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SYRIA

...on serious topics that don't fit anywhere else at present.
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Dave B
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Re: SYRIA

#61 Postby Dave B » August 22nd, 2013, 10:26 am

Latest post of the previous page:

I am totally not understanding what is happening in Syria re the alleged gas attacks and the UN investigation team.

I cannot work out how either side can really benefit from this.

1. If it was the rebels faking the attack then, if the UN team checked it, they would be found out quite quickly.
2. If the rebels had stolen some gas and actually killed these people it seems to be a draconian tactic, if the UN team where allowed full forensic freedom of action then this would almost certainly be worked out.
3. If, as the government suggest, the rebels did stage the attack then it would be in their interest to have the UN team find this out - yet they seem to be blocking that move.
4. If the government staged the attack it seems, at first sight, incredibly stupid with the team nearby - but the government does have the ability to stop the UN investigating the attack.

So, as ever in this part of the world, a very confusing situation. With Russia and China on the side of the Syrian regime and Hague making rather inflammatory/accusatory sound bites one wonders if we will ever know until this is all history (if then).

Whoever wins the west will have lost any chance of allying themselves to the victor and, if the rebels win, Russia and China will not be in favour either. That leaves Syria either in the Russia/China camp or, potentially, as an Islamic state, against the whole non-Islamic world, because the Sunni militants (native and insurgent) will probably take charge. That will also set them at odds with Iraq, Iran, Lebanon and (still mostly secular) Turkey. Saudi Arabia will not be pleased because, although Sunni themselves, Al Q (who will have an influence) is totally against the SA royal family. The same could be said for the Gulf States who are all western facing for their oil fortunes.

Syria, whatever happens, whoever wins, does not seem to have much chance for a good future.
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animist
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Re: SYRIA

#62 Postby animist » August 23rd, 2013, 11:27 pm

there seems less and less doubt that the regime is responsible for the gas attacks, and Obama appears not to want to get involved - which will encourage Assad to continue his course. I wish the rebels would give up now and save the inevitable bloodshed that will occur if they don't, but no doubt they will continue. Assad does not of course deserve to win, and what seems most likely is some sort of informal and unpleasant partition (with Islamic terrorists probably dominating outside the government areas).

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jaywhat
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Re: SYRIA

#63 Postby jaywhat » August 24th, 2013, 6:11 am

The west somply has to do something. We have to somehow get Russia and China on board. Assad has to be stopped, removed somehow. I know it is an infathomable problem but doing nothing is not good enough.

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Dave B
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Re: SYRIA

#64 Postby Dave B » August 24th, 2013, 9:50 am

jaywhat wrote:The west somply has to do something. We have to somehow get Russia and China on board. Assad has to be stopped, removed somehow. I know it is an infathomable problem but doing nothing is not good enough.
I wish you luck with that idea, jaywhat, both Russia and China have their own energy and access agendas to look forward to. One would like to think but I am sure the politicians of "The West" also have an eye on that aspect.

But, yes, without R & C on the same sheet "The West" has a dilemma that is difficult to resolve - if we aid the rebels directly we are breaking the international rules and potentially aiding the militant Islamic groups - who will, of course, take all they can and then use it against us if they do win. Possibly even take over the whole country and make it another Afghanistan but in a much more dangerous position strategically.

Iran and it allies would take some offence against a Western/Saudi/Gulf State invasion of Syria so it would have to be a truly international force with as little political or religious "content" as possible. Seems impossible to me!

I fear that this, short of the assassination of Assad and most of his immediate aids and generals, is going to play out to a very bitter end. I just hope, very much, that it does not spread, which, into Lebanon at least, it seems liable to do so.

I still cannot work out why if, as he claims, it is the rebels that used the gas Assad is not actually driving the inspectors there himself. There is definitely something to hide there.
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animist
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Re: SYRIA

#65 Postby animist » August 24th, 2013, 10:17 am

jaywhat wrote:The west somply has to do something. We have to somehow get Russia and China on board. Assad has to be stopped, removed somehow. I know it is an infathomable problem but doing nothing is not good enough.

doing nothing may be better than doing something which just prolongs the agony - like arming the rebels. Russia and China, and certainly Iran, will not come "on board" - why should they? The rebels are disunited and facing defeat. Maybe some negotiation should start on the basis that Assad will stay in power but on certain conditions - even that is unlikely, I agree

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animist
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Re: SYRIA

#66 Postby animist » August 24th, 2013, 10:45 am

Dave B wrote:I fear that this, short of the assassination of Assad and most of his immediate aids and generals, is going to play out to a very bitter end.
I imagine that by now there will be contingency plans to cover this - the war has gone on so long and become so sectarian that the many non-Sunnis who support the regime are not going to surrender simply because Assad himself has been eliminated

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Dave B
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Re: SYRIA

#67 Postby Dave B » August 24th, 2013, 11:26 am

animist wrote:
Dave B wrote:I fear that this, short of the assassination of Assad and most of his immediate aids and generals, is going to play out to a very bitter end.
I imagine that by now there will be contingency plans to cover this - the war has gone on so long and become so sectarian that the many non-Sunnis who support the regime are not going to surrender simply because Assad himself has been eliminated
You could well be right there, animist. Unfortunately.

Though there does seem to be something of a history of "Strong Man" rule in most Islamic countries with degrees of collapse (sometimes into near anarchy) when the top man tumbles. Syria, though, has (despite its tendency towards Shia and its subdivisions) had a fairly modern outlook, in some ways, before this rebellion started.
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Tetenterre
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Re: SYRIA

#68 Postby Tetenterre » August 26th, 2013, 9:11 am

h/t Charles Levinson (@levinsonc) of the WSJ:

Excellent cheat-sheet for understanding the Middle East:
mideast.png
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Quantum Theory: The branch of science with which people who know absolutely sod all about quantum theory can explain anything.

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Dave B
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Re: SYRIA

#69 Postby Dave B » August 26th, 2013, 9:17 am

Er. Um. :puzzled:
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Alan H
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Re: SYRIA

#70 Postby Alan H » August 26th, 2013, 11:44 am

And here it is in a nice picture (no, I haven't checked it matches!)
2013-08-26_11h39_33.png
2013-08-26_11h39_33.png (45.11 KiB) Viewed 1244 times
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

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Dave B
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Re: SYRIA

#71 Postby Dave B » August 26th, 2013, 1:03 pm

I was trying to work out a graphic in my own mind - I opted for red and blue links for anti and pro links and parallel lists of protagonists/antagonists but, otherwise . . .

Oh, I would have included Russia, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States and coloured for (basically) Sunni, Shia or neither. I think Al Q and assocuates might have figured as well, but with dotted lines at the moment.

On the gas attack I am not holding my breath as to what the UN team find - or are allowed to find. One correspondent said that the current rules Assad has applied means they can only confirm that gas/chemicals have been used but not to attempt to apportion blame. On the grounds that any data is useful the value is degraded in terms of its use for any international legal action.

Now that the UN cars have been shot at I am just a little more worried that the gas attacks might have been carried out by an Al Q affiliate or other rabid Islamic group, just to try to put Assad in an even worse light than he currently is. I had scored that possibility at a probability level of about 5% in my mind, make it 10% now.
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Re: SYRIA

#72 Postby Dave B » August 26th, 2013, 6:06 pm

I seems that, in saying that Syria could be invaded without UN sanction, Hague has not been vague - he has been f****** stupid IMHO!
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Alan H
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Re: SYRIA

#73 Postby Alan H » August 26th, 2013, 7:41 pm

Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Dave B
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Re: SYRIA

#74 Postby Dave B » August 26th, 2013, 8:08 pm

That's more like it! I had not thought of including Hamas but since they are linked with the Muslim Brotherhood I suppose they could be critical to the overall picture. To a degree they hold a strategic position with regards to getting nasty stuff into Israel - especially if the MB get back into power in Egypt.
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
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Fia
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Re: SYRIA

#75 Postby Fia » August 26th, 2013, 10:22 pm

I liked the comment on Alan H's link asking "where is the sisterhood?" In the long term I think it's the surviving displaced women and young people who have the best chance to call a halt on this insular and murderous patriarchal sectarianism.

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Dave B
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Re: SYRIA

#76 Postby Dave B » August 27th, 2013, 8:35 am

Fia wrote:I liked the comment on Alan H's link asking "where is the sisterhood?" In the long term I think it's the surviving displaced women and young people who have the best chance to call a halt on this insular and murderous patriarchal sectarianism.
Maybe, when all the murdering patriarch's have murdered one another. Until then I doubt that they have much chance, unfortunately. They, like all the others, are fighting against a long tradition of tribal, clan and sectarian warfare that, mostly, makes modern Arabic nations artificial alliances. Egypt and Iran are not Arabic nations and are exceptions in this.
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Altfish
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Re: SYRIA

#77 Postby Altfish » August 27th, 2013, 10:49 am

jaywhat wrote:The west somply has to do something. We have to somehow get Russia and China on board. Assad has to be stopped, removed somehow. I know it is an infathomable problem but doing nothing is not good enough.

Our 'successes in Libya, Egypt, Iraq, etc suggest that the West's ability to 'do something' is a waste of time. All we manage to do is stir up Islamic hatred and extremism.

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Altfish
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Re: SYRIA

#78 Postby Altfish » August 27th, 2013, 10:50 am

Fia wrote:I liked the comment on Alan H's link asking "where is the sisterhood?" In the long term I think it's the surviving displaced women and young people who have the best chance to call a halt on this insular and murderous patriarchal sectarianism.


Women in Islam having a voice...now that would be a giant step forward!

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animist
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Re: SYRIA

#79 Postby animist » August 27th, 2013, 9:29 pm

Dave B wrote:Maybe, when all the murdering patriarch's have murdered one another. Until then I doubt that they have much chance, unfortunately. They, like all the others, are fighting against a long tradition of tribal, clan and sectarian warfare that, mostly, makes modern Arabic nations artificial alliances. Egypt and Iran are not Arabic nations and are exceptions in this.

TBH I imagine that most womenfolk support whatever side they grew up with - it is very hard to stand out and stand up, and even harder for women than for men. Egypt is actually an Arab state - unless you are referring to the Pharaohs maybe?

The network of conflicts - it certainly falsifies the dictum that my enemy's enemy is my friend!

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Dave B
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Re: SYRIA

#80 Postby Dave B » August 27th, 2013, 10:07 pm

animist wrote:
Dave B wrote:Maybe, when all the murdering patriarch's have murdered one another. Until then I doubt that they have much chance, unfortunately. They, like all the others, are fighting against a long tradition of tribal, clan and sectarian warfare that, mostly, makes modern Arabic nations artificial alliances. Egypt and Iran are not Arabic nations and are exceptions in this.

TBH I imagine that most womenfolk support whatever side they grew up with - it is very hard to stand out and stand up, and even harder for women than for men. Egypt is actually an Arab state - unless you are referring to the Pharaohs maybe?

The network of conflicts - it certainly falsifies the dictum that my enemy's enemy is my friend!
That is certainly the attitude I have heard from the (selective) interviews made by correspondents with mothers of Hamas suicide bombers. They display a great deal of pride for the actions of their sons or daughters. But, of course, they are martyrs who now reside in Paradise (not sure how the daughters get on with the virgins though . . .)

I know the Egyptians speak Arabic but:
Egypt has experienced several invasions during its history. However, these do not seem to account for more than about 10% overall of current Egyptians ancestry when the DNA evidence of the ancient mitochondrial DNA and modern Y chromosomes is considered. While Ivan van Sertima argue that the Egyptians were primarily Africoid before the many conquests of Egypt diluted the Africanity of the Egyptian people,[23] other scholars such as Frank Yurco believe that Modern Egyptians are largely representative of the ancient population, and the DNA evidence appears to support this view.


I feel that this makes them about as Arabic as it does the Turks. There has bound to be intermixing, but maybe not enough to be significant. The Tuaregs and Berbers, along with other N. African Arabic speakers, are also not truly Arabic - the Bahrainis (who are of Arabic descent) have nothing but contempt for the Berbers they employ as camel herders and labourers.
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Alan H
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Re: SYRIA

#81 Postby Alan H » August 27th, 2013, 10:23 pm

Parliament has been recalled for Thursday to hold a debate discuss a statement listen to David 'call me Dave' Cameron tell what's best for us and what we're going to do.

The serious point is, however, regardless of what is decided, how, given the complexities of the situation, can we decide whether any decision is the right one?
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?


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