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> Syria Air Strikes, WWIII? :x
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Chez Wombat
post Apr 14 2018, 12:36 PM
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Sorry if it's buried somewhere in the Trump thread, but I think this is worthy of it's own thread. Last night, the UK, the US and France bombed three government sites in Syria, following the chemical weapon attack on the town of Douma.

Full story here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-43762251

QUOTE
The US, UK and France have bombed three government sites in Syria in an early morning operation targeting chemical weapons facilities, they say.

The move is a response to a suspected chemical attack on the town of Douma last week, which killed dozens.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said he condemned the Western strikes "in the most serious way".

Explosions hit the capital, Damascus, as well as two locations near the city of Homs, the Pentagon said.

"The nations of Britain, France, and the United States of America have marshalled their righteous power against barbarism and brutality," US President Donald Trump said in an address from the White House at about 21:00 local time (01:00 GMT).

"The purpose of our actions tonight is to establish a strong deterrent against the production, spread, and use of chemical weapons," he said.

The wave of strikes is the most significant attack against President Bashar al-Assad's government by Western powers in seven years of Syria's civil war.


Russia, needless to say, aren't happy and have said there are 'consequences' the sheer velocity of the attack looks like retaliation could be possible. What are your thoughts on this? Even as a pacifist, I can see the reasons for it in this case, but it was a rash move and I'm just a bit uncertain of the long term actions that may happen as a result of this.
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Suedehead2
post Apr 14 2018, 12:48 PM
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As so often, the objective of these air strikes is unclear. The chances of getting any clarity from the orange thing are close to zero and May will just do whatever she is told. While the government are not obliged to seek support from the Commons, it is typical of May's authoritarian style of leadership that she has made no attempt to consult MPs at all. AFAIK, she has not even had the courtesy to brief other party leaders before going ahead.
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Popchartfreak
post Apr 14 2018, 01:07 PM
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"1/ The final strike package was bigger than last year's (double the missiles, three targets vs one), but still smaller than what most observers, incl the Assad regime, had predicted. The scope of the attack was narrow - entirely focussed on regime chemical weapons facilities.

2/ In interagency terms, that's a win for Pentagon and the "Narrow American Interests"/"Defeat ISIS and Get Out" line of argument. Compared to last year, this was still a lowest common denominator effort - just one step up in scale based on violation/escalation logic.

3/ Military not only concerned about direct confronation/escalation vs Russia, but also about the impact Russian/Assad retribution could have on the US-led counter-ISIS mission ongoing in NE. Increased harassment and disruption in that theater one kind of fallout to watch for.

4/ Both Moscow and Damascus have signalled that they understood this and that they're going to swallow the missiles.

Now let's dig a little bit into the actual strikes and how they relate to the Syrian chemical weapons (CW) complex. This is actually quite interesting:

5/ Strikes targetted facilities associated with the core Syrian regime CW program - meaning Sarin and other highly lethal agents that require state-level production infrastructure. Meaning, US kept to post-2013 framework/"red line" interpretation built around to nerve agents.

6/ This is notable because April 7 Douma attack - as far as we can tell - did not come out of that tightly controlled complex. It was part of a five years-long campaign built around improvised Chlorine (less lethal choking agent) bombs waged by certain Syrian Air Force factions.

7/ As far as we can tell, no unit or facility involved in the type of attacks that likely caused the Douma was targetted.

There's significant incongruency about how "red line" is institutionally conceived and enforced (Sarin) and its political interpretation (mass casualties).

8/ Let's make this more complicated and talk about deterrence. US made it clear they were looking to establish an understanding vis-a-vis Damascus that continued use of CW would incur cost - cowing Bashar to comply.

I see little reason to believe this strike would achieve that.

9/ I have expounded on this in other context, but it's absolutely clear the Assad regime has little interest in complying on this matter. Not has it persisted in CW use for five years, but it actually worked to reconstitute what offensive capability it had surrendered in 2013.

10/ Damascus finds "red lines" interesting for same reason the Pentagon likes em: They're discrete, predictable, and compartmentalize hostilities away from the actual conflict. For Assad, they're something to push and prod and then drop again - a mechanism to assert sovereignty.

11/ If you understand the various competing logics, imperatives, and constraints of US policy in Syria (C-ISIS, C-IRGC, Assad/CW) and how the US tries to compartmentalize them, you see how this deterrence logic around CW implicitly confirms Assad in power.

12/ The reason Damascus got scared last week was because there was a brief moment of speculation, where this could've gone from deterring CW use to degrading the regime's ability to wage and win the kind of war that relies on these weapons - a broader coalition anti-Assad effort.

13/ But the US declined to leverage the situation into a wider diplomatic-military initiative.

So the strike package makes more sense: The alternative, degrading the regime's ability to drop Chlorine barrels, would've gone beyond the narrow established deterrence relationship.

14/ It would've meant targeting airfields, intelligence facilities, conventional units, workshops etc.

But as Trump laid out in his speech (and Macron etc affirmed) - that's not the intent. The goal is to save a little face on CW, "defeat ISIS", and get out.

15/ I'm very very tired and typing this while sitting at the gate before 9h flight. So apologies for the many typos and convoluted logic.

16/ PS: Anybody who in 2018 harps on about a purported "regime change" conspiracy is beyond deluded.

17/ PS˛: There's a lot more to be said about thresholds reg Chlorine and Sarin etc. but that's for another day. This strike package was about policy in DC - not outcomes in Syria."
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Popchartfreak
post Apr 14 2018, 01:26 PM
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The above is from tweets from Tobias Schneider (not me) who seems to have a convincing number of points.

From my own point of view, I'm outraged that Assad continues to murder his own countrymen, including children, using gas or conventional weapons. Still just as dead.

I'm equally outraged that the mess in Syria has been left as a free-for-all with no international organized effort to try and sort it out.

In terms of the action itself, minor and symbolic only, carried out by politicians who are heavily weakened and likely to be removed. As we all know, consequence-free military action is a quick boost to flagging popularity.

Neither Trump nor May went through official parliamentary channels because they wouldnt have got approval for it, on the grounds that what is the actual aim of it, other than a warning shot across the bows to carry on killing children with normal weapons.

With regard to Corbyn making hay on this, err you have had 7 years to try and resolve this through talk, as has the entire world, and all that has happened is Russia & Iran have made it plain that they have Assad's back and everyone else has accepted this and done nothing about it, be it economic sanctions or anything. So, get off your arses and insist on sanctions against beloved Russia if you are serious.

And most of all, the f***ing hypocrites behind the action still refuse to admit refugee children to safety and out of a war zone, especially orphaned children, so f*** them all, and f*** Corbyn for being as week and wishy washy as ever when it comes to having principles and standing up for what's right even if it loses you votes. If you can't persuade people round to your principled view then you accept the alternative views as right, which is leave them to die, despite protestations against getting involved.
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Iz
post Apr 14 2018, 01:40 PM
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With regards to Trump, he's just embarrassing himself further. Not to say that this didn't have to happen but he's being as reactionary and unpredictable as ever. May is more interesting. If this turns into a prolonged system of air strikes that does not achieve whatever their aims are (as Suede rightfully pointed out, they're very nebulous right now, is it just to stop chemical weapons, is it to remove Assad from power, is it just for a quick distraction from domestic issues), it could look very bad for her with her following an unpopular American president into war, almost a repeating of history. Even if it's successful, it may go against her not having consulted the Commons.

Certainly in my mind confirms that the Second Cold War is in full force (and has been going on) what with what is now pretty much literally a proxy war between America and Russia.
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Crazy Chris
post Apr 16 2018, 03:21 PM
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Trump's just showed what a great strong world leader he is. Not afraid to stand up for ordinary citizens. He's a real man. Wish the same can be said for that wimp Corbyn.
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Queef of Skreech
post Apr 16 2018, 03:35 PM
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QUOTE(Crazy Chris @ Apr 16 2018, 04:21 PM) *
Trump's just showed what a great strong world leader he is. Not afraid to stand up for ordinary citizens. He's a real man. Wish the same can be said for that wimp Corbyn.


Lol.

'Let's bomb Syria to show Syria that it shouldn't bomb Syria!'

Right.

Trump is FAR from a 'real man'. He is an authoritarian who appeals to the weak-minded who are looking for an alpha male authority figure. Bombing ordinary citizens is ... not standing up for them. Not waiting for the UN is ... not standing up for ordinary citizens. This strike was bizarre and ill thought-out and legally dubious. It's vile.
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Dexton
post Apr 16 2018, 04:09 PM
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QUOTE(Iz @ Apr 14 2018, 09:40 PM) *
Certainly in my mind confirms that the Second Cold War is in full force (and has been going on) what with what is now pretty much literally a proxy war between America and Russia.


I think I’d even go so far as to say that the “first” Cold War never truly concluded. There was a period when relations seemed to be somewhat passive, but that time is long over now and the situation is potentially worse than it’s ever been before. It astounds me how easily the superpowers like the US and Russia can manipulate everyone around them into thinking and doing whatever they want. In the last 18 years alone the US has championed countless “war(s) on terror” to no prevail and instead have brought nothing but further destruction and chaos into the Middle East (to the point where the entire region is on the brink of collapse just as it was in the early 70s). Who supports the US in these fruitless endeavours? The UK, Australia, France, all the usual suspects of countries with spineless leaders.

The reality of the situation that we find ourselves in is that a potential WWIII simply cannot happen. War brings total devastation to everyone involved, and not one single country in the world wants a mass war. Unlike in the past two world wars the US has little economic benefit from a large scale war - and we all know money was the only reason they intervened in shutting down Nazi Germany. The US will continue to bomb innocent civilians in the Middle East for as long as it is profitable to them. Russia will also continue, as will China as will the UK and as will everyone else in the big circle jerk of terror. The one thing we have to be terrified of is when the Middle East stops being shit on by the rest of the world.

RAMBLES
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Crazy Chris
post Apr 16 2018, 04:13 PM
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QUOTE(Queef of Peace @ Apr 16 2018, 04:35 PM) *
Lol.

'Let's bomb Syria to show Syria that it shouldn't bomb Syria!'

Right.

Trump is FAR from a 'real man'. He is an authoritarian who appeals to the weak-minded who are looking for an alpha male authority figure. Bombing ordinary citizens is ... not standing up for them. Not waiting for the UN is ... not standing up for ordinary citizens. This strike was bizarre and ill thought-out and legally dubious. It's vile.



He didn't bomb ordinary citizens. He bombed military installations where inteillgence told him that they had chemical weapons.
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Queef of Skreech
post Apr 16 2018, 04:15 PM
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QUOTE(Crazy Chris @ Apr 16 2018, 05:13 PM) *
He didn't bomb ordinary citizens. He bombed military installations where inteillgence told him that they had chemical weapons.


Wrong.

Check your biased sources.

Early reports suggest it wasn't even an atatck by the regime, and the installations DID NO HOLD THE CHEMICAL THAT WAS USED!!

Mwaaa let's all fawn over strong man Trump mwaaa

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Suedehead2
post Apr 16 2018, 05:45 PM
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QUOTE(Crazy Chris @ Apr 16 2018, 04:21 PM) *
Trump's just showed what a great strong world leader he is. Not afraid to stand up for ordinary citizens. He's a real man. Wish the same can be said for that wimp Corbyn.

You mean the people he barred from the USA when they tried to flee Syria?
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Queef of Skreech
post Apr 16 2018, 06:53 PM
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Let's put it another way: two of the most unpopular leaders of ALL TIME in the US and UK have bypassed congress/ parliament and attacked another SOVEREIGN nation, backed by Russia, ala Serbia WW1, without presenting even a SCRAP of evidence. Mad May pushed for it to be that date to avoid having to ask parliament, bypassing it entirely. Your strong leaders attacked three things that day, not just Syria: 1. Syria 2. International order/ UN charter 3. Democracy.
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Doctor Blind
post Apr 17 2018, 03:41 PM
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Interesting article from Robert Fisk in the Independent: https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/syria-...s-a8307726.html
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