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Old Dec 3, 2012, 03:58 PM   #1
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Syria Gearing Up?

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Engineers working for the Assad regime in Syria have begun combining the two chemical precursors needed to weaponize sarin gas, an American official with knowledge of the situation tells Danger Room. International observers are now more worried than they’ve even been that the Damascus government could use its nerve agent stockpile to slaughter its own people.

The U.S. doesn’t know why the Syrian military made the move, which began in the middle of last week and is taking place in central Syria. Nor are they sure why the Assad government is transferring some weapons to different locations within the country, as the New York Times reported on Monday.

All that’s certain is that the arms have now been prepped to be used, should Assad order it.

“Physically, they’ve gotten to the point where the can load it up on a plane and drop it,” the official adds.

Sarin gas has two main chemical components — isopropanol, popularly known as rubbing alcohol, and methylphosphonyl difluoride. The Assad government has more than 500 metric tons of these precursors, which it ordinarily stores separately, in so-called “binary” form, in order to prevent an accidental release of nerve gas.

Last week, that changed. The Syrian military began combining some of the binaries. “They didn’t do it on the whole arsenal, just a modest quantity,” the official says. “We’re not sure what’s the intent.”


Back in July, the Assad regime publicly warned that it might use its chemical weapons to stop “external” forces from interfering in Syria’s bloody civil war. The announcement sparked a panic in the intelligence services of the U.S. and its allies, which stepped up their efforts to block shipments of precursors for those weapons from entering the country.

“This is a more serious moment than July,” according to the official.

At the Pentagon, chief spokesman George Little said that “any consideration of the use of chemical weapons by the use of the Syrian regime would be unacceptable.” In Prague, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the use of those weapons “a red line” that would prompt a U.S. response, which Little declined to elaborate upon.
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I am against American forces on the ground in Syria. Frankly, I don't think the US should intervene at all. It's time for the international community to step up.
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Old Dec 3, 2012, 04:03 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by eric/ View Post
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I am against American forces on the ground in Syria. Frankly, I don't think the US should intervene at all. It's time for the international community to step up.
December 20th isnt far away
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Old Dec 3, 2012, 10:08 PM   #3
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The Obama administration has no stomach for "boots on the ground," and the so called international community won't do anything without US leadership.

The US will recommend sanctions after Syria kills with chemical weapons. They will posture, yell and stamp their feet but do nothing more.

Syria will go about its business. They, and everyone else, knows that the US has no stomach for anything more right now.
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Old Dec 3, 2012, 10:33 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by thewitt View Post
The Obama administration has no stomach for "boots on the ground," and the so called international community won't do anything without US leadership.

The US will recommend sanctions after Syria kills with chemical weapons. They will posture, yell and stamp their feet but do nothing more.

Syria will go about its business. They, and everyone else, knows that the US has no stomach for anything more right now.
Does anyone in the US have the stomach for "boots on the ground" any more? I've heard we're on the edge of a "fiscal cliff". Do we really want to continue bleeding money on wars that don't work? I'm with eric/ on this one. Where is everyone else in the world? Let some other country bankrupt themselves by war. How long have we been in Afghanistan? Is it worth the price we have paid in dead soldiers and debt?
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Old Dec 3, 2012, 11:16 PM   #5
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No intervention = best intervention.
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Old Dec 4, 2012, 12:16 AM   #6
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A few possibilities for this:

1) The Assad regime is readying the weapons for use against the rebels.
2) The Assad regime is increasingly worried about intervention and believes that such weapons could be used to either threaten an invasion force, or actually be used against it.
3) The effort is actually consolidation, the Assad regime is either trying to get the chemicals under control or trying to get the chemicals ready to ship out of the country, a la Saddam Hussein's air force just before the Iraq War.
4) They're considering a sale. North Korea perhaps?

The US could intervene, but it needs a stronger and unified opposition, a plan, and an exit strategy.

I'm not sure that the low-intensity strategy that worked in Libya can work here. Assad is far stronger and the opposition generally weaker, and a high-intensity strategy like Iraq terrifies military planners and the White House.

We also have to deal with Iran and Russia who are both patrons of Syria and will stump any attempts to intervene through the Security Council.
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Old Dec 4, 2012, 12:31 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by thewitt View Post
The Obama administration has no stomach for "boots on the ground," and the so called international community won't do anything without US leadership.

The US will recommend sanctions after Syria kills with chemical weapons. They will posture, yell and stamp their feet but do nothing more.

Syria will go about its business. They, and everyone else, know that the US has no stomach for anything more right now.
At this point, even the US can't do anything to make Assad back down. You don't make deals with crazy, you cease all contact and let them see how far they can and will go. The international community is smart about this because they've dealt with these situations before and know that action causes reaction and could cause more problems in and outside of Syria.
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Old Dec 4, 2012, 12:42 AM   #8
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Assad will use chemical weapons to squash the rebellion, of that I have no doubt.

How the world reacts will set the stage for the next act of aggression.

I'm predicting nothing but UN sanctions, political chest-thumping and posturing will result, and this will of course strengthen the resolve of the next regime that wishes to suppress revolution.

I'm tired of the US being the World Police and have said so many times. Just don't expect us to come in and clean it all up later.

I also think we should have really made Iraq about oil, and kept control over production and distribution until the full cost of the war was recovered. We of course have no will to do something like that, so instead Iraq sells oil where it wants, and we pay the bill for freeing them from tyranny.
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Old Dec 4, 2012, 02:15 AM   #9
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At this point, even the US can't do anything to make Assad back down. You don't make deals with crazy, you cease all contact and let them see how far they can and will go. The international community is smart about this because they've dealt with these situations before and know that action causes reaction and could cause more problems in and outside of Syria.
Assad's trying to maintain power and because he's a ruthless bastard, he'll do anything to maintain that. Like Saddam Hussein, Assad may miscalculate, but he's not crazy.

If there's a threat of outside intervention that cannot be contained by the Russian intransigence then Assad may back down from using chemical weapons. If, however, the world community continues to shy away, the Syrians should get under cover and hope.
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Old Dec 4, 2012, 02:33 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by thewitt View Post
Assad will use chemical weapons to squash the rebellion, of that I have no doubt.

How the world reacts will set the stage for the next act of aggression.

I'm predicting nothing but UN sanctions, political chest-thumping and posturing will result, and this will of course strengthen the resolve of the next regime that wishes to suppress revolution.

I'm tired of the US being the World Police and have said so many times. Just don't expect us to come in and clean it all up later.

I also think we should have really made Iraq about oil, and kept control over production and distribution until the full cost of the war was recovered. We of course have no will to do something like that, so instead Iraq sells oil where it wants, and we pay the bill for freeing them from tyranny.
It's late so I might be misreading this, but I feel like you are saying the U.S. shouldn't intervine militarily in other countries unless it's to take over their oil supply and that somehow the Iraqi's owe the U.S. money for invading Iraq. Was I asleep when civil war in Iraq broke out as rebels rose up against Saddam asked the U.S. to help them bring democracy to their country?

I feel like this is a scene from some cliched mob film where a gangster busts up a store then makes the store owner pay a mob-owned contractor to come in and repair the damage the mob caused.
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Old Dec 4, 2012, 02:48 AM   #11
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Assad will use chemical weapons to squash the rebellion, of that I have no doubt.
I take small comfort in how consistently wrong you are about pretty much everything you ever voice an opinion over.
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Old Dec 4, 2012, 03:53 AM   #12
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I take small comfort in how consistently wrong you are about pretty much everything you ever voice an opinion over.
Since you and I see everything from completely different point of view, I don't expect you to comprehend anything I say anyway.

No skin off my nose.

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It's late so I might be misreading this, but I feel like you are saying the U.S. shouldn't intervine militarily in other countries unless it's to take over their oil supply and that somehow the Iraqi's owe the U.S. money for invading Iraq. Was I asleep when civil war in Iraq broke out as rebels rose up against Saddam asked the U.S. to help them bring democracy to their country?

I feel like this is a scene from some cliched mob film where a gangster busts up a store then makes the store owner pay a mob-owned contractor to come in and repair the damage the mob caused.
I was being sarcastic, however the US has benefitted only tangentially from what we have done in the gulf, and the critics continue to say that we went to war for oil - which clearly we did not. We didn't get the oil, the Iraqi people did.

We did not have the right strategy in the region however, and it will bite us.

The tribal chiefs in the region understand and respect strength. We started out in a position of strength, however we are ending in a position of weakness, running with our collective tails tucked between our legs.

The result? The new bully will take over - whoever that turns out to be - and we will likely stand back with the rest of the hand wringers and watch.

Back on topic, we will do nothing when Assad decides to drop serin gas shells on his own people. Sure, Syria will be booted off the Security Council and Clinton and Obama will call for severe international sanctions, but really, we will do nothing of value.
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Old Dec 4, 2012, 05:56 AM   #13
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Since you and I see everything from completely different point of view, I don't expect you to comprehend anything I say anyway.


Her comprehension is obviously ace.

Perhaps you meant to say 'agree with', and who could blame her.
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Old Dec 4, 2012, 08:43 AM   #14
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The Obama administration has no stomach for "boots on the ground," and the so called international community won't do anything without US leadership.
How can you say that? The Obama administration wrapped up a terribly mismanaged effort in Iraq, surged troops into the country where we should have been focused in the first place, sent troops into Pakistan to actually kill the reason we were there, and has eliminated the al qaeda leadership all over the region. Don't forget Egypt and Libya. Just because we didn't invade and try to "nation build" like a certain foolish predecessor (cough cough), does not mean this administration has no stomach for "boots on the ground."

It is a mistake to think we need to send tens of thousands of troops when we can accomplish our goals with far less risk to our men and women in uniform. (see Libya/Egypt)
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Old Dec 4, 2012, 05:46 PM   #15
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Assad will use chemical weapons to squash the rebellion, of that I have no doubt.
Perhaps, but I have to ask the question...why now? Why not do something like that much earlier? Why let it go on for so long and cause so much damage to so many cities. It seems to make no sense to wait.
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Old Dec 4, 2012, 05:48 PM   #16
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Perhaps, but I have to ask the question...why now? Why not do something like that much earlier? Why let it go on for so long and cause so much damage to so many cities. It seems to make no sense to wait.
Thinking that he could win maybe?

Because if he does this, things get serious for the international community.
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Old Dec 4, 2012, 05:56 PM   #17
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If Assad does use chemical weapons. And the Pentagon is saying there is no evidence he is I believe there will not be american boots on the ground there because the US military has become quit good at using drones etc..

Now as for Israel.. That's anybody's guess.
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Old Dec 4, 2012, 06:07 PM   #18
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Now as for Israel.. That's anybody's guess.
Why would Israel be involved at all?
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Old Dec 4, 2012, 06:45 PM   #19
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Why would Israel be involved at all?
Iran has been arming the Palestinians by way of Syria for a long time.

It's my opinion that if Israel saw the US start using drones and special ops in Syria it would give them an excuse to potentially invade Syria. Especially if Assad started using chemical weapons. Syria has rockets that can reach Israel very easily. They already lobbed a couple of rockets into Syria during the last little spat.
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Old Dec 4, 2012, 08:55 PM   #20
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The Obama administration has no stomach for "boots on the ground," and the so called international community won't do anything without US leadership.

The US will recommend sanctions after Syria kills with chemical weapons. They will posture, yell and stamp their feet but do nothing more.

Syria will go about its business. They, and everyone else, knows that the US has no stomach for anything more right now.
Nonsense. If it comes to chemical weapons, the U.S. will go the Libya route - just bomb the @#$%! out of the military. It's not ideal, but it's better than boots on the ground.
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Old Dec 5, 2012, 03:23 AM   #21
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I think a far more interesting question is what does the West do if, the rebels in Syria capture large amounts of this Sarin Gas.
If the Assad falls these weapons will be in the hands of well, I don't think that anyone really knows.
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Old Dec 5, 2012, 05:04 AM   #22
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Iran has been arming the Palestinians by way of Syria for a long time.
Is that supposed to be via Turkey, Iraq or the sea?

I gather Iran is arming the Syrian government via Iraq at the moment. Would have thought the US had enough pull in Iraq to stop that but I guess not.
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Old Dec 5, 2012, 09:16 AM   #23
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Nonsense. If it comes to chemical weapons, the U.S. will go the Libya route - just bomb the @#$%! out of the military. It's not ideal, but it's better than boots on the ground.
Or someone could just give Seal Team 6 a call on the phone.

The Red one.
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Old Dec 5, 2012, 09:47 AM   #24
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Since you and I see everything from completely different point of view, I don't expect you to comprehend anything I say anyway...
There's a vast difference between comprehension and agreement.

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If Assad does use chemical weapons. And the Pentagon is saying there is no evidence he is I believe there will not be american boots on the ground there because the US military has become quit good at using drones etc..
If the Syrians launch a sarin gas attack, the US response should include air strikes against the mixing facilities, airfields, and Scuds and SS-21s. The bigger problem will be stopping the use of artillery shells.

I would expect that special forces are already in Syria trying to tag the stockpiles as they're moved and putting together target lists.
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Old Dec 5, 2012, 07:31 PM   #25
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Well there's a good chance we are about to find out ..

The Syrian military is prepared to use chemical weapons against its own people and is awaiting final orders from President Bashar Assad, U.S. officials told NBC News on Wednesday.

The military has loaded the precursor chemicals for sarin, a deadly nerve gas, into aerial bombs that could be dropped onto the Syrian people from dozens of fighter-bombers, the officials said.


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