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Sarin

Written By: - Date published: 12:06 pm, September 2nd, 2013 - 127 comments
Categories: Syria, war - Tags: , ,

So it’s being reported that the US admin has conclusive evidence that the Syrian regime used sarin against the Syrian populace. How they reach that conclusion is somewhat mysterious. The UN inspection team has not released its results, and besides, they were mandated only to find what everyone already accepted; that chemical weapons had been deployed. They were not investigating who used the chemical weapons.

But no matter, the possible ‘who’ and the possible ‘why’ aren’t very difficult to find. Back in July, the Iraqi Defense Ministry announced the capture of members of a terrorist cell within Iraq that manufactured sarin, mustard and nerve gases.

From the same newspaper report on the Iraqi announcement: (my emphasis)

The government database contains detailed information on those using these items and where they are being used, Ghaidan (Iraqi ground forces commander) added.

Iraqi national security advisor Faleh al-Fayyadh said the army’s intelligence service has formed a special cell to work alongside the Intelligence Service and the Interior Ministry’s Intelligence Agency to investigate al-Qaeda’s production and planned use of banned chemical and biological weapons.

Al-Fayyadh said further investigations revealed that plans were put in place for al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra to get access to those weapons and “further aggravate the tragedy of the Syrian people.”

Further to the ability that Al Qaeda has to pass chemical weapons on to Jabhat al-Nusra, there are the investigations of Finnish researcher Petri Krohn concluding that the likely launch site for the sarin that killed civilian of Ghouta came from a “Syrian army post near Damascus”…that has been under ‘rebel’ control since June.

But hey, lets just shove all doubts on the official spin aside and sit back a the media amplifies official lines on how inept the UN is (again) – and as it sheds light on a highly selective set of instances where non-intervention led to widespread tragedy and suffering as though every crisis, in every country, follows a set pattern that demands a set response.

As an aside, I wonder if we’ll get any gushing schoolboy commentary on the TV soon, exclaiming excitedly on the wonder and awesomeness of guided missile humanitarianism?

127 comments on “Sarin”

  1. Wayne 2

    Now Bill I know you oppose US intervention in just about all circumstances, but is it really beleivable that the use of Sarin was the work of the insurgency?

    The US will be well aware of the evidential hurdle they have to cross after the fiasco of the intelligence on Iraq WMD. President Obama and Secretary Kerry don’t strike me as liars or dupes. They will have tested the evidence of their intelligence agencies pretty carefully. They know their reputation, not just now but in the historical record, will rest on the credibility of their evidence that Assad has used sarin. And the Congress will want lots of reassurance on this.

    One of the issues now is whether the US will pursue a UN resolution, given the additional time. One of the values of a veteo is that it has to be used (though the resolution requires majority support before a veteo needs to be triggered). Maybe the US does not think it can get a majority?

    • Pascal's bookie 2.1

      I’m happy enough to wait and see what evidence they come up with, but claims that anything is ‘unbelievable’ are pretty naive.

      Bear in mind that many of the jihadis fighting in Syria would have come of age during the Iraqi insurgency, which was pretty damn brutal. Also, the insurgency in Syria isn’t united. the so called moderates who are receiving arms and training from the west have said that if they win their next move will be against the radicals.

    • Colonial Viper 2.2

      The US will be well aware of the evidential hurdle they have to cross after the fiasco of the intelligence on Iraq WMD.

      Actually, it looks like they significantly underestimated that evidential hurdle. The British have ruled out participating in military action and have said they will not even put it to another vote.

      President Obama and Secretary Kerry don’t strike me as liars or dupes. They will have tested the evidence of their intelligence agencies pretty carefully.

      Tell me Wayne, did Colin Powell ever strike you as a “liar or dupe”? Probably not, at a guess.

      However, those great personal qualities turned out to be as irrelevant to the matter as the American WMD assertions in Iraq.

    • lprent 2.3

      It is a pretty high barrier because it is a persistent pattern in the US republic for the commander in chief to knowingly or unknowingly to initiate wars based on crap intelligence. The Bush’s WMD in Iraq mirrors Johnston’s Gulf of Tonkin war powers. Offhand I could probably think of another dozen similar definitive US intelligence screwups in my lifetime, and dozens more probable ones.

      The current clamour looks horribly familar. Waiting for definitive evidence seems to advisable before NZ commits its reputation and troops.

      • the pigman 2.3.1

        “US intelligence screwups“? I’d say these “screwups” are working as intended..

    • leftriteleft 2.4

      Here’s a small part of a bio on The Secretary of State John Kerry.
      Seem’s to me that he is quite a nice guy (s)

      He’s his most prominent hawk. He’s polar opposite his earlier incarnation. On April 22, 1971, he testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
      He belonged to Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW). He was one of over 150 honorably discharged, highly decorated combatants.
      They committed war crimes. They admitted it. Kerry explained, saying:

      “…at times they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, bl(ew) up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages (like) Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravages of war, and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country.”

      “(T)here is nothing in South Vietnam, nothing which could happen that realistically threatens the United States of America.”
      He called America’s Vietnam involvement “the height of criminal hypocrisy.”
      “We saw firsthand how money from American taxes was used for a corrupt dictatorial regime,” he said. “We rationalized destroying villages….to save them.”
      “We saw America lose her sense of morality as she accepted very cooly a My Lai.” Many others like it replicated what happened.
      “We learned the meaning of free fire zones, shooting anything that moves, and we watched while America placed a cheapness on the lives of orientals,” said Kerry.
      “We have come here….because we believe this body can be responsive to the will of the people.”
      “(W)e should be out of Vietnam now….”
      He condemned what he called Washington’s immoral war. He wanted no further part in it. He symbolically gave back up to nine medals he won. He wasn’t sure how many. That was then. This is now.

    • Bill 2.5

      Now Bill I know you oppose US intervention in just about all circumstances…

      You know no such thing. And the reason for that is that it’s simply not true. There is a world of difference between genuine intervention intended to alleviate human suffering and a cynical self-serving intervention that seeks to use human suffering as a fig leaf to cover actual intent and design.

      And military intervention places a huge onus on those who seek it to absolutely justify their proposals and show beyond a shadow of any doubt that their intentions are nothing but benign and that their motivations stem wholly from benevolence.

      • Wayne 2.5.1

        Well, I have simply based my view on what you write. Which is a fair enough basis I reckon.

        And from what I read of your posts, it appears to me you start off by disbelieving pretty much all of the evidence the US presents, but apparently believe pretty much everything to the contrary.

        • bad12 2.5.1.1

          Evidence???you are joking right, where did the US get these hair and blood samples they supposedly have from,

          The Saudis perhaps, the same Saudis that are armpit deep in the blood of the people of Syria, the Saudis who if not acting as puppets of the US have been acting alone sending terrorists into the conflict in Syria thus prolonging this bloody civil war,

          In war no-body tells the truth,and, should Obama start tossing around cruise missiles inside Syria He will be seen by history as no better than Assad himself…

          • Populuxe1 2.5.1.1.1

            They got their samples from the UN investigators
            http://edition.cnn.com/2013/09/01/world/meast/syria-civil-war/index.html

            • bad12 2.5.1.1.1.1

              Read the 3rd paragraph of your own link Populuxe, or are you deliberately trying to misinform us all,

              ”The samples were collected separately from United Nations investigations into the August 21 attack” unquote,

              i will ask again where did the US get these hair and blood samples supposedly from Damascus, Syria,

              From the Saudi’s perhaps who are already armpit deep in the blood of innocent Syrian’s…

              • Populuxe1

                I believe from other sources that the samples were collected from UN workers immediately on the scene after the attack. I suppose I could be wrong, but really? “or are you deliberately trying to misinform us all”? You place far too much importance on me and quite possibly dangerously paranoid.

                • Pascal's bookie

                  Maybe you should have read the source you linked to then.

                • bad12

                  ”Collected from other sources”, yeah collected from their friends the Saudi’s who are armpit deep in the blood of Syrians,

                  The same Saudi’s who are directly inserting, with the full knowledge of the US, bands of fighters into Syria who happily commit atrocities and do not even mind being filmed doing so,

                  One of these supposed ‘rebels’ being filmed eating the heart and liver of a slain Syrian soldier,

                  There is some evidence that the head of Saudi intelligence Bandar bin Sultan had the rockets of Sarin gas taken into Damascus as part of His plans to have the Syrian civil war expanded by the direct entry of the US into the conflict,

                  This evidence suggests that one or more of these ‘rockets’ were mis-handled by those tasked with their transport and one or more of them then exploded,

                  The story is contained in the Gaurdian and i will hunt it out and post it later…

            • Pascal's bookie 2.5.1.1.1.2

              That says the samples were collected separately from the UN doesn’t it?

              So who the fuck knows.

        • Bill 2.5.1.2

          That’s also crap Wayne. For example, if you read red rattlers comment, I make it clear I disagree with the proposition that Syria is merely divided into two camps with the population on one side and Assad’s state apparatus on the other.

          And I also believe that chemical weapons were used (as does the US admin). But whereas I want to see definitive proof of who used them…or at least some attempt made to uncover such proof…the US admin seems content to jump to conclusions and serve those up for our consumption.

          You write of ‘evidence’, but all I’ve heard from the US admin is opinion. I haven’t heard or seen anything resembling evidence

          And when I question why the US admin might be so keen to jump conclusions… well given their ambitions in the region (particularly their wish to isolate Iran and take advantage from the flow on effects of that) sitting alongside the generally accepted suggestion that the Assad regime was gaining the upper hand in the conflict…and taking into account that the agenda’s of US allies in the region (Saudi Arabia, Qatar etc) would also suffer a setback were Assad to gain full control of Syria again…

          Meanwhile, I cannot think of any logical or tactical reason that Assad’s regime would use chemical weapons at the time and place the US alleges that they did. It makes no sense whatsoever and no-one calling for military intervention has even bothered to try and construct any plausible reason for the regime doing so.

          Meanwhile, only the willfully blind can hold that neither the US, Saudi Arabia etc nor any of the radical religious factions within Syria hold to gain from such a thing occurring. Which feeds straight back into it somewhat beggaring belief that Assad’s regime would do such a thing at this time.

  2. Thus article is disinformation.
    Brown Moses blog which has followed the war right through and detailed the weapons used by all sides has done some investigation on this claim. The latest ‘revelation’ about Saudi gas stored in bunkers and released by accident is unbelievable.
    So the rebels gas themselves by accident with chemicals released from bunkers bombed by Assad?
    Assad has already been documented as using CW in this war.
    The attempt to pin this on the rebels is to reduce their liberation struggle to the conspiracy of the US to take over and use it in its own interests. It gives no credit to the 100,000 who are fighting Assad’s murderous regime, and also fighting the extreme Islamic elements that have joined this war of liberation in an attempt to hijack it and create an Islamic State.
    http://brown-moses.blogspot.co.nz/2013/09/chemical-weapons-specialists-on-claims.html

    By the way none of the above is an endorsement for guided missile humanitarianism. Its a call for socialists to get behind the popular liberation struggle. But of course to do that they first have to open their eyes to its existence and leave the conspiracy theories behind.

    • Populuxe1 3.1

      Actually, shockingly enough, I think I can agree with that wholeheartedly. I’ve been having a lot of trouble of late trying to align what I accept as socialism (pro-union, pro workers’ rights, welfare state, public institutions and general egalitarian good citizenship) with the kind of identity politicking, conspiract theorising and bitter hatred of all things American which has come to dominate the discourse. The enemies are obvious, there has never been any need to make them up – they are poverty and inequality.

      • Colonial Viper 3.1.1

        Poverty and inequality are simply symptoms of the economic system and economic ideology which has been pushed around the world by the great powers. You know, powers like the USA.

        • Populuxe1 3.1.1.1

          Nah, I just think you enjoy righteous indignation. Communism and Fascism in their turn were pushed around the world as well. Each have their symptoms.

          • Colonial Viper 3.1.1.1.1

            Pop1, did you notice which political economy has been dominant in the world for a couple of decades now?

            Clue: not communism, not fascism. Although with the latter, strands of it seem to be appearing in a lot of western “democracies”.

            Nah, I just think you enjoy righteous indignation.

            Am I the only one, good sir?

            • Populuxe1 3.1.1.1.1.1

              Capitalism, and thank fuck for that. Communism can’t seem to function on state level without shitting all over everyone.

              • Colonial Viper

                You’re a real asshole, you know.

                What do you call 49M people on foodstamps in the USA? Collateral damage? How about tens of billions of dollars worth of tar sands pollution ruining some of Canada’s best farmland? The worst political-economic system possible, except for all the others?

                Fuck you’re smart but actually you’re dumbass to the extreme.

                • Populuxe1

                  A damned sight more than taht have been killed or imprisoned by any communist regime you care to mention.

    • Bill 3.2

      You do realise that there are far more than two sides as well as several agendas involved in all of this red rattler?

      If only it was such a simple thing as a domestic population (whether as armed rebels or otherwise) versus government forces. But it ain’t.

      • GregJ 3.2.1

        Dead right Bill – Syria in particular is rife with different agendas – this is far from simple. Kurds in the North & East attempting to carve out a little piece of “Kurdistan” for themselves, Druze in the South-West trying to do the same, Alawites in the West along with their Hizbollah co-religionists in Lebanon aiming to ensure a Shia hegemony (or at worse looking to the long game for some sort of Alawite/Shia state in or around the Alawite Mountains), Christians trying to avoid being targeted by the extremist Sunni militias (& the fundamentalist Shia influenced by Iran), Sunni opposition groups of varying shades (from secular to moderate Islamist to radical fundamentalists), Iraqi Shia militias (backed by Iran), Sunni foreign forces backed by the Sunni Gulf states.

        The western media (and western focused media such as English language Al Jazeera & Al Arabiya) tend to underplay or ignore or not understand the deeply sectarian nature of the conflict in Syria. Syria is right on the fault line of the Shia/Sunni divide (extending through Iraq, Kuwait, Eastern Saudi Arabia, Bahrain & then up into Afghanistan and Pakistan). I can talk to different people in my office or walk out down the street (actually not at the moment – its too damn hot) and depending on their religious affiliation have them fervently in support of the rebels or passionately defend the Assad regime.

        And don’t for a minute assume logic enters the equation – it is just as likely that the regime used the gas despite the harm it does to its cause internationally and equally plausible that the rebel forces deliberately created “martyrs” to further their own cause.

        The US & its Western allies are under significant pressure by the Sunni states (the Gulf states in particular) to act – this is not for humanitarian reasons though, this is the cold hard reality of realpolitik in the Middle East and the struggle between the Saudis (the new power) and Iran (the old imperial power) for ascendancy in the region.

      • Murray Olsen 3.2.2

        Well Bill, since RR included this in his post ” It gives no credit to the 100,000 who are fighting Assad’s murderous regime, and also fighting the extreme Islamic elements that have joined this war of liberation in an attempt to hijack it and create an Islamic State.” I suspect he does and you have either not read what he wrote carefully or are creating a straw man.

        • Colonial Viper 3.2.2.1

          Bottom line is that Assad’s regime may have disappeared a few hundred people a year. So what.

          This fucking “civil war” has caused the death and mayhem corresponding to 200 years of Assad rule in just 2 years.

          Tell you what, this shit falls straight into the category of “better the devil you know”.

        • Bill 3.2.2.2

          My bad. Impatient and careless reading leading to me grabbing the wrong end of the stick.. Apologies red rattler.

    • Worth a read for those who oppose all imperialist and foreign interference with the Syrian Revolution
      http://www.workerspower.co.uk/2013/08/solidarity-with-the-syrian-people/

      And another of interest about the anti-war pro-war left
      http://claysbeach.blogspot.co.nz/2013/09/anti-war-in-form-pro-war-in-essence.html

  3. The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 4

    I am not sure why anyone would doubt that Assad has the ability and the ruthlessness to do this. I am reserving judgement, but I am certainly not giving Assad the benefit of any doubt.

    If your government was firing missiles full of chemical weapons and killing your children, what would you want the rest of the world to do, Bill?

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      Balance of probabilities is that rebel forces did this. As Putin says, they have the most to gain, by far.

    • Pascal's bookie 4.2

      “If your government was firing missiles full of chemical weapons and killing your children, what would you want the rest of the world to do, Bill?”

      Much more than what the international community is prepared to do, or what Obama is proposing.

      • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 4.2.1

        …such as?

        • Pascal's bookie 4.2.1.1

          Well. I’d be hoping, at a minimum, for a duty to protect type intervention; with safe areas protected by international troops. Beyond that I’b be wanting decisive military support, ie regime change followed by a UN force to keep order in the aftermath until society gets back on its feet.

          None of that is on offer. What they are saying they are going to do, is hurt Assad enough to send a message to him and others that CW should remain off the table, but not enough to turn the tide of the civil war. If that was the offer, I’d be worried as fuck about what Assad was going to do in response. The other day he used incendiaries on a school, for example. Not many official calls for him to cut that out.

          • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 4.2.1.1.1

            Yes, well UNsafe areas have kind of fallen out of favour since 1993 for some reason.

            • Pascal's bookie 4.2.1.1.1.1

              Would you say no to the offer, given the alternative?

              • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell

                I’d take what I could get.

                • Pascal's bookie

                  airstrikes intended only to punish him, that come with an explicit rejection of a duty to protect you from his backlash?

                  • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell

                    So incendiaries on a school and gassing children is him holding back?

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      Yep. You think he can’t lift it a notch? You think he’s running out of munitions?

                      Jesus wept. It’s almost traditional in Syrian/levant wars to flatten a few refugee camps with high explosives and send the death squads into villages. Things can get a lot worse yet.

                    • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell

                      Best we do nothing, then.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      Google the Powell Doctrine.

                      Going in half arsed makes things worse. So yeah, better not to make things worse I reckon. Better yet to make things better but that doesn’t seem to be on offer, so fucked if I’ll support making things worse just to salve my conscience.

        • bad12 4.2.1.2

          So, what exactly do you think that the US Prez tossing million dollar cruise missiles into Syria will achieve besides vaporize a whole lot more innocents that the use of Sarin,(if it were Sarin at all),has up to this point…

          • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 4.2.1.2.1

            So, if your children were being gassed to death by your leader, bad12, your answer would be to shrug your shoulders and say there’s nothing to be done?

            Good for you.

            • Populuxe1 4.2.1.2.1.1

              Would be nice to see the avowed left actually proffer some working solutions that aren’t based on the same tired ideas that have fallen over again and again.

              • Colonial Viper

                You’re a real dickhead, you know that?

                Have you seen the “centre” or the “right” (or in fact anyone else in the universe) come up with any “working solutions” to what is happening in Syria which aren’t based on the “same tired ideas that have fallen over again and again”?

                Is the US firing in cruise missiles or NATO airstrikes somehow in your mind different to “the same tired ideas that have fallen over again and again”?

                You seem an intelligent person. have you considered the conclusion that the major powers involved in the region have no interest in a “solution”, that the ordinary people of Syria are fucked and are the lowest priority on the table being considered by those with power, and that possibly at this stage, no solution exists for either love or money.

                • Populuxe1

                  Because action with the possibility of failure is still better than just doing nothing. Worked in WW2. Worked in Bosnia. Worked in Kuwait.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    So are you putting forwards an actual “working solution” for the Syrian crisis, or do you just have change and hope?

                    Worked in WW2. Worked in Bosnia. Worked in Kuwait.

                    OK so you’re a fucking foreign affairs/history of conflict moron.

                    Try not to prove it so readily, yeah?

                    • Populuxe1

                      Hmmm – what actually didn’t work in those cases? More to the point, what is so pathologically warped about you that dead children don’t seem to upset you? Not once have you spoken of them as if they were human beings, to you they’re just pawns in your Great Game fantasy.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      Was what “Worked in WW2. Worked in Bosnia. Worked in Kuwait.” the same thing that is proposed here?

                      Has there been some plan announced for total war (ww2), large scale bombing aimed at crippling the regime, followed up with ground troops (Bosnia), or multinational invasion force (Kuwait) that I missed?

                      What worked in each of those cases was different. And what’s proposed here is something different again.

                      And if you’re done waving the bodies of dead children around as a way of exclaiming your virtue, perhaps you might want to address why the actual thing proposed is likely to help.

                    • Populuxe1

                      Because what I find interesting is that when a US drone kills innocent children in Afghanistan you quite rightly get angry and shouty – but you never say how it makes you feel, you never talk about them like people, you never even offer a moue of disgust at the sort of person who would use their own family as a human shield, and it all quickly gets lost in one of your “Murika is the Great White Satan and Mother of All Capitalist Abominations” rants.

                      When someone else is killing innocent children you don’t even seem to care – unless of course one of the western powers raises an eyebrow, and then you’re screaming about American warmongering imperialism. No once have you even said that you might empathise with those of us who want intervention to stop the murder of civilians. You haven’t mentioned feeling pity for any of those people once.

                      I get the distinct impression that if some super-China or aliens or whatever were nuking civilian populations in the US you’d be having multiple orgasms.

                    • vto

                      “No once have you even said that you might empathise with those of us who want intervention to stop the murder of civilians.”

                      Not wanting to speak for others of course, but perhaps it has something to so with the fact that such claims ring completely and utterly hollow. They are bullshit claims. In evidence see countless other actions by said warmongering American imperialists which result in said dead civilians.

                      Your argument is shallow Pop.

                      The US might have more credibility if they proposed banning all forms of warfare…. huh? eh?

                    • Populuxe1

                      And here was me thinking that was supposedly what the UN was for. Not so effective.

              • vto

                Here’s a solution pop. Ban conventional warfare and nuclear warfare in the same way that chemical warfare has been banned.

                You might need to think about it for a bit.

                • McFlock

                  Actually, the really solution is to give the un a standing force and to remove the veto from security council permanent members.

                  Pity one is unlikely and the other is infinitely improbable.

                  • vto

                    And where does all this sit on the acceptable-unacceptable-warring-unbelievably-dumb-human-continuum?

                    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/9116722/Leukaemia-threat-to-Vietnam-vets

                  • Colonial Viper

                    And in your “solution” where there are no vetoes, who gets to direct the donated “UN Army” to intervene?

                    Helen Clark?

                    • Muzza

                      Yup quite frankly this is a suggestion that McFlock has not thought through, it seems.

                      One world government for McFlock!

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      A 75% majority of the Sec Council?

                    • McFlock

                      The security council. As elected by the general assembly (I’d consider even getting rid of the permanent seats maybe).

                      Yes muzz, a world govt. Not a totalitarian world govt, but an effective world government. Because without it, we see the Sudan, the Congo, Syria, Rwanda, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Myanmar, the Powers running rampant, and so on.

                      In case you haven’t noticed, the most realistic model for international relations at the moment is a playcentre or schoolyard with no teachers. Arbitrary cliques form, bullies rule the roost, lunch money and toys are stolen, and sometimes the fights get out of hand. What’s your plan to stop this shit? Bitch about world government on the interwebz?

                    • Populuxe1

                      A Security Council majority or something else as absurdly simple?

                  • Populuxe1

                    And much to my chagrin I find myself in agreement with McFlock

                    • vto

                      what about banning conventional and nuclear and chemical warfare?

                      ye or nay?

                    • Populuxe1

                      Well that would be lovely – except no bastard will blink first and for good reason

                    • vto

                      Well yes of course, but the same approach should be taken, if we are all honest with ourselves about the horror of war, as is taken with chemical warfare.

                      Banning chemical warfare doesn’t work very well either, but a bit. (well actually a good decent bit if you look at it carefully…)

                      Imagine if the same was done and it had even a modicum of success.

                      Come on old solider – be brave. Stand and demand that all conventional, nuclear and chemical warfare is banned.

                    • Populuxe1

                      Did you learn nothing from the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact?

                    • vto

                      I don’t know what that is, but I do know the effectiveness of banning chemical warfare, the effectiveness of banning homicide.

                      Your answers are unconvincing and, as chooky says elsewhere, your argument amounts to the same as the American gun lobby.

                      For someone who seems to have a good knowledge (though perhaps not understanding) of wars you seem to wallow in it and enjoy it. If it is so abhorrent then ban it man.

                      Ban murder
                      Ban chemicals
                      Ban rape
                      Ban nuclear
                      Ban the bash
                      Ban the bomb

                      Come on. Stand up and be counted. It is only words, it is easy to say, that is all you have to do, say “ban warfare”. The rest of a kind will follow. Ffs, say it!

                    • McFlock

                      Actually, vto, war is already a violation the UN charter.

                      If you have difficulty concentrating because of all the shell-fire in the world, it might be because artice 51 allows for national military defense of self or mutual protection. Some nations are just really keen on preotecting their friends…

            • bad12 4.2.1.2.1.2

              That little statement from you gormless is pretty much evidence of why the handle fits you so well,

              If my country was involved in a civil war and i had children i would have taken them across the border into the refugee camps,

              Now answer the question i posed to you, what exactly will the US achieve by tossing cruise missiles into Syria,

              Do you think that tossing such missiles into Syria will save the lives of anyone, there are enough conventional weapons present there now to kill the whole population,

              And is there a difference in a child having it’s guts blown out by shrapnel from a mortar round than choking on the effects of Sarin gas…

              • Populuxe1

                “If my country was involved in a civil war and i had children i would have taken them across the border into the refugee camps,”

                The camps are full up in Jordan and Lebanon, and Syrians have no legal status in either of those countries. Resources are stretched.

                “Now answer the question i posed to you, what exactly will the US achieve by tossing cruise missiles into Syria,”

                The elimination of much of Assad’s superior technology and any potential for him to launch a chemical attack

                “Do you think that tossing such missiles into Syria will save the lives of anyone, there are enough conventional weapons present there now to kill the whole population,”

                Which is why the targets would be things like air and military bases. Guns and mortars can’t kill anywhere near as many people as a missile launched from a plane.

                “And is there a difference in a child having it’s guts blown out by shrapnel from a mortar round than choking on the effects of Sarin gas…”

                Yes actually. A soldier just may possibly have a conscience and children of their own. Poison gas generally doesn’t.

                • Colonial Viper

                  P1’s version of bombing Syria back to the stone age. Which doesn’t actually change anything.

                  • Populuxe1

                    Whatever you callous, cold hearted bastard

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Yes we will unleash more bombs and missiles in order to prove our compassion…

                    • Populuxe1

                      That is the logic equivalent of saying we refuse to give alms to the poor because it will take away their ambition.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Actually it’s the logic equivalent of saying we are generous so we will take what little the poor have left (for their own good).

                    • Populuxe1

                      Keep spinning squeezing that stone heart of yours, CV, something may yet come out of it. “Let them eat cake” is about the size of it.

    • Bill 4.3

      Okay, let’s agree that Assad is a ruthless bastard. That as it may, why would he use chemical weapons when the regime he heads has been winning the war on the ground?

      Now, just as Assad is a ruthless bastard – aren’t the Al Qaeda affiliates in Syria also ruthless bastards? And given that they have been losing the war and also given that they know full well Obama had committed himself to taking action against the Syrian regime if chemical weapons were used….

      • Populuxe1 4.3.1

        Why would they be gassing themselves?

      • Ross 4.3.2

        More importantly, Bill, why would Assad not allow immediate access to weapons’ inspectors but instead wait 5 days to allow access? And why would the rebels not use sarin against the regime but instead use it against themselves?

        • Bill 4.3.2.1

          The UN were given access within 24 hours of them requesting access.

          What you refer to as ‘the rebel” are not a homogenous group seeking a common goal. And civilians are of no consequence to some…especially if they fail to believe the ‘correct truth’. So, unprotected civilians can be legitimate and convenient targets for those seeking to stoke outrage in the west…outrage that leads to interventions that would dovetail with their objectives in (at least) the short term.

  4. Wayne 6

    Colonial Viper, That is precisely why I mentioned Iraq. President Obam knows what happened to the reputation of Colin Powell, which is forever besmirched by Iraq. So I am sure he has gone the extra mile.

    And frankly I beleive President Obama ahead of President Putin who after all is former KGB. But I know it is the historic habit of the Hard Left to believe Russia ahead of the US.

    • Bill 6.1

      Tell you what Wayne. How’s about we call a spade a spade and agree that all the protagonists and those who support them are absolute bastards? And how about we acknowledge that each of these bastards and everyone supporting any of them is pursuing one of several agendas. And how about we go further and acknowledge that the agenda of one, sometimes, though not necessarily always, serves or aids the agenda of another. So what is created is a situation of temporary or shifting alliances between one and another or others of these protagonists and their support crews.

      And when we have the honesty to call things as they really are, what then should we make of any calls from any of those protagonists or their sponsors/supporters when they put on a show of weeping and wailing over the fate of Syrian people in order to increase their military heft?

  5. bad12 7

    A wee gem plucked from an email read out on Mora’s RadioNZ this afternoon, the US would far better serve the innocents in the present Syrian conflicts by sending into that conflict 20 million doses of Atropine/Pralidoximine which when injected into,(usually the thigh), is the antidote to Sarin Gas poisoning,

    Of course doing so would probably cost far less than throwing cruise missiles into that conflict and would also pre-suppose that the US or more to the point the US President has any intention of helping the people of Syria,

    The question must be asked also if the US has hands free of blood when it comes to the modern use of chemical weapons in acts of war,

    ”April 1988: Sarin was used 4 times against Iranian soldiers in April 1988 at the end of the Iran-Iraq war, helping Iraqi forces to retake the al-Faw peninsula during the second battle of al-faw,

    Using satellite imagery, the US assisted Iraqi forces in locating the position of the Iranian troops during those attacks,

    http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarin

    Whats the excuse there, we didn’t pull the trigger, only helped aim the gun….

    • Bill 7.1

      But…but…that would be like humanitarian and…and…well, what possible geo-political advantage could be gained by indulging in such tosh?!

  6. BLiP 8


    Considering that the “intelligence” for this gas attack has come from Israel, I don’t believe a word the US says about the situation. Basically, if a few malcontent Japanese cultists living on a mountain top can manufacture sarin, then pretty much any one can.

    Lets remember also that the US has been involved in organising “regime change” in Syria since at least 2006. Dubbya effectively froze diplomatic relations with Syria in December 2005 when the US government begain to secretly fund Syrian political opposition groups and media outlets. Its not like the CIA hasn’t already been involved in organising gas attacks on civillians before and it not like the Israelis have nothing to gain from all this.

    • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 8.1

      It is not the making of it, so much as its delivery by missile which points to it being Assad’s crew who are behind it.

      • BLiP 8.1.1

        Who says the sarin was delivered by missile?

        • Colonial Viper 8.1.1.1

          Korean war era rocket systems are more than sufficient to deliver chemical weapons. And old fashioned artillery is still the most likely.

    • Chooky 8.2

      BLiP +1….and I thought John Key was interested in the security of NZers!(LIAR)

      ….If John Key supports Israel and USA….when there is a fair amount of scepticism around the world about their proposed initiated war on Syria( eg Britain, Canada, Australia, Germany , the French)…. and evidence that the gassing could have been done by the rebels, who USA and Israel support…..then KEY is being quite reckless with NZer’s safety …by engaging us in an illegitimate and immoral war!

      Luckily for us Helen Clark looked after NZers by not supporting the US bombing and invasion of Iraq….later shown to be illegitimately based on WMD

  7. joe90 9

    Fisk:

    Watershed. It’s the only word for it. Once Lebanon and Syria and Egypt trembled when Washington spoke. Now they laugh. It’s not just a question of what happened to the statesmen of the past. No one believed that Cameron was Churchill or that the silly man in the White House was Roosevelt – although Putin might make a rather good Stalin. It’s more a question of credibility; no one in the Middle East takes America seriously anymore. And you only had to watch Obama on Saturday to see why.
    For there he was, prattling on in the most racist way about “ancient sectarian differences” in the Middle East. Since when was the president of the United States an expert on these supposed “sectarian differences”? Constantly we are shown maps of the Arab world with Shiites and Sunnis and Christians colour-coded onto the nations which we generously bequeathed to the region after the First World War. But when is an American paper going to carry a colour-coded map of Washington or Chicago with black and white areas delineated by streets?

    http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/robert-fisk-once-washington-made-the-middle-east-tremble–nowno-one-there-takes-it-seriously-8793321.html

    • GregJ 9.1

      Meh Fisk – I’m afraid I don’t worship at the Alter of Fisk – yes he often provides excellent background for those in the West woefully ignorant of history in this part of the world and being an Arabic speaker is particularly useful as well – but as an Arabophile he often skates over very quickly what is actually being said on the street, particularly if it doesn’t suit his world view. He overplays the US/Israel aspect of the regional conflicts and he underplays the struggle between Saudi & Iran and how that impacts on relations between the West and the Middle East. People I talk to here are generally neutral/indifferent about him.

      Yes in my observation Americans in particular often tend to be unaware of the subtleties of dealing with the Arab world (both culturally and politically). It is rather surprising that after so much time the still just “don’t get it” – although those that are here for a while do eventually reach a level of understanding. Although Obama may not understand properly the “ancient sectarian diffferences” doesn’t mean they aren’t a significant factor in the Syrian conflict.

      • Colonial Viper 9.1.1

        Although Obama may not understand properly the “ancient sectarian diffferences” doesn’t mean they aren’t a significant factor in the Syrian conflict.

        After 10 years in Iraq you would think the entire US apparatus is completely versed in this. Or maybe not.

        The problem with Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz is not that they didn’t have access to people in the CIA and the State Department who were Arabists that were expert in the cultural and historical differences between Sunni, Sh’ia and the rest. Its that they didn’t care.

        • GregJ 9.1.1.1

          You would think so – yet everyday I see evidence that they still don’t. As I said sometimes if individuals are in the region long enough they begin to fathom it but I’m not sure it makes it back to Washington (although I could equally believe the Americans there don’t care). It does lead to some dilemmas though – in the end you kind of have to come down on one side or the other – Arabs value loyalty in a relationship greatly – and that loyalty means you don’t support the other side, talk to the other side or acknowledge that the other side has any legitimate grievances or points of views. This means one view of the US involvement in Syria goes – we support the rebels, you are our ally, therefore you must support the rebels, you must act to help our allies otherwise you are not really our friend. Now it may be more subtle & nuanced behind the scenes but that public face of loyalty is important – and I think you can see the pitfalls of having a position/stake in the whole thing.

  8. Pascal's bookie 10

    Here’s the thing. To stop the actual slaughter, the international community would need to go in large, pick a side, win the war, keep the peace while the refugee situation is sorted, some sort of reconciliation process is run, and order is established.

    I’d support that, if the commitment to doing so was made up front. Without that commitment the political will to do it all would evaporate as the costs that citizens weren’t warned about mounted.

    Instead we can expect outcomes based on what actually happens. If the strikes don’t change the balance of power, we can expect Assad to lash out at the rebels, we’ll see more slaughter, over a longer time but with conventional weapons. The war will not be shortened, it will just be made even more brutal. Studies show that limited interventions will see about a 40 increase in civilian casualties, on the side that the those who intervene back:

    http://themonkeycage.org/2013/08/27/do-military-interventions-reduce-killings-of-civilians-in-civil-wars/
    .

    But, the CW ban will have been enforced. That’s the only benefit. So all the pontificating about the ‘poor Syrians’ is pretty much crap. It’s about future victims in other conflicts that this would be done in the name of. That’s not nothing, but it isnt pretty however you cut it, and people should be upfront about that.

    If the bombing is big enough to change the war, expect to see some even uglier shit as the Alawites and Christians get slaughtered by death squads in the aftermath. Maybe they got it coming, I don’t know. But again. let’s not pretend that it’s pretty. Lets be honest about what we think will actually happen.

    So who thinks what I’ve said isn’t distinctly possible, given what we’ve been told of the type of intervention being planned?

    Who can give me a prediction that this intervention will be a net good for the people of Syria? Who thinks Assad will give up because of a few days bombing not intended to alter the war?

    Coz if you can’t, you better think about what you are lying about when you say this is being done on behalf the innocent Syrian civilians. ffs.

    • exkiwiforces 10.1

      Bill, I’ve sent a few emails to you via the standard email address from the Janes defence website and I have a few more from some other websites.

      The opinion from work and a few other places I hang out on the net the both sides are using Chemical warfare (CW) agents, but Assad regime is using it more effectively than FSA i.e. One such attack the regime did an air strike using a combination of one HE bomb, one CS (tear gas) bomb and one CW agent bomb from air strike.

      This latest CW attack has got a lot of people thinking why the regime conducting this one as regime has a lot to lose as for FSA a lot to gain if the staged attack to make out that regime did. From where I stand this attack makes no sense at all and if the regime did it there was no follow up ground attack apart from the artillery strike that went on for a few days after the attack.

      Some of the symptoms shown on video/ tv are classic organophosphate OP: 1) that some of the casualties claimed to be from a chemical attack are actually from other causes (RCA, pressure wave, asphyxiation) and that the true number of chemical fatalities is far lower, and tied to a specific area that was targeted by ‘pure’ Sarin 2) that it is an adulterated Sarin/OP, mixed with other substances which means that the signs and symptoms aren’t consistent, some will have had a larger dose of the OP element, and some will have had other elements.

      But last week’s CW attack the casualties tell of smelling sulphur which Sarin doesn’t ordinarily produce such an effect only choking and other agents produce odours such as Phosgene or Chloride

      Contributing to this confusion is the long-standing suspicion Assad’s forces are brewing up their unconventional weapons in unconventional ways. One of Sarin’s two main precursors is isopropanol — rubbing alcohol, basically. But the material used for chemical attacks can’t be purchased in any drug store. While the commercial stuff typically is 70 percent water, the weapons-grade isopropanol is highly concentrated, with less than 1 percent water. That makes it extremely hard to obtain. Some outside observers believe the Syrians are using less isopropanol than usual in their Sarin in order to preserve their precious stockpile of the precursor. (It would also produce milder-than-normal effects in a victim.) If the dilution theory is true, it could be an indication that Assad intends to hold on to his chemical arsenal for a long, long time — and unleash it only when his rule is once again under threat.

      Source: CBRNe World, Janes Defence Services and Foreign policy and my training notes.

      [lprent: I forwarded them. ]

      • Bill 10.1.1

        Cheers. Will check the email presently.

      • Pascal's bookie 10.1.2

        exkiwiforces, one explanation I’ve seen for why Assad’s forces might have launched this attack was as a psychological op. If they believe that the world isn’t going to intervene in any decisive way, an attack like that would demonstrate it.

        • Colonial Viper 10.1.2.1

          PB 100,000 already dead and the world hadn’t intervened in a decisive way. More proof was needed?

          • Pascal's bookie 10.1.2.1.1

            Crossing that redline will settle the question. He crossed it, and there is no evidence that there is any appetite for regime change, or duty to protect or anything that the rebels might have hoped for. That sends a message to the rebels that they are on their own and no help is coming.

            • Colonial Viper 10.1.2.1.1.1

              Saudi, Qatar, Bahrain, Turkey, UAE, Kuwait all happy to keep helping out…but yeah, direct intervention by the west unlikely.

        • exkiwiforces 10.1.2.2

          We are dealing with a dictator and history will tell us that dictators don’t think like you and I.

          Has Assad forces been setup FSA to make look like they are ones who conducted this latest attack?

          Has Assad lost some control of some his CBRN units?

          This one is from Janes Defence Services: “The regime’s frustration with its inability to secure large portions of Damascus may have contributed to its decision to use chemical weapons,”

          Has rouge elements of the FSA have some access to the regimes WMD’s or are they getting t he stuff by other means?

          There are so many questions begin answer but there are a lot of unanswered questions as well. As the old saying goes there is 101 ways to skin a cat.

  9. Ross 11

    Funny that Assad blocked weapons’ inspectors from doing their job in a timely manner. It seems that on the one hand – according to some here – he had absolutely nothing to do with the Sarin attack. But on the other hand, he wants the shit kicked out of him. What odd behaviour.

    • Colonial Viper 11.1

      UN inspectors were given approval by authorities to enter the nerve gassed areas within 24 hours of asking permission. They were allowed to take all the biological and physical samples that they requested.

      • Ross 11.1.1

        [John] Kerry said he spoke last week to Syria’s foreign minister, and urged him to offer immediate access and full transparency to UN inspectors seeking to visit the site of the attack near Damascus.

        “Instead, for five days, the Syrian regime refused to allow the UN investigators access to the site of the attack that would allegedly exonerate them,” Kerry said.

        http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2013/08/26/syria-assad-warning-to-united-states.html

        What I find interesting is that the Assad regime says rebels staged the attack to frame the regime….isn’t it curious that the rebels allegedly have access to large quantities of sarin but that the rebels choose not to use it against the regime but their own people! I don’t think so.

        • Colonial Viper 11.1.1.1

          .isn’t it curious that the rebels allegedly have access to large quantities of sarin but that the rebels choose not to use it against the regime but their own people! I don’t think so.

          Did you think it through at all? Even for a single second?

          the jihadists want the US intervening on their side, against the Syrian Government. Using their gas on Assad forces would not have done that, using their gas on civilians may very well succeed in getting the US in on their side.

          [John] Kerry said he spoke last week to Syria’s foreign minister, and urged him to offer immediate access and full transparency to UN inspectors seeking to visit the site of the attack near Damascus.

          It is not John Kerry’s place to make requests for the UN. The UN didn’t ask for site access until several days later, and when they did, it was granted within 24 hours.

          The US then tried to downplay the process saying that the UN inspectors wouldn’t find anything of interest, and suggesting that they would launch the strikes before the UN finished their work. The US basically said it already knew everything it needed to know, regardless of the UN team reporting back.

          Deputy State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said the president is not waiting for the United Nations to decide what to do about Syria…

          That inspection of last week’s attack outside Damascus is meant only to confirm the use of chemical weapons, not to determine who is responsible. Washington has already determined that President Bashar al-Assad’s forces are responsible so Harf said they must be held accountable.

          http://www.voanews.com/content/us-not-waiting-for-un-to-respond-on-syria/1739187.html

          • Ross 11.1.1.1.1

            “It is not John Kerry’s place to make requests for the UN”

            Oh OK, so a delay of 5 days is quite reasonable in the circumstances. I on the other hand would have contacted Kerry (and the UN) immediately after the attack and advised that weapons’ inspectors proceed. Obviously the Syrian regime had other things on its mind…

        • GregJ 11.1.1.2

          What I find interesting is that the Assad regime says rebels staged the attack to frame the regime….isn’t it curious that the rebels allegedly have access to large quantities of sarin but that the rebels choose not to use it against the regime but their own people! I don’t think so.

          No, no – don’t you understand those “martyrs” will ensure the victory of the rebels by giving their lives for the greater cause (whether they want to or not).

          Either side could have carrried out the attack (if so proven). It will be difficult to prove it one way or the other.

          • Ross 11.1.1.2.1

            Yes, either side could have carried out the attack but which is far more likely to have carried it out, and why didn’t Assad demand that weapons inspectors immediately investigate?

  10. bad12 12

    So the US secretary of state has asked the New Zealand Government for moral support for mounting an attack upon the State of Syria,

    Slippery the Prime Minister on RadioNZ news says that the Parliament will probably have a debate after which the Executive, presumably meaning Slippery Himself, will decide upon such moral support,

    Moral, there is no such thing as Morals in any act of war, having Morals would preclude any of us acting in a war-like fashion in the first place…

  11. Muzza 13

    What was the response to isreal using white phosphorus on gaza in 2009?

    Can’t recall if the war cry going out for that particular use of chemical weapons, when the use of, and by whom, was certain!

    But, but, but!

    • GregJ 13.1

      It was criticised by a number of groups but not because it is a “chemical weapon” per se but because of its impact as an incendiary used on areas with concentrations of civilians. It is not otherwise prohibited unlike chemical weapons.

      White Phosphorus is only considered a “chemical weapon” if it is used for its toxic effects – in most cases it is used for smoke, marking or its incendiary effects and its use is governed by Protocol III of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons which regulates incendiary weapons, and shells containing White Phosphorus.

      I’m not sure there is much of a correlation between White Phosphorus and Chemical Weapons such as Sarin.

  12. http://oilprice.com/Geopolitics/International/Did-the-White-House-Help-Plan-the-Syrian-Chemical-Attack.html

    On August 13-14, 2013, Western-sponsored opposition forces in Turkey started advance preparations for a major and irregular military surge. Initial meetings between senior opposition military commanders and representatives of Qatari, Turkish, and US Intelligence [“Mukhabarat Amriki”] took place at the converted Turkish military garrison in Antakya, Hatay Province, used as the command center and headquarters of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and their foreign sponsors. Very senior opposition commanders who had arrived from Istanbul briefed the regional commanders of an imminent escalation in the fighting due to “a war-changing development” which would, in turn, lead to a US-led bombing of Syria.

  13. Sable 15

    More BS from the country that invented the WMD (Words of Mass Distraction).

  14. Muzza 16

    http://www.turkishweekly.net/news/151261/russia-asks-turkey-for-info-on-sarin-terrorists.html

    Russia has called on Turkey to share its findings in the case of Syrian rebels who were seized on the Turkish-Syrian border with a 2kg cylinder full of nerve gas sarin.

    Russia’s top foreign official Sergei Lavrov tolday said the Kremlin wanted to get clear on the issue of chemical weapons used in Syria, since the allegation had taken on the role of a trading card in the conflict, becoming a focus of constant provocations.

    “I do not rule out that some force may want to use it [the rumour] to say that the “red line” has been crossed and a foreign intervention is needed,” the minister said.

    “We are still waiting on a comprehensive report from our Turkish colleagues,” he added, citing the incident when a gang of terrorists carrying a canister with nerve gas sarin was arrested inside the Turkish territory about two weeks ago.

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