Political talk from outside of the UK
:sunglasses: 73.3 % :thumbsup: 6.7 % :grinning: 13.3 % 😟 6.7 %
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By Abernathy
Membership Days Membership Days Posts
#332139
A truly excellent (written in "idiot's guide" form, but penetratingly incisive for that) about what the fuck is going on in Syria. Very useful if like me you're often bewildered by it :

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wor ... ed-to-ask/
By new puritan
Membership Days Posts
#332150
Interesting article here from the NYT casting doubt on talk of 'limited' military action in Syria (you only get 10 free articles per month before you hit the paywall, though).
BEIRUT, Lebanon — President Obama says he is considering a “limited, narrow” military strike against Syria — an aim that many Middle East experts fear overlooks the potential to worsen the violence in Syria and intensify a fight for regional influence between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Supporters of the president’s proposal contend that a limited punitive strike can be carried out without inflaming an already volatile situation. But a number of diplomats and other experts say it fails to adequately plan for a range of unintended consequences, from a surge in anti-Americanism that could bolster Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, to a wider regional conflict that could drag in other countries, including Israel and Turkey.

“Our biggest problem is ignorance; we’re pretty ignorant about Syria,” said Ryan C. Crocker, a former ambassador to Syria and Lebanon, who has served in Iraq and Afghanistan and is dean of the Bush School of Government and Public Service, Texas A&M University.
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/31/world ... ml?hp&_r=1&" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Can't help but wonder what they teach at the 'Bush School of Government and Public Service', mind.
By new puritan
Membership Days Posts
#332191
Another good article here.
Allegations that Syrian government troops used chemical weapons against civilians outside Damascus on 21 August 2013 come at a time when the country's civil war has entered a particularly dangerous phase. Opposition forces that advocate overtly religious platforms couched in virulently sectarian rhetoric have shouldered aside the few non-sectarian guerrilla formations and emerged as the vanguard of the anti-regime coalition on the ground. Skirmishes between such groupings and the security services, pro-regime thugs and regular armed forces (STR) have resulted in, or set the stage for, targeted killings of civilians of one sectarian affiliation or another, most often of Sunnis by the STR and 'Alawis and other Shi'is by Islamist radicals. The rising incidence of brutal collective punishment has prompted both sides to express a thirst for vengence that borders on reciprocal calls for ethnic cleansing.
http://www.newleftproject.org/index.php ... s_in_syria" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
 
By Bones McCoy
Membership Days Posts
#332296
If one of the pro-attack people would take the time to describe a credible gameplan; one that went beyond "Teaching the tinpot foreign johnnies a thing or two" I might take their proposals a little seriously.
All I see is the same Rhetoric that was deployed diring the AV debate, in the style that's playing large in the Scottish referendum campaign.

For a profession that love to talk about "Thinking the unthinkable", our political class are largely a sheep-like unthinking lot limited to trotting
out the same tired responses to whatever the news presents.

You must all have seen it by now: the government spokespeople lose a debate on TV or radio and resort to illogical fallacies:
* Britain is weakened by this! (How precisely? Is the arab league going to stop importing our coal?)
* We've given carte-blanche to (Insert current bogeyman) to do what he likes. (I'm sure he wasn't waiting for us).
* This raises the threat to our national security! (Idle scaremongering of the worst kind).

The big story behind all of this is that our political masters have received a sharp lesson in democracy.
That very same democracy that they invoke in all their actions, but privately despise has finally bitten them in the arse.
The people don't trust them, but their unspoken retort (But there's fuck all you proles can do about it) has fallen flat for once.

So I return to my initial point.
The war party needs to get off its high horse, and start filing in the details of its intended adventure.
The people deserve some answers:
* How will a limited intervention make things better.
* What is its form, and a general idea of ite intended impact.
* And critically, how can we ensure this limited intervention remain limited when it seems to involve lobbing bombs at one of the least stable corners of the world.
 
By Malcolm Armsteen
Membership Days Posts
#332301
All of that, plus "what do you know about the people you are supporting?"

This guy cut out an Assad soldier's heart and ate it.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-23190533" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Now that's the BBC, and may be biased, but it doesn't look it.
 
By Tubby Isaacs
Membership Days Posts
#332302
Arnold wrote:If Congress doesn't back Obama, France is going to feel rather lonely. Hollande surely won't want to attack Syria alone.
He might not even want to do it with America.

He's had a couple of hard battles- got some labour reforms agreed, and faces demonstrations next week on public sector pensions. Public opinion strongly against intervening in Syria.

He really doesn't need this.
 
By Tubby Isaacs
Membership Days Posts
#332303
Malcolm Armsteen wrote:All of that, plus "what do you know about the people you are supporting?"

This guy cut out an Assad soldier's heart and ate it.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-23190533" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Now that's the BBC, and may be biased, but it doesn't look it.
It's not just that there are loons about, but also that the rebels aren't coherent at all. The two sides are fairly well-matched, and loads are doubtless just waiting to pick the winning side.
By new puritan
Membership Days Posts
#332309
Tubby Isaacs wrote:It's not just that there are loons about, but also that the rebels aren't coherent at all.
Yep. This is why the Syrian civil war isn't comparable to the Kosovan conflict, for instance. Though the fact that liberal interventionists see the KLA fiefdom/mafia state of Kosovo as a success just goes to show how few the successes of liberal interventionism actually are. Even the Libyan opposition was more clearly defined and coherent than the Syrian rebels, but that didn't stop Libya descending into a sectarian nightmare.
 
By Littlejohn's brain
Membership Days Posts
#332321
new puritan wrote:
Tubby Isaacs wrote:It's not just that there are loons about, but also that the rebels aren't coherent at all.
Yep. This is why the Syrian civil war isn't comparable to the Kosovan conflict, for instance. Though the fact that liberal interventionists see the KLA fiefdom/mafia state of Kosovo as a success just goes to show how few the successes of liberal interventionism actually are. Even the Libyan opposition was more clearly defined and coherent than the Syrian rebels, but that didn't stop Libya descending into a sectarian nightmare.
Why don't you just call all Kosovans drug dealers whilst your at it?
By new puritan
Membership Days Posts
#332322
Littlejohn's brain wrote:Why don't you just call all Kosovans drug dealers whilst your at it?
I don't follow. It's pretty well-documented that Kosovo is ruled by a corrupt, repressive elite and that its human rights record still leaves a lot to be desired. If Kosovo is the biggest feather in the pro-war crowd's cap then, like I say, it says a lot about how poor their record is.
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