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End game in Syria?

Written By: - Date published: 10:44 am, July 20th, 2012 - 190 comments
Categories: war - Tags:

In the dictatorship game, you know that you’re in trouble when you’re shelling your own capital. That’s what Syria’s Assad has been reduced to as the rebellion rolls on. Initially, it appeared the fighting in Damascus could have been a repeat of Homs – drawing the rebels into a head to head fight and giving them a pasting. Comments from rebel commanders suggested they didn’t want a stand-up stoush but were hemmed in. But, now, it looks different.

The first point was the introduction of the Muslim Brotherhood into the fight. This powerful, international movement had sat on the sidelines in Syria until now – as it did in Egypt until it was clear which way the cards would fall. They don’t have much of an existing fighting force but they will bring financing and connections for arms imports.

The second was seeing footage of the Syrian Army fighting in Damascus. They looked very poor, doing the ‘stand behind the corner of a building, stick your Ak-47 around the corner and fire wildly’ tactic that you see from amateurs. I suspect these were Alawite militia in army uniform. If that’s correct, that the regime is using amateurs on the frontline in a battle in its capital, it suggests that the army is having big manpower issues (not surprising given that the bulk of the army is Sunnis who have deserted in droves, with even Sunni generals and colonels defecting).

And the third was Assad’s war cabinet getting blown up. The loss of the Defence Minister, the Deputy Defence Minister, and a former Defence Minister along with the wounding of the Interior Minister and National Security Minister in what was either a suicide bombing or an infiltration leaving a briefcase bomb reminiscent of the 20th July plot is a hammer blow (if it was a remote control briefcase bomb, as the Free Syrian Army says, I wouldn’t be surprised if a foreign intelligence agency assisted).

It doesn’t simply deprive the regime of senior leaders. It makes every member of the regime feel vulnerable, which will see more resources diverted from the fighting to internal protection. And it makes everyone fighting for them reassess if they are on the winning side, and the consequences of being on the losing one. John Kerry once said ‘how can you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?’ – there will be plenty of regime soldiers wondering if they want to be the last to die for Assad.

The Free Syria Army could have broken and faded after Homs – that was the regime objective in having a big stand up fight and giving the freedom fighters a hammering. That the rebellion has endured and grown seals Assad’s fate.

It’s a numbers game now and there are a hell of a lot more young Sunni men, many conscripts or ex-conscripts, than there are Alawite soldiers. The Alawites are a small, historically marginalised group that have only enjoyed power since Assad’s father’s coup.

The fact that the nominally heavily armed regime has been trying to import new helicopter gunships suggests much of its heavy equipment is inoperable. A year and a half of fighting wears out complex heavy weapons while it has given the Free Syrian Army a lot of battle experience. The regime has reportedly even pulled out units covering the contested border with Israel to join the fighting in Damascus – that’s how serious its situation has become.

Are we seeing the regime’s final days? Still hard to say.

This isn’t like Libya, where the country’s geography and ethnic lines lead to a series of rebel-held areas, and a single main frontline moving toward Tripoli and a final fight. In Syria, the ethnic lines are blurred and the geography doesn’t lend itself to a ‘frontline’. It will have to end in an uprising in Damascus, and it will require the local Sunni population standing up to the Alawite militias.

It looks like that is happening now, with the local population backed by a veteran core of the FSA trained and equipped in Turkey. If a collapse comes in the regime, it could be very quick. If the regimes soldiers and militia start melting away from the fight, then it quickly becomes a case of not being the last man left holding the regime’s flag.

If the Damascus fighting should ebb with the regime still in charge, I think the next big event will be Turkey establishing a buffer zone within Syria. This could have happened after the Turkish jet was shot down (and Assad knew it, which is why he publicly said he wished it hadn’t happened) but another pretext will be found if it is wanted. This would give the FSA a much larger safe base of operations and encourage more Syrians to join the fight knowing that their families are protected from regime revenge. It would be a huge prestige blow to Assad and further stretch its military.

And if the regime collapses in the coming days? Well, then things will get interesting. The Syrian opposition is comprised of several groups, liberals and islamists, Sunnis and Kurds, and, now, the Muslim Brotherhood. Hopefully, Libya and (to a much lesser extent) Egypt prove that heterogeneous opposition groups can peacefully hold elections and create a government after a revolution.

It’s not pretty and perfect, of course, but that’s true of any fledgling democracy after dictatorship. So far, the Arab Spring has proven that transitions, however incomplete and testy, can occur in former Arab dictatorships without the anti-faction regimes turning their guns on each other.

PS. Since I wrote this, it’s becoming clearer that the regime is collapsing. All border crossings with Iraq are reportedly in FSA hands. Assad is thought to have fled Damascus for a coastal town in the Alawite heartland. Footage is appearing of freedom fighters dancing on disabled, out more likely abandoned, regime tanks as more cities say they have thrown of the regime yoke. Damascus will probably fall in days. The Alawite areas in the north east will take longer and take assurances of fair treatment from the new government before they hand over the remains of the regime.

190 comments on “End game in Syria?”

  1. McFlock 1

     
    The Turkish leadership will also be pissed at the possibility of another semi-autonomous Kurdish territory on its border.  
           
    I’m intrigued as to which intelligence agencies would be interested in helping the FSA, though. Possibly the Saudis or the UK. I think the US is doubtful as (if they’ve learnt anything at all) they’re probably a bit shy of helping just any bunch of Middle Eastern rebels as long as it pisses off the Russians. Unless the FSA has already cut a “bases for bang bangs” deal.

    • Deano 1.1

      The FSA has certainly being getting arms from the Saudis and across the Iraqi border with tribes that straddle the border. The Turks have been giving them a safe haven and you would think Western intelligence is in Turkey at least monitoring if not assisting hte FSA there.

      The shift in dynamic is interesting for the regional balance between Saudi and Iran. For the previous 3-4 decades, Iraq was ruled by its Sunni minority and a bulwark against Iran, even if an increasingly unstable one. Now, it’s government is Shi-ite dominated and Iran-friendly. Syria was ruled by its Alawi (Shi’ite or non-muslim depending on who you ask) minority and Iran friendly, anti-Saudi, but the new government will be Sunni-dominated with a debt to the Saudis.

      Interestingly, both the old Iraqi and Syrian regimes were Ba’athist and initially friendly despite their opposite sides on the bigger regional division between Saudi and Iran.

      • Jenny 1.1.1

        The latest word from Syria is that most, if not all, of the border posts between Syria and Turkey are now manned by the FSA.

        • Jenny 1.1.1.1

          Breaking news; the FSA is now also in control of at least one Iraq/Syria border post. As Iraq is a war zone awash with weapons, this is a major strategic gain for the weapons starved FSA. Reports are that the regime is rushing columns of troops to the Iraqi border in an attempt to regain control of the border and plug the gap.

          • Jenny 1.1.1.1.1

            Despite government reinforcements. Second Iraqi border post falls to rebels.

  2. urban rascal 2

    It’s great to see the people going for their human rights. I struggle to grasp the truth of the matter in any report we see through our media though. The idea that the Free Syria Army is in any way better than the existing regime is unfounded. And based on Libya where there’s been large unreported ethnic cleansing across the country since the rebellion, I can’t see it ending well either way.
    Syria is an important asset in a ground force invasion of Iran after all.

    Media Lens has a good article regarding the Houla Massacre and the free presses jumping to conclusions and ignoring contradicting reports:
    http://www.medialens.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=683:the-houla-massacre-part-2-shades-of-grey&catid=25:alerts-2012&Itemid=69

    One particular part I found disturbing was the Western media reports of Syrian army cutting the heads of the victims. First reports indicate that all died from bullet wounds and no evidence of what we heard from our news sources. So it’s hard to take a side when you can see the huge corruption in the reporting process.

    I just hope it turns out better than Libya. I believe special forces were brought in there to train North African Militia’s who have now been roaming the country exacting revenge for their treatment by pre-revolution Libya.

    • Deano 2.1

      So, your first sentence in that post was a lie. You actually want Assad to remain in power. And you miss Gaddafi.

      • urban rascal 2.1.1

        Amnesty reported ‘the mounting toll of victims of an increasingly lawless Libya, where the transitional authorities have been unable or unwilling to rein in the hundreds of militias formed during and after the 2011 conflict’.

        The militias are now ‘threatening the very future of Libya and casting a shadow over landmark national elections… They are killing people, making arbitrary arrests, torturing detainees and forcibly displacing and terrorizing entire communities… They are also recklessly using machineguns, mortars and other weaponry during tribal and territorial battles, killing and maiming bystanders. They act above the law, committing their crimes without fear of punishment.’ There is ‘a very real risk that the patterns of abuse that inspired the “17 February Revolution [sic]” will be reproduced and entrenched’.

        Amnesty added:

        ‘The authorities have also failed to resolve the situation of entire communities displaced during the conflict and unable to return to their homes, which were looted and burned by armed militias seeking revenge… The entire population of the city of Tawargha, estimated at 30,000, was driven out by Misratah militias and remains scattered across Libya, including in poorly resourced camps in Tripoli and Benghazi.

        • urban rascal 2.1.1.1

          What I mean is, what we support doesn’t always end up in the best interests of the people of that nation.

          30,000 Libyans driven out of their homes by the same militia’s we all rooted for last spring doesn’t seem to me to be an all together more free and transparent society.

          The media can ignore that completely. Because to admit otherwise, while they are concentrated on Syria and their crimes against their people, would show us all just how much any of this is truly about human rights and how much stirring the pot in Libya has effected everyday life for tens of thousands for the worse.

        • Deano 2.1.1.2

          yeah, because clearly after decades of institutional terrorism, the population should have created the structure of a liberal civil society out of nothing already and Libya should be the Norway of the Desert by now.

          of course it’s not perfect. But at least it’s got a chance to get better now and they’re building the structure of democracy. That’s not something you could say when the murdering dictatorship was in charge.

          you people are such sanctimonous, hypocritical liberal pricks. You back the dictators to the last (hey, maybe brown people like being ruled by tyrants, you say) and then you spit on the attempts to build something better because it’s inevitably not perfect and subject to setbacks.

          • urban rascal 2.1.1.2.1

            I would read the links if you included them about syria’s institutionalised terrorism but I don’t think you’ve read Muzza’s or the Media lens one so continuing this is pointless, you obviously have a staunch view and react to someone who has picked up on the lack of transparency in the Syrian news.

            I would highly recommend Muzza’s link below though.

            • Deano 2.1.1.2.1.1

              there’s a little corner of the internet that believes the moon landing didn’t happen, that airliners are spraying us with mind-control chemicals, and that anyone fighting against a dictator must be a agent of the CIA. Assad supporters like you are in that corner.

              It’s on a par with that other corner that believes climate change was invented by scientists to get more funding, that peak oil is a myth, and that Obama is a communist who was born in Kenya.

              • Colonial Viper

                Gaddafi’s Libya had advanced womens rights (for an Arab country at least), free public education through to university for men and women, Africa’s largest oil reserves, and a central bank rich in gold which operated independently of the foreign banking cartels.

                Its that last two points that the west had an issue with.

              • muzza

                What Deano fails to understand, and lack of reading and thnking will lead to that, is Assads father was very much more of a dictator than he is, and the west had little problem with him. Assad is much more of a reformist that his father ever was, and now the west have t problem, the same was as with Libya.
                Ther are many forces at play in the ME, none is what they look like a face value, which is why Deano it if you are going to take the authors position that its all simple, then do those dying around the world the respectful thing by doing some fucken reading….

                Using the moon landing etc simply shows you are trying to muddy the waters referring to more shit you know nothing about…

                So far as chem trails are concerned, well actually I have filmed footage over Auckland on May 6 this year which shows a plane at about 35-40000 feet spraying something, from horizon to horizon. Do I know what it is, no, do I think that spraying substances which will come down on food, water and people is likely to be doing us good, absolutely not….Again you try to muddy water by saying some people think brainwashing sirum is in spray, I personally doubt that is necessary, because listening to people like you , and reading people like Michael Valley tells me that the MSM brainwashing has done more than a good enough job already!

                Baaaa baaa baa, baa baa baram….

              • Colonial Viper

                People can’t be this blind, right? The West has no inherent problem with dictators. Compliant friendly dictators are great and will be supported. Pinochet, Shah of Iran, Saddam Hussein, Saudi Royal Family, etc. All good guys, no?

                The west has a problem with dictators that they cannot control or have eventually become liabilities, though.

          • muzza 2.1.1.2.2

            “But at least it’s got a chance to get better now and they’re building the structure of democracy”

            –Seems that thinking, reading, researching and so on is over and above your desire to understand Deano!

            You have been very fooled, just like the rest of the sheep!

            Baaaa

            • Vicky32 2.1.1.2.2.1

              You have been very fooled, just like the rest of the sheep!
              Baaaa

              Seconded!

            • Zetetic 2.1.1.2.2.2

              There’s a civil war in Syria, muzza. Who do you think should win?

              Assad or the rebels?

              The assorted groups wanting self-determination, or the regime that got power by murdering the previous government and then murdering anyone who dared to think about opposing them?

              Simple question.

              Give us a straight answer.

              If you want Assad to win, be strong enough to just say it.

              • muzza

                Z, are you serious in looking for a yes or no answer to such a serious situation. I would have expected something better given you are an author on this site, but as they let Michael Valley repeat peddle this sort of shit, so it follows thats some of the other authors might actually agree with what he writes. Authors are not necessarily immune to the sheep like mindlessness of the average human.

                Your thinking patterns are flawed in and your question to me, tells that clearly!

                In summary, no I will not give a one word answer, because all those who are dying for anyones agenda, and that is what we are talking about at the core of these wars, deservers much better!

                Sounds like you need some time researching and thinking too!

                • Zetetic

                  there’s actually a binary situation here. Assad wins or the rebels do. There’s no point dithering away. Those are the only two possible outcomes.

                  All your words tell us which side you think should win. You have nothing but condemnation and conspiracy theories for the freedom fighters and delusions of popular support for the dictatorship. If you think Assad ought to continue to rule, that’s your opinion. Just be strong enough to come out and say it.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Feel free to ignore the active destabilisation of a peaceful and culturally advanced country to get to this point, however.

                    As for a choice between Assad and the rebels…we know what we’re going to get with Assad. What are we going to get with the rebels? Sharia law and a roll back of womens rights to the norm of every other arab country?

                    • Zetetic

                      With the rebels, there’s a chance of something better. And the Arab Spring has shown that so far governments that are more progressive and more democratic than the status quo have been formed (hell, even the Egyptian Muslim Bortherhood President is appointing female vice president and a christian one), why should Syria be any different?

                      With Assad, you would see whole towns exterminated in his revenge. But, hey, at least “we know what we’re getting”

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Lets roll the dice then eh. Working out for the Egyptians is it?

                    • Zetetic

                      yeah, it is working out for the Egyptians. It’s not fucken Norway, of course it isn’t. But they’ve had a free and fair election. There’s a geniune contest for power between a civil government and the military but it’s been held peacefully. That’s a step up from a police state.

                      The scary thing about your logic, CV, is that you would have been on King John’s side, on Louis XVI’s side, on the British side in 1776… because you’re arguing the devil you know is better than the risk the alternative might not be perfect.

                      It’s weird that the Western liberals has become the world’s biggest promoters of dictatorships. Not for themselves, of course, but for the poor and the brown.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Feel free to talk about liberal naievete in matters of revolution as long as you remember how the likes of Marcos, the Shah of Iran, Saddam Hussein, Pinochet, etc. stayed in power so long.

                      Oh shit, it happens to be the same western powers behind what’s happening in Libya and Syria!

                      It’s weird that the Western liberals has become the world’s biggest promoters of dictatorships. Not for themselves, of course, but for the poor and the brown.

                      Its weird that you’ve forgotten how bloody, dangerous and unpredictable revolutionary change is when it is fomented by outside powers for their own ends.

                      But you’re just fine with the poor and brown taking on that risk faraway eh?

                    • Jenny

                      Feel free to ignore the active destabilisation of a peaceful and culturally advanced country to get to this point, however.

                      As for a choice between Assad and the rebels…we know what we’re going to get with Assad. What are we going to get with the rebels? Sharia law and a roll back of womens rights to the norm of every other arab country?

                      Colonial Viper in reply to Zetetic

                      What a load of patronising racist rubbish you spout CV.

                      Insulting to the Arab peoples of all faiths, and none, a deliberate dismissal of people’s struggle for freedom, shamefully and wilfuly blind to the democratic impulse behind the Arab Spring.

                      Blanket man you are exposing yourself as an ignorant right wing racist and Islamaphobe.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Hey Jenny, never thought you’d fall for Western propaganda so hard. Cheering the “Freedom Fighters” on are we? Like I said, let’s talk in 18 months and see if women are still allowed in Damascus universities.

                  • muzza

                    “All your words tell us which side you think should win. You have nothing but condemnation and conspiracy theories for the freedom fighters and delusions of popular support for the dictatorship. If you think Assad ought to continue to rule, that’s your opinion. Just be strong enough to come out and say it.”

                    –The fact you think this is a binary situation makes your thought patterns on this subject, simple foolish, juvenile nonsense.

                    Stop reading FOX news and CNN etc, and try some varied information absorbtion, I’m not inventing these theories, they have played themselves out as fact in Iraq, Afgan, Egypt, Libya, not to mention the masses of destabilisations in the Cental and South Americas in decades past..

                    The Freedom fighters, of which you see yourself as one, are the same band of NATO paid thugs doing the rounds elsewhere….Its all about the secular destabilization of the region, surely even the dimist of light bulbs can work that one through. Does that mean there are not thugs in the Syrian Military, of course not, but the death squads are not from Syria, any more than than Free Syrian Army, or the Syrian Observatory are!
                    I do not give a toss who runs the country, as long as it is decided by those who legally live there, only them, without any external interference or assistance from “agendas”.
                    If there is a dictatorship, frankly I dont care, its not my business, and neither have the f*scists who supported Assads father previously cared, but now the agenda has changed, and the middle east must burn as a collective unit.

                    What I do not like is lies, on any side of a debate, lies in life no matter how small lead only to badness, you seem hapy to endulge them, which puts you into a large club with the mass of walking dead!

                    So much more than can be written on this complex issue, but just read the Skelton links as a start, if you thinks that all BS, fair enough, that your prerogetive.

                    But why on earth would you assume any of my comments mean I support Assad is beyond adult logic, oh wait thats right, you only think in binary!

                    • Kotahi Tane Huna

                      The Free Syria Army are not from Syria. Muzza can tell, it says so on the internet.

                    • Urban Raskal

                      It’s not beyond a possibility.
                      Reports on the Libyan revolt seemed to indicate North African Militia’s formed a large part of the rebel force and are currently responsible for genocide and torture throughout Libya.
                      The immigrants that formed the squads were brought into Libya to work on Ghaddafi’s large water pipelines. No doubt they were treated like serfs and are exacting revenge on the Arab Libyans. This may be as untrue as what The Guardian will tell you though.

                      I can’t understand people who actively support a position of chaos in the name of human rights. We have examples all over the world of what happens to the women and children on the ground in these events. They will sit here and harp on that a dictator is the highest evil.
                      Bullshit. War and the death of the innocent is the highest evil. I can’t support this because doing so is to me, supporting a higher evil. Supporting a side which will lead to a higher rate of hardship of the everyday workers in that country.

                      Pushing this conflict further is not in the syrian peoples interest. They are at a stage when the FSA have enough power to peacefully end this conflict with Assad stepping down or making democratic concessions. This is the only thing i’d support. You say don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater?

                      The Daily Star:
                      “Even if Assad did leave power, the opposition is widely perceived to be far too disorganized to take over. There is no clear candidate to lead the country in Assad’s absence, and the grim sectarian tint to much of the violence suggests any power vacuum will usher in a bloodbath.”

                    • Jenny

                      The Freedom fighters, of which you see yourself as one, are the same band of NATO paid thugs doing the rounds elsewhere.

                      muzza in reply to Zetetic taking the side of the Syrian people against the Assad regime

                      What a load of rubbish, Muzza, it is you who needs to do some reading.

                      After 17 months of slaughter in Syria, there is no no-fly zone. The extent of Western and ‘client’ intervention is this:

                      Saudi Arabia and Qatar may be providing a small amount of light weaponry.

                      The Turks may be helping to coordinate the weapons deliveries.

                      The CIA appears to have a few men on the ground watching where the weapons are going and hoping (vainly) to ensure that they’ll never end up in the hands of anti-Zionist militants.

                      On the other side stands a nakedly sectarian regime which considers its people slaves and murders them and destroys their cities with Russian weapons. Imperialist Russia, which has oppressed Muslims in the Caucuses and central Asia, and which bears half the blame for all the Cold War hot wars in Africa, is resupplying the regime with attack helicopters, tank parts and ammunition as the death toll surpasses 17,000. Russia also protects the regime from condemnation at the UN security council. It plays the same role with regards to Syria that the United States plays with Israel.

                      But how do the blanket thinkers see the situation? For them it’s yet another clearcut case of American imperialist aggression against a noble resistance regime, and once again the people are passive tools.

                      At best they are passive tools. They are also depicted as wild Muslims, bearded and hijabbed, who do not deserve democracy or rights because they are too backward to use them properly. Give them democracy and they’ll vote for the Muslim Brotherhood, and slaughter the Alawis and drive the Christians to Beirut.

                      The blanket thinkers search for evidence of crimes committed by the popular resistance, and when they find them (usually on very flimsy evidence) they use them to smear the entire movement. They demand the resistance negotiate with a regime which has proved again and again that its only strategy is slaughter. They demand that the people remain peaceful as their children are tortured, their women raped, their neighbourhoods levelled…..
                      Robin Yassin-Kassab

                      http://kiaoragaza.wordpress.com/2012/07/23/wests-left-damning-syrian-revolt-are-blanket-thinkers/#more-17611

              • Colonial Viper

                There’s a civil war in Syria, muzza. Who do you think should win?

                Assad or the rebels?

                Hey Zetetic, what do you think the chances of a theocracy or strict Sharia law being instituted in Syria, if the ‘rebels’ win?

                Currently Syria has a secular emphasis, where for example women are able to drive, work as professionals and attend university.

                Simple question.

                • Zetetic

                  Pretty low. The leadership of the revolution is not extremist and, like you say, the bulk of the population isn’t militant islamist. And the country has a number of ethnic and religious divisions which have historically meant domination by a single group was hard and toleration pretty strong – the Assad clique and the elevation of the Alwaites under their rule is the exception, not the norm.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Hey lets see how its all going there in 18 months. Be happy to remind you of our respective positions at that time.

                    • Zetetic

                      yeah. well let’s just both hope that in 18 months you’re not gloating while thousands die under Assad’s hand.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      You oddly reversed positions there. If thousands are dying under Assad’s brutal dictatorship in 18 months, I won’t be gloating, I’ll be conceeding that you were correct at this point.

                  • Jenny

                    Good on you Zetetic.

                    Colonial Viper is The Standard’s blanket man, ideologically naked under a thin covering of leftist rhetoric.

                    The problem with blanket thinkers is that they are unable to adapt to a rapidly shifting reality. Instead of evidence, principles and analytical tools, they are armed only with ideological blinkers.

                    Robin Yassin-Kassab 16 July 2012

                    http://kiaoragaza.wordpress.com/2012/07/23/wests-left-damning-syrian-revolt-are-blanket-thinkers/#more-17611

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Jenny, you’re the biggest “blanket thinker” of them all. And why are you supporting Western and Israeli imperialist ambitions in the middle east?

                • mike e

                  CV the alawi only make up 12% of the population why should they have so much power totalitarian.
                  This argument you put forward makes this site look out of date.
                  Your ideals are commendable but your argument is flawed.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    So this civil war is about bringing democracy to the Middle East? I do believe that is the standard line.

                    Who is going to be around to protect the Alawites from reprisals after any regime change?

            • Jenny 2.1.1.2.2.3

              Deano might have done a bit more research than you give him credit for.

    • Vicky32 2.2

      I just hope it turns out better than Libya.

      Yeah, right, there’s no chance of that! What we are seeing now, is a replay of Libya, and another proxy war by the USA, who seem to have realised after 11 years in Afghanistan and 9 in Iraq, that open invasion doesn’t work so well for them…

      • Zetetic 2.2.1

        Proxy war for the US? Gaddafi and Assad were US allies. Overthrowing them brings no economic or military gains to the US.

        Libyan oil was freely flowing to US companies before, and Syria has none.

        And the US nearly let the Libyan revolution fail before they started to help. In Syria, they aren’t helping. That’s not what proxy war looks like.

        • mike e 2.2.1.1

          Syria produces 400,000 barrels a day of oil

          • Zetetic 2.2.1.1.1

            Which is less than 0.5% of world production – well within the margin of error for what the world produces.

            its exports – the bit that matters to oil importers like the US and Europe – are on the scale of what NZ imports. Ie, two thirds of fuck all.

            • Colonial Viper 2.2.1.1.1.1

              What you’re trying to say is that the West has minimal geopolitical and economic interest in installing a friendly complaint Syrian regime. Which is of course bollocks.

              • Zetetic

                yeah, I am saying that. And that explains why the West has done two-fifths of fuck all to support the Syrian revolution.

                Remember when they invaded Iraq without UN authorisation? (which was a huge mistake: there’s a difference between trying to support a people fighting for self-determination against a dictator and going in uninvited, knocking over a dictator and saying ‘now what’). The US and its allies are willing to play big when they believe it’s in their interests. that they haven’t for Syria shows that they don’t really give a shit.

                Like you, they won’t be too worried if Assad wins and goes back to killing anyone who dares speak against him.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Uh…given that Russia has military assets in Syria, the West is having to act far more circumspectly, via proxies, than they did in Libya.

                  You really believe that NATO and the US are just sitting around, not providing financing, arms, training and intelligence to the rebels???

                  • Zetetic

                    No. I believe if they really gave a shit they would act decisively. That’s what powers do when trying to advance important objectives. When they don’t really give a shit, they talk instead – as with climate change as with Syria.

                    I’m confused by your Russia line. There’s Russian equipment but not Russian forces. And if there were ‘advisors’ (like the USSR had in Vietnam and North Korea) and if any of them got caught up in a Western assault, what happens in your fantasy then? WW3? Because what actually happens is the country with covert advisors accepts its losses as part of the game and moves on.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      That’s what powers do when trying to advance important objectives.

                      Are you familiar with the terms ‘gray ops’ and ‘black ops’? How about the concept of ‘plausible deniability’?

                      I’m confused by your Russia line. There’s Russian equipment but not Russian forces.

                      There are Russian forces at Tartus.

                    • Urban Raskal

                      Zetetic, If your planning a Spring offense/invasion into Iran. Which has been openly stated by Israel in their plans, then the West is acting decisively. We are holding this conflict out as long as possible so Syria is in chaos if Israel needs to bring ground troops through.

                      I’m pretty sure Syria is one of the most important inflows for an Iran conflict.
                      The russians and chinese know this, they need to hold off in Syria until they can strengthen their position politically in and around Iran.

                      They are increasingly being pushed into a corner with the US encirclement of Western Russian borders and the slow destruction of their supply lines from the middle east.

                      All you need to do is look at a World Map. Iran is bordered by Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Turkey. And from the North essentially Russia. If their is a need for military involvement in Iran, we have a pincher movement.
                      There is more behind geopolitics than russia having troops. It’s the game of thrones between the SCO and UN.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      UR – thanks for explaining the ABC’s of geopolitics to the Lefty idealists.

                  • mike e

                    CV Russia has just completed exercises with the US and were allowed to birth their war ships in pearl harbour unlike NZ.
                    Its about Russia’s arms sales.

        • Colonial Viper 2.2.1.2

          Proxy war for the US? Gaddafi and Assad were US allies. Overthrowing them brings no economic or military gains to the US.

          You have got to be kidding me. Libya had one of the largest central bank reserves of real gold in the world. That gold is now being shipped out to foreign corporates.

          http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/oct/21/british-firms-libya-business

          Let me summarise: the allies spent a few hundred million dollars bombing the hell out of Libyan infrastructure: and now stand to collect reconstruction contracts worth tens of billions of pounds. That’s some awesome ROI mate, even you will agree.

          That and some of the biggest oil fields in Africa.

          “No economic gains” my ass.

          • Zetetic 2.2.1.2.1

            The West already had a friendly regime in Libya. The UK firms were doing great there before the war. They weren’t keen to give away the certainty of Gaddafi for the uncertainty of a revolution.

            The West actually spent a billion dollars on the aerial campaign in support of the revolution. In return, they’ve got the situation that they had before – competition with Russia and China for oil and construction contracts but with a less certain government. Not a great ROI.

            • Colonial Viper 2.2.1.2.1.1

              Utter blind bullshit.

              Reconstruction contracts for western corporations will tally into many tens of billions of dollars. Electricity generation, power grids, roads, water, sewage were all deliberately smashed.

              Did you read the bit about foreign firms eyeing up the $100B in frozen overseas assets the Libyans had?

              How about the 144 tons of gold held by the Libyan central bank?

              http://www.zerohedge.com/news/battle-libya-almost-over-battle-its-144-tons-gold

              The West already had a friendly regime in Libya.

              Nonsense.

              The West set Gaddafi up to take everything he had. Which they have done.

              BTW China has extremely limited say in Libya now; they dont have troops on the ground, after all.

    • Jenny 2.3

      You draw a long bow here Rascal, between Syria and Libya. With little facts to back it up.

      What you are not seeing is the big picture of the Arab Spring. The Syrian armed revolt grew out of the massacre by the regime of peaceful protesters. Assad was determined that Syria would not become another Tunisia, or Egypt. So he deliberately and coldly decided on a new tactic to turn back the Arab spring. – Wholesale massacre, Unlimited state terror, Mass detention, Torture and gruesome public murder. The core of the FSA are soldiers who refused to follow the regime’s orders to murder unarmed protesters. Having laid down their arms the deserters were forced to pick them up again as the regime made army deserters, (and their families), its number one target with no quarter given.

      This is now fight to the death.

      Hand wringing by Western leftist liberals about the overthrow of “anti-imperialist” leaders like Assad or Gaddaffi will cut no ice here.

      • Jenny 2.3.1

        Tanks roll on Damascus

        “The army stormed the Qaboon district with a large number of tanks,” said Rami Abdel Rahman, of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), on Thursday.

        “This is the first time that tanks enter a Damascus district,” Rahman said.

        The army’s move stoked fears of an imminent massacre in the western quarter of the capital, scene of clashes over the past five days, the SOHR said.

        The intensity of ongoing fighting in Damascus was underscored on Wednesday by a devastating bomb attack at the heart of Syria’s senior command that killed at least three of President Bashar al-Assad’s top brass

        Earlier on Thursday, a security source told the AFP news agency on condition of anonymity that the army would show no restraint in its operations.

        “These extremely violent clashes should continue in the next 48 hours to cleanse Damascus of terrorists by the time Ramadan begins” on Friday, the source said, referring to the Muslim holy month.

        Al Jazeera

        http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2012/07/201271961645358140.html

  3. muzza 4

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jul/12/syrian-opposition-doing-the-talking

    Why are you still writing about what you clearly know little , if nothing about.

    Follow the link, then follow some that articles links, do some reading, and then write something from a position of better understanding…if you have to write about this stuff at all!

    I would say, stop though, because you have had a number of attempts on the subject of war in the ME, and still the articles are ignorant, and lacking any balance or context!

    • urban rascal 4.1

      +1

    • Deano 4.2

      -1 another supposed liberal who thinks Assad should be left to keep on murdering.

      • Kotahi Tane Huna 4.2.1

        Deano I don’t think that follows from Rascal’s comments at all (and who can tell what Muzza wants?) – I can recognise that the media are presenting a simplistic and distorted view of conflict, one that encourages us to look at it as a struggle of good vs evil, but rarely discussing the wider issues. That does not mean I support the status quo.

        • urban rascal 4.2.1.1

          Thank you, put more elegantly than I could manage with out stoking the fire.
          I was +1’ing the link in particular which demonstrates how we get the distorted view pretty well.

        • Deano 4.2.1.2

          “That does not mean I support the status quo.”

          in the real world the choice is that you support the people of Syria overthrowing the Assad regime (and then support building of a democratic society aferwards) or you sit on your hands, find excuses to always criticise anyone who is fighting for the very same freedoms that you enjoy and by omissions support the dicatorial status quo.

          • Draco T Bastard 4.2.1.2.1

            False dichotomy.

            In the real world what we have is dictatorship overthrown (yay) and it gets replaced by chaos which no one seems willing or able to do anything about and the MSM report that democracy is in place while ignoring the chaos.

            • Zetetic 4.2.1.2.1.1

              you seem to be saying that the dictatorship is preferable to the unknown after it’s gone. You are expressing a preference. Just come out and say it.

              • Draco T Bastard

                There’s a difference between unknown and chaos. The unknown would be the people of the nation standing together to build a democratic society. What we’re seeing is chaos as once the dictatorship is down the people fracture and start attacking each other to get revenge as well as other nonsensical reasons and all, really, to try and usurp power for themselves.

                The problem with toppling dictatorships with violence is that you tend to get another dictatorship afterwards.

                I’m not expressing a preference at all – I really couldn’t care less. It would be better if they went the way of peace but that’s unlikely at least for a few years and possibly decades (regimes don’t change over night no matter what people like to think). I was commenting on the fact that we’re not getting accurate reporting (which I think would be damn near impossible anyway). What we’re getting is reporting from the old centres of power which may not actually be the new centres of power from people who may not (and probably won’t) end up being the spokes-people of the new order.

                • Zetetic

                  The most informed reporting is Al-jazzera. that’s hardly from the old centres of power. It’s a liberal but still proudly pro-arab voice.

                  it’s all very well to say ‘wouldn’t it be nice if we could all get along and wouldn’t it be nice if Assad peacefully created a democracy. Well, he had a decade to do that and he went the other way. Right now, there’s a binary situation. There’s a real war and there’s real consequences and saying ‘gosh, I wish there wasn’t a war’ is just saying that you wish Assad was left in power to do as he pleases.

                  (btw, it’s been running great pieces on the Nasa people trying to throw both FARC and the Colombian government out of their towns – now those are brave people, old men and women, they walk straight up to the FARC and soldiers and wrestle the guns from their hands and tell them fuck off and leave them alone)

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    it’s all very well to say ‘wouldn’t it be nice if we could all get along and wouldn’t it be nice if Assad peacefully created a democracy.

                    Didn’t say that though did I?

                    I wish there wasn’t a war’ is just saying that you wish Assad was left in power to do as he pleases.

                    I specifically said that I couldn’t care less.

                    What I expect is the overthrow of Assad followed by years, if not decades, of chaos. This will be driven by internal factions, the external collapse of the financial system and Peak Oil.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      What I expect is the overthrow of Assad followed by years, if not decades, of chaos.

                      Colonial rule, from the capitals of the west, through their compliant proxies no matter how distateful. We’ve seen this a dozen times before in the last 100 years. Good of Zetetic and others to be so blindly optimistic (and historically ignorant) though.

                    • Vicky32

                      What I expect is the overthrow of Assad followed by years, if not decades, of chaos. This will be driven by internal factions, the external collapse of the financial system and Peak Oil

                      Yes, and sooner rather than later, sadly… Has everyone forgotten that Syria was one of the ‘axis of evil’ nations the filth said they wanted to own?

          • urban rascal 4.2.1.2.2

            Or 3) act as if you are supporting the Syrian people in any way by commenting on a NZ political blog all the while decrying people who point out that, through a lack of journalistic integrity and transparency, we don’t really know who is good and bad in this conflict.

            Ignore discussing the wider issues surrounding Syria and in turn focus the debate on human rights cleverly keeping geo-politics, resources and military reinforcement out of the Middle East debate yet again. Sounds almost like exactly what corporate interests would want…

          • Kotahi Tane Huna 4.2.1.2.3

            Deano, a criticism of media coverage ≠ support for the Assad gang.

            Civil war is sufficiently disgusting that almost any regime is a better alternative. Pretending it’s all about good vs evil is one way to turn a blind eye to atrocity. Supporting the right of the Syrian people to self-determination doesn’t negate that.

            • Zetetic 4.2.1.2.3.2

              “Civil war is sufficiently disgusting that almost any regime is a better alternative.”

              Wow. that’s the closest someone has come to saying that they want Assad to win.

              There is a civil war. It is the only process by which the self-determination of the Syrian people can be won. The question now is who wins.

              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vbddqXib814

              • Kotahi Tane Huna

                “…want Assad to win.”

                Bollocks.

                “…the only process…”

                More bollocks. What about a process whereby democratic nations didn’t prop up and legitimise gangs in the first place?

                • Kotahi Tane Huna

                  PS: cf. pre- and post-revolutionary Iran as an example of a situation where neither side deserved to “win”.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    btw which “democratic” nations are you talking about here? I can see fuck all of them from my vantage point.

                    • Kotahi Tane Huna

                      Then you are probably employing a definition of democracy that allows no deviation. It isn’t called the worst possible system apart from all the other ones for nothing.

                • Zetetic

                  yeah, it would but we don’t get to make the world anew with the rules we want. We get to try our little bit toward making this world we have better.

                  One part of that is trying to stop our government and other western governments from acquiescing to our supporting the imposition of dictatorships in other countries.

                  Another part is supporting people when they stand up for their human dignity and try to other-throw those dictatorships.

                  It’s no good saying ‘it would have been better if the Assad clique (which was supported into power by the USSR, not the West, incidentally) had never come to power’. That’s true but not relevant to the situation today.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Another part is supporting people when they stand up for their human dignity and try to other-throw those dictatorships.

                    Sheezus are you really going to run the “let’s support the spread of democracy and freedom” line now?

                    Shall we also ignore the western special ops groups training the rebels? The satellite and surveillance intel the west is giving the rebels? The money and the arms flowing into the rebel effort from western approved sources (either active or tacit)?

                    And its all ok because we’s supporting the Freedom Fighters!

                    • Zetetic

                      “let’s support the spread of democracy and freedom”

                      yes. I make no apologies for thinking that self-determination is better than despotism.

                      After all, that’s what the Left political project is about. That’s what we fight for domestically – a society and economy that provides a life more free of inequity, discrimination, poverty, unsustainability, and inequality, because those prevent or will prevent human beings living the lives that they would choose to live.

                      I don’t say go in and knock over every dictator out of the blue. But only because it manifestly doesn’t work (those of us who opposed to Iraq invasion mostly did so not because we wanted Saddam in charge but because we could see that there needed to be an Iraqi-created alternative to him ready to fill the void or there would be the chaos that we saw). But, when the people of a country are trying to overthrow their despot, then we should support them.

                      And, knowing something of your background, I would have thought you would feel the same.

                    • Jenny

                      A nasty apologist for climate change, and now a nasty apologist for a brutal dictatorship.

                      Why am I not surprised?

            • Zetetic 4.2.1.2.3.3

              actually, I’m going to have to comment on that again.

              You’re saying that it would be better to have Assad than a civil war, even if though Assad runs a brutal police state and uprising is the only option for overthrowing it.

              really?

              • Kotahi Tane Huna

                No. I’m saying that civil war is disgusting, and the Assad regime is disgusting, and the media’s framing of it as a struggle of good vs evil trivialises it.

            • Populuxe1 4.2.1.2.3.4

              +1

    • thatguynz 4.3

      Yes. Just like MV’s previous attempts at documenting the situation in the Middle East, this again looks like it is news spoonfed directly from the CFR…

  4. Pascal's bookie 8

    Deano, the thing is that it is a really, seriously, complicated situation in the real world.

    Saying you ‘support’ the ‘people of Syria’ is just wanking on the internet quite frankly. Your support, or otherwise, is inconsequential. The only thing it changes is how you feel about yourself I guess, and what you think about people who don’t say ‘rah rah’ loudly enough. Sanctimony. hmmm.

    The fact is that the people of Syria are divided. The rebels are a makeshift coalition.Tthere are already reports of FSA people who are in contact with western Intelligence people saying that they will root out the jihadi elements once they are in power. Will they? Who knows. We know they have every motivation to say so now of course we don’t know what they are saying to other poeple.

    I don’t see any reason to believe that the exiles will have any role in the future of Syria, and why should they? So I discount what they are saying quite heavilly. Maybe they do have a base of support in country, but that’s what western intelligence thought about the Iraqi exiles too.

    The immediate problem will be securing the military stockpiles, including all the Chem weapons. I don’t see any way that this will done cleanly.

    Beyond that the major worry is what will happen in Lebanon. How will Hezbollah react? How will Hezbollah’s enemies react?

    And that in large part depends on the refugee situation. All of this happenning while the various rebel factions jostle for power, while trying to eliminate regime holdouts.

    And that’s without even thinking about the geopolitical aspects.

    Its’ not a morality play put on for our benefit. We don’t have to ‘choose sides’, and it doesn’t say anything about anyone if they don’t.

    • Zetetic 8.1

      I’m disappointed in you, PB- ‘I support human rights but not if getting them isn’t entirely peaceful and antiseptic’

      Choosing sides matters. You have chosen sides on climate change and you voice your opinion on it. Why? You’re just one individual in one little country? What do you matter? You matter because individuals add up – you choosing a side and speaking up for it adds some little weight to the right side of the debate. If no-one spoke up the other side would win. And, yes, there are always two sides in a fight and one is always the better. And if you don’t pick a side, you’re supporting the bad one by omission.

      Assad’s claim to power is that he and his father than their clique murdered everyone who stood in their way and everyone who stood up since. Their is nothing moral, nothing redeeming about them. That, to my mind, sets a pretty low bar for the other side to beat. The other side is a collection of groups: liberals, socialsits, pluralists, Arab nationalists, Kurd nationalists, islamists, sunni extremists, and, mostly, people who just want to be left the fuck alone and not risk death anymore for daring to not agree with everything the government does. In other words, all they want is what you take for granted. Are they all angels? Fuck no. Do you throw the baby out with the bathwater? No.

      I like to think that if I were a Syrian, I would have the courage to join the rebels and fight for the self-determination of myself and my family. And that’s why I support the Syrian people and hope Assad is dead sooner rather than later.

      • muzza 8.1.1

        ” like to think that if I were a Syrian, I would have the courage to join the rebels and fight for the self-determination of myself and my family. And that’s why I support the Syrian people and hope Assad is dead sooner rather than later.”

        –If you were a Syrian, you might just as easily be one of the huge numbers that actually support Assad, will it be ok for them to be killed and maimed as they have been, and will be along with throngs of others in the civil war?

        Hypothesizing on such a heroic self view, which is what you have just done, hero, not to mention the hypocracy of your statement, is a joke.

        Oh, and who are those Syrian people you hypotheize that you migh don ammo, war paint and play make believe death squad member to defend, who are those Syrians exactly Z, and what do you reckon you could do for them, once you have heroically overthrown the evil Assad rule?

        • Zetetic 8.1.1.1

          “the huge numbers that support Assad”.

          lolz. that’s a good one. That’s why he and his dad have run a police state and slaughtered whole towns over the years. Because that’s what popular governments have to do sometimes. Because, you know, they’re just so popular that it gets to the level where ordinary people are actually willing to take on the might of a massive professional army.

          If Assad is so popular, why doesn’t he allow real elections? Too popular so no point? Maybe Arabs just don’t like voting? Maybe they prefer knowing that one wrong word, one wrong action could have the secret police bursting into your house in the middle of the night.

          Assad’s supporters are some of the Alawite minority that his clique has favoured and drawn support from as a way of having enough loyal people to subjugate everyone else. Assad’s clique have been living it up for 40 years, the risk of that is being on the wrong side of the inevitable revolution. The wise ones are jumping ship now.

      • Pascal's bookie 8.1.2

        Choosing sides matters. You have chosen sides on climate change and you voice your opinion on it. Why? You’re just one individual in one little country? What do you matter? You matter because individuals add up – you choosing a side and speaking up for it adds some little weight to the right side of the debate. If no-one spoke up the other side would win. And, yes, there are always two sides in a fight and one is always the better. And if you don’t pick a side, you’re supporting the bad one by omission.

        But my little voice would be speking up for what, exactly? What would my voice saying ‘Yay rebels’ be advocating? That the rebels should win? My voice won’t affect that.

        Seems to me that those voices are most likely to be used by people saying ‘Lets get involved’. But how should we get involved Zet? Which part of the rebel coalition should we support against not just the regime, but the other parts of the rebel coalition. The one’s we like obviously. But how much support do they have in country? Does that matter? Do we know?

        Self determination I’m all for. Shoring up ‘our guys’ agin the others, not so fucking much.

  5. Populuxe1 9

    It’s basically a cold war proxy war
     

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      Yeah thats the way I see it. China and Russia blocking the US. UK and France on the Security Council.

  6. vto 10

    I believe everything the Americans say about the Middle East.

    • Colonial Viper 10.1

      You just won the internet.

    • Vicky32 10.2

      I believe everything the Americans say about the Middle East.

      Ma dai! But no one’s that stupid, therefore you’re being sarcastic, right? Silly me, I thought for a moment you were serious… :D

  7. Colonial Viper 11

    Anyone who does not compute a grab for strategic resources (or their access) and hard currency as an important factor in what happened in Libya and what is happening in Syria has literally no fraking idea.

    Might as well go back to the true and tried “we’re in there to spread democracy and freedom” line, along with a couple of verses of “kumbaya”, for all the critical thinking which is happening here.

    • Zetetic 11.1

      you analysis ignores history. The West didn’t create the Libyan and Syrian revolutions. The people of those countries did. The conceit that it all had to be foreign agents who somehow tricked the locals into rising up is really just thinly-veiled racism (arabs like their despots and couldn’t organise their own uprising).

      And it ignores the fact that the West ignored the Libyan’s pleas for help for months, nearly let the revolution be crushed and may still let the Syrian one be crushed.

      If this is all part of a Western plot, then why are they doing such a half-arse job of it?

      And if the West does have the ability to untraceably create revolutions against friendly regimes and have then succeed by the skins of their teeth then why are they mucking around with small fry when Saudi is there?

      And why are they doing it now? Why not when Gaddafi was actually an enemy and when these countries still had increasing oil production in the late 70s?

      Or could it be that this is an Arab movement, the trigger for which has been declining oil exports equaling declining largesse from the State coupled with food price spikes?

      • Populuxe1 11.1.1

        Alright then Zetetic, kindly explain why Russia and China continue to veto intervention in the UN, blocking the western allies? No one is saying that the West “tricked the locals into rising up” – that’s silly. They had the full cooperation of groups and individuals who stand to get power or profit out of it, and the Great Powers will continue to try and take advantage of the situation for their own political and strategic advantage – just as they always have.

    • Jenny 11.2

      Cynical quislings and apologists will always try and dismiss the “spread” of “democracy and freedom” as a “true and tried”, “line”.

      Colonial Viper is a climate change apologist who uses National/Socialist style scapegoating of a middle class minority, to excuse continuing climate change policies, and now makes excuses for continuing the fascist style rule of the Assad regime.

      CV’s attempt to discount the reality of the Arab Spring. And to misrepresent the struggle for “democracy and freedom” by the peoples of the Middle East as “a grab for strategic resources (or their access) and hard currency”, if not openly racist, is profoundly patronising.

      Though CV likes to indulge in mocking the protesters and their supporters for singing “Kumbaya”

      It is quite possible that the peaceful protesters who stood up to of Assad’s soldiers last year bravely sang an Islamic version of “Kumbaya”, as they were gunned down.

      Inspired by their courage, and shamed by their suffering, rather than continue murdering the protesters on the regime’s orders, many soldiers joined them, and are now part of the force that is grinding that regime to dust.

      • Colonial Viper 11.2.1

        Anyone who does not compute a grab for strategic resources (or their access) and hard currency as an important factor in what happened in Libya and what is happening in Syria has literally no fraking idea.

        That’s what I said. And it applies to you.

        CV’s attempt to discount the reality of the Arab Spring. And to misrepresent the struggle for “democracy and freedom” by the peoples of the Middle East as “a grab for strategic resources (or their access) and hard currency” by the Western powers

        FIFY

        This is the ‘Great Game’ being played out again.

        You are aware that Libya just happens to have Africa’s largest oil reserves at 76B barrels, right?

        • Jenny 11.2.1.1

          Anyone who does not compute a grab for strategic resources (or their access) and hard currency as an important factor in what happened in Libya and what is happening in Syria has literally no fraking idea.

          Colonial Viper

          That’s what I said. And it applies to you.

          Colonial Viper

          What makes you so sure of that CV?

          • Colonial Viper 11.2.1.1.1

            Its self evident in the first statement of mine you quoted.

            • Jenny 11.2.1.1.1.1

              Responding with a non sequitur: not good enough.

              What is it, CV that makes you think that you are such a big expert on Syria?

              Or indeed why you are dismissive of the Arab Spring?

              From your lack of any sensible answers I can conclude that you are talking through your hat, as per usual.

  8. xtasy 12

    SYRIA – agenda is: thegoernment is independnet and otherwie pro IRan..

    The US has the agenda to take over the Middle East, for sure.

    so carry on with this syria end game, i is a political and strategic game. No trust in US or russia

    • Colonial Viper 12.1

      And why is the middle east so important to the US? Because he who controls the oil, controls the world. The oil must flow.

      • Jenny 12.1.1

        No it must not

        • Kotahi Tane Huna 12.1.1.1

          Here’s the thing see Jenny – oil confers power – power like the ability to deploy tanks and planes. Any nation that ignores this realpolitik will not maintain its independence for long. So nations stockpile fuel.

          I was shocked recently to hear a professor of Climatology remark that his expectation is that we are going to burn all the available oil – he went on to say that the real question is what we do with all the coal.

          Now before you make some offensive remark accusing me of being an apologist, just remember that shooting the messenger is futile.

          • Colonial Viper 12.1.1.1.1

            I was shocked recently to hear a professor of Climatology remark that his expectation is that we are going to burn all the available oil

            Not quite, I suspect.

            A mix of political/security instability, declining EROEI, reduced field production, and deteriorating financial factors should mean that we will give up extracting oil well before it physically runs out.

            The coal statement is worth considering. Coal to liquids, as inefficient as the process is, will become used on larger and larger scales to try and maintain liquid fuel production volumes. But, it will be hopeless as the largest oil fields produce over a million barrels a day, and coal to liquids will never keep up with that scale of depletion.

          • Colonial Viper 12.1.1.1.2

            Here’s the thing see Jenny – oil confers power – power like the ability to deploy tanks and planes. Any nation that ignores this realpolitik will not maintain its independence for long. So nations stockpile fuel.

            Indeed. Rommel not being able to secure the North African nor Russian oil fields meant that the German war effort and German industry was truly finally screwed.

            • Jenny 12.1.1.1.2.1

              Actually not true. The panzers never ran out of fuel, Nazi war planes never stopped flying. Right to the very end.

              In the same sort of insanity that you have advocated for on this site to deal with peak oil. Coal gasification plants filled the void. (The EROEI be damned)

              • Colonial Viper

                Actually not true. The panzers never ran out of fuel, Nazi war planes never stopped flying. Right to the very end.

                Nah I call bullshit on this. The inability to keep fuel supplied to the Eastern Front was a key factor in the German losses there. And why were the Germans in Russia in the first place? To get the oil fields of the Caucauses.

                Imminent German fuel starvation forced them to use coal to liquid fuel technology on a massive scale to try and plug the gaps in their supply.

                Rommel’s campaign in North Africa was utterly centred on capture of strategic oil fields. The fields of Libya, prime amongst them. You see Jenny, Libya has been geostrategically important for its oil for a long time.

                The total Allied energy expenditure in the war effort totalled roughly 7B barrels oil, about 50% more than Japan and Germany could muster together. The armour, troop movement, naval fleets and air sorties this permitted ended up devastating a fuel starved Axis.

                Here are some links for you to study to try and remove your history blind liberally conceited climate change blinded blanket thinking. It also explains why the military forces of the world today have some of the leading edge thinking on peak oil. They know how important it is and what a big deal its becoming right now.

                http://www.airpower.maxwell.af.mil/airchronicles/aureview/1981/jul-aug/becker.htm

                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil_Campaign_of_World_War_II

                http://hnn.us/articles/339.html

                http://www.energybulletin.net/stories/2012-04-12/america-gasoline-war

          • Jenny 12.1.1.1.3

            Here’s the thing see Jenny – oil confers power – power like the ability to deploy tanks and planes.

            Kotahi Tane Huna

            Healer Man, the power of oil, which is the power of money, is not the only power in the world.

            • Kotahi Tane Huna 12.1.1.1.3.1

              Jenny the power of oil is measured in energy – joules per kilogram, not dollars.

              • Jenny

                You could have fooled me. In the biggest ponzi scheme in history, (and that is saying something), we will still be digging it up when the EROEI is through the roof.

                Global banksters have been making $billions out of nothing at all, for over two decades now.

                Don’t kid yourself, Healer Man. It is all about the money. And the power that money buys.

                But as I said; money is not the only power in the world.

                He aha te mea nui o te ao?

                He tangata, He tangata, He tangata

                • Kotahi Tāne Huna

                  “Healer Man”?? Kotahi Tāne Huna translates as “One Anonymous Bloke”.

                  “…insanity that you have advocated for on this site to deal with peak oil”??? Do go on.

                  No, we won’t “still be digging it up when the EROI is through the roof” – when we reach the point when you have to burn a barrel to make a barrel, no amount of cash in the world will change that.

                  And no, it isn’t “all about the money” – it’s all about the power – and the oil confers the power. Do you think jet planes and bombers run on money? They run on aviation fuel. You will perhaps respond that money buys aviation fuel, but in fact it’s the other way around.

                  PS: and please don’t assume that any of the above implies that I think it’s a “good thing”.

        • Colonial Viper 12.1.1.2

          Jenny. Look at everything around your residence which had to be transported from more than 1,000km away for you to be able to use it.

          It’s all going away soon enough. And I can guarantee that even you will be a little bit sorry when it does.

          • Jenny 12.1.1.2.1

            Everyone knows that the plague is coming. Everyone knows that it is moving fast.

  9. rosy 13

    I thought this was a pretty relevant essay - trying for a non-aligned movement (sadly unlikely), so in articulating that it summarises the problems with the Asad regime and the current situation.

    Asad apologists are gasping to stop the ebbing tide of a past history. Opposition opportunists are eager to replace that past with a double-faced one masquerading as revolution.

    • Jenny 13.1

      Suddenly there is talk of weapons of mass destruction. The usual pretext for Western intervention in the Middle East.

      “The idea that these weapons could fall into the hands of Lebanese Hisbollah or other Iranian proxy groups is very concerning to us. We are constantly planning to provide the president options to react to the crisis and we will be ready to execute whatever the president asks to help secure the region and our partners in the region”

      Unnamed, Senior US military official quoted by Al Jazeera

      http://youtu.be/0057xrEpfAI

      Note;
      The US and the Israelis never had concerns of these weapons being in the hands of their mate Basher Assad. Or bothered that he might use them against his own people.

      How come they have never spoken of these weapons before?

      Will the Western left greet any US intervention in Syria, with international protests of the same fury and power that they mounted against the invasion of Afghanistan or Iraq?

      Or will they be confused by left wing quislings and apologists for the regime within their own ranks?

  10. xtasy 14

    I saw a television news item or short documentary not long ago (maybe from Australia’s ABC or the BBC, do not remember), where they explained how diverse the opposition in Syria really is. They interviewed a senior Syrian dissident, who had also been improsened for a few years, and he said, that the Free Syrian Army is controlled by people, who do not really want true democracy in Syria. The leaders had their own agendas, which were largely self serving and also to establish a Sunni muslim dominated regime.

    Even the Syrian opposition group now based in Turkey is not fully in agreement with the FSA. But as certain officers and many ordinary soldiers have left the government forces and joined the FSA, there may me some hope that they will bring in a moderating influence.

    The US government is like usual very hypocritical. Whether one likes Obama or not, the foreign policy of the US has changed little. They primarily follow own itnterests and strategies to achieve outcomes it likes, that also benefit US business interests.

    If the US really feels so strongly about democracy, then why …

    1. does it support and arm a Saudi regime that has in the past not even given women the vote?
    2. does it support a Saudi monarchy that has in the past not even allowed women to vote let alone drive cars?
    3. does it support a Saudi regime that adheres to strict religious Wahabi interpretations of the Sharia, where there is no proper rule of law applied and people get the death penalty for adultery and various crimes (incl. serious dissent), get hand chopped off for theft, get lashed for other offences?
    4. does it support a regime in Bahrain, where a minority Sunni monarchie continues to discriminate against a majority Shia majority, that also killed dozens during protests a year or so ago, does not offer true demacracy and freedom of speech?
    5. has for decades supported Arab regimes that were run as clear dictatorships, corrupt like hell, ruled by human rights abusing and ignoring wealthy elites, that were though happy to work with the US, offering military bases and some other things the US so desired?

    Truth is the US has a major base in Bahrein and some good military relationships to Saudi Arabia and the gulf states, except of course Iran. So all is done to overthrow and hazzle Iran. I do not like the Iranian regime, but I would hate a fake democracy there, run by a wealthy and upper middle class elite licking the boots of the Americans.

    Syria is part of the strategy of the US and of course Turkey.

    • Jenny 14.1

      xtasy, You underestimate the Syrian people. Have given so much to achieve their freedom they are very unlikely to give it away easily.

      • Colonial Viper 14.1.1

        You’re such a cheerleader. Freedom won’t be given away fool, it will be taken.

        • Jenny 14.1.1.1

          ….Freedom won’t be given away fool, it will be taken.

          Colonial Viper

          By who?

          The Americans are already overstretched and are unlikely to invade. The Russians aren’t the super power they once were, and couldn’t sustain any meaningful intervention. The Israelis have problems of their own and any intervention in Syria would inflame the whole region, from Lebanon to Jordan and everything in between seeing them fighting a war on three, possibly four fronts, plus internally.

          • Colonial Viper 14.1.1.1.1

            The Americans are already overstretched and are unlikely to invade.

            Overstretched? You mean like the 4 aircraft carrier groups they have already placed there or are about to arrive there shortly?

            Anyway, you always use locals to do the work for you, all you do is supply money arms intel. Political cover too. Old US formula perfected in South America a couple of decades ago. Don’t you remember?

            I have to laugh at all the Lefties here cheering on the events in Libya as if an endogenous and independent band of ‘Freedom Fighters’ suddenly gained the capability to face off a professional army all by its lonesome.

            • Jenny 14.1.1.1.1.1

              CV. Your logic here is all confused. You think that Assad is no friend of the West. Yet you think that if the Syrian people succeed in freeing themselves from the dictator that their hard won freedom “Will be taken”. I asked you by who?

              And you replied, the “4 aircraft carrier groups they have already placed there or are about to arrive there shortly”.

              You are completely out of touch with reality.

              Such an action would antagonise the whole Middle East, not to mention the Western anti-war movement. And at a time when the US is trying to build a Western consensus for an attack on Iran.

              • Colonial Viper

                you are pro war, you’ve bought into all the pro-war rhetoric and propaganda, you want to see military action in full swing to depose Assad, good luck with it hope it goes well in Syria for you.

            • Jenny 14.1.1.1.1.2

              CV. Your logic here is all confused. You think that Assad is no friend of the West. Yet you think that if the Syrian people succeed in freeing themselves from the dictator, that their hard won freedom “Will be taken”. I asked you by who?

              And you replied, the “4 aircraft carrier groups they have already placed there or are about to arrive there shortly”.

              Are you completely out of touch with reality?

              Such an action would antagonise the whole Middle East, not to mention the Western anti-war movement. And at a time when the US is trying to build a Western consensus for an attack on Iran.

              So let’s get this straight. According to you, if an ally of Iran is deposed the Americans will intervene against his deposers? While at the same time trying to get us to accept an attack on Iran?

              It has no internal logical consistency.

              This just shows where blanket thinking can lead you. (This is not to even mention your dead end support for genocidal war crimes.)

              • xtasy

                “Such an action would antagonise the whole Middle East, not to mention the Western anti-war movement. And at a time when the US is trying to build a Western consensus for an attack on Iran.”

                Sorry to disappoint you here, but the “anti war movement” has been close to dead for some time now, since the protests against the interventions in Afghanistan and then certainly in Iraq were simply ignored, got smaller and smaller and fizzled away over years.

                People have resigned, are in most of Europe and the US now pre occupied with survival in tough economic times and have not got the time and strength to go marching for something that is far away from their immediate surroundings.

                Even the Occupy Movement has more or less vanished, as once the last remnants were removed with force, too few bother to go and fight on, especially since the above mentioned distractions keep the poor and even middle classes pre-occupied.

                I presume that is also the reason for the slow turn out of protests on the streets in NZ. Sad it is, but that is how I see the reality we face.

                What is likely to happen now is that Assad will do all to escalate the war, Iran may have an interest in this too. There is a total fiasco in the political scene in Iraq, and after the US has moved out of there, it is on the verge of breaking up. Some Sunni movements there appear to be co-operating with the Sunni dominated FSA, so it may all result in a new re-arrangements of borders like in Sudan, leading to new states and so.

                A new Sunni Muslim dominated Syria merging with Northern and Western Iraq is very possible now, which will worry both Israel and Iran. Kurds are likely to seek union between the North Eastern Syrian, Southern Turkish, North Western Iranian and Northern Iraqi Kurdish terrritories. Wars may be the rule for years to come there.

  11. Jenny 15

    You’re such a cheerleader….

    Colonial Viper

    Maybe so, but what are you doing with you ill informed and ignorant slandering of the Syrian people’s struggle against dictatorship?

    Your claim that the insurrection is the work of foreigners after oil and strategic advantage. ie. tools of the imperial “Great Game” plays right to the propaganda narrative of Basha Assad.

    I read one news report of a Syrian American on a visit to his family held by the regime and tortured to death, his body dumped in a gutter. (unfortunately lost in the thousands of reports of torture and murder)

    The only reason for this man’s murder and torture was to fill the narrative of the regime, of foreign interventionists.

    CV, in repeating the Assad propaganda line that the insurrection is the work of foreign interventionists. You are giving your support to the regime to commit genocide.

    The regime announced yesterday that they will use nerve gas against “foreign forces”. By labeling the revolution as the work of foreign forces, you are giving your support to Assad to gas his own people to death.

    Such sickness of the spirit is not unusual for you.

    • Colonial Viper 15.1

      You’re such a sucker for pro-military action propaganda. Tell me again how independent “freedom fighters” gained the ability to take on an entire professional military without extensive outside help?

      CV, in repeating the Assad propaganda line that the insurrection is the work of foreign interventionists. You are giving your support to the regime to commit genocide.

      Tip – the use of chemical weapons is not how genocide is defined.

      • Jenny 15.1.1

        Slicing the definitions very finely here CV to keep up your support for mass murder.

        Weaponised gas weapons by their very nature have been termed weapons of mass destruction, (WMDs) banned by the Geneva convention. There use considered a war crime.

        I have accused you of giving your support to the dictator to use these weapons against his own people which I have termed genocide.

        You have not tried to deny this charge, instead arguing that such a crime could not be “defined” as genocide.

        Again this exposes your sickness of spirit.

        How many people would Basher Assad have to gas to death for you to define it as genocide?

        A hundred?

        Two hundred?

        Two thousand?

        A million?

        Maybe it is not a numbers question at all, for you, but who he actually gasses?

        If they were Islamists do you think it should not be defined as genocide?

        • Colonial Viper 15.1.1.1

          Make up your own morally outraged definitions of you like, but why not refer to the UN Convention on Genocide.

          Slicing the definitions very finely here CV to keep up your support for mass murder.

          ironically, you’re the one who loves the pro-military action propaganda, and the one who loves justifying this war.

          • mike e 15.1.1.1.1

            AK47s verse’s helicopter gunships tanks apc’s WMD’s experienced solders verse’s ragtag ordinary citizens.
            12% of the population subjugating the other 78%
            CV is this the utopian paradise you are promising us as well.
            No wonder communism has failed and that communist and former communist states are propping up this war criminal.
            This is as bad as what Pinochet did to Allende!

            • Colonial Viper 15.1.1.1.1.1

              AK47s verse’s helicopter gunships tanks apc’s WMD’s experienced solders verse’s ragtag ordinary citizens.

              Of course this is not the reality otherwise the rebels would not have lasted the 1st week. Arms, intel, money, political cover – that’s what the rebels have been given, otherwise they would have been history long ago.

              • mike e

                Yeah right

                • Colonial Viper

                  You said it yourself. How else does a force relying only on light arms and untrained amatuers fight a combined services professional military and security apparatus using helicopter gunships, armour and heavy weapons?

                  Or do you believe its mainly been good luck so far?

                  • Jenny

                    Many of them are not untrained amateurs but regular army deserters who could no longer stomach mowing down unarmed protesters on the dictators orders.

                    This is the reason why the dictators of Egypt and Tunisia hesitated in calling in the army against the demonstrators. Neither of these two had flinched from murder and torture before, but in the face of the Arab spring they feared, (rightly as it turned out) that the soldiers may turn their guns on them.

              • mike e

                So Syria didn’t invade Lebanon on Iran’s behalf either I suppose’

                • Colonial Viper

                  That’s actually a good point. Syria/Assad was entirely too comfortable with supporting Iran. And neither the US, EU or Israel like that at all.

                  Oh hey isn’t it a nice co-incidence for the West that Assad is about to fall? But of course as Jenny says, this is all about cheering on the Freedom Fighters.

            • Jenny 15.1.1.1.1.2

              +1

          • Jenny 15.1.1.1.2

            More misdirection.

            You obviously don’t want to answer the charges I have made against you.

            CV. Do you support, or do not support, the use of gas weapons against the people of Syria, who you racistly paint as Western puppets.

            • Colonial Viper 15.1.1.1.2.1

              Hey Jenny have you stopped beating your kids yet.

              btw you’re the one repeating all the pro-war, pro-military action, justify armed civil conflict propaganda. ‘Freedom Fighters’ my ass.

              • Jenny

                Yes I have.

                • Colonial Viper

                  From the Asia Times Online:

                  http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/NG24Ak02.html

                  Meanwhile, at least three major German newspapers – Die Welt, the FAZ, and the mass-market tabloid Bild – have published reports attributing responsibility for the massacre to anti-government rebel forces or treating this as the most probable scenario.

                  Writing in Bild, longtime German war correspondent Jurgen Todenhofer accused the rebels of “deliberately killing civilians and then presenting them as victims of the government”. He described this “massacre-marketing strategy” as being “among the most disgusting things that I have ever experienced in an armed conflict”…Alfred Hackensberger noted that Taldo, the sub-district of Houla where the massacre occurred, has been under rebel control since December 2011 and is in an open plain, making it unlikely that “hundreds of soldiers and Assad supporters” could have entered the village to commit the massacre…

                  He also interviewed an alleged eyewitness – identified simply by the pseudonym “Jibril” – at the Saint James Monastery in Qara, Syria. In contrast to an earlier report in the FAZ, which had claimed that the victims were largely Shi’ites and Alawis, Jibril told Hackensberger that all of the victims were Sunnis “like everybody here”. By his account, they were killed for refusing to support the rebellion

                  …”Whoever says something,” he explained, “can only repeat the rebels’ version. Anything else is certain death.”

                  (Emphasis mine).

                  You’re such a easy dupe for pro-war propaganda Jenny. You should start thinking for yourself sometime.

    • muzza 15.2

      Hi Jenny. not sure of you read my link earlier up the thread but in case you didn’t here it is again…Well worth a read, and investigate some of there links in the article

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jul/12/syrian-opposition-doing-the-talking

      Also, the below is an extract from an artile written by David Ingatius – WashPost July 19

      “The CIA has been working with the Syrian opposition for several weeks under a non-lethal directive that allows the United States to evaluate groups and assist them with command and control. Scores of Israeli intelligence officers are also operating along Syria’s border, though they are keeping a low profile ”

      —-Do you really believe the CIA has only been in Syria for “several weeks”, directing traffic…assisting with command and control, yeah the CIA will be playing second fiddle to the FSA, nothing else, and Mossad are keeping a low profile along the boarders only!

      Time for peole to wake up to the lies

      • Jenny 15.2.1

        Muzza, not sure if you read the link I supplied earlier up the thread as to what a Syrian writer has to say about blanket thinkers like yourself.

        In case you didn’t I will give it to you again.

        http://kiaoragaza.wordpress.com/2012/07/23/wests-left-damning-syrian-revolt-are-blanket-thinkers/#more-17611

        Robin Yassin-Kassab openly admits that the West and their clients are trying to meddle and have interests in Syria but he questions that support.

        Well worth a read:

        After 17 months of slaughter in Syria, there is no no-fly zone. The extent of Western and ‘client’ intervention is this:

        Saudi Arabia and Qatar may be providing a small amount of light weaponry.

        The Turks may be helping to coordinate the weapons deliveries.

        The CIA appears to have a few men on the ground watching where the weapons are going and hoping (vainly) to ensure that they’ll never end up in the hands of anti-Zionist militants.

        On the other side stands a nakedly sectarian regime which considers its people slaves and murders them and destroys their cities with Russian weapons. Imperialist Russia, which has oppressed Muslims in the Caucuses and central Asia, and which bears half the blame for all the Cold War hot wars in Africa, is resupplying the regime with attack helicopters, tank parts and ammunition as the death toll surpasses 17,000. Russia also protects the regime from condemnation at the UN security council. It plays the same role with regards to Syria that the United States plays with Israel.

        But how do the blanket thinkers see the situation? For them it’s yet another clearcut case of American imperialist aggression against a noble resistance regime, and once again the people are passive tools.

        Robin Yassin-Kassab

        Time for people to wake up to themselves.

        • Colonial Viper 15.2.1.1

          International media hyping up chemical weapons issue to pave way for outside intervention

          Syria says that it will never use chemical weapons on its own population, despite claims of foreign news sources.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dtqfiiU_wkI&feature=g-u-u

          • Colonial Viper 15.2.1.1.1

            Of course Jenny here has been screaming that Assad is about to launch chemical warfare genocide on his own people. You’re so easy to dupe, Jenny. Please listen to the RT journalist in the link above, who is filing from Damascus.

          • rosy 15.2.1.1.2

            The video omits reference to the last sentence of the statement (my emphasis):

            “No chemical or biological weapons will ever be used, and I repeat, will never be used … no matter what the developments inside Syria,” he said at a press conference, reading from a prepared statement. “All of these types of weapons are in storage and under security and the direct supervision of the Syrian armed forces and will never be used unless Syria is exposed to external aggression.”

            The big question is whether Syria thinks it’s exposed to external aggression right now. It seems they do construe this uprising as foreign controlled.

            Anyway – the powers that be in Syria are backing off from that statement completely saying that it related to if they had chemical weapons.

            He explained that when Syria discussed these allegations, it’s merely responding to claims and lies from western diplomatic or intelligence sides, no more, no less, and that when the Foreign Ministry spokesman says that Syria will not use chemical weapons against its people, then this doesn’t mean that Syria has such weapons in the first place.

            “They interpreted this answer as a saying that Syria admits to possessing chemical weapons; these are their wishes and obsessions, but the meaning is in a whole other context,” he concluded.

            Like everything else about the Syria conflict the chemical weapons statements are as clear as mud.

            • Colonial Viper 15.2.1.1.2.1

              thanks Rosy. I think that they’re trying to provoke Assad into doing something irreversible, or make it look like he is preparing to as an excuse to increase the level of military intervention.

            • Vicky32 15.2.1.1.2.2

              The big question is whether Syria thinks it’s exposed to external aggression right now. It seems they do construe this uprising as foreign controlled.
               

              I wonder why that is? Could it be because the ‘up-rising’ is in fact foreign controlled? There’s a tonne of evidence for that, and only wilfull blindness will enable people to not see it.

              • rosy

                There’s a tonne of evidence for that, and only wilfull blindness will enable people to not see it.

                I’m not saying at all that there is no foreign involvement. You know as well as I do that there is coded diplomatic languages/warnings by all governments. It’s whether they are putting out that coded language now, or believe that armies crossing the border is foreign aggression compared to what is going on now.

          • Jenny 15.2.1.1.3

            But CV don’t you claim that the revolt is inspired and led by foreign powers. And by your’s and your buddy Basher Assad’s calculation a legitimate target for chemical weapons.

          • Jenny 15.2.1.1.4

            Unfortunately CV when I clicked on the you tube link you supplied it came up this video is no longer available.

            But if it is anything like the earlier reports the US and Israelis have described your mate Basher as being “responsible hands'” to have control of these weapons. And that they will do everything they can to stop them falling out of his control into the hands of the resistance.

            • Colonial Viper 15.2.1.1.4.1

              Unfortunately CV when I clicked on the you tube link you supplied it came up this video is no longer available.

              Try it now, it seems to work fine for me.

        • muzza 15.2.1.2

          “Muzza, not sure if you read the link I supplied earlier up the thread as to what a Syrian writer has to say about blanket thinkers like yourself.”

          –Jenny I’m afraid you have me confused for someone else, but nice projection.

          My contention has only ever been , in many posts, not just this one, for people to ensure they cover the as many angles as possible before they form opions, and even then, opinions are just that, including mine.

          Some people think that thr Arab Spring, including Syria is the organic uprising of the people, dying to claim democracy and freedom, and I have no doubt that many of the dead believed thats what they were fighting for. Simply this could not be further wrong, and why some people cant see through this I do not know..
          Does it mean I believe that the regimes were good, absolutely not, but neither do I believe that the wests agendas match those who died for something they were never going to get. Same west who have a history of kncking off what they dont like, and supporting who they do, regardless of how tyrranical they are, is log and distinguished, so what makes you think this situation is any different Jenny?

          So perhaps you could take the not so thinly veiled insult, and take a leaf out from people who think very braordly and challenge everything they thought to be right or wrong, then re-think opinions repreatedly, always seeking more details from all sides of the discussion points….then perhaps you may break free from using such simple quotes from unknown blog sites, such as “blanket thinking”!

  12. bad12 16

    Saudi Arabia is to pay ‘wages’ to those fighting the Assad regime in Syria, now that from the House of Saud is all of course being done for ‘truly’ altruistic motives as we all know that the Princes and Princlings who make up Saudi Arabia’s House of Saud are not raving fanatical fruitloops hell-bent upon,

    (a) Being a protectorate of the USA via the 20,000 US troops stationed across the border in Bahrain,

    And (b), acting as the US proxy in establishing mercenary control of Syria just as they have done in Iraq…

    • Colonial Viper 16.1

      Yep, jihadist fighters (some of whom are funded by Saudi Arabia) are infiltrating into Syria.

      They are looking forwards to overthrowing the Alawite sect and pushing back against Shia islam in Syria. Israel is worried that their presence is going to be an ongoing security threat against its border.

      But I trust that Jenny gives them the thumbs up.

      • bad12 16.1.1

        Aha, the House of Saud seems to be acting in a belated attempt at self-survival, it’s obvious that the next country of the taxi rank for a major dose of ‘arab spring cleaning’ is Saudi Arabia itself,

        They have already crushed some minor demonstrations by the minority Shia community in Saudi Arabia…

        • Colonial Viper 16.1.1.1

          I think the House of Saud will last quite a while longer. BUT they will have to use more and more of their oil wealth and energy generation on keeping their wider population appeased. The US will certainly do everything possible to keep its most reliable and important partner in the Arab world in power.

      • Jenny 16.1.2

        Colonial Viper you are a climate change apologist who uses scapegoating of a middle class minority, to excuse continuing climate change policies. You have claimed that in scapegoating middle class people for climate change you are not trying to spread hate against them. But what are we to think, when you are now making apologies for continuing the fascist style rule of the Assad regime.

        CV you have asked, ” Tell me again how independent “freedom fighters” gained the ability to take on an entire professional military without extensive outside help?”

        Well first of all you must accept the reality and power of the Arab Spring. And then must stop misrepresenting the struggle for “democracy and freedom” by the peoples of the Middle East, which is profoundly insulting, patronising and racist.

        You could question your cynical mocking of those like me who support the people of Syria against their dictator for singing “Kumbaya”

        Then you might realise that it is quite possible that the peaceful protesters who stood up to of Assad’s soldiers last year, also quite possibly sang an Islamic version of “Kumbaya”, as they were gunned down, inspired with their courage in the face of death, the soldiers who rather than continue murdering the protesters on the regime’s orders, fraternised with them instead, even throwing down their weapons to join the protests against the regime. It could have, like in Egypt and Tunisia, ended there.
        Basher Assad could have stepped down and elections could have been held. But to halt the collapse of the army the regime made deserters and their families it’s number one target. Detaining their families and torturing and killing any deserters they caught. These professional soldiers picked up their guns again, and now form the core of the force that is grinding the regime to dust.

        • muzza 16.1.2.1

          “by the peoples of the Middle East, which is profoundly insulting, patronising & racist ”

          –Ok you are taking it too personally Jenny, which is not helping rational thought. And can people stop using the tern rac*st incorrectly, its a disgraceful attempt to bring race into the discussion Jenny!

          You have been asked some questions by cv and presented with much varied reading material by multiple individuals here, which contradicts your beliefs and opinions. Does that mean you are wrong, maybe, maybe not, but what your irrational use of the term I refer, and not answering questiosn, says to me, is that you are not balanced on this topic, and there will be reasons for that.

          What is your personal attachment to this? Once you drill that out with yourself, and put it to one side, you will find that without bias, your thoughts, logic and rationale will return.

          • locus 16.1.2.1.1

            I have worked in Yemen and Tunisia and alongside families who have suffered under the profoundly corrupt and inhumane regimes in Libya, Yemen and Tunisia. I respect their view that their revolution is theirs.

            Whatever support they may have recieved from politically motivated countries elsewhere in the world, this was their moment of liberation, which they fought and risked everything for. In their minds Syria is no different.

            I find it pretty insulting to read scornful and opinionated critique from people who have not the first idea of what it is like living under the heel of these dictators.

            • muzza 16.1.2.1.1.1

              Hi Locus, respect to the work you, and anyone has done, or does do, regardless off the country they do it in.

              Of course people want to believe the revolution is theirs, the outcome will certainly not be though will it, see Egypt and Lybia to see what Syria will become…Do you thinks that is a good thing?

              I don’t see anyone questioning that there are genuine horrors which happen under all regimes, and perhaps look inside NZ to see 250k + of children in poverty under “NZ’s regime”. Democracy and freedom, as it is so called is not the bastian that people believe it to be, that is clear.

              Why did the west still support Saddam when he chemically wiped thousands of people in Iraq, and why did the west support Assads fathers regime?

              Having seen what the media do in these situations first hand, and with friends who worked in the ME for media companies and military, explaining some of the complexities around the narratives on both sides, the only contention is that people should not take what they hear, see or read as gospal. The ME situation has, is and looks set to always be, along with Africa simply the place where other countries/corporates agenda rule, in order to control resources, and the strategic hold over the globally important area.

              Innocent people will always be killed, and this is terrible, no one would ever dispute this. Its the lies that come with war that allow innocent people to be killed, and navigating through the information and events is not easy, the background goings on which we can never know about, on all sides are the reson people die!

            • Urban Rascal 16.1.2.1.1.2

              I think you misread the debate here. I think everyone respects their view on their revolution. One side is merely arguing caution in the Syrian people that their revolution doesn’t get misused for a wider agenda.
              If anything I personally think that view is responsible given how geo-politics in the ME tends to have worked and more compassionate to the Syrian peoples long term wellbeing.

        • Colonial Viper 16.1.2.2

          Jenny:

          Islamic fighters flocking into Syria

          Paid for by private interests out of Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other places. Almost certainly including Sunni salaafi jihadists.

          Jenny why are you still such a big fan of this civil war? Why can’t you see what is happening here? Do you really think women in Syria are going to be better off now?

          http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/islamic-fighters-flocking-to-syria/article4432160/

          Colonial Viper you are a climate change apologist who uses scapegoating of a middle class minority, to excuse continuing climate change policies.

          You don’t get energy depletion and you don’t get middle class psychology. You also don’t understand how governments have no answers to what is an insoluble predicament (liquid fuels depletion) for our civilisation. Strategic Fail.

        • prism 16.1.2.3

          Gosh Jenny you remind me of a hippotamus which I was unfortunate enough to be behind when it defecated and, it was sort of funny, it wiggled its tail vigorously in a fan effect, so spreading smelly stuff all around. That’s a change from thinking about horrible stuff you can’t do anything about which can drive anyone around the bend.

          Have a laugh, take a break. Then maybe you won’t get involved in useless proxy wars with people trying to see all sides of the situation in Syria, and without the huge amount of hope and belief you have that all will be well in a short time for all the citizens there. By the way, I’ll state that one rude reply from you to me is acceptable and understandable from someone who’s in a state of anxiety, hoping for a better state in future.

  13. Jenny 17

    Now we know where CV takes his cynical and racist lead, the extreme Right, and the Islamaphobic Christian fundamentalists.

    Time to reclaim Kumbayafor the left?

    Decades ago, the song “Kumbaya” (alternatively spelled “Kum Ba Yah”) first became part of the national songbook as a call to peace. Since then, the message and meaning has been twisted into something altogether different. Derision of the song and its emotional foundation has become a required sign of toughness and pragmatism in American politics today, and this is especially true since the Sept. 11 attacks. That’s a little sad, or a lot, depending on your point of view…..

    …..It was recorded by Pete Seeger; the Folksmiths; the Weavers; the Seekers; Peter, Paul & Mary and Joan Baez during the 1950s and 1960s, becoming a staple of the protest rallies of the Civil Rights Movement…..

    Oh, how things have changed. In November 2004, on the day that the William J. Clinton Presidential Library opened in Little Rock, Ark., Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly interviewed Geraldo Rivera. ……”

    …..Now did you sing ‘Kumbaya’?” O’Reilly asked.
    In the summer of 2004, Townhall columnist and radio talk show host Doug Giles made some comments about radical Islam. “They want us exterminated. … That said, what do we, Christians in particular, do when faced with an implacable radical enemy? Just sit around, sing ‘Kum Ba Yah’ and hope these bad guys will leave us alone?

    • Colonial Viper 17.1

      Just wondering if you wanted to respond to the Asia Times Online report which said that the Syrian rebels had been participating in “massacre marketing” to the western press?

      Or the Russia TV news journalist who said that western media was hyping up comments about chemical weapons to soften up opinion for additional western military intervention?

      Or would prefer to make fuckwit remarks about folksongs?

      • Colonial Viper 17.1.1

        Also would you like to comment on what I wrote above about the financing and infiltration of Islamic fighters from around the world, into Syria?

        http://thestandard.org.nz/end-game-in-syria/comment-page-1/#comment-497981

        You better get serious about you’re advocating for here Jenny. Because the truth of how this is all going is just starting to get real.

        • Jenny 17.1.1.1

          I have always been serious in what I have been advocating.

          It is you, I find hard to take seriously. Do you really support a murderer and torturer of unarmed civilian protesters?

          Are you just some sort of crazy leftist liberal dilettante who likes to play devil’s advocate, just for the hell of it?

          When the Arab Spring reached Syria in 2011. Bashar Assad tried to drown it in blood. An atrocity which you ignore and dismiss. And by your dismissal are complicit in.

          Assad’s calculation was that if there was any blowback he could easily overwhelm it with even more violence, (though the outcome is still in the balance), this has not been the case.

          Arrogantly not expecting to be called on your support for this fascist style tyrant and his mounting atrocities.

          I think that it is for you, that the truth is now all just starting to get real.

          Your brand and your reputation has been seriously damaged and you know it.

          • Jenny 17.1.1.1.1

            As Syrian rebels gain ground in fierce fighting, the Syrian government has acknowledged its stockpiles of chemical weapons (CW) – by announcing that they will not be used against Syrians, only foreign invaders.

            However, the regime has insisted that the rebellion, which began over a year ago, is the work of foreigners…..

            New Scientist 25 July

            http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn22104-syria-acknowledges-its-chemical-weapons.html

            Earlier in this thread twice I have challenged CV on whether or not he supports the use of gas weapons by his hero, Assad against “foreigners”. Each time he has avoided answering the question.

            Once with a childish smart arse comment about me assaulting my children.

            Now that the consequences of his support for mass murderer and torture is becoming real for him. Will CV change his stance?

            So how about it CV, will you answer the question now?

            I will repeat the question:

            CV. Do you support, or do not support, the use of gas weapons against the people of Syria, who you racistly paint as Western puppets?

            • Kotahi Tāne Huna 17.1.1.1.1.1

              @Jenny – “A childish smart arse comment” – it was actually an entirely appropriate comment in the context of your “debating” style.

            • Urban Rascal 17.1.1.1.1.2

              Firstly, a threat of action towards foreign interference is expected. In the scale of foreign affairs we often will hear our leaders using this tactic. The president of the USA has time and time again made broad threats of full force against terrorism and countries.

              You Say:
              “CV. Do you support, or do not support, the use of gas weapons against the people of Syria, who you racistly paint as Western puppets?”

              You are attempting to misdirect the facts by painting CV as supporting the gassing of Syrians which is in no way what the context of even what Assad’s general (who retracted the statement) said. Foreign invaders is not equal to the people of Syria.

              Now that theirs evidence of a rebel force that’s demonstrated a willingness to shell citizens in their cities, and commit massacres in an attempt to direct media reporting. (see medialens, asia times article and the Gauradian article above)
              Will Jenny change here stance?

              I will repeat the question (Note: it’s as loaded as your question above):

              Jenny. Do you support, the massacre of the people of Syria, who you racistly paint as Assad supporters? By a rebel force attempting to swing foreign opinion no less.

  14. Urban Rascal 18

    When the US says something about Middle eastern situations always look to israel’s relation with said country.
    Where does syria sit? Between Israel and Iran.
    What’s Israel said recently? It plans for Spring offensive into Iran.
    America has it ships in the Harbour, mended security links with Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq.

    Syria – maybe the people have the drive for rebellion but you can’t ignore the timing and the fact our alliance is manipulating this for a large scale possibility of an incursion into Iran.
    Syria is just dotting the i’s and crossing the T’s.

  15. Tracey 19

    Remind me what we did during and after the 100 days in Rwanda? It’s hard to avoid the idea that our humanity is very geopolitical and increasingly oil-based. I am NOT saying do nothing in Syria but rather we need to be aware of our own selectiveness when it comes to humanitarianism, human rights, and morality.

  16. Deano 20

    to be fair, at the very start of the genocide, ten unarmed Belgian peacekeepers were masscared. that caused Belgium to pull it’s peacekeepers out.

    but, yes, clearly powers are more interested in what happens in strategically important countries.

    that realpolitik doesn’t mean that it is wrong for them to do the right thing in the context of those countries, even if they fail to dot he right thing in the context of other countries.

  17. gareth 21

    Anyone who thinks overthrowing Assad will lead to democracy and peace in perpetuity is dreaming… It’d take a genius to solve centuries of tribal and religious difference, more likely it will end up with another dictator of sorts…

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    Labour | 29-10
  • Anti-worker legislation is anti-Pacifica
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, will go down in history as being part of a Government that harmed his own people through anti-worker legislation, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio.  “Pacific people are among...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Five-year tax holiday for overseas tax dodgers
    National has just gifted a five-year tax holiday for foreign companies dodging their tax payments, says Revenue spokesperson David Clark. “Todd McClay has pretended he is doing something about overseas companies dodging their tax duties by joining an international initiative...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Traffic Jam Tax must be given the red light
    Auckland Council’s proposed Traffic Jam Tax could cost some households thousands of dollars a year just to use roads they had already paid for with their taxes and must be rejected, says Labour’s transport and Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford....
    Labour | 29-10
  • National has chance to show leadership on limos
    The National Party has the opportunity to show leadership by transitioning our vehicle fleet towards renewable electricity when a new contract to supply Government limousines for VIPs goes to tender next month, the Green Party said today. "This is a...
    Greens | 29-10
  • The Māori Party can’t have it both ways over labour laws
    The Māori Party has to fess up over its voting record on the Employment Relations Amendment Bill, says Labour’s Māori Caucus.  “It’s simply not good enough to oppose the bill at the same time  as they helped speed up its progress through...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Equal pay and the aged care sector
    Today the High Court upheld the historic ruling by the Employment Court that our Equal Pay Act could be used to consider work of equal value cases; the government has been telling the UN and ILO that it could for...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Court case perfect opportunity for Government to improve gender pay gap
    If the Government wants to halt New Zealand’s slump in international rankings on the gender pay gap it should act on the court finding that women deserve equal wages, Labour’s Women’s Affairs spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “The World Economic Forum’s...
    Labour | 28-10
  • All Auckland transport options should be considered
    All options for meeting Auckland's transport needs should be considered, including reprioritising the transport budget away from wasteful spending on motorways, the Green Party said today.Auckland mayor Len Brown is today releasing a transport report by the Independent Advisory Board,...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Another report highlights Govt failure on child poverty
    An international report measuring the impact of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) on child poverty rates, showing children in New Zealand have done worse than children in other countries, is further proof the Government needs to urgently take additional steps...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Address and Reply Debate Part 55: Inequality and Disability
    I rise on behalf of the Green Party to talk about inequality and disability.The recent census showed that nearly one in four New Zealanders lives with a disability—up from one in five in the previous census. These figures include some...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Address and Reply Debate Part 55: Inequality and Disability
    I rise on behalf of the Green Party to talk about inequality and disability.The recent census showed that nearly one in four New Zealanders lives with a disability—up from one in five in the previous census. These figures include some...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Child poverty: No more wake-up calls
    A new report which shows the National Government has made no inroads whatsoever into child poverty should do more than just set alarm bells ringing, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “UNICEF’s  latest Innocenti Report Card highlights the fact...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Eugenie Sage speaks in the 2014 Address in Reply Debate
    I congratulate you, Assistant Speaker Mallard, as Assistant Speaker and look forward to your knowledge, your fairness, and your light touch in being a referee of proceedings in this House. I congratulate also the other Assistant Speaker, Lindsay Tisch; the...
    Greens | 28-10
  • James Shaw’s Maiden Speech
    Tena Koe, Mr Speaker. I would like to take this opportunity to speak a little of the past, the present and the future. The privilege to serve in this Parliament was given to me by all those who gave their...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Govt airs real views on public broadcasting
    An admission by the Government that it is happy to experiment with Pacific and Maori audiences shows just how weak its vision for public broadcasting in New Zealand is, Labour’s Broadcasting spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. “National today admitted it doesn’t...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Does Judith Collins have a get out of jail card?
    Former justice minister Judith Collins appears to have been gifted a get out of jail free card based on the Prime Minister’s answers in Parliament today, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “Judith Collins claimed in an Official Information...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Solid Energy decision delay sensible
    Today’s announcement by the Board of Solid Energy that it will delay making a final decision on re-entering the Pike River mine is a sensible move, Labour’s MP for  West Coast-Tasman Damien O’Connor says. “It has been clear for some...
    Labour | 28-10
  • New York Green Bank off to a $1B start
    New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced late last week the New York Green Bank’s first NZD$1 billion tranche of green energy investments. The projects, which are difficult for the private sector to finance, are now possible by New York Green...
    Greens | 28-10
  • The Final Fifth: The Last Great Task for Progressive New Zealand.
    MOST OF NEW ZEALAND’S social problems are concentrated among those living at the margins of what is otherwise a relatively wealthy society. Recently released international data on child poverty has exposed an acutely stressed social strata encompassing roughly 20 percent...
    The Daily Blog | 31-10
  • Myth Busting Rape Boasters
    In just one week a case that galvanised a nation into discussing rape culture is now being reframed as mischievous teen hi-jinx. One year ago the Roast Busters case came to the attention of the media and the public. This...
    The Daily Blog | 31-10
  • Workers rights weakened by new laws – fightback needed
    The government’s changes to the employment laws are designed to weaken workers bargaining power – at both the individual and collective level.   30-day rule The old law required an employer with a collective agreement in place to employ new...
    The Daily Blog | 31-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Simon Buckingham – Where are Labour Candidates on disability?
    For the few people who know me (hello Mum), I am proudly New Zealand’s first Autistic Spectrum Lawyer, as well as being the very bottom Candidate on the Labour Party List. (64 out of 64). Being honoured like this is...
    The Daily Blog | 31-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Blockade the Budget
    The ‘Independent’ Police Conduct Authority’s report into the policing of student protests in 2012 is a whitewash The report released by the Independent Police Conduct Authority into the policing of student protests in 2012 is a whitewash riddled with inaccuracies....
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • When National claim new anti worker laws provide ‘flexibility’ they mea...
    And so it comes to pass. The first law National ram through as part of their victory march are new anti worker laws they pretend will generate ‘flexibility’. The new law denigrate the unions ability to protect workers and provide...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • City Transport: A Taxing Matter
    This week the prospect of paying tolls on Auckland motorways became a hot topic. (See Mathew Dearnaley:Motorway tolling could hit some hard, NZ Herald, 30 Oct 2014.) As we might expect, the kneejerk response has been quite negative. But, as with...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Open Letter to Amy Adams: Please Reopen The Review Into Sexual Violence Cou...
    Ms Amy Adams, Justice and Courts Minister, Right now in this country it seems that although rape is illegal, it is not being prevented by the agents who uphold the law. It almost feels like rape is only illegal on paper,...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: Does ‘No-Surprises’ Also Apply To TVNZ News?
    When you stand back and look at NZ media outlets, most of them have at least one or two people who attempt to hold the government to account: John Campbell on TV3, Guyon Espiner and others at Radio NZ, David...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Things That Make You Go Hmmmmmmm
    Every so often in politics, a public figure comes out with something so absurd and so outlandish … that it really does just make you go “Hmmmmmmmmmm”. We’re accustomed to this from certain quarters – by mid point through the...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Poverty & inequality don’t need protest marches – they need a riot:...
    The global level of inequality continues to skyrocket… Number of billionaires doubled since financial crisis The number of billionaires has doubled since the start of the financial crisis, according to a major new report from anti-poverty campaigners. According to Oxfam,...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • If Key knows who Rawshark is…
    I’m sorry, what? John Key ‘given Rawshark’s name’The Prime Minister believes he knows who hacked Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater’s computer and produced the source material for Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics, according to a new edition of a recently published...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Child Poverty stats in NZ
    Child Poverty stats in NZ...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Crimes Act + Police Investigation = WTF
    Just to frame the farce that is the Roastbuster’s investigation and conclusion – here are the parts of the Crime Act http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1961/0043/latest/whole.html#DLM329057  the Roastbusters are proven to have violated – that the police (and some suspects!) themselves acknowledge occurred: Crimes...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Publishing Journalists’ Home Addresses Is A Tactic Of The Right, Not The ...
    I think I’m starting to get rather annoyed with the conduct of some pro-MANA people over this ongoing Parliamentary Services crew complement issue. Yes, we get that there are legitimate issues to be raised with how some political reporters in...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Aucklanders caught between a tarseal-addicted government and a weak mayor
    Len Brown’s proposal for motorway tolls to reduce congestion and provide funding for better public transport is a weak response to a critical issue. The $12 billion dollar shortfall on transport funding he talks about is mainly for projected new...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • A Very Weird Story: Deconstructing Darren Aronofsky’s Noah.
    NOAH is a curious movie. Conceived as a biblical epic, it’s target audience was originally the millions of Americans who regard the Bible as God’s inerrant word. With the sin-filled works of Hollywood forbidden to these true-believers, Christian movie-makers have developed...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • You Can Get Away With Rape In New Zealand
    Jessie Hume with last years petition against rape     The police have sent a strong message today.  In fact they’ve been sending a strong message for a while; a message that our government supports. “You can literally get away...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Roast Buster case – no charges. In the immortal words of NWA…
    Roast Busters case: No prosecutions Police are to make an announcement this afternoon on Operation Clover, the investigation into the “Roast Busters” allegations. The Herald understands the victim has been told that the alleged offenders will not be prosecuted due...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Key’s flag change distraction to cost $26million!
    No. Way. Bid to change NZ flag to cost millions The cost of holding two referendums and consulting on a change of flag has been estimated to be just under $26 million. Look. We all appreciate that the sleepy hobbits...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Why NZ Herald’s Labour Party crocodile tears are so audacious
    The front page the NZ Herald would use if they thought they could get away with it No one can take the recent columns by NZ Herald seriously… John Armstrong: Shadow lingers on National John Roughan: Labour’s leadership vote matters...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • The beginning of the end of Cameron Slater?
    Slater postings on man bizarre, court told A businessman has changed his appearance and had to install extra security at his home after Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater posted his business and personal documents online, he says. Mr Slater has...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • We are a milk power republic and Fonterra our unelected senate
    Wow. Just wow… Deputy mayor says he’ll be sacked South Taranaki deputy mayor Alex Ballantyne says he expects to be sacked because he has spoken out about the impact gasses coming from dumped Fonterra dairy products have had on his...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: “…But *actually* this is about ethics in political-game jo...
    Yesterday, a piece of mine on the recent revelations about Hone Harawira employing several gentlemen either accused or convicted of sex offences was published on The Daily Blog. Predictably, given the fierce loyalty which Hone inspires in his party faithful and...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • Privilege cheque
    There was no race problem in my childhood. Living in central Wellington I was well-insulated from what was going on not so far away. This was the 60s and 70s, where the teachers enjoyed free love in the staff room...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • A brief word on Key’s claim that it will be raining carnage
    Isis will ‘rain carnage on the world’ – John Key Left unchecked Isis would “rain carnage on the world”, Prime Minister John Key says, but he has yet to make a decision on whether New Zealand troops will join a...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • Meanwhile…
    ...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • How does Andrew Little win Labour Leadership and unify the caucus?
    Audrey Young’s excellent column on how the Caucus vote  is shaping up shows how Andrew Little becomes the next leader of the Labour Party. She identifies the factions as the following… Andrew Little 6: Andrew Little, David Cunliffe, Iain Lees Galloway,...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Joe Trinder – Right of response to Curwen
    You have asked that Hone Harawira deserves to explain what happened, how would he explain when his next door neighbour is an alleged sex offender. What explanation can Hone offer he wasn’t involved, Hone had no idea this offending was...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: That Hella-Weird Feeling When You Defend Tova O’Brien
    Oh dear. Yesterday morning I blogged that Hone deserved a chance to explain what exactly had happened as applies his office’s Parliamentary Services crew complement – and, importantly, that we deserve to be able to judge him on the strength of...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • Canadian Green MP warns against harsh anti-terror measures
    Canada’s Green Party has provided a welcome counterpoint to Prime Minister Harper’s call for tougher anti-terrorism laws in the wake of a soldier outside the Canadian Parliament. On October 22, while she was still locked in her parliamentary office, Green...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • When is an asset sale not an asset sale? When it robs from the poor and ste...
    National have turned state housing on its head. At no time during the 2014 election did the Key Government even hint that they were going to privatise 30% of the Housing NZ stock of state homes. Not once. Key even...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part To...
    . . Continued from: Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part Rua) . Bill English comes clean on National’s intentions for HNZ privatisation . On 14 October, in a report on The Daily Blog, I wrote, In...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • The Questions Have Been Asked – They Deserve An Answer
    A few days ago, allegations that had been percolating for some time about Hone Harawira employing three either accused or convicted sex offenders on his Parliamentary pay-roll came to light. (one imprisoned before working for MANA; one who found himself convicted and...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • I have seen one future, and it is bleak
    . . Back in  March 2012, I wrote this story regarding a march to support striking workers at Ports of Auckland. It appears there was some prescience about some of my observations at the time… . | | 18 March...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • US air strike war Key wants us in has killed a civilian a day so far
      The US air strike war that John Key wants us to join has killed a civilian a day so far. From the Washington Post... The United States launched its first airstrikes on militants in Syria on Sept. 23, and has continued...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • The instant Jihad syndrome
    My favourite new term is ‘self-radicalised’ – it suggests the reasons for terrorism are totally divorced from the actions of the West. This need to suddenly ramp up terror laws because of lone wolf, self-radicalised Jihadists seems convenient and counter-productive....
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • We have nothing to fear from Ebola but fear itself
    I suspect most Americans perceive Ebola like this   I can’t work out if the fear being spread within the media about Ebola is deliberate or just ignorance. Yes Ebola is a terrible plague that kills a large percentage of...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Anjum Rahman – “Meritocracy? I wish.”
    I’d like to start by linking to a post I had published at another site in support of Nanaia Mahuta for the Labour Party leadership election.  She has a reasonable chance, given that she already has the endorsement of Te...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • Chocolate milk shortage and creepy Santa? Let’s talk about real news
    Child poverty is still a scarily serious problem in this country and house prices are soaring through the roof to the point where it is simply impossible for the average New Zealander to buy a home. There is also little...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • It’s time to celebrate Kiwi schools and teachers
    Some would have you believe that New Zealand’s schools are in a state of collapse, that your children are not being educated well and that things are going to hell in a hand basket.  That there is no innovation, no...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • Ideological Blitzkrieg – Privatization of state housing, more charter sch...
    Pundits in pundit land will tell you that this Government is boring, that Key is the great pragmatist and that it is his ability to create elegant solutions that keeps him the firm favourite in many Kiwi eyes. This ability...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • Hegemony rules but resistance is fertile
    The Prime Minister is a puppet. Not just our current Prime Minister, but given the forces of multinational globalisation, the role of any head of state, is less as independent actor, and more as a puppet of international trends and...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • An open Letter to Sir Bob Jones: demanding a ‘liveable wage’ is not “...
    How out of touch with reality is Sir Bob Jones? You know, that white dude who invested in privatised SOEs after the selling off of our assets in the eighties and made a ludicrous and disgusting amount of money and is...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • My insecurity about the Security Council
    As I write this (on 24 October) it is international UN Day. Of course, you all knew that already, right? Well, the day celebrates the entry into force of the UN Charter in 1945. With the ratification of this founding...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Catherine Delahunty – Back in That House
    Parliament opened this week and I still find it a very odd place. Most of the people are reasonably courteous and friendly, but the rituals are archaic and the rules around issues like the swearing in oath are oppressive and...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Marae Investigates No More
    TVNZ yesterday announced the closure of their Māori and Pacific programmes department. That means they’ve chosen to stop making Fresh, Tagata Pasifika, Waka Huia and Marae Investigates to let independent producers get their hands on these lucrative contracts. This is...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • BLOGWATCH: An Un-Civil War in Labour, eh?
    Earlier today, my attention was directed to an entry that’s just recently appeared on the Slightly Left of Centre blog. It purports to contain the ‘inside word’ from a highly placed NZF source – which is funny, because I’m pretty sure...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Santanomics 101
    Santanomics could mean a number of things. It could be the study and practice of giving. Or it could mean the study and practice of rampant end-of-year commercialism. However, for me today it is the economics of erectingAuckland’s giant Santa...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • SkyCity boss misleads public over workers lost shifts
    SkyCity CEO Nigel Morrison has defended the employment practices at his company in an “Opinion” piece entitled “Human Capital key to corporate success” in the NZ Herald on Thursday. A number of his claims are misleading, contain only partial truths...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Roast Busters: Turn Indignation into Action
    People raged about the Roast Buster case. The indignation was justified – it was horrible. “Where were their parents!?” Fair question. I am sure the Roast Busters’ parents and the victims’ parents all wish they had been more proactive in...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Stats NZ only have themselves to blame for postponement
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says Statistics NZ only have themselves to blame for the indefinite postponement of the release of the Food Price Index: November 2014....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • NZ Diversity Survey – benchmarking workplace diversity
    AUT University’s New Zealand Work Research Institute (NZWRI) has released a report on diversity in New Zealand workplaces....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Māori Language (Te Reo Māori) Bill
    Tutehounuku Korako, Chair of the Māori Affairs Committee, is inviting further public submissions on this bill. The closing date for submissions is Friday, 5 December 2014....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • ERA amendments a mixed bag
    The Employment Relations Amendment Act has the potential to put vulnerable workers in a more precarious position, says Equal Opportunities Commissioner, Dr Jackie Blue. However, the commissioner says the right for all to request flexible work hours is...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Sensible Sentencing calls for appeal of judicial activivism
    The Sensible Sentencing Trust is appalled that Justice Jill Mallon has today refused to apply the Life without Parole (LWOP) provisions of the Three Strikes law as enacted by Parliament....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Global Rally against ISIS – for Kobanê – for Humanity, Nov 1
    The New Zealand Kurdish Community will march in solidarity with Kurdistan as part of the “GLOBAL RALLY AGAINST ISIS – FOR KOBANÊ – FOR HUMANITY” on 1 November 2014, 2pm....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Does ‘No-Surprises’ Also Apply To TVNZ News?
    When you stand back and look at NZ media outlets, most of them have at least one or two people who attempt to hold the government to account: John Campbell on TV3, Guyon Espiner and others at Radio NZ, David...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Safer roads are better for everyone
    Recent pedestrian versus vehicle incidents highlight the real issues being addressed by delegates as the 2Walk and Cycle conference concludes....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Law change creates more flexible labour market
    The Employment Relations Amendment Act, passed yesterday, will bring new flexibility to the labour market and will reduce the ability of unions to organise and to recruit....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Bumper ANZ profits mean no excuse for insecure hours
    A big rise in profits at New Zealand's largest bank needs to be reflected in a better pay offer and more security around hours of work, the bank workers’ union said today....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Count down to lowered alcohol limit
    With just a month to go until a new lower alcohol limit for adult drivers comes into effect, Police and road safety agencies are reminding drivers of the impending change....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • WorkSafe Supports Forestry Review Findings
    WorkSafe NZ says the Independent Forestry Safety Review has clearly identified the problems facing an industry in which ten workers were killed last year. “The Review’s analysis matches our own view and leaves no doubt about the need for comprehensive,...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CTU welcomes forestry review recommendations
    The CTU is welcoming the today's release of the independent forestry safety review panel findings. "These recommendations must be implemented to ensure that everything possible is done to make forestry safer." CTU President, Helen Kelly said....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Activists will confront animal abusers
    Today animal rights activists will confront a group of wealth advisers who want to build the biggest egg factory-farm in New Zealand....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Turia: Women’s Refuge Conference 2014
    This is a milestone moment in my life. This will be my last official address as Co-leader of the Maori Party. On Saturday night at our Hui-a-Tau, I will be standing down from that role and enabling a new co-leader,...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Rodeo Code of Welfare ‘Sick Joke’
    Animal advocacy organisation SAFE says the revised Code of Welfare for Rodeos just released is nothing but a sick joke. “Rodeo animals are goaded, tormented and forced to endure needless suffering and gross mistreatment, all for the sake of so-called...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Conservative Party applauds binding referenda on flag
    The Conservative Party are congratulating the Government on the decision to hold two binding referendums to decide the fate of New Zealand’s flag – and believes it will pave the way for binding referenda to form part of New Zealand...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Walk the Talk – Opposing violence against women
    Soroptimist International of Auckland have organised a walk on 22 November from Silo Park at the Wynyard Quarter through the Viaduct and back to Silo Park, to show their opposition to violence against women. This event hopes to raise awareness...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Recommendations on the Design of Pecuniary Penalties
    The Law Commission has reviewed the use of pecuniary penalties as a regulatory tool. Pecuniary penalties are financial penalties that policymakers are increasingly opting to use in place of criminal sanctions in order to punish and deter misconduct in...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Every worker will be affected by employment law changes
    Every worker will feel the effects of the government’s new employment laws and should join a union if they want to maintain and increase their wages and conditions, says New Zealand’s largest private sector union, the EPMU....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Shameful attack on all workers
    The Government has passed the Employment Relations Amendment Act slashing the rights of all Kiwi workers. “These changes are shameful. New Zealand now has some of the worst employment protections in the OECD. It is embarrassing that a country which...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Unnecessary law changes more to do with ideology
    The government’s employment law changes are simply ideological and are at odds with its approach in the related areas of health and safety and immigration law, FIRST Union said tonight....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CTU Runanga calls on iwi leaders
    Maori workers are calling on iwi leaders to speak out against the employment law changes expected to go through today. “Iwi leaders have previously spoken out when workers in Aotearoa have been under attack, we believe they should do so...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Educating children not the best solution to alcohol harm
    Alcohol Healthwatch says we need to look beyond educating children and young people to address deeply embedded attitudes and behaviours concerning alcohol....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • New code of welfare for rodeos released
    New standards to strengthen the animal welfare requirements for rodeos have been issued today by the Minister for Primary Industries, Nathan Guy....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • IPCA report riddle with inaccuracies, say students
    A report by the Independent Police Conduct Authority into the policing of student protests in 2012 is riddled with inaccuracies, say students who laid the original complaint with the IPCA....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CT v The Queen – indecency convictions quashed
    This summary is provided to assist in the understanding of the Court’s judgment. It does not comprise part of the reasons for that judgment. The full judgment with reasons is the only authoritative document. The full text of the judgment...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Rameka v The Queen – murder convictions quashed
    This summary is provided to assist in the understanding of the Court’s judgment. It does not comprise part of the reasons for that judgment. The full judgment with reasons is the only authoritative document. The full text of the judgment...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Auckland Council Out of Control
    Responding to the NZ Herald article that some Auckland households will face a rates rise of up to 9.6 per cent next year, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan Williams says: “Len Brown’s pledge to cap rates rises at 2.5 per...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Stats NZ staff escalate action with ‘no more meetings’ rule
    Statistics NZ staff have voted to escalate their ongoing industrial action in an effort to get Stats NZ back to the bargaining table with a reasonable offer. The staff, who are members of the Public Service Association (PSA), have been...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Rape Crisis calls for changes to criminal justice system
    Wellington Rape Crisis has added its voice to the public outcry following the announcement that there will be no charges in the teen rape gang case. Butterworth says the decision not to lay charges will not have been a surprise...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Police action justified in Blockade the Budget demonstration
    Police actions in dealing with a demonstration in Central Auckland known as Blockade the Budget on 1 June 2012 were justified and appropriate, an Independent Police Conduct Authority report released today found....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • NZDF Joins with Australia to Commemorate WWI Centenary
    A contingent of New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel will join their Australian counterparts at Australia’s first major commemoration of the First World War centenary in Albany, Western Australia this weekend....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Reserve Bank should reduce interest rate
    “The Reserve Bank should be reducing its policy interest rate, the OCR”, says CTU Economist Bill Rosenberg in response to the Bank’s announcement today that it is not increasing it....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • 2015 Stout Fellow will write about Māori & Criminal Justice
    Kim Workman, founder and advocate for the Robson Hanan Trust, which administers the Rethinking Crime and Punishment and Justspeak initiatives, has been awarded the 2015 John David Stout Fellowship at Victoria University....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • What John Key thought about ‘dirty politics’
    On September 20, John Key swept to victory to become one of New Zealand’s most successful and popular Prime Ministers. Rocked by scandal, the 2014 election campaign was one of the most brutal – and riveting – in recent history....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Trade Deal Threatens Farmers and Food Businesses
    The secret Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations are a direct threat to food businesses and farmers, and a moratorium on the release of GE crops must be enshrined in law before the TPP is signed....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • CTU announces election of new Secretary
    The contested election for the position of CTU Secretary has been won by Sam Huggard. Sam officially takes office on Monday 1 December 2014. Sam has worked in the union movement and brings a wealth of experience and a commitment...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Kim Workman awarded 2015 J.D. Stout Fellowship
    The Victoria University of Wellington 2015 J.D. Stout Fellowship, funded by the Stout Trust, has been awarded to justice reform advocate Kim Workman. Mr Workman (Ngati Kahungungu ki Wairarapa, Rangitaane) is well known for his work on criminal justice,...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • TPPA causing concern
    Concern over the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) negotiations is being expressed in two public meetings over the next week; one at a presentation on 5th November by former councillor Robin Gwynn to the Napier City Council, the...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Kiwis rally to demand justice for ‘Roast Buster’ survivors
    Over 1,500 kiwis have rallied to demand justice after the announcement of the NZ Police decision not to lay charges in the ‘Roast Busters’ saga....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • New employment law will hurt the most vulnerable NZers
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says changes to the Employment Relations Act, expected to be passed in Parliament tonight, will hurt vulnerable workers and their families more than anyone....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Consultation to close on proposed place names
    The New Zealand Geographic Board (NZGB) Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa today advised that only one month remains before public consultation closes for 18 name proposals for geographic features and places around Te Ika ā Māui (the North Island)....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Operation Clover – Statement from Police Commissioner
    I have taken a close interest in this investigation and I am confident police have conducted a thorough and professional enquiry in what has been a challenging and complex case. The Operation Clover team has ensured that victims have been...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Better policy would have protected children from recession
    Child Poverty Action Group says an international report released by UNICEF today shows good policy can protect and improve child well-being, even during a recession....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Outcome of Operation Clover investigation
    Police have completed a multi-agency investigation, Operation Clover, into the activities of a group calling themselves “The Roast Busters”. The 12 month enquiry focused on incidents involving allegations of sexual offending against a number of girls...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • False birth registration brings home detention
    A Whangarei woman who attempted to register the birth of a fictitious child to claim a sole parent benefit was sentenced to six months home detention in the Whangarei District Court today....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Family of Robert Ellis demand a proper investigation
    The family of a New Zealander killed in Indonesia are growing increasingly concerned at the lack of information they’ve received, and the handling of the investigation into his murder....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Minister of Health must account for aged care workers’ pay
    The New Zealand Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW NZ) congratulates rest-home worker Kristine Bartlett on her landmark claim for equal pay from her employer and successfully pursuing this to the Court of Appeal....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
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