Syria et al.

Written By: - Date published: 5:09 pm, August 29th, 2013 - 311 comments
Categories: afghanistan, business, capitalism, energy, International, iraq, war - Tags: , , , ,

Once upon a time, the cynic within me used to listen to and then read between the official lines western governments peddled when they wanted to take military action. What I found was that this could give a reasonable approximation of the real reason that lay behind government desires and reasoning.

But lately the lines coming from officialdom seem to have moved so far from reality that they just can’t be read. It’s as though they are intent to invent any fiction – any fiction at all  that – if reality, would in some way excuse their actions. And this is qualitively different to days past when propaganda, twisted as it was, at least made a nod to the reality it sought to bend. And so I find myself wondering if western governments are being heeded by anyone these days – or whether they even care if they are being listened to or not. Is it unreasonable to suggest they are now pursuing a policy whereby they are relying on peoples’ inability to formulate a counter argument or response in the face of outrageous bullshit?

I’m not going to go through the tsunami of claims and counter claims on the detail with regards Syria; of who did what to whom and who is really the bad guy/good guy. That just leads to the same futile waste of time and energy as was the case in arguments pertaining to Libya…Egypt…Mali…Iraq…Afghanistan…

In the broader context, there are a couple of constants. These are simple to recognise and lend a good degree of explanatory insight with regards the posturing and bullying of the west.

If there are resources (we’re principally talking oil here) that either reside in a country or can transit through a country on their way to ‘the west’ – and if those resources aren’t coming west, or there is a chance that they won’t – then that’s a reason to destabilise, bomb and/or invade.

And that runs in parallel with another consideration. If China has investments in a country – such that their investments might encourage a degree of ‘pro-Chinese’ sentiment that could lead to western governments being robbed of their ‘rightful’ access to resources – then destabilise, bomb and/or invade to render investment impossible.

To one degree or other, both of these considerations have played their part in the policies pursued in the countries listed above.

Libya had resources. But Gaddafi was also a peace broker in Northern Africa. And China had and has growing investments throughout Africa. Those investments do, of course, come with strings attached – access to raw materials and resources. Daylight robbery from the perspective of the west. And so Mali, or more precisely the people of Mali, cop it in the form of destabilisation.

Egypt looked east after Tahrir Square, with Morsi having the audacity to snub Obama in favour of a meet with the Chinese. That situation is being ‘put to rights’ now. So there will be no sanctions or no fly zones or invasion in the case of Egypt.

Iraq. Well, is there any need to say anything at all on the case of Iraq? I think not.

Afghanistan. A part of Pipelanistan. If you don’t understand the term or what it refers to, then google search Pepe Escobar and read his excellent analyses. (btw. NZ has a direct financial stake…NZ public money… in the proposed US$ 8 Billion pipeline that is slated to run north to south and bring gas west.)

And so it goes.

But of course, no western government can go anywhere near those realities if it hopes to gain any domestic public support for its actions. So they bang on about ‘bad guys’ while, for example, arming Al Qaeda in Syria as they simultaneously bomb the shit out them via drones in Yemen. And they bang on about democracy as they render countries utterly ungovernable and lay their resources open only to those who can defend their locations and transit routes militarily.

The only bright note I see is that even the commentariat, who routinely buy into or excuse calls for war, just don’t seem to be playing the game on this latest Syria round of nonsense.

311 comments on “Syria et al. ”

  1. Tamati 1

    I think the children choking to death on live on camera is a pretty clear and obvious perspective of whats going on in Syria.

    Can we really sit back and ignore these atrocities? The West really has no options.

    • BM 1.1

      Don’t be ridiculous you have to pontificate and discuss this from a million different angles and hypothesize about the uncalculable number of different scenarios that may arise or the hidden motives that are so obviously in play.

      After you’ve done this for the next year or so then we can think about coming up with a plan of action.

      [B: Read the post – particularly the third paragraph. After reading that, and then if and only if you have anything worthwhile to say, add or argue, then make further comments.]

      • Tamati 1.1.1

        You’re right.

        We have to dither and debate for a year or so.

        [B: See edited comment to BM above and apply to your own self too]

      • quinnjin 1.1.2

        Last time I checked BM, we don’t actually know who launched the gas. It is in fact likely to have been a set up by one of the many parties, some of them Islamic extremists, who have joined in the rebellion, including Al Queda, who would make odd allies for the US, but not with out precedent of course, in order to rope the west into joining the fray…. Syria has a very complicated history, the two best examples of view points on the matter I have been able to find can be found in a couple of documentaries, one by Al Jazeera, “Syria: The Reckoning” and the other a less partisan, IMHO, BBC documentary, “A history of Syria”.
        On the one hand the Assad senior was a vicious dictator who mercilessly crushed a democratic movement, taking his inspiration from Stalin ism, on the other he was a strongman who created a modern secular Syria and fended of a fundamentalist religious dictatorship at the hands of the muslim brotherhood, but who resorted to extreme violence far to readily.
        It is not a simple situation and it’s highly debatable whether the west should wade in and interfere.
        The sad thing is that the original protests that started all this were inspired by the “arab spring”, and all the people wanted was a more liberal, democratic government.
        But of course those original, largely youthful agitators are now caught between a dynastic dictatorship and the religious fundamentalists and other vested interests.
        I’m not sure there is a clear case for western intervention.
        It must be added, that compared to the hundreds of thousands of civilians in Iraq, and the uranium poisening of the populace and the resultant birth defects, justified by outright fabrications of intelligence regarding WMD’s, 300 dead due to Sarrin gas pales in comparison to the US’s own war crimes. The self righteous rhetoric beggars belief.
        Also, the writer is correct in pointing out that the historical record shows that West i.e. the US, doesn’t tend to intervene in political crises unless there is some resource advantage to be gained.
        it is correct in this case to A) question the motives of the US, and to B) Question that even if the motives are pure, would the end result be preferable for the people of Syria?

        Tipping the balance either way isn’t likely to be great for the ordinary Syrian, who is enamoured neither with secular dictatorship nor rule at the hands of religious zealots.

        It would take a whole sale boots on the ground occupation to manage some kind of controlled democracy… something the west has neither the right, nor probably the resources to achieve, nor I suspect the stomach.

        Be careful what you wish for.

    • Colonial Viper 1.2

      You ignored the atrocities of the Syrian rebels cutting up enemy soldiers and eating their body parts. Why get all worked up about it now, just because the propaganda tells you to?

      • TheContrarian 1.2.1

        ” cutting up enemy soldiers and eating their body parts.”


          • Populuxe1

            To be fair, he was probably suffering from severe post traumatic stress, and the incident was given rather more coverage than it warranted

            • travellerev

              There was and is no routine slaughter of children in Syria but then the European leaders used the same argument as to why Jews were to be blamed for everything from pestilence to harvest failure.

              • Populuxe1

                Nowadays the Jews just get blamed for global economic conspiracies – I’ve heard you bleat on about the Rothschilds before

                • Muzza

                  It’s not really the Jews though pop, because many of them are being bent over, and if the owners of the war machine get really loose, then Israel will burn along with the rest if the Middle East!

                  Whatever those at the top follow along with, and its open to debate, and a moot point anyway, the Roths and the Rocks, worship at its alter!

                  If you think the wealthiest families on earth, who control huge swaths of the planets physical environment, not to mention the financial systems, which they created and own with almost 100% monopoly, and which now, via debt they control, suffocates the world into near death, can’t be part of the problem…

                  Well, good luck to ya bro, there won’t be much you don’t swallow!

                  • Populuxe1

                    Greatly overestimating the wealth of the Roths and the Rocks these days

                    • Muzza

                      It’s not possible to overstate the wealth/influence of the entity which formed and owned the global banking networks from inception, which branched out via other so called elite banking families, whose names are still the frontage of the worlds banking cartel, with the central banking system rolling up to the Rothchild owned BIS.

                      Throw in hoodwinking to take control of the entire uk equities markets back in the day, bank rolling the creation of Israel, and even at that high level of few examples, the ripple out consequences are lived with by the entire planets populace, every single day!

                      Nah, it’s only the underestimating the probable levels of negative influence which leads to problems, it can’t be overestimated!

                  • Foreign waka

                    Why do you look only to the west? Could it be that he benefactor of the current crisis in the east could sit somewhere else?

    • Tracey 1.3

      The west seems to have no problems staying out of africa (leaving SA out of it for now)where people are killed, raped in the hundreds of thousands… If we dont put cameras in some of those nations we dont see children choking to death on camera, doesnt mean it’s not happening.

      The west’s decision-making on saving the poor children and other victims is jaundiced and inconsistent. Inconsistency always means there is another reason behind the “compassion”. Usually it’s self interest.

    • sid 1.4

      The point is, there is no proof that the chemicals were used by government troops. On the other hand side, Turkish police has raided a chemical bomb making facility across the border from Syria in Turkey a couple of months ago, that was operated by the rebels.

  2. infused 2

    This shows how little you know about what’s going on.

    • Bill 2.1

      No. It shows how little comprehension you have of the post. Any argument about who the bad, badder, baddest guy is – or arguments over who allegedly did what to who and when and why they did whatever, is not what this post is about. What it is about – and what any level of comprehension for the written word would have revealed – is context – y’know, that defining space where things happen/play out/unfold?

    • Tracey 2.2

      where do you get your information from?

  3. One Anonymous Knucklehead 3

    The basic argument about oil still holds true: whoever has the most gets more tanks on the ground and planes in the air. It attracts bullies and criminals like shit attracts flies.

    Those poor kids, and their mums and dads. What can help them? An assassin’s bullet? A drone strike? Diplomacy? Punishing the wicked? Halliburtons? Black Water? Willie Apiata?

    Better bloody ethics from “democracies”?

  4. Populuxe1 4

    It’s quite evident that, Hans Blix’s blether to the contrary, relying on the UN to resolve the situation is going to do sweet fanny adams.

    • Pascal's bookie 4.1

      What situation is going to be resolved?

        • Pascal's bookie

          Not at all Pop. There are numerous claims flying around about what this action is supposed to achieve. Some are talking about chem weapons, some are talking about duty to protect, others are talking about the bad effect on US credibility if nothing is done.

          Those things would imply very different things that need to be done. So the situation that you are talking about, needs to be stated in order to know what the hell it is you are talking about resolving, and to make judgements about whether or not any proposed action would, in fact, resolve the situation or make it worse.

          If you have an actual point to make about what Blix argued, then have at it. If you can think of an actual way to ‘resolve the situation’ let’s hear it.

          • Populuxe1

            I can’t, only because as with theology it is only possible to say what “god” is not – via negativa – than what “god” is, hence I can not offer a perfect solution, but I can say that the UN will not be providing it as long as the permanent members of the Security Council have vetoes.

            • Pascal's bookie

              Ok, so the vetoes are the problem.

              So what can or should be done about that? You are a citizen in a democracy. Do you have opinions about policy? You seem to have plenty about other citizens, but that’s just boring shite.

              ‘Shall we support what is being proposed?’ is the question citizens face. Talking about that is an aspect citizenship.

              Blix laid out a pretty good argument about the legalities of non UN action in Syria, and explained the consequences of going ahead with it anyway in terms of international legal norms. Do you have an actual criticism of what he says here for example?

              We may agree with John Kerry, the US secretary of state, that the use of gas is a “moral obscenity”, but would we not feel that “a measured and proportionate punishment”, like striking at some missile sites or helicopter bases, is like telling the regime that “you can go on with your war but do stay away from the chemical weapons”? And what is the moral weight of the condemnation by nuclear weapons states of the use of gas as a serious war crime when they themselves will not accept a norm that would criminalise any first use of their own nuclear weapons?

              It is hard to avoid the impression that the political and military developments now in overdrive stem partly from pressure exerted by the rebel side to trigger an American military intervention – by trying to hold President Obama to an earlier warning to Assad that a use of chemical weapons would alter his calculation. Equally, if not more important, may be a need felt by the Obama administration to avoid criticism for being hesitant and passive – and appearing like a paper tiger to countries such as Iran that have been warned that the US will not allow them to have nuclear weapons.

              In 2003 the US and the UK and an alliance of “friendly states” invaded Iraq without the authorisation of the security council. A strong body of world opinion felt that this constituted a violation and an undermining of the UN charter. A quick punitive action in Syria today without UN authorisation would be another precedent, suggesting that great military powers can intervene militarily when they feel politically impelled to do so. (They did not intervene when Iraq used chemical weapons on a large scale in the war with Iran in the 1980s.)

              So, what should the world reaction be to the use of chemical weapons? Clearly, evidence available – both from UN inspectors and from member states – should be placed before and judged by the security council. Even if the council could only conclude that chemical weapons had been used – and could not agree that the Assad regime alone was responsible – there would be a good chance of unanimous world condemnation. Global indignation about the use of chemical weapons is of value to strengthen the taboo.

              Condemnation is not enough. With 100,000 killed and millions of refugees, the civil war itself is a “moral obscenity”. The council must seek to achieve not just an end to chemical weapons use but an end to all weapons use, by a ceasefire. As was planned not long ago by the US and Russia, the council must seek to bring about a conference at which relevant parties and states can form an interim authority. The alternative is continued civil war in Syria and worsening international relations.

              That’s fairly reasonable in my view. We agree hat the vetoes are a problem that ought to be fixed. But is further setting of the extra-UN intervention norm the best way to fix it?

              Is the veto issue the situation you think needs to be resolved?

              • Populuxe1

                If the UN is to be of any use at all and deprive countries like the US, France and the UK of any humanitarian mandate to act unilaterally, the UN needs to ditch the vetos, expand the permanent members of the security council to include India, Brazil and Japan, and develop some real teeth. And yes, I do believe red lines like chemical weapons are important – they set the boundary of what is unacceptable and by enforcing it, discouraging their use.

                • Pascal's bookie

                  ” humanitarian mandate to act unilaterally”

                  Where does this mandate come from? And why do countries “like the US, France and the UK ” have it? Who doesn’t have it? People who disagree with them?

                  Does this mandate imply a duty as well? Or is it applied arbitrarily?

                  The whole point of the having legal frameworks for military action is that nations have very different views about what justifies war. If you say that countries ‘like the US, France, and the UK’ have a humanitarian mandate sometimes then so to do other countries.

                  And yes, red lines are important. But they are arbitrary. Sometimes they are declared, sometimes they are not. If and where they are drawn is inconsistent.

                  • Populuxe1

                    If anyone can be said to have a mandate, it would be secular democracies, and it should be a duty (I’d rather not have another Rwanda thanks), and while, yes, there are a lot of philosophical debates that could be had, to not intervene (which is not, by any means, the same as regime change or occupation – which is why I keep using the examble of Bosnia), those that have the power to intervene have a duty to intervene, just as if you were aware someone was abusing their spouse or child you should be obliged to intervene. Obviously such interventions should be diversely multilateral, but should be lead by those with the will, resources and experience to – otherwise we are left with a situation like the African Union’s pussyfutting around Zimbabwe.

                    The one lesson that everyone should have come away from WW2 with is that some situations cannot be left unanswered or ignored, and often can only be met with force.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      The old appeasement trope?

                      How is that relevant with Syria? Has Syria built up a massive military machine no one has noticed? Has Syria started taking annexing its neighbours? Has Syria been placing hundreds of thousands of people in concentration camps?

                      Or are you just full of shit and justifications for pre-emptive war, which happens to be one of the excuses that the Third Reich used, needing “buffer zones” between it and the Soviet Union etc.

                    • Populuxe1

                      What kind of retard gets “The old appeasement trope” out of “The one lesson that everyone should have come away from WW2 with is that some situations cannot be left unanswered or ignored, and often can only be met with force”? CV obviously.

                      Oh, CV, I’m so sorry Assad isn’t killing people quickly enough for your liking

                    • Colonial Viper

                      The war was started, is funded, and armed by, the same foreign powers all now excited about getting rid of the Assad regime.

                      Your fixers are the ones who broke the situation in the first place.

                      How can you not see that?

                      Your WWII appeasement trope doesn’t hold water. The situation this is most similar to is Iraq and Libya.

                    • Populuxe1

                      I’m sorry, at what point did we decide that Saddam and Gaddafi were anything other than absolute monsters?

                    • lprent []

                      I always thought that they were.

                      However last time I looked at this conversation and post, the question was more about if the west or anyone else should have intervened militarily. That is a whole different question and quite unrelated to the question you just asked.

                      By the tenor of your question you probably should also ask when we’re going to invade australia and start dragging the descendents of monsters to the dock for the attempted genocide of aborigines. It is roughly the same question… (strawman and silly).

      • Colonial Viper 4.1.2

        Regime change and the installation of a friendly puppet government. Preferably led by a former Goldman Sachs executive.

        • Bill

          As per the line I suggest in the post, I don’t think regime change matters a toss so much as turning the country in a basketcase that carries the population deeper into a specific hell; a hell where strategically important ‘assets’ are adequately controlled by state of the art military hardware and such like…eg, armed drones backed by a private/corporate militia/army?

          If you look at Afghanistan and then count the numbers of private mercenaries (‘contractors’) in the country while casting an eye over the proposed pipe line route and where the military bases are concentrated – and acknowledge the potential effectiveness of endless drone patrols…then sure, the ‘official’ armies of NATO can pull out and the west gets what it wants without a stream of body bags coming off of planes and with no pesky (and probably counter productive) need to make the country ‘functional’ again.

    • leftriteleft 4.2

      The world needs proof. There is no question CW were used, but, by who.
      Remember the USA are funding the rebels. Yes, that’s right the same people who dropped the Towers. Yeah right.
      This is a False Flag.
      America are the most (with Israel) the sickist bastards on this earth. Actually they are one in the same.
      As I said on an earlier post – it’s all about oil.
      I’m thankful that things have cooled down.
      America is learning that nobody actually like them much.
      Bloody WAR MONGERERS.

    • Bill 4.3

      So, you’re supportive of an armed intervention/invasion that contravenes international law as per Iraq and Afghanistan?

      Brings to mind a series of events, that if you don’t mind, I’d like to refer to via a question.You any idea who in history used to bang on about human rights violations and so on as a pretext for unilateral actions such as annexation and invasion? The play book is remarkably similar on several fronts – right on down to collaborating with enemies of the particular state that was his focus.

      Of course, there was no UN back. And hey…we got NATO!

      • Populuxe1 4.3.1

        And I direct you to how succesful this approach was in Bosnia, and what a clusterfuck Rwanda was without proper intervention.

        • Tracey

          which western leader/s called for intervention in Rwanda populuxe with or without UN approval?

          • Populuxe1

            That’s the point. They didn’t and look what happened.

            • Colonial Viper

              FFS Syria had a full operating Government with the rule of law and highly disciplined security forces. Completley unlike Rwanda. You’re full of shit as usual, Pop1.

              • Populuxe1

                You’d better explain that to Amnesty International, they have slightly different ideas going back to 1993.

                • Tracey

                  you agree with everything from Amnesty International?

                  • Populuxe1

                    Most of it. Why shouldn’t I? You you always act apologist for every police state?

                    • Tracey

                      “You you always act apologist for every police state?”

                      If you think this is about who is right and who is wrong and that you have worked out which is which you are labouring under a delusion.

                    • Populuxe1

                      The right or wrong is irrelevant – what matters is to what extent civilian non-coms can be protected. You seem to be equivocating about that simple fact.

            • Tracey

              That’s ridiculous logic, next you will say that no proof that God doesn’t exist is proof for an argument that God exists.
              it’s not europe and it’s not the heart of the oil industry.

              The reasons for not intervening in Rwanda and most african nations remains…

              • Populuxe1

                Actually it would be logically consistant to say that the impossibility of disproving the existence of god is proof of the possibility of the existence of god, so you’re halfway there.

                • Tracey

                  Can you name the western leader/s who advocated intervention in Rwanda prior to and during the 100 days massacres?

                  • Populuxe1

                    And as I said, none did, none intervened, hence the genocide. Do you have a comprehension difficulty?

                    • Colonial Viper

                      no genocide here mate

                      three out of five security council members now against military action against Syria.

                      British Parliament deems there to be insufficient proof and cause to launch an attack.

                      But you’re still banging the war drum hard I see.

                    • Populuxe1

                      I’m not banging any drum, but I fully understand why intervention is justifiable you. But gloat away. It’s fascinating how you are able to ignore so many innocent deaths.

            • Tracey

              some more countries that need your outrage


              Country Profiles & Risk Reports

              Stage 7 Countries

              Democratic Republic of Congo






              North Korea

              Myanmar (Burma)


              Stage 6 Countries




              Equatorial Guinea


              Central African Republic





              Guinea Bissau

              Stage 5 Countries




              te d’Ivoire
              GENOCIDE WATCH

              South Africa
              Sri Lanka



              • Populuxe1

                If someone wants to post about them, sure. However the post is about Syria, so I have no idea what you’re getting worked up about. Me not mentioning them doesn’t ipso facto mean I don’t care about them (unless you’re an idiot)

  5. Red Rosa 5

    Whoever used nerve gas, should have used napalm.

    Then it would be OK.

    • Populuxe1 5.1

      Well no it wouldn’t because use of napalm on civilian targets is covered by the United Nations Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (1980)

      • Bill 5.1.1

        Obviously pop doesn’t ‘get’ cynical irony R Rosa. You going to waste your time on him/her? Hope not.

        • Populuxe1

          It wasn’t ironic, it was sarcasm. It’s ironic you can’t tell the difference – and it still wasn’t particularly clever.

          • vto

            Pop, why are you such a hard core supporter of whatever the next act of murder and killing proposed by the US, UK or Israel is?

            • Populuxe1

              Why are you such a hard core supporter of letting civilians be slaughtered just to prop up your ideological biases?

              • Pascal's bookie

                There is no intention to prevent the slaughter in Syria. This is solely about CW use.

                • Populuxe1

                  Slaughter by chemical and/or any other kind of widely illegal weapon, if you must be pedntic.

                  • Pascal's bookie

                    There is nothing pedantic about it. It is central the debate. Either you support duty to protect, or you support disallowing only certain methods of slaughter.

                    • Populuxe1

                      In my ideal world an international force would put a stop to it all, but as that can’t happen legally, the least I can do is support a stance against weapons which no amount of arms or training can defend against and kills indescriminantly.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      Your ideal world is not a milliion miles from what Blix was talking about trying to get closer to, and your suggested actions seem to move further away from it.

                      That’s not paradox, it’s just poor judgement.

              • vto

                I am no such thing Pop. The application of disgust at mass killing is equal to both the US (for example) and whoever gassed the civilians in Syria. You are merely deflecting attention from your obvious biases.

                If I might repeat the question then – why do you come out every single time in favour of this “west” or US action?

                I suspect you are of an older generation, an immigrant who has probably lived in some of these affected places, and are wedded to your culture with a blindness similar to that of other extremists in the world who see nothing but their own situation, be that Midwest USA republicans, deepest afghan taleban tools or Israeli expansionists building in other peoples territory.

                • Populuxe1

                  I find all murder of civillians abhorrent, but I find your accusations utterly bizarre. Generally speaking I come out on the side of the west because because I champion certain values not observed elsewhere – specifically democracy, rule of law, independent judiciary, respect for human rights and so forth (which while frequently under attack by the forces of greed and capitalism, have yet to be fully extinguished beyond hope). Why for the love of doG would I come out in favour of repressive police states and genocidal theocracies? That is insane.

                  And no, wrong on all counts. And no, I’m not the one wedded to a particular culture as you seem to be so blindly wedded to unachievable utopian ideals or blinkered hatred.

                  • Pascal's bookie

                    So you support the rule of law, except where it inconveniently disallows what you think is right. In which case you think those who agree with you have aduty to go ahead?

                    • Populuxe1

                      Oh noes! A paradox! A veritable existential dilemma! Goodness me, that almost never happens (unless you give up thinking all together and just parrot ideological dogma because then you don’t have to face self doubt and difficult decisions). Yes, that is a tough one. If the relationship of ethics and law were so cut and dried, we wouldn’t have philosophers. Philosophy: read some.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      I’ve read plenty Pop. It’s why I don’t have to resort to boring sarcasm instead of an argument. every. single. time.’

                    • Populuxe1

                      Then stop responding in a pettifogging and disingenious way that only deserves contemptuous sarcasm.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      Good grief.

  6. Colonial Viper 6

    Good post Bill. Western populations have tolerated this kind of thing going on for a very long time now because these techniques brought home the bacon…in terms of flows of wealth and energy back to the imperial centre.

    Problem is however that the attitudes and strategies that our elites have used on coloured foreigners…are slowly being applied back home to us.

    And that’s the irony of the middle class ignoring the old union adage that “an injury to one, is an injury to all.” It’s the middle class which has been getting screwed over in the last 5 years, and just wait till the next 5.

    • Bill 6.1

      I don’t so much believe that we tolerate so much as that we get hoodwinked. And a big part of being hoodwinked is that the commentariat usually falls into lockstep with whatever the official version of events is. But for whatever reason, that’s not happening this time around. I don’t exactly pore over the msm, but most of what I’m picking up is calling bullshit on this latest call to war.

      And that might help explain the following:-

      One Reuters/Ipsos poll published Saturday shows that only 9 percent of the US public supports US intervention in Syria, and only 25 percent would support it even if it were proven that Assad had used chemical weapons.

  7. Good post Bill. Assisting the Syrians here means finding out who was responsible first and foremost IMO.

  8. Ron 9

    I think you missed one good reason for attacking Syria or any other country.
    If you have an election coming up in the near future then bully tactics are perfect for getting a Tory government re-elected. Joe public is keen on governments that start wars etc

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      Only the German and Australian elections are close enough to matter. If Syrian action is ongoing at the time of the UK election it’ll have turned into a serious quagmire.

      • Ron 9.1.1

        Both NZ and Europe have elections in the next 8-14 months. Europe should be especially interesting with UKIP in the mix.

    • Tamati 9.2

      I think an aggressive intervention in Syria will turn out more like Tony Blair’s Iraq than Margaret Thatcher’s Faulklands for David Cameron. Understandably Cameron and his mate across the pond and considerably more cautious about military intervention. The contrast to the Bush/Blair zeitgeist of the early 2000s couldn’t be more stark.

      • Foreign waka 9.3.1

        Populuxe 1 – the US economy is build on the weapon industry. The troops are suppose to come home, creating another “problem” for the politicians at home – unemployment, psychologically not ready to go back to a day to day scenario, healthcare costs etc.The war machine is coming to a rest and with it the money maker dream. The interventions are not proposed to bring peace, but to bring war and with it a lot of money for a few.

        • Populuxe1

          Actually it isn’t. The USA’s primary industries by GDP start at real estate, renting and leasing (13%), followed by state and local government (9%), followed by finance and insurance (9%), and then health and social care (8%) and so on.

  9. Muzza 10

    Good post Bill.

    Running the same play book , will eventually cause the most ardent followers to pause, and in this instance, call BS!

  10. vto 11

    The twin towers were dropped by Saudis but the US invaded Iraq.

    The Israelis are in constant breach of UN Resolutions but the US lets it slide.

    The US pays money to the Egyptian army who kill civilians who protest at a military coup which ousted a democratically elected government.

    The US pays money and provides arms to the terrorists operating in Syria. The same terrorists who blew up the twin towers.

    The US complains of the use of indiscriminate weaponry which kills hundreds of civilians yet is the only nation to ever have used nuclear weaponry to kill hundreds of thousands of civilians.

    The US provided arms to Saddam Hussein.

    Iran is not allowed nuclear weapons yet Israel is.

    The ‘rebels’ in Libya had clean and ironed shirts every day.

    The US turns a blind eye to the dictatorship and human rights abuses daily in Saudi Arabia.

    The US and the “west” has no credibility and is pure evil. Evil.

    • aerobubble 11.1

      I never got that argument about Israel and UN commandments, I mean, everyone has the right of self-defence. Should Israel backdown and be walked over? Sure the rightwing in the US and Israel makes me no friend of Israel, but when surrounded by a religion that believes in ritual suicidal murder have they any choice really. Israel position is weak, that’s why they engage in thuggery.

      • Populuxe1 11.1.1

        Here’s the thing. Israel has a right to exist and defend itself, and quite frankly the Yom Kippur war should be evidence enough for anyone that they have genuine enemies in the region at the best of times, however their de facto genocidal war on the Palestinians is vile. Israel needs to realise that they can’t play the innocent victim anymore because the reality is that Hamas (and almost every terrorist organisation since) got the idea that terrorism could get you ayour own state from Igrun and the Stern gang in the first place.

        And, in agreement with Edward Said, the Middle East, if it is ever going to understand the west’s reluctance to get fractious with Israel and that very close relationship with the US, are simply going to have to come to terms with the broader historical implications of the Holocaust.

        It’s a zero sum game.

    • Populuxe1 11.2

      “The twin towers were dropped by Saudis but the US invaded Iraq.”

      George W Bush was an easily lead idiot with a vendetta against Saddam for the attempted assassination of his father George Bush Snr. Barrack Obama is not.

      “The Israelis are in constant breach of UN Resolutions but the US lets it slide.”

      Unfortunately one of the side effects of not being a totalitarian dictatorship is that Jewish and fundie Christian citizens are allowed to vote.

      “The US pays money to the Egyptian army who kill civilians who protest at a military coup which ousted a democratically elected government.”

      The US pays money to the Egyptian military in the hope that unlike the elected thug Morsi, Gen. Abdel Fattah Sisi may hopefully evolve into a liberalising dictator who will protect women and minorities. Not only would that appear to be the complet opposite of what you are suggesting is happening in Syria, the military coup would have happened quite irrespectively of foreign involvement. It’s not ideal, but it’s realpolitik.

      “The US pays money and provides arms to the terrorists operating in Syria. The same terrorists who blew up the twin towers.”

      Actually, no. The presence of al-Qaeda is one of the reasons the US has been reluctant to get in the middle of al-Qaeda and Hezbollah

      “The US complains of the use of indiscriminate weaponry which kills hundreds of civilians yet is the only nation to ever have used nuclear weaponry to kill hundreds of thousands of civilians.”

      Not fucking relevant. The men who gave the orders to do that are all dead or nearly dead. Nuclear weapons have not been used since with the added benefit of dropping an expansionist genocidal imperial power hard. I note that Japan didn’t need fancy atom bombs to create similar amounts of slaughter in Nanjing, Manchuria, Korea and the Philippines.

      “The US provided arms to Saddam Hussein.”

      Previous US governments provided arms to Saddam Hussein. That’s not the current president’s problem – that whole democracy, vote in and out different leaders thing.

      “Iran is not allowed nuclear weapons yet Israel is.”

      Israel wasn’t allowed nucelar weapons. Like India, Pakistan, North Korea and South Africa, they developed them in secret and unlike those other countries they refuse they admit they have them, making it extremely difficult to do anything about retroactively through invoking the Non Proliferation Treaty. That is nothing like the case in Iran which hasn’t yet developed a nuclear weapon, though in all probablility they are covertly still trying.

      “The ‘rebels’ in Libya had clean and ironed shirts every day.”

      ????! Evidence?!

      “The US turns a blind eye to the dictatorship and human rights abuses daily in Saudi Arabia.”

      Saudi Arabia isn’t massacring anyone at the moment, nor does it forbid people to leave

      “The US and the “west” has no credibility and is pure evil. Evil.”

      Cue hysterical laughter

  11. Wayne 12

    Now you say you are not going to go through the tsunami of claims etc. But that is exactly what you have do. Especially when it comes to gas.

    Of course you could do as you seem to say and simply ignore it. And say no matter what happens the West should get involved, because it is the West who will do the intervention. Certainly no-one else will.

    In Bosnia it took Sebrenecia to really precipitate action, which was a lot worse a massacre than we have seen in Syria. As a serious question, would that be enough for you? And again it was the West who acted. And does the use of gas make a difference?

    Now it is pretty clear that in Syria the US has essentially tryed to stay out of it. There have been plenty of people who have wanted earlier intervention. President Obama raised a redline on gas. A reasonable position to take, but perhaps he thought he would therefore never have to follow through, that the threat would be enough to stop such use. And yes I can see it might provide an incentive for the insurgents to engineer an event.

    The President has to weigh up all those factors.

    But I am not one of those who think a UN mandate is essential (see also the 2010 Defence White Paper on this point). Otherwise you hold yourself hostage to states with veteo powers. And I do not think President Putin gets to determine the right course of action for the West.

    I also note you see that Iraq means the US can no longer take action in any circmstances because in your view (it appears to me) they can never be beleived again.

    But I suspect that there are no cases where you think the West should act, even where there is a UN resolution, such as Iraq 1990 and Afghanistan 2001.

    In my view each situation has to dealt on the specific merits of the case. It seems beyond doubt that gas was used, and that hundreds died. It is probable (though not certain) that it was the government forces. Absolute certainty on this may not be acheived.

    The reality is that it is typically the West who leads on these things. It is one of the consequences of global leadership, which has been the case since WWII. And remember it was Britian and france who first stood up to Nazi Germany not Russia (who it in fact also invaded Poland in 1939).

    When this era ends as it will, who then will act or will no one?

    • vto 12.1

      Wayne, your entire post is premised as if there is a moral duty to “act”, which there is certainly good argument for doing, when circumstances are right for that.

      But your point, in premising itself in this way, entirely misses the point that most people (the ones you are talking about) make who express disgust at the US and the West and their actions. And that point is the selective morality. For example, Egypt and its US-funded military.

      The lack of credibility and the ugly hypocrisy prove the US and the West are as evil as their enemies.

      • Populuxe1 12.1.1

        Better selective morality than no morality at all

        • vto

          Pop, you are just being silly now. Your point there bears no relation to what I said although if you read closely (or at all) you will see that my very first sentence is all about morality.

          Sometimes you post off the planet fulla.

          • tinfoilhat

            You accuse him/her of being silly after your silly post decrying “the west” as pure evil ?

            All I read in this post is a lot of pompous cant which I’m pretty sure most of the people in syria would despair at as the vast majority of Syrians aren’t on one side or the other they’re just stuck in the middle of a shambles and want it to stop.

          • Populuxe1

            Then don’t try to compare apples and oranges. Morality is dependant on context and intent (which is why Chomsky is always making an ass of himself)


            • Pascal's bookie

              In which case all nations would be free, (or have a duty even), to act, according to their morality. This is the gaping hole in what you have been blethering on about.

              • Populuxe1

                No, the only pragmatic approach is an ad hoc one. That’s the realpolitik reality.

                • Pascal's bookie

                  Finally. So explain the realpolitik behind why the US does things sometimes, and doesn’t other times, and there you will have an explanation of what sort of country the US is, and what it cares about.

                  • Populuxe1

                    Because it can and does advance liberal democracy and human rights where possible? I’m sure they can continue to be your whipping boy for everything that’s wrong in the world.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Because it can and does advance liberal democracy and human rights where possible?

                      Uh…wow. Just wow. This is just pure fiction now.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      And once again with the strawman attacks.

                      I certainly don’t think that the US is responsible for everything that is wrong in the world, and there is nothing I’ve said that would suggest it.

                      I believe the US tends to act in its own perceived best interests, like all other countries do. That often means supporting the liberal democratic traditions it espouses, and it often means ignoring them. You’d be hard pressed to say that its record in south america or the middle east has been one of supporting liberal democracy and human rights, for example.

                    • bad12

                      You ,mean advance liberal democracy like they are presently doing in Egypt, 3 billion dollars annually says that the US ‘own’ the Egyptian military,

                      i see no democracy and when will they be free…

        • Tracey

          selective morality can be no morality.

          • Populuxe1

            John 18:38

            • Pascal's bookie

              You should read some philosophy. A morality that is applied selectively is by definition subordinate to a higher plane of decision. It’s hard to reconcile that with being moral in any meaningful sense.

              • Populuxe1

                If you knew anything about philosophy you would know the difference between deontology, consequentialism, and virtue ethics – I subscribe to the latter with a hefty helping of ironic pragmatism.

                • Pascal's bookie

                  It doesn’t matter which one you ‘subscribe’ to if you make it subordinate to some other metric for making decisions. And that is what you do when you apply morality (of whichever form) selectively.

                  If you say, well, ‘these are my morals and I apply them wherever the cost isn’t too high based, and where the pragmatic realpolitik suggests it’s a good idea’, you are mistaken about what your morals are. Your actual morals are the ones you use to make that judgement about cost and realpolitik.

                  Stop name dropping shit you don’t understand, and try thinking.

                  • Populuxe1

                    No, you are just applying a set of given values as to what you think morals should be, which you have set in absolute terms. I dissagree and suggest that ethical values have to adapt to the context what is possible if they are to be in any way meaningful. After all, ethical values change over time (Foucault is very good on that). Carry on Mary Poppins.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      But such a system wouldn’t be ‘selective morality’ in the sense you said was better than no morality.

                      If you can’t maintain context through a blog comment thread, then yeah, I doubt you grok Foucault.

                    • Populuxe1

                      If you understood poststructuralism you would know that context continually changes – I’m surprised you missed that in Birth of the Clinic

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      You can always tell those who don’t understand Theory. They use it a solipsist rock to hide from arguments under.

                    • Populuxe1

                      I suppose that would explain your attitude, yes.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      “I know you are but what am I” doesn’t really work in a place where people can scroll up sorry Pop.

    • Colonial Viper 12.2

      In Bosnia it took Sebrenecia to really precipitate action, which was a lot worse a massacre than we have seen in Syria. As a serious question, would that be enough for you? And again it was the West who acted. And does the use of gas make a difference?

      1) How is it that the first 70,000-120,000 dead in Syria (and about 1M displaced) wasn’t enough for the USAUK to act, but a few hundred nerve gassed to death are?

      2) You’d also have to turn a blind eye to both the passive and active help the US government and its NATO/Gulf allies have provided anti Syrian government forces since the start of the conflict, which has helped cause the massive death rate and extended the conflict.

      • Populuxe1 12.2.1

        1) Gee, well for starters in the case of Bosnia it was the British who pretty much convinced the US to stay out until it was almost too late, and in Syria the US really doesn’t want to get into a pissing match with the Russians and Iranians any more than it absolutely has to, despite Putin’s love of provocation. Also the American public is heavily opposed to the US being involved

        2) You are drastically overstating US support for the rebel factions, particularly as the US has no desire to create another Taliban or install the equivalent of the Muslim Brotherhood.

        • Colonial Viper

          “2) You are drastically overstating US support for the rebel factions, particularly as the US has no desire to create another Taliban or install the equivalent of the Muslim Brotherhood.”

          The US doesn’t know what it is doing and doesn’t know what it wants.

          Wahabi extremism was funded by US petrodollars in the 1970’s and 1980’s, and militarily trained by the CIA and SpecOPs in Afghanistan in the 1980’s.

          • Populuxe1

            I would say that it’s less the US doesn’t know what it is doing and doesn’t know what it wants, and more that there are competing interests interfering with a clear objective viewpoint and the byeblows of much Cold War shenanignas. The brilliant East Coast technocracy that directed the Marshall Plan have been outmanouvered by free market capitalists while most of the US was drunk on post-war prosperity.

            • Colonial Viper

              Returning to the point: the US Goverment was fundamental in creating the Taliban, and for creating Wahabi extremism out of Saudi Arabia. Free market capitalists didn’t do that.

              And now it seems that the US Government is, as Kucinich says, determined to become Al Qaeda’s airforce in Syria.

              • Populuxe1

                Historical errors in judgment do not preclude doing the right thing. By your logic Germany is still Nazi and Japan has plans to invade us.

    • Bill 12.3

      Wayne. There was no UN resolution allowing for the invasion of Afghanistan. There was a post invasion resolution pertaining to occupation/reconstruction…that NATO took charge of in a fairly quick, smart fashion.

      As for the US (or anyone else) ‘acting’ – international law is fairly clear. There needs to have been an attack by one nation state on another before a state can invade/bomb or otherwise militarily intervene. (That was the basic ‘problem’ with Afghanistan and why the US et al went to torturous and it has to be said, ludicrous, lengths to equate Al Qaeda with the Taliban government of Afghanistan)

      On this post on Syria, it appears you have utterly missed the thrust of the post – which was neither to condemn nor justify on the basis of discrete or accumulated evidence – but to simply highlight the common denominator (actually two) that is the pre-condition that determines whether action or inaction is to be the order of the day from the perspective of western governments.

    • Muzza 12.4

      Well done Wayne, that’s quite a brick you threw up!

    • Poission 12.5

      And remember it was Britian and france who first stood up to Nazi Germany not Russia (who it in fact also invaded Poland in 1939)

      And Poland invaded Czechoslovakia prior.

    • Pascal's bookie 12.6

      “And I do not think President Putin gets to determine the right course of action for the West.

      Does this cut both ways? You see the problem.

      • Populuxe1 12.6.1

        The west would probably be slightly more inclined to listen than Mr Putin, vis a vis LGBT rights in the US (slowly improving due to international pressure) and Russia (don’t be gat Sparky).

  12. Wayne 13

    The second para should have read “the West should not get involved”

  13. joe90 14


    *Except by:-
    •Shi’ite militias from around the world


    • Colonial Viper 14.1

      That’s pretty stupid, given that the Syrian government had to ask those forces to help it defeat foreign jihadists funded and armed by its enemies in the gulf region.

      • joe90 14.1.1

        Yeah nah CV. I think the account holder is an expat FSA supporter noting that the regime has lots of outside support, the foreign fighters continue to flow into the country and the west stands by watching and tut-tutting while the situation worsens.

      • Bill 14.1.2

        Spain 1930’s. German and Russian state involvement illegitimate. non state international brigades from around the world, based entirely on volunteers and backing the nascent Spanish political/economic reality on the other hand….

        • Colonial Viper

          IIRC A fair amount of up to date German and Soviet (just being finicky) military equipment was supplied into that conflict. Including tanks and fighter planes. Some German and Soviet troops, without uniforms and perhaps as volunteers, participated as well.

  14. “You can jail a Revolutionary but you can’t jail The Revolution”, the Syrian people will not kneel!

    These words were written on a placard by a young Syrian revolutionary in the besieged city of Homs and translates very well the determination of the Syrian people. More than two years after the beginning of the revolution, the Syrian people have actually not ceased to struggle for freedom and dignity despite the continuous and terrible repression of the regime. The Syrian revolution is still on going despite the massacres against the civilians and destructions.


    • Most people here are using Western sources and speculating about rights and wrongs to show the various external powers are manoevring around Syria.

      It’s the Syrian people here who count in this struggle and what they know and want.

      Here’s the BBC World have your say has good discussion worth a listen especially Robin Yassin-Kassab

      • red rattler 15.1.1

        By Salameh Kaileh

        Salameh Kaileh is a Marxist thinker and writer from Palestine. He lived in Syria for more than 30 years. He is active in the Left Syrian Coalition and has written a number of books, including From Hegel to Marx, Subjects in Dialectical Materialism, The Materialist Perspective in History, Imperialism in Crisis, and The Syrian Revolution: Its Current Situation, Processes, and Horizons. Kaileh now lives in Cairo after being arrested and expelled from Syria.

        The Syrian revolution could not be restricted to a single form. Peaceful demonstrations (which remained peaceful for seven months) faced the brutal military reaction of the regime, threatening millions of Syrians when they tried to rally in the streets and occupy squares, as in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain and Libya. The Syrian people insisted on facing this brutality in a heroic, peaceful way.

        The regime increased the brutality of its repression, using the army and many security forces and Shabbiha (thugs). After an enormous increase in the number of martyrs, peacefully demonstrating people were obliged to carry arms to defend themselves, especially after a number of soldiers deserted from the army and affiliated with the revolution.

        In the first period, weapons were used to protect the demonstrations against security forces and Shabbiha, but the growing violence of the regime was alone a sufficient cause for the shift from peaceful to armed struggle. The same rebels who had been demonstrating nonviolently formed fighting battalions to defend themselves from the criminal acts of the regime.

        Then the regime began inflicting total destruction on entire neighborhoods, villages and cities, causing great numbers of people to flee to other cities. This prevented demonstrations in the destroyed cities and neighborhoods as well as in shelter regions where activists became busy in rescue work and in helping refugees. This situation favored the predominance of armed struggle at the expense of peaceful demonstrations, on the one hand, and posed new problems regarding the sources of arms and financial support on the other hand.

        At first rebels used light weapons that had previously been available in the country. Thereafter they acquired weapons from the army itself by attacking its units, or buying them from corrupt officials or from those who were sympathetic to the revolution. Nevertheless, this was not enough to face the military forces of the regime. The army and security forces were obliged to withdraw from many regions by the modest strikes of armed rebels who were relying on broad popular support. As a result, most sections of the army were kept in their barracks (without communication with their families or vacations). The regime relied mainly on its aircraft forces and a wide range of missiles as alternatives. Also, this increased the number of victims and the extent of destruction.

        Since the beginning of the revolution, the regime has depended on select military units to strike the revolution. These were the fourth division of the army, formed by Rifaat Al-Assad, the republican guard, aircraft intelligence, which is mainly composed of Alawites, and Shabbiha that were trained by specialists from Iran and Hezbollah in a manner similar to the Iranian revolutionary guard. These forces were weakened by the determined assaults of the armed revolution.

        Early on, the balance of forces favored the revolution. However, the persistent chaos, the absence of military experience (most defected officials were held in Turkey and Jordan under confinement), prevented the formation of a military strategy capable of overthrowing the regime. The revolutionaries’ strategy focused on the liberation of cities and regions, which made them susceptible to massive destruction by the brutal strikes of Assad’s aircraft and missiles, and not on targeting the particular fighting forces of the regime. Later, Assad was able to get the support of new forces from Iran, Hezbollah and Iraq (sectarian forces linked to Iran), and received new sophisticated weaponry from Russia, to launch counter-attacks against liberated areas such as Al-Qusair, Tal-Kalakh, Homs, Eastern Ghota in Damascus, and many other neighborhoods in Damascus, Deir-El Zour and Aleppo.

        The revolution is now facing a war with Hezbollah and Iran and remnants of the regime forces, all equipped with new, sophisticated Russian weaponry. The regime continues to rely on aircraft strikes and heavy missiles and even chemical weapons. On the other side, there has been no actual arming of the revolutionary troops from abroad. Those who are armed, like Jabhat-Annusra, have mainly imposed their authority on previously liberated areas, and created conflicts that weaken the revolution; in fact these troops represent a counter-revolution.

        Some countries, such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and also the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria, have sought to dominate or “buy” battalions by supporting them with weapons. Fighting battalions recognize now that this limited support was aimed at prolonging the armed struggle rather than carrying the revolution to victory. It remains true that weapons are mainly acquired by attacking the army.

        Now, the intervention of foreign forces—of Iran and Hezbollah and the Russian support of the regime with weaponry—has become obvious. The regime is counterattacking the revolution to change the balance of forces and is defeating the revolution and achieving victory in some regions. The issue of arming the fighting battalions poses itself, and the question is: should we accept foreign arms or not?

        Saudi Arabia and Qatar are preparing to support the revolution. France put pressure on the European Union to change its policy against arming the Syrian rebels, but the EU rejected this. After the regime regained control of Al-Qusair city, the U.S. decided to arm the opposition, and then retreated. Some leaders of the FSA have claimed that they received sophisticated Russian arms via Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

        It should be clear that the old imperialist forces are taking a negative position towards arming the revolution. The weapons that were delivered were meant to prolong the struggle and to cause massive destruction in Syria. Will the situation be different now? I don’t think so. Surely, rebels are in need of anti-craft and anti-tank missiles, in addition to light weapons and ammunition. But it should be obvious that the imperialist perspective is tending towards a political solution. Actually, the imperialist powers have assigned Syria to Russia. The political solution will be the imposition of Russian imperialist dominance on Syria. Consequently, rebels should find other ways to get weapons, and must establish real army forces capable of struggle until victory.

        • red rattler

          I sympathise with the writers sentiments.
          He thinks that Westerners are ‘narcissists’ in relation to Syria.
          I think a better word is ‘orientalist’ even ‘racist’ or perhaps ‘civilising missionaries’.

          • Colonial Viper

            It seems to me like the foreign rebel forces are getting a fair share of arms shipments delivered to them.

            Gulf-based supporters have sent a 400-ton shipment of arms to Syria’s outgunned rebels, one of the biggest to reach them in their two-year-old uprising, opposition sources said on Sunday.

            The consignment – mostly ammunition for shoulder-fired weapons and anti-aircraft machine guns – came into northern Syria via the Turkish province of Hatay in the past 24 hours, and was already being handed out, the sources added.

            One rebel officer told Reuters the flow of arms bound for rebels had increased since opposition groups accused the government of launching deadly chemical weapons attacks in Damascus on Wednesday.

            “Twenty trailers crossed from Turkey and are being distributed to arms depots for several brigades across the north,” said rebel official Mohammad Salam, who told Reuters he saw the weapons come over the border.


            • red rattler

              And yet these weapons are such that Assad can fly his planes and bomb with impunity.
              Some weapons.
              The myth that the revolution is an armed CIA plot with or without al-Qaeda shows up the Western left as largely hypocrites.
              They agree with ‘hands off’ while Russian missiles kill 10s of thousands of ordinary Syrians. Cause that’s like keeping the alQaeda at bay, right?
              They only get outraged when Obama threatens to smack Assads hand for using poison gas on children.
              Of course Obama has no intention of stopping Assad, its much easier to contract out the destruction of a popular revolution to the local dictator and warlords provided they stick to the ‘rules’.
              Here is a good case for ‘Hands off Syria’ written by an angry Syrian.


  15. Wayne 16

    Colonial Viper,

    Probably a 100,000 had died in Bosnia and Croatia by the time Sebrinicia happened. Yes the UN was there, but was ineffectual. It took President Clinton to act decisively after Sebrinicia to deal with the issue. Sure it was not a perfect outcome for todays Bosonia, but it did end the war in Bosnia by leading directly to the Dayton Accords.

    Yes, I do think the use of gas matters. I also think US “redlines” on something as illegal as gas also matters. If they are ignored with impunity, the world will be a worse place (in my view).

    But there are no doubt huge risks. What will be the outcome? The defeat of Assad? Will that lead to a worse situation in Syria. Well, could it be worse than the present. Actually some would say, “yes,” when they look at what is happening in Iraq (but if you are a Kurd things are way better today).

    As for another intervention, I happen to think Lybia today is better than it was under Gadaffi. Sure it is not perfect, but people do have more freedom and there is progress in building a new state.

    I don’t think the experience of Iraq should paralyse people into inaction. Assess each situation on its own merits.

    • Pascal's bookie 16.1

      What’s being talked about are limited ‘discrete’ attacks that will not effect the outcome of the civil war. There have been leaks about what sort of targets are likely to be hit, and Assad is evacuating them.


      It appears to me that this is about maintaining that red line. Not so much because of Syria, but because of fears about future red lines. Maintaining the redibility of US redlines

      My fear is that Assad will respond to the attacks with a conventional reprisal intendede to show the rebels that the west will not be coming to save them. As long as he refrains from CW use, will the west stand by and watch? All signs point to yes as far as I can see.

      If that is correct, then we are essentially sacraficing Syrians to maintain US credibility on future red lines. I’d rather we tried to fix the UN’s credibility and ability to act.

  16. Sinnick 17

    There are no easy options regarding Syria. There is no clear cut moral case for intervention or for standing aside.

    Iraq before the Coalition of the Willing went in was advanced, prosperous and well-run – unless you were a Kurd gassed by Saddam Hussein, or a Marsh Arab faced with displacement and extinction, or a conscript in the Iraqi Army thrown against the Iranians in their millions or a female who happened to catch the eye of one of Saddam’s thugs or just about anyone who raised his or her voice against the regime. Did any of that justify what happened?

    The Assaad regime in Syria maintained its power by thuggery and oppression. Those who seek to overthrow Assad would likely be as bad or worse, as happened in Egypt.

    As anyone who had ever tried to help a dysfunctional family knows, trying to help can sometimes succeed but can also make things worse. So do you try to help or turn your back?

    My own view is that the West did the right thing in Iraq, but did it for the wrong reasons and badly. Ditto Afghanistan and very likely ditto Syria. But for the children and the powerless women in Syria, shouldn’t somebody at least try to do something? Or is it better we do nothing?

    • joe90 18.1

      According to, the December 25 email was sent from Britam’s Business Development Director David Goulding to company founder Philip Doughty

      snort *infowars* snort

      btw, joos too.

      edit: Farange and Paul too *doublesnort*

      • Muzza 18.1.1

        Joe your animal noises not withstanding,nor have I read the link, it’s not necessary for me to do so!

        There has been many commentaries which laid out the war plan for the destruction of the Middle East, the order of the nations which were going to be attacked, with a timeline. So far it’s been on schedule, and all the snorting you got, ain’t changing the fact that the jooos, as you write it, are in the thick of it, on every angle, that’s not something I have any issue in stating!

        Your comments continue to deteriorate, perhaps just stick to the shitty links, minus the commentary, better that way for you, I’d say, as your commentary is awful, IMO!

      • joe90 18.1.2

        I’d have thought a site that manages to roll Alex “blow” Jones’ Infowars, Joos, Farage. and Paul together would be right up your alley.

      • Ugly Truth 18.1.3

        Dismissive snorts don’t make the Britam files go away. There was a huge quantity of other files along with the chemical weapon email. If the files didn’t come from Britam then someone spent a lot of time faking it.

        • Populuxe1

          Oh Pleeuz! Even Reddit thinks the Britram files are bullshit. Do you really think professionals would casually discuss something like that in emails through an unsecured Malaysian server?

          Look at the email header of the infamous email:

          Received: from unknown (HELO Britam00323) ( by 0 with ESMTPA; 24 Dec 2012 15:57:27 -0000

          “by 0” – seriously? That’s where a legit system that added the header would have identified itself. The header is entirely non-standard in format – ie not RFC compliant, and the recieving IP address is missing. It’s either as fake as a three dollar coin or someone ran something on the server – invoked from network – to inject the message into the mail system, and it’s still fake.

          Let’s look at the text of the infamous email:


          We’ve got a new offer. It’s about Syria again. Qataris propose an attractive deal and swear that the idea is approved by Washington. We’ll have to deliver a CW to Homs, a Soviet origin g-shell from Libya similar to those that Assad should have. They want us to deploy our Ukrainian personnel that should speak Russian and make a video record.

          Frankly, I don’t think it’s a good idea but the sums proposed are enormous. Your opinion?”

          It even reads like something written by the worst kind of Hollywood hack. It doesn’t even suggest anything other than the concept might have been discussed (in emails for some reason going through an unsecured server) not enacted, but that’s moot because the header fairly conclusively suggests it’s a big fat fake.

  17. Wayne 19

    Bill, you are not correct on the law of war. States can intervene in other states when there is a masive breach of human rights. It is a matter of degree.

    Sebrenecia is widely seen as meeting the test. Rawanda is generally seen as a case where intevention should have occurred.

    The issue here is whether the the breach is grave enough. But of course it has also become mixed up in the real politic of “redlines”.

    • Colonial Viper 19.1

      The states most likely to militarily intervene on the basis of “human rights” happen to be the same states which have for the last 12-18m either passively or actively supported the continuation and escalation of the Syrian conflict.

      That is, they have passively or actively supported a conflict which has so far led to 70,000 to 120,000 Syrian deaths and 1M displaced Syrians.

      So for these states to now position themselves as concerned international samaritans to the Syrian people…well, it’s pretty rich, put it that way.

    • Bill 19.2

      Y’know, I’m just quoting here Wayne, but….”Humanitarian law requires any action to be proportionate. This means that the action must only be that which is necessary to repel any attack and prevent further attacks from happening, if there is a realistic chance of further attacks. It also requires civilian casualties to be minimised.”

      So what are we talking about here? Economic sanctions and such like?

      Meanwhile, an act of war – ie military intervention as opposed to humanitarian intervention, has to adhere to Article 51 of the UN Charter – and that’s all to do with self defense.

      • Populuxe1 19.2.1

        The US have only spoken about attacking air bases, and that reluctantly. They have taken pains to distance themselves from any talk of regime change or occupation. That sounds entirely proportionate and minimalising of civilian casualties to me. No one has mentioned an act of war and therefore Article 51 doesn’t need to be invoked. You seem to be screaming “war crime” before even a shot has been fired.

        • Pascal's bookie

          Attacking air bases is an act or war. And they’ve talked about more than that.

        • Colonial Viper

          How does attacking air bases reduce the chance of chemical weapons shells being fired by artillery or mortars?

          Oh yeah it doesn’t.

          Why are you a war apologist, P1?

          • Populuxe1

            Air bases, other strategic military sites – there are various plans and you are just being disingenious.
            I am no more a war apologist than you are a deluded aparatchik of the Comintern.

            • Colonial Viper

              How is hitting various “strategic sites” going to prevent the firing of chemical warfare shells by artillery or mortars, Pop1?

              Oh yeah, it’s not.

              • Populuxe1

                Sigh. I suppose they could roll them off the back of a truck. You can’t destroy the chemical weapons themselves because standard ordinance doesn’t get hot enough, so you have to take out the usual methods of deployment, ie anything that can carry a bomb or missile.

                • Colonial Viper

                  That includes almost any artillery piece and heavy mortar.

                  • Populuxe1

                    To tell the truth, that wouldn’t break my heart much. The point is to dissable the ability and to punnish the naughty dictator

    • Bill 19.3

      Oh. look Wayne! Britain’s joint intelligence committee agrees with you!

      If action in the Security Council is blocked, the UK would still be permitted under
      international law to take exceptional measures in order to alleviate the scale of the overwhelming humanitarian catastrophe in Syria by deterring and disrupting the further use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime.Such a legal basis is available, under the doctrine of humanitarian intervention,
      provided three conditions are met:

      (i) there is convincing evidence, generally accepted by the international community as a whole, of extreme humanitarian distress on a large scale, requiring immediate and urgent relief;

      (ii)it must be objectively clear that there is no practicable alternative to the use of force if lives are to be saved; and

      (iii)the proposed use of force must be necessary and proportionate to the aim of relief of humanitarian need and must be strictly limited in time and scope to this aim (i.e. the minimum necessary to achieve that end and for no other purpose).

      So, okay, those three conditions are cumulative and must be all be satisfied.

      So, for a starter, there is no way that a military intervention can alleviate the suffering of already dead people. (And this is assuming Assad popped off those chemical canisters and acknowledging a very high degree of cynicism on my part. But y’know, the country ain’t exactly covered in clouds of gas) So how about convincing evidence that this is generally accepted by the international community as a whole. Hmm, we already know that’s not the case.

      And…it must be objectively clear that there is no practical alternative to the use of force if lives are to be saved – hmm…Nope. No-one is buying into that one either.

      How’s about “finding and selling any reason whatsoever so that we can recklessly pursue our wider agenda”….that being the truth of the matter? Well yeah. Good luck with that…

      edit: link to documentation

      • Populuxe1 19.3.1

        And yet nothing you have said, mainly because it’s all desperate gibberish, actually undermines the British argument.

        • Colonial Viper

          Seems like the British Parliament decided that the British argument was shit. Even Cameron says that now is not the time to attack.

          • Populuxe1

            Hardly surprising. Cameron is hardly a Thatcher (thank god). It does, however, neatly put an end to the myth that Tories like wars at election time. Since when has a Tory govenrment ever listened to the advice of their experts?

    • Pascal's bookie 19.4

      “But of course it has also become mixed up in the real politic of “redlines”.”

      I think it is the other way around. The proposed action bears no relation to Kosovo, or what would have been needed to prevent the Rwanda slaughter. Those issues are being rhetorically mixed with a case that is really about protecting the US’s redline credibility.

  18. Muzza 20

    A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm (commonly known as the “Clean Break” report) is a policy document that was prepared in 1996 by a study group led by Richard Perle for Benjamin Netanyahu, the then Prime Minister of Israel.[1] The report explained a new approach to solving Israel’s security problems in the Middle East with an emphasis on “Western values”. It has since been criticized for advocating an aggressive new policy including the removal of Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq, and the containment of Syria by engaging in proxy warfare and highlighting their possession of “weapons of mass destruction”.

    Nice roadmap!

  19. Muzza 21

    The bulk of evidence proving the Assad regime’s deployment of chemical weapons – which would provide legal grounds essential to justify any western military action – has been provided by Israeli military intelligence, the German magazine Focus has reported.

    Realm security 101, the pre-planned variety !

    • Colonial Viper 21.1

      that’s damn nice work Muzza.

    • Bill 21.2

      Erm…that’s info from an unnamed and ex Mossad ‘official’. Way to go to war!

      • Colonial Viper 21.2.1

        Approved top secret leaks by TPTB are approved for full dissemination. (nod, wink)

        Leaks by Snowden, Manning et al – slammer for a hundred years.

        • Bill

          So you believe these communications are real? Even though there is absolutely no way to verify their authenticity given that some ex-employee is the source…an ex-employee who, somewhat miraculously, gets his/her anonymous hands on red hot intelligence?

          Of course, if you wanted to spread a fiction that backed your pro-war stance, then what better way than a ‘leak’ such as this?

          • Colonial Viper

            The credibility of the leaks is low of course. But the lack of denials from authorities is also notable. You can assume that the leaks, genuine or not, serve the official narrative.

      • Muzza 21.2.2

        Not withstanding, Bill, that when the term “enemies” is used by certain ideologues, “enemies” means everyone else!

        Benny Gantz, the Israeli chief of staff, for example !

        That’s , everyone else!

    • Populuxe1 21.3

      And out come the Antisemites to play… Oh those baby-murdering Israelis etc etc blood libel etc etc Because I do note that SOMEONE released a chemical agent. Perhaps you are going to suggest Mossad did that as well?

      • Muzza 21.3.1

        Mossad the CIA or any of the agencies who have the ability and resources to pull off anything and everything imaginable, for reasons none of us may ever get close to, yes sure, why not!

        Put your nonsensical angst away pop, you silly boy!

        Are you Jewish, or from a Jewish family or similar?

        • Populuxe1

          “Are you Jewish, or from a Jewish family or similar?”

          No, but that seems an oddly specific and Antisemitic question

          • felix

            Asking if you’re jewish is anti-semitic?

            Wow, you’ve got some issues to work through there Pop.

            • Populuxe1

              Well why would it be relevant to anyone other than an Antisemite? The question tacitly implies a series of assumptions about motivation and identity which lead all the way back to The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, by way of Auschwitz.

              • Colonial Viper

                Thanks for an insight into your thinking process. Would you say that Israel is justified in launching additional cross border attacks into Syria?

                • Populuxe1

                  Of course not, not unless they are attacked. I support Israel’s right to exist and defend itself, not its beligerant sabre rattling and provocations of the Muslim world. However, Mossad is a highly competent intelligence agency, you can’t rule out their intel until the UN do.

                  Have you learned nothing from Kevin Campbell’s “John the Jew” fiasco?

    • Tracey 21.4

      it is odd that so much pre-empting of the report by the UN iinspectors is going on…

  20. Muzza 22

    Officials inside the Central Intelligence Agency knew that Saudi Arabia was serious about toppling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad when the Saudi king named Prince Bandar bin Sultan al-Saudto lead the effort.

    Then this…

    Saudi Arabia has secretly offered Russia a sweeping deal to control the global oil market and safeguard Russia’s gas contracts, if the Kremlin backs away from the Assad regime in Syria.

    For mine, the MSM is running huge interference, and the ME situation has become a fight at the highest levels if the so called elite, but not the elite anyone ever sees, those with names associated with so called conspiracy theories!

    Big biffo, at the very highest levels !

  21. The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 23

    How quickly people forget. The West bombed Belgrade because of the oil in Kosovo.

  22. Tracey 24

    It’s not ok to gas citizens but you can shoot them, whether attacking you or not????

  23. bad12 25

    From RadioNZ Nationals news at 10, the British Parliament has voted down the Tory proposal that the British take unilateral action against the Assad regime…

  24. Private Baldrick 26

    boom boom boom boom
    boom boom boom

    waffle waffle waffle waffle
    waffle waffle waffle

    boom boom boom boom
    boom boom boom

    waffle waffle waffle waffle
    waffle waffle waffle

  25. Ah the left with its…

    “Its the usa fault” line.

    If I was the USA, I wouldnt go in.

    Hell let Russia deal with the situation.

    Of course if Russia went in, Russel Norman and Hone Harawira would be on their
    hands and knees in front of putin wiping the corner of their mouths.

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 27.1

      Ah, the blithering idiot with a strawman.

    • bad12 27.2

      i will not indulge in your open attempt to FLAME this post, my opinion is that your ability to do so tho should be withdrawn,

      Just my opinion…

  26. Short memories, Keith Locke supported Russia slaughtering babies in Afghanistan in the 80’s. The left has kinda forgotten that.

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 28.1

      What does he think now?
      Were his views representative of a wider feeling on the left?

      I certainly don’t recall agreeing with the views you (dishonestly) ascribe to him at the time.

      Perhaps your views are just twisted by hatred. Yeah, that seems more likely.

    • Tracey 28.2

      and the right forgot Rumsfeld’s backing of Hussein against those same russians.

  27. Sable 29

    Its simply history repeating itself. Small greedy elites in the West engineering wars that line their pockets through resource grabs as in the case of Iraq and Libya amongst others, strategic regional control, Afghanistan and so it goes.

    Nor is this a new thing. Look at ancient Rome. For example, Julius Caesar’s attack on the Gauls and earlier the Punic wars, all resource grabs. Perhaps the key difference is the Romans were reasonably honest about their imperialism. These days its tarted up and presented by media corporations as necessary wars to “liberate” oppressed peoples. Problem is its such transparent bullshit the message is wearing a bit thin.

    • Populuxe1 29.1

      How are Russia, Iran and the Gulf States, “Small greedy elites in the West “?

      • Sable 29.1.1

        Why Populuxe1 is Russia, Iran and the Gulf States planning to take part in the attack? If I’m not mistaken in this instance its the Western powers calling the shots???

        If on the other hand you are trying to say the West is no alone historically in committing these kind of crimes I think that’s a given.

        • Populuxe1

          The Gulf States are already up to their armpits funding the rebels, and Russia and Iran are backing Assad – is your confirmation bias having trouble keeping up?

  28. So do people here agree that syria did use chemical weapons on children??

    If so, why arent you outrage????

    Why have the Greens made more fuss over chemicals used on Tomatoes in Invercargill than chemicals used on babies?

    Is their hatred that deep?

    Again, BTW, I dont think the USA should have to go in, let another country go in.

    Im pretty sure if its a socialist country, Minto will be clapping and cheering, and Temana will be doing a haka in support.

    • Pascal's bookie 31.1

      People are outraged Brett.

      But outrage isn’t really the best thing to use to make judgements with.

      • Brett Dale 31.1.1


        Except when it comes to the USA, huh.

        Again this guy, has obviously used chemical weapons, and all this does for left wing kiwis, is to bring up hatred for the usa.

        I tell ya, if Russia went in and russel Norman was PM, he would send in troops.

        • Pascal's bookie

          You’re an idiot Brett.

          people are fearful about consequences. Obama is talking about limited strikes that won;t affect Assad’s rule or capabilities to fight the civil war.

          How will he respond? This guy, who uses chemical weapons, is being told that chemical weapons is the line you mustn’t cross. Can you think of things he can do that aren’t ‘chemical wepaons’.

          The proposed military action is designed to to tell him those things are ok, chemical weapons are not.

      • Sable 31.1.2

        Well said Pascal.

    • fender 31.2

      Can’t help but think you have used chemical weapons on your own brain somehow.

      • Brett Dale 31.2.1


        If Russia went in to syria, would Socialist Aotearoa, Minto’s peace group and Temana be protesting about it.

        Now if the USA went in, would they protest?

        Be Honest now to both questions and then ask yourself, how is that not hypocritical?

        • fender

          Jumping to conclusions about who used chemical weapons before conclusive evidence is gathered is a mistake Brett.

          The UN should be listened to, not a war-hungry USA.

          I won’t answer for John Minto, but I know he’s a peace-loving bloke. Minto for Mayor!! Shame I don’t live in Auckland, only born there.

          • Brett Dale


            I just asked for your opinion, everyone here knows the answer, if Russia went in, there
            wouldn’t be one protest from Minto, Temana or the Greens, but if the USA went in, there
            would be.

            • fender

              Your hatred for Minto, The Mana Party and The Green Party is the only obvious thing to be seen here.

              Everyone should condemn the USA if they attack Syria without the backing of the UN Brett.

              • Populuxe1

                Which is a convenient Catch 22 argument because the UN will never support ity because Russia (and quite possibly China) will use the veto.

                • Pascal's bookie

                  Blix suggetsed a way through this, but you said it was just blethering, without ever explaining why,pefering to further to establisment of set of arbitrary subjective norms.

                  • Populuxe1

                    He doesn’t suggest a way, he wants negotiations. As to why this doesn’t usually work, exhibit A: Israel/Palestine. Exhibit B: North Korea. On occasions when it does eventually work out sort of – Sudan for example – the atrocities that took place during the long bureaucratic peregrination rather took the lustre off the achievement.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      He suggests a path to getting negotiations back on track. You seem to think negotiations are not a way out. That it must be moar war. Because ww2. Or something. Is this how you think virtue ethics works is it?

                      Can you not think of examples to where the use of force went wrong? Is this really the level of where you are at. ‘OMG everything is like ww2, or I/P and look Sudan, ergo syria must be like those places because something.’

                      What are the risks of this action. that’;s all that counts, all the historical bits and bobs are next to worthless, because they are not this case.

                    • Populuxe1

                      No, I’m saying that like most people who have been paying attention to the world’s hot spots, negotiations have achieved very little except to provide more time for massacres. They carry on killing because no one tells the to stop.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      This proposed action isn’t about telling them to stop Pop, try and keep up.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      I’m saying that like most people who have been paying attention to the world’s hot spots, negotiations have achieved very little except to provide more time for massacres.

                      Ah yes, the Pop1 school of statecraft: shoot first, ask questions later.

                    • Populuxe1

                      And how many more civilians have to die while you’re asking the questions? You seem remarkably reticent about addressing that simple fact.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      Pop, once again, this action isn’t about saving the lives of civilians. Duty to protect isn’t being invoked. There will not be safe havens established or defended. It is simply not about that.

              • Fender:

                Again your missing the point, people will condemn the usa if they attack syria, those same people wouldnt condemn russia though.

            • Tracey

              The greens have said there must be a UN mandate.

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead

          Are those two groups synonymous with “The Left” in your mind? What sort of person are you, that you would use this atrocity in an attempt to score political points against these individuals?

          If hate can be likened to a strong wind, you are the trash it blows around.

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 31.3

      Even the people with the evidence on the ground say they cannot be 100% sure who ordered the use of chemical weapons, but Brett Dale can tell from behind his computer screen.

      What’s more, he’s an expert on military strategy and diplomacy and knows for sure what should be done, and he’s going to tell us just as soon as his little hate-tantrum has subsided, and he’s decided to stop using dead Syrian kids to score political points like some sort of amoral obscenity.

  29. Knucklehead:

    Again, I dont want no one to go in.

    My point is.

    If the USA went in, Socialist aotearoa, Minto and Temana would protest.

    If Russia went in, they wouldn’t.

    • fender 32.1

      “If Russia went in, they wouldn’t.”

      [citation needed]

      What did John Minto say about your request for clarification? I know you are easily confused Brett, but socialism=/= communism.

      • Brett Dale 32.1.1


        Again fender you know perfectly well, the likes of various left wing protest groups, would protest if the USA goes in, but wouldnt if Russia went in, for them its all about ideology.

        And again, I dont think no one should go in.

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 32.2

      Mr. Dale.

      My point is that your point reeks of hatred and small mindedness and is not only completely irrelevant, but repugnant too, and further, that this revolting behaviour illustrates your low character.

    • Tracey 32.3


    • Populuxe1 34.1

      Which wasn’t what you were saying before – it must be terribly confusing for you when the tories don’t conform to your expectations.

      • Sable 34.1.1

        Actually quite the opposite, I’m heartened by their actions in this case Populuxe1.

        Keep in mind too I said “elites” not necessarily right wing politicians. Obama, by definition is left of centre, but look at his role in this farce.

  30. Tom 36

    [Bunji: Tom – if you could provide some sort of explanation added to your link, eg why someone might like to click it, it’ll look less like spam. Thanks.]

  31. joe90 37

    G-20 next week so I doubt there will be any moves made until after the summit.

  32. remo 39

    English Parliament YAY

    This is alternative media at work !

    • Sable 39.1

      +1 remo.

    • Bill 39.2

      And on the news right now, a rather ‘conveniently’ timed chemical bombing of a school playground. So, either Assad is absolutely desperate for the US to ‘bring it on’ or the US is using its proxies (possibly, though unlikely being used by its proxies) to execute a most disgusting and cynical set of actions to justify military action.

      A dispassionate observer would have to suspect the latter situation to be the case.

      So the UK have just voted against the war. And the US has yet to vote and it was appearing that some senators were in need of a ‘wee push’. That’s just been given. If this bullshit plays as intended and the US votes for military action, expect a new vote in the UK based on this ‘new’ and (no doubt about it!) incontrovertible evidence of the evil of the Assad regime.

      Don’t think I can express the deep seated disgust I’m feeling towards these monstrous bastards at the moment.

    • Bill 39.3

      This is alternative media at work !

      Nice as that thought may be, this has far more to do with the commetariat not adopting the official line. And that is probably much more of a worry to those in authority…much more.

      Off the top of my head, last place that authority lost its grip over information flows was the old USSR. Now sure, this is just one issue that the commetariat isn’t buying the official line on – at least for the moment. And it might be an isolated instance….a blip before everything returns to its properly ordered ways.

  33. Greywarbler 40

    Just on the radio. An incendiary bomb dropped on a school playground – in Syria I suppose but it could be elsewhere. Callousness cruelty hatred in the extreme. On the scales of abominable, how does that balance with USA and other countries drones buzzing over the heads of whole communities and making random attacks on supposedly, targeted foes?
    How long is a piece of string.

    The madness of men without let or hindrance from conscience grows – is it geometrically or tangentially or exponentially? And the justifications flow. And the doubts – are there agents deliberately creating havoc and anger for their own ends? Oil has been said to be behind it. When it comes to skulduggery I first think of David Kelly (weapons expert) – google. A long and detailed report about this microbiologist and weapons expert is an example.

  34. Poission 42

    Wag the dog,scriptwriters seems to have not updated the script ( or a freudian slip)

    In a later appearance on BBC Newsnight, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond seemed to repeatedly forget the country in which he wanted to see military intervention.

    He twice referred to the need to prevent “Saddam Hussein” from using chemical weapons, in a reference to the former Iraqi despot who was executed in 2006.

  35. Tracey 43

    syria is a mess.not going in, going in, it will still be a mess. I have no idea what the answer is, but whichever way it goes people from both sides will continue to sacrifice the innocent they all claim to be protecting/freeing

  36. bad12 45

    Syria??? there is no-one i repeat no-one, Putin, Assad, Cameron, Obama, The Saudi Royal Family, none of them who have not washed their hands in the blood of dead Syrian children,

    Putin happily arms Assad, Cameron Obama and the Saudi Royal Family happily arm and supply money to various ‘insurgent groups’ including those who have far more in common with Osama Bin Laden and Al Quaeda than they do any western ideal and they all to a man, although i am loathe to ascribe manhood to any of those so named, turn a blind eye to the slaughter of those not involved,

    Obama has NO moral high ground from which to preach on illegal weapons until such time as He ensures that those ‘insurgents’ that He and the Saudi’s, not averse to silencing dissent in their own country by violent means, are removed from this conflict,

    Assad is every sort of arsehole as was His father befor Him, the attempts so far made by the West to remove this particular diseased individual from the Earth have simply contributed to making the situation in Syria that much worse, an arse of a situation if you will,

    Materially adding to this by unilateral moves from the Prez to vaporize how many 1000 more with cruise missiles having first ensured the ongoing violence in that country with the ‘insertion’ of those insurgent mercenary forces will simply add Hole to the Arse that the US has so far helped create…

  37. FYI

    30 August 2013

    ‘Open Letter’ to NZ Prime Minister John Key – please confirm that New Zealand will act in accordance with International Law, as spelt out in the ‘Purposes and Principles’ of the UN Charter, regarding conflict in Syria:

    Dear Prime Minister,

    Please be reminded that New Zealand was one of the original signatories to the following UN Charter, signed on 24 September 1945.


    Article 1

    The Purposes of the United Nations are:

    To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace;

    To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace;

    To achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character, and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion; and

    To be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations in the attainment of these common ends.
    Article 2

    The Organization and its Members, in pursuit of the Purposes stated in Article 1, shall act in accordance with the following Principles.

    The Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members.

    All Members, in order to ensure to all of them the rights and benefits resulting from membership, shall fulfill in good faith the obligations assumed by them in accordance with the present Charter.

    All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.

    All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.
    All Members shall give the United Nations every assistance in any action it takes in accordance with the present Charter, and shall refrain from giving assistance to any state against which the United Nations is taking preventive or enforcement action.

    The Organization shall ensure that states which are not Members of the United Nations act in accordance with these Principles so far as may be necessary for the maintenance of international peace and security.

    Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall require the Members to submit such matters to settlement under the present Charter; but this principle shall not prejudice the application of enforcement measures under Chapter Vll.


    Article 51

    Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security.

    Measures taken by Members in the exercise of this right of self-defence shall be immediately reported to the Security Council and shall not in any way affect the authority and responsibility of the Security Council under the present Charter to take at any time such action as it deems necessary in order to maintain or restore international peace and security.

    Please be reminded of the following statement by the NZ Minister of Foreign Affairs, Murray McCully, in the ‘Foreword’ of the UN Handbook 2012:


    “..One of the UN’s greatest strengths is that all states, no matter their size, wealth, or military might, are empowered with an equal voice.

    Every state has a chance to speak, an opportunity to listen and a role to play.

    As a small nation in the Pacific, but one which has always sought to play an active, independent and constructive role in the United Nations, New Zealand understands the importance of that multilateralism and of the UN’s goals and values.

    New Zealand is a firm believer in the United Nations and in doing our share. ….”

    Please note that in British MPs have voted to reject possible military action against the Assad regime to deter the use of chemical weapons:

    “British MPs have voted to reject possible military action against the Assad regime in Syria to deter the use of chemical weapons.

    A government motion was defeated by 285 to 272, a majority of 13 votes.

    Prime Minster David Cameron said it was clear Parliament does not want action and “the government will act accordingly”.
    It effectively rules out British involvement in any US-led strikes against the Assad regime.”

    Please note that at this point in time, conclusive scientific EVIDENCE has yet to confirm the symptoms or cause of death of the ‘3,600 patients displaying neurotoxic symptoms in less than three hours on the morning of Wednesday, August 21, 2013.

    Of those patients, 355 reportedly died.’ (As reported by the International medical humanitarian organisation Doctors Without Borders, on 24 August 2013):

    Brussels/New York, August 24, 2013 — Three hospitals in Syria’s Damascus governorate that are supported by the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) have reported to MSF that they received approximately 3,600 patients displaying neurotoxic symptoms in less than three hours on the morning of Wednesday, August 21, 2013. Of those patients, 355 reportedly died.

    Since 2012, MSF has built a strong and reliable collaboration with medical networks, hospitals and medical points in the Damascus governorate, and has been providing them with drugs, medical equipment and technical support. Due to significant security risks, MSF staff members have not been able to access the facilities.

    “Medical staff working in these facilities provided detailed information to MSF doctors regarding large numbers of patients arriving with symptoms including convulsions, excess saliva, pinpoint pupils, blurred vision and respiratory distress,” said Dr. Bart Janssens, MSF director of operations.

    Patients were treated using MSF-supplied atropine, a drug used to treat neurotoxic symptoms. MSF is now trying to replenish the facilities’ empty stocks and provide additional medical supplies and guidance.

    “MSF can neither scientifically confirm the cause of these symptoms nor establish who is responsible for the attack,” said Dr. Janssens. “However, the reported symptoms of the patients, in addition to the epidemiological pattern of the events—characterized by the massive influx of patients in a short period of time, the origin of the patients, and the contamination of medical and first aid workers—strongly indicate mass exposure to a neurotoxic agent. This would constitute a violation of international humanitarian law, which absolutely prohibits the use of chemical and biological weapons.”

    In addition to 1,600 vials of atropine supplied over recent months, MSF has now dispatched 7,000 additional vials to facilities in the area. Treatment of neurotoxic patients is now being fully integrated into MSF’s medical strategies in all its programs in Syria.

    “MSF hopes that independent investigators will be given immediate access to shed light on what happened,” said Christopher Stokes, MSF general director.

    “This latest attack and subsequent massive medical need come on top of an already catastrophic humanitarian situation, characterised by extreme violence, displacement, and deliberate destruction of medical facilities. In the case of such extreme violations of humanitarian law, humanitarian assistance cannot respond effectively and becomes meaningless itself.”

    – See more at:

    Please be reminded that UN weapons inspectors, tasked with investigating and reporting back on ‘the 21 August chemical attacks that left hundreds of people dead’, have not yet completed their findings:

    “UN weapons inspectors have been ordered to leave Syria early amid mounting anticipation of US-led military strikes.

    As the five permanent members of the security council held a second emergency meeting on Syria in two days on Thursday evening, the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, instructed the 20-strong inspection team in Damascus to leave on Saturday, a day ahead of schedule.

    Ban also announced that the team would report to him immediately on departure, raising the possibility that the UN could issue an interim report on the 21 August chemical attacks that left hundreds of people dead.

    The inspectors had not been due to deliver their findings for a week at least, with the analysis of samples a painstaking task.

    The demand for a rushed early assessment reflects the fraught atmosphere at the UN triggered by US threats to launch punitive air strikes within days.

    In Washington US intelligence officials were on Thursday seeking to persuade congressman of the evidence that the Syrian government was responsible for chemical weapons attacks, as the Obama administration resisted comparisons with the run-up to the Iraq war.”

    Please be reminded that the underpinning reason for the illegal invasion of Iraq, was based upon US Secretary of State, Colin Powell’s following statement to the UN Security Council on 5 February 2003, claiming that Iraq’s possessed weapons of mass destruction, which proved to be an outright lie.

    Remarks to the United Nations Security Council
    Secretary Colin L. PowellNew York CityFebruary 5, 2003

    “…. My second purpose today is to provide you with additional information, to share with you what the United States knows about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, as well as Iraq’s involvement in terrorism, which is also the subject of Resolution 1441 and other earlier resolutions.

    I might add at this point that we are providing all relevant information we can to the inspection teams for them to do their work.

    The material I will present to you comes from a variety of sources. Some are U.S. sources and some are those of other countries. Some are the sources are technical, such as intercepted telephone conversations and photos taken by satellites. Other sources are people who have risked their lives to let the world know what Saddam Hussein is really up to.

    I cannot tell you everything that we know, but what I can share with you, when combined with what all of us have learned over the years, is deeply troubling. What you will see is an accumulation of facts and disturbing patterns of behavior. The facts and Iraqis’ behavior, Iraq’s behavior, demonstrate that Saddam Hussein and his regime have made no effort, no effort, to disarm, as required by the international community.

    Indeed, the facts and Iraq’s behavior show that Saddam Hussein and his regime are concealing their efforts to produce more weapons of mass destruction. ..”

    US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, has finally admitted that the case for invading Iraq “appears” to have been untrue.
    As if the US government didn’t know it at the time!

    Powell was given the job of making the case for overthrowing Iraq’s government to the UN last year. He delivered a presentation to the Security Council, broadcast in the media throughout the world, claiming that Iraq had WMD and had to be disarmed. He showed photographs and maps of weapons facilities. But none of the locations he pointed to were weapons facilities. These sites were all visited by UN weapons inspectors before the war and known to be clean.

    Colin Powell said the US knew Iraq had WMD, and even claimed to know where the weapons were located. Many people took his word for it, particularly in the US. Did you? The official reason for the war on Iraq was a pack of lies. The UN weapons inspectors knew it. Russian intelligence knew it. German intelligence knew it. French intelligence knew it. Even we knew it. Are we supposed to believe that the US and the UK were the last to know? In fact, the truth was freely available for anybody who cared to look.

    Richard Clarke, the US government security advisor during the last four presidencies, and Paul O’Neill, the former Treasury Secretary, have both confirmed that the plan to conquer Iraq was already on the table on 9/11. Bush and his cabinet were ready to use 9/11 as an excuse to take Iraq’s oil even before the bodies were cold.

    There was literally never any evidence whatsoever to support accusations that Iraq had WMD. The reasons for the war on Iraq were not the reasons sold to us:


    BBC News, “Powell admits Iraq evidence mistake”, 3 April 2004.
    [ ]
    US Secretary of State Colin Powell has admitted that evidence he submitted to the United Nations to justify war on Iraq may have been wrong.
    In February last year he told the UN Security Council that Iraq had developed mobile laboratories for making biological weapons.
    On Friday he conceded that information “appears not to be… that solid”.
    The claim failed to persuade the Security Council to back the war, but helped sway US public opinion.
    Mr Powell said he hoped the commission appointed to investigate pre-war intelligence on Iraq would examine whether the intelligence community was justified in backing the claim.
    Doubts have been widely cast on the existence of the mobile labs, not least by the former US chief weapons inspector in Iraq, David Kay, who now says does not know whether Iraq ever had a mobile weapons programme.

    Please be reminded of the total number of Iraqi civilian deaths that have been recorded since the unlawful invasion of Iraq in 2003:

    Documented civilian deaths from violence

    114,392 – 125,352

    Further analysis of the WikiLeaks’ Iraq War Logs
    may add 11,000 civilian deaths.


    Please take all possible steps to ensure that the New Zealand Government opposes and tries to prevent any unilateral military action by any country against Syria, and upholds the above-mentioned International ‘Rule of Law’ (UN Charter Chapter 1, Article 2 (4):

    “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.”

    “War does not determine who is right – only who is left,” Bertrand Russell.

    Yours sincerely,
    Penny Bright
    Jacquelyne Taylor

  38. bad12 47

    By the rivers of Babylon where we sat down, we hear thee well…

    Indeed some have at least appeared to hear, the British Parliament in particular and i would thank those from both sides of the British Parliament for their democratic voice saying NO,

    Will those rivers of Babylon be condemned forever to be fed by the blood of Her children, awash with the tears of their mothers,

    There can be only one logical stance for the West to take in the Syrian conflict and that is to have all foreign militia withdrawn and the flow of arms into that country ceased…

  39. Greywarbler 48

    Obama on Saturday radio news has commented on ‘war weariness’ preventing immediate action to aid the poor Syrians who are being gassed and murdered. Unfortunately it is actually ‘war wariness’ that comes over people when the USA starts wanting to act and saying that act is being done for humanitarian, noble reasons.

    Both those adjectives cannot be accepted uncritically about the USA any more. We don’t all think that what the USA wants is necessarily good action for us to follow.

    • bad12 48.1

      Yes also quoted on the news this morning the US Prez talks of the danger to the ‘World’ of the Assad regime,

      Do we all, Mr President look like fools to you, are we all, despite the billions spent on us in education,simply the collective ‘village idiots’ of a global village,

      Assad, an arse-hole of monumental proportions as was His father befor Him, is hardly a danger to the ‘World’ except in the situation where Mr President you and Russia’s Putin continue to expose yourselves to what looks like a pissing competition where the winner is He who befouls the highest reaches of the urinal,

      Of more danger to the ‘World’ as was shown by Afghanistan in the 1980’s and the events of 9/11 in your own country are the paid militia, the mercenary bands, inserted into the Syrian conflict by your own proxy the rulers of Saudi Arabia who from where i sit are only differentiated from Assad by the latter’s numeracy in the slaughter of their own people,

      You do reap what you sow Mr President, and while at present the mercenary bands which you help arm are only hell bent on the destruction of the State of Syria, take care Mr President that like Osama Bin Laden befor them, reaping what You sow does not have them in turn spilling the blood of American children into the gutters of American streets…

  40. Greywarbler 49

    Cripes TS ought to put in a complaint to whichever institution that populuxe is in. The blog is not a therapeutic device to vent off his odd fantasies. A far more suitable place would be kiwiblog or whaleoil. Home away from home. They would love you there pop or is it your compulsion to be eternally warding off forces threatening to you in TS?

    • Populuxe1 49.1

      Unfortunately they consider me far too left wing and liberal, aside from the fact that I think Failoil is a repellant evil vile man. I’m sorry that freedom of expression upsets you.

  41. Liberal Realist 51

    Could Saudi Arabia have supplied chemical weapons to elements of the Syrian rebels?

  42. Clement Pinto 52

    OBAMA GETS TOLD OFF…..and….SO VERY WELL TOO! Great speech. Take a look.

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