Syria

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Unless you have been living under a rock you have probably noticed quite a lot of talk about Syria recently, I thought it was about time we had a thread to discuss the latest parts of the saga, mainly the alleged chemical weapons attack and how countries have been responding to it.

Here is what we know;

  • Syria has been in a state of civil war for some time now and the rebels are loosing.
  • The UN has weapons inspectors in the country investigating alleged past attacks with chemical weapons.
  • While his country was full of UN chemical weapons experts, Assad has supposedly launched a new chemical weapon attack alleged to be sarin gas.
  • Footage has been released by the rebels to support this but has some inconsistencies leading to questions of it’s authenticity. [quote below]
  • The UN inspectors have been fired on by unknown gunmen, and unless these attacks cause delay are scheduled to finish their investigation by Friday
  • Already the US vice president has decided that there is “no doubt” Assad has used chemical weapons as claimed by the rebels
  • David Cameron is trying to rally the UK into direct action but opinion polls of public and MP’s suggest this is not wanted
  • The UN will wait for the weapon inspector’s report before making decisions.
  • NATO has rejected the idea of inaction
  • Russia, Syrian allies, have opposed direct western intervention
  • China, Syrian supporters, have said the west is rushing to conclusions before the facts are availiable
  • Meanwhile oil has skyrocketed in price

Experts have expressed several reservations about what exactly the video footage shows and which weapons could have been used. “At the moment, I am not totally convinced because the people that are helping them are without any protective clothing and without any respirators,” said Paula Vanninen, director of Verifin, the Finnish Institute for Verification of the Chemical Weapons Convention. “In a real case, they would also be contaminated and would also be having symptoms.”
Dr Zanders had doubts about claims that a nerve agent was used. “I have not seen anybody applying nerve agent antidotes,” he wrote in a blog post. “Nor do medical staff and other people appear to suffer from secondary exposure while carrying or treating victims.”
Meanwhile Prof Kekule said the symptoms did not fit with typical chemical weapons use as the victims did not appear to be suffering pain or irritation to their eyes, nose and mouth. “Some or perhaps all patients are briefly decontaminated with water or water and detergent in the video. The water is spilled over the chest, but (at least in the video) not over the face and eyes.” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-23788674

Long opener I know but just wanted to lay the story so far out for anyone who hasn’t been following developments

Personally I would go with the UN recommendation to atleast wait for the weapon inspectors report before taking any action. Assad may well of used chemical weapons, or the rebels may of faked footage or even sacrificed their own to drawn international support. We simply do not know, and acting without proof is very reminiscent of a hunt for WMD’s a decade ago that is still going on.

Should we even be supporting the rebels? Looking at the countries we have helped in the past to overthrow their governments, I am not sure that the rebels taking control is really an improvement for the people. Also worth remembering that these rebels are the same people who’s leader cut out a Syrian soldier’s heart and ate it, on camera, we are supporting these people?

Just wondering what other people think and if anyone else has anything to add. I have emailed my MP to have my say as there is a vote in the UK tomorrow on taking action, so now all that is left is to wait and see what happens.
And of course moan/argue about it on the internet

 
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I don’t think I know enough about how the UN works, but I’ve always wondered why in conflicts the powers at be have to choose sides. It screams of corruption. If the problem is that this conflict is killing civilians and shit, why not bust in the door and start a classic Mexican standoff? If you’re the victim, there shouldn’t be any issues with a ceasefire, and if you decide to enact violence while there’s a cease-fire, it shouldn’t matter what side you’re on and the UN should come down hard on it. Anything else is, in my opinion, mafia-esque.

I really used to be a lot more aware of world issues and the practical realities behind them, but I’ve become so disenfranchised with media and the difficulty in cutting through the fat that I just don’t really have the authority to share a succinct overview like I once did.

 
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Yes we should be supporting rebels because they will overthrow Assad saving lives. We support them because the USA can not simply walk in to Syria and start fighting. It is all in the political agreements e.g you stay out of here and we will stay out of here etc. If you disagree please let me know why CLEARLY.

 
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why not bust in the door and start a classic Mexican standoff?
Like I said politics man.

 
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I think after Iraq (as you mentioned), regardless of how legit the intel looks, Americans are going to be gunshy about invading a Middle Eastern nation to dispose of a despot.

I also think going through the UN will be tricky because Russia and probably China aren’t going to agree with what the rest of the security council will want. Gathering a sizable international coalition is the only way I think Americans are going to be happy with any significant military force from America.

As for supporting the rebels, who’s to say that getting rid of Assad will make things better for the United States. Egypt is a complete mess post Mubarak. There’s reasonable concern that Syria will collapse into complete disarray too. There are no good answers, and there may not even be any right answers.

 
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Originally posted by issendorf:

I think after Iraq (as you mentioned), regardless of how legit the intel looks, Americans are going to be gunshy about invading a Middle Eastern nation to dispose of a despot.

Well, the US govt has been making noises about not wanting to wait for a UN resolution. Its been all over the local news at least, that our military is quite ready to send the missiles in tomorrow. Once the missiles go in, troops won’t be far behind. The British are leery of being dragged into that, and the public is dead-set against that according to polls.

But at that point, once we start striking back, it doesn’t really matter what the people want, does it? We’re already committed to a third middle-eastern war.

Doesn’t help that our ‘allies’ Israel, the eternal pain-in-the-butt child-state are already gleefully preparing for a full invasion.

 
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The British are leery of being dragged into that, and the public is dead-set against that according to polls.

I’m not sure what the polls say, but everyone I’ve spoken to here about that is leery as well. There are some people who are concerned about the well being of Jordan which is being flooded with Syrian refugees and instability in Jordan would be pretty bad for the US.

Doesn’t help that our ‘allies’ Israel, the eternal pain-in-the-butt child-state are already gleefully preparing for a full invasion.

At least someone is happy…

 
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This is simply a copy of part of my reply to the Cairo massacre thread. My views have not changed at all in the last ten days.

For my part, any intervention would absolutely require a UN sanction, as happened in the first war against Iraq. The world was pretty united on that one. Yeah, I know it’s a talking shop full of second raters, but if we don’t allow it to carry out the functions for which it was created, it will never amount to anything. So in my book, any unilateral action for or against a government, however despicable, is going to create more problems than it solves.

In Syria there are something like thirty different factions fighting for as many different causes. Alliances are created and broken constantly, so how do you even begin to decide who to support, and why? And they’re Russia’s ally anyway, so if anyone should intervene, it ought to be them.

The situation in Syria is very complex, much of it based on historic rivalries, especially religious ones. It would take a better and wiser man than me to unravel just who is fighting who – certainly there are rival rebel groups attacking each other as well as government forces. I sincerely doubt that there are more than a handful of people in either Westminster or Washington who have a real grasp of what is happening out there. Supporting “the rebels” would mean getting into bed with some very dangerous people who do not have our best interests at heart.

When The second Iraq war happened, a million people turned up in central London to register their disapproval. Tony Blair just pretended that he hadn’t noticed. I shall be dismayed and angry if Cameron adopts a similar tactic, and allows America to suck us all into a war that few people actually want. For what it’s worth, I have signed the e-petition to keep our troops out of Syria.

 
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Originally posted by beauval:

When The second Iraq war happened, a million people turned up in central London to register their disapproval. Tony Blair just pretended that he hadn’t noticed. I shall be dismayed and angry if Cameron adopts a similar tactic, and allows America to suck us all into a war that few people actually want. For what it’s worth, I have signed the e-petition to keep our troops out of Syria.

There’s always the option of a second winter of discontent. If your government refuses to listen, that option is still on the table.

I definitely need more generators on-premises if one of those is coming. It kinda gets the politicians’ attention sharpish.

 
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A little bit of background information I have, but which isn’t really clear in the news: The UNO is supposed to verify, if there have been chemical weapons used in Syria. But that people there have died because of chemical weapons is already well documented. The real question would be, if Assad fired them or the rebels killed their own people or an evil force™ was involved. But the UN-inspectors actually don’t have the mandate to comment on this question. So the UNO itself isn’t sure, why they endanger the life of their inspectors.

So don’t expect any new information from them. It’s such a wonderful case, where everyone wants to see an omelette. But don’t dare breaking a single egg!

Source: http://www.ardmediathek.de/ndr-info/ndr-info-redezeit?documentId=16796228 (Govermental German Radio/Podcast)

 
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I can see the value in potentially waiting for the UN weapon inspectors results. But there is only one outcome for the UN resolution, which is a veto. Neither China nor Russia, and damned sure not both, are going to allow UN intervention. They’ve let uglier situations slide away before.

As for my vies on what should be done, I’ll have to cede to a little more research – I certainly can’t say I feel I have a handle on the situation. Nevertheless, I despise their current government – but the better of two evils is always that.

 
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The real question would be, if Assad fired them or the rebels killed their own people or an evil force™ was involved.

It is perfectly plausible that it was done by a rebel group. If they attacked a group of civilians perceived as being sympathetic to a rival rebel group, there would be no question of them attacking their own supporters. And all too easy to allow Assad to take the blame. Maybe that’s the reason the UN inspectors came under fire – the longer the evidence is left, the harder it becomes to interpret.

It’s ridiculous to jump into a war because of a suspicion, but that’s exactly what some of our leaders seem to want right now.

 
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It is perfectly plausible that it was done by a rebel group. If they attacked a group of civilians perceived as being sympathetic to a rival rebel group, there would be no question of them attacking their own supporters. And all too easy to allow Assad to take the blame. Maybe that’s the reason the UN inspectors came under fire – the longer the evidence is left, the harder it becomes to interpret.

Sarin (or any nerve agent for that matter) is REALLY difficult to make in large quantities, especially if you don’t have anyone with the expertise and equipment to easily make it. For the rebels to make it in the amount necessary to cause thousands of casualties, they’d need somewhere with a lab, and trained chemists. So, while I don’t doubt they’d be able to find a facility where they could start production, I highly doubt they’d be able to create the volume that was used without drawing attention to themselves. There’s no doubt that the UN inspectors came under fire for the reason you stated, but the question is who shot at them?

 
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Who said they made it themselves? Syria’s borders are wide open, and there are plenty of suspects who could have provided chemical weapons to one or more rebel groups.

 
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I’m opposed to British intervention because of the makeup of the opposition. Freedom fighters! Plucky underdogs! Brave family men! Oh, and Al-Qaeda and a shedload of other assorted Islamist nuts, some of whom are UN-designated terrorist organisations.

If I had any faith in the main secular opposition group (FSA and buddies) to dominate proceedings in the aftermath of Assad I’d be more inclined to support it, but I don’t.

As it stands now we’ve got a shitstorm civil war involving a guy who (it appears) used some chemical weapons.

Stick our noses in and we’re probably looking at a different shitstorm civil war not involving that guy. But in our nice new civil war, half a dozen jihadist groups managed to find some chemical weapons so they have them instead. And now we’re stuck with ‘responsibility’ for sorting out an even bigger mess involving people who’ve transferred their hate to us instead.

Just arm the secular rebels and leave them to it.

 
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Originally posted by beauval:

Who said they made it themselves? Syria’s borders are wide open, and there are plenty of suspects who could have provided chemical weapons to one or more rebel groups.

While I’m sure we’d all like to point fingers at the US, or Israel, or France, or whosoever the fuck else you think may have done it, it just doesn’t seem likely. The only plausible way would be if FSA fighters had raided a chemical weapons stockpile from the Syrian military. That in and of itself would be something that Assad would be very public about, because it would give him more credit; since we haven’t heard anything relating to such an event, we can only assume he has control over his chemical stockpile.

 
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Originally posted by onlineidiot1994:

While I’m sure we’d all like to point fingers at the US, or Israel, or France, or whosoever the fuck else you think may have done it, it just doesn’t seem likely.

The current opinion of independent™ experts on this questions depends, where they live. In Russia/China they seem to be pretty sure, that the Rebels did it. Although they have no actual proove. Independent experts, hand-picked by the German government, aren’t sure if the Rebels did it, although it would be an option. But they are sure, that Assad isn’t the driving power behind this attack. Experts from Western countries are completely clueless and deny answering this question. They say, it’s the job of the UNO to judge this. Which by the way is also my opinion, but without a mandate for this special question, the UNO isn’t allowed to comment on it. And it’s also not public, who blocks this mandate.

 
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Originally posted by onlineidiot1994:
Originally posted by beauval:

Who said they made it themselves? Syria’s borders are wide open, and there are plenty of suspects who could have provided chemical weapons to one or more rebel groups.

While I’m sure we’d all like to point fingers at the US, or Israel, or France, or whosoever the fuck else you think may have done it, it just doesn’t seem likely. The only plausible way would be if FSA fighters had raided a chemical weapons stockpile from the Syrian military. That in and of itself would be something that Assad would be very public about, because it would give him more credit; since we haven’t heard anything relating to such an event, we can only assume he has control over his chemical stockpile.

Another Scenario,
Few of the war heads were in transit so to be used against rebels, some how rebels got to them and and used them against Assad forces.

 
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Originally posted by onlineidiot1994:
It is perfectly plausible that it was done by a rebel group. If they attacked a group of civilians perceived as being sympathetic to a rival rebel group, there would be no question of them attacking their own supporters. And all too easy to allow Assad to take the blame. Maybe that’s the reason the UN inspectors came under fire – the longer the evidence is left, the harder it becomes to interpret.

Sarin (or any nerve agent for that matter) is REALLY difficult to make in large quantities, especially if you don’t have anyone with the expertise and equipment to easily make it. For the rebels to make it in the amount necessary to cause thousands of casualties, they’d need somewhere with a lab, and trained chemists. So, while I don’t doubt they’d be able to find a facility where they could start production, I highly doubt they’d be able to create the volume that was used without drawing attention to themselves. There’s no doubt that the UN inspectors came under fire for the reason you stated, but the question is who shot at them?

Not to mention its not simply load them in shells and fire em.
Their shells are specific. and will have to be custom made.

 
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yea were gonna liberate the syrian people from assad the devil and russia etc. are only friends of syria cuz syria gives them money etc. we need to bomb the country and make it safe so the people in turkey and lebanon can go back home. but americans may not create their own president there otherwise it will be like afghanistan. a sunni muslim who is peaceful should become president

edit: people who are AGAINST intervention in syria are actually SUPPORTING assad the murderer of his own people and thus they are bad

 
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Originally posted by Rolby:

yea were gonna liberate the syrian people from assad the devil and russia etc. are only friends of syria cuz syria gives them money etc. we need to bomb the country and make it safe so the people in turkey and lebanon can go back home. but americans may not create their own president there otherwise it will be like afghanistan. a sunni muslim who is peaceful should become president

Way I see it Muslims especially Sunnis lose it in every way.
If Assad wins, sunnis are screwed, If america wins, they’ll have accept his terms one of them definitely will be accepting his bastard’s dominance.
Also, america will be in Islamic heart land.

 
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Another Scenario,
Few of the war heads were in transit so to be used against rebels, some how rebels got to them and and used them against Assad forces.

Did I not mention that something of that nature is something Assad would’ve been public about?

Another Scenario,
Few of the war heads were in transit so to be used against rebels, some how rebels got to them and and used them against Assad forces.

Actually, most chemical mortar systems are pretty much the same in terms of operation as your typical mortar. If you’re going to post, please be informed first.

 
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Originally posted by Rolby:

edit: people who are AGAINST intervention in syria are actually SUPPORTING assad the murderer of his own people and thus they are bad

Or we are just tired of our people dying to try and help people who don’t want helping

 
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Did I not mention that something of that nature is something Assad would’ve been public about?

Of course he would want to make a big public fuss that the illegal weapons he was about to use were so badly guarded that a bunch of rebels hijacked them without anyone noticing.

Or we are just tired of our people dying to try and help people who don’t want helping

That’s about it in a nutshell. It’s not our problem and not our business. When the vote in the Commons went against the government yesterday, I was so full of glee that I almost burst. Uncle Sam is beginning to look a bit lonely.

 
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News flash, I heard on CNN Obama is trying to get the approval for war on Syria from Congress, I made a thread about it.