-800 was reportedly used as the basis for the joint Russian-Indian supersonic missile the PJ-10 BrahMos.
 
Sergei Prikhodko, senior adviser to the Russia President, has said that Russia intends to deliver P-800 to Syria. However Syria lacks any aircraft that can launch this missile and any ability to track targets over the horizon for it, so will be limited to line of sight attacks from ships and ground platforms. Israel is more concerned that these missiles may be transferred to Hezbollah for a repeat of the INS Hanit incident.
                                 ____________________________________________

YouTube
P-800 Oniks (Yakhont) Anti-ship Cruise Missile Launch
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HNztSsjmLYU
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Tiamo on December 07, 2011, 01:19:12
Interesting video, the journalist is in Syria and gets the opinions of Syrian citizens. Who knows if this video is bias or not.  Seems odd, since I had thought, that the Assad regime did not let in foreign media. The reporters seems to be transported by the Syrian government, it is ironic that almost everyone he meets are pro Assad or more anti protesters. The video states that the protestors are mainly sunni.

http://www.youtube.com/user/journeymanpictures?blend=1&ob=4#p/c/3A4C018BB1B234EC/2/Zh7ksVJuseg

Fully biased journalisim. It is a matter of fact that foreign journalists are not allowed in Syria, and if anyone allowed would be on the condition they travel with a government designated personnel (claim for security, but really to manipulate where/what they can see).

If you want unbiased journalism, check France, SkyNews, BBC whom sent undercover journalists to Syria in the past few months. Some of the journalists had to smuggle themselves into the country. Others, came down as tourists and disappeared.

Exmaple of the how difficult it will be to get in even as a tourist, Try to land in Damascus airport, and just bring up you're remotely associated with the BBC, the security agents will not let you leave the airport at best!
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: 57Chevy on December 15, 2011, 11:29:06
               From the Vancouver Sun and shared with provisions of The Copyright Act


Canada arranging 'voluntary evacuation' from Syria
Postmedia News, 15 Dec
http://www.vancouversun.com/travel/Canada+arranging+voluntary+evacuation+from+Syria/5864932/story.html

Urging Canadians to flee the volatility in Syria now before it's too late, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird on Thursday announced Canada is launching a "voluntary evacuation" to help the estimated 5,000 Canadians who are believed to be in that country.

Baird expressed concerns sanctions imposed by the Arab League on Thursday, limiting air travel, could leave Canadians trapped if they don't move quickly to flee the deteriorating situation.

"The time to leave Syria is now," he told a news conference in Ottawa.

"The writing on the wall could not be more clear."

Baird said that, as part of the voluntary evacuation, Canadian officials "will provide facilitated services to assist Canadians in preparing for their departure."

The minister also said that military involvement in Syria — such as Canada undertook during the NATO mission to Libya — is not something this country is considering.

The uprising in Syria against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad is now in its 10th month.

Syria has also imposed restrictions on the movements of Canadian diplomats in the country, Baird said.

Diane Ablonczy, the minister of State of Foreign Affairs, said Thursday that Canadians can go to the embassy in Damascus for help, go online, or call the hotline.

Expedited visas will be made available for people travelling with Canadians, Baird said.

There are about 1,500 Canadians registered as being in Syria and an estimated 5,000 believed to be there in total.

"The government is ready to provide specialized consular services to those who wish to leave," Baird explained.

"Our embassy in Damascus is also available to assist Canadians in Syria, as well as their spouses and their dependent children, with the needed travel documents, visas between now and Jan. 14, 2012.

"I must warn that should Canadians stay in Syria, we will not be able to guarantee the current service at our embassy or that commercial options to leave the country will remain available. I will end by re-iterating again, we strongly encourage Canadian citizens and their spouses and dependents to apply for travel documents now."

He added that while there are no plans at the moment to close the embassy in Syria, officials have relocated the children of embassy staff.

Canadian citizens in Syria requiring consular assistance should contact the Canadian Embassy in Damascus at 963 (11) 611-6692, 611-6851, or 611-6870, or call Foreign Affairs Canada's Emergency Operations Centre collect at 613-944-2471.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: 57Chevy on December 15, 2011, 21:18:35
                        From BBC News and shared with provisions of The Copyright Act

Syria crisis: Russia circulates surprise UN resolution
15 Dec
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-16210330

Russia has circulated a UN Security Council resolution aimed at ending the crisis in Syria, in a move that surprised the Western nations.

The draft condemns the violence by both Syria's government and the opposition, but does not mention sanctions.

Western nations said the proposal was not tough enough, but that they were prepared to work on the document.

article continues at link...
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Journeyman on January 15, 2012, 15:21:00
From CBC today:
UN tells Syrian leader to 'stop killing your people'

Finally. That ought to quiet things down.   ::)




Someone please tell me again why we even bother with League of Nations 2
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: 57Chevy on January 17, 2012, 20:42:06
                                 Shared with provisions of The Copyright Act

Russia circulates revised Syria resolution 17 Jan
http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle11.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/2012/January/middleeast_January454.xml&section=middleeast

Russia circulated a revised UN Security Council resolution on the violence in Syria but Western diplomats said it fell short of their demand for strong condemnation of President Bashar Assad’s crackdown on civilians.

The Security Council has been unable to agree on a resolution since the violence began in March because of deep divisions between its veto-wielding permanent members.

In October, Russia and China vetoed a West European draft resolution, backed by the U.S., that condemned Assad’s attacks and threatened sanctions.

Moscow and Beijing oppose any mention of sanctions and say Assad’s militant opponents must also be condemned, but Western nations say there can be no equivalence between the violence caused by the Syrian regime and the attacks by militant opponents of Assad.

Russia took the council by surprise in mid-December, introducing a draft resolution that called on all parties to stop the violence. It cited the ‘disproportionate use of force by Syrian authorities’ and urged the Syrian government ‘to put an end to suppression of those exercising their rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association’ but contained no threat of sanctions.

Although the Russian draft didn’t meet Western demands, the US and its European allies saw it as a potentially positive sign and submitted a series of amendments. Western nations have complained publicly and privately at Russia’s slow response in coming up with a revised text — a charge Russia’s UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin rejected in late December.

Diplomats said the draft resolution sent to the 15 council nations Monday doesn’t appear to be a compromise.

Rather than producing new language, diplomats said, the Russians included their original text alongside most amendments proposed by other council members — but Moscow didn’t make clear whether it has accepted any changes or not.

The diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity because the text has not been make public, said council experts would meet Tuesday afternoon to discuss the new draft.

Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Thucydides on January 20, 2012, 21:48:37
Syria still has friends:

http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2012/01/19/tehran-and-moscow-double-down-in-syria/

Quote
Tehran and Moscow Double Down in Syria

The Syrian outlook continues to worsen.

Latest update: Russia and Iran have been caught with their hands in the Syrian cookie jar. The U.S. Treasury Department recently exposed Iran’s efforts to help Syria evade international sanctions on oil exports, while Russia was caught shipping weapons to Assad. The WSJ reports:
American officials investigating the Iranian operation said it is designed to quietly ship Syrian crude oil to Iran, where it can be sold on the international market, with revenue going back to Damascus…

This month, Cyprus intercepted a St. Petersburg-based ship, the Chariot, that was moving four containers of munitions bound for the Syrian port of Tartus, according to Cypriot officials. Cyprus eventually released the ship after assurances from its Russian owners that it wouldn’t complete the delivery, according to Cypriot officials.

But Moscow this week confirmed the arms shipment was made.

With this kind of material and financial support, Assad hopes to keep his side in the game.  Currently, the Free Syrian Army is reported to consist of just a few hundred soldiers; nor do they have the necessary equipment to fight a civil war. Meanwhile, the Syrian political opposition, mostly operating from abroad, is tentatively united, but lacks a clear plan and concrete support.

How will regional powers, like Turkey and Qatar respond? Probably by arming the opposition. If so, we can expect the conflict to grow bloodier still and the sectarian passions ripping at what is left of the fabric of Syrian society will have time to intensify.

For Syria’s sake, and the region’s, the Assad family and its closest friends need to leave.  Via Meadia likes to see murderers behind bars as much as anybody else, but under the circumstances an offer of amnesty and a reasonable cash settlement seem in the best interests of all concerned. Perhaps there are some nice empty dachas somewhere on the Black Sea.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: 57Chevy on January 23, 2012, 10:39:30
They are also creating enemies.
Unlike Saleh of Yemen who seeks forgiveness and offers up apologies for his shortcomings,
Assad is gearing up for a tarring from the Saudis.
Article shared with provisions of The Copyright Act.

Pressure mounts on Syria's regime
 
Saudis pull out; Join Qatar in call for international action
 
By RICHARD SPENCER and RUTH SHERLOCK, The Daily Telegraph January 23, 2012

Saudi Arabia joined Qatar in calling for international action in Syria Sunday and announced it was pulling its members out of an Arab League monitoring mission.

The region's major oil power put new pressure on President Bashar Assad, accusing his regime of using the month-long mission to "hide its crimes."

"It is not a quality of Arab leaders to kill their people," said Prince Saud al-Faisal, the Saudi Foreign Minister.

The statement overshadowed an Arab League proposal to renew the mission for another month. Qatar called for a review of the mission possibly leading to the dispatch of Arab troops to act as peacekeepers.

Opposition groups reacted angrily to Arab League Secretary-General Nabil al-Araby's proposal, which made no mention of referring the crisis to the United Nations.

"The observers don't do anything," said Rami Shaheen, who had been jailed in the city of Dera'a, but has since managed to flee to Egypt.

"Now our revolutionaries are asking that they refer this to the UN Security Council."

Araby attacked the Assad regime, saying it had not fulfilled its promises to implement the League's peace plan. But he also said the mission was encouraging Syrians to express themselves more freely.

In Douma, clashes began on Saturday night at the funeral of Mohammed Said Maddah, a protester who had been shot.

"The criminal Assad gangs waged a surprise attack and shot at them, using machine guns, rockets and snipers as they approached the Hawwa mosque," said Omar al-Khani, of the Syrian Revolutionary Command in Damascus. "We have confirmation of dozens of casualties."

The Free Syrian Army stepped in, Khani said. Fighting broke out and spread until the army withdrew.

"The FSA managed to kill seven or eight troops and capture one officer," said an activist who claimed to have been present at the funeral.

Video from the town on Sunday showed armed FSA rebels patrolling openly.

Douma is the second town in the vicinity of Damascus to have declared itself free of government control, after Zabadani.

"He is losing his forces, that is apparent. He is getting weaker day by day. More frequently now the leaders of the troops run away," said an activist in Douma.

The Arab League argues that the regime is softening its stance because of the monitors' presence.

The regime may have been keen to avoid the fighting that would be necessary to reclaim the two towns while the League decided on its next steps.

A majority of Arab states, including Tunisia and Egypt, fear that international action might trigger further violence.

However, Saudi Arabia's political clout and Qatar's growing assertiveness mean that those hoping for continued engagement with the Assad regime are holding an ever thinner line.


Photo:
Saudi Prince Saud al-Faisal opposes the Arab League plan.
Photograph by: KHALED DESOUKI AFP, GETTY IMAGES, The Daily Telegraph


Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: GAP on January 23, 2012, 23:33:27
Russia closes deal on $550 million worth of warplanes for Syria

Russia has remained a staunch supporter of Syria's President Assad, blocking UN efforts to impose an international arms embargo.

By Fred Weir, Correspondent / January 23, 2012
 Article Link (http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Global-News/2012/0123/Russia-closes-deal-on-550-million-worth-of-warplanes-for-Syria)
 
Russia has closed a contract to sell half-a-billion dollars worth of warplanes to Syria, just the latest sign that Moscow intends to carry on business-as-usual with the embattled regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

According to the Moscow business daily Kommersant, the $550 million contract to purchase 36 Yak-130 Mitten combat trainers was signed in December, even as the 11-month-old uprising against four decades of rule by the Assad family was gathering steam and turning very bloody. According to United Nations estimates, more than 5,400 people have died since March, when the uprising began.

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov last week dismissed any questions about Russian arms sales to Syria by saying "we don't consider it necessary to explain ourselves or justify ourselves, because we are not violating any international agreements or any [UN] Security Council resolutions."

The European Union approved an arms embargo on Syria last year. The UN Security Council has sought to do the same, but has been blocked by Russia, which has veto power.
More on link
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: tomahawk6 on January 29, 2012, 15:09:03
Assad's forces are trying to retake the Ghouta district, a suburb of Damascus.Two thousand troops backed by armor went in at dawn. The revolution is getting closer to the regime every week.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Tiamo on January 30, 2012, 11:35:32
Assad's forces are trying to retake the Ghouta district, a suburb of Damascus.Two thousand troops backed by armor went in at dawn. The revolution is getting closer to the regime every week.
There is continued fighting in the Ghotta district. Yesterday Al-Arabiya and several news outlets had reported Damascus airport was shutdown and the main highway linking Damascus to the airport was heavily fortified by Al-Assad army. Today, the neighbourhood of Saqba in the suburb of Damascus is still in the hands of the FSA (Free Syrian Army). There are reports that the FSA continues to hold ground in the Ghoutta district despite Al-Assad army entering that district.

Fighting is also intensifying in the Deir Zour - eastern city of Syria, Rastan near the restive city of Homs.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: jollyjacktar on January 30, 2012, 17:36:28
Assaud's wife was supposedly stopped trying to get to the airport with her children and was turned around by rebel forces.  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2093479/Assads-British-born-wife-children-caught-trying-flee-Damascus-Syrian-rebels-blow-key-gas-pipeline.html
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Thucydides on January 30, 2012, 20:07:10
Sadly, there isn't much hope for more than a stalemate right now, and time is not on the side of the revolution:

http://pjmedia.com/barryrubin/2012/01/29/why-syrias-regime-is-surviving-a-revolution/?print=1

Quote
Why Syria’s Regime Is Surviving a Revolution

Posted By Barry Rubin On January 29, 2012 @ 4:42 pm In Uncategorized | 28 Comments

Despite what is now the longest-running revolution in Middle Eastern history, the Syrian regime will probably be in power on December 31, 2012. I don’t say that because it’s what I want to happen — Syria’s revolution is more democratic-minded than those in Libya or Egypt; the government is far more repressive than the former dictatorships in Tunisia or Egypt — but because it seems inevitable.

Why is it that, after so many months of massive demonstrations and really bloody repression, President Bashar al-Assad seems likely to survive? Of course no one knows what will happen, but there are three reasons to think that Assad’s regime is surviving, though the cost of that will be a great deal of suffering and the wrecking of the country.

First, the rulers know that it is a case of kill or be killed. Given the hated and sectarian nature of the regime — overwhelmingly dominated by Alawites who comprise only about 12 percent of the population — the elite can expect no mercy if it falls. At least, the Alawite elite and its closest allies among the Sunni Arab Muslims will lose their wealth and power; at most, they and even their families will lose their lives.

A negotiated solution of any sort is not a real possibility and the elite’s members — including army generals — are aware that they must all hang together or they will all hang separately. When they look at Egypt, where they see the former president on trial and the armed forces under serious challenge, they are not encouraged to believe they should compromise with the opposition. And when they saw the former leaders of Iraq and Libya executed, that conclusion is reinforced.

Second, the revolutionaries don’t have a strategy for seizing state power. Daily they hold courageous demonstrations and suffer severe losses through killings and repression, yet the protests cannot force a determined dictatorship out of power. As in Iran — but not as in Egypt and Tunisia, where the armies were unwilling to mow down their own people — the regime’s ruthlessness makes it quite willing to pursue a strategy of brutality.

The Free Syrian Army is the opposition’s other potential route to power. But it remains too small, too inexperienced (many or most of its recruits are not former soldiers), and too lacking in international support to overthrow the dictatorship by force.

Third, the Syrian dictatorship is receiving ample international support, mainly from Iran but also from Russia. While the Arab League has supposedly come out against the regime, its intervention is so toothless and time-wasting that it serves the regime: as long as the League doesn’t call for tougher measures, neither will Western countries.

The lack of Western intervention is another international problem for the opposition and advantage for the regime. At present, the opposition has two main requests, drawn from experience in Iraq and Libya. It asks that the West impose a no-fly zone on the Syrian military and that it help establish an exclusion area along the Turkey-Syria frontier where refugees and dissidents can flee, an opposition government can create a liberated zone, and the Free Syrian Army can mobilize.

There does not appear to be the slightest chance of this happening. Why? I almost wish that I could say it was due to Western fear of an Islamist takeover of Syria. In fact, however, the U.S. government has actually helped the Islamists there. The real reason is fear of making another Middle East commitment, along with a strange radical ideology in the West which makes it more eager to help anti-Western forces than friendly ones.

Obviously, no one could seriously propose sending Western forces to Syria. Yet enforcing a no-flight zone would be a relatively easy, low-cost effort that might help break the regime that has been the main Arab sponsor of terrorism (always exceeding Iraq in that respect) during the last forty years, and also the Arab government that has done the most to sabotage any Arab-Israeli negotiated settlement. Again though, there isn’t any chance of this happening, certainly not under an Obama administration. Indeed, Russia is selling Syria advanced warplanes so the regime can attack the opposition more effectively! So much for a no-fly zone.

What might break President Bashar al-Assad’s regime? Other than his being assassinated, the only likely development would be if some Syrian generals decided that the rest of the elite can only survive by eliminating him and his family. Even then, though, they would probably try to continue the regime under a different name, offering the opposition a face-saving compromise of making some concessions in exchange for an end to the revolt. This is an offer the opposition, unless it is really desperate by that point, might well reject as insufficient.

Nevertheless, the prospects are quite likely that Assad will be in power when the year ends. If the deadlock goes on without apparent end, the revolution might die down as it did in Iran. Syria will then be another case to show that revolutions usually succeed only when the elite is divided and loses its nerve, rather than being an inevitably victorious response to oppression.

It will also show that in the Middle East only pro-Western regimes (including the temporarily “cooperative” Libyan dictatorship) get overthrown. In contrast, anti-Western governments prosper, often with Western protection or help. Go figure.

Article printed from Rubin Reports: http://pjmedia.com/barryrubin

URL to article: http://pjmedia.com/barryrubin/2012/01/29/why-syrias-regime-is-surviving-a-revolution/

Thinl back to the 2009-2010 Green Revolution, when tens of thousands of Iranians were protesting in the streets. The reason their signs were in English was their hope that the US Administration would provide some sort of support, but no help was forthcoming then, and the Syrians know no help is coming now.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Tiamo on January 31, 2012, 01:17:35
Quote
Thinl back to the 2009-2010 Green Revolution, when tens of thousands of Iranians were protesting in the streets. The reason their signs were in English was their hope that the US Administration would provide some sort of support, but no help was forthcoming then, and the Syrians know no help is coming now.

Initially I used to think the same way, however, the situation on the ground had changed so drastically that the resemblance with the Iranian Green Revolution is not plausible. The Green Revolution did not evolve into an urban warfare with small, yet determined, soldiers securing whole neighbourhoods and even cities.

Few things to consider when constructing scenarios for how things will progress in Syria:

a) Corruption is rooted deep in the Syrian regime.  A clear example is how for 8 or so months, the FSA (Free Syrian Army) continues to arm itself.  Another example, many of the brutal videos that showed Assad militiamen torturning and abusing civilians were bought off the person who recorded them. Anything and everything is up for sale.
 
b) The majority of the population is against the Assad regime. This creates an atmosphere friendly for the opposition and FSA.

c) Economic sanctions are hitting the regime hard. The move to cut off the Syrian regime economically and swiftly has accelerated the deterioration of the regime. Yes, Iran and Russia can still provide support, but the Syrian Lira had dropped 50% in value in the past 3 months. Inflation is running rapid and energy supplies are scarce.

d) The pressure is increasing on the regime both internally and externally. The FSA though small in number have been able to penetrate Damascus to the level they've secured whole neighbourhoods as close as 20 minutes from the presidential palace. This is significant because not until recently, the FSA was limited to the mountain areas and Homs province.  Try to imagine the thoughts in Bashar Al-Assad's head when he hears the shelling and gunfire in his own comfortable palace while everyone around falsely assures him everything is under control.

I doubt Bashar Al-Assad will survive for 3 more months, but his regime and the security state his father had founded may still exist after he is gone. This will all depend on who blinks first, the regime or the people. Though everyone knows the Assad regime has not ran out of options. Until now, heavy weaponry and airplanes have not been used (Lessons learned from Libya perhaps).
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: 57Chevy on February 05, 2012, 11:24:03
                                          Article shared with provisions of The Copyright Act

Mideast officials slam UN, urge diplomatic break with Syria
Agence France-Presse February 5, 2012
http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Mideast+officials+slam+over+Syria/6104634/story.html#ixzz1lWNdB5dR


MUNICH, Germany — Arab leaders and officials attacked the UN Sunday after Russia and China blocked a resolution condemning the Damascus regime, as Tunisia urged the world to cut diplomatic ties with Syria.

Tunisian Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali said Moscow and Beijing's actions showed the veto system of the Security Council was flawed and said the two countries had "misused" their right to block the resolution against Syria.

"Undoubtedly the international community has to reconsider this mechanism of decision taking," said Jebali.

Turkey's foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, said that "Cold War" logic had prevailed in the Security Council and that Russia and China "did not vote on existing realities."

On Saturday, Russia and China employed their veto to block a UN resolution against Syria that aimed to end violence there after one of the bloodiest weekends since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad erupted about 11 months ago.

Militants said more than 230 civilians perished under bombardment by Syrian forces in the city of Homs overnight Friday.

Egypt's foreign minister, Mohamed Amr, said the Arab League would convene in Cairo on Saturday and "evaluate" the situation following the Security Council vote.

"Bloodshed has to stop. This is a tragedy that cannot be allowed to continue in our midst," he said.

The criticism was not limited to politicians, with the director of Human Rights Watch, Kenneth Roth, saying the veto had rendered the United Nations "irrelevant".

Jebali said that in the absence of strong UN action, countries should take their own action by cutting all diplomatic ties with Damascus, as Tunisia has already done.

"We have to expel Syrian ambassadors from Arab and other countries," the prime minister said.

"The Syrian people do not expect from us today long statements . . . they are expecting deeds, they are expecting concrete measures . . . the very least we can do is to cut all relations to the Syria regime," he added.

Qatari minister of state for foreign affairs, Khalid Mohamed al-Attiyah, described Saturday as a "sad day".
He said Russia and China's move was a "bad signal to Assad that gives a license to kill, full stop."

Speaking at the same event, Yemeni Nobel peace laureate Tawakkul Karman also called on the international community to expel Syrian ambassadors from their countries and recall diplomats in the wake of the violence there.

"I urge you in the name of the peaceful rebels to expel Syrian ambassadors from your countries and I urge you to call back your ambassadors in Damascus," Karman said.

With their veto, China and Russia "bear the moral and human responsibility for these massacres," she said.

U.S. independent Senator Joe Lieberman said that with their actions, China and Russia were "on the wrong side of history" and they could find themselves as isolated as Assad if they refused to budge.

The United States should look at providing weapons and other aid to Syrian rebels if Russia and China refuse to reconsider, said Lieberman.

"We have a range of support we can give them," he told the panel.

"Some of it is non-lethal, including medical supplies . . . and then ultimately it is providing them with weapons," said the senator.



Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: WRC559 on February 06, 2012, 06:11:14
Hmmm.....a collection of workshops, empty barracks, and some logistic assets intended to support the Russian Mediterranean Squadron -- which was disbanded in 1991.

Yep, that's a pretty compelling reason to believe armageddon is on the horizon.  :pop:



Edit to add: While I regret giving the tinfoil-hat wackjob "wrc559" any further attention, citing his website as a source for anything (other than to chuckle at conspiracy theorists) speaks volumes about one's "reason."  ::)

Not a problem mate, We will be looking out for you too.
us "Tin Foil Hat" wearers are pretty scary to be around, especially while the SUPERbowl is on. (We are all entitled to our own opinions) So we hope you enjoy the information we share at WRC559.com and that you can benefit from some information there.

All the best!
WRC559
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: WRC559 on February 06, 2012, 06:14:57
lol. yeah, maybe i was starting to believe in the conspiracy a little too much about a WW3.
i cant help but think its possible tho. with iran and syria being very close allies also having ties to russia, turkey and saudi want to intervene, backed by nato, israel / rest of the arab nations likley to get involved. who knows what will happen.


im continually following the news in syria.

You my friend, are on the path to success, when we talk of WW3, Why are we classified as Conspiracy theorists. When your american media tells you that the economy is fine, Giving you nothing but false information why are they not discredited. When the Conspiracy theorists have many theories that have been correct, are still put down.. Oh its because we are all trained to follow the crowed. Perhaps remember, Nothing is more powerful then the ability to think for ones self.


ALL THE BEST
WRC559
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Tiamo on February 06, 2012, 22:20:50
Source: BBC News Journalist Paul Wood - on the ground from Homs: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-16912756

Quote
Mortars began to fall, steadily, a few minutes after 06:00. Each blast echoed around the narrow streets.

At first, that caused defiant cries of "God is great". But then heavy artillery was used; then airburst bombs.

Now this part of Homs appears deserted. There are no voices outside, only the din of shells coming in and exploding.

Occasionally a frightened resident peers quickly out of a window before disappearing.

"There is rubble in everywhere," said a local cameraman, running back inside, breathless, a moment ago. "Power lines are down. There is not a single person on the street."

Under the constant shell-fire, people were becoming slightly hysterical: The army was "about to attack with chemical weapons"; The army was "already invading with ground troops".

Neither was true, though one credible eyewitness said he had seen troops moving up to the edge of this area.

The security forces seem to be about one kilometre away. There is no invasion yet - and perhaps there won't be one - but that is what people fear and expect.
No safe place

In the first hour or so, we heard a lot of gunfire from rebel fighters of the Free Syria Army. It was a futile gesture - Kalashnikovs against artillery.

Now their commanders have given an order for ammunition to be preserved. It will be used later, either to counter-attack or if the regime's forces enter, they say.
Continue reading the main story

Opposition activists have counted more than 25 dead in Homs so far on Monday (though there is no independent confirmation of that figure). The houses here don't have basements. There is nowhere safe to hide.

Syrian state television denied that there had been any bombardment. It said residents were setting fire to piles of rubbish on the roofs of their homes to trick the world into thinking that there was an attack.

There is no doubt, however, from what we have seen and heard, that hundreds of shells and mortars have been fired at this place during the day.

As I write this, the windows of the house we are in are still reverberating from the impact of a shell, probably in the next street.

It is true that people have been setting fire to rubbish in the streets. They believe it will confuse the guidance systems of rockets apparently being fired at them. They are probably mistaken.

People in this part of Homs say these are the worst days they have known since the beginning of the uprising, almost a year ago. The bombing has been going on for several days now.

Most of the casualties we have seen were civilians. We were at a field clinic on Sunday during a mortar attack lasting several hours. A teenaged boy was brought in with horrific injuries, most of his face gone.

In the corridor, a woman was screaming. Her only son had just been brought in on a stretcher, his left foot severed by the blast. She was hysterical, but not incoherent. "Give us guns, we cannot defend ourselves," she shouted, before someone led her away.
Continue reading the main story


It is also true that some of the dead are fighters. We went to the prayers for one on Sunday, a member of the Free Army, as the rebels call themselves. His body was laid on the carpeted floor of the mosque, flowers on his chest. Two men - perhaps brothers - knelt over him, kissing his forehead, and weeping.

The man had died a couple of hours earlier while attacking a government base said to be used by snipers.

The regime accuses the Free Army - "terrorists" or "armed gangs" in the language of official spokesmen - of causing most of the violence.

I put that to the Free Army commander in this part of Homs.

"No," said Captain Mohammed Idris, who defected from the regime's army only in December. "Everything we do is to defend our people. The regime can't get to us - so it retaliates against civilians instead."
Little dignity

Civilians are certainly paying the price. In the field clinic, a man was carefully wrapping the body of a seven-year-old girl in a white sheet. She had been killed when a mortar fell on her home. They wrote her name on the shroud, Nuha al Manal.

Like all the dead in this part of Homs, she was buried in darkness. They have been doing that here for many months; daytime is too dangerous. In the pitch black, a volunteer ran across the graveyard carrying her body.

There was no family; no prayers, and little dignity, just a hurried burial. Even as they covered her body with earth, there were shots fired in their direction.

"The UN abandoned us," one Homs resident told me. "Who's going to help us now, who's going to help us now?"

People said that to me over and over; that they felt abandoned, alone.

After the failure of the vote in the UN Security Council at the weekend, they have lost hope that the outside world will help.

They expect the worst from a regime they fear can now act without restraint.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: milnews.ca on February 06, 2012, 22:40:22
A couple of new Canadian tidbits....
Quote
The official Opposition wants Canada's ambassador recalled from Syria, but the government says he will stay in the besieged country to blast President Bashar Assad for his attacks on domestic dissenters.

NDP foreign affairs critic Helene Laverdiere urged the government to recall the envoy because she said it would send a strong message to Assad, who has waged a bloody 11-month crackdown on dissent in his country that has left thousands dead.

A Syrian military offensive against people in the city of Homs has entered its third straight day.

The Obama administration closed the U.S. embassy in Damascus on Monday and recalled all diplomatic staff. Britain recalled its ambassador to Syria and expressed its disgust over the situation.

"It's not a question of cutting diplomatic ties completely," Laverdiere said Monday. "Our position does not go as far as that of the United States."

Chris Day, spokesman for Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, indicated that Canada had no plans at this time to further draw down its diplomatic staff after calling home several diplomats last week.

Canada reduced its staff to "core personnel only" but kept Ambassador Glenn Davidson at his post, with a small skeleton staff ....
The Canadian Press, 6 Feb 12 (http://ca.news.yahoo.com/send-message-assad-pull-ambassador-syria-ndp-urges-162634875.html)

Quote
Canada will raise China and Russia’s “deeply disappointing” decision to veto the condemnation of the Syrian government’s crackdown on civilian protests during this week’s trade mission, Canadian officials said Sunday.

Deepak Obhrai, parliamentary secretary to the minister of foreign affairs, told CBC News that Canada would pursue “diplomatic efforts” with China and Russia.

"We will be talking to the Chinese and to the Russians, and explaining to them our view, as to why their veto is wrong," Obhrai said Sunday.

On Saturday, China joined Russia to veto the United Nations Security Council’s move for a tougher response to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. Thirteen countries voted for the resolution drafted by Arab and European nations which would have given strong backing to an Arab League plan to end the crisis in Syria.

Chris Day, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird’s spokesman, told Postmedia News that discussions regarding the region will take place on the trip to the middle kingdom.

“We will discuss a range of global issues with our hosts, including the situation in the Middle East,” Day said ....
Postmedia News, 6 Feb 12 (http://www.canada.com/story_print.html?id=6105345&sponsor=)
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: exabedtech on February 06, 2012, 22:54:42
Oh yes!  It sure would send a STRONG message.  I expect that if we closed our embassy, peace would break out immediately and they'd open a McDonalds on every street corner.  :sarcasm: 
Just my opinion... but I'd think that if you're after a diplomatic solution, you may want to have the odd diplomat handy.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: GAP on February 06, 2012, 23:37:00
Syria's most senior defector: Assad's army is close to collapse
Bashar al-Assad's army is close to a collapse that could plunge the Middle East into a "nuclear reaction", its most senior defector has told The Sunday Telegraph.
 Article Link (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/9061432/Syrias-most-senior-defector-Assads-army-is-close-to-collapse.html)
 By Richard Spencer, Middle East Correspondent 05 Feb 2012

In his first full-length newspaper interview, General Mustafa al-Sheikh, who has taken refuge in Turkey, gave an apocalyptic insider's view of the state of the regime – despite its attempt to reassert control this weekend.

He said only a third of the army was at combat readiness due to defections or absenteeism, while remaining troops were demoralised, most of its Sunni officers had fled, been arrested, or sidelined, and its equipment was degraded.

"The situation is now very dangerous and threatens to explode across the whole region, like a nuclear reaction," he said.

The failure of President Assad to keep a tight grip even on the towns and suburbs around Damascus, some of which have driven out the army for periods in recent weeks, has led to a reassessment of his forces' unity.

When Gen Sheikh fled over the border from his town in the north of the country in the second half of November, he thought the army could hold out against a vastly outnumbered opposition for a year or more. Now, he said, attacks by the rebels' Free Syrian Army were escalating as the rank and file withered away due to lack of belief in the cause.
More on link
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Fishbone Jones on February 07, 2012, 00:22:09
I'd say it's totally up to the Arab League to put together a coalition, amongst themselves, and go in and sort it. They have the men and equipment. It's about time they took care of their own problems.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Tiamo on February 08, 2012, 18:29:20
I'd say it's totally up to the Arab League to put together a coalition, amongst themselves, and go in and sort it. They have the men and equipment. It's about time they took care of their own problems.

Sure, but who is gonna back them up? The Syrians themselves can oust the regime without the need for NATO or US to intervene. If the West or even Arabs just provide the logistics for the people on the ground, the Assad regime will not last for long.

You see all these nations coming up on TV claiming they support the protestors? They are just talk. Turkey does not even allow the delivery of medical supplies to Syria, the same thing with Jordan. Lebanon and Iraq are on the side of the Assad regime.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: E.R. Campbell on February 12, 2012, 14:41:00
Now the Arab League wants a UN peacekeeping force, according to this report which is reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act from the Globe and Mail:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/arab-league-calls-for-un-joint-peacekeeping-in-syria/article2335441/
Quote
Arab League calls for UN joint peacekeeping in Syria

HAMZA HENDAWI

Cairo— The Associated Press
Published Sunday, Feb. 12, 2012


The Arab League will call Sunday for the U.N. Security Council to create a joint peacekeeping force for Syria, the latest effort by the regional group to end the 11-month old crisis that has killed more than 5,000 people.

The new effort is spelled out in a draft resolution obtained by The Associated Press and expected to be adopted by League foreign ministers meeting in Cairo. However, Syria is unlikely to accept a joint U.N.-Arab League peacekeeping force.

Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Saud Al-Faisal conveyed the League's frustration with Syria by telling delegates it was no longer appropriate for the league to stand by and watch the bloodshed in Syria.

“Until when will we remain spectators?” he said. “It is a disgrace for us as Muslims and Arabs to accept” the bloodshed in Syria, he said.

The Arab League has been at the forefront of regional efforts to end 11 months of bloodshed in Syria. The group put forward a plan that President Bashar al-Assad agreed to in December, then sent in monitors to check whether the Syrian regime was complying. But when it became clear that Mr. al-Assad's regime was flouting the terms of the agreement and killings went on, the League pulled the observers out last month.

The draft resolution calls for an immediate cease-fire in Syria and demands regime forces lift the siege on neighborhoods and villages and pull troops and their heavy weapons back to their barracks.

It urges Syrian opposition groups to unite ahead of a Feb. 24 meeting in Tunisia of the “Friends of Syria” group,” which includes the United States, its European allies and Arab nations working to end the uprising against Assad's authoritarian rule.

The creation of the group came after last weekend's veto at the U.N. by Russia and China of a Western and Arab draft resolution that would have pressured Mr. al-Assad to step down. That resolution also would have demanded that Mr. al-Assad halt the crackdown on dissent and implement the Arab League peace plan that calls for him to hand over power to his vice president and allow creation of a unity government to clear the way for elections.

The League also wants to provide the opposition groups with political and material support. It calls for a halt to all diplomatic contacts with Syria and for referring officials responsible for crimes against the Syrian people to international criminal tribunals. It urges a tightening of trade sanctions previously adopted by the League but not been fully implemented.

The group meeting in Cairo was also considering a proposal to expel Syrian ambassadors from Arab capitals.

The League officials said the group would also call on Syrian opposition groups to close ranks and unite under one umbrella, a move that they said would place more pressure on the al-Assad regime.

Washington piled more pressure on Syria.

President Barack Obama's Chief of Staff Jacob Lew said it was only a matter of time before Assad's regime collapsed.

“The brutality of the Assad regime is unacceptable and has to end,” he told “Fox News Sunday.” The U.S. is pursuing “all avenues that we can” and that “there is no question that this regime will come to an end. The only question is when,” he said.

Late Saturday, al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahri threw the terror network's support behind Syrian rebels trying to topple President Bashar al-Assad, raising fears that Islamic extremists are exploiting the uprising that began peacefully but is quickly transforming into an armed insurgency. The regime has long blamed terrorists for the revolt, and al-Qaeda's endorsement creates new difficulties for Western and Arab states trying to figure out a way to help force Mr. al-Assad out of power.

“The time has come for a decisive action to stop the bloodshed suffered by the Syrian people since the start of last year,” Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby told the Arab foreign ministers. “We must move quickly in all directions ... to end the cycle of violence in Syria.”

Foreign ministers from the Gulf Cooperation Council — Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar and Bahrain — are also proposing the expulsion of Syrian ambassadors from all Arab League nations during the meeting in Cairo. The GCC ministers also proposed that Arab nations withdraw their ambassadors from Damascus, according to the officials.

The six nations, particularly Saudi Arabia and Qatar, have been campaigning for a tougher stand against Assad's regime and may offer formal recognition of the National Syrian Council, the largest of Syria's opposition groups, at Sunday's meeting.

Mr. al-Assad's regime has pursued a harsh crackdown against the uprising since it began last March. The U.N. estimates that 5,400 people have been killed since March, but that figure is from January, when the world body stopped counting because the chaos in Syria has made it all but impossible to check the figures. Hundreds are reported to have been killed since.

Arab League officials said that Mr. Elaraby has accepted the resignation of General Mohammed Ahmed Al-Dabi, the head of the Syrian observer mission, and nominated former Jordanian Foreign Minister Abdul-Illah al-Khatib as the new envoy. A decision on Mr. al-Khatib's nomination would be made later in the day by Arab foreign ministers meeting in the Egyptian capital.

There was no word on the reasons behind Mr. al-Dabi's resignation, but the Sudanese general was harshly criticized for his management of the monitors mission, which was perceived by the Syrian opposition and many protesters to have provided a cover for the regime's continued crackdown.

Mr. Al-Dabi was also criticized for being a longtime aide of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, himself indicted by the Hague-based International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity in Sudan's western Darfur region, where a revolt against the Khartoum government began in 2003 but has petered out about five years later.

“The new mission must be totally different from the previous one,” Mr. Elaraby told the foreign ministers as he proposed a joint Arab League-U.N. mission to Syria. “The previous experience has shown that there can be no restoration of security without a political vision.”

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject and also because the proposals have not yet been adopted.


I am curious ... what peace is there to keep? Or, perhaps, the Arab League wants a peacemaking force - one that will give Assad the boot and install a government that is more favourable to Saudi and Egyptian interests, one which is, therefore, less favourable to Iran and Russia.

Give the Russian and Chinese vetos - both likely for two different reasons - the force, if there is to be one, will have to be created in the UN General Assembly using the "Acheson Plan," the "uniting for peace" resolution mechanism. Since neither Russia nor China is likely to support such a mission the force, if it is created, will appear to be more US meddling in the Arabs' internal affairs and we all know how well that will go down on the "Arab street."

On the other hand, a Western-Arab force created by a "uniting for peace" resolution might be the straw that breaks the Iranian camel's back and it could plunge the whole region into a nice, long, bloody, internecine (and, ultimately useful) war which might even push Pakistan into another war with India. For those who think that both the Middle East and India/Pakistan disputes have been at stalemate for too long this is not necessarily an unwelcome prospect - except that it will mess up the stock markets.
 
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: GAP on February 12, 2012, 14:51:34
I keep getting the impression that the Arabs are fearfull that Assad will prevail simply by killing off most of the opposition, much like his father did.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Tiamo on February 12, 2012, 19:39:16
Documents proving Iranian money flowing to the Syrian regime:
Source: Haaretz http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/haaretz-exclusive-syria-documents-show-iran-helping-assad-to-sidestep-sanctions-1.412353
Quote
Iran has been helping Syria bypass the international sanctions imposed on it for massacring civilians, according to documents from the Syrian president's office obtained by Haaretz.

The documents show that Iran has given the Syrian regime more than $1 billion, which would help it overcome the oil embargo and other moves including restrictions on flights and sanctions against the central bank.
Ahmadinejad, Assad    

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his Syrian counterpart Bashar Assad
Photo by: AP



The documents were leaked following a cyber-attack by hackers known as Anonymous against the e-mail server of the Syrian president's office. Seventy-eight employees in President Bashar Assad's office had their e-mail hacked. One of these accounts belonged to the minister of presidential affairs, Mansour Azzam; it included two documents signed by him that dealt with relations between Syria and Iran.
Syria document - 12022012    



What are your thoughts on this issue? Follow Haaretz.com on Facebook and share your views.

The two documents were authored two months ago and detail discussions by senior Iranian delegations visiting Syria. The documents are written in ambiguous language and only in a number of places do they detail ways Syria would be aided to bypass sanctions. The document repeatedly refers to Syria's wish to "learn from the Iranian experience in this area."

The United States, Turkey, the European Union, the Arab League and other countries have imposed severe sanctions on Syria due to the regime's attacks on civilians. As part of the sanctions, all Arab League members have ceased contact with the Central Bank of Syria, and commercial flights from Arab countries to and from Syria have stopped. The European Union has imposed an oil embargo on Syria.

Around 20 percent of Syria's gross domestic product derives from oil sales, with 90 percent of Syrian oil being exported to the EU.

On December 8, Azzam sent Assad and other senior figures a document entitled "Memo on the visit of the Iranian delegation to Syria." The delegation included 10 senior members of the office of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and representatives of the Central Bank of Iran and other Iranian ministries. The delegation met with Syrian Prime Minister Adel Safar, the head of the Syrian central bank, and the ministers of finance, trade and oil.

As a result of the disturbances around the country and the sanctions, the Syrian regime is undergoing an economic crisis. The regime needs revenue, in part to pay the armed forces and the gangs of thugs - the Shabiha - it uses against the demonstrators. It also needs to pay the salaries of the tens of thousands of officials whose loyalty is vital.

According to the document authored by Azzam, the Iranian delegation announced that it has allocated $1 billion so Iran could buy basic supplies from Syria. Most of the items are very basic and include meat, poultry, olive oil and fruit. It is unclear if Iran actually needs these items or if this is a way to pump up the Syrian economy.

In parallel, the Iranians agreed to export to Syria fertilizer and raw materials for the petrochemical industry; it would spread out payments over a long period.

The Iranian delegations also discussed ways the Syrians could bypass the embargo on oil exports. The Iranians, who have large petroleum deposits, promised to examine the purchase of 150,000 barrels of oil from Syria per day for a year "to use it domestically or resell it to others." This way Syria would be able to continue to export oil despite the sanctions.

In return, Iran would supply Syria spare parts for the petroleum industry that are hard to come by due to the sanctions.

The document also shows that the two countries discussed ways to bypass sanctions on flights and air cargo. Turkey, for example, has closed its airspace to aircraft traveling to or from Syria, and most Syrian flights cannot land in most airports in Europe and the Arab world.

One option discussed is the creation of a hub in Iran for Syrian aircraft, bypassing the current hub in the United Arab Emirates. The Iranians also offered to service Syrian Air's planes.

The Iranians also proposed the creation of an air-and-ground corridor for transferring goods to and from Iran. This would be done through Iraq, bypassing Turkey.

As for banking, they discussed setting up a joint bank for transferring money through Russia and China, which are not taking part in the international sanctions against Syria and Iran.

"Iran has promised to relay to Syria its know-how on ways for transferring funds from the country abroad and back, based on the experience Iran has accumulated in this field," it says.

The second document, dated December 14, 2011, states that "the central banks of Syria and Iran agreed to use banks in Russia and China to ease the transfer of funds between the two countries, in view of the current conditions in Syria and Iran."
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: GAP on February 14, 2012, 18:00:13
Arab states agree to provide guns to Syria rebels, may begin true civil war
Reuters  Feb 14, 2012
Article Link (http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/02/14/analysis-arab-states-agree-to-material-support-for-syria-rebels-may-begin-true-civil-war/)
 
AIRO — After a bruising meeting in a five-star Cairo hotel, Arab foreign ministers led by Gulf states hinted to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad that unless he halts his violent crackdown, some Arab League members might arm his opponents.

The message was folded into Article 9 of a League resolution passed on Sunday that urges Arabs to “provide all kinds of political and material support” to the opposition, a phrase that includes the possibility of giving weapons to Assad’s foes. Diplomats at the meeting confirmed this interpretation.

The resolution came as Syria’s army killed at least six civilians Tuesday in the heaviest shelling of Homs for several days and as the international community warned of a humanitarian disaster in the city.

The top human rights representative at the United Nations said the world body’s inaction had “emboldened” Syria’s government to unleash overwhelming force against its own civilians.

“The failure of the Security Council to agree on firm collective action appears to have emboldened the Syrian government to launch an all-out assault in an effort to crush dissent with overwhelming force,” said Navi Pillay, High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The assault has been heaviest in the central city of Homs, which has been under a relentless barrage of heavy machinegun fire, tank shells, mortars and rocket-propelled grenades for 10 days.
More on link
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: 57Chevy on February 23, 2012, 08:22:57
Arab states agree to provide guns to Syria rebels, may begin true civil war

Which will add much fuel to an already raging fire, and IMO will cause a civil war
Article shared with provisions of The Copyright Act

UN panel compiles list of top Syrian officials who could face 'crimes against humanity' probe
http://www.medicinehatnews.com/world-news/un-panel-compiles-list-of-top-syrian-officials-who-could-face-crimes-against-humanity-probe-20120223.html

GENEVA - The United Nations has a secret list of top Syrian officials who could face investigation for crimes against humanity carried out by security forces in their crackdown against an anti-government uprising, a panel of U.N. human rights experts said Thursday.
 
The U.N. experts indicated that the list goes as high as President Bashar Assad.
 
Thousands of Syrians have died in the violence since March and the panel, citing what it called a reliable source, said at least 500 children are among the dead.
 
"A reliable body of evidence exists that, consistent with other verified circumstances, provides reasonable grounds to believe that particular individuals, including commanding officers and officials at the highest levels of government, bear responsibility for crimes against humanity and other gross human rights violations," said the report by the U.N.-appointed Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria.
 
"The commission has deposited with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights a sealed envelope containing the names of these people, which might assist future credible investigations by competent authorities."
 
It doesn't say who these investigating authorities might be, but the U.N.'s top human rights official has previously called for Syria to be referred to the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Members of the 47-nation U.N. Human Rights Council are expected to hold a special meeting on Syria in Geneva next week, at which the panel's report will be formally presented.
 
The panel led by Brazilian professor Paulo Sergio Pinheiro said its list also identifies some armed opposition cells thought to have committed gross abuses.
 
International pressure has been building on Assad's government to halt its violent suppression of the opposition. Earlier this week the International Committee of the Red Cross called for temporary cease-fires so it could reach those trapped and wounded in the worst-affected areas.
 
But human rights groups say the violence is only increasing, with dozens dying every day from government shelling of cities like Homs, a rebel stronghold.
 
The U.N. panel was denied entry to Syria by the government, which accused it of ignoring official information and exceeding its mandate. The panel instead gathered much of its information from sources outside the country, including human rights activists and Syrian army defectors.
 
The report claims that the ruling Baath Party's National Security Bureau was responsible for translating government policies into military operations that led to the systematic arrest or killing of civilians.
 
It says the four main intelligence and security agencies reporting directly to Assad — Military Intelligence, Air Force Intelligence, the General Intelligence Directorate and the Political Security Directorate — "were at the heart of almost all operations."
 
The report details how businessmen helped hire and arm informal pro-government militias known as the Shabbiha.
 
"In a number of operations, the commission documented how Shabbiha members were strategically employed to commit crimes against humanity and other gross violations," it said.
 
The report also identifies 38 detention centres "for which the commission documented cases of torture and ill-treatment since March 2011."
 
Armed opposition groups, loosely connected under the umbrella of the Free Syrian Army, also committed some gross human rights abuses, the panel said. It cited the torture and execution of soldiers or suspected pro-government militia members.
 
But such actions were "not comparable in scale and organization with those carried out by the state," it added.


Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: 57Chevy on February 24, 2012, 18:45:07
They may say that Syria has become critical and "friends of Syria" may be sending "strong messages" for the regime to step down, even offerring immunity and possible political asylum but it may be better to call it "MELTDOWN" because the international community has just about had enough.
The fuse as I see it has burnt to the short end. Vetos will carry no more weight.

Articles shared with provisions of The Copyright Act
U.S. warns Assad he will pay the price as Syria talks open
By Michael Mainville, AFP, 24 Feb
http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/warns+Assad+will+price+Syria+talks+open/6204629/story.html

excerpt: (read the full article at link)
...
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said embattled President Bashar al-Assad would pay a "heavy cost" for ignoring the will of the international community after almost a year of brutal crackdowns on protesters.
...
                                             _________________________

And this is what really gets me boiling:

Why does the media paint such a glowing portrait of the dictator Bashar Assad and his wife Asma?

[VIDEO] Syria’s Assads: Kidders or Killers?
http://unitedwithisrael.org/kidders-or-killers/

Be prepared to be shocked and outraged when you see the “lighter side” of the Assads. The media wants you to believe that they are a normal, fun, giggly family raising young kids, not the killers they actually are.
_______________________

atrocious Youtube videos:

Bashar al Assad the kids killer in Syria
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oRmk1Tv3Yo0

Many more suggestions at link.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: E.R. Campbell on February 25, 2012, 11:15:10
Here is a report on a misguided, in my view, diplomatic meeting aiming to respond to Syria; it is reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act from the Globe and Mail:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/diplomats-torn-over-support-for-fractured-syrian-opposition/article2349835/
Quote
Diplomats torn over support for fractured Syrian opposition

GRAEME SMITH  AND CAMPBELL CLARK

YAYLADAGI, TURKEY AND OTTAWA— From Saturday's Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Feb. 24, 2012

Damascus is reacting to the growing calls for intervention in Syria with a renewed offensive near the Turkish border.

As white smoke drifted over hills near the country’s northern frontier on Friday, forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad intensified their crackdown on rebel positions, cutting several key opposition supply lines and killing at least seven people within a few kilometres of the border in an apparent effort to thwart discussions of foreign intervention.

In Tunis, foreign ministers spoke with unusual frankness about their options: smuggling arms to Syrian rebels, protecting humanitarian shipments to rebellious cities, or other forms of intervention. The so-called “Friends of Syria” meeting, which included U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, ended without agreement on immediate action.

More than 60 nations and international groups called for a civilian United Nations peacekeeping mission that would deploy after the violence ends, however, and Saudi Arabia’s delegation argued in favour of giving weapons to the opposition. Other ministers urged their colleagues to accept the idea of humanitarian corridors, from Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon, which would require military support for aid shipments to embattled cities.

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird joined in pressing the Assad regime to open the country to international assistance, pledging $1.5-million in Canadian aid. The Friends of Syria group said that supply depots would be set up along the Syrian border, but it’s unclear how the aid will make it into the country without the approval of the Syrian government.

“We call on Syria to immediately allow full, safe, rapid, and unimpeded access for humanitarian assistance to all those in need,” Mr. Baird told the conference, according to a copy of his speech.

The Assad regime did not reply directly to the proposals on Friday, but appeared to be answering with tanks. Syrian activists, refugees and rebels say that all but one of their major smuggling routes from Turkey into rebel-held enclaves have been shut down in the last 10 days. Truck drivers and travellers arriving from Syria described unprecedented numbers of Syrian tanks and artillery units near the border.

Some activists said the Syrian forces had started a renewed campaign of placing land mines along the border, where minefields are already a well-known hazard. On Wednesday night, a local farmer complained that one of his pigs was blown up by a hidden bomb while foraging in a previously safe area.

“They are trying to close all the ways that lead inside Syria,” said Raed Al-Saleh, 27, a Syrian refugee. From the Turkish Red Crescent camp near the border where Mr. Al-Saleh now works as an organizer, he could see smoke rising from the nearby Syrian town of Salken; phone calls from his friends inside Syria confirmed that fighting was under way.

Near another camp, Shaban Khatib, 29, who described himself as a member of the Free Syrian Army, said that he made regular trips on foot among the olive orchards between Syria and Turkey, but those journeys have recently become more dangerous.

“Two weeks ago it was much easier,” Mr. Khatib said. “If we had weapons maybe we could face them, but we have nothing.”

The young rebel was attending the funeral of a friend, Mustafa Sher Mohammed, 28, a shopkeeper who took up arms against the regime. Mourners said that a Syrian government sniper killed Mr. Mohammed near a border crossing on Wednesday.

Truckers at the nearby crossing of Cilvegozu reported dozens of tanks gathered at an old customs depot about five kilometres inside Syrian territory. The crackdown had eliminated some pockets of rebel control along the trucking route, they said; this caused a rush of traffic at the crossing, as drivers scrambled to get their freight through the treacherous border while the government had control. One trader estimated that 80 trucks crossed at Cilvegozu on Thursday, a far greater number than during previous weeks.

The regime’s apparent advances against the rebels in the border region served as another reminder of the opposition’s weakness in Syria. At the conference in Tunis, participants signalled they would step up ties to the Syrian National Council, the opposition umbrella group, calling it “a legitimate representative” of the Syrian people.

But the ministers also expressed concerns that the umbrella group still has not unified opposition factions across political and sectarian lines – and Mr. Baird urged opposition forces to forge a united plan.

“The opposition needs to develop a clear vision for a post-Assad era,” Mr. Baird told the conference. “Canada strongly believes that the protection of religious minorities must be an important part of that plan.”


At the risk of repeating myself, there is no "good" or "useful" military response to a Syrian domestic problem,* the best diplomatic solution is isolation: close all (possible)** land, sea and air borders with Syria - no one gets in or out and, especially no aid, of any kind for any faction, gets in. Let the Syrians sort themselves out however long it takes and however desperate the suffering of the innocents becomes. Then do the same to its neighbours and their neighbours, too ...


__________
*   Readers may recall that I opposed military intervention in Libya, too, and I remain convinced that it did nothing useful - nothing useful for us, anyway.
** Some of the borders are geographically very difficult and some military force would be required to seal off the country
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Fishbone Jones on February 25, 2012, 14:19:05
I'll also repeat myself.

This isn't our problem. If the Arab world is upset at Syria, they have the ways and means to involve themselves, even militarily, if the choose.

What they are lacking is the balls and guts to take responsibility for an out of control member of their neighbourhood. They want us to take the lead in case things go pear shaped.

Time for them to take off their skirt, grow a mustache and sort their own problems out...........without our monetary, military or diplomatic help.

We have no business at meetings, or conferences to help them excise a wart from their own body.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: sean m on February 28, 2012, 00:41:43
"Saudi Arabia Is Arming the Syrian Opposition"

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/02/27/saudi_arabia_is_arming_the_syrian_opposition?page=0,0

This is a pretty heavy accusation, the author backs it up by referring to how news media and the syrian opposition movement have backed up these allegations.  The Author refers to Syria's desire for the Assad regime to fall is due to Iran and Russia. They desire to lessen the presence of both nations in the region. Yet as the author states, the last time the Saudi monarchy backed an insurgency it lead to the radical groups created in Afghanistan ex. Taliban. The author also refers to the Saudi's fight against the Soviet regime when it was in place. As the author states at the end "This is not an empty threat. The Saudis know how to procure and move weapons, and they have no shortage of cash. If Riyadh wants to arm the opposition, armed it shall be. And those who receive the weapons will likely be at least amenable to the Wahhabi interpretation of Islam that has spawned dangerous Islamist movements worldwide."

Would this force the West into taking more action in Syria, since past Saudi involvment in resistance movements have not turned out so good.  The last thing we want is radical islam sprouting out of that nation as well.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Jed on February 28, 2012, 11:26:30
"Saudi Arabia Is Arming the Syrian Opposition"

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/02/27/saudi_arabia_is_arming_the_syrian_opposition?page=0,0
 "This is not an empty threat. The Saudis know how to procure and move weapons, and they have no shortage of cash. If Riyadh wants to arm the opposition, armed it shall be. And those who receive the weapons will likely be at least amenable to the Wahhabi interpretation of Islam that has spawned dangerous Islamist movements worldwide."

Would this force the West into taking more action in Syria, since past Saudi involvment in resistance movements have not turned out so good.  The last thing we want is radical islam sprouting out of that nation as well.

So what are you suggesting? For the West, majority christian based religions, it is probably better the current Syrian regime remains in power than whatever falls out of all this revolutionary foment.

It is an Arab world problem, Let them deal with it. We should just picket and bypass.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: sean m on February 28, 2012, 23:45:54
@ Mr. Jed,

I am not suggesting anything, if that it what seems to be projected from the statement then I am sorry.  It may sound cheesy, especially since there are  so many human rights abuses taking place all over the world, yet considering that the Assad regime has killed so far 7,500 according to the UN is there a point when we say enough is enough. Of course it is difficult considering economic and political difficulties. The article seems to be important since, which the author states, the Saudis have supported insurgent groups before who have turned against us. Maybe- perhaps, the Saudis do not have the West's best interests in mind when they may be taking these actions. Perhaps what the author is alluding is right and radical islam could sprout from this country, it may be an Arab problem at first but it maybe has the potential of becoming a global problem if radical islam is involved.  Considering the information from the article, I was curious what some were thinking on what the West should do next?

Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Fishbone Jones on February 29, 2012, 00:32:17
@ Mr. Jed,

I am not suggesting anything, if that it what seems to be projected from the statement then I am sorry.  It may sound cheesy, especially since there are  so many human rights abuses taking place all over the world, yet considering that the Assad regime has killed so far 7,500 according to the UN is there a point when we say enough is enough. Of course it is difficult considering economic and political difficulties. The article seems to be important since, which the author states, the Saudis have supported insurgent groups before who have turned against us. Maybe- perhaps, the Saudis do not have the West's best interests in mind when they may be taking these actions. Perhaps what the author is alluding is right and radical islam could sprout from this country, it may be an Arab problem at first but it maybe has the potential of becoming a global problem if radical islam is involved.  Considering the information from the article, I was curious what some were thinking on what the West should do next?


Mind our business, and borders, and keep our nose out of it.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: sean m on February 29, 2012, 11:59:44
@ Mr.recceguy,

Thank you for your response, it is definetly safer for us if we don't do anything. we will just have to see how things turn out. Here in montreal at Concordia university, there are a number of students of Syrian origin protesting for military intervention in Syria. It is not a big protest movement, yet perhaps there are others in the country. Do you or anyone else here think that the West may be forced to intervene because of internal politics, in order to save their comfortable positions in government.

The Venezuelans are supplying Syria with oil, according to the Washington Post and don't plan to stop

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/venezuela-sends-fuel-to-syria-no-plans-to-halt-shipments-aimed-at-aiding-assad-regime/2012/02/28/gIQAUbdmgR_story.html
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: jollyjacktar on February 29, 2012, 12:34:56
I'll also repeat myself.

This isn't our problem. If the Arab world is upset at Syria, they have the ways and means to involve themselves, even militarily, if the choose.

What they are lacking is the balls and guts to take responsibility for an out of control member of their neighbourhood. They want us to take the lead in case things go pear shaped.

Time for them to take off their skirt, grow a mustache and sort their own problems out...........without our monetary, military or diplomatic help.

We have no business at meetings, or conferences to help them excise a wart from their own body.

 :goodpost:

Sticking our oar in here and there is what has caused us all this grief these past 20+ years.  Leave them to their own devices. 

Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Tiamo on March 04, 2012, 13:27:59
Quote
At the risk of repeating myself, there is no "good" or "useful" military response to a Syrian domestic problem,* the best diplomatic solution is isolation: close all (possible)** land, sea and air borders with Syria - no one gets in or out and, especially no aid, of any kind for any faction, gets in. Let the Syrians sort themselves out however long it takes and however desperate the suffering of the innocents becomes. Then do the same to its neighbours and their neighbours, too ...

The Assad regime is backed strongly by Iran, Hezbollah, N. Korea, China, Russia and partially by Iraq. Closing the borders will only increase the suffering on the civilian population or those trying to seek refuge out but will have little effect on the Assad government or military (just like we've witnessed - 1 year and the tanks still rolling, artillery is now being used).

What happens to Syria is very pivotal to the security of the world today (yes, the whole world). Take two scenarios:

1. Regime controls the uprising (though far fetched): The Assad regime will emerge stronger, more bitter. They'll Allie themselves with the countries and groups above. They'll arm themselves to the teeth and Nuclear Weapons will be something they seek especially if Iran ends-up acquiring the technology. You now have a mad man willing to destroy his own country/people at the doorsteps of Turkey/Israel. Significantly increasing tension in the area. This will spill over to Iraq, Lebanon and most likely ignite a cold war that will eventually turn into another war in the region.

2. Do nothing and the Opposition wins: The more time this uprising takes, the more chance radicals and extremists get to pray on the soul of the weak or those whom experience trauma/loss. We're already witnessing that elements of Al-Qaeda is beginning to shift its focus from Iraq to Syria. This is now their new found holy war. In some of the neighbourhoods in Homs, there are already sensitivities between members of the FSA (Free Syrian Army) and other armed groups. It will quickly disintegrate into a religious civil war that will engulf with it Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel and perhaps Turkey.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: E.R. Campbell on March 04, 2012, 13:37:33
The Assad regime is backed strongly by Iran, Hezbollah, N. Korea, China, Russia and partially by Iraq. Closing the borders will only increase the suffering on the civilian population or those trying to seek refuge  ~ which is an unfortunate (unavoidable?) side effect of doing anything or nothing, it's a neutral factor out but will have little effect on the Assad government or military (just like we've witnessed - 1 year and the tanks still rolling, artillery is now being used).

What happens to Syria is very pivotal to the security of the world today (yes, the whole world). Take two scenarios:

1. Regime controls the uprising (though far fetched): The Assad regime will emerge stronger, more bitter. They'll Allie themselves with the countries and groups above. They'll arm themselves to the teeth and Nuclear Weapons will be something they seek especially if Iran ends-up acquiring the technology. You now have a mad man willing to destroy his own country/people at the doorsteps of Turkey/Israel. Significantly increasing tension in the area. This will spill over to Iraq, Lebanon and most likely ignite a cold war that will eventually turn into another war in the region. And this is a problem? How, exactly? All we need do is stand back and do nothing ... except, maybe, pick up a couple of million Israeli refugees.

2. Do nothing and the Opposition wins: The more time this uprising takes, the more chance radicals and extremists get to pray on the soul of the weak or those whom experience trauma/loss. We're already witnessing that elements of Al-Qaeda is beginning to shift its focus from Iraq to Syria. This is now their new found holy war. In some of the neighbourhoods in Homs, there are already sensitivities between members of the FSA (Free Syrian Army) and other armed groups. It will quickly disintegrate into a religious civil war that will engulf with it Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel and perhaps Turkey. See my previous comment.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. Agreed, in principle, but sometimes doing nothing is a good choice ...



Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: sean m on March 04, 2012, 20:45:28
Free Syrian Army claim French and US assistance- Telegraph.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQi_TLyj46s
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: milnews.ca on March 13, 2012, 11:02:37
.... on the need for military force - from Hansard (http://www.parl.gc.ca/Content/Sen/Chamber/411/Debates/057db_2012-03-06-e.htm#10) (highlights mine):
Quote
Hon. Hugh Segal:  Honourable senators, the constant bombardment of civilian sites and communities by Syrian armed forces evokes every possible aspect of the responsibility to protect doctrine proclaimed some years ago by the United Nations on the advice of a task force in which Canada and its then foreign minister, Mr. Axworthy, played a major role.

The engagement in Libya was appropriate and necessary, and Canadian and allied forces, both at sea and in the air, performed a serious humanitarian mission in keeping Gadhafi's air force and artillery from killing Libyan civilians. There, NATO had allies and partners in the Arab League, some of whom flew missions alongside our own pilots.

The Arab League has tried valiantly to seek a non-violent solution to the present violence in Syria. Armed military state violence against women, children, defenceless men and journalists has continued unabated. Not even the Red Crescent and the Red Cross could be allowed assured access to Homs, where so many state-sponsored, military mass murders took place, a city without a single military target. The Arab League is now talking about an Arab-led stabilization force. Canada should encourage NATO to support such a force and to make independent plans to use air assets to contain and restrain the Syrian military, which seems to have no difficulty bombing their own people at will.

Senator McCain of Arizona is quite correct when he said yesterday, "Time is running out. Assad's forces are on the march." Without a readiness to deploy air assets against Syrian government forces, the carnage will continue. The time for a double standard with the people of Syria on the losing end all the time has passed. Refugees are already piling over the Lebanese and Turkish borders. Russia and China have some serious answering to do in view of the deaths that have multiplied since their offensive veto at the Security Council, a veto that raised self-interested cynicism in that body to a new level.

Canada should act in concert with our Turkish, American and Arab League partners and seek a substantive joint Arab-led military engagement in defence of the people of Syria and their right to self-determination. The time for action has come; the time for inaction has passed.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: E.R. Campbell on March 13, 2012, 11:10:53
[Senator Hugh Segal agrees with McCain...] on the need for military force - from Hansard (http://www.parl.gc.ca/Content/Sen/Chamber/411/Debates/057db_2012-03-06-e.htm#10) (highlights mine):


"A substantive joint Arab-led military engagement" might be useful. Many of the Arab nations have sunstantial and modern military forces, and they ought not to need any Western ground forces, not a single soldier. Perhaps there will be a role for some Western naval and air support (based in israel?  ::) ) but, if we are going to help, we should aim to do less than in Libya, thereby forcing the Arab League to do more. In the long run it is a regional problem and only a regional solution will work.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: GAP on March 13, 2012, 11:22:58
Yeah, but political considerations are everything.

The US via NATO will rise to the bait. The Arabs may have the equipment, but the quality of their combat capabilities leaves much to be desired.

I would love to see the Arab nations take this one on.....it would give them some much needed credibility......
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Tiamo on March 15, 2012, 20:01:37

I don't think armies need to be involved. In fact, it may get more complicated if NATO or the Arab League sends their armies on the ground. What the rebels need are weaponry and some training. What had worked in Libya could very well work in Syria.

If you pay close attention to the army defections that have been occurring over the past year, many of the defectors are officers. There is a focus by the FSA on attracting as many officers as they can. Following some of the larger scale operations, it is clear they're well planned and executed (like the one attacking Aleppo's most feared security headquarters in early dawn hours).

I've heard of some FSA groups requiring anyone to join to have some military experience and had finished their middle school studies.

The major obstacle to the FSA is finding the proper weapons to counter attack tanks on the ground. Russia and Iran have been arming the regime side in hope it could suppress the revolution. On the other hand, the rebels are dependent on smuggling light weaponry and things they would seize during raids.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Old and Tired on March 15, 2012, 21:02:06
Many, many years ago, when my father returned from a year long stint with UNTSO/UNDOF he said he had a solution to the problems in the Mideast.  Close the place off (Nod to you Edward) then give everyone, man woman or child a baseball bat and let them go at it.  Once all the noise stops take a look to see what's left.  Last person standing gets passed a Broom and dust pan and told to clean up the mess.  15 years later I went over to the Golan.  Nothing had changed all that much.  Well the Lebanese Civil war (part 1) had ended but pretty much everything else had stayed they same.

Outside of being disinterested observers to make sure they keep the fight in their own play ground we have no dog in this fight, be it Syria, Libya, Tunisia et al.

My question to people that ask me is, "How or why is this our problem?"  No one has given me an answer that would justify the potential risks.  I suppose we could through this whole mess into the lap of the British and French as well as Turkey as they contributed to creating the problem, but that wouldn't get us very far either.

Lets mind our own business on this one shall we? 
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Thucydides on March 18, 2012, 21:34:38
Amen to that. Containment also keeps the embittered losers (or winners) from spilling the conflict over the borders to other nations. Here is the take of Walter Russel Mead on the current situation (and if you read closely, an affirmation on why we should not be assisting the rebel faction):

http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2012/03/18/syria-descending-toward-madness/

Quote
Syria Descending Toward Madness

This morning there was a car bomb in Aleppo. Yesterday saw two explosions in Damascus with heavy casualties. Syria is descending into the kind of communal madness that produces bloodbaths and anarchy; it is looking more like Iraq and civil war era Lebanon every day.

The violence seems to be coming both more sectarian and more personal: killings across religious and ethnic lines intensify the hatred and suspicion these groups feel for one another, and waves of killings are launched as each round of murder inspires the relatives and friends of the dead with the lust for revenge.

The killing could go on for some time and become even worse. The Syrian opposition remains inchoate, factionalized and incompetent a year after the protests began. The Syrian government shows no signs of being able either to crush its opponents or compromise with them. The “international community” is as usual divided, risk averse and given to blending fine words with shabby deeds. The neighbors have no idea what to do.

The Syrian government and its opposition are each their own worst enemy. Butcher Assad is the worst of all combinations: a bumbling murderer. He can and will kill, but he cannot govern. Yet the opposition has lost credibility even as Syrians put their lives on the line every day. Its inability to organize a coherent alternative to the government underlines the key point of Assad propaganda: that the only alternative to the goon squad currently in power is anarchy and, perhaps, genocidal wars of revenge by fanatical sectarian killers.

The longer this tragedy continues, the more dangerous it becomes — for Syrians and for others in the region. A new wave of fanatical sectarian zealots is emerging from the horror of Syria: there is no better recruiting ground for the agents of Al-Qaeda like movements than a fight of this kind. The violence shows signs of spreading into Lebanon and Iraq. Not even Turkey is immune from the spillover of passion (to say nothing of refugees).

At the moment, there seem to be three possible outcomes. The government can fall, with or without outside forces supporting the rebels, and the rebels can establish a reasonably stable government in place of the Assads. The government can crush the rebels, going on to rule a sullen and embittered, but cowed, population for some time to come. Or the current violence can continue indefinitely, going through phases of greater and lesser intensity.

At the moment, the latter scenario of indefinite chaos and bloodshed seems most likely — either in a country divided between rebels and the current government, or in a weak and divided country following the overthrow of the Assads and the failure of the opposition to establish a viable regime in place of the Baathist nightmare now in control.

The Russian and Chinese position (of encouraging a peace process leading to some kind of compromise between government and opposition) has the merit of recognizing that the current state of affairs is both dangerous and destabilizing. It also recognizes that the regime is stronger and the opposition is uglier, weaker and less competent than the humanitarian hawks in the west have wanted to admit.

The Russian-Chinese initiative, however, is not likely to succeed. Neither the government nor the opposition are ready to settle.
Worse, the ugliest, most sectarian wing of the Syrian opposition is going to have a lot of support. Sunni chauvinists fighting the sectarian war against heresy and Shiism can draw on support from more mainstream figures in the Gulf who hope to defeat Iran in Syria and then use a Sunni Syria to further pressure Iran and its Shiite allies in Iraq. This is not a movement that seeks democracy or liberalism; it is an old fashioned (and powerful) mix of sectarian hatred and Realpolitik.

Sensing a Sunni surge across the region, the sectarians aren’t ready to compromise over Syria. Obsessed both by the Iranian threat and by what looks to some like US unwillingness to confront it, the Realpolitikers also aren’t in a compromising mood. That combination, with or without open official backing, is fully capable of keeping enough money and support flowing to keep the rebellion alive as long as the Syrians are willing to fight.

The most likely outlook at this point: continuing and even worsening violence, with a growing potential for contagion in Lebanon and Iraq. The best policy option for the US: watch, wait and work with others to try to build the Syrian opposition into a viable political force that at least conceivably could govern the country with some kind of minimal effectiveness. That, and do our best to monitor the financial and arms flows to understand new terror networks that may be taking shape — and keep a close eye on the people involved.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: tomahawk6 on March 19, 2012, 01:05:42
Heavy fighting reported in Damascus.Bad news for the regime if they cant keep the rebels out.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-17425062

A firefight is reported to have erupted in Syria's capital, Damascus, between the rebel Free Syria Army and the forces of President Bashar al-Assad.

Witnesses say the sound of machine-guns and rocket-propelled grenades can be heard from the district of al-Mezze.

The neighbourhood, in the centre of Damascus, is home to several security facilities and is one of the most heavily guarded parts of the capital.

In January the Free Syria Army briefly seized several Damascus suburbs.

Al-Mezze has been the scene of large anti-government protests.

"There is fighting near Hamada supermarket and the sound of explosions there and elsewhere in the neighbourhood," a resident told Reuters news agency.

"Security police have blocked several side streets and the street lighting has been cut off."

Opposition activist Amer al Sadeq told the BBC's World Today programme he had spoken to a contact in al-Mezze who reported four blasts within five minutes and then heavy gunfire.

The incident follows bomb blasts in Damascus and the northern city of Aleppo over the weekend.

On Sunday a car bomb exploded in Aleppo, killing at least two people and injuring 30 others.

A day earlier, at least 27 people were reported to have been killed and 97 wounded in two explosions in the capital.

State TV described the blasts as "terrorist" attacks.

However, activists have accused the authorities of staging incidents to discredit opposition groups.

In another development, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said security forces beat and arrested senior opposition figure Mohammed Sayyed Rassas on Sunday.

Mr Rassas, a leader of the National Co-ordinating Body for Democratic Change (NCB), had been taking part in a protest march in Damascus, the group said.

President Assad is trying to quell an increasingly armed rebellion that sprang from a fierce crackdown on peaceful pro-democracy protests a year ago.

The UN estimates that more than 8,000 people have died in the clashes.

President Assad insists his troops are fighting "armed gangs" seeking to destabilise Syria.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: E.R. Campbell on March 20, 2012, 08:57:08
A comment on Bashar al-Assad's dilemma by Michael Ignatieff, reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act from the Globe and Mail:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/opinion/the-parallel-universe-of-bashar-al-assad/article2374015/
Quote
The parallel universe of Bashar al-Assad

MICHAEL IGNATIEFF

Globe and Mail Update
Published Tuesday, Mar. 20, 2012

Imagine what it is like to be Bashar al-Assad, dictator of Syria. Imagine what his parallel universe looks like.

If you are Mr. Assad, you have waged war on your people for a year. You have bombed Homs into submission, shelled other cities and laid mines on your border to keep your people from going in or out.

In this looking-glass world, your security people keep telling you it is all over, bar the clean-up. But the blurry images of horror from the cellphone cameras in Aleppo and Damascus keep appearing on al-Jazeera. You wanted to impose silence and your people will not be silenced. The thugs in your security system, the mukhabarat and shebbiha, have not cracked, but neither have the people.

You counted on your ability to make Alawites, Christians and Sunnis fear each other and cling to you for fear of something worse. You have divided the exiles in opposition, true enough, but the people in the street no longer care what the political exile groups say. They are learning to speak for themselves, and what they say on the street is that they want you dead.

Your last remaining friend on Earth is Vladimir Putin. He told you to go ahead and bomb Homs, since that worked in Grozny against the Chechen rebels. Your own father, Hafez, taught you the same lesson. Make them fear you. Now you are living week to week, putting all your trust in terror.

You also know that the loyalty of Mr. Putin is not cast in stone. You are an embarrassment, but he is using you to teach the Americans a lesson, as well as the Turks, the Saudis and the Gulf Arabs. He helps you survive to secure respect for Russian power.

So much the better if the world believes you survive only thanks to Mr. Putin. In fact, it is not him, but your tank commanders, whom you depend on. Unlike the officers who betrayed Hosni Mubarak, your commanders are still willing to slaughter their own people.

This is why it was easy to turn down Kofi Annan when he came to Damascus. You could dismiss all his proposals with the back of your hand. A ceasefire? Only after every last insurgent has been killed. Humanitarian access? Only after every wounded has been shot in their hospital beds. A political dialogue? You only dialogue with toadies.

You are gambling that if you can give your tank commanders a few more weeks, you can crush your people and send Mr. Annan, the United Nations and everyone packing, including the Russians.

You know that the Americans may blame the Russians and Chinese for their veto but it is a convenient alibi. The Americans don’t want to own Syria: they want it to go away.

Only it won’t go away. A full-blown civil war in Syria draws the Iranians and Russians in on the side of the regime, the Saudis and Gulf states on the side of the Sunnis, and worst case, the conflict spills over into fragile Jordan and unstable Lebanon.

Mr. Assad’s gamble for survival depends on convincing everyone – his middle class, his neighbours and the outside world – that his tyranny is a better guarantee of regional stability than civil war.

There is just one problem. It’s his tyranny that is making the coming civil war inevitable and even more pitiless in its consequences.

If we leave this parallel universe, the only chance of avoiding the worst – a Syrian civil war that spreads violence throughout the Middle East and damages global economic recovery – is for Mr. Annan to persuade Mr. Putin to dump Mr. Assad and then bring the Chinese on side to ratify the deal.

The argument to Mr. Putin goes like this: You want respect? You can’t gain it by backing a tyrant whose rule destabilizes a region. What worked in Grozny doesn’t work here, not in the age of the cellphone camera. Help us create a future Syria that owes as much to you as it does to the Americans. Give the Russians a stake in the future of Syria, free them from being hostage to its tyrannous past and there is a chance Mr. Assad’s parallel universe will come crashing down.

The time to make this happen will evaporate if Mr. Assad’s tank commanders reduce the people to silence. The time to make it happen is now.

Michael Ignatieff teaches international politics at the University of Toronto. On Tuesday evening, he will be in conversation with Robert Fowler as part of this year’s Walter Gordon Symposium addressing the future of multilateral approaches to security, global finance and sustainability.


I think Ignatieff is putting the "blame" where it belongs: on Putin and the Russian oligarchy.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: PanaEng on March 20, 2012, 10:36:10
nothing new but corroborates some previous posts: (shared according to law)

http://news.yahoo.com/russian-anti-terror-troops-arrive-syria-164035966--abc-news.html (http://news.yahoo.com/russian-anti-terror-troops-arrive-syria-164035966--abc-news.html)

The Russians have a stake in Syria and are getting more and more involved with ground troops (advisors!, for now)
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Tiamo on March 21, 2012, 18:31:12
nothing new but corroborates some previous posts: (shared according to law)

http://news.yahoo.com/russian-anti-terror-troops-arrive-syria-164035966--abc-news.html (http://news.yahoo.com/russian-anti-terror-troops-arrive-syria-164035966--abc-news.html)

The Russians have a stake in Syria and are getting more and more involved with ground troops (advisors!, for now)

Russia does have a stake in Syria, but that begs the question. If Russisa wants assurances its only naval base in the ME will continue to be accessible, then the opposition could have struck a deal for something like that early on.

I still to this point don't know why Russia stood behind Assad regime. It makes no sense. Had the world powers put true and real pressure 6 months ago, this engagement would not have become this bloody.

It is either the Russians/Chinese/US know that Bashar Al-Assad regime will not step down no matter what, so they didn't want to seem like they're enforcing this idea or something else that I can't quite put my finger on it.

Even Hamas recently recognized Syria was not going to be the same, so they moved their mission to Tunisia.

There is no doubt to any military or political observer that Assad regime days are numbered. Syria is suffering very hard economically, politically, ethnically. Six months ago we hardly heard of demonstations in central Damascus or Aleppo. Now it is more common, and further the rebels are staging operation in the area.

The regime for so long had guaranteed its security but neglected to provide its citizens with the same sense of safety/peace. Now, nobody is safe in Syria anymore. The question is not when the regime will fall, but how many will come to lose their lives before this happen.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Old Sweat on April 14, 2012, 09:49:32
This oped piece from today's Ottawa Citizen notes that the Turkish PM briefly mentioned invoking Article V of the NATO treaty to protect Turkey's border with Syria, which is why I have posted it here. His comment seems to me to be noteworthy, and it seems strange that it has not raised more overt attention than it has. It is reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act.


Turkey could be a problem for NATO
 
By Eric Morse

April 13, 2012
 

Late Wednesday afternoon a five-line item came through on a private news service buried among 50 other snippets bearing esoteric titles like “Japan: Bahraini King Meets With PM,” or “Egypt: Muslim Brotherhood To Hold Million-Man March.” And there, nearly lost in the heap, was “Syria: Turkey May Invoke NATO’s Protection — Erdogan.” That one was a head-turner. It was followed by a more detailed report from Reuters.
 
Apparently, on Wednesday Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a plane full of Turkish journalists somewhere over China that Turkey might invoke Article V of the NATO Charter to protect its southern border against Syrian incursions. (Syrian forces have been violating the border regularly in pursuit of refugees from the insurrection, with ground forces and artillery fire).
 
As it happens, Article V is the “an attack on one is an attack on all” clause that was famously invoked in 2001 to involve NATO countries in the Afghanistan war. In fact, that is the only time Article V has ever been invoked since NATO was founded in 1949. So for Erdogan to have brought it up is not petty or picayune, even if it was said in a flying scrum.
 
The leader of a NATO member country is talking about invoking a Charter clause that could conceivably involve much of the alliance in operations up to and including combat on Turkey’s southern frontier. That’s important, but few major media ran with it.
 
The problem is, there was no context. It’s a single story that pops up and then fades because it’s a little arcane, nobody’s feeding it with follow-ups, and it was said at the wrong time and in the wrong place to get Western media attention.
 
Presumably, if Erdogan was serious about this — and you have to take him at face value until shown otherwise — NATO has not yet received any kind of formal approach. It would take a meeting of the North Atlantic Council, the highest body in NATO, to authorize and shape collective intervention in support of Turkey. And if the idea is still afloat in Ankara, there have to be more than a few NATO-country diplomats working like mad to convince Erdogan that it may not be the best idea in the world.
 
In fact a formal request from Turkey under Article V would put NATO and its members in a major bind. Turkey is an important member of NATO and a growing force in the Middle East, but it is not what you’d call a typical NATO country, being the only Middle Eastern and Muslim-majority member.
 
It joined NATO originally because of a mutual interest — containing the Russians — that still exists to this day, but it’s definitely different. It is a vital geopolitical anchor for NATO because of its strength and location. It also has an Islamist-but-pragmatic leader (Erdogan) even though officially it’s a militantly secular state.
 
NATO can’t afford to treat an Article V request from Turkey in any way that would suggest that its security concerns were less important than anyone other member’s. Added to which, Afghanistan was an “out-of-theatre” exercise in which some had serious doubts. You can’t say that about Turkey, its southern border is also NATO’s.
 
But NATO desperately does not want to get involved on the Turkish-Syrian border, partly for the same reasons the West does not want to get involved in a direct attack on Syria — a thing that’s almost impossible to do in practice — but also because the southern Turkish border is hideously complex, a potential multi-front war on a single front. In the western segment, there is Syria and all its sectaries, then Iraq and the non-state of Kurdistan straddling the border, and finally Iran itself — and that is a drastic oversimplification.
 
So NATO has to hope that cooler heads will prevail in Istanbul, and that they don’t get a formal Article V request from the Turks. The intervention in Afghanistan has been a very difficult experience for the alliance, at least as much because of institutional problems like differing rules of engagement within the force as because of the enemy, and it is not one that NATO would choose to repeat any time soon, in or out of theatre.
 
Eric Morse, a former Canadian diplomat, is vice-chair of security studies at the Royal Canadian Military Institute in Toronto.
 
© Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen


Read more: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/Turkey+could+problem+NATO/6456220/story.html#ixzz1s1BQVamy
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: GAP on April 14, 2012, 10:18:27
Why not....here's the perfect opportunity  for this....................

U.S. Military Desperate To Be Handed Just One Solid War It Can Knock Out Of The Park
March 28, 2012
http://www.theonion.com/articles/us-military-desperate-to-be-handed-just-one-solid,27770/ (http://www.theonion.com/articles/us-military-desperate-to-be-handed-just-one-solid,27770/)

 ;D
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: E.R. Campbell on April 14, 2012, 10:24:19
I wonder if Prime Minister Recep Erdogan isn't trying to separate Turkey from NATO by setting up a strawman that he knows NATO will reject.

The Europeans have, consistently, rejected Turkey's overtures to join Europe and, it seems to me, Turkey has taken the message and has turned East - leaving Europe behind and aiming to become a leader in the 'Near East' and 'Middle East.' Being rejected by NATO would give  Erdogan an opportunity to withdraw from the alliance, further burnishing his reputation with the Arabs and Persians et al.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: milnews.ca on April 15, 2012, 07:57:27
This oped piece from today's Ottawa Citizen notes that the Turkish PM briefly mentioned invoking Article V of the NATO treaty to protect Turkey's border with Syria ....
So far, it appears only the UK Telegraph ....
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/9200822/Syria-Turkey-threatens-to-invoke-Natos-self-defence-article.html
.... have picked up the Turkish PM's statement, and Russian media has taken it a step further suggesting Canada's John Baird said if NATO helps, we will too (but only if Turkey is attacked - as opposed to raided, I guess?) - Rossiyskaya Gazeta article in Russian here (http://bit.ly/HTMkON), (clunky) Google English version here (http://bit.ly/ILBqe9), and an Armenian media short paraphrase/summary here (http://news.am/eng/news/101241.html) (caveat:  beware the "passing message from one ear to another" distortion on the third-hand Armenian version):
Quote
NATO can help Turkey only if the Syrian forces cross the border with Turkey, Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird said in response to Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan’s statement. Erdogan announced that Turkey can appeal to NATO with the request to apply Article 5 of the NATO charter. According to it, any aggression against each member states is perceived as aggression against the entire alliance. Baird recalled that Canada is a member of NATO and if Syrians want to carry out military action in one of member-states of the alliance, then they will respond, Rossiyskaya Gazeta reports.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Tiamo on April 30, 2012, 12:48:16
So far, it appears only the UK Telegraph ....
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/9200822/Syria-Turkey-threatens-to-invoke-Natos-self-defence-article.html
.... have picked up the Turkish PM's statement, and Russian media has taken it a step further suggesting Canada's John Baird said if NATO helps, we will too (but only if Turkey is attacked - as opposed to raided, I guess?) - Rossiyskaya Gazeta article in Russian here (http://bit.ly/HTMkON), (clunky) Google English version here (http://bit.ly/ILBqe9), and an Armenian media short paraphrase/summary here (http://news.am/eng/news/101241.html) (caveat:  beware the "passing message from one ear to another" distortion on the third-hand Armenian version):

I'd see it very unlikely Turkey will do anything at the current time. While Erdogan is full of rhetoric, his actions do not match. The FSA had many times indicated their frustration with Turkey's support. Many even suspect Turkish intelligence passing on vital information to Syrian intelligence about FSA activities. Many FSA members suspect Col. Harmoush (one of the earliest defectors) was kidnapped from Turkey and passed on to Syrian intelligence by MIT (Milli İstihbarat Teşkilatı).

The Turkish situation is very fragile. Run by a Sunni sympathizing government, but kept in check by a secular, uncompromising military. For Turkey, going to war with Syria (even if it entailed NATO cover) is a recipe for incresed internal tensions.

I found this article from Reuters true to its core. Very valid observation and possibly a predictable outcome. Many now in both opposition and loyalists are bracing themselves for a long fight:

Source/Copyright to: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/04/13/us-syria-assad-idUSBRE83C0VY20120413

Quote
(Reuters) - Having crushed a popular uprising, he rules by force over an Arab land shattered by conflict and sanctions, his people too exhausted and cowed to resist.

Is this the fate awaiting Syria under Bashar al-Assad?

Saddam Hussein lasted for 12 years after his defeat in the 1991 Gulf War until a U.S.-led invasion unleashed chaos and carnage from which Iraq, for all its oil, has yet to recover.

The trajectories of the two Baathist leaders are far from parallel, but Saddam's prolonged survival is a warning to anyone who believes Assad will fall simply because he has alienated the West and its Arab allies or earned the hatred of countless Syrians, including perhaps most of its Sunni Muslim majority.

Kofi Annan's U.N.-backed ceasefire may temporarily calm a conflict that has already cost more than 9,000 dead, but it is hard to see a compromise emerging between Assad's ruling Alawite elite and those bent on ending its four decades in power.

After so much blood, both sides now see it as a life or death struggle from which they cannot step back, and the United Nations lacks the international consensus to make them.

Time may not be on Assad's side, but while the 46-year-old president hangs on, sectarian rifts he has exploited are likely to widen as Syria descends towards all-out civil war.

In recent weeks, some of Assad's visitors reported him confident he could weather the storm, as his forces unleashed withering bombardments of towns and cities where lightly-armed rebels had possibly unwisely attempted to hold ground.

Military assaults persisted right up to Thursday's dawn ceasefire, which was not preceded by a withdrawal of tanks, troops and big guns as stipulated in Annan's six-point plan.

For now, the Syrian leader remains entrenched, albeit in a battle-scarred landscape and a ruined economy in which his legitimacy and his international repute have been shredded. Parts of restive cities like Homs have been reduced to rubble.

Russia and China still shield Assad from U.N. Security Council action. Iran and its Lebanese Hezbollah ally back him to the hilt, while Lebanon and Shi'ite-led Iraq offer open borders to mitigate the impact of sanctions on their Syrian neighbor.

ECONOMIC HARDSHIP

"The economy is very deeply in the red," said Jihad Yazigi, editor of the economic Syria Report online newsletter.

The only bright spots were a rise in exports to Iraq and a good rainy season, he said, although two of Syria's best farming areas have suffered severe disruption during the unrest.

"Daily life is increasingly harsh," Yazigi said, declining to predict how this might affect prospects for political change.

Sanctions have at best a patchy record, and the crippling U.N. measures against Iraq failed to loosen - and may have reinforced - Saddam's grip on power for more than a decade. Sanctions and hardship could similarly perpetuate Assad's reign.

"If the middle classes emigrate ... then an exhausted population ruled over by a state tightly controlling the supply of food and fuel could look very much like the Saddam model," said Chris Phillips, a Middle East lecturer at Queen Mary, University of London.

Russia and China have twice vetoed draft resolutions on Syria in the U.N. Security Council. Assad has long derided Western sanctions targeting him and his entourage, but which have now been extended to Syria's small but vital oil sector.

Decades of isolation have had little impact on Assad's policies and his Western adversaries, weary of costly foreign wars, have disavowed any military option, even when the bloody siege of Baba Amr in Homs was at its height in February.

Careful not to provoke outside intervention, Assad has kept assaults on cities a notch below the one meted out to Hama in 1982 when his father Hafez al-Assad crushed an armed Islamist revolt by razing neighborhoods and killing many thousands of civilians in a three-week attack that had a lasting deterrent effect.

Despite Saudi and Qatari promises of weapons and money, the assorted army deserters and civilians who took up arms after Assad's relentlessly violent response to initially peaceful protests remain mostly on their own, ill-trained and outgunned.

POWERFUL NEIGHBOUR

The wild card may be Turkey.

Having shifted from amity to hostility as Assad turned his tanks on civilians and rebels alike, the Turks are now incensed by an influx of 25,000 Syrian refugees. After Syrian soldiers fired over the border this week, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan asserted Turkey's right to ask its NATO partners to defend it.

In 1991, Turkey prodded its Western allies to create a safe haven in Iraq after half a million Kurds fled from Saddam's helicopter gunships. It has floated the same idea for Syria, while signaling any such move would need U.N. or NATO cover.

Turkey almost went to war with Syria in 1998 over its support for Turkish Kurd rebels. Assad's father caved in, expelling Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan and opening the way for a surprise rapprochement with Ankara.

Phillips said the spectre of Turkish military intervention was more likely to alarm Assad than any Gulf Arab effort to channel weapons to disparate insurgent groups - something which would fit Syria's portrayal of the unrest as the work of "terrorist" gangs fighting at the behest of foreign enemies.

Extra weaponry for opposition groups might speed Syria's descent into civil war, but would scarcely tip the military balance against Assad. In Libya last year, it was NATO warplanes, not rebel guns, that decided Muammar Gaddafi's fate.

"But if Turkey launched some full-frontal assault using air power on Syrian military bases, Bashar might be concerned about his own military turning on him and saying, 'We're going to be destroyed by this, it's time for you to go'," Phillips said.

So far Assad's Alawite-led military and security forces have remained generally cohesive, despite a flow of desertions to the rebel Free Syrian Army, which has its own internal divisions.

MURKY AID EFFORT

It is unclear how much aid Assad's opponents are getting from Gulf Arab states, despite reports of $100 million pledged at a "Friends of Syria" meeting in Istanbul this month.

"There is nothing of the sort," said one official of the opposition Syrian National Council. The group, he said, had previously been promised $50 million, with $5 million to be paid every two weeks. "But it's not coming regularly," he complained.

The Saudis are eager for the demise of Assad, a close ally of their regional nemesis Iran, but even they may be allowing private Saudi citizens to fund groups in Syria, rather than setting up any government channels, a Western diplomat said.

Such methods, reminiscent of previous Saudi backing for Islamist militants in Afghanistan and elsewhere, might disquiet Western powers concerned lest armed Sunni radicals shoulder aside more moderate and secular elements in the opposition.

Some rebel groups have named themselves after Sunni warriors of old, and are beyond Free Syrian Army control, said Marwa Daoudy, a visiting Middle East scholar at Princeton University.

This was "raising fears that the conflict is evolving into an armed struggle between Sunni-led groups and the Alawite-dominated regime", she said, while stating that minority Druze, Christians and Ismailis were represented in the opposition.

But Assad also has support from some in these groups who prefer the leader they know to an uncertain fate if Syria should fall under hardline Sunni rule, fears shared by some wealthy Sunni merchant families long allied with the governing elite.

From the outset of the revolt, the Syrian leader has played on sectarian fears to shore up his Alawite base.

"Long before the protest movement had turned violent, the authorities sought to convince the Alawite community that it risked slaughter at the hands of an opposition movement depicted simultaneously as a minority of murderous terrorists, a majority of hegemonic Sunni fundamentalists and an alien fifth column working on behalf of a global conspiracy," the International Crisis Group (ICG) said in a report this week.

Tit-for-tat sectarian killings and kidnappings have been on the rise, notably in the scarred city of Homs, and the ICG warned of a "growing disconnect between an insurgency and a popular movement" that were previously intertwined.

PEACE PLAN

Syria's violent dynamics may prove unstoppable, although a glimmer of hope could emerge if the truce holds - and many of Assad's foes say he cannot afford to stop shooting as people will demonstrate in vast numbers if they feel safe to do so.

Annan will have a hard job to achieve what his plan calls "an inclusive Syrian-led political process to address the legitimate aspirations and concerns of the Syrian people", gliding over the opposition demand for Assad's removal.

The Security Council, including Russia and China, has endorsed the plan, which Daoudy described as "one of the last political solutions available to the Assad regime in its interactions with the international community".

"If it fails to seize the opportunity, it might very well alienate its Russian and Chinese allies," she said.

Assad has unilaterally decreed political reforms, including a planned parliamentary election next month that his opponents have dismissed as a cynical ploy given Syria's bloody upheaval.

Syria's U.N. envoy Bashar al-Jaafari told U.S. PBS television's Charlie Rose his country only needed time to meet popular demands but that "collective suicide" was not the way.

"We are saying to our external wing opposition as well as to the people inside, 'Let us reform our country collectively speaking without the bloodshed'," Jaafari said on Thursday.

Asked if this could lead to a change of president, he said this was "up to the people's will" and accused countries such as the United States, France, Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia of meddling in Syria's affairs by backing Assad's domestic enemies.

For those opponents, the idea that the Syrian autocrat would voluntarily cede power in a democratic process seems a sick joke, although a withdrawal of crucial Russian support might conceivably force Assad to rethink his calculations.

There has been no sign of a shift in Russia's position, but Western diplomats say Moscow does expect Assad to step aside although it sees someone from his Alawite circle taking over.

Without some agreed political transition, Syria risks even bloodier turmoil, with incalculable consequences for its 23 million people and for an already unstable Middle East.

"There is the potential for radicalization and sectarianism," said Phillips, "and a major possibility of it turning into a Lebanon- or Iraq-type civil war."
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Tiamo on May 10, 2012, 14:59:56
Syrian Army possibly running out of fuel:

Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/08/us-syria-diesel-idUSBRE8470KY20120508

Quote
(Reuters) - Syria is facing a halt in imports of diesel needed to power heavy vehicles including army tanks, as a stream of shipments from Russia and other sources has dried up over the past four weeks, industry sources say.

Not one cargo of gasoil, which can be marketed as diesel, has been delivered to Syria's oil ports Banias and Tartous over the past four weeks, according to port data provided by a shipper. Average cargoes contain around 30,000 tonnes of fuel.

As many as nine cargoes of gasoil were delivered in March, with the last two shipments arriving in early April. The bulk of these deliveries came from Russian ports, but gasoil was also delivered from Iran.

Industry sources say no further shipments of refined oil have been seen to reach Syria since the Cape Benat arrived on April 11.

Oil producer Syria has two refineries, but also needs to import large amounts of gasoil and other fuels to meet domestic demand, both for heating and for transport.

The last cargo was delivered by a Monaco-based shipper who said a tightening of EU sanctions in March had forced the firm to cut ties with Syria's distribution company Mahrukat.

Non-EU firms could take over as intermediaries, but so far none appear to have acted on the opportunity to step in.

It is not clear why Iranian shipments have also dried up. An Iranian tanker in late March reached Syria with a cargo of gasoil, and left in April with a cargo of Syrian gasoline, in what appeared to be an exchange of refined oil products between allies.

Venezuela's government confirmed it had sent at least two shipments of fuel to Syria in February, but has not sent any since.

Western sanctions prohibit EU and U.S. firms from buying Syrian oil or doing business with Syrian companies handling imports of crude and refined products.

The EU's move also forced Greek company Naftomar, previously a mainstay of Syrian imports, to halt deliveries of the heating fuel liquefied petroleum gas used in Syrian homes and businesses.

(Reporting by Jessica Donati; editing by Keiron Henderson)
l


Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: 57Chevy on May 12, 2012, 17:20:51
                                        Shared with provisions of The Copyright Act

Multinational force massed on Jordanian-Syrian border as 55 killed in Damascus bombings
DEBKAfile 10 May
http://www.debka.com/article/21989/

Beset on two fronts, Bashar Assad rushed his elite Presidential Guard Division to Damascus Thursday, May 10, as two massive car bombs in the al Qaza district of Damascus demolished the command center of the Syrian military security service’s reconnaissance division, killing 55 people and injuring more than 300. Over  to the southeast, 12,000 special operations troops from 17 nations, including the US and other NATO members, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, were poised on the Jordanian side of the Syrian border for an exercise codenamed “Eager Lion.”

debkafile’s military sources also disclose that the bomb attack on Damascus was the most serious his regime had suffered against a military target since the 14-month Syrian uprising began. For the first time, Assad moved his most loyal unit, the Republican Guard Brigade, into central Damascus.

Western and Arab pressure is building up to an intolerable pitch for the Syrian president to step down and save his people from the descent into the ultimate agony of a full-blown civil war. It is coming from two directions:

1. Special forces units of the US, France, Britain, Canada and other NATO members have gathered in Jordan alongside Saudi, Jordanian and Qatari special units for a large-scale ten-day military exercise in Jordan starting May 15.

The exercise was set up by the US Special Operations Command Central. It is the Obama administration's message to the Islamic rulers of Iran, Bashar Assad and his Moscow backers, as well as its answer to the complaints from Arab and other Western governments that America is doing nothing to stop the horrors perpetrated in Syria.

Since all 12,000 troops massed in Jordan are commandos, they stand ready at all times to cross the border into Syria if this is deemed necessary.


2.  Syrian cities, especially the capital, are being targeted for violent bombing attacks designed to bring the Assad regime tumbling down. Behind these attacks are Persian Gulf emirates led by Saudi Arabia and Qatar. debkafile’s intelligence sources disclose they have been joined in the last few days for the first time by Turkey which is contributing intelligence input. The military pressure on the Assad regime is thus reinforced by a campaign of terror against its props.

No connection is admitted between the multinational force on the Jordanian-Syrian border and the spate of bombings. However, if Saudi or Qatari intelligence did play a hand in the Damascus bombings, their special forces in Jordan will have been in the picture.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Retired AF Guy on May 12, 2012, 22:16:27
                                        Shared with provisions of The Copyright Act

Multinational force massed on Jordanian-Syrian border as 55 killed in Damascus bombings
DEBKAfile 10 May
http://www.debka.com/article/21989/

Beset on two fronts, Bashar Assad rushed his elite Presidential Guard Division to Damascus Thursday, May 10, as two massive car bombs in the al Qaza district of Damascus demolished the command center of the Syrian military security service’s reconnaissance division, killing 55 people and injuring more than 300. Over  to the southeast, 12,000 special operations troops from 17 nations, including the US and other NATO members, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, were poised on the Jordanian side of the Syrian border for an exercise codenamed “Eager Lion.”

debkafile’s military sources also disclose that the bomb attack on Damascus was the most serious his regime had suffered against a military target since the 14-month Syrian uprising began. For the first time, Assad moved his most loyal unit, the Republican Guard Brigade, into central Damascus.

Western and Arab pressure is building up to an intolerable pitch for the Syrian president to step down and save his people from the descent into the ultimate agony of a full-blown civil war. It is coming from two directions:

1. Special forces units of the US, France, Britain, Canada and other NATO members have gathered in Jordan alongside Saudi, Jordanian and Qatari special units for a large-scale ten-day military exercise in Jordan starting May 15.

The exercise was set up by the US Special Operations Command Central. It is the Obama administration's message to the Islamic rulers of Iran, Bashar Assad and his Moscow backers, as well as its answer to the complaints from Arab and other Western governments that America is doing nothing to stop the horrors perpetrated in Syria.

Since all 12,000 troops massed in Jordan are commandos, they stand ready at all times to cross the border into Syria if this is deemed necessary.


2.  Syrian cities, especially the capital, are being targeted for violent bombing attacks designed to bring the Assad regime tumbling down. Behind these attacks are Persian Gulf emirates led by Saudi Arabia and Qatar. debkafile’s intelligence sources disclose they have been joined in the last few days for the first time by Turkey which is contributing intelligence input. The military pressure on the Assad regime is thus reinforced by a campaign of terror against its props.

No connection is admitted between the multinational force on the Jordanian-Syrian border and the spate of bombings. However, if Saudi or Qatari intelligence did play a hand in the Damascus bombings, their special forces in Jordan will have been in the picture.

What Debka is talking about is  Ex Eager Lion 12  (http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_05_09/74177878/) which is a large scale, multi-national exercise presently taking place in Jordan. Besides US, Jordanian, French, Turkish and Saudi participants, I couldn't find any of who the other participants are, let alone any Canadian involvement.

I'm sure, come Monday, Thomas Mulchair and Bob Rae we be asking the PM whether Canadian troops are involved.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Thucydides on May 13, 2012, 14:13:54
The Syrian opposition is perhaps falling under the influence of radical groups, with serious consequences for the surrounding region. Of course, there is always a silver lining; if Syria collapses into civil war and drags Lebanon with it, a lot of Iranian attention will be drawn away from other issues as they work to salvage their allies and Isreal will receive a breather:

http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/garfinkle/2012/05/11/syria-spins-out-of-control/

Quote
Syria Spins Out of Control
Adam Garfinkle
 
Yesterday’s massive bombings in Damascus portend a new stage of the Syrian crisis. The apparent involvement of al-Qaeda in Iraq in these bombings, and other evidence of the increased jihadi radicalization of the opposition movement, puts an end most likely to any prospect of an organized external military intervention in Syria.

That intervention was unlikely anyway, because the key actor in any such effort, the United States, absented itself long ago for reasons having to do with domestic politics. I suggested months ago a Turkish-led intervention, backed by the United States and NATO and the Arab League, designed to trigger a coup in Syria against the Assad regime. I suggested that along with that operation a diplomatic contact group be established to ease the transition to a better, perhaps even in some form a democratic, constitutional arrangement in Syria. The Obama Administration refused even to discuss the matter privately with the visiting Turkish Foreign Minister when he raised the question.

I (and others) also warned at the time that, absent an intervention to put an end to the conflict, the longer it went on, the more likely it would be radicalized. A very similar pattern manifested itself in Bosnia, and has done so also in other places. That warning now seems to have been validated.

I would be worried right now if I were a Lebanese. It is impossible to say if the Assad regime can hold out against a radicalized Syrian opposition, with volunteer support pouring in from neighboring countries. Most likely, in my view, it cannot. But it could take many months, even a year or two, for this bloody drama to play out. In the meantime, the conflict will pour across borders, including the Lebanese border, as it has already begin to do. If, in the fullness of time, a jihadi-led or strongly influenced state arises in Syria, or parts of it, then it is virtually inevitable that the Shi’a-tilted status quo in Lebanon will be upset. Sunni radicals in Damascus will not get along with Hizballah, and there are homegrown Sunni radicals in Lebanon that “friends” in Damascus would encourage and support on their behalf. The likely result? A new civil war, with a beginning epicenter most like in and around Tripoli.

I would also be concerned if I were an Iranian leader, because radical Sunnis in Damascus will not be able to get along with the mullahs in Iran either. From the U.S. point of view, that is not such a bad result, but losing its only state ally could nudge the Iranian leadership further toward the acquisition of nuclear weapons. In any event, the complexities of the three- and four-sided rivalries that will emerge in the region are very hard to predict, but the results will not be pretty or easily influenced by outside powers.

All of this is, of course, sort of tragic, because strong American leadership, a leadership that understood the strategic stakes involved in Syria and showed itself willing to take commensurate risks to secure them, probably could have prevented all this. Too late now.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: milnews.ca on May 15, 2012, 22:54:29
A good reminder of Canadian troops overlooking the Golan between Israel and Syria.....
Quote
The escalating violence and unrest in Syria has added to the risks and challenges faced by Canadian Forces (CF) members working for the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF).

Recent events that have been widely reported in the media have added challenges to the entire UNDOF team, as well as the three Canadians who serve in it.  Maj Catry, a Royal Canadian Dragoon officer based out of CFB Kingston, has noted that because of the unrest in Syria, as well as Nakba and Naksa Day protests last year, UNDOF’s work load, tempo and intensity have increased dramatically in maintaining the peace in the Golan Heights.

As the Military Assistant/Advisor to the Force Commander of UNDOF and as the Force’s Senior Staff Officer for personnel respectively, Maj Catry says he and Lieutenant-Commander Rohe, a Royal Canadian Navy Finance Officer from Ottawa, are busier than usual dealing with contingency plans and preparations.

"“My job has changed in the sense that it has become busier and slightly more tension filled due to the increasingly more complex situation,”" says Maj Catry. "“Whenever UNDOF goes high-tempo, we go high-tempo.”"

Maj Catry says the recent events have made the environment more complex and risky, but adds that the experience the CF members have from previous deployments helps them adjust to the dynamic situation in Syria. They take care to identify and avoid problematic areas in Damascus, and keep their protective gear close at hand.

A key new addition to the team, however, is also providing helpful insight to both the CF team and UNDOF.  Major Islam Elkorazati deployed to the Golan Heights in September 2011 as the Liaison Officer to the Senior Syrian Arab Delegate. He joined Major Chris Catry and Lieutenant-Commander Peter Rohe as the newest member of Operation GLADIUS, the CF contribution to UNDOF as part of Canada’s support for peacekeeping operations in the region.

Maj Elkorazati is the communications link between UNDOF and the Syrian government regarding the Golan Heights, an area characterized by an ‘Area of Separation’ rather than a border between two nations technically still at war. He shares information with both offices and resolves issues between UNDOF and the Syrian government. The position was previously held by an officer from Ireland. At the request of Canada it became a position to be filled permanently by a CF officer last autumn .....
CEFCOM Info-machine, 15 May 12 (http://www.cefcom-comfec.forces.gc.ca/pa-ap/fs-ev/2012/05/15-eng.asp)

More on OP Gladius (Canada's contribution to UNDOF) here (http://www.cefcom-comfec.forces.gc.ca/pa-ap/ops/gladius/index-eng.asp), on the U.N. Disengagement Observer Force here (http://www.un.org/en/peacekeeping/missions/undof/index.shtml) and on whazzup in Syria here (http://bit.ly/JfoIYm) (Google News) and here (http://bit.ly/L4qIwq) (European Commission news aggregator)
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Tiamo on May 23, 2012, 18:02:14
Head of Intelligence: Assef Shawkat confirmed dead through poisoning. Though the SY media denied it, reports from the ground from multiple sources confirm he and 2 others are dead. It would be a great blow to the Syrian regime that may possibly cause cracks. Reports from Damascus indicate unusual military presence by the national guard.

Story carried by AFP: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hJof8hnDlLVeV_T9ydV8r0ekZYPg?docId=CNG.b474f90df2945e3d6ed3dcac07a3dceb.251

Quote
Speculation over 'killing' of Assad brother-in-law

(AFP) – 5 hours ago

BEIRUT — Speculation was rife on Wednesday among Syrian anti-regime activists over the alleged "killing" of President Bashar al-Assad's brother-in-law who is also Syria's deputy defence minister.

Assef Shawkat, former head of military intelligence, was poisoned, according to anti-regime activists. The authorities in Damascus could not be reached for comment and have not responded publicly to the claim.

According to anti-regime activists, Shawkat was being buried on Wednesday in his hometown, which they identified as Madhale, near the Mediterranean coastal city of Tartous.

Several activists quoted by Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya television said black flags were flying in Madhale in mourning.

On their Syrian Revolution Facebook page, online anti-regime activists wrote that: "Assef Shawkat is being buried right now in his home town Madhale ... God curse him. He was poisoned."

They said Shawkat's body was transported to a hospital near his hometown that was emptied of patients on Tuesday evening.

Speculation over Shawkat's fate first emerged on May 20 when Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya television broadcast an amateur video showing a man claiming responsibility on behalf of a rebel group for killing six regime stalwarts.

They included Shawkat, Interior Minister Mohammed al-Shaar, Defence Minister Daoud Rajha, national security chief Hisham Bakhtiar and Hassan Turkmeni, assistant to the vice president.

Turkmeni appeared on state television this week to dismiss the reports, while Shaar denied them in a telephone interview, accusing Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya of "lies and slander."

But Shawkat has not made any public appearance or personally denied the reports, though he rarely makes public statements.

According to Peter Harling, an expert on Syria with the Brussels-based International Crisis Group, the reports are "essentially unconfirmed for now.

"What is interesting is this story's success, regardless of its factual grounding," Harling told AFP. "A month ago, Syrians would not have believed, conveyed, invested in such news and it would not have spread.

"The regime then appeared particularly strong. Now there is a sense that the armed opposition is on the offensive."

A member of the inner circle of former Syrian president Hafez al-Assad and his son Bashar, Shawkat rose quickly through the ranks of power after he married the late leader's only daughter, Bushra, in the 1990s.

But Shawkat's relations with the Assad clan were not always smooth. Bashar's powerful brother Maher al-Assad allegedly shot him in the stomach in 1999.

The two men were named in leaked version of a preliminary UN report as possible suspects in the 2005 assassination of Lebanese ex-premier Rafiq Hariri.

Copyright © 2012 AFP
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Tiamo on May 25, 2012, 13:34:33
Crisis Management Team leaders were poisioned but survived

Source: http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/syrian-rebels-tried-to-kill-assad-s-top-aides-israeli-officials-confirm-1.432505

Quote
A senior Israeli official said the information obtained indicates that the food at the meeting really was poisoned. "All those who ate the food were rushed to the hospital and saved at the last minute by medical attendants," he said. "The bodyguard who slipped the poison in was smuggled out of Syria."

Another Israeli official said the information published by the Syrian opposition after the incident is deemed credible by Israel. "There was an attempt to poison Shawkat and the other senior officials, but it failed, and all those who were at the meeting are still alive," he said.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: 57Chevy on May 30, 2012, 22:16:03
                          From Spiegel and shared with provisions of The Copyright Act

The World from Berlin
'Only Russia Can Exert Influence on Syria'
30 May
http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/the-prospects-for-a-political-solution-in-syria-a-835977.html


On Tuesday, the diplomatic war began in earnest. With the United Nations citing indications that many of the 108 people killed in last Friday's massacre in Houla, Syria were executed by pro-government militiamen, several Western nations expelled Syrian diplomats. In a coordinated move, the United States, Britain, Germany, Canada, Australia, Bulgaria, Spain, Italy, France and Switzerland all told Syrian ambassadors in their countries that they would have to leave. Japan did the same on Wednesday.

 There has been widespread international outrage over the bloodshed, in which dozens of children also lost their lives -- many of them, according to eyewitnesses, having been shot in the head at close range. Nevertheless, it appears unlikely that the UN will authorize a military intervention. Both China and Russia on Wednesday reiterated their opposition to such a move.

Their comments came as French President François Hollande indicated on Wednesday that he would not rule out the possibility of a military intervention in the country. "It is dependent on me and the others to convince the Russians and the Chinese" not to veto military action in the United Nations Security Council, Hollande said. "We cannot allow Syrian President Bashar Assad to continue massacring his own people." Hollande plans to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday.

It seems unlikely that he will have any luck, though. Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said on Wednesday that Moscow remains categorically opposed to military intervention in Syria, Russian news agency Interfax reported. Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that his country "opposes military intervention and does not support forced regime change." Even the US is against taking action, with White House Press Secretary Jay Carney saying that "we do not believe that further militarization of the situation in Syria at this point is the right course of action."

 'Tipping Point'

The Houla massacre is thought to be the most horrifying slaughter so far in the months-long unrest in Syria. On Tuesday, the UN said that initial investigations concluded that fewer than 20 of those killed on Friday night lost their lives in the artillery bombardment launched by pro-regime fighters. Most of the rest were killed by summary executions, with eyewitnesses reporting gunmen sweeping through Houla stabbing and shooting victims to death.

It is clear, said UN rights spokesman Rupert Colville on Tuesday, "that this was an absolutely abominable event that took place in Houla, and at least a substantial part of it were summary executions of civilians -- women and children." He added that "at this point it looks like entire families were shot in their houses." The UN Human Rights Council announced on Wednesday that it plans to hold an emergency session on Friday to address the events in Houla.

Kofi Annan, special UN envoy to Syria, travelled to Damascus on Tuesday to urge Assad to stop the killing. After the meeting, he said the country was at a "tipping point" and urged Assad's troops and pro-regime militias to exercise restraint.

German commentators take a closer look at the situation again on Wednesday.

Center-left daily Süddeutsche Zeitung writes:

"The Syrian crisis has now reached a point which allows us to see how reality and diplomacy sometimes exist in parallel worlds. Diplomacy is the horrified statements from the foreign ministries; the expulsion of envoys who, as protocol would have it, must depart their host countries within 72 hours; and the international peace broker who really doesn't have anything left to broker, but shakes hands nonetheless. Reality is the tanks, the mortar fire and the mob which murders women and children on behalf of the Syrian regime."

"These two worlds no longer have anything to do with one another. The one is governed by the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations from April 18, 1961. The other is war. One shouldn't harbor any illusions: The tools of the one world will not be able to stop the murder in the other."

Left-leaning daily Die Tageszeitung writes:

"A civil war on the model of Lebanon is beginning to take shape in Syria -- one in which everyone seems to be fighting everyone. Ethno-religious motivations are mixing with political preferences, Shiite Alawis are being played against orthodox Christians and Sunni Muslims. And then there are the al-Qaida groups, jihadists and all manner of mercenaries who are involved in this war -- and that's not counting influence from Iran and the Gulf states. The regime has intentionally stoked the conflict to present itself as a neutral guarantor of peace. In the wake of Houla, this lie has lost its last shred of credibility."

"After more than 10,000 dead in the Syrian revolt, only the most pigheaded can still believe that a political solution to the crisis can be achieved with the Assad regime. As such, the mission of Kofi Annan was predestined to fail because it presupposed that the Assad clan was able to arrive at a realistic assessment of the situation. But holding on to power is the only thing that counts for him. At any price."

"Not even the West is interested in a military intervention like the one in Libya, Russia and China also realize that fact. But a long civil war like the one that appears to be taking shape would likely hurt Russian and Chinese interests in the region more than a sudden overthrow of the despotic Assad clan. It is time to rethink things in Beijing and Moscow."

Financial daily Handelsblatt writes:

"After the Houla massacre, the rifts are so deep and the anger so intense that any political efforts seem doomed to failure. Yet diplomacy nevertheless offers the only way out of the difficult situation. The UN cannot fulfil the task, at least not alone. It has neither the means nor the strength. Its half-hearted resolutions, appeals and threats have all missed their mark. As long as the UN Security Council does not speak powerfully with a single voice, Assad can continue his inhuman activities unhindered. The Europeans and Americans are too busy with themselves at the moment to even consider a dangerous military intervention."

"The only power that can exert a certain amount of influence on Damascus is Russia. In Syria, however, Russia has an ally that offers it strategically vital access to the Middle East and it cannot give that up. Which is why the Russian government continues to protect Assad, even if it has become visibly more uncomfortable for Moscow to do so. But even Moscow must slowly realize that a diplomatic solution, which Russia has insisted it wants, is no longer possible with Assad. Therefore, the only option is to force Assad to give up power. And only Moscow could do that."

 Conservative daily Die Welt writes:

"Expelling an ambassador is the strongest weapon available to diplomacy. But that won't put an end to the public outrage (over the Houla massacre). The United Nations have pinpointed the pro-regime shabiha militia as being responsible for this crime against humanity. It might be that President Assad does not personally lead this group of fighters, but he is ultimately responsible when his people are murdered by marauding mercenaries. In Syria, the chain of command ends with him, the dictator. Personal weakness does not protect one from culpability."

"Nevertheless, it is right of UN special envoy Kofi Annan to cling to his peace plan. Because it is still not too late for a 'Yemeni solution,' which would involve the Assad clan stepping down in exchange for political exile. Some might find that dissatisfying because it would allow Assad to escape justice. But any other solution to the Syrian tragedy would cost a much greater price in bloodshed."
Charles Hawley
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________

I believe that soldiers of civilized nations do not take too kindly the massacre of civilians, especially women,
and so much more of little children.
That is one big reason why Nations have soldiers.
IMO, the Houla massacre will not only cause a rift, but also the beginning of a separation between a Nuclear Iran
and a Syrian madman.
I agree that Moscow must exert its influence.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: bridges on May 31, 2012, 10:32:11
Did a search, but not sure if this is the right thread for this story; if not, please move it.  This is from the AP via CBC, reproduced here under the Fair Dealings provision of the Copyright Act.  http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2012/05/30/houla-massacre-syrian-boy.html

My heart goes out to this kid.   
 
"How an 11-year-old survived Houla massacre"

Quote
When the gunmen began to slaughter his family, 11-year-old Ali el-Sayed says he fell to the floor of his home, soaking his clothes with his brother's blood to fool the killers into thinking he was already dead.

The Syrian boy tried to stop himself from trembling, even as the gunmen, with long beards and shaved heads, killed his parents and all four of his siblings, one by one.

The youngest to die was Ali's brother, six-year-old Nader. His small body bore two bullet holes —one in his head, another in his back.

"I put my brother's blood all over me and acted like I was dead," Ali told The Associated Press over Skype on Wednesday, his raspy voice steady and matter-of-fact, five days after the killing spree that left him both an orphan and an only child.
.....
Quote

By most accounts, the gunmen descended on Houla from an arc of nearby villages, making the deaths all the more horrifying because the victims could have known their attackers.

Ali, the 11-year-old, said his mother began weeping the moment about 11 gunmen entered the family home in the middle of the night. The men led Ali's father and oldest brother outside.

"My mother started screaming 'Why did you take them? Why did you take them?"' Ali said.

Soon afterward, he said, the gunmen killed Ali's entire family.

As Ali huddled with his youngest siblings, a man in civilian clothes took Ali's mother to the bedroom and shot her five times in the head and neck.

"Then he left the bedroom. He used his flashlight to see in front of him," Ali said. "When he saw my sister Rasha, he shot her in the head while she was in the hallway."

Ali had been hiding near his brothers Nader, 6, and Aden, 8. The gunmen shot both of them, killing them instantly. He then fired at Ali but missed.

"I was terrified," Ali said, speaking from Houla, where relatives have taken him in. "My whole body was trembling."

Ali is among the few survivors of the massacre, although it was impossible to independently corroborate his story. The AP contacted him through anti-regime activists in Houla who arranged for an interview with the child over Skype.

Days after the attack, many victims remain missing.

Ali can describe the attack on his family. But al-Qassem said the full story of the massacre may never emerge.

"There are no eyewitnesses of the massacre," he said. "The eyewitnesses are all dead."


 

Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Tiamo on June 01, 2012, 00:55:04
Russia is playing with fire. On one hand they're claiming to be a broker for peace. They do abruptly come out and claim they don't want military intervention or armament of the opposition to prevent civil war. However, their actions show something different. Their supply ships docking with ammunition and fuel to the Syrian regime: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hXTte72iC-_0AsX7TRnPxIGEeBng?docId=CNG.d99aea8c4dec4723aea914b35c1dd520.f71 
Quote
US envoy slams 'reprehensible' Russia arms sales to Syria

I don't believe the US or Europe is waiting on Russia's approval or not of any military intervention. The Russian know that Assad regime in all eventuality going to be removed from power. Yet, they've still not offered an alternative solution.

The fractured opposition and the weak militia with very little communication or structure is probably the only cause for this prolonged crisis. The West does not want to risk armed soldiers on the ground, and Turkey will not intervene unless directly attacked. So Syria is at a stand still until something new comes along.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: milnews.ca on June 06, 2012, 10:03:52
From Hansard yesterday (http://www.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?Pub=hansard&Language=E&Mode=1&Parl=41&Ses=1#SOB-7627431):
Quote
Mr. Paul Dewar (Ottawa Centre, NDP):  Mr. Speaker, if you seek it I believe you would find unanimous consent for the following motion on Syria. I move, seconded by the Minister of International Cooperation and the member for Mount Royal:

       That the House continue to support measures which
   (a) condemn the brutal massacre of Syrian civilians by government forces in clear violation of earlier commitments;
   (b) call for an immediate end to the violence, especially the attacks on civilians;
   (c) support the Joint Special Envoy of the UN and Arab League efforts to establish a ceasefire and implement the six-point peace plan;
   (d) call for unrestricted access to the country for the international media;
   (e) support the government's decision to expel Syrian diplomats in protest to the latest atrocities in Syria;
   (f) call on the international community to speak with one voice clearly and categorically condemning the violence and working to bring about a complete cessation of hostilities;
   (g) urge the leadership of China and Russia to play an active and decisive role in achieving an effective ceasefire that saves the lives of innocent civilians as well as negotiating a road map to reforms that respond to the democratic aspirations of the Syrian people;
   (h) continue Canada's humanitarian aid to refugees and to internally displaced persons fleeing violence in Syria, as needed, and;
   (i) stand in solidarity with those who aspire for peace, democratic governance and the protection of human rights.


The Speaker:  Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent of the House to propose the motion?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

The Speaker: The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

    (Motion agreed to)
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Montrealer10 on June 07, 2012, 10:57:39

More news from Syria.





http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/06/06/children-killed-bodies-burned-in-syrian-massacre-that-killed-86-opposition/
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Thucydides on June 10, 2012, 16:09:56
While there is no upside to the West getting involved in Syria, there is still a serious downside to the possible outcomes there. Watching the Saudis arm the rebles (and knowing the rebles are either radical Islamists or will be overtaken by them) is hardley encouraging news. The best possible outcome is most likely to let each side fight it out to a stalemate, horrible as it might sound. Often we are confronted by making the least bad choice:

http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2012/06/09/the-real-news-from-syria/

Quote
The Real News From Syria

There’s a lot of noise coming out of Syria and the various international chat-fests being organized around it these days. Stern warnings from the State Department, charges and counter charges of massacres and atrocities on the ground in Syria, soothing platitudes from Kofi Anan, diplomatic warnings from Russia: most of it can be summarized as “blah, blah, blah.”

None of this has much bearing on what will happen. It is mostly posturing — the Russians are trying to look like they matter, the Turks want to look busy while minimizing their risks, the Americans want to feel good about themselves by mounting rhetorical assaults against atrocities they have no will to prevent, and so it goes. The legacy press covers this stuff because it can, and because it often buys into the establishment’s diplomatic narrative, but serious students of international affairs should not be misled: most of what is written about Syria these days is fluff and filler rather than news.

For insight into the future of Syria, try this story in the (paywall protected) Financial Times. Support for arming the rebels is growing, as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and wealthy Syrian expats and others step up funding for the military resistance to Assad.
The weapons being provided include light infantry arms and, increasingly, anti-tank weapons. Better armed rebels are credited with increasing the death toll among Assad’s soldiers as well as growing numbers of tanks destroyed.

Much of the funding comes from official channels, but it’s not clear who exactly is getting the money. While the “Free Syrian Army” is developing a more organized structure around the country, there are many groups in the chaotic resistance movements and, given the atmosphere of lawlessness and smuggling that has been a persistent feature in parts of Syria, it’s not at all clear where these weapons end up.

The FT also notes that radical and Salafist sheikhs and organizations in the Gulf are getting into the weapons delivery act. For many jihadis, the fight against Assad is first and foremost a struggle against Alawite “heretics”, and the goal is to build a radical Islamic state on the ruins of Ba’athist, secular Syria.

It’s been a classic Saudi ploy to keep the radicals quiet at home by letting them fight and support fighters abroad; this dates back at least as far as the war against the Soviets in Afghanistan and has been a pattern in many conflicts since. It seems likely that in this case, when the Saudi state interest in weakening Iran and strengthening the Saudi voice in both Lebanon and Damascus coincides with the jihadi hunger for a Syrian religious war, that Saudi authorities will see radical enthusiasm for Syria as an asset.

What’s happening in Syria is a true civil war, and like most civil wars it won’t come to an end until one side loses or until both sides realize that they can’t win. What the Arabs and others are doing to arm the rebels has much more to do with this war than the choreographed posturing of diplomats and the elegant pirouettes of moral concern performed by world leaders trying to make themselves look good against a background of chaos and blood.
Will the rebels get the strength and the international backing to drive Assad from power, or will Assad finally manage to crush his opponents once and for all? Or will a stalemate gradually emerge as both sides do everything they can, but neither can quite beat the other? If the rebels do start to succeed, who will win the power struggle among the many different factions into which the regime’s enemies are divided?

Those are the real questions in Syria, and understanding the flow of money and arms to rebel groups is almost infinitely more important than following the travel schedule of Kofi Annan as we try to see what comes next.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Tiamo on June 11, 2012, 03:58:26
Quote
While there is no upside to the West getting involved in Syria, there is still a serious downside to the possible outcomes there. Watching the Saudis arm the rebles (and knowing the rebles are either radical Islamists or will be overtaken by them) is hardley encouraging news. The best possible outcome is most likely to let each side fight it out to a stalemate, horrible as it might sound. Often we are confronted by making the least bad choice:

http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2012/06/09/the-real-news-from-syria/

doing nothing right now means allowing Syria to get down to a very deep civil war with hundreds of thousands of people killed or murdered. The recent events in Tripoli, Lebanon also serve a reminder that what happens in Syria will affect the whole region as a whole.

I still think the UN will do something once the death toll reaches the magic number of 100,000 killed. When it is too little, too late.

Radical Islamists need empathy to rise in Syria. Syria had never elected a radical gov't before. Most of the population is considered moderate if not liberated, especially in the major cities. I can't see an Iranian style islamists take over. The only worry that if this situations continues with the status quo that Islamists will gain more sympathy (out of desperation...).

In other news, Syrian National Council elected a new leader from the Kurdish-Syrian minority. UK PM saying Syria resmebles Bosnia in 1990s. The city of Homs resmebles Sarajevo in many aspects. Many parts of the city are deserted with only FSA members and families whom have no where else to go are holding the grounds. The Syrian army on the outskirts with artillery fire and many attempts to push through the FSA controlled areas.  The Syrian army is sending more logistical support to the province of Homs. Surprisingly, most of the equipment is made for urban warfare (little if any tanks), mostly pickup trucks with machine guns mounted at the backز

Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Jed on June 11, 2012, 10:58:14
I still think the UN will do something once the death toll reaches the magic number of 100,000 killed. When it is too little, too late.
[/quote]

Tiamo, how many people died in the African debacles such as Rwanda or Somalia? I don't think large numbers of civilian deaths will make any difference to UN effectiveness in dealing with this situation.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: bridges on June 11, 2012, 11:37:17
I tried to vote in the poll at the top of this page, then realized it's almost a year old.  Maybe it's time for an updated poll on foreign intervention in Syria-?   
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Thucydides on June 11, 2012, 13:34:56
Radical Islamists only need to be the baddest cats in the valley of death; once everyone else is cowed into inaction they can rape and pillage to their heart's content. Since they are already organized and supplied by outside backers, they have huge advantages over any home grown opposition, just ask the Egyptians.

The death count is irrelevant to the UN. Look at what happened in the Sudan; tens of thousands of people dead were obviously some sort of coincidence; no genocide there...
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: milnews.ca on June 11, 2012, 15:40:10
If Debka.com is to be believed (http://debka.com/article/22073/Obama-speeds-up-limited-air-strike-no-fly-zones-preparations-for-Syria)....
Quote
US President Barack Obama has ordered the US Navy and Air Force to accelerate preparations for a limited air offensive against the Assad regime and the imposition of no-fly zones over Syria, debkafile reports. Their mission will be to knock out Assad’s central regime and military command centers so as to shake regime stability and restrict Syrian army and air force activity for subduing rebel action and wreaking violence on civilian populations.
debkafile’s sources disclose that the US President decided on this step after hearing Russian officials stating repeatedly that “Moscow would support the departure of President Bashar al-Assad if Syrians agreed to it.”  This position was interpreted as opening up two paths of action:
1.  To go for Assad’s removal by stepping up arms supplies to the rebels and organizing their forces as a professional force able to take on the military units loyal to Assad. This process was already in evidence Friday, June 8, when for the first time a Syrian Free Army (which numbers some 600 men under arms) attacked a Syrian army battalion in Damascus. One of its targets was a bus carrying Russian specialists.
2.  To select a group of high army officers who, under the pressure of the limited air offensive, would be ready to ease Assad out of power or stage a military coup to force him and his family to accept exile ....
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Macrinus88 on June 11, 2012, 15:52:39
Radical Islamists only need to be the baddest cats in the valley of death; once everyone else is cowed into inaction they can rape and pillage to their heart's content. Since they are already organized and supplied by outside backers, they have huge advantages over any home grown opposition, just ask the Egyptians.

The death count is irrelevant to the UN. Look at what happened in the Sudan; tens of thousands of people dead were obviously some sort of coincidence; no genocide there...

Many Radical Islamist groups are directly armed and supported by the US government. The Egyptian crisis was a successful revolution but all these revolutions have had US involvement.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fSNyPS0fXpU (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fSNyPS0fXpU)   All these wars were planned. US Empire is obviously behind schedule with their plans, they always have France and UK on board with their plans, both significant former Imperial Powers.

Libya was the same and Canada supported this war.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pgim5hS7qiE (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pgim5hS7qiE)  CIA spotted with Libyan Rebels.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&v=XorKTwkFPDU&NR=1 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&v=XorKTwkFPDU&NR=1)  This was the Libya before the war, a benevolent dictatorship in my opinion.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: GAP on June 11, 2012, 16:16:29
oh joy, another one!!!
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: aesop081 on June 11, 2012, 16:28:53
This was the Libya before the war, a benevolent dictatorship in my opinion.

 :rofl:
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: E.R. Campbell on June 11, 2012, 16:37:21
I heard a report this morning describing another attack on another Syrian town and the local person being quoted said, apparently, that the attackers were from the next village - and they had many old scores to settle with the victim village. The reporter/commentator suggested that both sides, the Syrian administration and the opposition (whoever and whatever that is, are both exploiting local feuds to further their ends. Elsewhere, here on Army.ca, a senior member agreed with me that many of the problems in a different region (Africa) are "tribal" in nature; I suspect that we have at least some of the same thing in the Middle East: opposing forces (governments and insurgents) can and will exploit intrareligious (Sunni vs Shia, Alawites vs other Sias and Sunnis, and so on) and local differences to fight proxy battles.

In my opinion we - the UN members who pay the bills - ought not to do anything to exacerbate the current problems, and that includes (my opinion again) taking military action or offering military aid. (Heaven knows if here's one thing we do not need more of in Africa and the Middle east it's weapons.)
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Tiamo on June 11, 2012, 17:37:46
Quote
In my opinion we - the UN members who pay the bills - ought not to do anything to exacerbate the current problems, and that includes (my opinion again) taking military action or offering military aid. (Heaven knows if here's one thing we do not need more of in Africa and the Middle east it's weapons.)

When one side is being heavily supported and armed by UN members, why should we expect to allow them to ruin the whole region? Sure, I'd like this problem be settled without a war. Many of the things you've mentioned are expected results of the fall of the regime. There will be old score settling, but that is only because this has dragged on for so long. The longer the situation in Syria continues, the more scores need to be settled (villages vs village, tribe vs tribe, religion vs religion...etc)

Debkafile has reported Obama is planning for an airstrike, any confirmations?

As for radical Islamists, they've always existed since the birth of Islam and before then they were radical something else. Turkey has a radical islamic government, they just learned to become moderate. I always go back to history and look at what it means to be radical islamist government. Were the Ummayads, Abassi and Saladdin radical Islamists as well? If so, then why Christians and other minorities continues to live in those areas? There are many parts in northern ME where mosques and churches share the same street and even some the same walls.

I do reject the notion of radical islamists government in the ME. This is not Iran led by a Khomeini whom been granted assylum in France until he is returned to his realm!!

Further, there is a big difference in the structure of Sunni and Shia'a Islam. Shia Islam from all around the world follows the leader (Khomeini or whomever be) - think about him as the Pope for Shia. While Sunnis do not have that type of structure. Every country has their own "Mufti" - someone who makes religious orderings but he is under the direct control of the President or King and most of the time appointed directly by him.

There are some pockets like Al-Qaeda who'd like to establish the Caliphate rule. But that is a far fetched dream. I've lived and mixed with ME people and know that 90% don't believe in that crap. Most of Al-Qaeda supporters come from poor families with little education. The rest are educated anti-western nationalists like some extreme branches of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Thucydides on June 11, 2012, 23:14:54
The radical Islamists have organization, a coherent plan (at least coherent in their eyes) and the will to execute it. It does not matter if they are a minority or come from a particular social stratum; they are more prepared to take charge of the situation, kill or cow their opponents and offer stability to the long suffering masses; who will accept with gratitude.

This is how the Taliban were able to seize control of large portions of Afghanistan, or going back farther in history, how the Bolsheviks were able to gain and consolidate power in Russia, or how Napoleon eventually came to power in the chaos of the French revolution. "The man on the white horse" isn't there for you, but his offer is tempting enough that many (maybe most) people will clutch at it.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Retired AF Guy on June 11, 2012, 23:49:19

This was the Libya before the war, a benevolent dictatorship in my opinion.

Tell that to the families of all the innocent victims who were killed/maimed by various terrorist groups (PLO/PFLP/IRA, etc) that Qaddafi supported over the years.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Tiamo on June 12, 2012, 01:39:17
The radical Islamists have organization, a coherent plan (at least coherent in their eyes) and the will to execute it. It does not matter if they are a minority or come from a particular social stratum; they are more prepared to take charge of the situation, kill or cow their opponents and offer stability to the long suffering masses; who will accept with gratitude.

This is how the Taliban were able to seize control of large portions of Afghanistan, or going back farther in history, how the Bolsheviks were able to gain and consolidate power in Russia, or how Napoleon eventually came to power in the chaos of the French revolution. "The man on the white horse" isn't there for you, but his offer is tempting enough that many (maybe most) people will clutch at it.

Sure, but there has been other successfull revolutions. Just because there are bad apples digging their claws to ride a popular wave does not prevent us from supporting what is right. Obviously whomever these radicals are and their plans, the best way to counter them by offering support to the more streamline, moderate alternative
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Macrinus88 on June 12, 2012, 03:28:56
Yea some of you will laugh at my post simply because you are ignorant. It has been well documented that the CIA/US has armed and supported many Jihadist groups to destabilize nations in the Middle East.  What Former General Westley Clarke said in that video is only more proof that supports this fact. The issue is not about the internal complications with the nation but the external foreign powers who are supporting these terrorist groups to take over these nations.

http://theconservativetreehouse.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/benghazi-libya-al-qaeda.jpg (http://theconservativetreehouse.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/benghazi-libya-al-qaeda.jpg)

Yay! Humanitarian war of freedom in Libya! Now it is a CIA Armed Alqueda infested Extremist no mans land.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Macrinus88 on June 12, 2012, 03:33:34
Tell that to the families of all the innocent victims who were killed/maimed by various terrorist groups (PLO/PFLP/IRA, etc) that Qaddafi supported over the years.

I know Qaddafi's regime wasn't perfect, if you oppose a dictatorship you will obviously be killed and he also started some regional wars but Libya was obviously better off with him then what it is now. Ha, but those groups were all foreign and another mans terrorist is another mans freedom fighter. Isreal is nothing but a segregated Zionist regime, they are very prejudice towards the muslims and settlers expand into their lands. They used White phosphorous chemical weapons on Palestinians before.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: 57Chevy on June 12, 2012, 07:55:28
Isreal is nothing but a segregated Zionist regime, they are very prejudice towards the muslims and settlers expand into their lands. They used White phosphorous chemical weapons on Palestinians before.

Lets keep the facts in order.

Gaza Belt Leader Writes UN: Hamas Guilty of War Crimes’
http://forums.army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,104024.0.html
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: GAP on June 12, 2012, 08:26:05
This thread needs to be renamed to "The Tinfoil Hat, Conspiracy Theory Soapbox Thread"............ ::)
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: E.R. Campbell on June 12, 2012, 08:42:25
When one side is being heavily supported and armed by UN members, why should we expect to allow them to ruin the whole region? Sure, I'd like this problem be settled without a war. Many of the things you've mentioned are expected results of the fall of the regime. There will be old score settling, but that is only because this has dragged on for so long. The longer the situation in Syria continues, the more scores need to be settled (villages vs village, tribe vs tribe, religion vs religion...etc)

Debkafile has reported Obama is planning for an airstrike, any confirmations?

As for radical Islamists, they've always existed since the birth of Islam and before then they were radical something else. Turkey has a radical islamic government, they just learned to become moderate. I always go back to history and look at what it means to be radical islamist government. Were the Ummayads, Abassi and Saladdin radical Islamists as well? If so, then why Christians and other minorities continues to live in those areas? There are many parts in northern ME where mosques and churches share the same street and even some the same walls.

I do reject the notion of radical islamists government in the ME. This is not Iran led by a Khomeini whom been granted assylum in France until he is returned to his realm!!

Further, there is a big difference in the structure of Sunni and Shia'a Islam. Shia Islam from all around the world follows the leader (Khomeini or whomever be) - think about him as the Pope for Shia. While Sunnis do not have that type of structure. Every country has their own "Mufti" - someone who makes religious orderings but he is under the direct control of the President or King and most of the time appointed directly by him.

There are some pockets like Al-Qaeda who'd like to establish the Caliphate rule. But that is a far fetched dream. I've lived and mixed with ME people and know that 90% don't believe in that crap. Most of Al-Qaeda supporters come from poor families with little education. The rest are educated anti-western nationalists like some extreme branches of the Muslim Brotherhood.


I've read this several times but I cannot find a casus belli, a good, justifiable reason for us - some coalition, including countries like America, Britain and Canada - to go to war. What has Syria done to us? Oh, I know about, but like everyone else, do not understand R2P; I know the Syrian regime is unpleasant, to be charitable, but is that really a good reason to invade, or at least bomb, Syria? What if, on principle (remember principles?), China refuses to agree a UNSC Resolution, what if we cannot do another Uniting for Peace in the UN General Assembly; will we invade/bomb anyway?

For the record, I opposed military intervention in Libya (http://forums.army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,99510.msg1022240.html#msg1022240), too and, notwithstanding the stellar performance of the CF in the operation, including that of several members of Army.ca, some of whom I know and count amongst my friends, I remain convinced hat it was, at best, unnecessary, more likely unproductive.

Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Montrealer10 on June 12, 2012, 14:17:31
Yea some of you will laugh at my post simply because you are ignorant. It has been well documented that the CIA/US has armed and supported many Jihadist groups to destabilize nations in the Middle East.  What Former General Westley Clarke said in that video is only more proof that supports this fact. The issue is not about the internal complications with the nation but the external foreign powers who are supporting these terrorist groups to take over these nations.

http://theconservativetreehouse.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/benghazi-libya-al-qaeda.jpg (http://theconservativetreehouse.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/benghazi-libya-al-qaeda.jpg)

Yay! Humanitarian war of freedom in Libya! Now it is a CIA Armed Alqueda infested Extremist no mans land.


When you say it's "been well documented" I suppose you mean that that is proof? Well let me tell you something, even proof is in the eye of the beholder.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Tiamo on June 12, 2012, 18:39:08

I've read this several times but I cannot find a casus belli, a good, justifiable reason for us - some coalition, including countries like America, Britain and Canada - to go to war. What has Syria done to us? Oh, I know about, but like everyone else, do not understand R2P; I know the Syrian regime is unpleasant, to be charitable, but is that really a good reason to invade, or at least bomb, Syria? What if, on principle (remember principles?), China refuses to agree a UNSC Resolution, what if we cannot do another Uniting for Peace in the UN General Assembly; will we invade/bomb anyway?

For the record, I opposed military intervention in Libya (http://forums.army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,99510.msg1022240.html#msg1022240), too and, notwithstanding the stellar performance of the CF in the operation, including that of several members of Army.ca, some of whom I know and count amongst my friends, I remain convinced hat it was, at best, unnecessary, more likely unproductive.

There is probably not a very direct benefit for Canadian intervention in Syria (The US/Europe is a different case). However, the world is shrinking ever smaller. What happens in Japan affect us in Canada. What is happening in the ME will affect us in N. America. Technology is advancing, communications are ever more rapid. This means we are involved in the situation as a nation participating in this world.

It is in th best interest of Canada and the rest of the world to have a stable ME. One that contributes to the prosperity of humanity instead of being the plague it has been for centuries. The geogrophical location of Syria is critical for EuroAsia transportation hub. It is important to have stability in that region, peace and governments that participate in building a better future.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Urmimu on June 13, 2012, 02:41:43
Indeed.  I'm certain we cry ourselves to sleep at night thinking about the plight of people in the Middle East.  I think we pray for them at Church.  Maybe.  We must be experts on the Middle East by now - I bet at least one of us has spoken to someone whose boots touched the soil in that geographical area within the last twelve months.  I do wonder how many of us know a Muslim or have friends who are Muslim?  Would their thoughts and opinions be a part of the 'tin foil hat area' as well?  Has anyone spoken to a radical Islamist?  Can any of us claim that we understand them?  Or are we just confident in our moral superiority?   

The world is not shrinking; however there are groups that would like to homogenize it with utter disregard for cultural differences.  Why is the Middle East being spoken of as if they are just a means to an end?  Every person is entitled to live and fight as they wish, no?  And if we are in agreement, then can we at least admit that any military intervention in that area is not for humanitarian reasons?
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: E.R. Campbell on June 13, 2012, 06:37:35
Indeed.  I'm certain we cry ourselves to sleep at night thinking about the plight of people in the Middle East.  I think we pray for them at Church.  Maybe.  We must be experts on the Middle East by now - I bet at least one of us has spoken to someone whose boots touched the soil in that geographical area within the last twelve months.  I do wonder how many of us know a Muslim or have friends who are Muslim?  Would their thoughts and opinions be a part of the 'tin foil hat area' as well?  Has anyone spoken to a radical Islamist?  Can any of us claim that we understand them?  Or are we just confident in our moral superiority?   

The world is not shrinking; however there are groups that would like to homogenize it with utter disregard for cultural differences.  Why is the Middle East being spoken of as if they are just a means to an end?  Every person is entitled to live and fight as they wish, no?  And if we are in agreement, then can we at least admit that any military intervention in that area is not for humanitarian reasons?


Yes, indeed ... and they are equally "entitled" to do their fighting (and living and dying) without outside interference, including help from Russia (or America and its allies).
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: 57Chevy on June 13, 2012, 11:17:20
                                     Shared with provisions of The Copyright Act

Russia accuses US of arming Syria rebels
Mohammad Davari | AFP
http://ca.news.yahoo.com/russia-accuses-us-arming-syria-rebels-134113113.html

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday accused the United States of supplying weapons to Syria's rebels, worsening the conflict engulfing Moscow's allied regime in Damascus.
 
Russia was supplying "anti-air defence systems" to Damascus in a deal that "in no way violates international laws," Lavrov told a news conference during a brief visit to Iran.
 
"That contrasts with what the United States is doing with the opposition, which is providing arms to the Syrian opposition which are being used against the Syrian government," he said.
 
It was the first time Moscow has directly pointed the finger at Washington. Previously, it had said unidentified "foreign powers" were arming Syria's opposition.
 
Lavrov's accusation followed a charge by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday that she had information Russia was sending to Syria "attack helicopters... which will escalate the conflict quite dramatically."
 
Asked in the Tehran news conference specifically about the helicopter allegation, Lavrov said only that Moscow was giving Damascus "conventional weapons" related to air defence, and asserted that the deal complied with international law.
 
Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov told reporters last month that Moscow believed "it would be wrong to leave the Syrian government without the means for self-defence."
 
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said in the same news conference with Lavrov on Wednesday that Tehran and Moscow were "very close" on the Syria issue.
 
Western and Arab nations, he said, "are sending weapons to Syria and forces to Syria, and are not allowing the reforms promised by the Syrian president to be applied."
 
Reports in Iran allege that Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United States are arming Syria's rebels -- termed "terrorists" by Damascus -- while US officials claim Iran is giving arms and military advisors to Syria's regime.
 
Some observers fear the conflict, which the UN's chief peacekeeper agrees now resembles a civil war, could blow up into a struggle between forces helped by outside nations.
 
"There is a real risk of it sliding into a proxy war as certain states support the regime or 'the opposition'," one Western diplomat told AFP, speaking on condition on anonymity.
 
"The conflict in Syria certainly appears to be getting more brutal -- and not just on one side," the diplomat warned.
 
Monitors say at least 14,100 people have been killed in the 15-month uprising against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
 
Russia came under fierce criticism from Western and Arab countries for vetoing two UN Security Council resolutions that would have sanctioned Assad for his use of force.
 
Moscow is now trying to organise an international conference on Syria that would include several nations with influence over the conflict, including Iran. The United States, Britain and France, though, object to Iran taking part.
 
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Tiamo on June 13, 2012, 12:49:02
Quote
Yes, indeed ... and they are equally "entitled" to do their fighting (and living and dying) without outside interference, including help from Russia (or America and its allies).

That would be fair, but we do know that the Syrian regime is being supplied ammunition and fuel by outside force for the single purpose to crush its citizens.

Quote

"That contrasts with what the United States is doing with the opposition, which is providing arms to the Syrian opposition which are being used against the Syrian government," he said.
 

The US nor Europe had supplied any weapons to the FSA (yet!). Had they done so, you'll notice a significant change in the battle on the ground. When you hear about helis falling out of the sky or T72 tanks with reactive armor being destroyed then know the US had begun supplying weapons.

Until then, as far as I'm aware, most weapons are bought and smuggled by the opposition or captured during operations. There are very few weapons as well that are being modified or manufactured locally.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: aesop081 on June 13, 2012, 13:19:07
That would be fair, but we do know that the Syrian regime is being supplied ammunition and fuel by outside force for the single purpose to crush its citizens.


Stop, i think you are going to make me cry.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Tiamo on June 13, 2012, 13:48:01
This article is basically very true to what is happening on the ground right now:

With smuggling choked, Syrian rebels feel shortage of heavy weapons

Read more: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2012/May-25/174603-with-smuggling-choked-syrian-rebels-feel-shortage-of-heavy-weapons.ashx#ixzz1xgzpqZIM

Quote
BEIRUT: Mohammad Nizar says he and his fellow rebels have the will, the fervor and the money to bring down Syrian President Bashar Assad. What they lack, he says, is the firepower.
 
“If I make a phone call, I’ll have maybe 2,000 Stingers,” Nizar said, then acknowledged he could not get the shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles because the government is choking off all the main smuggling routes into Syria.
 
Small arms purchased on the black market are being smuggled in, but for all the international community’s talk of helping the rebels to bring down Assad, no government is known to be arming them.
 
Libya’s new rulers, fresh from their own revolution that toppled longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi, have pledged support for the Syrian rebels, but actually transferring weapons is tricky. Last month, Lebanese authorities seized a ship carrying rocket-propelled grenades and heavy caliber ammunition, possibly bound for Syrian rebels.
 
The fighters’ attempts to bring in heavier arms that could change the course of the 15-month-old uprising so far have been stymied at every turn, even by countries sympathetic to the revolt. All are wary of being drawn into the fight.
 
Any attempt by foreign governments to arm the rebels has been seen as a gamble because it could set the stage for a proxy war in an already volatile region. Such a scenario could entail Russia and Iran backing the Assad government, with the U.S. and its Arab and European allies supporting the rebels.
 
On the other hand, the lack of weaponry to resist a powerful crackdown by Assad’s forces has broad implications for the revolt, and it could push rebels toward desperate tactics.
 
Already, Syria’s rebels are shifting gears to smaller-scale guerrilla tactics like roadside bombs and hit-and-run attacks as the government chokes off the main smuggling routes.
 
AP interviews with security officials, rebels and arms dealers indicate that individual rebel units scrounge for weapons with almost no central organization or import routes for anything heavier than automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades.
 
“An RPG is the biggest gun we have,” said Nizar, who handles logistics and weapons procurement for the Free Syrian Army, the loose umbrella group for rebel factions. He said it receives no equipment from foreign governments and has not seen any American aid.
 
That contrasts sharply with the direction the conflict appeared to be taking earlier this year. Outraged by a bloody assault to crush the opposition in the city of Homs, Western and Arab governments spoke of supplying the rebels with cash.
 
The Obama administration says it has started delivering a package of $12 million in communications, medical and other “non-lethal” assistance to the opposition, but there have been no obvious changes on the ground.
 
Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Libya have spoken positively of the idea of arming the Syrian rebels, but no country is known to be doing so now.
 
Speaking to the AP in Turkey, where he is based, Nizar said rebels have managed to seize some 30 armored vehicles including tanks and were using some of them, and that some rebels are trying to set up their own arms industry. He did not say what they are producing.
 
In April, Saudi Arabia and other wealthy Arab Gulf states promised to set up a multimillion-dollar fund designed to prop up Syria’s rebels and entice defections from the army, but no money is known to have been distributed yet.
 
Nizar said money is not the issue – plenty pours in from Syrians in exile. He said the biggest need is for anti-tank and anti-helicopter weapons, including rockets.
 
The rebels have cast a wide net, contacting weapons dealers in Bulgaria, Greece, Georgia and Azerbaijan, he said. Libya has “opened the store” for Syrian rebels, eager to help fellow “revolutionaries” and, more important, to get rid of its destabilizing overstocks of weapons from last year’s civil war, he said.
 
But the problem is transporting the weapons into Syria. Light arms used to flow relatively easily into Syria through small-scale smuggling networks. But Syria’s neighbors all have good reasons to stay out of the fight, and are wary of openly arming the rebels. In recent weeks they appear to be clamping down on smuggling.
 
Nizar said Turkey’s position is “live in our country and don’t make problems.” Jordan keeps even tighter control on FSA members on its soil. Syria’s border with Israel is sealed, Iraq says it has deployed troops to curb smuggling across its border with Syria, and Lebanon is too divided to take any sort of unified stance on Syria. Russia, Syria’s chief backer, has a naval base on the country’s Mediterranean coast.
 
Lebanese authorities have been cracking down on weapons believed to be heading for Syria, particularly through the northern port city of Tripoli, where sympathy for the rebels is widespread.
 
On May 7, Lebanese authorities said they seized 60,000 rounds of ammunition hidden in a ship that arrived in Tripoli carrying used cars. Last month, they seized a ship headed to Tripoli carrying Libyan weapons, including rocket-propelled grenades and heavy caliber ammunition.
 
Abu Raed, 40, a former smuggler living in north Lebanon near the border with Syria, said weapons flowed freely until Syria clamped down.
 
“There were many ways to smuggle weapons inside Syria, especially at the beginning when areas close to the northern border were free of army presence,” he said.
 
Then the Syrian army mined the border and closed most of the smugglers’ crossings, he said. “This has limited the work of smugglers noticeably.”
 
Early in the uprising, rebels would hold ground and even entire neighborhoods or towns where opposition sentiment was high. But lack of weapons and the government’s firepower forced a shift in tactics and rebels appear to have turned to roadside bombs, hit-and-run ambushes and assassinations.
 
Since late December, Al-Qaeda-style suicide bombings have become increasingly common, although the FSA denies having anything to do with those. Instead, they say, they target military vehicles and soldiers to chip away at the government.
 
“At least in recent weeks, you no longer have these big battles like one had in Homs,” Jakob Kellenberger, president of International Committee of the Red Cross, told reporters on May 8 in Geneva.
 
“You have more guerrilla attacks and bomb attacks,” he said.
 
Syrian army units have stepped up their firepower. Some are using Russian-made 2S4 Tyulpan 240mm self-propelled mortars, the world’s heaviest mortars, said Nic Jenzen-Jones, an Australia-based small arms consultant.
 
“Even assuming significant quantities of weapons end up in opposition hands, the regime might feel it has little reason to worry,” the International Crisis Group said in a recent report.
 
“In Libya, the massive NATO air campaign almost certainly did more to defeat Gadhafi’s forces than whatever assistance was provided to rebel groups; even then, it took months to achieve victory.”
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Thucydides on June 13, 2012, 17:48:50
As always, we are i9n the position of having to make the least worst choices:

http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2012/06/12/wilsonian-wars-wilsonian-ruin/

Quote
Wilsonian Wars, Wilsonian Ruin
Walter Russell Mead

After we expressed our concerns during NATO’s Libyan war that the afterparty was likely to be chaotic and unpleasant, we’ve been watching the horrific humanitarian and political consequences unwind in several places.

Most recently, Via Meadia has been keeping a careful eye on the growing troubles in northern Mali and the storied historical city of Timbuktu for some time. Two groups — the Tuareg independence movement MNLA and the al-Qaeda affiliated Ansar Dine — are involved in a struggle for control of a large part of northern Mali. Together, both groups put up a united front in dealing with Mali’s feeble and divided central government, with the result that they’ve seized control of large parts of the country. They then declared a “union” and announced their intention to establish an Islamic, well, something, and began the usual persecutions of and reprisals against their enemies. Due to both tribal and religious differences, their alliance is tenuous and they are held together only by their loathing and jealousy of the south — and their fear that outside groups like the group of west African nations known as ECOWAS will send troops against them.

To make matters more complicated, many of Timbuktu’s original residents, who are displeased with the newcomers, decided to establish their own armed movement — the Patriots’ Resistance Movement for the Liberation of Timbuktu. At this point we have something that looks partly like something out of Evelyn Waugh’s Scoop, partly like a Monty Python sketch, partly like a terrible human tragedy and partly like something much more ominous: a jihadi center organizing itself in an area of weak states and deep regional and ethnic rivalries.

And of course we have hundreds of thousands of refugees, most living in misery far from their homes, various people killed in the fighting and in the revenge killings and reprisals that are taking place, and the destruction of the economy across much of the north. These are all consequences of NATO’s much ballyhooed “humanitarian war” in Libya that, if anybody remembers, was originally launched because of fears that victorious Qaddafi forces would carry out massacres when they retook the rebel city of Benghazi.

NATO didn’t so much prevent massacres as move them offstage; the noble idealists and brilliant strategists in the White House who gave the go ahead for the Libyan war must now adjust their consciences as best they can as the consequences of their intervention roll on through Mali and elsewhere.

Nobody really knows where the mess in Mali will lead. There have been hints African forces will intervene against the Tuareg amid parallel fears that northern Mali would otherwise turn into a haven for international terrorists. The French, who have quietly run parts of west Africa as a neo-colonial fief for the last fifty years, are calling for yet another international intervention. Most of the world’s humanitarians and idealists, however, are so busy calling for a humanitarian war in Syria that they don’t have the energy to simultaneously call for another humanitarian war in Mali. (Nick Kristof, on the other hand, also wants a humanitarian war in Sudan.)

The mess in Mali really is a consequence of the Libyan war. Mali had plenty of problems, but things were running along mostly as usual until Gaddafi-armed Tuareg rebels ditched Libya and returned to northern Mali, where they won a series of skirmishes against poorly equipped Malian government troops. Some of those soldiers’ colleagues in Bamoko then overthrew their democratically elected president just a few weeks before elections (which would have been Mali’s fifth straight) because he was losing territory to the Tuareg and not, in their opinion, doing enough about it. Now the junta in Bamoko is refusing to hold elections while rebels establish themselves in the north and civilians are forced to arm themselves and dig deep in the desert sands for water because resources have become exceedingly scarce.

One of Africa’s more promising democratic experiments is in ruins today because of the Wilsonian war in Libya, and we will never know how many Malians have died so that western idealists could feel better about themselves for a while.

Mali isn’t the only place where the aftermath of this Wilsonian kinetic action don’t look particularly Wilsonian. Back in Libya, dozens of people were killed during fighting in the southern city of Kufra, where plentiful weapons are reigniting old rivalries and hatreds between tribes on all different sides of Libya’s borders with Chad and Sudan and between southern tribes and Libya’s current government which, ensconced on the Mediterranean coast, can seem far, far away indeed. Yet the trouble isn’t limited to Libya’s farflung desert towns — members of one of the numerous militias shut down Tripoli International Airport last Monday, blowing up a hangar and trading fire with other armed groups on the runway.

Western interventionists pushed for the NATO bombing campaign that eventually helped defeat Qaddafi partly because Libya to them seemed simple: On one side were the rebels, hopelessly outgunned, on the verge of a last stand outside Benghazi, defending their city and their women and children against the forces of a brutal dictator who had ruthlessly terrorized the country for decades. Clear cut conflict, right? A no-brainer, a simple choice between Right and Wrong.

Much, of course, like the no-brainer the humanitarians now see before them in Syria, where the brutal dictatorship isn’t only threatening to massacre its citizens, it is actually massacring them day by day.

But Syria is almost infinitely more complicated and both the “humanitarian” war and its afterparty are likely to be messier than anything that happened in Libya and surrounding countries. Syria is far smaller and more densely populated by communities that vary more widely in religion and ethnicity than Libya. Syria is in a tough neighborhood and is not isolated by desert and ocean the way Libya is. Lebanon is occupied by an equally unstable cauldron of communities that have already proven themselves quick on the trigger in their own vicious history of brutal civil wars and now in support of one side or the other in the war next door. There is a desert separating Syria from Iraq, but it is not the Sahara. Refugees and fighters — whether Iraqi, Syrian, Kurdish, Alawite, Christian — continually cross it, fleeing or joining fighting wherever it erupts. Arms traders also work this terrain; wars spread. Turkey is already dealing with thousands of refugees and on at least one occasion fighting has spilled over from the Syrian side of the border.

A nice festive humanitarian intervention in Syria, banners waving, bands playing, choirs singing and ourselves feeling incredibly righteous and smug as we exhibit the beautiful plumes of our fine moral sensibilities to an admiring world, as we bomb the evil doers from 30,000 feet and rain drones down on their heads until they see the error of their ways: the war will have a glamorous start but is unlikely to have a storybook ending.

Unlike the isolationists and the doctrinaire realists, Via Meadia doesn’t slam the door shut on all humanitarian interventions all the time.  There can be times in this world when you must act on humanitarian grounds if you can. But those times are rare; bombing the bad guys is not the solution to every crisis, cannot be the solution we trot out three times a week.

The question of Syria is a complicated one. Humanitarian, strategic and practical questions are tangled up in ways that make it very hard to choose a course of action. And one problem is that if we don’t act, others will. The arming of the Sunni opposition by Gulf Arabs, some with Salafi sympathies, will go on no matter what we think or say, and that is likely both to affect the balance of power within the Syrian opposition in ways we don’t like and to change what happens on the ground. At the same time, our strategic interest in pressuring Iran and in that way hoping to avoid a war between the US and Iran makes the ouster of the Syrian regime a much more important goal than it might otherwise be.

There are only two things we can say with any certainty about Syria now. One is that the humanitarian case for intervention is much weaker than its advocates fully grasp because the likelihood of chaos and destruction in the aftermath of a war is so great; the other is that the American policymakers who try to guide us through this morass will have to make second and third best choices. None of the alternatives is particularly attractive, and the situation is so complicated that it is not really possible to predict what the outcomes of any policy will be.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: milnews.ca on June 18, 2012, 17:21:21
Quote
Russia confirmed that it was preparing to send an elite unit of marines to its naval base in Syria on Monday, sharply raising the stakes in its confrontation with the West over the future of the Assad regime.

The planned deployment was designed to send a powerful signal that Russia would not tolerate foreign military intervention in Syria, according to a Western defence source.

It was apparently ordered after the Kremlin came to conclusion that Western powers were preparing to circumvent the United Nations Security Council – where Russia holds a veto – by unilaterally authorising Nato military action in Syria. The source said that Russia had "completely misunderstood" Western intentions.

Classified US satellite images last week indicated that loading work had begun on two amphibious landing vessels, the Nikolai Filchenkov and the Caesar Kunikov, at the Crimean naval base of Sebastopol.

After initially remaining silent on the subject, a senior naval commander yesterday confirmed that both ships would shortly be heading to the Russian base at the Syrian port of Tartus, the Interfax news agency reported.

The officer said that they would carry marines charged with protecting the security of Russian citizens and evacuating a part of the base, marking the first time Moscow has sent troops to Syria since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began more than 15 months ago ....
The Telegraph (UK), 18 Jun 12 (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/9339905/Syria-Russia-to-send-marines-to-naval-base.html)
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Old Sweat on June 21, 2012, 15:27:29
And according to the CP, contingency planning towards possible roles in the event of action involving Syria is underway. As one who has done this sort of thing on a number of occasions, I emphasize this is a normal precaution and should not be construed as anything sinister. The story from the Globe and Mail site is reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act.



Canadian military planners spin Syria scenarios as UN suspends mission
 

Murray Brewster

Ottawa — The Canadian Press
 

Published Thursday, Jun. 21 2012, 4:24 AM EDT
 
Last updated Thursday, Jun. 21 2012, 4:28 AM EDT
 
The Canadian military is drawing up contingency plans in case the Harper government chooses to join any international intervention in the Syrian crisis.
 
Defence sources say the work recently got under way when it became evident that UN-led peace efforts were unravelling and that unarmed observers have suspended patrols amid escalating violence.

The sources emphasized the effort is a normal part of military planning, is not the result of government direction, and is intended to give cabinet “a range of options depending on the international circumstances.”

A broad set of scenarios are under consideration, one high-ranking official at National Defence told The Canadian Press.

Another source said the different commands have not yet been asked to identify units for inclusion in any mission.

A complicating factor is the speed with which events are unfolding, notably the deployment of two Russian amphibious assault ships and 1,000 Russian marines to protect the country’s naval base in the Syrian port of Tartus, and a proposal by the Red Cross to evacuate wounded from the embattled city of Homs.

A spokesman for Defence Minister Peter MacKay said late Wednesday talk of a military assistance mission is premature.

“As always, the Canadian Forces stand ready to assist both at home and abroad, if and when called upon,” Jay Paxton said in an e-mail note.

“Canada continues to explore all diplomatic means available to support the people of Syria.”

France has called for a UN-enforced no-fly zone, and retired major-general Lewis MacKenzie said participating is almost certainly one of the options Ottawa would consider.

But he cautioned Canada should support only a traditional no-fly zone and not a mission similar to that in Libya, which saw NATO warplanes stretch the UN mandate to help oust Moammar Gadhafi with attacks on command centres, missile batteries and armoured vehicles.

“That would unfortunate because that’s what pissed off the Chinese and the Russians, which partially got us into this current situation,” he said.

Both major powers felt NATO went beyond its mandate in Libya.

Beijing and Moscow have repeatedly blocked UN attempts to deal with the Syrian crisis, including the use of their veto over a UN Security Council resolution that called on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to give up power.

Laurent Fabius, the French foreign minister, said Syria is in a civil war and he hoped Russia would set aside its reservations and agree to invoke the UN’s Chapter 7. That allows the Security Council to take military action to restore the peace.

The French want to use a no-fly zone as the first stage to get humanitarian aid into the country, according to published reports.

Mr. MacKenzie said that is a possibility “providing the situation would permit that to even start,” but the government needs to ask whether that scenario would require low-level air cover.

The secretary-general of the Arab League called on Monday for the international community to deploy a peacekeeping force, which observers have suggested could lead to the establishment of safe havens, similar to the UN-mandated zones set up during the Balkan wars of the 1990s.

“If they established safe havens tomorrow, half the world would sigh a sigh of relief and say, ‘Oh, my God. Good. We’ve done that. We’ve done something,“’ said Mr. MacKenzie, who commanded peacekeepers during the siege of Sarajavo.

“It would take it off the front page, but the problem is the government and the rebels carry on with their confrontation.”

Mr. MacKenzie said the government should resist the call to put troops on the ground, including special forces.

“I think they would be very dumb to get involved in a situation like that because it’s not going to receive UN authorization, so therefore we’d have to be led by someone, whether it’s France, the Brits or the Americans or whatever,” he said.

“I don’t foresee any circumstance in Syria, no matter how serious it gets, where Canadian boots will be on the ground.”
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: jollyjacktar on June 21, 2012, 15:57:26
And so it begins...
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Paul_Ontario on June 22, 2012, 21:16:18
Syrian military says it downed Turkish fighter jet

Sauce: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-18561219

Quote
The Syrian military has said it shot down a Turkish plane "flying in airspace over Syrian waters", according to state-run news agency Sana.

"[The jet] was dealt with in accordance with the laws that govern such situations," a military spokesman said.

Turkey had earlier said it believed that one of its F-4 fighter jets had been shot down by Syrian forces.

A search for the two crew members is under way, involving Turkish and Syrian coast guard ships.

The F-4 Phantom disappeared over the Mediterranean, south-west of Turkey's Hatay province, near the Syrian coast.

The Turkish military said it lost radio contact with the F-4 while it was flying over Hatay, about 90 minutes after it took off from Erhac airbase in the province of Malatya, to the north-west.

A Syrian military spokesman told Sana that an "unidentified target" had broached Syrian airspace from a westerly direction at 11:40 local time (08:40 GMT) on Friday.

The target was flying at high speed and at low altitude, the spokesman said.

Anti-aircraft defences had hit the plane with artillery, bringing it down in the sea off the coast of Latakia province, 10km (six miles) from the village of Um al-Tuyour, he added.

"It later became clear the target was a Turkish military plane which had entered our airspace," he continued.

'Decisive response'
 
Earlier on Friday evening, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan held a two-hour emergency meeting with his interior, defence and foreign ministers and the Chief of the General Staff, Gen Necdet Ozel.

Mr Erdogan's office said that Turkey would respond decisively once all the circumstances were established.

 
Given the breakdown in relations between the two countries over the Syrian conflict, this incident has the potential to provoke a serious crisis, the BBC's Jonathan Head in Istanbul reports.

Much will depend on whether or not the Turkish pilots have survived, our correspondent says.

If not, public anger might push the government into some kind of punitive action against Syria, he adds.

Relations between Nato-member Turkey and Syria, once close allies, have deteriorated sharply since the uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad began in March 2011.

Tens of thousands of Syrian refugees have fled the violence across the border into Turkey.

Aleppo violence
 
Inside Syria, the violence continued on Thursday with state media reporting that "armed terrorist groups" had abducted and massacred 25 villagers in Aleppo province.

Activists said that rebels had shot dead 26 government supporters who were believed to be militiamen.

In Aleppo city, activists said a number of people died when security forces opened fire on a demonstration after Friday prayers.

Meanwhile, international envoy Kofi Annan has said it is time for the world to exert greater pressure to help bring the violence in Syria to an end.

Mr Annan called for Iran to be involved in attempts to end the violence, a proposal put forward by Russia but rejected by the US.

In a separate development, the BBC has learned that UK government officials have decided to prevent the head of the Syrian Olympic Committee, Gen Mowaffak Joumaa, from travelling to London for the Games.

The visa ban is believed to be linked to his relationship to President Bashar al-Assad's government.

Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: cupper on June 22, 2012, 21:44:42
Syrian military says it downed Turkish fighter jet

Sauce: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-18561219

Oops. :facepalm:
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: aesop081 on June 22, 2012, 21:47:16
(http://forums.rennlist.com/upload/thisbusiness.jpg)
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Popurhedoff on June 24, 2012, 09:12:45
Turkey has requested consultations under article 4 of NATO's founding Washington Treaty. Under article 4, any ally can request consultations whenever, in the opinion of any of them, their territorial integrity, political independence or security is threatened," Oana Lungescu said.

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2012/06/201262465711936449.html (http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2012/06/201262465711936449.html)

This will make it very interesting.

Cheers
Pop
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: MasterInstructor on June 24, 2012, 10:00:41
I don't know how much info you get from Canadian news but today, Turkish Government made a statement after analyzing the data...

!- Plane was in International waters, 1 mile away from Syrian air space when shot down. After fire upon, tried to make it to Syrian land for ejection but crashed 4 miles away, 3 miles in Syrian airspace, 8 miles from shore

2- IFF was on and identified as Turkish

3- No FC radar was on

4- It was aircraft with no weapons capability.

5- No warnings were issued.

6- 15 minuted before getting shot down, accidently it entered the Syrian Airspace briefly and immediately left the airspace.

7- Its mission was to test the Turkish radar systems by flying low at high speed.

Prime Minister talked with all political party leaders and all consulates of UN, NATO and Arab League nations over the weekend and called for emergency NATO meeting which will be held Tuesday

This is the latest news from Turkey
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: E.R. Campbell on June 24, 2012, 10:10:56
Turkey has requested consultations under article 4 of NATO's founding Washington Treaty. Under article 4, any ally can request consultations whenever, in the opinion of any of them, their territorial integrity, political independence or security is threatened," Oana Lungescu said.

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2012/06/201262465711936449.html (http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2012/06/201262465711936449.html)

This will make it very interesting.

Cheers
Pop


I think Turkey is making a wee, tiny bit of mischief.

Turkey has been rejected by Europe, it's been, de facto, declared to be "not European enough" for the EU, but when Europe wanted to "display leadership" by leading NATO into operations in neighbouring oil supplier Libya it needed Turkish support. Now Turkey has issue with its neighbour, one with which it (and NATO) shares a common land border ~ it wants, at least, to force the Europeans to acknowledge that Turkey is part of the "North Atlantic" (Euro-American) alliance.

I doubt the Turks expect or even, really, want NATO support. Turkey is re-inventing itself as a major Muslim power (its population is about the same as acknowledged Muslim "powers" Egypt and Iran but its GDP is about the same as Egypt and Iran combined), bordering but separate from Europe.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Brihard on June 24, 2012, 17:13:07
I don't know how much info you get from Canadian news but today, Turkish Government made a statement after analyzing the data...

!- Plane was in International waters, 1 mile away from Syrian air space when shot down. After fire upon, tried to make it to Syrian land for ejection but crashed 4 miles away, 3 miles in Syrian airspace, 8 miles from shore

2- IFF was on and identified as Turkish

3- No FC radar was on

4- It was aircraft with no weapons capability.

5- No warnings were issued.

6- 15 minuted before getting shot down, accidently it entered the Syrian Airspace briefly and immediately left the airspace.

7- Its mission was to test the Turkish radar systems by flying low at high speed.

Prime Minister talked with all political party leaders and all consulates of UN, NATO and Arab League nations over the weekend and called for emergency NATO meeting which will be held Tuesday

This is the latest news from Turkey

I don't buy it.

1. The wreck was found about 13km offshore. Considerably closer than that account claims.

2 & 3. Any independent verification of this, or just Turkey's say so?

4. Turkey has acquired 40 RF-4Es. 32 of them were second hand from the German air force, which upgraded its recce aircraft to be capable of ground attack. Turkey further has a good supply of conventionally equipped F-4s. There is no reason to expect a nation defending its airspace to be able to discern that the F-4 in question is one of the very small number that Turkey has that are not capable of bearing arms.

5. Same question, any independent corroboration? Do we really believe that in a regime like Assad's low level military leaders are going to take the risk on their own initiative of engaging an aircraft that is not with certainty flying a hostile flight profile? It smells fishy.

6. He said / she said. One side is telling (more of) the truth and one is lying.

7. How low and fast are we talking here? It got hit hard at low altitude and high speed and still made it halfway to shore? And the crew were in good enough shape to do that, but not to punch out?


Some other inconsistencies- what the hell kind of gun does Syria have that can successfully engage a small, high speed fighter aircraft at 22km, can hit it, but doesn't kill it outright? Does such ground based AAA even exist with that kind of range and accuracy? And yet subsequently fail to achieve a subsequent hard kill after the aircraft turns directly into Syrian airspace and begins decreasing altitude- which must, on radar, appear to be even more hostile than it must have been to begin with?

If Turkey is going to be mapping its own AA coverage that close to Syrian airspace, one would think the pilots would be skilled enough to exercise more care- particularly if they've already been in Syrian airspace one shortly before.

If someone can tell me that AAA is in fact that effective, I'll have to adjust how I'm looking at it, but I'm seriously doubtful. Occam's razor suggests that Syria's story is much more believable in this. The Turks look to have been caught playing some sort of games, and are trying to save face. I could be wrong of course, but things just don't add up.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Retired AF Guy on June 24, 2012, 21:13:04
I don't buy it.

...................

Some other inconsistencies- what the hell kind of gun does Syria have that can successfully engage a small, high speed fighter aircraft at 22km, can hit it, but doesn't kill it outright? Does such ground based AAA even exist with that kind of range and accuracy? And yet subsequently fail to achieve a subsequent hard kill after the aircraft turns directly into Syrian airspace and begins decreasing altitude- which must, on radar, appear to be even more hostile than it must have been to begin with?

The Syrians have stated that the F-4 was within 1 km of its coastline, well within range of AAA systems such as the  57mm S-60  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/57_mm_AZP_S-60). Depends on who you want to believe.

Having said that, I think we have to be careful with the phrase "fired upon;" on hearing that phrase we assume that it means AAA, when in fact it can also refer to a SAM launch. In my mind a SAM is the most likely culprit, with the honours going to the  SA-2 Guideline  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S-75_Dvina). Here is link to the  IMINT and Analysis website  (http://geimint.blogspot.com/) that provides a breakdown of the  Syrian Air Defense network (http://geimint.blogspot.com/2007/09/syrian-sam-network.html). The second slide has the range rings for the various strategic SAM systems with the SA-2 in red. Where the Turkish F-4 was downed is within the red range circle.

Here is a link to a  BBC article  (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-18568207) on the downing that includes a map  showing the purported flight path and timeline of the incident.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: winnipegoo7 on June 24, 2012, 23:25:45
Pantsir-S1 might have been the culprit according to Wikipedia.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pantsir-S1#Operators_and_combat_history

http://www.debka.com/article/22112/Newly-supplied-Russian-Pantsyr-1-anti-air-missile-used-to-down-Turkish-warplane
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Retired AF Guy on June 24, 2012, 23:59:45
Pantsir-S1 might have been the culprit according to Wikipedia.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pantsir-S1#Operators_and_combat_history

http://www.debka.com/article/22112/Newly-supplied-Russian-Pantsyr-1-anti-air-missile-used-to-down-Turkish-warplane

Sorry, there's nothing in the Wiki article that confirms that Syria has the Pantsir-S1. As for the Debka article, gag me with a smurf.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Brihard on June 25, 2012, 00:06:38
Syria has explicitly stated 'antiaircraft artillery', and Turkey was stating the same for a while too. That's why I buy the Syrian story more than the Turkish one- at close prximity to the coast a 57 or a ZSU or some such is absolutely believable. In international airspace though? Certainly not.

The Syrian story is consistent and believable, frankly. Turkey's has too many holes in it. The simplest explanation likely being true, I think it's more likely that Turkey got caught with its pants down in a recce and an F-4 got splashed. Now, in typical middle eastern fashion, they're esperately trying to save face by spinning a tale.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: winnipegoo7 on June 25, 2012, 08:57:41
I agree that Wikipedia isn't the best source. It was the only source I could find that was claiming a specific weapon system was used. There is now a JP article that quotes a Turkish tabloid claiming it was a SA-11, but I guess we will find out what did it in time.

According to Janes, Syria received delivery of some Pantsir-S1 in 2008/09, but may have sold some of them to Iran.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Retired AF Guy on June 25, 2012, 19:19:59
I agree that Wikipedia isn't the best source. It was the only source I could find that was claiming a specific weapon system was used. There is now a JP article that quotes a Turkish tabloid claiming it was a SA-11, but I guess we will find out what did it in time.

If you go to the Wiki article in question and click on the source for the report it takes you to ... wait for it .... the Debkafile report you had quoted earlier.

Quote
According to Janes, Syria received delivery of some Pantsir-S1 in 2008/09, but may have sold some of them to Iran.
I remember hearing the same thing. If Syria had any operational Pantsir-S1 we would probably have evidence of it by now (e.g. radar intercepts, imagery (handheld and/or overhead), defectors reports, etc).
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Retired AF Guy on June 25, 2012, 19:28:11
From "tomorrow's" Turkish Daily News.

Quote
Syria shot Turkish jet in front of many eyewitnesses

The eastern Mediterranean is surrounded by many watching military eyes, leading many to wonder why no one witnessed the shooting down of a Turkish jet
 
In his address to his Justice and Development Party (AK Parti) in the Parliament today, June 26, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan is expected to make an important statement about the country’s next move regarding Syria’s shooting down of a Turkish reconnaissance plane on June 22 off Syrian coast.

Following the June 25 cabinet meeting with all three main opposition parties in the Parliament, a meeting with foreign ambassadors in Ankara on June 24 and high-level security meetings on June 23 there has been a heavy diplomatic traffic denouncing Syria since the day the incident occurred, and now all eyes will be on Erdoğan.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, in an interview with state-run television channel TRT on June 24, gave a detailed, minute-by-minute account of the incident and said it was a deliberate attack on an unarmed, open ID plane located outside Syrian territorial waters and without any advance warning given. Davutoğlu is operating as the coordinator of this crisis in Ankara. Despite Davutoğlu’s statements the Syrian government insists the plane was in Syrian territory and quite close, allowing it to be shot by a 2.5 kilometer range anti-aircraft gun.

Syrian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Jihad Makdissi claimed that they had presented a part of an American made Turkish F-4 plane with bullet holes on it (thus proving the plane was not shot down by a rocket) to Turkey, but no Turkish source has so far confirm that. Turkish search and rescue efforts, on the other hand, found some parts of the cockpit and seats in open sea waters, which are reported to have traces of explosion and fire. The two Turkish pilots are still missing with hopes for their survival decreasing.

Now Hürriyet Daily News has additional information from official Turkish sources saying the plane was shot at 11:56 a.m. on June 22 (when the radio contact was lost) and crashed into the sea at 11:58 a.m. (when the radar track was lost) and during the one plus minute it glided down into Syrian territorial waters. Turkey says it has given all chronological accounts, including radar tracks and radio communications to its NATO allies and United Nations representations. The European Union Commission imposed new sanctions on Syria and denounced its militaristic politics on June 25. NATO has been called by Turkey for a meeting scheduled today for a presentation of the attack.

The attack actually took place in front of many eyewitnesses. The north corner of the East Mediterranean is one of the most condensed spot in the world when it comes to military and intelligence activities.

The Malatya, Erhaç air base of Turkey (see map on the front page) hosts a major early warning radar system for the NATO missile shield defense system, which started operation following the NATO summit in May, serving as a major issue between the United States and Russia. In Tartus, south of the main Syria city of Latakia where the Turkish plane was shot down off the coast, lies Russia’s main naval base in the Mediterranean with important intelligence capabilities. It is important for Russians to be close to three important targets at once; that is the main reason for them to back the actions of the Beshar Al-Assad regime against its own people: Incirlik NATO base, south of Turkey is one of biggest of its kind in the world is north of Tartus. Right to its west there is the Dikelia base of the United Kingdom, a main military and intelligence facility which also keeps an eye on the Suez channel and Aegean. To its south there is Israel, the main threat of its best ally in the region and its host regime, Syria. Perhaps there is no need to say that Israel is trying its best not to miss anything in this highly strategic part of the region.

There is no need to say that for many countries having satellites, this is a pretty attractive location to watch.

And so the question is: Is it possible not to see the attack with so many witnesses around? Another question: Is it possible to hide the truth when there are so many eyes watching?

June/26/2012

 Article Link.  (http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/syria-shot-turkish-jet-in-front-of-many-eyewitnesses.aspx?pageID=238&nID=24048&NewsCatID=409) The link also has a map showing the purported flight path of the aircraft. The article does make a good point in that the area in question, is well monitored by various countries and their respective military/intelligent agencies.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: tomahawk6 on June 26, 2012, 23:16:38
Assad's palace defenses are under attack. There are reports of SAS entering Syria to establish "safe" zones. Maybe its the end of the line for Assad and the Baath Party.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: cupper on June 27, 2012, 20:29:22
Assad's palace defenses are under attack. There are reports of SAS entering Syria to establish "safe" zones. Maybe its the end of the line for Assad and the Baath Party.

Hope so. My company is in the process of starting up an office in Turkey, and there is a good possibility I could end up going over some time in the next few months.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Paul_Ontario on June 28, 2012, 15:51:34
Turkey - deploys rocket launchers and artillery along Syrian border

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-18622140

Quote
Turkey has begun deploying rocket launchers and artillery along its border with Syria after last week's shooting down of a Turkish plane.
 
Columns of military vehicles have been seen moving from bases in Iskenderun and Diyarbakir to the border, close to the area where the jet came down.
 
The F-4 Phantom jet crashed into the sea after straying into Syrian airspace. The pilots are still missing.
 
Turkey has responded by changing its terms of military engagement.
 
Announcing the decision to step up its border defences on Tuesday, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that any "military element" that approached the Turkish border from Syria would be treated as a threat and a military target.
 
He described Syria as a "clear and present threat".
 
Turkish TV showed pictures of a small convoy of lorries carrying anti-aircraft guns into a military base near the border town of Yayladagi.
 
Other military vehicles had travelled to the border town of Reyhanli in Hatay province, reports said.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Thucydides on July 03, 2012, 13:07:55
Getting to the end game now. The Syrian regime still has a much larger and more formidable military force than many of the other "Arab Sprinjg" nations, and this military is not sitting on the sidelines or siding with the rebels either, so this could be a long, drawn out process:

http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2012/06/30/kelly-mcparland-assads-last-calculation-to-quit-and-live-or-fight-on-and-die/#more-83547

Quote
Kelly McParland: Assad’s last calculation — to quit and live, or fight on and die?
Kelly McParland  Jun 30, 2012 – 1:16 PM ET | Last Updated: Jun 29, 2012 4:21 PM ET
 
A member of the Free Syrian Army holds a burning portrait of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Al-Qsair, 25 kilometres southwest of Homs

At what point do you suppose it will occur to Bashar Assad that it isn’t going to get better?

There are turning points in every insurgency, where the momentum shifts irreversibly in one direction. The regime does everything it can to halt its opponents. It abandons any pretense of caring for human life. It throws aside any remnant of restraint and focuses all its effort on eliminating the threat by simple slaughter. If that doesn’t work, it has nothing left.

Syria shows every sign of having reached, and passed, that point. When a government is willing to indiscriminately murder women and children, not as collateral damage but for the sheer effect of the terror, it has stopped fighting for any cause other than its own skin. And yet the Syrian insurgency hasn’t stopped, hasn’t even diminished. It has grown, in size and bloodshed, and now it’s in Damascus itself.

The New York Times reports that opposition figures claim Thursday was the most lethal day of the civil war, with 190 casualties. The figures can’t be confirmed but other observer groups report similar figures. Whatever the real number, it’s clear the capital has become part of the battlefield.  That puts it on Assad’s very doorstep. Three more generals are said to have been captured, and two shown on videos.  Turkey has moved troops and anti-aircraft guns to the Syrian border. Russia, Assad’s most powerful remaining ally, has stopped insisting the West mind its own business and is now discussing a proposal that stipulates  “a transitional unity government would have to exclude those whose continued presence and participation would undermine the credibility of the transition and jeopardise stability and reconciliation.”  That means Assad and his closest cronies.

So when will it dawn on the dictator that it’s over? That he won’t be able to defeat the insurgents, won’t be able to return peace and repression to the country, won’t be able to go back to the way it was. The key question of the next few weeks will be whether he survives. He could probably still flee the country and live out a comfortable existence in some accommodating  sanctuary. His appalling wife could get back her charge accounts at the best stores in Paris. The kids could be kept in posh private schools. But if he stays, his chances of survival appear slim. Either the rebels get him and execute him, or worried men at the heart of his government try to save their necks by sacrificing his.

Saddam Hussein stuck it out until the end, which for him was a hole in the ground where he was captured by U.S. forces. Iraqis  later hanged him.  Muammar Gaddafi kept running until he landed in a drainage pipe, and was executed by his captors. Hosni Mubarak was pushed out by his generals, who are still jockeying for position with a new replacement government. Tunisia’s Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia with his family. His wife claims he was betrayed by his security forces; if he ever returns home he faces a sentence of life in prison.

External evidence suggests they all thought they could survive their individual revolts. Unleash the army, issue orders to shoot to kill, ensure everyone knows you’re prepared to sacrifice a thousand lives to save your own, or bring down the entire country, if that’s what it takes to remain in power. Only when someone finally points a weapon at them, or hustles them to the airport, do they finally realize they can’t win.

When do you think it will occur to Assad? Early enough that he lives, or so late that he dies?

National Post
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: milnews.ca on July 05, 2012, 08:19:02
Quote
Celebrated ocean explorer and Titanic finder Bob Ballard, working for the Turkish government, has located the bodies of two Turkish pilots shot down by Syria over the eastern Mediterranean last month, the Turkish military said in a statement released Wednesday.

Ballard and his crew aboard his research vessel Nautilus are now working to recover the remains, the statement said. Turkey did not disclose whether the bodies were found in Syrian or international waters, and a Ballard representative aboard the ship declined to comment.

After recovering the bodies, the Nautilus will resume its hunt for the wreckage of the F-4 jet downed by Syria on June 22, the Turkish military statement said.

The Nautilus was anchored in Istanbul preparing for a two-month scientific expedition when the Turkish government asked for Ballard's assistance in its hunt for the U.S.-built jet and the two pilots ....
Washington Post, via Seattle Times, 4 Jul 12 (http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2018604376_turksyria05.html)
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: cupper on July 05, 2012, 14:06:35
Wikileaks stikes again.

Just heard on the news that a spokesperson from Wikileaks that they are about to release a huge cache of e-mails regarding / from Syria which they claim will be severely embarrassing to the Assad Regime and the Western Allies challenging it.

I'll see if I can track down a news link and post here.

Update:

WikiLeaks has data from 2.4 million Syrian emails

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fgw-wikileaks-syria-emails-20120706,0,4177079.story

Quote
The secret-spilling group WikiLeaks said Thursday it was in the process of publishing material from 2.4 million Syrian emails -- many of which it said came from official government accounts.

WikiLeaks' Sarah Harrison told journalists at London's Frontline Club that the emails reveal interactions between the Syrian government and Western companies, although she declined to go into much further detail.

Harrison quoted WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as saying that "the material is embarrassing to Syria, but it is also embarrassing to Syria's external opponents."

WikiLeaks only posted a handful of the documents to its website Thursday, but the disclosure -- whose source WikiLeaks has not made clear -- wouldn't be the first major leak of Syrian emails.

In February, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz published excerpts of what it said were emails hacked from Syrian servers by Anonymous, the shadowy Internet activist group. In March, Britain's Guardian newspaper published emails it sourced to Syrian opposition activists.

The messages appeared to catch the glamorous wife of Syrian President Bashar Assad shopping for pricey shoes while her country slipped toward civil war.

Harrison said the WikiLeaks emails dated from August 2006 to March 2012 and originated from hundreds of different domains, including Syria's ministry of presidential affairs.

Harrison said her group was "statistically confident" that the body of material was genuine.

Assange, who is currently seeking asylum at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, was not at the brief presentation. He is wanted by British police for possible extradition to Sweden to face questions about alleged sexual misconduct there.

He has denied wrongdoing but faces arrest if he leaves the embassy.

Harrison acknowledged that WikiLeaks is facing "a difficult time at the moment" but said "we are continuing to work through that."


And for what it's worth, here is the link to the e-mails released so far.

http://wikileaks.org/syria-files/
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Thucydides on July 06, 2012, 16:00:39
The possible end state of Syria; a Balkanized cluster of mutually hostile splinter groups and states, each looking for some outside agency to provide support and comfort. Turkey, Iran and the Kurds will all be major players in a post Syrian state (the boundaries of "Syria" may remain, but the facts on the ground may resemble Lebanon more than any nation state):

http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2012/07/06/gary-gambill-bashar-assad-can-always-find-refuge-with-the-alawites/#more-83973

Quote
Gary Gambill: Bashar Assad can always find refuge with the Alawites
Gary Gambill, National Post  Jul 6, 2012 – 7:00 AM ET | Last Updated: Jul 6, 2012 9:29 AM ET
 
President Bashar al-Assad waving upon his arrival in parliament in Damascus to give a speech on June 3, 2012. Assad paid tribute to civilian and military "martyrs" of the violence in Syria, saying their blood was not shed in vain.

Comments Email Twitter Sixteen months into the Syrian uprising, Obama administration officials are still hopeful that President Bashar Assad (or an ambitious subordinate) can be pressured to peacefully surrender power, if only the Russians would read him the riot act. Don’t hold your breath.

The belief that leaders of the Syrian regime can be persuaded to yield power peacefully is plausible at first glance, as they clearly can’t win the looming civil war. The country’s disenfranchised Sunni Arab majority has a fivefold demographic advantage over Assad’s Alawite sect, which controls the commanding heights of government and mans the elite security forces charged with its defense. Surrounded by sympathetic Sunni states, porous borders and an international community gunning for Assad’s ouster (literally, if some have their way), the rebels are steadily growing stronger and will eventually gain the upper hand. Faced with the bleak prospect of fighting to the bitter end, the reasoning goes, key regime stakeholders should be willing to peacefully opt out in return for security guarantees, immunity from prosecution and other material inducements.

In practice, however, it’s impossible to provide credible promises of protection to those with the means and will to obstruct a peaceful transition. Everyone in a position of authority to deliver regime concessions now has too much blood on their hands to live safely in Syria after relinquishing power, whatever formal guarantees they might receive.

Thousands of others who played more modest roles in government or profited unfairly from it will also face considerable dangers when the walls come crashing down. The fall of Saddam Hussein’s Sunni-led minoritarian regime led to several hundred extrajudicial executions by Iraqi Shiites within a year, many of them lone wolf acts of vengeance against relatively low-ranking officers and civil servants — all of this despite the presence of U.S.-led coalition forces (a firewall that Syria presumably will not have).

While lower echelon officials can disappear abroad, there are few places of exile where Assad and his henchmen would be safe from extradition or assassination once they have nothing to offer their hosts in return. Syrian Alawites have no natural outside ally bound by historical and cultural ties to provide aid and refuge in times of trouble. Whatever accommodations the Russians may offer Assad to facilitate his departure, they will surely seek to rebuild bridges with the Sunni Arab world once the smoke clears. Years from now, even Tehran may prove to be an unreliable sanctuary.

For Assad, staying and fighting to the bitter end doesn’t mean going down with the ship. When the day comes that he can no longer stave off the fall of Damascus, his minions can easily fall back to Alawite areas in the mountains and coastal plains of northwestern Syria. Tehran, preferring a fragmented Syria to a unified hostile Syria, will happily continue providing them with arms and financing. Even with Turkey and the Arab Gulf states supporting opposing proxies, former regime forces and affiliated Alawite paramilitaries (shabiha) can hold out for years. Having intervened extensively in Lebanon for decades, they have the perfect skill set for surviving the Lebanonization of Syria.

The Syrian dictator may not have abandoned all hope of avoiding this scenario, but he is surely preparing for it. The shabiha, led by his relatives and clansmen, are steadily proliferating and assuming an ever-greater role in combating the rebels, particularly in Sunni villages and urban neighbourhoods that abut Alawite communities.

When the time comes, Assad won’t have much difficulty rallying Alawites (and many other non-Sunnis) behind the de facto cantonization of Syria. Given centuries of pre-existing Sunni hostility to heterodox Muslims and the scale of regime atrocities during the past four decades, Alawite fears of violent retribution are well-grounded and ripe for exploitation. Because the regime has heavily suppressed independent Alawite religious and social institutions over the years, the community has little capacity to mobilize around alternative leaders. By hook or by crook, Assad will lead it into the abyss
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: cupper on July 06, 2012, 20:41:19
With the fall of Syria, what becomes of Lebanon?

Does it revert to a civil war since one of it's major political benefactors is gone, and opens up a power vacuum? Will the more radical religious groups move to fill that hole. Can Iran take Syria's place?
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: GAP on July 06, 2012, 20:54:33
Quote
Can Iran take Syria's place

It's sure gonna try
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Paul_Ontario on July 07, 2012, 19:22:02
Syria fires artillery into Lebanon, killing 3

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-18751199


Quote

At least three people have been killed and nine injured in northern Lebanon in shelling from across the Syrian border, local officials and residents say.
 
The attacks took place in the Wadi Khaled region, where both Syrian armed rebels and civilians have taken refuge from the violence at home.
 
There have recently been clashes between armed men on the Lebanese side and the Syrian military.
 
There are fears the Syrian conflict will spread to neighbouring countries.
 
'Panic and fear'
 
The first artillery shells from across the border landed on farm buildings early on Saturday, killing one woman, local residents say.
 
Two more people were killed in the second strike just hours later.
 
Children are believed to be among the injured, with the Lebanese National News agency reporting that local residents were fleeing their villages "in a state of panic and fear".
 
It was not immediately clear whether the victims were Lebanese or Syrian nationals and whether the buildings were hit deliberately or caught in crossfire during a battle between the Syrian army and opposition fighters, the BBC's Richard Colebourn in Beirut reports.
 
The border area has become increasingly volatile in recent weeks, and fears are now growing that Lebanon could be sucked into the 16-month Syrian conflict.
 
Like Syria's other neighbours - Turkey, Iraq and Jordan - Lebanon has absorbed thousands of refugees fleeing from the violence.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: VIChris on July 09, 2012, 10:40:25
Some raw footage from Homs, Syria.

http://bambuser.com/v/2813860
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Paul_Ontario on July 09, 2012, 12:02:34
Some raw footage from Homs, Syria.

http://bambuser.com/v/2813860

Reccomend you turn your volume down before watching this live feed.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Tiamo on July 11, 2012, 02:05:23
It is very difficult right now to determine what is exactly happening on the ground in Syria. Even the same side is unable to elaborate the same information.

For example, Manaf Telas , the son of the ex-Defense minister had escaped to Paris, French newspapers reported. Then it was denied by 4 Syrian gov't news agencies with varying responses (some claimed he doesn't exist, others claims he is on a visit). To complicate things, Manaf Father has been in Paris for few months now though he claims he is not in support of the regime nor against it!!

The irony, the cousin of Manaf Telas is Abdul Razzak Telas , one of the leading rebel leader in Homs province. He joined the rebels mid 2011. The Telas family comes from a city near Homs called Rastan and has been a very strong opposition to the Syrian regime.

Another example, video surfaced few days ago a woman dressed in military attire and joined with armed men claimed she is the engineer Thuayba Kenfani from Canada and had joined the rebel FSA in aleppo. Today, video surfaced by someone claiming to be the leader of that group claiming no woman had joined their ranks!!

The area around Aleppo in particular seems to be experiencing problems between the different rebel groups in the area.

Kofi Annan trip is nothing but to buy more time for regional powers to reach an understanding on the Syrian crisis. Russia is circulating a new UN resolution to extend UN mission but change its purpose from observe cease fire to engage in peace negotiation dialogue:

Source: http://www.wset.com/story/18995772/russia-circulates-new-draft-resolution-on-syria

The Syrian regime is going to stick it to the end at the cost of probably igniting a regional war (in my opinion). They are arming different opposing groups (Like PKK against KNC and PYD) and now Arab tribes against Kurds. This would significantly concern Turkey whom been trying to contain the Kurdish population along their borders:

Source: http://www.rudaw.net/english/news/syria/4943.html
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: sean m on July 13, 2012, 01:30:39
Israel Preparing for Action in Syria, Says Former Mossad Chief

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/157799#.T_-jUo62va4


Former Mossad chief Danny Yatom said on Thursday that Israel is preparing for the possibility of military action in Syria, in case its chemical weapons were to end up in the hands of Hizbullah or other terrorist organizations in the region.

Yatom spoke to the British Sky News, which reported that Israel is deeply concerned that Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad may deliberately give Hizbullah chemical weapons or that they could end up in the hands of other terror groups

In either case, this could lead to a regional war, Yatom told the network.

“The conventional wisdom should be that we cannot exclude a non-conventional attack on Israel,” he said. “We would have to pre-empt in order to prevent it. We need to be prepared to launch even military attacks... and military attacks mean maybe a deterioration to war.”

Sky News reported that Middle Eastern and other intelligence sources say that Syria has the biggest stockpiles of the nerve gasses VX and Sarin, as well as mustard gas, in the Middle East.

Investigations by Sky News have identified four sites where the agents are produced: Hama, Latakia, Al Safira, near Aleppo and at the Centre D'Etude et Recherche Scientifique laboratories in Damascus.

Storage sites have also been found at Khan abu Shamat, Furqlus, Hama, Masyaf, Palmyra, the report said.

Biological weapons are believed to be stored at Cerin while there are also numerous 'dual use' civilian pharmaceutical laboratories which are capable of producing bio-weapons such as botulism and anthrax.

Al Qaeda-related groups are known to be operating inside Syria, and its leadership has frequently extolled members or followers to try to get hold of chemical weapons.

A top IDF officer said recently that Israel is “in preparations for the possibility of war and in the midst of deployment with the situation in Syria in mind.”

The greatest challenge facing Division 36, which is placed in the Golan, is the possibility of facing a surprise attack, said the officer, Brig. Gen. Tamir Heiman, Commander of Division 36. “The biggest concern is a combined terror attack and we are preparing for this in the Golan area.”

The essential changes that have taken place in Syria provide the potential for a terror attack coming out of Syria and crossing the border, which has been very quiet in recent years.

The IDF’s Northern District Commander Yair Golan has warned that the battle being waged in Syria between opponents of the Assad regime and Assad loyalists may have an effect on what is happening in Israel.

“Al-Qaeda related factors that are active there now and working against the regime may operate against us over time,” he said. “The Syrian threat to Israel requires attention. It will not happen tomorrow morning, but it can occur within a few months.”

Golan added, “Syria has weapons of mass destruction along with a very heavy arsenal of weapons, including surface-to-ground missiles and chemical weapons. The fact that Syria is a storehouse of weapons which fuels terrorists in the region is very unsettling.”

What are your opinions, does anyone believe that maybe the israelis are bluffing and trying to scare Assad, if they did go in wouldn't that give Assad a means to rationalize his barbaric attacks?  Maybe it is possible to believe that the Arab world would turn towards aiding Assad against the israelis?
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Tiamo on July 13, 2012, 22:34:06
There were rumors prior to this news release of chemical weapon movement, this basically confirms it:

Source: http://news.sky.com/story/959953/syria-military-moves-chemical-weapons-to-homs

Quote
Intelligence has emerged suggesting the Syrian regime has moved chemical weapons to the Homs region, a source has told Sky News.

A senior British intelligence official questioned about claims in the US that several streams of signal intelligence detailing the transfer of a chemical agent said they believed the account to be a "pretty accurate description" of what the UK believes is going on.

Fox News reported a senior US defence source as saying it was not clear wether the movement of the agent, possibly Sarin nerve gas, had been authorised by President Bashar al Assad or local Syrian military commanders frustrated by the ongoing uprising in Homs.

The agents, which may not yet have been weaponised, were moved from previously known stockpile locations, the report said.

Recent investigations by Sky News identified four sites where chemical agents are produced: Hama, Latakia, Al Safira, near Aleppo and at the Centre D'Etude et Recherche Scientifique laboratories in Damascus.

Storage sites were also found at Khan abu Shamat, Furqlus, Hama, Masyaf, Palmyra.
.....
....
..... check above link to read full article

From unconfirmed sources, these stock pile chemicals are being shipped to the Lebanese border in what appears to be an exchange with Hezbollah and final destination to Iran.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Tiamo on July 15, 2012, 14:16:51
With the fall of Syria, what becomes of Lebanon?

Does it revert to a civil war since one of it's major political benefactors is gone, and opens up a power vacuum? Will the more radical religious groups move to fill that hole. Can Iran take Syria's place?

The fall of Assad regime in Syria will re-balance the region in a way. Hezbollah will lose an important route for tunneling weapons from Iran->Iraq->Syria->Lebanon. The Suez canal is tightly controlled by Egypt for any Iranian shipments, so no option of getting weapons through the sea.

Iran backed parties in Iraq will feel there is a counter force to their presence. The Assad regime in my opinion has long been a destabilizing force in the ME. They've constantly interefered in Lebanon and then Iraq to keep the region boiling. Destability has been a great source of revenue for the regime elites in arms, commercial trade and corruption bribes.

Iran and Hezbollah will have to re-align their strategies and either moderate their rhetoric or expect to be isolated and surrounded by majority Sunni group whom had lost all empathy to them since the 2008 war with Irsael. If you do recall, the Arab world was in strong support of Hezbollah during the 2008 war, however, these days they are considered the enemy after what happened in Syria.

That could be another reason the Russians don't want an intervention in Syria, they fear it will put their ally Iran in a very tight spot.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Colin P on July 16, 2012, 15:09:55
There are thoughts that Assad Plan B is a Alwiite homeland in part of what would once have been Syria.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: E.R. Campbell on July 16, 2012, 15:26:01
Yes, indeed; and we still enjoy the benefits of Sykes-Picot after nearly 100 years.

Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: cupper on July 16, 2012, 20:21:34
Was listening to news reports yesterday about fighting in Damascus, and one item noted was the killing of a Palestinian Refugee. There are several large camps in and around Damascus. So far they have stayed out of the conflict, with the Assad Regime reminding them that they are guests in Syria.

Would it be a surprise that if they did decide to enter the fray that Assad might decide to either force them out, or plow them under as punishment. And if he does, how would it go over in the Arab world? And would it finally make the Russians and Chinese say enough is enough?
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Tiamo on July 17, 2012, 03:58:53
Was listening to news reports yesterday about fighting in Damascus, and one item noted was the killing of a Palestinian Refugee. There are several large camps in and around Damascus. So far they have stayed out of the conflict, with the Assad Regime reminding them that they are guests in Syria.

Would it be a surprise that if they did decide to enter the fray that Assad might decide to either force them out, or plow them under as punishment. And if he does, how would it go over in the Arab world? And would it finally make the Russians and Chinese say enough is enough?

The Palestinian refugees in the ME are literally "disposable" to the countries they settled within. I'm not exaggerating, Palestinians were kicked out of Kuwait after Gulf War I because Arafat supported Saddam since he sent rockets over to Israel! At the same time, Libyan Gaddafi shipped them out to Gaza once the peace process was started.

Hafiz Al-Assad , Syrian ex-Dictator has bulldozed Palestinian refugees near Beirut in 1976, killing about 3,000 people in its aftermath.

I know for a fact that Jordanian authorities are refusing any Syrian refugee entry into Jordan whom of Palestinian origin or holding a Palestinian identication.

So, what would Bashar do with the tens of thousands refugees in Damascus? I don't doubt he'll not hesitate to unleash his most ruthless military campaign, and the Arab world will cry and weep then everyone forget about it.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Paul_Ontario on July 18, 2012, 12:45:53
Syrian cabinet bodyguard goes rogue; kills defence minister and deputy, security chief and interior minister

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-18882149
 

Quote


Syria's defence minister and his deputy, President Assad's brother-in-law, have died in a suspected suicide bombing at security headquarters in Damascus, state TV says.
 
Daoud Rajiha and Assef Shawkat were attending a meeting of senior officials at the time.
 
The national security chief and interior minister are said to be critically hurt.
 
The attack comes amid claims of a major rebel offensive on the city.
 
"The minister of defence was martyred by the terrorist bombing that targeted the national security building," the TV report said, adding later that Gen Shawkat was dead.
 
Security sources say the suspected bomber worked as a bodyguard for members of President Bashar al-Assad's inner circle.
 
Gen Rajiha has been defence minister for less than a year, serving previously as chief of staff, and is on a US blacklist for his role in the suppression of dissent.
 
He is believed to be an Orthodox Christian - a rarity in the Alawite-dominated Syrian military and government.
 
Gen Shawkat is considered a top security chief and a member of the inner circle of the regime. He is married to Mr Assad's sister Bushra.
 
Diplomatic efforts
 
The attack comes as UN chiefs have been trying to persuade China and Russia to agree tougher measures on Syria, ahead of a Security Council vote on Wednesday on imposing sanctions.
 
UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan held talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon met Chinese leader Hu Jintao in Beijing.
 
The UN has until Friday to renew the mandate for observers in Syria, although a vote is expected in New York on Wednesday afternoon.
 
Western nations want a new resolution threatening measures short of the use of force.
 
The Western-backed draft resolution to be discussed gives the Syrian government 10 days to withdraw heavy weapons from cities and return troops to barracks, otherwise a further resolution on sanctions will be submitted to the Security Council.
 
But the BBC's Jim Muir in neighbouring Lebanon says that with Russia resisting all efforts to persuade it to take a tougher line with Syria, there is virtually no hope of concerted international action to pull the country back from the brink.
 
In other developments:
 
• Turkish officials report two Syrian generals are among hundreds of refugees who fled into Turkey overnight, bringing the total number of fleeing generals to 20
 • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected to discuss the Syrian crisis with Russian President Vladimir Putin
 • Iraq warns its citizens to flee the violence, hours after the bodies of two killed journalists were handed over by the Syrian authorities
 
'Damascus volcano'
 
The area around the national security building, in Rawda district, has been sealed off.
 
Witnesses at the site of the bombing said journalists were banned from approaching.
 
"The terrorist explosion which targeted the national security building in Damascus occurred during a meeting of ministers and a number of heads of [security] agencies," the TV said.
 
The reports say that Hisham Ikhtiar, director the National Security Bureau, and Interior Minister Mohammad Ibrahim al-Shaar, were among those injured in the attack.
 
Earlier activists reported more clashes during the night in several areas around the south-west of Damascus.
 
They said the government had brought more troops and armour into some districts, and that several people had been killed in clashes and bombardments.
 
A rebel spokeswoman, Susan Ahmad, told the BBC the entrances to Damascus were closed in the morning.
 
"We heard the sounds of explosions every now and then all around Damascus," she said.
 
"Now tanks are storming into al-Qaboun [district], shelling everything, shelling residential houses, shooting every moving thing and they are trying to arrest people and kill.
 
"People are trying to run away and get out of al-Qaboun."
 
Activists have also posted on the internet pictures of what they say is a barracks on the heights overlooking the city engulfed in flames.
 
They believed it had been hit by fire from Free Syrian Army (FSA) rebels, and said the barracks is involved in providing security for the presidential palace complex below.
 
State media said security forces fought off attacks by small groups of armed terrorists in the city.
 
But the TV carried night-time footage of troops deployed in the Midan quarter, in some very tense and deserted streets.
 
The rebels have declared a final battle for the capital, calling it Operation Damascus Volcano, and have been fighting troops in several parts of Damascus for the past three days.
 
The fighting reached central areas on Tuesday, with gunfire and plumes of smoke reported in a street near parliament.
 
The Free Syrian Army said the operation was well planned, and they had sent hundreds of fighters to the capital last week to be in place for the assault.
 
The rebels and the government often publish contradictory accounts of the same incidents.
 
Western journalists are under heavy restrictions in Syria, making it difficult to verify the claims of either side.
 
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Jarnhamar on July 18, 2012, 13:09:55
Don't worry everyone this is why we have the U.N.  they got this..
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Tiamo on July 18, 2012, 14:05:32

Israel Says Syria Pulls Troops from Golan to Suppress Revolt Elsewhere. I do believe there is a coup in progress right now, it may take few weeks for things to become clear.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/18/world/middleeast/israel-says-syria-pulls-troops-from-golan-to-suppress-revolt-elsewhere.html?_r=1

Quote
JERUSALEM — Israel’s military intelligence chief said on Tuesday that President Bashar al-Assad of Syria had moved forces to Damascus from along the Golan Heights region, bordering on Israeli-controlled territory, after street battles raged in the capital between rebels and Syrian Army forces.
Related

In a security briefing to a parliamentary committee, the intelligence chief, Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, estimated that Mr. Assad “will not survive the uprising, even if it takes some more time.” He said that 13,000 soldiers and officers had defected from the Syrian Army, and that 60 to 70 senior officers had been killed by the opposition, according to the spokesperson’s office of the Israeli military.

But the general said the opposition had failed to coalesce into a united front and instead comprised many groups with different ideologies. “We don’t see organized opposition forces leading an uprising,” General Kochavi said.

In the briefing, the general said that satellite images show that Mr. Assad’s forces are directing artillery at highly populated regions and acting “extremely brutally, which displays their desperation and indicates they are unable to find more efficient solutions to pacify the uprisings.”

.......
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Infanteer on July 19, 2012, 00:41:52
Looks like Assad is on the list to be the next dictator pulled out of a culvert and executed by his own people - sic semper tyrannis, I guess....
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Foxhound on July 19, 2012, 21:07:39
Looks like Jonathan Kay thinks the fat lady has sung.

Jonathan Kay on Syria: How Obama’s hands-off policy paved the way for the Assads’ (and Hezbollah’s) downfall (http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2012/07/19/jonathan-kay-on-syria-how-obamas-hands-off-policy-paved-the-way-for-the-assads-and-hezbollahs-downfall/)

The good news is that Bashar Assad’s Syrian regime is on its last legs — the other legs having been blown out from under it by a Wednesday bomb attack in Damascus, which killed at least three top regime security officials.

Here’s the better news: Hezbollah could go down with the Syrian ship, thereby providing the civilized world with a “two-fer” rogue-power takedown — dethroning not only the dictator in Damascus, but also his Lebanese-based, Iranian-funded terrorist ally next door.

Now here’s the best news: All this has happened without the West firing a shot. Notwithstanding all those Washington hawks demanding armed intervention, it turns out that Barack Obama played his cards exactly right — by doing virtually nothing.

The West’s response to Syria’s uprising — discreetly providing the rebels with limited behind-the-scenes logistical support through the Turkish border, while pushing blame onto bad-cop Russia for the failure to do more — undercut Bashar Assad’s early claim that the rebellion was a giant foreign conspiracy. Had the West gotten involved militarily, the entire narrative would have been about which American bomb hit which Syrian target, and whether the people who died as a result were civilians or fighters — the same narrative Israel faced when it attacked Hezbollah-controlled southern Lebanon six years ago.

More at link.

I believe that the West's policy of less-than-obvious support of the Syrian Opposition has been more or less sound, but does President Obama deserve this much credit?
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: cupper on July 19, 2012, 21:28:11
It still doesn't answer the question, what could the west do in first place?
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Jed on July 19, 2012, 21:39:00
A couple of thoughts wrt to Foxhound comments;

I am not so sure there is any significant push from the west to jump into this foray other than a few misguided and ill informed souls.

A lot of folks are pretty choked with Israel for blatantly taking out a known UN position (albeit in error) to get at the bad guys and the extremely heart wrenching fallout from that.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Thucydides on July 21, 2012, 14:17:59
Another potential issue with the disintegration of the Syrian regime. What else is hidden away in Syria?

http://news.investors.com/article/618875/201207191902/syria-chemical-weapons-came-from-iraq-.htm?p=full

Quote
Syria's Chemical Weapons Came From Saddam's Iraq

 Posted 07/19/2012 07:02 PM ET
   
War On Terror: As the regime of Bashar Assad disintegrates, the security of his chemical arsenal is in jeopardy. The No. 2 general in Saddam Hussein's air force says they were the WMDs we didn't find in Iraq.

King Abdullah of neighboring Jordan warned that a disintegrating Syria on the verge of civil war puts Syria's stockpile of chemical weapons at risk of falling into the hands of al-Qaida.

"One of the worst-case scenarios as we are obviously trying to look for a political solution would be if some of those chemical stockpiles were to fall into unfriendly hands," he said.

The irony here is that the chemical weapons stockpile of Syrian thug Assad may in large part be the legacy of weapons moved from Hussein's Iraq into Syria before Operation Iraqi Freedom.

If so, this may be the reason not much was found in the way of WMD by victorious U.S. forces in 2003.

In 2006, former Iraqi general Georges Sada, second in command of the Iraqi Air Force who served under Saddam Hussein before he defected, wrote a comprehensive book, "Saddam's Secrets."

It details how the Iraqi Revolutionary Guard moved weapons of mass destruction into Syria in advance of the U.S.-led action to eliminate Hussein's WMD threat.

As Sada told the New York Sun, two Iraqi Airways Boeings were converted to cargo planes by removing the seats, and special Republican Guard units loaded the planes with chemical weapons materials.

There were 56 flights disguised as a relief effort after a 2002 Syrian dam collapse.

There were also truck convoys into Syria. Sada's comments came more than a month after Israel's top general during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Moshe Yaalon, told the Sun that Saddam "transferred the chemical agents from Iraq to Syria."

Both Israeli and U.S. intelligence observed large truck convoys leaving Iraq and entering Syria in the weeks and months before Operation Iraqi Freedom, John Shaw, former deputy undersecretary of defense for international technology security, told a private conference of former weapons inspectors and intelligence experts held in Arlington, Va., in 2006.

According to Shaw, ex-Russian intelligence chief Yevgeni Primakov, a KGB general with long-standing ties to Saddam, went to Iraq in December 2002 and stayed until just before the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003.

Anticipating the invasion, his job was to supervise the removal of such weapons and erase as much evidence of Russian involvement as possible.

The Russian-assisted "cleanup" operation was entrusted to a combination of GRU and Spetsnaz troops and Russian military and civilian personnel in Iraq "under the command of two experienced ex-Soviet generals, Colonel-General Vladislav Achalov and Colonel-General Igor Maltsev, both retired and posing as civilian commercial consultants."

Washington Times reporter Bill Gertz reported on Oct. 30, 2004, that Achalov and Maltsev had been photographed receiving medals from Iraqi Defense Minister Sultan Hashim Ahmad in a Baghdad building bombed by U.S. cruise missiles during the first U.S. air raids in early March 2003. Apparently they did their job well.

An article in the fall 2005 Middle East Quarterly reports that in an appearance on Israel's Channel 2 on Dec. 23, 2002, Israel's prime minister, Ariel Sharon, stated: "Chemical and biological weapons which Saddam is endeavoring to conceal have been moved from Iraq to Syria." According to the article, about three weeks later, Israel's foreign minister repeated the accusation.

Syria has long had its own chemical weapons program, but the extent it may have been aided by weapons and materials transferred by Iraq before the war has only been the source of conjecture.

We may soon find out what happened to much of Saddam's WMD.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Jed on July 21, 2012, 15:15:43
Another potential issue with the disintegration of the Syrian regime. What else is hidden away in Syria?

http://news.investors.com/article/618875/201207191902/syria-chemical-weapons-came-from-iraq-.htm?p=full

As Sada told the New York Sun, two Iraqi Airways Boeings were converted to cargo planes by removing the seats, and special Republican Guard units loaded the planes with chemical weapons materials.

There were 56 flights disguised as a relief effort after a 2002 Syrian dam collapse.


I guess this is one reason the Syrian officials blew us off when we at the UNDOF mission offered to help when the ' Dam disaster' occurred.

Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: George Wallace on July 21, 2012, 16:34:53
As Sada told the New York Sun, two Iraqi Airways Boeings were converted to cargo planes by removing the seats, and special Republican Guard units loaded the planes with chemical weapons materials.

There were 56 flights disguised as a relief effort after a 2002 Syrian dam collapse.


I guess this is one reason the Syrian officials blew us off when we at the UNDOF mission offered to help when the ' Dam disaster' occurred.

WOW!   Back to speculation/conspiracy theory/etc. on Saddam's WMDs.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: fraserdw on July 21, 2012, 16:56:37
Those chemical weapons are more likely to end up being used against the Putinites in Dagestan.  Very ironic, indeed.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Thucydides on July 22, 2012, 22:15:27
And the front continues to expand. It would not surprise me greatly if a similar case were to surface in Canada:

http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2012/07/20/virginia-man-sentenced-for-spying-for-syrian-government/?mod=WSJBlogtab/print/

Quote
Virginia Man Sentenced for Spying for Syrian Government

By Chelsea Phipps

A Virginia man was sentenced to 18 months in prison for passing intelligence to the Syrian government, the Justice Department said.

Mohamad Anas Haitham Soueid was accused of collecting information, audio and video of individuals protesting the Syrian government in the U.S. and Syria and giving it to Syrian intelligence agencies.

“While the autocratic Syrian regime killed, kidnapped, intimidated and silenced thousands of its own citizens, Mr. Soueid spearheaded efforts to identify and intimidate those protesting against the Syrian government in the United States,” said Neil MacBride, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, in a statement.

Mr. Soueid, a Syrian-born naturalized U.S. citizen, pleaded guilty to six counts of acting as an agent of a foreign government. Prosecutors said he recruited individuals in the U.S. to help gather information and supplied the Syrian government with contact information for key protesters in the U.S. and others.

Mr. Soueid hand-wrote a letter of support to a Syrian official in April 2011, saying that he believed the dissension should be disposed of in a quick and decisive manner even through violence, home invasions and arrests.

Haytham Faraj,  who represented Mr. Soueid before he ran out of money, called Mr. Soueid’s sentence “laughable,” next to the charges he had faced.

“He was facing many years in prison. They claim that he was responsible for the deaths of many people,” Mr Faraj said.

Michael Nachmanoff, the Federal Public Defender in the Eastern District of Virginia, said the sentence reflected that “Soueid was motivated by a desire to prevent Islamic radicals from taking over his home country of Syria.”
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: GAP on July 23, 2012, 18:44:25
The Syrian Air Force hasn't been a factor up until now....if Assad gets desperate he might just start using them......

Syrian Air Force Worries U.S.
By Richard Sisk Monday, July 23rd, 2012
Article Link (http://www.lineofdeparture.com/2012/07/23/syrian-air-force-worries-u-s/)
 
Pentagon officials put it out there almost as an aside with the announcement last week that the carrier Stennis was going back to the Gulf early to keep two carriers in the region indefinitely as a signal to Iran. It was meant for Syria too, they said.

The debate within the Obama administration on whether to arm the Syrian rebels has shifted recently with reports that the tottering regime of President Bashar al-Assad has started moving some of its chemical weapons out of storage. The concerns now are on what the repercussions would be if Israel moved to seize or destroy them, or the U.S. acted on its own.

But the more immediate problem for the U.S. could be posed by the Syrian air force. To date, Assad has used helicopter gunships but kept his more than 400 Russian-made Mig21, Mig23, Su22 and Su24 attack planes, and Mig29 fighters in reserve, possibly out of fear that the pilots would defect and also out of fear that airstrikes would bring a U.S. response.

Strikes against the rebels by fixed-wing Syrian aircraft would put enormous political pressure on the administration to set up a no-fly zone over Syria, something Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and others have advocated for months, but the Joint Chiefs of Staff have warned that it wouldn’t be easy.

Adm. James (Sandy) Winnefeld, vice chairman of the JCS and a veteran combat pilot, went on record a few weeks back:  “If we were to use force in Syria, it’s a challenge. It’s a large country. It’s got a very, very capable, integrated air defense system. They have some 1,500 tons of chemical and biological weapons in that nation that we have to take seriously. So it is not an insignificant military challenge, as opposed to, for example, what we saw in Libya.”

As a guest on the Sunday talk shows, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was losing patience with the U.S. stance on both Iran and Syria.  “Do I seek action, no. Do I preclude it, no,” he said.

Netanyahu said he was okay with more negotiations with Iran on halting its nuclear programs – “Yeah, if you stop the programs.”

On Syria, Netanyahu said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that “we’ll be in for a rougher ride, and we’ll have to rough it out.”

Read more: http://www.lineofdeparture.com/2012/07/23/syrian-air-force-worries-u-s/#ixzz21U6ZAfUL

More on link
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: GAP on July 31, 2012, 10:45:50
Turkey Watches Warily as Kurds Mobilize in Northern Syria
By Catherine Cheney, on 27 Jul 2012
Article Link (http://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/trend-lines/12210/turkey-watches-warily-as-kurds-mobilize-in-northern-syria)
 
With his grip over Syria apparently loosening, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has abandoned the border area between Syria and Turkey, allowing Kurdish militants to take control of several towns in northern Syria. The development heightens the possibility of involvement by Iraqi Kurds as well as by Turkey, introducing new tensions to the Syrian conflict.

“Syria is fragmenting, and for the first time in recent history Kurds are taking matters into their own hands,” said Hugh Pope, Turkey and Cyprus project director for the International Crisis Group. Pope explained that it is still unclear whether Syrian Kurds will unite to push for full rights within the Syrian state or whether they will work toward an autonomous Syrian Kurdish solution. “Certainly, the most important trend line, as can be seen on Kurdish Twitter feeds, is the sense that Syrian Kurds, like the Iraqi Kurds before them, are at last breaking through to some self-rule and international sympathy.”

Henri Barkey, a professor of international relations at Lehigh University, said the developments potentially represent “the beginning of the redrawing of Middle Eastern boundaries.”

“The Kurds will drive a hard bargain and want a federal arrangement of some sort for themselves,” he added.

However, Michael Gunter, an expert on Kurds in Turkey and Iraq and professor of political science at Tennessee Tech University, said he thinks it is unlikely the Syrian Kurds will be able to create an independent Kurdish state in northern Syria.

“The Kurds in Syria are a relatively small minority compared to Turkey, and especially compared to Iraq and Iran,” he said. “Not only do they make up only 10 percent of the population, but they are also divided geographically and ideologically.”

Given these divisions, Pope said, it is possible the Syrian Kurds will “fragment themselves and fight among each other,” particularly since the Democratic Union Party of Syria (PYD), which is aligned with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), has an ideology and perspective that sets it apart from other Syrian Kurds.

For now, Pope added, the Syrian Kurds have put many of their differences aside, working under the aegis of Massoud Barzani, the president of Iraqi Kurdistan Region. Barzani has supported Syrian Kurds in part by providing military training to Kurdish defectors from the Syrian military.

With Syria imploding, Gunter said, Barzani is “practically being handed” the key to the pan-Kurdish state so many Kurds desire.

However, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan recently warned that he would not hesitate to intervene in response to any threat to Turkey from PKK-linked Kurdish groups in northern Syria. And today, Turkey announced that Foreign Minister Ahmed Davutoglu would be heading to Irbil to express Ankara’s displeasure over Barzani’s decision to provide military training to Syrian Kurds.

“Many Syrian Kurds living near the border come from Turkey, and it is particularly upsetting to Turkey to know that right on their border there are Turkish exiles who are thinking of maybe coming home and reclaiming the homeland,” Gunter said. “But the most immediate problem is that this newfound Kurdish autonomy in Syria right on the Turkish border is an unwanted magnet for the Kurds living in Turkey who are so restless anyway.”

Pope said that despite its warnings, Turkey will likely stay on the sidelines “as long as the PKK sister party PYD remains in a front with the other Kurds, and does not threaten or attack Turkey.”

“Ankara, too, is focused on the major prize of how and when the Damascus regime will change,” he explained.
More on link
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: SeaKingTacco on July 31, 2012, 15:33:21
Is this the end of Sykes-Picot?
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Journeyman on July 31, 2012, 16:03:35
A main concern regarding the Kurds is that they inhabit the real estate of the Southeastern Anatolia Project, damming the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers, particularly the massive Ataturk Dam. Turkey has already been accused by Syria and Iraq of withholding water-flow as a weapon -- a major reason why Syria actively supports the PKK.

If it appeared that the Kurds were seriously threatening any of the major dams in the system, I suspect another Armenian-style genocide could be a Turkish option.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Retired AF Guy on July 31, 2012, 18:26:38
A main concern regarding the Kurds is that they inhabit the real estate of the Southeastern Anatolia Project, damming the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers, particularly the massive Ataturk Dam. Turkey has already been accused by Syria and Iraq of withholding water-flow as a weapon -- a major reason why Syria actively supports the PKK.

At one time Syria was a big time supporter of the PKK, but about 10 years ago the Turkey's gave the Syrians an ultimatum; "Keep providing support and we come across the border." The Syrians knew the Turks weren't bluffing and kicked the PKK out of the country. That's one of the reasons Turkish special forces were able to capture the leader of the PKK.

Quote
If it appeared that the Kurds were seriously threatening any of the major dams in the system, I suspect another Armenian-style genocide could be a Turkish option.
Retaliation yes, genocide no. Anything like ethnic cleansing/genocide would be both a domestic and foreign relations disaster.

Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Journeyman on July 31, 2012, 20:02:46
Well, Syria continues to support/is once again supporting PKK; they are quite active within Syria's northern frontier according to open source reporting.

It's a matter of degree and speculation between saying "Armenian-style genocide could be a Turkish option," and your use of generic "retaliation." The Southeastern Anatolia Project is very dear to the Turks -- I suspect that any threat would warrant more than a wrist-slapping.

Not meant as an insult, but I also suspect that my info may be slightly more current than from whenever you transitioned out of Int.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Colin P on August 01, 2012, 11:52:46
The Turks will get uncomfortable with yet another "Kurdish autonomous region on their borders. I wonder if this area splits off and with the Iraq Kurds not that keen on being part of Iraq, we might be witnessing the birth of Kurdistan?

Another thought, Turks cross the border in force to "protect" citizens, etc, Syria attacks them with gas, how many think Turkey will pull the NATO card?
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Thucydides on August 03, 2012, 08:13:52
Large info graphic about the battle for Aleppo: http://nationalpostnews.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/toronto-fo0803_aleppo1.jpg
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Journeyman on August 03, 2012, 15:53:40
According to al Jazeera (http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2012/08/2012831604665629.html), the UN General Assembly just passed a resolution (133 votes for, 12 against, and 31 abstentions) denouncing the Syrian use of tanks, artillery, helicopters and warplanes on the people of Aleppo and Damascus.

~whew~  Another conflict now gripped.

The resolution also resolution *****-slaps the Security Council, 'deploring its failure to act'....so we can expect the UNSC to be working more effectively now too.

      :nod:


/sarcasm


Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: E.R. Campbell on August 06, 2012, 13:07:37
Here, reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act from Foreign Affairs is an article that gets to the real goal - how to ferment a real revolution in Iran, one that will topple the current theocracy:

http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/137803/michael-ledeen/tehran-takedown?page=show
Quote
Tehran Takedown
How to Spark an Iranian Revolution

Michael Ledeen

July 31, 2012

The nuclear question is at the center of most countries' Iran policies. China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States have all engaged in negotiations to convince Tehran to give up its presumed quest for the bomb. Now, with talks sputtering, Western powers have implemented increasingly tough sanctions, including the European Union's recent embargo on Iranian oil, in the hope of compelling the regime to reverse course.

Yet history suggests, and even many sanctions advocates agree, that sanctions will not compel Iran's leaders to scrap their nuclear program. In fact, from Fidel Castro's Cuba to Saddam Hussein's Iraq, hostile countries have rarely changed policy in response to Western embargoes. Some sanctions advocates counter that sanctions did work to get Chile to abandon communism, South Africa to end apartheid, and Libya to give up its nuclear program. But the Chilean and South African governments were not hostile -- they were pro-Western, and thus more amenable to the West's demands. And Libya's Muammar al-Qaddafi ended his nuclear pursuit only after the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, fearing that he would suffer the same fate as Saddam Hussein.

...

That is why the time has come for the United States and other Western nations to actively support Iran's democratic dissidents. The same methods that took down the Soviet regime should work: call for the end of the regime, broadcast unbiased news about Iran to the Iranian people, demand the release of political prisoners (naming them whenever possible), help those prisoners communicate with one another, enlist international trade unions to build a strike fund for Iranian workers, and perhaps find ways to provide other kinds of economic and technological support. Meanwhile, the West should continue nuclear negotiations and stick to the sanctions regime, which shows the Iranian people resistance to their oppressive leaders.

Iran's democratic revolutionaries themselves must decide what kind of Western help they most need, and how to use it. But they will be greatly encouraged to see the United States and its allies behind them. There are many good reasons to believe that this strategy can succeed. Not least, the Iranian people have already demonstrated their willingness to confront the regime; the regime's behavior shows its fear of the people. The missing link is a Western decision to embrace and support democratic revolution in Iran -- the country that, after all, initiated the challenge to the region's tyrants three summers ago.

Basically, Michael Ledeen (http://www.defenddemocracy.org/about-fdd/team-overview/michael-ledeen/) is suggesting that we prevent the Iranian bomb by finding and funding those opposition movement that are most likely to rise up and overthrow the ayatollas.  Works for me!


So, we have, in Syria, what I think we want in Iran and, indeed, throughout the Middle East and West Asia: a nice Arab civil war with some potential to grow into a internecine regional conflict.

What's the downside?

     Oil? No, while the price of oil will rise - it will do so anyway - that will have the desirable effect of making more unconventional oil supplies marketable. Arab oil will, eventually, come back on to the market and stabilize the global price.

     Innocent civilians? There is, I suggest, no such thing in civil wars and, in any event, preventing harm to innocent civilian matters only when we (Canadians) are involved, directly, in the conflict.

     Israel? It can look after itself.

Now, while I accept that the Arabs will still hate us even as they kill one another, they will be less likely to do us any harm while they are busy slaughtering their own.

Napoleon famously cautioned us against interfering with our enemy when he is making a mistake. The Arabs and Iranians and so on are our enemies and they are making mistakes ~ let's leave them to it.

Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Tiamo on August 08, 2012, 17:51:55
Basically, Michael Ledeen (http://www.defenddemocracy.org/about-fdd/team-overview/michael-ledeen/) is suggesting that we prevent the Iranian bomb by finding and funding those opposition movement that are most likely to rise up and overthrow the ayatollas.  Works for me!



So, we have, in Syria, what I think we want in Iran and, indeed, throughout the Middle East and West Asia: a nice Arab civil war with some potential to grow into a internecine regional conflict.

What's the downside?

     Oil? No, while the price of oil will rise - it will do so anyway - that will have the desirable effect of making more unconventional oil supplies marketable. Arab oil will, eventually, come back on to the market and stabilize the global price.

     Innocent civilians? There is, I suggest, no such thing in civil wars and, in any event, preventing harm to innocent civilian matters only when we (Canadians) are involved, directly, in the conflict.

     Israel? It can look after itself.

Now, while I accept that the Arabs will still hate us even as they kill one another, they will be less likely to do us any harm while they are busy slaughtering their own.

Napoleon famously cautioned us against interfering with our enemy when he is making a mistake. The Arabs and Iranians and so on are our enemies and they are making mistakes ~ let's leave them to it.

The Arabs are not our enemy last time I've checked. Has it not been for many of the Arab states that currently exist (Qatar,Saudi,Jordan,UAE,Egypt), the entire ME map would have looked different. The risk of regional war that will drain significant portion of Wes/East resources is possible in the event of Iran/Arabs confrontation. Remember 1980s Iraq vs Iran war? That led to Iraq invading Kuwait, GW-I, GW-II.

Any regional war in the ME will involve the US and its allies, Russia and their allies. Lets not forget, Turkey is a NATO member and will be involved. US has tropped in Iraq and they'll be involved too.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Tiamo on August 08, 2012, 17:57:52
Syrian rebels acquire early SA-7 heat-seeking missiles (now you can claim the FSA is receiving direct outside support):

(In Syria, Potential Threat to Government Air Power Emerges)

Sources:

http://atwar.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/26/the-3-step-method-to-analyzing-video-of-weapon-systems-in-syria/

http://atwar.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/07/in-syria-potential-threat-to-government-air-power-emerges/

Video of gun fire against heli in Aleppo:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCvGPg8qUlA
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Journeyman on August 08, 2012, 18:08:43
Has it not been for many of the Arab states that currently exist (Qatar,Saudi,Jordan,UAE,Egypt), the entire ME map would have looked different.
That's a pretty self-obvious statement -- if any one of our current provinces didn't exist then Canada's map would look different too. Whatever point you're trying to make, isn't.

Quote
Any regional war in the ME will involve the US and its allies, Russia and their allies. Lets not forget, Turkey is a NATO member and will be involved. US has tropped in Iraq and they'll be involved too.
By your ongoing posting in this thread, it's obvious that you have an interest in Syria. I suspect that that interest is causing you to overstate Syria's significance. I currently see no great risk of a regional war; the regional -- and global -- consensus appears to be a willingness to let a civil war play itself out.

The major concern is Turkey having sufficient accommodations for all the fleeing Syrian political and military leadership.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Tiamo on August 08, 2012, 19:59:02
That's a pretty self-obvious statement -- if any one of our current provinces didn't exist then Canada's map would look different too. Whatever point you're trying to make, isn't.
By your ongoing posting in this thread, it's obvious that you have an interest in Syria. I suspect that that interest is causing you to overstate Syria's significance. I currently see no great risk of a regional war; the regional -- and global -- consensus appears to be a willingness to let a civil war play itself out.

The major concern is Turkey having sufficient accommodations for all the fleeing Syrian political and military leadership.

I'd be more concerned about Jordan or Lebanon. They already have their hands full dealing with Palestinians and Iraqis, add the Syrian mix and you'd more likely observe destabilized states. My concern with Turkey is only in the event of Iranian 'intervention' or Kurds attempt to axe northern Syria/Iraq.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Tiamo on August 08, 2012, 20:12:07
I'd be more concerned about Jordan or Lebanon. They already have their hands full dealing with Palestinians and Iraqis, add the Syrian mix and you'd more likely observe destabilized states. Additionally, Lebanon can descend back into civil war should the Assad regime with Iran's help should decide to prop-up Hezbollah.

My concern with Turkey is only in the event of Iranian 'intervention' or Kurds attempt to axe northern Syria/Iraq.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: E.R. Campbell on August 08, 2012, 20:58:10
I'd be more concerned about Jordan or Lebanon. They already have their hands full dealing with Palestinians and Iraqis, add the Syrian mix and you'd more likely observe destabilized states. Additionally, Lebanon can descend back into civil war should the Assad regime with Iran's help should decide to prop-up Hezbollah.


I almost agree with you ... except that I'm not concerned. I think they (well not Jordan quite so much) already are "destabilized states" so the descent into civil wars and the merger of all those civil wars into a regional war is highly likely and, in my opinion, desirable.* I think Hezbollah may be the catalyst that draws Iran into a regional war against the Arabs.


__________
* Those who have followed my ramblings over the years will recall that I think Islam IS a problem, not because it is Islam but because Islam, as practiced in the Arab/Persian/West Asian region, is decidedly in need of an enlightenment and I suspect than an enlightenment will need to be preceded by a reformation which I guess will be violent.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Tiamo on August 08, 2012, 21:20:09

I almost agree with you ... except that I'm not concerned. I think they (well not Jordan quite so much) already are "destabilized states" so the descent into civil wars and the merger of all those civil wars into a regional war is highly likely and, in my opinion, desirable.* I think Hezbollah may be the catalyst that draws Iran into a regional war against the Arabs.

Agree, they're all held together by a duct tape. But why would a regional war be desirable? What benefit do we or the international community get from a regional war in the ME?
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: GAP on August 08, 2012, 21:35:45
What benefit do we or the international community get from a regional war in the ME?

As quoted by ERC

Quote
* Those who have followed my ramblings over the years will recall that I think Islam IS a problem, not because it is Islam but because Islam, as practiced in the Arab/Persian/West Asian region, is decidedly in need of an enlightenment and I suspect than an enlightenment will need to be preceded by a reformation which I guess will be violent.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Tiamo on August 09, 2012, 03:32:54
As quoted by ERC

If we consider that Salafists and other extremists (even many moderate) Muslims believe there will be a war in Al-Sham (which is current day Syria) that will change the current regimes and bring back the Caliphas. Then, I'll doubt any war in that region no matter how violent will bring about moderate Islam. In fact, very likely due to scriptures and Imam's preaching the people will believe it is the end of day and they'll side blindly with an islamic extremist government that will be much worse than any of the factions we've seen involved in the conflicts thus far.

In other words, allowing a war in the ME would be seen to many in the ME as a fulfillment of the end of day prophecy. If we consider it from that angle, we'd be leaving the region to worse things.

I believe the ME needs more peace, better communication technology. More internet access and wide spread of ideas alike freedom of expression and freedom of thoughts. That is the only way to combat extremisim, but another regional war is exactly what the 'Islamists' desire right now.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: GR66 on August 09, 2012, 09:22:14
If we consider that Salafists and other extremists (even many moderate) Muslims believe there will be a war in Al-Sham (which is current day Syria) that will change the current regimes and bring back the Caliphas. Then, I'll doubt any war in that region no matter how violent will bring about moderate Islam. In fact, very likely due to scriptures and Imam's preaching the people will believe it is the end of day and they'll side blindly with an islamic extremist government that will be much worse than any of the factions we've seen involved in the conflicts thus far.

In other words, allowing a war in the ME would be seen to many in the ME as a fulfillment of the end of day prophecy. If we consider it from that angle, we'd be leaving the region to worse things.

I believe the ME needs more peace, better communication technology. More internet access and wide spread of ideas alike freedom of expression and freedom of thoughts. That is the only way to combat extremisim, but another regional war is exactly what the 'Islamists' desire right now.

I think the great mistake of many well meaning people is to believe that by exposing other cultures to our "ideas like freedom of expression and freedom of thoughts" that those cultures will naturally internalize those same values.  I simply do not believe that.  We (the collective "We" from the West) only came to hold those values through a long and painful process of reformation and revolution.  Without having gone through the horrors of events like the Thirty Years War, the French Wars of Religion, the US and English Civil Wars, the American and French Revolutions, etc. we would not collectively have developed the shared values we hold today.

Unfortunately a similarly painful process will be required before other cultures experience any fundamental changes.  I think that this is why our historic successes in "exporting democracy" have been generally underwhelming.  These cultures have to learn for themselves (likely the hard way like we did) the lessons that we have learned.  The best we can hope for is to contain as much as possible the mess while they go through the process.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Journeyman on August 09, 2012, 18:15:46
In other words, allowing a war in the ME would be seen to many in the ME as a fulfillment of the end of day prophecy.
How paternalistic. Do you believe that intervention by forces of the Christian-dominated West, saying "sorry, we can't allow you to sort out your own destiny" will be greeted with open arms?

I suspect that such a move would bring some unity to disparate Islamic factions.....but you're not going to like the result.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Tiamo on August 09, 2012, 18:30:43
I think the great mistake of many well meaning people is to believe that by exposing other cultures to our "ideas like freedom of expression and freedom of thoughts" that those cultures will naturally internalize those same values.  I simply do not believe that.  We (the collective "We" from the West) only came to hold those values through a long and painful process of reformation and revolution.  Without having gone through the horrors of events like the Thirty Years War, the French Wars of Religion, the US and English Civil Wars, the American and French Revolutions, etc. we would not collectively have developed the shared values we hold today.

Unfortunately a similarly painful process will be required before other cultures experience any fundamental changes.  I think that this is why our historic successes in "exporting democracy" have been generally underwhelming.  These cultures have to learn for themselves (likely the hard way like we did) the lessons that we have learned.  The best we can hope for is to contain as much as possible the mess while they go through the process.

The ME had seen its own shares of war. I believe it's been a war ridden region for 5,000+ years. There will be no change with another war. Peaceful progress through the use of Internet and Media had made quite a difference in people opinion and way of thinking. Yes, there are extremists, but we also now have more moderates in the ME region. I am afraid any progress made through technology will be wiped out in a regional war.

Most of the population will flee their homes seeking refuge at the West. The only people will be left to fight that war are extremists, poor families, nationalists and sympathizers for either side. Thus a regional war would create exodus to the west (1980s lebanon anyone?). It will leave fragile, more extreme and hostile groups or government in the ME.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Journeyman on August 09, 2012, 18:44:52
So what would you have us do?    :pop:
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: E.R. Campbell on August 09, 2012, 18:47:12
Tiamo: my reading of history is, clearly, different from yours.

First of all: historically, people do not migrate in great numbers, not even under HUGE stresses. The truly great migrations, such as Europe around 500 CE and even China, in the late 20th century, have been economic, not people fleeing strife. Starvation will make people migrate, not war.

Second: the Arab/Persian Middle East looks a lot, to me, like Europe 500 years ago and I think it is ripe for a long, terrible series of wars - a generation or two of wars, at least.

The "output" of a generation or three of European wars (1588 to 1688), some horribly bloody and destructive, were, broadly, very positive; we can hope that there will be a similar "output" for the Middle East and West Asia.

I'm afraid that Twitter and social media are not going to be enough; I think some suffering - a lot, actually - will be necessary to force the sorts of socio-cultural changes that I believe are necessary for the Arabs, Iranians and West Asians.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Tiamo on August 11, 2012, 05:47:49
E.R.: I do believe there are many issues still need to be worked out in the ME. Any solution needs to be from within the region and to resolve the region own problems. Given that, I'd still think a regional war can be avoided if there are enough enlightened leaders who are willing to compromise and leave in peace.


John Baird's Mideast trip to boost Canadian role in Syria crisis

Source: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/john-bairds-mideast-trip-to-boost-canadian-role-in-syria-crisis/article4472794/

Quote
Foreign Minister John Baird flies to the Middle East Friday on a hastily organized mission intended to show Canadian support for two countries inundated with refugees fleeing the raging conflict in Syria.

A trek to visit the teeming masses of displaced people – and announce aid for them – will allow Mr. Baird to be seen taking some action to help the victims of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in a long-running conflict that has frustrated Western nations.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Tiamo on August 11, 2012, 06:21:21
This is a first and just before Baird's visit:

Clash reported between Jordan and Syria in border area

Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/08/10/us-syria-crisis-jordan-idUSBRE8791B420120810
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Tiamo on August 12, 2012, 16:44:31
Interesting read on the makeup of the FSA dating back to March, 2012. Some factual errors on effective battalions locations and unit commanders. I guess that is the result of internet reporting/analyzing,  but the report has some good insights:

Source: http://www.understandingwar.org/sites/default/files/Syrias_Armed_Opposition.pdf

Quote
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee on March 7,
2012 about issues that were restraining the United States from supporting the armed opposition in Syria.
“It is not clear what constitutes the Syrian armed opposition – there has been no single unifying military
alternative that can be recognized, appointed, or contacted,” he said.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Thucydides on August 13, 2012, 10:29:59
Tiamo

While the communications revolution has changed many things, you should note that all sides are becoming adept at this. The Iranian "Green" revolution used Internet tools in an attempt to overthrow the theocracy, but failed (hard power tools still prevail, and the US led west refused to offer any sort of help or recognition), while the Muslim Brotherhood has used tools like Twitter extensively to support their political ground game and effectively freeze out democrats and moderates from political power in Egypt.

The ME is difficult to characterize because it is overlain by so many different divisions (most of which are not congruent). Religion, ethnicity, languages and even former "Imperial" boundaries (Ottoman and Persian empires, plus the imposed boundaries of the British and French) cover the landscape like spaghetti. As ERC says, the current configuration is unstable and only a violent series of shocks will shake the system into some new equilibrium.

If we will like the new equilibrium or not is a different story
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Colin P on August 14, 2012, 17:15:04
Why you shouldn't do urban tanking without infantry.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CwjA3REyOJM&feature=related
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: hagan_91 on August 23, 2012, 22:14:15
http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Interview+Russia+says+Syrian+guarantees+that+chemical+weapons+will/7133727/story.html
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Thucydides on August 25, 2012, 00:39:22
One of the many possible outcomes of the Civil War. I'm not entirely certain that an independent state is possible, given there will be almost no functioning economy and the borders will be surrounded by a very hostile majority population. IF the terrain provided natural boundaries and defensible positions, maybe (the examples of the Kurds building strength in their mountainous strongholds comes to mind), but I don't really see this.

The point about Alawite "boat people" could also lead to a greater tragedy; what if the surrounding nations point blank refuse to take them in? There is little sympathy for them in the region, Europeans are already struggling with populations of unassimilated Muslims from Turkey and North Africa so would hardly be welcoming; where would they go?

http://opinion.financialpost.com/2012/08/24/lawrence-solomon-the-next-boat-people/

Quote
Lawrence Solomon: The next boat people

Lawrence Solomon | Aug 24, 2012 10:44 PM ET
More from Lawrence Solomon

UNHCRSyria may see an exodus by sea, like Vietnam in the 1970s and 1980s, above.
  Twitter Google+ LinkedIn Email Comments More
Syria’s Alawites may take to the sea, like the Vietnamese

If President Bashar al-Assad and his Alawite minority lose Syria’s civil war to the Sunni majority, as Western governments have predicted for more than a year now, the real bloodbath begins. The Sunnis, in revenge for four decades of often-murderous Assad family rule, are sure to seek retribution for the 20,000 brutally killed by Assad in the last 18 months; for the 10,000 wiped out by Hafez al-Assad, Bashar’s father, in a chemical-weapons massacre that put down a 1982 rebellion; and for the countless indignities and injustices throughout the period when the Alawite minority ruled over the Sunni majority.

Anticipating wholesale slaughter — calls for genocide against the Alawites abound — many if not most of the country’s two million-plus Alawites would flee in panic. Because Syria’s immediate neighbours to the north, south and east have neither the capacity nor the desire to accept large numbers of Alawites — seen as heretics by Sunni and Shia Muslims alike — many Alawites will take to the sea in an attempt to get to the West. This would create the greatest refugee crisis for the West since the end of the Vietnamese civil war in the 1970s, which saw the West first detain and then ultimately resettle more than one million boat people in the 1970s and 1980s.

A humanitarian disaster of epic scale is thus unfolding, one that would also strain Western budgets in this time of austerity — the cost of detaining Vietnamese refugees in the 1980s, when security was less of an issue, could cost as much as US$75,000 per person per year. Yet these looming costs, as well as the looming humanitarian disaster, are avoidable. Not under the West’s present strategy of regime change — replacing the Assad regime with a Sunni-led-coalition while keeping Syria’s borders intact – but by creating a state within Syria’s present borders for its Alawite population.

Such a state — called The Alawite State — actually existed after the First World War, when Alawites rebelled against French colonial rule over their homeland along the Mediterranean coast in a northwest corner of present-day Syria. With the blessings of the League of Nations, The Alawite State lasted from 1920 to 1936, when it joined Syria, a protectorate of various disparate minorities created by the Western colonial powers. Alawites — known for their military prowess — later became powerful in the fascist Baath Party that has ruled Syria in a military dictatorship.

That fascist Baath Party is now crumbling, as have other secular regimes in the Middle East, most of them artificial creations of the British and French in carving up the spoils of the Ottoman Empire. If the Western powers today were not adamant in preserving the country’s present borders, an Alawite state would be a likely outcome — the Alawites are in fact fortifying their traditional homeland, to allow them a retreat and, if necessary, a last stand. Syria’s Kurds are likewise fortifying traditional Kurdish parts of Syria, to protect themselves from bloodshed regardless of who ultimately assumes power.

But the West opposes a breakup of Syria, as do the governments of Syria’s neighbouring states — all fear the consequences of setting a precedent that encourages the national aspirations of the many other minorities in the Middle East. Local sectarian wars may well erupt in that grudge-filled part of the world.

Yet the consequences of insisting that Syria’s borders remain unchanged, and of forcing the Alawites and the Sunni majority to live together, are unconscionable: a continuation of the current killing of Sunni innocents at the hands of Assad’s Alawite forces, followed by a killing of Alawite minority innocents should the Sunni rebels win. In contrast, the case for quickly carving out an Alawite state is compelling, not least because it raises the prospects of a shortened and less reprehensible end to the current civil war.

Because Alawites don’t have a safe harbour in a state of their own, they are fighting furiously, and if necessary may resort to chemical weapons. If they do lose, and if the Sunni victors invade and overrun the Alawite strongholds, laying siege to the Alawite capital of Latakia on the Mediterranean, their backs will literally be to the sea.

Latakia, as the country’s largest port, will then oversee a large-scale evacuation of the populace by sea. And the West would oversee a refugee problem largely of its making.

Financial Post

lawrenceSolomon@nextcity.com
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Tiamo on August 28, 2012, 10:14:47


Iran Said to Send Troops to Bolster Syria

Source: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444230504577615393756632230.html

BEIRUT—Iran is sending commanders from its elite Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and hundreds of foot soldiers to Syria, according to current and former members of the corps.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Tiamo on August 28, 2012, 10:20:15
Tiamo

While the communications revolution has changed many things, you should note that all sides are becoming adept at this. The Iranian "Green" revolution used Internet tools in an attempt to overthrow the theocracy, but failed (hard power tools still prevail, and the US led west refused to offer any sort of help or recognition), while the Muslim Brotherhood has used tools like Twitter extensively to support their political ground game and effectively freeze out democrats and moderates from political power in Egypt.

The ME is difficult to characterize because it is overlain by so many different divisions (most of which are not congruent). Religion, ethnicity, languages and even former "Imperial" boundaries (Ottoman and Persian empires, plus the imposed boundaries of the British and French) cover the landscape like spaghetti. As ERC says, the current configuration is unstable and only a violent series of shocks will shake the system into some new equilibrium.

If we will like the new equilibrium or not is a different story

I'm in full agreement with most of what you've said. However, I'm not seeing a war as the eventual solution. I do believe that it will take generations of Middle Eastern youth to re-shape the ME into a stable zone. If 3 wars with Israel, 15 yrs civil war in lebanon, 2 wars in Iraq did not make a dent then no future wars will make a change.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Tiamo on August 29, 2012, 07:23:38
I'm in full agreement with most of what you've said. However, I'm not seeing a war as the eventual solution. I do believe that it will take generations of Middle Eastern youth to re-shape the ME into a stable zone. If 3 wars with Israel, 15 yrs civil war in lebanon, 3 wars in Iraq (forgot the Iran-Iraq war) and numerous other revolutions from North Africa to South India did not make a dent to the way people deal with each other, then I doubt any future wars will make a change.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Thucydides on August 29, 2012, 16:43:14
I'm in full agreement with most of what you've said. However, I'm not seeing a war as the eventual solution. I do believe that it will take generations of Middle Eastern youth to re-shape the ME into a stable zone. If 3 wars with Israel, 15 yrs civil war in lebanon, 2 wars in Iraq did not make a dent then no future wars will make a change.

Robert A Heinlein summed this attitude up well in the book "Starship Troopers"

(Paraphrase)

Student: My parents say that war and violence don't solve anything.
Teacher: Tell that to the people of Carthage

It takes really apocalyptic wars to make major changes; the World Wars of the last century, the 30 year's war and the Peloponesian wars come to mind as events that shifted the landscape and created entirely new orders in the political landscape. Maybe if the current crop of regional wars start to run together we will destabilize enough "pieces" to get the shifts needed for an Islamic "Reformation".
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Sythen on September 09, 2012, 09:26:24
http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/09/08/syria-crisis-jihad-idUSL6E8K80WG20120908

Quote
Jihadists join Aleppo fight, eye Islamic state, surgeon says


* French surgeon returns after 2 weeks in Aleppo hospital

* Says French fighters inspired by Toulouse gunman Merah

* Says Turkey flooding parts of border to stop refugees

By John Irish

PARIS, Sept 8 (Reuters) - Foreign Islamists intent on turning Syria into an autocratic theocracy have swollen the ranks of rebels fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad and think they are waging a "holy war", a French surgeon who treated fighters in Aleppo has said.

Jacques Beres, co-founder of medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres, returned from Syria on Friday evening after spending two weeks working clandestinely in a hospital in the besieged northern Syrian city.

In an interview with Reuters in his central Paris apartment on Saturday, the 71-year-old said that contrary to his previous visits to Homs and Idlib earlier this year about 60 percent of those he had treated this time had been rebel fighters and that at least half of them had been non-Syrian.

"It's really something strange to see. They are directly saying that they aren't interested in Bashar al-Assad's fall, but are thinking about how to take power afterwards and set up an Islamic state with sharia law to become part of the world Emirate," the doctor said.

More on link. I wonder how long it will be before another caliphate is set up in the middle east? And I wonder what the war between the Sunnis and Shias will look like when they end up fighting for control of it. War by proxy is working and effective for both sides in the short to medium term, but there will come a day when their 'cold war' will go hot.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: E.R. Campbell on September 09, 2012, 09:34:17
We need to remember that Turkey is a regional power with strong historical claims to being the natural leader of the Arabic, Persian and West Asian Muslims and the military wherewithal to press that claim.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Thucydides on September 24, 2012, 22:54:13
One result of the disintigration of "old" regimes is that many of the pressing issues of the Great War may finally come to a resolution. The Kurds already have a de facto state in northern Iraq, now a new Kurdish enclave has been created in Syria. The Turks are not too pleased by this, and I imagine this will also become a large and growing thorn in the side of the Iranians as well. This isn't to say that there is a prospect for a united Kurdistan any time soon; Kurds don't seem to work very well together either:

http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2012/09/24/get-ready-for-syrian-kurdistan-3/

Quote
Get Ready for Syrian Kurdistan

Kurdish areas of the Middle East (in red).

Syria’s Kurds once waged a fruitless struggle with Damascus against discrimination and for basic rights like citizenship and official recognition of a distinct Kurdish language and culture. Now, however, the equation has changed, and large chunks of northeastern Syria are now under the sole control of the Kurds.

Back in July, Butcher Assad ceded the responsibility of governing and maintaining law and order in northeastern Syria to Kurdish leaders. In return they would keep out of the uprising. Syrian Kurdish leaders have taken this responsibility and run with it. In a recent interview, well-known Kurdish leader and PKK advisor Muhammad Amin Penjweni described the situation in northeastern Syria:

The Democratic Union Party (PYD) is a very active party in Syrian Kurdistan. Since the start of the uprising, the PYD’s cadres have gone back into the general population and started organizing them. They have formed councils in all areas, and the councils have formed a bigger council called the People’s Council. Now the People’s Council has formed another council with the Kurdistan National Council (KNC), each with five members. . . .
This is the reality in Syrian Kurdistan, whether Turkey wants it or not. The freedom achieved there — whether by bravery, or the Syrian regime giving the areas up — is a development for the Kurdish question.

Meanwhile, Assad also eased restrictions on the Kurdistan Workers’ Party. The PKK is mostly based in Turkey, and its insurgency there has grown more intense in tandem with the Syrian civil war; observers suspect Assad is using the PKK to distract and annoy Turkey. The PKK, according to reports, now occupies towns along much of Syria’s border with Turkey. The past few months have seen an intensifying battle between the Turkish state and the PKK. Ankara claims to have killed hundreds of insurgents, and the PKK has been blamed for a spate of recent attacks on policemen and army checkpoints. A recent article in Turkey’s Zaman newspaper likened the PKK to the Taliban and described widespread drug cultivation in areas of Turkey controlled by the PKK, with enormous profits from the drug trade filling the coffers of Kurdish groups.

All this suggests a renewed struggle in the Middle East between the Kurds and their host countries (see map above). We’re likely to see Syrian Kurds start to push harder and more successfully for the same kind of regional autonomy as in Iraqi Kurdistan. Depending on inter-Kurdish politics, we might see the PKK establish a safe haven and base of operations in northeastern Syria from which to launch attacks in Turkey. This could in turn lead to Turkish incursions into Syria. Another variable is the Syrian civil war: So far the leaders of the uprising against Assad have offered no hint that they are on especially friendly terms with Syria’s Kurds, and should Assad fall, the future of Syria’s Kurdish communities (just like other non-Sunni non-combatant communities) becomes an ominous question.

All in all, a messy and complicated state of affairs.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: aesop081 on September 24, 2012, 23:20:34
I do believe that it will take generations of Middle Eastern youth to re-shape the ME into a stable zone.

They will follow in the footsteps of the youth currently making a**es of themselves "protesting" over a Youtube video.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: E.R. Campbell on October 03, 2012, 18:31:23
As Turkey shells Syria, today, this article which is reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act from Foreign Affairs is timely:

http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/138104/halil-karaveli/turkey-is-no-partner-for-peace?page=show
Quote
Turkey Is No Partner for Peace
How Ankara’s Sectarianism Hobbles U.S. Syria Policy

Halil Karaveli

September 11, 2012

At first glance, it appears that the United States and Turkey are working hand in hand to end the Syrian civil war. On August 11, after meeting with Turkish officials, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton released a statement that the two countries’ foreign ministries were coordinating to support the Syrian opposition and bring about a democratic transition. In Ankara on August 23, U.S. and Turkish officials turned those words into action, holding their first operational planning meeting aimed at hastening the downfall of the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Beneath their common desire to oust Assad, however, Washington and Ankara have two distinctly different visions of a post-revolutionary Syria. The United States insists that any solution to the Syrian crisis should guarantee religious and ethnic pluralism. But Turkey, which is ruled by a Sunni government, has come to see the conflict in sectarian terms, building close ties with Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood–dominated Sunni opposition, seeking to suppress the rights of Syrian Kurds, and castigating the minority Alawites -- Assad’s sect -- as enemies. That should be unsettling for the Obama administration, since it means that Turkey will not be of help in promoting a multi-ethnic, democratic government in Damascus. In fact, Turkish attitudes have already contributed to Syria’s worsening sectarian divisions.

Washington is pushing for pluralism. In Istanbul last month, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Philip Gordon emphasized that “the Syrian opposition needs to be inclusive, needs to give a voice to all of the groups in Syria . . . and that includes Kurds.” Clinton, after meeting with her Turkish counterpart, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, stressed that a new Syrian government “will need to protect the rights of all Syrians regardless of religion, gender, or ethnicity.”   

It is unclear, however, whether Ankara is on board. As it lends critical support to the Sunni rebellion, Turkey has not made an attempt to reach out to the other ethnic and sectarian communities in the country. Instead, Turkey has framed the Syrian conflict in alienating religious terms. The governing Justice and Development Party (AKP), a Sunni conservative bloc, singles out Syria’s Alawites as villains, regularly denouncing their “minority regime.” Hüseyin Çelik, an AKP spokesperson, claimed at a press conference on September 8, 2011, that “the Baath regime relies on a mass of 15 percent” -- the percentage of Alawites in the country. Such a narrative overlooks the fact that the Baath regime has long owed its survival to the support of a significant portion of the majority Sunnis.

The AKP has antagonized not only Syria’s Alawites but also its Kurds. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has insisted that his country would resist any Kurdish push for autonomy in parts of northeastern Syria, going so far as to threaten military intervention. The Turkish government’s unreserved support for the Sunni opposition is due not only to an ideological affinity with it but also to the fact that the Sunni rebels oppose the aspirations of the Syrian Kurds.

Meanwhile, the AKP has sought to sell its anti-Assad policy to the Turkish public by fanning the flames of sectarianism at home. The AKP has directed increasingly aggressive rhetoric toward Turkey’s largest religious minority, the Alevis, and accused them of supporting the Alawites out of religious solidarity. The Alevis, a Turkish- and Kurdish-speaking heterodox Muslim minority that comprises approximately one-fifth of Turkey’s population, constitute a separate group from the Arab Alawites. But both creeds share the fate of being treated as heretics by the Sunnis.

At the September 2011 press conference, Çelik insinuated that Kemal Kiliçdaroğlu, an Alevi Kurd who leads Turkey’s social democratic Republican People’s Party (CHP), based his opposition to Turkey’s entanglement in the Syrian civil war on sectarian motives. “Why are you defending the Baath regime?” he inquired. “Bad things come to my mind. Is it perhaps because of sectarian solidarity?” In a similar vein, Erdogan claimed in March that Kiliçdaroğlu’s motives for supposedly befriending the Syrian president were religious, stating, “Don’t forget that a person’s religion is the religion of his friend.”

On the face of it, the Obama administration’s positions on Syria are consistent with those of Turkey. In their meetings in Turkey, Clinton reiterated that Washington “share(s) Turkey’s determination that Syria must not become a haven for [Kurdish] terrorists,” and Gordon underlined that the United States has “been clear both with the Kurds of Syria and our counterparts in Turkey that we don’t support any movement towards autonomy or separatism which we think would be a slippery slope.” Such statements may comfort the Turkish government, but the preferred U.S. outcome of a Syria where all ethnic and religious communities enjoy equal rights would nonetheless require accommodating the aspirations of the Kurds to be recognized as a distinct group. And that is precisely what Turkey deems unacceptable. Consider the fact that Turkey has persecuted its own Kurdish movement for raising the same demand; in the last three years, Ankara has arrested 8,000 Kurdish politicians and activists to keep the nationalist movement in check.

None of this is to suggest that the United States should not work with Turkey, especially since Saudi Arabia, the other main participant in the effort to bring down Assad, has even less of an interest in promoting democracy. But to have a reliable partner in the Syria crisis, Washington will have to pressure Ankara to rise above its ethnic and sectarian considerations.

The United States should therefore confront these differences in approach head-on and encourage Turkey to see the benefits of pursuing a more pluralistic policy. Despite its fear of Kurdish agitation at home, Turkey would stand to gain from establishing a mutually beneficial relationship with the Kurds in Syria, like the one that it has come to enjoy with the Kurdish regional government in northern Iraq. Indeed, representatives of the leading Syrian Kurdish party, the Democratic Union Party (PYD), have urged Ankara to forge a similar partnership. In an interview with the International Middle East Peace Research Center, Salih Muhammad Muslim, the leader of the PYD, said that Turkey should get over its “Kurdish phobia.” Erdogan’s government seems reluctant to do so, fearing that by reaching out to Syria’s Kurds and other minorities, and accepting the idea of a pluralistic Syria, Turkey would encourage its own ethnic and religious minorities to seek constitutional reform and equality. But if Turkey allows ethnic and sectarian divisions in Syria to further spiral out of control, those divisions may spill over its own borders.

By now, it should have dawned on Ankara that shouldering the Sunni cause to project power in its neighborhood courts all kinds of dangers. Framing Turkey’s involvement in Syria in religious terms leads Sunni Turks to imagine that they are waging a battle for the emancipation of faithful Muslims from the oppression of supposed heretics. This fanning of sectarian prejudice against Syria’s Alawites naturally engenders hostility toward religious minority groups in Turkey, leading the country’s already fragile social fabric to fray.

There is a bigger risk here, too. The AKP’s pro-Sunni agenda in Syria threatens to embroil Turkey in the wider Sunni-Shiite conflict across the Middle East. By taking on Iran’s ally, Turkey has exposed itself to aggression from the Islamic Republic. In a statement last month, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s chief of staff, General Hasan Firouzabadi, warned that Turkey, along with the other countries combating Assad, can expect internal turmoil as a result of their interference. The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the Kurdish rebel group considered a terrorist organization by Turkey and the United States, stepped up its attacks over the summer, notably staging a major offensive in Turkey’s Hakkari Province, which borders Iran and Iraq. Iran denies any responsibility for the PKK attacks, but Turkish officials assume that Tehran is involved and that PKK militants cross into Turkey from Iran.

Until now, the Sunni bent of Turkish foreign policy has suited the geopolitical aims of the United States, as it has meant that Turkey, abandoning its previous ambition to have “zero problems” with its neighbors, has joined the camp against Iran. That advantage quelled whatever misgivings U.S. officials may have harbored about Turkey’s sectarian drift. But if the United States achieves, with Turkish help, its strategic objective of ousting Assad, it will need a different kind of Turkey as its partner for what comes after.


I believe, based on scant evidence I admit, that Turkey is eschewing its 20th century European ambitions and is, now, looking South and East - to the Middle East, West Asia and North Africa - for opportunities to play a leadership role: frustrating the ambitions of Iran and Egypt and displacing the USA.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Tiamo on October 04, 2012, 01:01:05
Quote
I believe, based on scant evidence I admit, that Turkey is eschewing its 20th century European ambitions and is, now, looking South and East - to the Middle East, West Asia and North Africa - for opportunities to play a leadership role: frustrating the ambitions of Iran and Egypt and displacing the USA.

I disagree. If Turkey was seeking to become a regional power, they would have intervened in Syria long time ago. They would have provided better support to the FSA as an example.  I believe Turkey does not want to intervene in Syria and really has little interest in it except for the Kurds and commercial truck traffic.

Syria since its independence in late 1940s and until the Hafez Al-Assad coup in 1969 have had 4 successfull military coups and 2 "corrective" revolutions. Between 1961-1969, Syria have had numerous failed military coups that are too many to even count.

Thus, any country looking to intervene in Syria knows very well that the road to stability is very long and treturous one. This is my reasoning why nobody had stepped up to "own" the Syrian problem.

Further, Saudi Arabia is the main financier of the Armed Syrian opposition (through military councils, religious figures and others). Saudi in itself may have little interest in Syria except for countering the Iranian Shiaa expansion. Turkey is basically the gateway for Saudi Arabia to mingle in Syria. If any country in the ME is seeking a leadership role, it is probably Saudi.

As a side note, one of Saudi Arabia's King Abduallah wives is the sister of Rifaat Al-Assad (Bashar Al-Assad uncle) whom is currently living in Paris, France after he had been forced out of power by Bashar Al-Assad late Father, Hafez Al-Assad. Rifaat Al-Assad is most enfamous for his Hama massacre in which most of the city was leveled to the ground. He had also attempted a coup against his brother Hafez Al-Assad, but failed. He used to command the elite army unit known today as the 4th Battalion.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Thucydides on October 04, 2012, 22:34:22
Various old and new "power groupings" exist in the Middle East, it would take an archeological expedition to find the roots of all of  these.

The Turks are a distinctive Ethnic group, and have historical aspirations based on ruling the Middle East in the recent past as the Ottoman Empire (note, in this part of the world, recent seems to be the Crusades. 1918 is practically yesterday)

The Persians are also a distinct Ethnic and religious grouping, who also have historical claims to regional hegemony

While the Saudis are "new kids" relatively speaking, they have a malevolent interpretation of Islam and lots of money to push it. Wahhabi madrasas are springing up everywhere, a rather novel approach to projecting power.

Egypt is a very old civilization, and Egyptians still see themselves as being very important in the grand scheme of things. They are currently a secular power, but with the Arab Spring being hijacked by the Muslim Brotherhoods, will probably evolve into another sectarian faction with lots of military and economic muscle.

The Ba'athist party is/was a Fascist wannabe secular movement. While it is no longer a power in Iraq, it is still the guiding force behind the Assad regime in Syria, and has adherents throughout the Middle East seeking a secular alternative to sectarian rule.

Throw in the Jews, the Kurds and dozens of smaller ethnic and religious factions and you have another fine mess. Syria is currently allied to Iran but historically belongs in the Turkish orbit, and the ultimate fate may well be a series of mini "states" and areas absorbed by other nations (Kurdish Syria may well blend into Iraqi Kurdistan, for example, and various minority groups in Syria may try to create enclaves as safe havens as the Civil War reaches its climax). The greater regional powers fighting over the remains may well be the trigger of the Regional War that threatens to engulf the entire Middle East.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Bigmac on October 06, 2012, 10:14:11
Quote
Turkey returns fire after Syrian bomb crosses border

Shelling marks fourth day of Turkish retaliation as cross-border attacks threaten to escalate into war

Turkey has returned fire after a mortar bomb shot from Syria landed in a field in southern Turkey.

The exchange came the day after Turkey's prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, warned Damascus that his country would not shy away from war if provoked.

It was the fourth day of Turkish strikes in retaliation for mortar bombs and shelling by Syrian forces that killed five Turkish civilians further east on Wednesday.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/oct/06/turkey-returns-fire-syria


It looks like the Kurds in Syria may provoke Turkey to cross the border. The Middle East is turning into quite the powder keg!
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: tomahawk6 on October 06, 2012, 10:37:18
The big winner would be the Free Syrian Army.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Old Sweat on October 06, 2012, 11:12:33
There are a couple of ways of looking what might happen. Neither is all that appealing.

First - Turkey goes to war, maybe with limited objectives, taking the heat of the west to intervene. Hopefully this will not prompt Russia, iran or China to aid Syria and it will not rally the Free Syria movement to join the Assad regime in defending the homeland. In any case the region is destabilized even more and fractures begin to develop along ethnic fault lines. When the dust clears and the bodies are buried, we all have to relearn our geography.

Second - this turns into a replay of the events of the spring and summer of 1914.

And the wild card is what if somebody decides to blame it all on the Joos and launches a strike on Isreal?

Hopefully my new tin foil hat is working and these scenarios are just the product of an overactive imagination.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: milnews.ca on October 10, 2012, 11:53:13
More grist for the mill....

2 Aug 12 (http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=117372) (via Pentagon Info-machine):
Quote
Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta today pledged to explore ways to continue U.S. help in providing humanitarian aid to those affected by violence in Syria.

A meeting between Panetta and King Abdullah in Amman, Jordan, focused on regional security challenges, most notably Syria and recent refugee flows into Jordan, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said.

“They talked not only about how to deal with the current crisis that is being fueled by the intolerable acts of the Assad regime,” Little said in a written statement, “but also the prospects for political transition in a post-Assad Syria.”

Panetta and King Abdullah agreed that strong international pressure must be sustained to make it clear that Syrian leader Bashar Assad must go, and that the Syrian people deserve to determine their own future, the press secretary said.

Panetta also reiterated the U.S. commitment to its strategic relationship with Jordan and to the strong defense relationship between the two countries, Little added ....

9 Oct 12 (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/10/world/middleeast/us-military-sent-to-jordan-on-syria-crisis.html) (via NY Times):
Quote
The United States military has secretly sent a task force of more than 150 planners and other specialists to Jordan to help the armed forces there handle a flood of Syrian refugees, prepare for the possibility that Syria will lose control of its chemical weapons and be positioned should the turmoil in Syria expand into a wider conflict.

The task force, which has been led by a senior American officer, is based at a Jordanian military training center built into an old rock quarry north of Amman. It is now largely focused on helping Jordanians handle the estimated 180,000 Syrian refugees who have crossed the border and are severely straining the country’s resources.

American officials familiar with the operation said the mission also includes drawing up plans to try to insulate Jordan, an important American ally in the region, from the upheaval in Syria and to avoid the kind of clashes now occurring along the border of Syria and Turkey.

The officials said the idea of establishing a buffer zone between Syria and Jordan — which would be enforced by Jordanian forces on the Syrian side of the border and supported politically and perhaps logistically by the United States — had been discussed. But at this point the buffer is only a contingency ....
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Colin P on October 10, 2012, 13:50:21
I could see Turkey moving into parts of Syria to protect it's population from shelling and to pursue the PPK, the move would be announced as a tempoary measure to prevent attacks on it's soil and to provide humanitarian aid to displaced people. The FSA will welcome it and use the area as a refugee gathering area and safe haven. Assad and gang might try to provke the Kurds in attacking the turks or at least PPK and allies. I suspect(hope) that most Kurds see little advantage in such attacks, but the turk's heavy hand might force them to fight back. Syria might decide to fight the intrustion in the politcal arena such as the UN, with Russian and Iranian support, but avoid confrontation directly with the Turkish army. If assad puts down the rebellion, he will then be in a postion to move his army to face the Turks. At this point all bets are off, what is the turkish public mood, what sort of protections will be put in place for the displaced people, will the UN agree to put observers in?
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Bigmac on October 11, 2012, 20:47:30
Quote

Turkish PM says intercepted Syrian plane carrying ammunition
 
Canada's foreign affairs minister commends halting of arms shipment
 
The Associated Press

Posted: Oct 11, 2012 5:02 AM ET

Last Updated: Oct 11, 2012 7:09 PM ET


Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird commended Turkey on Thursday for stopping a possible shipment of weapons reportedly on its way to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

Escalating tensions with Russia, Turkey defended its forced landing of a Syrian passenger jet en route from Moscow to Damascus, saying Thursday it was carrying Russian ammunition and military equipment destined for the Syrian Defence Ministry.
 
Syria branded the incident piracy and Russia called the search illegal, saying it endangered the lives of Russian citizens aboard the plane.
 
The accusation by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan contradicted denials by both Russia and Syria that anything illegal had been aboard the Airbus A320 that was intercepted over Turkish airspace late Wednesday.
 
"Equipment and ammunitions that were being sent from a Russian agency ... to the Syrian Defence Ministry," were confiscated from the jetliner, Erdogan told reporters in Ankara. "Their examination is continuing and the necessary (action) will follow."

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2012/10/11/turkey-syria-plane.html


Russia involved in arms dealing with another nation?   
Says the Russian "civilian" passenger: " Nyet, that rocket launcher is not mine, I was holding it for a friend! "  ::)
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Tiamo on October 14, 2012, 21:44:37
Syrian regime is using cluster bombs in Homs/Aleppo:

Source: http://www.businessweek.com/ap/2012-10-14/syria-gunmen-kill-4-on-factory-bus-in-homs

By AP News

Quote
The Syrian regime was accused Sunday of dropping cluster bombs — indiscriminate scattershot munitions banned by most nations — in a new sign of desperation and disregard for its own people..........
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: aesop081 on October 14, 2012, 21:55:08
Syrian regime is using cluster bombs in Homs/Aleppo:


Tiamo,

If you have not noticed yet, no one cares what goes on in Syria. Cluster bombs won't change that, they are just another weapon.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Colin P on October 16, 2012, 12:17:49
Let me add a bit of anecdotal evidence regarding this from my own time in Syria. The hatred felt by FSA and other Syrian insurgent fighters toward Hezbollah is very intense. It of course also has a sectarian element. I have seen Hezbollah flags burned at opposition demonstrations in Idlib Province. In Aleppo last month, I interviewed a Tawhid Brigade fighter who referred constantly to the party as ‘Hizb a Shaytan’ (party of Satan.) It created a weird dynamic in our conversation because I would keep asking about ‘Hezbollah’ (party of God) and he would keep replying by referring to ‘Hizb a Shaytan’ until in the end I started feeling like I was acting as some kind of apologist for Hezbollah. Which I’m not. As you know.


read the rest at  http://www.worldaffairsjournal.org/blogs/michael-j-totten
The Israeli Who Sneaked into Syria
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Thucydides on October 16, 2012, 14:39:08
More cracks are opening in the region. It seems Turkey was much more hevily involved even from the beginning, and we might see one aspect of the Syrian conflict as a proxy battle between Iran (which supports the regime) and Turkey. Of course several other struggles are also going on at the same time. All the more reason to be very careful in how we approach the conflict, and avoid being drawn in if at all possible:

http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2012/10/16/sleepwalking-into-disaster-over-syria/

Quote
Sleepwalking into disaster over Syria

Araminta Wordsworth | Oct 16, 2012 8:51 AM ET | Last Updated: Oct 16, 2012 9:37 AM ET
More from Araminta Wordsworth

AP Photo / SANA 'They make a desert and call it peace': Downtown Aleppo

Full Comment’s Araminta Wordsworth brings you a daily round-up of quality punditry from across the globe.  Today: The escalation of hostilities between Ankara and Damascus should be alarming the rest of the world.

Instead, international powers seem to be sleepwalking into a major war as Turkey and Syria exchange fire and impose tit-for-tat bans on using each other’s airspace.

Maybe it’s because they — and we — have become numbed by the grinding horrors of the last 18 months: the deaths of thousands of civilians caught in the crossfire or tortured to death by the Assad regime, and the rebels, albeit on a lesser scale; the hundreds of thousands more displaced; the cities turned into heaps of rubble.

Some in the U.S. are even jingoistically sabre-rattling. They have obviously learned nothing from the waste of blood and money in previous American adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan. All-out war between Syria and Turkey could also drag in regional powers, such as Iran and Saudi Arabia, maybe even Russia, Bashar al-Assad’s continuing best friend.

As the London newspaper The Independent points out in an editorial,

    With violence raging in parts of Syria, cross-border clashes – either by mistake … or deliberately, in pursuit of rebel fighters sheltering in Turkey – become ever harder to prevent. The UN has so far been unable or unwilling to halt Syria’s descent into civil war. But the real risk now is that the conflict will spread, escalating into regional conflagration. Better late than never, this is the point at which Russia and China must make common cause with the other Big Five powers – or be culpable in what happens next.

From neighbouring Lebanon, which knows better than most the horrors of civil war, editorial writers at the Daily Star are sounding the alarm.

    [L]ast week’s events on the border with Turkey represent a potentially catastrophic turning point which could turn the civil war into a regional one … as the history of wars often reveals, many of the worst conflicts have started due to a seemingly small miscalculation, miscommunication or stray bullet.
    With the region as much of a powder keg as it has ever been, this escalation of activities on the borders promotes nothing but chaos and further bloodshed. Common sense and clear thinking is desperately needed before the border clashes draw in regional, or international partners, and all the while the Syrian people who are really suffering will continue to be ignored.

Another editorial, this one in the Jerusalem Post helps explain why the international response has been muted: self-interest.

    t is difficult to know who to root for. While it would be morally reprehensible to back Assad’s ruthless regime, the alternative – the rise of a Syrian version of the Muslim Brotherhood, followed by the wholesale slaughter of the hated Alawite minority (and perhaps of other minorities such as Druse and Kurds who remained loyal to Assad) – hardly promises to be an improvement.
    From Israel’s point of view, regime change in Syria and a warming of ties with Turkey would be welcome developments … But when it comes to changes in the Arab world, as we learned in the Gaza Strip and then with the so-called Arab Spring, one must be careful what one hopes for.

At the political magazine CounterPunch, Ramzy Baroud demolishes the argument Turkey is being dragged into a conflict not of its making.

    When Syrians rebelled, Turkey was prepared. Its policy was aimed at taking early initiative by imposing its own sanctions on Damascus. It went even further as it turned a blind eye while its once well-guarded border area became awash with smugglers, foreign fighters, weapons and more. Aside from hosting the Syrian National Council, it also provided a safe haven for the Free Syrian Army that operated from the Turkish borders at will. While much of that was justified as righteous Turkish action to deter injustice, it was one of the primary reasons which made a political solution unattainable. It turned what eventually became a bloody and brutal conflict into a regional struggle. It allowed for Syrian territories to be used in a proxy conflict involving various countries, ideologies and political camps.

Finally, an editorial in the pan-Arab daily al-Quds al-Arabi offers a cynical view, according to a translation provided by the Co-Generation & Onsite Power Production website.

    We do not believe that [NATO], which has been fighting a losing war in Afghanistan over the past 11 years, is ready to fight another war in Syria which could develop into a regional war —  into a Third World War, in fact. After all, Turkey is a Muslim country, and there is no oil in Syria. NATO can intervene to protect Israel, even though it is not a member of the alliance. It can intervene to abort any possible threat to it, as happened when it invaded Iraq. Or it can intervene to serve strategic Western economic interests, such as Libya’s oil wells. But we doubt that it will intervene in Syria militarily as long as the victims on both sides in case of war would be Muslims. Its stance will be simply: “Let them destroy each other.”

compiled by Araminta Wordsworth
awordsworth@nationalpost.com
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: E.R. Campbell on October 31, 2012, 10:29:06
There's nothing really new or earth shattering in this report which is reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act from Xinhua, but it does give you a pretty clear picture of the official Chinese  position on Syria:

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2012-10/31/c_131942913.htm
Quote
China announces new proposals on Syria

English.news.cn

2012-10-31

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

 • Chinese FM Wednesday elaborated China's proposals on a political resolution to the Syrian conflict.
 • Yang said, "A political resolution is the only pragmatic option in Syria."
 • China has always supported the diplomatic mediation efforts of Brahimi and former envoy Kofi Annan

BEIJING, Oct. 31 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi on Wednesday elaborated China's new four-point proposals on a political resolution to the Syrian conflict, urging all parties in Syria to cease fire and violence and begin political transition at an early date.

Yang made the proposals during his talks with UN-Arab League Joint Special Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, who is visiting China for the first time since replacing former UN chief Kofi Annan as the international mediator on Syria on Sept. 1.

The situation in Syria is at a crucial stage, and is important to the fundamental interests of the Syrian people as well as peace and stability in the Middle East, Yang said, adding, "A political resolution is the only pragmatic option in Syria."

The future of the Middle Eastern country should be determined by the Syrian people themselves, and its sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity should be respected and preserved, according to Yang.

He called on the international community to spare no efforts to collaborate with and support diplomatic mediation, while enhancing humanitarian assistance to Syria.

Yang said the Chinese government attaches great importance to Syrian mediation and expressed appreciation for Brahimi's active role in the area.

China has always supported the diplomatic mediation efforts of Brahimi and former envoy Kofi Annan, and is willing to work with the international community to make continuous efforts to achieve a "fair, peaceful and appropriate" resolution, Yang said.

Brahimi introduced the latest developments in Syria and his recent mediation efforts, especially his visit to the country itself and related nations. He said political resolution is the only feasible approach to the complicated and sensitive situation in Syria and all parties involved should cease fire and violence so as to create conditions for a political resolution.

Brahimi thanked China for its firm support for his mediation. He also expressed appreciation for Chinese efforts toward a political resolution in Syria, as well as his hope that China will continue to play a positive and constructive role in this regard.


This means that any actions the UN Security Council might propose needs to satisfy these four principles, outlined here (http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2012-06/30/c_131686616.htm):

1. "Urge in a balanced way the Syrian government and the opposition to earnestly implement Mr. Kofi Annan's six-point proposal and relevant Security Council resolutions, put an end to fighting and violence, protect civilians, start as soon as possible an inclusive political dialogue with no preconditions attached and no prejudged outcomes, and jointly push forward the political process;"

2. "Give firm support to [UN sponsored] mediation efforts;"

3. "Respect the independent choice of the Syrian people:' and

4. "Have a sense of urgency and at the same time remain patient in seeking a political settlement."

They are very, very Chinese and equally self serving principles but the Chinese are unlikely to change course any time soon.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Tiamo on November 07, 2012, 14:53:48

China is only looking after its own self interest. They have little stake in Syria and thus really don't care much about what happens there. On the other hand, any UN security intervention could and would sit a precedent causing significant alarm for China & Russia. Both countries undemocratic and fear uprisings sooner or later.

On the ground in Syria, the rebels are slowly turning the tide. Aleppo is almost in its entirety under their control. Anything North of Idlib city is also under their control for the most part. What we'll begin to see is an intensification of rebels attacks southward towards Damascus and Homs.

Homs serves as an airforce hub, while Damascus houses the republican guard elites. The supply line for the rebels from Aleppo to Turkey is short and feasible. However, once the attacks extend more south towards Damascus (400km south of Aleppo), the rebels will face a dilemma of how to protect their supply line without air power.

On the other hand, unlike Libya that saw the rebels attacking mainly from the East. The Syrian rebels have relatively well equipped units in every city that can organize quickly if given the right environment.

There is no doubt the rebels are gaining momentum. This may indicate there is now a consensus among several countries to support the armed uprising and topple Assad government. China & Russia are displeased as usual, but are willing to do nothing to that effect. Their interest is minimal. The Iranians and Hezbollah are literally being squeezed both at their home and in Syria.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: tomahawk6 on November 12, 2012, 09:21:01
British troops to the Syrian Border. The Brits dont have the manpower to do much to affect the civil war. Their airpower could be helpful to the Free Syrian Army. But the big dog is Turkey.They could easily intervene but it would probably kill their reapproachment with Iran.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/uk-troops-may-be-sent-to-syrian-borders-8305055.html

British troops could be deployed around Syria's borders in the event of a worsening humanitarian crisis, the head of the armed forces warned yesterday.

General Sir David Richards, the Chief of General Staff, said that contingency plans for military intervention are being "continually brushed over" as Syria's civil war continues.

He stressed that any troop involvement would be limited and conditional on the support of people in the affected area, but his remarks raise the spectre of the UK being involved in another conflict at a time when the West is trying to extract itself from the 11-year war in Afghanistan.

General Richards told BBC1's Andrew Marr programme that the UK's main concern is preventing the Syrian civil war from spilling across borders into Jordan, Lebanon, or especially Turkey, a Nato ally.

But with the humanitarian situation likely to worsen over the winter, he anticipated that political pressure for the Army to intervene would increase, though they would have to be "very cautious" about embarking on what would be a "huge effort".

"Obviously we develop contingency plans to look at all these things. It is my job to make sure that these options are continually brushed over to make sure that we can deliver them and they are credible," he said. "The main thing for now that we are all focusing on is to contain the crisis so that it doesn't spill over into countries like Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey.

"That's our primary focus but that would also accommodate a humanitarian crisis because we could help deal with that through that primary mechanism. So we're keeping our awareness levels very high and in the meanwhile we're preparing plans to make sure that when some disaster happens, we're able to deal with it." The military also has to be ready for the possibility of being sent into Iran, he added. An attack on Iran would be "fraught with risk", but since Barack Obama and David Cameron have both said that "nothing is off the table" when dealing with the prospect of Iran developing nuclear weapons, "I have to continue to keep that one alive as well," he said.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Thucydides on November 13, 2012, 23:07:24
Interesting bit of speculation that potentially ties the events in Lybia on 9/11/12 to the arming of the rebel groups in Syria. Remember, this is speculation, but the question of motive for the attack is still unanswered:

http://pjmedia.com/blog/why-did-al-qaeda-target-ambassador-stevens/

Quote
Why Did Al-Qaeda Target Ambassador Stevens?
Was he murdered for reasons other than being an American on 9/11?by
Stephen Bryen and Shoshana Bryen

November 12, 2012 - 12:00 am     Most of the questions related to the Benghazi debacle are about the mechanics, both offensive and defensive. What did the White House know and when? What assets were available to the military? Did someone order a stand down, and if so, who? Why was “the video” blamed long after the administration knew the truth — and didn’t the administration know the truth from the beginning? If it didn’t, why didn’t it?

All reasonable questions, but a generally unasked one deserves attention: “Why did al-Qaeda want to kill Ambassador Chris Stevens?”

The ambassador had good relations with some of the most extreme Libyan militias, including those with al-Qaeda ties. Did he upset them with something he did, or didn’t do? Was the White House fully apprised of his connections and dealings with the militias? Was he killed because of something the administration told him to start doing or to stop doing?

There are things we know and things upon which we must speculate, including the entry of surface-to-air missiles to the Levant.

———————————–

Emerging from the chaos is a dim understanding that the U.S. was operating a clandestine arms operation from the CIA post that was loosely — and incorrectly — described as a “consulate.” Before and during the revolution, Ambassador Stevens had helped arm the anti-Gaddafi militias, including the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIF), whose leader Abdulhakim Belhadj later became the head of the Tripoli Military Council.

The LIF’s Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi told an Italian newspaper in 2011 (later reported in the British Telegraph) that he had fought the “foreign invasion” in Afghanistan. Captured in Pakistan, al-Hasidi was handed over to the U.S. and returned to Libya, where he was released from prison in 2008. Speaking of the Libyan revolution, he said:

Members of al-Qaeda are also good Muslims and are fighting against the invader.

Belhadj met with Free Syrian Army representatives in October 2011 to offer Libyan support for ousting Assad. Throughout 2011 and 2012, ships traversed the Mediterranean from Benghazi to Syria and Lebanon with arms for the Syrian rebels. Turkish and Jordanian intelligence services were doing most of the “vetting” of rebel groups; in July 2010, the Washington Post reported that the CIA had no operatives on the ground and only a few at border posts even as weapons were entering Syria. Said a U.S. official, addressing the question of even non-lethal aid:

We’ve got to figure out who is over there first, and we don’t really know that.

In August, a report by Tony Cartalucci, a supporter of the Syrian nationalist opposition, detailed the extent of Libyan and al-Qaeda involvement in Syria, calling it a “foreign invasion.” In November, the Washington Post noted a $20 million contribution by the Libyan government to the Syrian National Council — of which the Muslim Brotherhood is a member.

Ambassador Stevens would have known all of that; he was the go-to man. He didn’t seem to have a problem with it, so why did they want to kill him?

In 2011, it was reported that the Libyan rebels had acquired surface-to-air missiles from Gaddafi’s arsenal, and smuggled them into their own. They were not used in the revolution because the skies were filled with allies of the militias, but American sources worried that as many as 15,000 MANPADs (man-portable air defense systems — or mobile surface-to-air missiles) might have “gone missing.” Assistant Secretary of State Andrew Shapiro told USA Today:

The frank answer is we don’t know (how many are missing) and probably never will.

He added that the Obama administration took “immediate steps” to secure the weapons, launching an effort to recover them even before collapse of the regime. Which is interesting, because the U.S. claimed to have no “boots on the ground.”

So who was looking for them? And if they found them, what did they do with them?

Some, at least, appear to have emerged in Syria — in August there was a report of a Syrian government plane downed by the rebels. In October, the Russians claimed the rebels had U.S.-origin Stinger missiles. (Stingers are designed to hit helicopters and low-flying planes — they wreaked havoc with Russian aircraft during the war in Afghanistan.) The BBC reported that the Syrians had old Soviet SA-7 missiles that can destroy an airplane flying at higher altitudes.

Whether Russian or American, the introduction of MANPADS into the region would be cause for alarm. The Levant is not isolated to Afghanistan, and the multinational nature of the Syrian rebels puts a number of countries and their interests in harm’s way. A stray shot — or a deliberate diversion — could be used against Israeli commercial or military aviation. Or American aviation. Turkey would have to worry that the Kurdish part of the anti-Assad revolution might divert its energies to assist in the Kurdish guerrilla movement against Turkey; Turkey’s war against the PKK is largely conducted with helicopters. Jordan would have to worry that the Muslim Brotherhood part of the Syrian rebellion could divert its energies to assist the MB in Jordan against U.S. ally King Abdullah II. Russia would worry that missiles could be diverted to the anti-Russian Sunni jihadists of the Caucasus or Central Asia.

In October, the IDF confirmed that a surface-to-air missile, said to be an SA-7, was fired at a helicopter from Gaza. Iran had not provided such weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon, perhaps understanding that such an escalation would produce Israeli retaliation. The fact that Israel struck the Sudanese Yarmouk rocket/missile factory at the end of October may have been a reminder of the consequences of escalation.

So far, only the last bit is speculation.

But what if Turkish, Jordanian, Russian, or Israeli concerns about the appearance of MANPADS close to their borders made the administration decide that it had to exercise more control over weapons shipments to the Syrian rebels? What if the State Department told Ambassador Stevens to clamp down on the shipments or to stop them all together? If Stevens had told his militia allies that he was cutting back or cutting off the CIA-organized shipments to Syria, could they have been angry enough to kill him?

Al-Qaeda operatives knew of the ambassador’s presence in Benghazi — either because they had operatives in Tripoli or because they had them in Benghazi. They knew where he was and they attacked after the Turkish ambassador left the compound. This raises the question of why Stevens and the Turkish ambassador were meeting in Benghazi at all, when both are stationed in Tripoli.

Another “what if” involves the administration response to the attack, both initially and when senior members — including the secretary of State, the president’s press secretary, and the U.S. ambassador to the UN — all insisted that the attack was the result of “the video.” Two full weeks later, President Obama pounded the lectern at the United Nations and denounced “the video.”

What if they needed for Ambassador Stevens’ death to be part of a larger event, unrelated to the specifics of arms, militias, al-Qaeda, and Syria?

Remember, we’re speculating here. But if the truth of an arms relationship came out, the administration would have been caught in a major falsehood right before the election — that’s not speculation. Mrs. Clinton had flatly told CBS News in February that the U.S. would not arm Syrian rebels, specifically because of the potential for arming radicals with which the U.S. would not be associated:

What are we going to arm them with and against what? We’re not going to bring tanks over the borders of Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. … We know [al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri] is supporting the opposition in Syria. Are we supporting al-Qaeda in Syria?

It may still fall into the realm of speculation, but it seems we were, and if we were there would be a price to pay.

In what appears to be a related event, in early November Secretary Clinton withdrew U.S. support from the Syrian National Council and proposed a differently comprised coalition that would reduce the SNC’s influence. She said it was needed in part because:

We need an opposition that will be on record strongly resisting the efforts by extremists to hijack the Syrian revolution. There are disturbing reports of extremists going into Syria and attempting to take over what has been a legitimate revolution against a repressive regime for their own purposes.

She didn’t mention their American interlocutors.

That appears to be the final backing-away from an American relationship with al-Qaeda-related militias in Libya that ultimately resulted in the deaths of Ambassador Stevens, former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Greg Doherty, and State Department computer specialist Sean Smith.

Dr. Stephen Bryen, President of SDB Partners, LLC, was Deputy Undersecretary of Defense and the first Director of the Defense Technology Security Administration. Shoshana Bryen is Senior Director of the Jewish Policy Center and has more than 30 years experience as a defense policy analyst.
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: GAP on November 20, 2012, 08:25:06
Syrian Islamist groups reject Western-backed opposition, declare Islamic state in key city
By: Elizabeth A. Kennedy, The Associated Press 11/19/2012
Article Link (http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/breakingnews/syrian-islamist-groups-reject-western-backed-opposition-declare-islamic-state-in-key-city-180011051.html)
 
BEIRUT - Syria's increasingly powerful Islamist rebel factions rejected the country's new Western-backed opposition coalition and unilaterally declared an Islamic state in the key battleground of Aleppo, a sign of the seemingly intractable splits among those fighting to topple President Bashar Assad.

The move highlights the struggle over the direction of the rebellion at a time when the opposition is trying to gain the West's trust and secure a flow of weapons to fight the regime. The rising profile of the extremist faction among the rebels could doom those efforts.

Such divisions have hobbled the opposition over the course of the uprising, which has descended into a bloody civil war. According to activists, nearly 40,000 people have been killed since the revolt began 20 months ago. The fighting has been particularly extreme in Aleppo, Syria's largest city and a major front in the civil war since the summer.

Salman Shaikh, director of The Brookings Doha Center in Qatar, said Monday the Islamists' declaration will unsettle both Western backers of the Syrian opposition and groups inside Syria, ranging from secularists to the Christian minority.

"They have to feel that the future of their country could be slipping away," Shaikh said. "This is a sign of things to come the longer this goes on. The Islamist groups and extremists will increasingly be forging alliances and taking matters into their own hands." The West is particularly concerned about sending weapons to rebels for fear they could end up in extremists' hands.
More on link
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Journeyman on November 20, 2012, 10:39:19
....... a sign of the seemingly intractable splits among those fighting to topple President Bashar Assad.
Ah yes, splitters -- the Judean People's Front.   :nod:
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: milnews.ca on November 20, 2012, 11:32:42
Ah yes, splitters -- the Judean People's Front.   :nod:
You mean the Judean Popular People's Front....
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: tomahawk6 on November 22, 2012, 23:46:46
The opposition has been busy while we were focused on Gaza.

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/11/21/gunning_for_damascus

Mideast conflicts have a nasty habit of occurring all at once. And while all eyes have been on Gaza and Israel this past week, several major diplomatic and military developments have occurred on the Syrian front -- some of which may prove decisive to the end game of a 20-month old crisis.

The rebels are winning.  The insurgents on the ground in Syria appear to be winning more and more territory and confiscating more and more high-grade materiel from President Bashar al-Assad's regime. Just as Operation Pillar of Defense was kicking off over Gaza on Nov. 14, the Free Syrian Army took the entire city of al-Bukamal along the Iraqi border, where they also sacked two major airbases, giving the opposition a strong military foothold in Syria's easternmost province, a vital smuggling route for weapons.

 The rebels then claimed a massive victory on the night of Nov. 18, sacking the Syrian Army's 46th Regiment, 15 miles west of Aleppo, after a 50 day-long siege. The real score, though, was in confiscated materiel: Rebels made off with tanks, armored vehicles, Type-63 multiple rocket launchers, artillery shells, howitzers, mortars, and even SA-16 surface-to-air missiles. Gen. Ahmed al-Faj of the Joint Command, a consortium of different rebel battalions, told the Associated Press: "There has never been a battle before with this much booty." (For a seemingly comprehensive video accounting of the rebel haul, check out Brown Moses's blog.)

 The gains have only continued in the past week. On Nov. 20, rebels hit the Syrian Information Ministry in Damascus with two mortar rounds and stormed an air defense base at Sheikh Suleiman, about 11 miles from the Turkish border, where they seized stocks of explosives before withdrawing to elude retaliatory air strikes. "Assad's forces use the base to shell many villages and towns in the countryside," one rebel said. "It is now neutralized."

 There are also signs that bigger gains are on the way. It's "March to Damascus Week" for the revolutionaries, as a multi-pronged offensive has taken shape in and around the capital. On Nov. 19, Ansar al-Islam and Jund Allah Brigades, two Islamist rebel groups, seized the Syrian Air Defense Battalion headquarters near Hajar al-Aswad, just south of Damascus. Another base in Ghouta, a region in the Damascus countryside, was also sacked. Opposition forces are also holding Daraya, a southwest suburb of the capital, despite days of intense aerial bombardment from Assad's Republican Guard.

 This map, courtesy of the wonderfully obsessive EA Worldview website, shows how rebel operations have arrived right at Assad's doorstep the last 48 hours. Meanwhile, as EA Worldview's Jim Miller points out, the Syrian north is now effectively anti-Assad country: "The regime has not won a noteworthy military victory in this territory in over two months."

Syria's political opposition is getting its act together. The six Gulf Cooperation Council member states, France, Libya, Turkey and Britain have now all recognized the Syrian National Coalition, which was formed in Doha on Nov. 11, as "the" (not "a," an important distinction in diplomatese) legitimate representative of the Syrian people, in effect making it the new government-in-exile for all those countries. The anti-Assad opposition group has even appointed its own ambassador to France, Munzer Makhous, an Alawite with a background in academia, no doubt selected to signpost its minority-friendly inclusiveness. These moves have led to intense speculation about whether Western countries are prepared to supply the rebels with military assistance, or even the possibility of an Anglo-French-led effort at intervention.

Yet that all still hangs on the United States, which stopped short of fully recognizing the coalition. State Department spokesman Mark Toner called the newborn body, which Foggy Bottom helped midwife, simply "a legitimate representative of the Syrian people" -- the same language Washington used with the Syrian National Council. The EU foreign ministers' statement was even more wishy-washy, recognizing the coalition merely as "legitimate representatives of the aspirations of the Syrian people."

 This fudge is deliberate, and there are at least two reasons behind it. First, Washington and Brussels understand that while the coalition's optics and rhetoric might be encouraging (President Moaz al-Khatib's alarming website notwithstanding), it still has much work to do in expanding its ranks, building a viable transitional government, and -- most important -- proving rather than simply asserting that it controls the bulk of the armed rebels.

 Its control over the men who are waging the insurgency against Assad's military was cast in doubt last week, when members of the Islamist Tawhid Brigade, the largest rebel faction in Aleppo, rejected the new coalition as a "conspiracy" against the uprising. The group quickly reversed course: On Tuesday, a new YouTube video showed Tawhid Brigade spokesman Abdel-Qader Saleh affirming the group's support for the coalition, "as long as it adheres to the objectives of and aspirations of the revolution" and characterizing the earlier statement as a rogue demarche based on the "marginalization of revolutionary groups with an actual presence on the ground, which are leading the liberation of Aleppo."

 President Barack Obama's administration may also be wary of going all in with the coalition because it realizes that it could increase the pressure to intervene in Syria, which it is loathe to do. If the coalition is described as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people, then a credible case can be made to designate Assad's forces an "invading" presence in Syria -- making it all the more urgent to expel them by force.

Turkey gets its Patriots. For the last fortnight, Turkey had been playing its usual will-we-or-won't-we games with the media over whether it would move for NATO to position Patriot missile systems on its border with Syria. It ended the suspense on Nov. 20, when Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said that a deal had indeed been struck to better fortify Turkey's 560-mile border with Syria with the kind of surface-to-air batteries that made Saddam Hussein's life very unpleasant in two Gulf wars. Though NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has claimed that the Patriots would exclusively be used to counter cross-border Syrian mortar rounds, there's always the chance they could be used to shoot down Syrian aircraft that fly too close to the border, thus creating a no-fly zone.

 Creating a no-fly zone might not require too much heavy lifting for the United States. Lt. Col. Eddie Boxx and Jeffrey White of the Washington Institute for Near East Peace have argued that if Patriot systems were stationed on the Turkish and Jordanian borders and were used in conjunction with three types of U.S. aircraft -- the E-3 AWACS, RC-135 Rivet Joint, and E-8 JSTARS -- they could "give the FSA a protected arc some 40-50 miles from the borders."
Title: Re: Syria Superthread [merged]
Post by: Thucydides on December 03, 2012, 14:18:59
Events may be spiraling from bad to worst. Reports of activity around Syrian Chemical and Biological weapons sites have morphed form activities designed to protect them from the rebels to reports of preparation for use. (One might also ask just where these weapons came from in the first place? I can find little or no open source literature indicating Syria ever had a WMD program until their presumptive nuclear reactor was destroyed by the Israeli Air force.) Releasing WMD for any reason will probably be the trigger for interventions by outside parties, with all the issues that would bring:

http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2012/12/03/matt-gurney-syrian-chemical-weapons-activity-draws-warning-from-washington/

Quote
Matt Gurney: Syrian chemical weapons activity draws warning from Washington

Matt Gurney | Dec 3, 2012 11:45 AM ET
More from Matt Gurney | @mattgurney

There’s something afoot at Syria’s chemical weapons storage facilities. And it has Washington and the allies worried.

Syria, which remains in the grips of a full-on civil war, has long been known to possess enormous stockpiles of chemical weapons — including ultra-lethal nerve gases. Several months ago, the regime surprised observers by suddenly confirming that it did indeed have chemical weapons, and biological ones, too, before quickly walking back the admission. On top of whatever weapons the regime possesses, it also has surface-to-surface weapons sufficient to deliver them to targets in neighbouring countries — long a very real concern of Israel.

Months ago, when the above-mentioned admission was made by Syria, Washington officials quietly told the press that they weren’t worried. There had been quite a bit of activity at Syria’s weapons depots, the officials granted, but the activity all seemed indicative of defensive measures Syria was undertaking to safeguard its stockpiles from destruction or seizure by the rebels. The increased activity at the sites, rather than alarming the West, actually reassured officials here. It showed that Syria was taking the risk of these weapons falling into the wrong hands or being accidentally released during a firefight seriously — exactly what we wanted to see.

But something seems to have changed. NATO-member Turkey, next door to Syri