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Chemical weapon attack in Syria

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sivispacem
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#541

Posted 09 September 2013 - 07:24 AM

Please excuse the brevity and incompleteness of my response, I'm pressed for time

But then again all EU members are more or less US allies, so a EU study on the division of power in the world has a quite clear agenda. And sadly enough most strategic theorists have an agenda too. Schools are "institutions responsible for the indoctrination of the young". This is not a conspiracy theory. This is exactly how it was put by the Trilateral Commission http://en.wikipedia....eral_Commission. And you especially see this in the humanities, because that is where thinking freely is most dangerous to power. Intellectuals are selected on their ability to support state power. So yes, I agree that your opinion is probably more in line with what most strategic theorists proclaim. That doesn't mean that it is in any way objective and free of any agenda though.

Everyone has an agenda. Impartiality is effectively mythological when it comes to discussion of political and strategic reality. I find your points interesting, though I personally question their accuracy as there's been a long history, particularly in recent times, of the weight of expert opinion on matters of strategic theory being completely ignored by the political sphere. This has been particularly prevalent when it comes to lower-mid level analysis rather than the grand strategic aims of conflicts. The most obvious example of this being in Iraq, of course, where the weight of academic opinion sat entirely in contradiction to the way the US in particular chose to fight.
 

I totally agree with the first alinea. And it's good that you've started to imagine a sort of list in your head of times when other countries have used illegal force. Let's consider the period from the 80's up until today. Now I ask you to compare the illegal instances of force of all other countries in the world combined to not only the times when the United States have used illegitemate force themselves, which has countless examples in the Middle East in the chosen time period, but also the largely unreported instances where they supported terror. A good example for their long lasting terror throughout South America is their support of the Contra's in Nicaragua which resulted in the United States being condemned for international terrorism by the International Court of Justice. After that U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Jeane Kikpatrick dismissed the Court as a "semi-legal, semi-juridical, semi-political body, which nations sometimes accept and sometimes don't".The fact that the United States along with Israel are the only two nations that openly dismiss the International Court of Justice further illustrates my point of them being the 1# world power. Another important instance of US terror was their support for Suharto who was responsible for 200.000 deaths in East Timor.

If we take the example of the 1980s, then you see the Soviet Union and her various satellites equally as active as the US in terms of directly influencing internal conflicts. I personally think it is somewhat disingenuous to utilise a example time period in which strategic reality has altered so significantly because it doesn't really say an awful lot. Between 1980 and 1990 most of the aligned world was involved provoking, promoting and otherwise participating in proxy conflict so the US was atypical in this aside from perhaps a greater level of participation due largely to providing expertise pretty much anywhere allies were involved in such actions. From 1990 onwards I would argue you've seen the US not greatly more mobilised in military activity than most other powers, especially given the proxy involvement in pretty much any conflict involving a NATO member state or there interests thereof.
 

I also like to point out that considering the fact that I live in a country that is an allie to the United States, US crimes are more relevant than others to me. I think it's far more relevant to be critical of our own crimes compared to those committed by others.

Which is fair and totally reasonable- lead by example.
 

It's an instance of 1+1=2. You stated you were not opposed to unilateral action, and you stated that an invasion of Syria would be beneficial. These two statements combined makes you a supporter of a unilateral US invasion of Syria, even if it wasn't put that way explicitly.

I'm not opposed to unilateral action on principle, because I don't think that international agreement is necessarily a prerequisite for nations to act in their own interests. Then again I'm not a "supporter" or "opposed" to any aspect of strategic activity because I see the international community as inherently without morality save from what is derived from self-interest. I also never stated that an invasion of Syria would be beneficial. I said that a military response wasn't necessarily harmful to US interests, but that neither implies benefit nor an invasion.

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#542

Posted 09 September 2013 - 07:31 AM

 

Just when I thought US government official's statements couldn't disgust me more - this tosser comes around, and takes it to a whole new level. 

 

 

 


“Now do we have irrefutable, beyond reasonable doubt evidence? This is not a court of law, and intelligence does not work that way,” McDonough said, adding common sense says "he is responsible for this. He should be held accountable.”

 

 

 

Oh, he should be held accountable? Does he mean like Bush, Chaney, Rice, Powell and the others. What happened to them, I wonder, after the whole Iraq fiasco.


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#543

Posted 09 September 2013 - 12:02 PM

It's just surreal the lies these politicians are saying and nobody believes them, yet they keep it up for so long.


sivispacem
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#544

Posted 09 September 2013 - 12:50 PM Edited by sivispacem, 09 September 2013 - 01:02 PM.

To some degree you could argue that he's still accountable for the deaths even if he didn't launch the attack and it was done by some rogue element of the army (unless someone can show me evidence of any of the rebel factions possessing weapons capable of deploying sarin on a large scale I don't think arguing they could have done it is particularly realistic-ditto the idea it was conducted by a foreign power which borders on stupidity but I digress)for having an illegal chemical weapons programme in the first place. Unless someone wants to argue the attack never took place?

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#545

Posted 09 September 2013 - 01:16 PM Edited by Raavi, 09 September 2013 - 01:18 PM.

To some degree you could argue that he's still accountable for the deaths even if he didn't launch the attack and it was done by some rogue element of the army (unless someone can show me evidence of any of the rebel factions possessing weapons capable of deploying sarin on a large scale I don't think arguing they could have done it is particularly realistic-ditto the idea it was conducted by a foreign power which borders on stupidity but I digress) he is still entirely culpable for having an illegal chemical weapons programme in the first place. Unless someone wants to argue the attack never took place?

 

Following that logic Bush, as commander in chief and the then general should be held accountable for what happened in Iraq. Whilst he didn't directly order the horrors, they happened under his watch. Thus he is responsible. 

 

http://www.theguardi...-not-assad-bild

 

Bombing Assad, when it was a rogue element that executed the attack is idiotic.

 

 

 

(unless someone can show me evidence of any of the rebel factions possessing weapons capable of deploying sarin on a large scale I don't think arguing they could have done it is particularly realistic

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The rebels HAVE chemical weaponry. It isn't too much of a stretch to to think that they have the weaponry to use them. That's not to say I buy that theory. To the contrary, I think rogue elements are responsible.

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#546

Posted 09 September 2013 - 01:45 PM

How long will this go on for? If US strikes, do you think it'll be this week?

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#547

Posted 09 September 2013 - 01:49 PM

If he wants to mobilize a ground attack, this will take preparation. So no attack may happen for a short duration, weeks possibly even months.

 

Unless he finally removes the plan of action. Which I hear some top politicians are saying that Obama could possibly be impeached over all this. Whether this is factual or not, I don't know. Let's hope so though.


sivispacem
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#548

Posted 09 September 2013 - 02:46 PM Edited by sivispacem, 09 September 2013 - 02:50 PM.

Raavi, the new format makes quoting and responding to your comments difficult, but allow me to respond to the points individually.

1) I'm not sure what you are referring to by "Iraq" but I presume the conflict in general. If so then I absolutely agree that Bush, as commander-in-chief, does have a degree of responsibility and culpability for alleged war crimes that have occurred in Iraq. The difference is in this case atrocities have been caused directly by Assad's flagrant violation of international law in relation to the development of chemical weapons despite being a signatory to the Geneva Protocol. If you can find a comparable example in relation to Iraq then please explain.

2) I've already explained that the claims that because the rebels are reported to have some access to chemical weapons there is a probability they are responsible simply does not hold water when you examine the actual capability requirements for conducting an attack of this nature across a larger physical area and with such high casualties. I fully accept that the rebels may have chemical munitions but that's largely immaterial in the context of the discussion because those weapons they have been alleged to have access to are not capable of causing such an attack unless utilised in such large amounts as to render all realistic possibility non-existent. If you can demonstrate that the rebels have access to the requisite theatre-level ballistic missiles and air-dropped munitions and associated combat aircraft required to conduct an attack of this scale then I will happily rescind my point but I fear you may struggle to do so as there is no evidence they possess such capability according to every single estimate I've seen from every third party that I know have spoken on the issue.

I don't believe that you or anyone else can deny that, given known capability, the most likely culprit of the attack is the Syria military. The rogue element theory needs at least a reasonable modicum of evidence to support it; until such evidence is shown to exist I will continue to maintain that by far the most rational conclusion is that the Syrian government are directly responsible.

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#549

Posted 09 September 2013 - 02:57 PM Edited by Majestic81, 09 September 2013 - 02:58 PM.

 

Interviewer is an asshole.


sivispacem
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#550

Posted 09 September 2013 - 03:47 PM

You say that like the interviewee isn't
He's basically a carbon-copy genocidal despot, no better than Saddam Hussein.

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#551

Posted 09 September 2013 - 03:48 PM

If he wants to mobilize a ground attack, this will take preparation. So no attack may happen for a short duration, weeks possibly even months.
 
Unless he finally removes the plan of action. Which I hear some top politicians are saying that Obama could possibly be impeached over all this. Whether this is factual or not, I don't know. Let's hope so though.


Weeks/months? Wouldn't that give Assad time to flee/prepare to attack back?

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#552

Posted 09 September 2013 - 03:53 PM

How long will this go on for? If US strikes, do you think it'll be this week?

There won't be an attack. Obama doesn't have the force of character to go to war alone, especially now the French are bleating on about going to the UN again.


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#553

Posted 09 September 2013 - 04:00 PM

What sort of deployment is actually required? I've read about some of the more heinous attacks in WWII and some of these amounted to nothing more than spilling barrels of chlorine to kill anything downwind for miles.

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#554

Posted 09 September 2013 - 04:09 PM

You say that like the interviewee isn't
He's basically a carbon-copy genocidal despot, no better than Saddam Hussein.

Still he makes more sense than most of the other world leaders.


sivispacem
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#555

Posted 09 September 2013 - 04:13 PM

What sort of deployment is actually required? I've read about some of the more heinous attacks in WWII and some of these amounted to nothing more than spilling barrels of chlorine to kill anything downwind for miles.


The benchmark for attacks of this nature is probably Halabja. Same chemical compound used in a similar way against an urban target. There are several smaller and less well known similar attacks conducted by Iraq against Kurds inside its borders between 1986 and 1991. Every one of these, including two with extremely similar circumstances and casualty figures, has been a combined air force and army operation using rocket or conventional heavy artillery in conjuction with a majority combat aircraft deployment and in at least one case a Scud missile variant.
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#556

Posted 09 September 2013 - 04:22 PM

You say that like the interviewee isn't
He's basically a carbon-copy genocidal despot, no better than Saddam Hussein.

Still he makes more sense than most of the other world leaders.

I'll refrain from scoffing at 'world leader' if you can explain how you can quantify this.

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#557

Posted 09 September 2013 - 04:43 PM

As an aside, it's worth mentioning that chemical weapons can't just be left lying around in storage until they're needed. They have relatively short shelf lives and their precursors and assembled warheads need to be stored under quite particular conditions in order to guarantee their property functioning. That's one of major reasons why they were abandoned in favour of development of more nuclear weapons capability during the 1950s and 1960s.

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#558

Posted 09 September 2013 - 05:12 PM Edited by Rown, 09 September 2013 - 05:15 PM.

I have adjusted my stance slightly for those who care. While I still believe force is justified in response to the usage of chemical weapons (or other WMDs) on a largely civilian population, the arguable ambiguity of the group that committed the attack opens another avenue. 

If the UN's tests show sarin was used, couldn't a case be made that, whether it was Assad, a rogue general, or the rebels, Assad has lost control of Syria's chemical weapons? Couldn't you then request a Syrian chemical disarmament as an alternative to bombing the sh*t out of them?

 

This effort could be coupled with humanitarian relief and a renewed attempt to create a dialogue between Assad and the rebels.

 

Rown :rampage:


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#559

Posted 09 September 2013 - 05:59 PM

Syria to turn over chemical weapons? http://www.cnn.com/2...riaproposal145p

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#560

Posted 09 September 2013 - 06:20 PM Edited by Majestic81, 09 September 2013 - 06:21 PM.

Russia's been urging them to destroy their chemical weapons, hopefully Syria will agree. theres a strong chance that they'll do. since Russia is in it.


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#561

Posted 09 September 2013 - 08:29 PM

I have adjusted my stance slightly for those who care. While I still believe force is justified in response to the usage of chemical weapons (or other WMDs) on a largely civilian population, the arguable ambiguity of the group that committed the attack opens another avenue. 

If the UN's tests show sarin was used, couldn't a case be made that, whether it was Assad, a rogue general, or the rebels, Assad has lost control of Syria's chemical weapons? Couldn't you then request a Syrian chemical disarmament as an alternative to bombing the sh*t out of them?

 

This effort could be coupled with humanitarian relief and a renewed attempt to create a dialogue between Assad and the rebels.

 

Rown :rampage:

The problem with this is that the West, the Syrian National Council and the Free Syrian Army have all essentially stated that any future for post-war Syria must not include Assad. There is currently no option of peace talks while he remains part of the political scene or insists on a place in political life during peace time. Furthermore the Geneva convention could be read as a 'request' not to manufacture and use chemical weapons however it was not heeded. A request for chemical disarmament would be ignored and would lead us right back to the situation we are in now, i.e: the decision to use force to ensure that rules regarding illegal weapons are followed. 


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#562

Posted 09 September 2013 - 08:52 PM

Syria to turn over chemical weapons? http://www.cnn.com/2...riaproposal145p

Poor old Kerry and McCain might not get to kill them some Syrians. Breaks my heart.


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#563

Posted 09 September 2013 - 09:11 PM

Syria to turn over chemical weapons? http://www.cnn.com/2...riaproposal145p

Poor old Kerry and McCain might not get to kill them some Syrians. Breaks my heart.

This is actually an option that will satisfy everyone. Everyone who pushed for war are going to claim that it's their actions that pressured Syria into turning the chemicals over. These who pushed against war will claim peaceful resolution was found as they said. Assad gets US off his back and also claims it as his achievement. Russia claims that it was their initiative. Everyone's happy.
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#564

Posted 09 September 2013 - 09:47 PM

Syria to turn over chemical weapons? http://www.cnn.com/2...riaproposal145p

Poor old Kerry and McCain might not get to kill them some Syrians. Breaks my heart.

This is actually an option that will satisfy everyone. Everyone who pushed for war are going to claim that it's their actions that pressured Syria into turning the chemicals over. These who pushed against war will claim peaceful resolution was found as they said. Assad gets US off his back and also claims it as his achievement. Russia claims that it was their initiative. Everyone's happy.

If it turns out to be workable and is properly overseen by impartial observers, then I wholeheartedly support this as a solution to the issue of chemical weapon use. The proof will be in the openness of the Syrian regime in permitting the international community to castrate their WMD capability. Remember, only a handful of nations with active NBC weapon programmes have voluntarily foresaken them- the only one I can think of off the top of my head being South Africa
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#565

Posted 09 September 2013 - 10:19 PM

 

 

Syria to turn over chemical weapons? http://www.cnn.com/2...riaproposal145p

Poor old Kerry and McCain might not get to kill them some Syrians. Breaks my heart.

 

This is actually an option that will satisfy everyone. Everyone who pushed for war are going to claim that it's their actions that pressured Syria into turning the chemicals over. These who pushed against war will claim peaceful resolution was found as they said. Assad gets US off his back and also claims it as his achievement. Russia claims that it was their initiative. Everyone's happy.

 

 

Very interesting points mate, and very true too.

The only thing is that over 100,000 people were killed in the war (mostly by pro-Assad forces) without the use of any "WMDs" (infact the real WMDs in this war seem to be conventional firearms and explosives). So your average Syrian civilian most certainly wont be happy.

 

Also, it wont really serve in the West's best interests to have the status quo - this is not just a matter of the chemical weapons, as Western leaders were against Assad way before their mention. The West also cannot really trust arming the rebels - many are inherently anti-West Islamists (Al-Nusra Front), and the pro-West Islamist factions would get attacked by anti-West Islamist factions once they discover the former is being armed by the West (as has already happened).

 

Please do correct me if I am wrong, and I really hope I am, but how will this exactly work to the interests of the Syrian people or the West in the long-run - especially if Assad wins this war?

 

TC


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#566

Posted 10 September 2013 - 08:47 AM

 

 

Syria to turn over chemical weapons? http://www.cnn.com/2...riaproposal145p

Poor old Kerry and McCain might not get to kill them some Syrians. Breaks my heart.

 

This is actually an option that will satisfy everyone. Everyone who pushed for war are going to claim that it's their actions that pressured Syria into turning the chemicals over. These who pushed against war will claim peaceful resolution was found as they said. Assad gets US off his back and also claims it as his achievement. Russia claims that it was their initiative. Everyone's happy.

 

Everyone's happy. Besides the US. Didn't you hear Kerry say how "it can't be done"? They want the war. Russia and Syria are ready to settle this like adults and your village idiot goes around yelling "IT'S IMPOSSIBRU".


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#567

Posted 10 September 2013 - 09:24 AM

Russia and Syria are ready to settle this like adults

You are seriously missing the big picture. This whole outcome is the very reason the chemical weapons were used in the first place. It leaves US with egg on their face and gives Russia and Iran ability to do whatever they want in Syria. Pretty much anything they do there now, neither US, EU, nor UN are going to be able to do sh*t about. Assad is going to be strengthened with support from Russia and Iran. Rebels will get exterminated with who knows how many civilians, and the regime is going to stay.

Not that the rebels are any better by this point. This is a serious mess and there is no good resolution now. There were some better options in the past, but politicians though short-term as usual. Rebels should have been supported while it was really a people's rebellion and not a civil war backed by fundamentalists and terrorists. But given the situation, proper response to use of chemical weapons in Syria would have been a strike at select targets in Iran. Given how much support Syrian gov't derives from Iran, a strike at, say, nuclear targets in Iran would have provided a perfect deterrent for the future without upsetting the balance of powers within Syria. Of course, now even that option is off the table.

On that note, I'd really like to know who's been doing Kremlin's strategy the past couple of years. Whoever they are, they've shown ability to come up with extremely creative political moves with no regard to human life. If nobody starts playing against them on the same level, things can get really interesting and not in the good way.

how will this exactly work to the interests of the Syrian people

It won't. Syrian people are totally screwed. In the long term, their best option is a quick end to civil war, returning to Assad's regime, and waiting for things to stabilize. There will be options then. Given how things turned out for Egypt with similar groups backing the rebels, allowing rebels to win is the worse option, and letting the civil war drag on does nobody there any good.
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#568

Posted 10 September 2013 - 09:31 AM Edited by GTAvanja, 10 September 2013 - 09:34 AM.

I was talking about how this whole situation looks like in the eyes of the public. If the US insists on going to war while peaceful solutions are being discussed, it won't score you any points regardless of what's going on behind the scenes. Aren't Americans weary of wars? Can you even afford another one?

 

And why did the US wait until now to do something? As the world's only super power you're sending the message to the entire world that killing thousands of civillians is OK as long as they're not being killed with chemical weapons. You f*cked this one up.


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#569

Posted 10 September 2013 - 09:46 AM

Aren't Americans weary of wars? Can you even afford another one?

Easy. There are a lot of missiles with expiration dates coming up. Putting troops on the ground is another matter, though. That one the public probably won't go for. But there is a lot that can be done with the drones.

And yes, US politicians did screw this one up. Striking right now would look bad. Really bad. It had to be done immediately on President's orders. And like I said, the strikes would have to be at targets in Iran, not Syria.
 

And why did the US wait until now to do something? As the world's only super power you're sending the message to the entire world that killing thousands of civillians is OK as long as they're not being killed with chemical weapons. You f*cked this one up.

Why is US responsible for people being killed by their government in Syria? UN f*cked up. US is notorious for sticking into these kinds of conflicts when it's not their business, yeah. And everyone else tells them to stay out. They stay out this time and you blame them for it?

And the response to use of chemical weapons should be a different one. Yes, a bunch of people were getting slaughtered anyhow. But it's a matter of principle. Chemical weapons can be used to wipe out way more people. Assad might not, but if the world community does not show a zero tolerance attitude towards chemical weapons use this can lead to a disaster later on. See WWI for good examples of how these things turn out. And our ability to manufacture, deliver, and spread chemical weapons has gone up dramatically.
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#570

Posted 10 September 2013 - 10:26 AM

Why is US responsible for people being killed by their government in Syria? UN f*cked up. US is notorious for sticking into these kinds of conflicts when it's not their business, yeah. And everyone else tells them to stay out. They stay out this time and you blame them for it?

You're right. But the last time I checked, you were one of the 5 permanent members of the Security Council. If the US is willing to wage wars on account of civillians being killed, the use of chemical weapons should not be the excuse. You should have called for UN to intervene before things escalated. You should have insisted on it then. The Security Council should have done something a year ago. You'd have a lot more room to manouver instead of relying on the use of chemical weapons as the only excuse to intervene. Not to mention all the lives that could have been saved if the reaction came on time.





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