Syria


miloblithe

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Nov 14, 2003
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Saw we just withdrew our ambassador. Syria was next on the list. Iran is too powerful/dangerous for the US to contemplate invading. So Syria it is.

Still, I doubt they'll invade any time soon.
 

blackfox

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Feb 18, 2003
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I've been off camping for a few days, so I am behind the times...what are you referring to PB? The assasination of the ex-PM of Lebanon? Just trying to catch up here...
 

mactastic

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Apr 24, 2003
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Well, we've recalled our embassador to Syria already, and we seem to be working under the assumption that Damascus had a hand in this.

I don't know for sure myself, from what I've heard not much happens in Lebanon without Syrian knowledge, but going off half-cocked could be problematic if it turns out someone else was involved.

Also, Syria would be one of those on the list of neo-con wet-dreams of invasion and planting of a democracy tree.
 

blackfox

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mactastic said:
Also, Syria would be one of those on the list of neo-con wet-dreams of invasion and planting of a democracy tree.
Evidently neo-con historical appreciation does not reach back to the 1950's.

Syria tried (arguably) harder than any other ME nation to shake off the effects of European Imperialism, and forge a Democratic State. Several times. It produced chaos and ushered in the current Baath leadership who restored stability.

This still stands as the sine qua non of understanding the realistic possibilities in the Region.
 

relimw

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May 6, 2004
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Peterkro said:
Iran being a very good example, perfectly democratic and secular state until the CIA overthrew them and installed the Shah. Leading us to where we are today.
Worth a read

http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB28/
Go figure, the democrats and the British were behind the attempt.... :eek:

And yes, Harry S. Truman, the US president at the time of the attempt was indeed a Democrat.
 

Peterkro

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Aug 17, 2004
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For most europeans there never has been any difference between the Democrats and Republicans in the US. Yes Brit intelligence was involved but only on the periphery Brit intelligence services have a long history of Arabism. More deeply involved were the Brit and US oil companies.
P.S. even today MI6 are pissed off about Blair trying to blame them for WMD's.
 

relimw

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We should just blame the whole mess on the europeans. After all, if they hadn't colonized the area so many years ago, this particular mess prolly wouldn't be happening now. :rolleyes:
 

blackfox

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relimw said:
We should just blame the whole mess on the europeans. After all, if they hadn't colonized the area so many years ago, this particular mess prolly wouldn't be happening now. :rolleyes:
Go figure, the democrats and the British were behind the attempt....

And yes, Harry S. Truman, the US president at the time of the attempt was indeed a Democrat.
sure.
I know you were joking around, but out of curiousity, are/were you for the War in Iraq?

If you were, then it seems strange to (perhaps legitimately) criticize a certain course of action/motives on behalf of the Europeans/Democrats of the past, yet embrace similar actions/motives by the US in the present.

partisanship does not excuse such logical inconsistencies.

If, you were against the recent US intervention in Iraq, then this obviously does not apply.

Just curious...
 

relimw

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blackfox said:
sure.
I know you were joking around, but out of curiousity, are/were you for the War in Iraq?
Hmm.

I supported the war in Iraq. I didn't support it based on if Iraq had WMDs or not. I supported it for several reasons:

1) Saddam was strangling his country to death
2) Saddam was torturing his country
3) Saddam was a regional threat
4) The UN in Iraq was a sham and ineffectual
5) It was time to end the war started back in 1991ish.

blackfox said:
If you were, then it seems strange to (perhaps legitimately) criticize a certain course of action/motives on behalf of the Europeans/Democrats of the past, yet embrace similar actions/motives by the US in the present.
Actually, it was less of a critizism, than to point out how hypocritical people can be. ie If the Democrats do it, why are Republicians attacked for doing the same thing?

And as far as the europeans are concerned, it is there fault for screwing the people of the middle east over in the first place. Mind you, I'm including Italy/Rome in there as well.

:)
 

Mechcozmo

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Jul 17, 2004
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The British were the ones, IIRC, that just picked up and left post-WWII. Leaving... nothing.

And the UN, quite frankly, won't do anything to help this country aside from say, "Yeah that isn't a good thing, yknow, blowing stuff up and all."
The UN sucks. There. I said it. What is happening in Syria and Lebanon won't change a thing in the UN.

I'd hope that the U.S. doesn't go into Syria mostly because it would stretch everything too thin. Get Afghanistan and Iraq cleared up. Then maybe. Maybe.
 

relimw

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Mechcozmo said:
The British were the ones, IIRC, that just picked up and left post-WWII. Leaving... nothing.

And the UN, quite frankly, won't do anything to help this country aside from say, "Yeah that isn't a good thing, yknow, blowing stuff up and all."
The UN sucks. There. I said it. What is happening in Syria and Lebanon won't change a thing in the UN.

I'd hope that the U.S. doesn't go into Syria mostly because it would stretch everything too thin. Get Afghanistan and Iraq cleared up. Then maybe. Maybe.
Hmm, hope you put on your flame retardent suit after you wrote that ;)

I doubt that the US would bother with Syria, or Iran for that matter. I'm at this point, not to concerned about Korea either. Seems I saw/heard a report somewhere that N. Korea was bluffing (CNN maybe?).

Besides, why should the US be doing bilateral talks with them? I thought all the liberals hated us for doing that in the first place?

Korea is first and foremost an Asian problem, I'd expect China to be the most skitish if Korea really does have a nuke capability now.
 

zimv20

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Jul 18, 2002
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relimw said:
Seems I saw/heard a report somewhere that N. Korea was bluffing (CNN maybe?).
based on what intelligence?

I thought all the liberals hated us for doing that in the first place?
who's "us?"

I'd expect China to be the most skitish if Korea really does have a nuke capability now.
no, i think Korea (the one in the south) would be if North Korea had nukes. japan is second, US probably third, since they reportedly have missiles that can reach parts of the US.

since china is one of the few countries that supplies aid to NK, i'd say they're somewhere down on that "skittish" list.

Korea is first and foremost an Asian problem
so how come iraq isn't first and foremost a middle east problem, eh?
 

relimw

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Peterkro said:
I'd say that Japan is the most skittish about North Korea. Also I'd think the shadows of China and Russia would give the US a pause for thought about trying to sort it out.
Well, that's why we were in six way talks, until N. Korea pulled out and claimed they had nukes. But since nobody has reported nuke test explosions in that area (remember Pakistan and India set off nukes around the same time, and everybody spotted those.). Nobody on the right side of the US govt has any desire to do bilateral talks with N. Korea as far as I've seen.
 

blackfox

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Mechcozmo said:
The British were the ones, IIRC, that just picked up and left post-WWII. Leaving... nothing. ...SNIP...
Without being an expert on the particulars you are referring to (you were rather vague...iirc, "greater syria" emcompassed present-day syria, Iraq, Jordan [at least]...Syria was actually a French mandate, Iraq and (trans)Jordan a British one [the former a partition of Palestine]), I would mention that prior to WWII, Britain was faced with a stark choice - they could either fight a war in Europe or save/maintain their Empire - they did not have the money/resources to do both. Many maintain this to be the reason that British (eg Chamberlain) pushed a policy of appeasement with Germany in the 30's...to save the Empire.

The point being, the British "just picking up and leaving" as you put it, was the inevitable result of limited resources to address a large number of concerns. The French, obviously, were in no shape to continue their empire in the ME either, since WWII was rather hard for them as well.

For the record, I do not see the US being faced with such hard choices at the moment. So judge carefully...
 

Sayhey

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May 22, 2003
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For the neocons in this administration Syria is a prime target for "regime change." If they could get enough forces into the region for an invasion, I believe we would have troops there today. The real question is if they decide to invade, just who can stop them? I don't think they feel accountable to anyone, least of all the people of the US. This is the "Great Game" all over again, but this time the Bushies are the only real players.
 

pseudobrit

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relimw said:
1) Saddam was strangling his country to death
2) Saddam was torturing his country
3) Saddam was a regional threat
4) The UN in Iraq was a sham and ineffectual
5) It was time to end the war started back in 1991ish.
You don't think these exact excuses were used by those European imperialists of decades past to justify their meddling and general screwing-up of their conquered lands?

They screwed it up, sure. They learned their lesson. The Soviets learned theirs in Afghanistan. I thought America learned its lessons about occupying hostile peoples in Vietnam.

But then we went into Iraq. And proved we learned nothing.
 

blackfox

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pseudobrit said:
You don't think these exact excuses were used by those European imperialists of decades past to justify their meddling and general screwing-up of their conquered lands?

They screwed it up, sure. They learned their lesson. The Soviets learned theirs in Afghanistan. I thought America learned its lessons about occupying hostile peoples in Vietnam.

But then we went into Iraq. And proved we learned nothing.
Those exact quotes?...I think not.

I just re-read Churchill's excellent book about the War in the Sudan, about the British engagement with the Mahdi. Some interesting (broad) parallels to Iraq.

The British, initially reluctant to engage in affairs of a hostile nation, found themselves compelled to act in retaliation for the death of a national hero (Gen. Gordon), whose death as well as the poorly-exucuted rescue mission belated undertaken resulted in a public outcry. It also involved the integrity of Egypt, a valuable British holding, who prior to the Mahdi uprising, held Soudan. It also involved the valuable resource of the Nile and the economic growth it generated. It also involved an Islamic leader, who inspired fanaticism and whose Empire devolved into tyranny.

The British, however, took measured steps, and proceeded slowly. They first re-trained the Egyptian forces, who made up the bulk of the invasion force, as well as friendly Sudanese tribal regiments. They moved slowly and deliberately into the Soudan and built a railroad and forts which gave stability to the local towns, which increased commerce and local's economic fortunes. This methodology helped win over a populace who was unhappy under the tyrannical conditions of the Mahdi, as they were given (a) a better economic future (in many cases they were trained to support the war effort as artisans/machinists), (b) hope, and (c) they were often fighting with their own people (there were very few British regiments). The war lasted three years, against a superior numerical force (more than 2-1), who knew the land much better and had the tactical advantage. It was won with patience, discipline and superior organization, strategy and technology. It was also won by a careful understanding of the needs and motivations of the oppressed populace which channeled what could have been increased fanaticism, into a productive cooperation for the benefit of both the inhabitants and the occupiers.

Churchill, who participated in the Campaign, wrote it at only 23. The conditions he and the British/Native forces endured were horrible. His insights were remarkable, and his recognition that fanaticism was a symptom of an underlying cause of conflict and not the cause itself. His superiors knew as much as well, and their recognition of this fact allowed them to adequately defeat it. They treated their captives well, and released women and children who they frequently encountered in enemy positions. It was, indeed, a noble endeavor, even if the motives were not entirely so.

Still, one has to wonder whether such a thing is possible anymore in the modern world, with an ever-present media and punditry, modern weaponry with massive destructive power, and the dissolution of the line between civilian and combatant. The rules have changed, if indeed there are any anymore. I am not sure if it is possible to fight an honorable war in this day and age...Nevetheless, I think it is as important to learn from prior success as well as prior failures, as history is a sure guide.

I apologize for the rather vague point of this post, but I just finished the book the other night, and damn is it good. sorry.
.
 

Zaid

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Feb 17, 2003
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A lot's happened in the ME today, and I thought here might be a good place to discuss it. (So some on-topic stuff, Syria, and Some not on topic stuff, Iran. Be warned Also apologies for the length)

First things first; the assassination of the former Lebanese PM Rafik al-Hariri. Accusations have been flying left right and centre that Syria was behind it, which is what I assume started off this thread. Syria would on the face of it seem to be the ones most obviously behind the assassination. While Syria is perfectly capable of having orchestrated this, it is precisely because they are the most obvious suspect, and I’m going out on a limb here, that I don't think they did it. It just doesn't make any sense.

Bear with me on this one for a bit. Consider the status-quo before the assassination, the Lebanese govt is run by a pro-Damascus group; Syria exerts a great degree of influence. Now Hariri comes along and makes starts making pro-Opposition (the anti-Damascus guys) noises. This is of course what immediately brings Syria into suspicion for complicity in his death. Except that for Syria, assassinating Hariri is a no-win game. If everyone suspects that Syria is guilty, any support for Syria from within Lebanon evaporates, which is indeed how the situation is playing itself out. Syria has nothing to gain from assassinating him. Besides Hariri has been making these noises for a while now, so why did Syria wait for such a long time?

Leaving him alive always leave's open the option of underhanded politics, smear campaigns etc. Of course I could well be wrong, and Damascus wildly overestimated their popularity in Lebanon. If so it was an enormous risk and the Syrians will have ended up with a full fry-up breakfast on their faces.

Now enter Iran; vowing to come to back Syria against, and I quote, "challenges and threats". This makes 'regime change' in Syria considerably less likely. We all know how 'go-get-em' you yanks are, but taking on Syria and Iran, simultaneously, would at least require a second thought.

So what's to stop the US from taking out Iran first then going after Syria? Well aside from the common sense arguments of no money, no spare troops without a draft, and having to fight Shia militias in Iraq who'll be playing wonderful games with US supply lines into Iran; there is China as a reason.

Because China has announced a $70bn deal with Iran for natural gas from the South Pars gas fields (the largest in the world) Chinese companies are also investing in Iranian industry and mining, (coal and zinc). Iran has placed itself as China's independent supplier of fuel and within her sphere of influence.

EU firms have had to tread carefully in Iran; lest they exceed the $20m annual investment limit before US imposed fines kick in. The Chinese don't give a flying ****!

So the US waltzing (or sauntering is perhaps a more apt word) into Iran is probably not going to happen without Chinese accedence, which I suspect they are unlikely to get.

Finally in the long run by turning Iraq into Iran's most likely no1 ally in the region, Iran’s ascendance to the position of regional power is almost guaranteed and their is little if anything the US can do about it.

Shah-matte? (Checkmate - lit. the king is dead)

Thoughts?
 

Nickygoat

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Dec 11, 2004
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pseudobrit said:
They screwed it up, sure. They learned their lesson. The Soviets learned theirs in Afghanistan. I thought America learned its lessons about occupying hostile peoples in Vietnam.

But then we went into Iraq. And proved we learned nothing.
The US military doesn't understand the concept of hearts and minds operations. Thats why they're having so many problems now and had so many in Vietnam. Most of the stuff about Iran and Mossadeq is old news. I have a book from 1995 that tells all this - 5 years previous to the NYT. Syria might actually be a good (relative word - don't flame me) target. One of the reasons used to invade Iraq was their (supposed) sponsorship of terrorists. The Syrians do sponsor and support terrorist groups operating in Israel. Maybe the longer term issue of peace in and around Israel is worth it. That is, if you can stomach the invasion of another sovereign country, probably on the basis of another dodgy dossier.