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(The New York Times)   NYT finally states the obvious: There is no secular "rebel" fighting force in Syria. It's all either Islamist groups, or Al Qaeda, so why are we sending Al Qaeda aid? Is Assad worse than Al Qaeda?   (nytimes.com) divider line 94
    More: Obvious, Islamists, NYT, al-Qaeda, Assad, fighting force, guerrilla war, provincial capital, Sunni Muslims  
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4386 clicks; posted to Main » on 30 Apr 2013 at 8:08 AM (50 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-04-30 09:48:48 AM

randomjsa: Based on our Egypt, Lybia, and Iran strategy, we just have to be sure that whomever hates Israel the most gets to stay in power.


Yes...we should've just totally went into Egypt and helped Murbarak out by wiping out the protesters in Tahir Square.

That's what you wanted right?
 
2013-04-30 10:06:42 AM

Mrtraveler01: randomjsa: Based on our Egypt, Lybia, and Iran strategy, we just have to be sure that whomever hates Israel the most gets to stay in power.

Yes...we should've just totally went into Egypt and helped Murbarak out by wiping out the protesters in Tahir Square.

That's what you wanted right?


Sure, why not? It would have worked out better than giving you what you wanted, the Muslim Brotherhood in charge of Egypt.

/which was predictable, after what came after the Shah was overthrown in Iran and Batista was overthrown in Brazil
//gee, it's almost like some violent protesters actually need to be oppressed, in order to maintain even the pretense of civilization
///too bad the people that are going to make the choice can't even tell which protesters are peaceful and which ones are violent any more (hint: the Tea Party is peaceful)
 
2013-04-30 10:07:13 AM

Mrtraveler01: Yes...we should've just totally went into Egypt and helped Murbarak out by wiping out the protesters in Tahir Square.

That's what you wanted right?


Who's talking about wanting anything?  We could have cluster bombed and napalmed the place and we'd be in the same situation.  I'm talking about the totally predictable outcome of the uprising.  The left thought the young were rising up to overthrow oppression when all they were doing was opening the door for an even worse oppressor.  Anwar Sadat was murdered largely because he had the gall to make peace with Israel.  Those same Islamic groups hated Mubarak as bad or worse because he actually increased Egypt's ties to Egypt and the west and those groups play the long game.  When uprising started, it was a 100% guarantee that they'd position themselves to fill the power vacuum and they're doing a pretty good job of grasping the opportunity.

It is the same situation with Assad.
 
2013-04-30 10:10:14 AM

MyRandomName: PunGent: GORDON: One thing for sure, it isn't Obama's fault, because nothing is ever his fault.  He's only the President.

Well, the "red line" crap IS his fault, no doubt about it.

Of course, the neocons have been awfully quiet lately...why, just last year, with Libya and Egypt, they were bragging about how their invasion of Iraq was finally spreading peace, love, and democracy across the Middle East...

So you are choosing to cometely ignore the administration's marketing of the arab spring and go with blaming the gop. Kudos.


Well, I don't know about that - but the question deserves asking: If neocons and Republicans hate Jimmy Carter so bad, how come they have subscribed to his foreign policy model in the Middle east for the past forty years?
 
2013-04-30 10:10:54 AM
You think maybe it's a bit early to be declaring doom and gloom forever in Egypt? Jeez, people, give it some damn time.
 
2013-04-30 10:12:18 AM
Brazil? Really?

/keep throwing those tomatoes at the dancing fool, mods
//it'll just be more humiliating when it turns out he was right all along
 
2013-04-30 10:13:32 AM

Hobodeluxe: GORDON: One thing for sure, it isn't Obama's fault, because nothing is ever his fault.  He's only the President.

So explain to us then how this is Obama's fault then.


Providing material aid to Islamic rebels trying to overthrow a secular govt? Supporting other nations in doing the same? I think it's dumb to lay it all at his feet, it's not like he waved his magic Obama wand and caused all this, but when our country gets involved in shiat like this, you better believe the PRESIDENT bears responsibility.
 
2013-04-30 10:22:18 AM
so in other words McCain and Graham are secret Al Queda supporters.

........on a more serious note you would think the our government would've learn a thing or two after arming the Mujaheedeens in the 1980's!!!
 
2013-04-30 10:26:39 AM
Sometimes there is no simple choice. Today's allies could be tomorow's enemies. You have to go with what works at the time.


americanvision.org
k-punk.abstractdynamics.org
 
2013-04-30 10:27:17 AM
I have supported a more active support role for the rebels, but reading this article and thread has convinced me that staying completely out of it is the best idea. No sarcasm. Sometimes people do make compelling points.
 
2013-04-30 10:27:41 AM
It the rebel's right to free choose the theocracy of their choice and then use that theocracy to execute slutty women in soccer stadiums for fun on the weekends.
 
2013-04-30 10:37:16 AM

DeadPuppySociety: Hobodeluxe: GORDON: One thing for sure, it isn't Obama's fault, because nothing is ever his fault.  He's only the President.

So explain to us then how this is Obama's fault then.

Providing material aid to Islamic rebels trying to overthrow a secular govt? Supporting other nations in doing the same? I think it's dumb to lay it all at his feet, it's not like he waved his magic Obama wand and caused all this, but when our country gets involved in shiat like this, you better believe the PRESIDENT bears responsibility.


Redlines and the Problems of Intervention in Syria

"The difference between right-wing and left-wing interventionists is the illusions they harbor. In spite of experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq, right-wing interventionists continue to believe that the United States and Europe have the power not only to depose regimes but also to pacify the affected countries and create Western-style democracies. The left believes that there is such a thing as a neutral intervention -- one in which the United States and Europe intervene to end a particular evil, and with that evil gone, the country will now freely select a Western-style constitutional democracy. Where the right-wing interventionists cannot absorb the lessons of Afghanistan and Iraq, the left-wing interventionists cannot absorb the lessons of Libya."
 
2013-04-30 10:40:02 AM

JustGetItRight: The left thought the young were rising up to overthrow oppression when all they were doing was opening the door for an even worse oppressor.


Objection, your honor: assumes facts not in evidence.

/Hint: the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood has "Muslim" in its name doesn't automatically make them worse than Mubarak.
 
2013-04-30 10:42:42 AM
GORDON: One thing for sure, it isn't Obama's fault, because nothing is ever his fault.  He's only the President.

So explain to us then how this is Obama's fault then.

Because he had the audacity to be black, intelligent and the President all at the same time.


1 1/2 of 3 is correct. He is half white black and the president.
 
2013-04-30 11:05:22 AM
yes, al qaeda are the good guys in syria.
 
2013-04-30 11:11:12 AM

Bit'O'Gristle: both sides are barbarous 3rd century fundies. Let them kill the shiat out of each other, and stop giving them our cash.


Actually no. Syria under Assad is secular, where Christians etc. can practise their faith, girls can go to school, universities, and doesn't have to cover their hair.

So really, it's just the "rebels" that are the whackjobs.
 
2013-04-30 11:19:01 AM
 
2013-04-30 11:22:51 AM

Tatterdemalian: Sure, why not? It would have worked out better than giving you what you wanted, the Muslim Brotherhood in charge of Egypt.


Yes, allowing Mubarak to kill his own people for protesting would've been a better option.

/rolls eyes

JustGetItRight: I'm talking about the totally predictable outcome of the uprising. The left thought the young were rising up to overthrow oppression when all they were doing was opening the door for an even worse oppressor. Anwar Sadat was murdered largely because he had the gall to make peace with Israel. Those same Islamic groups hated Mubarak as bad or worse because he actually increased Egypt's ties to Egypt and the west and those groups play the long game. When uprising started, it was a 100% guarantee that they'd position themselves to fill the power vacuum and they're doing a pretty good job of grasping the opportunity.


And what should the US have done instead?
 
2013-04-30 11:24:00 AM

micuu: Because propping up power-mad dictators has worked out so well for the US in the past....


THIS^^^. Not to mention, the longer we prop them up, the more extreme an opposition it takes to overthrow them, and the more they hate us afterwards (see: Iran). Eventually, the only people willing to oppose the genocidal dictator are, by definition, those driven by absolute, fundamentalists willing to die for their beliefs. The situation almost by definition rules out the possibility of reasonableness, because a reasonable person would say "this totally sucks, but I'm not willing to strap an explosive vest on and walk up to a military checkpoint over it".

At least this time there's a chance that whatever flavor of whackjob takes charge afterwards will note that we didn't support the former dictator, unlike the Russians...
 
2013-04-30 11:27:06 AM
Obama is doing exactly the right thing:  giving the rebels just enough support that they can keep fighting but not enough for them to win.  The more Islamists kill one another the fewer there are to kill the rest of us.
 
2013-04-30 11:29:46 AM

jso2897: There are so many really great reasons for Americans to mind our own business and stay the hell out of the Middles East that a single thread doesn't have space to list them all.
But the dilemma of having to choose to side with either genocidal tyrants or homicidal maniacs is another good one.


Why can't we have both?

We should kiss and make up with AQ. Give them a few nukes as a coming out present.
 
2013-04-30 11:39:14 AM
Why doesn't Assad just turn their religion against them?  State he's going to burn a thousand korans in the city square and when the army of derka derka brigade shows up, detonate a series of chain linked bombs wiping out the area.  Give his troops armor made of pages from the koran so if the Jihadist shoot them, they're shooting the koran.
 
2013-04-30 11:41:41 AM

JustGetItRight: In Libya the only real hope was that they all kill each other, but again the left was fully behind the 'freedom fighters'.We even conducted combat operations on their behalf - and got thanked by having our ambassador murdered.


Libya is a mixed bag. There are people happy to be free of Qaddafi, people frustrated it took the U.S. aid, and people who supported Qaddafi. Benghazi wasn't a Libyan government op, it was an action taken by a strong opposition group in a divided county.

Read the following for a few different voices:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-19593578
There were even protests by Libyans against the Benghazi attacks:
http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2012/09/14/libyan-american-protests
 
2013-04-30 11:51:29 AM
Screw em. Let them kill each other. Either way we side we are screwed, at least by doing nothing we can save some money and lives. Or we can just give every man, woman and child there a gun to speed it up.
 
2013-04-30 11:56:58 AM
So if all the rebels = Al Qaeda or Islamists, is John McCain saying we should arm Al Qaeda, or just the Islamist militants who promise they're not Al Qaeda?
 
2013-04-30 11:56:59 AM

hasty ambush: Sometimes there is no simple choice. Today's allies could be tomorow's enemies. You have to go with what works at the time.


[americanvision.org image 300x250]
[k-punk.abstractdynamics.org image 265x210]


Only if you are fighting for your own survival! ... otherwise there is a choice C: Stay out of it and let them two fight it out themselves!!
 
2013-04-30 12:04:48 PM

Mrtraveler01: And what should the US have done instead?


I don't think there's anything the US could have done that would change the outcome at all.  I'm simply pointing out the fantasy of thinking a popular uprising in Egypt (and Syria) will end in anything other than another dictator that will probably be more oppressive than the last.
 
2013-04-30 12:10:13 PM

Tyrone Slothrop: Can't they both be equally bad?




It boils down to which serves our then current interests better- Just a very few examples:


King Louis XVI vs King George III

Stalin, Mao, Ho Chi Minh, Tito, Chiang Kai Shek vs Hitler, Tojo, Mussolini

Chiang Kai Shek vs Mao

Syngman Rhee vs Kim Il-sung.

Diem, Minh, etc, etc, vs Ho Chi Minh
 
2013-04-30 12:17:16 PM

HotWingConspiracy: randomjsa: Based on our Egypt, Lybia, and Iran strategy, we just have to be sure that whomever hates Israel the most gets to stay in power.

Bibi needs a reminder who keeps him fed now and then.


I swear the US or at least the US MIC is similar to The Madarin in IronMan 3 where we play both sides for profit. Hype the paranoid, sell offensive weapons and defensive weapons to both sides and always make sure we're the main supplier.

I mean the US has ALWAYS pledge unwavering support to Israel and it's security YET we continue to sell arms not only to them but also to the very nations who deep down hate them with their guts.
 
2013-04-30 12:51:25 PM
Arab spring you say???

More like an Islamist Winter, ami-rite?

Seriously... The Israelis saw this coming a MILE AWAY with Egypt.

Radicals are the fuel of revolutions.
Most 'rational / secular' folk are not going to risk life and limp for a Democracy, but Totalitarian religious folks will.
 
2013-04-30 01:00:25 PM

SuperNinjaToad: HotWingConspiracy: randomjsa: Based on our Egypt, Lybia, and Iran strategy, we just have to be sure that whomever hates Israel the most gets to stay in power.

Bibi needs a reminder who keeps him fed now and then.

I swear the US or at least the US MIC is similar to The Madarin in IronMan 3 where we play both sides for profit. Hype the paranoid, sell offensive weapons and defensive weapons to both sides and always make sure we're the main supplier.

I mean the US has ALWAYS pledge unwavering support to Israel and it's security YET we continue to sell arms not only to them but also to the very nations who deep down hate them with their guts.


Capitalism has no loyalty, only profit.
If it's profitable, we're allies, if it's not, we're not... simple.

(FYI - Israel became a close US ally only AFTER they kicked major ass in the 1967 war and proved to the United States that they are a powerful ally versus the Soviet influence in the region as well as that they can provide military intelligence as well as newly researched technologies).
 
2013-04-30 01:11:52 PM

SuperNinjaToad: hasty ambush: Sometimes there is no simple choice. Today's allies could be tomorow's enemies. You have to go with what works at the time.


[americanvision.org image 300x250]
[k-punk.abstractdynamics.org image 265x210]

Only if you are fighting for your own survival! ... otherwise there is a choice C: Stay out of it and let them two fight it out themselves!!


You can either be a driving force in international affairs or be driven by them. Isolationism,even with no direct interests at stake, has never worked out well for us going all the way back to Jefferson and The Embargo Act.

Foreign policy abhors a vacuum and if we are not there  somebody else will step in that may not have our interests at heart.
 
2013-04-30 01:12:30 PM
In case anybody is unclear as to what's going down in Syria right now, here's the cliff notes:

It all started during the Arab Spring in 2011, when protesters jumped on the bandwagon and began demonstrating against Assad. He cracked down, disappearing people, torturing them, attacking protest marches, and basically running down the checklist of "The Dictator's Guide to Violent Repression of Dissent". He forgot the most important box, however: "Make Sure the Army is On Your Side" and when the military was sent in to beat heads, lots of them defected and joined the opposition. It's about this time (end of July, 2011) that disaffected army officers formed the Free Syrian Army and we've got an actual civil war on our hands.

From the end of July through the rest of summer, protests against Assad continued, with crackdowns becoming ever more violent. The rebels marshalled their forces, however, and began military operations that fall, starting in the northern part of the country. Diplomatic pressure from outside the country then began to increase, with the Arab League trying to get both sides to the negotiating table. They took their crack in November 2011, and pretty much failed, although they did manage to revoke Assad's membership. Fighting continued, now with tanks and the like rolling, and the UN took a crack, sending in Kofi Annan around April, 2012 to negotiate a cease-fire. That also fell apart, and they're still fighting.

To give you a quick rundown of the military side, it helps to analogize the western part of Syria to the west coast of the US (although most of these cities aren't actually ports). Going from south to north, you have Daraa (Tijuana), Jasir (San Diego), Damascus (L.A.), Homs (San Francisco), Aleppo (Portland, although further east), and Azaz (Seattle). Fighting started around Homs and Damascus in late 2011 and into the summer of 2012, but has recently (winter 2012) shifted to Aleppo as well.

There's been a few notable incidents as the war has continued, like the loyalist forces shooting down a Turkish F-4, SCUD attacks, cluster bombing, and various terror attacks and assassinations, but fighting has basically continued nonstop. Rebel forces have been doing a lot of the winning, capturing some military bases and weapons in strategic areas.

Current status is a little murky, but it's clear that the opposition controls large portions of the northern part of the country. The military opposition is loosely made up of the FSA (ex-military defectors) and various Islamist militant groups, like Jabhat al-Nusra mentioned in TFA. Political organization of the opposition started as the Syrian National Council, now expanded into the Syrian National Coalition. It's been recognized as the legitimate government by lots of foreign countries, including members of the Arab League and NATO. It's a government-in-exile, meeting in Cairo, Istanbul, and Qatar. Current president is Moaz al-Khatib (although he's making noise about stepping down) and PM is Ghassan Hitto.

So now you're up to date. The rebels in Syria are in control of a bit over half of the country and are currently fighting against loyalist bastions in the west. The loyalists have their backs against the wall, but are still being propped up by Russia and some say Iran. The main Islamist groups are basically out-of-town mercs who've come streaming in through Iraq, Jordan, and Turkey to kick the crap out of the Ba'athist loyalists, while there's still a core of ex-military defectors running the Free Syrian Army. In December, 2012, it was reorganized under the nominal control of Riad al-Assad and the actual control of Salim Idris, with two-thirds of the new command coming from the Muslim Brotherhood. Other rebel forces like al-Nusra and Ahrar Al-Sham were not invited and are under separate C&C.

It's a big tangled mess over there and the US would do well to stay out of it. Ideally, I'd like to see a UN/NATO blockade/no fly zone, but Russia will stomp and scream if it even looks like that's an option. The rebels are winning, it'll just take them time. Unless Russia goes whole hog and drops in a battalion of armor or something, Assad's days are numbered. If the US pokes its nose in now, it'll only cause difficulties among the rebels. Far better to handle thing thing the same way we handled Egypt - keep out of it until somebody gets to the top of the heap, then shake 'em by the hand and welcome them to the table. Picking winners in the middle east is what's gotten us in so many messes already.
 
2013-04-30 01:23:13 PM

GORDON: One thing for sure, it isn't Obama's fault, because nothing is ever his fault.  He's only the President.


Right.  President of the world.  I remember that glorious day.
 
2013-04-30 01:49:22 PM

HAMMERTOE: ♪ Send in the clowns ♫...


Don't drag Sondheim into this.
 
2013-04-30 02:07:57 PM

JustGetItRight: Mrtraveler01: And what should the US have done instead?

I don't think there's anything the US could have done that would change the outcome at all.  I'm simply pointing out the fantasy of thinking a popular uprising in Egypt (and Syria) will end in anything other than another dictator that will probably be more oppressive than the last.




Sadly that how most of these revolutions work, Cuba, most of Africa, Nicaragua in the 70s etc Sometimes you get the impression that people realy don't wnat the burdens of freedom just a different jailer. Thorw enough free stuff theri way liek Venezuela and they will even help forge theirown shackles
The Russians have had two shots at freedom- 1917 and 1991 and they really don't seem to have gotten the hang of it. Belarus is another example.
The French Revolution ended up with Napoleon coming to power and if not for the greatness in character of Geroge Washington ours could have gone the same way instead of the gradual decline
 
2013-04-30 02:25:52 PM

hasty ambush: The French Revolution ended up with Napoleon coming to power and if not for the greatness in character of Geroge Washington ours could have gone the same way


Truer words have never been spoken.  People given the reigns of power don't simply put them down and walk away and yet Washington did that exact thing.

Thanks to his example, the 22nd amendment wasn't needed for 150 years.
 
2013-04-30 02:33:57 PM

JustGetItRight: PunGent: Of course, the neocons have been awfully quiet lately...why, just last year, with Libya and Egypt, they were bragging about how their invasion of Iraq was finally spreading peace, love, and democracy across the Middle East...

No, at least not anyone with sense.  Go back and check the threads.  In Egypt, Libs were giddy about the people revolting against tyranny.  Conservatives that understand how the world really works were telling them the devil they don't know will be worse than the devil they have now.

In Libya the only real hope was that they all kill each other, but again the left was fully behind the 'freedom fighters'.  We even conducted combat operations on their behalf - and got thanked by having our ambassador murdered.

The Arab spring worked out pretty much exactly how conservatives thought it would.


Which is why I specified NEO conservatives.  Haven't seen a REAL conservative in office in ages.
 
2013-04-30 02:35:08 PM

Voiceofreason01: PunGent: GORDON: One thing for sure, it isn't Obama's fault, because nothing is ever his fault.  He's only the President.

Well, the "red line" crap IS his fault, no doubt about it.

If it had kept Assad from using chemical weapons it would have been a good bluff. The problem with bluffing is that it makes you look like a chump if you get called on it and don't follow up.


Yep...AND the problem, which is not at all unlikely here...what if the rebels ALSO use chemical weapons?

Then what...we bomb both sides?  I think I saw that Woody Allen movie, back in the 70s...
 
2013-04-30 02:43:11 PM

hasty ambush: Sometimes there is no simple choice. Today's allies could be tomorow's enemies. You have to go with what works at the time.


[americanvision.org image 300x250]
[k-punk.abstractdynamics.org image 265x210]


You don't have to do anything sometimes.

We took their land. We took their natural resources. We kicked them when they were down.

If the Native American's could do the same thing nobody would blame them.
 
2013-04-30 03:36:31 PM

JustGetItRight: The Arab spring worked out pretty much exactly how conservatives thought it would.


Yes, when you want to know about the inner workings of a religious state, it does make sense to ask your local theocrat.
 
2013-04-30 03:38:00 PM
Disaster Capitalism means never having to say there's a good guy, or that you can militarily win.  PROFIT is the victory.
 
2013-04-30 04:37:14 PM

rockforever: hasty ambush: Sometimes there is no simple choice. Today's allies could be tomorow's enemies. You have to go with what works at the time.


[americanvision.org image 300x250]
[k-punk.abstractdynamics.org image 265x210]

You don't have to do anything sometimes.

We took their land. We took their natural resources. We kicked them when they were down.

If the Native American's could do the same thing nobody would blame them.


 If your argument is that the American Indian tribes did not take sides and fight over land you fail at history-badly.

Why was Cortez successfull in  gaining other tribes as allies against the Aztecs?  It was not because the Aztecs  created their empire out of groups hugs and encounter group discussions with other triibes.

The Wampanoag Confederation welcomed and assisted the Pilgrims not out of compassion and generosity   The Wampanoag were looking for allies to help them defend themselves against their long time and more numerous enemy the Narragansett (SP?) alliance in their territorial disputes.  Notice a theme? Confederations and Alliances against other tribes, almost has bad as those evil white guys.   Even if you were "to give back land" to the Indians they would be back at each others throats fighting over who had original ownership

The American Indians were doing the same thing to each other long before the  evil white guys showed up and the tribes even aligned themselves with various groups of white guys - French and India War, Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Civil War, the Idnian Wars.

The American Indians were not a bunch of peaceful groups  sitting around the campfires  singing their version Kumbayah.  The Great Indian War and Trading path  (Seneca Trail) was not called The Great Indian  peacefull co-existence and trading path for a reason.  They were already well versed in war, genocide and slavery before the evil white guys showed up with human sacrifice and cannibalism thrown in by some.  Tisquantum  (AKA Squanto) was a Wampanoag slave.   Sacagawea, a Shoshone, was a captive of the Minnetarees before being sold to a French guy.

So do I feel bad about the American Indians collective second place finish in the North American wars-  Not anymore than I feel bad about what the Romans, Vikings or Huns did.  If they had the means you can better be sure the American Indians would have attempted to do the same to Europe .

What is a tradgedy is the failure to assimilate the American Indians into society. Instead they were stuck on reservations (might as well call them low income housing projects because the effects are the same) with very corrupt tribal governments and being raised under a culture of victimzation.  Hard to improve your lot in life if you constantly see yourself as a victim.
 
2013-04-30 06:15:48 PM
3.bp.blogspot.com

"You got the Sunnis on one side, and the Shia on the other...and the US in the middle.  You know, a man could make good money in this town."
 
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