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Thread: Syria and Interventionism

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    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend Top_Cat's Avatar
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    Syria and Interventionism

    Yeah so the Syrian government, having spent 40 000 lives over the past 2 years in avoiding being Gadafi'ed, has sarin bombs and appears willing to use them against their citizens;

    Syria Chemical Weapons Readied For Use: Sarin Loaded Into Aerial Bombs Despite International Warnings

    So many people advocate staying out of the messy affairs of other countries but one wonders whether stuff like this is an exception. So much suffering and it doesn't take much looking on the internet to see some mildly horrifying footage to get the picture. The government is quite literally bombing the bejesus out of its own citizens. I've heard mention of asylum in the US for the Assads but surely that window has passed them by.

    So, should the UN security council intervene?
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    Sarin the stuff that got released on the Tokyo underground by cultists?
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    Yep.

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    International Coach HeathDavisSpeed's Avatar
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    So, is there actual evidence that they have these chemical weapons, or is this another Dodgy Dossier?


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    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend Top_Cat's Avatar
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    Well, obviously no-one's going to put the actual evidence before the press.

    Even then, forget they have sarin, should the UN have gone in by now anyway? Should other direct action have taken place at least (e.g. no-fly zones)?
    Last edited by Top_Cat; 06-12-2012 at 01:54 AM.

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    Global Moderator Spark's Avatar
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    Well, some intervention has already taken place. Those surface-to-air missiles the rebels have recently been using didn't just come from holes in the ground, after all.

    A case could be made that the UN (read: NATO) should have pushed a bit harder, but with a US election just over it's easy to see why it didn't happen. Hard to compare this to Libya though, very, very different situation both politically, geographically and strategically.

    EDIT: I think Syria having chem weapons has been generally been accepted wisdom for a long time by pretty much everyone, tbh.
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    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend Top_Cat's Avatar
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    Was only comparing Syria and Libya in terms of the likely fate of the al-Assads should they find themselves out in a street somewhere with a mob of pissed off citizens.

    So, Syria's government is known to have chemical weapons or at least the precursors to what is a mildly deadly nerve agent but info comes to hand that not only do they possess it, they've chucked some into explody things they can aim and shoot at people. If correct, this represents an escalation by a government which has had no compunction whatsoever about bombing it's own citizens.

    Should they go in now or wait until the weapons actually get used? Considering the form of the crooks in question, why wait any longer? Large-scale use of chemical weapons is relatively tough to do, in a condensed area you'll kill a lot of people but you need heaps of the stuff, bombs are cheaper/easier, etc. But I'm curious about the 'big red line' that Syria will supposedly cross if they use sarin. Does this mean they'll go in then? I'm not sure.

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    International Vice-Captain Redbacks's Avatar
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    What have the Arab league said about the situation?

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    Global Moderator Spark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Top_Cat View Post
    Was only comparing Syria and Libya in terms of the likely fate of the al-Assads should they find themselves out in a street somewhere with a mob of pissed off citizens.

    So, Syria's government is known to have chemical weapons or at least the precursors to what is a mildly deadly nerve agent but info comes to hand that not only do they possess it, they've chucked some into explody things they can aim and shoot at people. If correct, this represents an escalation by a government which has had no compunction whatsoever about bombing it's own citizens.

    Should they go in now or wait until the weapons actually get used? Considering the form of the crooks in question, why wait any longer? Large-scale use of chemical weapons is relatively tough to do, in a condensed area you'll kill a lot of people but you need heaps of the stuff, bombs are cheaper/easier, etc. But I'm curious about the 'big red line' that Syria will supposedly cross if they use sarin. Does this mean they'll go in then? I'm not sure.
    Yeah, two of Syria's chem weapon facilities are also missile sites. (On a similar note, while googling this stuff I found this. I know the Cold War is twenty years over, but a document like that being freely and easily available on the internet surprises me tstl)

    Thing is though, apart from say, a no-fly zone (as opposed to the shoot-everything-painted-green zone which was Libya) there isn't much NATO (and let's be real here, it's NATO we're talking about) can do which isn't seriously risky.

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    Global Moderator Spark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redbacks View Post
    What have the Arab league said about the situation?
    I haven't heard a peep from the Arab League since their efforts to broker a solution went down the drain. I doubt their stance has changed, though - they want Assad gone.

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    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend Top_Cat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spark View Post
    Yeah, two of Syria's chem weapon facilities are also missile sites. (On a similar note, while googling this stuff I found this. I know the Cold War is twenty years over, but a document like that being freely and easily available on the internet surprises me tstl)
    Yes and no, for mine. A lot of it is documented already by blokes like Ron Rosenbaum so the natsec-type arguments have gone by the wayside. And, like I said, actually using chemical weapons like sarin on a large scale is really tough to do. I mean, the Aum maniacs let loose a heap of it in a packed, confined subway and whilst hundreds were affected, only 11 died. Using in the open air, you basically have to dump it like you would pesticides so you need literally tonnes to cause massive hyper death. So it's a bit of an idle threat in some ways but it's weird that, like you say, action certainly isn't guaranteed either.

    Everyone outside of Syria wants the al-Assads gone but no-one seems to be taking big steps to make it so. Weird situation even though action, I think, is justified on humanitarian grounds.
    Last edited by Top_Cat; 06-12-2012 at 04:50 AM.

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    I'm not a fan of intervention for the sake of intervention, but when you have legitimate suspicion that chemical weapons are going to be used on civilians, I think something has to be done about it.

    What can be done about it, however, is where the real problem lies. Nobody will commit troops if they think they'll be gassed. More bombing can only have a limited effect, or could entice the Assads to use the gas earlier. Diplomatic talks probably won't be fruitful.

    I'm no expert, but the international community appears to be stuck between a rock and a hard place here.

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    they should leak some rumors that Syria has found some HUGE oil reserves. That should get the NATO and the US involved
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    A lot of the inaction can be put down to Russia's constant vetoing of any direct UN action on the matter.

    Incidentally, Russia is reaping ****ing billions from selling arms to Syria.

    On another note, it looks pathetic in extremis watching Kofi Annan announce to the world "Our condemnation of these atrocities has been upgraded from 'strong' to 'emphatic'."

    Reminds one of Rwanda on a much smaller scale.
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