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View Diary: Radio intercepts convince German intel that Assad neither ordered nor approved the chemical attack (320 comments)

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  •  Qui bono? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eglantine

    Assad certainly wasn't hurt. The nations that supported him before the attack are still supporting him, and any airstrikes the U.S. ordered would have been very limited and ineffective.

    One theory is that Assad had his generals use chemical weapons as a test to see whether he could get away with it without political repercussions. If he gets away with it, then he scales up the use of chemical weapons, which would have certainly benefitted him greatly. If not, then he claims that the commanders did it without his permission, and the situation will blow over quickly.

    This is an extremely smart gamble on Assad's part, especially if he is desperate and afraid he is going to lose the war.

    •  Chemical weapons are not militarily effective. (4+ / 0-)

      Even if it turned out Assad learned he could make wholesale use of them, it would not make much of a difference in the civil war.

      The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

      by lysias on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 07:25:46 AM PDT

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      •  It has been reported (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DocGonzo, cotterperson, eglantine

        that they made a big difference in the Iran-Iraq war.  I incline to think that makes sense.

      •  How Not? (3+ / 0-)

        If chemical weapons didn't bring foreign intervention, why wouldn't Assad use them? How is killing thousands with each attack from afar not militarily effective? In fact chemical weapons are among the only WMD that are militarily effective without prohibitive costs, especially if one side has a monopoly on them.

        "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

        by DocGonzo on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 08:29:33 AM PDT

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        •  They're unreliable. (4+ / 0-)

          Why Assad Won't Use His Chemical Weapons:

          But even these weapons have become obsolete for states. They are rarely strategically decisive, they have been obviated by advanced conventional arms (and, of course, nuclear weapons), and they are stigmatized. That is why all but six states belong to the Chemical Weapons Convention, which bans the production and use of chemical weapons. Syria's weapons, produced beginning in the early 1970s with Egyptian assistance, have been intended to deter Israel's nuclear capability and to offset Syrian conventional inferiority. It's unlikely they could have served either purpose, but designed for use in large-scale, state-to-state warfare, Syria's chemical weapons are particularly unsuited for the urban fights that have characterized the civil war. Close-quarters combat renders chemical weapons not only ineffective but counterproductive; with sarin or VX, a simple wind shift could turn the deadly agent against the Syrian military.

          The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

          by lysias on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 09:29:51 AM PDT

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          •  War Is Messy (0+ / 0-)

            It's true that these weapons are treacherous to those who use them. But all of Assad's gambits have been risky - he's a risk taker, and rewarded with victories for it. Meanwhile there's good reason to believe he has no choice but to retain rule by force, no matter how much, because he has no escape anywhere - much like Kadaffy. And indeed the chemical attack we know of was militarily very effective, without literal blowback onto Assad's forces.

            Actual events have proven that using chemical weapons in this war costs only the possiblity that foreign powers will escalate unacceptably to Assad. The rest of the arguments against it have been disproved.

            "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

            by DocGonzo on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 09:42:36 AM PDT

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    •  His country, Syria, is destroyed by this invasion (4+ / 0-)

      of "rebels."  He has not benefited, nor has his country benefited by this so-called "civil" war.  

      Qui bono?

      Well, the folks who joined PNAC said they would like to see Syria in rubbles.  So, they benefit by the outcome.

      Information is the currency of democracy. ~Thomas Jefferson

      by CIndyCasella on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 08:15:14 AM PDT

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      •  Maybe if he hadn't started violently cracking down (0+ / 0-)

        on peaceful protests, there wouldn't be any "rebels."

        It's amazing to me how "progressives" that attack perceived "authoritarians" are so quick to fawn on murderous dictators in other parts of the world, so long as they oppose the US.

        All of the fawning over Putin (who, though not a murderous dictator, is pretty damn nasty) is making me sick as well. When the Snowden thing happened we had a lot of people praising Russia etc.

        You know the same Russia that disappears journalists, throws political opponents in jail or poisons them overseas, and throws people in prison for basically being LGBT.

        When we stop putting leaders from the past up on pedestals and ignoring their flaws, we can start seeing our present leaders for what they really are.

        by PhillyJeff on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 12:27:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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