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Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Forostar, Apr 25, 2011.

  1. Forostar

    Forostar Conjure the Death Star again

    Maybe we should open a Middle East topic or something, because I do not want to downplay developments in other countries, but over the last weeks (months?) things are going worse and worse in Syria.


    In a declaration more than 100 writers and journalists in and outside Syria have condemned the hard actions of the regime aganist the demonstrants. They ask intellectuals to take a stand.

    According to human rights organizations around 350 people have been killed in total (this weekend alone more than 100). Reason: they took part in a demonstration.

    Latest developments: the army has entered Daraa.
    Of course, again dead people (eyewitness have said, and Al-Jazeera says 5)
    BBC article

    Our Minister of Foreign Affairs is busy in the EU asking the other countries to freeze their money stream to Syria, but doesn't want military action (at this time). He says:

    Instead maximal pressure is needed by the West. The Alevites have the power for over forty years, they form a special group in the shi’itic islam. It's not easy to overthrow their important positions. Also this is a very sensitive matter in countries like Iran, if there will be militairy action in Syria.

    Please do not mind my spelling. I quickly and roughly translated a Dutch article.
  2. LooseCannon

    LooseCannon Yorktown-class aircraft carrier Staff Member

    Yes, I was thinking making an Arab Spring article. I will come back and look at it shortly.
  3. Forostar

    Forostar Conjure the Death Star again

    The images of torture and death on TV keep coming.....
    There is seriously hardly any difference with the Libyan situation.

    Why the FUCK is the international community not doing anything about this?

    As long as the international community won't do anything, the only hope that is left, is a military revolt.
  4. Perun

    Perun Climbing like a monkey Staff Member

    On Friday, I heard a professor of political sciences whose heavyweight topic is Syria answer the same question. She believes that the "international community" is afraid of angering Iran. The Tehran regime is well-known to be Al-Assad's closest ally. Simply put, the leaders of the "international community" are afraid this would get out of control if they intervene. You can see how they are fucking up in Libya, a country of comparatively little military strength and no allies whatsoever. Now imagine they would intervene in a regional heavyweight with a strong and loyal army and an ally such as Iran.
  5. Forostar

    Forostar Conjure the Death Star again

    That's difficult then.

    Sorry for my frustrated outburst. I don't know anyone from Syria, but I can't stand it that people are killed off like maggots, simply because they open their mouth.

  6. LooseCannon

    LooseCannon Yorktown-class aircraft carrier Staff Member

    Yeah. It comes down to Iran, as always, in that region. And Iran isn't likely to say boo to the Syrians.

    I'd be in favour of going in anyway, but the Americans are not likely to have the political will to go. We couldn't do it without them, sadly.
  7. bearfan

    bearfan Ancient Mariner

    There is zero chance the US will do anything in Syria based on what is happening now.  If Syria started gassing people or another country (Iran) sent troops in that would be different.  I do not see the political will in the US and I'm not sure how strong the political will is in the EU either.
  8. Cornfed Hick

    Cornfed Hick Electric Eye

    Here is a link to a very interesting (albeit long) article from the New Yorker last month about the evolution of Obama's foreign policy in just these kinds of circumstances, and also how the Arab Spring has recently shaped U.S. policy. 

    I won't attempt an executive summary, but in short, he tries to balance between idealism (Foro's position, "someone has to do something") and focusing solely on U.S. interests.  One of his staff calls it "consequentialism," meaning he'll intervene if he thinks it will make a long-term positive impact and make the U.S. look good.  That's my oversimplified take-away, the article describes a much more nuanced, and sometimes inconsistent, policy record. 
  9. Perun

    Perun Climbing like a monkey Staff Member

    An Al Jazeera journalist was kidnapped in Syria a while ago. After she was finally released, she published an account of what happened to her on Al Jazeera website.
  10. Forostar

    Forostar Conjure the Death Star again

    More reason for international military action:

    United Nations ceasefire in tatters after 92 killed in Syrian violence

    In one of the bloodiest incidents to date in the 15-month long uprising, 92 people were killed after a 12-hour regime assault on Houla, in the central province of Homs.
    Anti-government activists claimed that troops had first shelled several villages and then sent in gangs of pro-regime thugs to “massacre” local families in their houses.
    Amateur videos released on YouTube showed footage of the mangled bodies of 14 child victims lying in rows in a makeshift morgue set up at a local mosque.
    In one horrific scene, a man held up the limp corpse of a boy aged around seven years old, a gaping hole where the child’s nose and mouth should have been. “This child, what did he do to deserve this?” he screamed.... ... ....

    ... While neither side in the struggle is really seen to have properly observed the ceasefire, the Free Syrian Army on Saturday warned that unless there was an immediate halt to regime violence, it would abandon any commitment to it at all.
    “We announce that unless the UN Security Council takes urgent steps for the protection of civilians, Annan’s plan is going to go to hell,” a statement read.
    The group’s calls for foreign military intervention are currently opposed at the highest level. Only last week, however, the UN explicitly urged foreign states not to supply arms to either the government or rebel forces.
    “Those who may contemplate supporting any side with weapons, military training or other military assistance, must reconsider such options to enable a sustained cessation of violence,” UN secretary-general Mr Ban told the Security Council in a letter on Friday. ... ...

    read full article here
  11. Natalie

    Natalie Insect of Terror Staff Member

    I've been hearing more and more about Syria as of late, and am still not entirely sure whats going on there (aside from a rebellion against the current regime). I guess what I'm wondering is what started this uprising, and while I certainly condemn the actions of Syria's government in the face of the rebellions, I don't know enough about the situation to say that the rebels should be supported either. Its clearly a very delicate situation over there, but what I last heard (which was that various countries including Turkey and Japan had withdrawn their ambassadors from Syria) doesn't make any sense to me, as in, I don't see how it is helpful. If a diplomatic solution is to be found then withdrawing diplomats and shutting down embassies is downright counter-productive.
  12. Forostar

    Forostar Conjure the Death Star again

  13. Perun

    Perun Climbing like a monkey Staff Member

    What is happening in Syria is basically the following. Back in 2000, the old dictator, Hafiz al Assad died, and his son Bashar succeeded him. Initially, the Syrians laid much hope in Bashar, because he was regarded as a young and liberal-minded modernist. He sported the image of a sober-minded politician who had a clear idea of the problems in his country and promised to work hard to solve them. This gave him quite some popularity, and people were ready to put up with another dictator if he would benefit the country. However, there was no progress, and instead Bashar drove the country into international isolation with his imperialist policy towards Lebanon, his ill-advised alliance with the Hezbollah and Iran, and his uncompromising stance towards Israel. When the Arab Spring occured, the people of Syria took inspiration and hoped they could oust Bashar, or at least force reforms. Bashar promised the latter, but of course, nothing happened.

    So far, this is basically the same story as in Tunisia and Egypt. Do some research on Ben Ali for instance - the parallels are striking. However, what went different here is that Bashar's army is a more loyal and trigger-happy than the Tunisian and Egyptian militaries. From what I gather, there is a distinctive elite in Syria concentrating around the Assad family. Apparently, the members of said elite are mostly part of the Alawite religious minority, which probably gives them some sort of feeling of togetherness - although it is important these days to stress that many Alawites are also among the rebels. It appears that what the government is doing is trying to spark a religiously and ethnically motivated conflict between the various groups in Syria. The Assad regime has always styled itself a protector of the minorities of Syria against the Sunni Arab majority. I believe that by provoking ethnic violence, the regime is trying to remove moral legitimacy from the rebels. So far, it does not seem like this is happening, but who knows what is going on there for sure?
  14. Forostar

    Forostar Conjure the Death Star again

    Hmm, a Turkish F4 went down near Syria.


    Turkey's government has called an emergency security meeting amid reports that one of its fighter jets was shot down by Syrian security forces. ... .
  15. Rotam

    Rotam Night and day I scan horizon, sea and sky

  16. Forostar

    Forostar Conjure the Death Star again

    Yep. It goes on and on and on...
  17. Perun

    Perun Climbing like a monkey Staff Member

    Here's how fast it can go. Two years ago, Syria was considered a stable country, safe for travelling and visiting. Sure, everybody knew Syria was a dictature, and that Assad was a right bastard when it came to dealing with his people or his neighbours. But it was nevertheless a country at peace, with a population friendly and open to foreigners. I know many people who went to have Arabic courses in Damascus, and to marvel at the treasures the country has to offer.

    Had to offer, actually:

    Ancient souk burns as fighting rages in Syria
    Hundreds of shops destroyed at UNESCO world heritage site in Aleppo's Old City, as deadly violence continues

    (link to english.aljazeera.com)

    What was once a peaceful and civilised country has drowned into violence and barbarity. It all started with peaceful protesters on the city streets asking for a little more freedom. Us condescending westerners warmly smiled at them, because we sympathised with their goals but thought their methods inefficient. Then somebody fired the first shot. And all of the sudden, the West is ever so shocked at all the murders and massacres.

    What is happening in Syria is telling me three things: a) The West is a collection of self-righteous, hypocritical people who think they have it all figured out from the fragmentary distortion of events presented in the evening news. b) Any man, however civilised and cultured, will turn into a beast in an instant. All it takes is a shot fired at the wrong time at the wrong place, at the wrong person. It can happen anywhere, at any time. c) There is a good reason why people in other countries who suffer from even more oppressive regimes than that of Assad are not going to fire their guns. That reason can be observed in Syria right now.
  18. LooseCannon

    LooseCannon Yorktown-class aircraft carrier Staff Member

    I would say we are not all shocked. But yeah, in general, we are surprised by the style of violence. I have a lot I could say as to how it reflects towards our society, but nah.
  19. Forostar

    Forostar Conjure the Death Star again

    I wonder who is suddenly shocked or surprised? There are media reports since the beginning.
    Are you telling me that suddenly (since yesterday or something) people start raving: "Did you see that on TV? Things are happening in Syria."
    I'm rather pissed off by Russia and China, because they're blocking all kinds of resolutions.
  20. Forostar

    Forostar Conjure the Death Star again

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