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One Hundred Days of Leftist Savagery

Apologies for the gap in blogging. Life gets in the way of living, or maybe the other way round. I don't know. Had to deal with a number...

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Syria: The Siren Song of War

The press is full of reporting about what apparently is a horrific sarin gas attack in Syria (here, here, and here, for example). US Ambassador to the UN Haley gave an impassioned and eloquent address slamming Russia and the Assad regime for the attack. President Trump also let fly a not very subtle threat to the Assad regime in the wake of the attack which came during Jordan King Abdullah's visit to Washington. The calls of "Assad must go!" and for some sort of US action in Syria are increasing in the media and in the political world.

I wrote in this humble blog some 3½ years ago that then Secretary Kerry, for all his blathering on and on about Assad and gas, was not at all serious about addressing the issue (here); about Neville Chamberlain Obama's "Red Lines" and his "Peace in Our Time" agreement with Russia on Syrian gas (here), an agreement, of course, which was supposed to end the Assad regime's ability to conduct gas attacks; and even a post where I expressed some doubts about the gas attack reports.

Clearly events are pushing Washington to do "something" about Syria and Assad. Let me state, yet again, that Assad is, as was his his father, a pencil-necked murdering SOB. Let us not forget that it was progressive politicos, e.g., Nancy Pelosi, who thought Assad a "reformer" with whom we could deal. Nobody else was fooled by Assad, except, of course, for the progressive media types who hailed Assad as a reformer with Western proclivities and a beautiful wife. With a confused (understatement) multiparty civil war now underway in Syria, Assad faces serious challenges to the survival of his Baathist Shia minority regime. He receives considerable backing from Russia, eager to reinsert itself as a major player in the Middle East, and from his fellow Shia thugs in Iran, who want to keep a Shia-controlled regime in power on the border with Israel.

Before we do "something" about Assad, let's hope that the President is getting good intel about what is and is not happening in Syria. Perhaps our intel agencies can be distracted from what apparently has been their primary mission for the past eight years, i.e., listening to every phone in America and smearing the Democrats' political opponents, to developing as accurate a picture of events in Syria as possible. I don't want us marching into a war on the basis of NGO and press reports--please, remember to "Remember the Maine!"

Did Assad/Russia carry out a gas attack? What's the evidence pro and con? If so, what's that say about the "deal" Kerry brokered with Moscow? Why would Assad use gas when other just as lethal means are at his disposal and attract less attention, especially when Abdullah is in Washington? And above all, what US interests are threatened? Do we want to knock Assad off his perch? Who or what would fill the vacuum? Let's remember Libya, shall we? Are we risking a shooting war with Russia over Syria? America First, remember?

Talk to Russia. Find out what their game is in all this. What do they want aside from looking like Assad's saviors? How willing are they to risk a shooting war with us over Assad? Unfortunately, the climate right now in Washington is not conducive to serious, adult conversations with the Russians. The media seem to want a US-Russia confrontation, and it's a brave politician who says, "Stop the Russia nonsense. We need to deal with these people."

Talk to Israel. If there's one country in the world that would like to see Assad and his family roast in hell it's Israel. They've had long experience with the Assad clan, fighting them in open wars and in bloody covert actions of various types. The Israelis have had for years the ability to knock out the Assads, but never have done it. They similarly had the ability to kill Arafat but never used it. They know something crucial about the Middle East: what you have and know is probably better than what you don't have and don't know. An evil, murdering but presumably rational actor such as Assad is better to have in power than some member of the apocalyptic murdering evil ISIS or some other Islamic death cult.

If the evidence ("Slam dunk"?) comes in that Assad did use gas, and we determine that key interests of ours are at stake--including our credibility, if we keep talking--then we have means to curtail Assad without necessarily destroying his horrid regime. We, for example, can unleash a hail of death and destruction on his air force or his gas stores; we can also cause him great economic damage via a variety of means. Then let him know and the Russians, too, that there's more death and destruction from where that came if certain activities do not cease.

Bottom line: Do we have the ability to "repeal" Assad? Yes. Do we have the ability to "replace" Assad? I doubt it. What comes after Assad could make us miss Assad a great deal.

I worry that we might have yet another administration sidetracked by war, and prevented from carrying out vital reforms at home needed to preserve our prosperity, culture, and national strength.

45 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thanks. I was just about to write the same thing.

      MFA

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    2. My face turns red with shame. Thanks

      Delete
  2. I remember the WMD in Iraq errors by every friendly intelligence service and what that got us into and the rest of the world. The culture differences are so great that what may work in the West, has little chance in the ME. What we miss is that when the people there see our TV programs where in an hour we fix anything/everything, they lose confidence so easily when we don't meet their expectations. That is too ingrained now to change easily.

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  3. Don't care. ISIS sold Yazidi women as sex slaves. There are no angels over there. Let Putin "fix" Syria. I voted for Trump to MAGA.

    The worse the refugee crisis gets in Germany and the EU, the less bitching they will do about our wall.

    When Reconquista 2.0 comes to Europe, we can sell them the guns and ammo to make it happen.

    #Winning

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    1. Don't forget that Turkey, under that murderous dictator Erdogan, is using the syrians as pawns to dictate to the EU. I cannot understand why he is still allowed to be a member of NATO. He is a threat to not just local security for nations like Egypt and Jordan, but a domestic threat to Europe.

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  4. It does worry me a bit that Trump may now be acting with his heart and not his head ... the Prog's approach. And the Ivanka-Kushner tag team is on the flood. Perhaps he will name Ivanka's BFF Chelsea to the NSC?

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    1. He has Mattis and Pence. He has a very capable cabinet also.
      Trump does listen to his advisors.

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  5. Whatever happens in Syria is none of our business. To keep a lid on the islamists, a thug is needed; Assad fits the requirements.

    Once upon a time, Syria was almost a modern country, ruled by the Assads. What has changed? Why, "democracy-building" has left its mark. Those people have a lot of civilizin' yet to do before they can handle a democracy!

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    Replies
    1. eskyman,

      You should read this:

      https://www.scribd.com/document/158975076/1878-001

      abdel fattah al sis wrote this (President of Egypt)
      This might make you understand the problems facing a republican form of democracy in the middle east.
      Regards,
      leaperman

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  6. Assad is bad; make no mistake; but all of his plausible replacements are worse.

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  7. Please Diplomad, make some sense for us of events. What narrative can explain the conflicting threads and motives and actions?

    I am not convinced Assad is the villain. I am not convinced the opposition isn't jihadis (like they were in Libya). I am not convinced neocons are not conspiring with jihadis to do these chemical attacks and make it look like it was Assad. Why does McCain keep visiting Syria and Turkey? Why are there photos of McCain with al Baghdadi - are those photos real?

    Gaddafi I believe was liked by his people, had renounced terrorism and was helping us - yet we armed jihadis and took him out. We helped the jihadist Muslim Brotherhood oust pro-West ally Mubarak (who protected Egypt's Christians). I don't trust anything Congress and our Intel agencies tell us about Syria.

    The motives of the various players "on our side" don't seem to make sense, and in some cases actions and motives seem to conflict. I can't make a coherent narrative that encompasses all of our and other countrys' actions and motives. That includes countries, CIA, military (google "Operation Sycamore"). U.S., Qutar, Israel Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Obama, McCain and Graham. If it's about stopping Assad as an Iran proxy, well Obama liked Iran and promoted its interests. And if it's about containing Iran, crazed jihadists who want their caliphate NOW are just as big a danger to the Saudis, Jordan and Israel - unless we can really control them. And as Libya shows, no one ends up being able to control them. And take away their funding and weapons, they still have the internet. But it isn't just about Syria. It's part of an overall policy that took out Gaddafi, at that point an an ally who was helping us, and Mubarak, an ally who was helping us (and protecting Christians), and replacing them with jihadi terrorists. And McCain and Graham were full in on all of this. What narrative makes sense of all this?

    I have heard the Russia explanation that attack was rebel false flag attack and I believe that - or even it was a botched Russian attack as easily as I believe the U.S. version. On the other hand I don't exactly understand Russia's interests either They have a bigger terror problem than we do. 25% of population of Moscow is Muslim, they've got Chechnya and all the "stans" on their Southern border. That's all Sunni. So presumably that's why they are promoting Shia Iran. BUT Shia is just as much against infidels as Sunni, and will cooperate with Sunni to kill Christians or Jews. So I don't get Russian motives either. Therefore, I tend to believe there account more than ours, but not with 100% certainty.

    Most important question: how much does Trump understand? His motives I trust. He seemed pretty certain yesterday that it was Assad and he is pretty skeptical of the Intel community.

    Help, Diplomad. Can you provide any clarity?

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    Replies
    1. P.s. someone just pointed out to me that Raqqa is 800 kms from Russian border. I can't find a verification of that, but looking at a map it seems ball park and may be exactly correct. I think I take Russia's word on ISIS matters over John McCain's.

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    2. Bit further than that, at least as you drive--more like 1,100 KM. Also, allow me to point out that being closer to the problem doesn't mean you see it clearer, it just means you're closer.

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    3. closer mainly means 'more at risk'.
      if this stuff were going on in baja, california, we'd have a totally different ball of wax.

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  8. "Talk to Russia. Find out what their game is in all this. What do they want aside from looking like Assad's saviors? "

    Maybe Putin wants payback. He blamed the NATO-led West for politically destabilizing the Soviet Empire, so now he's working to destabilize NATO by messing up elections and sending in torrents of alien-culture refugees.

    We may never learn the truth of the matter. Russians are not only obsessive about keeping secrets, they prefer to destroy the most sensitive records when they're done rather than maintain them in archives for historians.

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  9. We're discussing these issues in Baen's bar. Over in the Kratskeller.

    Come over and read it. Add to the comments.
    leaperman

    http://bar.baen.com/index.php?t=msg&th=134185&start=0&

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  10. Docrin posted this snippet.

    "Thinking about it, there is a significant possibility that the chemical weapon was one of the choking agents, rather than a nerve agent - that would account for the 'foaming at the mouth,' along with the lack of tears, the absence of convulsions, defecation and urination, and the relatively limited lacrimation.

    based on the lack of protection, combined with the lack of victims among the 'rescuers,' phosgene or acrolein are high on the list of possibilities.

    if it is ISIS, aided and abetted by either the Saudis or another national actor, and not the Assad government, then the list of targets for 50KT glassing tend to be more, and more varied, but also more problematic."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A ground burst produces glassing....and fallout. It also reduces the effective radius

      Ergo, most nuclear weapon usage will be airbursts.

      When you need to target buried structures you use a ground penetrating weapon. Nuclear can do that but precision conventional usually are as effective but without the messy local fallout. Even then, not much glass to see.

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  11. Relax. We have seen Trump pull this stunt before. Let Trump be Trump.
    1) The UN is going to do absolutely nothing.
    2) “…people were shocked to hear what gas it was.” Right. That changed from sarin to chlorine to a nerve agent that kills in 10 seconds. We took all of Syria's chemical agents and destroyed them.
    3) We have a rogue CIA working their charms and Trump picks his battles.
    4) With McCain and Graham in the 'War' column you can bet Trump will never go for it.
    5) Something is brewing with al Sisi and the King of Jordan that, I think, would preclude any disruptions at this time.
    6) Putin has declared support for Syria not unconditional.
    7) Congress doesn't have the "testicular virility" (H/T Blago) to pass any kind of measure in this regard.

    Give it a week and this will blow up in the faces of those claiming Assad used gas.

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    1. Pardon me while I eat my hat. Please pass the salt.

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    2. "We took all of Syria's chemical agents and destroyed them."

      What planet are you living on?

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  12. "What comes after Assad could make us miss Assad a great deal."

    Anyone who doubts this need only look at Libya. Despite Hillary Clinton's cackling "we came, we saw, he died," and her other triumphal carrying on following Qaddafi's death, that policy was an unmitigated disaster that has had far-reaching effects in places as distant from each other as Mali and Syria.

    Assad is a pencil-necked thug. Any replacement could be far worse.

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  13. I'm also for keeping out of Syria--even if I also think the Assads are a reprehensible crew. My big worry is making us de-facto allies of the wonderful folks who brought us 9/11.

    As for gas, it seems that back in the 1960's, Nasser used Soviet-made chemical agents on the Yemeni royalists. In the late 1970's and '80's, the Vietnamese Communist regime also used chemical agents on the Hmong in northern Laos. In the latter case, the Leftist MSM said it was actually massive amounts of honeybee poop or something; but my guess is they didn't want to admit that the side they'd been shilling for was a nasty bunch.

    Further, I pray that we will one day have a leadership that takes to heart the adage to walk softly but carry a big stick. We saw the O (oh so glad to see him go) talking loudly on Syrian and carrying only a toothpick. I fear Trump is ready to make a similar mistake.

    To F, re Shrillary Shrooooooooooo, which is how I will refer to her until she retires to bake cookies for her grandkid(s): I also remember the Libyan mess, and it was one of the things that made me decide in 2016 that Shrillary Shrooooo's vaunted "competence" was nothing but a media-generated fairy tale (I won't dignify it with the label "myth"). Just tonight, I also saw her whining on CNN about how misogyny led to her electoral defeat. One more reason why my regard for Shrillary Shroooooo continues to shrink, even though I thought such regard very scant to begin with.

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  14. Too late it is already a done deal.

    As to what the Russians want; they want what they have obsessed over since Peter the Great. Bases and enclaves from which they can project power and assuage their inner paranoid schizophrenic, which is their dominant cultural personality trait, by having a "handle" on things. The Alawite clan provides them with Med. naval bases and aviation facilities. The Russians will not give those up without much muttering and payback, with interest, at a later date. Their memory of slights is long, which is a common trait of paranoid schizophrenics. Assad on the other hand is just another meat sack to them, he's got plenty of cousins that will serve their purposes just as well.

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    1. Bingo. Which might be the solution...let the Russians have their base in exchange for settling Syria down.

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  15. Trump met with Jordan, Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and one other country this last two weeks. These are the base coalition to the new Middle East resurgence. I've got a feeling they are very anti-Assad, or at least want to drop him down a peg or too. This sarin attack probably was tracked live, the US knew it, and was a good excuse to drop the hammer. I think this also opens China's and NK eyes. Diplomatically this may be a good thing for the world.

    However, the SOS now has to go to Russia to unruffle feathers.

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  16. There is no problem so vile that the US can't make it worse by its energetic and mutton-headed intervention.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. ..."no problem so vile that the US can't make it worse."- Oh dearme

      Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, dearest...
      Personally, I liked the Godfather touch, dining at Miralago with Xi Lo Mein, whilst his strike team cruises to Syria and drops a 'horses head' by proxy into Kim Junk Fatboy's crib! Dessert Platter please!
      OW~~~
      "Let's Roll"

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  17. I am a little surprised how, on Morning Joe, Trump is suddenly the hero for his missile attack on a Syrian airport last night. It is though he has done what Obama couldn't and the Dems are cheering this turnaround. Maybe, because Trump might be able now to do more of his agenda, his Cruise missile strikes might have had far reaching consequences.

    Of course, in a few years, Progs will deny that they favored Trump's response.

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  18. Of course we "deplorables" expect that the CinC did have strong evidence of Assad's culpability in the chemical attack, other than a "hole in the ground", and this soviet born joker's unsolicited testimony:

    "Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said the alleged attack in the neighbouring country was carried out "on the direct and premeditated command of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad with Syrian planes."

    "I say this with 100 percent certainty," Lieberman told the Yediot Aharonot daily, according to excerpts from an interview published on the paper's website.

    He did not say what his certainty was based on.
    had earlier said he was "100 percent sure" Syrian President Bashar al-Assad ordered a suspected chemical attack this week that provoked international outrage."

    http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=82466

    Time will tell! Till then, there's a new Chief of the watch, pass the word...

    On Watch~~~
    "Let's Roll"

    ReplyDelete
  19. Whatever his decisions, I just hope Trump keeps his statements regarding plans/strategy in regards to Syria to his standard couple of 140-character tweets.
    Red lines, sand lines, "such-and-such must go" talk, and all these other option-burying statements and movement-telegraphing have seriously undermined our executive in the past. While O was by far the worst in his profligate jibber jabber on every little domestic and foreign policy detail, he isn't the only recent President who has simply 'talked too much'.

    These nations aren't "our children". We're not obliged to "give fair warning of consequences". We're not obliged to "correct their behavior". We are obliged to look out for the interests of our country and our allies.

    I feel like as long as we're not "deciding what to do" in the pages of the NYT, I can give Trump the benefit of the doubt.

    - reader #1482

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  20. Could it be part of a deal? "All right, I'll bomb Syria for you, but you gotta stop the slow-motion coup against me"? Either way, he'll be a spavined old nag from now on.

    Lacked backbone and intellectual steel it would seem.

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    1. Aha, could this be the deal?
      http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-04-07/watch-live-senate-votes-confirm-neil-gorsuch-supreme-court

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    2. "Either way, he'll be a spavined old nag from now on."

      Don't Bet your arse on that deamea! Sixteen or Seventeen GOP contenders went lame trying to keep up with the Trumpian Warhorse!

      The progs, press, putin, and the remaining pack'o pretenders are been sucking eggs at every turn!

      As for your Freudian "aha" moment above, wake-up!~~ the newest 'Supreme', was a done deal after the Republican Landslide in November!

      Obviously, our 'Man on the White Horse' learned his lessons well from the Blacksmith, "STRIKE while the Iron is HOT"!

      On Watch~~~
      "Let's Roll"

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  21. It's a pity that Trump didn't stick to subjects on which he was right.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4390436/Truck-rammed-group-pedestrians-Stockholm.html

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    1. Blah Blah Blah.

      Yeah, It's a pity we live in a world where a 'one trick pony' can't be the KING!
      OW~~~

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  22. Diplomacy for the missile strike could have been much more artful. Since we informed the Russians anyway, the U.S. could have done it like we did Pristina: tell the Ruskies that they could choose between taking over the offending Syrian airbase themselves (maybe under U.N. flag) or the U.S. would destroy it. The end result would be the same but with more constructive U.S.-Russia relations, thus inspiring far greater fear in the Assads.

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    1. That's almost as lame as Solomon 1, IMHO!
      It's the same kind of limp-wristed BO decision-making that got us to where we are, and created a vacuum for the Russians, Iranians, and Syrians to flourish! Fluck the Rus, and the rest of their murderous offspring! It was time for the USA to get back in the Game, and serve notice on all players, that we've got the hand and the will to do what needs doing!
      On Watch~~~
      "Let's Roll"

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  23. Vote Trump...get Hilliary (with Obama, Kerry, Rice policies as freebies)

    Beyond bad, hope Congress remember why they are there (when they are not on recess)

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    1. BULLSHAT!
      and Bull Feathers too!
      OW~~~

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    2. That's a well-reasoned argument, tell me how this action is different from Hilliary's.

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  24. Worth reading this ...
    the Daily Beast
    Trump is piling up the wins.

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  25. Got to say that if it was sarin, those first responders - barehanded and wearing only dustmasks - would have joined the dead pretty darn quick. Somedude is pushing a line of BS about this incident. Not saying that gas wasn't involved, just sayin' that Sarin most probably wasn't the bad actor there.

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    1. It's funny how sumdood get's around. He's a regular criminal mastermind.

      http://www.ambulancedriverfiles.com/2007/05/30/sumdood-evil-criminal-mastermind/

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