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15 June 2013

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marcus

Eyewash to take everyone's attention away from the surveillance state. There will be no expanded conflict. Americans are weary of these pointless wars.

Unfortunately Americans are not tired of the "War on Terror" AKA the military nullification of the Fourth Amendment.

Clifford Kiracofe

The US foreign policy establishment already has in its mind various ways of going around the UN. The "Friends of Syria" and other such groupings are ad hoc "coalitions of the willing" outside the UN and thus international law.

Underpinning this is the broad objective of destroying the international legal concept of state sovereignty and non-interference which goes back to Westphalia of 1648 and even to the Peace of Augsburg of 1555. The ongoing war against Syria for regime change falls under this global objective.

Russia and China take a traditional state sovereignty position.

The Neocons and the R2P crowd intersect on their desire to destroy state sovereignty as an international legal principle. Specialists in "public international law" know very well that international law changes very slowly and resists novelty like R2P which is controversial.

The British started this war with the French and the US got drawn into it. The old Churchill thing "British Brains, American Brawn". Obama behaves like a Governor-General rather than a US President one might argue. Tony Blair and Cameron right there to lead him on, as Hague leads the State Department types by the nose... Sykes-Picot 2013 enforced by the clueless Americans. Susan Rice the Oxford grad and Samantha Power the Irish girl who made good are easy vectors.

Neocons like wars as do the R2P types. Force rather than diplomacy is their game to impose their policy. Congress is stupid enough to go along...over three quarters voted for second Iraq/Afghan wars. It might be that even more would vote for war against Syria-Iran. At some point in the future, whether in the Syria situation or not, Russia and China and others might not back down...Congress and the American people are clueless and spineless so I expect the worst case. Nixon was impeached for a lot less than Bush Jr and Obama have done.

Alba Etie

I still think that this will not lead to direct military intervention .And the R2P crowd though embedded in the BHO administration - UN Ambassador Powers & National Security Adviser Rice , still will not send us to a no fly zone in Syria. I am certainly not an expert on such matters - but it seems to me that having Rhode 'announce' the support to the FSA and Idriss on a conference call while the President is off pandering to his LBGT base suggests to me that this ' policy shift ' over the use of sarin is really theater. Moreover it does not appear that we are seeing any type of military build up in that we suggest a no fly zone etc in Syria will be coming soon . We shall see.

Charles I

Let's give the rebs a chance to provoke more Syrian airpower with their new weapons flow before we abandon thoughts of U.S. no fly dreams. In any event, surely a loose S300 can fly over the Syrian border when required to ratchet things up.

And when has the overt supply of weapons to rebels or terrorists failed to lead to direct intervention and eventual war?

Babak Makkinejad

That is my sense of it as well.

But it serves to prolong the agony of Syria, and her neighbours.

Charles I

Here is reporting of a proposed 40 km deep no fly/ no fighting zone inside Syria along the Jordanian border enforced by air power flying out of Jordanian bases offered for that purpose:

http://thestar.blogs.com/worlddaily/2013/06/syrias-war-king-abdullahs-problem-whether-he-likes-it-or-not.html

Increased weapons flow to the rebels can only exacerbate Jordan's border and refugee problems increasing pressure for a kinetic solution.

VietnamVet

Colonel,

I cannot predict the future but you sure come close; that’s why this site is a daily stop.

Sequestration or arming Sunni Jihadists with ground to air and guided anti-tank missiles are so contrary to the people’s interest that another no fly zone is possibility no matter the adverse consequences that we predict.

One outcome of the seizure of the American government by financial gamblers and war profiteers and protected by the Surveillance State is that there are no longer any restraints on the Executive Branch. The American President can take any crazy risk that he wants.

Alba Etie

I am not a military expert perhaps you are -so tell me without the Turkish air base at Incirlik will the US, Britain and others have the ability to impose a Syrian no fly zone ? Would King Abdullah allow a no fly zone to be enforced from Jordan - without risking what Erdogan is now seeing - major political domestic push back from their respective populace ?
Do not know when the overt supply of weapons did not lead to direct intervention - unless maybe it was Reagan when he armed all the jihadis in AfPak in the 1980's to throw out the Russians .

Alba Etie

Yes it is horrible to watch the bloodshed - but if we did intervene its likely it would only make it worse . What do you make of the Egyptian Foreign Minister calling for Egyptians to make jihad against Assad ?

walrus

I'm afraid I agree with Prof. Kiracofe. This matter is not going to end well. Unintended consequences and wrong assumptions have a way of unpredictably distorting international relations.

There are a number of Genies that could be let out of various bottles.

The chief one, which has quietly slept since the Korean war or earlier, is the automatic assumption that American air power is unchallengeable.

It is not hard to imagine a scenario where the Russians deploy SA300 anti air assets to Syria which succeed in downing a number of American F16 aircraft.

The American response is to destroy the batteries with heavy Russian loss of life and the Russian response to that is cruise missile attacks on the airfields from which the F16s were launched.

Where do we go then?

Where do we go if the Assad regime, firmly labelled as a chemical weapons user, decides to really deploy them en masse and engage in Sarin assisted ethnic cleansing of all Sunni areas?

How many other "unintended consequences" can be generated by Obamas lame attempt to deflect attention from the belated discovery that Americans live in a surviellance state?

Tyler

Of course you know those fat neocon/neoliberals/globalists who are pissed that Russia threw off their chains in the 90s are just licking their lips for an actual war with Syria.

But of course, Obama can do no wrong in the MSM and what they castigated Bush II for is alright now.

b

"it does not appear that we are seeing any type of military build up in that we suggest a no fly zone etc in Syria will be coming soon"

hmmm ...

U.S. to keep missiles, jets in Jordan amid Syria crisis

http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2013/Jun-15/220528-pentagon-us-agrees-to-keep-f-16-jets-patriot-missiles-in-jordan-after-joint-exercises-end.ashx

The United States will keep Patriot missile batteries and F-16 fighter jets in Jordan after the completion of joint military exercises this month amid the crisis in neighboring Syria, the Pentagon said on Saturday.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel "has approved a request from the Kingdom of Jordan for a detachment of F-16s and Patriot Missiles to remain in Jordan following the conclusion of the Eager Lion Exercise next week," Pentagon spokesman George Little said in a statement.

Norbert Slamon

Wonder if the election of a reformist PM of Iran [won in first round 52.+%] will have any effect on the Syria and other issues facing the USA?

Lars Moller-Rasmussen

Concerning ABC quoting the OPCW website as saying Syria is one of only six countries never to have signed the prohibition on chemical weapons, it should be added that there are two more states that have never ratified it: One is Israel, the other is Myanmar.

As I understand it, only ratification requires a country to fulfil the requirements of an international treaty. Being merely a signatory just signals intent to ratify at some future date.

By the way, among the six non-signatories listed by the website of the OPCW is Egypt.

Lars Moller-Rasmussen.

Lars Moller-Rasmussen

The ABC quotes The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons as saying Syria is one of just six countries never to have signed the treaty to ban chemical weapons. True, but there are two other countries that have never ratified although they both signed it back in 1993, according to the OPCW website: One is Israel, the other Myanmar.

Please correct me if I am wrong, but as I understand it, a country is only bound by a treaty if it has ratified it. Merely signing it just signals intent to ratify at some future date. Israel and Myanmar have now waited for twenty years.

Lars Moller-Rasmussen.

MartinJ

I wish I shared your optimism. Obama is playing a weak hand weakly and instead of showing backbone behaves like a recalcitrant toddler. Without a firm, defensible policy stance he leaves himself open to further bullying. Events will force him to intervene whether he likes it or not because he has not taken a position of authority. Plenty of time yet for a build up for a no-fly zone.

mac

Terrible turn of events in an already terrible situation.

Fred

Jordan? Why, other than our 'best ally in the Middle East' won't let us use theirs?

505th PIR

1) The Russians and Chinese will paralyze any UN Security Council initiative that attempts to resolve the Syrian Civil war by outside means. The US has its hands tied via this route.

2) Any escalation by US et. al in terms of weaponry supplied to FSA will be met by equal or greater armaments supplied to Assad regime. This will also be accompanied by ratcheting up of Hezbollah and Iranian advisers/Shia volunteers.

3)Russians will provide advisers/perhaps an expeditionary brigade to act as trip-wire for US No-Fly zone. This would make US decision to attack an effective step into the abyss. Checkmate...assuming "rational actors" in play.

4)Notably, recent US announcement of arming rebels has coincided with calls for Jihad from Egyptian state leader Morsi and the most influential clerics across Gulf States and again in Egypt. Similar rumblings in Indonesia. When the jihaddi bodies start rolling into Syria from abroad in greatly increased numbers, there will be weapons aplenty waiting for them.

This thing will get much more violent and will spill across borders. Once this happens, it will have a life of its own and will only end once it has played itself out on its own terms. It will be a bloody, bloody sectarian war for the ages that will "reach out and touch" the world in ways we never let ourselves imagine.

robt willmann

Yes, a treaty must be "ratified" by a nation state before it can be considered bound by the treaty. But you have to watch out and check whether the ratification was done with any "reservations" or not. Thus, you have to read not only the treaty itself, but also the ratifying document(s) from the country in question.

Since Israel has not ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention, it would not be bound by it. And of course Israel has not even signed the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. So Israel has lots of nuclear weapons and probably chemical weapons.

Babak Makkinejad

I have nothing but contempt; "Ikhwan" stands for "Brotherhood" - evidently he and his ilk are excluding many people from the brotherhood of man as well as Islamic Brotherhood - the Ummah.

To me, this position, if indeed it reflects the entire Muslim Brotherhood and not just some benighted fool's, means that qualitatively there is nothing to distinguish Muslim Brotherhood from the Jihadists and Takfiris.

Syria is not Egypt's War - on the contrary - one would have expected MB in Egypt, in Tunisia, in Turkey to do their utmost to bring the hostilities to an end - but they have not done so.

In my opinion, Muslim Brotherhood has failed its own test of minimizing discord among Islamic Ummah.

Babak Makkinejad

He never had a defensible policy in Syria - destroy the Ba'ath state to wound Iran was not a policy but a prescription for disaster for Syria and for the nominal friends of the United States.

Babak Makkinejad

Yes, but these sectarian struggles will not take place inside Iran - it will take place among nominally friendly countries to the United States: Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, Kuwait, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Azerbaijan.

Even Tony Cordesman at CSIS is warning about it.

Yes, Col. Lang was right in describing US policy " It is madness".

Tyler

I was going to ask, what happens if Russia decides to skip ahead and stations troops in Syria? Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't they beat NATO to Serbia?

johnf

Everyone seems to be getting very gloomy (probably quite correctly). But a couple of bright spots.

Firstly that the only big Islamic hitter on The West's side - Turkey - seems to be withdrawing from the fight (see Kunuri's comments on the previous thread).

Secondly, that just as Erdogan has enraged his electorate his increasing Islamization of the state, his Muslim Brotherhood friends in Egypt, who are playing the same game, seem to be running into similar opposition from their own electorate.

Morsi's support has dropped from 57% to 28% in one year:

"And yet despite this narrow base of support, the president and his party now hold most of the levers of executive and legislative decision-making authority and are using them to crack down on the press, civil society, and most forms of dissent. In addition, there are worrisome signs of still more over-reach by the presidency. As a result, over 70 percent of the electorate now express concern that "the Muslim Brotherhood intends to Islamize the state and control its executive powers." ...""

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/james-zogby/tamarrod-egyptians-organi_b_3445949.html

He could be digging the same grave for himself which Erdofan dug.

Finally, Robert Fisk gives a good (but gloomy) report on the region and the possibilities of a grand war between Sunnis and Shia. What is of interest on this was that it was headlining The Drudge Report.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/world-exclusive-iran-will-send-4000-troops-to-aid-bashar-alassads-forces-in-syria-8660358.html

There seems to be a hardening right wing libertarian opposition to the war in the US - Paul, parts of the Tea Party, Snowden, Raimondo - which is striking a real chord with the American people.

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