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droid
22-08-2013, 11:06 AM
Looks like someone has definitively crossed the line. Some horrific stuff here. I haven't even had the heart to view half of the vids:

http://www.theatlanticwire.com/global/2013/08/visual-evidence-syrias-poison-gas-attack-overwhelming-and-disturbing/68586/

I'd noticed that the CW clamour had died down after some conflicting evidence came to light and the a rebel group started decapitating priests on video, but this is the real deal.

padraig (u.s.)
22-08-2013, 01:08 PM
yeah no good words, just brutal

unfortunately still doubt it will spur any useful intl action beyond condemnation, esp absent of knowing who exactly did it, which may not be forthcoming any time soon if ever

whoever did it, smacks of potential false flag, get the other side condemned. monstrous stuff obviously.

droid
22-08-2013, 01:11 PM
I'm struggling to see what 'meaningful intervention' would even look like. Large scale Arab and UN military mission to divide the country and impose a peace deal?

droid
22-08-2013, 01:24 PM
FFS


Filthpig DnbThe story is bullshit. Why ? It's the SAME pictures they've been using in Iraq and Libya years ago. Stop listening to the war mongering news channels and papers. And ppl fall for it hook line and sinker each and every time. The same as that picture of 'supposedly' dead children lying in a Syrian street two years ago, which was discovered that they were not even dead, they were sleeping children in Iraq, and then computer generated into a street with fake blood etc all over them.

Show the actual proof, but they cannot because there isn't any. Again like that so-called chemical attack a few months ago. Was found out no chemical attack took place it was all for the cameras. Enough with this bullshit. Stop believing terrorists ffs.

Filthpig Dnb Use your brain, not what the fearstream media want to incite fs.
about an hour ago · Like

Filthpig Dnb Exactly it's a GAME, a very sick game. Fuck the Russians, they're jut as responsible., Best looking after yourself because when it really kicks off, no-one is going to help or save you, me or anyone. The takeover has well and truly begun.

Filthpig Dnb NOW YOUR GETTING IT Al Neale. It isn't the world, it's HOLLYWOOD reporting it. Research on how CNN/NBC/BBC make up news stories. Why do you think Hollywood studios own all the major news networks. And before you say anything the BBC IS a film studio. It's all a con, you hardly get any real news anywhere these days, it's all manipulated and created to garner a reaction so that 'they' can go in and attack, kill, murder whoever they want...all for our entertainment on the news. But first they have to create FEAR !

Filthpig Dnb Who in their fucking right mind would film dead kids and put it on tv all day long. only sick fucks would do such a thing. Remember it's all to garner a reaction. Reaction causes anger, hatred, ppl not thinking straight and making decisions they cannot think on properly - and it's causes bad energy.

That's not to say children don't get killed, they do get killed, but this story - isn't true, like all the others over the last 2-3 years. Always look for the tell-tale signs. What is the story, who is it for, and what will it accomplish ? you'll find most news stories are not stories at all they're actually 'coded messages' not meant for us. But that's a different kettle of fish for another day.

I'm sure that American story is bullshit. His surname is BURKE. He's telling the viewers 'you're all stupid'. it's all to create fear, get them popping pills, and committing suicide ?

Filthpig Dnb Warning ? it's been here for 6 years already ! There's fuck all you me can do about it. Why ? Because the banks are going to take EVERYONE'S MONEY. Last year's Ulster Bank fiasco was a dry run.

You're going to have to do what I did Al, you're going to have to research yourself. In this game there is no hand holding, you have to discover this yourself.

Filthpig Dnb They want you to think 1200 ppl died. Bullshit. The numbers never lie. it always boils down to numbers.... Nobody died imo. Again look to the Balkan war in the 1990's. Same shit happened there.

I'll be more worried with the 'terrorists' getting on the boats pretending they are refugees and landing in Cyprus and Greece and creating havoc there. Because that's what's coming. Greece and Cyprus will become islamist nations (because they've been destroyed by the EU deliberately). Then they'll move south east and connect up with the caucaus nations and along with certain balkan states they'll gang up on Russia (this is why Snowden is there - to distablize Russia as he is a spy not a hero). If Putin isn't removed politically this is what will happen.

There is a major handover coming, and it won't be pretty. To bring in the 'new' you first have to eradicate the 'old'. It's always happened this way throughout history as history repeats itself always.
45 minutes ago · Like

Filthpig Dnb War is entertainment, news entertainment, it's in the news networks interests to keep the ratings high, and the only way to do that is to 'create fear, bullshit and participate in war'.
44 minutes ago · Like

Filthpig Dnb Like in that clip I posted up, one YT replier got it bang on. They're all working together, the real truth is between the lies both the msm and alternative/so-called truth movement are reporting. Trust none of them.
39 minutes ago · Like

Filthpig Dnb I can even tell this BBC report is complete and utter bullshit. It's all to do with 'numbers'.

UK/FRANCE/TURKEY - What do these 3 countries have in common. All 3 have ARMED the Syrian rebels (and in Turkey's case have allowed foreign mercenaries to enter Syria through their borders, kill, then return. Not forgetting allowing Is-Ra-El to launch airstrikes against Syria) and have 'invested interests' to destabilize Syria, because France and the UK have been guilty of destabilizing the entire North African region. There is something 'deeper' going on in Africa, something major 'they' don't want us to know about, otherwise why destabilize the entire north and middle African regions to the point of total collapse.

Mr. Tea
22-08-2013, 02:40 PM
FFS

Have you been looking up our friend lanugo's other online personae?

droid
22-08-2013, 03:32 PM
LOL. No its an old troll from the irishdnb forum talking shit on facebook.

crackerjack
22-08-2013, 08:35 PM
I'm struggling to see what 'meaningful intervention' would even look like. Large scale Arab and UN military mission to divide the country and impose a peace deal?

^^This^^

We're fast enterign the realm of something-must-be-doneism. But what? No-fly zone? Arms to whom? Suspect ideal option for the West is for Assad to stop killing people but remain in charge, but that's looking about as likely as a win for Good Opposition (and we don't even want to think about the bad).

Even all the pro-war types from 03 seem to be doing a lot more told-you-so-ing than actual policy suggestion. (which reminds me... waits for Craner...)

padraig (u.s.)
23-08-2013, 03:51 PM
I'm struggling to see what 'meaningful intervention' would even look like

neither do I tbh, guess what I really meant was it'll inspire a lot basically useless foreign/media bemoaning/condemning

large scale intervention seems fantastically unlikely. neither Arab world nor UN SC could unite enough to undertake one, let alone what Iran would do.

droid
26-08-2013, 01:10 PM
I know it's practically passe by now, but it seems that the US role in Iraq's chemical attacks was less passive than previously thought.... (http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/08/25/secret_cia_files_prove_america_helped_saddam_as_he _gassed_iran)

Sectionfive
27-08-2013, 08:31 PM
The airwaves are full of big talk. Wouldn't it take you back, again.

droid
28-08-2013, 07:35 AM
Cameron is really pushing this. Its his chance to restore credibility to the 'new military humanism' that's been the justification for 'aggressive intervention' since Kosovo.

Listening to Kerry moralising about chemical weapons made me sick into my mouth a little bit.

droid
28-08-2013, 07:36 AM
http://nsnbc.me/2013/06/16/dumas-top-british-officials-confessed-to-syria-war-plans-two-years-before-arab-spring/

I'd say they've had war plans since at least 03/04. Plans, and the opportunity and will to implement them are two different things.

Mr. Tea
24-09-2013, 12:05 PM
Still worrying about who actually used those chemical weapons? Never fear, here's Gorgeous George to put us straight - it was al-Qa'eda, having been supplied by Israel, of course!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_43tTDfedTo&feature=player_embedded

(and then denying he'd ever said any such thing)

crackerjack
24-09-2013, 12:34 PM
Still worrying about who actually used those chemical weapons? Never fear, here's Gorgeous George to put us straight - it was al-Qa'eda, having been supplied by Israel, of course!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_43tTDfedTo&feature=player_embedded

(and then denying he'd ever said any such thing)

Didn't he deny it in the parliamentary debate? Misleading the house, while not uncommon, is a suspension offence, isn't it?

Mr. Tea
24-09-2013, 12:58 PM
Didn't he deny it in the parliamentary debate? Misleading the house, while not uncommon, is a suspension offence, isn't it?

What are you, some kind of ZIONIST APOLOGIST?

IP noted.

craner
24-09-2013, 01:16 PM
He's swung a bit on this, actually. In early March 2011 he was telling us why Syria was the only Arab state not to have had any form of uprising -- the reason was, apparently, because Assad was the Last Standing Arab Lion to resist Israel or something. By the end of that year, when Assad was shelling Syrian citizens, he had reverted to a More In Sorrow Than In Anger tone. By now, of course, he is back on side and then some.

Mind you, I have read one very minor Republican commentator explain that Assad and al-Qaeda are in a secret alliance organised by Iran, so he's not the only one at it.

Mr. Tea
24-09-2013, 01:41 PM
Personally I blame the Isranians.

firefinga
16-12-2016, 04:25 PM
http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2016/12/16/Iranian-Revolutionary-Guards-chief-in-Aleppo-Kill-all-those-who-are-still-trapped-.html :poop:

sadmanbarty
16-12-2016, 04:57 PM
http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2016/12/16/Iranian-Revolutionary-Guards-chief-in-Aleppo-Kill-all-those-who-are-still-trapped-.html :poop:

Be careful with that sight. If I recall correctly, it's a Saudi state-sponsored thing

sadmanbarty
09-04-2017, 01:27 PM
Sadr becomes first Iraqi Shi'ite leader to urge Assad to step down

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-iraq-syria-sadr-idUSKBN17B070

DannyL
20-06-2017, 08:27 AM
I thought this was quite a profound piece for the way it discusses the psychological effects of living first under repression, then under war.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2016/03/24/the-surprising-ways-fear-has-shaped-syrias-war/?utm_term=.7f049fc19a6e

The author has a new book out which looks like a must-read: https://www.harpercollins.com/9780062654618/we-crossed-a-bridge-and-it-trembled

DannyL
20-06-2017, 10:05 AM
The problem with reading this stuff is it tends to be fairly harrowing. I cut back on reading a lot of material when I started to dream about it.
One counter to that is to read about the acts of creative expression that the revolution engendered, and the new types of civil society that took place in that newly freed space.
Probably the best site for this material is here: http://www.creativememory.org/?lang=en
I really need to pick up this book on that score: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/jan/27/dancing-in-damascus-by-miriam-cooke-review
I may as well C&P the review in full:

The reaction to revolution in Syria was cultural as well as political. Independent radio stations and newspapers blossomed alongside popular poetry and street graffiti. This is a story largely untold in the west: who knew, for instance, of the full houses, despite bombardment, during Aleppo’s theatre festival in 2013?

Dancing in Damascus by Arabist and critic miriam cooke (so she writes her name, uncapitalised) aims to fill the gap, surveying cultural responses to revolution, repression, war and exile. Dancing is construed both as metaphor for collective solidarity – the anarchist Emma Goldman said, “If I can’t dance, it isn’t my revolution” – and as literal practice. At protests, Levantine dabke dance was elevated from folklore to street-level defiance, just as popular songs were transformed into revolutionary anthems.

cooke’s previous work, Dissident Syria, examined the regime’s pre-2011 attempts to defuse oppositional art while giving the impression of tolerance. It would fund films for international screening, for instance, but ban their domestic release. Dancing in Damascus describes how culture slipped the bounds of co-option: increasingly explicit prison novels and memoirs anticipated the uprising; once the protests erupted, “artist activists” engaged in a “politics of insult” and irony. Shredding taboos, the Masasit Mati collective’s Top Goon puppet shows, Ibrahim Qashoush’s songs and Ali Ferzat’s cartoons targeted Bashar al-Assad specifically. “The ability to laugh at the tyrant and his henchmen,” cooke writes, “helps to repair the brokenness of a fearful people.”

As the repression escalated, Syrians posted images of atrocities in the hope they would mobilise solidarity abroad. This failed, but artistic responses to the violence helped transform trauma into “a collective, affective memory responsible to the future”. Explicit representations of “brute physicality and raw emotion”, from mobile phone footage to Samar Yazbek’s literary reportage, soon gave way to formal experimentation. Notable examples include Death is Hard Work, Khaled Khalifa’s Faulknerian novel of a deferred burial; the “bullet films” of the Abounaddara collective and Azza Hamwi’s ironic short film Art of Surviving, about a man who turns spent ordnance into heaters, telephones, even a toilet. “We didn’t paint it,” he tells the camera, “so it stays as it arrived from Russia especially for the Syrian people.” The full-length film Return to Homs follows the transformation of Abdul Baset al-Sarout from star goalkeeper to protest leader to resistance fighter.

This book’s consideration of the role of social media goes deeper than most of the 2011 commentary on the cyber aspects of the Arab Spring. The internet provides activists with anonymity and relative safety. It also offers a space to display and preserve art, even as Syria’s physical heritage, from Aleppo’s mosques to Palmyra’s temples, is demolished by regime bombs and jihadist vandalism. Online gallery sites such as The Creative Memory of the Syrian Revolution archive the uprising’s creative breadth and complexity.

Certain digital images “aestheticise” sites of destruction in order to both to lament and humanise the war. The best known are works by Tammam Azzam, which superimpose Klimt’s The Kiss on a crumbling residential block, Matisse’s circle dancers against a rubble-strewn street and Gauguin’s Tahitian women on a refugee camp.

As an example of refugee theatre created in the youth centres of camps and urban slums, a cross-border Shakespeare production via Skype and featuring Syrian children cast Romeo in Jordan and Juliet in Homs. The performance was completed despite bombs, snipers and frequent communication cuts. The play’s conclusion was optimistically adapted: the doomed lovers threw away their poison and declared, “Enough blood! Why are you killing us? We want to live like the rest of the world!” Euripides’ Trojan Women has been used to talk about the regime’s mass rape campaign. Director Yasmin Fedda incorporated the rehearsals into her prize-winning documentary Queens of Syria.

Dancing in Damascus doesn’t tell the whole story. The book tends to concentrate on “high art”, yet, with admirable concision and fluency, it assists with what journalist Ammar al-Mamoun calls “an alternative revolutionary narrative to contest the media stories of Syrian refugees and victims”. It shows how, despite everything thrown at it, the revolution has democratised moral authority, turning artist activists into the Arab world’s new “organic intellectuals”. As such it is an indispensable corrective to accounts that erase the Syrian people’s agency in favour of grand and often inaccurate geopolitical representations. It is a testament to the essential role of culture anywhere in times of crisis.

Robin Yassin-Kassab is the author of Burning Country: Syrians in Revolution and War.

Mr. Tea
20-06-2017, 11:03 AM
Wow, powerful stuff there. Thanks for that, Dan.

DannyL
22-06-2017, 10:29 AM
What decent foreign policy looks like: https://inews.co.uk/essentials/sport/football/football-opinion/jo-coxs-compassion-syria-no-borders/

Jo understood that the refugee crisis, the humanitarian crisis, and the terrorism threat all stemmed from a single atrocity: Bashar al-Assad’s war against those Syrian civilians who opposed his rule. Jo rejected the suggestion that we “need to make a choice between dealing with either Assad or ISIS”. She recognised that “Assad is ISIS’s biggest recruiting sergeant, and as long as his tyranny continues, so too will ISIS’s terror”. She advocated a comprehensive approach to Syria involving humanitarian, diplomatic, and military measures.

DannyL
22-06-2017, 11:03 AM
This is also a strong piece. An account of what's happening in Aleppo now, after the media gaze has moved on:

http://www.mei.edu/content/article/growing-warlordism-battle-scarred-aleppo

Don't know how aware most casual observers are of the class dynamic to the conflict?

Most accounts of the outbreak of fighting, and the subsequent division of the city, stress the initial class divide between the more urbanite loyalist quarters in the west and popular neighborhoods to the east. While the more affluent residential areas in the west suffered mostly sporadic damage from indiscriminate rebel artillery fire, around 58 percent of popular (sha’bi) residences, primarily in the rebel-held east, have been assessed to be damaged or destroyed.

It's also very good on the complexities of reconstruction and how Iran is extending its influence here.

sadmanbarty
22-06-2017, 05:02 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UA78e27R_J4

DannyL
22-06-2017, 06:33 PM
That's a bit oblique

DannyL
01-09-2017, 01:17 PM
On Struggle, Suffering and Meaning, podcast with extract by Loubna Mrie and Yassin al Haj Saleh.
LM: I completely agree. And I think the movement should be really simple. The aims of any solidarity are extremely simple. You just side with oppressed people, whether they are suffering under ISIS or under the Assad regime, or whether they are suffering under the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. You cannot be selective in your solidarity. You cannot be selective in siding with one nation, just because your country is supposedly siding against it.
YHS: At the same time, Loubna, it is their duty to criticize us. We are not saying that just because we are victims, we are always right. No. Please listen to us, and criticize us. But respect our humanity. Respect our agency. Don’t lecture us. Don’t impose your agendas on us. We are not telling you to shut up. No. We need you to talk. We need you to advise us, to criticize us, to criticize the narrative of victimhood which is widespread among us Syrians.
We Syrians (and the Palestinians, of course, and in the past, the Jews) have so many victimhood narratives. We have an Alawi narrative, a Kurdish narrative, a Shi’a narrative—and now we have a very active Sunni victimhood narrative, which is interpreted and seized and controlled and exploited by the Salafi jihadis. It is not enough that you are victimized for your ideas, your narratives, your discourse, to be right and fair. No. It is not enough.
Please criticize us. But please understand us. Let’s deal with each other as equals. What we cannot accept at all, under any circumstances, is that you deal with us as inferior to you. We are not inferior to anybody. We are equals. Being equal would mean that it is even okay that you say to me, “You are stupid.” But I will not accept anything from you unless you defend my right to be equal to you.
If you don’t accept a dictatorial regime or an authoritarian regime in your country, why do you expect us to accept one? Why do you think that democracy is a natural state in the US and in France but it is not a natural state for us? This is racism. This is racism, and we cannot accept it.
When you say openly, open-mouthedly, that we are equals, then, as we say in Arabic, ‘ala ‘aini wa raasi, “on my head and on my eyes” [an idiom meaning something like “I am at your service” —ed.]. Then you can criticize us and you can say, “You are stupid and you made this mistake.” But not before that. Not before you say that we are equals, we are brothers, we are equally free human beings

Great discussion - worth reading the whole thing:https://antidotezine.com/2017/08/29/struggle-suffering-meaning/

droid
28-01-2018, 11:06 AM
So, the remnants of anti Assad rebels now lining up beside Turkey to attack the YPG in Afrin.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jan/26/syrian-rebels-aims-fight-turkey-battles-kurds

DannyL
28-01-2018, 06:51 PM
So, the remnants of anti Assad rebels now lining up beside Turkey to attack the YPG in Afrin.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jan/26/syrian-rebels-aims-fight-turkey-battles-kurds

I thought this was a good take: https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/comment/2018/1/25/kurdish-autonomy-is-part-of-self-determination-for-all-syrians

droid
28-01-2018, 08:05 PM
Over the last year or so the kurds have been attacked by Iraq, Syria, Russia, Syrian rebels & ISIS - often simultaneously.

padraig (u.s.)
29-01-2018, 05:44 PM
inevitable relevant interesting war nerd thread (https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1985713165085582&id=100009407541064)

Sounds p fucking bad for the Kurds obv. Won't go easy I'm sure they're tough as hell even by hill people standards but ya.

DannyL
21-03-2018, 11:03 PM
Not posted in this thread for a while partly as I'm finding the ongoing situation too horrific and heartbreaking to deal with (i dreamt about it last night) but this is an important article, detailing the social composition of Eastern Ghouta, how sectarianism and Islamist forces has played a role in the area and been countered, and how civil society has functioned under conditions of siege. It's such a welcome relief to read something like this after encountering the 2-d caricaturing that passes for discussion in a lot of the conventional media and Leftist discourse - even though the ending and current situation is deeply tragic.

https://mkaradjis.wordpress.com/2018/03/21/ghouta-issues-behind-the-apocalypse-armed-and-civil-rebellion-class-and-islam/

Of particular interest to me was this section on elections, as the survival and resilience of civil society in conditions of siege is a side of the story you rarely hear:

While the council was originally formed by local consensus, given the difficulties of holding elections in a war-zone and the necessity of immediate administration, this gave way to elections which have become more democratic over time. A Supervisory Electoral Commission created by the National Assembly organised council elections in January 2014, electing 25 council members. These first elections were from general assemblies of the local communities, with some 26 local councils across Ghouta operating. The next step was to move on to full popular elections by secret ballot. The first such election took place in Arbin district in January 2016, followed by similar elections in Douma, al-Malihah, al-Abbadeh and Saqba during 2017. (the original link is full of hyperlinks). This makes such a counter to the seemingly endless horrible toxic racist bullshit about how the opposition are all jihadis.

I find the resilience of these people incredible. The Blitz lasted for about 9 months, 70 years ago, and the English are still slapping ourselves on the back for it.

droid
09-04-2018, 11:26 AM
There's a real chance now this could escalate beyond Syria. The US strike on Dier Ez Zor in February, the new chemical attack in Douma, Bolton coming in today...

droid
09-04-2018, 03:21 PM
Turkish Lira at its lowest level ever and the Ruble plunging against the dollar.

Mr. Tea
09-04-2018, 03:36 PM
Further vile bullshit from Seumas Quisling:


“The horrifying images and reports that have emerged from Douma point to an attack using chemical weapons, in blatant contravention of international humanitarian law, with young children among the many victims.

“As the Foreign Office has said, it is vital and urgent that there is a full and independent investigation of this reported attack, and that anyone found responsible for using chemical weapons is brought to justice. It is also equally vital and urgent to re-establish the recent ceasefire across Eastern Ghouta, agree a safe exit for the militias occupying Douma and any civilians who want to leave, and provide humanitarian relief and medical aid for all those civilians remaining in the city.

“And ultimately, there must be concrete steps on all sides to re-start meaningful talks on a political solution and lasting peace in Syria. The Syrian people have suffered too long from the atrocities and brutality of this war, whether committed by the Assad regime, by Jihadist militias, or by their respective international supporters, and it is time for that suffering to stop.”

"Political solution and lasting peace"? Fuck off.

Corbyn actively worse than useless at this point.

DannyL
09-04-2018, 05:38 PM
Yes, I would like to say I was shocked by the Labour Party response but I wasn't really. It's a fucking horrendous statement, absolutely fucking abject. I wonder to what degree Douma might be a turning point? In both people's perceptions of the anti-war Left, and in the war itself? A big joint response from the US and France is being promised, but I'm wondering if they'll roll back from it?

BTW in response to the question that pops up "Why would Assad use chemical weapons when he's winning?" - strategically, because it works. It's forced the estimated 8,000 Jai Al Islam troops to withdraw from the city and they're being bussed out as I type. They were heavily committed and would've been fighting for their homes - not "militias occupying Douma (as that fucking statement says) so Assad would have had his work hugely cut out fighting street by street. Still 170,000 civilians left there facing renewed bombardment with conventional weapons though.

DannyL
09-04-2018, 05:39 PM
re-establish the recent ceasefire

What, that ceasefire when just short of 2000 people were murdered in their homes, hospitals and schools by Russian warplanes? That ceasefire?

thirdform
09-04-2018, 06:55 PM
what peace talks. the sochi peace talks that the majority of the syrian opposition didn't participate in?

gullibility can only get you so far corbyn what with you entertaining stalinists on the regular. get fucking rid of seumas milne already.

Actually hang this cunt. class enemy.

thirdform
09-04-2018, 06:58 PM
its only a step up from this to infowars shit.

Mr. Tea
09-04-2018, 07:42 PM
Well yeah, I mean Assad is a hero in far-right/white-supremacist circles throughout Europe and the US.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2017/08/13/syrias-assad-has-become-an-unexpected-icon-of-the-far-right-in-america/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.dda78a6ef12d

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/01/italian-fascists-adore-syria-bashar-al-assad-180125115153121.html

thirdform
09-04-2018, 07:45 PM
that is only the tip of the iceberg the red-brown alliances stretch way back.

thirdform
09-04-2018, 09:05 PM
https://libcom.org/library/investigation-red-brown-alliances-third-positionism-russia-ukraine-syria-western-left

droid
09-04-2018, 09:25 PM
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DaUraEqXcAIFJ22.jpg

droid
09-04-2018, 09:28 PM
"Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said:

Reports of a large scale chemical weapons attack in Douma on Saturday causing high numbers of casualties are deeply disturbing. It is truly horrific to think that many of the victims were reportedly families seeking refuge from airstrikes in underground shelters.

Despite Russia’s promise in 2013 to ensure Syria would abandon all of its chemical weapons, international investigators mandated by the UN Security Council have found the Asad regime responsible for using poison gas in at least 4 separate attacks since 2014. These latest reports must urgently be investigated and the international community must respond. Investigators from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons looking into reports of chemical weapons use in Syria have our full support. Russia must not yet again try to obstruct these investigations.

Should it be confirmed that the regime has used chemical weapons again, it would be yet another appalling example of the Asad regime’s brutality and blatant disregard for both the Syrian people and its legal obligations not to use chemical weapons.

We condemn the use of chemical weapons by anyone, anywhere. We are in close touch with our allies following these latest reports. Those responsible for the use of chemical weapons have lost all moral integrity and must be held to account."

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/foreign-secretary-responds-to-reports-of-chemical-weapons-attack-in-douma-syria

DannyL
09-04-2018, 10:29 PM
And in case anyone thinks that might be an aberration or the responsibility of a rogue press officer junior, here's everyone's favourite tankie siding with Assad and Putin after a chemical attack back in 2013. (I'm assuming this is the first Ghouta attack (1400 dead) but need to double check that.) You can see here the fair-handed, critical thinking that he recently applied against our own governm.... Oh no, you can't actually. He just swallows the Russian line wholesale. Is he just fucking stupid or actively odious? I can't decide.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=3s&ab_channel=habibi&v=wmFudc6MT9g&app=desktop

DannyL
10-04-2018, 07:11 AM
Rusal's stock plummenting: https://mobile.twitter.com/rprose/status/983218071866404864

Lots of reports coming in of lots of plane activity over Homs etc. Could either be defensive posturing or the hiding of expensive planes and weaponry.

yyaldrin
10-04-2018, 08:04 AM
Yes, I would like to say I was shocked by the Labour Party response but I wasn't really. It's a fucking horrendous statement, absolutely fucking abject. I wonder to what degree Douma might be a turning point? In both people's perceptions of the anti-war Left, and in the war itself? A big joint response from the US and France is being promised, but I'm wondering if they'll roll back from it?

BTW in response to the question that pops up "Why would Assad use chemical weapons when he's winning?" - strategically, because it works. It's forced the estimated 8,000 Jai Al Islam troops to withdraw from the city and they're being bussed out as I type. They were heavily committed and would've been fighting for their homes - not "militias occupying Douma (as that fucking statement says) so Assad would have had his work hugely cut out fighting street by street. Still 170,000 civilians left there facing renewed bombardment with conventional weapons though.

am i the only person here who believes in this narrative? plus, this jai al islam group is just another one of those saudi-arabic backed jihadist groups no? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaysh_al-Islam

"The group was a part of the Islamic Front.[24][25][26] The organization has rejected membership of the Free Syrian Army.[41] The group along with Ahrar ash-Sham are among the main rebel groups supported by Saudi Arabia.[42] Having previously promoted an Islamic state under Sharia law,[43] since 2015, Jaysh al-Islam has called for the Syrian government to be replaced by a technocratic body that represents the diversity of the Syrian people.[44] The group cooperated with Al Qaeda's Syrian affiliate al-Nusra Front.[45]"

and

"As an example of the earlier sectarianism, in 2013 or earlier, Alloush in a speech suggested that "Sham" or Bilad al-Sham (the Levant or specifically Damascus) should be "cleansed of the filth" of the Shi'ites (whom he called "Rafida" = rejectionists) and Alawites (whom he called "Nusayris" or "Majous" = Zoroastrians, pre-Islamic Persians): "And I give you the news, oh unclean Rafida: Just as the Umayyads crushed your heads in the past, the people of Ghouta and Sham will crush them soon, they will make you taste a painful torment in this world, before God makes you taste it in the hereafter".[66]"

and

"In March 2016, The Huffington Post reported: "...the leader of Jaish al-Islam, or “Army of Islam” was killed in December last year in a government air strike. His death, however, did nothing to stop to the group’s totalitarian rule in Eastern Ghouta, where residents say torture and imprisonment without trial occur routinely in the name of “liberation” and Sharia law."[75]"

DannyL
10-04-2018, 08:42 AM
There's a lot of detail about JaI in the Michael Karadajis article I've posted upthread. He specifically mentions Alloush's statement and a later change of heart and retraction. You're correct in that they are an Islamist group, and nominal enemies or rivals of the FSA. This shit is just complicated on the ground and trying to understand it at a remove via blog posts and wikipedia is probably near impossible.

However "even if there were a smidgeon of truth in this [the rebels are jihadists], it is difficult to see how anyone on the progressive side of politics could use this to justify this all-out slaughter of the civilian population. Surely this is the kind of argumentation that imperialist invaders and oppressive regimes have always used to justify slaughter. The Assadist justification for the slaughter in Ghouta is identical to the Zionist justification for the slaughter in Gaza, the American justification for Fallujah and elsewhere in Iraq, the Russian justification for Grozny, the Saudi justification for Yemen, the Turkish justification for its decades-long war on the Kurds in the east, and the list goes on." The link again here: https://mkaradjis.wordpress.com/2018/03/21/ghouta-issues-behind-the-apocalypse-armed-and-civil-rebellion-class-and-islam/


Not quite sure what you are saying in your first sentence there - are you saying you believe the gas attack was a "false flag" etc. Apologises if I'm misunderstanding you. I hope you are not saying that, because if you are, my head will explode.

Mr. Tea
10-04-2018, 08:59 AM
This just in: militant Islamists often aren't very nice.

Given the way non-Alawite Syrians have suffered, and continue to suffer - and bear in mind the severe economic hardship they were under even before the violent anti-protester crackdown that precipitated the entire war - anti-Alawite prejudice among non-Alawites should be about a surprising as anti-white prejudice among black South Africans.

And even you add up all the killings, incarcerations and torture committed by ISIS, JaI and all the other Islamist groups active in Syria, they still only come to a fraction of the crimes committed by the regime and its Russian backers (and Iran/Hezbollah). To say nothing of the fact that the vast majority of casualties are clearly civilians and not 'militants' of any sort, Islamist or otherwise.

droid
10-04-2018, 09:20 AM
This shit is just complicated on the ground and trying to understand it at a remove via blog posts and wikipedia is probably near impossible.

...

DannyL
10-04-2018, 09:20 AM
Yeah, it's also pretty well documented how Assad tried to "Islamicise" the conflict by releasing known jihadis back in 2011. He released about a 1000 or so known militants - Alloush was one of them (the lists of prisoners released are online somewhere). This made a violent edge to the protests more likely, and aided his anti-terror narrative and the accompanying violent suppression.

DannyL
10-04-2018, 09:23 AM
...

... but the principle dynamic remains Assad against his own people. And when those people are being tortured, gassed and murdered on an industrial scale, you don't have to know every last nuance to want to offer support, aid and solidarity.

yyaldrin
10-04-2018, 09:32 AM
There's a lot of detail about JaI in the Michael Karadajis article I've posted upthread. He specifically mentions Alloush's statement and a later change of heart and retraction. You're correct in that they are an Islamist group, and nominal enemies or rivals of the FSA. This shit is just complicated on the ground and trying to understand it at a remove via blog posts and wikipedia is probably near impossible.

However "even if there were a smidgeon of truth in this [the rebels are jihadists], it is difficult to see how anyone on the progressive side of politics could use this to justify this all-out slaughter of the civilian population. Surely this is the kind of argumentation that imperialist invaders and oppressive regimes have always used to justify slaughter. The Assadist justification for the slaughter in Ghouta is identical to the Zionist justification for the slaughter in Gaza, the American justification for Fallujah and elsewhere in Iraq, the Russian justification for Grozny, the Saudi justification for Yemen, the Turkish justification for its decades-long war on the Kurds in the east, and the list goes on." The link again here: https://mkaradjis.wordpress.com/2018/03/21/ghouta-issues-behind-the-apocalypse-armed-and-civil-rebellion-class-and-islam/


Not quite sure what you are saying in your first sentence there - are you saying you believe the gas attack was a "false flag" etc. Apologises if I'm misunderstanding you. I hope you are not saying that, because if you are, my head will explode.

well, i don't mean to make your head explode but yea i consider it a possibility. i consider saudi-arabia, the usa and turkey to go as far as possible to bring down assad and to remove russia from the region. but like we all say in this thread, it's hard to see what is really happening. i have just been reading a lot about post-ww2 usa interventions in the world and some of that stuff is too cynical to be true, yet it is.

firefinga
10-04-2018, 09:37 AM
well, i don't mean to make your head explode but yea i consider it a possibility. i consider saudi-arabia, the usa and turkey to go as far as possible to bring down assad and to remove russia from the region. but like we all say in this thread, it's hard to see what is really happening. i have just been reading a lot about post-ww2 usa interventions in the world and some of that stuff is too cynical to be true, yet it is.

well, you might educate yourself about Assad, his dear daddy and the "baathist way" in general at the same time. Trust me, a "Assad" is perfectly capable of gassing his own people.

DannyL
10-04-2018, 09:50 AM
Well I don't want to get into an argument about it and leave fragments of my skull embedded in the screen but a couple of things to consider:
i) the rebels (Islamist/FSA/otherwise) don't have an airforce
ii) they have no access to stocks of chemical weapons - Assad does: http://www.homelandsecuritynewswire.com/dr20180205-confirmation-assad-has-been-using-chemical-weapons-from-stocks-he-pledged-to-relinquish-in-2013
iii) the UN has attributed blame for the previous Khan Shikhoun attack and (IIRC) at least 3 other chemical weapons attacks to Assad, so he absolutely has form here
iv) false flag narratives are routinely deployed in the aftermath of any major incident in Syria - you can set your watch by them, they start emerging about 2 or 3 hours afterwards, obviously before anyone has had a chance to assess evidence, but that's not the point. The point is to instrumentalise our cynicism towards our own governments, to make us doubt the truth and this prevents any consensus for action building. It's very clever. Doesn't the fact that there are cries of "false flag!" after pretty much every event make you reflect on this? They can't all be false flags surely? I saw a Twitter thread yesterday that was documented the conspiracy theories about Douma - the writer had countered 13 so far. Obviously, they can't all be true so what is the purpose of having them in circulation? Who benefits? Obviously, the perpetrators. This popped up in my feed this morning. It's about who profits if you believe in these kinda narratives: https://medium.com/dfrlab/putinatwar-far-right-converges-on-false-flag-in-syria-2d94ff0a018e

When I say, it's hard to figure out what exactly going on, I was being imprecise (typing quickly between other things and Droid has "helpfully" pulled me up on it) - what I meant was I don't know what it's like to live as a citizen of Douma, under JaI, the FSA etc. I don't understand the micropolitics that exist at that level. What I do understand, and what I think is accessible to anyone who wants to put in a few hours of reading, is that the Assad regime is murdering it's own people on an horrific scale and the Douma gas attacks are simply a continuation of what they've been doing since 2011.

DannyL
10-04-2018, 09:54 AM
If you want to educate yourself about Assad and what he's capable of, watch this. Take note of the interview with Assad at the end, and the routine, boilerplate denials. It does contain some harrowing footage, so brace yourself: https://vimeo.com/229981563


https://vimeo.com/229981563

DannyL
10-04-2018, 10:01 AM
it's probably worth mentioning that you can of course, find people who'll deny the above. We are in post-truth times and people believe or deny on the basis not of evidence assessed, but its implications for their worldview (witness people bending over backwards to convince themselves that Corbyn is a "good man"). I try not to argue too much with people online for this reason. Dissensus has been remarkably free of this stuff so far. One up for old school messageboards.

droid
10-04-2018, 10:10 AM
Its entirely possibly, and likely this latest atrocity is the work of Assad or forces nominally under his control. There's also some possibility it wasnt that cant be entirely discounted.

The question is, other than lambasting Labour for issuing near identical statements of condemnation as those noted appeasers, the US & UK governments, what course of action is being proposed here?

Israel is taking the opportunity to widen their strikes against Iran at a time when their massacre of civilians in Gaza could spark retaliation from Lebanese Hezbollah forces. The Russians are already smarting from US airstrikes and sanctions and the Salisbury nerve attack which is being played as dirty propoganda (with some justification) in Russia. We have an already dangerous breakdown in cold war failsafes, communications and heightened tensions between Russia and the West - and look at the personnel involved, Trump, Bolton, Netanyahu, Putin, Assad, Macron... a cast of venal grotesques, macabre thugs and idiots.

How precisely do you think this will pan out if the conflict widens as the UN is already warning it could? This is an exceptionally dangerous situation.

DannyL
10-04-2018, 10:30 AM
The statements aren't that same - Labour's only mentions Assad to imply equivalence between him and the alleged "jihadists". Every line of Labour's reeks. it's thoroughly disingenuous, the asking for a "full and independent investigation" is the worst kind of kicking the can down the road, and will ensure that Assad and his backers never face a single consequence for their actions. it also discounts the fact that the last UN investigation (which Corbyn called for) - surprise surprise - found that Assad used Sarin in Khan Sheikhoun. The Labour Party - or the cranks in charge currently - haven't acknowledged that.

There's also some possibility it wasnt that cant be entirely discounted.

This is nonsense and gives credence to false flag conspiracy bullshit. You're better than that, mate.

I agree with you it's a dangerous situation - I do know what I would like to happen and I know how unlikely it is. I'd like a policy with the protection of civilians from gas and conventional attacks at its centre, imposed. This could be done for instance causing minimal casualties with the imposition of a no fly zone with hitting military bases and installations if breached. This is kinda what happened with the strike against Shayrat airbase. In reality I think we'll get much more strum und drang than that but I won't be crying if Assad's airforce is permanently grounded. The real danger to civilians is from Russian planes but I doubt we'll see much action to stop them.

droid
10-04-2018, 10:38 AM
The statements aren't that same - Labour's only mentions Assad to imply equivalence between him and the alleged "jihadists". Every line of Labour's reeks. it's thoroughly disingenuous, the asking for a "full and independent investigation" is the worst kind of kicking the can down the road, and will ensure that Assad and his backers never face a single consequence for their actions.

But this is precisely what the foreign office and the US have asked for. I quoted their statements above. Its 'horrendous' when labour say it, but fine when everyone else says the same thing?


This is nonsense and gives credence to false flag conspiracy bullshit. You're better than that, mate. I would ask you to unpack but to be honest, I'm not that interested.


Given previous attacks it's unlikely I agree, but the possibility cant be entirely discounted. One would have to be monstrously credulous to place complete faith in Western govt and media.

DannyL
10-04-2018, 10:48 AM
But this is precisely what the foreign office and the US have asked for. I quoted their statements above. Its 'horrendous' when labour say it, but fine when everyone else says the same thing?


It's the intention. Labour is about obscuring blame, due to an ideological soft spot for "the axis of resistance". See the video I posted upthread and pretty much the entirely of Labour foreign policy pronouncements on the subject (this article is a good resource (https://theclarionmag.org/2018/02/28/syria-the-frontbenchs-silence-over-ghouta-shames-the-labour-party/)). Boris Johnson is obviously a massive arsehole but at least he can call a mass murderer out for what he is.

droid
10-04-2018, 10:54 AM
Ah, the intention, I see.

Certainly no intentions behind the US or UK statements, no geopolitical agendas or domestic concerns, no history there of appeasement or support of mass murderers.

DannyL
10-04-2018, 10:59 AM
Yes exactly, the intention - obscuring the actions of mass murderers, and false equivalence with the victims, due to ideology. It's a shameful statement for a party that claims to be progressive.

Mr. Tea
10-04-2018, 11:00 AM
It's the intention. Labour is about obscuring blame, due to an ideological soft spot for "the axis of resistance". See the video I posted upthread and pretty much the entirely of Labour foreign policy pronouncements on the subject (this article is a good resource (https://theclarionmag.org/2018/02/28/syria-the-frontbenchs-silence-over-ghouta-shames-the-labour-party/)). Boris Johnson is obviously a massive arsehole but at least he can call a mass murderer out for what he is.

Yeah, remember 18 months ago when an "aide" speaking for Corbyn (i.e. presumably either Milne or someone answering to him) said this:


Speaking after Prime Minister’s Questions, Mr Corbyn’s spokesman said: “The focus on Russian atrocities, or Syrian army atrocities, which is absolutely correct, I think sometimes diverts attention from other atrocities that have taken place.”

He added: “Independent assessments are that there have been very large scale civilian casualties as a result of US-led coalition bombing and there are several cases of large numbers of civilian deaths in single attacks and there hasn’t been so much attention on those atrocities or those casualties.

“Both the United States and Britain, the British Government, have been reluctant to accept any independent assessment of those.”

Last night Mr Johnson sparked an angry response from Russia after suggesting people should protest outside the country’s London embassy due to its actions in Syria.

But asked whether people should also rally outside the US embassy, Mr Corbyn’s spokesman said: “People are free to protest outside the intervening powers’ embassies and there are a number of them, not just the United States and Russia. There are multiple foreign interventions in the Syrian civil war.”

?

558

padraig (u.s.)
10-04-2018, 11:49 AM
This could be done for instance causing minimal casualties with the imposition of a no fly zone with hitting military bases and installations if breached

could it? I have no idea, but I do know that limited military intervention in general has a poor track record both at being effective + at staying limited.

also have some further questions for Danny/anyone. please forgive any ignorance, I have the general picture but haven't followed Syria nearly as closely as I did Iraq.

at this point, minus a large direct Western intervention that almost certainly (Bolton notwithstanding) isn't forthcoming, Assad wins + stays in power, correct?

given that, what is your ideal but realistic endgame + post-war scenario? some kind of devolved thing a la Iraq where the Kurds + possibly others have semi-autonomy (idk if that's actually realistic or not)? power-sharing? if so, between who? do you think there's any way to extricate Syrian internal politics from the numerous proxy conflicts? is there any likely future besides Assad staying in power as a brutal Russian-backed client dictator?

droid
10-04-2018, 11:54 AM
From my reading of it I think the general consensus now (even amongst his most vociferous critics) is that Assad has won, and the only way to minimise the bloodshed in the short term is to allow him to consolidate his victory.

padraig (u.s.)
10-04-2018, 11:56 AM
possibly stating obvious but it reminds me quite a bit of the endless Congo wars, but much higher geopolitical flash point b/c Middle East

padraig (u.s.)
10-04-2018, 11:57 AM
From my reading of it I think the general consensus now (even amongst his most vociferous critics) is that Assad has won, and the only way to minimise the bloodshed in the short term is to allow him to consolidate his victory.
yes that is my impression also

I'm wondering what a post-finishing victory + consolidation Syria will look like? will there be some kind of agreement w/the Kurds? does he just crush everyone?

droid
10-04-2018, 12:00 PM
I think Kurd crushing has been outsourced to the Turks and Iraqis.

padraig (u.s.)
10-04-2018, 12:02 PM
whence Iran, Russia (+ China), Gulf states, etc as well as U.S., interests in post-war Syria?

can Alawite minority continue to dominate into foreseeable future?

padraig (u.s.)
10-04-2018, 12:06 PM
I think Kurd crushing has been outsourced to the Turks and Iraqis.
right-o. you're just referring to Kurds in Syria here, correct?

firefinga
10-04-2018, 12:09 PM
Is there any likely future besides Assad staying in power as a brutal Russian-backed client dictator? No.

droid
10-04-2018, 12:13 PM
right-o. you're just referring to Kurds in Syria here, correct?

It seems to have already started. Iraq attacks Mosul and clears Kurdish forces from the Syrian border, Turkey attacks Afrin and then the next phase could be combined Syrian/Turkish (& perhaps Russian and ISIS) attack on Syrian Kurdistan driving them East towards iraq.

Mr. Tea
10-04-2018, 12:24 PM
A fine thanks for driving ISIS out of northern Iraq!

Edit: not implying the Kurdish militias are above criticism, of course - but they do seem to catch a disproportionate amount of shit from all sides.

padraig (u.s.)
10-04-2018, 12:30 PM
driving them East towards iraq
w/ultimate goal of what, ethnically cleansing Kurds from Syria/forcing them all to Iraqi Kurdistan? or just crushing Syrian Kurds in general?

tbc you're not suggesting any kind of further Iraqi Arab (w/whoever else) move against Iraqi Kurdistan, right?

padraig (u.s.)
10-04-2018, 12:32 PM
they do seem to catch a disproportionate amount of shit from all sides
well ya Kurdish history in a nutshell

droid
10-04-2018, 01:15 PM
w/ultimate goal of what, ethnically cleansing Kurds from Syria/forcing them all to Iraqi Kurdistan? or just crushing Syrian Kurds in general?

tbc you're not suggesting any kind of further Iraqi Arab (w/whoever else) move against Iraqi Kurdistan, right?

I think the ultimate aim may be to wipe out or neutralise the Syrian kurds and push the Iraqi Kurds North and west of Ebril and Halabja, with Turkey applying pressure on its southern Iraqi border.

DannyL
10-04-2018, 01:18 PM
I think - possibly - you guys might be underestimating how weak Assad's state is. It was weeks away from collapsing when Russia intervened, parts of the county seem to be under control of local warlords, and without the Iranian ground troops and Russian support it'd fall to pieces quite quickly. I think in a sense he needs the war to keep going and to keep in place. He won't be able to win any kind of peace - not without mass murder. I read some stuff last week about the granting of passports to huge numbers of Iranians which I guess is an attempt to engineer massive demographic change.

As to what post-war Syria might look like, one thing that I always have found interesting and inspiring about the uprising was the commitment to democracy and the ballot box -in a sense, there's a deeper commitment and belief to these ideas than there is in the West. There's some material about that in the article I reposted above. Ghouta and the other rebel areas have managed to function even under conditions of siege and bombardment so the seeds of a nascent democracy are there, though it might seem hopelessly idealistic to put any faith in this at this stage.

DannyL
10-04-2018, 01:20 PM
Here's a link to the passport story: https://en.zamanalwsl.net/news/article/34077/

DannyL
10-04-2018, 01:31 PM
There's a quote that I can't find the original source for right now, from a Russian mercenary, which I thought was indicative. It ran something like "this war will drag on for at least another three years, the people in Syria, they don't want Assad, they can't stand him. It's only Russia and Putin that want him". My question would be - can this really be imposed? Can a rump state really impose it's rule through sheer violence? That's what we're seeing currently and I'm assuming that there are substantial economic costs for doing so, to Russia and Iran. A lot of the recent unrest in Iran has focused on what they're doing in Syria, in terms of the economic cost, not just the bloodshed. So - I wonder how long can this be sustained?

if it ever does "settle down" I imagine we'll end up with a Syrian populous much like the Palestinians, permanently displaced and stateless.

droid
10-04-2018, 01:36 PM
I would say that within a year or so of Assad's 'victory' there is a strong chance that he and his family will be quietly disposed of and replaced by a quasi-military administration.

DannyL
10-04-2018, 01:40 PM
A final thought - in 2013 when Syrian officials thought that Obama was going to retaliate for the first Ghouta attack, lots of 'em started to relocate across the border to Lebanon. I think - unless I'm misremembering - I've heard similar stories more recently. There's no loyalty to Assad's state and no internal strength. I'm no expect but my impression is that the whole house of cards could fall very quickly.

firefinga
10-04-2018, 01:42 PM
There's a quote that I can't find the original source for right now, from a Russian mercenary, which I thought was indicative. It ran something like "this war will drag on for at least another three years, the people in Syria, they don't want Assad, they can't stand him. It's only Russia and Putin that want him". My question would be - can this really be imposed? Can a rump state really impose it's rule through sheer violence? That's what we're seeing currently and I'm assuming that there are substantial economic costs for doing so, to Russia and Iran. A lot of the recent unrest in Iran has focused on what they're doing in Syria, in terms of the economic cost, not just the bloodshed. So - I wonder how long can this be sustained?


As long as Putin wants. And the paranoical imperialist that he is, he will do all that's necessary to keep Assad in power. As we have seen the last few years. On the other hand Putin is getting old. I suspect even greater chaos will ensure when Putin is no more (for whatever reason) and Russia has lost interest in keeping their mini-me dictator (if that ever happens)

DannyL
10-04-2018, 01:57 PM
This is a pretty powerful paper on civilian governance in Ghouta - all been eclipsed by the events of recent weeks, and AFAIK the structures reported on destroyed but goes some way to explaining the rebel's resilience (opens as PDF): https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/bitstream/handle/1810/246194/CGHR_WP_10_2014_Angelova.pdf?sequence=1

padraig (u.s.)
10-04-2018, 02:00 PM
My question would be - can this really be imposed? Can a rump state really impose it's rule through sheer violence?
going by the many, many precedents yes, but w/caveat that it works until it doesn't, tho that can be a very long time esp when propped up from outside. + as Droid says reshuffling at the top is always possible tho I wouldn't overestimate the easiness of that - superpowers (or whatever u wanna call current Russia) often have problems w/that in client states, tho less so when they are authoritarian + don't have to pay lip service to democratic ideals. also Assad seems like a pretty wily political in-fighter.

hard to see Syrians becoming like Palestinians tho? many refugees/displaced obv but there will still be a Syria no matter what, so not stateless.

padraig (u.s.)
10-04-2018, 02:06 PM
I suspect even greater chaos will ensure when Putin is no more (for whatever reason)
that v much remains to be seen. there's the whole entrenched siloviki/oligarch ruling elite. we'll see. at v least there'll be a power scramble at the top I'm sure - Russia certainly has a lotta experience there - w/some potential chaos in its wake and possible changes in foreign policy depending on how it shakes out. too far out to speculate, tho maybe actual Russia experts might have some idea.

firefinga
10-04-2018, 02:26 PM
There is another aspect to the Syrian debacle, which is very much to the liking of Mr. Putin: the Syrian refugees work very well in order to destabilize European democracies. They perfectly work as the boogie-men which get those right wing/populist parties votes, often those parties have close ties to Putin or groups linked to him.

droid
10-04-2018, 02:31 PM
Shouldn't be a problem. There'll be 150 million climate refugees on Europe's borders soon enough.

droid
10-04-2018, 09:22 PM
British troops mobilising in Cyprus. US carrier group on the way to the Mediterranean, Russian jets armed with ship killing missiles buzzing French and US vessels, significant increase in activity in airspace off the Syrian coast, Trump's cabinet ashen face at the press conference today.

Looks like this might be happening.

Mr. Tea
10-04-2018, 09:25 PM
Shouldn't be a problem. There'll be 150 million climate refugees on Europe's borders soon enough.


British troops mobilising in Cyprus. US carrier group on the way to the Mediterranean, Russian jets armed with ship killing missiles buzzing French and US vessels, significant increase in activity in airspace off the Syrian coast, Trump's cabinet ashen face at the press conference today.

Looks like this might be happening.

You could at least pretend not to be excited about it.

droid
10-04-2018, 09:59 PM
:fire::eek::love::poop::confused:

padraig (u.s.)
10-04-2018, 10:00 PM
Looks like this might be happening
we'll see

a more thorough explanation of current U.S. options (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/10/world/middleeast/syria-us-chemical-weapons.html) (spoiler: they're all bad)

in brief, limited strikes are basically useless, their only real value is for U.S. domestic politics; more advanced but still indirect escalation (i.e. arming rebels) will be not just matched but exceeded by Iran/Russia in an escalation cycle that we're not willing to match; an all out war carries the dire risks of 1) sending Syria completely over the edge into chaos and/or 2) a shooting war w/Russia, w/all the terrible + even apocalyptic potential that holds

padraig (u.s.)
10-04-2018, 10:03 PM
the Trump X factor makes literally anything possible but I still have a hard time seeing this going from saber-rattling to U.S./Russia war but who knows I guess

padraig (u.s.)
10-04-2018, 10:12 PM
Syria ultimately matters more to Iran/Russia than to us, + U.S. currently much higher on the war fatigue cycle than Russia

majority of Americans support/don't care about more useless missile etc strikes but significant boots on the ground would be wildly unpopular

not a situation where going to war (or escalating current operations I guess) is going to unite country behind President, even if it wasn't Trump

as GOP already looking real bad for midterms, don't need hugely unpopular war to add to their problems

padraig (u.s.)
10-04-2018, 10:15 PM
shit would your parliament even back May on this? Cameron 2013 all over again

droid
10-04-2018, 10:33 PM
They dont need it for political or logistical support. Dunno if May would risk going further, but no reason to think she wouldn't either, especially given the current Russia hysteria.

My main worry is with the cast of characters & the context. Putin's looking weak after the US killed his mercenaries, the ruble is tanking due to the sanctions, Trump and Bolton offer an appalling combination of distraction seeking stupidity and reckless bloodlust, May & Johnson are beyond clownish... then there's Erdogan, Netanyahu... the apocalyptic scenario is not beyond the realms of possibility. The UN inspection agreement is the best first hope for a reprieve, but I dont think its going too well.

padraig (u.s.)
10-04-2018, 10:51 PM
My main worry is with the cast of characters & the context
this is true, plus the ineluctable logic of public brinksmanship. certainly wouldn't be the first time a war that neither side was really interested in broke out.

otoh Mattis is deadset against any stupid/reckless action esp w/o larger strategy, which doesn't exist, + maybe he can counterbalance Bolton/reign in Trump somewhat

+ Putin is surely way too cagey to have any desire to get into a shooting war w/U.S.

problems may come if we send planes + Russia shoots one down, + things go from there

padraig (u.s.)
10-04-2018, 10:53 PM
btw did quick survey + Syria is still #3 story on major U.S. news sites, left + right, behind Mueller/firing/raid + Zuckerberg/FB/Congress

not that that means anything but I found it interesting

DannyL
10-04-2018, 10:57 PM
we'll see

a more thorough explanation of current U.S. options (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/10/world/middleeast/syria-us-chemical-weapons.html) (spoiler: they're all bad)

in brief, limited strikes are basically useless, their only real value is for U.S. domestic politics; more advanced but still indirect escalation (i.e. arming rebels) will be not just matched but exceeded by Iran/Russia in an escalation cycle that we're not willing to match; an all out war carries the dire risks of 1) sending Syria completely over the edge into chaos and/or 2) a shooting war w/Russia, w/all the terrible + even apocalyptic potential that holds

Interesting article but I kinda disagree with it - 2013 was before concerted Russian involvement so limited strikes would've made a big difference - I mentioned earlier regime officials fleeing at the mere mention of strikes. Also, "Assad tamers" aside, the US did prevent access to MANPAD surface to air missile launchers which would have prevented casualties in a significant' way - barrel bombs launched from helicopters being the war's most significant killer. It strikes me that the writer is writing in a quite conventional political frame can't really conceive of how collapsed and fragmentary the Syrian state has been for a long time. As I said above, it's only being held together by Russia and Iran. It's possible my understanding of this is out of date and all that reconstruction money and demographic changes will bring things back into line, but I remain unconvinced.

Also the talk of escalation and WW3 - Turkey and Israel have carried out strikes against Syrian and Russian targets with no consequences to speak of. 200 Russian mercenaries were killed a few weeks ago, by the US and that's been largely downplayed. Is escalation to a forceful challenge an absolute certainty? I don't know if it is.

droid
10-04-2018, 11:02 PM
Also the talk of escalation and WW3 - Turkey and Israel have carried out strikes against Syrian and Russian targets with no consequences to speak of. 200 Russian mercenaries were killed a few weeks ago, by the US and that's been largely downplayed. Is escalation to a forceful challenge an absolute certainty? I don't know if it is.

I wouldnt be willing to take that chance myself. The stakes are immense.

DannyL
10-04-2018, 11:04 PM
"About 40 minutes ago French rafale fighters took off from St Dizier air base. They fly at 1500 mph." - so we could be finding out in about 20 minutes.

DannyL
10-04-2018, 11:10 PM
I wouldnt be willing to take that chance myself. The stakes are immense.

I'm not sure I would either. Thankfully, I don't make these decisions though I'm not sure the people making them are much better equipped than me, temperamentally. Does bring up the question though, at what point do you challenge genocidal fascism? It's always going to be fraught with danger.

DannyL
10-04-2018, 11:11 PM
BTW - in light of that article, a more informed perspective on 2013 from someone directly involved: http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/syriasource/leaving

padraig (u.s.)
10-04-2018, 11:18 PM
I wouldnt be willing to take that chance myself. The stakes are immense.
agree 100% w/droid here

Turkey + Israel strikes were a different story. airstrikes that (in global terms) go mostly unnoticed v different from public U.S./Russia staredown, i.e. ineluctable logic of brinksmanship.

respect yr sincerity danny but the hard truth is the immense risk isn't worth the relatively marginal payoff

may have been a point several years ago when that equation was different but that was then + this is now

DannyL
10-04-2018, 11:25 PM
Yeah, I hear you guys. We'll see.

Signs are it's going to something fairly major - https://twitter.com/HezbollahWatch/status/983829126787280896

droid
11-04-2018, 09:30 AM
Good article here from Beaumont.


Israel has misjudged Russia in Syria. The consequences could be grave

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/apr/10/israel-russia-syria-netanyahu-iran-middle-east

On the American side that uncertainty around intentions has seen Donald Trump flip-flop so dramatically that in a handful of days he has somersaulted from suggesting first that his country was rushing for the exit on Syria to a situation where military strikes seem likely.

In Israel, a wounded Netanyahu – who has built an entire political career on promising to be a bulwark against Iran – is now being confronted with his rhetoric and the consequence of his actions, not least his bloody public pricking of Iran in a way that Tehran may now find hard to discount.

In the final corner there is Putin, whose calculations are opaque because that is his intention – not least over his ambitions and red lines.

The result is a highly combustible situation in which no party to the conflict – direct or otherwise – can be certain of the assumptions that the others are operating under.

Also, couldnt help but laugh at the UK's comments at the security council.


Russia’s credibility as a member of the council is now in question.” She added: “We will not stand idly by and watch Russia continue to undermine global norms which have ensured all our security, including Russia’s, for decades. As a [permanent council] member, the United Kingdom will stand up for international peace and security. It is our moral duty.”

droid
11-04-2018, 09:40 AM
The world's second biggest arms dealer, with 2/3rds of its sales going to the middle east. Drenched in blood.

droid
11-04-2018, 09:50 AM
https://twitter.com/SamiRamadani1/status/983989941377142789

Say what you like about Amnesty, they tend to be quite careful about these kinds of claims.

Mr. Tea
11-04-2018, 10:04 AM
The world's second biggest arms dealer, with 2/3rds of its sales going to the middle east. Drenched in blood.

Sixth, not second. Not that that's much better.

droid
11-04-2018, 10:15 AM
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/britain-is-now-the-second-biggest-arms-dealer-in-the-world-a7225351.html

Britain is now the second biggest arms dealer in the world
Exclusive: Two-thirds of UK weapons have been sold to Middle Eastern countries since 2010

...

Mr. Tea
11-04-2018, 10:18 AM
...

Well that's based on the government's own brag. Aggregate figures for the last several years suggest sixth place. https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/world-s-largest-exporters-of-arms.html I'm not quibbling that it's a huge amount of weapons however you slice it.

droid
11-04-2018, 10:23 AM
Not going to argue the toss, its appalling either way, but those figures are from a four year period.


Meanwhile statistics collated by UK Trade and Investment, a government body that promotes British exports abroad, show the UK has sold more arms than Russia, China, or France on average over the last 10 years. Only the United States is a bigger exporter.

“The UK is one of the world’s most successful defence exporters, averaging second place in the global rankings on a rolling ten-year basis, making it Europe’s leading defence exporter in the period,” the body boasted in a report released this summer.

droid
11-04-2018, 11:34 AM
What's the story behind Peter Ford?


https://youtu.be/3j_Z1f84Ps8

DannyL
11-04-2018, 11:42 AM
What's the story behind Peter Ford?


https://youtu.be/3j_Z1f84Ps8

Pretty much a straight Assadist with business links to the Assad family, IIRC, presumably these links were cultivated in his ambassadorial post.

DannyL
11-04-2018, 11:48 AM
Bit of info here: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/04/22/former-uk-ambassador-linked-to-assad-lobby-group/

A former British ambassador to Syria who appeared on the BBC to defend the Assad regime had already become a director of a lobby group run by the dictator’s father in law.

Peter Ford, 59, courted controversy this month by claiming that President Bashar al-Assad would not have carried out the chemical gas attack on his own people.

Now the Telegraph can reveal that just weeks before the April 4 attack Mr Ford had become a director of the controversial British Syrian Society.

This was founded by Fawaz Akhras, a London-based cardiologist whose daughter Asma is married to President Assad, and is closely linked to the regime, frequently accused of acting as its mouthpiece in the west.

According to documents filed at Companies House, Mr Ford - who has been accused of supporting the Syrian regime in the past - was appointed a director of the society on February 28 this year.

Mr. Tea
11-04-2018, 11:56 AM
Fuuuuuck.

559

DannyL
11-04-2018, 12:18 PM
A perspective from a Syrian voice (strangely unheard in this debacle) from a year back: http://notris.blogspot.co.uk/2017/05/should-syrians-be-thankful-to-trump-for.html

Syrian voices are constantly trampled on. Syrian civil society has been very active, and has been very vocal. Unfortunately, their voices and their narratives are often trampled upon. Like the simplest things. Media outlets continue to call it a civil war, taking away the value of the idea that there was a revolution in Syria, and in many places, there continues to be, on a smaller scale, revolution in Syria. And so not acknowledging their narratives, the people living inside of Syria, and their needs and their wants, is then problematic. And they're not giving that narrative back. The international community needs to help, the media needs to help with that, you need to listen to Syrians, that's all I'm trying to say

DannyL
11-04-2018, 12:21 PM
That tweet rather throws the question of Trump-Russia collusion up in the area again doesn't it. Unless it's all theatre?

droid
11-04-2018, 01:09 PM
There are competing factors here. Trump may be under the cosh, but that doesnt mean he won't exploit a situation for his own ends if he gets desperate enough.

Mr. Tea
11-04-2018, 01:29 PM
There are competing factors here. Trump may be under the cosh, but that doesnt mean he won't exploit a situation for his own ends if he gets desperate enough.

Putin may be discovering the downsides of backing a horse as fundamentally unstable and capricious as Trump. Then again, for all we know he may have planned for this contingency or even banked on it.

droid
11-04-2018, 01:49 PM
The rollback a few seconds later was striking.

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/984032798821568513

Mr. Tea
11-04-2018, 02:02 PM
https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/984032798821568513

Yes, it's definitely worse than the time Soviet megaton-warhead-tipped ballistic missiles were deployed 90 miles from the USA, isn't it. :rolleyes:

Certainly has a gift for hyperbole, hasn't he?

DannyL
11-04-2018, 02:14 PM
Yes, it's definitely worse than the time Soviet megaton-warhead-tipped ballistic missiles were deployed 90 miles from the USA, isn't it. :rolleyes:

Certainly has a gift for hyperbole, hasn't he?

Looking very choreographed I think. Assad has had time to hide his airforce (on Russian bases) so will be free to continue mass murder with conventional weapons, and the balance of power remains the same.

droid
11-04-2018, 07:07 PM
May threatening to go in without a vote.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/apr/11/theresa-may-indicates-willingness-for-military-action-against-syria

On the plus side, Corbyn may end up being the new PM of the cockroaches.

padraig (u.s.)
11-04-2018, 08:09 PM
Then again, for all we know he may have planned for this contingency or even banked on it.
I cannot imagine that not being the case. still bet it's hella irritating tho.

Putin somewhere just trying to have some Putin time - riding horse shirtless, doing judo, bow hunting tigers, etc - being constantly interrupted by aides w/Trump tweets.

padraig (u.s.)
11-04-2018, 08:12 PM
feels even more likely to be mostly saber rattling than it did last night, v dramatic + overwrought, tho as always what do I really know

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/04/09/a-saudi-princes-quest-to-remake-the-middle-east

on a kinda related note, I recommend this profile of the current Saudi crown prince to anyone interested in current ME situation

knew some of it but had no idea about kidnapping Lebanese prime minister, p nuts

droid
11-04-2018, 08:15 PM
feels even more likely to be mostly saber rattling than it did last night, v dramatic + overwrought, tho as always what do I really know

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/04/09/a-saudi-princes-quest-to-remake-the-middle-east

on a kinda related note, I recommend this profile of the current Saudi crown prince to anyone interested in current ME situation

knew some of it but had no idea about kidnapping Lebanese prime minister, p nuts

Im sure Danny might have something to say about it, but the involvement of Saudi backed Jihadists and the Saudi support for escalation points to some serious shenanigans.

DannyL
11-04-2018, 08:19 PM
Im sure Danny might have something to say about it, but the involvement of Saudi backed Jihadists and the Saudi support for escalation points to some serious shenanigans.

you have any recent links?

(and on the subject of New Yorker profiles, the one they did a few years ago on Qassem Suleimani was *deep*)

craner
11-04-2018, 08:30 PM
Saudi Arabia is a crucial actor in this drama.

padraig (u.s.)
11-04-2018, 08:39 PM
the one they did a few years ago on Qassem Suleimani was *deep*
o word I'll check it out

ya the Saudis, craziness w/Yemen (real bad there), Qatar, internal strife. that brief wild era when Jared Kushner was the administration's Middle East point man.

there's a thing about Saudi blockading Qatar shortly after Qatari finance minister refused Kushner's dad a $1 billion loan to renovate family's failing Manhattan property

padraig (u.s.)
11-04-2018, 08:42 PM
Saudi Arabia is a crucial actor in this drama.
o ya well ofc ME has been locked in Saudia Arabia v. Iran regional cold war for awhile now

craner
11-04-2018, 08:45 PM
Of course. Since 2010, at least.

padraig (u.s.)
11-04-2018, 08:58 PM
right around the time we (mostly) withdrew Iraq

going back further to the original sin of regional massive destabilization here is a p good recent thing about Bremer's infamous orders 1+2
https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/03/will-we-ever-know-who-made-the-worst-decision-of-the-iraq-war.html

not hard to draw a v direct line to ME current status. p much sealed the fate right then + there.

droid
11-04-2018, 09:06 PM
What I have culled from several dozen decent twitter accounts from across the spectrum:

US, UK & France not expected to wait for further UN process. Potential targets have already mostly been emptied of Syrian troops.

Strike possible tonight. Syrians think it will come From Jordan and Turkey, not the mediterranean.

Russia expected to shoot down a few missiles but mostly stand by. Putin called Netanyahu today and threatened direct Iranian retaliation if Israel gets involved.

Russian perspective is this is has nothing to do with chemicals and everything to do with ejection of Saudi backed jihadist forces in Ghouta who were the largest remaining major threat to Assad.

The more successful EU/US are in destroying Syrian army, the more of a vacuum created for Iran to step into militarily.

Russia willing to accept a day or two of shooting, if it goes on any longer we're looking at dangerous escalation.

Of course, any shooting holds potential for disastrous miscalculation.

Serious political ramifications possible in UK/US, especially for May. Its conspiracist, but I cant help but tentatively correlate the serious escalation in efforts to unseat Trump via the Cohen raid with goings on in Syria.

padraig (u.s.)
11-04-2018, 09:16 PM
thx for summation. ya that basically jives my impression trying to follow things


Of course, any shooting holds potential for disastrous miscalculation
yup


cant help but tentatively correlate the serious escalation in efforts to unseat Trump via the Cohen raid with goings on in Syria
na tho you gotta away from that dude, that's some MAGA 4chan tip. not accusing u personally ofc but dude come on. it's some wake up sheeple shit.

droid
11-04-2018, 09:19 PM
lol, yeah. Clearly it mustve been in the works BUT, lets say you were engaged in a long term project to unseat Trump... the prospect of a major confrontation with a nuclear power is the kind of thing that might accelerate your plans.

DannyL
11-04-2018, 09:29 PM
I thought this was worth sharing:

https://twitter.com/OzKaterji/status/984076735854661632

"What people don't realise is that even just *talk* of an impending air strike in Syria has cleared the sky of bombers. Civilians in Idlib and Deraa today can walk around free from having to cower from bombardment. Just the potential of punitive action is literally saving lives."

Another friend pointed out - this is exactly how a No Fly Zone is supposed to operate.

craner
11-04-2018, 10:10 PM
Over the last 15 years Sergei Ivanov and Sergey Lavrov have been the smartest guys in the room.

craner
11-04-2018, 10:14 PM
Only Rice came close on the US side, and they both tried to romance her (semi-successfuly) although I'm sure Bolton would give them a test.

DannyL
12-04-2018, 07:53 AM
From a friend on Facebooks:

Colonialism still exists in the form of British people telling Syrians who have had their lives destroyed by Assad forces how they should feel about the potential western intervention. I’m sorry folks, but I was incarcerated twice by Assad forces. Some of my joints are still fucked from the torture and beating I had to endure in my solitary confinement cell. I can name 10 of my school friends who died in Assad’s prisons. My home has been hijacked by Assad forces, and I live in forced exile. Guess what? My story isn’t unique. Millions of Syrians have similar stories to mine, if not worse. It’s safe to say that we know better than you do when it comes to Syria.

Some of the excuse-making for not acting i.e. destabilising the area strikes me as so false. The principle destabiliser is Assad and his attempts to exert power on a country in a state of post-revoutionary flux. The immense violence enacted by him, his forces and colonial backers is hidden under the legitimacy of a state.

droid
12-04-2018, 09:09 AM
So you dont think that say... a huge increase of Iranian forces in Syria, followed by Israeli attacks on those forces, followed by a major shooting war between Lebanon, Iran and Israel would decrease stability?

DannyL
12-04-2018, 10:04 AM
So you dont think that say... a huge increase of Iranian forces in Syria, followed by Israeli attacks on those forces, followed by a major shooting war between Lebanon, Iran and Israel would decrease stability?

I'd ask in what sense is a country where the country where the government is has murdered vast numbers of its own citizens, destroyed its own infrastructure, and is still trying to do this - be described as "stable"? A lot of the dialogue around Syria doesn't acknowledge what's happened in the past 7 years, and what's happening now. Vast swathes of the country rejected the government, and have received nothing from the government for years about from bombardment and gassing, and are still resisting because they now the reinstatement of its rule means means torture and murder. Is that something we should actively support?

firefinga
12-04-2018, 10:08 AM
So you dont think that say... a huge increase of Iranian forces in Syria, followed by Israeli attacks on those forces, followed by a major shooting war between Lebanon, Iran and Israel would decrease stability?

If the Mullahs wanna commit suicide, I say they should go for it.

DannyL
12-04-2018, 10:10 AM
I'd ask in what sense is a country where the country where the government is has murdered vast numbers of its own citizens, destroyed its own infrastructure, and is still trying to do this - be described as "stable"? A lot of the dialogue around Syria doesn't acknowledge what's happened in the past 7 years, and what's happening now. Vast swathes of the country rejected the government, and have received nothing from the government for years about from bombardment and gassing, and are still resisting because they now the reinstatement of its rule means means torture and murder. Is that something we should actively support?

I think ultimately the choice should be down to Syrians, really and I'd like to see a situation where their voices can be heard, not the colonial wargame we have currently.

DannyL
12-04-2018, 10:15 AM
Part of this is the discourse around statehood - a lot of commentators are limited in seeing the Syrian state as legitimate, when this legitimacy is only arising and maintained by exercising huge violence. I think this sets a really poor precedent for our own democracies and the 21st century if situations like this become normalised. What is a state? What does it mean and imply - consensual governance for a greater good, support for human rights? Or simply whoever is the most highly armed?

Mr. Tea
12-04-2018, 10:23 AM
If the Mullahs wanna commit suicide, I say they should go for it.

You mean ayatollahs, I guess?

firefinga
12-04-2018, 10:31 AM
You mean ayatollahs, I guess?

yes, the mad, mad mullahs.

Mr. Tea
12-04-2018, 10:34 AM
yes, the mad, mad mullahs.

I'll allow 'mad mullahs' for the sake of a satisfyingly tabloid-y alliteration.

padraig (u.s.)
12-04-2018, 10:40 AM
I think ultimately the choice should be down to Syrians, really and I'd like to see a situation where their voices can be heard, not the colonial wargame we have currently.
of course, p sure no one here would disagree. just explain how Western intervention will make that happen?

+ destabilization is a real thing. Syria doesn't happen this way w/o massive destabilization next door in Iraq, which also paved way for SA v. Iran proxy wars.

DannyL
12-04-2018, 10:44 AM
It depends on what the intervention is - if the intervention is simply the choreographed destruction of a few airbases, then it'll have next to no effect. If it were a genuinely an attempt to remove Assad or limit his power, then maybe this opens up that space? I remain pretty pessimistic myself.

droid
12-04-2018, 10:47 AM
Part of this is the discourse around statehood - a lot of commentators are limited in seeing the Syrian state as legitimate, when this legitimacy is only arising and maintained by exercising huge violence. I think this sets a really poor precedent for our own democracies and the 21st century if situations like this become normalised. What is a state? What does it mean and imply - consensual governance for a greater good, support for human rights? Or simply whoever is the most highly armed?

The monopoly of violence is the one of the primary fundamentals of every state.

padraig (u.s.)
12-04-2018, 10:49 AM
also expecting U.S./W Eur govts to expend significant blood/treasure on human rights is a poor bet

again I respect your sincerity unlike a lotta of the lip service moral handwringing out there but w/all respect you come off kinda naive.

situations like this are already normalized. they're the norm of human history. a terrible but true fact. we don't live in some enlightened post-mass violence age.

I would love for Syrians to be rid of Assad, colonial powers, foreign jihadists, all oppression, violence, poverty, foreign meddling.

just dunno how missile strikes or a war w/Russia are gonna do any good for anyone besides Trump's ego.

DannyL
12-04-2018, 10:49 AM
There's also the question of to what extent is this a response to Russia's ongoing hybrid war? Pretty sure this will be in the back of the mind's of the European leaders at least. I think we're at a situation now where Western defence interests against this align with Syrian (not Assad's) interests, which is part of what's driving what's unfolding.

droid
12-04-2018, 10:49 AM
I'd ask in what sense is a country where the country where the government is has murdered vast numbers of its own citizens, destroyed its own infrastructure, and is still trying to do this - be described as "stable"? A lot of the dialogue around Syria doesn't acknowledge what's happened in the past 7 years, and what's happening now. Vast swathes of the country rejected the government, and have received nothing from the government for years about from bombardment and gassing, and are still resisting because they now the reinstatement of its rule means means torture and murder. Is that something we should actively support?

Stability is relative. Appalling as things are, they could get much, much worse in Syria if the entire region goes to war. Its not a question of support or condemnation, escalation would be disastrous.

droid
12-04-2018, 10:53 AM
If the Mullahs wanna commit suicide, I say they should go for it.

Hezbollah alone has the potential to kill tens of thousands in Israel, Iron dome has never been tested in actual warfare. Open conflict with Iran would almost certainly lead to major escalation and possible nuclear deployment with millions of casualties - which is why Israel's opportunistic attacks are so reckless.

padraig (u.s.)
12-04-2018, 10:55 AM
If it were a genuinely an attempt to remove Assad or limit his power, then maybe this opens up that space?.
maybe, but how does that happen w/o huge risk of doing more harm then good?

shooting war w/Russia has potential to kill millions (let alone nuclear risks)

even if you could remove Assad you're then looking at a long military occupation + rebuilding. who's gonna do that? U.S. won't + Europe sure as hell won't.

it's frustrating but what are the good realistic options?

padraig (u.s.)
12-04-2018, 10:56 AM
Stability is relative. Appalling as things are, they could get much, much worse in Syria if the entire region goes to war. Its not a question of support or condemnation, escalation would be disastrous.
exactly this

I mean didn't we just learn this lesson at very great length in Iraq?

padraig (u.s.)
12-04-2018, 10:59 AM
which is why Israel's opportunistic attacks are so reckless
this is 100% true but also tbf Iran's meddling in Yemen, Gaza, Lebanon + Syria is also pretty reckless

firefinga
12-04-2018, 11:01 AM
shooting war w/Russia has potential to kill millions (let alone nuclear risks)


Nobody is risking a shooting war with Russia - over crappy Syria/Assad. Get real. That's just some "wet-dream" of assortet doom mongers.

firefinga
12-04-2018, 11:02 AM
this is 100% true but also tbf Iran's meddling in Yemen, Gaza, Lebanon + Syria is also pretty reckless

Bingo! Iran has been the major shit-stirrer in the region for quite some time now.

droid
12-04-2018, 11:09 AM
this is 100% true but also tbf Iran's meddling in Yemen, Gaza, Lebanon + Syria is also pretty reckless

Sure, but they have fallen short of direct attacks against Israel.

droid
12-04-2018, 11:09 AM
Bingo! Iran has been the major shit-stirrer in the region for quite some time now.

lol

padraig (u.s.)
12-04-2018, 11:18 AM
Nobody is risking a shooting war with Russia - over crappy Syria/Assad
not deliberately, of course not. the danger is a saber-rattling/limited intervention spins out of control. we covered this yesterday upthread if you check back.

padraig (u.s.)
12-04-2018, 11:24 AM
Sure, but they have fallen short of direct attacks against Israel.
right, still irresponsible af

not trying to let Israel off the hook at all, just noting. if something v bad kicks off, Iran will also share plenty of blame.

anyway, this (via Guardian live coverage) sums up my skepticism about likelihood of useful U.S. intervention, even w/o Trump's "never said when"
https://twitter.com/emile_hokayem/status/984376852818092033?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.theguardian.com%2Fworld% 2Flive%2F2018%2Fapr%2F12%2Fuk-russia-tensions-rise-over-syria-attack-and-salisbury-poisoning-live-updates&tfw_site=guardian

droid
12-04-2018, 11:28 AM
Yeah, saw that. Lets hope.

Not defending Iran in any sense, but considering its up against Israel and the Saudis, and their Western backed and supplied militaries who've been banging the drum against them for well over a decade, it was inevitable they'd try and strengthen their regional position.

firefinga
12-04-2018, 11:30 AM
maybe, but how does that happen w/o huge risk of doing more harm then good?
+ Europe sure as hell won't.


The EU is so busy pleasing the Ayatollahs they sure won't do anything which could get them upset. Hey Iran is an ever growing market we need to sell em our crap! Market trumps human rights, always has.

DannyL
12-04-2018, 12:00 PM
also expecting U.S./W Eur govts to expend significant blood/treasure on human rights is a poor bet

again I respect your sincerity unlike a lotta of the lip service moral handwringing out there but w/all respect you come off kinda naive.

situations like this are already normalized. they're the norm of human history. a terrible but true fact. we don't live in some enlightened post-mass violence age.

I would love for Syrians to be rid of Assad, colonial powers, foreign jihadists, all oppression, violence, poverty, foreign meddling.

just dunno how missile strikes or a war w/Russia are gonna do any good for anyone besides Trump's ego.

Thread has jumped on a bit and I'll catch up in a sec - but I'd say, yeah, happy to own the charge of naivety. I think it comes out of desperation in part, sitting as close as I can bear to accounts and images of the evil out there - the torture, the bombings, the rapes. I'm not far away in my various newsfeeds from hundreds of Syrian voices who feel similar, the desperation for change and for justice is such that they're looking for hope in Trump's unstable tweets.

I would put a question to you though - if you concede that Syrian and non-Assadist voices should be heard, what is a non-naive way to make this happen? Be damned if I can see it.

droid
12-04-2018, 12:29 PM
The conflict is nowhere at the same scale, but Ive been deeply attentive and peripherally involved in Palestine for going on 20 years. Ive seen the same remorseless systems of violence, the same bloody millwheels grinding thousands to dust over and over again all whilst the West actively funds and supports the main perpetrators regardless of the increases in barbarism and impunity.

And I don't know what to say. I have no answers.

padraig (u.s.)
12-04-2018, 12:45 PM
what is a non-naive way to make this happen?
no idea

I am definitely sympathetic to desperate people grasping at any straws of hope, fwiw

either way I'm sure Syrian public opinion is unfortunately v low on the list of factors influencing U.S., Russia, Iran, SA/UAE, etc foreign policy decisions

padraig (u.s.)
12-04-2018, 12:59 PM
the same remorseless systems of violence, the same bloody millwheels grinding thousands to dust over and over again
this all I mean by naive, btw

never want to abstract the suffering of any individual, family, community, into dry historical comparison, but Syria isn't unique, it's just bloodier/more barbaric than usual and b/c of ME oil etc, larger geopolitical concerns, + refugee crisis in the Western public eye in way that say, the Congo never was.

padraig (u.s.)
12-04-2018, 01:05 PM
tbc danny good on you for caring + continuing to promote human rights, justice + self-determination for Syrians

just a goddamned brutally tough situation

droid
13-04-2018, 03:28 PM
Rhetoric in the UN right now from France and the US suggests the die is cast.

version
14-04-2018, 01:21 AM
I can't see why Assad would decide now is a good time to launch a chemical attack, just after Trump announces his intention to pull out. He has little to gain and a lot to lose. I'm also suspicious of the apparent push to go around parliament and prevent a vote. It seems there's a concerted effort being made to pursue regime change whatever happens.

I'm not much of a fan of FOX, but Tucker Carlson grilled some GOP senator the other day and the guy wasn't even trying to come up with a solid answer.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nDf-OuK2gKw

Mr. Tea
14-04-2018, 08:17 AM
The question surely is not what Assad stands to gain, but what Putin stands to gain. Let's not forget who's actually pulling the strings here.

DannyL
14-04-2018, 08:24 AM
We went over this upthread - it was tactical, to drive out a group of well dug in rebels, the JaI. I can find stories on this if you want, but it's super depressing to have to rebut the obvious.. It absolutely fits with the logic of the war and past behaviour of the Assad regime.

Tucker Carlson and Fox News? Really?

DannyL
14-04-2018, 08:27 AM
Syrian journalist summing up the reaction from Syrians (who maybe we should listen to rather than foreign journalists who've become Syria experts overnight): https://twitter.com/3z0ooz/status/984984113236054016?s=19

DannyL
14-04-2018, 08:34 AM
https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/syria-gas-attack_uk_5acf1b68e4b08337adc9a5dd?3wf

“It’s the most fucked up deja vu anyone can have in their life. You see it coming, you see it happening, you were there, you were choking, you were surrounded by dead people.

“Then it happens again. Then it happens again. Then it happens again.”

Eid said every time he tries to move on with his life, and recover from his experience of the sarin attack, he is hit by a reminder of what happened. “I can’t move on with my life when I see the same murders and killing of the people I grew up with all over again with the same horrible weapons,” he says.

Guilt also hangs over him.

“I feel guilty for being safe while they are suffering. I feel guilty for being able to express my mind and troll presidents or say whatever I feel like saying, when I know hundreds of thousands of people are getting tortured and raped inside of detention centres just because they said the word ‘freedom’.”



There was a quote I read recently which was a threat from an SS camp guard to some Jewish prisoners where he talked about erasing them from history. No one would know their names, and all their suffering, screaming would have been for naught. I feel that the same forces are in operation in this atmosphere of systematic distortion, the default denial of what's actually happening.

DannyL
14-04-2018, 08:38 AM
" It seems there's a concerted effort being made to pursue regime change whatever happens."

Are you serious? 3 strikes with no civilian casualties = regime change? It's a rubberstamping of genocide by conventional weapons.

DannyL
14-04-2018, 08:57 AM
And here we go, with grim predictability:

https://twitter.com/anteebah_alSham/status/985072447102898176/photo/1

Russian airplanes continue to target the forcibly displaced in Idlib. Conventional bombs though so it's okay.

DannyL
14-04-2018, 09:17 AM
I think in some way the propaganda gains from this will benefit the regime and Russia more than enough to compensate for the loss of military assets.

Mr. Tea
14-04-2018, 09:36 AM
I think in some way the propaganda gains from this will benefit the regime and Russia more than enough to compensate for the loss of military assets.

Unfortunately I fear you may be right. Just the other day I saw a guy I vaguely know on Facebook sharing a Jill Stein tweet arguing, predictably, against any anti-Assad action by appealing to the old "Israel does terrible things all the time and the West does nothing about that" line - which, leaving aside the vast difference in scale between the two situations, is true as far as it goes.

I was going to point out that Stein is a Russian agent who actively helped Trump get elected, but thought better of it. For one thing the guy in question is Palestinian, so he has skin in the game regarding Israel, so to speak, in a way that I don't.

DannyL
14-04-2018, 10:15 AM
Yeah, there's a lot of pro-Palestians who are pro-Assad. It's part of the traditional Left positioning. Assad kinda draped himself in the Palestinian flag at points, that's why Corbyn met him in 2008 IIRC - he was visiting Palestinian refugee camps. That fact Assad's bombed Palestinian since then doesn't seem to register. I had this distant dream that the same kind of mobilisation of activism that you see with the Palestinian cause might have happened for the Syrian uprising but it never materialised (due to active propaganda, outright racism, and kneejerk "anti-imperialism").

Mr. Tea
14-04-2018, 12:42 PM
The bloke in question is intelligent and thoughtful, so I would hope he didn't post it out of being pro-Assad as such, so much as having more reason than most to adopt a position of absolute cynicism towards Western intervention in Arab countries. But clearly even intelligent people can be suckered in by the likes of Stein, who strike a peacenik pose but are driven by entirely cynical motives themselves and are all in favour of Russian and Iranian intervention.

version
14-04-2018, 01:44 PM
We went over this upthread - it was tactical, to drive out a group of well dug in rebels, the JaI. I can find stories on this if you want, but it's super depressing to have to rebut the obvious.. It absolutely fits with the logic of the war and past behaviour of the Assad regime.

Tucker Carlson and Fox News? Really?

I explicitly stated that I'm no fan of Fox before posting. I'm not someone who watches Fox, that was a segment I was recently surprised by given it seemed as though they were off the war mongering train and actually grilling a Republican for once.

Yeah, links for the rebel angle would be appreciated. Cheers.

version
14-04-2018, 01:49 PM
" It seems there's a concerted effort being made to pursue regime change whatever happens."

Are you serious? 3 strikes with no civilian casualties = regime change? It's a rubberstamping of genocide by conventional weapons.

That's assuming it ends at three strikes with no civilian casualties.

For the record, I'm not pro-Assad or Russia. I'm just skeptical of everyone.

DannyL
14-04-2018, 02:09 PM
Here you go: https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2018/04/13/In-light-of-chemical-attack-new-wave-of-Jaysh-al-Islam-fighters-evacuate-Douma.html

"After midnight, 85 buses left Eastern Ghouta carrying 4,000 people, both fighters and civilians," the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring organization said.

A top Syrian rebel official told AFP on Thursday that his faction only agreed to abandon its battered enclave outside Damascus because of an alleged toxic gas attack.

“Of course, the chemical attack is what pushed us to agree” to a withdrawal from Douma, said Yasser Dalwan, a high-ranking member of Jaish al-Islam.

It was the first public acknowledgement by Jaish al-Islam of a deal reached for Douma, their last rebel holdout in the Eastern Ghouta suburb of Damascus.

I've posted some other links upthread about the resilience of Ghouta against regime attacks, which isn't some kind of endorsement of JaI - they're weren't the only rebel force present - but they're worth reading, the Michael Karajdis piece in particular.

Decent reading list here: https://medium.com/@kesterratcliff/confused-about-syria-a-recommended-reading-list-mostly-from-syrians-57fcd6995d26 - can't remember if I've posted this already.

I'm also skeptical of all sides, but my skepticism towards the West is rooted in anger at the hypocrisy of allowing attacks via bunker buster bombs, napalm etc to continue, while drawing a red line over the use of nerve agents. It's because our governments continue to use these weapons themselves in Syria and elsewhere, indeed their use has markedly accelerated under Trump. I can't recall how many thousands of attacks the US has launched but it was up to about 8000 by the time of the last gas attacks.

The spectacle of anti-war activists getting exercised about the second attack against the regime in 7 years of murder, while turning a selective blind eye to these other attacks, is pretty grotesque.

version
14-04-2018, 02:31 PM
Cheers for the links, will have a read through now.

My skepticism is mostly based on Iraq and a general mistrust of anyone in power. I'm reluctant to take anyone at their word on something like this. I don't trust Trump, I don't trust May, I don't trust Macron, I don't trust Assad, I don't trust Putin. It's exhausting and I find myself leaning towards the Western take on what's happening, but I just can't bring myself to trust in it completely after Iraq and various other foreign interventions.

DannyL
14-04-2018, 02:53 PM
Yeah, I getcha.

I'd just add that the Russia state is well aware of both our cynicism towards our own governments, the relative freedom of our press, and the anti-war sentiment that exist, and they weaponise that against us. In the short term it's used to weaken any consensus for action against them, and in the longer term to weaken our democracies. Peter Pomerantsev is really good on us, I've recommended his book "Nothing is True, Everything is Permitted" several times on here. Essential reading in my view.

DannyL
14-04-2018, 02:57 PM
I've always the RT tagline "Question More" is telling in this regard. It suggests there's no objective reality, no truth. How can political decisions or moral be judgements be made in this vacuum?

version
14-04-2018, 03:04 PM
Yeah, I'm aware of the Russian use of non-linear warfare and whatnot, but when I hear of something like that I can't help but feel that if it's that effective then they won't be the only ones doing it.

version
14-04-2018, 03:28 PM
I dunno how trustworthy a source they are, but that Al Arabiya article makes more sense of the situation re: why Assad would have used chemical weapons so thanks for that. I was under the impression he'd just randomly used them on civilians or something.

Mr. Tea
14-04-2018, 09:10 PM
I'm also skeptical of all sides, but my skepticism towards the West is rooted in anger at the hypocrisy of allowing attacks via bunker buster bombs, napalm etc to continue, while drawing a red line over the use of nerve agents. It's because our governments continue to use these weapons themselves in Syria and elsewhere, indeed their use has markedly accelerated under Trump. I can't recall how many thousands of attacks the US has launched but it was up to about 8000 by the time of the last gas attacks.

The spectacle of anti-war activists getting exercised about the second attack against the regime in 7 years of murder, while turning a selective blind eye to these other attacks, is pretty grotesque.

The US-led CJTF caused several times more civilian deaths in the first few months of Trump's presidency than in the whole of its involvement up till then. Some figures here which are no doubt severe underestimates but prove the point nonetheless:

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/donald-trump-us-civilian-deaths-iraq-syria-isis-coalition-bombing-a8180331.html

All of which gives the lie to John 'Fucking' Pilger saying before the election that Trump was the preferable option to Killary Bomb'em Clinton because he'd pursue a less belligerent foreign policy.

I've also been disappointed by people I know posting crap by the likes of Frankie Boyle about "bombing Syria", as if Syria hasn't been bombing Syria for the last seven years.

version
14-04-2018, 09:51 PM
I've also been disappointed by people I know posting crap by the likes of Frankie Boyle about "bombing Syria", as if Syria hasn't been bombing Syria for the last seven years.

It's an easy way to engage whilst it's a hot topic, I guess. A comedian or celebrity making some sort of vague "common sense" type comment seems to be enough to convince a lot of people.

DannyL
15-04-2018, 08:15 AM
Laila Alodaat: If you’re wondering why many Syrian’s are inexplicably silent in these dark days, remember that we spent the past 7 years trying to make the argument that no one should have to live under a genocidal war criminal who gases his people and bury them in masses under the rubble. We spoke, wrote, advocated, demonstrated, lobbied politicians and raised funds for victims, all while trying to stay sane and support each other. We did all what is humanly possibly to be moral but practical, passionate but balanced, to own our loss without being pitied, to seek help while maintaining dignity, to learn without being pushed around by orientalist neo-colonials, to remain hopeful but prepared for the imminent loss of yet another friend or family member, to be thankful to the communities that offered us protection but fight their government’s racist and abusive policy against refugees, to shed light on the horrors back home but still support the struggle of those suffering from occupation, tyranny and racism everywhere, to highlight the realities of women without being retweeted by a sad islamophobic troll, to own our voices and platforms without choking that reporter who would like to have “a Syrian preferably-not-headscarved-English-speaking-woman who is available in the studio in 26 minutes with a yes/no answer to whether the UK should militarily intervene in Syria” just because he realised a minute ago that all those analysing Syria are western men.
We did all that while trying - and more times than not failing - to deal with trauma, survival guilt and absolute disillusionment.
The Syrian people didn’t only offer many lives to the hope of freedom and dignity but also millions and millions of hours of dedicated work, none of which seems to have made any difference, the world still knows very little and civilians still die in every way imaginable.
We are now exhausted, traumatised and many of us are speechless and out of options (huge respect to those who aren’t) it is now your turn to make sure that stopping the mass killing of civilians is not a a radical demand but a baseline for a world we would all want to live in.

DannyL
15-04-2018, 09:46 AM
Yeah, I'm aware of the Russian use of non-linear warfare and whatnot, but when I hear of something like that I can't help but feel that if it's that effective then they won't be the only ones doing it.

Interesting question isn't it? What responses are going on to hybrid war? I'd welcome any links or sources. I think the most sophisticated defence I've seen seems to be out of Ukraine 'cos they've put up with it for so long - I posted some stuff in the Russia Surrounded thread. What is weird is how the Russian distortion is enacted at quite high levels of state i.e. the insane performance re. chemical weapons by the Russian ambassador at the UN, and the claim that they have evidence the UK launched the Douma attack. They clearly know this is a lie, yet continue to pump it out. it must be very weird to work for a government that has systematic distortion built in in such a way. (Not that our state officials aren't economically with the truth, but it's done in a very different way).

Mr. Tea
15-04-2018, 10:39 AM
Yeah, and as you've pointed out before, Dan, it's a mistake to think the purpose of the exercise is to make people literally believe a bare-faced lie but to erode and degrade the very concept of truth.

I see this in a sense as the logical end point of 50+ years of postmodernist assaults on the ideas of objectivity and empiricism - a project begun by self-identified radicals which has ended up enabling illiberal populism (Trump, Brexit) as well as outright fascism.

vimothy
15-04-2018, 10:57 AM
it is now your turn to make sure that stopping the mass killing of civilians is not a a radical demand but a baseline for a world we would all want to live in.[/I]

Such a demand may very well be impossible to satisfy. What then?

DannyL
15-04-2018, 12:38 PM
Hearing reports of Syrian doctors held hostage in Douma and being forced to record testimony denying the attack happened. Fuck.

DannyL
15-04-2018, 12:40 PM
Here we go: https://twitter.com/SputnikInt/status/984879340914692097 (wouldn't normally share such a source, but fuck...)

DannyL
15-04-2018, 12:41 PM
The threat seems to be that they'll be handed over to Assad's security branch otherwise: http://nedaa-sy.com/en/news/5471

version
15-04-2018, 09:04 PM
#BREAKING Macron says France has convinced Trump to "stay in Syria long-term" (https://twitter.com/AFP/status/985594653075439616)

Mr. Tea
15-04-2018, 09:44 PM
#BREAKING Macron says France has convinced Trump to "stay in Syria long-term" (https://twitter.com/AFP/status/985594653075439616)

To achieve what, I wonder?

Anyway I really wouldn't set any store by anything Trump says is "long-term". He's like a ten-year-old with ADHD who's stopped taking his Ritalin.

droid
16-04-2018, 09:56 PM
Interesting article from Fisk, who may of course be wrong, but I think has always reported with integrity.

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/syria-chemical-attack-gas-douma-robert-fisk-ghouta-damascus-a8307726.html

DannyL
17-04-2018, 07:38 AM
Can't really get into it this morning, due to work, I'm afraid but I'll look at that in a moment. Fisk is seen as pro-Assad by most of the Syria people I know. I did "enjoy", or find informative is perhaps a better way of putting it, his massive tome on the ME.

Just read this which is truly horrific but I think it's useful to get these stories out there, as lots of people on the Left who haven't given Syria a second thought for seven years have suddenly become overnight experts: https://louisproyect.org/2018/04/16/castrated-in-the-21st-century/

I don't know the source of the horrific story contained herein personally but it accords with other accounts that I've read.

DannyL
17-04-2018, 07:44 AM
Probably the most powerful verifier of that story would be the Cesar photographs which are the subject of the documentary "Syria's Disappeared" - I put a link to it upthread, it's on Vimeo currently, if you want to ruin your evening.

DannyL
17-04-2018, 07:49 AM
There's a (very negative) piece here on Fisk by Idrees Ahmad, who's a good source on Syria: https://pulsemedia.org/2016/12/03/robert-fisks-crimes-against-journalism/

Mr. Tea
17-04-2018, 08:38 AM
Interesting article from Fisk, who may of course be wrong, but I think has always reported with integrity.

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/syria-chemical-attack-gas-douma-robert-fisk-ghouta-damascus-a8307726.html

For droid to repair his hat, should it start showing wear and tear:

564

firefinga
17-04-2018, 08:52 AM
To achieve what, I wonder?

Anyway I really wouldn't set any store by anything Trump says is "long-term". He's like a ten-year-old with ADHD who's stopped taking his Ritalin.

To achieve the notion that "The West" still counts, in military terms. No actual goal has been achieved by the "Western" joint strike of late which was never intended. It was fraudulent anyways, from a tactical point of view - I mean: Assad had plenty of time to remove stuff - if there ever was some there in the first place. Also, it had the side effect of showing Putin being a bit of a loudmouth regarding his claims of shooting down the missiles.

droid
17-04-2018, 09:04 AM
I've read Fisk over many years and Ive seen him denounce the Assads on countless occasions, going back to the 80's. He's also extremely careful with his language there and points out the conflicts of interest in testimony.

But yes, I guess it is conspiratorial to suggest that several states with vested interests who currently support other regimes that routinely use chemical weapons on civilians might use a case like this as a pretext to advance their own aims, after all, that's never happened before.

droid
17-04-2018, 09:10 AM
Oh, and here are the Saudi backed jihadist militia and defenders of Eastern Ghouta putting civilians into cages to use as human shields in 2015.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/11971269/Syrian-rebels-using-caged-pro-Assad-captives-as-human-shields.html

Nice bunch of lads, not in the least bit ruthless or cynical.

DannyL
17-04-2018, 09:32 AM
I have - or had - a lot of respect for Fisk as well. I remember hearing him on the BBC some years ago, discussing the relentless horrors he'd seen in the ME, reduced to tears. Maybe all this, and his advancing years, means he's less critical of Assad et al? Idk. Most of the criticism I've read from Syria activists is that he's embedded with regime forces and presents their line but i've never investigated this thoroughly myself. Like I said, I've reada fair amount by him myself and I was impressed a few years back but I've not read him much in recent years. I'd be interested to read some pieces where he criticises Assad, if you have some links, Droid.

Mr. Tea
17-04-2018, 09:33 AM
Oh, and here are the Saudi backed jihadist militia and defenders of Eastern Ghouta putting civilians into cages to use as human shields in 2015.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/11971269/Syrian-rebels-using-caged-pro-Assad-captives-as-human-shields.html

Nice bunch of lads, not in the least bit ruthless or cynical.

Because people here are bigging up the jihadis, or something? Whut?

firefinga
17-04-2018, 09:33 AM
https://leilashami.wordpress.com/2018/04/14/the-anti-imperialism-of-idiots/

droid
17-04-2018, 09:41 AM
I have - or had - a lot of respect for Fisk as well. I remember hearing him on the BBC some years ago, discussing the relentless horrors he'd seen in the ME, reduced to tears. Maybe all this, and his advancing years, means he's less critical of Assad et al? Idk. Most of the criticism I've read from Syria activists is that he's embedded with regime forces and presents their line but i've never investigated this thoroughly myself. Like I said, I've reada fair amount by him myself and I was impressed a few years back but I've not read him much in recent years. I'd be interested to read some pieces where he criticises Assad, if you have some links, Droid.

Yeah, and all the other caveats of reporting in a warzone apply as well of course.

Id have to dig, but there was a big piece about the Hama massacre in 1982 in Pity the Nation I think? and IIRC any of his articles that have significant discussion on Hezbollah also include not particularly favourable descriptions of the Syrian government.

droid
17-04-2018, 09:48 AM
As an entertaining addendum, here he is being attacked for his demonisation of Assad:

https://barbaramckenzie.wordpress.com/2016/08/07/robert-fisk-still-hopes-for-a-syrian-arab-spring/

Mr. Tea
17-04-2018, 11:13 AM
I've read Fisk over many years and Ive seen him denounce the Assads on countless occasions, going back to the 80's. He's also extremely careful with his language there and points out the conflicts of interest in testimony.

But yes, I guess it is conspiratorial to suggest that several states with vested interests who currently support other regimes that routinely use chemical weapons on civilians might use a case like this as a pretext to advance their own aims, after all, that's never happened before.

You'll forgive me for adopting a default position of skepticism towards a Western journalist who's been repeatedly criticised for taking the regime line on the conflict and whose articles happen to align quite nicely with the state media of the world's uncontested masters of strategic disinformation.

Or maybe you won't, I don't really care.

firefinga
17-04-2018, 11:17 AM
Or maybe you won't, I don't really care.

The white, heterosexual western male is always wrong. Unless he is a white, heterosexual white "anti-imperialist" - in this case, he is always right.

DannyL
17-04-2018, 11:55 AM
Just reading now that Fisk has visited the site before the OPCW - WTF?

And his version of events coincides with the alleged perpetrator - who have actually been blocking the OPCW from attending. Jesus. I find this genuinely shocking. WTF is he doing, reporting from there, when when the international body supposed to determine the truth here are denied access? That's fucking scandalous.

Robert Fisk is guilty of enabling war crimes. It is an absolute disgrace he has agreed to this visit before the OPCW, and with the people inviting him having both vetoed the UN mechanism to investigate the identity of the perpetrator, and are currently blocking access to the site for the OPCW.

This is like attending a crime scene:

i) where access to the site is controlled by the chief suspect in the crime.

ii) where that suspect is blocking the police from accessing the site to collect evidence.

iii) And then dutifully insinuating the chief suspect's version of events

Fisk should be sacked by the Independent. He is no different from those who shilled for Stalin.

Russia and Assad are intent on bringing the entire mechanism of international law and cooperation into even greater disrepute and dysfunction.

They are enemies of all that is worth preserving about our current system, which is little but the only thing between us and complete polarization.

Russia and Fisk weaponise ignorance. They weaponise the gap between the complexity / nuance of a situation and the public understanding of it. They know this Fisk article will get shared by the fake news ecosystem, and spread around the world in hours. They know that just the headline implying a 'false flag', in a paper as mainstream as The Independent, will do much of the work (as it did with Newsweek) They also know the rebuttals will require paying attention and parsing the complexity and that the most likely result will be: 'it all seems so complicated and exhausting, don't know which media to trust these days'.

droid
17-04-2018, 01:30 PM
Thats nothing. Did you hear that the US, UK and France actually launched attacks before the inspectors went in?

sufi
18-04-2018, 12:18 AM
fwd by a russian troll on twitter
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-28212724
Syrian conflict: Key sarin ingredients sold by UK firms
By Nick Hopkins Investigations correspondent, BBC Newsnight

9 July 2014

Sarin building blocks

Syria's declarations to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) name Britain as the sole supplier of dimethyl phosphate (DMP), trimethyl phosphate (TMP) and hexamine - three chemicals that Syria used in the production of sarin.

The phosphate chemicals are regarded as the building blocks of sarin and Newsnight understands British companies sold hundreds of metric tonnes of them to Damascus.

Syria's declarations have since been verified by a Whitehall audit of chemical sales by British companies.

:(

version
18-04-2018, 12:28 AM
I remember that being brought up around the time Cameron was looking to launch airstrikes. I imagine those chemicals have other uses, but it wasn't a good look to be condemning a country for using weapons you sold them the materials to manufacture.

In other news...

http://uk.businessinsider.com/israeli-intelligence-trump-syria-strike-failed-2018-4?r=US&IR=T

"If President Trump had ordered the strike only to show that the US responded to [Syrian President Bashar] Assad's use of chemical weapons, then that goal has been achieved," a senior defense official told Israel's Ynet News. "But if there was another objective — such as paralyzing the ability to launch chemical weapons or deterring Assad from using it again — it's doubtful any of these objectives have been met."

The Israelis seemed to take particular issue with Trump talking about his plans to strike before the military action took place.

"If you want to shoot — shoot, don't talk," an Israeli diplomatic source told Ynet. "In the American case, this is mostly talk. They themselves show actions are not going to follow."

sufi
18-04-2018, 08:03 AM
I remember that being brought up around the time Cameron was looking to launch airstrikes. I imagine those chemicals have other uses, but it wasn't a good look to be condemning a country for using weapons you sold them the materials
It's par for the course, not worthy of consideration or even a mention in these days.

droid
18-04-2018, 08:51 AM
So, the company Phillip May works for, Capital Group, is the biggest shareholder in BAE. £6.3 million of their missiles exploded in Syria last week.

Amber Rudd's brother handles global PR for HSBC, banker for Phillip May's company.

https://evolvepolitics.com/theresa-mays-husbands-investment-firm-made-a-financial-killing-from-the-bombing-of-syria/

firefinga
18-04-2018, 09:22 AM
Not surprisingly. Putin is using Syria as a testing ground for weaponry. The Russian stealth fighter Sukhoi - SU 57, although officially still in its prototype phase, was being used in the area of Eastern Ghouta in February and March.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sukhoi_Su-57

yyaldrin
18-04-2018, 10:04 AM
Not surprisingly. Putin is using Syria as a testing ground for weaponry. The Russian stealth fighter Sukhoi - SU 57, although officially still in its prototype phase, was being used in the area of Eastern Ghouta in February and March.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sukhoi_Su-57

usa is doing the same: http://www.businessinsider.de/us-syria-strike-jassm-virginia-class-submarine-2018-4?r=US&IR=T