Syria
Last comment by Charles_and_Angie_Howell 1 year, 4 months ago.

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Today, a politician was berating the president about not doing enough in Syria. And as a result (he said), Islamic extremists were pouring into Syria. I thought Bashar Assad and Syria were the virtual definition of extremists with their anti- US and anti - Israeli positions. I guess I've been misinformed all these years.


Latest Activity: May 05, 2013 at 1:39 PM


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theflyonthewall commented on Sunday, May 05, 2013 at 17:07 PM

Bryant, War hawks never tire of beating the drum despite the untoward consequences that follow. Our wars in Vietnam Nam, Iraq, and Afghanistan should have taught us something. We also seem to forget that Israel is a client state and that we really do not need to pander to the Israelis no matter how many red lines they care to draw. Any nation building needs to be done in this country.

flowmaster commented on Monday, May 06, 2013 at 10:42 AM

As much as it surprises me to say so I mostly agree with fly here. Wars controlled by politicians such as Vietnam often end ambiguously with no real gain. Anytime this great nation commits itself to war we should do so to win it not to keep the status quo or worse to help those who will in the end turn around and do us harm.

Bryant commented on Monday, May 06, 2013 at 11:23 AM

Flow - your comment "help those who will in the end turn around and do us harm." is the crux of all the mid-East and Eastern questions (all foreign policy questions, in fact). We never know what actions will turn around and bite us in the butt. But when it comes to armed conflict, whether enforcing a no-fly zone or boots on the ground, if it is not directly related to the geographical security of this nation - don't do it.

Charles_and_Angie_Howell commented on Monday, May 06, 2013 at 17:17 PM

Bryant - I will respectfully disagree with you on some of this.

You said, "But when it comes to armed conflict, whether enforcing a no-fly zone or boots on the ground, if it is not directly related to the geographical security of this nation - don't do it." Well, in my opinion, a failure to act in WWII, in Korea, and yes even in Vietnam could have resulted in Communism (remember that scourge) encroaching further into the West. I am sure my comment will meet with a chorus of disagreement, but there it is.

My view on this issue is clear sometimes we are better served to intervene.

As for the specific issue of Syria - I believe it is a trap for the US no matter how it goes. I would prefer not get involved with either side, since both the Assad regime and the rebels hate the US. Let them kill themselves and then we will have fewer survivors to deal with. I will also add that if I was in charge (I am not and never will be) IF we entered a conflict we would be in it to win. If the enemy is hiding across the border in some other country, then that country can get them out or I will send out troops to get them out.

dirtroadlady commented on Monday, May 06, 2013 at 21:01 PM

bryant your first sentence should read-"tomorrow the president will be berating the politicians about not doing enough!"--

Bryant commented on Tuesday, May 07, 2013 at 18:57 PM

Sorry, dirt road but in foreign affairs the President (Executive Branch) rules (with treaty say so). Members of Congress and the press get to snipe. My point was that there is no answer. Pick a position and you will win - or lose. I agree with Charlie (his second point - not the first) this is a no win situation and we do not need to get involved - except for providing weapons to Israel, and Saudi Arabia, and the UAR, and so it goes.

Let them police themselves. We do not need to do so.

watchpig commented on Tuesday, May 07, 2013 at 22:08 PM

Treaties have to be ratified by the Senate at least that's what I remember from Government 101 or did I sleep through that one???

Bryant commented on Wednesday, May 08, 2013 at 12:37 PM

Nope, that's what I meant by "(with treaty say so)". Sorry I wasn't clear. But, the Executive Branch - Democrats and Republicans alike - have stretched the definition of Executive power, particularly in foreign affairs.

theflyonthewall commented on Wednesday, May 08, 2013 at 14:06 PM

Bryant, We should not be providing arms to anyone in the Mideast. I think it is time to rewrite the rules.

Bryant commented on Wednesday, May 08, 2013 at 16:14 PM

Fly, my tongue was firmly in cheek with that last line.

Passinthru commented on Friday, May 10, 2013 at 15:59 PM

I suspect that the berating the president took from Bryant’s unnamed but obviously frowned upon politician was related to the presidents embarrassing backpedaling when his “Red Line” bluff was called by Assad.

Intelligence information provided by European and Israeli sources (apparently U.S. Intel disseminated by this administration is no longer trusted after Benghazi) has shown that the number of officially designated terrorist groups and other suspects operating under the umbrella of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces has almost doubled during the last two years of U.S. vacillation. Although the aim of these groups is not clear it can be safely supposed that they do not include conferring the benefits of democratic government upon a free Syria.

The Israelis have drawn their own Red Line, protecting it a number of times. Maybe they are determined to do whatever is necessary to defend their country, including ignoring the rubber promises and wobbly statements of our own president.

Bryant commented on Friday, May 10, 2013 at 19:25 PM

Passin, Israel is more than welcome to draw all the lines they want and take action. It's their neighborhood. It's not ours.

And the term, "officially designated terrorist groups and other suspects" fails to account for the myriad other people involved in the Syrian conflict. I'm sure there are people seeking democracy just as I'm sure there are people seeking power so they can avenge some long standing quarrels. I simply do not believe America - or any other country - can tell the difference.

Passinthru commented on Friday, May 10, 2013 at 23:11 PM

The point, Bryant, is that the president stated that the use of chemical weapons by Assad is a red line that would change his non-intervention position on the Syrian conflict. That chemical weapons have been used is not in doubt and has been reported by the French, British and Turkish governments, and confirmed by Chuck Hagel (Sec of Defense) who said "The Syrian regime has used chemical weapons in Syria, specifically the chemical agent sarin."

While I am in total agreement with you that we should not become involved in Syria, the international stance of the U.S. is seriously weakened by a president who makes reckless statements to suit his own ends and then backs down when his bluff is called.

Unfortunately, unless this war is brought to an end pretty soon (which does not look likely) the probability is that it will spill over to other states, particularly Lebanon and Jordan. At that point, our neighborhood or not, the US will almost certainly become involved.

theflyonthewall commented on Saturday, May 11, 2013 at 10:55 AM

Passingthrough, Israel should not assume that the US is always prepared to pull its chestnuts from the fire. I suspect that the preemptive military strikes and.the Illegal settlements on the West Bank would quickly end if we withdrew our support.

Israel is prepared to wage war to the last American and why not? We have given them every reason to believe that our unqualified support is an article of faith. Our foreign policy should be not be based on the fuzzy logic and the bad history of neocon flacks. A foreign policy that benefits the US would be refreshing change.The Boy Scout uniform we have been wearing for the last forty years is looking threadbare of late.

Charles_and_Angie_Howell commented on Saturday, May 11, 2013 at 21:12 PM

Fly, I think you underestimate the abilities and determination of the Israelis and the Jewish people. Personally, if I were a ME despot - I would leave them be.

Passinthru commented on Sunday, May 12, 2013 at 00:25 AM

Theflyonthewall stated “Israel is prepared to wage war to the last American and why not? We have given them every reason to believe that our unqualified support is an article of faith. Our foreign policy should be not be based on the fuzzy logic and the bad history of neocon flacks” While this does not offer any original nor reasoned thought on the topic it does demonstrate the tiresome repetitiveness of the indoctrinated mind.

The reality is that since the inception of Israel as an independent state it has stood as a bulwark between the ever more extreme ambitions of the Muslim Middle East and the Western democracies. The statement that “Israel is prepared to wage war to the last American’ is the exact opposite of the truth, as Israel has successfully fought many wars against its numerically superior Arab aggressors without, as far as I know, the loss of any American lives. However it could be argued that many Israelis have died for their homeland and, one might argue, for American values.

theflyonthewall commented on Sunday, May 12, 2013 at 08:22 AM

The problem with Zionism is that it did not and does not operate in a vacuum. The establishment of Israel ignored the fact that other people's were already living in Palestine. To put one group above all others was to invite trouble, especially inflight of the fact that the Ashkenazim, European Jews, have tended to look down upon the Sephardim, the Jews already present in the.Holy Land and of course the Arabs who had been living there for centuries. The British mandate in Palestine was very much opposed to the creation of the Jewish state because of potential armed conflict it would engender. I am not saying that Israel should not exist nor am I suggesting that they do not have a right to protect themselves. I am saying that we derive very little real benefit from the lavish support that we provide . I would also like to suggest that some policies that benefit Israel do not benefit us. The Israelis,for example, have been perfectly willing to transfer American military technology to the Chinese. The J10 is essentially a variant of the F16. Sales of advanced radar systems were stopped only through the strenuous objections of the State Department.During the Cold War our relationship with Israel made much more sense since Israel was being used as a pawn to counter Russian moves in the area. Today China is ascendant ,so relationship with Russia must change as must our relationship with Israel.I think our policies in the Middle East have been ham handed and counterproductive. The drone war in Pakistan , for example,is immoral and only serves to push the region into the Chinese orbit and to create more enemies.

22 commented on Monday, May 13, 2013 at 10:53 AM

The single greatest event to help promote democracy in the middle east began with the State of Israel. "China is a ascendant" lol what do you mean? What is a Chinese orbit? To say the US has reciprocated very little benefit in the lavish support we have given to Israel is an understatement at best. Our support for Israel has much more to do with our own strategic interest. The same interests drive Russia, China, etc...to support Iran, Syria. I do not understand why you insist to scoff the USA.

Bryant commented on Monday, May 13, 2013 at 12:22 PM

22, your grasp of Middle Eastern history is tenuous at best. Or do you ignore the terrorist actions of Menachim Begin and others against the British prior to the establishment of the state of Israel? The beginning of democracy - when the peoples already living where Israel was arbitrarily created were denied voting rights and representation?

And fly is partially correct when he says our efforts in the Middle East have been ham handed - that also applies to England, France, the former USSR, and virtually every other country that is not in the Middle East.

22 commented on Monday, May 13, 2013 at 14:54 PM

Not all stories of democracy have a happy beginning. I can tell you I was 3 when Begin won the Nobel Prize.

Charles_and_Angie_Howell commented on Monday, May 13, 2013 at 15:54 PM

Bryant, Charlie.

Please explain/clarify this statement from your comment above -

"...when the peoples already living where Israel was arbitrarily created were denied voting rights and representation?"

I do not understand this statement in the context of the regional history I am familiar with.

theflyonthewall commented on Monday, May 13, 2013 at 18:25 PM

Charles, If you're interested in the subject, you might read what Ilan Pappe, a noted Jewish historian has to say.

Bryant, have you wondered about the timing of the most recent Israeli attacks in Syria? I think Netanyahu and like-minded Israelis are aching to push us into a wider war in the Middle East in order to eliminate a host of enemies that they are incapable of facing alone. A war against Syria would be bad. A war against Iran would be a disaster. We would win ,of course, but it would prove to a Pyrrhic victory.

Charles_and_Angie_Howell commented on Monday, May 13, 2013 at 19:12 PM

Fly, Charlie.

I Wiki'd Pappe. Based on that snippet, I don't think I care for his perspective. He seems to support a lot of issues that don't jive with established facts. IMO.

Israel could have crushed Syria any time it wanted - including now. Iran would be a tougher nut.

My perspective is that Israel, despite it's faults, is a western style democracy surrounded by Muslim dictatorships. It seems to do quite well defending itself and shows CONSIDERABLE restraint in dealing with it's 'neighbors.'

BTW - since we are researching, why don't you look up exactly why Israel seized the Golan Heights and why it hesitates to give them back. How is this different than Israel's relationship with Egypt and the fate of the Sinai?

theflyonthewall commented on Monday, May 13, 2013 at 19:19 PM

Israel is locked into an endless cycle of tit for tat. It will remain so as long as it fails to deal with the Palestinians. It would be in the best of interests of Israel to recognize this inescapable fact since it is quickly running out of time.

Bryant commented on Monday, May 13, 2013 at 19:20 PM

Charlie, there was a large population of Palestinians who were summarily ousted from their homeland without recompense or due process. They were living in - and coexisting with current Jewish inhabitants - the region arbitrarily carved out by America, Britain and France following WW II.

They were granted no rights nor were those who were allowed to stay granted a political voice.

Say what you will about half-hearted efforts to ease their pain from being ejected from the lands where they were born, but think how you would feel and react if it were you.

Fly, I do not wonder at the timing. Netanyahu has tried repeatedly to force our hand in the last three years (and I'm being kind to limit it to three).

Charles_and_Angie_Howell commented on Monday, May 13, 2013 at 20:57 PM

Bryant, there are multiples sides to any issue.

How much voice did any of the inhabitants have under British Mandate?

Arabs and Turks controlled that land for centuries and how did they develop it or it's people? (answer = barely)

I believe many Arabs left of their own accord. Those that stayed are citizens, have rights and government representatives. I even suspect they stay in Israel because it is FAR better than any Muslim/Arab country near by.

As I alluded to earlier, Israel seems to be OK with Egypt and with Jordan. Seems to me the folks who do not want peace are the ones still stirring the pot by firing 100's of missiles into a sovereign nation every. single. day.

And when Israel has had enough and suppresses the terrorists - the world hollers "Bad Israel!!"

Com'on fellas, who's really the brainwashed one here? Hint - it AIN'T me!)

Passinthru commented on Monday, May 13, 2013 at 22:56 PM

The Jews learned a hard lesson about survival during the 1940’s.

Israel is not about to wait for those who are still planning their extermination to rebuild the ovens. They have learned that you must cut off the gas supply before it reaches the showers. To do so they strike where and when they must.

They do not owe us, nor anyone, an apology for their survival. Everything is different when death is only a short distance away.

Bryant commented on Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 10:55 AM

Charlie, you wrote, "Arabs and Turks controlled that land for centuries and how did they develop it or it's people? (answer = barely)"

Why do you presume development (western style) is necessarily desirable? The only reason western governments did any development in the Middle East was for their own benefit, not for the benefit of the indigenous population.

And, I'm not brainwashed. I simply do not accept that everything Israel does is "right".

Charles_and_Angie_Howell commented on Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 12:44 PM

Bryant, nor do I accept everything Israel is right. But I see a clear difference between naked aggression and terrorism and zealous self defense.

Bryant commented on Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 19:07 PM

As do I. That's why I said Israel is free to draw as many lines in the sand as they want. They have a valid, immediate threat on their doorstep. But what separates preemptive action as "zealous self defense" from naked aggression? The political leanings of the aggressor? The form of government of the aggressor? It's a very complex question and one which I am not able to define. But Israel's need (perceived or real)for preemptive action does not convert automatically into our need.

Charles_and_Angie_Howell commented on Thursday, May 16, 2013 at 07:09 AM

Ok Bryant, here is the brainwashing/koolaid part....

It is an accepted fact that Israel is a sovereign nation and Hezbollah is a terrorist organization. It is an accepted fact that Hezbollah attacks Israel from southern Lebanon.

If Syria says it is GIVING (free, gratis) arms - including advanced surface to surface missiles to Hezbollah, and Hezbollah states that it is receiving arms from Syria, including advanced surface to surface missiles, then I think we have established another fact. Syria's current government is actively arming a terrorist organization.

I believe it is more than reasonable to assume that if Hezbollah actually receives these missiles, they will use them against Israel. Hezbollah is not in conflict with anyone else that would be an appropriate target for these missiles.

So here's the closer. Naked agression is when a country knowingly and openly passes weapons to a terrorist organization whose sworn purpose is to destroy the military capability and civilian population of a sovereign nation. Zealous self defense is when that sovereign nation destroys the weapons in route or just prior to transfer when the intent to transfer is clear.

Bryant commented on Thursday, May 16, 2013 at 17:37 PM

Very good definition (if a little condescending). But I don't believe I took issue with Israel's most recent action. I took issue with the idea we (the United States) HAD to do something about Syria.

The President's red line was a lousy idea. Delivered privately, good diplomacy. Delivered publicly, not good anything (except painting yourself into a corner). Not following up (if allegations are correct - what if the chemical weapons were tear gas) abhorrent.

Except for diplomacy with Russia and other players and supporting Israel - as we always have, and humanitarian aid, I do not think we should be any more deeply involved in Syria.

Charles_and_Angie_Howell commented on Thursday, May 16, 2013 at 21:41 PM

Nor do I.

I agree with your private scenario. I always fancied that if I were President, I would look across the table at Breznev, or Kim Jung or Assad, and speak plainly. "If you do X action, I will react with Y and no one wants that." And they would believe me!

Truth is... no one believes me. Except my kids. They know. They've seen it, but... that discussion is on another blog.


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