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Thread: War in Syria

  1. #16
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    Default Re: War in Syria

    It now appears that US "advisers" in Syria, as well as Afghanistan, will "not hold back" should it come to taking part in shootin' actions in support of their allies, as appropriate. Without a much greater commitment of ground forces (unlikely) it may be that another helicopter evacuation scenario beckons at some point.

    At the same time, Assad's pal, Vlad the Invader, has let loose his fighter-bombers far and wide, zapping "terrorists" of all stripe far and wide with unguided, but very powerful air-to-ground ordnance. It is some consolation that the Pentagon and the Kremlin seem to have arrived at some agreement to prevent US and "coalition" aircraft from shooting down Russians, and vice versa. Little consolation, however, for the citizens of (predominantly) northern and central Syria, wilting under a maelstrom of bombs, missiles and "barrel bombs". No wonder so many people are desperate to get out.

    And just today, Assad's guys (just to prove they could be as nasty as the Russians any day) fired a dozen ground-to-ground missiles at "terrorists", that is to say, harmless mums, children, grannies and mature men doing their selling/shopping in the market square of a small town. Fatalities are conservatively estimated at thirty, with well over one hundred injured.

    And far away, in some recess - or at least in Geneva - the gaggle of global and regional foreign powers now contributing to this mess are meeting to try to find a "road map" out of the minefield. A BBC commentator remarked this morning that there was no hope of agreement at this "urgent" consultation; the most that could be hoped for is that the ground might be laid down for the next "emergency" conference ...

    This is an unspeakable, almost unbelievable disaster. Sure, if I had lived in the Syria of Hafez Assad or his son Basher, I have no doubt that I would have been up against a wall wearing a blindfold, long ago. That having been said, this nasty, minority-oppressing-majority tyranny did, at least, sort of work. Just a few years ago, I would have seen Syria as (by Middle Eastern standards at least) a modern, pretty well developed country with limited public security issues (those Secret Police were on the ball). However awful the Assads were (and are), people were not being murdered by the score, every day of the week. Reminds me of somewhere else ? Place called Iraq, perhaps ... I need not spell out where we are, now. The fruits of the "Arab Spring" have been bitter here more than anywhere else. Ruthless dictator, foreign interventionists, Kurdish separatists, at least three clearly distinguishable armies of homicidal Islamaniac fanatics, local warlords - all arranged in a patchwork of control, all at each others' throats, with lots of poor bloody civilians in the continuous crossfire. Yes, no wonder spending the winter in places like Kiel, rather different from Syria, seems attractive enough to sail to Europe clinging to a piece of tree bark (ok, that was Celtic saints, but the boats used by trafficers are not much better) for so many people.

    On the last point - one of the most depressing aspects of the huge flight of Syrians towards Europe lies in the fact that, quite clearly, only people and families who have the funds to expend on paying off trafficers can subject themselves to the rigors of flight towards the EU. Of course some poor people are there in the mass (some sold their land to get there). Otherwise ... there is a disproportionately high proportion of professional people (teachers, engineers, linguists, technologists, and so on) among the migrants/refugees. Very probably, these products of perfectly respectable and capable colleges in Syria and across the Middle East will make a very positive contribution to their new host countries. Very probably, as previous episodes suggest, they will never return home, even if Syria eventually returns to "peace". Lacking much of its educated classes, it is horribly possible that any "new Syria" will only move from being one sort of failed state to another.

    The Greek tragedians were right - the world is hard, and life really, really is not fair.

    "As flies to wanton boys, so are we to the Gods. They use us for their sport" (Shakespeare, "King Lear" - hope I got that right). JR.

  2. #17
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    Default Re: War in Syria

    Quote Originally Posted by JR* View Post
    It now appears that US "advisers" in Syria, as well as Afghanistan, will "not hold back" should it come to taking part in shootin' actions in support of their allies, as appropriate.
    Yeah, there is a long history of that working really well in the Middle East and other conflicts spectacularly mismanaged by America and its idiot allies.

    Quote Originally Posted by JR* View Post
    On the last point - one of the most depressing aspects of the huge flight of Syrians towards Europe lies in the fact that, quite clearly, only people and families who have the funds to expend on paying off trafficers can subject themselves to the rigors of flight towards the EU. Of course some poor people are there in the mass (some sold their land to get there). Otherwise ... there is a disproportionately high proportion of professional people (teachers, engineers, linguists, technologists, and so on) among the migrants/refugees. Very probably, these products of perfectly respectable and capable colleges in Syria and across the Middle East will make a very positive contribution to their new host countries. Very probably, as previous episodes suggest, they will never return home, even if Syria eventually returns to "peace". Lacking much of its educated classes, it is horribly possible that any "new Syria" will only move from being one sort of failed state to another.
    Which is why I am opposed to better off 'refugees' arriving in my country by, often perilous, sea voyages which the poor bastards stuck in refugee camps all over the planet would jump at if only they had the money.

    Plus your point about denuding the country of origin of skilled people, as my country has been doing for decades by admitting people trained overseas at no cost to us while we fail to fund our our training properly, thus denuding their countries of origin of those skills.

    Quote Originally Posted by JR* View Post
    The Greek tragedians were right - the world is hard, and life really, really is not fair.
    I'd say it is more combination of classical Greek science and Hobbesian realism about ungoverned territories.

    "Nature abhors a vacuum." Usually attributed to Aristotle. Applies equally to government.

    In Leviathan, appositely written during the English Civil War while he was an English political refugee in France, Hobbes, who was also a scientist of his era seeking to unify science and human behaviour, summed up what happens when the vacuum of government exists .

    "In such condition, there is no place for industry; because the fruit thereof is uncertain: and consequently no culture of the earth; no navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by sea; no commodious building; no instruments of moving, and removing, such things as require much force; no knowledge of the face of the earth; no account of time; no arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short."

    Throw in the insatiable appetite of major powers such as the US and Russia and their lesser power remoras to run proxy wars outside their borders, and throw in the insatiable appetite of rigid theocracies such as Iran and Saudi Arabia to use these conflicts as proxy wars outside their borders, and, Ladeeeeeees and Gentleeeeeeemen: In the Red Corner in this international cage fight without rules, referees or time limits, we have the latest contenders for mindless violence in pursuit of whatever it is that they're pursuing, Syria, and in the Blue Corner, ISIS. Seconds may enter the ring whenever it suits them, using whatever weapons they like.
    Last edited by Rising Sun*; 10-31-2015 at 06:53 AM.
    ..
    A rational army would run away.
    Montesquieu

  3. #18
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    Default Re: War in Syria

    I really don't know what the point is of sending 20-30 "advisers". The U.S. has already carried out special operations in Syria and engaged ISIS. But a platoon of Green Berets doesn't seem secure enough to me nor will it particularly be enough to be effective at training the FSA. One concern I also have is that the same thing may happen as did in El Salvador in the 80's where U.S. Army Special Forces NCO's routinely carried out senior leadership roles with the El Salvadoran forces and engaged in combat...

  4. #19
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    Default Re: War in Syria

    Nobody can really see an Iraq-style invasion/occupation by any outside party - not even Iran (although I suppose Vlad might send in a horde of Little Russian Brothers ...). However, when one begins to slip down the slope upon which the Obama Administration now appears to be standing, there is a distinct possibility that numbers of "advisers" could increase substantially over time, short of an all-out invasion. If these "advisers" are to be involved in combat, they may end up shooting at each other - not a desirable situation. More seriously perhaps, these limited interventions are unlikely to be sufficient to secure the objectives of any potential "interventionist", possibly leading to the "embassy garden helicopter scenario arising at some stage, merely damaging the interests and prestige of the relevant power further. Even as it is, President Assad would appear to be significantly dependent on assistance from his Shi'ite brethren from Hezbollah (in this context, a proxy-Iranian force) and probably on a fairly substantial number of Iranian "advisers". The latter bunch could easily be increased by infiltration through Iraq, where the pathetic Iraqi government seems already to have the assistance of some three "Iranian-led" militia brigades (in practice, three brigades of Iranian Republican Guards), probably the most formidable fighting force in Iraq apart from ISIS. All of this is a recipe for even more death and destruction, stretching into the future. What is the real solution ? Well, it might have helped if outsiders had steered clear of involvement in the Syria/Iraq/Afghanistan "troika" in the first place, keeping their paws strictly out of the beehive. I know that in dealing with the forces in the region, this would not by any stretch be any sort of guarantee of happy endings, locally. Bit late for that, now. About a century too late. Yours from Main Street, Palmyra, JR.

  5. #20
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    Default Re: War in Syria

    So, nearly half a million dead, 10 million displaced, ancient country bombed to a rubble... Any chance on some war crime charges any time soon or is it only an illusion of law abiding world we live in ?
    But let me guess , it is Syrians themselves who suddenly decided to kill themselves after decades of peace and relative prosperity:P

    Arab spring in Egypt you say ? Elected Muslim brothers not good... let's bring back dictators...

  6. #21
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    Default Re: War in Syria

    Public international law carries no overall sanction for its breach, beyond economic sanctions (usually ineffective), military intervention, or trade warfare (bit like economic sanctions, really). There is no possibility of impartial administration of international law.

    As regards Egypt, I am sometimes afflicted by the suspicion that the whole business was a carefully-cloaked military coup, not against the Muslim Brotherhood, but against Mubarak. The Republic of Egypt has, since its inception, been ruled by military officers, usually wearing lounge suits, supported by the Army. Nasser, Sadat, Mubarak - all "former" Army officers. Mubarak, however, had outstayed his welcome with the serving generals and had, indeed, become an embarrassment due to a number of corruption scandals. Nor was his obvious intention to create a dynasty by putting his son on the "throne" particularly attractive to the Brass. The Egyptian Army may not have initiated the uprising, but clearly facilitated it at an early stage. Knowing the political landscape of Egypt well, the generals would have realized that the revolt would probably unseat the already wobbly Mubarak, and lead to an election resulting in Muslim Brotherhood rule, from which the country would have to be "rescued" by its loyal and patriotic army, leading to renewed military dictatorship in the old style. Which is exactly what happened.

    Very Egyptian, all told. Yours from the Old Bizarre in Cairo, JR.
    Last edited by JR*; 02-25-2016 at 08:12 AM.

  7. #22
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    Default Re: War in Syria

    Quote Originally Posted by witman111 View Post
    10 million displaced
    10 million? OMG think about it how many migrant comes to Europe in the future?
    "The consciousness that I am alive, makes me wild dreams every day"
    (Helmut Wolff lieutenant colonel, one who survived the breakout of Budapest)

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