Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: This time it's Syria

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  • Stephen R,

    And is anyone taking bets on whether the US kills more civilians with its "intervention" than were killed in the gas attack?

    Wellington • Since Jul 2009 • 259 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg, in reply to Stephen R,

    I haven’t seen any evidence beyond the victims being on the rebel side.

    Colin Powell has some vials of white powder he'd like to discuss with you.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • bob daktari,

    according to this report its the rebels

    http://www.aina.org/news/20130826131925.htm#.Uh07zqxCYrc.twitter

    in short its a complicated relationship that bombs will not undo

    auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 540 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Somewhere in the commentary about the Australian election I heard that Australia is about to join the Security Council, which probably means their rep will get their instructions from Abbott.
    (Which will also mean no welcoming of refugees)

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3226 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Raymond A Francis,

    Like support for people to make their own decisions, support the over throw of despots etc

    It’ll all be for nothing if a dick gets booted out, only for an arsehole to take his place. Especially if Egypt and Libya are anything to go by.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to bob daktari,

    according to this report its the rebels

    That report's based on a Washington Times report from May -- it's both dated and from a very ropey source.

    But that hasn't stopped it being taken up by the conspiracy sites. Ditto this insane Daily Mail story, which claimed proof that the US was setting up a false-flag chemical weapons attack to provide a pretext for invading Syria.

    Actually, the emails were faked and the Mail paid out a tidy settlement to the people it defamed in the story. If someone directs you to this story, feel free to set them right.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • bob daktari, in reply to Russell Brown,

    ahh cheers... feel free to delete that post so as not to add to anyones confusion

    latest fisk is interesting reading

    auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 540 posts Report Reply

  • Phil Lyth, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    Somewhere in the commentary about the Australian election I heard that Australia is about to join the Security Council, which probably means their rep will get their instructions from Abbott. (Which will also mean no welcoming of refugees)

    Australia is currently a Security Council member for a two-year term. What happens on 1 September is that it becomes President of the Security Council for a month. Which would explain why Obama was recently reported as being on the phone to Rudd.

    And which raises the interesting question of what would the NZ Government be doing? After all we are close to the end of a decade-long campaign for another term on the Security Council, for the Jan 2015 - Dec 2016 term.

    If NZ succeeds (and the term starts after our next election), what would our Government be doing if faced with a similar crisis?

    Wellington • Since Apr 2009 • 458 posts Report Reply

  • Alec Morgan,

    US imperialism’s firepower is rarely a positive response to anything. The yanks have exacerbated many of the problems that persist in the mid East with their continued backing of Israel.

    Syria seems awful from this distance as did the Balkans in the 90s. Barely comprehendable from a relatively cosy kiwi perspective. But there were serious shooting wars here too in Aotearoa, and in the land of the free USA. So you have to dig deeper as to what is really going on.

    Tokerau Beach • Since Nov 2006 • 124 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Finlay Macdonald,

    Why are you so keen to believe the usual suspects’ affirmations?

    Personally I find the use of chemical weapons abhorent and in this case very confusing.

    Assad was probably going to "win" if the UN or US did not intervene, which they seemed disinclined to do. So he had a lot to lose by using chemical weapons. But if he didn't use them why did he prevent the UN inspectors from exonerating him? Was it a rogue element in his army?

    But it makes equally little sense for the rebels to use chemical weapons on their own people. And nobody is convinced the rebels even had the capability to use chemical weapons in the first place. Of course given that there are multiple rebel factions one could suppose one faction used the weapons on another faction, but that is a a bizarre theory as well.

    None of this makes much sense.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • Graham Dunster,

    Auckland • Since Nov 2009 • 184 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen R, in reply to Graham Dunster,

    Nothing in the stratfor report is terribly surprising, but they do lay it out in depressing clarity just how bad the situation is.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2009 • 259 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    makes equally little sense for the rebels to use chemical weapons on their own people.

    Why do people keep talking about "the" rebels, when there are multiple factions of rebels. There are enough competing factions, plus enough long-standing feuds within Syria, for one faction to decide that gassing their enemies-who-are-also-rebels is well worth the effort.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1233 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Stephen R,

    Attachment

    depressing clarity

    Crusader castle in Syria

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Stephen R,

    Attachment

    depressing clarity

    Roman ruins in Syria

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Stephen R,

    Attachment

    depressing clarity

    The bazaar in Damascus. Full of happy shoppers and a few tourists.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Moz,

    There are enough competing factions, plus enough long-standing feuds within Syria, for one faction to decide that gassing their enemies-who-are-also-rebels is well worth the effort.

    I did just say that

    Of course given that there are multiple rebel factions one could suppose one faction used the weapons on another faction, but that is a a bizarre theory as well.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • Alex Coleman, in reply to Graham Dunster,

    Al Assad is a ruthless man: He would not hesitate to use chemical weapons if he had to. He is also a very rational man: He would use chemical weapons only if that were his sole option. At the moment, it is difficult to see what desperate situation would have caused him to use chemical weapons and risk the worst. His opponents are equally ruthless, and we can imagine them using chemical weapons to force the United States to intervene and depose al Assad. But their ability to access chemical weapons is unclear, and if found out, the maneuver could cost them all Western support. It is possible that lower-ranking officers in al Assad's military used chemical weapons without his knowledge and perhaps against his wishes.

    Another possibility is that Assad believes (or believed) that the international community has no appetite for intervening in a way that will cost him the war. Using chems could have been about sending that signal to the rebels. 'I can do what I want, no one will win this war for you'.

    But there does seem to be no way of being sure of who did it. I guess all that matters now is that Assad is being blamed for it, and the US is going to react in some way, probably soon. Because they told him not to do it, and it happened on his watch, so US credibility is on the line.

    The main questions I have are based around what exactly the response is intended to achieve, how is Assad likely to react?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 247 posts Report Reply

  • Bevan Shortridge,

    no one will expect New Zealand to do anything in the foreseeable future

    Just wondering. Is New Zealand still vying for a seat on the UN Security Council in the next while? I thought that was being discussed a few months ago? In which case staying out of things might be politic.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 122 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to Alex Coleman,

    Bart:

    I did just say that

    (for some reason that's coming up as Alex)

    Yes, but you proceeded to write it off as so obviously preposterous that it wasn't worth discussing. I don't agree. Hezbollah vs Fatah in Palestine, for example, has led to a great number of fatalities. The suggest that just over the border in Syria those two factions are happy comrades in arms seems odd. Add in the other factions and the idea that they are all focussed on evicting Assad and are waiting until after that to begin the war of succession just seems unlikely.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1233 posts Report Reply

  • Luke Williamson,

    Any military action from "the West" is almost certain to kill someone in Syria which will basically add up to state-sponsored execution again, a la Osama bin Laden. The USA (and tag along UK) don't seem to think that evidence and presumption of innocence apply to anyone outside of said "West". How easy would it be to establish the details around this situation and then bring someone to trial for the deaths? Virtually impossible I would have to guess but does that make it OK to pick someone/something and blow it up so that we can show our disgust at these people being gassed?

    Warkworth • Since Oct 2007 • 297 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Simon Grigg,

    The Snort Atlantic Treats Organisation

    Colin Powell has some vials of white powder he’d like to discuss with you.

    That'd be down to the joys of using the same toilet as George W. Bush, and other little white li(n)es

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Hegemony Funds...

    Crusader castle in Syria
    Roman ruins in Syria

    US ruins Syria...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • Alex Coleman,

    A few military type heavy hitters going on the record in this WaPo piece about the risks of escalation:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/imminent-us-strike-on-syria-could-draw-nation-into-civil-war/2013/08/27/d780e0f6-0f59-11e3-bdf6-e4fc677d94a1_story.html

    Whether or not that's intended as a warning to the President or a signal from him, is a 'known unknown' I guess.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 247 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Moz,

    write it off as so obviously preposterous

    I'm sorry if you thought my intent was to write it off. Personally I think all the explanations are preposterous. Nothing makes sense. I'm not saying it isn't possible, it's as possible as all the other equally bizarre scenarios.

    That I think that will be the conclusion that history make of this as well
    ... a senseless act precipitated ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

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