Author Topic: Syria reported to have use Chemical Warfare  (Read 31331 times)

Cain

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Re: Syria reported to have use Chemical Warfare
« Reply #30 on: May 07, 2013, 08:47:00 pm »
Possibly, but I think he knows the best he'd get is sympathetic coverage in the more independent minded Arab press.  The Sunni dictatorships are not keen on Israel, but hate Iran more.  The enemy of my enemy is my friend.  That and his resources are looking pretty thin on the ground...I'd reserve them for fighting the rebels first and foremost.

Junkenstein

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Re: Syria reported to have use Chemical Warfare
« Reply #31 on: May 08, 2013, 08:38:04 am »
Still more:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-22446041

Quote
Internet services have halted across Syria, in what appears to be the second shutdown in six months.

Web monitoring companies reported regular traffic on the internet plummeted to zero just before 19:00 GMT on Tuesday (22:00 local time).

Syria last experienced a shutdown for three days in November 2012.

The government blamed that incident on "terrorists", but internet experts said it was more likely that the government had deliberately shut down the web.

The regime of President Bashar al-Assad has been fighting a bloody internal conflict for two years.

Activists suggested at the time of the last internet shutdown that the government might have been planning a major offensive, or that it might have been attempting to disrupt rebel communications.

However, neither theory was substantiated.

US web companies including Renesys and Akamai logged the latest blackout late on Tuesday.

Jim Cowie of Renesys told the BBC there was not enough information to tell what had caused the latest blackout.

Reasonable to expect an incident or two at a minimum. It does sound like the kind of thing rebels do though. Making communication harder for themselves: It's a sure-fire path to victory. He could have at least tried a decent lie. People respect that. 
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Junkenstein

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Re: Syria reported to have use Chemical Warfare
« Reply #32 on: May 09, 2013, 08:32:14 am »
Using this as Syria Unlimited thread.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-22460627
UK doing it's part for the Arms industry, again. Remember, all problems can be solved with more arms.

Quote
The government has set out the case for lifting or amending the EU arms embargo against the main Syrian opposition group, the National Coalition.

The UK said such a move would strengthen moderate forces in the opposition.

It would put also pressure on the Syrian government to enter negotiations on a political solution, the UK added.

The British arguments came in a discussion paper circulated to other EU member states in Brussels.

Quote
The British document set out two options for changing the current situation, as discussions intensified on how to renew the sanctions regime.

The first option would lift the arms embargo against the Syrian National Coalition completely, which the document said there was a strong argument in favour of.

The second option would see the removal of the words "non-lethal" from a list of exemptions to the embargo, clearing the way for weapons to be sent.

France agrees with the UK that it is time to change the sanctions but other EU countries are anxious that easing the embargo could fuel the conflict.

Line of credit to be extended to the Rebel opposition by the end of the year I'd guess. That's if it's not already in place.
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Cain

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Re: Syria reported to have use Chemical Warfare
« Reply #33 on: May 09, 2013, 09:15:54 am »
It's cute, how we worry so much about supplying arms to "radical extremists", but are totally willing to sell arms to people who will almost certainly turn around and sell arms to radical extremists, simply because they call themselves democratic and moderate.

Clue-phone ringing: once you've sold something, you can't prevent it from being sold again.  Muslim extremists are being bankrolled with oil money out of Qatar and Riyhadh.  The democratic opposition are mostly poor.

Cain

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Re: Syria reported to have use Chemical Warfare
« Reply #34 on: May 09, 2013, 01:57:37 pm »
Looks like a lot of the Free Syrian Army forces see things the way I do:

Quote
Syria's main armed opposition group, the Free Syrian Army (FSA), is losing fighters and capabilities to Jabhat al-Nusra, an Islamist organisation with links to al-Qaida that is emerging as the best-equipped, financed and motivated force fighting Bashar al-Assad's regime.

Evidence of the growing strength of al-Nusra, gathered from Guardian interviews with FSA commanders across Syria, underlines the dilemma for the US, Britain and other governments as they ponder the question of arming anti-Assad rebels.

John Kerry, the US secretary of state, said that if negotiations went ahead between the Syrian government and the opposition as the US and Russia proposed on Tuesday "then hopefully [arming the Syrian rebels] would not be necessary".

The agreement between Washington and Moscow creates a problem for the UK and France, which have proposed lifting or amending the EU arms embargo on Syria to help anti-Assad forces. The Foreign Office welcomed the agreement as a "potential step forward" but insisted: "Assad and his close associates have lost all legitimacy. They have no place in the future of Syria." Opposition leaders were sceptical about prospects for talks if Assad remained in power.

Illustrating their plight, FSA commanders say that entire units have gone over to al-Nusra while others have lost a quarter or more of their strength to them recently.

"Fighters feel proud to join al-Nusra because that means power and influence," said Abu Ahmed, a former teacher from Deir Hafer who now commands an FSA brigade in the countryside near Aleppo. "Al-Nusra fighters rarely withdraw for shortage of ammunition or fighters and they leave their target only after liberating it," he added. "They compete to carry out martyrdom [suicide] operations."

Abu Ahmed and others say the FSA has lost fighters to al-Nusra in Aleppo, Hama, Idlib and Deir al-Zor and the Damascus region. Ala'a al-Basha, commander of the Sayyida Aisha brigade, warned the FSA chief of staff, General Salim Idriss, about the issue last month. Basha said 3,000 FSA men have joined al-Nusra in the last few months, mainly because of a lack of weapons and ammunition. FSA fighters in the Banias area were threatening to leave because they did not have the firepower to stop the massacre in Bayda, he said.

There is no guarantee that funding and arming the FSA will bring back fighters to their group, though.  Riyadh has the home advantage when it comes to Syria - it's closer, they speak the language and their funds are off the books and not subject to democratic accountability, and so will invariably wield more influence over the rebels.

Junkenstein

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Re: Syria reported to have use Chemical Warfare
« Reply #35 on: May 14, 2013, 08:58:02 am »
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-22519770

Video in Syria apparently showing war crimes:

Quote
A video which appears to show a Syrian rebel taking a bite from the heart of a dead soldier has brought strong condemnation.

US-based Human Rights Watch identified the rebel as Abu Sakkar, a well-known insurgent from the city of Homs, and said his actions were a war crime.

The main Syrian opposition coalition said he would be put on trial.

The video, which cannot be independently authenticated, seems to show him cutting out the heart.

"I swear to God we will eat your hearts and your livers, you soldiers of Bashar the dog," the man says referring to President Bashar al-Assad as he stands over the soldier's corpse.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) says Abu Sakkar is the leader of a group called the Independent Omar al-Farouq Brigade.

"The mutilation of the bodies of enemies is a war crime. But the even more serious issue is the very rapid descent into sectarian rhetoric and violence," HRW's Peter Bouckaert told Reuters news agency.
Nine naked Men just walking down the road will cause a heap of trouble for all concerned.

Cain

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Re: Syria reported to have use Chemical Warfare
« Reply #36 on: May 14, 2013, 09:10:00 am »
Omar al-Farouq Brigade, eh?  That's either a reference to Caliph Omar Al-Khattab, or to the Kuwaiti Al-Qaeda liason to Jemaah Islamiyah.

Probably the former though, since he conquered Syria originally.  The fundies no doubt see themselves as following in the Caliph's footsteps, reconquering Syria from the Alawite and the Shiite apostates.

Cain

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Re: Syria reported to have use Chemical Warfare
« Reply #37 on: May 15, 2013, 01:48:30 pm »
Nafeez Ahmed on the geopolitical reasoning behind the Syria conflict:

Quote
Three months ago, Iraq gave the greenlight for the signing of a framework agreement for construction of pipelines to transport natural gas from Iran's South Pars field - which it shares with Qatar - across Iraq, to Syria.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the pipelines was signed in July last year - just as Syria's civil war was spreading to Damascus and Aleppo - but the negotiations go back further to 2010. The pipeline, which could be extended to Lebanon and Europe, would potentially solidify Iran's position as a formidable global player.

The Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline plan is a "direct slap in the face" to Qatar's plans for a countervailing pipeline running from Qatar's North field, contiguous with Iran's South Pars field, through Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and on to Turkey, also with a view to supply European markets.

The difference is that the pipeline would bypass Russia.

Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey have received covert support from Washington in the funneling of arms to the most virulent Islamist elements of the rebel movement, while Russia and Iran have supplied arms to Assad.

Israel also has a direct interest in countering the Iran-brokered pipeline. In 2003, just a month after the commencement of the Iraq War, US and Israeli government sources told The Guardian of plans to "build a pipeline to siphon oil from newly conquered Iraq to Israel" bypassing Syria.

The basis for the plan, known as the Haifa project, goes back to a 1975 MoU signed by then Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, "whereby the US would guarantee Israel's oil reserves and energy supply in times of crisis." As late as 2007, US and Israeli government officials were in discussion on costs and contingencies for the Iraq-Israel pipeline project.

Junkenstein

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Re: Syria reported to have use Chemical Warfare
« Reply #38 on: May 16, 2013, 10:01:47 pm »
Latest:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-22562372

Quote
President Barack Obama has said the US has seen evidence of chemical weapons being used in Syria.

However, speaking after meeting Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan, he insisted it was important to get more specific details about alleged chemical attacks.

Earlier, residents of a north Syrian town told a BBC reporter how government forces had dropped poisonous gas canisters on them from helicopters.

The government has repeatedly denied claims it has used chemical agents.

It is unclear why the well-armed regime would deploy chemical weapons, which are illegal under international law.

But allegations of chemical attacks have been made against the government after assaults in various parts of Syria in March and May.

Increasingly inevitable it seems.

Quote
In March, Syria's government and opposition blamed each other for an alleged chemical attack in Khan al-Assal in the north, which killed at least 27 people.

Both sides called for an inquiry into the incident, and the UN assembled a 15-strong investigation team.

However, the Syrian government has refused the team access, apparently unhappy with their request for the right to look into all credible allegations.

The UN estimates that two years of conflict in Syria has left at least 80,000 people dead.

« Last Edit: May 16, 2013, 10:03:47 pm by Junkenstein »
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Cain

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Re: Syria reported to have use Chemical Warfare
« Reply #39 on: May 16, 2013, 10:32:32 pm »
Been checking out some footage online.

It seems the Croation-made arms, which are supposedly being supplied to the "secular and democratic" opposition, are being seen on Islamist rebel videos in ever increasing amounts.

But remember, NATO will ensure any weapons it supplies will not fall into the hands of extremists!

Junkenstein

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Re: Syria reported to have use Chemical Warfare
« Reply #40 on: May 17, 2013, 05:24:36 pm »
2 Articles:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-22565405

Quote
Russia has sent sophisticated anti-ship missiles to Syria, US media report.

The New York Times quotes unnamed US officials as saying the missiles could be used to counter any potential future foreign military intervention in Syria.

Without confirming details, Russia's foreign minister said Russian supplies did not break any international rules.

It comes amid growing alarm that chemical weapons may be being used in Syria, something US President Barack Obama has said would be "a red line".

Meanwhile efforts continue to arrange an international conference on Syria.

The United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon met Mr Lavrov in Sochi on Friday to discuss the plans for the conference, which would aim to bring together the Syrian opposition and members of President Bashar al-Assad's government.

And a surpringly long article that omits to mention arms dealers are filth motivated only by money and the suffering of others:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-18642032

Quote
At an arms fair outside Moscow, five Russian tanks weave gracefully back and forth, their gun barrels rising and falling in time to a waltz. This unusual "tank ballet" was staged by a choreographer from the Bolshoi Ballet.

But these weapons were not built for dancing.

The tanks fire shells, machine guns spray bullets and the demonstration ground almost disappears in clouds of smoke.

Watching in the stands are potential clients: Delegations from Africa, Asia, the Middle East and the Gulf. Russia is the world's second largest arms exporter.

One of its customers is particularly controversial. This year, Syria is due to take delivery of Russian Buk-M2E surface to air missile systems, Pansir-S1 armoured rocket complexes and, according to some reports, Mig-29 fighter jets.

The deals were done before the outbreak of violence in Syria, but despite the fighting there Russia has no intention of tearing up the contracts.

"If the contract was signed before, it's necessary to fulfil," argues Igor Sevastyanov, deputy CEO of Rosoboronexport, the state-controlled arms exporter. "We fulfil our international obligations in accordance with international rules."

Quote
Putin's Russia still sees itself as a superpower; as a country which has just as much right as America to sell weapons to whoever it wants, and gain influence wherever it can.

But the Kremlin is pragmatic. If Moscow begins to feel that it has more to lose than to gain from backing President Assad, the Syrian leader might find himself coming under pressure from the East as well as the West.

"We in Russia have no illusion about this regime," says Russian MP Andrei Klimov, "The only thing we'd like to have is a peaceful exit. We don't want to prolong this regime for decades or centuries. Our task is to find a peaceful solution as soon as possible."

Other article was excellent Cain, thanks.
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Cain

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Re: Syria reported to have use Chemical Warfare
« Reply #41 on: May 17, 2013, 05:39:41 pm »
Nafeez Ahmed is typically a good read.  I don't always agree with him entirely, but I always respect his reasoning and knowledge when it comes to such issues.

Junkenstein

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Re: Syria reported to have use Chemical Warfare
« Reply #42 on: May 17, 2013, 05:44:08 pm »
Where do you tend to disagree with him? I'd figure that'd be a good place to start reading up on next.
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Cain

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Re: Syria reported to have use Chemical Warfare
« Reply #43 on: May 17, 2013, 06:13:57 pm »
More his overall world view.  While I agree with the examination of the material aspects of power are the starting point for any serious examination, I also believe the power of ideas and ideology should be given significant weight.  While often these are covers for material power, they nevertheless are believed, and so form an important part of the analysis.

I also think peak oil is a bit further off than he does.

Cain

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Re: Syria reported to have use Chemical Warfare
« Reply #44 on: May 20, 2013, 11:14:13 am »
So, this is working out really well.

Petro-Islamist jihadism, coming to a Middle East near you.

Quote
The EU decision to lift Syrian oil sanctions to aid the opposition has accelerated a scramble for control over wells and pipelines in rebel-held areas and helped consolidate the grip of jihadist groups over the country's key resources.

Jabhat al-Nusra, affiliated with al-Qaida and other extreme Islamist groups, control the majority of the oil wells in Deir Ezzor province, displacing local Sunni tribes, sometimes by force. They have also seized control of other fields from Kurdish groups further to the north-east, in al-Hasakah governorate.

As opposition groups have turned their guns on each other in the battle over oil, water and agricultural land, military pressure on Bashar al-Assad's government from the north and east has eased off. In some areas, al-Nusra has struck deals with government forces to allow the transfer of crude across the front lines to the Mediterranean coast.

As a result of the rush to make quick money, open-air refineries have been set up in Deir Ezzor and al-Raqqa provinces. Crude is stored in ditches and heated in metal tanks by wood fires, shrouding the region with plumes of black smoke, exposing the local population to the dangers of the thick smog and the frequent explosions at the improvised plants.

I suppose that's one way to breathe life into the tired old War on Terror franchise.  Petro-dollars are like a shot in the arm for any industry.