🇸🇾 Syria

#21

I agree she should have listened to the Syrians - but are those Syrians representative of the country? Imagine if someone asked some Brits their thoughts on politics and they chose SWF as their sample group?

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#22

Does it matter? If you and your family were being repressed by a dictator would it not be right to hear you, or would there need to be a poll first to check if it’s a majority view first.

Clearly this isn’t a one off viewpoint/experience.

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#23

Like I said, Abbott should have listened to them. I was merely saying that we/she could listen to them but this woman could have been a nutcase or had some kind of agenda. She could have used her time in front of Abbott to talk about Brewdog or the MOBO awards. We must be careful when listening to people.We should know what theyre all about.

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#24

Originally posted by @Coxford_lou

If you and your family were being repressed by a dictator

Ur really taking this too far, pap ain’t that bad ffs :lou_facepalm_2:

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#25

Not far from it with his treatment of Furball, in my opinion.

:lou_wink:

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#26

Is there such a thing as fractions on here??

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#27

:lou_eyes_to_sky:

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#28

Are you just about to get jizzed on, Bletch? (metaphorically speaking)

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#29

Originally posted by @saintbletch

Originally posted by @Coxford_lou

Originally posted by @Bearsy

Originally posted by @Coxford_lou

If you and your family were being repressed by a dictator

Ur really taking this too far, pap ain’t that bad ffs :lou_facepalm_2:

Not far from it with his treatment of Furball, in my opinion.

:lou_wink:

:lou_eyes_to_sky:

:lou_lol:

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#30

Originally posted by @Coxford_lou

Does it matter? If you and your family were being repressed by a dictator would it not be right to hear you, or would there need to be a poll first to check if it’s a majority view first.

Clearly this isn’t a one off viewpoint/experience.

It does matter, otherwise you end up with this.

The emotive impetus behind going after Saddam the first time was a Kuwaiti citizen talking about live babies being thrown out of incubators and being left to die, a cause taken up with zero fact checking by the Western media. It was completely false.

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#31

Now the truth emerges: how the US fuelled the rise of Isis in Syria and Iraq

The war on terror, that campaign without end launched 14 years ago by George Bush, is tying itself up in ever more grotesque contortions. On Monday the trial in London of a Swedish man, Bherlin Gildo, accused of terrorism in Syria, collapsed after it became clear British intelligence had been arming the same rebel groups the defendant was charged with supporting.

The prosecution abandoned the case, apparently to avoid embarrassing the intelligence services. The defence argued that going ahead with the trial would have been an “affront to justice” when there was plenty of evidence the British state was itself providing “extensive support” to the armed Syrian opposition.

That didn’t only include the “non-lethal assistance” boasted of by the government (including body armour and military vehicles), but training, logistical support and the secret supply of “arms on a massive scale”. Reports were cited that MI6 had cooperated with the CIA on a “rat line” of arms transfers from Libyan stockpiles to the Syrian rebels in 2012 after the fall of the Gaddafi regime.

Clearly, the absurdity of sending someone to prison for doing what ministers and their security officials were up to themselves became too much. But it’s only the latest of a string of such cases.

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#32

Originally posted by @Barry-Sanchez

We should stay the fuck out, no bombing, no funding sides, nothing but helping the refugees.

The moment we started bombing empty buildings in Syria it will be a countdown to the next terrorist attrocity on our streets. Sadly though it will be the innocents who suffer and not those who sanctioned the bombings.

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#33

Imagine if TSW was chosen for any sample group? :astonished:

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#34

Originally posted by @pap

Now the truth emerges: how the US fuelled the rise of Isis in Syria and Iraq

The war on terror, that campaign without end launched 14 years ago by George Bush, is tying itself up in ever more grotesque contortions. On Monday the trial in London of a Swedish man, Bherlin Gildo, accused of terrorism in Syria, collapsed after it became clear British intelligence had been arming the same rebel groups the defendant was charged with supporting.

The prosecution abandoned the case, apparently to avoid embarrassing the intelligence services. The defence argued that going ahead with the trial would have been an “affront to justice” when there was plenty of evidence the British state was itself providing “extensive support” to the armed Syrian opposition.

That didn’t only include the “non-lethal assistance” boasted of by the government (including body armour and military vehicles), but training, logistical support and the secret supply of “arms on a massive scale”. Reports were cited that MI6 had cooperated with the CIA on a “rat line” of arms transfers from Libyan stockpiles to the Syrian rebels in 2012 after the fall of the Gaddafi regime.

Clearly, the absurdity of sending someone to prison for doing what ministers and their security officials were up to themselves became too much. But it’s only the latest of a string of such cases.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jun/03/us-isis-syria-iraq

Well, that article is from June. This doesn’t in itself invalidate its claims, but it does rather diminish your emboldened heading. After all, if this truth is just emerging, how come it was printed in the Guardian a few months ago?

But that’s quibbling. What’s more to the point is the central claim, which I think is incorrect. Whilst the US (and others) certainly supported opponents of Assad’s regime, notably the Free Syrian Army, I’m not sure there’s any proof that they funded or armed the emergent Islamic State. The 2012 document quoted by Milne is so massively redacted as to be almost uselss; what it does indicate is that the old adage of “my enemy’s enemy is my friend” has never gone away, particularly in the military mind.

This does not by any means apply to the US and its allies only; you can see it very clearly in the actions of Russia. I’ve read reports that the Russian bombing has strengthened Islamic State in some areas, as the targets of the bombs have been other groups opposed to Assad (such as the FSA). As these groups have suffered losses and withdrawn from certain areas, IS has moved in to occupy those areas. Putin wishes to maintain Russian influence and alliances in the Middle East; Syria is a key ally of Russia, as it was of the Soviet Union (enemy of enemy = friend once again). To this end, Putin had been quite happy to see IS gain strength, to the point where they would become the main (effectively the only) opposition to Assad. After all, if Assad’s opposittion is Islamic State, then how can anyone oppose Assad? Hence the Russian bombing raids on anyone but IS, and their insistence that all opposition groups are terrorists (see Sergei Lavrov’s comments). However, the events in Paris and the identification of a bomb as the cause of the Russian airliner’s crash have forced Putin to change tack somewhat.

What’s the state of play in Syria now, and is there a way forward which does not involve massive further bloodshed, and which will decrease rather than increase the threat of Islamic fundamentalism and it associated terrorism? First answer - things are a total, horrible fucking mess. I don’t think that’s a particularly controversial statement. As for the second question, the answer is yes; not least because there is always a way forward. It’s just a question of finding it.

Looking at Syria and Iraq (which is a clear necessitiy if you’re duscussing Islamic State), it’s clear that a key cause of the current mess is Sunni disaffection. Sunnis are a minority in Iraq, but under Saddam Iraq was effectively a Sunni–run state. Under the now departed Al-Maliki, Iraq became a massively sectarian Shia state, with Sunnis banished from all areas of government and the miltary. Meanwhile, Syria is a Sunni majority country ruled by a Shia clique; groups opposing Assad are universally Sunni. Put these two factors together and you have a potent brew of discontent. Sunnis (many of them with military training and experience) joined with the emergent IS in Iraq because they’d been thrown out of their jobs and left with nothing. Do they believe that what’s needed is a caliphate? Almost certainly not. But IS gives them money and food, which Al-Maliki’s government didn’t. If theyhadn’t been shat on purely for being Sunnis, would they have joined forces with IS or any similar group? Almost certainly not.

Address Sunni discontent and you address the fundamental cause of the rise of Islamic State; fail to do so and you’ll see its rise continue, regardless of how many bombs are dropped on Raqqah.

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#35

Excellent post, Fowllyd.

Add to the mix that IS harp back to the days of territorial rule rather than national rule, and there’s another layer of complexity.

But the idea that the only way the Middle Eastern nations can be governed is by murderous dictators, I just don’t accept.

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#36

I read Fowllyd’s post last night, and wanted a bit of time to formulate a response. The emboldened heading is simply the title of Milne’s article. I didn’t spot the publication date; but I don’t think it matters. If anything, it speaks to a refusal to do something that Fowllyd and I are both looking for. A way forward.

Much has been made, not least by Lou, of the Western self-blame narrative. The ambitious might push for 1919, the Paris Peace Conference, when so much of the current fault-lines were created from the remains of the Ottoman Empire. That’s really where the trouble officially began, gratuitously, in fact. If the official recommendations of the King-Crane report had have been implemented, pretty much none of the festering wounds of the Middle East would have occurred. No Kurdish crisis, no war-torn Beirut and no Israel/Palestine conflict.

http://www.hri.org/docs/king-crane/

The way forward is the same as it has ever been. An internationally-led effort, unconstrained by any other considerations apart from bringing an end to Daesh and a post-conflict political settlement that’ll finally mend the problems first created in 1919. The Kurdish people need a homeland. The Palestinians need a moral resolution to their present hell.

The obstacles are ever the same. Western self-interest, not wanting to work with countries (Russia), not wanting to work with specific individuals (Assad) and pretending that potentially game-changing events aren’t happening, such as the Russian-brokered peace which offered to remove Assad from power, issued a couple of years ago.

The problem with the microscopic focus on the tribal and religious sect arguments are twofold. First, you immediately lose sight of the big picture. Here, you’ve concluded that it’s largely a sectarian matter, and that if we just address the problems of the Sunni, we’ll be sorted on IS. That’s an optimistic view; many believe its cold hard cash driving the mercenaries of IS.

Second, you unwittingly validate the idea that Western intervention is responsible for creating the current situation. These problems were there before, and in some cases, have been around for centuries. Dormant sectarian enmity is on them. Huge sectarian conflict is on the West, particularly us and the US. The US established death squads, much like they did in Central America, deliberately aiming to create this kind of tension.

They even sent the same fucking guy to train them!

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#37

I cant read that, death squads? Where? Nicaragua? Panama?

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#38

I’ve never said that western governments don’t bear a large amont of responsibility here; I have merely stated that it’s not entirely down to western governments. They certainly haven’t helped though!

And I’d agree that for many of those fighting with IS (not the zealots running the show and planning attacks, just the ordinary rank and file) hard cash is a major inducement (I said as much in my post, in fact). This is all the more so for those made desperate by the policies of Al-Maliki. But Sunni disaffection is also a major factor (again, all the more so for those made desperate by the policies of Al-Maliki).

On this part I’d agree with you wholeheartedly:

The way forward is the same as it has ever been. An internationally-led effort, unconstrained by any other considerations apart from bringing an end to Daesh and a post-conflict political settlement that’ll finally mend the problems first created in 1919. The Kurdish people need a homeland. The Palestinians need a moral resolution to their present hell.

On this bit less so:

The obstacles are ever the same. Western self-interest, not wanting to work with countries (Russia), not wanting to work with specific individuals (Assad) and pretending that potentially game-changing events aren’t happening, such as the Russian-brokered peace which offered to remove Assad from power, issued a couple of years ago.

The reason for agreeing with you less here is that Russia has played its own role throughout, much of which has been anything but a peace broker. Security Council resolutions on Syria have been routinely blocked by Russia, for example, purely becasue of Russia’s desire to keep its own sphere of influence in the region. I seriously doubt that their peace deal would have seen anything other than a vaguely more palatable version of the Assad regime in place in Syria. Major powers have long player out their own tit-for-tat games in the Security Council, especially when the Middle East is the subject of resolutions. None is any better than any of the others, in my view.

I don’t think I’m focussing too much on narrow sectarian issues; I think that they are extremely important in this specific case. The bigger picture is more so, and the Middle East is never going to be a region of peace until the issues that you mention early in your post (resutling from the 1919 conference) are resolved. True, nothing can be looked at entirely in isolation, but a settlement in Syria/Iraq that is seen to be fair and just by the majority of those involved will be a good start in terms of addressing the greater whole. Not least as it will enable the west to start building relationships and trust, something that’s been conspicuously absent for many years.

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#39

When it comes down to it, Fowllyd, almost every single Western intervention since the end of the Second World War comes down to another country having a government we don’t like. Under those circumstances, and the unending series of vetoes that the US and UK employ in Israel’s favour, we can hardly avoid dealing with Russia because they’ve got interests in the region and have vetoed action on Assad. We have wilfully vetoed action that could have normalised Israel as a state under international law. We ignore international law when it doesn’t work for us.

Ironically, Russia is the only country in Syria legally.

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#40

I’m not saying that we should ignore Russia or avoid dealing with them, merely pointing out that they have their own vested interests and that this is what is driving them. Double standards and hypocrisy are the order of the day among the major powers; they all act in much the same way. How many Soviet/Russian interventions have been about anything other than a government that they didn’t like?

All countries have ignored international law when they don’t like it. The US does so, we do so, Russia does so (and the Soviet Union did so). And on it goes.

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