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Syria - the end of the beginning?


170 replies to this topic

#81 Horza

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 08:17 PM

Would an invasion (as in, boots on the ground) be necessary to prevent Assad from using them against his own people?

Just having them is not enough, he'd need effective delivery of it too. In the Iran-Iraq war, Saddam mostly used aircraft with chemical payloads against his targets, IIRC.
This link suggests artillery rounds is an option in Syria, however, which would require massive air strikes against a lot of Syrian hardware in order to nix Assad's ability to strike.


One estimate for securing the whole program is 75,000 troops, which I can't see happening.

#82 Robin Of House Hill

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 08:41 PM

And what do you think would happen at the first hint of such intervention, other than Assad's forces using those weapons?

#83 KAH

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 06:57 AM

And what do you think would happen at the first hint of such intervention, other than Assad's forces using those weapons?


Assad's forces dropping those weapons like it was poisonous gas?

I mean, I would not like to think about being around deadly chemical weapons at the same time I'm being targetted by NATO air craft.


Of course, that would entail a lot of chemical weapons around the country without anyone in charge of them, which is not exactly ideal either...

#84 Noroldis

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 09:04 AM

Vietnam was a case of our Cold war adversaries wanting to control the region and our wanting to deny them that control. The problem is that we ran that war so stupidly, we became the laughing stock of the world.


Not quite. Vietnam was a case of a people wanting to free themselves from exploitative colonialism and being willing to die to achieve that goal (the same reason why the American colonies rebelled against the British), and the US opposing that people on morally wrong grounds. More and more people in the US came to realize the latter, which is partly why popular opposition to the war built up.

I have nothing against meddling, as long as it benefits us. There is no benefit to the US in intervening in Syria.


So because there's not an immediate, tangible material benefit for the US in Syria, it should not lift even one finger to help an oppressed people free themselves from a tyrant willing to slaughter them by the tens of thousands to maintain his bloody grip on power?

#85 Robin Of House Hill

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 11:45 AM

Assad's forces dropping those weapons like it was poisonous gas?

I mean, I would not like to think about being around deadly chemical weapons at the same time I'm being targetted by NATO air craft.


Of course, that would entail a lot of chemical weapons around the country without anyone in charge of them, which is not exactly ideal either...

1. Targeting Assad only works if his location is known.
2. If Assad sees his end is near, he only needs to target a single city.

Not quite. Vietnam was a case of a people wanting to free themselves from exploitative colonialism and being willing to die to achieve that goal (the same reason why the American colonies rebelled against the British), and the US opposing that people on morally wrong grounds. More and more people in the US came to realize the latter, which is partly why popular opposition to the war built up.

Total BS. North Vietnam was a Soviet puppet-state, intent on absorbing South Vietnam, which, arguably was a puppet-state of the US. Unfortunately, our military was led by a prima donna and was more interested in PR and faking boddy counts, than in actually destroying the enemy.

So because there's not an immediate, tangible material benefit for the US in Syria, it should not lift even one finger to help an oppressed people free themselves from a tyrant willing to slaughter them by the tens of thousands to maintain his bloody grip on power?

You are trying to sell the idea of having the US help people, who, in the end, will hate the US, anyway. I see that idea as irrational.

#86 KAH

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 01:39 PM

1. Targeting Assad only works if his location is known.
2. If Assad sees his end is near, he only needs to target a single city.


I don't know why you're bringing up Assad personally in this - the danger of the chemical weapons will not end with him. I'm talking about the Syrian forces allotted to deliver chemical weapons.

If Assad gives an order of using chemical weapons, what the outcome will hinge on is what the officers and soldiers on the ground will do. Or if Assad can even reach them - first post on the agenda for a strike would be to take out Assad's ability to communicate with and lead his forces.

If he can, it's not at all given that the majority of his arsenal can be brought to bear on one city easily.

#87 Padraig

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 06:48 PM

You are trying to sell the idea of having the US help people, who, in the end, will hate the US, anyway. I see that idea as irrational.

Assad's biggest ally is Iran. Hardly a friendly nation.

Its weird. I wouldn't be in favour of intervention but the longer this war drags on, the more power the more fanatical opponents of Assad are likely to gain. The original protestors are been sidelined. The extremists are taking advantage of the situation.

The assassination in Benghazi seems to cloud the US view but the people in power in Libya aren't fanatics (although, the problem is they don't have enough power). OTOH, Syria seems to be on the way to been a terrible mess.

I don't think Assad will use chemical weapons. I don't think foreign powers will intervene directly. And even if Assad did use chemical weapons, only air power will be deployed. Anything else is crazy.

#88 Hereward

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 06:41 AM

Not quite. Vietnam was a case of a people wanting to free themselves from exploitative colonialism and being willing to die to achieve that goal (the same reason why the American colonies rebelled against the British),


[off topic] If there was any exploitative colonialism going on in the 13 Colonies, it wasn't of the people who rebelled. [/off topic]

#89 Noroldis

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 09:29 AM

Total BS. North Vietnam was a Soviet puppet-state, intent on absorbing South Vietnam, which, arguably was a puppet-state of the US.


North Vietnam was much less a puppet of the USSR than South Vietnam was a puppet of the US. The North Vietnamese ran the war much the way they wanted, whereas the ARVN was totally dependent upon US support/guidance and would have swiftly collapsed without those (which is indeed what happened soon after the US left).

Unfortunately, our military was led by a prima donna and was more interested in PR and faking boddy counts, than in actually destroying the enemy.


Don't forget that your puppet ruler of South Vietnam, Ngo Dinh Diem, became hugely unpopular in his own half of the country, blatantly rigged the 1955 referendum and the 1959 elections, had over 100,000 suspected communists and anti-corruption whistleblowers imprisoned and killed, and was up to all other sorts of nefarious things:

http://en.wikipedia....i/Ngo_Dinh_Diem

Ho Chi Minh was always far more popular among his own people, whereas Diem became such an embarrassment that the CIA supported a coup to depose him.

You are trying to sell the idea of having the US help people, who, in the end, will hate the US, anyway. I see that idea as irrational.


True, by now it might well be too late to earn the love of Syria's people, or to prevent anti-US extremists from taking over the country, or at least exerting a considerable amount of influence in post-Assad Syria. But if the US had acted decisively last year to support the rebellion/depose Al-Assad instead of wringing its hands and mouthing useless platitudes like the Arab League, a lot of Syrians might well be US supporters today.

#90 Robin Of House Hill

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 11:47 AM

While I agree that Diem was hardly the ideal leader to support, we were incredibly stupid to support a coup against him. The US has a history of supporting dictators who are beneficial to its interests, but we keep forgetting to enforce rules and guidelines required for our continued support. Our State Department has never shown the degree of competence to "enlighten" our puppets. We made the same mistake with Saddam. If he'd been properly controlled, he'd still be there, two wars wouldn't have happened and he'd be a thorn in Iran's side.

​Even at the very beginning of the opposition to Assad, those fighting him could be heard chanting, "God is great". They were never going to support the US. They would pretend to appreciate our help and hate us after they won.

Edited by Lorien, 10 December 2012 - 11:48 AM.


#91 Galactus

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 11:54 AM

While I agree that Diem was hardly the ideal leader to support, we were incredibly stupid to support a coup against him. The US has a history of supporting dictators who are beneficial to its interests, but we keep forgetting to enforce rules and guidelines required for our continued support. Our State Department has never shown the degree of competence to "enlighten" our puppets. We made the same mistake with Saddam. If he'd been properly controlled, he'd still be there, two wars wouldn't have happened and he'd be a thorn in Iran's side.

​Even at the very beginning of the opposition to Assad, those fighting him could be heard chanting, "God is great". They were never going to support the US. They would pretend to appreciate our help and hate us after they won.


You do know that in an islamic context chanting "God is great" is something pretty much everyone does, right? Kind of like every US president saying "God bless America"?

#92 The Iceman of the North

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 12:17 PM

You do know that in an islamic context chanting "God is great" is something pretty much everyone does, right? Kind of like every US president saying "God bless America"?

Yes, but we all know that being Muslim is the same as being Anti-American, right?

#93 Robin Of House Hill

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 12:27 PM

You do know that in an islamic context chanting "God is great" is something pretty much everyone does, right? Kind of like every US president saying "God bless America"?

I never heard anyone chanting, God bless America", in a combat situation. So, no, it isn't really the same.

Yes, but we all know that being Muslim is the same as being Anti-American, right?

Not really, but I wonder if there are any statistics on percent of anti-US sentiment, broken down by religion. That might be interesting.

#94 The Iceman of the North

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 12:29 PM

Not really, but I wonder if there are any statistics on percent of anti-US sentiment, broken down by religion. That might be interesting.

Probably highest among Pagan and animists.

#95 Castel

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 12:46 PM

I never heard anyone chanting, God bless America", in a combat situation. So, no, it isn't really the same.


Not really, but I wonder if there are any statistics on percent of anti-US sentiment, broken down by religion. That might be interesting.


Not really? Then what's your point? Islamic people are anti-American except when they're not? Your two posts don't seem to match up.

Adjusting for different cultures shouting Allahu Akbar in a battle means...nothing. Pretty sure that Muslims are encouraged to use god's name in stressful situations, unlike Christians.

Edited by Castel, 10 December 2012 - 12:50 PM.


#96 Shryke

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 04:24 PM

Lorien, dude, you are being silly. Allahu Akbar is an all-purpose phrase in areas like the middle east.

Won a war of independence against US imperialistic oppresors?
Allahu Akbar

Your first son is born?
Allahu Akbar

The roast didn't burn?
Allahu Akbar

Just caught the last bus?
Allahu Akbar

Allahu Akbar?
Allahu Akbar

#97 Robin Of House Hill

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 05:23 PM

Not really? Then what's your point? Islamic people are anti-American except when they're not? Your two posts don't seem to match up.

Not all Muslims are anti-American, just as not all Jews are pro-Israel. I may paint with a broad brush, just not that broad.

Adjusting for different cultures shouting Allahu Akbar in a battle means...nothing. Pretty sure that Muslims are encouraged to use god's name in stressful situations, unlike Christians.

Lorien, dude, you are being silly. Allahu Akbar is an all-purpose phrase in areas like the middle east.

Won a war of independence against US imperialistic oppresors?
Allahu Akbar

Your first son is born?
Allahu Akbar

The roast didn't burn?
Allahu Akbar

Just caught the last bus?
Allahu Akbar

Allahu Akbar?
Allahu Akbar

Obviously, I've never been to the Middle East, so I have no reason to doubt you, though it comes as a bit of a surprise. It is something I would never consider doing.

#98 Horza

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 06:58 PM

While I agree that Diem was hardly the ideal leader to support, we were incredibly stupid to support a coup against him. The US has a history of supporting dictators who are beneficial to its interests, but we keep forgetting to enforce rules and guidelines required for our continued support. Our State Department has never shown the degree of competence to "enlighten" our puppets. We made the same mistake with Saddam. If he'd been properly controlled, he'd still be there, two wars wouldn't have happened and he'd be a thorn in Iran's side.


No.

1. Diem fell in October 1963, I seem to recall the war going on a bit longer afterwards, did nothing in-between that and the fall of Saigon count?

2. Diem and his entire family were tinpots through and through, a pack of jumped-up courtiers who thought running South Vietnam like a racket was their divine right. It was never going to work.

3. Client states are not simple puppets to be pushed around at imperial whim. They are in partnership with their benefactors whereby they provide their local authority, expertise and resources in exchange for imperial support. The imperial power is dependent on that local authority and knowledge and it's thus the client state that controls much of the implementation of imperial policy alongside its own agenda. Attempts to implement imperial policies that run against the interests of the local authorities don't tend to succeed, and the sanctions the imperial power can offer against its client are limited, especially when the client is the only game in town.

4. It's imperial wishful-thinkingof the highest order to imagine that this can be overcome by better management of clients. Clients are in the last analysis self-interested actors themselves, and their political power (and Swiss bank accounts) is their bottom line. Worse, imperial support gives them a cushion they can use to suppress and buy off opposition in place of winning and keeping popular support through economic and political reform.

5. Similarly, the idea that the US can hold clients in place against the will of their population is rank delusion. When push comes to shove the consent of the governed is the only foundation for stable rule and no Shah or Presidente is bigger than their nation - if the US wants stable partners it should probably start to realise that salient fact and work towards a satisfied people over pampering 'stable' dictators.

#99 KAH

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 07:27 PM

Black flags flying over Base 111.

#100 Horza

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 10:26 PM

Assad whipping out the Scuds

Ballistic missiles are a very expensive way to deliver a tonne of high explosives and their tactical applications are basically zero in a guerilla conflict. As a strategic escalation it smacks of desperation - firing these at rebel-held areas adds extra misery but won't force a rethink.



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