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Thread: Syrian Civil War Developments

  1. #2356
    Official Thread Jacker Senior Contributor gunnut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    well, look at the stranger coming back home! :-)
    Right after my previous post in September, I broke a finger playing hockey. It sucks typing with one hand. Then I spent 3 weeks in Germany. After getting back to hockey, I had sporadic back pains. In fact I had a pinched nerve just 2 weeks ago. It sucked not being able to sit or stand, or cough, or sneeze. In between all this, I was busy shooting guns. I have to test my stock of different ammo to find what works best with different pistols. Some 22 pistols are awfully picky.

    I think my back pain was caused by playing Civilization 4. Sitting in a chair not moving for 6 hours at a time was not good.

    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    given their Russian backing and the fact that the administration beforehand was saying that 'we have to acknowledge the political realities of Syria', they felt emboldened to do a terror attack.

    moreover, opposition has actually been doing better as of recently, a few weeks ago the rebels launched a surprise attack on Damascus.
    But poison gas is a very inefficient and ineffective weapon. It also comes with huge political baggage. The evidence it leaves is easy to verify. It's just not a good choice for Assad. It didn't make any sense for him to use it.

    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    as i understand it, 30 minutes ahead of time. enough to get your people out, not enough time to move stuff around.
    Yes, just enough time to get the people out. We don't want to get the Russians involved any more than what they already are doing. If they bothered to warn the Syrians, get them out too. Equipment can be replaced *wink wink*

    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    a nice side-effect, not the main reason. Kim isn't stupid, he saw what the US did to Saddam. what's 59 cruise missiles compared to that?
    Kim isn't stupid at all. He just needed a reminder that we can hit a target anywhere on the planet within a few hours of notice. We can hit one part of a facility while leaving the other side untouched.
    "Only Nixon can go to China." -- Old Vulcan proverb.

  2. #2357
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    It made perfect sense for Assad to use it gunnut. Had he gotten away with it, every player in Syria would know he has carte blanche. He would be in a far stronger position at the negotiation table. Even in the fights in the coming months he will have a significant psychological advantage at every engagement.

    The only thing that made it seem dumb in retrospect is the 59 cruise missiles.

    If you think: that's too risky. That doesn't make sense.

    Sure, it doesn't to you, but you are not a psychopath. This makes perfect sense to a psychopath.

  3. #2358
    Dirty Kiwi Senior Contributor
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    Outcomes, assuming tensions settle.

    Assad is now firmly in Russia's pocket with no foreseeable outcome where Syria is westernised.

    The various terrorist groupings within Syria (especially the Iran backed ones) are strengthened unless they enter open warfare with Assad's regime.

    Israel's ability to strike targets within Syria is weakened, as is the US's.

    The Europeans will have to abandon any rapprochement with Assad's regime and become bit players again.

    The war party (including the Republican members) in the US is temporarily satiated, but watch this space.

    The Dems face a contradiction (for what that's worth) in continuing the Trump/Russia meme.
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  4. #2359
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    pari,

    Assad is now firmly in Russia's pocket with no foreseeable outcome where Syria is westernised.
    that's been the case for a long time. Assad was in Russia's pocket pretty much since the regular Syrian army disintegrated after a year or two of combat.

    The various terrorist groupings within Syria (especially the Iran backed ones) are strengthened unless they enter open warfare with Assad's regime.
    not really, little-no change here.

    Israel's ability to strike targets within Syria is weakened, as is the US's.
    don't see how the strike changes anything here.

    The Europeans will have to abandon any rapprochement with Assad's regime and become bit players again.
    not sure they were looking for rapprochment. in fact, it was Trump whom was looking for rapprochement, not the Euros.

    The war party (including the Republican members) in the US is temporarily satiated, but watch this space.
    no such thing as the "war party", this is just the DC establishment. the "war party", ie 2003 Republicans, died out in the intervening years. no one is calling for a ground invasion of Syria anymore.

    The Dems face a contradiction (for what that's worth) in continuing the Trump/Russia meme.
    no they won't. one-off bombing doesn't a foreign policy make. (although i DO like that it's one more nail in the coffin of any Trump-Putin bromance. and seeing the outraged tears on Breitbart and Milo-world is always fun to watch.)

    now if the administration suddenly brings up something like selling arms to Ukraine, then yeah, that'd make everyone (excepting the two groups I just mentioned) rather more comfortable.
    Last edited by astralis; 08 Apr 17, at 03:21.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

  5. #2360
    A Self Important Senior Contributor troung's Avatar
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    The rebel alliance is essentially AQ, AQ-lite, and AQ's kissing cousins.

    http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politi...ump-syria-left

    “Democrats are acting like a bunch of cowards”: Trump’s Syria strike opens a rift on the left

    Updated by Jeff Stein Apr 7, 2017, 5:40pm EDT


    Progressive activists say they’re dismayed that senior congressional Democrats aren’t more strongly condemning President Donald Trump’s strikes against Syria on Thursday night.

    Some Democrats in Congress dinged Trump on the process — not seeking congressional approval — but largely supported the action itself. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called punishing Syria’s Bashar al-Assad “the right thing to do,” and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) labeled the strikes a “proportional response.” Pelosi has also called for the House to end its recess and reconvene to discuss the attacks.

    But left-wing organizers want Schumer and Pelosi pushing back more strongly. “Democrats are acting like a bunch of cowards,” said Murshed Zaheed, political director at CREDO Action, a left-wing grassroots advocacy organization. “We are calling on all congressional leaders to call for emergency deliberations on Trump’s illegal escalation in Syria. Anything short of that will show that Democrats are completely out of touch with the base of their party.”

    Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), a progressive first-term member who represents Silicon Valley, broke with Democratic leadership. “Let's be blunt: The problem with process arguments is it's not the substantive question,” he said. “The question is: Where do you stand on issues of war and peace? Do you believe it's more unilateral military intervention? Did we learn the lessons of Iraq and Libya and that we should not be engaged? I wish the Democratic Party would speak to the substance of that issue.”




    The progressive left has been skeptical of military intervention, vocally opposing Hillary Clinton’s hawkish views, and now say they’re preparing for a new fight over Syria with the left’s closest allies on Capitol Hill.




    Trump launched a military strike against a Syrian government airbase Thursday night in response to a gas attack by the regime last week. With the exception of Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), Republicans in Congress overwhelmingly praised the decision.

    “[Democrats] haven’t done nearly enough — they need to explicitly call out that this was a reckless military action that does not make us more safe, and that you can’t launch strikes without a clear plan. We have not heard that from Democratic leadership,” said Neil Sroka, communications director for the left-wing organizing platform Democracy for America.




    Added Ben Wikler, Washington director of MoveOn.org: “We appreciate the call to stay in session, but we haven’t heard from Democratic leadership a sharp response or criticism of the unilateral use of warmaking power from the president of the United States. We need their voices now.”

    Progressive groups are mobilizing against Democrats over Syria


    Reps. Walter Jones And Barbara Lee Voice Voice Opposition To Escalating U.S. Involvement In Syrian Civil War
    Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

    Some Democrats further to the left on the political spectrum have reacted more critically to the attacks than the party’s senior congressional leadership. In a statement, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) and the House Progressive Caucus said the assault “could pull the United States into a regional war and escalate this unprecedented humanitarian crisis.”

    Meanwhile, Sens. Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) put out statements cautioning against further escalation and criticizing Trump for not seeking prior congressional authorization. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), a possible 2020 presidential contender, called the strikes cause for “grave concern.” The vast majority of Senate Democrats have rallied behind the demand that Trump should brief Congress and seek a renewal of the Authorization for Use of Military Force before expanding military action.

    But at least four House Democrats — Reps. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Khanna, and Ted Lieu (D-CA) — have fiercely denounced Trump’s attacks as being of questionable legality and dubious planning.

    Added Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) in an interview: “Saying that it’s a proportional response ignores the fact that any kind of a response that involves military use should have come to congress for us to talk through. You’re ignoring the ramifications of what happens after this response.”

    “Some Democrats have come out of the gate swinging, and that’s great,” said Wikler. Still, he argued that both the party’s most powerful members and the bulk of its caucus were not sufficiently stressing the dangers of the action Trump has already taken.

    In a floor speech on Friday, Schumer demanded that Trump “come up with a coherent strategy and consult with Congress before implementing it.”

    Wikler said that’s not good enough. “As a party, they’re not channeling the concern that Trump could be a Tomahawk missile in a China shop,” Wikler said.

    Given that Trump is the commander in chief and that many Democrats did not protest Barack Obama’s foreign interventions without congressional approval, this may be a hard case for Democrats to make. But Wikler said this is exactly what its progressive base wants — for Democrats to harp on what they see as Trump’s impulsive and brash decision to attack Syria after growing personally upset over photographs he saw of the atrocities.

    “The primary concern right now is that too many Democrats in Congress are not strongly enough insisting Congress hold Donald Trump accountable and make sure he doesn’t start World War III accidentally,” Sroka said. “If you’re not aggressively calling out the lack of strategic planning here, you’re giving credence to a president who can’t even call an ally without screwing it up.”

    “There’s a chance here for new leadership to form”

    On Friday afternoon, MoveOn will hold an emergency meeting to solicit feedback from its members and discuss how to respond to congressional Democrats who have embraced Trump’s strikes.

    Some groups are moving faster. Justice Democrats, a new progressive organization founded in the wake of Trump’s election, says it will look to run primary challenges against congressional Democrats who do not speak out strongly against Trump’s Syrian attacks.

    “We’re going to be looking for incumbents to challenge those who don’t take proper stances here,” said Corbyn Trent, a spokesperson for the group.

    Of course, the duration of the campaign will help determine if it becomes a dividing line within the Democratic Party. But it wouldn’t be the first time a Democrat rose to prominence on the basis of breaking with his party on matters of war and peace. Obama, of course, most famously emerged after declaring his opposition to the Iraq War in Chicago in 2002.

    Trent says the opportunity may be emerging for Democrats willing to speak to the country’s antiwar base, which he said was far wider than Senate Democrats realize.

    “There’s a chance here for new leadership to form, for it to shift,” Trent said. “There may be a new breed of leaders willing to take stands on Syria, and that could shift the power of the party in the upcoming elections.”
    To sit down with these men and deal with them as the representatives of an enlightened and civilized people is to deride ones own dignity and to invite the disaster of their treachery - General Matthew Ridgway

  6. #2361
    Senior Contributor SteveDaPirate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kato View Post
    More accurately, using the S-400 from their position would be a really nice present for the German SIGINT ships coincidentally sailing the area...
    It might have been worth having one destroyer fire over the top of Tartus to see if any S-400 operators would take the bait.

  7. #2362
    Senior Contributor DonBelt's Avatar
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    Maybe we could expend a drone to bait them. Something small, like a ScanEagle.

  8. #2363
    Senior Contributor SteveDaPirate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doktor View Post
    Someone, somewhere mentioned that shooting down the missiles would've been an act of war. Anyone?
    As Kato mentioned, NATO would probably love it if Russia took a few potshots at some Tomahawks if it gave them a look at the S-400's operational performance. The USN has plenty of cruise missiles in the Mediterranean and would probably be happy to trade them on a one for one basis with expensive 1800 kg interceptors from S-400 batteries.

    For that matter, the 6th fleet almost certainly has the magazine depth to run the Russian interceptors dry and keep on firing. So Russian intervention would only provide token resistance, without actually preventing the attack even if they managed a 100% hit rate.

    There might be some propaganda value for the Russians in shooting down US cruise missiles, but I doubt the US would care to go to war over it.

  9. #2364
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveDaPirate View Post
    As Kato mentioned, NATO would probably love it if Russia took a few potshots at some Tomahawks if it gave them a look at the S-400's operational performance. The USN has plenty of cruise missiles in the Mediterranean and would probably be happy to trade them on a one for one basis with expensive 1800 kg interceptors from S-400 batteries.

    For that matter, the 6th fleet almost certainly has the magazine depth to run the Russian interceptors dry and keep on firing. So Russian intervention would only provide token resistance, without actually preventing the attack even if they managed a 100% hit rate.

    There might be some propaganda value for the Russians in shooting down US cruise missiles, but I doubt the US would care to go to war over it.
    So your telling me that the Muscovites, having been warned in advance of this missile strike, let the missiles fly over them, or at least their range? And it doesn't sound like a farce or a deal? Not one runway was hit I am informed. Not one bunker. Trumps most expensive (so far) piece of theatre; he is after all basically a media 'personality' geared to media manipulation. Maybe Paris Hilton would have been wiser.

  10. #2365
    Senior Contributor SteveDaPirate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by snapper View Post
    So your telling me that the Muscovites, having been warned in advance of this missile strike, let the missiles fly over them, or at least their range? And it doesn't sound like a farce or a deal? Not one runway was hit I am informed. Not one bunker. Trumps most expensive (so far) piece of theatre; he is after all basically a media 'personality' geared to media manipulation. Maybe Paris Hilton would have been wiser.
    I don't know what path the missiles actually took, but I suspect they were fired over Lebanon to avoid agitating the Russians any more than necessary. The warning appears to have been given with enough time to evacuate personnel but not equipment.

    It doesn't seem as if disabling the airport itself was an objective since the USN didn't bother to crater the runways. These appear to be the targets that were hit.

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  11. #2366
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    Quote Originally Posted by snapper View Post
    So your telling me that the Muscovites, having been warned in advance of this missile strike, let the missiles fly over them, or at least their range? And it doesn't sound like a farce or a deal? Not one runway was hit I am informed. Not one bunker. Trumps most expensive (so far) piece of theatre; he is after all basically a media 'personality' geared to media manipulation. Maybe Paris Hilton would have been wiser.

    A: The Russians can't afford that many S400 rounds. They are there for protection of the Russian air base. Why would they waste those defending Assad?
    B: Why would we shoot million dollar Tomahawks at $10,000 concrete?
    C: Have you seen the BDA of the air base? Some reports say we've taken out over 20 Syrian jets. Seems a tad better than 20 holes in the dirt.
    D: Tomahawks can't actually crater runways because the warheads are not big enough, at least that's what William McRaven said on Fox. But what does he know? He's just a SEAL guy right?

  12. #2367
    Senior Contributor SteveDaPirate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by citanon View Post
    D: Tomahawks can't actually crater runways because the warheads are not big enough, at least that's what William McRaven said on Fox. But what does he know? He's just a SEAL guy right?
    Warhead size isn't the issue, as 1000 lbs is more than sufficient. It's just that Tomahawks with big unitary warheads are designed to maximise blast damage to soft targets, not destroy runways.

    Runway cratering submunitions can be as small as 57 lbs but usually use a special 2 stage warhead. The first stage punches a small hole in the concrete and lets the 2nd stage burrow underneath before cratering the runway from below. Mixed with mines sprinkled on the surface it's a real bitch to try to repair the damage.

    The TLAM-D is made to dispense submunitions and could probably be adapted for runway cratering if that's the desired effect.
    Last edited by SteveDaPirate; 08 Apr 17, at 06:31.

  13. #2368
    Dirty Kiwi Senior Contributor
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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    pari,



    that's been the case for a long time. Assad was in Russia's pocket pretty much since the regular Syrian army disintegrated after a year or two of combat.
    We're now guaranteed there's no opportunity for that to change
    don't see how the strike changes anything here.
    Have you not read Russia's response that they will be substantively improving Syria's air defence? IIRC, outside the hack the Israelis recently achieved, their top systems are more than capable of taking on anything you can shoot or fly at them.

    not sure they were looking for rapprochment. in fact, it was Trump whom was looking for rapprochement, not the Euros.
    I am.

    no such thing as the "war party", this is just the DC establishment. the "war party", ie 2003 Republicans, died out in the intervening years. no one is calling for a ground invasion of Syria anymore.
    You, as in America, has been in nearly constant war since 1945. This escalated post 9/11 massively. As a country you now assassinate on average between one and three foreign citizens a day, depending on whose numbers you believe. You regularly bomb Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, and Libya. As for your special forces well, http://www.commondreams.org/views/20.../year-commando
    The DC Establishment IS the war party.
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  14. #2369
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    Reuters is reporting that fighters are operating from Shayrat airfield again, including further attacks on Khan Sheikhoun.
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  15. #2370
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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    no they won't. one-off bombing doesn't a foreign policy make. (although i DO like that it's one more nail in the coffin of any Trump-Putin bromance. and seeing the outraged tears on Breitbart and Milo-world is always fun to watch.)

    now if the administration suddenly brings up something like selling arms to Ukraine, then yeah, that'd make everyone (excepting the two groups I just mentioned) rather more comfortable.
    Heh, and as if by magic

    On Friday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “The Last Word,” anchor Lawrence O’Donnell stated that “if Vladimir Putin masterminded the last week in Syria, he has gotten everything he could have asked for.” O’Donnell then floated a theory that Putin told Syria’s Bashar al-Assad to launch a small chemical attack that was big enough to attract media attention and prompt President Trump into launching a missile strike, which would then change the subject from Russian influence.
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