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After Homs

Written By: - Date published: 11:04 am, March 5th, 2012 - 39 comments
Categories: human rights, war - Tags:

In my previous post I laid out the reasons why a NATO/US intervention in Syria is unlikely, even though the alternative will almost certainly be defeat of the freedom fighters and even more mass murder by the regime. There’s no strategic gain from the Right’s perspective and many on the Left would rather see a massacre than US military action. Homs has fallen. So, what next for the rebels?

The fracturing of a regime’s monopoly on violence is a necessary precursor to a successful revolution. Often, particularly in modern times, this will mean part of the security forces will go over to the other side or refuses to fight. Syria has that with the mass desertion of Sunni conscripts, many of whom have joined the Free Syrian Army or other local groups.

Sometimes, that is enough to break the regime’s resolve (eg Ukraine’s Orange Revolution and the overthrow of Milosevic) if the regime is decrepit and can’t face an internal military confrontation. The Syrain people weren’t so lucky – their tyrant has plenty of fight in him.

The Free Syrian Army’s initial strategy was very sound, classic guerrilla warfare. They launched hit and run attacks on elements of the special security forces and left the regular army alone, apart from some ambushes where they shot officers and invited the conscripts to join them or desert. They didn’t seek to hold land or cities, they sought to do damage and then disappear. And they didn’t bring the wrath of the regime on civilians

It’s a good strategy. One that’s worked numerous times over thousands of years – slowly ebbing away the regime’s strength and isolating it, while keeping the population onside and gaining their trust. Like Mao says, the guerrilla must swim in the people as the fish swims in the sea.

But there’s a classic counter-strategy to this that a regime which is willing to play sufficiently hardball will employ: identify a civilian well-spring of the rebellion and pound the shit out of it. Unless they are extraordinarily disciplined and well-led (eg the Viet Cong), the rebels can be drawn into trying to defend their civilians and fighting in the regime’s terms – a classic face-to-face battle where heavy weapons excel, rather than light infantry shoot and scoot, which is where the rebels have a natural advantage.

That’s what happened at Homs. The deployment of the regime army around what was already a centre of the rebellion drew in more and more rebel fighters. Satellite imagery compiled from Human Rights Watch shows 1000s of shells were fired into the Baba Amr quarter killing hundreds of rebel fighters and civilians before the Free Syrian Army withdrew. In the aftermath, there are reports of summary executions and the Red Cross/Red Crescent has been denied access (hey, conspiracy theorists – I’m sure they’re all part of the conspiracy that is inventing this whole thing for no reason too).

So the Free Syrian Army as been given a hiding. What now? It could well be that the groundswell of support for overthrowing the regime will diminish now that the rebel fighters have been seen to be defeated, and as word of the regime’s atrocities spreads with the clear rider: you could be next. That’s what happened after Assad’s daddy did the same thing to Hama 30 years ago.

But, if we want to see the murderer Assad gone, then the Free Syrian Army could still pull it off, if they go back to the tactics that work. They will need to be disciplined about refusing to take the regime forces on in front-on combat. Instead, fight by ambush and gradually weaken until the regime’s ability to project its power and enforce its rule fades. Don’t try to take or hold land, just make it impossible for the regime to do so. It’s a long-term strategy and it means not being drawn into defending cities – when the Vietnamese did it the cost was appalling.

But, if the rest of the world is going to sit on its chuff and let Assad murder his people, slow and bloody is the only way that the Syrian people will win their freedom.

Frankly, it looks like Assad’s going to crush the rebels now and Syrians will suffer greatly without gaining self-determination. I understand the realpolitik of letting these people die but let’s not pretend that we aren’t turning our backs on them.

39 comments on “After Homs”

  1. Conal 1

    I can’t help feeling that another motive for the rebel strategy was to provoke a decisive NATO intervention on their side as was done in Kosovo and Libya.

  2. muzza 2

    Can anyone from The Standard please explain why the site is letting this unblanced writing about such a sentitive topic, continue to be published with seemingly no QA, or factual research by the author?

    Can the author at least list the sources he is using to substantiate his views?

    • Te Reo Putake 2.1

      The posts are intended to start discussion, Muzza. It’s an opinion, which we’re all free to counter (or agree with).

      • muzza 2.1.1

        So you think that opinion pieces are appropiate when talking about a war zone Voice?

        While I concur about the discussions part relating to the articles on the site, those written about the ME, have been heavily lacking in any attempt to bring balance for such subject matter.

        The readers on this site are possible rather more decerning than say the NZH, where I have seen a more balanced point of view than this drivel!

        I do not buy your rationale on this at all!

        • Te Reo Putake 2.1.1.1

          Yes, muzza, I do think opinion pieces are appropriate when talking about war zones. It would be very strange if that were not the case! Indeed, the anti-war movement have used opinion pieces to make their point since at least the Vietnam war, to my certain knowlege.
           
          Opinion pieces are not required to be internally balanced, because they represent an individual’s view of a subject. They can, however, be externally balanced by having an alternative POV also presented, if the publisher feels that is appropriate. That works in, say, Time magazine, or the Listener, but it’s hardly needed on a blog.
           
          In this case, MV’s opinion seems to have some substance. It’s a well presented picture of the situation there, as he sees it. I don’t agree with all he says, but I haven’t seen any serious rebuttal of it yet, either. If their needs to be balance, then by all means provide it. But I would still encourage MV to continue posting, because these are issues that need to be talked about.
           
          My quick summary of the Syrian situation: Assad should be captured or killed as soon as possible. But that won’t happen because the Syrians don’t have much oil.

    • Conal 2.2

      Yes It’s interesting how completely this toes the official NATO line, albeit with a “left” tinge. It’s not something isolated though; I’ve seen the same thing on social-democratic blogs a number of times, backing NATO against the governments of Yugoslavia and Libya, in particular. Let’s not underestimate the ideological power of the mass media to justify wars!

      A couple of major points to note:

      There’s an absolute dichotomy presented between Assad the Tyrant on the one hand, and the entire Syrian People on the other, apparently fully represented by the FSA Freedom Fighters. Does Assad’s regime not have considerable popular support? Actually it does, but you would never guess it from this article. It’s very much a cardboard cut-out picture of Syria.

      Another interesting point is how it identifies with Western imperialism. The talk about “getting off your chuff” is I suppose code for a NATO bombing campaign or even invasion. The identification of “us” with NATO is astonishing. Are “we” really turning our backs on the Syrian people? I don’t even have a single drone, fighter bomber, or cruise missile (and NZ as a whole is not much better equipped in that respect, actually). Am I in charge of NATO? Is NZ? Are the populations of the countries who actually make up NATO? Hardly. So hho exactly is this “we”?

      Note also that other countries (in the Arab League for instance, and also Russia) got “off their chuffs” to try to organise peace talks between the warring sides. Isn’t that a commendable effort? Why is war apparently the only option? And why did the Syrian opposition refuse to negotiate with Assad? They thought they could triumph militarily by themselves? Unlikely! They thought NATO would intervene to assure their victory? Perhaps if NATO had been less bellicose they might have considered a negotiated solution instead.

      • Blighty 2.2.1

        Assad represents the ruling Alawite elite, which maintains its power through secret police, repression and bombardment of cities that rise up. If you call that ‘popular support’, well, good for you.

    • Blighty 2.3

      write a guest post if you want to offer a counter view.

      You could title it: Why the Syrian rebels deserve to die

      • Conal 2.3.1

        Yes, because what I really want to do is to buy into a mirror image of the same simplistic and naive view presented here.

        This isn’t “Cowboys and Indians”, Blighty.

        [edit] whoops I think Blighty’s snide comment was actually to someone else.

    • lprent 2.4

      All posts written by our authors are their opinions. That is why their names or pseudonyms are attached to the posts. There is no editorial policy (apart from “I don’t want to be sued” or “all the other authors are up in arms”) for authors that we give logins to. Neither is the case with these posts. Commentators are up in arms usually doesn’t rate because you usually find a wider range of opinion…

      If you disagree then comment on why you disagree (just don’t personally attack the author because I grant holidays from commenting for that). If you want to make it more prominent then write a guest post and send it in. We will usually post anything that is coherent and argues an opinion.

      BTW: It is reasonably comment to find other authors disagreeing in comments, and sometimes even getting wound up enough to write opposing posts. The most recent I remember is Zet? writing something sarcastic about Shearer, and then Mike writing something complimentary.

  3. coolas 3

    A link to The Independent and Robert Fisk – thanks to NoRightTurn – gives a broader point of view

    http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/fisk/robert-fisk-the-fearful-realities-keeping-the-assad-regime-in-power-7534769.html

    Sickening to read the comments about Falluja in 2004 where US forces killed thousands of civilians and left a toxic legacy by using white phosphorous. The US target weren’t ‘freedom fighters’, of course. They were ‘rebels’ or ‘terrorists.’ So that’s okay!

    • SpaceMonkey 3.1

      Add to the white phosphorous the copius amounts of DU the US have littered around Iraq (some 1,000 tons within the first 3 weeks) and now Libya.

      http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=3116
      http://www.voltairenet.org/NATO-War-Crimes-Depleted-Uranium

      • coolas 3.1.1

        Thanks for links. But shocking, eh. I just can’t get my head around how this is allowed to happen.

        • Conal 3.1.1.1

          It’s shocking alright. But to drag the topic of conversation back to this post about the Syrian conflict, I would argue that this kind of post is itself very much part of how Western aggression is allowed to happen. Western imperialists have learned from the failure of their war against Vietnam that they need to exert more effective ideological control over their own populations when waging wars overseas. Especially in left forums like the Standard, actually, since this is the kind of place where anti-war positions might be expected. The ideology of “humanitarian intervention” is a useful tool for war-mongers who are happy to use it as a fig-leaf for wars which they actually wage for very different reasons, and with very different results.

          There’s a standard pattern in psyops of this type: firsts demonise the enemy-of-the-day, white-wash their opposition, and hand-wringingly ask “why won’t someone intervene for humanitarian reasons?” There’s a lot of talk about law and morality and responsibility to protect.

          Then when the imperial powers start their military campaign, there’s a psyops campaign to white-wash it; all ordnance used are “smart bombs” incapable of killing civilians; all the dead are deemed to have been legitimate targets; all the country’s destroyed infrastructure turns out to have been military in nature; enemy journalists killed were actually propagandists who deserved death; etc. Contradictory reports are deemed to be enemy propaganda. Contradictory reports that are too well-attested to be denied are deemed to be highly exceptional “collateral damage” which is regretted but sacrifices have to be made, etc.

          A few weeks later the whole thing can be forgotten. The new rulers can commit all kinds of crimes, including ethnic cleansing, torture and assassination. The gaze of the world’s media has moved on to yet another benighted third world country ruled by an “evil tyrant” who must be killed for the sake of humanity. “Mission Accomplished”.

          • Morrissey 3.1.1.1.1

            The ideology of “humanitarian intervention” is a useful tool for war-mongers…

            Quite true. The call for “humanitarian intervention” might carry some moral weight if it were not led by the likes of Hillary Clinton, William Hague and Nicholas Sarkozy. Not one of these human rights champions uttered a single word in favour of “humanitarian intervention” during Israel’s bloody invasions of Lebanon or Gaza. In fact, they all applauded the killing.

          • coolas 3.1.1.1.2

            Interesting – Evil Saddam v’s the Liberators, Evil Gaddafi v’s Democracy warriors, Evil Mubarak v’s People Power .. now .. Evil Assad v’s the Freedom Army. It reads like advertising (and comics) which is what you’re saying it is really. And I get your point that this post panders to that simplistic idea. Good v’s Evil. Got it. Where’s the remote?

  4. Kevin 4

    Assad has a lot of external support from Iran and also has been materially equipped with weapons and munitions from Russia and to a lesser degree China.
    Without that support Assad’s regime would struggle in a long drawn out civil war where the opposing forces, the Free Syria Army, with support from Nato, could mount a sustained and co ordinated response to the brutal regimes crackdown on democratic reforms.
    Assad realises that he is a marked man, and will always be a potential assassination target, a dead man walking. He won’t be able to maintain his hard line position over the long term.
    The Free Syria Army looks to have lost this initial battle, no doubt the recriminations against the organisers will be severe and brutal, however the seed of democracy has been planted and will grow over time especially with support from Nato agencies.

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      however the seed of democracy has been planted and will grow over time especially with support from Nato agencies.

      Sure, every time NATO gets involved this is exactly what happens. What’s happening now in Libya BTW after NATO involvement? Any more Al Qaeda flags appearing on the government buildings there + declarations of Sharia law?

      You guys gotta be dreaming. Look how well the installment of the Shah of Iran or supporting the ‘freedom fighters’ in Afghanistan has gone for the west. Its like everyone has memories like sandflies.

  5. house 5

    Whilst I don’t want the Free Syrian Army to die (moreover I don’t want the civilians surrounding them to die), I’m not sure I want them to win either. Too often for the past 200 years Westerners have assumed the position of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”. As the current mess in Libya illustrates (as equally messy situations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Cambodia, etc have in the past) sometimes overthrowing bad results in worse.

    Anyway Fisk wrote a reasonable piece on the issue of the Free Syrian Army:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/fisk/robert-fisk-could-there-be-some-bad-guys-among-the-rebels-too-6719999.html

  6. prism 6

    Conal and muzza are against the post it seems. But I still don’t understand what they think are the problems facing Syrian anti-government fighters. Are they wrong to oppose the government?
    Are they unreasonable malcontents?

    And why does each theatre of war have to drag all the others along on its back – Syria seen in connection with Gaddafi, with Saddam, with Israel etc. Almost the USA domino theory relating to Vietnam over again. It will be easy to say crushingly to me, that all these ME conflicts are related, but Syrians still have their own nation to contend with. Lecturing commenters isn’t talking about Syrians and why a significant group might, do, want to change governance.

    What role does religion play? There was a mention that Sunni fighters withdrew from the government army. Is there a split along these lines? I’ll see what Robert Fisk says from house link above.

    • Conal 6.1

      Just a quick answer, from my perspective.

      I deliberately didn’t give an opinion on the rights and wrongs of the Syrian uprising. I’m absolutely sure that the opposition has valid reasons for discontent with the Baath Party regime. No doubt about it. But I’m not going to presume to lecture them on how to carry out their political struggle. That’s their business.

      Which brings me to the crux of my opposition to this post. The key point of this post, it seems to me, is to attempt to justify Western military attacks on a sovereign state, through a spurious appeal to humanitarianism, whereas in fact the benefits of these attacks flow primarily to elite sectors within the Western powers themselves.

      I say “spurious” because the military establishments of the Western “great powers” don’t intervene for humanitarian reasons. That’s just not how they roll. If that were the real motive, then they would have intervened in a much larger number of dire humanitarian crises, which I’m not going to list; suffice to say that if you look at the record, it’s more than a bit patchy.

      When the Western powers do intervene, there’s typically another rather obvious self-serving motive to be seen. In the Middle East, strategic control of the world’s major oil reserves is the most obvious consideration. Imperialism is a real phenomenon in world politics; the elites of the Great Powers know what they want and they’ll lie and bully and go to war at the drop of a hat if it looks necessary.

      That’s the thread that links all these wars together.

      • MValley 6.1.1

        the rebels are asking for help to stop them being slaughtered by the regime’s heavy weapons so that they can win their freedom. We would ask for (and get because most of us are white) the same help if it was us.

        As for ‘you can’t a attack a sovereign state no matter what they do to their people’, that’s a notion that I would have hoped went out in 1945.

        • Colonial Viper 6.1.1.1

          Starting an unwinnable and widespread war against a regime with heavy weapons and then asking for help afterwards from outside is a low quality, untenable, non-military strategy.

        • Con 6.1.1.2

          So if NZ was languishing under some cruel tyranny, NATO would come to our aid because we’re white? Like how NATO came to the aid of those Chileans during the years of Pinochet’s dictatorship? Or how NATO overthrew the fascist regime of Generalissimo Franco? No, because NATO doesn’t work like that. They’re not some kind of international humanitarian aid agency, no matter what they’d like you to think.

          It beggars belief the illusions some people harbour about NATO and US imperialism generally! You only have to look at what they actually do. If they invade a country, it’s to subordinate it to their rule. That’s what they’re paying good money for; not to make the world a happy place. And that’s why, if NATO were to attack Syria, no matter what high-sounding motives and goals they claimed to have, it would not produce a good outcome for Syrians, or for other countries in the region.

    • muzza 6.2

      My isue is with the article at this stage, as the author is IMO responsible for propagating a so called point of view which reads as ignortantly unresearched. Some seem to think that opinion pieces are ok on such suvject matter, but that is weak and a cop out! When you are talking about war, at least have the depth to give it some serious balanced thought. Yes its a blog, but what is the difference between this space or a similar piece of nonsene in the MSM? Actually the difference is that I would expect better from this site!

      Writing from an angle which seems to want to induce the thoughts of the reader into reasons why the west should intervene, is simply not good enough. If the writer gave some sort of balance then came up with the conclusions the west should intervene, I would still disagree., but at least it would be balanced.

      Syria is a complicated situation, and that is why I am have not given opinions, as I have not spent the time researching it enough. So far as events in Libya which is did comment on in the authors Iran piece, as I had taken time to try to understand the happenings, and also had first hand information from people who were inside Libya, and who are from that country.

      An article like this should have links, and so far Michaels writings have not given a single one! Having read Fisks articles, it is clear that MV would do well do leave this subject matter alone until he has some very sound knowledge on the situation, either that or just simple ak for peoples opinions, instead of writing his own, which looks to be very wrong!

      • MValley 6.2.1

        yeah. you got me. it’s all made up. I’m listening to audio of refugees from Homs on Radio NZ now about how their men are being executed. But it’s clearly all a fabrication. The ‘refugees’ are in on it. So is the BBC. So’s Radio NZ.

        Why would they all conspire to invent this? Don’t ask stupid questions. ‘They’ want to slander that nice man Assad and justify an intervention.

        But everyone knows Assad and his father have ruled by murder and terror for 45 years, there’s no strategic value in Syria for the West and they clearly don’t want to intervene or they would have done so already.

        Trust me. I’ve done plenty of research on the Middle East.

        • Colonial Viper 6.2.1.1

          Trust me. I’ve done plenty of research on the Middle East.

          I mean, this is the nub of the issue. Chechnya, Tibet, Sudan, East Timor plenty of places in the world where govts oppress and kill civilians via secret police and military means for years and decades, yet its whoever the “Allies” are interested in for whatever particular geopolitical priorities they have on a particular day which are deemed important.

      • lprent 6.2.2

        It doesn’t indicate unresearched to me. It sounds like a continuation of the depressing pattern that Syria has displayed over the last 30 years that I have watched and read about it. The main difference this time is how widespread the rebellion is. That will constrain the regime on their usual divide and conquer tactics and require occupation forces across much of the country. But they probably don’t have enough supporting populations to do it this time.

        I think that this time there is going to be enough porosity on neighboring borders to sustain a internal guerrilla war. And an unwillingness on the part of conscripts to get conscripted.

  7. Pascal's bookie 7

    Not entirely sure if I can be bothered engaging with this, (particulary on a dodgy connection the back up PC), but it really is some pretty superficial and intellectually dishonest dreck.

    Rather than just characterising the opinions of those with whom you disagree, why don’t you link to them?

    I’ve read pretty widely on this, and I’ve not seen anyone say that the west shouldn’t charge in because “America”. Maybe I don’t read the things you read, but you clearly don’t read what I’ve been reading either, so we are at a match there.

    The case against intervention is based on realism. The regime is much better equiped than that in Libya was. They are not going to be running short on heavy armour, artillery, or missiles for a long time unless we are prepared to go with some very heavy bombardment with all that entails.

    You just can’t wave your hands around the question of what our intervention will do in terms of the regime’s reaction. If we intervene, we will be bound to the ongoing conflict, we will be bound to react to the reaction from the regime’s supporters in Iran, and so on. We will be responsible for the regimes reaction insofar that if/when they step up their response in terms of death squads summary executions and what not, we will have to do something about that. Boots on the ground cannot be taken off the table. If you take them off the table, you give the regime obvious moves to make.

    On the self determination question, it’s apple pie. But to be worth eating, it has to be cooked right. If the regime has lost the monopoly on the use of force, and a civil war is in place that will result in the fall of the regime, then good, as far as I’m concerned. But that is a far call from saying that any and every uprising against tyrants is something we should get involved in. Civil wars are awful business. Making them worse is not a liberal thing to do unless you are very clear about the chances for victory, the nature of the opposition, the depth of it’s support, and the brittleness of the regime’s domestic and international support.

    Everything I’ve seen, (and I read mostly from places like Foreign Policy, hardly hotbeds of handwringing leftist anti americanism) indicates that it really is a lot more complicated than supporters of intervention make out. The results in Libya should at least give some pause. Our responsibility 2 protect seems to have stopped somehow, though I’ve not had it explained to me why.

    Afghanistan and Iraq also give us lessons about self determination, if we care to look.

    One lesson is that when countries, any countries, jump in to0 deliver self determination to struggl;ing people, they seem to have a feeling that they should get a say in what the determination looks like. That’s only natural, and also, in many respects fair.

    You say that I need to front to the fact that I’m just letting people die. fairly haevy shit, but fair enough if you accept certain presuppositions.

    You need to explain though why you are so certain that intervention does not have a high chance of making things worse, if only because that’s the argument that actually out there. The argument is that a high chance of many casualties and a slim chance of victory, is better than a high chance of many many more casualties, a broadened conflict, cross border refugees and paramilitary action with only an arguably better chance of victory.

    You might dispute that ‘arguably’, but would you support NZ troops on the ground fighting hizbollah cells in two years time? If not then define victory, and define at which points you’d cut and run.

    Sorry about the rantish nature, but throw stones, get blowback 😉

  8. MValley 8

    yeah. I know there’s a realist argument against intervention in Syria. Realism is inherently about self-interest and there’s more self-interest for the West’s elites in letting the people of Syria be murdered than answering their cries for help.

    It’s some on the Left’s position I have more trouble with. Like I say, only a neo-con thinks you go around ‘saving’ every country from dictatorship and we’ve seen the results when they try. But that’s a very different situation from when a people are trying to overthrow their tyrant but are getting slaughtered (willing slaughtered, which tells you something about their determination) because only one side has the heavy weapons.

    I don’t know why some in the Left (and you can see the comments in the Syria post) are willing to turn a blind eye to people fighting for the rights we have who are just asking for a bit of help. We would expect the same.

    • Pascal's bookie 8.1

      Realism is inherently about self-interest and there’s more self-interest for the West’s elites in letting the people of Syria be murdered than answering their cries for help.

      Well, it’s about self interest insofar that a realist approach says that nations will tend to act towards their self percieved best interests. It’s an decsriptive idea, not a normative statement about what nations ought to do.

      Frinstance, if the west believed that the opposition in Syria were democratically minded types likely to move Syria away from it’s confrontational stance towards the west say, or likely to be less problematic in Lebanon, or likely to otherwise being democracy sexy freedom to the area, and likely to win if we just gave them a little help; then it would be ‘realistic’ to predict that they would indeed help them.

      If your analysis of what is happenning in Syria is correct, then it would be in the wests interests to help the opposition out.

      And just to be a tad snide, you can’t really talk about murder when you are also talking about the brave revolutionary. Declare war; get warred on. You don’t get to cry murder at the same time you are challenging the state’s monopoly on the use of force.

      • MValley 8.1.1

        assad was a murderer long before this. that’s why there’s an uprising. people don’t mind benevolent dictatorships, and they certainly don’t have to die fighting to overthrow them.

        The point is the realist analysis for intervention doesn’t stack up because of the regional and military complications. Democracy for Syrians, and their lives, just don’t factor high enough in the ‘West’s’ calculations.

        • Colonial Viper 8.1.1.1

          Using phrases like “freedom fighters” smacks of propaganda scripting.

          Avoiding discussions on the geopolitical self-interest of NATO and the US in the region (and hence their motivation to get involved now when Assad has been a killer for many years already – you said so yourself) while focussing purely in-country on Syria removes context. Also smacks of propaganda scripting.

          Would you call on NATO and the US to threaten Israel if Israel was bombing and shelling civilian houses in Palestine? Israel has done that before and I didn’t hear nary a peep from the US President or the UK PM. Because it wasn’t in the geopolitical interests of NATO and the US to get involved, of course.

          Basically Syria would be better off with true democratic rule for the people and by the people, and Assad gone, out of the picture. But your narrative scripting is rubbish.

          • rosy 8.1.1.1.1

            Avoiding discussions on the geopolitical self-interest of NATO and the US in the region …and hence their motivation to get involved

            From where I am, in Europe, there doesn’t seem to be an official appetite for involvement in Syria. There is no high value reason – no grudge against the leader, like Gaddafi, for example. But there are high value losses – like annoying the Russians (who do have naval base in Tartus). I just can’t see a NATO intervention happening. I think they’ll be leaving this to the regional powers. While hoping that Russia and China take on some of the diplomatic talks.

  9. Quay 9

    “There’s no strategic gain from the Right’s perspective and many on the Left would rather see a massacre than US military action.” ?

    There’s a massive gain for the right, bombing Iran’s only real ally would be hugely advantageous in the current climate, hence the rhetoric coming from Iraq war architects. That the left would rather see a massacre is an absurd comment, unless you’re referring to conspiracy-driven leftists.

  10. Rich 10

    I suspect that one issue behind this is that one thing Israel is really scared of is the outbreak of legitimate Arab governments. Despots like Assad can be dealt with secretly, maintain their countries in relative poverty, don’t have international support and have a military focused on internal repression.

    If Assad were deposed and replaced by a democratic government which ran a sound economy, had popular and international support and a military that could fight if called on, that would be bad news for Israel.

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    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    6 hours ago
  • A Government System That Works
    The Covid-19 saga will no doubt produce many twists and turns for us before it is finally brought to an end. But one thing it has shown us – and what comfort it should bring us – is that our country’s government is in good hands. I am not thinking ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    7 hours ago
  • Smashing down the barriers: Where are we at with COVID vaccines?
    In the absence of a vaccine or a cure for a deadly disease, staying home in your bubble is what you do, the concept is not new.  To the best of my knowledge last time we did this in NZ was for polio, in the years before a vaccine came ...
    SciBlogsBy Helen Petousis Harris
    18 hours ago
  • National Network on Cuba (USA): “Cuban medical solidarity is a pillar of its society and is founde...
    The following statement was released on March 28 by the National Network on Cuba, a coalition of 40 groups, based in the United States. In recent weeks, Cuba has deployed hundreds of medical providers to over a dozen countries in Europe, Asia, as well as to their neighbors in Latin ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    18 hours ago
  • Alarming decrease in calves increases fears for endangered Hector’s dolphin
    This has been a terrible summer for Hector’s dolphins. The first indication was very low numbers of dolphin sightings during late spring and early summer. The Otago University Marine Mammal Research Team has carried out routine dolphin surveys at Banks Peninsula for more than 30 years. In all that time, ...
    SciBlogsBy Otago Marine Science
    21 hours ago
  • Time for Grant Robertson to reveal package #2?
    On March 17, Finance Minister Grant Robertson was quick out of the blocks with an economic rescue package to help businesses through the inevitable recession resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. Robertson had pulled together a scheme in short order that so far seems to have saved many jobs. In his ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    23 hours ago
  • Saving lives
    The purpose of the lockdown is to save lives, by reducing the spread of covid-19. We won't know if its really working for another week, but given the devastation that will result if it doesn't - 14,000 dead is the optimistic scenario - its definitely worth trying. But pausing the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 5
    . . March 30: Day five of living in lock-down… Woke up still in darkness. Alarm hadn’t gone off. Turn to radio clock; it’s a few minutes after 6am… I lie there in the dark, waiting to drift off to sleep… but it ain’t happening. Clock ticks over to 6.55 ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 day ago
  • Speaker: Les Gray: the man who told the truth
    The story of Les Gray, the public sector psychologist who told the truth about his use of cannabis and set off a storm, has a special place in the lore of cannabis reform in New Zealand.When Paul Shannon interviewed Gray for the 'Dope and Hope' issue of Planet magazine in ...
    1 day ago
  • Why now? Historical specificity and the perfect storm that has created trans identity politics
    by Phil Duncan For Marxists, a key concern about social trends is their context – not just their causes, but why they happen when they do.  Events and phenomena have causes, but they also are time or period-specific. While much of the left have capitulated recently to postmodernism, most notably ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 days ago
  • Time for a living wage for supermarket workers
    Since the lockdown began, we've all suddenly been reminded who the actually essential workers in our society are: not the people at the top who pay themselves the big bucks and rort the perks, but the people at the bottom they screw over and squeeze: cleaners, warehouse staff, truck drivers ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Hard News: MUSIC: Lockdown Grooves
    Kia ora! As I've watched nearly all my remaining work vanish over the past couple of days, it has occured to me that one good way to keep me away from arguing with fools on Twitter all the time (in the knowledge that all we're really doing is processing our ...
    2 days ago
  • A place of greater safety?
    Aotearoa New Zealand has committed to trying to extirpate the virus that causes COVID-19 from its shores. To do that, as a society we’ve moved to “Level 4”. That means adapting to unprecedented restrictions on our personal freedoms, particularly to our rights to move freely and associate with friends and ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    2 days ago
  • The police and public trust
    When the Prime Minister declared a state of emergency last week, she handed the police powers to enforce it. And almost immediately, we started hearing about heavy-handed, arbitrary "enforcement" by police who (at best) cared more about order than law, or (more likely) had no idea what the rules were ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 4
    . . Lock Down: Day 4 – A photo essay with observations . March 29: Usual wake up routine as RNZ snaps on my radio-clock. Jim Mora’s voice slowly enters my conciousness; there’s talk of a second wave of covid19 taking hold in South Korea; the week in Parliament – ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    2 days ago
  • COVID-19 vs New Zealand
    Yesterday, New Zealand recorded its first Covid-19 related death on the West Coast. Unfortunately this is unlikely to be the only fatality, with the virus now being found in every region of the country.However despite the significant danger, people are still unfortunately breaching lockdown rules.There’s really only one main very ...
    2 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #13
    Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Review... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... ‘Misinformation kills’: The link between coronavirus conspiracies and climate denial   Grist / Rob Kim / Stringer / CSA Images  Scientific ...
    2 days ago
  • Rāhui day 4
    The kids did surprisingly well today – meltdown count was about 3, and mostly fairly short ones. (And a fourth while I was writing.) Game-wise I had a go at Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark. It’s a fairly standard RPG with turn-based combat and what they call a “mature storyline” (it ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    3 days ago
  • Letter to a friend
    by Don Franks Hi David, Nice hearing from you, I’m glad to hear you’re getting by okay in these grim times. You asked how’s it going for us back here in New Zealand. You would have heard that the whole country is locked down and with breaks for exercise and ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    3 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 3
    . . Lock Down: Day 3 – A photo essay with observations . March 28: First day of the first weekend in Lock Down. It feels like it’s been weeks since only Level 3 was declared last Tuesday, only four days ago. Woke up this morning to RNZ; coffee; toast, ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    3 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #13
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Mar 22, 2020 through Sat, Mar 28, 2020 Articles Linked to on Facebook Sun, Mar 22, 2020 In Just 10 Years, Warming Has Increased the Odds of Disasters by Chelsea Harvey, ...
    4 days ago
  • Rāhui day 3
    I’m here in lockdown with my flatmate and her two girls (6 and 2) and it. is. a time. They’re usually really active so to start with the only boardgame in the house is the copy of Guess Who that the 6 year old got for her birthday. Flatmate commented ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    4 days ago
  • A test of civil society.
    The CV-19 (COVID) pandemic has seen the imposition of a government ordered national quarantine and the promulgation of a series of measures designed to spread the burden of pain and soften the economic blow on the most strategically important and most vulnerable sectors of society. The national narrative is framed ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    4 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 2
    . . Lock Down: Day 2 – A photo essay with observations . March 27 – Day 2 of our Strange New World. The Park and Ride near my suburb, usually filled with hundreds of vehicles, had just… four; . . Another drive into Wellington City on a highway nearly ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    4 days ago
  • How Do You Feel? What Do You Think?
    Fortune's Children: Under extraordinary pressure, the leader of the Government and the leader of the Opposition will each show us what they are made of. Have they been blessed with intelligence, grace, wit, poise, toughness, empathy and humour – and in what measure? More importantly, to what extent have they ...
    4 days ago
  • Landlords are NOT an essential service
    If you’ve ever had the misfortune of having to rent a property on the open market in New Zealand, which is one of the most expensive in the entire world, you’ll likely be keenly aware of just how arrogant and entitled landlords and their real estate agents can be.Unfortunately for ...
    4 days ago
  • A “new Society” post-COVID19 will definitely emerge. The question is: on what path?
    Society-wise, aside from the specific morbidity shall we say of the medically-oriented aspects of this COVID-19 crisis, what is unfolding before the world is in more than one way an instructive study of humanity and reactions to a high intensity, high stress environment in real time. Friends, we are at ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    5 days ago
  • Raise the Bar: Everything you need to know about the wage subsidy
    Right now low waged and insecure workers are feeling the economic brunt of the looming #Covid19 Recession. In response legal advocate Toby Cooper* and hospitality and worker’s rights advocate Chloe Ann-King, are putting together a series of legal blogs about your employment rights: In this legal blog we outline some ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    5 days ago
  • The massacre of prisoners in Modelo jail, Bogota, March 21
    by Equipo Jurídico Pueblos and Gearóid Ó Loingsigh (25/03/2020) An escape plan in question On the night of March 21st and the early morning of the 22nd, the forces of the Colombian state stormed into the Modelo prison in Bogotá, murdering 23 prisoners and injuring 83, in response to the ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    5 days ago
  • We are not America
    When the government banned semi-automatic weapons in response to a terrorist atrocity, gun-nuts were outraged. Mired in toxic American gun culture, they thought owning weapons whose sole purpose was killing people was some sort of "constitutional right", a necessity for "defending themselves" against the government. Now, the Court of Appeal ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • When will we know the lockdown is working?
    Just before midnight on Wednesday March 25, Aotearoa New Zealand entered a countrywide alert level four lockdown. For at least the next four weeks, everyone who isn’t an essential worker is confined to their bubble. We are doing this to stop the explosive growth in people contracting and dying from ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    5 days ago
  • Lock Down: Day 1
    . . Lock Down: Day 1 – A photo essay with observations . Day one of the Level 4 nationwide lock-down (or, DefCon 4 as I sometimes cheekily call it) started at 11.59PM on 25 March. For a moment, most of the nation held it’s collective breath. In that brief ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • A Compelling Recollection.
    Broad, Sunlit Uplands: How those words fired my young imagination! Or, perhaps, it is more accurate to say: how those words fused, in my young mind, with the image printed on every packet of Fielder’s Cornflour. Always fascinated by history, especially modern history, I cannot hear Churchill’s wonderfully evocative words, even ...
    5 days ago
  • The Warehouse – where everyone gets a virus
    . . 24 March 2020 9.46AM Number of covid19 cases in Aotearoa New Zealand: 102 . As of 11.59 on Thursday, most of New Zealand will go into “lock down”. People will be expected not to travel to work; not to socialise; and to stay home. I will not be ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • Aggressive action to address climate change could save the world $145 trillion
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections A respected research group, Project Drawdown, finds that deploying solutions consistent with meeting the Paris climate targets would cost tens of trillions of dollars globally. But crucially, those outlays would also yield long-term savings many times larger than the up-front costs. The new 2020 Drawdown ...
    6 days ago
  • After the Pandemic
    It will pass. What happens next? Not immediately, but longer term. There are many opinions, fewer certainties. Will it “change everything!” as many confidently, and contradictorily predict? In this post I look at how foresight can help bound some of the uncertainties so you can more objectively consider the future. ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    6 days ago
  • Coronavirus – Cuba shows the way
    We’ve been meaning t write something on Cuba and the coronavirus but have just discovered a very good article on the subject in the US left publication Jacobin.  The article looks at how Cuba, a poor country but one where capitalism has been done away with, is leading the way ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    6 days ago
  • Using privacy law to prevent the death penalty
    In 2018, El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey - two British citizens who had purportedly been stripped of their citizenship by the British government - were captured while fighting for Isis in Syria. The British government then conspired to hand them over to the US, and agreed to provide evidence ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • It’s Time For Disaster Socialism.
    Transformers: The disaster of the Great Depression was transformed into a new and fairer society by the democratic socialism of the First Labour Government. The disaster of the Covid-19 Pandemic offers a similar transformative possibility to the Labour-NZ First-Green Government. Seize the time, Jacinda! You will never have a better ...
    6 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #12, 2020
    Tamper with The System? Well, we already are. But there's a difference between accidentally trickling sand into a precision gearbox versus formulating a plan to alter it on the fly with improvements in mind. One action is more or less innocently unscrupulous, the other amenable to earning an easy ...
    6 days ago
  • Avoidable hospitalisations: Helping our health system get through COVID-19
    Associate Prof George Thomson, Louise Delany, Prof Nick Wilson While it is possible that New Zealand can use intense public health controls to eradicate COVID-19 from the country – we must also plan for other scenarios where thousands of New Zealanders are sick – including many urgently hospitalised.1 Better resilience ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • Raise the Bar: 10 questions to ask your employer proposing redundancy
    Kia ora my name is Chloe Ann-King* and I am the founder of Raise the Bar, a campaign and non-profit that gives free legal aid, advocacy and tautoko to hospitality workers in Aotearoa. Right now all over our country hospo workers are being fired at will, having shifts cut or being ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    1 week ago
  • An equitable way to support business
    The Herald reports that the government is planning to lend billions of dollars to large businesses to keep them operating during the pandemic. As with mortgage relief, this is necessary: we need companies to stay in business, to reduce the economic damage and help things get restarted again when this ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Hard News: Together Alone
    We're about to do something unprecedented as a nation. We hope that by taking this extraordinary action before a single life in New Zealand has been lost to the deadly novel virus we will save tens of thousands of lives. Our  lives. We'll do it together, in households, in isolation ...
    1 week ago
  • Why timing is everything: ‘A time to refrain from embracing’ starts today
    “There is a time for everything,    and a season for every activity under the heavens.”So writes the author of Ecclesiastes, a book in the Old Testament that’s counted as a ‘wisdom’ book and written as if by an unnamed king of Jerusalem. But who would have thought there would be a time ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    1 week ago
  • Dealing with the Covid-19 Tsunami.
    I was surprised when the prime minister described the Economic Response to Covid-19 package as the ‘largest peacetime government spend in New Zealand's history’. Reflecting – checking through history – I realised that the term ‘spend’ was crucial and the package had no income tax cuts. Even so, it has ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    1 week ago
  • What about renters?
    The government today announced the latest part of its pandemic relief package: a six-month mortgage holiday for people whose incomes have been affected by the pandemic. Which is great, because these people are going to need help, and that's what the government should be doing. At the same time, it ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Living within our means.
    Years ago the Argentine sociologist Carlos Weisman wrote a book titled “Living within our Means.” It was a critique of Argentine society that focused on the paradoxical question of why, in a land of plenty, there was so much economic instability, inequality, corruption and political turmoil. His conclusion was basically ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Transparency and the pandemic
    Parliament will be leading by example and adjourning tomorrow after a special sitting to consider an epidemic notice and state of emergency. Day-to-day oversight of the government will be delegated to a select committee. But that's not the only overight mechanism. The OIA will still be law, and (so far) ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • ‘Overjoyed’: a leading health expert on New Zealand’s coronavirus shutdown, and the challengin...
    Michael Baker, University of Otago Overjoyed. That’s not a word epidemiologists normally use, but that’s how I felt after hearing Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s announcement about New Zealand’s COVID-19 shutdown of everything except essential services for at least four weeks from midnight on Wednesday. More than anything, I just ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • One way to solve the housing crisis
    How much homelessness is caused by house hoarding? We're about to find out. The pandemic has destroyed tourism, which means that house hoarders who put their hoarded properties up as short-term tourist rentals are now offering them on the ordinary rental market:Property investors are pulling properties from Airbnb to offer ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The pros and cons of planting trees to address global warming
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Bruce Lieberman It seems like such a simple, straightforward, empowering idea: plant trees – a lot of trees – all over the world, and watch the planet’s temperature fall. Who doesn’t love a tree or two, even far more – the right ...
    1 week ago
  • Not a grand coalition, but a government of national salvation
    According to Newshub, Simon Bridges is open to joining a “grand coalition” with Labour as we hunker down to go into a month long lockdown. The idea is sound. Before now, the role of the opposition was to scrutinise and oppose. In the context of what almost amounts to a ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    1 week ago
  • Raise the Bar: hospitality workers & wage subsidy entitlements
    Kia ora my name is Chloe Ann-King* and I am the founder of Raise the Bar, a campaign and non-profit that gives free legal aid, advocacy and tautoko to hospitality workers in Aotearoa. Right now all over our country hospo workers are being fired at will, having shifts cut or ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    1 week ago
  • Lifting our game against COVID-19
    We need to be lifting our game against COVID-19. You and I need to help those working to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while they’re trying to lift the testing and treatment efforts. We don’t want to be playing this game running backwards. Best to play it solidly forward, from ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    1 week ago
  • The maths and ethics of minimising COVID-19 deaths in NZ
    Prof Tony Blakely, Prof Michael Baker, and Prof Nick Wilson The NZ Government must do more to clearly articulate its COVID-19 strategy: eradication or ‘flattening the curve’ mitigation. But to do so means understanding the maths and ethics of both these strategies. In this blog, we adapt our work for ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • All aboard the Covid Train
    A few days ago I was starting to write something about the pandemic, which now seems unconscionable. It took the form of a letter to an agony aunt:“Dear Deidre, I have an ugly confession. I am quite excited by Covid-19.”This is how the piece went:“I’m not a psychopath, honest. Although the ...
    PunditBy Phil Vine
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #12
    Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Climate Feedback Article Review... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Reviews... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... In Just 10 Years, Warming Has Increased the Odds of Disasters The likelihood of extreme events ...
    1 week ago
  • We are all socialists now
    Last week, the government announced a $12 billion initial package to support people during the pandemic. Today, the Reserve Bank is buying government bonds - effectively printing money - to keep up the money supply during the crisis. Normally such moves would have the right apoplectic. Instead, the National Party ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A plea to experts: safeguard your role in public life
    I am a pundit, somebody who opines and comments on the news. There are no real qualifications to punditry though having a rudimentary way with words and good general knowledge helps. That is one reason there is a constant oversupply of would-be pundits and why it is quite hard to ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    1 week ago
  • Enlightenment when?
    I recently encountered the following prescription from a Faculty of Education at a leading New Zealand University. At first I wondered if it was another product of the postmodern generator (http://www.elsewhere.org/journal/pomo/), designed to create gibberish in the postmodern form, but I’m told it is real: The “schooled” society: Towards the ...
    SciBlogsBy Michael Corballis
    1 week ago
  • What the Crisis Can teach Us
    The coronavirus pandemic has of course had a major impact on individual lives and on societies as a whole. But, long after the crisis has passed (assuming it does), we will begin to realise that its real and lasting significance lies in the lessons it has taught us, if only ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • Hammering home measures to stop COVID-19
    COVID-19 has plunged Aotearoa New Zealand (indeed, the world) into territory that, while maybe not totally unprecedented, certainly hasn’t been seen during the lifetimes of most of us here today. Our borders are closed to non-citizens, we’re being told not to gather in groups of more than 500 outside/100 inside, ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    1 week ago
  • What does ‘level two’ mean – and why does it matter?
    For the last few weeks, I’ve been urging you to prepare yourself, your family, business, and community for Covid-19. Now it’s time for real action.  Yesterday the director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield announced another 13 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand, bringing our total to date to 52. ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #12
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Mar 15, 2020 through Sat, Mar 21, 2020 Editor's Pick Now Isn’t the Time to Forget About Our Climate Change Efforts   Tasha Tilberg, Lindsey Wixson, and Liu Wen photographed ...
    1 week ago
  • Is the Guardian becoming  a real newspaper again?
    by Jan Rivers The article has been corrected to show that it was Ewen MacAskill, former Guardian journalist and not Luke Harding who travelled to meet Edward Snowden with journalist Glenn Greenwald and filmmaker Laura Poitras.  Some of the Guardian’s well-known journalists who did not sign the protest letter are ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Life asserts itself regardless
    by Cultural Worker Late March 2020 amidst the virus. With gigs crashing and burning all around it was without much hope that I called a long standing rest home booking: “ Hi, I’m supposed to be entertaining at your place this afternoon – is it still on?” “”If you don’t ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Politics, the possible, and the pandemic
    Whenever people demand real change from their politicians, we're told that "politics is the art of the possible". The implication is that change isn't possible, so we'd better just get used to the sucky status quo. But now that there's a pandemic, a lot of things we were previously told ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The Only Way Through This Crisis Is Together.
    Together: In leading New Zealand through the Covid-19 Pandemic, the Prime Minister could do a lot worse than allow herself to be guided by the spirit of collective sacrifice and co-operation that animated the New Zealanders of 80 years ago. Most Kiwis alive today have had no opportunity to prove their ...
    2 weeks ago
  • GFC vs Covid-19
    It is said that generals fight the last war. In the case of the early stages of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) they had learned from the Great Depression of the 1930s and they fought intelligently and successfully. Later their advice would be ignored in favour of the Austerians who ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    2 weeks ago

  • Work starts on ways to fast-track consents to boost recovery from Covid-19 downturn
    Work is underway looking at measures to speed up consents for development and infrastructure projects during the recovery from COVID 19, to provide jobs and stimulate our economy.  Environment Minister David Parker said the COVID-19 pandemic is a serious global crisis that will have a wide ranging and lasting impact ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    37 mins ago
  • Advance payments to support contractors
    Advance payments will be made to transport construction industry contractors to retain the workforce and ensure it is ready to quickly gear up to build projects which will be vital to New Zealand’s COVID-19 economic recovery, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. He said keeping the workforce required to build ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    11 hours ago
  • Government seeks infrastructure projects
    The Government has tasked a group of industry leaders to seek out infrastructure projects that are ready to start as soon as the construction industry returns to normal to reduce the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford and Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones say. The Infrastructure ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    21 hours ago
  • Health system scaled up to prepare for COVID-19
    Work to scale up the health system in preparation for COVID-19 was today outlined by Health Minister David Clark, as he reported back to the new Epidemic Response Committee. “We are well placed to contain the spread of COVID-19. We have taken early and decisive action at our borders, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    21 hours ago
  • Essential media COVID-19 guidelines refined
    The Government is refining its COVID-19 essential business guidance to include the distribution of news publications for communities which are hard to reach. The Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media, Kris Faafoi, said the move was in recognition of the importance for New Zealanders who might be harder to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    23 hours ago
  • New Zealand defence personnel conclude mission at Taji
    Following the successful conclusion of the Building Partner Capacity (BPC) mission at Taji, New Zealand defence personnel are returning to New Zealand from Iraq, in accordance with the Cabinet decision made in June 2019, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today. “New Zealand is very ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • State of National Emergency extended
    The State of National Emergency to help stop the spread of COVID-19 has been extended for a further seven days, Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare said. The initial declaration on March 25 lasted seven days and can be extended as many times as necessary. “Since we went into isolation ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Strong Govt books support ‘go hard, go early’ response
    New Zealand’s ability to go hard and go early in the fight against COVID-19 has been underpinned by strong Government finances and the growing economy heading into this global pandemic, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Treasury today released the Crown financial statements for the eight months to the end ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Christchurch Hospital Hagley ICU to open to support COVID-19 response
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says 36 new intensive care beds at Christchurch Hospital’s new Hagley building are being fast tracked so they are available for treatment of COVID-19 patients.   The Ministry of Health is working with contractor CPB and Canterbury DHB to enable access to the hospital’s ICU, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government supports Air NZ freight flights
    The Government has fast-tracked up to $1 million to help Air New Zealand move urgent freight to and from New Zealand, with the first flight to Shanghai leaving tonight, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. Phil Twyford says it’s crucial that trade in vital goods such as medical supplies and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Tariff concessions on COVID-19 related products
    New Zealand will temporarily remove tariffs on all medical and hygiene imports needed for the COVID-19 response. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker and Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said today that the New Zealand Customs Service will apply tariff concessions to all diagnostic reagents and testing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Clarification of modification to wage subsidy scheme
    Minister of Finance Grant Robertson has clarified that the changes to the wage subsidy scheme announced yesterday mean that employers should be passing on the full subsidy to workers, except in the case where the person’s normal income is less than the level of the subsidy. “We still want employers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Face masks flowing to DHBs
    Medical face masks from the national reserve supply are now being distributed to District Health Boards, while at the same time local production is being ramped up. Yesterday more than 640,000 masks were sent to DHBS – that is an immediate two week supply, with more to follow in coming ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • COVID-19: Further steps to protect New Zealanders’ jobs
    The Government has made modifications to the wage subsidy scheme to ensure people don’t lose their jobs during the national lockdown. These changes will soften the impact of COVID-19 on workers, families and businesses, and position them to exit the lockdown and look to recovery, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Tax relief for Mycoplasma Bovis farmers
    Farmers whose herds were culled in response to the outbreak of Mycoplasma bovis will be able to minimise the tax treatment of their income in some circumstances. Revenue Minister Stuart Nash says Cabinet has agreed to change the law. It means farmers may be eligible to spread their income over ...
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    5 days ago
  • $27 million for NGOs and community groups to continue providing essential services
    A $27 million dollar package, effective immediately, is being provided to social sector services and community groups to ensure they can continue to provide essential support to communities as we stay at home as a nation to stop the spread of COVID-19, Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni announced. “At ...
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    6 days ago
  • Statement on guilty plea of March 15 terrorist
    “The guilty plea today will provide some relief to the many people whose lives were shattered by what happened on March 15,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. “These guilty pleas and conviction bring accountability for what happened and also save the families who lost loved ones, those who were injured, ...
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    6 days ago
  • COVID-19 updates
    The Prime Minister is holding daily press conferences to update New Zealanders on the Government's response to COVID-19. Links to videos and transcripts of these updates below. These transcripts also include All of Government press conferences led by Director Ministry of Health's Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield. 25 March: Live update from the Prime ...
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    6 days ago
  • Police numbers break through 10,000 mark
    Frontline Police numbers have broken through the 10,000 mark for the first time in history as officers step forward to keep the community safe during the COVID19 lockdown. “Two Police graduations in Auckland and Wellington in the past week have been conducted in unprecedented circumstances,” Police Minister Stuart Nash said. ...
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    6 days ago
  • Urgent tax measures for economic recovery
    Urgent legislation has been passed to support the package of economic and social measures needed to recover from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. “The COVID-19 Response (Taxation and Social Assistance Urgent Measures) Bill will cushion New Zealanders from the worst economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Revenue Minister ...
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    7 days ago
  • Further support for farmers and growers as drought persists
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    7 days ago
  • COVID-19: Temporary changes to Education Act
    Parliament has passed amendments to legislation that give the Secretary of Education stronger powers to act in the fight to limit the spread of COVID-19, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “They are part of a suite of changes passed under the COVID-19 Response (Urgent Management Measures) Legislation Bill,” Chris ...
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    7 days ago
  • Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar join NZ and Singapore in committing to keeping supply a...
    Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar have joined forces with New Zealand and Singapore by committing to keep supply chains open and remove any existing trade restrictive measures on essential goods, especially medical supplies, in the face of the Covid-19 crisis.  Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker today welcomed ...
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    7 days ago
  • COVID-19: Rent increase freeze and more protection for tenants
    Immediate freeze on rent increases Tenancies will not be terminated during the lock-down period, unless the parties agree, or in limited circumstances Tenants who had previously given notice can stay in their if they need to stay in the tenancy during the lock-down period Tenants will still be able to ...
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    7 days ago
  • Working together to protect businesses and workers
    As New Zealand unites to lock-down in the fight against COVID-19, the Finance Minister is urging all businesses and workers to stay connected over the next four weeks. “We understand the extreme pressure many businesses are under right now. I know most business owners think of their workers as family ...
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    1 week ago
  • State of National Emergency declared to fight COVID-19
    A State of National Emergency has been declared across the country as the Government pulls out all the stops to curtail the spread of COVID-19. “Today we put in place our country’s second ever State of National Emergency as we fight a global pandemic, save New Zealanders’ lives and prevent ...
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    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister’s statement on State of National Emergency and Epidemic Notice
    Mr Speaker I wish to make a Ministerial Statement under Standing Order 347 in relation to the recent declaration of a State of National Emergency. Having considered the advice of the Director Civil Defence Emergency Management, the Minister of Civil Defence declared a State of National Emergency for the whole of ...
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    1 week ago
  • Deadline for domestic travel extended
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    1 week ago
  • Mortgage holiday and business finance support schemes to cushion COVID impacts
    The Government, retail banks and the Reserve Bank are today announcing a major financial support package for home owners and businesses affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19. The package will include a six month principal and interest payment holiday for mortgage holders and SME customers whose incomes have been ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government working to keep air freight moving
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    1 week ago
  • New Zealand moves to COVID-19 Alert Level 3, then Level 4 in 48 hours
    New Zealand moved up to COVID-19 Alert Level 3 – Restrict New Zealand to move up to COVID-19 Alert Level 4 – Eliminate, in 48 hours Two-staged approach to give people and businesses time to prepare  Level 3, from tomorrow Non-essential businesses must close All events and gatherings must be ...
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    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister: COVID-19 Alert Level increased
    Good afternoon  The Cabinet met this morning to discuss our next actions in the fight against COVID-19.  Like the rest of the world, we are facing the potential for devastating impacts from this virus. But, through decisive action, and through working together, do we have a small window to get ...
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    1 week ago
  • Govt takes significant economic decisions as NZ readies for Alert Level 4 in COVID-19 fight
    The Government is announcing significant further support for the economy, workers and businesses as the country unites to prepare for Alert Level 4 in the fight against COVID-19. Cabinet today agreed to remove the cap on the Government’s wage subsidy scheme, which will inject a further $4 billion into the ...
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    1 week ago
  • Govt backs RBNZ move to support economy with lower interest rates
    The Government is backing the Reserve Bank’s latest action to support the economy by reducing longer-term interest rates, meaning lower costs for businesses and mortgage holders, and a lower currency to help our exporters. The Minister of Finance has signed a memorandum of understanding and a letter of indemnity with ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government statement on commercial cooperation during COVID-19
    The Government has asked the Commerce Commission to take account of the exceptional circumstances created by COVID-19 when monitoring business behaviour in coming weeks.   “The purpose of my request to the Commerce Commission is to make sure businesses can work together in ways that will allow them to provide ...
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    1 week ago
  • New Zealand temporarily closes diplomatic posts in Barbados and Myanmar due to COVID-19
    The New Zealand Government has temporarily closed its High Commission in Bridgetown, Barbados and its Embassy in Yangon, Myanmar due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “Due to the increasing scarcity of air links in and out of Bridgetown and Yangon, and the pressure COVID-19 is placing ...
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    1 week ago
  • Supporting Māori communities and businesses through
    Associate Health and Whānau Ora Minister Peeni Henare has today announced the Government’s plan to support Māori communities and businesses in the face of COVID-19. “Our Government’s $12.1 billion economic package will help many Māori whānau, workers and businesses, whether it’s through wage subsidies, income support and worker redeployment, or ...
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    1 week ago
  • Guidelines for hospitality establishments released
    The Government and the hospitality industry have worked together to produce guidelines to assist with managing and reducing transmission of COVID-19, Health Minister David Clark announced today.  The guidelines developed between the Government, Hospitality New Zealand and SkyCity Entertainment Group, set out how the new restrictions on physical distancing and ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Nation steps up to COVID-19 Alert Level 2
    Four stage Alert System for COVID-19 announced New Zealand moved up to COVID-19 Alert Level 2 – Reduce Contact New Zealanders over 70 and those with certain medical conditions told to stay at home as much as they can to reduce risk of contact with the virus Workplaces to implement ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • PM Address – Covid-19 Update
    Kia ora koutou katoa I’m speaking directly to all New Zealanders today to give you as much certainty and clarity as we can as we fight Covid-19. Over the past few weeks, the world has changed. And it has changed very quickly. In February it would have seemed unimaginable to ...
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    2 weeks ago