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Thread: Syrian Civil War Developments

  1. #2731
    Senior Contributor Versus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by citanon View Post
    Actually these days and even back in gwii it's never really about oil for the US.

    It's not that we aren't greedy. Our motivations are just different.

    1: we are such a big and diversified economy that oil is not nearly as important to us as as it is to countries like Russia.

    2: with the shale revolution we are now swimming in the stuff. Higher and lower oil prices benefit different sectors of our economy differently. There's no clear overall push for high or low.

    3. Our policy makers do not directly profit from oil the same way the Russians and the Saudis do. There's less greed incentive there.

    Now, we would like to crimp Russian exports, but that's more about constraining Russia and Iran than lining our own pockets.
    Its not about greed, its about power and control and denying opponents resources to gain power and control over you. Just for kicks, my internet service provider is owned by David Howell Petraeus.
    Last edited by Versus; 14 Apr 18, at 08:58.

  2. #2732
    Former Staff Senior Contributor Ironduke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by citanon View Post
    Actually these days and even back in gwii it's never really about oil for the US.

    It's not that we aren't greedy. Our motivations are just different.

    1: we are such a big and diversified economy that oil is not nearly as important to us as as it is to countries like Russia.

    2: with the shale revolution we are now swimming in the stuff. Higher and lower oil prices benefit different sectors of our economy differently. There's no clear overall push for high or low.

    3. Our policy makers do not directly profit from oil the same way the Russians and the Saudis do. There's less greed incentive there.

    Now, we would like to crimp Russian exports, but that's more about constraining Russia and Iran than lining our own pockets.
    It almost sounds like you're describing The Culture from Iain M. Banks' Culture series novels. I'm not sure why, but that's what leapt to my mind when I read your post.
    What I don't want to see is the Bills winning a Super Bowl. As long as I'm alive that doesn't happen.

  3. #2733
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ironduke View Post
    It almost sounds like you're describing The Culture from Iain M. Banks' Culture series novels. I'm not sure why, but that's what leapt to my mind when I read your post.
    Hmm, I've been looking for a good scifi series lately. Would you recommend it?

  4. #2734
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    A window into the discussions going on within the administration:

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-s...ion-1523651589

    Trump Seeks Large Strike in Syria; Mattis Urges Caution
    President and defense secretary differ on response to suspected Syrian chemical attack

    By Peter Nicholas,
    Gordon Lubold and
    Dion Nissenbaum
    Updated April 13, 2018 6:11 p.m. ET


    WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump is prodding his military advisers to agree to a more sweeping retaliatory strike in Syria than they consider prudent and is unhappy with the options they have presented to him, White House and other administration officials said.

    In meetings with Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, Mr. Trump has been pushing for an attack that not only would punish the Syrian regime but also exact a price from two of its international patrons, Russia and Iran, a White House official said.

    “He wants Mattis to push the limits a little bit more,” the official said.

    Mr. Mattis and other military advisers have resisted, worried that the administration lacks a broader strategy in Syria and that military strikes could trigger a dangerous clash with Russia and Iran, U.S. officials said.

    Over the past two days, the Pentagon has had two opportunities to launch attacks against Syria in reprisal for a suspected chemical weapons attack, but Mr. Mattis halted them, according to U.S. and defense officials.

    As a contingency, the military had identified potential windows for strikes, including one Thursday night, the U.S. and defense officials said. Mr. Mattis canceled them out of concerns that anything other than a “show strike” risked broader escalation with the Russians in particular, these defense officials said.

    As a complex battleground filled with competing militias and foreign forces, Syria poses the toughest test yet of Mr. Trump as commander-in-chief. One year ago, he ordered a missile strike against an airfield in Syria in response to a chemical attack—a one-off event carried out by the U.S. alone.

    This time, Mr. Trump is assembling an international coalition that presumably would take part in a military operation, a scenario that officials and experts have said requires careful choreography. He also faces a Pentagon leadership skeptical of the more muscular response he has advocated, according to White House and other administration officials.

    Aides said Mr. Trump is tightly focused on the Syria problem and has been quizzing staff about the best response—even members of the legal team defending him in the Russia investigation. Mr. Trump has asked for briefing materials and was moved by images of children with foam bubbling from their mouths, symptoms of chemical weapons poisoning, aides said.

    Still, the president has found time to tweet about a drama dominating the headlines: Former FBI Director James Comey’s new book. He labeled Mr. Comey an “untruthful slime ball” in a morning tweet.

    At the president’s side as he weighs military action is John Bolton, a new national security adviser in his first week on the job.

    Mr. Bolton favors a “ruinous” attack that would cripple some part of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government and national infrastructure, according to a person familiar with his thinking. Mr. Bolton doesn’t want a reprise of the 2017 attack hitting an airfield that would be up and running in short order, this person said.

    Mr. Trump’s national-security team was expected to meet again Friday afternoon to discuss the various approaches.

    The debate over what to do in Syria marks the first time Mr. Mattis is making his case without support from former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who had aligned himself with the Pentagon chief on virtually every major security issue that came before the president.

    This time, Mr. Mattis appears to be a lone voice of dissent in security meetings, U.S. officials said. Mr. Bolton, Acting Secretary of State John Sullivan, and U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley all have expressed support for military strikes, U.S. officials said.

    Mr. Trump’s eagerness to move quickly was evident at a cabinet meeting Monday when he said he expected the U.S. to make a decision that day on whether to hit Syria. Last year, the U.S. struck three days after a suspected Syrian chemical weapons attack; Friday marked the sixth day since the most recent incident, in Douma, Syria.

    But the push for a quick strike was complicated by the challenges in confirming that Syria had used deadly gas in the attack and rallying support from key allies.

    “They want to make sure that Assad did it,” said former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a Trump ally who talks frequently to the White House.

    After last year’s strike, victims of the attack were transported to Turkey, where doctors were able to examine patients and conduct tests that showed the presence of a deadly nerve gas, sarin.

    This time, the neighborhood hit by the gas attack is surrounded by Syrian regime forces, making it difficult for victims to get out or for independent inspectors to get in.

    Russia said it conducted a quick investigation and determined that no gas was used. That raised suspicions that Russia and Syria had covered up any evidence, making it harder for independent investigators expected to arrive in Damascus to determine what really happened.

    One U.S. official said the U.S. believed the Assad regime used barrel bombs to deliver the chemical attack on Douma, basing the assessment on U.S.-collected intelligence.

    “We can say that the Syrian government was behind this attack,” said Heather Nauert, the State Department spokeswoman, referring to U.S. intelligence about the use of chemical weapons in Syria earlier this month. She said the U.S. government had “a very high level of confidence” in this assessment.

    The debate within the administration was complicated by efforts to forge an international coalition. French President Emmanuel Macron was eager to take quick action after warning for months that he would strike Syria if Mr. Assad used chemical weapons, while British Prime Minister Theresa May has taken a more cautious approach.

    Mr. Trump held several calls with Mr. Macron and Ms. May, met with the emir of Qatar, and discussed Syria with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

    The push for a quick response was also slowed by the need to move ships armed with cruise missiles into position near the Syrian coast. It took some time for the U.S., France and the U.K. to get ships into the eastern Mediterranean, where the U.S. Navy launched the Tomahawk missiles used in last year’s attack.

    As the U.S. worked with its allies to craft a military response, Syria, Russia and Iran moved to protect their forces. Syria moved planes to Russian bases with better air defenses, U.S. officials said, making it harder to target them without hitting Russians.

    On Wednesday, Mr. Trump again made clear his eagerness to strike on Twitter, warning Russia and Syria about an impending attack.

    “Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and ‘smart!’” he wrote. “You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!”

    Mr. Trump derided his predecessor, former President Barack Obama, for issuing similar warnings to Syria in 2013. Mr. Trump’s public threat created unease among some U.S. officials as they watched Syria try to move its planes out of harm’s way.

    On Thursday, as Mr. Macron said France had proof that Mr. Assad used chemical weapons in the attack, Mr. Trump sought to walk back his warning.

    “Never said when an attack on Syria would take place,” he said in a tweet. “Could be very soon or not so soon at all!”

    Russian officials have scaled back their rhetoric over a potential U.S. missile strike on Syria since Mr. Trump warned of the possibility of such an attack, limiting their comments to criticizing Washington of aggression.

    None of the country’s top leadership, however, has contradicted Russian Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov’s threat last month to shoot down any missiles that could endanger Russian troops in Syria as well as to return fire.

    Officials close to the Russian Defense Ministry have declined to say whether Russia would allow a strike to happen as long as it didn’t endanger Russian soldiers.

    The United Nations Security Council held its fourth meeting this week on Syria, with Ambassador Nikki Haley telling diplomats: “Our president has not yet made a decision about possible action in Syria. But should the United States and our allies decide to act in Syria, it will be in defense of a principle on which we all agree.”

    —Nancy A. Youssef and Michael C. Bender in Washington, Thomas Grove in Moscow and Farnaz Fassihi at the United Nations contributed to this article.

    Write to Peter Nicholas at peter.nicholas@wsj.com, Gordon Lubold at Gordon.Lubold@wsj.com and Dion Nissenbaum at dion.nissenbaum@wsj.com

  5. #2735
    Former Staff Senior Contributor Ironduke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by citanon View Post
    Hmm, I've been looking for a good scifi series lately. Would you recommend it?
    Most definitely. The Culture, in the books, is a post-scarcity civilization full of all kinds of people of all types/persuasions, as well as other intelligences, a society that kind of has borders, but at the same time really doesn't, is amorphous and everywhere, is easy but also hard to define, with ambiguous and contradictory motivations regarding war and foreign policy.

    That's why it came to mind when I read your post. Just so I'm not leaving you thinking it's something out of left field.

    I'd also recommend watching The Expanse. The most groundbreaking, epic sci-fi series in a long time. I'm eventually going to read the books the series is based on.
    Last edited by Ironduke; 14 Apr 18, at 03:23.
    What I don't want to see is the Bills winning a Super Bowl. As long as I'm alive that doesn't happen.

  6. #2736
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ironduke View Post
    Most definitely. The Culture is a post-scarcity civilization full of all kinds of people of all types, as well as other intelligences, a society that has borders but doesn't, kind of amorphous and everywhere, hard to define, with ambiguous and contradictory motivations regarding war and foreign policy.

    That's why it came to mind when I read your post. Just so I'm not leaving you thinking it's something out of left field.

    I'd also recommend watching The Expanse. The most groundbreaking, epic sci-fi series in a long time. I'm eventually going to read the books the series is based on.
    I've been reading through the expanse series. It's a good one.

  7. #2737
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    It's on. Sounds like Trump decided to go the easy low risk route with a limited strike.

  8. #2738
    Defense ProfessionalSenior Contributor tbm3fan's Avatar
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    Sure hope no one loses a plane over Damascus.

    At the same time I'm pretty sure Kim Jong-un is thinking I will never ever give up my weapons.

  9. #2739
    Former Staff Senior Contributor Ironduke's Avatar
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    https://www.cnn.com/2018/04/13/polit...ria/index.html

    Trump: US, France and UK launch strikes on Syria

    President Donald Trump announced on Friday he ordered strikes on the Syrian regime in response to a chemical weapons attack last weekend.

    Trump said the strikes were in coordination with France and the United Kingdom, adding that the purpose of the campaign is to "establish a strong deterrent against the production, spread and use of chemical weapons."

    "The combined American, British and French response to these atrocities will integrate all instruments of our national power: military, economic and diplomatic," Trump said.

    UK Prime Minister Theresa May said in a statement that she "authorized British armed forces to conduct co-ordinated and targeted strikes to degrade the Syrian Regime's chemical weapons capability and deter their use."

    Trump indicated the strikes would continue until the Syrian regime's use of chemical weapons ends.

    "We are prepared to sustain this response until the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents," Trump said.

    Two US officials said attacks could continue beyond tonight, with a senior administration official saying "this isn't over."

    The senior administration official said, "What you've seen tonight is not the end of the US response. They have built a lot of flexibility into the plan to allow for further strikes based on what they've hit tonight."

    A US official says a big concern is how much more sophisticated Russia's capabilities are now compared to last year. The source says they are 'significantly enhanced' in terms of anti-strike and anti-aircraft capabilities.

    Part of the calculation this week has also been gaming out how Russia will respond. "We are watching what Russians do in the next 24 hours," the official said, adding that there will be intelligence collection to see what Russians are up to in the wake of the strikes, such as turning on their systems or talking about retaliating.

    The President also insisted that the US would not remain engaged in Syria forever under any circumstances. He has previously told his national security team he wants US troops to exit Syria within six months.

    "America does not seek an indefinite presence in Syria," Trump said from the White House. "As other nations step up their contributions we look forward to the day we can bring our warriors home."

    Trump told the nation in his address the US "cannot purge the world of evil or act everywhere there is tyranny."

    And he described the Middle East as a "troubled place."

    "We will try to make it better but it is a troubled place," Trump said. "The US will be a partner and a friend. But the fate of the region lies in the hands of its own people."
    He criticized Russia's support of the Syrian regime saying "Russia must decide if it will continue down this dark path."

    Trump also called out Russia's promise in 2013 that they would guarantee the elimination of Syria's chemical weapons.

    "I ordered the United States armed forces to launch precision strikes on targets associated with the chemical weapon capabilities of Syrian dictator of Bashar al-Assad," Trump said from the White House Diplomatic Reception Room.

    Witnesses told CNN that they heard explosions in the capital city of Damascus and that they began while Trump was making his address.

    US aircraft including B-1 bombers and ships were used in the attack, according to multiple US defense officials.

    Trump said that he decided to take action because last weekend's action by Bashar Al-Assad "was a significant attack against his own people," and "not the actions of a man, they are crimes of a monster instead."
    Last edited by Ironduke; 14 Apr 18, at 05:00.
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  10. #2740
    Senior Contributor chakos's Avatar
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    Maybe someone can explain something to me here. Seeing the images of this alleged attack it doesn’t look anything like a chemical weapons attack. It actually looks to me that the US is looking for an excuse to smack down Assad and humiliate the Russians. My question is this... so what if Assad wins and Russia gains an alliance with a newly resurgent secure Shi’a crescent.

    What does America lose in real terms? How does this effect US foreign policy and economy if the Middle East ends up dominated by a Russian/Shi’a alliance backed by Chinese money?
    The best part of repentance is the sin

  11. #2741
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    Quote Originally Posted by chakos View Post
    Maybe someone can explain something to me here. Seeing the images of this alleged attack it doesn’t look anything like a chemical weapons attack.
    It's a chlorine gas attack. Imagine your head in a plastic bag over a gallon of bleach. Now imagine 100 times worst.

  12. #2742
    Former Staff Senior Contributor Ironduke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chakos View Post
    Maybe someone can explain something to me here. Seeing the images of this alleged attack it doesn’t look anything like a chemical weapons attack.
    Which pictures are you looking at, and what are you using as a base for comparison?
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  13. #2743
    Senior Contributor Versus's Avatar
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    So, it begins...

  14. #2744
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    Quote Originally Posted by Versus View Post
    So, it begins...
    Well, I got my lawn chair, and there will be free cigarettes and booze at the liquor store a couple blocks down the street if worst comes to worst. I'm only a 10 or 15 minute walk from that nice northward facing view.

    The last thing one would ever see: https://i.imgur.com/cb3aHFx.jpg

    Trump might have given Syrian and Russian forces too much time to prepare for a strike, experts say

    President Donald Trump might have given Syrian and Russian forces too much time to prepare for potential air strikes, defense experts say.

    The world is bracing for the U.S. response to the Syrian government's alleged chemical attack last weekend on a rebel-held town. Since the attack, Trump tweeted about potential missile strikes multiple times.

    "If Russia and Syria were smart, as soon as President Trump indicated early this week that an attack was possible, [Syrian President Bashar] Assad would have begun moving any and all military assets close to or on Moscow's military bases in-country," Harry Kazianis, director of defense studies at the Center for the National Interest, told CNBC. "This would include aircraft, helicopters, artillery and even ammunition or high-value weapons—anything you might think the U.S. and its allies might consider a target."

    A source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told CNBC on Thursday that the U.S. was considering striking eight potential targets in Syria. Those targets include two Syrian airfields, a research center and a chemical weapons facility.

    The source also noted that Syria's military has repositioned a significant amount of air assets to Russian-controlled airfields in hopes that Washington would be reluctant to strike there.

    Meanwhile, Trump is seeking a large-scale attack in Syria that would also punish Iran and Russia, but Defense Secretary James Mattis has been pushing back, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday, citing administration officials.
    More here: https://www.cnbc.com/2018/04/13/trum...k-experts.html
    What I don't want to see is the Bills winning a Super Bowl. As long as I'm alive that doesn't happen.

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    Russia's defence ministry says preliminary information suggests that there were no civilian or military casualties in the air strikes.

    It says 71 of a total of 103 cruise missiles were intercepted by Syrian air defences. All the cruise missiles fired at four airfields were shot down while more than half of the missiles shot at two further airfields were also shot down.


    from the BBC.

    Russian weapons are the shit, aren't they?/sarc
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