Editorials on Syria

April 29th, 2013 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

editorial:

The United States and the international community have to respond to a suspected nerve gas attack by Syrian government forces on civilians in Aleppo.

If the attack is confirmed – and it seems likely that it has happened – President Bashar al-Assad’s regime cannot be allowed to get away with this atrocity.

The trouble is there are no good solutions, just a variety of different intensity bad ones.

The difficulty for the West is that any imaginable military response is dangerously complicated. Even a no-fly zone over , which would work to the obviously military advantage of the rebels battling Assad’s forces, cannot be easily enforced.

Assad is believed to have 600 fixed surface-to-air missile sites and about 300 mobile units, some of which would survive any first strike by US cruise missiles or planes flying from the Royal Air Force base in Cyprus. Putting Assad’s anti-aircraft capability out of action could be difficult and costly.

Most can be destroyed easily enough, but enough would survive to take down some aircraft. However if drones are used, the loss of life to US or NATO forces could be minimised.

If the chemical attack is confirmed, Assad has to go. Any regime which carries out nerve gas attacks on its own civilian population has lost all pretence of legitimacy.

The trouble is the alternatives are not overly appealing.

The Dom Post urges caution:

Barack Obama warned Syria that if it used nerve gas against its people it would “cross a red line”. The president meant that if the Assad regime was guilty of such a war crime, the United States would have to do something.

And now the evidence is mounting that Assad might have used sarin. And so now the president is in a difficult position, largely of his own making.

It would be easy to scorn Mr Obama over this. It would be easy to interpret his hyper-caution as shillyshallying and even cowardice. It would be easy to demand he stick to his word and start bombing. Predictably, some senior American politicians are now urging him to do so.

I don’t think he should bomb, but I think he was stupid to talk about a red line, and not be prepared for what to do if it is crossed.

Tags: , , ,

26 Responses to “Editorials on Syria”

  1. Kea (10,451 comments) says:

    We can trust Obama to support the Islamic radicals fighting for control of the country. It is none of that idiots business what happens in Syria. When will the US wake up and understand that it can not dictate to other countries in this way.

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. kowtow (6,709 comments) says:

    So the editor of the Press wants to respond to Syria’s Alleged use of chemical weapons.

    Using chemicals to kill a few people is worse than using conventional weapons to kill alot of people?

    If anything western govts and intelligence agencies should be helping Assad. At least Assad is killing enemies of the west who are going there to kill minority Shiites,Alawites Kurds and Christians.

    My enemy’s enemy is my friend.

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/

    A useful tactic could be to draw out the war in Syria for as long as possible so all these “European” jihadis can go there and get killed. Better they’re killed In Syria than blowing up our trains and buses and markets!

    When all this is over Syria will be another Sunni fundamentalist shithole oppressing all and sundry.Assad is bad but another Islamic dictatorship will be worse.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/10022576/Commentary-Arming-the-Syrian-rebels-is-pouring-petrol-on-the-fire.html

    Vote: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. Barnsley Bill (929 comments) says:

    Syria has no Oil. This alone should stop any interventionist stupidity.
    All other attempts to alter the balance in every Arab country has ended with nutjob islamists running the joint or complete anarchy as we now see in Iraq.
    Leave them to it.

    Vote: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. iMP (2,153 comments) says:

    Why is this always the West’s job? Where are the extremely wealthy oil-fat Arab States who border this nation? Is the Arab League impotent; do they not care for their non-infidel bruvvers? I say, back away USA and Western nations, but give the local muslim leaders a kick up the bottom. Ottoman Empire resurge anyone? “Putting your call through to Istanbul now, Mr Christian…”

    Vote: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. Andrei (2,430 comments) says:

    Ah yes – that “Arab spring” thing that the White House in its wisdom set underway.

    Peace, harmony and democracy was going to break out all over and the age of Aquarius would no doubt shortly dawn.

    Vote: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. RRM (8,988 comments) says:

    What great options those people have… Assad’s lot, or Sunni fundamentalism.

    Interesting that the western rhetoric is all about how we can’t do anything, it would be too hard… how times change! It seems like Iraq and Libya were only yesterday…

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. Kea (10,451 comments) says:

    You would have thought at least one American military intervention would have been successful, even by random chance. But every time they help they make things worse, at the cost of thousands of lives and billions of dollars.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. RightNow (6,338 comments) says:

    Fisked:
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/syria-and-sarin-gas-us-claims-have-a-very-familiar-ring-8591214.html?

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. berend (1,601 comments) says:

    Does anyone still remember that Saddam used nerve gas?

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. Ed Snack (1,535 comments) says:

    Well, if I was a militant Sunni insurgent struggling against the Assad regime, I’d definitely consider using some captured Sarin gas on “third parties” somewhere in Syria, if I thought that the result would be foreign assistance without significant strings.

    And surely there’s some point at which just about everyone would sanction intervention, a Pol Pot approach to the population of a country, another Rwanda only more widespread, another holocaust ?

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. Kea (10,451 comments) says:

    “Does anyone still remember that Saddam used nerve gas?”

    Yes back when he had US support.

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. dime (8,752 comments) says:

    as much as Dime enjoys watching the yanks bomb places, i think they should do nothing.

    screw it. the “world community” is forever having a crack at the US.

    lets see what they think when they do nothing.

    let france send in their airforce.. good luck.

    Vote: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  13. dime (8,752 comments) says:

    “Yes back when he had US support.”

    so the US are to blame…

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  14. oob (194 comments) says:

    “Lots of people believed us when we invented some bullshit about WMD in Iraq and the fallout when they discovered we were bulshitting wasn’t too bad.

    Let’s use the same tactic again, for Syria.”

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  15. Kea (10,451 comments) says:

    so the US are to blame…

    Those voices in your head back again dime ? No one said that. You are too quick to suck US cock on every issue. If you really cared about our American friends you would share my view that they stop alternatively killing/helping radical Islam and keep out of it.

    It is simply none of Americas business or ours. Every Western effort to help in the region has failed miserably and destabilized the region further.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3 You need to be logged in to vote
  16. Nostradamus (2,770 comments) says:

    Kea:

    I’m fairly sure, based on his previous comments, that one thing Dime could never be accused of is sucking cock :)

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  17. Bob R (1,250 comments) says:

    Just let the Islamists resolve their differences themselves. There is no point in Western countries getting involved in that hornets nest.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  18. Kea (10,451 comments) says:

    Based on Obama’s logic, if a group of radical Islamists attempt to over throw the US government, NATO should attack the US in support of the Islamists. Because that is what he is proposing for Syria.

    You can expect to see increasing amount of US propaganda in the news as they shift public opinion to pro-war. They will start portraying the Syrian government as evil and the sheeple will buy it, in fact most of them have already. It is just unfortunate the collateral damage won’t be white middle class Westerners, the cowards who support war safe on the other side of the world.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  19. Sam Buchanan (499 comments) says:

    “Does anyone still remember that Saddam used nerve gas?”

    “Yes back when he had US support.”

    Remember when the Syrian regime was a strong ally of the US in the war against Iraq? Trouble with doing business with tyrannies is that in the long run, they usually turn out to be, well, tyrannical.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  20. dime (8,752 comments) says:

    “and destabilized the region further.” – good. thats the goal. keep them down n out til the oil runs out.

    also, if you read my other post i was saying the yanks should keep out of it. different reasons for yours

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  21. Fentex (656 comments) says:

    Where are the extremely wealthy oil-fat Arab States who border this nation?

    The short answer is outside aid from other states is exactly what is keeping Syrian rebels in the battle.

    Look at a map and see who borders Syria. Turkey, to it’s north, does not want chaos on it’s border and as a NATO member awaits consensus before doing more than protecting it’s own border. It’s likely supplies find their way to rebels from there.

    Iraq, to it’s east, has it’s own problems but also a government very mindful of Iranian interests. Iran is a solid ally of Assad in Syria. Still it’s likely that Saudi supplied weapons are moving across the Iraqi border.

    Jordan, to Syrias south, is a conduit for Saudi aid to rebels and conflict is constant at the border.

    Israel, to the south west, is sending air strikes into Syria ostensibly to attack weapons they suspect are being supplied to Hezbollah and other enemies of their own.

    Hezbollah, from Lebanon, to Syrias west, is fighting alongside Syrian troops because of their common ideology and historic relationship.

    There’s plenty of people involved, with plenty of ambitions and agendas.

    Obama made a rod for his back when he spoke of a red line – he’s put himself in a corner in an effort to discourage Assad from going overboard in the face of defeat and the onus is now on him.

    He has the unenvious choice of facillitating the rebels which comprise of several factions some of whom the U.S does not want to have heavy weapons or directly intervening – which is probably the better choice.

    U.S airpower can provide tremendous advantage and it’s weapons stay firmly in U.S control. Providing aid directly to fighting forces risks the weapons gifted being turned on the gifter.

    I would think the first step would be a declared no-fly zone to protect civilians and rebels from government air power. Then possibly increased cooperation, maybe via embedded forward observers among rebel forces, to destroy government armour and heavy weapons.

    Essentially the same response that worked in Tunisia.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  22. iMP (2,153 comments) says:

    And with all that to worry about, the Gazans fire more rockets on Israel tonight violating the ceasefire. Yup, Israel’s the problem.

    http://conzervative.wordpress.com/2013/04/29/rocket-hits-israel/

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  23. Fentex (656 comments) says:

    You would have thought at least one American military intervention would have been successful, even by random chance.

    Such as Tunisia? A pretty good example of how to lend military aid without entangling oneself – wait until action on the ground proves sufficient commitment and capability by rebels then supply the air power, electronic warfare and intelligence which negates governments advantages while avoiding taking responsibility and committing ones own troops.

    If Obama feels pressured into acting against Syria (as he was pressured by the U.K and France into acting at Tunisia) I would expect him to work from that playbook in the hope of similar success.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  24. Scott1 (357 comments) says:

    I find it hard to believe Assad would use Chemical weapons as a strategy. Chemial weapons are just not that effective, I can’t see how it would be worth it.

    So that leaves
    1) Someone is making up evidence to make it look like he used them
    2) they were used but Assad didnt know about it
    3) some sort of accident
    4) Assad is stupid and crazy

    4 seems far less likely than 1

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  25. Scott1 (357 comments) says:

    Anyway regardless of what is happening I am in favour of staying out of it. Maybe the US could facilitate the local arab states getting together and tell them that they should sort out their own back yard.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  26. Lee01 (2,171 comments) says:

    Kea’s rhetoric is once again strong on factually challenged slogans and weak on facts.

    The opposition to the Syrian regime is far too diverse to be labeled as “Islamic radicals”. In fact the bulk of that opposition are not Islamists.

    Some foreign Uslamists have joined the fight, and some of those are certainly al-Qaeda. But the Syrian opposition has had little choice but to accept their help because the West has refused to back the opposition directly. Early support from the West would have prevented foreign Islamists from gaining a foothold.

    Afghanistan was in fact hugely successful. The top tier of Al-Qaeda’s leadership was killed or captured as a result of the occupation of the country by the US.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.