Syrian Gas Attack. Should the West intervene?

  • US President Donald Trump has condemned the killing of dozens of civilians in northern Syria in an apparent chemical weapons attack by Syria's air force.


    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-39508868



    Russia has been sharply criticised by other world powers at the UN Security Council in New York over the chemical weapons deaths in northern Syria.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-39500319


    Reports from Syria indicate that a chemical substance has been used in Idlib in a horrific attack.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-39489998
    ====


    So, someone, likely Assad, attacked his own people again on Tuesday with chemical weapons.


    When Obama was president he said that this sort of thing was a red line and if crossed, he would act. This sort of thing did happen again and again, and Obama did not act.


    Yesterday, the UN met and the US and UK blamed Assad and berated Russia for helping him.


    Then afterwards, Trump condemned the attack, blamed Assad, but made no mention of Russia - yet.


    So, what happens next? Should something happen next?


    On Newsnight last night, there was a discussion about this and one idea put forward is that America might send a warning to Assad and bomb one of his airfields or something. Would that stop him? There was also discussion of going in and destroying the chemical weapons, but how could that realistically be achieved without major military action? The other idea put forward was asking Russia to help and destroy the chemical weapons....like they'd do that.


    Should we carry on and watch babies burn on our screens, or, risk a confrontation with the Russians and go after Assad?


    My opinion, is, sod the Russians, it's time for Assad to go... years overdue in fact.

  • I agree with you that using chemical weapons is morally reprehensible. Both Sarin and Chlorine gas weapons are gifts to psychos from the Germans in both World wars. Which shows how little dictators really care about anything but their own aspirations.


    I think doing things to antagonise Russia under Putin is probably the most delicate aspect of this response to what happens. But Russia can't go one supporting these regimes just because Russia is posing a greater war threat.


    The solution is almost certainly with the people concerned. They need to be radically opposed to oppression and Islamic extremism enough to stand against it.


    I've just seen the video of the father who lost his wife and twin children. There is a perfect reason to stand against this bullshit. It is horrific, unnecessary and should not be permitted to go on.

  • Everybody seems to be assuming that Assad launched a chemical attack, but I question that because what has he got to gain from antagonising the west with such a ploy? He has enough firepower to take down the rebels anyway. An alternative narrative suggests that the raid had released chemicals from an IS stock pile and we know that IS has also used chemicals in the past. I seem to remember a while ago that Assad had surrendered his chemical weapons.


    What would replace the Assad regime? We could easily end up with a hardline Islamic regime that stones women to death for getting raped and throws gays off rooftops. The middle East and democracy make uneasy bed fellows.

    History is much like an Endless Waltz. The three beats of war, peace and revolution continue on forever.

    4312-gwban-gif

  • The solution is almost certainly with the people concerned. They need to be radically opposed to oppression and Islamic extremism enough to stand against it.


    But they did stand against it... many are dead. Millions of refugees fled causing the European refugee crisis and possibly indirectly Brexit, and their cities are destroyed.


    I know you're against interventions LW, but what do you think? Should the West get involved? Trump already has "advisors" there...


    If we did get involved, what would be the end game? Regime change, or just degrading Assad's military capacity and capability to do such horrific attacks on his own people?


    What if the Russians protect him? What happens then?

  • Everybody seems to be assuming that Assad launched a chemical attack, but I question that because what has he got to gain from antagonising the west with such a ploy? He has enough firepower to take down the rebels anyway. An alternative narrative suggests that the raid had released chemicals from an IS stock pile and we know that IS has also used chemicals in the past. I seem to remember a while ago that Assad had surrendered his chemical weapons.


    What would replace the Assad regime? We could easily end up with a hardline Islamic regime that stones women to death for getting raped and throws gays off rooftops. The middle East and democracy make uneasy bed fellows.


    It's a quagmire, I agree, which is why we didn't get involved to begin with, but as a result there has been untold suffering.


    I think you're right to play devil's advocate, but there are UN experts on the ground who said if it had been an attack on a IS stockpile, the death and injuries would have been far less and localised. This gas was spread over a wide area, which means either artillery shells, or more likely, dropped by planes. We've seen before Assad use barrel bombs full of chemicals, so he has form here.


    As for antagonising the west, Assad isn't concerned by that, why would he? He crossed Obama's red lines and nothing happened and besides, now he has Russian support, something he didn't have at the beginning of the conflict.


    As for what would replace a Assad regime, I agree. We could end up with a far nastier regime than we have now. But this has all been done before though. We supported the Shah (King) in Iran, as an example, that led directly to the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in Iran and the rise to power of the clerics there which have since spread terrorism around the region and endangered the stability of the whole world.


    I agree, if you do something, you may get a lot more "somethings" further down the road which are a lot nastier. But, in my opinion, evil has to be confronted.

  • Yes, it's uncertain whose chemicals they are, but it seems agreed that they belong to the Assad regime as his planes were observed bombing that area prior to this. If I recall, Saddam was a fan of chemical attacks too.


    I agree with Heero that a power vacuum would exist if Assad were to fall as suddenly as Qaddafi, Saddam or Mubarak. The rebels are seeded with extremist insurgents now.


    It's the ordinary people I am sorry for. They are suffering the most intense trauma and it has to stop.


    You can't absorb any more refugees and the refugees have nowhere to go as their homes and cities are being bombed to kingdom come.


    Will someone please step up to the plate and put a stop to this insane carnage.

  • I'm not against intervention if it will do some good. I'm against it if it is to line the pockets of oil magnates and political opportunists and elites.


    I think dropping a few bombs on your enemy is useless.


    I don't know what should be done to save the hapless populations from both Islamic extremists and their own dictators. I think this would require a sort of "All Thing" (pagan Icelandic Parliament meeting) where representatives of groups make suggestions and work out a way to stop the carnage, oppression and sheer horror that is the Middle East today. No one can do this alone, or without the support and cooperation of the people.

  • I have no idea what a pagan Icelandic Parliament meeting is, but sounds interesting!


    I think a degrading of some of Assad's military such as bombing some of his airfields, may work. He saw what happened next door to him with Saddam and in Libya and there is a slim chance a few limited strikes might make him think again.

  • The Alþingi (anglicised as Althing or Althingi) is the national parliament of Iceland. It is one of the oldest extant parliamentary institutions in the world.


    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Althing


    Germanic tribes have brought its basic ideals into the modern world but few know this and think we owe it all to Judaeo-Christianity. (We owe Judaeo-Christianity bugger all, in truth, except the poxy legacy of the Crusades, sectarian warfare and heretic burning.) :p

  • I see Trump has intervened. Assad is miffed and Putin will no doubt be equally put out. This could spark a large scale (and totally unnecessary) conflict, but Trump's reasons were correct in that the Middle East situation is causing an ongoing refugee problem that is now completely out of control. People are being unhoused, so to speak, mostly because no one can get rid of IS effectively and dictators won't budge. It's a no-win situation all round, ultimately.

  • His reasons were correct but past experience tells us these things are not as simple as we want them to be.


    At least we don't need any more proof that Trump is just another Republican politician.

  • What is important is putting an end to the horror that has unfolded in the Middle East. Not for the sake of anyone but the people of the Middle East, first and foremost. They deserve to live in peace and freedom and the leaders worldwide who can help to make this possible will go down not as politicians but as intelligently compassionate human beings who, for once, tried to see beyond what was profitable or expedient. Where, for once, their enemy's enemy is their friend was not considered a good enough excuse to indulge in a killing spree not made any holier by being in opposition to their gods (because you think yours is better) or their petty squabbles, or your own greed and aspirations.


    That is the most difficult thing to achieve. It's easy to bomb or invade someone because you want their oil, or you hate their religion, or their refugees are getting on your nerves. It is another thing to care about what is happening so you can see past all the junk and get to the devastation occurring in the lives of individuals who have become the victims of what is happening, often simply because they wanted change, they desired liberty, they sought identity, they desired peace and freedom to make their own decisions and accomplish their own dreams.


    When some bearded faith freak comes along and asks you to kill for your God you really have to ask yourself whether this is a cunning plot to make of you the enemy of your God.


    When someone comes along and tells you you must go to war against someone you don't know who hasn't done anything to you because he is "an infidel" and must be converted because your God demands this, you have to ask yourself if you aren't being made a fall guy for an atrocity that has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with sheer madness, and unquestionable evil.


    None of this should lead to global conflict or protracted war between powers outside of the Middle Eastern troubles. These troubles should not be used as a good excuse to gain more territory or resources, or simply to detour the people's attention from internal strife within the so-called allies.


    Humans have managed to create two unspeakably terrible global conflicts. Let's see if they can manage to avert a third one. Let's make sure we don't sit around supporting it. Because when it comes, no one will like it, and when it finally goes, there will be a lot of dead folk lying around who aren't going to get up again because war isn't a computer game, it's deadly real and it destroys everything our ancestors built.


    War is the most ungracious finger anyone can stick up to those who went before us and it is the most poisonous legacy anyone can bequeath to their children.

  • I'm a bit of an isolationist and don't think the West should get involved in the Middle East at all usually. But this case is an exception. Using poison gas is a war crime. Assad has done it before, he was warned before and no action was taken. Unless someone does get him to understand that there is a price to pay he will do it again and we cannot just stand by and watch people being slaughtered.


    Trump's call for humanitarian nations to join in stopping these attacks is justified. If the rebels or government forces or whoever want to kill each other, fine, let them get on with it but I don't want to see indiscriminate killing of civilians and children and certainly not by gassing.


    In my opinion, Trump is 100% right in taking action.

  • Yes. They will criticise him, of course, as some people are never satisfied, but it is time something was done and he said he would do it and it looks like he is going to. It has also thrown cold water on all the opinion flying about regarding his relationship with Putin.


    Apparently over half of the UK agrees with this intervention.

  • American strike on Syria

    Blimey, I'm away for a few hours and all hell breaks loose....!


    America has carried out a airstrike on a Syrian airfeld and Russia has warned that we are one step away from confornatation with Russia.


    Some reaction from some of the world's media, for the foreign language sites you'll need to stick them through the translator:


    CNN:


    The United States launched a military strike Thursday on a Syrian government airbase in response to a chemical weapons attack that killed dozens of civilians earlier in the week.


    http://edition.cnn.com/2017/04/06/po...ary/index.html


    BBC:


    The US has carried out a missile strike against a Syrian air base in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack on a rebel-held town.


    http://www.lemonde.fr/syrie/article/...5_1618247.html


    France's Le Monde:


    http://www.lemonde.fr/syrie/article/...5_1618247.html


    Germany's ZDF:


    http://www.heute.de/hoffnung-von-syr...-46932004.html


    Russia Today (you can guess their take on it and take a look of their map which shows who condemned the attacck...):


    https://www.theguardian.com/commenti...rumps-impulses


    The Guardian comment:


    https://www.theguardian.com/commenti...rumps-impulses
    ====


    Good!


    A message has been sent. If that message is not understood, another will be sent.


    I don't particularly like Trump, but this was proportionate and correct thing to do. What say you?

  • I'd expect everyone to be concerned with possible chaos as an end result. That's what usually happens. Sometimes it seems the only positive effect of these actions is that it makes Western politicians feel like they're doing something.

  • Do you not think Hoxton, this strike might at least make Assad think before using chemical weapons again?


    I agree, perhaps Trump maybe doing it because at least he "feels" he is doing something. But, he is.

  • He is quite shrewd. He has castigated Putin and is making friends with China.


    Do you reckon, as sick as it may seem, that this chemical attack by "Assad" may in fact be a test by Putin, to gauge Trump's reaction to a red line being crossed, unlike Obama?

  • The Russians were supposed to be looking after the chemical weapons. For Assad's forces to use them it had to be with the connivance of the Russians?

    History is much like an Endless Waltz. The three beats of war, peace and revolution continue on forever.

    4312-gwban-gif

  • I still think that apart from giving Assad a smack the UK should keep it's distance. If the Donald wants to go further let him. I feel there's still a measure of doubt about where the chemicals have come from.

    History is much like an Endless Waltz. The three beats of war, peace and revolution continue on forever.

    4312-gwban-gif

  • I still think that apart from giving Assad a smack the UK should keep it's distance. If the Donald wants to go further let him. I feel there's still a measure of doubt about where the chemicals have come from.


    If Trump does get more involved, he doesn't need us in any case. They have the power to do whatever they want.

  • I can't see Russia backing down. Having Assad in power, Syria is a perfect buffer state between Russia and the West. Same with Iran and the mullahs. From the Russian point of view the West has been advancing almost by stealth through the Baltic and the Balkans to almost but up against their Western frontier. Ukraine was the last straw to Putin and he signalled it by taking back the Crimea and backing the rebels in the Eastern part of Ukraine. If the West keeps arming the Syrian rebels, then Russia will keep arming Assads regime and it continues as a war by proxy. We should be very careful that a war by proxy doesn't become a real one with everybody as loosers.

    History is much like an Endless Waltz. The three beats of war, peace and revolution continue on forever.

    4312-gwban-gif

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