to wonder why the USA isn't taking a more forceful stance on Syria?(167 Posts)
I don't profess to know or understand the full details but I am surprised that Obama isn't taking a stronger stance on this. Hasn't the line been crossed for sure now?
I agree the line has been crossed, i don't know why it would just be down to the US to respond. Like you, i don't understand the intricacies of these things but i can't bear to watch the news anymore - what would possess anyone to do such a thing, i just can't understand it. And they say God made man in his image
Nobody knows for sure that it was the regime that sent those chemical weapons. They were discussing this on the BBC news yesterday and someone stated on there that it could actually be the rebels who have done this latest attack to try and force the world into overthrowing the regime for them. Cynical perhaps, but this has to be considered as a possibility.
Yes I've noticed all the ' mild sounding' comments from Obama and Haig. I'm sure it's a political tactic. All of them are adopting quite a distant stance.
Must ask dd as she's into middle eastern politics.
Because there are no good choices.
Because there are actually no good outcomes: Assad and the Alawites are evil but have provided stability; they go and we get either fundamentalist Sunnis or repressive Shia.
Because we are a lot nearer to Syria but Europe seemingly has nothing to say about it as a bloc or from individual countries, and is offering no concrete support.
Because even the almighty US is sick of spending money on fighting.
Because he risks another Middle East war but this time, one in which the enemy has a very powerful backer (Iran) and there are other parties (Saudi, Gulf states) all watching and waiting.
Hands up who wants a massive Sunni/Shia conflict kicking off now?
Hands up who wants to see Israel play their joker?
What would you consider to be a forceful stance? What would you do?
From what I've seen on the news, Hague seemed to be taking a stronger stance - made me feel proud to be British actually. He thinks it was the Assad regime - I don't think he would say this without evidence ...
"I know that some people in the world would like to say that this is some kind of conspiracy brought about by the opposition in Syria," said Mr Hague.
"I think the chances of that are vanishingly small and so we do believe that this is a chemical attack by the Assad regime."
he did say today if UN inspectors do find proof of the use of chemical weapons it will warrant the attention of the US.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
I'd like to see the UN sending in independent chemical weapons analysts to find out exactly what happened to whom and who was responsible.
Why is it the job of the USA to be an international police officer?
The UN should get its shit together and become a lot more effective.
Oh I'm sure they'll be reacting before the year is out. I predicted a conflict with Syria almost a year ago. Syria has oil.
The UN is trying to gain that access.
The reality is that the USA is the most powerful nation on earth - their stance on these issues counts.
is the notion that the chemical attacks an 'inside job' seriously mooted? How propogandised are the reports coming out?
They might be tired of all the flack and venom they get when they intervene.
Perhaps China could take over as an important super power in a few years?
I think they have ruled out that it's a fake attack by the rebels .
It wouldn't be the first time they have taken a more internalist stance. They maintained neutrality in both World Wars for several years before participating. It's just a sad state of affairs really isn't it? Human rights atrocities being committed and it seems to be the less powerful nations like GB and France who kick up most of the fuss.
I agree that the situation is impossible, but if you want the US to do more, what should it do? airstrikes - against who? troops on the ground - where, what should they do? the US doesn't have the money or energy for a complex mid-east war. and even if they did, it isn't clear what they could do to make things better.
The situation in syria is waaaay more complex (politically) than say Iraq/ Afghanistan. Compare it more to russia.
The US should stay well out of Syria as should the rest of the west. Let them sort out their own affairs.
I read today that it is because the rebels are largely considered to be anti-American.
I agree it is for the UN.
The US and the international community have the means to take action against Syria. I know I've 'picked on' the US in my thread but only because it strikes me that Obama took an initial forceful line in terms of the use of chemical weapons crossing a line. That line has been crossed by all accounts but no action yet. I know these things take time but I expected a more forceful statement. We've been here so many times before, how many massacres does it take for the world to sit up, take notice and take action?
Yeah, let's not forget Russia is in this too as a backer of the Syrian regime. So taking action in Syria is difficult for that reason as well. The UN can take no action against the regime as Russia (and possibly also China) will veto that.
GB and France may fuss but do nothing concrete either. Does rhetoric even matter, in a situation like this?
I'm very worried about Syria, not just the human suffering but the potential for a wider, drawn-out conflict. I really fear some action by Assad that will draw in Turkey. If Turkey invokes clause 5 of the NATO treaty (the requirement that fellow NATO members offer assistance to any member that is attacked) then we're all in Syria, like it or not. Which is terrifying. And will not even end the human suffering any time soon.
The USA has no appetite (or cash) for another Middle East war, particularly one with so many external players ie Iran/Hezbollah. And what could they do anyway? There's no way Russia and China would agree to a Security Council decision to intervene militarily.
It's enough to make me want to switch off the news and pretend it's not happening as it's so depressing and we're powerless to do anything to help.
cantspel, can you explain that stance? Shouldn't we intervene in human rights atrocities? I know every nation has its issues to deal with but these are thousands of innocent people being gassed indiscriminately? If this happened in our country, wouldn't you expect the international community to intervene?
I was thinking the US should 'do more' and it did annoy me when Obama came on and said he was doing more or less nothing. But now I'm thinking what can he do. Send in troops to a country where they won't be welcome. I wish the UN would take some sort of stand against those atrocities. Otherwise they might as well disband.
The reality is that the USA is the most powerful nation on earth - their stance on these issues counts
The other reality is that Syria is better armed than any power the US has taken on since Korea. And its biggest backer is just over the border. And there is no oil or need for it. And the US have fucked up the last 4 major invasions. And the US people don't want to fight to save radical islamists from Dictators. And the US would be seen to take sides in a religious war while the whole Arab world is a tinderbox.
Watching British politicians posturing is the worst though - all mouth and no trousers.
The US (and the UN) have learnt some very harsh and expensive lessons engaging in political moves with russia. It is extremely dodgy ground to tread when you are not only responsible for your own civilians but also fiscal responsibility for world economy. I really wouldn't even want to begin to pontificate on a solution...
OP, I don't want to patronise you but the 'international community' you keep referring to is the UN. And the UN Security Council will not pass any resolution allowing military intervention because Russia and China would veto it. Case closed. End of discussion.
eldritch - this whole thing is scary - coupled with Egypt I worry for conflict spreading worldwide - with historical ties causing massive divides between currently peaceful (relatively) and powerful nations.
Russia and China have gone well down in my estimation over Syria - not that my estimation counts for anything. If they veto further UN resolutions, I fear this could destabilise the the UN. Wasn't it this sort of paralysis that destroyed the predecessor to the UN, the League of Nations?
The USA has lost 2264 people in Afghanistan to date (3364 total for the coalition - that will have changed by the end of the week). They have National Guard units that are called up for 2 years straight duty at a time. Some of these people only joined to get the healthcare.
It can't be sustained - it costs billions to keep those people over there. When everyone pulls out of Afghanistan in 2015 it'll revert straight back.
To intervene in Syria would stretch not just the US, but most other countries too. There is no evidence that the Regime is committing these atrocities - it's just as likely to be the "rebels". Until evidence is clear and unambiguous no-one should go in.
If a law was passed in this country that re-instated National Service for 2 years at the age of 18 for everyone (male or female) and these people were given 3 months training before being sent out to these places for the remainder of their 2 years would you be so keen to intervene?
I certainly wouldn't want my kids sent out there on the whim of people like William Hague...
Would you expect the international community to intervene if fhere was an atrocity taking place on UK soil? Or would you expect the outside world to ignore it because they had their own issues? Auschwitz, Srebrenica, Rwanda - we wonder how these things could have happened and how the outside world were so slow to intervene ...
There is another aspect to it, which is that to a degree civil wars have to play themselves out until someone wins. There isn't a political solution, or even a coherent united opposition movement to put in as an alternative government. Intervention by foreign powers might (just) contain the violence, but only for as long as those foreign powers had troops in situ, and then the whole thing would flare up again until one side won.
How many of our young men ( or women) are you willing to see bleeding out, with their intestines in their laps, or with missing limbs on the streets of Syria, in a couple of years time?
Because that, ultimately, is what " intervention " means. Not no fly zones. Not surgical strikes.
Dead teenagers. Ours, or American.
In an ideal world, I wouldn't want any of our young people injured/dead but I know this is a reality of war. What is the alternative though? Nations gassing their people safe in the knowledge that no outside nation will intervene?
Because none of us need oil, do we??
I would not sacrifice one British life for a futile intervention, which would possibly see a Jihadist regime- who would detest us- brought to power.
I've just been reading on the Guardian that Russia has stepped up pressure on Syria so hopefully there will be a unified international position.
At the end of the day - when we put someone into power, at least half of the country see them as illegitimate & the minute our troops stop enforcing their rule, they're overthrown....
Again I ask - why should our people bleed for them?
If you're that bothered, sign your firstborn up with the recruiting office - I'm sure they'll have some funky artificial limbs by the time they need them...
I find that attitude difficult to understand - I have every admiration for the wonderful troops who CHOOSE to fight for their countries and for "the right thing" in other countries. I would never be brave enough and they are all heros every single one of them. But the thing is, they choose to do this - those children have no choice and no voice if the rest of the world sits by and lets this happen. I don't know the answers - it may well not be right to send in the troops at this stage or at any stage but this must not be allowed to continue. What would be the aim of military intervention? what would it acheive - those have to be the questions. I am glad that i am not the one who has to come up with the answers.
The world is more inter-connected than that - we can't ignore what happens in other countries.
why are our people more important than theirs? I just don't understand it - are we some sort of mater race or something?
wow slenderman, thats a very intelligent and considered post
In an ideal world, I wouldn't want any of our young people injured/dead but I know this is a reality of war. What is the alternative though?
Not letting our own or American kids die is a very good first start, followed closely by keeping our noses out of a civil come religious war.
in "All Quiet on the Western Front" the author argues that if all those who wanted to send young men to die in wars, were made to go instead, the world would be a very different place.
See on the the next plane out OP?
comingalongnicely, I find your comments very strange
the war will go on for years and years
we will see footage of kids bodies for years and years
whats the solution then
Russia and china have gone down in your estimation op? Does that mean you thought well of Russia & china before this?
Actually I think one of the most constructive things that could be done is for the EU (which has been the middle man for some time) to try and foster talks between Iran and the US. They are the ultimate power-brokers here.
Yeah and I'd bet you'd be the first moaning if there was an atrocity happening on your doorstep and no one came to help ...
holidaybug there are human rights atrocities being committed in many places in the world today. North Korea, china, pakistan the list is endless and we cant look to the west to solve every world problem.
so do you suggest tea and cake for a solution?
Yes, I agree but this is about using chemical weapons indiscriminately against innocent civilians on a mass scale.
"The world is more inter-connected than that - we can't ignore what happens in other countries."
Remember that next time some mealy mouthed politician wants to "arm the rebels"". And you're wondering, as you take off from Heathrow, if one of the anti aircraft missiles we sent them is now in a van, near the perimeter fence, waiting to take out the plane you're on........
fuck all these kids being killed yet my suggesting a major bombing campaign get the sign
good job mn wasn't around for nazi germany
I don't have the solution, it is clear that no one does - but just letting it happen is blatantly not the solution! Can you imagine if people just stood by and let Hitlter do what the fuck he liked?
So do you think we should go for a discrete and targeted campaign the slender or an all out nuclear strike and sort it once and for all?
North Korea has killed more than 3 millon of their own people but as we dont see pictures of dead NK babies on the news no one is calling for the US to intervene there.
The whole arab spring has turned into a arab winter and they need to find their own peace. We cant impose it.
Yeah and I'd bet you'd be the first moaning if there was an atrocity happening on your doorstep and no one came to help
Yeah but at least by keeping ourvarmy at home they'd be here to help.
And besides, being over there they are going to wind up every flavour of Islamic extremist going, so it increases the chance of an atrocity happening on my doorstep.
we should do something as opposed to fuck all as we are now doing
I've had a close miss in a terrorist incident - I know first hand that we cannot afford to ignore what goes on elsewhere. So thanks for the advice.
but what then slenderman? What do you propose?
What you do propose, OP?
Are your kids in the armed forces? Is that what is driving your comments?
Actually, OP, what do you think Obama should "do"....
well bomb the fuck out of these idiots then worry about it
or watch kids being killed year after year
No - no kids in Armed Forces. But aware that they are all someones children.
I read the UN can't intervene without everyones' Agreement. At First China and Russia refused then China relented but I dont believe Russia has Changed their mind Yet. I too am getting frustrated at them as technically isnt this the 2nd red Line Assad has crossed. I totally understsnd the damned if they Do damned if they dont perceptive though. If they leave them they get told they arent doing enough and if they went in they would probably be.criticized for.interfering ~
what about those children in syria? do we just pretend its not happening? I don't have the answers, if i did, i suppose id be in government - we look to our government to do something.
little childrens bodies in the news day after days
who can realisically live with that
the men responsible for these actions should be fucking shot at dawn, am sick of it
I know they are someone's children and I know that is a really difficult issue in all of this. But neither do I think it is possible to turn inwards as a country and ignore what is going on elsewhere.
But saying 'send your kids to die' is not on IMO.
yes i agree slender - 100% except why wait til dawn? But bombing the entire middle east is a bit counter productive surely? I just want an end to it all - I don't even know why they are fighting, i wonder if they do? now, anymore? War just goes on and on and on, i wonder if negotiating is the way forward?
So what should the west do?
Go out and bomb the fuck out of them and kill a few thousand babies themselves?
Or maybe if Obama turned up with a box of cookies and some nice herbal tea they could all kiss and make up
LEMis, I know. The feeling that "something" should be done.
Absolutely understandable. And a recipe for disaster.
Both the Russians, and the Chinese have their own reasons for worrying about the spread of militant Islam.
I think it will be surprising if the US does not act at all, given Obama 'red line' speech. Removing the international politics for a moment, does he not have to honour that pledge to retain any kind of integrity st home?
I think Obama should do nothing until he knows (i) what outcome he wants (not as straightforward as it sounds); and (ii) that the desired outcome is achievable.
Meantime, there is nothing stopping us donating to the Disasters Emergency Committee to help the refugees.
Meantime, there is nothing stopping us donating to the Disasters Emergency Committee to help the refugees.
Applauds Eldritch. Would add (iii) that the US needs to remember the stunning success of it's past invasions of other countries since Korea.
I think the world has to wait until it is absolutely confirmed as a chemical attack (not faked/old footage) AND Assad's government was to blame.
I can't see why the Syrian government would do this now...
Inspectors in their country -and if they don't let them inspect there they are practically admitting guilt -although I heard that that region is so unstable that it might be deemed unsafe for the inspectors to go there - the UN would have to step up...(Russia and China would 'have' to support intervention...)
And (I read somewhere) they were winning there ...so didn't need to do it - unless they think overall the war is as good as lost and have nothing to lose...so just vengeance against that group of people ...after what happened to Gaddafi and Saddam and if previous attacks were chemical weapon attacks - if you were Assad you would have nothing to lose..in that case it might get a whole lot worse ....
Part of the problem in the whole area is that the Western world meddled at the end of WW2...
And the US supported Bin Laden, and Saddam and Gaddafi to varying extents - and that didn't end well....and 'someone' supplied the chemical weapons ...
I agree heartbreaking but not much we can do - for now at least ...
I think the world has to wait until it is absolutely confirmed as a chemical attack (not faked/old footage) AND Assad's government was to blame.
Perceptive post. Just to play devils advocate for a moment, I wonder what the international community would ( could ) say if it turned out to be the rebels who were responsible......
ITV News said the difference this Time is that the footage was taken by a reputable Cameraman so wouldbe harder to discredit.
* the US needs to remember the stunning success of it's past invasions of other countries since Korea.*
Well, to be fair, Grenada went OK.............. , So did Panama.
"But saying 'send your kids to die' is not on IMO."
Er, OP, I think that what Hmmmmmmm has been pointing out is that you've started this thread basically criticising the Americans for not sending their kids to die in this war.
But you think it's "not on" for you to have to consider if you'd feel the same way, if we were talking about your own kids instead of the nameless, faceless, disposable American troops in your mind who should be "doing something" so the rest of us can feel better about this horror.
Footage just shows dead people it cannot confirm who is responsible.
If anyone should sort it out it should be The Arab League not the west.
Cantspel- has the Arab League ever sorted anything out?
so if they have no business in Syria, why do they have business in Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia....?
Serious question btw.
I was just about to post the same Cantspel but you're rightThingsthat
Saudi has massive modern Armed Forces all UK trained with a lot of UK weaponry. They could and should be leading on sorting out regional problems instead of leaving it to the West.
We go in - both sides hate us and 'my enemy's enemy is my friend' kicks in and we get shafted. Every time.
I would march against getting involved in this one.
ThingsThatMakeYouGoHmmmmmmmmm Err no but if the arab world wants to sort their own affairs out then they are going to have to learn and quickly.
Monty27 I dont think there is anyone left who does thing that Afghanistan, Iraq are any of our business.
These are arab troubles so let the arabs sort it out.
Call me a cynic I think the answer is oil and connections. Libya has more so they helped there more aggressively they have no allies so full force ahead. Syria not so much oil, but allies and a strong army so let's sit in our palaces and express our deepest regrets and sympathies like we sincerely mean it.
I remember reading this article good points raised see here
Cantspel I appreciate I'm talking of the past, but why did they involve themselves then and not now? It truly is a genuine question.
ignorant in world affairs
I don't think anyone (apart from the Americans and Tony Blair) thought we should go to Iraq or Afghanistan.
Bosnia was a different matter. Very close to 'home'/ Had to make amends for the Dutch UN forces that permitted Szrebrenica.
Problem is that the Muslims when they profess to hate UK/US forget that The West (i.e. UK and America predominantly) helped them out in Bosnia, helped them regain Kuwait from Sadam, helped them retrieve Afghanistan from Taliban grip, assisted them in overthrowing Gadaffi etc etc etc. So we'll sit this one out and see how they get on themselves.
Bit like the French I suppose - they've never forgiven us for winning World War II
They might not have much oil but they have something like 9 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
Also, Syria supported Hizbollah.
A civil war that keeps Syrians occupied stops them supporting Hizbollah, if only temporarily and that suits Israel and the Jewish US communities.
Monty WetAugust has pretty much covered it. Going into Iraq or Afghanistan was just a bit of willy waving by Bush and Blair and accepted by most now to have been illegal and none of our concern.
Wow, thanks for that Wetaugust and Cantspel
Love the willy waving by Bush and Blair. I resigned from a long term membership of the Labour Party then.
I stay away from world affairs in some ways because it appals me so much. But seeing those children on the news, and the mention of chemical warfare is horrendous.
I've always detested the UK putting their hand in the fire as soon as US did. Since my O'level history days.
Daddy Bush didn't have the balls to go all the way to Bahgdad so Baby Bush finished the job for him using 911 as an excuse to do so.
The Northern Alliance in Afghanistan had been pushed to the very northern limits of the country by the Taliban so the fact the Osama was being sheltered by the Taliban meant that we could provide air support to assist the Northern Alliance to overthrow the Taliban. And that's where it should have ended. Should never have been any UK/US boots on the ground in Afghanistan. No politician ever explained convincingly why we were there - various explanations e.g. keeping the streets of Brattain safe from Al Quaida, etc. Rashid is probably closer to the mark in his book Oil, the \Taliban etc. It was an attempt to permit an oil pipe line to be built across Afghanistan from the northern former USSR 'Stans to a warm water port in Pakistan.
Right. Now I've got that out I shall begin.
Whoever it was upthread who said "It doesn't make sense for Assad to do this", have you been missing the part where he's been murdering his own people for the last two and a half years, starting with some teenagers in Derra, whose only crime was to write some graffitti against the regime.
This is regime which sent a teenager to prison (Tal Al Mallohi) for writing poetry on a blog, where every school child, every day had to swear undying loyalty to the Assad regime. Over 100,000 people have been killed and vast chunks of the country rendered uninhabitable. All this in response to the people asking for peaceful reform of the regime.
Sense, as we would understand it, doesn't come into it.
Also, there seems be great confusion as to what intervention would entail.
No one is asking for Western troops on the ground
No one is asking for Western troops on the ground
By intervention they mean either:
1)Arming the rebels
2)Maintaining a no fly zone
This would bring the current war to a swifter conclusion and ensure the removal of the Assad regime. The regime staying is not an option at this point.
The majority of the rebels are Free Syrian Army - they are fighting for a democratic state, this is what the opposition Syrian National Council want to, as do the majority of the Syrian people.
The Islamist rebels would then either have the choice of coming on board with the reconstruction or not. There would be extremely limited support if they wished to perpetrate a terrorism campaign post settlement - Syria is not like Iraq demographically.
Comparing Syria to Afghanistan is facile. Afghanistan was brutalised by the Soviets for 10 years and then suffered further years of internal conflict. Syria is not at that stage. Also, people seem to be forgetting the very dubious precept for the Western invasion of Afghanistan.
I'm not sure what I've written will change any minds here. There seems to be this underlying sentiment, that Syrians aren't quite like us nice, decent British people, so why should we care?
Except I have family in Damascus and I can tell you that they are very much like you, they have children and families and their lives much like yours (bar the having no political freedom of course). They deserve better then the world turning its back on them.
Daddy Bush didn't have the balls to go all the way to Bahgdad so Baby Bush finished the job for him using 911 as an excuse to do so
Or: Bush Snr recognised the quagmire a full regime change would become and declined to go tramping into it. Bush Jnr, a much more dogmatic neocon, went in anyway.
There seems to be this underlying sentiment, that Syrians aren't quite like us nice, decent British people, so why should we care?
Not on my part, thank you very much.
And I don't see a no-fly zone as any kind of easy step to take. It is ruinously expensive, fraught with risk where the country concerned has a decent air force (as I think Syria does) and very vulnerable to 'mission creep'.
Wet August not entirely true everything you said and history books show that , west went in too late they let the slaughter happen first in Bosnia thats a fact. As for Afghanistan it's still in Taliban grip that's why Americans Brits want to move out quick its a no win situation. Some countries have already moved out.
Eldritch - I never said anything was easy, but a no-fly zone would certainly help bring this to a swifter conclusion. Also, no the Syrian air force is not that much cop.
As for mission creep, the mission is clear, Assad should go. That is the sole aim to be achieved.
This is quite a clearly written overview: www.maysaloon.org/2013/03/deal-with-devil.html
This is also an interesting look at what might happen if there isn't an intervention: qunfuz.com/2013/08/16/letter-to-john-baron-mp/#more-2157
If we start arming the rebels how do we stop the weapons falling into the hands of Al Qaeda?
And just now do the US enforce a no fly zone over syria? especially as russia has already said that any attempt would violate international law
As for mission creep, the mission is clear, Assad should go. That is the sole aim to be achieved
That' not mission creep. Mission creep is when you start with a no-fly zone that then morphs into bombing then into other stuff. And it is a real risk.
Eldritch - that all sounds rather perfect being the enemy of good.
A no fly zone is exactly that. Not bombing other targets.
cantspel FSA are not Al Qaeda.
Russia is supplying Syria with Pantsir S-1 and the S-300s missiles which are more than capable of knocking out any american planes trying to enforce a no fly zone.
Gosh what about Jabhat al-Nusra who support Al-Qaeda
JAN are still not the FSA and it's the FSA who have majority support for their long term aims. There is also not the appetite for endless conflict in Syria, people want this war to be over and the process of rebuilding to start. If you read the links I have posted, you will gain a better insight.
I for one am really very glad GWB is no longer president and the US aren't trying to be the policemen of the world. Especially when it in most countries it is unclear who to support. The US and UK have done enough meddling in middle eastern affairs in the last 100 years (or centuries in respect of England) to last several lifetimes. Any action should be taken at UN level and not as individual countries.
No you just want me to read links that favour your view point.
The FSA and Nusra at the moment are fighting the same cause but do you really think that if Assad goes then they will remain so friendly when all that lovely power is up for grabs?
The FSA might out number Nusra but Nusra are better organised and seasoned fighters from Iraq
and a link for you
maybe it will improve your insight
The links are also written by Syrians who provide a very good overview of the situation. Or would you rather not listen to what they have to say?
Wetaugust may I use the analogy on here that the poor men and boys sent out from this country didn't even have decent boots. Blair and Bush have much blood on their hands.
I admire all you knowledgeables.
You can't do much without public support, post Assad there would not be the support for JAN.
Why would there be? Again, Syria is not Iraq.
Also, I read the link, you posted, back in July when it was first published.
But Nusra have support which happens to be growing, they also have power which they enforce with killing raping and kidnapping, large sections of the country and the countries resources under their control.
Do you think that they are going to give them up once Assad is defeated? When there stated goal is an islamic state ruled by the sunni
You've read one article. No JAN do not have vast sections of the country under their control. There is more then one Islamist group for a start, they're a rather disparate bunch and they are still outnumbered by the FSA.
You do also know that the vast majority of Syria is Sunni, thus most of the FSA are Sunni too?
Once Assad is defeated, there will many more economic players in Syria. It is interesting in the article, that the JAN leader interviewed seemed equally interested in the gas profits he was making as any concept of an Islamic state.
Syria has a huge merchant class, that is largely unaffiliated with the regime, yet has had to hand over chunks of their profits to them for years, many are currently biding their time in Jordan or elsewhere. The regime being out of the way would provide many opportunities for them and for business generally. As I've said, the Syrian people want stability, not permanent conflict, and I suspect that would be the case, even for those who are currently saying more intemperate rhetoric.
A science teacher and Vietnam veteran taught me in high school that doing nothing is often an option. There is no good option to intervene in Syria. America is tired and broke. I say this as an Anglophile and American whose family has lived in the same place for almost four centuries.
The recent gas attacks sadden and disgust me. I wonder if the gas was part of Saddam's weapons of mass destruction smuggled out during the confusion of the Iraq invasion. Saddam used gas on the Kurds. Everything has to be someplace.
Yes i did know that syria is mainly sunni thankyou but a sunni who doesn't accept Nusra's ideology is sooner or later going to be their enemy. And then you have the Alawites who they are never going to accept.
It doesn't matter about the number if they control the oil (which they do alread), gas, food (which they do in the north of the country) and Syria's largest hydroelectric dam which controls the water flow in both the north and east of the country. Nusra are not stupid they know that to win the minds of the people they need to feed and supply utilities to them. This they are doing by giving out free food, free gas, free oil and free health care. They are are building the start of their caliphate.
Do you think if Assad was gone tomorrow that they would be giving these up either to the merchant class or the FSA?
Never going to happen in a million years and they very fact that they are so organized and they have taken control over such key resources means that they will be a force in their own right with a completely different idea of what a free Syria should be. And what worries me is that people are calling for the west to arm the very people who hate everything the west stands for.
Who controls Aleppo? Syria's largest merchant district populated mainly by middle class sunn businessmen who supported Assad but only because he's left them and their cash alone. Syria's richest city the home of the merchant class is now a stronghold of Nusra
No JAN certainly do not control all the oil, that most of the oil fields are located in Kurdish controlled areas should give you a big clue there.
Again, no one is calling for the West to arm JAN.
Also, just because people are working with/for JAN and similar groups, it doesn't necessarily mean they support all their aims. This is a time of conflict, people are just getting by.
To answer your question
"Do you think if Assad was gone tomorrow that they would be giving these up either to the merchant class or the FSA?"
It's not about giving things up, it's about not being able to maximise profits when you're working in isolation. Being successful in business means making deals.
You don't seem to understand that while most Syrians are religious, they aren't salafi, it's not a popular ideology there. People are tolerating certain groups now, because they need them, not because they share their aims. Again, once a group or movement has little to no support base they will be finished.
As I told you, most of the merchants have fled to Jordan.
According to latest reports, parts of Aleppo is now controlled by Ahrar Sureya, not JAN, and this seems to be in a state of flux.
And ha ha ha at Assad leaving anyone's cash alone. That's not how it worked. The regime had a cut of everyone's cake.
wrong Nusra control the northern oil fields not the kurds and they are processing the crude themselves and shipping along the Mediterranean coast.
There is limited domestic production in Damascus controlled by the FSA but nusra control northern and eastern syria and its oil production
As you are so fond of links
They were left to make money and live a nice middle class life. of couse he would take his cut but on the whole they had a very nice life under Assad.
Rmeilan and Suwaidiyah are bing fought over now but as Nusra control the area around them and has already cut the pipe line it is only a matter of time and lives before these fall
Old news, there's been battles between Kurds and JAN since then, it's very much a situation in flux.
As for life under Assad...
Do you really think living under a regime which stole from you and denied you the right to make any criticism of them was nice? Where "behind the sun" was the euphemism for where you would be if the Mukhabarat got their hands on you? Where the joke was, that "even when you go to the dentist, you don't open your mouth".
Even in the UK, those with Syrian relatives would be scared to speak out, because they know they were being monitored.
Yes, of course things are terrible now, but don't forget, the Syrian people didn't for ask for war, they asked for reform and Assad responded by killing them.
The people would always have risen up one day, such regimes never last for ever. But such regimes are not meant to be allowed to behave with such unfettered brutality in the 21st century. Never Again and all that.
What they asked for and what they got are vastly different and doesn't change the fact that an islamist group is gaining more and more power whilst the civil war rages. They are not going to suddenly go away once Assad is gone and the very people who are fighting to over throw a dictator have another one, be it a islamic one growing stronger everyday within their own ranks.
The FSA want a free democratic state. We are agreed Yes? Nusra want an islamic state under shia law. Can you not see that there is no middle ground between them and once they have finished fighting Assad they are going to be fighting each other and when that time comes i would rather they were not doing it with weapons supplied by my taxes.
Now on that note i must go to bed. Been nice having a decent discussion on the matter even though we have different view points.
Shia, I think you mean Shariah. I would also dispute the no middle ground part, as more pragmatic outcomes become available.
One final disagreement:
No, it hasn't been nice having this discussion at all.
This is all extremely painful for me. This is two and a half years I've not been able to see some of my family for. Two and a half years since my daughter has played with her cousins. Two and a half years of my family suffering and they have been lucky compared to some. We've had one family member shot, another killed in shelling and another abducted by the regime.
And I've spent been discussing this situation with someone more concerned about their taxes.
No, that isn't nice.
Sorry about your family but why should i want my taxes to support a war that is none of my making and nothing to do with the west?
The west is condemned whatever we do. If we leave it for the arab world to sort out then we are heartless and should be taking action. if we take action we are interfering with the concerns of another nation and imposing western imperialism so quite frankly i am sick to the back teeth with the whole of the middle east and the so called arab spring. It is not the west killing Syrians so look towards your own people for the people responsible.
Because if you were in that situation (and it is mere accident of birth that you are not) you would want the outside world to help you.
I lived out of the UK for a while and whilst there, I learned a couple of things including a) there are 196 countries in the world, that's 194 other than the US and the UK b) we stick our nose into things that do not concern us. Most other countries don't need to because they know that we will pay for it and sacrifice our own teenagers for the plight of people in a country that most of us can't pinpoint on a world map. The people of the US have woken up to this so we would probably be doing it alone.
So, no I do not want to send our soldiers into Syria nor want my taxes to pay for it. I want my tax to pay for schools and create new jobs. Yes, something should be done to help them, there are 193 other countries in the world that can all club together and do it.
Thank you Gosh and Eldritch in particular for the informed comments and discussion. This thread has at least helped me u deer stand the situation and the options for intervention far better than the media has, and it also prompted me to donate to the disasters emergency committee as at least that is something I can do to help instead of sitting back and doing fa. I hope others will donate as well.
I do not want to be sent to fight in Syria. Nor do I want my brother or husband to be mobilised to go there. Perhaps I take a rather personal view - but for those calling for action then putting British or American boots on the ground is ultimately the result.
We didn't help the situation in Iraq, and Afghanistan was a disaster. Syria is far more complicated than them - so please don't push our politicians into a more forceful stance. .... unless you are offering to go there yourself.
The libyan fight against ghaddafi would have gone exactly the way Syrias war has had it not been for the UK and France's intervention. Enforcing the no fly zone and bombing military installations owned by the government. And actually Britains intervention in libya went a good way in raising the Uk profile in the Arab world.
The problem in Syria is that the hard line Islamists did not enter until the civil war became protracted after a year (please correct me if I'm wrong), it was pro democrats against the regime at first. Syria is well known for it's moderate Sunni Islam and that will still continue to dominate. They didn't want to fight they only asked for peaceful political reform. But as John f Kennedy famously said: whoever makes peaceful revolution impossible, makes violent revolution inevitable.
Hezbollah (plus Assad et al) and Al-Qaeda (aka nusra front) are fighting each other in syria and the west is expected to intervene??? The common thread is that they hate the west! I do feel sorry for the innocent Syrians whose beautiful country has become the fighting ground for what's a regional battle now but you can't expect the west to militarily intervene in something that they'll never be able to get themselves out of.
The US cannot afford it that's why. They have $17 Trillion on the credit card and adding to that at a further $1 Trillion a year!
Obama has already borrowed as much as the previous 42 presidents combined. Congress wouldn't let him get involved in another conflict.
I thought it was obvious why the US isn't in Syria? Syria can't offer anything back and if it could then US would have to share some with China and Russia.
gosh it was me that said I can't understand why Assad would do this - but you miss the important word - NOW.
I can understand Assad would do it (understand is not the right word - maybe believe) - but not right NOW with the weapon inspectors just in his country...
To do something like that when you know the world will know about it, your international 'allies' will be put under intense pressure to stop supporting you and when, if I understand it correctly, they weren't backed into a corner and didn't stand to gain any real advantage in the war by doing it ...
He would know that there would be international condemnation AND the West would feel intense pressure to intervene and against him ...it just makes no sense from a political and military perspective if he wants to /thinks he can hold onto power...unless he thinks he can't and has nothing to lose...
I know we are incredibly lucky to live in this country - a peaceful democracy with freedom of speech and movement...I feel real sympathy for you and your family...
The western world do have to take some responsibility for what has happened in this region...as our previous interference has led to many of the current troubles.
DO NOT accuse Me of antisemiticism.
I take great exception to that personal attack. You have no idea of my ethnicity or family history.
DO NOT presume to do so.
I DID NOT state that the Jewish communities supported a civil war.
I suggest you re-read my post and then apologise.
I should not have to spell it out to you (again) but
FACT: Syrian and Iran support Hizbollah's activities against Israel. A civil war that at least keeps Syria occupied internally reduces their ability to support Hizbollah's efforts against Israel.
FACT: There is an influential Jewish community in the US. They lobby just as other non-Jewish influential groups do. What's anti-Semitic about stating that?
In response to the question of why America was not interveningl I stated was that it suited America not to intervene in a war that America did not start and which was depleting Hizbollah's ability to harass Israel - which a lot of Americans have roots. That is not support in my book so I don't know how you can misinterpret it as such - unless you chose to do so. So if you have some particular axe to grind don't try to grind it on me.
People who try to turn every debate on here into searching for racsism that doesn't exist really piss me off. Go and witch hunt somewhere else.
I'm hiding this thread now as you have made me so bloody angry.
Crescentmoon - Exactly.
Kungfu - Syria is not Iran in 1979.
Those who are still talking as if troops are going to be sent there, that's not an option, nor what's under discussion. Afghanistan and Iraq are very different circumstances, so not worth conflating.
marking place as I'm learning a great deal
I know I'm probably being a bit thick but what is a no fly zone?
I'm really in 2 minds over whether the attack was carried out by Assad he doesn't seem to have anything to gain from it.
I think the west have to tread very carefully and the us going in all guns blazing could possibly draw Iran and other sympathetic countries into the conflict.
As much as I hate to say it I think it maybe the best course of action in the long run to do nothing.
A no fly zone is an area of sky which air craft are not permitted to fly over. It has to be enforced by someone so i assume if one was imposed on syria they would expect the US to enforce it from bases in Jordan.
The only way to enforce it would be to shot down any craft in the no fly zone and is only a very short step from having boots on the ground.
I think accusing WetAugust of Antisemitism for explaining realpoilitik is appalling. Reported.
No fly zone - area forbidden to Assad arcraft, no take offs allowed. If an aircraft in the deemed area takes off, it will be shot down. Either by SAM, or aircraft supplied,presumably, in this case by Nato. Or in a parallel universe where they gave a shit,the Saudis.
So, the West and America stay out of the messy political and on the ground interventions, the UN continue to bumble around being ineffectual and the humanitarian aid goes to support the refugees.
The majority of direct interventions don't seem to work, perhaps the ME Arabic communities and countries should be allowed to have a go at sorting out the issues which they understand more clearly than those that are not a part of it.
a very good over view on no fly zones, how effective they have been in the past and who would need to police it.
SilverApples Yes the whole sorry mess should be left to the Arab league but so far all they seem to do is monitor what is happening without getting involved.
They should be investigating the chemical attacks and they should be taking action against who ever is using chemical weapons. For once leave the west out of it. We have learnt our lesson is Iraq and Afghanistan.
I think saying that civil war in Syria suits US Jewish communities is appalling.
Civil wars are always the most vicious, damaging and unforgivable IMO.
But to accuse WA of anti-Semitism?
A nation supporting a terrorist organisation that is opposed to the existence of Israel, a nation that in my lifetime joined with surrounding Arab nations to try and wipe Israel off the map and failed, is now in the grip of a civil war.
This may well curtail their efforts to destroy a neighbouring country for a while.
So the citizens of that country and their supporters wherever else they may live may feel that the destructive focus being turned elsewhere, or inward is something they can feel relieved about.
I think that is a fairly logical emotion to have, and to recognise.
Thanks for the link cantspel it's a bit clearer now
I think saying that civil war in Syria suits US Jewish communities is appalling
There you go again - misquoting me.
I've reported your original accusation to MN
I also took the opportunity to do a search on your previous posts and I am not the first that you have accused.
You have accused other people who do not hold rabidly pro-Jewish views or even question Israeli policy as "racist".
I refuse to engage with bigoted zealots who cannot dispassionately discuss current affairs.
Saudi Arabia would be quite capable of helping to enforce a no-fly zone over Syria. Saudi participated in the enforcement of the Iraqi no-fly zone for many years.
This is not a job for NATO. No NATO country has been attacked.
To initiate a no-fly zone would need a UN resolution and the enforces would be a coalition of the willing. A few problems with that:
Russia and China would not support a UN resolution
The proposers would be expected to be willing to assist in it's enforcement. Historically the area was French controlled so France could float a UN proposal.
And you also have to consider the effect on Turkey and their own struggles with their own Kurdish minorities . They don't want to give indirect support to any Syrian Kurds, as that could inflame the situation with their own Kurds.
No 'tis a mess.
There's a difference between the state of Israel and American Jews.
I've never heard of rabidly pro Jewish views. What an interesting turn of phrase wetaugust. Is it in the protocols of the elders of Zion?
You said civil war in Syria suits Jewish communities in the us. Look at your post. Of course there's a pro Israel lobby in the US but thats different to the Jewish community (itself not a homogeneous group) and they are not responsible for US inertia anyway. If the US intervenes it'll be against assad, obviously, so it makes no sense what you're suggesting in any case
Still reading through the thread, but I find it interesting that generally people are complaining that politically the US sticks their nose into everything and now they are not jumping in with both feet people are STILL complaining. I'm not really a huge Obama fan, and I'm American, but I'm not really sure what to think on this one. Yes, it's horrible, but the US isn't the world's police either - why does the US have to take the lead (and then take the criticism for doing so)? Why doesn't someone else step up?
I think both the US and the UK are weary of being the world's policemen.
When you see footage like we've recently seen from Syria it's only natural that people say "Something should be done".
What that 'something' actually is and who does it are both rather more difficult questions to answer.
Slightly miffed that my post was deleted since it didn't break any guidelines in my opinion.
This is the quote from Wetaugust's post:
"A civil war that keeps Syrians occupied stops them supporting Hizbollah, if only temporarily and that suits Israel and the Jewish US communities."
Jewish US communities have absolutely nothing to do with what's going on in Syria. And, yes, I think that sounds anti-semitic. This breaks no Mumsnet guidelines - it's not a personal attack, it's no goading, it's not breaking the law. It pisses me off that posts are deleted willy nilly because someone doesn't like what was posted.
Oh, and I took a leaf from your book Wetaugust and had a look at your previous posts (even though what you said I'd posted wasn't true). I noticed that you're a rabid UKIP supporter (well, there's a surprise!) and that you have accused other posters of using racism to stifle debate. Plus le change, plus la meme chose.
You'll probably report this as a personal attack which admittedly it probably is but since you felt comfortable doing it, maybe it's OK, let's see...
I don't know a lot. I appreciate the education here.
What I DO know is that it is bitterly ignorant having the 'it's not our problem'/'not with my taxes' argument.
We live in a globalized society and do not live in isolation and separation from the middle east.
I have no idea who Assad is, he is married to a British women, i know that. Who is he?
Most importantly, there are human beings living there being killed.
Sometimes trying to 'do good' actually results in more harm than good.
Without looking him up so this is from memory, Assad's father was the President of Syria for donkey's years. He was training his eldest son to take over from him while the younger son went off to study to be an optometrist and ended up working in the North of England.
Unfortunately Assad's eldest son got killed which meant the youngest (the optometrist) was next in line to be President when his father died. Father did die, Assad the elder did eventually die and younger inherited the Presidency
In a nut shell
*This is the quote from Wetaugust's post:
"A civil war that keeps Syrians occupied stops them supporting Hizbollah, if only temporarily and that suits Israel and the Jewish US communities."*
Jewish US communities have absolutely nothing to do with what's going on in Syria. And, yes, I think that sounds anti-semitic.
I'm with you all the way, Kungfutea.
I am astounded Eldritch that you think my post is anti-Semitic when I am merely stating a reason for the US not to get itself involved in Syria - i.e. to do nothing. So being passive, by not getting involved in a war is anti-Semitic is it in some weird twisted way?
Or are you construing it that the supposed anti-semitcism is present because I think the US should get itself involved in Syria bit cannot do so because of the feeling of some of it's minority communities - because if so, that was not what my post stated at all.
What's anti-Semitic about that? It is a pure statement of fact.
Why jump to label someone who is )as another poster has already pointed out just giving a real) politik observation of the state of affairs as she perceives it?
If this is the quality of debate on this board it's hardly surprising it doesn't get many contributors.
I would love for the UN to decide to do something which would stop the bloodshed and bring peace to Syria. I just can't see an action which wouldn't cause civilian deaths. Plus more when eventually UN troops move out of Syria and the country settles back to full independence.
So donate to the DEC, campaign for support for refugees and prevent more weapons entering Syria is all we can do without risking making things worse.
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