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  • Syrian Civil Conflict

    Dear all:

    Today Bashar Al-Assad delivered his first public speech in a long time. In it he denounced the opposition as 'puppets' and 'terrorists' and claimed that he would enter negotiations only with 'the masters'.
    The UN recently published casualty estimates for the conflict which estimated some 60,000 killed and up to a further 100,000 in 2013 if the war continues.
    The political stalemate continues along neo-traditional East/West lines. This combined by the brutal war of attrition on the ground paints a gloomy picture indeed for the people of Syria.
    I would love to hear some of the communities viewpoints on the ongoing unrest. To encourage some debate I shall perhaps propose some questions:
    Why was Syria different when compared to Tunisia, Egypt and Libya when it came to swift victories for the 'opposition forces' and in the case of Tunisia a totally peaceful transition?
    Why has Russia held firmly on Al-Assad's side (other than military relations)?
    What are the weaknesses/ strengths of the opposition when compared to the government forces?
    Why has the West refrained from military action in support of opposition forces?
    What is the Iraqi and Turkish view?
    Who will gain from political transition both within and outside Syria?

    I would take this chance to reiterate that you abide by the Sandbox primer and also that you act maturely. This topic is sensitive and I would appreciate sensitive responses, but this is TG so I don't need to say that, thankyou.

    Regards

    Graeme
    WE HAVE YOU COVERED

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  • #2
    Re: Syrian Civil Conflict

    I don't believe in intervening right now.
    Skud


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    • #3
      Re: Syrian Civil Conflict

      To answer the Russian question.

      http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSB...20803?irpc=932

      Syria has reached an agreement with ally Russia to secure much-needed fuel as a delegation of ministers sent by President Bashar al-Assad asked Moscow to help alleviate the effects of sanctions on the war-torn country.

      The trip was a rare foreign visit made by high-level Syrian officials, whose circles of support are shrinking as violence mounts between rebel fighters and forces loyal to Assad, who the West and Arab countries say must leave power.

      Under the deal, Syria will export its crude oil to Russia in exchange for refined oil products, which Damascus sorely needs to keep its economy and military running.

      "Russia wants to help the Syrian people," Syrian Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs Qadri Jamil told reporters in Moscow on Friday.

      "We will deliver our oil and receive gasoline and fuel oil; it will be a barter," he said, adding that Syria is producing about 200,000 barrels per day.
      sigpic

      Former Pathfinder
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      • #4
        Re: Syrian Civil Conflict

        Originally posted by Grambo View Post
        Why was Syria different when compared to Tunisia, Egypt and Libya when it came to swift victories for the 'opposition forces' and in the case of Tunisia a totally peaceful transition?
        Libya was aided by the globe. Egypt, I believe saw an uprising that was effectively back by its own military. Tunisia, as you said was a peaceable revolution. Syria has none of these working for its 'opposition'.

        Why has Russia held firmly on Al-Assad's side (other than military relations)?
        This I'm not particularly versed on but the pundits say its because Assad is the 'last soviet vestige' in the Middle East.

        What are the weaknesses/ strengths of the opposition when compared to the government forces?
        They were only protesters who, through an oppressive act of treason, the President of Syria attempted to forcibly squelch. After the push they shoved back. Weakness, imo, is that they are not a unified force under one strong banner but rather multiple banners unified against one enemy.

        Why has the West refrained from military action in support of opposition forces?
        Poor economic situation. War weary US. A general lack of care of the world that is not our nation. I also believe that the two wars in the Middle East and the war on terror has finally called into question the concept of international intervention. The Gulf War was the 'proof' of it, and all other conflicts have been against it.

        What is the Iraqi and Turkish view?
        Unaware of Iraq's, go figure its no longer in our news, but I know Turkey has taken a strong opposition to Assad and has called on the western nations to stand against him.

        Who will gain from political transition both within and outside Syria?
        Time can only tell with such upheavals.


        =========

        I apologize with such short responses but I'm both ill and not well informed on the details of the revolution in Syria. I have heard postulation that after Assad falls they will expect a civil war of Sunni and Shiite. Sadly, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, have tainted the desire to help with situations that actually could be important and not snowballs of death and destruction.

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        • #5
          Re: Syrian Civil Conflict

          I don't think it's a lack of care, but a bit of learning.

          We spent 5+ years engaged in a civil war in Iraq, I think we learned that we only threw fuel on the fire for that to kickstart. I know there are relevant cultural and other reasons for the Sunni and ****e conflicts, but at the end of the day it comes down to an antiquated argument over who should sit as non-existent caliph.

          I don't think we can really help. I would love to stop the thousands upon thousands of civilian deaths, but any efforts by the US in that region are met with extreme resistance. I don't think it's really our job to police the rest of the world anyway.

          I'm all for protecting close allies like Turkey (They're our bros through and through), but otherwise a conflict that does not really endanger Americans is not a real priority in my mind.

          My real concern is intervention by groups like Al Queda or Hezzbollah. Or, "democratic" elections just setting them back another 100 years with the brotherhood. Kind of damned if we do, damned if we don't, right? Another large concern is maintaining positive control of NBC weapons - if the government over there completely loses control of their weapons, they'd just end up on the world market or in the hands of Al Queda. Think of how many weapons wandered into the wrong hands after the collapse of the Soviet Union - modern day with groups like Al Queda? It would guaranteed attacks.
          Skud


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          • #6
            Re: Syrian Civil Conflict

            Thankyou all for your responses, some great points there.

            Bolognaise, good call on bringing up the key economic relations, indeed Russia has got much to gain from Syrian oil production. However while economic and military relations are important what of the ideological issues surrounding this. I think as we'll as the issues you mentioned that the Russians feel they must hold firm out of a view that they are being pushed around, a loss of masculinity. In this post Cold War world I believe we are seeing a fall back into East vs West mentality , Ukraine recently rejected a Russian bid for economic union.

            Ytman, thanks for responses and they are totally fine. I also believe that it is an important point that in Syria we have seen similar numbers of opposition forces vs government forces, the balance is much more towards 60/40 or 50/50. The military hardware advantages in the Assad forces are allowing them to hammer the opposition while placing few of their troops at risk. I also find it frustrating to see the opposition forces lack of hat I shall term 'combat intelligence'. What I mean by this term is basic combat skills, I do understand that they are basically militia, however military commanders that have mutinied from Assad are leading them. Ii have been watching many videos posted by opposition forces, and I am consistently horrified at the lack of perhaps common sense when it comes to combat footage. Perhaps it is my own opinion, but has anyone else felt this?
            The Iraqi picture is very interesting for me. Recently Iraq has been growing closer with Iran, the irony, I know. This confirms several things for me: 1; the US may not have much political clout in the country anymore; 2: Possibly points towards anti-Israeli sentiments within the government.
            The Turkish viewpoint is predictable to say the least, the country is eager to represent itself as strong and united when it comes to angling for EU membership which it missed out on in the last enlargement.

            Skud, what perhaps do you think has led to the anti-US sentiment within the Middle East. For me it runs deeper than merely a new form of colonialism. The global South often is associated with poverty, dictatorships and general anarchy, I shall include middle Asia also, for the benefit of this topic. I ask the question where these definitions come from? Typically from Western White Male politicians. Today we have the notable exception of Obama, however the rhetoric is similar. We in the West believe in our freedoms, rights etc, this I believe is what societal upbringing has caused us to believe. I ask, it this the better or best way to live? Our societies are very wealthy, healthy and literate, however they are also riddled with corruption( tax evasion etc) extremely divided along political and wealth lines. Corruption almost certainly exists in the global South and they are the ones we hear most about. We do compare everywhere else with us and that is interesting to me, we talk of dictators in other countries while regulators, bakers and politicians pull the strings in ours, perhaps the more 'visable' villain is the easiest to attack and remove.

            I note your 'democratic' point with interest. I assume you are pointing to corruption through the use of electoral skimming etc. This is very true and one point which I agree vehemently with, there is a severe democratic deficit when it comes to some leaders. However looking at this I do see correlations with the electoral college. I am not well versed on the mechanism however if a state votes 51% of a democratic candidate then 49% for a Republican then all the electoral college votes go to the Democrat, is this correct?

            I shall comment on your NBCR point later :)

            Regards

            Graeme
            WE HAVE YOU COVERED

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            • #7
              Re: Syrian Civil Conflict

              Look at Egypt though, they revolt against obvious tyranny again. Its better to let a nation gain its own freedom or tyranny than to stick our nose in where our interests are far from clear cut. It was different in WWII/I or the Gulf War, where obvious invasion was occurring. How would we feel if Europe played the dominant role in our own Civil War?

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              • #8
                Re: Syrian Civil Conflict

                Hagel has said that US intel points to use of Chemical Weapons by the Syrian regime.

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                • #9
                  Re: Syrian Civil Conflict

                  One serious bump due to the heavily increased tensions over the August 21st gas attacks.

                  Where do we all stand now?

                  I do not think this is an easy decision but the use of Chemical Weapons, and the risk of normalizing their use in future conflicts, is terrible.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Syrian Civil Conflict

                    Originally posted by Ytman View Post
                    I do not think this is an easy decision but the use of Chemical Weapons, and the risk of normalizing their use in future conflicts, is terrible.
                    Dead or maimed is dead or maimed, whether by bullet or by gas. Why do we intervene now?

                    I find it quite silly that there are "rules" in war. Boil it down, the goal of a war is to kill your enemy. Adopting "rules" is an attempt to basically say, "Well, at least we're killing people in an acceptable manner." Shouldn't it be that killing people is not acceptable, period?

                    Civil war, stay out of it.
                    [squadl]
                    "I am the prettiest african-american, vietnamese..cong..person." -SugarNCamo

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                    • #11
                      Re: Syrian Civil Conflict

                      Originally posted by SmokingTarpan View Post
                      Dead or maimed is dead or maimed, whether by bullet or by gas. Why do we intervene now?

                      I find it quite silly that there are "rules" in war. Boil it down, the goal of a war is to kill your enemy. Adopting "rules" is an attempt to basically say, "Well, at least we're killing people in an acceptable manner." Shouldn't it be that killing people is not acceptable, period?

                      Civil war, stay out of it.
                      I'm with Tarpan. Stay out of it unless violence directly affects American people or troops. We have little to gain and launching an attack would create more enemies worldwide than already exist. Let the Arab League deal with it. I'd like to see Saudi Arabia step up and take action. They are the powerhouse of the region (as well as Iran) and any message sent would go much farther and deeper than if it sent from the Kingdom than from the West and specifically the United States.
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                      |TG-1st|Grunt
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                      • #12
                        Re: Syrian Civil Conflict

                        I'm with y'all. Stay the hell out of it. The last thing we need to do is piss off another nation or group of nations. Not our problem, we need to stop being world police and focus on getting things back here squared away.

                        [unit][squadl][command2]

                        KnyghtMare ~You could always tell the person holding the gun to your head you would like to play on a different server...

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                        • #13
                          Re: Syrian Civil Conflict

                          I find that to be shocked that war has rules is a bit against history. The point of war is not to kill the other nation's entire population; that is genocide. To claim that dead is dead and that the means does not matter is to ignore the fact that a bullet kills one person but gas kills many and is not able to be targeted beyond large general regions; regions which change based on factors of wind and land and weather. Is to ignore the fact that the US has not once utilized its nuclear capacity in a conflict since Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

                          I understand that putting 'rules' to war seems a bit absurd but it is not because 'rules' are absurd but rather because war itself is an absurd state. War is what arises when one nation, or two or more, decide that armed conflict is a means to an end. It is when one nation decides that to gain what it must it must allow its own men and women to die in combat or as collateral. War is absurd to a civilization that is largely peaceful.

                          But without rules in war, without the ability to regulate war to moments of absurd destruction and death, we risk losing civilization. The main problem I have with the US 'War on Terror' is that it is an action without many rules. There is no 'win condition' no chance of 'Armistice Day' of POWs being returned to civilian life.

                          Japan hit us hard on Pearl Harbor, Fuchida was a top planner of the mission and operation and even partook in it personally. He was responsible for many dead Americans and yet after VJ-Day he was not a terrorist or a war criminal. He was not executed for murdering Americans in cold blood. War has rules because society has rules.

                          It is a civil war and I would never argue for decisive offensive actions against either elements inside that country. It would be tantamount to France sending its entire Navy against the British Armada during the 1770s. However, it still is true that France did support our fledgling nation against a nation it rivaled.

                          I am not saying it is America's responsibility to even try and put al-Assad on trial, that is for Syria to decide, but to blink in the face of Chemical Weapons being used as a weapon against a population? 15 times? Certain munitions aren't allowed to be used by our Military because it is considered cruel and unusual! Yet we will trivialize the use Chemical Weapons as agents of terror and destruction in the Middle East?

                          If ever there was any potential validity for our actions in Iraq it is the concept of not allowing WMDs to be used in conflict. Iraq had none and we invaded them for it. Syria has used them, is using them, and we'll balk? We wont even consider strikes like Clinton had done in '98 against Iraq's Chemical Weapon sites?

                          To justify the use of chemical weapons is to justify their proliferation and commonality in all conflicts hence forth. Hezbollah and the Mujaheddin are currently in Syria; if the international community acts as if it is okay that Chemical Weapons are killing Muslims then what precendent is there for them when they may seek to turn it immediately south of Syria? Towards Israel?

                          Rockets kill people so gas is okay too.

                          Its a dangerous precedent and I can not help but think about the blinking of the world as Germany took Austria and Slovakia thinking; 'It'll settle itself'.

                          Let Syria fight its civil war; yes. But it can do it without Chemical weapons.



                          EDIT: I do think, however, that the Obama Administration should not bypass congress with matters of force. A vote should be called and I have a strong suspicion (given the recent vote in the UK) that the vote would be nay.

                          Such is fine and is natural in a democracy. Yet I fear that inaction would only leave a broth for which another worse case will arise and demand immediate action. Much like the Munich Convention set the stage for the war in Europe.
                          Last edited by Ytman; 08-29-2013, 06:46 PM.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Syrian Civil Conflict

                            sigpic

                            Former Pathfinder
                            Former ARMA Admin
                            Former ARMA TGU instructor
                            Former TGU Headmaster
                            Current Noob
                            Im also pretty bad at World of Tanks -

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                            • #15
                              Re: Syrian Civil Conflict

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