Syrian Chemical Weapons and Western Retaliation?

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Re: Syrian Chemical Weapons and Western Retaliation?

Postby gisambards » Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:46 am

An article from The Atlantic that raises a possible motive for Assad:
https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2018/04/syria-chemical-weapons-assad-trump/557483/
There was a reasonable expectation on Assad's part that, while there might be some sort of response, it would be nothing too devastating. And the seemingly unnecessary brutality of what he did in Douma could be to encourage rebels elsewhere to surrender.
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Re: Syrian Chemical Weapons and Western Retaliation?

Postby DoglovingJim » Sun Apr 15, 2018 5:39 am

Crimson847 wrote:A friend of mine made the false flag argument a few days ago, contending that this attack was engineered to be the warmongers' excuse for us to occupy Syria like we did Iraq and Afghanistan. After all, ISIS is more or less defeated, Trump was rumored to be about to withdraw US forces from Syria, and after last year Assad knows that he can't get away with chemical attacks anymore without a military response. So where's his incentive to do this now, when he's about to win and he knows America will come crashing down on him if he gasses his own civilians again?

That was then, but I don't see how the idea holds up after last night. If someone else engineered the attack and the blame was pinned on Assad, what was the motive? The US and its allies didn't invade, so it wasn't to provide a pretext for a new war as my friend thought.

You say you're not arguing that West is or might be responsible for the attack, Jim, but you also decline to attribute responsibility to Assad. Who else, then, had the motive and opportunity to commit a chemical attack against civilians in Syria? It's plausible a terrorist group could have gotten ahold of sarin gas (the Aum Shinrikyo cult managed), but why would they not claim responsibility for such a stunning coup if that were so?

I thought that the latest one only has been alleged to use Chlorine gas? With reports on sarin gas unconfirmed.

Regardless, I feel that until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt the Syrian Government is innocent in terms of claims made against them. As for other potential suspects I would say that the rebels holding the area also have motivation, by shifting the blame to the Government they could gain international outrage towards their enemy and also further legitimacy in their own rebel group which could be used in propaganda.

In regards to your mention of why wouldn't terrorists (if committed by terrorist groups) claim responsibility for the attack? I don't think it's unreasonable to say that a terrorist group wouldn't boast about a chemical attack on the same civilians they hope to recruit, gassing/bombing/whatever civilians leads to widows and orphans who would now die to get even.

Now admittedly this is speculation, but as the rebel group surrendered the area the day after I am led to believe that they were running on fumes. A view which I feel is supported due to the fact that the spotlight was on the area so there was little chance of dirty fighting, therefore the area would have been taken over with conventional warfare regardless. Now this is not proof alone that the rebel group would fabricate a chlorine attack on civilians so they are also innocent until proven guilty, but I feel this motivation is equally worth any made against the Syrian Army.

In places such as Jobar chemical weapons with traces of Sarin were alleged to have been used against the Syrian Army when rebel groups were believed to have been on the verge of collapse, so motivation could also be in terms of an act of desperation as in this case Iranian soldiers (allies of Syria) were among the dead and a chemical attack would coincide with precedent (as set by what occurred in Jobar).

Both sides have used chemical weapons, while not proven beyond reasonable doubt for example the chemical attack in Khan al-Assal resulting in the death of 16 government soldiers as well as civilians is very likely to have been committed by rebels as suggested by chief prosecutor of the UN Carla Del Ponte. While this case and several others suggesting rebel involvement is completely unrelated to the case at hand I'm bringing it forth to remind us that both sides accusing the other has been going on for a long time, both sides have chemical weapons and most likely neither side is clean. And because of this proper investigations is needed, I thought this lesson would be learnt after what happened in Iraq but I guess not.
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Re: Syrian Chemical Weapons and Western Retaliation?

Postby Doodle Dee. Snickers » Sun Apr 15, 2018 10:24 am

I should point out that voting does make Syria, by strict definition, a democracy (if in the vein of Russia or North Korea). However, it's what's known as an illiberal democracy. Assad facing no competitors in the midst of a civil war where he's primarily fighting militias of his own people is a world of difference to, say, Abraham Lincoln running a tough re-election in the midst of a civil war in which he was primarily fighting organized state armies and trying to end slavery.

To pretend Assad was elected by the will of the people, a people he's currently in the middle of murdering, is utterly asinine. Also, a false flag operation? We've had zero interest in a full invasion Syria the last two times Assad used gas on his people, I don't think a third time is gonna make us go "Oh, three times? Now we HAVE to go." It also doesn't really explain the UN inspectors who were in the middle of Syria disassembling chemical weapons several years back (though they clearly missed some). I doubt those people really had a reason to lie.

Anyways, the strike itself, I'm ambivalent on it. I think it was probably useless, but I'm happy to see us doing something with France and the UK--plus with the support of the usual allies. Makes me hope Trump hasn't destroyed all our alliances through sheer boorishness.
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Re: Syrian Chemical Weapons and Western Retaliation?

Postby DoglovingJim » Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:19 am

Doodle Dee. Snickers wrote:I should point out that voting does make Syria, by strict definition, a democracy (if in the vein of Russia or North Korea). However, it's what's known as an illiberal democracy. Assad facing no competitors in the midst of a civil war where he's primarily fighting militias of his own people is a world of difference to, say, Abraham Lincoln running a tough re-election in the midst of a civil war in which he was primarily fighting organized state armies and trying to end slavery.

To pretend Assad was elected by the will of the people, a people he's currently in the middle of murdering, is utterly asinine. Also, a false flag operation? We've had zero interest in a full invasion Syria the last two times Assad used gas on his people, I don't think a third time is gonna make us go "Oh, three times? Now we HAVE to go." It also doesn't really explain the UN inspectors who were in the middle of Syria disassembling chemical weapons several years back (though they clearly missed some). I doubt those people really had a reason to lie.

I feel like you're a page or two behind and quite frankly I'm a bit afraid to respond, because your arguments are directed at a misunderstanding we already settled.

However I add that the two elections I was talking about (that did not have oppositions and were solely on approving or rejecting the candidate) did not occur during the civil war but several years before, and had reported turnouts of over 90% of the Syrian population.

EDIT:
Spoiler: show
I put on bold little tidbits I found interesting, for example the notion that he is fighting militias of his own people when estimates suggest up to 40,000 fighters within Syria are foreigners. With the amount of foreign influence within this so called "civil war" it is anything but a Syrian War anymore.

Second text I put on bold is based purely on emotion, I try to limit emotional pleas so I want to make it known that I refuse to acknowledge yours. Use of emotive language is perhaps good in high-school but when having a strict logic based discussion it shouldn't be anywhere near the conversation. Otherwise I'll start calling all rebels terrorists and saying that they are filled with rapists (as there were several reported cases on both sides but since I'm being emotive I'd only target the rebels). And if I were to lump the rebels with ISIS as they technically are (with ISIS certainly being a faction of rebels) then I got a whole lot more emotive language to use, but I won't because emotions have no purpose in a genuine logic-based discussion and it only serves as an annoying wedge between us.

Third I put on bold because I do not understand what you're trying to say, or what it adds to this. In fact I'm not sure what any of that adds to this considering many of your points are based on a misunderstanding we already settled, and the points you did make such as with the elections are based with evidence that simply is wrong.

With your views on the strike I'm not going to badger about since that wasn't in response to me, and I'd be a fool to try and scrutinize your personal opinion.
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Last edited by DoglovingJim on Sun Apr 15, 2018 12:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Syrian Chemical Weapons and Western Retaliation?

Postby Aquila89 » Sun Apr 15, 2018 12:23 pm

Again with the turnout. High turnout is traditionally the feature of sham elections in dictatorships. People go to vote because they're afraid of reprisal if they don't. That was the case with the Syrian election in 2007.

Voting is a "national duty". "You can have problems if you don't," said a driver from Latakia. Public-sector employees and members of the armed forces were out in strength at the celebrations and marches. "Of course I'm voting," grinned a middle-aged man on his way to referendum centre 542 in the old Ottoman Hejaz railway station. "Dr Bashar is our president!"

President Assad does seem genuinely popular, especially with younger people, though there is no opinion polling. Fear of the Mukhabarat secret police is pervasive. Jokes abound about the man who once dared to tick the no box and was dragged back by his terrified mother to beg to be allowed to vote again. "Don't worry," the officials reply. "We've changed it for you - but just this once."


Besides, at the time the Syrian Constitution stated the Ba'ath Party "is the leader of the state and society and thus, the President should be a member of the party." So if in 2000 or 2007, the Syrians dared to reject Assad, they would've gotten another Ba'ath Party candidate. That's not democracy. Syria at the time was constitutionally determined to be undemocratic.
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Re: Syrian Chemical Weapons and Western Retaliation?

Postby DoglovingJim » Sun Apr 15, 2018 12:32 pm

Aquila89 wrote:Besides, at the time the Syrian Constitution stated the Ba'ath Party "is the leader of the state and society and thus, the President should be a member of the party." So if in 2000 or 2007, the Syrians dared to reject Assad, they would've gotten another Ba'ath Party candidate. That's not democracy. Syria at the time was constitutionally determined to be undemocratic.

In terms of fabricated elections I ask one to prove it, otherwise I will continue to throw the high turnout and support rate like a mad man.

However you raised an interesting point as by rejecting Assad then Syria would have to choose another Ba'ath Party Candidate, for anyone with specialized knowledge of the Syrian Constitution how much power does Assad truly have? Is it him or is he simply a face for his party?

Since as the media makes it out to be Assad has supreme power, in which case rejecting him and forcing the Ba'ath Party to find a new candidate would be democratic as they could pick a candidate which they like. In Australia for example there was a time (I think Whitlam government) when the whole government had to be dissolved by the Queens Representative because the Senate refused to pass any bills they presented (bit off topic but that's what I thought of, the sense that voting no would force change). However if Assad is simply like a face to the party then it would be undemocratic as the same policies would be made regardless, and in that sense the whole media focus should not be on Assad at all but his party.

Is it like with Australia, with our prime ministers being at the mercy of their party (and therefore lots and lots of backstabbing and swapping around leaders between elections). Or is it like with America where once the president is elected then they are stuck with him regardless of how much his party hates him. But then even the president has checks on his powers, so what checks on power would the president of Syria be limited by and what powers does the Ba'ath Party have?
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Re: Syrian Chemical Weapons and Western Retaliation?

Postby iMURDAu » Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:23 pm

He has unlimited power. He's a dictator that forces people to vote for him by threatening harm if they don't and hey whaddya know, he's the only choice. Checks on power? You think the opposition would've tried that already. Over the past few decades while he or his father were in charge.

I guess the leaders of NK, Russia, and Syria are just so good at their jobs that the people love them that much to keep picking them over the opposition that seems to suffer so much bad luck what with their poisoning and jailing and disappearing and whatnot. What a bunch of losers amirite?
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Re: Syrian Chemical Weapons and Western Retaliation?

Postby DoglovingJim » Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:51 pm

iMURDAu wrote:He has unlimited power. He's a dictator that forces people to vote for him by threatening harm if they don't and hey whaddya know, he's the only choice. Checks on power? You think the opposition would've tried that already. Over the past few decades while he or his father were in charge.

I guess the leaders of NK, Russia, and Syria are just so good at their jobs that the people love them that much to keep picking them over the opposition that seems to suffer so much bad luck what with their poisoning and jailing and disappearing and whatnot. What a bunch of losers amirite?


I could counter by saying that the opposition is in the minority and that is why they delved into insurrection, as they could not change the leader legitimately (equally valid as an opinion as this is speculation). For that I simply regurgitate once more the percentage of votes supporting the current leader prior to the civil war and ask for proof that the elections were fabricated and that he is threatening harm for those that vote no (for example regarding the percentage of those two elections how many that said 'no' are still alive? If you wanted to convince me you could find some peer reviewed study detailing every 'no voters' execution or sentence to labor camps. Most likely though the majority are alive and simply members of the FSA or ISIS today.).

But I digress, if as president of the Ba'ath Party he has unlimited power then provided the voting tally was not fabricated then it's simple democracy as the leader controls the country and not the party which constitutionally is required. The people could have rejected him and be presented with another candidate, who am I to dismiss the leader of a country based essentially on the hearsay of his enemies?

A lie told often enough becomes the truth, that is something which I feel is occurring within our media as it becomes more sensational and less informative. Like Apostle Thomas who refused to accept the resurrection of Christ until he himself could feel the holes in the Lord's hands from which the nails drove through, I will reject evidence from our media based on emotion and demand to see the actual evidence for these claims they make before I can actually accept something. Nothing wrong with harboring skepticism when one isn't convinced by statements made, especially not when one finds other potential perspectives equally valid until proven otherwise.

Not really going to respond on the leaders of North Korea and Russia as they use different systems and it has nothing to do with the subject at hand except they are all coincidentally not really friendly with the West who make such claims about them.
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Re: Syrian Chemical Weapons and Western Retaliation?

Postby Aquila89 » Sun Apr 15, 2018 2:36 pm

If you really think that those elections were the genuine reflection of popular feeling, how did the civil war even break out? According to the 2007 election, over 90% of the adult population supported Assad. Then who are the rebels? A civil war doesn't break out in a country where 90% of the population supports the leader, or it doesn't last long if it does. Even after seven years, the government still only controls about half of the territory of Syria. How is that possible if 90% of the population supports Assad (and he has the army)?

DoglovingJim wrote:I could counter by saying that the opposition is in the minority and that is why they delved into insurrection, as they could not change the leader legitimately (equally valid as an opinion as this is speculation).


The opposition could not change the leader legitimately because it was literally written into the constitution that the leader can only be a member of the Ba'ath Party. They wrote that in after taking power in a military coup in 1963. For Christ's sake.
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Re: Syrian Chemical Weapons and Western Retaliation?

Postby DoglovingJim » Sun Apr 15, 2018 3:10 pm

Aquila89 wrote:If you really think that those elections were the genuine reflection of popular feeling, how did the civil war even break out? According to the 2007 election, over 90% of the adult population supported Assad. Then who are the rebels? A civil war doesn't break out in a country where 90% of the population supports the leader, or it doesn't last long if it does. Even after seven years, the government still only controls about half of the territory of Syria. How is that possible if 90% of the population supports Assad (and he has the army)?

DoglovingJim wrote:I could counter by saying that the opposition is in the minority and that is why they delved into insurrection, as they could not change the leader legitimately (equally valid as an opinion as this is speculation).


The opposition could not change the leader legitimately because it was literally written into the constitution that the leader can only be a member of the Ba'ath Party. For Christ's sake.

10% of the population can be quite a fierce opponent, that's one in 10. But anyway since that was prior to the civil war and times change we will talk about the latest election.

And to demonstrate how fierce a minority opponent can be I say this, in the latest election for example (with two opposition leaders) a combined total of 872,580 voted for someone other than Assad, and 442,108 gave donkey votes. That gives a combined total of 1,314,688 people voting for something not Assad. Now clearly in this election Assad was the clear winner having 10,319,723 votes, almost 89% of those who voted chose him.

Voter turnout was 74% (bloody hell, even though they are going through a civil war they are still voting more in elections than Americans are). Now being generous and assuming those donkey votes as well as the voters against Assad and being even more generous I even include the people who couldn't vote (4,211,163), combined all of those equal 5,525,851.

So all of those who voted for someone other than Assad or didn't vote at all still were only 50% of the amount of voters who said yes to make Assad leader. Now at my most generous (who knows why they didn't vote or wrote donkey votes) that is still only 1/3 of the population, a minority. But certainly a minority that can fight in a civil war especially if funded by foreign countries.


__________________________________________________________________________________________________
Regarding the prior two elections, constitutionally they could reject the candidate brought by the Ba'ath Party and therefore the party would have to present another. Are we arguing about Assad or about the Ba'ath Party?
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Re: Syrian Chemical Weapons and Western Retaliation?

Postby Aquila89 » Sun Apr 15, 2018 3:21 pm

When a party takes power in a coup and rewrites the constitution to ensure that the leader of the country can only come from their rank, that country is not a democracy in any way, shape, or form.

Did you consider Saddam Hussein democratically elected too? He held presidential referendums like Assad, one in 1995, where he won 99% of the vote with a 99% turnout, and one in 2002, where he got 100% of the vote with 100% turnout. And don't give me "the systems were different", or explain to me how Saddam's system was different from Assad's, because I don't see much of a difference.
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Re: Syrian Chemical Weapons and Western Retaliation?

Postby Windy » Sun Apr 15, 2018 4:38 pm

Pre-2016: You can't rig elections you silly conspiracy theorist
Post-2016: All elections are rigged democracy is dead
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Re: Syrian Chemical Weapons and Western Retaliation?

Postby DoglovingJim » Sun Apr 15, 2018 4:43 pm

Aquila89 wrote:When a party takes power in a coup and rewrites the constitution to ensure that the leader of the country can only come from their rank, that country is not a democracy in any way, shape, or form.

Did you consider Saddam Hussein democratically elected too? He held presidential referendums like Assad, one in 1995, where he won 99% of the vote with a 99% turnout, and one in 2002, where he got 100% of the vote with 100% turnout. And don't give me "the systems were different", or explain to me how Saddam's system was different from Assad's, because I don't see much of a difference.

I work in a case by case basis, Syria is not Iraq because it is Syria. The situations are different and I don't know much about Saddam Hussein's elections, all I know is that he was accused of having WMD's and was killed (speculating) when America felt his usefulness to their own agendas were over.

If he got that much of the vote however and with a turnout like that, and people could actually vote to reject him but chose not to and the results were not proven to be fabricated (eg, Lisa Simpsons cat didn't vote for him). Sure then that is a democratic election in my book.

I could complain about a lot of countries (Commonwealth included) for making the head of state a hereditary role, my own country has a head of state that doesn't even live here and for the time being will only be English and Anglican. A country that our own high-court has deemed a foreign power judging from the constitutional crisis regarding section 44. And before you say that it's different, of course it is. But having the leader elected then it doesn't really matter about the party behind it unless the leader is a puppet to that party. Who is in control I ask you? Assad or the Ba'ath party? Since your constitutional issues direct me to believe the issue lies with the Ba'ath party, and yet Assad is the one you are complaining about when he was the one the voters elected. He was the first candidate presented and instead of rejecting him and making the Ba'ath party present another candidate the people overwhelmingly voted in favor of him (probably same reason America had George Bush senior and junior), the same happened in the subsequent election cementing his presidency.

And I'm finding a lot of ignoring to the things I'm saying, I have made an effort to respond to most if not all statements made but on the other hand people seem to shift the subject backwards. And it is leading us to go around in circles. We were discussing the recent chemical attack in Syria and potential culprits and now I'm supposed to be answering questions about Saddam Hussein's elections in the mid 90's.

I already gave my opinion on the legitimacy of what I perceive as a democratic election which brought Assad into power (thousands of times), I already stated what it would take for me to change my mind (evidence of fabrication). Nothing else will sway me on the matter, and there is no point to be dragging it on. Because at the end of the day you're arguing about how democratic something is with a crazy guy who obviously has a more simplistic interpretation of what "democracy" has to consist of compared to your own views on democracy.


So we might as well get it back on track and actually discuss/speculate on what happened? And I'll have it on record that I'm not going to respond to any more talk about elections (I don't want to be wasting all my time on this thread and I have a really bad habit of writing long responses and lots of them, I remember I once went overboard in a thread regarding Cuba's involvement in Angola or something and I don't want to repeat it).
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Re: Syrian Chemical Weapons and Western Retaliation?

Postby Aquila89 » Sun Apr 15, 2018 6:12 pm

DoglovingJim wrote:So we might as well get it back on track and actually discuss/speculate on what happened? And I'll have it on record that I'm not going to respond to any more talk about elections


Okay, I think we can agree that further discussion of the topic is entirely pointless.
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Re: Syrian Chemical Weapons and Western Retaliation?

Postby sunglasses » Sun Apr 15, 2018 9:56 pm

Alledgedly, Assad was warned before the strike. Not the most unlikely scenario.

Meanwhile we have chemical attacks, mass bombings and no one wants the refugees in their backyard but the same people refusing refugees are crying foul about human rights abuses and trying to play the moral high ground. It's frustrating.

Also saw someone on Twitter claim the bombing was worth every penny.


They had linked a picture of the royal palace in Iraq being bombed back in the early 2000s. Wrong country, wrong decade, wrong bombing. Geez, keep your bombings straight random Twitter people.
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