Author Topic: Civil War in Syria  (Read 3676 times)

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sicho

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Civil War in Syria
« on: September 04, 2013, 07:51:50 AM »
As the Senate and Congress voting on air strikes in Syria approaches, Obama escapes the heat and heads for Sweden and other countries. Perhaps his priority should be back home with the discussion of his proposal to bomb yet another foreign country and kill more people than are being killed already.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Kerry pushes for agreement to the proposal quoting as facts several assumptions about the use of chemical weapons and who used them. He seems to have been successful in turning some Republicans to his side but, perhaps, the surprise is that they weren't with the suggestion of another blood sacrifice from the start. Kerry and Obama seem to be hell bent on attacking Syria before the UN inspectors can deliver their report.

Kerry made a slip that has been quickly buried by CNN. The official line is that there 'will be no boots on the ground'. That's because the US Administration and Military have finally realised that their soldiers are no match for the people they dismiss as 'rag heads'. They wish to kill Syrians without tangling with them on the ground. However, Kerry said that troops may be put on the ground in Syria to secure the stocks of chemical weapons. Someone must have passed a note to him because he later returned to the official line.

It's the same story as in Iraq and Afghanistan, if not other countries. They tell lies about what is happening or might happen and suggest that what they describe is a risk to the US. They promise a quick and clean solution. Then they get embroiled in a bloody mess 'on the ground', covering their crimes with the claim that the people of the country that they are smashing to pieces want democracy. Let's get this clear. Despite occasional claims by Muslim rebels when they want outside help, they don't want democracy. They want power taken from the present government and given to them.

The Middle East tribes are constantly in conflict using petty religious differences as their excuse. The only way in which those countries can be at peace with themselves is for them to have strong dictators who will keep order. One by one, those dictators are being ousted with help from the West. The result has been chaos. If Obama goes ahead, no doubt with Cameron finding a way to follow him, the whole of the Middle East may this time go up in flames.

It's difficult to believe that the US, UK and toady France, haven't learned the lesson. So, what is the reason for them supporting Islamic rebels? The Northern Alliance and Taliban in Afghanistan and the list of names known as Al Qaeda were all part of the Mujahideen. That organisation fought the Russians in Afghanistan with the help of the US. Many leaders were CIA 'assets'. Did the US turn against all of its old friends or is something else going on beneath the surface?

Here's something for your entertainment and enlightenment. We all know what a close and loyal community is Freemasonry. The story told to us is that the highest degree is the 33rd. It's not easy to reach that level. It takes years of dedicated learning to say the least. Look at the list in the link. Towards the bottom of the left hand column is a name that might surprise you. Saddam Hussein was amongst the elite Freemasons!

http://www.biblebelievers.org.au/33rd.htm
 

sicho

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Re: Civil War in Syria
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2013, 08:50:56 AM »
Kerry is continuing to hold meetings during which he spouts unproven allegations, reminiscent of Bush and Bliar prior to the decimation of Iraq, and shouts down any searching questions or opposing statements. Meanwhile, safely out of the way in Sweden, Obama denies that he drew a 'red line'. He also lamely attempted to prick the conscience of the rest of the world by suggesting that killing more Syrians was the right thing to do.
 

Offline thaiga

Sen. McCain plays poker as Kerry argues for military strike against Syria

Sen. John McCain was caught playing games on his smartphone will Secretary of State John Kerry made his case against Syria, which Speaker Boehner has backed though New York City representatives are not wholly convinced.



Sen. John McCain got caught virtual gambling during critical congressional hearing on probable attack on Syria.

That's one way to flush out a joker.

While President Obama’s top aides were gambling the Senate Foreign Relations Committee would back a military strike on Syria, Sen. John McCain was playing poker on his iPhone.

The Arizona Republican, who has pushed hard for the United States to take military action, appeared more interested in making straights than listening to Secretary of State Kerry make the case for punishing Syrian despot Bashar Assad.



This screengrab shows the Washington Post LiveBlog during the Senate hearing on Tuesday, when a photographer caught Sen. John McCain red-handed playing poker on his smartphone.

Read more nydailynews
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.
 

sicho

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Re: Civil War in Syria
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2013, 11:23:54 AM »
Now, in the face of voter concern, the US Administration is saying that it will send B2 and B52 bombers to Syria rather than the expected missiles from warships. That seems to be much more than the limited strikes indicated previously. There is still no evidence shown publicly but a Democrat Senator who saw some classified 'intelligence' told CNN that it's far from conclusive. There are also statements being made to the effect that the aim is to bring down the Assad government - again much more than the previous statements which said clearly that the aim was to rap his knuckles for using chemical weapons. That allegation still isn't proven.

I have a feeling that Kerry is driving this and Obama is not so keen. I wonder who's pulling the strings of this Administration from behind the scenes. The Republicans have blocked plans to tighten the US gun laws but are behind Obama when it comes to murder on foreign soil.
 

Offline Al

Re: Civil War in Syria
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2013, 12:03:34 PM »
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted for the plan to strike Syria.  Seven democrats and three republicans voted for the measure.  The other seven members of the comittee voted against it.  It now moves on to the full senate for a debate and vote.  The House of Representatives do not return until next week to debate the subject.

If relying strictly on the facts at hand, I would say that it is a bit premature to state that republicans are behind Obama on this issue.
 

sicho

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Re: Civil War in Syria
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2013, 12:31:02 PM »
Notably, the Speaker has unusually sided with Obama.

Al, what is your opinion about all this?
 

Offline Al

Re: Civil War in Syria
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2013, 01:14:56 PM »
Bashar al-Assad is about as evil as they come.  He will torture, murder and brutalize his own people for as long as it takes to beat and pound them into submission.  Via a number of reports it seems that the opposition acts much the same.

So what does the world do?  What does it do when atrocities have happened elsewhere in the past?  In the big picture, unfortunately not much.  Military solutions seem to be less than successful, and speaking as an American, I am troubled when what seems to be the US alone who attempts to step in and resolve.  And this often leads to dead soldiers.

Chemical warfare is a terrible, terrible thing.  98 or so nations signed a pact after WW I to agree to never use such weapons.  Whatever one’s opinion on who in Syria is using chemical weapons (and that info seems to get muddier by the day) where are those nations now? 

And of course there are a bazillion other ways to kill each other that are almost as disagreeable and just as final.

I find Mr. Kerry’s announcement that a number of mid east nations have agreed to fully fund this operation personally offensive.  When money is no object what is the risk and what does the cost matter?  Where is the uproar from the Muslim world, other than apparently being willing to provide money behind the scenes?  Is the US to now become mercenaries?

While I admire John McCain for his service, his incredible years as a POW, and his willingness to stand by his principles, his idea that congress and the people of the US should stand behind the president on this issue in order to maintain our creditability does not, to me at least, provide a sufficient reason to go ahead with this plan.  In fact, again for me, it generates even more of a reason to back off and think about things.  That is hardly a reasonable reason when bombs, missiles and killing are involved.  When the US must go alone on what seems to be an issue of potentially global consequences, something must be done to bring the rest of the league of nations into the fold and into the solution.

I remain troubled by the president’s plan or lack thereof.  We give them weeks of notice to move, hide and cover and then lob some bombs or missiles at them.  What does that accomplish?  I believe that if we do this, soon after they will be bringing out full color glossies of dead and wounded innocents. 

And then the Islam world will be on the news, performing their requisite loud, dramatic demonstrations on how this is further proof that the US is Satan.  And still innocent people will continue to die at the hands of their so-called countrymen, with more to follow, while the focus shifts to the US. 

I have written to my representatives stating my position that they should vote against this measure.
 

Offline Al

Re: Civil War in Syria
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2013, 08:10:59 PM »
From the Washington Post . . .

A war the Pentagon doesn’t want

By Robert H. Scales, Published: September 5

Robert H. Scales, a retired Army major general, is a former commandant of the U.S. Army War College.

The tapes tell the tale. Go back and look at images of our nation’s most senior soldier, Gen. Martin Dempsey, and his body language during Tuesday’s Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings on Syria. It’s pretty obvious that Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, doesn’t want this war. As Secretary of State John Kerry’s thundering voice and arm-waving redounded in rage against Bashar al-Assad’s atrocities, Dempsey was largely (and respectfully) silent.

Dempsey’s unspoken words reflect the opinions of most serving military leaders. By no means do I profess to speak on behalf of all of our men and women in uniform. But I can justifiably share the sentiments of those inside the Pentagon and elsewhere who write the plans and develop strategies for fighting our wars. After personal exchanges with dozens of active and retired soldiers in recent days, I feel confident that what follows represents the overwhelming opinion of serving professionals who have been intimate witnesses to the unfolding events that will lead the United States into its next war.

They are embarrassed to be associated with the amateurism of the Obama administration’s attempts to craft a plan that makes strategic sense. None of the White House staff has any experience in war or understands it. So far, at least, this path to war violates every principle of war, including the element of surprise, achieving mass and having a clearly defined and obtainable objective.

They are repelled by the hypocrisy of a media blitz that warns against the return of Hitlerism but privately acknowledges that the motive for risking American lives is our “responsibility to protect” the world’s innocents. Prospective U.S. action in Syria is not about threats to American security. The U.S. military’s civilian masters privately are proud that they are motivated by guilt over slaughters in Rwanda, Sudan and Kosovo and not by any systemic threat to our country.

They are outraged by the fact that what may happen is an act of war and a willingness to risk American lives to make up for a slip of the tongue about “red lines.” These acts would be for retribution and to restore the reputation of a president. Our serving professionals make the point that killing more Syrians won’t deter Iranian resolve to confront us. The Iranians have already gotten the message.

Our people lament our loneliness. Our senior soldiers take pride in their past commitments to fight alongside allies and within coalitions that shared our strategic goals. This war, however, will be ours alone.

They are tired of wannabe soldiers who remain enamored of the lure of bloodless machine warfare. “Look,” one told me, “if you want to end this decisively, send in the troops and let them defeat the Syrian army. If the nation doesn’t think Syria is worth serious commitment, then leave them alone.” But they also warn that Syria is not Libya or Serbia. Perhaps the United States has become too used to fighting third-rate armies. As the Israelis learned in 1973, the Syrians are tough and mean-spirited killers with nothing to lose.

Our military members understand and take seriously their oath to defend the constitutional authority of their civilian masters. They understand that the United States is the only liberal democracy that has never been ruled by its military. But today’s soldiers know war and resent civilian policymakers who want the military to fight a war that neither they nor their loved ones will experience firsthand.

Civilian control of the armed services doesn’t mean that civilians shouldn’t listen to those who have seen war. Our most respected soldier president, Dwight Eisenhower, possessed the gravitas and courage to say no to war eight times during his presidency. He ended the Korean War and refused to aid the French in Indochina; he said no to his former wartime friends Britain and France when they demanded U.S. participation in the capture of the Suez Canal. And he resisted liberal democrats who wanted to aid the newly formed nation of South Vietnam. We all know what happened after his successor ignored Eisenhower’s advice. My generation got to go to war.

Over the past few days, the opinions of officers confiding in me have changed to some degree. Resignation seems to be creeping into their sense of outrage. One officer told me: “To hell with them. If this guy wants this war, then let him have it. Looks like no one will get hurt anyway.”

Soon the military will salute respectfully and loose the hell of hundreds of cruise missiles in an effort that will, inevitably, kill a few of those we wish to protect. They will do it with all the professionalism and skill we expect from the world’s most proficient military. I wish Kerry would take a moment to look at the images from this week’s hearings before we go to war again.
 

sicho

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Re: Civil War in Syria
« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2013, 08:53:59 PM »
Thanks Al.
 

sicho

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Re: Civil War in Syria
« Reply #9 on: September 07, 2013, 07:59:22 AM »
The propaganda campaign ahead of the vote next week has come up with another unconfirmed story to frighten the elected representatives and their voters into submission.

A 'US spokesman' has said that Iran may attack the US Embassy in Baghdad and possibly other US Embassies if the US first attacks Syria. The allegation is meaningless talk.

Why can't the 'spokesman' be named?

A backlash from Muslim communities sympathetic to Syria would not surprise anyone.

There is no suggestion that Iran has made such a threat.
 

Offline Al

Re: Civil War in Syria
« Reply #10 on: September 07, 2013, 09:17:36 AM »
This is the actual story on the subject from the Wall Street Journal . . .


WASHINGTON—The U.S. has intercepted an order from Iran to militants in Iraq to attack the U.S. Embassy and other American interests in Baghdad in the event of a strike on Syria, officials said, amid an expanding array of reprisal threats across the region.

The U.S. has intercepted communications between Iran and Shiite militants in Iraq involving orders to the militia groups to attack the U.S. Embassy and other U.S. interests in Baghdad in the event of an American strike in Syria.

Military officials have been trying to predict the range of possible responses from Syria, Iran and their allies. U.S. officials said they are on alert for Iran's fleet of small, fast boats in the Persian Gulf, where American warships are positioned. U.S. officials also fear Hezbollah could attack the U.S. Embassy in Beirut.

While the U.S. has moved military resources in the region for a possible strike, it has other assets in the area that would be ready to respond to any reprisals by Syria, Iran or its allies.

The U.S. military has also readied Marines and other assets to aid evacuation of diplomatic compounds if needed, and the State Department began making preparations last week for potential retaliation against U.S. embassies and other interests in the Middle East and North Africa.

U.S. officials began planning for a possible strike on Syrian regime assets after the Aug. 21 attack outside Damascus in which the U.S. says Syrian government forces killed over 1,400 people using chemical weapons. The U.S. military has prepared options for an attack and beefed up its military resources in the region, including positioning four destroyers in the Eastern Mediterranean.

That process slowed last weekend when Mr. Obama said he would first seek an authorization for using military force from Congress.

A delay in a U.S. strike would increase opportunities for coordinated retaliation by groups allied with the Assad government, including Shiite militias in Iraq, according to U.S. officials.

The destroyers positioned in the Eastern Mediterranean are equipped with—in addition to Tomahawk missiles that could be used against Syria—the Standard Missile-3, which could be used to intercept ballistic missiles should Iran launch a retaliatory strike, officials said.

Israel has so far been the focus of concerns about retaliation from Iran and its Lebanese militant ally Hezbollah. The commander-in-chief of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard Corps said last week that an attack on Syria would lead to the "destruction of Israel."

The State Department issued a new alert on Thursday warning against nonessential travel to Iraq and citing terrorist activity "at levels unseen since 2008." Earlier this year, an alert said that violence against Americans had decreased. That reassurance was dropped from the most recent alert.

The Iranian message, intercepted in recent days, came from Qasem Soleimani, the head of Revolutionary Guards' Qods Force, and went to Iranian-supported Shiite militia groups in Iraq, according to U.S. officials.

In it, Mr. Soleimani said Shiite groups must be prepared to respond with force after a U.S. strike on Syria.

Iranian officials on Friday denied their government was plotting attacks in Iraq against the U.S.

Alireza Miryousefi, a spokesman for Iran's United Nations mission, said the allegation was baseless and meant to "provoke the Congress" into authorizing a strike on Syria.

"We should remember that relying on U.S. intelligence reports from anonymous officials will repeat the tragedy of Iraq," he said.

Iraqi Shiites have been sympathetic to the Alawite-dominated government of Syria and oppose U.S. strikes against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

U.S. officials said the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad was one likely target. The officials didn't describe the range of potential targets indicated by the intelligence.

Attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad have fallen since American forces left Iraq. In the past, Iranian-trained Shiite groups have fired rockets and mortars at the embassy, at the urging of the Qods Force, a paramilitary arm of the IRGC.

Militants also have used suicide bombers and IEDs to attack Americans leaving the embassy compound, one of the largest American diplomatic facilities in the world, located in Baghdad's fortified Green Zone.

Syrians could also respond with "a vicious offensive" against the opposition inside Syria, said Aaron David Miller, a former top Middle East negotiator in the State Department who now is a vice president at the Woodrow Wilson Center. Such a move, he said, would be a way "to demonstrate defiance" without running the risk of hitting American targets.

Some officials believe a direct response from the Syrian or Iranian governments is less likely than reprisals from allied militant groups, such as Hezbollah.

Hezbollah, whose members have been fighting alongside government forces against the Syrian rebellion, could be used to launch rocket attacks against U.S. military assets or American allies, including Israel.

When the U.S. went to war with Iraq in 1991, Saddam Hussein fired rockets at Israel. Officials in Mr. Assad's government have threatened to strike Israel, as well as Syria's neighbors Jordan and Turkey if they aid the U.S.

For days, American officials have said they were particularly concerned about potential attacks on Turkey and Jordan. U.S. officials haven't reinforced defenses in those countries, but both already have Patriot batteries capable of shooting down incoming missiles or fighter planes.

Jordanian officials have said they also fear they could be hit by rockets or that Syrian forces would force new waves of refugees across the shared border, overwhelming the kingdom.

Other U.S. allies also are worried about an increased threat of retaliation.

French officials said they are concerned Hezbollah could target the hundreds of French troops taking part in a U.N.-backed peacekeeping mission in southern Lebanon.

Israeli officials have made clear they would respond forcefully if, in response to U.S. strike, Hezbollah fires rockets into the country.
 

sicho

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Re: Civil War in Syria
« Reply #11 on: September 07, 2013, 10:41:59 AM »
So they say but they show no proof.

In any case, a threat of reprisals following an attack by the US does not confirm that an attack is appropriate. What the alleged intelligence is intended to do is provoke an irrational reaction amongst lawmakers and voters along the lines that the US is more powerful than Assad's resources and so it will flatten his country anyway because someone dares to promise a response.
 

Offline Al

Re: Civil War in Syria
« Reply #12 on: September 07, 2013, 11:28:28 AM »
In your opinion.
 

Offline Al

Re: Civil War in Syria
« Reply #13 on: September 07, 2013, 12:36:13 PM »
I apologize. 

I just broke my own recent, hard learned promise in that I would avoid getting pulled into argumentative, flammable discussions that are based purely on speculation, conjecture and opinion rather than fact. 

IMO it is a waste of energy in that neither side will ever convince the other and the end result is that both sides make a great deal of noise with nothing really ever achieved.
 

sicho

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Re: Civil War in Syria
« Reply #14 on: September 07, 2013, 01:59:09 PM »
Yes, in my opinion and that's based on what is proven. At present, not much of what Kerry and his supporters are saying is proven to the families of those who will risk their lives in syria if this goes ahead.

I don't know where you get the idea that this is an argumentative, flaming discussion. We can achieve a lot by exchanging views and ideas. As for 'speculation, conjecture and opinion', that seems to be coming mainly from Kerry and the like. The fact is that no facts have been presented in support of a needless and potentially disastrous attack on a sovereign nation.
 

sicho

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Re: Civil War in Syria
« Reply #15 on: September 08, 2013, 09:04:16 AM »
More non-information from Kerry today.

He claims that the countries now supporting murder by foreign powers in Syria are in 'double digits'. That is from eleven upwards. We know that Hollande is a supporter but probably not the majority os French people. Kerry, however, has not named any other supporting country.

In the link below is a list of things that the CIA 'believes'. Is a belief enough to bomb a foreign country and kill even more of its citizens than are already being killed?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-24004836
 

Offline pop401k

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Re: Civil War in Syria
« Reply #16 on: September 08, 2013, 10:48:28 AM »
I could be mistaken here, but I believe that Mr. Kerry was using Roman numerals (double digits) to indicate the coalition :  I I   (that would be US and France).   :thankyou   
 

sicho

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Re: Civil War in Syria
« Reply #17 on: September 08, 2013, 01:04:13 PM »
I could be mistaken here, but I believe that Mr. Kerry was using Roman numerals (double digits) to indicate the coalition :  I I   (that would be US and France).   :thankyou

 :lol

Or, perhaps 00.

I am expecting Cameron to creep back to the Commons with the claim that Porton Down has proof sufficient to justify and attack on civilians in Syria.

Porton Down is the UK germ and chemical warfare laboratory. A few decades ago, they invited volunteers to help them test a cure for either 'flu or the common cold. When some volunteers suffered dire resuts, it was found that they had been subjected secretly to tests on germ weapons. so, the indignation regarding chemical weapons in Syria is pure hypocrisy.

The British government licensed the sale of Sarin ingredients to Syria. More hypocrisy.

 

Offline Al

Re: Civil War in Syria
« Reply #18 on: September 09, 2013, 11:57:23 PM »
 

Offline Roger

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Re: Civil War in Syria
« Reply #19 on: September 10, 2013, 07:20:06 AM »
I saw an interview on TV with a USA pundit, who seemed, without my having to read between the lines too much, to be suggesting that USA had to bomb Syria to prove that Obama has 'balls' and that the USA was to be reckoned with around the World. What effing nonsense ! Look at Iraq with the USA's record on promoting torture and implementing brutal policing which has contributed to the continuing chaos there. The actions of the USA in Iraq have been shameful. Shameful !
How they can expect to achieve progress by bombing defies belief - the effective targets are where ?

I agree Al, there may be a glimmer of hope. Or more.
The USA should work through the evidence with Russia and at least try to tie down the facts.

Hooray - just heard on TV that the vote in Congress has been postponed and Obama has instructed efforts to find a diplomatic solution.
Glimmers of hope.
 

Offline pop401k

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Re: Civil War in Syria
« Reply #20 on: September 10, 2013, 07:51:58 AM »
Yes, every once in awhile, our elected officials do listen to their constituents.  They are to be commended in this case:  Well Done Congress!!   :salute
 

sicho

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Re: Civil War in Syria
« Reply #21 on: September 12, 2013, 07:22:02 AM »
If Putin and Assad hadn't proposed a solution that The US, UK and France might have proposed a while ago, I'm sure that bombs would have been dropped by now, whatever the wishes of Parliament, Congress and the voters.

Kerry has gone very quiet at last. Obama talks the tough talk still while being relieved to have been outsmarted by Putin and Assad.

Cameron seems to have lost the lot as well as his red box.

Hollande has spouted forth as if he has won a victory.

It's amazing how allegedly weak governments and other groups can make the apparently powerful look stupid.

It remains to be seen how quickly Assad will give up his chemical weapons. Perhaps they should be stored safely with the existing stocks in the US and Porton Down alongside napalm, agent orange and anthrax..
 

Offline Al

Re: Civil War in Syria
« Reply #22 on: September 12, 2013, 09:09:37 AM »
"Obama talks the tough talk still while being relieved to have been outsmarted by Putin and Assad."

I suspect that there will be a full court press by Obama staffers to spin this into an example of brilliant statesmanship by the president.
 

sicho

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Re: Civil War in Syria
« Reply #23 on: September 12, 2013, 09:43:25 AM »
I'm sure you're right Al but I think he's lost the game. Putin's article in the New York Times is another example of common sense while some talking heads in the US still call for an illegal US attack on Syria.

Meanwhile, CNN reports that the CIA is smuggling arms to the Islamic extremists in Syria.


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

Offline thaiga

Re: Civil War in Syria ♦ Vladimir Putin's Letter To America
« Reply #24 on: September 12, 2013, 12:12:54 PM »
Syria Crisis: Vladimir Putin's Letter To America Putin says events in Syria have forced him to speak directly to the
US


here is his opinion piece in full for the New York Times

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Vladimir Putin, Russian President, For New York Times

sky.com
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.
 

Offline pop401k

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Re: Civil War in Syria
« Reply #25 on: September 12, 2013, 02:54:01 PM »
Very professionally written piece...  Stretches my imagination in spots, but overall a pretty accurate summation of our current stituation.  I can see why he won the "match" with Obama.  I especially like his closing remarks about God...not a bad touch from a non-believer.

Here's a point I'd like to throw out to the forum...  In the US government, we have a mechanism that allows a veto (by the President)  to be over-ridden by a "super majority" of our legislature (Congress).  Now, as far as I know, there's no such tool available to the UN Security Council.  Do you think there should be?  Or, do you think one veto vote, as it now stands, should consistently block action by the council, even if a situation should change?

I'm not talking specifically about Syria, but let's say a Milosavich-type guy starts large scale ethnic cleansing, is a good buddy to the US and is consequently protected by their veto of military action from the UN.  Should there be an avenue by which the UN could act, in spite of said veto?
 

sicho

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Re: Civil War in Syria
« Reply #26 on: September 12, 2013, 03:29:06 PM »
The 'exceptional' comment seems to have ratted a few cages in the US.

Your question regarding the UN veto is a difficult one. On balance, I think that a veto is right because of the enormous implications of armed intervention in an already troubled country. One the other hand, it can hamstring the UN but the organisation seems to be rather ineffective at peacekeeping in any event.
 

Offline thaiga

Re: Civil War in Syria ♦ Reading Between The Lines Of Putin's Letter
« Reply #27 on: September 12, 2013, 08:42:32 PM »
The Russian leader's letter is not only a warning to the US President, it is designed to resonate with the American people.


Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin have not seen eye-to-eye over Syria

The Russian President has again seized the initiative with his opinion piece in the New York Times in which he speaks "directly to the American people and their political leaders".

By the latter I assume he means members of Congress and not President Barack Obama.

He makes a tightly argued, albeit debatable, case against US air strikes on Syria and pushes several buttons designed to resonate with the American people and political class:

"The potential strike by the United States against Syria ... will result in more innocent victims and escalation, potentially spreading the conflict far beyond Syria's borders."

Tim Marshall, Foreign Affairs Editor: He then says the pre-Second World War version of the UN became irrelevant and collapsed, hinting that unless everything Syria related goes through the UN, it will suffer the same fate.

This is a riposte to the White House view that unless the UN signs up to action against Syria, it too will become irrelevant:

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

Tim Marshall, Foreign Affairs Editor: There follows a long section listing the dangers of a military intervention:

"The potential strike by the United States against Syria, despite strong opposition from many countries and major political and religious leaders, including the Pope, will result in more innocent victims and escalation, potentially spreading the conflict far beyond Syria's borders.

"A strike would increase violence and unleash a new wave of terrorism. It could undermine multilateral efforts to resolve the Iranian nuclear problem and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and further destabilise the Middle East and North Africa. It could throw the entire system of international law and order out of balance."

Tim Marshall, Foreign Affairs Editor: There are references to the al Qaeda-inspired groups operating in Syria made up of thousands of foreign fighters, and then a sentence which will sit uncomfortably with many Americans:

"Millions around the world increasingly see America not as a model of democracy but as relying solely on brute force, cobbling coalitions together under the slogan 'you're either with us or against us'."

Tim Marshall, Foreign Affairs Editor: He backs that up with references to three countries in the following paragraph - Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq - saying that intervention there has made things worse:

"But force has proved ineffective and pointless."

Tim Marshall, Foreign Affairs Editor: There is a hint that if the USA restrains itself in Syria, then Russia might cooperate elsewhere:

"If we can avoid force against Syria, this will improve the atmosphere in international affairs and strengthen mutual trust. It will be our shared success and open the door to cooperation on other critical issues. My working and personal relationship with President Obama is marked by growing trust."

Tim Marshall, Foreign Affairs Editor: That might come as a surprise anyone who has seen the body language between the two men recently.

Finally, he takes on the argument made by President Obama about American "exceptionalism" - the idea that the US is the indispensable nation or, in layman's terms, the world's policeman:

"I would rather disagree with a case he made on American exceptionalism, stating that the United States' policy is 'what makes America different. It's what makes us exceptional'. It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation."

Tim Marshall, Foreign Affairs Editor: The article ends by telling us that Vladimir V. Putin is the president of Russia. The V? It stands for Vladimirovich.

sky.com
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.
 

Offline Al

Re: Civil War in Syria
« Reply #28 on: September 12, 2013, 09:41:55 PM »
Given his problem with exceptional people, I suggest that Mr. Putin would not be happy living in Lake Wobegon.
 

Offline Al

Re: Civil War in Syria
« Reply #29 on: September 12, 2013, 11:41:55 PM »
Andrew Sullivan's always interesting perspective here - http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/2013/09/12/vladimir-meet-niccolo-machiavelli/
 

 



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