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View Diary: Pew: 48% of Americans oppose airstrikes on Syria, with only 29% in favor. 54% want U.N. resolution (248 comments)

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  •  No (0+ / 0-)

    There has to be an overwhelming humanitarian reason and normal diplomatic means have to be exhausted. Russia had blocked action at the UNSC for two years so this is hardly a rush and a further veto over this gassing would indeed be a step too far in their support of a rogue regime.

    The concern should be about the third condition for humanitarian intervention without Chapter 7 authority. That is the nature of the military action itself. That should be, in the words of the UK AG:

    to strike specific targets with the aim of deterring and disrupting further such attacks would be necessary and proportionate and therefore legally justifiable. Such an intervention would be directed exclusively to averting a humanitarian catastrophe, and the minimum judged necessary for that purpose.

    We will work, we will play, we will laugh, we will live. We will not waste one moment, nor sacrifice one bit of our freedom, because of fear.

    by Lib Dem FoP on Tue Sep 03, 2013 at 05:25:17 PM PDT

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    •  The evidence is far from overwhelming (0+ / 0-)

      We have the word of government intelligence agencies that Assad used chemical weapons and not much else. The alleged Israeli intelligence even suggested the use of chemical weapons might have been an unauthorized decision by a low-level officer. There have been allegations of the rebels also using chemical weapons.

      As McClatchy says:

      The Obama administration’s public case for attacking Syria is riddled with inconsistencies and hinges mainly on circumstantial evidence, undermining U.S. efforts this week to build support at home and abroad for a punitive strike against Bashar Assad’s regime.

      The case Secretary of State John Kerry laid out last Friday contained claims that were disputed by the United Nations, inconsistent in some details with British and French intelligence reports or lacking sufficient transparency for international chemical weapons experts to accept at face value.

      After the false weapons claims preceding the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, the threshold for evidence to support intervention is exceedingly high. And while there’s little dispute that a chemical agent was used in an Aug. 21 attack outside of Damascus – and probably on a smaller scale before that – there are calls from many quarters for independent, scientific evidence to support the U.S. narrative that the Assad regime used sarin gas in an operation that killed 1,429 people, including more than 400 children.

      http://www.mcclatchydc.com/...

      We've also seen many horrific actions by rebels captured on video, from torture to mass execution of prisoners to mutilation of bodies. The rebels were even taped by the New York Times using prisoners as suicide bombers:

      The other thing you're missing is that the U.S. is already involved in this conflict. There are bases in Jordan and Turkey where we are training and arming the rebels and special forces may already be on the ground.

      CIA operatives and U.S. special operations troops have been secretly training Syrian rebels with anti-tank and antiaircraft weapons since late last year, months before President Obama approved plans to begin directly arming them, according to U.S. officials and rebel commanders.
      CIA officials declined to comment on the secret training programs, which was being done covertly in part because of U.S. legal concerns about publicly arming the rebels, which would constitute an act of war against the Assad government. Other U.S. officials confirmed the training, but disputed some of the details provided by rebel commanders.
      http://articles.latimes.com/...

      Our close allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar (home of U.S. Central Command in the region) have funneled billions into the conflict, mostly for weapons purchases. Saudi Arabia released 1,200 death row inmates and forced them to fight against Assad.

      Saudi Arabia has sent death-row inmates from several nations to fight against the Syrian government in exchange for commuting their sentences, the Assyrian International News Agency reports.

      Citing what it calls a "top secret memo" in April from the Ministry of Interior, AINA says the Saudi offered 1,239 inmates a pardon and a monthly stipend for their families, which were were allowed to stay in the Sunni Arab kingdom. Syrian President Bashar Assad is an Alawite, a minority Shiite sect.

      According to an English translation of the memo, besides Saudis, the prisoners included Afghans, Egyptians, Iraqis, Jordanians, Kuwaitis, Pakistanis, Palestinians, Somalis, Sudanese, Syrians and Yemenis. All faced "execution by sword" for murder, rape or drug smuggling.

      http://www.usatoday.com/...

      So it's quite ridiculous for the U.S. to pretend that its acting as some kind of neutral human rights arbitrator here when in fact it is actively involved in the conflict and has committed itself to deposing the current government by any means necessary.

      The U.S. uses brutal tactics against its enemies and fights alongside dictatorial regimes and even Jihadists. A military assault that degrades the Syrian government's capabilities would greatly help in bringing down the regime, a goal shared by Saudi Arabia and Qatar which each have interests in the region. But somehow we're meant to believe that this is about human rights?

      •  Well look at the opinion poll (0+ / 0-)

        if you want to rely on that as a measure.. Look at how many Americans are convinced the Assad regime committed the crime.

        You mean you do not want Assad's junta brought down? (Since he is more or less under the thumb of his generals I am including the whole lot)

        We will work, we will play, we will laugh, we will live. We will not waste one moment, nor sacrifice one bit of our freedom, because of fear.

        by Lib Dem FoP on Tue Sep 03, 2013 at 06:30:34 PM PDT

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        •  Huh? We should rely on opinion polls to determine (0+ / 0-)

          whether intelligence is accurate or not?

          What happened to relying on international consensus and following U.N. procedures? The head of the U.N. today stated flatly that any U.S. strike would be illegal and wrong.

          U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday warned that any "punitive" action taken against Syria for an alleged chemical weapons attack last month would be illegal without Security Council approval or a sound case for self-defense.
          http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...

          This might surprise you, but I want the Syrian people to determine their own future. If the Syrian public overwhelmingly decided Assad needed to go, they could easily topple him. The reality is that Syria is divided and that is why you are seeing such an intense struggle - in fact, the rebels may have only minority support. The Shiites, Christians and other groups are fearful of what might happen if the Muslim Brotherhood or a similar Sunni religious group takes over.

          •  Contradictory (0+ / 0-)
            If the Syrian public overwhelmingly decided Assad needed to go, they could easily topple him. The reality is that Syria is divided and that is why you are seeing such an intense struggle - in fact, the rebels may have only minority support. The Shiites, Christians and other groups are fearful of what might happen if the Muslim Brotherhood or a similar Sunni religious group takes over.
            Everything after your first sentence are the reasons why they have not been able to topple him. A position similar to Egypt where everyone outside of the military industrial complex wanted Mubarak gone but they were unable to express the sentiment without being disappeared.

            Ten percent of the population has voted with their feet and left the country. A further 20% have left their homes and moved elsewhere within the country so I do not think it is too far of a push to say he would loose the popular vote if only the populous could vote.

            We will work, we will play, we will laugh, we will live. We will not waste one moment, nor sacrifice one bit of our freedom, because of fear.

            by Lib Dem FoP on Tue Sep 03, 2013 at 07:45:17 PM PDT

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            •  He is supported by some factions more than (0+ / 0-)

              others. The Shiites obviously strongly support him because they are afraid of radical Islamists coming to power. But so do many Sunnis:

              Sunni Muslims make up 70% of Syria's 25 million people and it is they who fill the ranks of the rebellion against Assad's minority Alawite regime, considered apostates by Sunni clerics. Yet one reason why Assad remains in power despite being outnumbered by a rival sect is that many Sunnis are on his side, and their support is aiding his survival, say analysts and rebels.

              "If Sunnis were united behind the rebels, trust me, Bashar would've fallen within days," says Abu Qays, an anti-regime Syrian activist in the eastern city of Deir e-Zor who uses a nickname for security reasons.

              http://www.usatoday.com/...

              Maybe it's worth researching these things before deciding to intervene in someone else's civl war halfway across the world. After all, our last "humanitarian intervention isn't working out so well:

              Libya has plunged unnoticed into its worst political and economic crisis since the defeat of Gaddafi two years ago. Government authority is disintegrating in all parts of the country putting in doubt claims by American, British and French politicians that Nato’s military action in Libya in 2011 was an outstanding example of a successful foreign military intervention which should be repeated in Syria...

              Libyans are increasingly at the mercy of militias which act outside the law. Popular protests against militiamen have been met with gunfire; 31 demonstrators were shot dead and many others wounded as they protested outside the barracks of “the Libyan Shield Brigade” in the eastern capital Benghazi in June.

              http://www.independent.co.uk/...
              •  Sorry (0+ / 0-)

                I do not find a "better the Devil you know" argument to be relevant in the context of even Libya. The liberation struggles in Africa and parts of Asia show just how anarchic a post-colonial or post-dictatorship period can be. In only a few would I say that self-government has been an absolute failure (Zimbabwe being perhaps the worst). Most countries have seen internal conflicts and worryingly authoritarian or incompetent leaders even though they were democratically elected.

                It takes at least one generation and certainly the absence of the generation of liberation leaders for most to settle into what can be a vibrant democracy - which from my observations of an election period about a decade ago they have certainly achieved in Zambia.

                Does this mean I regret decolonization, the independence struggle of Bangladesh from Pakistan and the freedom of South Africans  from the yoke of Apartheid? Absolutely not and neither would I interfere in most of the countries involved unless it got to the stage of a complete breakdown in inter-communal relation into open conflict on the streets and in the countryside as happened in Rwanda and Sierra Leone among others (at least one party there called for the UK to take it back into colonial rule!)  

                Perhaps I take a more optimistic view that any other devil is sometimes better than the one you know. You could also call it a brutally pregmatic view that nobody else is as likely to be as dedicated and efficient at killing and suppressing their own people and on balance fewer will suffer. That, I am afraid, is probably the best that we can hope for.

                We will work, we will play, we will laugh, we will live. We will not waste one moment, nor sacrifice one bit of our freedom, because of fear.

                by Lib Dem FoP on Tue Sep 03, 2013 at 10:27:40 PM PDT

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