The Syria options

August 29th, 2013 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

It appears that the Assad regime was responsible for the use of chemical weapons against it own citizens, including many children. Other countries now have to decide how to respond to this, if at all. All the options range from bad to very bad – there are no good options, including do nothing.

Some have asked why is it that chemical and biological weapons represent what Obama called a red line. What is the difference between 200 killed by a mortar and 200 killed by saran gas? To the dead, there is no difference, but to the survivors there is a huge difference. Chemical and biological weapons can result in effects which carry on for years and decades – even affecting children yet to be born. That is why the use of them, especially against civilians and children, is seen as so horrifying.

In terms of responses, the preferred response would be for the UN Security Council to declare Assad a war criminal, and that he is arrested and put on trial. The problem is that Russia is blocking any meaningful action by the UN, and even if they did not veto the Security Council, it is not possible to arrest Assad if he wins the civil war – unless external military action occurs.

Now I don’t favour armed intervention in the Syrian civil war to determine the outcome. The rebels may be a cure worse than the disease, with many radical Islamists and links to terrorist organisations in their ranks.

However do you allow Assad to use chemical weapons with no consequences at all, just because Russia says so? The precedent that would set would not be a good one. If there are no consequences for a leader who uses chemical weapons, knowing the impact it will have, then the use of them will grow.

News.com.au reports:

BARACK Obama says the US has concluded that the Syrian government carried out a large-scale chemical weapons attack against civilians last week.

As the Syrian opposition claims Syrian government forces used napalm in an attack on Aleppo, killing at least 10 people, the US President says the US has examined evidence of last week’s nerve gas attack in Damascus which killed hundreds and doesn’t believe the opposition fighting the Syrian government possessed chemical weapons or the means to deliver them.

Mr Obama says he hasn’t made a decision about how the US will respond.

The White House says it’s planning a possible military response while seeking support from international partners. …

The administration says it will take action against the Syrian government even without the backing of allies or the United Nations because diplomatic paralysis must not prevent a response to the chemical weapons attack outside the Syrian capital last week

I guess this means a missile strike against some military targets. It won’t change things a lot, and could even destabilise things. However doing nothing is equally unattractive. What would be nice is if they can identify the persons responsible for using the chemical weapons and target them. That would provide a good incentive for others not to use them.

Josie Pagani makes the case for intervention at Pundit.

Meanwhile plays silly politics:

Labour has called on the Government to make public the United States briefings received overnight on . …

Labour’s foreign affairs spokesman Phil Goff said Prime Minister John Key had an obligation to share details of the briefings with Parliament and the public.

Phil Goff has been Foreign Minister. He knows he is speaking a load of crap. It is not the role of the NZ Government to release details of confidential discussions with the US Government. It is the US Government that decides whether to release its briefings, not the NZ Government. For NZ to do so would mean they would never be consulted again.

Why can’t Goff for once just not play domestic politics on what is a very serious issue?

 

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70 Responses to “The Syria options”

  1. Sean (299 comments) says:

    And as usual on Pundit, the conspiracy theorists and the hand wringers are already out in force…

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  2. bhudson (4,734 comments) says:

    On Goff: He’s been on an Angry Old Man jag ever since the public told him they have absolutely no confidence in him as a leader

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  3. kowtow (7,626 comments) says:

    People who get shot can also suffer for years,what about all those soldiers who have been maimed by so called IEDs?

    This chemical weapon issue is a beat up.

    I still reckon Qataris or Saudi agents did it.They have the most to gain and Assad the most to lose.

    No intervention.

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  4. wreck1080 (3,730 comments) says:

    “It appears that the Assad regime was responsible for the use of chemical weapons against it own citizens”

    I have seen no evidence that Assad is responsible. The USA say it is Assad, but provide no evidence.

    It could be a ‘self inflicted’ attack to gain the support of the US.

    I think we should just keep out of Syria as it is not clear cut who are the goodies or baddies .

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  5. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    So, where is all the evidence that Syria is responsible for the attack? It surely wouldn’t be the same sources who said Iraq had WMDs? In other words, surely the US isn’t going to go to attack a sovereign nation based on another lie…

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  6. Andrei (2,500 comments) says:

    It appears that the Assad regime was responsible for the use of chemical weapons against it own citizens,

    It only appears that way to those who don’t think for themselves but actually believe what Obama says without applying critical reasoning.

    This gas attack is a propaganda coup for the so called “rebels” who are on the back foot – it would be about the most stupid thing Assad could do, almost suicide in fact.

    The problem is Obama who is a foreign policy dolt has painted himself into a corner with is “red line” statement because if it is a red line if Assad uses chemical weapons what is it if the “rebels” use them? Ergo the rush to judgement from the USA and Obama’s poodles like Hollande and Cameron (and our very own John Key for that matter).

    For some strange reason the massacre of the Christian communities in Syria is going unremarked, essentially unreported, why isn’t the beheading of a Bishop front page news – you know why, it is because the culprits are the people idiot Obama is supporting who are ISLAMISTS

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  7. LiberalismIsASin (288 comments) says:

    I find it interesting that DPF mentions chemical weapons can affect children yet to be born. But surely as an ardent supporter of abortion they have no rights so who cares right?

    [DPF: Unborn children have rights. But so do mothers. Only fanatics thinks the rights are absolute in either direction]

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  8. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    The USA say it is Assad, but provide no evidence.

    That is how the US operates…any excuse to flex its muscle. If the evidence is overwhelming, as claimed, why not release it? Alternatively, why not let the weapons’ inspectors do their job before making any decisions to attack?

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  9. slightlyright (93 comments) says:

    Goff really is a sad pathetic relic who is fast becoming the awkward guy still hanging around at midnight that no one wanted at the party in the first place!

    I’m surprised a no fly zone hasn’t been considered

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  10. cha (3,779 comments) says:

    US Naval War College professor Tom Nichols: The Realities of the Coming Syrian War – and US Naval War College professor John Schindler who’s opposed to a wider intervention but still sees a need for action: Thinking Strategically About Syria.

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  11. rouppe (916 comments) says:

    Except a missile strike will now achieve nothing.

    Because this is being signaled so loudly, so far in advance, that anyone with half a brain will relocate weapons they want to protect to somewhere other than known military facilities. Or, to be even more safe, they will make a huge show of moving those weapons somewhere else, but actually not move them so they can’t fall into rebel hands at a less secure facility

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  12. scrubone (3,048 comments) says:

    Quite simple.

    As Phil Goff to release any and all drafts of his statement.

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  13. SPC (5,392 comments) says:

    Rather than a one off strike to back up his words regarding a red line – the principle must be disarmament of both sides of their chemical and biological weapons stocks. This allows an on-going campaign at the UN and continuing military action whenever intell comes to hand.

    This also allows strikes against Islamist groups that have chemical weapons.

    As noted by some the movable targets will be relocated for now, so a one off action is not decisive.

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  14. UglyTruth (3,994 comments) says:

    It appears that the Assad regime was responsible for the use of chemical weapons against it own citizens, including many children.

    Try as I might, I can’t find words to express the level of contempt that I have for that statement.

    Chemical and biological weapons can result in effects which carry on for years and decades – even affecting children yet to be born. That is why the use of them, especially against civilians and children, is seen as so horrifying.

    A year after its slated release date, a report by the United Nations World Health Organization on congenital birth defects in areas of Iraq subjected to depleted uranium weaponry, hasn’t appeared though it was completed in October 2012. This oversight is brought to the public’s attention in articles by Mozhgan Savabieasfahani in Aljazeera, and Sudeshna Chowdhury in Inter Press Service. The withholding of the WHO report suggests extreme pressure on the World Health Organization by nations which have something terrible to hide. It would be difficult for the report to sidestep epidemic rates of cancer in Iraq regions where depleted uranium was used. Chowdhury’s article, “WHO’s Iraq Birth Defect Study Omits Causation,” indicates the WHO report purposefully avoids considering the causes of the overwhelming birth defects, disease, and death rates.

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  15. s.russell (1,563 comments) says:

    The conspiracy theorists above seem to believe that Obama WANTS a reason to launch a military strike against the Assad regime. The evidence of his words and actions over the past year is that he desperately wants NOT to be dragged into doing the conflict any further.

    As for Goff, I feel sorry for him. I observed years ago that he had become a robot politician. This is a pathological syndrome whereby all his actions and reactions are political. He is no longer a real human being.

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  16. Andrei (2,500 comments) says:

    The conspiracy theorists above seem to believe that Obama WANTS a reason to launch a military strike against the Assad regime.

    WRONG!!!! Obama is has blundered his way into a position where he may have to intervene in Syria to save face – the man is an INCOMPETENT and a fool

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  17. DJP6-25 (1,268 comments) says:

    To paraphrase Bismarck; ‘The Syrian problem isn’t worth the healthy bones of a single Pennsylvanian PFC’. Hell, it ain’t even worth a fingernail, or a speck of dandruff.

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  18. Ryan Sproull (7,030 comments) says:

    How about the United States follows international law and only acts militarily as part of a multilateral decision by the UN Security Council? Then alllllll of this wondering about the Obama administration’s motives can be diminished and criticism can be levelled at revisable processes rather than questionable people.

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  19. Griff (6,767 comments) says:

    WRONG!!!! Obama is has blundered his way into a position where he may have to intervene in Syria to save face – the man is an INCOMPETENT and a fool

    Dylan sang fools step in were angels fear to tread.
    We all know who blitzkrieged over Muslim lands sowing war.

    Bush.

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  20. kowtow (7,626 comments) says:

    Yes Andrei ,the plight of the Syrian Christians is studiously ignored by the MSM ,just as the Copts are ignored by “our” MSM in the most recent pogroms in Egypt,at the hands of the practitioners of the religion of peace.

    TVNZ news managed to cover the death sentence passed on Major Hassan without mentioning the “I” or ‘M’ word once ,even though he himself described his actions as jihad.

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  21. NeilM (370 comments) says:

    The level of extremist involvement within the opposition has been exaggerated by Assad and his allies. Most liberation movements have had some unsavoury elements eg the ANC. The evil Islamist line is trotted out mostly by left wingers which is sad and ironic.

    The opposition is factious but there have been moves towards a united leadership.

    It’s telling his there’s been no demostrations over the gassing. No doubt there’ll be plenty if the US takes action – opposing the US of course.

    Here’s quite a good argument in the legality if intervention:

    http://www.headoflegal.com/2013/08/28/syria-the-uk-can-legally-use-force/

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  22. Andrei (2,500 comments) says:

    We all know who blitzkrieged over Muslim lands sowing war.

    Bush.

    Griff once again reveals his ignorance with his visceral loathing of George W Bush.

    No my friend all of this began long before G W Bush became president, indeed without 9/11 which of course was justified by the presence of infidel troops in Muslim lands by its perpetrators, G W Bush would have probably spent his time in the Oval office concentrating on domestic affairs but it wasn’t to be.

    What does amaze me is the difference the party of the incumbent POTUS makes to the liberal elites when it comes to bombing the crap out of another sovereign nation

    For example in the Josie Pagnani thing linked above this is put forward as a blueprint for what to do in Syria

    Use the Kosovo blueprint as an exit plan. In 1999 the Nato-led air-war in Kosovo, where ethnic Albanians were being massacred by Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic, lasted 78 days and achieved all of its goals. “The strategic goals were to stop the fighting, force Milosevic to pull back his army, restore Kosovo as an autonomous Albanian enclave, and insert NATO troops—30,000 of them—as peacekeepers. All the goals were met,

    Of course this war, conducted without UN sanction consisted of the USA bombing the crap out of the rump of Yugoslavia, killing thousands of innocent civilians until they complied and Yugoslavia was no more

    But in the feeble minds of the left this is OK because it was Bill Clinton (D) who did it against all norms of international law

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  23. kowtow (7,626 comments) says:

    Obummer is a fool.

    He clearly signalled with his “red line” that he would take action if chemical weapons were used.Talk about “agent provocateur”.Dangerous rhetoric and a clear invitation,intended or otherwise. Either way,stupid stupid man. And his friends have the gall to condemn S Palin for naivety in foreign affairs.

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  24. NeilM (370 comments) says:

    A couple of points, this isn’t the first instance of Assad using gas, he’s done it a number if times already but on a smaller scale.

    US intervention in Kosovo did put the US on the same side as a small number of Islamic extremists, it was after all a Muslim population the US set out to defend. As in Syria. But that’s a separate issue, it’s not a reason to renege on our international responsibility to side with those fighting dictatorships the large majority of which just want a secular democracy.

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  25. wikiriwhis business (3,883 comments) says:

    Relief…..so far it looks like Obama has backed down on attacking Syria. Big kudos to Putin I believe !

    Analysts have shown the US has definitely engineered the whole situation and for them to attack now would blow their whole M E agenda. In fact, with Hillary Clinton facing criminal charges for Bengazi and impeachment seriously looming for Obama, the whole US agenda in the ME could be completely thrown off it’s axis. Praise God I say !

    Now the cowards have been exposed backed off

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  26. kowtow (7,626 comments) says:

    NeilM

    The problem with most “liberation movements” is that they are not liberation movements.

    They are the removal of one political elite (very often benign and enlightened and governed by a rule of law) by another political elite using violence in order to establish themselves as a new and almost invariably cruel ,destructive ,corrupt and oppressive elite.

    I would suggest the former British colonial territories of Africa as excellent examples.

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  27. NeilM (370 comments) says:

    @kowtow

    What you say has happened, Mugabe springs to mind, but for every Mugabe there’s a Mandela or Aung San Suu.

    To hold those fighting for democracy hostage to the possibility of Mugabe is to sentence them to no hope.

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  28. Ian McK (237 comments) says:

    Why is Goff quoted, being the devious treasonous mongrel he has proven to be? Who would share any briefings from the US with Labour/Green MPs, they would run off to Fairfax and their friend Vance.

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  29. kowtow (7,626 comments) says:

    Mandela’s is a legacy of elitism ,corruption and violence.Mandela is exactly one of the political elite I refer to.Also actively supported the genocidal regime of Mugabe.

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  30. Kimble (4,379 comments) says:

    What you say has happened, Mugabe springs to mind, but for every Mugabe there’s a Mandela or Aung San Suu.

    No, there isn’t. If you are lucky for every five Mugabes there is one Aung San Suu.

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  31. Griff (6,767 comments) says:

    Let me get this right?
    Hezbollah Has said it will attack Israel if the USA helps its own allies the Muslim brother hood against the regime in the civil war.Iran backs the regime against their and their friends the Muslim brother hood. Saudi has offered an oil deal if it stops backing the regime Meanwhile who is backing the Egyptians against the Muslim brother hood?

    Who cares the two sane options for the west to pursue.

    1 Turn the entire muddled east to a pool of molten glass.
    2 Send a note saying no thanks not interested sort it out your self’s.

    Ever festering Tail eating tribalism driven clusterfuck of a stupid sorry mess.

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  32. berend (1,634 comments) says:

    DPF: If there are no consequences for a leader who uses chemical weapons, knowing the impact it will have, then the use of them will grow.

    1. So far we have no evidence Assad ordered the use of chemical weapons.

    2. This is a muslim country. Let the muslims deal with it. Why should we police Syria?

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  33. kowtow (7,626 comments) says:

    So if Obummer is that eager to enforce international law to protect minorities and the oppressed can we expect missile strikes on North Korea which not only has concentration camps but is a concentration camp?

    No didn’t think so.

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  34. unaha-closp (1,112 comments) says:

    Syria is Al Qaeda is fighting a war against Hezbollah.

    1. Keep this war going as long as possible.
    2. Stay the f**k out of it.

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  35. Scott (1,707 comments) says:

    Once upon a time major countries like United States of America acted according to their interests. They didn’t see themselves as the world’s policeman. Now the USA is like Superman, righting every wrong, beating up every dictator, and deciding when it is time for leaders of other sovereign nations to go or not.

    I would like the Western countries to get the heck out of Syria. They are just making things worse. They have been destabilising Assad for a number of years now. He is not going to give up power. He is not a nice person but he is no worse than the alternative – the Muslim jihad government that would be in power if the opposition wins.

    All that has happened is that the Western powers by their interference have destabilised the regime even more and make things even more volatile for the ordinary person in Syria. The Christian minorities are getting hammered every day of the week. It’s just a shambles. The United States has no interests in Syria and should get out of it forthwith. And so should Great Britain.

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  36. UglyTruth (3,994 comments) says:

    It appears that the Assad regime was responsible for the use of chemical weapons against it own citizens, including many children.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-08-26/israel-claims-have-intercepted-syrian-regime-chatter-confirming-assad-behind-attack

    Stratfor’s job is to analyze the world as objectively as possible, and the situation in Syria is among the most difficult we have seen. The problem is we really don’t know what happened. The general consensus is Syrian President Bashar Assad ordered the use of chemical weapons against his enemies. The problem is trying to figure out why he would do it. He was not losing the civil war. In fact, he had achieved some limited military success recently. He knew that U.S. President Obama had said the use of chemical weapons would cross a red line. Yet Assad did it.

    Or did he? Could the rebels have staged the attack in order to draw in an attack on al-Assad? Could the pictures have been faked? Could a third party, hoping to bog the United States down in another war, have done it? The answers to these questions are important, because they guide the U.S. and its allies’ response. The official explanation could be absolutely trueÐor not. – Stratfor Email 28 August 2013

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  37. cha (3,779 comments) says:

    They didn’t see themselves as the world’s policeman.

    When didn’t see themselves as the world’s policeman, before the first Barbary war, any time between or after WW2…?.

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  38. davidp (3,540 comments) says:

    From Stuff: “Co-leader Metiria Turei said New Zealand should not be involved in force without sanction from the Security Council.”

    I don’t care anything about Syria. But I do care that the Greens want to give Vladimir Putin a veto over NZ’s foreign policy.

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  39. TheContrarian (1,074 comments) says:

    “it is because the culprits are the people idiot Obama is supporting who are ISLAMISTS”

    You’re an idiot. 93% of the middle east/north africa population is Muslim. No matter which way you turn, no matter which group you support, you’ll be supporting Islamists. Don’t be fucking daft Andrei.

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  40. NeilM (370 comments) says:

    The Greens know full well Putin will veto any SC resolution.

    They should stop playing his game and show some true international solidarity.

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  41. Andrei (2,500 comments) says:

    I don’t care anything about Syria. But I do care that the Greens want to give Vladimir Putin a veto over NZ’s foreign policy.

    You clearly have an extremely poor grasp about how international law works.

    Anyway it is not only “Vladimir Putin” putting the brakes on sanctifying this little adventure it is also China and for some reason people such as yourself think that Russia and China should just obey Barack Obama’s wishes and rubber stamp whatever cock-a-mamy scheme he comes up with because Barack Obama is the messiah or something

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  42. cha (3,779 comments) says:

    Detailing the Syrian capability.

    http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/security/01/08/syrias-chemical-warfare-arsenal.html

    http://www.nti.org/gmap/?country=syria&layers=biological,chemical,missile,nuclear

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  43. RRM (9,453 comments) says:

    It’s hard to imagine how the USA can hope to transform Syria into somewhere civilised, where further hellish things will not happen.

    But the idea of bombing the crap out of those cnuts behind this gas attack does seem right somehow, on a “Sensible sentencing” kind of level…

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  44. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,811 comments) says:

    US needs to urgently air drop some fava beans and a nice chianti into Syria, help their “Friends” out:

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  45. markm (98 comments) says:

    From Andrea Vance at the Herald
    ” labour Foreign Affairs spokesman Phil Goff has called for private briefings from the US Government to be made public.
    Mr Goff who had a number of public tantrums over the possibility of private conversations being made public even if approved by the countries leader and a high court judge , said there was no connection between the two issues.

    Mr Goff said privacy should not be extended to Americans as they are fat and bad .
    Mr Goff said that although His bestie , Kim Dotcom was also fat and bad he was entitled to privacy as he was white and jovial and his crimes are white collar crimes so that was different.

    Mr Goff hoped to be remembered , when he left Parliament.

    Prime Minister John Key wished Mr Goff well and hoped he recovered from his irrelevance , and would be back occupying the back benches as soon as possible”

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  46. NeilM (370 comments) says:

    The Greens talk the talk but their walk is 2 paves behind Putin

    Not sure what Goff is playing at. He was doing well avoiding partisan nonsense till wanting the briefings made public.

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  47. Griff (6,767 comments) says:

    WMD RRM
    Bush played Lets find wally wmd as the reason for his minor incursions into two sovereign states.
    The premise that turning the muddled east in to the meddled east is going to work has been proven to fail the test of success or cost benefit ratio on two resent incidents.
    I have no hope of the escalating involvement of the USA being anything more than successful in added arms and personal hence fuel to fan the conflagration.
    Adding yet more well armed and seasons tribal and Sectarian troops to the violent game of risk endemic to the region.

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  48. NeilM (370 comments) says:

    Ahmed Jarba, head of the Syrian opposition, is meeting French president Hollande in the next 24 hours.

    Within a few days the Europeans will start sending arms to the opposition.

    The expectation is that the strike will severity weaken the regime and the opposition will finish the regime off with logistical and political support.

    Thankfully there are some centre left politicians such as Obama and Hollande who deserve the appellation centre left.

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  49. Reid (15,947 comments) says:

    It appears that the Assad regime was responsible for the use of chemical weapons against it own citizens, including many children.

    Yes. Let’s not forget the same person who said that also thought Saddam had WMDs.

    Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. Fool me once, etc.

    And for those who hallucinate Obama is reluctant to help out his Al-Qa’ida mates aka the SFA, if Russia and China hadn’t been standing strong with Syria and calling bullshit on this totally transparent regime-change operation since it began a few years ago, Obama would have done it ages ago. And the reason Obama has backed off today by now talking about a surgical strike, is almost certainly because those same countries have had yet another back-channel chat to the UKUSA, spelling out the consequences of any action.

    I mean, is this the most unlikely thing you ever did see? The Syrian govt was winning, so when the UN inspectors are in town they launch a chemical attack just down the road from their hotel, which they knew would provide an excuse for the regime-changers to have their wicked way. Does anyone REALLY think that’s likely? Really?

    How naive can you be?

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  50. SPC (5,392 comments) says:

    Backed off … a surgical strike was always the option reid.

    As to why, maybe the President’s brother thinks he can do what he wants … .

    The red line constraint on chemical weapons use prevented a quick victory over the rebels, testing the US resolve was one way to find out whether this red line constraint was real or a bluff.

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  51. davidp (3,540 comments) says:

    Andrei>Anyway it is not only “Vladimir Putin” putting the brakes on sanctifying this little adventure it is also China and for some reason people such as yourself think that Russia and China should just obey Barack Obama’s wishes and rubber stamp whatever cock-a-mamy scheme he comes up with because Barack Obama is the messiah or something

    I really don’t care what the US, Russia, or China thinks. They’re grown up countries and can make their own decisions. But I also think that NZ can formulate our own foreign policy based on our own views and interests, and that policy shouldn’t be subject to the veto of any permanent member of the Security Council. Especially one that is run by a vile human rights abuser like Putin. We’re not a colony… we’ll make our own decisions, thanks.

    Speaking of Putin… He seems to spend half his life shirtless, flexing his manly muscles for the media. Does he not realise how gay that looks?

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  52. NeilM (370 comments) says:

    The Syrian army has been fighting for two and a half years. It’s unlikely they’ve been able to have been completely resupplied by Russia.

    They haven’t been doing well despite their superior fire power and that’s shortly to be negated by the Europeans.

    Having tested out gas on a smaller scale, with no international response, the regime feels safe to use it when their options are running out. Knowing the UN will get bogged down in endless rounds of useless debate.

    It’s a last ditch strategy which won’t change the eventually outcome.

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  53. kowtow (7,626 comments) says:

    Max Hastings on the subject.Good read.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2402329/Immature-advisers-moral-indignation-folly-wading-bloody-morass.html

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  54. Fentex (867 comments) says:

    Chemical and biological weapons can result in effects which carry on for years and decades – even affecting children yet to be born. That is why the use of them, especially against civilians and children, is seen as so horrifying.

    It’s not just that they have lingering effects and horrifc direct effects (death by Sarin is slow suffocation in agony as all your muscles refuse to do anything but contract in pain) but that they are completely indiscriminate – there is no argument that blanketing an area with gas is in anyway a directed attack on an opponent.

    And in this particular case with gas deployed in urban environments beside any other consideration it’s going to murder innocents through callous indifference. That puts, by international agreement through the Geneva Protocols, it’s users beyond the pale.

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  55. nasska (10,674 comments) says:

    “I have a dream”, Martin Luther King Jr, 28 Aug 1963

    “I have a drone”, Barrack Hussein Obama, 28 Aug 2013

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  56. Black with a Vengeance (1,552 comments) says:

    “I have a dribble”, nasska, 29 Aug 2013

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  57. nasska (10,674 comments) says:

    You’re sharpening up well Sooty. :)

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  58. Reid (15,947 comments) says:

    The Syrian army has been fighting for two and a half years. It’s unlikely they’ve been able to have been completely resupplied by Russia.

    They haven’t been doing well despite their superior fire power

    Neil perhaps you’ve been watching too much Western MSM, where facts are strangers. The opposite is the case, which is why the “rebels” had to stage an event so transparently false to create a pretext.

    And in this particular case with gas deployed in urban environments beside any other consideration it’s going to murder innocents through callous indifference.

    Yes Fentex. But that’s never stopped the West and all the useful idiots who support it, has it.

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  59. SPC (5,392 comments) says:

    Maybe the regime realised that the world was full of people who would doubt the claims of the American man that the red line had been crossed, so thought that with the help of these “useful fools” they could get away with it …

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  60. emmess (1,369 comments) says:

    When did the right become peaceniks?
    I am no fan of Obama but there are many here opposing intervention just because it would be Obama’s war.
    I oppose what Obama has done in Syria because it should have been done two years ago before Al Qaeda was so strong
    Nevertheless, it is not to late, the FSA is still a major player and intervention in the form of air strikes/ no fly zone/ supplying weapons would go a long way to contribute to their victory.

    Good article here
    http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/139874/michael-weiss/how-to-oust-assad

    I accept that many people think the Iraq war was a mistake and lessons need to be learnt but this is totally different. There will be no ‘boots on the ground’ and there are many other examples of successful military interventions.

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  61. chiz (1,119 comments) says:

    Preliminary analysis of alleged CW weapons.

    Weapons were fired at rebel positions the only day of the week that local winds were blowing away from army units, and it appears that they were fired from the direction of Syrian army units. The Times(uk) claims, based on diplomatic sources, that the attack was in revenge for an recent attempted assassination of Assad by rebels.

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  62. chiz (1,119 comments) says:

    Another look at the alleged syrian chemical weapon and its origin

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  63. cha (3,779 comments) says:

    More.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=y6CZtF6pGvQ

    http://www.cbrneworld.com/news/reflections_on_ghouta#axzz2dKrp6ds8

    http://strongpointsecurity.co.uk/site/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Revised-Thoughts-on-Damascus.pdf

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  64. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,811 comments) says:

    UK just knocked out of the intervention.

    UK Parliament just voted now on the possiblity of Military Action in Syria, No 285 to Yes 272, a Majority of 13 . Looks like the US is looking for another partner to lend it a hand. The French anyone? :lol:

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  65. NeilM (370 comments) says:

    Miliband is now in some serious trouble.

    He never intended to have military action completely ruled out. He knows that’s what is necessary.

    Now, however, that’s how this is being interpreted.

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  66. NeilM (370 comments) says:

    Once the UK parliament has finished punishing the Syrian opposition for Blair maybe they could spend a little time sorting out their vendettas before getting involved with foreign affairs again.

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  67. UglyTruth (3,994 comments) says:

    So, Is Obama going to direct an act of terrorism with the potential to start another world war?

    Per Joint Pub 3-07.2, Antiterrorism, (24 November 2010) the Department of Defense defines terrorism as “the unlawful use of violence or threat of violence to instill fear and coerce governments or societies. Terrorism is often motivated by religious, political, or other ideological beliefs and committed in the pursuit of goals that are usually political.”

    Use of violence against Syria would be unlawful because of the lack of due process in determining responsibility for the recent chemical attacks.

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  68. cha (3,779 comments) says:

    Miliband is now in some serious trouble.

    ?

    The Government’s watered-down motion on the principle of military intervention in Syria was defeated tonight by 13 votes.

    9 Lib Dems rebelled, along with 30 Conservatives. Embarrassingly, two Government Ministers – Justine Greening and Mark Simmonds – accidentally failed to vote because they apparently either didn’t hear the bell or were in a meeting, while Ken Clarke couldn’t attend due to “logistical family reasons”.

    The 30 Conservative rebels are as follows:

    http://conservativehome.blogs.com/parliament/2013/08/syria-rebels.html

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2405633/Syria-conflict-David-Cameron-humiliated-losing-Commons-vote-possible-military-action.html?ICO=most_read_module

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  69. NeilM (370 comments) says:

    Miliband to Obama – that’ll teach you for the Iraq war.

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  70. SPC (5,392 comments) says:

    An Obama response, Democrats were not deciding the matter in the USA and I voted against it, what did Miliband do in 2003 to oppose anything?

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