Author Topic: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0  (Read 10796 times)

TheDrake

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #50 on: April 09, 2017, 11:34:46 AM »
I'd also say in a larger sense that the Syrian government is responsible, since they likely manufactured the weapons. And used them previously. And created the conditions for rebellion.

My comment on a suicide false flag was addressing the likelihood that the rebels gassed themselves to make Assad look bad.

Frankly, any use of chemical weapons by a state makes little sense to me, and the ability of non-state actors to acquire them makes little sense to me. Can't really get my head around it.



Fenring

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #51 on: April 09, 2017, 12:14:23 PM »
I'd also say in a larger sense that the Syrian government is responsible, since they likely manufactured the weapons.

Maybe, maybe not. Iraq did not manufacture their illegal gases. Of course we know where those came from. These things are sold all over the place.

TheDeamon

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #52 on: April 09, 2017, 12:52:04 PM »
My comment on a suicide false flag was addressing the likelihood that the rebels gassed themselves to make Assad look bad.

You assume the people who were gassed knew they were handling WMD's. When I'm saying it was a potential "suicide"/sacrifice of their own forces, it may not have been any of the people who actually died who were party to that decision.

As a strategic move, it would be a brilliant ploy to execute against Assad. You just have to be callous enough to not care about the casualties on your own side in order to make it happen. Which goes back to their traditions and practices from which suicide bombers/attackers are derived. For which ISIS in particular doesn't maintain much in terms of separation or distance when it comes to encouraging such things. I think Assad is a bigger fan of Patton's maxim, of "Make the other guy die for his 'country'"

JoshCrow

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #53 on: April 09, 2017, 01:59:44 PM »

As a strategic move, it would be a brilliant ploy to execute against Assad.

Except for the fact that it basically changed nothing. If this was a false flag, is it really a useful success to get a few missiles lobbed at a base that remains operational?

While strategically I can appreciate that anything one does is a gamble, the idea of having to cover up a brutal chemical attack against one's own people (with all the risk of being found out) on the off-chance that Trump would respond and respond meaningfully enough to make it worth it... well, it doesn't sound like good strategy to me. I suppose desperation is very motivating, but.. really? I've heard people question why Assad would use these weapons, but the other scenario is more far-fetched to me.

rightleft22

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #54 on: April 09, 2017, 02:14:09 PM »
I don't understand the military strategic value of the attack.
The use of a chemical weapon doesn't make sense to me.

TheDeamon

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #55 on: April 09, 2017, 04:36:13 PM »

As a strategic move, it would be a brilliant ploy to execute against Assad.

Except for the fact that it basically changed nothing. If this was a false flag, is it really a useful success to get a few missiles lobbed at a base that remains operational?

They'd be operating on the assumption that it'll bring international pressure down on Russia at the very least and get them out of Syria's pocket, failing that, escalation of the conflict into a wider area and generating chaos for Russian and Western relations.

Of course, in that respect, it may not have been Assad, it could have been the FSB. ;)

Although reality is, while the Islamic Extremist groups love to focus on the West, Islamic groups in Russia and China have it much worse. So in that respect, any chance of getting NATO to "have a go" at Russia for protecting Assad is one the Islamists will welcome.

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While strategically I can appreciate that anything one does is a gamble, the idea of having to cover up a brutal chemical attack against one's own people (with all the risk of being found out) on the off-chance that Trump would respond and respond meaningfully enough to make it worth it... well, it doesn't sound like good strategy to me. I suppose desperation is very motivating, but.. really? I've heard people question why Assad would use these weapons, but the other scenario is more far-fetched to me.

Cover what up on the ISIS front? IF they do have some of that stuff, that it hasn't been seeing use elsewhere would suggest it's being tightly controlled, and the number of people who know what it is probably is quite small. They're also pretty good at staying under everybody's radar, unlike state run agencies.(Which often leave (paper/communication) trails behind) As compared to ISIS where they give the relevant pieces to someone they consider expendable, don't tell them what it really is, and see what happens. Unlike Syria's side where weapon release is going to be tightly controlled, in order to prevent the insurgents getting (more of) it.

Edit: Which isn't even getting into the propaganda side for ISIS. If they're caught? Deny and claim it's a false flag operation by Syria. If the western nations don't intervene, use at as talking point for further recruitment as it "proves" the ill-intent of the Western/Christian nations, as they're refusing to get involved in any meaningful way.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2017, 04:41:51 PM by TheDeamon »

rightleft22

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #56 on: April 09, 2017, 06:20:13 PM »
if Assad forces did use chemical weapons as the west is accusing them of, what could be the strategic thinking behind such a attack.
It doesn't make military sense for Assad to have approved such a attack so if he was behind it, it had to be political. But why? Muddy already muddy waters. Test Trump?  To many variables that could turn on you... 

If Assad deliberately used these weapon, what does he get by doing so?

Gaoics79

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #57 on: April 10, 2017, 07:31:23 AM »
http://www.nationalpost.com/m/wp/news/blog.html?b=news.nationalpost.com/news/world/russian-tweets-raise-spectre-of-war-over-syria-and-warn-g7-against-issuing-ultimatum&pubdate=2017-04-10

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It was only on March 30 that Haley, along with Tillerson, said Washington was no longer adamant that Assad must quit. Instead, they said, the U.S. would shift its focus to defeating the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). But last week’s gas attack on Syrian civilians by Assad’s forces in Damascus appears to have changed the thinking.

Yesterday, when asked if the U.S. now sees regime change as a priority, Haley outlined three objectives before moving to a political, peaceful settlement of the six-year civil war in Syria: defeating ISIL, getting rid of Assad and removing Iranian influence. “Getting Assad out is not the only priority,” she said.

Asked if that meant the U.S. was advocating regime change, she said: “This is something the entire international community has decided.”

Tillerson echoed those comments on Sunday, saying “there is no role for him (Assad) to govern.”

DonaldD

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #58 on: April 10, 2017, 10:35:49 AM »
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*IF* this was in fact a false flag or even completely faked, then the reason Sarin gas was included was because it makes it much easier to make the claim that it had to be a state actor since ostensibly there would be no way some "random band of rebels" would get their hands on poison gas weapons
Your false flag hypothetical requires that ISIS/AQ/'the rebels' managed to wait until the Syrian government forces bombed the area before releasing the gas, or alternatively, requires that ISIS/AQ/'the rebels' managed to acquire an airplane capable of carrying bombs and of dropping them on the city of Idlib. Is there another option, because both of those seem exceedingly unlikely?

DonaldD

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #59 on: April 10, 2017, 10:42:57 AM »
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if Assad forces did use chemical weapons as the west is accusing them of, what could be the strategic thinking behind such a attack.
It doesn't make military sense for Assad to have approved such a attack so if he was behind it, it had to be political. But why? Muddy already muddy waters. Test Trump?  To many variables that could turn on you... 

If Assad deliberately used these weapon, what does he get by doing so?
The simple answer is that you are focusing on Washington, rather than on the Syrian resistance in particular, and the Syrian population in general.  Assad remaining in power requires the population in general to be sufficiently cowed, and poisoning a neighbourhood using chemical weapons pretty much screams "continue messing with me and you are in for a world of hurt". it is psychological warfare aimed to cement his long term hold on the country.

Since Washington had just given Assad the green light by outright stating that Assad was the Syrian population's problem, not that of the USA, it's clear Assad may have misunderestimated the inconstancy of the current administration in Washington (or maybe not - who knows in what direction the long-term winds in Washington will blow. )

linuxfreakus

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #60 on: April 10, 2017, 02:01:02 PM »
Quote
*IF* this was in fact a false flag or even completely faked, then the reason Sarin gas was included was because it makes it much easier to make the claim that it had to be a state actor since ostensibly there would be no way some "random band of rebels" would get their hands on poison gas weapons
Your false flag hypothetical requires that ISIS/AQ/'the rebels' managed to wait until the Syrian government forces bombed the area before releasing the gas, or alternatively, requires that ISIS/AQ/'the rebels' managed to acquire an airplane capable of carrying bombs and of dropping them on the city of Idlib. Is there another option, because both of those seem exceedingly unlikely?

Maybe... it depends on how many factions knew about the supposed false flag and how confident you are in the ability to control the media narrative.  We assume there was an air strike at the same time... but is there a way to independently verify it... or as russians have suggested, if it was just a depot sorting such chemicals and the resulting cloud from blowing it up was what caused the "gas attack" and they simply used the incident to spin it as something different....  There is just so much that is virtually unknowable at this point.

linuxfreakus

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #61 on: April 10, 2017, 03:49:59 PM »
Wow... sorting == storing.  I need more coffee.

DonaldD

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #62 on: April 10, 2017, 06:35:03 PM »
Of course, that's no longer a false flag operation... And you have to wonder how, if Russia supposedly knew that was a chemical depot, why they would have allowed Syrian forces to bomb it... or did their intelligence only go so far as to identify that the building was a rebel weapons depot, but not a chemical weapons depot?

At some point, Occam's razor is going to have to kick in...

linuxfreakus

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #63 on: April 11, 2017, 12:55:09 AM »
Of course, that's no longer a false flag operation... And you have to wonder how, if Russia supposedly knew that was a chemical depot, why they would have allowed Syrian forces to bomb it... or did their intelligence only go so far as to identify that the building was a rebel weapons depot, but not a chemical weapons depot?

At some point, Occam's razor is going to have to kick in...

Yeah, I guess there has to be an actual attack to count as a false flag, otherwise its just false pretense...  I do kinda feel like there was probably an attack of some kind.  If Russia's story were true, I think the idea is that they knew the rebels were using it to store weapons but they didn't know they were chemicals (and it wasn't actually sarin, it was other stuff).  It is plausible, but no idea which if any of these stories are true and the white hats are kinda fishy too.

DonaldD

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #64 on: April 11, 2017, 06:35:56 AM »
"kinda feel"?  Russia itself has stated already that it was a Syrian strike.  There's no ambiguity there.  How can you be questioning the veracity of reporting when you aren't even aware of that most basic, accepted facts as claimed by the Russians themselves?

What's even worse, is that the Russian's themselves have admitted, as some kind of defence, that not only was it a Syrian attack on an identified rebel munitions storage and manufacture site, but that they knew it was used to "housed workshops to produce projectiles stuffed with toxic agents", and if there was any doubt about their purported intelligence, they also clarified that "from this major arsenal, chemical-laden weapons were delivered by militants to Iraq."  Their stated aim was to put the chemical weapons depot out of service. http://tass.com/world/939417

So supposedly, according to Russian state media[ (Tass) the Russian Defence Ministry stated that they knew there were chemical weapons being manufactured in the building in question prior to the attack, and they even knew where those weapons were being delivered.  I have no idea why they think this is materially better - knowingly blowing up a toxic agent depot in the middle of a population centre as opposed to dropping chemicals weapons on the same people.

If that is the best spin the Russians can put on this attack (and remember, the Russian state is basically the largest exporter of propaganda in the world right now - well, maybe China has an equivalent army of trolls, but they are less well documented) then it boggles the mind how you can still stretch to attribute "an attack of some kind" to the rebels (ISIS, AQ, whatever) in this case.  It really seems like the Russian propaganda machine has successfully destroyed your ability to vet information for yourself.

TheDeamon

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #65 on: April 11, 2017, 09:58:03 AM »
If that is the best spin the Russians can put on this attack (and remember, the Russian state is basically the largest exporter of propaganda in the world right now - well, maybe China has an equivalent army of trolls, but they are less well documented) then it boggles the mind how you can still stretch to attribute "an attack of some kind" to the rebels (ISIS, AQ, whatever) in this case.  It really seems like the Russian propaganda machine has successfully destroyed your ability to vet information for yourself.

The difference between the Russian and Chinese trolls is that the Chinese ones are predominately for domestic consumption, the rest of the world can go f--- itself. Russia likes to remember being a superpower, so it's stuff is for internal and external consumption alike, so they'll helpfully translate it for you. While most of the Chinese propaganda often remains in Chinese only, unless a third party decides to translate. Which for most US media markets means it doesn't exist, because it isn't available in English, they're not going to bother to translate it themselves.

Fenring

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #66 on: April 11, 2017, 10:06:39 AM »
So supposedly, according to Russian state media[ (Tass) the Russian Defence Ministry stated that they knew there were chemical weapons being manufactured in the building in question prior to the attack, and they even knew where those weapons were being delivered.  I have no idea why they think this is materially better - knowingly blowing up a toxic agent depot in the middle of a population centre as opposed to dropping chemicals weapons on the same people.

I'm surprised this is puzzling to you. The standard ISIS strategy right from day one was to enmesh themselves in civilian centers to create morale problems for the West in extricating them. And it was working perfectly, since no one was willing to engage ISIS on account of the civilian casualties that would ensue. What you seem to be arguing is that going after these terrorists and accepting the collateral damage is the same as directly targeting the civilians, which is of course ludicrous. The hard pill to swallow is that refusing to accept civilian losses in cases like ISIS means the terrorists have won. They have no compunction about using human shields.

I'm not saying this is definitely what happened, but assuming Russia's narrative is accurate is makes perfect sense. It's not 'bad spin' if it's true, and unlike the U.S. (for better or worse) Syria and Russia don't have quite the same considerations about public sentiment regarding their military actions. They do have to consider general morale, but they don't have to worry about public opinion polls on every single action they take.

TheDeamon

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #67 on: April 11, 2017, 10:16:47 AM »
Of course, that's no longer a false flag operation... And you have to wonder how, if Russia supposedly knew that was a chemical depot, why they would have allowed Syrian forces to bomb it... or did their intelligence only go so far as to identify that the building was a rebel weapons depot, but not a chemical weapons depot?

Depending on the chemical weapons in question, even the US would consider an "Air Strike" option in order to eliminate them. Of course, the toolbox the US has is a fair bit larger and more varied than what the Syrians have, as IIRC we have some munitions that were purpose built for such uses. Although I know there are a couple cases where you're basically talking a tactical nuke scenario if you're wanting to be certain of the agents destruction, and I don't think those ever left the drawing board. But a fuel-air bomb could take care of a number of other chemical weapons.

It is possible they thought that the weapons payload they were striking the facility with should have been more than sufficient to neutralize/"burn off" the vast majority of the chemical weapon stocks they thought were present before they could pose a hazard to the surrounding area. It just happened that something they didn't expect happened to be there as well, and the payload wasn't adequate for handling that.

As to ISIS/ISIL, I could see them "staging" some of this material in certain locations they think may be subject to airstrikes, but not otherwise in imminent danger of a ground assault. If they think a ground assault is coming, they'll move it(to avoid it being captured), but otherwise it's a propaganda bomb waiting to go off. In that vein they may have "leaked" that intel to the Russians/Syrians for just that purpose. Let them think there is a comparatively easy to make/easy to destroy chemical agent being made there, and see what they do in light of Trump's latest policy announcement.

linuxfreakus

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #68 on: April 11, 2017, 11:15:16 AM »
So now if Russia says something then it must be true?  I'm just saying there isn't a good way to independently verify and US, Russia, China, and others have all been guilty of completely making things up sometimes.  I'm well aware of what Russia said, but it doesn't change the fact that virtually no reliable independent reporting exists inside Syria that I can find.

"kinda feel"?  Russia itself has stated already that it was a Syrian strike.  There's no ambiguity there.  How can you be questioning the veracity of reporting when you aren't even aware of that most basic, accepted facts as claimed by the Russians themselves?

DonaldD

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #69 on: April 11, 2017, 11:51:05 AM »
LF, the point is that everybody including the Russians, the Syrians, the USA, people on the ground - everybody is reporting that Syrian planes bombed the area.  You seem to be under the impression that there is some ambiguity on this point.  If all parties agree on a point, even parties who vehemently disagree with each other on other points, then that is fairly strong evidence that the point in question is true.

If you feel that this point still requires more evidence before you can accept it, then I would suggest that there is no level of evidence that you would accept, so there is not much point in you looking for it.  You seem to be asking the question "I can't believe anybody, so who can I believe?"

The answer is right there in your question.

DonaldD

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #70 on: April 11, 2017, 12:12:27 PM »
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I'm surprised this is puzzling to you. The standard ISIS strategy right from day one was to enmesh themselves in civilian centers to create morale problems for the West in extricating them.
You seem to be confused, Fenring.

I was not at all questioning the moral bankruptcy involved in hiding chemical munitions among civilian populations.  Why you should think that is even in question is surprising. However, whether there were chemical munitions on the ground at the time of the attack is very much in dispute.  What we know is a) Syrian aircraft bombed an area where there were many civilians, b) following the Syrian bombing, many people suffered symptoms of chemical munitions (nerve toxins). Over 100 people were reported to have died from the effects of both the reported general destruction as well as the reported nerve agents.

That leaves us with the following possibilities:
1. The Syrian munitions dropped on Idlib contained the nerve agents.
2. Nerve agents were on the ground where the more traditional Syrian bombs dropped caused the agents to be dispersed.
3. Nerve agents were dispersed by some 3rd party coincident with the dropping of the Syrian bombs on Idlib.
4. Nerve agents spontaneously generated from the effect of the traditional bombing.
5. no bombing actually took place, and nobody died.

I consider option 1 to be the only realistic possibility; I'll even give a nod to #2, the Russian rationalization.  But in both cases, we have the Syria knowingly taking actions that would cause nerve agents to be dispersed within a civilian population centre.  Notwithstanding that TheDeamon thinks the USA is also evil enough to knowingly cause the distribution of nerve agents within a population centre, that does not somehow obviate Syria's responsibility here (in the most generous possible interpretation to Assad, of course).  Either action is evil and a war crime regardless of ISIS' possible involvement in storing the weapons (which at best is a complete hypothetical, the only evidence for which is Russia's 'word' on it.)


Fenring

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #71 on: April 11, 2017, 12:27:32 PM »
That leaves us with the following possibilities:
1. The Syrian munitions dropped on Idlib contained the nerve agents.
2. Nerve agents were on the ground where the more traditional Syrian bombs dropped caused the agents to be dispersed.

I consider option 1 to be the only realistic possibility; I'll even give a nod to #2, the Russian rationalization.  But in both cases, we have the Syria knowingly taking actions that would cause nerve agents to be dispersed within a civilian population centre.

Not sure why you think I'm confused, since I was directly addressing your point above that you've repeated here (the part I bolded). You have now twice stated an equivalence between dropping a nerve agent and knowingly attacking a site containing a nerve agent. I was not addressing the probability of either of these happening, but rather the equivalence you've drawn, which above I called "ludicrous" (and still do).

DonaldD

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #72 on: April 11, 2017, 12:50:27 PM »
The effect of both is to consciously disperse nerve agent within a civilian population - the fact that ISIS (in this hypothetical) did an evil action by placing the nerve agents in that particular spot does not magically remove the responsibility of of the Syrian forces knowingly taking an action that would kill civilians by dispersing the agent.

You may call this ludicrous, but that simply illustrates the extent to which you are willing to accept evil actions if those actions can be rationalized in even the flimsiest ways.

Fenring

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #73 on: April 11, 2017, 01:07:30 PM »
You may call this ludicrous, but that simply illustrates the extent to which you are willing to accept evil actions if those actions can be rationalized in even the flimsiest ways.

I am, as far as I can tell, the most vocally anti-war person on this board, so your comment here strikes me as being remarkably off-base. Even I recognize that if terrorists hide behind civilians the only way to get them is to accept collateral damage. If you think this is categorically the same as making a chemical weapons attack then I guess we'll agree to disagree on this point. But terrorists quickly get wise to the fact that taking hostages will be a viable strategy for them, which has been the tactic of ISIS from the get-go.

DonaldD

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #74 on: April 11, 2017, 02:05:33 PM »
Using the terrorist bogeyman has become the rationalization-du-jour worldwide for nations wanting a pretense of cover for their bad acts.

Let's just look at Syria - how many deaths can be attributed to ISIS/AQ's use of chemical weapons over the past 5 years? Compare that to the number of civilians killed by Syrian forces over the same period.  And what exactly was the rush?  Assad's regime is consolidating its control over most of the country - it is winning the civil war.  There was no rationalization sufficient for bombing a chemical weapons depot, with the inherent likelihood of widespread civilian casualties, at this time. 

You know how this story would have played out differently?  The Syrian forces could have warned civilians to vacate the area even an hour prior to the attack, leaving insufficient time to remove any significant portion of stored munition or any supposed "manufacturing capabilities".  But not even the smallest warning was given to civilians, which suggests that the civilians were in fact the target.  Or rather, civilians in other neighbourhoods and cities were the actual targets of the implicit warning.

Fenring

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #75 on: April 11, 2017, 02:25:55 PM »
And what exactly was the rush?  Assad's regime is consolidating its control over most of the country - it is winning the civil war.

It's not a civil war, it's a proxy war. World of difference there.

DonaldD

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #76 on: April 11, 2017, 03:08:06 PM »
That's because you live in the USA and seem to view everything through that lens.

To Assad, Syrians in general, and I daresay the majority of the world, it is a civil war.

Fenring

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #77 on: April 11, 2017, 03:15:22 PM »
That's because you live in the USA and seem to view everything through that lens.

To Assad, Syrians in general, and I daresay the majority of the world, it is a civil war.

Um, it's not really a question of what my political opinions are. It's just a question of what the definitions of words are. Calling something a "civil war" implies that the populace is rising up or that part of that nation's military is opposing the government. The implication of either of those is that the legitimacy of the government is being significantly contested by citizens of that country. Calling something a "proxy war" means that a country is being invaded from an exterior force and is defending itself from conquest. The implication of this is that some other country is an aggressor. These are not remotely the same, and are also (within certain bounds of greyness) not subject to what someone's opinion on the subject is. If a foreign power is sending mercenary forces to invade another country that is factually not a civil war. If the mercs are merely assisting the local insurrection then it becomes grey, but that's not what happened in Syria.

TheDeamon

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #78 on: April 11, 2017, 03:50:01 PM »
That's because you live in the USA and seem to view everything through that lens.

To Assad, Syrians in general, and I daresay the majority of the world, it is a civil war.

Uh, that would certainly explain all of those fighters coming in from across the Islamic world to rally under the Banner of ISIS in its wars in both Syria and Iraq. That doesn't quite fit the criteria of any civil war I'm aware of. I'm under the impression most of the ISIS fighters are either foreigners, or people who've been impressed into service and refuse to fight at their own peril. Which isn't even getting into the agenda of ISIS, as its ambitions don't stop at the Syrian border.

Most civil wars are fielding forces that are largely derived from local populations. Neither of the major players at this point fully qualify in that respect. Syria has the Russians, Iranians, and a few others helping. While ISIS has the ongoing inflow of foreign volunteers flocking to their banner.

The actual "Syrian rebels" within Syria are pretty much a non-factor in all of this, yeah, they're around, and they're holding their own reasonably well, but they're not holding onto much of value.

TheDeamon

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #79 on: April 11, 2017, 04:02:06 PM »
Notwithstanding that TheDeamon thinks the USA is also evil enough to knowingly cause the distribution of nerve agents within a population centre, that does not somehow obviate Syria's responsibility here (in the most generous possible interpretation to Assad, of course).  Either action is evil and a war crime regardless of ISIS' possible involvement in storing the weapons (which at best is a complete hypothetical, the only evidence for which is Russia's 'word' on it.)

First off, where did I say the US would drop any kind of bomb in a population center where other WMD's are in play?

I said the US Military has a warfighting doctrine that does include being able to drop bombs onto sites they believe to hold Chemical and Biological weapons under the condition that they think the bombs will be able to destroy the "lethal agents" that makes those weapons a threat. I didn't say anything about it being 1) A preferred option. or 2) That doing so anywhere near a population center would be anything close to considered "Acceptable risk."

I was talking about Syria and Russia and the "acceptable risk" calculations they'd make. Using the United States as a template, where it is an established matter of record that even we could, under the right conditions, decide to bomb a chemical or biological weapons depot rather than send in troops. It then becomes not much of a stretch to conclude that the Russians could likewise consider bombing of a Chem/Bio weapons to be an "acceptable tactic" under the right conditions.

Also, knowing that the Russians and Syrians alike are a lot less squeemish about "collateral damage" than their Western European and American counterparts. It becomes entirely possible to see where they'd go ahead and green light the bombing in a populated area.

As to where the "moral calculus" on such an act goes, that's an entirely different ball game. I'd agree they're then at least "indirectly responsible" for what essentially became an indirect use of WMD's, which is a war crime. However, the "flip side" there is the consideration of what the alternatives could have been, in regards to "What if they had given ISIS the chance to clear/relocate the facility instead?"  Given that piece to chew on, I think it's safe to say if ISIS was left to their own devices, and they actually did have the stuff, if left to use them at a time/place of their choosing, a lot more than 100 people would be dead.

DonaldD

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #80 on: April 11, 2017, 04:32:32 PM »
Quote
If the mercs are merely assisting the local insurrection then it becomes grey, but that's not what happened in Syria.
Actually, that is exactly what happened.

The insurrection that started the whole war was initiated during the Arab Spring.  It now incorporates  Sunni Arab rebel groups including the Free Syrian Army, Salafi jihadist groups,  the Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces as well as ISIS.  So yes, the main aggressors are Syrian (it's even in their names...) with outside "help" of ISIS and some Salafi jihadist groups.

linuxfreakus

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #81 on: April 11, 2017, 04:34:14 PM »
LF, the point is that everybody including the Russians, the Syrians, the USA, people on the ground - everybody is reporting that Syrian planes bombed the area.  You seem to be under the impression that there is some ambiguity on this point. 

No... I agree that there was some kind of attack.  Exactly what transpired is much more murky though.  Perhaps I'm misunderstanding something too, I thought you were implying that the Russian account was somehow more reliable. I was mistaken.  My only point was that there is a *relatively* higher chance of the entire thing being faked than with something which reporters and others could easily verify since no US media is in Syria.  I can't think of any reason why the major entities involved would all conspire to lie about it though to the extent of creating something that never even ocurred, so in *absolute* terms the chance is extremely remote.

Wayward Son

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #82 on: April 11, 2017, 06:15:07 PM »
Quote
Most civil wars are fielding forces that are largely derived from local populations. Neither of the major players at this point fully qualify in that respect. Syria has the Russians, Iranians, and a few others helping. While ISIS has the ongoing inflow of foreign volunteers flocking to their banner.

OK, that takes care of 2 sides.  What about all the other sides? ;)

LetterRip

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #83 on: April 12, 2017, 01:12:59 PM »
For the doubters, here is the evidence that it was a Sarin attack by Syria, quite a strong case.

https://www.quora.com/Is-Syria-and-Assad-using-chemical-weapons-against-its-own-citizens-Why/answer/Dan-Rosenthal-6

Gaoics79

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #84 on: April 12, 2017, 01:32:51 PM »
The article is interesting but useless for any layperson lacking expertise in evaluating shrapnel patterns or knowledge of chemical weapons sufficient to debunk or corroborate what it is saying. I am not saying the article is bunk - I am saying if it were bunk I would have zero means of knowing it.

It reminds me of articles establishing that September 11th was a controlled demolition - very persuasive to a layperson lacking the knowledge to evaluate what is being said.

I don't know what to think. What it comes down to for me is trust - do I trust the people pushing this story? After everything that has happened since the Iraq war I simply don't.

If I accept that Assad used these weapons, at best I'm in a tepid 55% territory. And the idea of replacing Assad with the "alternative" makes me think we're better off supporting him and siding with the Russians. He is better than the alternative regardless of whether or not he used chemical weapons.

Pete at Home

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #85 on: April 12, 2017, 02:34:09 PM »
Of course, that's no longer a false flag operation... And you have to wonder how, if Russia supposedly knew that was a chemical depot, why they would have allowed Syrian forces to bomb it... or did their intelligence only go so far as to identify that the building was a rebel weapons depot, but not a chemical weapons depot?

At some point, Occam's razor is going to have to kick in...

I don't think Occam's Razor applies to the middle east. The term "Byzantine" was invented for a reason.

Wayward Son

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #86 on: April 12, 2017, 05:02:27 PM »
Agreed, Pete.  As I recall, Alexander required an entire sword, not just a razor. :)

TheDeamon

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #87 on: April 12, 2017, 07:18:10 PM »
At some point, Occam's razor is going to have to kick in...

I don't think Occam's Razor applies to the middle east. The term "Byzantine" was invented for a reason.

Agreed. Although to be honest, I'd likewise give better than even odds, probably around a 60 to 70% chance, that it was Assad who was entirely responsible for the attack being chemical in nature. But it still pretty much remains in what I described earlier as "flip a coin, or consult  a magic 8 ball" for reliability of any conclusions drawn.

So fell free to make a call on what you think may or may not have happened there, just be prepared for whatever conclusion you drew to later be proven wrong.

linuxfreakus

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #88 on: April 12, 2017, 11:13:38 PM »
For the doubters, here is the evidence that it was a Sarin attack by Syria, quite a strong case.

https://www.quora.com/Is-Syria-and-Assad-using-chemical-weapons-against-its-own-citizens-Why/answer/Dan-Rosenthal-6

Off the top of my head, this looks like armchair analysis... how do they know whether the site was tampered with at all? Did they actually inspect the site? What is the source of these photos?  If they didn't look at them in person its hard to think they could really have done a careful and accurate analysis.  Things look VERY different in a 2D photo than they do in person.... not to mention... do they even know these were from the attack at all and not something else? Has this guy done crater analysis before? It would be super easy to mess this this up, especially if only looking at few random photos.... furthermore a lot of the assumptions in there are predicated on it being sarin, which AFAIK is not reliably established either.

This information may well be "true", but at the end of the day, I just don't know.  It would be too easy to fake this sort of analysis, but there have been many "reports" of Assad using gas besides this latest incident.

DJQuag

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #89 on: April 13, 2017, 05:52:18 PM »

LinuxFreakus

So you need what exactly to believe that it was Assad? Pictures? Video? Jesus coming down from Heaven and whispering in your ear?

This is the real world. It's very rare that there is 100 percent proof of anything. But as even your biased person admits, the proof in this case leans towards it being Assad.

He's a hereditary dictator whose family and he himself have been more then willing to massacre civilians. Why is it such a far stretch to allow that he might use chemical weapons to kill women and children and non soldier men instead of bullets or bombs?

Pete at Home

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #90 on: April 13, 2017, 09:54:52 PM »
Because we Americans are still the little boy that cried chemical weapons in Iraq.  So unless France, Englamd, Canada, Australia, basically everyone we dragged into Iraq, screams that Assad did it, we are going to twiddle thumbs. Our leadership record on this issue is tarnished.  Someone else needs to take point here.

Grant

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #91 on: April 14, 2017, 04:39:57 PM »
Good to see everyone is still nuckinfutz on Syria. 

Pete at Home

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #92 on: April 14, 2017, 08:50:34 PM »
Good to see everyone is still nuckinfutz on Syria.

Actually, I was very strongly opposed to entry on the last go round before Germany & etc were invaded.  Putin's used the refugees to avenge Clinton's clusterbombing of Serbian kids to distract from his oval office blowjob.  That changes things somewhat.  Also, I was more suspicious last time of it being a false flag.

What are your thoughts on the matter?

DJQuag

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #93 on: April 15, 2017, 07:07:59 AM »
I have to admit that as much as I dislike Trump I find myself kind of digging this foreign policy.

Yeah, it's dangerous. Someone could call his bluff and then our president finds himself in a dick measuring contest that he is pathologically incapable of backing down from and we all die, but it's had results.

Assad used chemical weapons, Trump sent a very clear message that we're not cool with governments doing that. And I agree with him. Our ally western governments agreed with him. It was the right thing to do and it was, taking into account geopolitik, the correct and proportionate action.

And hey, look at this. 105th anniversary of the birth of Korean Hitler approaches and despite their track record if launching nukes and missiles on their anniversaries, the DPRK has done jack *censored*. They know he's serious.

And even China. They know where their bread is buttered. They've cut off accepting coal imports from NK (a bigger deal then it sounds) and they've said in their public statements that neither side should do anything that provokes the other. And while it's subtle, it's the first time I can remember them telling NK to STFU.

And on North Korea, that issue is our Holocaust. That thing where millions died and we just sat there. There will come a day when us or our children look on that the same way that we look on western countries sending back boats of Jewish refugees. There will come the day that we will look down on the mass graves and the concentration camps (fully viewable via Google earth, btw) and wonder what the hell where we thinking.

Grant

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #94 on: April 15, 2017, 08:26:23 AM »
Good to see everyone is still nuckinfutz on Syria.

Actually, I was very strongly opposed to entry on the last go round before Germany & etc were invaded.  Putin's used the refugees to avenge Clinton's clusterbombing of Serbian kids to distract from his oval office blowjob.  That changes things somewhat.  Also, I was more suspicious last time of it being a false flag.

What are your thoughts on the matter?

My thoughts are exactly the same as they were four years ago.  I'm pretty consistent. It's basically the same situation. 

1. I don't have all the evidence.

2. Even if I did, I'm not completely qualified to evaluate all of it and all the contrary bs evidence.

3.  I'm never actually going to see all the evidence, because apparently it's mostly classified.   

4. It all comes down to trust, so tell me baby, who do you trust? 

5.  The main argument that the intel on Iraq WMD was FUBAR, so the IC and the government is not to be trusted, ignores the fact that the IC still is in a better position, with more expertise, than all the laypeople in the world.  The dumbest doctor is still much better at diagnosis, with all the tools and training, than the group of people you meet in the ER waiting room.  Ask yourself: Are you a doctor, or are you the guy in the waiting room looking up stuff on WebMD?  God bless the internet. 

6.  In terms of response, the only factor that has significantly changed is that we have (IMO) a better NSC to advise and generate a coherent strategy with a chance of attaining goals. The other factors are still the same:
     a.  Still don't have much faith in POTUS to lead.
     b.  American people largely still do not want to invest the blood and treasure I feel would be necessary to execute a successful strategy.

So given that two of the tires on my trike are still flat, what are the chances of getting across the interstate with it before getting flattened by an 18 wheeler?  Maybe with two tires I could give it a shot. 

 

Fenring

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #95 on: April 15, 2017, 10:11:27 AM »
5.  The main argument that the intel on Iraq WMD was FUBAR, so the IC and the government is not to be trusted, ignores the fact that the IC still is in a better position, with more expertise, than all the laypeople in the world.  The dumbest doctor is still much better at diagnosis, with all the tools and training, than the group of people you meet in the ER waiting room.  Ask yourself: Are you a doctor, or are you the guy in the waiting room looking up stuff on WebMD?  God bless the internet. 

The doctor may try to screw you out of money, but at the end of the day he's making his living by helping you to the best of his ability. If he deliberately lies to you or cheats you he opens himself up to lawsuit or worse. There is no fundamental conflict of interest here. In terms of government, and more specifically, agencies like the CIA, there is a direct conflict of interest almost across the board. And it's not like this is a paranoid person talking - it's the founding assumption of the U.S. The fact that many people nowadays want to trust the government by default is a break from the norm, because it was never the norm before. And yes, by the way, I would confidently state that I am more aware of what's in my best interest than the CIA does, and certainly have more of a stake on my own self-interest. I would view it as almost tautological that whatever the CIA wants to achieve is probably against my personal interests and values.

DJQuag

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #96 on: April 15, 2017, 10:19:37 AM »
Really? I can see that kind of view for the FBI, but the CIA?

The CIA can be monstrous and wrong but I've never seen anything to point out that they didn't at least *think* thst what they were doing was in the interests of Americans vs everyone else.

Fenring

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #97 on: April 15, 2017, 10:26:56 AM »
Really? I can see that kind of view for the FBI, but the CIA?

The CIA can be monstrous and wrong but I've never seen anything to point out that they didn't at least *think* thst what they were doing was in the interests of Americans vs everyone else.

I legitimately don't think they've been operating in anyone's interest but their own since the 50's. I suspect that if the majority of their foreign activities over the years were actually known they'd be dismantled immediately. The FBI, on the other hand, probably has its share of corruption, collusion with politicians, and all the rest, but I would guess that the vast majority of daily FBI activity is just guys doing their jobs to police Federal crime. On my list of which Federal agencies are guilty of the worst malfeasance, I would put the CIA probably at the top, followed after a large gap by the NSA and DEA, with the FBI considerably below even them. Also, with regards to the FBI, I think you'll see a big disparity in honor between someone acting as head of the FBI, who effectively ends up being a political entity, and between regular agents who want to protect the American people. I definitely don't blame the regular agents for misdeeds by the few people in the organization who are corrupt.

DJQuag

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #98 on: April 15, 2017, 10:37:07 AM »
Can we acknowledge that given world politics, a country needs people to work outside the morality box?

The CIA never did anything worse then what the KGB did. And sure, that's a mighty low bar, but IMO the operators and their handlers absolutely thought that they were aiding American interests; even if what they did was morally bankrupt.

I don't think you'd find the same in the FBI. The FBI by design is supposed to go after Americans; the susceptibility of them to people with the money and power to go after fellow Americans is just reality.

cherrypoptart

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Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« Reply #99 on: April 15, 2017, 11:11:27 AM »
In other news...

https://www.yahoo.com/news/m/86c714a5-a515-3abb-86d1-778ac08aefff/iraq%3A-is-launches-chlorine.html

Iraq: IS launches chlorine gas attacks in western Mosul

 By Qassim Abdul-Zahra | AP April 15 at 8:48 AM

BAGHDAD — An Iraqi military officer says Islamic State militants have launched a gas attack in a newly-liberated area in western Mosul.

The officer with the anti-terrorism forces said Saturday that the attack occurred the night before in the al-Abar neighborhood, when IS fired a rocked loaded with chlorine. He said seven soldiers suffered breathing problems and were treated in a nearby field clinic.

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I can't know what to make of it, of course, because just like everyone else here who has admitted as much I have no way of knowing what's really happening over there or who is responsible for it. The timing of this certainly doesn't help the official narrative any though.