Latest attack in Syria

(428 Posts)
Jammybean Wed 21-Aug-13 22:11:31

Just watching BBC news, they were frantically trying to save a toddler who was convulsing . I feel physically sick.

celticclan Wed 21-Aug-13 22:13:57

Unbelievable. My heart goes out to the people of Syria. We have waited too long and too many lives have been lost. The rest of the world must now take action against the murderous regime.

Jammybean Wed 21-Aug-13 22:15:30

I don't understand why nothing is being done. The world watches whilst Assad continues bombing innocent children.

Jammybean Wed 21-Aug-13 22:18:27

I don't get what other atrocities he needs to commit before we say "this needs to stop"! I know the issues are far more complex but I feel so angry.

FourGates Wed 21-Aug-13 22:39:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BlingBang Thu 22-Aug-13 02:18:16

Seems the toddler didn't make it - poor beautiful little boy. Just don't know what's happening there and who's doing what. So may different claims and stories coming through. If this can be confirmed and laid at Assad's door then surely he can't walk from this.

fromparistoberlin Thu 22-Aug-13 12:13:43

there are no words, really.

Horrific beyond words

may all their blessed souls rest in peace, its just so awful that I cant even get my head around the evil

and I have no idea what can be done, bar invading them. and that diod not exactly work last time did it

nenevomito Thu 22-Aug-13 12:16:40

I watched that last night and seeing those children broke my heart. I'm not a sentimental person at all, but it was horrifc. Utterly horiffic.

diyfan Thu 22-Aug-13 14:23:30

Beyond words. Surely we can sometime, somewhere come up with something to end these atrocities. Heartbreaking every time it happens. There have been so many.

currentbuns Thu 22-Aug-13 17:46:16

There seems to be some confusion about who is responsible. Assad is clearly evil beyond words, yet many people are claiming that the rebels are just as bad. I don't know what to think. Then those images of the dead, those innocent children, it's just awful beyond words.

filee777 Thu 22-Aug-13 19:15:38

I'm sorry I dont buy it, the UN have investigators just a 20min drive away from where this attack happened looking for chemical weapons.

I am not disagreeing this attack happened, but I dont believe it was the government.

Something needs to be done about Syria but I dont think removing the system of government and allowing a free-for-all of these 'rebel' forces who seem quite happy to brutally murder children to 'frame' the government is the answer.

BlingBang Thu 22-Aug-13 21:35:41

I wouldn't put anything past the rebels either, those that are mercenaries or fanatics and have been flown in for someone's agenda. Hard to know what the answer is - I admit I don't really understand it all.

LadyMaryQuiteContrary Thu 22-Aug-13 21:37:49

I may be living in a parallel universe, but there were news reports and images about them doing this months ago and the world did nothing.

filee777 Fri 23-Aug-13 08:13:12

Well, the un sent in chemical weapons experts to check the situation but they have been denied access to much of Syria by both the government and the rebels.

There is huge speculation about who is doing the killing and certainly the 'rebels' have a lot more to gain from international involvement.

Doobydoo Fri 23-Aug-13 19:08:02

The UN are as much use as a chocolate teapot!...iT IS ALL so hideous.1 million children are refugees....why cannot someone assasinate him? Then again what would happen then?
Utter nightmare

meditrina Fri 23-Aug-13 19:12:45

It's horrible, isn't it.

And there is no easy solution to a civil war.

Either you let it be fought out without spilling over (and we see more atrocities) or you go in to depose the loathsome regime. But unless you have a clear idea for a post-conflict plan, you're re-running Iraq. And I think there is even less certainty about an alternative regime in Syria than there was in Iraq. Neither of these options is palatable.

Anyone any ideas for others?

filee777 Fri 23-Aug-13 19:20:54

My idea would be to make it absolutely illegal to sell weapons to cunts. If caught selling weapons to cunts you get jail for life.

It really comes down to regulating the arms trade

Meglet Fri 23-Aug-13 20:00:50

Is it still Russia and China who are blocking the UN from going in? Does every member have to agree, or do certain countries have more say than others?

I know the UN have to deal with it in a cool headed way just as well I'm not a diplomat, but I don't know how they can sleep at night. There have already been massacres in Syria and it seems they'll wait for another one.

NiceTabard Fri 23-Aug-13 20:58:52

Russia have said the UN need to be allowed in - on BBC reporting today.

Don't know what China saying.

meditrina Fri 23-Aug-13 21:26:59

The UN both has to secure agreement (China usually abstains) from Security Council, and also find who will actually send the troops.

The UN cannot order a country to supply Forces, and has none of its own. Dealing with troop contributing countries is not straightforward (see what happened in Yugoslavia), nor is constructing a workable mission if UN cannot muster numbers/types of troops, expertise and equipment initially hoped for.

NicholasTeakozy Fri 23-Aug-13 21:33:28

I can't believe Assad would be so stupid as to use chemical weapons whilst an inspection team are less than ten miles away. I can believe the rebels did it though. There was a report somewhere translated from a French news site stating that 'outside agents' have been in Syria since 17th August. I'll see if I can find it.

meditrina Fri 23-Aug-13 21:37:16

Remember Obama giving a warning a few months back to "those who guard the CW stockpiles"? It struck me as a (strangely) careful phrase at the time, and it could mean all sorts now.

SilverSixpence Fri 23-Aug-13 21:40:11

The news is so disturbing, I can't bear to watch the videos of children having fits or dead.

I wouldn't put it past Assad - what reason has the UN given him so far to fear them? As someone said, they are utterly powerless and he knows it. And if he didn't do it, then surely he would let the weapons inspectors in.

NicholasTeakozy Fri 23-Aug-13 21:46:47

If this article is to be believed we should be very afraid. If even half of it is true. Blimey.

This isn't the article I read earlier, that had a translation from a French site, sorry, can't find it atm.

Pan Fri 23-Aug-13 21:54:58

It's rare to find the Coalition govt being 'braver' than an Obama administration in these things, but Hague is clearly pointing the finger at Assad and is taking a lead in the UN - Obama is, unfortunatley, citing' grave concern' - where exactly is Obama's 'line' that he so bravely threatened a few months ago now happening? They want to avoid another expensive 'war on the other side of their world, but the shit relations with Russia over US spying means they are a bit hoisted. Obama is appearing (regularly now) as a cipher for his advisors.

comingalongnicely Fri 23-Aug-13 22:26:37

I wouldn't believe a word Hague says unless it was backed by irrefutable, independent evidence. Don't forget the "45 minutes WMD" that lead to us going into Iraq in 2003 - not a WMD has been found yet....

If Hague wants to go into Syria, it's not because of toddlers being gassed (by whoever) believe me.

Assad isn't stupid either, he knows bloody well that if he starts using gas the rest of the world will jump all over him.

The rebels have committed just as many atrocities as the govt forces - the only people that are consistently losing are the people that live in whatever city is being fought over today...

Try looking at other websites apart from Yahoo & the BBC if you want more impartial reporting. Al Jazeera is good, but by no means the only one out there.

Pan Fri 23-Aug-13 22:30:26

I'd disagree about Assad and the world jumping all over him. It hasn't so far and he's seemingly comfortable this year since the initial assaults were repelled.

holidaybug Fri 23-Aug-13 22:30:34

Just posted a thread in IABU. I can't believe we are again witnessing another human rights atrocity and no action is being taken. I'm with you Pan. Hague is taking a lead - Obama hasn't stepped up to the mark. The line has been crossed - he needs to put his money where his mouth is.

comingalongnicely Fri 23-Aug-13 22:50:30

But I don't want him putting his money into giving weapons and ammunition to people that are no better than those that are already in power. It solves nothing....

Look at Iraq, Look at Afghanistan, look at Libya - what difference has been made to the lives of the people that live there since the West intervened? Precious little....

Why is Haque so determined when it comes to dealing with Assad, but does nothing when it comes to dealing with Mugabe?

Try not to let the media tell you what to think. Research for yourself & then make up your mind.

Pan Fri 23-Aug-13 23:01:19

coming, thanks for those hints about opinion-forming. In fact, I've just formed one! We aren't as naive as you seem to imply

I don't think Hague is going out on a limb but he is stepping fwd, and I'd also suspect that Washington and no.10 are speaking as we type, and there's a few furried eye brows. It could be that the responses are being orchestrated (in fact highly likely), with a view to a UN resolution re intervention.

Pan Fri 23-Aug-13 23:14:27

And Hague, well yes politicians are suspect, and I did hear today Billy Connolly's comment that we shouldn't vote for them as it only encourages them. But Tony Benn has a bit of time for him, so even as a Tory politician I'm not going to dismiss his contribution out of hand.

comingalongnicely Fri 23-Aug-13 23:26:51

Excellent Pan, I assume you'll be popping down the recruitment office on Tuesday then as you're so keen to "go out on a limb"? (I've BTDT by the way)

Or do you just like to volunteer other people's loved ones & children for death & mutilation? (Because that's what'll happen, just like the 444 dead and the un-newsworthy amount of mutilated the UK has suffered in Afghan so far)

This is a bloody good case for National Service, if everyone's children had to serve, then maybe people would be less keen to send them off to war....

holidaybug Fri 23-Aug-13 23:31:31

Do our Army not expect to have to go to war or have I missed something?

Pan Fri 23-Aug-13 23:39:33

Okaaay! I said that H. isn't going out on a limb.

fwiw I don;t think you have BTDT, tbh. I am suspecting you are bigging yourself up a lot bit. But hey, who knows.

comingalongnicely Fri 23-Aug-13 23:55:39

Pan lol smile

Holidaybug The same as the Fire Brigade expect to go to fires but don't want to burn to death.

I joined up at 17 because it seemed like a fun life, had a whale of a time in the last years of Cold War Germany, got a tan during the first Gulf War (the legitimate one) and then had the joy of helping pick up the pieces in post-UN Bosnia.

I left but still have mates who are serving in Afghan at the moment & know a couple that have died over there.

I certainly wouldn't want my kids joining up & going over to these places & dying so that the same oppressive regime can come back into power the minute we leave & luckily neither of them are that way inclined.

My main gripe is - it's easy to send other people's kids over there. If it has to be done, then it has to be for the right reasons. I'm not convinced that 1200 people being allegedly gassed is much worse than the 95,000 that died before them.

One easy way for the killing to stop is for the "rebels" to stop,but they're quite happy to keep the killing going too - why on earth would anyone think their government would be any better?

Look at Libya, before we "liberated" them they had fantastic quality of life - their health service was fantastic, standards of living were high. Now they're in the same state as half of the other shitty little dust bowls - that's what the West did for them.

Anyway, rant over. Have a good weekend!!

holidaybug Sat 24-Aug-13 00:03:39

FWIW, I think the international community should have intervened well before this recent incident but that was vetoed by Russia and China. I know it's a complex issue and that intervention doesn't always produce the desired outcome. We'll see how events unfold over the next few days but I think we will see action in Syria. Not sure what form this will take and whether it will be effective but that is my gut feel.

HappyYoni Sat 24-Aug-13 00:03:39

What's BDTD??

Pan Sat 24-Aug-13 00:05:33

BTDT - Been There Done That Happy

HappyYoni Sat 24-Aug-13 10:49:26

Ah, Thankyou smile

filee777 Sat 24-Aug-13 14:35:20

Just wanted to say that coming I totally agree with you.

Libya and Iraq were much better off, funnily enough, BEFORE we bombed the shit out of them. It does no favours to anyone but the arms trade.

When a country is on the cusp of being economically sound, we find these reasons to go in and free the shit out of them.

It's about keeping them poor little countries, not about liberation or freedom.

MasterOfTheYoniverse Sat 24-Aug-13 16:50:33
NicholasTeakozy Sat 24-Aug-13 18:22:17
NicholasTeakozy Sat 24-Aug-13 18:38:54

RT are reporting the US are going to bombard Syria on Monday. Russia have said Syria has weapons not before seen in the middle east, which is slightly troubling. I have a feeling Russia might retaliate, and who knows where that will lead.

MiniTheMinx Sat 24-Aug-13 23:31:21

Egypt is a bloody mess too. Their economies will be trashed by the end of this. What I didn't realise until today is that Syria paid off its debt to the world bank and had made deals over all European debt. Before the uprising the Syrian economy was in growth and had been all the time under what is basically a "socialist" government. They had started to make some free market reforms but these reforms were obv not happening fast enough! I suspect that when everything has calmed down foreign investment will pour in, which means one thing, business as usual for corporations and Western banks.

The "civil War" has all the hallmarks of a CIA coup d'etat scheme. I don't think for one minute that Syrian government would use chemical weapons right under the noses of the Weapons inspectors. According to
NicholasTeakozy's link " According to the army, symptoms appeared minutes after opposition militants detonated two explosive devices"

America has instigated two previous coups in Syria 1949 & 1957, the outcome of which wasn't entirely favourable and they have toyed with the idea of invading, Russia being the reason they haven't. www.us-foreign-policy-perspective.org/index.php?id=285

America is not above using or supplying weapons that have been banned. In Iraq they used banned white phosphorous. "Field Artillery, officers from the 2nd Infantry's fire support element boast about their role in the attack on Falluja in November last year: "White Phosphorous. WP proved to be an effective and versatile munition. We used it for screening missions at two breeches and, later in the fight, as a potent psychological weapon against the insurgents in trench lines and spider holes when we could not get effects on them with HE [high explosive]. We fired 'shake and bake' missions at the insurgents, using WP to flush them out and HE to take them out." www.theguardian.com/politics/2005/nov/15/usa.iraq

I doubt that Obama or Cameron are losing any sleep talking all night, the decisions were taken months ago, all that was needed was to make the threat "the red line" ensure that we all assimilated this into our thinking. For how long have we been talking about possible CWs????and then ensure that the "proof" was made available and that they had our support. They don't have mine.

BlingBang Sun 25-Aug-13 11:17:41

If that is Israel's feelings - are you surprised?

noddyholder Sun 25-Aug-13 11:19:52

Agree with Mini this is actually all cut and dried we are just being manipulated and when they think we are sufficiently horrified the US will strike. Terrifying., I loathe Obama think he is the very definition od a wolf in sheeps clothing

niceguy2 Sun 25-Aug-13 11:29:23

I'm not sure so that the US will be quick to attack. All signs are they're desperately trying not to get involved.

The last thing Obama needs is to be the president who drags the US into another conflict in the middle east after all the poltiical capital he's spent dragging them out of Iraq.

The US doesn't want to be seen as attacking yet another muslim country. Neither can they afford it. They're stretched financially and militarily after long drawn out conflicts in Iraq & Afghanistan.

And bear in mind that the 'rebels' are not a united group. The only thing they can agree upon is that they all hate Bashar.

Toppling the regime leaves a real mess in it's wake as we've seen in other countries. A vacuum of power which they'd all start fighting each other and the US be dutybound to try & sort out. All the time US soldiers are still dying.

There's simply no upside for Obama to getting involved and putting US soldiers in direct line of fire.

Personally I predict that the 'serious response' will be supply of arms and/or intel to the rebels. I really can't see the west putting boots on the ground at this stage.

MiniTheMinx Sun 25-Aug-13 12:49:06

NiceGuy can we be sure that America hasn't already been supplying "intel and arms" I'll find a link later to something I read a while back. It would seem that we have been training the rebels and equipping them long before this idea was mooted about in the press as a possibility.

In terms of popularity at home, this is the last thing Obama needs but presidents come and go and the imperialist warmongering continues, doesn't that tell you something?

MasterOfTheYoniverse Sun 25-Aug-13 13:20:47

Concur with mini.
It's all about creating foyers of instability and "Balkanization".
Seems like American foreign policy has very few options left but to let things fester and come to the rescue in pure comic style vintage superhero costume.
Thing is they don't understand the paradigm has changed.They do not have the humbling experience of colonialism to give them enough distance.
Europeans do seem to get it but are spineless.

MasterOfTheYoniverse Sun 25-Aug-13 16:27:34

So now the syrian "government" has allowed UN inspectors in to investigate.
Remember the night marie colvin and remi Ochlik died? in the fold of Arab league observers.?
Much ado about nothing. Its all posturing.

NicholasTeakozy Sun 25-Aug-13 18:30:23

This is the piece I read the other day and couldn't find. From Le Figaro:-

According to our information, the regime’s opponents, supervised by Jordanian, Israeli and American commandos moving towards Damascus since mid-August. This attack could explain the possible use of the Syrian president to chemical weapons.

According to information obtained by Le Figaro , the first trained in guerrilla warfare by the Americans in Jordan Syrian troops reportedly entered into action since mid-August in southern Syria, in the region of Deraa. A first group of 300 men, probably supported by Israeli and Jordanian commandos, as well as men of the CIA, had crossed the border on August 17. A second would have joined the 19. According to military sources, the Americans, who do not want to put troops on the Syrian soil or arming rebels in part controlled by radical Islamists form quietly for several months in a training camp set up at the border Jordanian- Syrian fighters ASL, the Free Syrian Army, handpicked.

Translation via Zero Hedge

NicholasTeakozy Sun 25-Aug-13 21:03:38

Now deleted article stating the US would sanction a chemical attack and then wade in.

Kungfutea Sun 25-Aug-13 21:48:26

It's no surprise that the best outcome for Israel is that a weakened Assad remains in place - Israeli commentators have been saying this for ages, I remember hearing it on Israeli TV back in January. Although Assad's support for Hezbollah was a problem, Assad kept the Syrian border quiet and Israel knew how to deal with Assad having had either the father or the son for last 40-odd years.

That's not to say that people in Israel aren't horrified by what's happening in Syria, of course, and many Syrian civilians are being treated (secretly) in Israeli hospitals.

MiniTheMinx Sun 25-Aug-13 23:18:00

"Obama authorizes secret U.S. support for Syrian rebels" in Aug 2012

www.reuters.com/article/2012/08/01/us-usa-syria-obama-order-idUSBRE8701OK20120801

They are happy to arm known Islamist Terrorists, Al-Qaeda, why? because they always have been? maybe? who knows!

longfingernails Mon 26-Aug-13 12:55:57

Let the Middle East sort it out the 'international response' themselves (and let Obama dither more, if he likes). It's their problem, not ours. Iraq was a monumental disaster - Bush should have focussed all resources on finding Bin Laden and other senior Al Qaeda quickly in Afghanistan, and then quickly gotten out. And this is a million times worse.

These crazies (on both sides), fortunately, are not (currently) a threat to Britain. We have enough problems of our own. If the cost of intervention is almost guaranteed disaster, then usually it is best to stick with the status quo.

However we should increase defence expenditure significantly. It's a dangerous world. We have to be prepared for it.

CoteDAzur Mon 26-Aug-13 13:16:52

Mini - The article you linked to says "The White House is for now apparently stopping short of giving the rebels lethal weapons" and is about the US providing intelligence to Syrian rebels, not arms.

Animation Mon 26-Aug-13 13:17:39

Hopefully USA and Britain have learnt lessons after Iraq.

Rather than call all out war on a country - it seems to me you go get the evil individuals who start it. Countries don't start wars - it's usually a psychopath.

CoteDAzur Mon 26-Aug-13 13:22:50

Are you saying UK should assassinate the President of Syria?

Animation Mon 26-Aug-13 13:32:12

I don't know who is the evil bastard behind the atrocities but if he is the man - why target anyone else - (dead or alive).

CoteDAzur Mon 26-Aug-13 13:46:26

I think I'll just pretend you never said that.

Animation Mon 26-Aug-13 13:56:25

Why?

What would you do?

MiniTheMinx Mon 26-Aug-13 15:00:36

Arms have been pouring in over the Turkish boarder, apparently these are from Saudi and Qatar, many are U.S made. If America really didn't want the Islamist rebels armed they wouldn't sit back and condone (or encourage) the Saudis. I think it will be years before we finally get to hear whether the CIA have been stoking up the unrest from the start. Maybe they have, maybe they haven't.

What happens after they oust Bashar al-Assad? I suppose thousands more will be killed by sectarian struggle for control.

Another interesting thing in the news today "Mugabe Threatens Western Firms Over Sanctions" apparently Mr Mugabe objects to sanctions, imperialism, economic asymmetry and wants firms that operate in Zimbabwe to hand over 51% shares to black Zimbabwe people and then went on to say his rivals are "pathetic puppets" and "western-sponsored stooges" I wonder at what point the West decides that Zimbabwe hasn't made the necessary neo-liberal reforms that would allow western banks and corporations to steal from its people, will we then march into Zimbabwe because this is how it works when economic sanctions, CIA trouble making and threats fail to force free market reform.

Nat37 Mon 26-Aug-13 15:26:48

What I find so astonishing is how people are still stupid enough not to see that the brutal thugs, sorry "rebels" that are killing and maiming innocent people, including decapitating Christians in Syria and eating the organs of a soldier, always seem to do no wrong in the eyes of the meida! Seriously, there is so much misinformation and uneducated towards the facts surrounding the violence in Syria that it's sickening!

Nat37 Mon 26-Aug-13 15:30:01

Well said MinitheMinx! At last someone with an education! smile

ThelastBloke Mon 26-Aug-13 15:53:12

As said before the one thing over looked is that many of the "rebels" are actually are enemy for reasons I'm sure you all know.

Now i ain't against military intervention but we can't have "boots on the ground". It's just too dangerous.

So we have this situation now in which if we help the rebels then Syria would see a lot more atrocities on minority groups WHICH our friendly Bashar al-Assad has actually been protecting. Syria would be a pile of rubble and there will still be fighting because the rebels would be squawking over who gets what.

The Assad regime had Syria pretty nicely sewn up until this all kicked off. Things had been ticking over pretty well until then, it was even considered to be a luxurious and cultural holiday destination. The rebels kicked this off simply because they didn't like the fact that their leader worshipped Allah in a very slightly different (and less extreme) way to them.

Now ask yourselves this...

Where are these rebels getting arms from?
Are they the same group of radicals that are shooting at the lads on Herrick?
Are the Rebel's the ones popping agents and gases (not Assad's forces)?
Who can be trusted?

(By the hello! My first post you see...)

CoteDAzur Mon 26-Aug-13 16:06:58

Animation - I wouldn't do a thing except point out to you what a dumb bad idea it is to advocate assassinating foreign heads of state. I thought I would spare you, but let me know if you really need to be told and I will explain.

flatpackhamster Mon 26-Aug-13 16:13:28

Animation

I don't know who is the evil bastard behind the atrocities but if he is the man - why target anyone else - (dead or alive).

OK. So let's say you knock over the evil dictator causing the atrocities. What then? How does it change the lives of the people in the country for the better?

MiniTheMinx

Arms have been pouring in over the Turkish boarder, apparently these are from Saudi and Qatar, many are U.S made. If America really didn't want the Islamist rebels armed they wouldn't sit back and condone (or encourage) the Saudis.

Most of the rebels' weapons are derivatives of the Soviet-built AK-47. If you watch the TV, you can see that Assad's forces are entirely armed with Soviet equipment, because Syria was a Soviet puppet during the Cold War. Look at their AA. Look at their technicals. Look at their sidearms and their support weapons. All Russian made.

This is a religious war between Sunni and Shi'a, and it's a fallout of the Cold War, just as Libya, and Egypt, and Tunisia are.

Although it is amusing that the usual suspects have turned up to blame the Americans. Wasn't George Galloway claiming this week that the CIA has been plotting with Al-Qaeda?

Animation Mon 26-Aug-13 16:35:33

CoteDAzur

You have a superior wisdom to me I am sure.

I think the psychopathic murderer/ murders should be the target, whoever they are, not the people of Syria. And not NECESSARILY kill them James Bond style - maybe haul them in.

I don't KNOW who they are - maybe MI5 know.

Animation Mon 26-Aug-13 16:37:57

'OK. So let's say you knock over the evil dictator causing the atrocities. What then?'

Is he the one - the psychopathic murderer - I don't know?

MiniTheMinx Mon 26-Aug-13 21:06:33

>This is a religious war between Sunni and Shi'a, and it's a fallout of the Cold War, just as Libya, and Egypt, and Tunisia are.

I agree with you that this is situation is as a result of what went before.

>Although it is amusing that the usual suspects have turned up to blame the Americans. Wasn't George Galloway claiming this week that the CIA has been plotting with Al-Qaeda?

I don't know what George Galloway has had to say but I think he know substantially more about middle east politics than Joe bloggs. America was training & funding the Mujahideen in Afghanistan during the cold war. Osama Bin Laden was helping to fund this and he too was being trained by the CIA. Bush Snr had connections to the Bin laden family through the Carlyle Group. Bush, the father of President Bush, worked for the bin Laden family business in Saudi Arabia through the Carlyle Group, this was reported in the Wall Street Journal soon after the September 11 attacks.

"Afghan President Hamid Karzai once admitted that with the US military bases established permanently in Afghanistan there’ll be economic prosperity and end to the violence in the country. At the same time, the US economy continues in dire straits yet little is being done to address it."

The historian and journalist Nick Turse explained, “What I’m relatively sure of is that there are no less than 1,077 US bases or sites in foreign countries….and likely there are many more than that, we just can’t be sure.” rt.com/usa/usa-empire-military-bases/

"We're under great threat, because we occupy so many countries," Paul said. "We're in 130 countries. We have 900 bases around the world. We're going broke." Ron Paul (nut Job) but even those on the right conclude that the American Empire is near collapse and has overstretched itself www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2011/sep/14/ron-paul/ron-paul-says-us-has-military-personnel-130-nation/

But why? is it because the American state wants to extend Western style democracy or is it just protecting America? Or is because America, the land of the corporations and the biggest investment banks has a revolving door policy with wall street and seeks to extend capitalism into every part of the globe. Even if other countries have elected socialist governments the American state has sought to impose sanctions, economic asymmetries, CIA coups and threats of invasion on cooked up charges. The fact is capital must be allowed to grow, in order to do this it must plunder the entire globe and America has set itself up as the defender of this system.

How many bases does Russia have?

"The Soviet Union used to have a wide military presence abroad, with bases in Cuba, Poland, Germany, Finland, Somalia, Vietnam, Ethiopia, Yemen, Egypt, Syria and Libya, but eventually these were shut down. Modern Russia has 25 military bases abroad: one located in Syria, and the rest in the former Soviet states of Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Belarus, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Moldova" rt.com/news/russian-military-bases-abroad/

Syria is strategically important to Russia. Do the Americans have a military base in Syria? do they want one?

Do they care whether sectarian violence continues long after Assad is ousted or whether the Syrian people have democracy. They couldn't give a shit even if the country is run by a Islamist dictator as long as that dictator allows them their base and enacts neo-lib reform that benefits corporations/banks.

NicholasTeakozy Mon 26-Aug-13 22:01:36

<applauds Mini for that last post>

We in the west have governments that are run for the benefit of corporations, not people. Until neoliberalism is overturned we will always advocate war against countries that don't follow the same shit doctrine.

MiniTheMinx Mon 26-Aug-13 22:59:05

When Bashar al-Assad took over from his father 11% of the population was living in poverty. The government was Arab Socialist Ba'athist. Assad started to reform the economy along free market lines and within 10 years 30% of the population is living in poverty. No doubt some people started rioting because of this but what they will ultimately end up with is more neo-liberalism and more poverty post Assad.

filee777 Tue 27-Aug-13 07:34:06

I think it would be naive to think there was 'one' psychopathic murderer, middle Eastern countries are very tribal and so you tend to get a lot of hate from various sides.

The reason life is better under a cuntish dictator than under a free-for-all is because at least you know which rules not to break (however strict or tough they are) under a free for all you just don't know who will be killing you next.

niceguy2 Tue 27-Aug-13 11:53:13

Well...it looks like I may be wrong. It looks like DC will be stupid enough to maybe lobbing missiles. I guess we'd only do it though if the US did too. I can't see even DC being stupid enough to start any action unilaterally.

The best quote I've read from a general is that we '..shouldn't start anything we cannot finish' I can only hope that Downing Street has been given the same advice.

As abhorrent as chemical weapons are, lobbing a few cruise missiles into a foreign country without any realistic means of following it up isn't going to help anything.

The Syrian government will hate us more. The rebels will also hate us for doing half a job. We kill some humans....and for what?

I really hope this is all just sabre rattling. For once I couldn't agree more with Russia & China. Who knew...they'd be the good guys and we're the bad!

crescentmoon Tue 27-Aug-13 12:31:39

"Iran is with Bashar
The Gulf are against Bashar
Bashar is against Ikhwan
The Ikhwan are against Sisi
The Gulf are with Sisi
Which means they're against Ikhwan
Iran is with Hamas
But Hamas are with Ikhwan
America is with Israel
And Hamas are against America
The Gulf are with America
And America is against al-Qaeda
Al-Qaeda are against Bashar
The Gulf are with al-Qaeda in Syria
The Gulf are against the Bahraini opposition
The Bahraini opposition are with Tamarrod,
Tamarrod are with Sisi,
Hosni imprisoned Morsi
Morsi imprisoned Hosni,
Sisi imprisoned Morsi and released Hosni!
And so the story continues... to no end."

flatpackhamster Tue 27-Aug-13 12:40:13

MiniTheMinx

I was trying to write a reply to this post but really all you're doing is regurgitating the same old flannel. Look at your source - Russia Today. You're quoting from fucking Pravda.

All I'll say is this - what a crying shame it is you never actually lived in a communist country under the Soviets, because I've never met a single person - not one - who lived under it who thought it was better than the alternative. Except for lovely rich westerners living in a free market democracy which they pretend to despise so much, while lapping up its liberties and its wealth.

When Bashar al-Assad took over from his father 11% of the population was living in poverty. The government was Arab Socialist Ba'athist. Assad started to reform the economy along free market lines and within 10 years 30% of the population is living in poverty. No doubt some people started rioting because of this but what they will ultimately end up with is more neo-liberalism and more poverty post Assad.

I know that socialists are famous for their ignorance about arithmetic, and that's why every time Labour gets in to power it fucks the economy. But watch carefully:

You have 100 people. The average salary is $10. 11 people only earn $4. 11% of the population is 'in poverty'.

The average salary rises to $40. 30 people earn $25. 30% of the population is 'in poverty'. Even though the bottom third earn 2 1/2 times more, under your system, they're 'in poverty'.

In 2000 Syria's GDP was $19 Billion. In 2010 it was $60 Billion. The country's GDP trebled in 10 years.

noddyholder Tue 27-Aug-13 12:42:37

THis looks like disaster.

noddyholder Tue 27-Aug-13 12:44:08
NicholasTeakozy Tue 27-Aug-13 13:04:55

that's why every time Labour gets in to power it fucks the economy

Nothing to do with the banks then? Of course not, it's Neoliberalman, riding to the rescue to privatise the profits and socialise their debts. As usual.

As far as RT goes I trust it more than I do the BBC or what passes for independent media in this country. Fwiw, you'll probably find similar on Aljazeera, or alternative news sites.

niceguy2 Tue 27-Aug-13 13:26:42

what a crying shame it is you never actually lived in a communist country under the Soviets, because I've never met a single person - not one - who lived under it who thought it was better than the alternative.

I'd agree with that. My wife grew up under a communist regime. She thinks that socialists are idiots.

flatpackhamster Tue 27-Aug-13 13:32:01

NicholasTeakozy

Nothing to do with the banks then? Of course not, it's Neoliberalman, riding to the rescue to privatise the profits and socialise their debts. As usual.

Yes, yes, the same old refrain. As usual. It's never the fault of nice socialists that their dreadful schemes fail, it's always someone evil plotting outside who ruins it all. You guys sound like conspiracy theorists. Which in many respects is what you are.

As far as RT goes I trust it more than I do the BBC or what passes for independent media in this country. Fwiw, you'll probably find similar on Aljazeera, or alternative news sites.

Have you lived in a communist country?

EldritchCleavage Tue 27-Aug-13 14:18:33

I wonder at what point the West decides that Zimbabwe hasn't made the necessary neo-liberal reforms that would allow western banks and corporations to steal from its people

What utter fucking bollocks, Mini. They are already stealing from its people very nicely thank you with the help of Mugabe and Zanu-PF, which sits atop a very efficient kleptocracy hand-in-glove with Western and SA mining companies and the like. The Zimbabwe regime is very friendly to discreet Western partners, so if 'the West' ever does go in, it won't be to facilitate business deals, there's no need.

MiniTheMinx Tue 27-Aug-13 15:06:04

noddyholder They are loons. To think these people have such power is truly scary. Hillary Clinton is laughing like a mad women and then goes on to say about someone presumably Iran or terrorists (again) attacking the U.S because that would legitimise the regime. All roads lead to Tehran. The Americans put the Shah in place and they haven't been happy since that evil bastard was ousted out by the Iranian people.

I found this interesting www.michaelparenti.org/iran_and_everything_else.html

The Iranians have today said that they have some evidence that shows that the rebels are responsible.

flatpackhamster, you are obsessed with Communism to the point of derangement, get over it, its boring. Insinuating that everyone on the left is a labour voting Champagne socialist, a Trot or Stalinist makes you look very silly. Its a little like claiming that all right wingers are working class turkeys voting for Christmas because of ignorance. Clearly there are some that are wealthy and privileged who do very well from a system of exploitation.

MiniTheMinx Tue 27-Aug-13 15:14:19

I haven't said otherwise EldritchCleavage, I'm sure that Mugabe and his chums do very well whilst telling the people that the wealth is shared. What you say makes perfect sense of why Britain and U.S haven't done anything.

Rooners Tue 27-Aug-13 15:28:47

I am really scared. Can anyone say anything conforting at all please?

flatpackhamster Tue 27-Aug-13 16:32:41

MiniTheMinx

flatpackhamster, you are obsessed with Communism to the point of derangement, get over it, its boring.

I will if you will. Look, simple question. Which communist countries have you lived in? When were you there? Because it'd be quite wierd to be espousing a system of governance and economy (which you are) while having absolutely no first-hand experience of conditions in one. Your posts mourn the loss of the evil Soviet system, you post endlessly about how dreadful capitalism and democracy are and I'd just like to be reassured that you actually lived under communism and know what it's really like.

I haven't, but then I'm not telling everyone how amazing it is.

Insinuating that everyone on the left is a labour voting Champagne socialist, a Trot or Stalinist makes you look very silly.

It would if I did. I do meet normal rational people who vote Labour. But the problem is that everyone here is one of those three. And the further to the left they are, as a rule, the less actual real experience of the real world they tend to have. Naice middle class marxists with their university jobs and their public sector pensions, never having spent time outside their bubble of privilege. And it is privilege to travel through your life, going to school, then university, then never leaving academia and imagining that you have any comprehension of real life.

Clearly there are some that are wealthy and privileged who do very well from a system of exploitation.

I have literally no idea what this is referring to. Did you read the numbers I laid out for you? You seem to have skipped over them. Is a tripling of GDP 'exploitation'? Is a huge increase in income even for the poorest 'exploitation'?

flatpackhamster Tue 27-Aug-13 16:33:05

Rooners
I am really scared. Can anyone say anything conforting at all please?

Don't worry, Barack Obama will intervene. Eventually.

noddyholder Tue 27-Aug-13 16:35:38

Obama? Now I am scared

fromparistoberlin Tue 27-Aug-13 17:21:11

"I am really scared. Can anyone say anything conforting at all please?"

No, unfortunately I am starting to think its 50:50 likelihood to be the rebel forces. both are evil frankly

so, how can we intervene? Kill everyone? what the fuck are an army supposed to do, as any attack will kill as many innocents as guilty

The only logical solution would be to provide aid for the many refugee camps, and ensure that the innocents who escape have somewhere to rest their head. That would be cheaper than war too. then I guess sit it out? But civil wars as we know last for decades.

Sorry, its unspeakably awful and I can see no end in sight, and no solution

there is a Syrian mum at school, not seen her all summer. I will weep when I see her I think sad

ElenorRigby Tue 27-Aug-13 18:42:01

MiniTheMinx wrote:
"Arms have been pouring in over the Turkish boarder, apparently these are from Saudi and Qatar, many are U.S made. If America really didn't want the Islamist rebels armed they wouldn't sit back and condone (or encourage) the Saudis. I think it will be years before we finally get to hear whether the CIA have been stoking up the unrest from the start. Maybe they have, maybe they haven't.

What happens after they oust Bashar al-Assad? I suppose thousands more will be killed by sectarian struggle for control. "

Anyone else remember the conditioning we the UK population we exposed to 10+ years ago?

WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION. WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION. WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION. WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION.

Back then people didnt buy it despite the PR. I, with at least another million strong Stop the (Iraq) War protest in London.

TonyB Lair dismissed our MASSIVE protest as we got the bus home.

According to the Lancet in 2008, 650,000 Iragi people had been killed thus far (back then)

NOW they want killl lot's of Syrians too.

Marvellous angry

MiniTheMinx Tue 27-Aug-13 18:53:57

Hamster, if you want to discuss communism so badly start a thread about it.

Who are these "normal rational people" who vote labour? If you are telling me that these normal rational people are working class and these are the people you know, am I to extrapolate from this that you are working class? Am I allowed to make assumptions as you do? If so, I guess you are a turkey voting for Christmas and not one of the wealthy privileged who benefit from this system of exploitation. To say that everyone here is not a "normal rational" person is making the mistake of thinking that anyone who is a "normal rational" left winger is probably an illiterate who can't type or use the internet. On the other hand if we allow ourselves to think everyone here who is on the left is an irrational middle class academic then we could so easily write off every right winger as being an unenlightened philistine who through some luck happens to have the ability to type, even if they make little sense. Or perhaps they are not, perhaps they are people who defend capital because they benefit from it even when they know that they are privileged, in which case that is not ignorance but immorality.

GDP is a measure of gross domestic product not a measure of wealth distribution.

niceguy2 Tue 27-Aug-13 19:48:58

What I want to know is what DC is doing to sort out the Spanish, not the Syria.

There's no upside with interfering with another middle east country. The rebels at best are the least worst choice. And even then only by a hair.

All the while Spain is fucking about in Gibraltar and the UK government seems to be doing fuck all.

Lazyjaney Wed 28-Aug-13 00:04:44

Chemical Weapons of Mass Destruction. - groundhog day.

Why is killing people by Chemical weapons not ok, but shelling, shooting or stabbing them is OK.

We are being softened up to go stumbling into another war, and our politicians are lining up to go again.

NicholasTeakozy Wed 28-Aug-13 08:49:19

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

MiniTheMinx Wed 28-Aug-13 10:11:23

>We have never been at war with Al Qaida, we have always been at war with Al Assad". Indeed, but I would add to that we have always been at war with any country which is anti-imperialist. Capital goes to war on everything and everyone that stands between it and growth.

Why might Iran or NK develop nuclear weapons? might it be because the experience of the cold war points to the fact that America will not strike a country that has nuclear weapons. It has ridden roughshod over virtually all other poorer, undeveloped or social democratic countries, using a variety of cooked up reasons ranging from human rights abuses, to the belief that those countries harbour terrorists. Russia have warned that a strike against Syria will create a sort of war not seen before in the middle east.

Apparently the rebels have used chemical weapons, probably Sarin on two previous occasions which were given some coverage early on even in the mainstream press. This was duly glossed over and we are expected to believe that they haven't access to these relatively easily made chemicals now. Although it could have been supplied to them???

scriptonitedaily.wordpress.com/2013/08/27/us-general-wesley-clark-war-on-syria-planned-in-1991-as-part-of-middle-east-land-grab/
The Americans have been planning to go into Syria since 1991.

niceguy2 Wed 28-Aug-13 10:32:14

How strong is the evidence?

According to John Kerry, it's 'common sense' that this is the work of Assad.

Let's for a moment say it is. Let's say common sense dictates that it is Assad. So what?

In both the UK & US we don't put anyone in prison unless the state can prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty.

So given we don't put a single person in prison without a mountain of evidence, why the fuck would we/should we be happy to bomb them based on 'common sense'.

They'd better have some damn good evidence.

MiniTheMinx Wed 28-Aug-13 10:48:12

Absolutely, niceguy we wouldn't take away a persons liberty on gut instinct, wishful thinking or common sense but we'll happily murder millions of innocents.

CoteDAzur Wed 28-Aug-13 10:50:17

Actually, it's not common sense at all.

Assad is UK educated and has lived there for many years. He understands the Western mindset and knows as well as the rest of us that using chemical weapons is the one thing that will galvanise foreign public opinion for invasion of his country.

Common sense says that Assad would avoid this at all cost.

CoteDAzur Wed 28-Aug-13 10:52:37

"Have you lived in a communist country?" is a very relevant question, actually.

You wouldn't claim a food is delicious without tasting it. You wouldn't say anal sex is great if you have never tried it. And you really shouldn't go on about how wonderful a regime communism is if you have never lived in a communist country.

niceguy2 Wed 28-Aug-13 11:00:56

Oh I agree with you Cote. In my opinion it's not common sense at all. But my point is even if it were, it's still not enough evidence to warrant bombing the crap out of them and risking innocent people being caught as 'collateral damage'

Do the politician's really not see that the more we stick our noses into their business, the more they hate us?

CoteDAzur Wed 28-Aug-13 11:07:37

Politicians' reasoning probably takes into consideration that the rebels are religious fundamentalists. If they take power, they are likely to turn their back to western interests. And frankly, nobody wants another Iran.

So, if Assad is on the way out, they might consider it a better strategy to go in and bring to power a puppet government someone more Western.

NicholasTeakozy Wed 28-Aug-13 11:07:43

"Have you lived in a communist country?" is a very relevant question, actually.

If he'd asked "have you lived under a totalitarian regime?" that would've been more relevant.

CoteDAzur Wed 28-Aug-13 11:14:12

That would be more relevant only if she were singing praises to totalitarian regimes. She is not. She is singing praises to communism. So the question "Have you ever lived in a communist country?" is very relevant.

MiniTheMinx Wed 28-Aug-13 11:42:53

I'm sure Martin Luther King, Pankhurst and even Florence Nightingale were considered "progressive" fruit loops in their time, all of the civil liberties we enjoy are as a result of people questioning and struggling against the status quo. In retrospect we look back and think that these people were rational. When the peasants revolted creating the material conditions that could allow capitalism to take shape, they didn't know what would come out of their struggle, they only struggled against existing conditions.

We can not conceive of what might come out of capitalism only that something will. I am not singing the praises of any "regime" country or politics, I am a Marxist in so far as I have a Marxist conception of history, economics and society. So no, it is not necessary to live under communism to critique capital, it is necessary to live under capitalism to critique capitalism.

CoteDAzur Wed 28-Aug-13 11:50:57

Sorry but grin at the thought that an advocate of Marxism in 2013 would be considered "progressive".

Anyway, the thread isn't about you. If it is clear to all why the question was asked (and the answer is clear, too: you have never lived under communism), let's go back to Syria.

EldritchCleavage Wed 28-Aug-13 12:16:22

I'm all for passionate debate but it really isn't ok to call someone a fucking dullard, it just isn't.

NicholasTeakozy Wed 28-Aug-13 12:30:13

On RT they're reporting that America are launching attacks 'probably on Thursday', another pre-emptive strike. Have they learned nothing?

comingalongnicely Wed 28-Aug-13 12:58:04

Hmm, the [http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/may/6/syrian-rebels-used-sarin-nerve-gas-not-assads-regi/ Washington Times]] isn't convinced.

I think they should wait until the UN has finished it's investigations, but the trouble is, they've made up their minds to "liberate" the country now & nothing will stop them.

comingalongnicely Wed 28-Aug-13 12:59:00

Sorry - proper link here - Washington Times

flatpackhamster Wed 28-Aug-13 14:06:01

NicholasTeakozy

What has that got to do with anything you fucking dullard?

As I pointed out above, it would be weird to be espousing a system of government while never having experienced it. And judging by your reaction, and your tedious posts where you bleat on about the evils of capitalism on your Macbook from your centrally heated home, that's precisely what you're doing.

But of course there's little people like you hate more than having your ghastly hypocrisy exposed.

Are you seriously debating or are you trying to derail? Don't bother, we already know, we see the same bollocks all the time, most have stopped bothering because you constantly belittle those who disagree with you and your deranged right wing policies. Sorry, neoliberal policies.

Well God forbid I might not take you seriously when you've got so much wit, erudition and knowledge to contribute.

Here's a funny thing. The US, who created Al Qaida by funding the muhajideen in the 80s and then opposed them after Russia left Afghanistan are about to fight alongside Al Qaida again. "We have never been at war with Al Qaida, we have always been at war with Al Assad".

Here's a funny thing. The British and Americans were allied with the Soviet Union against the Axis powers between June 1941 and April 1945. Then there was the Cold War. But before June 1941, the Soviet Union was allied with the Axis powers. It was allied from August 1939, when it signed the agreement to divide up Poland with Nazi Germany.

Then there's Italy, an ally of Great Britain in WW1 and an Axis ally in WW2 until it switched sides.

The point being - since I have to spell everything out to the peanut gallery - that expecting everyone to stay 'on the same side' over a period of decades is ridiculous - but not nearly as ridiculous as attempting to claim that the US is going to fight "alongside Al Qaeda".

It's also questionable whether the US 'created Al Qaeda'. They funded the Mujahadeen to make life hell for the Soviets after the Soviets invaded Afghanistan - let's not forget to mention that the soviets INVADED AFGHANISTAN. Some of the people in the mujahadeen went in to Al Qaeda. But the US never created that exciting combination of religious fanaticism and loathing of the West.

Wannabestepfordwife Wed 28-Aug-13 14:13:27

I am slightly unsure as what communism has to do with Syria but that maybe me being ignorant.

However I do agree with the Russian sentiment of how can we attack without conclusive proof I don't logically see why Assad would have used chemical weapons it doesn't sit right with me.

I think we have to look to the Arab league, Iran and the UN to try to solve the situation.

If the west keeps interfering in the Arab world like this I can see a generation of people susceptible to joining terrorist causes as they will have grown up with the aftermath of our interventions

fromparistoberlin Wed 28-Aug-13 14:16:10

What has that got to do with anything you fucking dullard?

NOW NOW THEN

MiniTheMinx Wed 28-Aug-13 15:04:12

Wannabestepfordwife flatpackhamster thinks that shouting "red" at someone is going to discredit everything they say, that is why she is obsessed with asking q's about communism. CoteDAzur trust me its so fucking progressive and upsetting to the state that we now talk about racism, gender oppression and gay rights instead and blame all inequality on cultural and religious differences. And I agree its not about me but it would seem I am not allowed to defend myself from hamsters mud slinging and her constant insinuations and digging for personal information.

hamster what's with the history lesson? do you want another one. The Bush family bankrolled Hitler, the Bush family had business dealings with the Nazis and Al Qaeda. These rich white suits don't give a shit about us, never have, and not the Syrian people either. This next round of murder isn't pursued because of human rights. Its about greed and wealth and creating the political/economic situation throughout the globe that benefits their class of people.

If you look at the way in which social life has evolved under different modes of production, how social relations change, how families become tribes, tribes > city states, city States > nations and nations become interconnected through various trade/political agreements it is possible to see that with each change to the base structure/economic relations you get a situation of more connectedness. Of course it may be that as "Empires" have evolved, each becoming more powerful than the last that eventually differences that lead to conflict btw nations will be just a story in a history book. Of course we might run out of oil and degrade the planet or we might start a war to end all wars. And all wars thus far have been about material resources and power, the cultural and religious is just used as a means of obscuring the class relations under capital, just as racism could be invoked to justify slavery. Slave owners never thought that it was unnatural that Black people be enslaved. Black people thought differently.

EldritchCleavage Wed 28-Aug-13 15:07:41

Slave owners never thought that it was unnatural that Black people be enslaved. Black people thought differently

Slavery was pretty universal, actually, though the trans-Atlantic slave trade was unique in scale and brutality.

Wannabestepfordwife Wed 28-Aug-13 16:20:53

Thanks for clearing that up mini I was a tad confused as to what was going on

NicholasTeakozy Wed 28-Aug-13 17:28:09

bleat on about the evils of capitalism on your Macbook from your centrally heated home, that's precisely what you're doing.

What we have now isn't capitalism, it's neoliberalism. Capitalism is an exchange of capital. Because of neoliberalism we no longer manufacture and export more than we import. We have an economy based on services, mainly banking.

I am actually a capitalist, but not a greedy bastard like those running our financial corporations who gambled with our money and ran for a handout when their gambles failed. I don't own a Macbook, nor any Apple product. I have a 7 year old PC which I can't afford to replace until I save enough to do so.

Hillary Clinton talking around the creation of Al Qaida out of the ashes of the muhajideen after the US pulled out of Pakistan.

CoteDAzur Wed 28-Aug-13 19:05:31

Mini - No, actually, you trust me when I say that there is nothing "progressive" about advocating a political system that has been tried and tested about 100 years ago, and which failed spectacularly on all counts.

It's cute that you think so, though. Mini the Minx, ahead of her time, raising her left fist against the capitalists with revolutionary sparks in her eyes, bringing workers and peasants enlightenment and freedom from their chains. Bless smile (Sorry, I just couldn't resist it grin)

CoteDAzur Wed 28-Aug-13 19:08:13
SlowlorisIncognito Wed 28-Aug-13 19:52:11

I'm not sure it matters who used the chemical weapons in the short term. If they have been used (and certainly it seems something was used which killed a lot of people), then surely it's the purpose of the UN, and specifically the security council to try and prevent it from happening again? I think the international community has looked away from Syria for too long. It has also looked away from lots of other problems for too long, but this thread is about Syria.

My major worry is that the action is not going to be decided on the basis of "what is best for Syria?". It's going to be decided by what political leaders think will win them the most political points. Ed Miliband, for example, seems to be using the situation to point score against the government, rather than co-operating and trying to come up with a good solution. It's not the things he's saying (I agree we should wait for the UN weapons' inspectors findings before acting) but the way he is saying them. He seems more interested in defeating the government than suggesting possible courses of action.

I'm not in favour of David Cameron's proposed course of action WRT air strikes either. It seems like he is trying to avoid commiting to putting troops in on the ground and trying to interveen in a way that won't be too unpopular with the British people.

I'm not sure what the solution is, but we (as in the west) have pretty much ignored the situation for two and a half years now, and it hasn't got better- it's escalated. It's also starting to spill over into other parts of the middle east such as Lebanon, where there have been car bomb attacks by supports of both the rebels and Asad. I think it is getting to the stage where we are damned if we do act- because the outcome might be no better and it might provoke Iran- but also damned if we don't- because it is making the whole area more unstable, especially combined with current events in Egypt. It seems like lots of innocent Syrians will die either way.

I think it's good that the UK are trying to go through the UN, although I am sure they will do what they want to do regardless. I don't think we can rely on the Arab league sorting things out, as unfortunately many of those countries are not especially stable at the moment, so they won't be willing to commit large numbers of troops elsewhere.

Wannabestepfordwife Wed 28-Aug-13 20:54:55

Has anyone seen the update in the mail (sorry don't) know how to link)

Apparently refugees have been going over the Turkish border and it looks like they have been attacked by napalm

GoshAnneGorilla Wed 28-Aug-13 21:00:47

Quick question. Has anyone on this thread actually visited Syria?

Now a request. Please google Hama massacre and Tadmor prison massacre.

Final question, when people in Syria referred to someone being "behind the sun", what did they mean??

Wannabestepfordwife Wed 28-Aug-13 21:10:42

gosh which Hama massacre? I've found 3

niceguy2 Wed 28-Aug-13 21:13:05

By all means we should work through the UN. That's the whole bloody point of why it's there. But in this case it doesn't suit us because Russia & China are (understandably) saying there isn't enough evidence. And I have to agree with them at the moment.

I'm not in favour of David Cameron's proposed course of action WRT air strikes either. It seems like he is trying to avoid commiting to putting troops in on the ground and trying to interveen in a way that won't be too unpopular with the British people.

And that's exactly what scares me. How the hell do you bomb another country then go "well there! Hope you've learned your lesson!!"

The answer is you can't. Can you imagine if say Russia bombed us for having nukes and said "There! Serves you right!" Would we say "Oh yes... fair enough. We deserved that!"

No. We'd get fucking outraged and want to kill every Russian we could find. And that's what's going to happen here.

The US will lob some bombs just to show they're the world's policeman and all round 'good guys'. The UK will follow because we're just their lapdogs.

The Syrians and other muslim countries will hate our guts even more than we already do and our politician's will wonder why.

Unless we're willing to commit boots on the ground and put up with large loss of US/UK casualties, there really isn't any realistic 'winning' situation for us.

In which case what the fuck are we trying to do?

EldritchCleavage Wed 28-Aug-13 21:17:23

I suppose the idea is not to change the outcome of the civil war (which would take a massive intervention) but to impress on the Assads that the use of chemical weapons will attract reprisals, so it becomes militarily not worthwhile for them to do it again.

In which case targeted air strikes alone could be effective to do that.

MiniTheMinx Wed 28-Aug-13 21:19:42

err, confused cote Marx never espoused a political system he developed a social theory and critiqued capitalism grin He believed that communism would develop out of the struggle against capitalism, he didn't develop an ideology.

Yes we have neo-liberalism NicholasTeakozy but I would disagree that capitalism is characterised by swapping/exchanging capital. Pre-capitalist systems exchanged money/often confused as capital (should really make a distinction here). What characterises capitalism is waged work and accumulation and the specific social relations resulting from this.

Anyway back to Syria SlowlorisIncognito not only would committing ground troops be unpopular but potentially very expensive in terms of time, money and lives. Although I can't see how we could avoid committing ground troops a post Assad Syria because the various factions will continue frighting. Maybe it would have been different if they hadn't been supplied with arms?

The UN today couldn't reach a consensus.

MiniTheMinx Wed 28-Aug-13 21:23:53
CoteDAzur Wed 28-Aug-13 21:26:15

I was clearly talking about you, not Marx, who is not a MNer afaik.

You advocate communism which is a political system.

I sincerely hope that you are playing dumb smile

NicholasTeakozy Wed 28-Aug-13 21:29:14

Russia will launch strikes against Saudi Arabia if we attack Syria after being threatened by Prince Bandar with Chechen terror attacks during the Sochi Olympics. Frightening stuff.

MiniTheMinx Wed 28-Aug-13 21:39:46

Cote grin moi!

Off to read the Daily Mail now (don't tell anyone)

Niceguy, I agree with your last post. (don't tell ttosca I told you so)

Night all

Wannabestepfordwife Wed 28-Aug-13 21:45:14

Thanks for the link nicholasteakozy that is truly terrifying!

ophelia275 Thu 29-Aug-13 10:28:13

I don't think the West should get involved otherwise it has to intervene wherever their is a humanitarian crisis and it won't/hasn't done that. There are wars going on all the time worldwide and although what is happening in Syria is terrible, it pales into comparison to what happened in Darfur and nobody gave a fuck about them for some reason (it seems that African lives are not as precious as others).

I also wonder why it is the duty of Western countries to deal with this? Surely the other Arab/Muslim states (especially the rich gulf ones) should be intervening to stop the slaughter of their beloved brethren?

If the West does get involved it will be the whole Iraq/Afghanistan situation again with endless lives lost (on all sides) and nothing really achieved. We will be seen as imperialists rather than saviours of the local population. I think we should have learned our lessons from Iraq that the Middle East is a very complicated place and we shouldn't get involved in something we really don't understand. What has happened is terrible but getting involved would probably cause even more lives to be lost in the long run and I don't think it is worth it.

scaevola Thu 29-Aug-13 22:35:41

The Government has lost today's vote in the Commons.

How can UK play a credible international role now?

bunchoffives Thu 29-Aug-13 22:35:51

Just heard Parliament have voted against military action in principle.

Yay - some lessons obviously learnt from Iraq

NicholasTeakozy Thu 29-Aug-13 22:57:45

How can UK play a credible international role now?

My opinion is that Parliament has made the right decision in voting down a war based on dodgy evidence. If only they'd done that ten years ago. The thing with this particular conflict is if we attack Syria they and Iran have vowed to attack Israel who will retaliate, and Russia will attack Saudi Arabia and the US will retaliate. A proper lose/lose situation.

Though the Tories have apparently referred to Ed Miliband as a "fucking cunt" and a "copper bottomed shit", according to The Times. According to them he's bringing politics into it. grin

difficultpickle Thu 29-Aug-13 23:02:05

As I understand tonight's outcome this means that there will be no British involvement in any military action at any time in Syria. It was never the intention to take military action on the basis of tonight's vote. There was always a plan for a second vote before this would happen. This won't happen now. I can't see how there can be any participation from Britain now. Absolutely dreadful outcome.

difficultpickle Thu 29-Aug-13 23:03:38

How can UK play a credible international role now?

Exactly. The lead will be taken by the US and France and we will be left sitting on our hands and continuing to supply arms to Saudi Arabia and other nations that support Syria.

scaevola Thu 29-Aug-13 23:05:38
niceguy2 Thu 29-Aug-13 23:35:59

Of course we can still play a credible international role. let's just pick things which make sense.

Attacking Syria made no logical sense.

If our 'reputation' is our only reason for bombing and killing Syrian people then frankly it's a piss poor reason.

We're a democratic country, not some gang of hoodlums talking about 'respect'

The best thing DC did tonight was understand that the people in the UK do NOT want intervention. Pity he didnt realise it earlier or misjudged our strength of feeling

AuntieStella Fri 30-Aug-13 05:34:13
Wannabestepfordwife Fri 30-Aug-13 06:15:46

Absolutely the right outcome IMO.

I think it's far better for our international standing and credibility not to get gung-ho and jump into an attack when we still don't know the full facts.

I still don't understand the logic of an attack which will no doubt kill innocent people to teach Assad a lesson for killing innocent people

Ahlaam Fri 30-Aug-13 06:56:23

I'm glad the British public got together on this. Would have been a complete disaster otherwise IMO!

It'll be interesting to see what US has to say about this.

CoteDAzur Fri 30-Aug-13 07:23:39

"How can UK play a credible international role now?"

Of course, the definition of a 'credible role' is doing what US tells you to do. Because that worked out so well last time, and UK is so credible in the international arena these days hmm

Solopower1 Fri 30-Aug-13 07:25:18

What a relief!

The Govt would be extremely foolish to do anything without the UN's agreement after last time. Can't believe they were in such a rush before the weapons inspectors' report, before they even know who was responsible. Has really shaken what little faith I had in the people who are leading this country. They were going to kill even more living, breathing men, women and children, just to impress their pals - ie other world leaders - who are the only people whose opinions they care about. I know what Mini means. It is all a club at the top (and has always been).

However, it doesn't make much difference who used the chemical weapons, imo. It could well have been both sides or neither at this point. If you attack a country, innocent people die.

We need to go step by step on this, and it is vital that we exert ourselves to get agreement from Russia and China, even if that takes a little longer. It has to be remembered, I suppose, that their leaders are also part of the club, also looking for international pats on the back, but during the discussions at least the situation will be clarified and we should have a few more 'facts' to go on.

Solopower1 Fri 30-Aug-13 07:27:55

It's too early to say, but this does look as if we are learning from past mistakes. That is very good news. Robin Cook should be very proud, as I think he had a lot to do with making sure Parliament gets to vote on whether or not we go to war.

comingalongnicely Fri 30-Aug-13 08:05:23

Read the comments at the bottom of This Article, from this it would appear that the American Public don't want to bomb/invade Syria either.

I think Britain can be proud that the democratic voice of the people was heard for once.

Solopower1 Fri 30-Aug-13 08:19:31

Apparently chemical weapons have been used 14 times in Syria already (heard that on the News last night, iirc).

Clearly our govt must have been aware of that, and must have been planning an intervention at some point, so their desire to act quickly, now, is very significant. But, whatever, so far so good. The Govt has been restrained by Parliament. I wouldn't be at all surprised if we do end up going in there, however. I absolutely dread the consequences.

Surely if world govts wanted to end the conflict in Syria, they would do everything in their power to stop anyone selling arms to them.

Rooners Fri 30-Aug-13 08:59:57

From what I can gather, is Russia somehow being threatened by Saudi Arabia in respect of the olympic games to be held next year?

I don't understand that, but surely Russia and SA have got a bit of sorting out to do by themselves, whether or not Syria is targetted by anyone?

I don't get why there is a war in the first place tbh, or why they can't all just calm the fuck down.

niceguy2 Fri 30-Aug-13 09:13:57

They can't just calm the fuck down anymore. Well at least not the rebels. Countries like Syria, Tunisia, Libya & Egypt before the revolutions were ran by tyrants.

The rebels must now fear that if they did just down arms that the old regime would hunt them down one by one and make them & their families disappear.

As sad as that is, it's still no reason for us to involve ourselves. Otherwise where do we stop? Even the US isn't really powerful enough to intervene everywhere. We've not even a 1/10th of their military power. Why should we?

Democracy for once worked.

Rooners Fri 30-Aug-13 09:22:37

I know NG, I sort of meant Saudi Arabia should calm the fuck down, mostly. Why on earth would they want to attack Russia?

Sorry you can see I am not politically on the ball.

NicholasTeakozy Fri 30-Aug-13 09:29:07

Yes Rooners, reports I've seen state that should Russia support strikes against Assad then Saudi Arabia (via Prince Bandar) would guarantee no terrorist strikes at the Sochi Olympics, because they control the Chechen terrorists.

It seems we label the wrong states as 'rogue'.

Rooners Fri 30-Aug-13 09:31:15

Oh I see - putting it that way, it's kind of being framed in a positive way, trying to get Russia to play ball.

They should bloody guarantee no strikes anyway if they are able to. I guess that is what Russia thinks too.

Lazyjaney Fri 30-Aug-13 10:41:59

I'm sorry I dont buy it, the UN have investigators just a 20min drive away from where this attack happened looking for chemical weapons

Yes, funny that the "Syrian Government" chooses to commit it's atrocities when the UN weapons inspectors appear, and close to them as well.

Lazyjaney Fri 30-Aug-13 10:43:48

Oh - and if we started bombing Syria we are as likely to hit schools etc in error ourselves.

Misspixietrix Fri 30-Aug-13 10:55:55

^^^:what JammyBean said. When do we draw the line? And just let him carry on doing as he wishes. The footage this morning if phospherous being used says it all ~

Misspixietrix Fri 30-Aug-13 10:56:58

*of

Absy Fri 30-Aug-13 11:08:40

My views are that regardless of what the UK does in relation to Syria (or regardless of what anyone does), they're screwed. The rebels are a mixture of genuine anti-Assad rebels, Al Qaeda operatives, and whoever else seems to be hanging around the region at the moment. Britain gets involved on the side of the "rebels" (though, they did actually get involved a while ago by asking to have the sanctions against giving military supplies to the rebels suspended), they're supporting Al Qaeda and other extremist groups. They support Assad, they get accused of supporting someone who is known to have violated human rights (although the current chemical weapon attack's origins are up for debate). They stay out of it, they get accused of not supporting the US, not supporting human rights and allowing an evil dictator to flourish. BUT, it does seem to be the least-worst option, all things considered.

Syria was going to blow up some time - it was inevitable.

Absy Fri 30-Aug-13 11:10:39

And, if the UK does get involved militarily in Syria, like it did in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, there's no predicting the outcome. It could be short and decisive (like Libya, unlikely) or protracted, messy and expensive (like Afghanistan and Iraq).

NicholasTeakozy Fri 30-Aug-13 11:37:18

Libya isn't over yet, there are still major conflicts. Wherever we in the west spread democracy by the bomb we leave behind chaos. To believe Syria will be any different is madness.

Timeforabiscuit Fri 30-Aug-13 11:50:52

There is no answer to this - it's civil war,

If you went in and took every bomb, gun and parts for making them - they'd still go at it with rocks if need be.

The only thing i'd suggest is negotiate safe passage for refugees to "safe" zones within their own borders and leave the rest to bomb each other to oblivion or until they are ready to negotiate with each other.

As to how to protect safe zones - no answer... they'd be fish in a barrel to any one with an agenda.

Rooners Fri 30-Aug-13 12:00:21

Apparently there are the beginnings of dialogue in Egypt.

On topic though, I may be wrong but does it look as though the government was pretty glad of an excuse not to go in, while saving some face/posturing furiously in an attempt to make Assad think twice about doing it again?

Absy Fri 30-Aug-13 12:31:04

Of course Libya isn't over (it probably never will be), but in comparison to the other conflicts, it was regarded to be a "success".

There's way too much meddling by the powers (or lesser powers) in other country's business, e.g. Iranian bullets showing up in conflicts throughout the African continent

bemybebe Fri 30-Aug-13 12:45:05

Totally agree Timefora - it is a civil war and there will be nothing achieved by getting involved on one side or the other. Unfortunately, the nature of civil war is to totally exterminate the other side. I am not sure they will be able to negotiate anything. There was a moment it was possible in the very beginning of the conflict but not any more. Too much has happened and too fragmented is the rebel movement to present a united front. Who should be negotiating on the rebel side? Impossible. Who is negotiating in Egypt? Links would be useful, but even then I am highly skeptical. There are no examples in history when civil wars get interrupted by the sides where not one is obviously defeated by the other. I am happy to be corrected btw.

claig Fri 30-Aug-13 13:26:20

'I may be wrong but does it look as though the government was pretty glad of an excuse not to go in'

I think you are right. I can't believe that Cameron could have possibly misjudged MPs' opinion to such an extent, and the talk of bombing before UN reporting etc seems amazing and almost guaranteed to cause the vote to fail.

AmberLeaf Fri 30-Aug-13 13:27:09

It would if I did. I do meet normal rational people who vote Labour. But the problem is that everyone here is one of those three And the further to the left they are, as a rule, the less actual real experience of the real world they tend to have. Naice middle class marxists with their university jobs and their public sector pensions, never having spent time outside their bubble of privilege. And it is privilege to travel through your life, going to school, then university, then never leaving academia and imagining that you have any comprehension of real life

You're still banging that one out. It isn't true and yes it does make you look silly.

claig Fri 30-Aug-13 13:28:45

Public opinion was against it, the Daily Mail was not for it, and this will have harmed the Tories and Cameron with Tory voters. UKIP will benefit as Farage was against it.

http://www.oxfam.org.uk/get-involved/campaign-with-us/find-an-action/syria-global-petition-to-obama-and-putin this is not a petition to go to war but peace talks

WetAugust Fri 30-Aug-13 13:54:34

Glad we are sitting this one out. We may even be learning the lessons from Iraq and Afghanistan at last.

I actually thought that this year would be the year that Iran hit the headlines are wasn't Iran only 'a year or so' away from having a nuclear bomb - about a year ago confused

doublemuvver Fri 30-Aug-13 14:32:59

The UK didn't want to get involved when Sadaam was murdering his own people. It took the threat of lack of oil for them to get involved in Iraq....

DuckToWater Fri 30-Aug-13 15:03:10

I do meet normal rational people who vote Labour. But the problem is that everyone here is one of those three And the further to the left they are, as a rule, the less actual real experience of the real world they tend to have. Naice middle class marxists with their university jobs and their public sector pensions, never having spent time outside their bubble of privilege. And it is privilege to travel through your life, going to school, then university, then never leaving academia and imagining that you have any comprehension of real life

Whoever said that has never been North of Watford. Have they any idea how much the Tories are hated in most parts of the country, outside the south east and rural areas?

merrymouse Fri 30-Aug-13 17:23:40

But unless you have a clear idea for a post-conflict plan, you're re-running Iraq.

Agree.

Get rid of Assad and then what?

Also agree that UN don't have much power. On the other hand, I think/hope that more goes on behind the scenes than we are told on the news.

Historically, I think displays of western power haven't gone down too well in the middle east.

merrymouse Fri 30-Aug-13 17:37:00

Wonder what the current UK policy on Syrian refugees is?

Rooners Fri 30-Aug-13 17:53:18

'Have they any idea how much the Tories are hated in most parts of the country, outside the south east and rural areas?'

<packs bags immediately to move up North>

Have people any idea how much the tories are LOVED down here sad

niceguy2 Fri 30-Aug-13 18:09:03

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying we should never get involved. But what I would like to see is a properly authorised UN mandate for the use of force, a broad international coalition (not US/uk) and lots of boots on the ground. Basically on the scale of Desert Storm.

Only then can you actually do something effective albeit at the cost of human lives.

What I totally didn't support was the idea that we can do anything positive by lobbing a few cruise missiles from a sub parked in the med.

Basically if you are going to do something we do it properly and go the whole hog. Don't fucking half a job it like what was being proposed.

WetAugust Fri 30-Aug-13 18:15:29

Quite interesting listening to Kerry, who's talking now, and saying they know that attacks were prepared for and exactly from where and when the CW was fired.

All 'new' information to me.

I'm starting to wonder if Cameron is playing a double game here: hold the Parliamentary vote before all the evidence was in the public domain, making MPs less likely to support the vote. He could have waited a few days if he really wanted to gain as much support as possible. Also when I read about the 10 MPs who didn't hear the division bell confused

He can now say he tried and failed. But the one thing that stops me believing that is the political embarrassment that losing the vote will cause him - probably forever. But perhaps that's still better than the UK going to war.

Seems from the way Kerry is banging on that the Americans will go it alone. Probably planning to lob a few Cruise missiles into the pot sad

Rooners Fri 30-Aug-13 18:23:55

The US doesn't need us in the same way as we would need them. We are tiny, they are huge.

I think we need to make like Scandinavia and Germany and just keep out of it - the fewer parties who are involved in this sort of stuff, perhaps, the better.

It would never have just been about the vote. The government had some kind of plan that they would have implemented either way to get the result they wanted. They have their reasons.

Rooners Fri 30-Aug-13 18:24:46

is assad actually doing it to get others involved? What does he want from this?

WetAugust Fri 30-Aug-13 18:41:55

Absolutely no idea confused

Solopower1 Fri 30-Aug-13 18:50:45

So we have a supposedly left-leaning American Democrat and a French Socialist planning to intervene in a human rights issue, although they don't have the support of at least half of their citizens.

Meanwhile, our more right-wing leaders have actually been restrained by a democratic vote.

This seems to show that the leaders are not in tune with the voters in three of the world's oldest democracies - but only in the UK can the people actually stop the Govt from going ahead. And is it that these three governments are actually more concerned about human rights issues than their citizens? If not, why are they so anxious to intervene?

One good thing is that the British Parliament's decision has affected the members of the US Congress, where opposition to intervention is growing. And it will probably also make President Hollande think again.

If, after the weapons inspectors' reports, the UN decides to take action against the Syrian govt or the rebels or both, then I think we should probably be involved - in some way. But not by bombing innocent people.

Because we do still have to do something about the use of chemical weapons.

Rooners Fri 30-Aug-13 18:53:03

I wish we had some clever way of swooping in, like with drones or something, and picking up innocent people and just completely abstracting them from the areas of conflict.

Anyone who didn't want to fight.

And bringing them back here to be looked after.

Solopower1 Fri 30-Aug-13 18:57:56

If the US really has such conclusive intelligence, then surely they have ways and means of acting on it in a more focused way?

That's what gets me about war. You want so desperately for the people in control to know what they are doing, but history shows us, again and again, just how hit and miss it all is, and how often the outcome is determined by circumstances totally beyond their control, and impossible to foresee.

bemybebe Fri 30-Aug-13 19:14:00

"And bringing them back here to be looked after."

Where "here"?

filee777 Fri 30-Aug-13 19:15:20

Of course those in outrage at the treatment of the Syrian people would be happy to share our country with them? To support them with benefits and housing until they got on their feet?

No?

Just bombs then yes?

Rooners Fri 30-Aug-13 19:17:45

Kent, actually.

Wherever is safe until it's all over and they can go back to where they were living before, if it is still there.

I know it's a total fantasy.

ElenorRigby Fri 30-Aug-13 19:37:59

*Quite interesting listening to Kerry, who's talking now, and saying they know that attacks were prepared for and exactly from where and when the CW was fired.
All 'new' information to me.*

"Democrat" Kerry and "Republican" George W Bush
were both members of Satanic erm I mean Seriously Dodgy group Called Skull and Bones

Kerry and Bush were both Skull and Bones members in the 1960's
1966 Kerry and 1968 for Bush.

Maybe back then at Yale they were both taught bomb the shit out of Muslims without conclusive evidence and then the due law process of law.hmm angry

WetAugust Fri 30-Aug-13 19:50:11

Yes, Elenor I'd heard of that group before.

The point I was trying to make was that Kerry popped up this afternoon with detailed 'evidence' that the attacks were Syrian Govt attacks etc. Evidence that wasn't available yesterday when Parliament held their vote.

Didn't Obama / Kerry say to dave - hold on chum, don't have your vote on Thursday - just wait another day until Friday when we'll publish the evidence we have that the missiles were fired by the Syrian Govt?

I cannot get my head around this.

Either Dave planned it that he would not have a sufficient majority to win that vote - where were the Tory Whips FFS if he really did want to win! They put more effort into getting the Maastricht Treaty ratified than they have over this attempt to get justification for (yet another) war!

or

He is just plainly incompetent.

I am really starting to think it's the latter as things are just not adding up for me.

claig Fri 30-Aug-13 19:56:03

WetAugust, it is unlikely that he is incompetent. He has advisers, he is not on his own. I think he had no choice. This has harmed him, but I think he had no choice. Tory rebels etc would not go along with it.

claig Fri 30-Aug-13 20:00:31

Max Hastings wrote an article against intervention in today's Daily Mail. the Daily Mail were not in support, there were lots of Tory rebels and also Labour did not go along with it. There were probably other interests who were against it and did not see it as being in the national interest.

Farage says that this is the biggest mistake that Cameron has made by wanting to join in a missile strike. But I think that he knew that the writing was on the wall and that he would not get support for it anyway.

claig Fri 30-Aug-13 20:02:54

I think that Cameron was between a rock and a hard place and that he had to take the political embarrassment and I think that UKIP will gain votes from disconcerted conservatives over this.

WetAugust Fri 30-Aug-13 20:03:58

Assuming he's listening to advisors? He may not be.

I just can't see why he failed to coordinate the vote in Parliament with the Kerry's release of its dossier of evidence.

Perhaps his own side are willing him to fail. It seems that a leading bookmaker has cut the odds against Cameron being PM by the next election.

Many of those MPs voting against said that they did so because they were not sure who had fired the weapons. well the US are stating quite categorically it was Assad. That may have swayed the 13 MPs that Cameron would have needed. Who knows?

I find the whole thing very, very dodgy indeed.

claig Fri 30-Aug-13 20:10:41

I think that most of the public don't believe the "evidence" and some MPs also don't believe it.

Lots of Tory MPs have rebelled against Cameron on a number of issues and the results in the local elections, when lots of Tory voters switched to UKIP, spells out the writing on the wall. You only have to read teh comments on Daily Mail articles about this to see what ordinary Tory type voters think.

I am not confident that Cameron will be PM at the next election anymore.

Solopower1 Fri 30-Aug-13 20:11:07

After watching Ch 4 news tonight, I almost changed my mind about intervention. People were saying we were abandoning the Syrians to their fate, we had let the US down, 'For evil to triumph it is necessary for good people to do nothing', etc - they really laid it on thick. And I felt guilty. But then Max Hastings made the most important point, which was that the only thing to consider was how best to help the Syrian people. Bombing them would not help them.

claig Fri 30-Aug-13 20:17:27

According to some reports, Gove was shouting at Tory rebels "disgrace, disgrace". If true, that just shows how out of touch the inner circle is with public opinion and some of the Tory MPs.

This vote loss is a major event, because it was about military action. This has harmed the inner circle.

WetAugust Fri 30-Aug-13 20:20:26

I agree - bombing serves no purpose. Assad will be hunkered down in a bunker somewhere. He and his family will not suffer.

Hastings appear to imply in his Daily Mail comments that securing Britain's participation was just part of Cameron's vanity - an aspiration to be a big leader on the big stage.

Surely it the underlying reason for Cameron pushing for intervention wasn't as simplistic as that?

WetAugust Fri 30-Aug-13 20:21:49

So when do Hammond and May deliver the bottle of scotch and revolver so that David Davies can take over?

Solopower1 Fri 30-Aug-13 20:23:49

The UN envoy to Syria appeared to think there was no hope for Syria - no point in anyone trying to help. I suppose the US will just end up killing more Syrians - with no guarantee that they are the 'right' ones. And whether US intervention against Assad will deter other wouldbe mass murderers is anyone's guess.

Claig, yes it has. Ironic that Blair lost power and popularity because he went ahead and Cameron because he didn't.

It's still a good day for democracy. I heard that one MP - was it Diane Abbott sent out an appeal to her constituents to ask them how they wanted her to vote.

claig Fri 30-Aug-13 20:25:10

I think it is not about vanity, but there is probably a lot of pressure from some sectors and strings are pulled from on high, and usually people have to dance to the tune. But, on this occasion, I think that the writing was already on the wall that it would not gain support and therefore it was a choice between a rock and a hard place.

I guess there must be some level of incompetence to allow it to get to that stage, so you are probably right about there being some incompetence too.

This is a huge embarrassment, but I think that there was no alternative.

claig Fri 30-Aug-13 20:28:40

'So when do Hammond and May deliver the bottle of scotch and revolver so that David Davies can take over?'

David Davis is very good and is full of principle. Something will have to be done to stop the inexorable rise of the other man of principle - Nigel Farage.

WetAugust Fri 30-Aug-13 20:30:23

Cameron's leadership has never been fully accepted by the Tories anyway. There were lots of murmurings when he was elected. He wasn't even in the running until he gave the 'good speech without notes' and charmed the pants off those who counted.

And the sniping at him by the 'old guard' Tories has never abated.

And they should know him very well as he started life as one of their bag-carriers.

Coup anyone?

Solopower1 Fri 30-Aug-13 20:33:26

Dodgy, possibly, but scarily incompetent, more likely imo, WetAugust. I don't think it was a double bluff of the 'Hold me back!' type.

Solopower1 Fri 30-Aug-13 20:34:12

Sorry - a bit out of synch.

bevelino Fri 30-Aug-13 20:55:42

I am devasted to see the horrific chemical attacks in Syria and would like the key countries in the region to become more active to stop this. Some countries in the Middle East are helping but need to do more.

claig Fri 30-Aug-13 21:03:10

Which countries in the Middle East?
Saudi Arabia and Qatar are apparently funding some of the rebels, and Eqypt is in turmoil after an effective military takeover against the Muslim Brotherhood and are therefore unlikely to support rebels trying to topple the Assad government.

difficultpickle Fri 30-Aug-13 21:03:58

Listening to Kerry gave me the strong impression that Obama doesn't have the stomach to do anything about what is happening in Syria but needs to talk up possible action in the hope that the talking will work. I don't think the motion the HoC voted on yesterday was well drafted either.

difficultpickle Fri 30-Aug-13 21:08:29

Jordan has a population of 6m and currently has 600,000 Syrian refugees, 70% of which are living amongst the general population and only 30% in refugee camps. I imagine Jordan are more involved than we know as they must be at breaking point. It would be like 6.3m people moving here in the last two years (immigration levels are about 500,000 per year usually).

Solopower1 Fri 30-Aug-13 21:15:28

Are the Syrians in Jordan refugees from the govt or the rebels, do you know? Presumably they would know who has been using the chemical weapons?

bevelino Fri 30-Aug-13 21:22:08

According to news reports most countries in the Middle East have openly condemned the use of chemical weapons but have taken no steps militarily to stop it and I am unsure why. I am assuming the concern might be that any military action might result in an escalation of violence against their own country. That said it is a very complex problem.

claig Fri 30-Aug-13 21:31:48

'According to news reports most countries in the Middle East have openly condemned the use of chemical weapons but have taken no steps militarily to stop it and I am unsure why.'

I guess they need evidence from the UN about what chemical weapons were used and who was responsible. Alos taking military steps means taking sides in a civil war and risks throwing the whole region into war.

difficultpickle Fri 30-Aug-13 21:32:05

Solo good question. I don't know.

difficultpickle Fri 30-Aug-13 21:34:41

I assume the lack of military intervention is because the FSA isn't seen as a credible group that could govern (or whom other countries would want to see in government). Hopefully the lessons of Iraq in terms of regime change and power vacuum are being considered here. In that sense Libya was easier to intervene but even that has been more difficult than expected.

holidaybug Fri 30-Aug-13 21:36:37

It's a very sorry state of affairs IMO when a country is using chemical weapons against its people and there is no external intervention.

WetAugust Fri 30-Aug-13 22:14:29

I think it's a case of recognising that Assad may be a bastard the alternatives could be worse.

holidaybug Fri 30-Aug-13 22:14:56

And Ed Milliband is a complete twit

WetAugust Fri 30-Aug-13 22:17:31

It's the UN who should be leading on this. .

We should wait for the results of the tests that are currently being performed on the samples taken by their inspectors - but that still won't tell us categorically which side used them.

Best to stay out of it.

WetAugust Fri 30-Aug-13 22:18:58

... replace 'is' with 'has always been' and I'd agree with you *Holiday'.

One of the least convincing politicians ever IMO.

LEMisdisappointed Fri 30-Aug-13 22:20:47

holiday - i totally agree, for once i agree with Dave and am ashamed that we are not intervening sad

The only reservation i have is that i don't know what military action would achieve - who is the baddy? who will replace Assad? What about afterwards, who will support the country afterwards? It cannot be left without a gonvernment - i don't pretend to understand ANY of it, i just turn on the news and see children being attacked and think that we can't look the other way sad

Ironically, i dont think we should have been in afghanistan or iraq, but syria, yes - i expect someone will come along and correct me soon.

holidaybug Fri 30-Aug-13 22:22:21

It is the UN who should be leading on this but it can't because Russia and China will veto any resolutions. So is the rest of the world to sit idly by?

timidviper Fri 30-Aug-13 22:30:35

As usual in the Middle East it is a choice between a bad man and a badder man but this time nobody seems to know which is which.

I don't think we or the US should intervene as we simply don't know for sure who is responsible for what but then I thought the same about Iraq and Afghanistan.

The media who, yesterday when they thought the vote would be to take action were anti-war and being clear that most of the public were against it, are now pushing the opposite line. My concern is that they are now, in the aftermath of this commons vote, whipping up the hype and, if the public fall for it as they usually do, we could be in a very dangerous situation indeed. We have to be careful not to be manipulated.

filee777 Fri 30-Aug-13 22:32:16

Miliband looks like an extra from Wallace and gromit. Labour will never be in power while he is at the head.

holidaybug Fri 30-Aug-13 22:34:29

Seems pretty clear who the bad man is - the one who is dropping chemical weapons onto innocent citizens.

filee777 Fri 30-Aug-13 22:36:23

And who is that? Because nobody knows.

The 'rebels' have proven to be just as nasty as the regime

We have no clue who is 'better'

GoshAnneGorilla Fri 30-Aug-13 22:37:06

LEM I agree that the Iraq and Afghanistan invasions were a mistake.

Afghanistan was a country decimated by 10 years of the Soviets throwing everything but the kitchen sink at them, followed by another decade of instability. So a society wracked by 20 years of conflict. The last thing they needed was more conflict

Iraq - At the time Saddam was contained, there was not internal opposition movement and the majority of Iraqis did not want an invasion. The country was generally peaceful in 2003.

Syria is obviously different and again, I must stress a boots on the ground invasion is not being considered.

There also seems to be some very peculiar ideas on here on what a country should be like post dictatorship. Decades of poor governance, corruption and various internal resentments cannot be fixed overnight.

It is far, far too early to pass judgement on Libya on Egypt - both are hugely different countries and societies BTW, do not be fooled by them both being Arab Muslim countries, what happening in Egypt in particular is related to societal histories and attitudes which are very particular to Egypt.

To givetwo two different examples, both South Africa and Romania have removed repressive regimes (albeit via peaceful means) and both societies, while greatly improved, still have significant problems.

GoshAnneGorilla Fri 30-Aug-13 22:39:11

P.s yes, the refugees in Jordan, Leb and elsewhere have fled the regime. They believe the CW are the work of regime.

holidaybug Fri 30-Aug-13 22:40:25

The intelligence services know and this has been confirmed by US, UK and France. I know that in war there will be atrocities on both sides but the reality is that this is an unequal war and the Assad regime has shown how far it is prepared to go - I heard on the news that it has the biggest chemical weapons programme in the Middle East - clearly not afraid to use it,

LEMisdisappointed Fri 30-Aug-13 22:41:37

The fact still remains that whoever is responsible for these atrocities need to be tried for war crimes sad more importantly though, it needs to be stopped. How can this be happening in this day and age, it breaks my heart. I wish i had the answer.

filee777 Fri 30-Aug-13 22:44:05

The intelligence report will not be ready until Sunday and then it will only say that chemical weapons were used, not who used them.

The cost to Assad of using weapons when the inspectors were next door was huge

To the rebels it may have got them just what they want.

I cannot see how anyone can state, with no proof, that Assad used chemical weapons.

The Americans will make up whatever they want to gain public sympathy, they have done so in the past and they will again.

WetAugust Fri 30-Aug-13 22:46:46

The whole idea of having 'rules' about war is something that I find absolutely heinous.

I can't see why CW are singled out for prohibition as opposed to carpet bombing for instance which achieves the same effect of killing everything in the area but is permitted. They are both mass destruction.

Surely war should be so dire an option to be totally unthinkable. Rules are obscene.

WetAugust Fri 30-Aug-13 22:48:05

.. and the cheese-eating surrender monkeys are the Americans oldest and bestest chums now grin

holidaybug Fri 30-Aug-13 22:48:09

All things considered, I would rely on what I am being advised by the US and UK than any Syrian propaganda machine.

It is a fact that chemical weapons of some nature were used. The intelligence agencies know where the weapons were launched from and to and the communications that went on at this time. What more 'evidence' do you need?

WetAugust Fri 30-Aug-13 22:50:21

Seriously Holiday?

I wouldn't trust any of them to give me the truth TBH.

They all have their own agendas as Mr Blair proved.

holidaybug Fri 30-Aug-13 22:51:13

Yes, absolutely.

claig Fri 30-Aug-13 22:54:20

holidaybug, why do you think that the British public are against intervention and the MPs did not back Cameron's motion?

Why do you think that the British public are not behind it when the BBC reports on it, interviews doctors and shows pictures?

It seems that some of the MPs and the British public and Ed Miliband want more evidence than what the BBC report.

claig Fri 30-Aug-13 22:55:50

Why do you think that the Daily Mail did not back it despite the BBC reports

holidaybug Fri 30-Aug-13 22:57:33

Where is Bliar?

don't understand why no media has doorstepped him and if they have (they must have done??) have't broadcast his reaction. where IS Bliar???

WetAugust Fri 30-Aug-13 22:59:37

It's the inevitable outcome of Blair's manipulation via the 'dodgy dossier'. We simply don't trust politicians to tell us the truth.

I also think that politics in the UK is changing. We have a coalition - a lot of Liberal MPs voted against their own coalition (as well as Tories). There is also the UKIP factor and they were against intervention.

The days when a PM could decide what was best for the country and have it automatically ratified by Parliament are long gone.

And I don't think that's a bad thing.

holidaybug Fri 30-Aug-13 23:00:45

I don't recall voting in a referendum on Syria so where is this British public that is not behind intervention in Syria? I would say that the British public is divided.

claig Fri 30-Aug-13 23:02:02

"don't understand why no media has doorstepped him and if they have (they must have done??) have't broadcast his reaction. where IS Bliar???"

The media won't do tht because they know that the public don't trust Blair, so that won't be helpful.

claig Fri 30-Aug-13 23:04:22

'I don't recall voting in a referendum on Syria so where is this British public that is not behind intervention in Syria?'

Read the opinion polls. Read the comments of readers in papers like the Daily Mail and others and you will see the real mood of the people.

WetAugust Fri 30-Aug-13 23:04:51

But the document is the US Government's assessment Holiday. You're just seeing a distillation of everything they want you to know.

What doesn't support their cause they keep to themselves.

The public is very divided on Syria. I find myself agreeing with Diane Abbott which is a surreal situation for me.

holidaybug Fri 30-Aug-13 23:04:58

Daily Mail? No thanks

filee777 Fri 30-Aug-13 23:06:55

I actually think the public are divided just as the house was, I think it actually represented the views of the public, for a change.

holidaybug Fri 30-Aug-13 23:07:53

Let's turn it around - what credible evidence have you seen that this was an act by rebels on their own people?

claig Fri 30-Aug-13 23:10:06

"Daily Mail? No thanks"

But that is teh second most widely read paper by the British public and the world's number one news website. That's why Daily Mail editorials are significant and why ex-editors of teh Daily telegraph such as Max hastings write columns for it.

You obviously want us to bomb Syria. The Daily Mail reported that people living in Damascus were scared that if cruise missiles hit Syrian arms sites that any chemical weapons would not be destroyed immediately by the strike, but that the chemicals and fumes might spread across Damascus and kill innocent people.

WetAugust Fri 30-Aug-13 23:15:54

None whatsoever Holiday

That's the rub. We get fed what the politicians decide to feed us. Whether we choose to swallow it is another matter.

One side uses CW. The other cuts the heart out of its slain enemy and eats it. Both are mindsets that are totally alien to me.

I don't want anything to do with either side thanks.

holidaybug Fri 30-Aug-13 23:17:37

I'm not denying its popularity - I just don't think it will necessarily represent the views of the educated British public.

claig Fri 30-Aug-13 23:20:54

'I actually think the public are divided just as the house was, I think it actually represented the views of the public, for a change.'

You are exactly right, filee777. That is what is so unusual about this vote and this decison. The MPs, Labour and the Tory and LibDem rebels are actually in tune with public opinion.

Paddy Ashdown was on TV. He is disappointed. He said that Farage would be cheering. It is the British public that is relieved and amazed that its representatives are in tune with what they think.

holidaybug Fri 30-Aug-13 23:21:08

I agree WetAugust with some of what you say - I don't know what comes over people in war situations when you read of some of the atrocities. Not just Syria .. there are some terrible stories regarding what happened in Srebrenica to take another example.

WetAugust Fri 30-Aug-13 23:22:07

Mail headline story is rather contrived so they can show the picture of Cameron in his Bullingdon uniform. I think the big guns are definitely out for him now. Perhaps we will have a very British coup.

His response - according to the Telegraph he is planning a reshuffle.

Well that's really reassured me that he's got a grasp on things - maybe not on this planet but somewhere in Dave-land.

claig Fri 30-Aug-13 23:23:47

'I'm not denying its popularity - I just don't think it will necessarily represent the views of the educated British public.'

With some of Britain's finest minds such as Max Hastings, Simon Heffer, Melanie Phillips, Peter Hitchens and Richard Littlejohn writing for it regularly, I find it difficult to see how the educated British public can disagree with it!

WetAugust Fri 30-Aug-13 23:25:16

Srebrenica was one that had me banging the table demanding action against the Serbs. But the UN were on the ground there and could see what was happening - which made it even more unforgiveable that the atrocity was permitted to proceed.

This one just doesn't have me banging the table.

niceguy2 Fri 30-Aug-13 23:35:51

@Holidaybug. I used to think the intelligence service would know too. but after Iraq dossier, they proved they can't be trusted without question.

The fact remains not if we should intervene but HOW? What's the end game? No-one knows.

Whoever said that the UN vote will be blocked by China/Russia. Well isn't that kind of the point? We'd be mad if we vetoed a vote and they ignored us wouldn't we?

Christ, I sound like a bleeding heart lefty peacenik. I'm not.

I just like to know we have solid evidence, a credible plan and a defined end goal before sending our armed forces into harms way and killing people who may well be innocent.

Right now we don't have even one of those three things. So how can we support 'intervention'

GoshAnneGorilla Fri 30-Aug-13 23:36:02

Wet August - you cannot compare the crimes if the regime with the actions of one soldier who was hugely, hugely condemned www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/he-will-be-punished-severely-free-syrian-army-vows-to-hunt-down-rebel-commander-abu-sakkar-filmed-eating-government-soldiers-heart-in-gruesome-propaganda-video-8615112.html

Do you condemn the entire US army because if the actions of Robert Bales?

The "both sides are equally bad" rhetoric is wrong headed and not supported by statistics or by most Syrians. Go to Zataari and ask them who they think is in the wrong.

I won't even delve into why 100,000 people being dead - that's not including the greviously injured or those currently being imprisoned by the regime, doesn't have you "banging the table".

GoshAnneGorilla Fri 30-Aug-13 23:37:43

Nice guy - the strikes being planned are being launched from ships in the Med. For the umpteenth time - a ground invasion is not on the table.

WetAugust Fri 30-Aug-13 23:42:02

I knew that was coming Gosh - the just a rogue operator.

Both sides are as equally bad in my opinion.

Reading Kerry's speech again I am wondering if action in Syria provides them with the chain reaction they need in order to deal with Syria's ally, Iran.

Kerry manages to include what Reagan would have called every looney-tune country in his diatribe.

WetAugust Fri 30-Aug-13 23:46:41

Gosh - you cannot simply fire a few Cruise missiles in stand-off mode somewhere off the coat of Cyprus. What does that achieve? Bugger all.

Iraq and Afghanistan taught us that it's not just about regime change, it's about nation-building. That's what we have failed miserably to do in Iraq and Afghanistan. It's also about setting realistic timescales and a budget for that nation-building so that we eventually have a credible exit strategy that leaves the country in a better shape than it was under the old regime.

That's a whole lot more than launching a few Tomahawks at Damascus.

It takes years to plan.

GoshAnneGorilla Sat 31-Aug-13 00:58:15

Wet - your opinions about both sides are not borne out by the facts. Not by history, not by actions, not by casualties and not by the opinions of Syrians who have fled the conflict.

Whatever you think of missile strikes - that is what is being planned. I have to keep reiterating that, because people in here still seem to think ground invasion is being discussed.

Again, I have described exactly why Iraq and Afghanistan are different nations with very different situations then Syria, but you do not seem to be comprehending this.

ElenorRigby Sat 31-Aug-13 06:05:33

"I would rely on what I am being advised by the US and UK than any Syrian propaganda machine."

LOL you're being serious!!?!!

Ever heard of the Nayirah Testimony
"Nayirah Testimony refers to the controversial testimony given before the non-governmental Congressional Human Rights Caucus on October 10, 1990, by a female who provided only her first name, Nayirah. In her emotional testimony, Nayirah stated that after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait she had witnessed Iraqi soldiers take babies out of incubators in a Kuwaiti hospital, take the incubators, and leave the babies to die. Though reporters did not then have access to Kuwait, her testimony was regarded as credible at the time and was widely publicized. It was cited numerous times by United States senators and the president in their rationale to back Kuwait in the Gulf War.

In 1992, it was revealed that Nayirah's last name was Al-Sabah and that she was the daughter of Saud bin Nasir Al-Sabah, the Kuwaiti ambassador to the United States. Furthermore, it was revealed that her testimony was organized as part of the Citizens for a Free Kuwait public relations campaign which was run by Hill & Knowlton for the Kuwaiti government. Following this, al-Sabah's testimony has largely come to be regarded as wartime propaganda "

The Nayirah testimony duped a wavering American public to enter the first Gulf War. hmm

niceguy2 Sat 31-Aug-13 07:24:19

Nice guy - the strikes being planned are being launched from ships in the Med. For the umpteenth time - a ground invasion is not on the table.

Exactly!!! On it's own, it's completely stupid!

Like I said earlier, what exactly did Cameron expect to achieve? What's his military objective?

To get rid of Bashar? That isn't going to happen by launching a salvo of missiles from the med. All that will happen for certain is people will die. Will it be the people who launched the chemical weapons we kill? Who knows? Cos we don't even know for sure who launched them. John kerry says it's 'common sense' it's the government. But like I said earlier, we don't put people in prison using 'common sense' alone. We certainly shouldn't be killing people in their own countries with that alone. We need evidence beyond reasonable doubt. Irrefutable proof. The UN inspectors haven't even reported back yet. And we haven't had any dossiers from the SIS either. Yet you are ready to kill people on nothing but David Cameron's word alone? You must love him more than I do and I'm accused of being a Tory lover!!! lol

Could his aim be to help the rebels? Which ones? They're a rag tag bunch united only by their hatred of the government. It's common knowledge that they're no angels either and equally committed atrocities and suspected by some to have used chemical weapons themselves. Take away the government and you are left with a bunch of armed thugs who all hate each other. There's no united rebel army fighting the good fight. Just a bunch of militants supported by Al Qaeda fighters.

Stop the fighting? Really? By launching a small amount of missiles? Naive at best.

You can only stop a war by committing boots on the ground. Unless we're prepared to do that and put up with seeing more coffins draped with the Union Jack returning then it's best we keep out.

ElenorRigby Sat 31-Aug-13 07:35:44

To Sell A War - Gulf War Propaganda (1992)

Also anyone ever heard of false flag attack on the USS Liberty during the Six Day War in 1967 Truly shocking stuff.

mathanxiety Sat 31-Aug-13 07:36:21

You can't send in the Marines every time something happens that makes people bang their tables in Surrey.

I agree with Niceguy that any action needs to be carefully thought out, goals established, and 100% control established over what and who will replace Assad if he is removed, unlike the debacle in Egypt (for which many Egyptians have and will yet lose their lives) and the disaster in Libya that will cost Hillary Clinton any chance of the Presidency, not to mention the shaky situation for Libyans in the wake of the Ghadafi removal. Where there is a void, Al Qaeda is ready and willing to move in and take over. Leaving matters open ended is letting down the people of the various countries where Al Qaeda are waiting in the wings for their opportunity.

I am inclined to agree with the position of Russia about all of the foolish intervention in the ME that has gone on since the first Bush days, all for reasons that turned out to be spurious in the extreme and that have resulted in an exponential growth of turmoil in the region and precious little else. That position would be (as far as I can figure out) - leave sentimentality out of it when making important foreign policy or military decisions/ stability is important and policies that threaten it need to have a really urgent rationale behind them/ any political movement that involves marching in streets or occupation of public places needs to have a wet blanket thrown on it, not encouraged by foreign governments no matter how worthy its aims - there are better ways of pursuing your political aims than taking to the streets (and this sort of thing would not be accepted within the US or in Britain or anywhere else in the west no matter how valid the pov expressed).

mathanxiety Sat 31-Aug-13 07:38:53

Launching missiles from Cyprus = 'Berlin by Christmas'

Animation Sat 31-Aug-13 08:05:32

Well put niceguy.

ElenorRigby Sat 31-Aug-13 08:11:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Kungfutea Sat 31-Aug-13 09:16:17

Gosh

If the assad regime falls without a peace agreement, do you not think that there will be genocide of the alawites (and Druze and Christians)?

I just spent the last few days staying with some Syrian Druze (in the Golan heights) who, while appalled by the atrocities, are also terrified of what will happen to their family and friends in Syria post assad.

Takver Sat 31-Aug-13 09:22:44

I think its interesting how little discussion there is about the role of the proposed gas pipelines in the whole conflict. Russia and the US/UK/Europe have quite different desired outcomes as to what pipelines are / aren't built across Syria.

There's one article discussing the pipeline geopolitics here.

Solopower1 Sat 31-Aug-13 09:59:54

Interesting Takver.

I just think the 'solutions' are going to have to come from within, and as people have said, it's going to be a long, step by step process.

If I put myself in the position of someone in the middle of a civil war, the last thing I would ever want, whatever side I was on, would be someone from outside, from a totally different culture, with little or no understanding of the real, underlying issues - to shell even one inch of my home turf. However well-intentioned, it's just too easy to make mistakes and bomb the wrong people.

On the other hand, international intervention - UN peace-keeping forces, for example - would be welcome.

During the Spanish Civil War, some people saw the conflict as a convenient way of getting communists and fascists to kill each other - saved them the trouble of doing it. (Meanwhile the International Brigades were risking their lives to fight for their ideals).

But what I'm wondering is - is it too cynical to accuse the UK and US governments of waiting until now because they would quite like there to be fewer militant Muslims in the world? Is it in US/UK national interest to stoke the conflict rather than calm it down? Could it be that Russia and China are the ones who are genuinely trying to make sure that any UN action is effective in calming down the conflict?

These are horrible thoughts.

holidaybug Sat 31-Aug-13 10:05:07

The Daily Mail is very sensationalist which has to say something about its readers. I'd go to the Guardian or Telegraph for a more measured view of a situation.

Solopower1 Sat 31-Aug-13 10:06:12

Takver - If our govts really are evil behind-the-scenes manipulators, then it absolutely is up to us to hold them back.

So it was definitely the right outcome on Thursday night.

Solopower1 Sat 31-Aug-13 10:07:39

I suppose the most important thing we can do to help Syria is to give the UN our whole-hearted support and to remind our own leaders that we need to play our own bona fide part in that organisation. As one of the five permanent members that must be where our duty lies.

holidaybug Sat 31-Aug-13 10:07:43

"Whoever said that the UN vote will be blocked by China/Russia. Well isn't that kind of the point? We'd be mad if we vetoed a vote and they ignored us wouldn't we?"

It just highlights the shortcomings of the UN and that countries will vote to serve their national rather than human right interests. It's not just Russia and China that do this - the US has vetoed resolutions regarding Israel. The UN needs an overhaul.

bemybebe Sat 31-Aug-13 10:10:02

"there will be genocide of the alawites (and Druze and Christians)"

There WILL be genocide... that is the nature of civil war and this conflict is exactly that according to the expert (those would be the people who study the region and not the politicians). Then we can bang the tables in Surrey again and invite the victims to visit us in Kent.

Solopower1 Sat 31-Aug-13 10:13:22

Yes it's not perfect. It's national govts' job to fight for their own interests, and the UN's job to fight for what is best for the world - or at least the largest number of people, I suppose.

There's room for both. The UN should not be used to pursue any one country's own interests. Maybe it needs to be made more democratic.

MiniTheMinx Sat 31-Aug-13 11:14:30

>there are better ways of pursuing your political aims than taking to the streets (and this sort of thing would not be accepted within the US or in Britain or anywhere else in the west no matter how valid the pov expressed).

I think this is very relevant to what response one should expect from the UK state. The popular uprising of people demanding political change is a valid form of political activity, however any state would act to intervene when that protest threatens "national or State security" International laws relating to the sovereignty of the nation state disallow one state from overthrowing another. If one state must respect the sovereignty of another and the people must respect this (nationalism is a hegemonic political ideology that is imparted to the people, not necessarily followed by corporations and banks and certainly discounted by class interests) then it should follow that one state would actively support another.

According to "left wing" parties here in the UK, the Syrian uprising is a "marxist revolution" (they wish!) and that of course alone would be a direct assault not upon the politics of Assad but upon the State itself. So even discounting the fact that various terror groups have gone in, this uprising throws into question the whole premise of the sovereignty of the State.

But do the Syrian people themselves know what they want, which group can claim to have the backing of the vast majority of Syrians?

If a popular uprising of whatever flavour, with unknown demands take place in somewhere like the UK, should the state act to defend itself?

I would suggest that is would, and that it could very easily progress from being a few rubber bullets if the activists were themselves being armed. As it is the anti-terror laws are being used to infiltrate and collect evidence about political groups. The anti-terror laws would be used to put down a political uprising where that threatened the state making claims upon its sovereignty. Would America be allowing other nations to arm the rebels? would they be supplying intelligence to us? Would they intervene and if so to what end?

America has an agenda in the M.E & they have at various times admitted as much. John Kerry is talking and he gives the game away, he is a neo-con intent upon American Empire who states "America will act in its best interests" its clear that this trumps the idea that anyone should act in the best interests of the Syrian people. Some of these rich white suits are so thick that even with speech writers, researchers and the control of western media they still can't string a conspiracy together coherently enough not to give the game away.

claig Sat 31-Aug-13 11:20:56

'Some of these rich white suits are so thick that even with speech writers, researchers and the control of western media they still can't string a conspiracy together coherently enough not to give the game away.'

Hang on. Isn't Kerry a Bonesman, a member of the Skull & Bones society of Yale University of which George Bush Junior was also a member? You don't get to Yale by being thick, and a Bonesman is definitely not thick!

claig Sat 31-Aug-13 11:21:24

Skulll & Bones is not like the Bullingdon Club!

GoshAnneGorilla Sat 31-Aug-13 11:25:29

Math - why are you trying to paint Russia as a noble bystander? They are the ones who have been arming the regime?!

Also, it is far to early to paint Libya as some kind of disaster, they have already held democratic elections successfully. There may be some unrest in the Benghazi region, but this is not unexpected in the wake of such a long period of autocratic rule, particularly as Libya is such a huge and diverse country.

Tbh, I find there something rather unpleasant in the way people seem to rather relish the difficulties in other countries, as if they should be happy to accept dictatorship, as democracy is obviously not for the likes of "those people"..

Nice guy - again you are completely ignoring the FSA, who comprise the vast majority of the rebels. They are not backed by Al Qaeda, nor do they support them.

KungFu - you do know that the current head of the SNC is a Christian? The majority of the rebel are Sunni, because the majority of the country is Sunni, but there are certainly Druze and Christian s fighting in the FSA. The fact is, the people lived in harmony prior to the regime, it is classic Assadist "Us or nothing" sloganeering to suggest the people need a dictatorship to stop sectarianism happening.

Crumbledwalnuts Sat 31-Aug-13 11:26:30

GoshAnneG - Arab countries are washing their hands of this.

GoshAnneGorilla Sat 31-Aug-13 11:36:59

Would those be the Arab countries who have housed hundreds of thousands of refugees (and Turkey too + Iraqi Kurdistan), thus allowing them to flee to safety? Is that washing your hands?

Or would they be the Arab countries - Saudi and Qatar who are arming the rebels? Is that also washing your hands?

Crumbledwalnuts Sat 31-Aug-13 11:45:04

But people are saying that our role should be humanitarian and you are disagreeing. The Arab world won't intervene militarily and won't support military intervention. Why?

Why don't they do more than arming the rebels? We are feeding the rebels too and sending medical aid.

If you think humanitarian intervention is enough for the Arab world, why is it not enough for the west?

Crumbledwalnuts Sat 31-Aug-13 11:53:15

hello?

Crumbledwalnuts Sat 31-Aug-13 11:57:27

You yourself are ignoring the al-qaeda links. This is a Bloomberg analysis.

"More than two years into Syria’s civil war, radical Sunni Islamists are emerging as the prevalent force seeking to topple President Bashar al-Assad, according to military analysts in Europe and the Middle East. Their influence is among the biggest challenges facing the U.S. and allies such as Saudi Arabia as they decide which anti-Assad forces to back and how.

“Two of the most powerful insurgent factions in Syria are al-Qaeda factions,” Evan Kohlmann, senior partner at Flashpoint Partners in New York, said by telephone. “Even were the Assad regime to fall and there be some kind of takeover by rebels, there’s not a clear understanding that everyone here will be able to agree and form any kind of government.”

Libya, Iraq
The struggle echoes the tumultuous transitions of power in Arab countries rocked by revolts since 2011, as well as the sectarian conflict in Iraq following the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

In Libya, armed militias that helped end Muammar al-Qaddafi’s rule have refused to lay down their weapons, obstructing the North African oil-producer’s efforts to restore order and revive the economy.

The rise of radical Islamists in Syria came as attempts by Western and Arab countries to support moderate anti-Assad groups failed to unite the opposition or bolster the rebel Free Syrian Army, led mainly by former Assad army officers. Instead, what began as a peaceful uprising turned into a war involving about 1,200 groups, according to U.S. intelligence estimates. Now, some of them have turned against each other."

Do we need to be part of this

CoteDAzur Sat 31-Aug-13 11:58:24

Gosh - Turkey's government has ulterior motives. They are letting in huge numbers of Syrians and strategically placing them in cities where fundamentalist religious types their supporters are in low numbers, in preparation for the upcoming elections.

This is Izmir, on the Western coast of Turkey right opposite Greek islands. About 900 km to Syria. How and why do you think all those refugees got to Izmir?

GoshAnneGorilla Sat 31-Aug-13 12:15:23

Crumbled - I am not at your beck and call. Do not Hello? me, I have other things to do aside from reply to this thread. Is housing refugees not humanitarian then? Also are the Red Crescent and many others, unknown organisations to you.

One uncited, unlinked report isn't hugely persuasive either.

Cote - If the refugees are not Turkish citizens, how will they be able to vote? I'm aware that anti AKP paranoia is sizeable, but really?

Crumbledwalnuts Sat 31-Aug-13 12:18:05

smile
If you think humanitarian intervention is enough for the Arab world, why is it not enough for the west?

The Red Crescent is an unknown organisation to me? Is it really?

LEMisdisappointed Sat 31-Aug-13 12:18:10

See - this is why i don't get into politics, i hate arguing. I just know i want it to stop - im being niave aren't i?

SilverApples Sat 31-Aug-13 12:20:25

Gosh, that isn't what Walnuts asked you.
She asked that if humanitarian aid was all that the countries surrounding Syria and the Arab league were offering, why is that not an acceptable response from 'the west' as well?
Why is more expected by some?

crescentmoon Sat 31-Aug-13 12:24:19

cote i watched a documentary recently about syrian refugees trying to get to europe via Greece. Izmir is probably their crossing point to those greek islands.

Crumbledwalnuts Sat 31-Aug-13 12:27:18

Gosh: - the Arab world won't even come out in vocal support of missile strikes, never mind join in. They're not being asked to sacrifice their sons and daughters - how about they give unequivocal backing in words? How about that? Are they ? No they aren't.

crescentmoon Sat 31-Aug-13 12:34:05

Turkey has had Syria shoot down a plane killing a citizen and also send shells across the border into its territory killing turkish citizens. they are a member of NATO and could have invoked the clause that NATO member states have to come to the defence of any member country that is attacked. but they didnt. that would have had america and britain along with other nato countries involved long before this chemical weapons incident. they are supposed tobe miliatary allies. i wonder why they havent?

crescentmoon Sat 31-Aug-13 12:35:25

what i mean is, it could be seen that it is the West's business because an ally was already attacked by the assad regime, i wonder if there is a time limit on when they can invoke that clause.

GoshAnneGorilla Sat 31-Aug-13 12:37:49

Silver - I have explained the non humanitarian aid being offered too. I would absolutely support more arms being sold to the FSA. But the Arab countries, for all their money, do not have the airborne expertise or experience, that the Western countries do, and this expertise could bring the fall of the regime to a much swifter conclusion, as happened in Libya and was used to end Serb hostility in Kosovo.

There is also the idea that using CW should be punished, I would agree with this. The use of such weaponry should be condemned by humanity.

I will conclude with this. It maybe that people have decided that Syria is beyond help. But that such a huge and bloody conflict has emerged and the UN is absolutely powerless to intervene bodes very poorly for the future. Very poorly indeed. Some may like to think that they would never be in such a situation, such atrocities could never happen to them...but who can be certain?

I opposed the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan and have already explained why upthread, to me this is very much like The Boy Who Cried Wolf, but it's the Syrian people who are paying the price.

Crumbledwalnuts Sat 31-Aug-13 12:43:48

They could support it in words. Why don't they?

They could offer military support, however nominal. Saudi Arabia could help easily.

Why don't they? Why is it up to the west? It will sure as hell be turned on its head on the nasty infidels as soon as it suits the fundamentalists.

CoteDAzur Sat 31-Aug-13 12:52:29

"If the refugees are not Turkish citizens, how will they be able to vote? I'm aware that anti AKP paranoia is sizeable, but really?"

How naive of you. Bless smile

I guess you would believe Peter Pan flew those refugees from Syria all the way to Izmir so they can camp out in the parks grin

They will of course be given nationality, very quickly. That is what happened to the 200,000 Kurds who came into Turkey fleeing Saddam. AKP never won in Izmir. It is not paranoia to see that "homing" Syrians in Izmir has a purpose and that is to increase AKP's natural voter base of religious, conservative, fundamentalist, covered-up-from-head-to-toe people. Your people, Gosh smile Maybe you should offer them a place in your neighbourhood?

CoteDAzur Sat 31-Aug-13 13:06:25

crescent - "Turkey has had Syria shoot down a plane killing a citizen and also send shells across the border into its territory killing turkish citizens. they are a member of NATO and could have invoked the clause that NATO member states have to come to the defence of any member country that is attacked. i wonder why they havent?"

Because that is not war and Syria is no military threat to Turkey, who has the second largest army of NATO after the US.

"syrian refugees trying to get to europe via Greece. Izmir is probably their crossing point to those greek islands."

They might hope that but I doubt any/many will succeed. Due to obvious historical tensions, any such crossing between Turkey and Greek islands is very heavily regulated. Even residents of Izmir have to get visas in advance to make that crossing.

My point was: How did so many of them make it to Izmir? Why not any of the neighbouring cities who are just as close to many Greek islands?

Crumbledwalnuts Sat 31-Aug-13 13:11:05

I had no idea about Izmir. Such an education. Will read more.

SDhopeful Sat 31-Aug-13 14:30:42

Niceguy -your points are very well made.
Intervention is completely otiose without a clear attainable objective. Chucking stones in the general direction of a bully to show you disapprove of his actions - utterly pointless.
Michael Gove has gone down in my estimation - until now, I was his last remaining fan in the general electorate.
Chumming up to the American President, DC trying to emulate Bliar, lining up the lucrative sinecures after office, but with Afghanistan TB pulled the drawbridge up after him.
Send your sons to war, TB and DC is you believe in it, don't send ours to flatter your egos with wargames.

Wannabestepfordwife Sat 31-Aug-13 15:22:36

takver thank you for the link! It definately explains why Obama is more interested in the humanitarian crisis in Syria more than Sudan or Zimbabwe

Takver Sat 31-Aug-13 15:22:38

"Takver - If our govts really are evil behind-the-scenes manipulators, then it absolutely is up to us to hold them back."

I'm not sure that considering the interests of their own citizens (ie the desire of the majority for a reliable source of fossil fuels at a low price) makes governments 'evil behind the scenes manipulators' necessarily. At the least, I'd say it is an arguable point. (Personally, I'd rather see a major shift to renewables, and drop in consumption, but I don't think most voters would agree with me.)

BUT I have to say that in my lifetime, I don't see evidence of such interventions ending well for any parties - the people on the ground don't appear to end up any better off, and the western states don't seem to get the compliant and reliable regimes that they want.

The one exception I can think of - though it is hard to know what the 'hands off' scenario would have been - is the Balkans in the 90s, and it was rather different in that AFAIK there wasn't any resource issue underlying it, and they are much closer & part of Europe.

mathanxiety Sat 31-Aug-13 21:12:17

GoshAnne -- I am not painting Russia as a noble bystander. It has armed the regime, just as the US armed Mubarrak's regime (and only recently did a rethink about continuing to ship arms to the Egyptian Army). For all its faults it is better than the Muslim Brotherhood so imo the rethink is a mistake on the part of the US, which continues to overlook the value of stability as a political aim in the region. You would think the US wasn't still dependent on foreign oil, or that its ally Israel wasn't in any sort of jeopardy.

Russia is at least not sentimental and pursues a policy of self interest that is not patronising or likely to come back and bite it in the bum in the sense that they will not add grist to the mill of the fundamentalists (about whom they have no illusions).

The disaster I referred to is the attack on the US embassy, the murder of the ambassador and others Americans, and the failure of the State Department in the runup to it to take the ongoing and remorseless fundamentalist threat seriously. The recent closure of embassies all over the ME in response to the threat is a reaction to the way it was burned in Libya.

The debacle there shows the fundamentalists are thankless and ruthless, and that any attempt to remove regimes by the west (under what authority?) needs to also remove the threat of the fundamentalists. Removing Assad from Syria would only be the first phase of any envisioned conflict. Part Two would involve waging a civil war against the fundamentalist elements. So much for 'democracy' - they do have some support after all.

The Bloomberg analysis sounds very sane and I hope it is being read in the White House and that no-one there thinks the magic wand of 'democracy' can be waved and all will be fine.

mathanxiety Sat 31-Aug-13 21:17:29

MiniTheMinx --

If a popular uprising of whatever flavour, with unknown demands take place in somewhere like the UK, should the state act to defend itself?

I would suggest that is would, and that it could very easily progress from being a few rubber bullets if the activists were themselves being armed. As it is the anti-terror laws are being used to infiltrate and collect evidence about political groups. The anti-terror laws would be used to put down a political uprising where that threatened the state making claims upon its sovereignty. Would America be allowing other nations to arm the rebels? would they be supplying intelligence to us? Would they intervene and if so to what end?

All of this has already happened, in the case of Northern Ireland, which was the situation in which the anti-terror laws were gestated. Britain actively put down open insurrection by armed terrorists with a separatist (and Marxist) agenda in NI with the active co-operation of the US government. This happened under successive Labour and Tory governments through the 70s and 80s and into the 90s. A thirty year war on terror was waged with bullets and anti-terror laws and internment and refusal to negotiate with hunger strikers right in Britain's own back garden

mathanxiety Sat 31-Aug-13 21:18:38

(which is to say, I agree with your points, Mini)

holidaybug Sat 31-Aug-13 21:19:31

'Ever heard of the Nayirah Testimony'

This was Kuwaiti propaganda - it wasn't US or UK propoganda and it was corroborated by Amnesty International. The US and UK were duped as were others.

Anyway, getting back to the point, would you believe the Assad regime over the UK and US?

mathanxiety Sat 31-Aug-13 21:21:14

And I agree with Cote that secularism in Turkey is threatened.

mathanxiety Sat 31-Aug-13 21:23:03

Would you have believed the Iraqi regime (and the Russians iirc) on the matter of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, over the word of the US and the UK?

And yet who was right?

Crumbledwalnuts Sat 31-Aug-13 21:24:33

We have allied with fundamentalists before, and it has never ended well.

holidaybug Sat 31-Aug-13 21:35:29

Yes, Iraq was a shambles but we need to move on from that and trust that the lessons have been learned.

Crumbledwalnuts Sat 31-Aug-13 21:40:29

Afghanistan is the first one I remember, the mujahideen. What a disaster that turned out to be. Libya is the most recent.

Rooners Sat 31-Aug-13 21:44:52

Obama is going to congress with it, congress reconvenes 9th Sept.

hmmm.

holidaybug Sat 31-Aug-13 21:46:46

It crossed my mind whether the proximity to September 11th had anything to do with Obama's decision to put it past Congress. Maybe I'm way off the mark though.

Rooners Sat 31-Aug-13 21:48:00

Oh loads of stuff like this happens at the beginning of sept. Second world war, great fire of london, anything else?

holidaybug Sat 31-Aug-13 21:51:57

A coincidence probably but the timing may help Obama

Rooners Sat 31-Aug-13 21:56:46

Oh I see, sorry I need to go to bed. I get what you mean.

I'm sure 9/11 timing has nothing to do with this other than it is around about then that congress reconvenes.

Obama's speech was very considered and very powerful IMO. A brave decision and so very different from Bush.

holidaybug Sat 31-Aug-13 22:05:07

Brave or safe ... not so sure.

mathanxiety Sat 31-Aug-13 22:08:44

Afghanistan was a good example of 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend' turning out horribly for the US. They should have worked out what Mujahideen meant before they decided to arm and train them. And they should have looked beyond their smug assumptions of their own righteousness and the idea that God smiles on the US and all her doings.

I think brave because I really think he has strong convictions about this. He made a really strong case for intervention and it may well go the same way as here.

WetAugust Sat 31-Aug-13 22:29:25

So Obama steps back from the brink.

This is getting very interesting.

niceguy2 Sat 31-Aug-13 22:53:31

Yes, Iraq was a shambles but we need to move on from that and trust that the lessons have been learned.

I hope so too. The lessons I learned are:

1) The secret intelligence services don't always have spies in the right places and can also use google to gather 'evidence' like any school child does for their homework.

2) Don't go invading other countries without a solid plan about what to do afterwards!! We toppled Sadam quickly then there was this period where it was clear that no-one had thought what to do after.

3) As with Iraq, Afghanistan, even Kosovo. You cannot force a country to do anything unless you put boots on the ground.

4) Know who the bad guys are and who you want to support. Afghanistan is a hodge podge of tribes who support whomever they like that week. Over ten years on and the 'Afghan' president is in charge of very little outside Kabul.

I guess what the US and perhaps some of the other International community are not after a regime change but are about making a clear(ish) statement about chemical weapons being utterly against international law, because once you ignore what is a really clear and utterly blatant use of chemical warfare then you are in a whole new ball game.

Solopower1 Sun 01-Sep-13 08:28:46

It's very good news that Obama is going to Congress before committing the country to war! Let's hope he sets a precedent. Congress (mainly Republican) has fought against him throughout his presidency. Now they will be forced to back him if they want intervention (which I think the majority of them do). It's a brave decision, and a very wise one - and we led the way. The French are also going to debate it on Wednesday. I think this is very good for democracy (in the UK, France and US), and might make world leaders less hasty to go to war. The Arab League Foreign Ministers are also going to discuss this (though surely not for the first time??).

Even if this makes the UK reconsider its decision, at least it will mean there is more chance of us having clear objectives.

And this looks to me more like a strengthening of the 'special relationship' between the US and UK, rather than the reverse. (Though not sure whether that is a good or bad thing).

Solopower1 Sun 01-Sep-13 08:38:55

In fact it looks like the ordinary British voter having some say over US foreign policy. Or am I letting my enthusiasm run away with me?

Wouldn't it be wonderful, though, if the people who were affected by US policies - ie most the rest of the world - had some influence, however minimal??

Rooners Sun 01-Sep-13 08:44:06

This is a stupid and naive question I'm about to ask.

What would happen if we all pulled out of supporting or supplying arms to all of these states.

What then?

Animation Sun 01-Sep-13 08:46:07

"Oh loads of stuff like this happens at the beginning of sept. Second world war, great fire of london, anything else?"

Rooners - yes I thought that - so many wars have begun end of August/Septembet time.

Solopower1 Sun 01-Sep-13 09:19:17

Rooners - yes. Once again the interests of arms manufacturers (and the jobs they provide and the taxes they pay) come ahead of preventing conflicts and saving lives in far away countries of which we know nothing.

I don't think any national government will ever have the vision to put long term policies to create the pre-conditions for world peace over short term national 'gain', as they perceive it. And if they did, they wouldn't have the public behind them.

So we are condemned to rotate forever in this danse macabre ...

Kungfutea Sun 01-Sep-13 10:14:58

Gosh

I don't understand how you can claim that Syrians all lived in peace prior to the current regime. Assad (senior and junior) has been in power since 1970. Syrian only got indepdence from France after ww2 and in that time before Assad took power had about 3 military coups and a Druze uprising.

I appreciate your frustration as I agree that the rebels and Assad are not comparable in brutality and also I think that it is Assad who has led to this situation, but the rebels today are not the rebels two years ago. Possibly if Assad had agreed to reforms things wouldn't have deteriorated, possibly there was a window of opportunity for intervention earlier on before the radicalization of the rebels and infiltration of al- Qaeda. But thats all hypothetical. The Syrian Druze I stayed with were not apologists for the regime but genuinely scared for their friends and family over the border, just as you are.

WetAugust Sun 01-Sep-13 10:46:00

*What would happen if we all pulled out of supporting or supplying arms to all of these states.

What then?*

They would go to the countries that would supply them e.g. Russia, China, North Korea, possibly South Africa - they have in the past. They'd also go to arms dealers who are prepared to fudge the End User export documentation.

In some ways we actually benefit by supplying arms to countries. Apart from the obvious of providing work and profit to UK companies (although many are actually US or French owned) by supplying the arms

1) we know what they've got
2) we know how much of it they've got
3) we have made them dependant on our kit
4) we can stop supplying which would leave them with a capability gap and possible interoperability issues with any replacement kit, and that could degrade their capabilities
5) we can sell them training courses on our kit
6) we can sell them spare parts
7) we can ask them to chip in to the costs of further kit development
8)psychologically they may adopt 'British' ways of operating - especially if you lob a few Sandhurst courses in for the more influential within there forces. We then know how they will execute a war because we taught them our type of war planning

But for their AK47 and AK&$s they go elsewhere.

WetAugust Sun 01-Sep-13 10:47:49

meant AK74s but actually think AK&$s is also quite appropriate sad

bemybebe Sun 01-Sep-13 14:32:35

"I appreciate your frustration as I agree that the rebels and Assad are not comparable in brutality and also I think that it is Assad who has led to this situation, but the rebels today are not the rebels two years ago. Possibly if Assad had agreed to reforms things wouldn't have deteriorated, possibly there was a window of opportunity for intervention earlier on before the radicalization of the rebels and infiltration of al- Qaeda. But thats all hypothetical. The Syrian Druze I stayed with were not apologists for the regime but genuinely scared for their friends and family over the border, just as you are."

Totally my opinion. There were negotiations possible 2 years ago, but now I cannot see the end, just one side killing the other and frankly with everyone being polarised there are now good and bad people in both camps. Sad sad times.

claig Sun 01-Sep-13 15:30:24

Anyone read Peter Hitchens in today's Mail on Sunday?

Wowser!

These are just a few of the tamer quotes

"In some ways, most shocking has been the behaviour of the BBC. It uncritically promoted atrocity propaganda from the beginning, making no effort to be objective"

"And, as they weep loud tears for the dead of Damascus (whose killers have yet to be identified) they are silent over the heaps of corpses piled in the streets of Cairo, undoubtedly gunned down by the junta, which used weapons paid for by the USA to do so, and didn’t even try to hide its actions."

Warning! Take a stiff whiskey before reading!

www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2408071/PETER-HITCHENS-David-Cameron-vainglorious-fantasist-He-quit.html

Crumbledwalnuts Sun 01-Sep-13 15:32:01

Nice one claig.

WetAugust Sun 01-Sep-13 15:48:35

Apart from the comments he makes about the BBC, it's not a bad article.

He's merely saying in his usual robust way that we should stay out of it.

Which is what a lot of people are thinking.

Listening to Paddy that morning made me want to vomit.

All this talk of being 'diminished' as a country is bollocks. We still sit on the UN Security Council, we are still one of the founding nations and an active participant in NATO, we are still one of the world's largest donators of foreign aid -we just chose not to bomb people for a change - and America decided the next day that ours was probably the right decision.

I'm reading Max Hastings biography of Churchill at the mo.

He states that Churchill planned to use poison gas against the Germans if they invaded the UK. shock

Not equating that in any way to Syria - and emphasising that. Just noting that I was pretty shocked to read that as it would have defied the conventions on CW use.

claig Sun 01-Sep-13 15:55:52

Don't you agree with him about the BBC?

The sad thing is that many people no longer trust politicians after Blair's New Labour and many no longer trust the BBC to be impartial.

That's why Farage will increase his popularity, and Daily Mail sales will continue to rise!

WetAugust Sun 01-Sep-13 16:33:57

I haven't trusted the BBC for years to give me an impartial reporting of the news.

They've mocked Farage and anyone who has been against the EU for years - and now we've found out that the EU makes contributions to the BBC. Now Farage's support is increasing we are seeing a few more programmes about the financial crisis in southern Europe - some are even critical of the EU!

They've presented a very pro-climate change view on the world too.

Not saying that whether the BBC is pro/anti the EU or climate change is relevant - it's the fact that the BBC should remain impartial - and it doesn't. I want a balanced view.

As for Blair - don't get me started on him. Saw a very nasty picture of him looking very tanned in St Tropez and read his latest thoughts on whether we should intervene in Syria. I detest that man.

But if Blair's legacy is that we start to question our politicians and the news agencies then that's a positive thing. I have friends who can an entire decade's worth of storyline from Eastenders but couldn't name the Home Secretary.

I find that lack of interest in what is being done in their name very depressing indeed.

claig Sun 01-Sep-13 16:36:27

Well said, WetAugust. I agree with you and so do millions of other people!

WetAugust Sun 01-Sep-13 17:08:27

Before Blair I think we did actually have more of a healthy scepticism about politicians.

Spitting Image mocked them relentlessly.

That programme would have a field day with today's lot and their duck houses grin

TBH I don't know why we are so shocked at their ineptitude and duplicity. The expenses scandal showed just how shameless and self-serving they are. We still haven't forgiven them for that.

I think politics attracts 2 sorts of people - the filthy rich and risk takers. Most 'normal people can't afford the career uncertainty of a job with a contract for just 5 years.

So it's only really an option if you're self-financing or content with the employment risk. So you get people who have a very different outlook on life to the 9-5 steady salary man. You get people whose only aim is to keep extending that very tenuous 5 year contract - by whatever means possible.

I think we are seeing the start of the demise of the 3 party system. It's already blurred by the coalition and the extent to which the country distrusts all the major parties.

Interesting times.

Wannabestepfordwife Sun 01-Sep-13 18:08:14

claig in total agreement over Hitchens column the mail at its best

claig Sun 01-Sep-13 18:12:17

Agree, Wannabe, Hitchens always says what he thinks, he never spins and that is why, agree with him or disagree with him, he is always worth reading.

Wannabestepfordwife Sun 01-Sep-13 18:23:27

Tbh I have enjoyed the mails coverage of the crisis (not in a sadistic way obv) and I have found max Hastings articles to be excellent and have given me a far better understanding of the situation

claig Sun 01-Sep-13 18:30:34

Agree, Max Hastings is very good and very knowledgeable. He was also excellent when bashing the bankers.

EldritchCleavage Sun 01-Sep-13 20:45:16

Anyone else think the media comment over the House of Commons decision was ridiculously overblown in parts? The people spinning this as our final post-Imperial demise seem to have forgotten that Wilson refused to join the Vietnam adventure (thank goodness), a decision from which the country managed to recover.

Not sure his volte-face was as clever as Miliband thinks it was though. I think yesterday was as good as it gets and further developments may leave him stranded.

Plus, Paddy Ashdown is ageing into a vain, petulant self-important twit.

MiniTheMinx Sun 01-Sep-13 21:12:36

For once I agree with Hitchins.

"Britain sold nerve gas chemicals to Syria 10 months after war began" Vinnie the Weasels dept allowed chemicals that can be used to make sarin to be exported to Syria. Who were they sold to? www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/britain-sold-nerve-gas-chemicals-2242520

Some questions are being asked now about Lindon the Australian Lobbyist that DC recruited. Apparently Lindon was lobbying on behalf of the rebel group the Syrian national council. As always someone somewhere is making money out of this and our elected representatives do not represent us but the interests of lobbyists, corporations and wealthy benefactors.

The most sickening thing about this government is that they are quite open and unashamedly deceitful and crooked. What would it take for people to realise that we do not have democracy? Even the fact that the house voted military action down, is played and spun giving the false impression that the Government is listening to the people. So even a defeat becomes a cause for celebration, reality turned on its head, we are encouraged to think that Dave is different, he's in tune because he answers to us, if only.

Solopower1 Mon 02-Sep-13 07:27:38

DC's defeat is definitely cause for celebration, imo - both of democracy but also because it showed him up for being (at best) completely out of touch (even with MPs), inexperienced, inefficient and totally in thrall to the US. It's a small victory for democracy, but worth celebrating all the same.

But, yes, I agree with your other points, Mini.

Something is puzzling me though. Wouldn't it have been illegal for DC to intervene militarily in Syria without asking Parliament? So was he ever considering marching us off to war while Parliament was on holiday? Could that be done??

Since, presumably, he didn't have a choice, how is he being given credit for listening to the people in this instance? Whereas BO does have a choice, and is being brave enough to ask Congress.

niceguy2 Mon 02-Sep-13 08:45:46

Solo. Actually as I understand it, Cameron could have attacked Syria without a vote in the commons by invoking Royal prerogative.

So if you wish to give BO credit for being 'brave enough' to ask Congress then it's only fair you give DC even more credit for being 'brave enough' to ask parliament for a vote first.

That's why straight after the vote, Milibland's first question was to ask DC to confirm in the wake of the vote that he wouldn't use the royal prerogative to attack. A fact he confirmed (thankfully).

Rooners Mon 02-Sep-13 10:22:47

I saw on the news that there is some talk of a revote?

I watched Nick Clegg saying there was no point but not sure what is going on there. Does anyone know?

MiniTheMinx Mon 02-Sep-13 11:07:41

I don't know Rooners, I have just heard the same on the radio.

Solopower1 Mon 02-Sep-13 18:38:24

Niceguy, I think the media consensus is that he assumed Parliament would support him and he was taken by surprise when they didn't. That shows how out of touch he is, imo, even with his own MPs. So not brave, no.

But thank you for answering my question.

Animation Tue 03-Sep-13 21:18:44

I think it is plausible that Cameron knew full well that the country and parliament didn't want the war and he probably didn't want it himself. The vote against attacking Syria took it out of his hands. And like niceguy said he could have attacked without the vote if he was so inclined.

WetAugust Tue 03-Sep-13 21:21:38

That was my theory too Animation. We discussed it upthread.

I still find the whole thing very peculiar.

niceguy2 Tue 03-Sep-13 23:25:27

I also wonder sometimes if he secretly hoped he'd lose thereby giving him a 'get out'

But that is almost too clever for Cameron who I don't think is a great strategist. Plus it would rely him knowing that Miliband would vote against at the last minute.

The more likely thing that happened is that DC thought he had Labour support so an endorsement from parliament would give him more credibility. Except Ed decided to wuss out and score some political points instead.

I certainly don't think it's the huge personal defeat for Cameron. Secretly I think he'll be breathing a sigh of relief. To his party, he can now blame Labour. To Obama he can blame parliament.

Give it a couple of months and we'll have all forgotten about Syria like Egypt's dropped out of the spotlight now and we'll be talking about something else.

WetAugust Tue 03-Sep-13 23:45:15

Yep - cockup rather than conspiracy.

Crumbledwalnuts Tue 03-Sep-13 23:46:32

I don't think we should go in but after a few days I feel a bit weedy and embarrassed about not joining missile strikes. It's as though, however clumsy and hopelessly bull-in-china shop Britain has done things, we've always at least striven to do the Right Thing, and this time we're not. Even though I think it would make things worse, even though we can't make bedfellows of al-Qaeda, somehow it does feel a bit off and not good enough.

niceguy2 Wed 04-Sep-13 00:02:50

Reading the news today I sense that Obama has been a lot clearer than Cameron about what he wants to achieve.

From what I see the US want to deter other rogue nations from contemplating using chemical weapons but crucially any strikes they don't want to upset the power balance. In other words, they don't want to degrade Assad's army.

I can see that making some sense albeit I'm not sure it's realistically possible. The munitions that they'd have to use are almost as terrible as the chemical weapons they are trying to destroy.

DC seems to have rushed to parliament with no real plan and understandably has been told to sod off.

PseudoBadger Wed 04-Sep-13 07:41:20

So when Putin says that American action would be 'an aggression' and it's too early to say what Russia would do if action were taken - what does that mean? Is this getting to WW3 territory? I've been in a toddler/late pregnancy bubble and this has crept up on me rather sad

ElenorRigby Wed 04-Sep-13 09:15:59

"Russia has sold Syria highly advanced rocket launchers, anti-aircraft missiles and anti-ship missiles. In fact, the P-800 Yakhont anti-ship missiles that Russia has equipped Syria with are the most advanced anti-ship missiles that Russia has.

When the United States strikes Syria, they might be quite surprised at how hard Syria can hit back. The Syrian military is the most formidable adversary that the U.S. military has tangled with in the Middle East by far. From Syria, P-800 Yakhont anti-ship missiles can cover much of the eastern Mediterranean and can even reach air bases in Cyprus.

If the U.S. Navy is not very careful to stay out of range, we could easily see footage of destroyed U.S. naval vessels sinking into the Mediterranean Sea on the evening news. And once the American people see such footage, it will be impossible to stop a full-blown war between the United States and Syria."

Link

"In 2010 Sergei Prikhodko, senior adviser to the Russian President, has said that Russia intends to deliver P-800 to Syria based on the contracts signed in 2007.[3][4] Syria received 2 Bastion missile systems with 36 missiles each (72 in total).[5] The missiles' test was broadcast by Syrian state TV.[6]

In May 2013, Russia continued the contract delivery to the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad supplying missiles with an advanced radar to make them more effective to counter any future foreign military intervention.[7][8] The warehouse containing the Bastion launchers was destroyed in an Israeli air strike on Latakia on 5 July 2013, but US intelligence analysts believe that some missiles had been removed before the attack"
P-800 Oniks missiles on Wiki

niceguy2 Wed 04-Sep-13 09:30:01

Syria won't launch missiles on the US Navy. Assad's most likely course of action at the moment is to hide all the chemical weapons he has and let the US pound a few places to save face.

That way he can keep fighting having lost little in terms of capability. Attacking a US warship would be utterly stupid. The US would decimate his military and leave him at the mercy of the rebels. That would be so far over the red line that you couldn't even see the line anymore.

The US don't want to get involved. They just want to deter other rogue states from using chemical weapons in the future.

Assad is cruel, not stupid.

ElenorRigby Wed 04-Sep-13 09:46:52

"Turkish security forces found a 2kg cylinder with sarin gas after searching the homes of Syrian militants from the Al-Qaeda linked Al-Nusra Front who were previously detained, Turkish media reports. The gas was reportedly going to be used in a bomb.

The sarin gas was found in the homes of suspected Syrian Islamists detained in the southern provinces of Adana and Mersia following a search by Turkish police on Wednesday, reports say. The gas was allegedly going to be used to carry out an attack in the southern Turkish city of Adana.

On Monday, Turkish special anti-terror forces arrested 12 suspected members of the Al-Nusra Front, the Al-Qaeda affiliated group which has been dubbed “the most aggressive and successful arm” of the Syrian rebels. The group was designated a terrorist organization by the United States in December."
Link

"12 people from Syria's al Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front who allegedly had been planning an attack inside Turkey and were in possession of 2 kg (4.5 pounds) of sarin, had been detained in Adana."
Reuters

At this point no one knows what's really gone on.
No one knows where this will lead.

All bets are off.

Yet again Goering's quote rings true:

"Naturally the common people don't want war: Neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, IT IS THE LEADERS of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is TELL THEM THEY ARE BEING ATTACKED, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. IT WORKS THE SAME IN ANY COUNTRY."

--Goering at the Nuremberg Trials

ElenorRigby Wed 04-Sep-13 09:54:43

Israel grants Golan exploration licence
John Reed, Financial Times

Israel has granted a US company a licence to explore for oil and gas in the occupied Golan Heights in a move likely to stir diplomatic controversy ahead of next month’s visit to the region by President Barack Obama.

The country’s energy ministry confirmed on Thursday that it had given the exploration licence to a local subsidiary of Genie Energy, a New York-listed company whose shareholders include Jacob Rothschild and Rupert Murdoch. Dick Cheney, the former US vice-president, is an adviser.

Israel seized the Golan Heights from Syria in the Six day war in 1967, but its occupation of the territory is not recognised under international law.

Although the territory has been largely peaceful since 1967, as Syria’s civil war has intensified Israeli officials have expressed concern that Damascus is deliberately seeking to draw Israel into the conflict. Late last year Israeli soldiers fired tank shells across the border after stray mortars landed in the Golan.

Some analysts have linked the timing of the licence award to the situation in Syria. Yaron Ezrahi, an Israeli political analyst, said: “This action is mostly political – it’s an attempt to deepen Israeli commitment to the occupied Golan Heights. The timing is directly related to the fact that the Syrian government is dealing with violence and chaos and is not free to deal with this problem.”

Genie competed for the drilling licence against an unnamed second company which Globes, the Israeli financial newspaper, identified as Ultra Equity Investments.

In accordance with Israel’s petroleum law, the exploration licence covers just under 400 square kilometres. “We applied for an oil and gas exploration licence which may entail drilling,” the US company said on Thursday. “We received notice of the licence yesterday.”

Genie already has an oil exploration and production licence in the Shfela region of central Israel, and a joint venture with Total to produce shale oil in Colorado.

A person close to the process, who asked not to be named, said that the company had submitted its application in August last year, and that the second company applied later.

Genie won the bid based on geological, professional and other criteria, this person said. Details of its bid are not publicly available.

Mr Obama is due to visit Israel, the occupied West Bank and Jordan in late March, at a time when Benjamin Netanyahu’s government is under growing diplomatic pressure over its expansion of settlements on occupied Palestinian land.

Recent natural gas finds off Israel’s coast in the Mediterranean have promised to transform the Jewish state into a significant energy power in its region.

The Tamar natural gasfield, which is due to begin producing in the second quarter of this year, is expected to contribute a percentage point to Israel’s projected 3.8 per cent growth in gross domestic product this year. Israel’s offshore gas reserve is one of the largest of its kind in the world and its potential output will greatly exceed Israel’s domestic needs, making the country an energy exporter.

The companies exploiting Tamar and the larger Leviathan field, Noble Energy and Delek Energy, have recently contacted potential customers in Turkey and Jordan who might be interested in taking gas via pipelines."

NicholasTeakozy Wed 04-Sep-13 10:31:01

Syria won't launch missiles on the US Navy

I wouldn't be so sure Niceguy, Assad will strike back, he has the capability. Also, Assad wants to hang on to power, plus he's currently winning against the rebels.

Expect things to escalate beyond Syria should the US go ahead and attack.

PseudoBadger Wed 04-Sep-13 10:50:05

Expect things to escalate beyond Syria should the US go ahead and attack.

Can you elaborate on this?

niceguy2 Wed 04-Sep-13 11:01:39

What's Assad's motive?

EldritchCleavage Wed 04-Sep-13 11:03:34

No, I'm with niceguy2, it is vanishingly unlikely Assad would attack US forces. He really isn't stupid. And he can't be that formidable, or this civil war would not be taking so long to win.

The US military is very very far ahead of anyone else's if not in sheer numbers then certainly in technology and expertise. Even China would think twice.

ElenorRigby Wed 04-Sep-13 11:29:18

Well said Nicholas.

AS for things escalating beyond Syria, I totally agree too.

We are being told we have to go into Syria to stop Assad's forces killing Syrian people with CM.
That quite simply is a lie.
It is an argumentum ad misericordiam, an appeal to people's emotions that something must be done to save Syria's poor innocent children. Just as the Nayirah Testimony convinced a wavering American public to enter the first Gulf War

The real reason/s for this coming war lies elsewhere. They are not being presented to the public because the geopolitics of oil, gas or weapons capability are not palatable reasons for ordinary people (who are already war weary and distrustful of politicians) to endorse yet another war.
As Goering said "Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders." These days all manner of dirty tricks are used, be they appeals to pity, false flags or whatever ruse they come up with.

Syria however is different from other conflicts because of it's
*weapons capability,
*it's allies Russia and Iran
*it's location on the Med bordering Turkey and Israel.

I have no doubt they are playing with fire here.

Lord knows how this will end.

As I said before all bets are off.

niceguy2 Wed 04-Sep-13 11:43:46

Assad is currently winning but it's still a hell of a fight for him. That tends to happen when the other side are literally fighting for their lives.

Syria might have a decent weapons capability but compared with the US it's like throwing rocks at a tank. The US could if it desired level the entire country without the single loss of one of it's soldiers. So to launch an attack on a vastly superior military power makes absolutely no sense.

The LAST thing Assad really wants is US intervention. What he wants is to be left alone to crush the rebellion.

ElenorRigby Wed 04-Sep-13 12:00:20

"What he wants is to be left alone to crush the rebellion."

Indeed, but he's not going be allowed to do that.

niceguy2 Wed 04-Sep-13 12:25:54

Who's going to stop him?

There is no planned ground invasion. Nor is there likely to be. Not unless he does something really stupid like attack a US ship.

One of the great things about American people is their unwavering support and respect for their armed forces. There'd be nothing better to swing public support towards blowing Assad off the face of the planet than attacking a US ship.

NicholasTeakozy Wed 04-Sep-13 13:03:21

Who's going to stop him?

The rebels are being armed by Qatar and Saudi Arabia and are augmented by various Al Qaida affiliated groups.

Pseudo, either Matt Scavo or Michael Snyder have written articles (backed with references) saying that should the US attack Syria Russia will go after Saudi because of threats made by Prince Bandar, both Syria and Iran will attack Israel and Israel will retaliate.

Also, Syria now has missiles with more than enough range and accuracy to sink American ships. What happens should that happen? Finally, Russia has moved a missile launching ship into the Eastern Med.

EldritchCleavage Wed 04-Sep-13 13:16:22

But who says Iran will attack Israel?

Russia attacking Saudi just isn't credible-I read one of the links you posted earlier on Prince Bandar, and it was completely unconvincing.

The fact that Syria has missiles capable of sinking American ships does not mean there is the political will to use them. This just catastrophising.

WetAugust Wed 04-Sep-13 13:17:08

What's Assad's motive?

Is Assad being worked like a puppet by Iran?

Is this some sort of proxy war that is designed to allow the US a crack at Iran?

Is this the excuse for the start of the inevitable US/Iran WMD-denial operation we've been expecting for years now?

I heard some commentator suggest that if Syria were attacked Iran could retaliate.

crescentmoon Wed 04-Sep-13 13:37:22

the scary thing is so many sides will quickly get to the point in this where they cant back down without losing face. there will be a cascade effect and every side will have to take it further to the next stage otherwise be thought of as weak. America, Syria, Iran, Russia, israel, the gulf, turkey

Rooners Wed 04-Sep-13 13:44:09

I wondered about this in terms of it being quite similar to how you'd treat a naughty child....

start hitting them and they will struggle at proving they are still in charge,

walk away from them, isolate them and don't listen and maybe they will shut up and behave.

Russia has suspended supplies of missiles to Syria. Nice one Putin - that's brilliant. Why can't we all now do the same?

WetAugust Wed 04-Sep-13 13:45:38

I keep hearing people saying it will make Iraq look like 'a walk in the park'.

That scares me badly.

Let's just walk away from this madness.

Wannabestepfordwife Wed 04-Sep-13 13:51:49

I agree with niceguy I don't think Assad would hit an American ship it would be suicide.

I really believe we are closer to WW3 then we have ever been the complexities of the situation make the Cold War look like a picnic.

The UN really need to pull their heads out of their arses and do something.

niceguy2 Wed 04-Sep-13 14:25:36

>>>Is Assad being worked like a puppet by Iran?<<<
I haven't heard anything that suggests this. As far as I remember it all started because of the Arab spring revolution. Assad tried to violently put down dissent and it's backfired. It has nothing to do with Iran.

Is this some sort of proxy war that is designed to allow the US a crack at Iran?

Not seeing the relevance here.

Is this the excuse for the start of the inevitable US/Iran WMD-denial operation we've been expecting for years now?
I doubt it. More a case of making a point to show Iran/North Korea that if they use WMD then they'll get bombed. So in reality it's more a case of trying to make sure there's no future Iran WMD operation because they'll be scared.

I heard some commentator suggest that if Syria were attacked Iran could retaliate.
Who knows for sure but I doubt it.

bemybebe Wed 04-Sep-13 14:44:20

"I really believe we are closer to WW3 then we have ever been the complexities of the situation make the Cold War look like a picnic."

Really??

"The UN really need to pull their heads out of their arses and do something.?

Are you talking assembly or security council because security council know exactly what they do.

Wannabestepfordwife Wed 04-Sep-13 14:48:22

Yeah I do believe we are I maybe exaggerated about the Cold War bit but I didn't live through it.

There lots the UN could be doing with regards to humanitarian aid and support for the countries who are accepting refugees. They could also been seen to be making moves to bring some diplomacy between the USA, Assad and Iran.

WetAugust Wed 04-Sep-13 15:55:37

At least you knew where you were in the Cold War - which countries were your foes and which your allies. Warfare was pretty much conventional.

I thought WW3 was going to start when Iraq launched the scud missiles into Israel. That first attack was a very scary night to live through.

Now you have asymmetrical warfare with uncertain outcomes.

I disagree that the UN Security Council knows what to do. Don't forget it includes Russia and that country's policy in this matter differs from US, France and our own. And our hands are effectively tied by the Parliamentary vote - although Cameron could ignore it - at his peril.

bemybebe Wed 04-Sep-13 16:18:53

"I disagree that the UN Security Council knows what to do. "

I did not say that. I said "security council know exactly what they do." that very much involves Russia taking Assad side and China voting with Russia on the issue.

WetAugust Wed 04-Sep-13 16:23:41

That's a big 'if' Bemy.

Hopefully everyone will peer over the brink and decide it's just not worth it.

What we don't need is:

Attributed to Pres. George W. Bush: 'When I take action, I'm not going to fire a $2 million missile at a $10 empty tent and hit a camel in the butt'

bemybebe Wed 04-Sep-13 16:25:04

and i v much blame russia for the mess. not now but 2 years ago when assad started very bloodily crushing the spread of arab spring. then there was a chance to negotiate. now with the civil war in full swing there will be no chance for constructive negotiations i am afraid. civil wars go on until one side is defeated by the other - too much bitterness and burned bridges. here the sides are fairly equal in might - military capability of assad is more than matched by high spririts and the resolve of the other (fragmented) rebel movement.

bemybebe Wed 04-Sep-13 16:25:53

sorry, which "if" do you refer here wet?

WetAugust Wed 04-Sep-13 16:35:30

Sorry - 'if' not a good choice of words. Just meant that it would be difficult to see how security council could agree between themselves and get Assad to tow the line.

I agree - it needn't have got this bad at all.

bemybebe Wed 04-Sep-13 19:46:09

they cannot and they are entrenched in their views. although russia is now saying 'maybe' i would be amazed how they sell it internally after fierce anti-american/pro-syrian rhetoric at home

MiniTheMinx Thu 05-Sep-13 02:15:06

Applauds ElenorRigby I didn't know about Golan Heights and Genie but it makes perfect sense.

Why is the BBC so keen on war? They are ignoring and not reporting on evidence that the rebels have used sarin and that the UN inspectors know this already. Although Patten does have shares in an oil company and I guess oil prices will rise, so we know what his agenda is. Its still hard to fathom though that anyone would put self interest above the lives of others.

This is interesting: THE SHAMEFUL (AND RECENT) HISTORY OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS ABUSES BY THE US GOVERNMENT scriptonitedaily.wordpress.com/2013/09/04/the-shameful-and-recent-history-of-chemical-weapons-abuses-by-the-us-government/

"The US has been directly and indirectly responsible for the use of chemical weapons in Iraq over generations....In the most recent attack on Iraq, _the US used White Phosphorous, Napalm and Depleted Uranium_ in contravention of all conventions. According to a recent study by the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Fallujah now has a higher rate of cancer, leukaemia and infant mortality than Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. Young women in Fallujah are terrified of having children because of the increasing number of babies born grotesquely deformed, with no heads, two heads, a single eye in their foreheads, scaly bodies or missing limbs. In addition, young children in Fallujah are now experiencing hideous cancers and leukaemias.’ Researchers found a 38-fold increase in leukaemia, a ten-fold increase in female breast cancer and significant increases in lymphoma and brain tumours in adults"

Obama seems to be stepping away and saying that he didn't specify any "Red Line" the red line relates to international laws not America's policy.

Kungfutea Thu 05-Sep-13 02:26:43

The Golan Heights has nothing to do with the civil war in Syria nor does it have anything to do with US involvement or not in Syria. What is the relevance? I don't see it. Seems like just a way to try to blame Israel, as per usual.

If there is oil in the Golan Heights, it'd be very limited. There has been a licence granted to explore (back in Feb) FFS.

Of course Israel is going to develop the Golan now, it's going to be there for the foreseeable future who the hell is it going to give it back to?

And one thing is for sure, the Syrian Druze living on the Golan Heights are VERY glad that they are on the right side of the border and that peace talks to give back the Golan failed a decade ago.

NicholasTeakozy Thu 05-Sep-13 07:48:22

"Isn't it amazing that humanitarian disasters only occur in those middle eastern countries yet to be conquered by the US military and its corporate oligarchs?". Abby Martin.

bemybebe Thu 05-Sep-13 08:41:23

US is not involved in Syria. Massive humanitarian disaster there.

Hth.

CoteDAzur Thu 05-Sep-13 08:54:02

"Not involved"? As in, US has no interests in this region and so couldn't possibly have its own agenda in a future military intervention? grin

Lots of massive humanitarian disasters happened in Africa. Was there any military intervention for them?

HTH you get a grip on the situation smile

CoteDAzur Thu 05-Sep-13 08:57:52

I lived through the Cold War. In many ways, it was much better when there were two superpowers who couldn't invade anybody for fear of mutually assured destruction.

OhYouBadBadDragon Thu 05-Sep-13 09:13:17

You are right Cote - it was much better (apart from the cuban missile crisis, which was before my time). Rubbish of course for those who did live under communism, but much more stable.

bemybebe Thu 05-Sep-13 09:30:30

Cote. The statement was that "humanitarian disasters only occur in those middle eastern countries yet to be conquered by the US military"

I do not see "conquering here" and as far as I am aware US is not yet "involved" practically. Yet we have massive humanitarian disaster, would not you say?

If you think it was much better, you have no idea about the Cold War. The status quo, so called "stability" only emerged towards the death of Soviet Union. Stalin always had high ambitions, Khrushchev played with nukes and scared the shit out of the world (including people at home) that lasted for decades. Soviet Union spent 70% of GDP on military (that is what has finished it largely together with planned economy).

bemybebe Thu 05-Sep-13 09:35:12

The only thing that was "better" is that neither side was prepared and ready to die (and go to heaven blah blah). It was only prepared to retaliate. But that would not have mattered if someone lost their nerve.

Facing religious fanatics definitely brought new challenges.

bemybebe Thu 05-Sep-13 09:37:53

ready to die= strike first knowing they were going to die

MiniTheMinx Thu 05-Sep-13 10:21:41

bemybebeSo the soviet Union may have spent 70% of GDP on its military but the US was spending more on its military than the soviet union and ALL other nations combined. Regan trebled the national debt despite saying that he wanted to reign in spending. The only spending cut under Regan was welfare and anything spent on socially useful things.

The U.S is already involved. If you can't fathom how, why not go back up thread and read some of the links, I can't be bothered to repeat myself.

bemybebe Thu 05-Sep-13 10:28:24

sorry don't get your point mini about military spending... I was illustrating the degree of mutual fear.

Lol about "repeat myself". if it is rubbish you can repeat as much as you wish it will still stay the same.

Wannabestepfordwife Thu 05-Sep-13 10:56:43

Thanks for the link minitheminx it was horrific reading!

I really am getting a fantastic education from this link

EldritchCleavage Thu 05-Sep-13 11:04:12

I lived through the Cold War. In many ways, it was much better when there were two superpowers who couldn't invade anybody for fear of mutually assured destruction

Only a Northern European could say that. Koreans, Vietnamese, Angolans and many many others will ruefully remember the hideous proxy wars fought in their countries with superpower backing. Others, like Greeks, Italians, Nicaraguans, Chileans and more will remember the complete distortion and undermining of their domestic politics by those same superpowers.

MiniTheMinx Thu 05-Sep-13 11:23:41

bemybebe It isn't rubbish to say that the U.S is already involved. What is rubbish is when mainstream Western media try to re-write the facts, or rather sway an argument not just by what they say but by what they don't say.

MiniTheMinx Thu 05-Sep-13 11:28:00

Kungfutea The geopolitics of oil and the appropriation of natural resources has everything to do with it. We don't fight wars because of ideology. The cold war wasn't about two competing ideas! how ever much you have falsely been led to believe this.

niceguy2 Thu 05-Sep-13 11:33:46

But then Max Hastings made the most important point, which was that the only thing to consider was how best to help the Syrian people. Bombing them would not help them.

Exactly! I'm not against intervention. But as I've said before I'd like to see a sensible plan with defined objectives.

I'm amazed so many people are suggesting we bomb the crap out of another country without asking what the aim is.

bemybebe Thu 05-Sep-13 11:34:00

Very very good points eldritch of course I should have mentioned those proxy wars.

mini I am sorry I do not buy conspiracy theories. There are no angels in this, but I cannot possibly take seriously statements about mainstream Western media re-writing the facts. Sorry. (And are they supposed to sway us "for" or "against" btw?)

bemybebe Thu 05-Sep-13 11:34:49

Agree with niceguy2 (again)

Kungfutea Thu 05-Sep-13 11:44:27

Mini

That's as maybe but the idea that the us is involved or not in Syria because of the Golan heights is laughable and really quite ridiculous.

merrymouse Thu 05-Sep-13 11:55:39

Is there any example in history where a civil war has been ended by another country?

MiniTheMinx Thu 05-Sep-13 12:00:42

Its not conspiracy theory to say that individuals almost always act in their own self-interest. It is not conspiracy to say that corporations, whose main interest is in lining the pockets of shareholders and extending their dominance over the market also act out of self-interest. If you are a free market monkey you would understand this, I'm not and I do, so where is your excuse ?

Adam Smith proposed that rational self-interest and competition can lead to economic prosperity. In a free market economy everyone acts in self interest. Those that have the greatest wealth have the greatest social/political power in which to extend conditions that perpetuate their own dominance and economic prosperity. Whether that be through ownership of the media, lobbying, getting into unelected positions within politics, setting up trusts and charities, controlling huge share portfolios, having controlling interests within the banking sector or going directly into politics.

These individuals be they people or individual institutions/corporations have not only self interest but class interest. The only conspiracy is on us, when we fail to understand the complex social relations and their effect on our own lives and that of others......like the Syrian people because the intentions of others are hidden to us. The conspiracy is on ordinary people who's lives are not worth peanuts. This ignorance makes monkeys out of all us.

I'm reading this at the moment www.amazon.co.uk/The-Atlantic-Its-Enemies-Personal/dp/184614275X a history of the cold war. This is written by a free market ideologue. I shall have to bleach my brain grin

bemybebe Thu 05-Sep-13 12:07:47

merry not as far as I know.

Kungfutea Thu 05-Sep-13 12:10:07

British intervention in sierra Leone went well iirc

EldritchCleavage Thu 05-Sep-13 12:15:46

merrymouse, I suspect that has generally happened only where a larger power used the opportunity to invade, e.g. Roman empire invades kingdom where a civil war is being fought over who gets the throne and crushes everyone into submission.

Even in the modern era I am struggling to think of more than one example of anyone intervening successfully, certainly on a short or medium term basis: Nigeria (Biafra), Angola, Cote d'Ivoire, Mozambique, Somalia, Western Sahara, Congo, Chad, Rwanda, all no, and that's just in Africa. The UN is actually doing well in Congo and Somalia apparently, but it is a bitterly long haul and there will have to be a long political process even if there is military victory. France has intervened in Mali, successfully for now, but hopes are not high for the future. The French will leave, and there is every prospect fighting will start again when they do.

One can be more optimistic about Libya though, but there the societal split was less entrenched. Ethiopia/Eritrea played itself out, as did Sudan/South Sudan, until the two sides negotiated.

Lebanon no, Irag and Afghanistan no, Yemen no.

Yugoslavia yes, I suppose, the peacekeeping plus bombing concentrated minds and lo and behold the warring sides were ready to talk at Dayton.

bemybebe Thu 05-Sep-13 12:18:32

"Its not conspiracy theory to say that individuals almost always act in their own self-interest."

Actually I do not agree with this to start with. I am surrounded by wonderful generous people who I can clearly see, balance their own self-interest against that of their family, friends, community and the world as a whole. We do not always agree on everything, but they are good people basing their decisions on their own ideas of morality.

I am a free market monkey yet i see plenty of examples where market forces do not work as well (at least in the short term).

I think your view on humankind is a bit grim.

bemybebe Thu 05-Sep-13 12:19:43

Yugoslavia? I tend to say yes, successful.

niceguy2 Thu 05-Sep-13 12:41:14

Sierra Leone/Yugoslavia both had boots on the ground.

The latter was pretty piss poor at first due to the fact it was a UN peacekeeping force that couldn't do anything other than watch helplessly. Only after NATO arrived did things.

The takeaway lesson there seems to be if you want them to stop, you have to have someone in between them willing to shoot back.

Right now everyone has ruled out boots on the ground so we arrive back at the original question. What's the point?

ElenorRigby Thu 05-Sep-13 12:42:11
merrymouse Thu 05-Sep-13 12:45:27

I think a clear difference with Yugoslavia is that it followed the break up of the soviet union rather than millennia of conflict in the region, and that the countries involved did not have a long history of negative feeling towards the west. There was a political point to coming to the negotiation table with the Europeans. The leader who could make a deal with the west had power. This is not true of Syria.

WetAugust Thu 05-Sep-13 12:54:39

Kosovo was a civil war in FYR ended by NATO intervention when it bombed Serbia.

Afghanistan was also a civil war between the Taliban and the Northern Alliance, ended by NATO heavily supporting the Northern Alliance with air support.

merrymouse Thu 05-Sep-13 13:04:09

Not sure that there is really what you could call peace in Afghanistan though.

EldritchCleavage Thu 05-Sep-13 13:07:27

Russia has a naval base in Syria and would be expected to rotate ships in and out of their, so having ships there is not necessarily an escalation on their part.

WetAugust Thu 05-Sep-13 13:11:37

Agreed Merry. But there's no civil war. They have transferred hostilities to what they perceive to be 'the occupying force' - the foreign military stationed there.

As they did in Iraq

As they would wherever we try to put boots on the ground to assist them

noddyholder Thu 05-Sep-13 13:17:38

US not involved? Really?

ElenorRigby Thu 05-Sep-13 13:55:32

The Syrian War What You're Not Being Told

An informative short film that concisely pulls together many of the points I and others have made and one that thus far I dont has been mentioned but that's certainly been on my mind.

bemybebe Thu 05-Sep-13 14:42:42

What exactly from this film we were not told? I actually knew most of this from the 'lying' Western media. That is why this decision is so difficult and why I personally against the proposed strike action.

Wannabestepfordwife Thu 05-Sep-13 22:53:26

Has anyone seen the latest on the mail- really wish I could link.

A rebel defecter has given footage to the New York Times showing the rebels executing 7 soldiers who are stripped, bound and appeared to have been tortured as the soldiers had filmed the rebels raping civilians.

I really don't believe the innocent Syrian civilians would be safer under the rebels than under Assad.

WetAugust Fri 06-Sep-13 00:40:17

Yes Wannabe. it's barbaric.

I hope it makes those who want to support <either side> reconsider.

There are no good guys in this.

Kungfutea Fri 06-Sep-13 01:41:26

Wannabe

The NYTimes said the soldiers had filmed themselves looting and raping so the rebels had sentenced them to death.

Never trust the daily fail. Sloppy journalism as always.

bemybebe Fri 06-Sep-13 04:44:40
bemybebe Fri 06-Sep-13 04:45:50

but canoot see anything about 'filming themselves' maybe too early

Kungfutea Fri 06-Sep-13 11:59:22

On phone so can't link but article said that captured soldiers cellphones had videos of the soldiers raping and looting. Who knows the truth?

But i don't think they're 'as bad as each other' by any means. That's just a simplistic and childish way of looking at a very complex situation.

holidaybug Fri 06-Sep-13 18:20:28

I'm not too proud to admit that having looked at the picture on the Daily Mail (as much as I don't like that newspaper), it did make me re-assess my views on Syria and intervention. Whilst I think I still stand by my views and support intervention, it just highlights the lows that people stoop to in times of war and that there is evil on both sides.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now