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Syria watch...
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Lord Beria3



Joined: 25 Feb 2009
Posts: 4104
Location: Moscow Russia

PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 4:40 pm    Post subject: Syria watch... Reply with quote

As things seem to be hotting up in this part of the world, thought it would be a good idea for a thread on the subject.

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2013/08/26/pers-a26.html

Quote:
Ten years after the US government went to war in Iraq on the basis of lies about nonexistent weapons of mass destruction (WMD), a no less grotesque provocation is being concocted by Paris, London, and Washington to justify a new war of aggression against Syria.

The allegations that the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad carried out mass chemical weapons attacks last Wednesday in Ghouta, near Damascus, lack any credibility.

The Assad regime has no motive to carry out such an attack. Until Wednesday, its forces were handily defeating the US-backed opposition militias without using chemical weapons. Due to their lack of popular support and the repeated defeats they have suffered, the opposition is disintegrating into bands of looters and murderers—a state of affairs confirmed by Al Qaeda-linked opposition forces’ declaration that after the Ghouta attack, they will kill any member of Assad’s Alawite faith they capture.

Allegations that Assad used chemical weapons serve only one purpose: to give Washington and its allies a pretext to attack Syria, which they have repeatedly threatened to do if a chemical attack by the regime occurred. If a chemical weapon attack did take place in Ghouta, François Hollande, David Cameron, and Barack Obama know far more about its execution than does Bashar al-Assad.

Before any proof of a chemical attack had emerged, and before any investigation had even begun—indeed, in less time than police departments take to issue an indictment in a routine street crime—French and British officials were calling for war with Assad. The day after the alleged attack, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius insisted that “force” was the only appropriate response.

Obama administration officials even said that they did not want a UN investigation or the collection of evidence before proceeding with their war plans. They told the New York Times yesterday that, with target lists for US strikes in Syria already circulating at the White House, they were “determined not to be drawn into a protracted debate over gaining access for United Nations investigators, because of doubts that they could now produce credible findings.”

The Obama administration’s claims that it is going to war because it is concerned that a “red line” of chemical weapons use has been breached is utterly fraudulent. It does not intend to investigate what occurred in Ghouta. Rather, it wants to obtain a pretext for war that it can present as “credible” to the media, to justify military action that it intends to pursue regardless of whether the Assad regime used any chemical weapons.

Paris, London, and Washington are rushing into a war with far-reaching implications. US guided missile destroyers are heading to the eastern Mediterranean to get in position to strike Syria, and military planners are preparing a massive bombing campaign and stepped-up weapons shipments to Islamist opposition militias in Syria. They are dismissing blunt warnings by Syria’s allies, Iran and Russia, that a US attack on Syria will have dire consequences throughout the region.

The geostrategic and economic interests driving war preparations against Syria were spelled out in a long statement by one of US imperialism’s leading strategists, Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, issued two days after the alleged chemical attack.

He wrote, “If Bashar al-Assad wins or survives in ways that give him control over most of Syria, Iran will have a massive new degree of influence over Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon in a polarized Middle East divided between Sunni and Shi’ite and steadily driving minorities into exile. This will present serious new risks for an Israel that will never again be able to count on a passive Assad. It will weaken Jordan and Turkey and, most importantly, give Iran far more influence in the Gulf. BP estimates that Iraq and Iran together have nearly 20 percent of the world’s proven oil reserves, and the Middle East has over 48 percent.”


This article is a good summary of what really is going on in this Syrian war drive from the Western powers. Cameron and Hague are playing with fire.
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Lord Beria3



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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 8:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/energy/oilandgas/10266957/Saudis-offer-Russia-secret-oil-deal-if-it-drops-Syria.html

Quote:
Saudi Arabia has secretly offered Russian a sweeping deal to control the global oil market and safeguard Russia’s gas contracts, if the Kremlin backs away from the Assad regime in Syria.

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raspberry-blower



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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 8:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Peter DODGY cuts through the dismal, hysterical, nonsensical, war mongering BS that masquerades as MSM journalism on Syria:

Peter DODGY wrote:
In a slow news week, the unpopular papers and then the popular papers, joined in with their own coverage. Even some normally-sceptical writers and commentators were regrettably swept up in proclaiming the likelihood of the truth of the story. It is becoming increasingly risky to voice doubt. What if it’s true? How will the doubters look then? Well, when it's proved to be true, I’ll accept it is true. But until then, I won’t. I won't be frightened into abandoning the rules of evidence, and nor should you be.


If you want absolutely proven atrocities, all you need to do is look at Egypt, where the new military government, lawlessly installed by violence, has openly engaged in several severe massacres of ‘its own people’, in most cases unarmed and defenceless. Yet because these massacres were done with bullets, or for some other reason I can’t fathom, no cruise-missile attacks on Cairo are currently proposed. Ask yourself about this. The contrast couldn’t be clearer. Known, undeniable mass-murders, of which there is no doubt, and whose culprits are known and undisputed, bring no outrage. An alleged mass-murder, whose culprit is not proven, is the subject of huge outrage.
Before we bomb Syria, shouldn't we seek proof of guilt?

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Little John



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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

raspberry-blower wrote:
Peter DODGY cuts through the dismal, hysterical, nonsensical, war mongering BS that masquerades as MSM journalism on Syria:

Peter DODGY wrote:
In a slow news week, the unpopular papers and then the popular papers, joined in with their own coverage. Even some normally-sceptical writers and commentators were regrettably swept up in proclaiming the likelihood of the truth of the story. It is becoming increasingly risky to voice doubt. What if it’s true? How will the doubters look then? Well, when it's proved to be true, I’ll accept it is true. But until then, I won’t. I won't be frightened into abandoning the rules of evidence, and nor should you be.


If you want absolutely proven atrocities, all you need to do is look at Egypt, where the new military government, lawlessly installed by violence, has openly engaged in several severe massacres of ‘its own people’, in most cases unarmed and defenceless. Yet because these massacres were done with bullets, or for some other reason I can’t fathom, no cruise-missile attacks on Cairo are currently proposed. Ask yourself about this. The contrast couldn’t be clearer. Known, undeniable mass-murders, of which there is no doubt, and whose culprits are known and undisputed, bring no outrage. An alleged mass-murder, whose culprit is not proven, is the subject of huge outrage.
Before we bomb Syria, shouldn't we seek proof of guilt?
Yes, excellent article. I find my self torn with Peter DODGY. I am utterly opposed to his ideological world-view and yet find myself persistently and unsettlingly in agreement with him on many individual topics.
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UndercoverElephant



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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 10:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Russia Today is providing interesting viewing.

Seems pretty obvious to me that the culprit was the rebel forces, and the chemicals supplied by Saudi Arabia. Why on earth would Assad do it, knowing the likely consequences?
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Little John



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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 11:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

UndercoverElephant wrote:
Russia Today is providing interesting viewing.

Seems pretty obvious to me that the culprit was the rebel forces, and the chemicals supplied by Saudi Arabia. Why on earth would Assad do it, knowing the likely consequences?
Yep. What I find even more incredible is why our own governments are risking a total meltdown of political credibility by trying the same bullshit on us that they have barely politically recovered from vis a vis Afghanistan and Iraq. One is forced to conclude that either they believe their electorates are quite fantastically stupid and posses the memories of goldfish or they are sufficiently desperate to achieve their strategic goals that they are prepared to dispense with the normally accepted niceties of pretence in the furtherance of those strategic goals and will make do with any weak bullshit that comes to hand.
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JohnB



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2013 12:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

stevecook172001 wrote:
Yep. What I find even more incredible is why our own governments are risking a total meltdown of political credibility by trying the same bullshit on us that they have barely politically recovered from vis a vis Afghanistan and Iraq. One is forced to conclude that either they believe their electorates are quite fantastically stupid and posses the memories of goldfish or they are sufficiently desperate to achieve their strategic goals that they are prepared to dispense with the normally accepted niceties of pretence in the furtherance of those strategic goals and will make do with any weak bullshit that comes to hand.

Everyone is busy campaigning against fracking and the badger cull, and there are plenty of new laws either in force or on the way to put a stop to any protests. It's unbelievable how many things there are to protest about at the moment: fracking, badgers, GMOs, global trade agreements, spying on citizens, introduction of a police state etc., as well as yet another war.
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Billhook



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2013 6:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Culpability for the use of this WMD (which term is notable for its absence from current media) is easily placed by hasty reasoning -
1/. Assad's brother ordered it to preclude the possibility of a negotiated settlement and thereby to stiffen the regime's resolve.
2/. "The rebels" organized it to force America's hand into participation.

Neither seems particularly cogent, for while the first is plausible, it entails the risk of causing sufficient western force being applied to crush the dictatorship. The second lacks plausibility in practical terms, quite apart from ethical ones - since when were the rebels able to acquire, load, manipulate and launch rockets carrying WMD ? They've a hard time getting hold of RPGs.

At least four foreign capitals may have an interest in triggering US participation:
Riyadh and Tel Aviv (with a view to its success)
and Moscow and Tehran (with a view to seeing its third defeat in a row).

The notion that the west is so keen to put down Assad that it's done sweet FA for 2 years but is now so desperate as to order the use of WMD as a false flag operation - seems to me just incoherent.

IF it wasn't Assad's brother - who has nothing to lose - then of the four candidates my bet would be on Moscow knowing just how unwilling the US public is to prosecute such a war to a successful conclusion. But maybe I'm doing Putin an injustice.

From the present condition - where peace talks are over the horizon - there appear to be three possible outcomes :
1- Assad succeeds in crushing the rebellion after protracted hostilities and their massive casualties, and then proceeds to massacre or jail anyone thought to have supported the rebels.
2- The Wahabist movement funded out of Saudi, Pakistan, etc continues to supply sufficient arms to its supporters now in Syria to maintain the fight and eventually break Assad's army, after which a theocratic caliphate is imposed, with persecution of its opponents leading to almost as high an overall body count as in 1-.
3- The west backs democratic forces to the extent of rapidly breaking the army's moral, and then buys popular and warlord backing for government by popular elections.

Personally I wouldn't support western air or ground intervention, as it attracts more problems than it resolves. I've yet to see a case for direct Western involvement that provides a better prospect than the effective arming of democratic forces among the rebels, and the real time supply to them of satellite data on threats and potential targets.

The propaganda against providing surface-to-air missiles for fear of them getting to Jihadists is hollow, and either dishonest or ignorant. Such missiles' launchers can not only be tracked like a FedEX parcel, they can also be on a real time remote unlocking control. They could also potentially have a remote self-destruct feature if that were helpful. There is thus no significant risk of such missiles being used against western interests. There is thus no good reason for denying the democratic rebels the means to destroy Assad's airforce. And the same goes for weaponry to carve up his armour and artillery.

At a political level there is a further seminal merit in providing sufficient effective weaponry and real time battlefield data:
- in any civil war, the faction of the rebels that can provide recruits with the best weaponry, services and above all battlefield success is the one to which recruits will flow from other factions. Providing that critical materiel and info is thus the simplest and most effective means of countering the Jihadist brigades' current ascendancy.

As I've not seen these arguments aired in any other forum, I'd be interested to hear peoples' views, but with one proviso:
- those proposing that we should do nothing because they assume
"we'd only make it worse"
should know that if one day they're down on the pavement bleeding and being kicked to a pulp by thugs, rather than aiding them, or even calling the police to their aid, I'll have to just walk away and leave them "to fight their own battles".

Regards,

Lewis
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biffvernon



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2013 8:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Billhook wrote:
I'd be interested to hear peoples' views,


I agree with you. Though this is so very much a case of we shouldn't be starting from here.

However, I'm not certain that 'arming the rebels' and 'do nothing' are the only two options available.
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biffvernon



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2013 9:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's a twist:

http://www.sott.net/article/265461-Israel-has-granted-oil-exploration-rights-inside-Syria-in-the-occupied-Golan-Heights

Quote:
Israel has granted oil exploration rights inside Syria, in the occupied Golan Heights, to Genie Energy. Major shareholders of Genie Energy - which also has interests in shale gas in the United States and shale oil in Israel - include Rupert Murdoch and Lord Jacob Rothschild.

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Little John



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2013 10:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The entire issue should be framed differently from moral outrage and the pretence of protecting democratic and libertarian ideals. Instead, the following questions should simply be asked:

Does it make a difference to us, in terms of access to oil and other geopolitical considerations, who ends up in charge in Syria? If it doesn't make a difference we should stay the hell out of it. It it does make a difference, can we contain the damage to our interests by non-direct-military-interventionist means? If we can't contain the damage, can we get other players in the region to participate or even lead such an intervention by convincing them it is in their interests, as well as ours, to do so? If we can't convince others to do our dirty work for us, what would be the collateral costs to us both politically and in terms of national security of such a direct intervention by us? If the cost is exceptionally high, then it may be the least worst option to let the thing play out by itself even if that leaves us geopolitically disadvantaged because the alternative outcomes that accompany intervention could be worse.

My own view on all of the above is that whilst there may be a short to medium term strategic interest in forcing a given outcome, the long term costs of the undermining of the stability of our own societies and of a deepening of the poisonous deterioration of the relationship between the Muslim and Western secular worlds with all of the national security issues that entails are all too high.

All of the above is also set against the larger backdrop of a global population time-bomb in a world of depleting resources and whose climate is becoming steadily deleterious to the maintenance of industrial human civilisation, not to mention the rest of life. What we in the West should be doing is pulling up the drawbridge, battening down the hatches, lowering our resource dependency on the rest of the world by all means necessary and preparing for the storm to come. This is particularly true for a country like ours which has truly monstrous, though still largely hidden, problems of its own. Not least the fact we are the second most indebted nation on Earth after Japan, and with very few options for solving them. And yet, here we are, with loose talk in the media yet again of another military adventure by the idiot Haig.
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clv101
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2013 11:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

UndercoverElephant wrote:
Seems pretty obvious to me that the culprit was the rebel forces, and the chemicals supplied by Saudi Arabia.


That's a pretty big claim and is going to provide far more evidence than articles/comments on Russia Today!

I'm pretty comfortable with the 'mainstream' view that it was Syrian government forces that launched the sarin. They are fighting a civil war - have been for a couple of years, the West's done absolutely nothing, so I can imagine Assad firstly wanting to do what ever it takes for get the 'rebels' out of Damascus and secondly feeling that he could get away with using chemical weapons.
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Little John



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2013 11:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

clv101 wrote:
UndercoverElephant wrote:
Seems pretty obvious to me that the culprit was the rebel forces, and the chemicals supplied by Saudi Arabia.


That's a pretty big claim and is going to provide far more evidence than articles/comments on Russia Today!

I'm pretty comfortable with the 'mainstream' view that it was Syrian government forces that launched the sarin. They are fighting a civil war - have been for a couple of years, the West's done absolutely nothing, so I can imagine Assad firstly wanting to do what ever it takes for get the 'rebels' out of Damascus and secondly feeling that he could get away with using chemical weapons.
Oh come on CLV, you can't really be that credulous, surely? We have already had at least two of these ridiculous pretences played out in recent memory. And yet, here we are, once again served up this bullshit, Once again, without a shred of actual hard evidence in terms of the culprits. And, even if we did have proof of the culprits and even if they did turn out to be Assad's forces, how come we haven’t had the imminent threat of military intervention in Egypt, where significant numbers have been massacred, where we know exactly who did it and where we also know the victims were largely unarmed non-combatants, all of which is far less clear in Syria. Or is it that killing people with (American) bullets is somehow less heinous than killing them with (probably Russian) chemicals?

It's a pretence, a pretext for war.
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clv101
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2013 11:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As you know the world is not even remotely equal, the same events in different places are met with totally different responses. Is this a pretext for a new war, yeah, I expect so. America (misguidedly in my opinion) needs to be fighting a war I'm not sure the US economy - as it is currently structured, could cope with a peaceful decade without US forces being involved in a conflict.

However, based on what I've seen, filtered through my world view, I think it is far more likely that the sarin was launched by Assad's forces than the rebel fighters, or as a Westen false flag.

Just because we were spun a line regarding Iraqi WMDs in 2003 doesn't mean that the Syrian attack wasn't as it's being reported.
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biffvernon



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2013 11:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

stevecook172001 wrote:
The entire issue should be framed differently from moral outrage and the pretence of protecting democratic and libertarian ideals. Instead, the following questions should simply be asked:

Does it make a difference to us, in terms of access to oil and other geopolitical considerations, who ends up in charge in Syria? If it doesn't make a difference we should stay the hell out of it.


For me it is all about moral outrage. I don't care much whether it makes a difference to us in terms of access to oil etc. That would be like in Billhook's case, walking by the bloke bleeding on the pavement because you did't have plans to trade stuff with him.

'Staying the hell out of it' is the long-standing policy of China. If, for the sake of argument, we pretend that Tibet is part of China, they have never invaded a foreign country and have always objected to other countries doing so. It's the walking by, eyes shut, approach to foreign policy (whilst grabbing whatever economic opportunities are available).

The problem of the military response to the outrageous immorality of chemical weapons use, is that our only response seems to throw drones in semi-random directions, which doesn't appear to be very smart and should be greeted with equivalent moral outrage.
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