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Offline WHD

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Re: The Syria Desk - Douchebag Strikes Gold!
« Reply #240 on: September 10, 2013, 12:29:32 AM »
I didn't realize it was Douche-bag's idea! Wow, he is going to get it. That move REALLY pissed off all those psychopaths who have been working so hard behind the scenes to pulverize Syria.  :oops:  :iamwithstupid:



http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/2013/09/09/kerry-gaffes-the-russians-blink/
Kerry Gaffes; The Russians Blink
Sep 9 2013 @ 12:27pm

Andrew Sullivan - The Dish

US Secretary of State John Kerry Visits The UK

In his latest stream of unpersuasive self-righteousness, John Kerry today threw out an idea. Instead of threatening an imminent military strike, Kerry actually got creative:

    Asked if there were steps the Syrian president could take to avert an American-led attack, Mr. Kerry said, “Sure, he could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week — turn it over, all of it, without delay and allow the full and total accounting.”

He was, apparently, just being hypothetical. The State Department had to walk him back:

    “Secretary Kerry was making a rhetorical argument about the impossibility and unlikelihood of Assad turning over chemical weapons he has denied he used,” Jen Psaki, the State Department spokeswoman, said in an e-mail to reporters after Mr. Kerry’s comments. “His point was that this brutal dictator with a history of playing fast and loose with the facts cannot be trusted to turn over chemical weapons, otherwise he would have done so long ago. That’s why the world faces this moment.”

I’d have thought a pretty basic qualification for being secretary of state is not to air hypothetical ideas in a public forum that the US does not intend to pursue. But Kerry, who is already doing a huge amount to make Hillary Clinton’s tenure at Foggy Bottom look magisterial, winged it. And the Russians immediately reacted:

    “We don’t know whether Syria will agree with this, but if the establishment of international control over chemical weapons in the country will prevent attacks, then we will immediately begin work with Damascus,” Mr. Lavrov said at the Foreign Ministry. “And we call on the Syrian leadership to not only agree to setting the chemical weapons storage sites under international control, but also to their subsequent destruction.”

Wow. So we have the possibility of two things: that Russia might actually act decisively to rein Assad in, and also support the only viable policy to accomplish what Obama wants – protecting the world from these vile weapons. I have no idea whether this is a serious move by Lavrov – but it sure seems so, and it presents a fascinating non-binary option. It would manage to bring Russia in to solving this problem, without its having to acquiesce to what Putin regards as American grand-standing. And it would surely have some traction at the UN.

Sometimes, it seems, Kerry’s incompetence strikes gold. Here’s hoping.

(Photo: US Secretary of State John Kerry gestures during a joint press conference with Britain’s Foreign Secretary William Hague at the the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on September 9, 2013 in London, England. By Alastair Grant – WPA Pool/Getty Images.)


Offline RE

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"Unbelievably Small War" Newzspeak
« Reply #241 on: September 10, 2013, 12:47:50 AM »

Douche-bag, plain and simple.  :emthdown:


Indeed, but the level of the Newzspeak hits New Lows with this one.

How can Wars be "Small", much less "Unbelievably Small"?  By DEFINITION, Wars involve LOTS of people KILLING each other!  When a couple of people get in a fistfight which escalates to them pulling weapons, its a "Duel" not a "War".  Even a dozen or so people from different Clans or Families shooting at each other is not a "War", it is a "Feud".  If you pull together a few hundred duking it out to the death, it is a "Battle" not a "War".

The population of Syria is somewhere in the neighborhood of 22M, less the folks already dispatched to the Great Beyond and those who who are running for the borders as refugees.  This ENTIRE POPULATION is now engaged in an ORCHESTRATED Civil War with Arms Merchants from all corners arming both sides to the TEETH.  You got the Saudis and Emirates footing the bill for one side, the Ruskies and Chinese footing the bill for the other.  How is 22M People shooting at each other daily an "Unbelievably Small War"?

Not to mention, once Obama-sama authorizes the Death From Above, do you think the B-1 Bombers will be dropping Firecrackers or even M-80s from these BIG and EXPENSIVE aircraft?  Do you think they will drop just 1 or 2 Small Bombs and fly home?  No, they will drop BIG BOMBS, and LOTS of them!  How pray tell is this an "Unbelievably Small War"?


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Offline RE

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The Syria Desk: Infographic
« Reply #242 on: September 10, 2013, 01:38:13 AM »
H/T Zero Hedge

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Offline RE

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The Syria Desk: Current Naval Deployment
« Reply #243 on: September 10, 2013, 01:56:52 AM »
H/T Zero Hedge

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Offline g

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Re: The Syria Desk: Nigel Farage lambasts "extreme militarists" during Syria deb
« Reply #244 on: September 12, 2013, 06:01:30 PM »
Nigel Farage lambasts "extreme militarists" during Syria debate


                                                                   <a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/urIdnpb5sRc&fs=1" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/urIdnpb5sRc&fs=1</a>

Offline Snowleopard

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Re: The Syria Desk - Putin Appeals for Peace in NYT OP-ED
« Reply #245 on: September 12, 2013, 07:34:37 PM »
Vlad puts a bit more pressure on Obama...




A Plea for Caution From Russia


What Putin Has to Say to Americans About Syria



By VLADIMIR V. PUTIN
 
Published: September 11, 2013 3920 Comments
 


MOSCOW — RECENT events surrounding Syria have prompted me to speak directly to the American people and their political leaders. It is important to do so at a time of insufficient communication between our societies.

Relations between us have passed through different stages. We stood against each other during the cold war. But we were also allies once, and defeated the Nazis together. The universal international organization — the United Nations — was then established to prevent such devastation from ever happening again.

The United Nations’ founders understood that decisions affecting war and peace should happen only by consensus, and with America’s consent the veto by Security Council permanent members was enshrined in the United Nations Charter. The profound wisdom of this has underpinned the stability of international relations for decades.

No one wants the United Nations to suffer the fate of the League of Nations, which collapsed because it lacked real leverage. This is possible if influential countries bypass the United Nations and take military action without Security Council authorization.

The potential strike by the United States against Syria, despite strong opposition from many countries and major political and religious leaders, including the pope, will result in more innocent victims and escalation, potentially spreading the conflict far beyond Syria’s borders. A strike would increase violence and unleash a new wave of terrorism. It could undermine multilateral efforts to resolve the Iranian nuclear problem and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and further destabilize the Middle East and North Africa. It could throw the entire system of international law and order out of balance.

Syria is not witnessing a battle for democracy, but an armed conflict between government and opposition in a multireligious country. There are few champions of democracy in Syria. But there are more than enough Qaeda fighters and extremists of all stripes battling the government. The United States State Department has designated Al Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, fighting with the opposition, as terrorist organizations. This internal conflict, fueled by foreign weapons supplied to the opposition, is one of the bloodiest in the world.

Mercenaries from Arab countries fighting there, and hundreds of militants from Western countries and even Russia, are an issue of our deep concern. Might they not return to our countries with experience acquired in Syria? After all, after fighting in Libya, extremists moved on to Mali. This threatens us all.

From the outset, Russia has advocated peaceful dialogue enabling Syrians to develop a compromise plan for their own future. We are not protecting the Syrian government, but international law. We need to use the United Nations Security Council and believe that preserving law and order in today’s complex and turbulent world is one of the few ways to keep international relations from sliding into chaos. The law is still the law, and we must follow it whether we like it or not. Under current international law, force is permitted only in self-defense or by the decision of the Security Council. Anything else is unacceptable under the United Nations Charter and would constitute an act of aggression.

No one doubts that poison gas was used in Syria. But there is every reason to believe it was used not by the Syrian Army, but by opposition forces, to provoke intervention by their powerful foreign patrons, who would be siding with the fundamentalists. Reports that militants are preparing another attack — this time against Israel — cannot be ignored.

It is alarming that military intervention in internal conflicts in foreign countries has become commonplace for the United States. Is it in America’s long-term interest? I doubt it. Millions around the world increasingly see America not as a model of democracy but as relying solely on brute force, cobbling coalitions together under the slogan “you’re either with us or against us.”

But force has proved ineffective and pointless. Afghanistan is reeling, and no one can say what will happen after international forces withdraw. Libya is divided into tribes and clans. In Iraq the civil war continues, with dozens killed each day. In the United States, many draw an analogy between Iraq and Syria, and ask why their government would want to repeat recent mistakes.

No matter how targeted the strikes or how sophisticated the weapons, civilian casualties are inevitable, including the elderly and children, whom the strikes are meant to protect.

The world reacts by asking: if you cannot count on international law, then you must find other ways to ensure your security. Thus a growing number of countries seek to acquire weapons of mass destruction. This is logical: if you have the bomb, no one will touch you. We are left with talk of the need to strengthen nonproliferation, when in reality this is being eroded.

We must stop using the language of force and return to the path of civilized diplomatic and political settlement.

A new opportunity to avoid military action has emerged in the past few days. The United States, Russia and all members of the international community must take advantage of the Syrian government’s willingness to place its chemical arsenal under international control for subsequent destruction. Judging by the statements of President Obama, the United States sees this as an alternative to military action.

I welcome the president’s interest in continuing the dialogue with Russia on Syria. We must work together to keep this hope alive, as we agreed to at the Group of 8 meeting in Lough Erne in Northern Ireland in June, and steer the discussion back toward negotiations.

If we can avoid force against Syria, this will improve the atmosphere in international affairs and strengthen mutual trust. It will be our shared success and open the door to cooperation on other critical issues.

My working and personal relationship with President Obama is marked by growing trust. I appreciate this. I carefully studied his address to the nation on Tuesday. And I would rather disagree with a case he made on American exceptionalism, stating that the United States’ policy is “what makes America different. It’s what makes us exceptional.” It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation. There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.


Vladimir V. Putin is the president of Russia.

 
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/12/opinion/putin-plea-for-caution-from-russia-on-syria.html?ref=opinion&_r=0

A version of this op-ed appears in print on September 12, 2013, on page A31 of the New York edition with the headline: A Plea for Caution From Russia.
 .

"A man sees what he wants to see and disregards the rest." -  Simon and Garfunkel

Offline g

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Re: The Syria Desk
« Reply #246 on: September 12, 2013, 08:07:48 PM »
Quote
.” It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation. There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.


Vladimir V. Putin is the president of Russia.
Great posting Snowleopard, one heck of a quote at the end, wasn't it.? 

Wish it was our President that said it.   :-[

Offline Snowleopard

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Re: The Syria Desk
« Reply #247 on: September 12, 2013, 09:56:00 PM »
Quote
.” It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation. There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.


Vladimir V. Putin is the president of Russia.
Great posting Snowleopard, one heck of a quote at the end, wasn't it.? 

Wish it was our President that said it.   :-[

Not bad considering English is his third language!

What i suspect is that Iran has a commitment to defend Syria, and Russia has a commitment to defend Iran.  Putin has no desire for that scenario to play out, especially vs USA, so he is expending some effort to prevent it.  There is a fair chance he will succeed.  If so, Israel is not going to be happy. 

If Obama does not attack before then, a new provocation is likely late OCT to early NOV.  It might not happen, or if it does we might skate again, but I'm topping off my fuel tanks!
"A man sees what he wants to see and disregards the rest." -  Simon and Garfunkel

Offline RE

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Syria Podcast/Vidcast Scheduled
« Reply #248 on: September 12, 2013, 10:40:05 PM »
Good Newz!

I have a Podcast or Vidcast on Syria scheduled with BOTH Gail Tverberg and Brian Davey for Monday recording.  :icon_sunny:

Not sure which format we will go with yet, depends on the quality of the various connections.

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Offline Surly1

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Re: The Syria Desk
« Reply #249 on: September 13, 2013, 02:34:10 AM »
Syrian Rebels Slit Throat of Christian Man Who Refused To Convert To Islam, Taunt Fiance, “Jesus Didn’t Come To Save Him”
Posted on September 13, 2013 by WashingtonsBlog
http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/09/syrian-rebels-slit-throat-of-christian-man-who-refused-to-convert-to-islam-taunt-fiance-jesus-didnt-come-to-save-him.html

U.S., Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Israel Support Al Qaeda Terrorists Who Are Brutally Persecuting Syrian Christians

Until recently, Syria was a safe-haven for Christians.

The New York Times notes:

As secular leaders from the secretive Alawite sect, the Assad dynasty largely preserved Christian life, protecting Syria’s minorities from what was perceived as a collective threat from the country’s Sunni majority.

Watching their once-shielding dictators fall like dominos across the region, Christians have suddenly found themselves on the wrong side of history. Faced by a rising tide of radical Sunni Islam, Christians in Iraq and Egypt have fled by the thousands. In Syria, concern over Christian repression has fallen on deaf ears, drowned out by popular support for the country’s opposition in the face of the Assad regime’s brutal crackdown.

BBC points out:

Syria has for much of the century had a sizeable Christian minority, making up at least 10% of the population.

***

In recent years Syria has been considered one of the easier Middle Eastern countries for Christians to live in. Power is concentrated in the hands of the Alawite minority – a Shia sect considered heretical by many Muslims – which has clamped down hard on extreme forms of Islam.

But that’s all changed since Al Qaeda terrorists started targeting Christians in Syria more than a year ago.

Agence France-Presse reports:

Jihadists who overran Syria’s ancient town of Maalula last week disparaged Christians as “Crusaders” and forced at least one person to convert to Islam at gunpoint, say residents who fled the town.

***

“They arrived in our town at dawn… and shouted ‘We are from the Al-Nusra Front and have come to make lives miserable for the Crusaders,” an Islamist term for Christians ….

***

Maalula is one of the most renowned Christian towns in Syria, and many of its inhabitants speak Aramaic, the language of Jesus.

***

“I saw people wearing Al-Nusra headbands who started shooting at crosses,” said Nasrallah, a Christian.

One of them “put a pistol to the head of my neighbour and forced him to convert to Islam by obliging him to repeat ‘there is no God but God’.”

“Afterwards they joked, ‘he’s one of ours now’.”

***

Another resident, Rasha, recounted how the jihadists had seized her fiance Atef, who belonged to the town’s militia, and brutally murdered him.

“I rang his mobile phone and one of them answered,” she said.

“Good morning, Rashrush,” a voice answered, using her nickname. “We are from the Free Syrian Army. Do you know your fiance was a member of the shabiha (pro-regime militia) who was carrying weapons, and we have slit his throat.”

The man told her Atef had been given the option of converting to Islam, but had refused.

“Jesus didn’t come to save him,” he taunted.

Daily Mail writes:

Another Christian resident said: ‘I saw the militants grabbing five villagers and threatening them and saying, “Either you convert to Islam, or you will be beheaded”.’

Another said one church had been torched, and gunmen stormed into two other churches and robbed them.

The Christian Science Monitor notes:

Anas, their son, says he got threatening messages back in Syria: “Your money is for us to take, your wife is for us to sleep with, and your children are for killing. This is all halal,” or permissible under Islamic law. He escaped with his wife and children to Jordan, but not before his liquor store had been burned down.

WND reports:

“The Christian residents were offered four choices: 1. renounce the ‘idolatry’ of Christianity and convert to Islam; 2. pay a heavy tribute to the Muslims for the privilege of keeping their heads and their Christian faith (this tribute is known as jizya); 3. be killed; 4. flee for their lives, leaving all their belongings behind.”

The Washington Times reported in June:

“A priest and another Christian were beheaded before a cheering crowd by Syrian insurgents who say they aided and abetted the enemy… The reported beheading of the two Christians comes about the same time America has started sending arms to rebel fighters, the Wall Street Journal revealed this week.”

Most of the Syrian “rebels” are Al Qaeda.  As NBC News reports, Al Qaeda is gaining more and more power among the rebels.

And the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Israel  have been backing these guys for years.  Indeed, we’ve long known that most of the weapons we’re shipping to Syria are ending up in the hands of Al Qaeda. And they apparently have chemical weapons.

Congressman Amish points out that the U.S. is breaking the law by aiding and abetting a designated terrorist group.

Indeed, Obama’s own top lawyers warned him that arming the rebels would be illegal.

Ironically, Obama has just renewed the Declaration of a State of Emergency for America first started by Bush in September 2001.  That declaration of emergency is supposed to be about fighting – you know – Al Qaeda.

But the U.S. has long wanted regime change in Syria … and long backed the most violent terrorists in the world for geopolitical reasons.
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Offline Surly1

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Re: The Syria Desk
« Reply #250 on: September 13, 2013, 02:38:53 AM »
Classified U.S. Military Document: Syrian Rebels DO Have Chemical Weapons
Posted on September 12, 2013 by WashingtonsBlog
Al Qaeda In Syria Had Sarin Before August Attack

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/09/classified-u-s-military-document-syrian-rebels-do-have-chemical-weapons.html
(follow links at original)


We’ve extensively documented that the Syrian rebels do have access to chemical weapons.

It turns out that a classified U.S. military document says the same thing.

A former senior security policy analyst in the office of the secretary of defense, F. Michael Maloof, reports at WND:

In a classified document just obtained by WND, the U.S. military confirms that sarin was confiscated earlier this year from members of the Jabhat al-Nusra Front, the most influential of the rebel Islamists fighting in Syria.

The document says sarin from al-Qaida in Iraq made its way into Turkey and that while some was seized, more could have been used in an attack last March on civilians and Syrian military soldiers in Aleppo.

The document, classified Secret/Noforn – “Not for foreign distribution” – came from the U.S. intelligence community’s National Ground Intelligence Center, or NGIC, and was made available to WND Tuesday.

It revealed that AQI had produced a “bench-scale” form of sarin in Iraq and then transferred it to Turkey.

A U.S. military source said there were a number of interrogations as well as some clan reports as part of what the document said were “50 general indicators to monitor progress and characterize the state of the ANF/AQI-associated Sarin chemical warfare agent developing effort.”

“This (document) depicts our assessment of the status of effort at its peak – primarily research and procurement activities – when disrupted in late May 2013 with the arrest of several key individuals in Iraq and Turkey,” the document said.

“Future reporting of indicators not previously observed would suggest that the effort continues to advance despite the arrests,” the NGIC document said.

The May 2013 seizure occurred when Turkish security forces discovered a two-kilogram cylinder with sarin gas while searching homes of Syrian militants from the al-Qaida-linked Jabhat al-Nusra Front following their initial detention.

The sarin gas was found in the homes of suspected Syrian Islamic radicals detained in the southern provinces of Adana and Mersia.

Some 12 suspected members of the al-Nusra Front were arrested. At the time, they were described by Turkish special anti-terror forces as the “most aggressive and successful arm” of the Syrian rebels.

In the seizure, Turkish anti-terror police also found a cache of weapons, documents and digital data.

***

Sources tell WND the documentation indicates that deadly sarin poison gas was manufactured in a Sunni-controlled region of Iraq and then transported to Turkey for use by the Syrian opposition, whose ranks have swelled with members of al-Qaida and affiliated groups.

High-level former U.S. intelligence officers say that it was the rebels – not the Syrian government – which carried out the chemical weapons attack.

They note that their high-level intelligence colleagues currently working in U.S. intelligence agencies agree.

The director of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare from 1988 to 2004 – who was a former senior consultant for the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Department of State – (Yossef Bodansky) also says that the rebels were the perpetrators of the chemical attack.
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Offline RE

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Choose WISELY where you Hole Up!
« Reply #251 on: September 13, 2013, 02:58:10 AM »
Syrian Rebels Slit Throat of Christian Man Who Refused To Convert To Islam, Taunt Fiance, “Jesus Didn’t Come To Save Him”


Unwise to be a Christian in a Sea of Muslims these days.

Unwise to be a White Guy in Downtown Detroit these days.

Unwise to be a Black Man in Patterson, NJ in 1960.  "In Patterson, that's just the way things go.  You better not show up on the Street less you wanna draw the HEAT."

Hurricane - Bob Dylan on Vimeo


Unwise to be a Gringo in the Banana Republics in the near future.

Unwise to be a Liberal on TBP at any time.

Unwise to be a PIGMAN on the Doomstead Diner at any time.

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Offline g

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Re: The Syria Desk: Limited Options
« Reply #252 on: September 13, 2013, 03:06:28 AM »
                                                       
130916 r23965illu p233
130916 r23965illu p233

Toward the end of last week’s Senate hearing on American military action in Syria, Tim Kaine, of Virginia, admitted to being confused. Secretary of State John Kerry had been repeating for hours the Administration’s line that the purpose of bombing Syria was “limited”: to punish Bashar al-Assad for gassing more than a thousand of his own people, including hundreds of children, and to discourage him from doing it again. On the other hand, General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had tersely acknowledged that the act of destroying Syrian military assets would inevitably hurt Assad’s ability to fight the rebellion—so the effects might not be so limited after all. Meanwhile, the American goal in Syria remains a negotiated settlement. Since no one from the Administration would connect the dots, Kaine struggled to do it. Bombing, he offered, “will level the playing field by removing the ability to use chemical weapons, and it will therefore increase the odds that the parties will then come to the table to try to figure out that political solution.” He went on, “Is that the connection between the military option you are proposing and the stated end goal of a solution to the civil war only being—only being achieved through a political end?” “It’s the collateral connection to it,” Kerry replied. “It’s not the purpose of it, but it is a collateral connection.”

The Administration’s case for making Assad pay is as practically flawed as it is morally defensible. The war-weary American people overwhelmingly oppose it, and the debate in Washington is not winning them over to President Obama’s side. There’s also a problem with the debate itself: Obama seems to be reserving the right to ignore Congress if it fails to deliver the verdict he wants, which has led Senator Rand Paul, of Kentucky, to accuse the Administration of “making a joke of us.” In the meantime, a number of Republicans talk about the Syria crisis as if it were an overseas extension of the debt crisis—another chance to thwart a President they despise. The geopolitics of military action are just as problematic: the United States, supported by a handful of mostly silent partners, is upholding a collective standard single-handedly, and preserving the mission of the United Nations by ignoring it.

It would be less difficult to wave off these contradictions if the Administration seemed to have a plan for the day after the last cruise missile takes out the last Syrian jet. But the flaws start to appear fatal when you consider the lack of any strategy beyond bombing. It’s a worrying sign when America’s chief diplomat refers to the central objective in Syria as “a collateral connection.” The Administration would like to frame missile strikes as a kind of judicial action, a one-time ruling from the bench, not as a military intervention. Yet bombing would change the balance of power in Syria and, one way or another, entangle America in the civil war despite Obama’s ardent wish to stay out. The White House clearly failed to plan for a mass chemical-weapons attack; it would now be far better for the Administration to think through ways of reaching American goals before the missiles launch.


For almost two years, the U.S. has conducted a barely perceptible, utterly futile diplomatic exercise with Russia. Vladimir Putin has frustrated every effort to negotiate a ceasefire and a political transition in Syria, and now Russia is preventing the U.N. from even condemning the use of chemical weapons. Russia has relatively little invested in Syria, and it wants nothing from the U.S.—the war is just a cheap way for Putin to damage American interests. The clearest path to a settlement now may be not through Moscow but through Tehran. Iran has a lot at stake in Syria—in money, arms, lives, and regional strategy. The Revolutionary Guard has always tried to carry out foreign policy with no fingerprints, through proxies and covert operations, but Syria is becoming an Iranian quagmire.

The Obama Administration has refused to allow Iran a seat at the Geneva talks, but Iran has a new President, Hassan Rouhani, a seemingly pragmatic centrist whose top priority is to ease tensions with the U.S. and to end Iran’s international isolation. He and his foreign minister, Javad Zarif, issued conciliatory tweets on the Jewish New Year, while former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, Rouhani’s political patron, dared to blame Assad for the chemical attack. During the Iran-Iraq War, tens of thousands of Iranians were gassed by the forces of Saddam Hussein. It’s conceivable that the atrocity in Damascus has turned the stomach of Iran’s political leadership. In the wake of American strikes, Iranian radicals might want to retaliate—there are reports of a secret order to attack the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad or Beirut—and restraining them would be the first test of Rouhani’s power to carry out his agenda.

Some Iranians point to the Bonn Conference of 2001—where Iran and the U.S. coöperated in the formation of an Afghan government, after the fall of their mutual enemy, the Taliban—as a model for what might take place with Syria. The U.S. and Iran have a common interest: preventing Salafi extremists, affiliated with Al Qaeda, from gaining power in the region. If this appeared probable in Syria, Iran might be willing to drop its support for Assad in exchange for a face-saving transition, backed by Turkey, Jordan, and the Gulf states: a ceasefire, a peacekeeping force made up of Muslim troops from the region, protections for Alawites and other minorities, U.N.-sponsored elections, and exile in a comfortable dacha for the Assad family.

None of this is likely. It would take imaginative diplomacy of the kind that the Administration has shown little taste for in the Middle East. Iran would have to be convinced that it can’t win but also that it needn’t lose, and this would not be possible without deeper American engagement. The question of arming rebel groups came up at the Senate hearings. “The opposition has increasingly become more defined by its moderation,” Kerry said, “by its adherence to some, you know, democratic process.” Yet this version of Iraqi “sweets and flowers” is contradicted by accounts of rebel brutality, and by a new report from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, which describes fractured rebel forces that are increasingly dominated on the battlefield by hard-core Salafists. The fact that promised American weapons have been so slow to reach the rebels suggests that U.S. intelligence shares this view. Nonetheless, one of the report’s authors, Andrew Tabler, an American with long experience in Syria, argues that, with careful vetting, U.S. arms, along with political support in border areas, could still strengthen the more secular nationalist rebels. Without some such effort, the war looks more and more like a choice between Assad and Al Qaeda.

This strategy carries tremendous risks and few prospects for a resolution. There’s an easier case to be made for doing nothing—letting the war burn on for years. That policy would have the virtue of being clear and consistent, which cannot be said of what the Administration seems poised to do. But fires are hard to contain. The conflict is already spreading to Lebanon, Iraq, and perhaps the wider region. In the end, there’s no way for a conflagration in the Middle East to spare American interests. ♦

What a friggin mess :icon_scratch: :icon_scratch:

http://www.newyorker.com/talk/comment/2013/09/16/130916taco_talk_packer   :icon_study:

Offline g

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Re: The Syria Desk
« Reply #253 on: September 13, 2013, 03:14:07 AM »
RE,  Just pointing out that the video you posted in this posting is not appearing, something is wrong with it.   GO


It is the Careful where you hole up posting.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2013, 03:15:52 AM by Golden Oxen »

Offline RE

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Re: The Syria Desk
« Reply #254 on: September 13, 2013, 03:24:07 AM »
RE,  Just pointing out that the video you posted in this posting is not appearing, something is wrong with it.   GO


It is the Careful where you hole up posting.

It is a Vimeo Vid of Bob Dylan's Hurricane Video, and will not embed.  It has been removed from You Tube.

You can view it and download it also from Vimeo still.  I suggest doing so before it is lost entirely.  I got a copy now on my hard drive.  Fabulous Video.

RE
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