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30 May 2012

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Kunuri

Albayim, you are saying what's to stop Iranians from bringing arms to Syria, but more interestingly what's to stop Russians and North Koreans? Indeed I have seen some reports of Russian and North Korean ships docking in, and cooly unloading stuff. How else Russia can demonstrate its support for Assad regime?

The linchpin in changing the situation in Syria is Russia, to be put in an undefensible position of rationilizing away the massacres and demorolizing the Middle class away from unqualified support of the regime. A guarantee that their rights and property and indeed lives will be protected in a post Assad regime will go a long way, longer than the Annan plan. Meanwhile in Turkey, with the expulsion of the few remaining diplomats simultaneously with a dozen or so EU and other nations, I hear talk of a buffer zone, with UN and NATO mandates. The French seem to be at the end of their diplomatic tether and signalling impatience, as the Turks do. But a decisive strike to cut this Gordion's knot is still long time and many massacres away. Watch for another spectacular suicide bombing to avenge the Houla massacre...

Matthew

Kunuri: I wonder why people say that the Houla massacre will force Russia to do anything. The violent suppression of democracy activists in Bahrain didn't force our government to do anything.

Alba Etie

What is the status of Turkey's invocation of NATO articles . It was reported last week that the Erdogan government had asked that NATO article Four be implemented . First is that true & next if I understand correctly Article Four is studying if the Syrian uprising poses a threat to Turkey ? What does that mean if anything about Turkish involvement in Syria .
Finally could this not lead to a regional war ?

jonst

Man oh man, was that interview something to behold. It was like the curtain was drawn back for a minute on a debate that-for many subtle reasons, and not so subtle reasons--we never see anymore. Zbig bashed them over the head with realities.....and did you hear the end of the exchange? "we haven't had an argument like this in a long time". "we're usually all on the same side"? "Woodward sounded like a neocon". This was priceless.

But I suspect the Col is right...the word out is this train has left the station.

turcopolier

jonst

I think it was "Bernstein," not "Woodward," but "Woodward" would probably have said the same thing.

In re Mexico, My politicsal idea is a partial union with Mexico in which th ecitizens of both countries can live where they please in both countries, earn money and repatriate it, own real property, pay taxes in both places. the only thing citizens of the two countries would not have is the right to vote unless they went through naturalization.

I am also in favor of creating a special federal court to try major Mexican resident drug dealers and their "soldiers" in absentia if necessary and if they are condemned to add them to the president's kill list. pl

Matthew

Col: It's hard to imagine a better example of the D.C. echo chamber than the idiotic refrain that the World will "condemn Russia."

Who? The NATO allies. Is that the world?

Saudi Arabia? Is the Kingdom of Horrors the arbiter of civilization?

These commentators act like no Iraqi civilians died between 2003-2011. Or do they just hope the world has forgotten that inconvenient truth?

BTW, outside the USA, people were quite offended by our response to Zionland's murder of about 300 Palestinian children during Operation Cast Lead.

Do these same commentators believe that the Arabs have forgotten that atrocity? And the US's--and our NATO allies'--support for it (or silence about it)?

I fear for my nation when the chattering classes merely reinforce their own political autism.

Tyler

I've yet to see some sort of analysis on who was responsible for the weekend's massacre outside of the usual suspects looking to blame the Assad government with absolutely zero evidence other than "no really just trust us".

Babak Makkinejad

You need to include Canada as well in this North American Union.

Canada and US will be giving donations to Mexico to upgrade her infrastructure - transfer payments in the parlance of EU.

But no common currency.

All:

You may recall I suggested the same thing years ago in this forum.

confusedponderer

In the worst case this is an atrocity en par with Iraqi troops in Kuwait taking innocent little babies from incubators, leaving them on the cold floor to die.

turcopolier

CP

I presume this is a joke. The Kuwaiti babys thing was a propaganda lie cooked up between the Kuwaiti ambassador to the US and Lantos the head of that House committee. The girl who testified was the ambassador's daughter who lied on the witness stand. She was well known on the Washington diplomatic circuit. pl

rjj du Nord

She was well known on the Washington diplomatic circuit.

Does that mean they knew she was lying and it was a[nother] bit of theater for the polloi?

confusedponderer

Mr. Lang,
that's my point. Of course it was a joke.

And brazen as it was, it worked.

The brazenness of sending a well known ambassador's daughter is even lacking in the case of Syria. As a result, this just may work even better.

It doesn't need to be true to work. A fiction may just suffice.

Now that Assad has been vilified beyond cartoon villainy, the opposition can basically claim everything short of him drinking the blood of babies (and I assume people may just even believe that). If the past is any indication, it will be accepted at face value in DC. The DC press corps is on board because they want to be team players. The process of vilification continues on auto-pilot.

And the narrative delivered is useful for the justification of the pursued policy goal of regime change, and that suffices. And atrocity makes for great headlines. And who dislikes bashing a tyrant? Win, win, win. Press, interventionist(a)s and ego in synergy.

PS: Which DC PR firm has been put on contract by the Free Syrian Army?

PPS: IMO, the process of vilification may just have progressed to the point that a deal with Syria is no longer politically feasible. I think that is also happening vis a vis Iran, and it is precisely what has brought the US a decade of sanctions against Iraq (and Iraq a large estimated number of excess death as a result of those sanctions).

turcopolier

RJJ

Yes, and the press willingly went along with the hysteria building. pl

505thPIR

Canadians would recoil in horror at your proposition.

J

Colonel,


Speaking of 'hysteria building', it appears the well known NEOCON/Brit Crown/NATO propaganda rag a.k.a. The Daily Telegraph is cooking up more propaganda/hysteria regarding Syria. This is the same Brit propaganda rag that stoked the propaganda fires for the Iraq War.

KUNA : West may be forced to seize WMD, report - Politics - 31/05/2012
http://www.kuna.net.kw/ArticleDetails.aspx?id=2244272&Language=en

"The West may be forced to seize Bashar al-Assad’s weapons of mass destruction including toxic gas stockpiles, according to the Daily Telegraph newspaper Thursday."

Fred

And to add some more political theatre to the mix. The Chalabi family rises again:

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/world_now/2012/05/syrian-diplomat-resigns-honorary-california-post-severs-ties-with-assad.html

Tyler

Excellent reference. All we need now is a reference to 'blue eyed babies' and it's the nineties all over again.

Harry

Very sensible thoughts.

Except that right now, no one on the president's kill list has the benefit of any kind of trial. Seems odd to me that Mexican drug lords responsible for mass murders and vast scale drug peddling would get preferential treatment relative to Islamic terrorists.

sleepy

I think you are absolutely right.

My wife and I recently drove/ferried to Newfoundland and Labrador. Though hardly a world traveler, I have crossed many borders in both the third world and in Europe before immigration was internally "unified" there.

Crossing into New Brunswick from Maine involved a 5-10 minute interrogation by border control--far more than the usual "are you US citizens/have any weapons? welcome to Canada". This involved questions as to our itinerary, how much money we had, are we employed, do we know anyone in Canada, where were we spending that particular night, etc.

We are two senior citizens in a new car, hardly your usual suspects.

Morocco Bama

Seems odd to me that Mexican drug lords responsible for mass murders and vast scale drug peddling would get preferential treatment relative to Islamic terrorists.

It makes perfect sense to me. Drugs are big business. You don't mess with that, you just pretend to mess with it.

Kunuri

As it has, and is becoming clearer to me, the privileged upper middle class is the linchpin in Syria. The Army is at a tipping point, as the Russians are. Please read this article,

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/may/31/ghosts-syria-regime-shabiha-militias

The regular Army may be fed up with being blamed of massacering their own people, in the name of, or for the benefit of whom? Or fighting against whom? Could it be that they are fooled?

And for the Russians, who are they standing behind?

Any pressures brought in to bear on Syria need to be well targeted. Laser focused, not scatter gun approched. Perhaps not even targeting Assad and his close circles, but their support base.

In this regard, an international guarantee of sectarian score settling in an after Assad Syria, even if it involves military intervention, will go a long way. Annan plan is dead, as it was dead on arrival. A new plan should focus on points I tried to express above.


turcopolier

MB

"you just pretend to mess with it." Hey, they still would have a "date" with JSOC. IIHMW, the terrorists overseas would also be tried in absentia before being placed on the list. pl

The Twisted Genius

Kunuri said,

"As it has, and is becoming clearer to me, the privileged upper middle class is the linchpin in Syria. "

I think Kunuri has made an excellent observation. The Shabiha appear to often be the instrument of choice in suppressing ant-government opposition. Whether the Shabiha is under the control of the Assad regime is open to debate. In a recent article in the "Guardian" Peter Kellier noted that the Shabiha is funded and probably directed by the business elite in Syria. The Shabiha is a smuggling/extorting criminal organization that has served the Assad regimes reliably in the past. It allowed the economy to survive in the face of otherwise crippling sanctions for decades. In exchange, the regimes have looked favorably on the Shabiha. Kellier contends that the Bath Party is not as powerful as it once was and that the business elite is the real force behind regime survival. They like the way things are and do not want it to change.

Randa Slim in "Foreign Policy" identifies the business class, primarily Sunni, as a critical element in the continued survival of Bashar al-Assad. He has been good for business. They have supported him to date, but may make a business decision for change if supporting Assad means destroying the economy. They see no upside in an Islamist regime, but they may seek something other than either/or.

It seems both sides in this struggle are multifaceted.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/may/31/ghosts-syria-regime-shabiha-militias?newsfeed=true

http://mideast.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/08/05/wheres_syrias_business_community

Kunuri

Thanks, The Twisted Genius, you make my point more elequently than I.

The other two things that need to be worked on, still, are the Russians and a guarantee of credible and backed up by force if neccessary, safety for poor Alawites, Christians and Kurds in a post Assad Syria, even if it is the Yemen option. The rebels can deal with fanatic Shahiba if the Syrian Army stands down at the least.

Kunuri

Sorry Alba Etie, I heve been away, but would like to do my best in sharing information I can glean regarding your question.

I am sure article 4 and subsequent 5 is being discussed within the government, Army and integrated NATO structures. So far the Regular Syrian Army sans that infamous 4th Division which acts as Lieberstandarte Assad, has been careful not to cause any incident that can be interpreted as an aggressive stand. Recently there has been some PKK attacks in Turkey, resulting in loss of life and perpetrators tracked to Syria, but there has been little notice and excitement in the press. As I posted before, Syrian regime and the Syrian Army do not wish to give Turkey an excuse to directly intervene in the conflict, under NATO mandate, with UN blessing if possible, but not neccessarily with it. Turkey has a 920 km border with Syria, this is longer than the distance between LA and Las Vegas but landscape is eerily similar.

So as for regional war, and if there is war, and it will never be called a war, only humanitarian intervention, it won't be regional with other nearby actors intervening. The Syrian Army will not fight the Turkish Army, in fact, they would welcome a chance to be released from the position of defender of fat cats in Damascus and killers of their own people in the eyes of the world. Please read the articles and comments sited by myself and Twisted Genius towards the bottom.

In short, a military intervention at this point by Turkey to create a safe haven or directly to take on the Syrian Army under NATO and UN auspicies is unlikely while Assad is still in Damascus. But it is possible to prevent revenge killings and sectarian score settling afterwards.

Still, the target is not the regular Syrian Army, but it is fatcat crimanal regime and its cronies, Russians who empower them for their own reasons, and opportunist Islamic extremists who have most to gain from prolonged killings and Western indecision.


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