Tag Archives: Assad

Even When The Chemical Weapons Are Gone, Violence And Despair Will Endure In Syria

A man bleeds in a northern Syria hospital after a ricochet bullet went through his foot. In a sense, he was lucky that the bullet did not stay in his body, which would have required surgery to remove. The hospital staff told us that until very recently th

Notwithstanding my remarkably horrendous coping with jet-lag, I have been following along — as best I can — with the developments in, around, and regarding Syria. From the hasty deal struck between Russia and the U.S. to account for Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles, to the draft resolution currently underway — and meant for an imminent Security Council resolution — involving diplomats from the U.S., Russia, China, France and Britain, it seems like the Obama Administration has been able to avert a war, save face, and reinforce everyone’s favourite international norm.

But while it’s a very good thing the international arena is acting in unison over Assad’s use of chemical weapons, it makes little difference to the everyday Syrian — either fighting in the streets, or fighting to stay alive at home. The sad truth is, we’re in the early stages of a bloodletting in Syria that began nearly 94 years ago when one Brit (Sir Mark Sykes) and one Frenchman (Francois George-Picot) divided the Arab provinces — once belonging to the Ottoman Empire — between their two respective colonial powers. The Sykes-Picot Agreement (also known as the Asia Minor Agreement) of 1920 created the modern state of Syria as we now know it. 20130918-110243.jpgNo one living in Syria ever got a say in how their “nation” was constructed — both in terms of territory, and control. Syria was purposefully devised to pit the Shiite Alawite minority against the Sunni Arab majority, with a side-show consisting of Christians, Druze and Kurds (who are also Sunnis). The same principle (divide-and-rule) applied to Iraq, except the minority Sunnis were used to control the majority Shiites. The reason colonial powers constructed these cynical divisions is simple: appeal to the minority, train them, arm them, and use them to control the majority out of fear, oppression, and obligation. It’s how empires are made, and how they endure.

It should come as no surprise, then, that from Syria and Iraq we had (and have) two of the most brutal, horrific dictators of all time: Saddam Hussein and Bashar al-Assad. They were (and are) manifestations of colonial manipulation; the products of two nations created under the weight of permanent warfare, oppression, and sectarian strife.

“Why do we have a brutal civil war in Syria?” is not the question we should be asking. We know why it’s happening. It’s the same reason we still have one raging in Iraq. The brutal and callous decades long oppression of the majority groups in both states broke free, at long last, with the Arab Spring. For better or worse, and due in large part to the disastrous invasion of Iraq in 2003, the bloodletting in Syria has only just begun. It won’t stop if and when the chemical weapons stockpiles are accounted for. Nor will it stop if and when Bashar al-Assad is removed from power. Notice for example how when the United States argues that it’s justified in arming the opposition, they make it plain that they intend to only support “moderate” rebels. What about the not-so-moderate rebels? What role will they play in a post-Assad Syria? The quixotic idea that any two sides in this conflict could reach a political agreement, untainted by blood and terror, is as likely as it was in Iraq — where a decade of occupation and trillions of dollars could not prevent 100,000+ deaths.

Innocent men, women and children are being murdered at staggering rates. Some have been gassed, but 99% have lost their lives to the real “weapons of mass destruction”: small munitions. The images of dead children, and the videos of crying mothers holding their lost loved ones are unbearably heartbreaking. But for every image of an innocent life lost, there’s a video of a rebel, or one of Assad’s soldiers, reminding the world through barbaric savagery that this is a sectarian fight to the death.

And no UN Resolution is going to change that.

(Photo: Freedom House)

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Best Of The Week

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Apologies to my readers for the lack of posts these past couple of weeks. I’m moving to London for grad school this weekend, so it’s been difficult to keep up with the blog, but mostly because I didn’t want to do a half-ass job for all of you who regularly keep up with Left and Center. I’m not sure what this blog will look like when I live in London. School will take up a considerable amount of my time, and the time-change will undoubtedly be an obstacle. What I imagine happening is that I’ll shift from a number of posts per day to one or two longer ones.

But back to the matter at hand. It’s been one hell of a week for news, and while I wish I could have written more, I’m happy about what’s been put out. The most popular post of the week was my reaction to where we now stand in regards to Syria: A Better Solution. Close behind in terms of traffic was my breakdown of Russian President Vladimir “KGB” Putin’s op-Ed in the New York Times, Putin, Troll.

Other popular posts (mostly because they were the only posts!) included The Astonishingly Bad Arguments For Another Middle-East War; Could This Kerry Gaffe Save Us From Another Middle-East War?; and, but of course, Forget The Pill, Meet The Pullout Generation.

Back soon.

Publius

(Photo: via wikicommons)

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A Better Solution

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In the march towards a congressional vote on military action in Syria, one thing became glaringly obvious: the Obama administration had run out of options, and leverage. Maybe Secretary of State John Kerry sensed it and knew exactly what he was doing when he offered Syria an olive branch on Monday. The terms were (and are) simple: give up your chemical weapons stockpiles. We don’t know if this was a strategic plan by Kerry, but we do know that it was accepted almost immediately by both Russia and Syria, and has become a far better solution to this whole saga than anything previous.

Military intervention was meant for one (double) reason only: deter the future use of chemical weapons, and make sure Assad can’t do this again. It was never meant to remove Assad from power, or substantially help the opposition — that would be “war”, according to the Obama administration. What this proposal from Russia/Syria/Kerry does is put these weapons under the control of the international arena — presumably some UN agency — therefore accounting for both deterrence and Assad’s capability to use chemical weapons. If the Obama administration has been honest all along, and chemical weapons have been the first and only reason to act, it couldn’t have worked out better.

Many are pointing out that, “we’re relying on Russia and Syria to carry this out? Fat chance.” They have a point. Maybe the plan will never be realized; but it’s still a better option than military intervention. Russia’s acceptance of the plan means we may see a Security Council resolution affirming this proposal — something that’s been missing all along. Russia wont veto a resolution they themselves proposed, and I doubt China would want to be the lone state standing in the way of a diplomatic solution.

Another pessimistic — but possible — take is that Assad will never agree to go through with this. Having chemical weapons is not an insignificant thing in the grander scheme of regional power politics, where Assad has to keep one eye on neighbors like Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Israel, who want nothing more than a regime change in Damascus.

But even if Assad balks, the entire paradigm of this conflict has been altered for the better. If the United States feels forced to attack Syria if the proposal fails, they’ll probably do so with a UN resolution and a greater number of allies behind them — both pipe dreams on September 8. And if by chance Assad agrees to whatever the proposal ends up being, the U.S. will have averted a war, saved face, and accounted for Syria’s chemical weapons. Win-win-win.

On September 8, the United States stood completely alone. Domestic support was horrendous; the backing of the Security Council (and NATO) was nonexistent; Russia was becoming more vocal and dangerous; Iran was threatening retribution; and even Britain pulled support.

How strange would it be, then, if a simple gaffe by John Kerry ended up preventing another Middle-East war?

(Photo: Chair. Joint Chiefs)

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The Astonishingly Bad Arguments For Another Middle-East War

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During the absurd Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing featuring three senior American officials — Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Chuck Hagel, Secretary of Defense, and John Kerry, Secretary of State — on why the Administration is justified in seeking Congressional approval for a strike against Syria, Kerry argued — with a straight face — that, “We don’t want to go to war in Syria either … The President is not asking you to go to war.”

Except that’s exactly what he’s asking. What is Kerry trying to argue? That just because the ships launching the missiles will be safe from retaliatory fire, it’s not war? Do we only label something as war when other nations kill Americans, not the other way around? I get that it’s kind of been an American thing to launch bombs against other countries, but have we become so jaded about the seriousness of war that we hesitate in labeling a massive bombing campaign against another state’s infrastructure (and people) as such?

The rest of the arguments for intervention — heard during the hearing — were just as illogical, and because I don’t want you to have to sit through the same excruciating video I did, here’s my summary:

    • Assad used chemical weapons, so we should make an example of him to deter other dictators from using chemical weapons in the future. BUT, we don’t mean we should punish him to the point of removing him from power, since Syria would “implode”. Instead, the punishment would focus ONLY on his chemical weapons capabilities. So, while our policy is that Assad has to go, we won’t force him to go. In that case, we’ll launch surgical air strikes directed at his chemical weapons capabilities, but not his ability to rule over Syria. And, we’ll just have to live with the fact that we’re NOT accounting for the other weapons that have killed 99% of Syrians during this conflict. Please vote yes.

Here’s the video (it’s really long):

While reinforcing some abstract international norm — that nations like the United States have willingly broken themselves by allowing Saddam’s regime to use chemical weapons during the Iran-Iraq War — sounds good as a talking point, it hardly motivates anyone to throw their support behind another war. According to The Independent, about 80% of the British people oppose exactly what Obama’s proposing. A Washington Post/ABC News poll found nearly 70% of Americans are likewise against it.

But even while Obama enjoys considerably less domestic support than Bush had with Iraq, as well as no British backing, and open condemnation from much of the UN for immediate intervention, his proposition for air-strikes against Syria may very well pass — by the skin of it’s teeth — in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. Our only hope is that — as we saw in the House of Commons — the representatives of the American people will actually listen to their constituents, and save us all from yet another bloody, costly, unjustified and unpopular sectarian war in the Middle East.

(Photo: Chair. Joint Chiefs)

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The Arguments For (And Against) Intervention In Syria

Members of the Free Syrian Army, an armed opposition group made up largely of defectors from President Bashar al-Assad’s army, attacked a column of government tanks passing through the town of Saraqib, Syria.

We still don’t know for sure if Bashar Al Assad used chemical weapons against his own people in the suburbs east of Damascus. Considering the lengthy list of barbaric atrocities carried out by his regime, and given that UN inspectors were — just today — targets of sniper fire while attempting to gather proof that could possibly exonerate Assad if indeed he’s been telling the truth, I don’t think I’m going out on any limb by saying that I think he almost certainly used chemical weapons.

I’ve long argued that there’s no good option when it comes to Syria, but non-intervention is the best-bad choice. Despite that, it looks ever more certain that intervention of some sort is brewing, and so if involvement is the worst option on the table, then air strikes have to be considered as the best worst option of the worst option.

Over at Wonkblog, Max Fisher provides the most basic arguments for and against intervention by air strikes. The case against air strikes is pretty damn good: they won’t change the trajectory of the conflict; civilian casualties will increase; and there will almost certainly be an escalation of hostilities.

The case for air strikes is a little less persuasive:

1) A “punishment” strike against Assad’s forces for this month’s suspected chemical weapons attack would make him think twice before doing it again….

2) The international norm against chemical weapons matters for more than just Syria….When the next civilian or military leader locked in a difficult war looks back on what happened in Syria, we want him to conclude that using chemical weapons would not be worth the risk.

3) Even just the (apparently earnest) threat of U.S. strikes could change Assad’s behavior.

The three arguments are interchangeable, and call for the exact same outcome: make sure chemical weapons are never used again. But would surgical air strikes against military targets deter Assad — or any other future-dictator in a fight for his existence — from using chemical weapons against those attempting to depose him? Unless the air strikes are devastating, I doubt it.

Make no mistake here: the United States would be declaring war against Assad if air strikes commence. There’s only one way to change Assad’s “behavior”, and that’s by removing his government from power.

(Photo: Freedom House. Members of the Free Syrian Army, an armed opposition group made up largely of defectors from President Bashar al-Assad’s army, attacked a column of government tanks passing through the town of Saraqib, Syria.)

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Did The Worst Chemical Weapons Attack In Decades Just Happen In Syria?

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Syrian rebels claim that Assad’s forces used chemical weapons against “women, children”, and themselves in the suburbs east of Damascus, affecting at least 1,300 people:

BEIRUT/AMMAN – Syria’s opposition accused President Bashar al-Assad’s forces of gassing many hundreds of people – by one report as many as 1,300 – on Wednesday in what would, if confirmed, be the world’s worst chemical weapons attack in decades.

George Sabra, one of the leading opponents of Assad, said the death toll was 1,300 killed by poison gas released over suburbs east of Damascus.

“Today’s crimes are … not the first time the regime has used chemical weapons. But they constitute a turning point in the regime’s operations,” he told a news conference in Istanbul. “This time it was for annihilation rather than terror.”

An opposition monitoring group, citing figures compiled from medical clinics in the Damascus suburbs, put the death toll at 494 – 90 percent of them killed by gas, the rest by bombing and conventional arms. The rebel Syrian National Coalition said 650 people had been killed.

If the cause of death and the scale of the killing were confirmed, it would be the worst known use of chemical weapons since Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein gassed thousands of Kurds in the town of Halabja in 1988.

It’s always difficult to figure out exactly what happened, or who to believe, but Foreign Policy reports that videos “showed Syrians lying on the floor gasping for breath, medics struggling to save infants, and rows of bodies of those who had reportedly died in the attack.”

https://twitter.com/lizobagy/statuses/370209257569804288

But it has to be noted that all of the information coming out of the Ghouta region, where rebels enjoy broad support, has yet to be confirmed by independent observers. The videos do suggest some sort of attack, but some have expressed doubt that the released footage shows enough of the symptoms that would follow a chemical weapons attack of this kind.

So we’re really left with one option here: dispatch the UN observers who are already in the country to the affected areas ASAP. If they find that chemical weapons were indeed used, then we can verify what the rebel groups have been saying and go from there. If they aren’t allowed into the area by the Syrian regime, then we have Assad basically admitting guilt.

The interesting question here is what will happen if the reports are confirmed and the worst chemical weapons attack — let’s just call it a good old fashioned war crime — since Saddam in 88′ just took place. Will Obama finally be moved to intervene? Would intervention be the sort of disaster I’ve been saying it would be? Or will the U.S., and the UN, simply turn a blind eye yet again to Assad?

Probably the latter. But let’s wait and see.

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Assad’s Regime Calls For Mursi To Step Down For The Sake Of The Egyptian People

Bashar al-Assad propaganda

Well if this isn’t rival-state trolling, I don’t know what is:

(Reuters) – The Syrian government, fighting to crush a two-year-old uprising against President Bashar al-Assad that started with peaceful calls for reform, said on Wednesday Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi should step down for the sake of his country.

Relishing the possible downfall of one of Assad’s most vocal critics, Syrian television carried live coverage of the huge street demonstrations in Egypt demanding Mursi’s departure.

“(Egypt’s) crisis can be overcome if Mohamed Mursi realizes that the overwhelming majority of the Egyptian people reject him and are calling on him to go,” Information Minister Omran Zoabi was quoted as saying by the state news agency SANA.

(Photo by flickr user watchsmart)

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Obama Caves On Syria, Betrays Us All

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President Obama is finally giving John McCain the war he always wanted:

The Obama administration, concluding that the troops of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria have used chemical weapons against rebel forces in his country’s civil war, has decided to begin supplying the rebels for the first time with small arms and ammunition, according to American officials.

The officials held out the possibility that the assistance, coordinated by the Central Intelligence Agency, could include antitank weapons, but they said that for now supplying the antiaircraft weapons that rebel commanders have said they sorely need is not under consideration.

Supplying weapons to the rebels has been a long-sought goal of advocates of a more aggressive American response to the Syrian civil war. A proposal made last year by David H. Petraeus, then the director of the C.I.A., and backed by the State Department and the Pentagon to supply weapons was rejected by the White House because of President Obama’s deep reluctance to be drawn into another war in the Middle East.

Great, so we’re arming the rebels now? Let’s take a look at this handy graphic and guess which one of these will be the lucky winners in the “US Weapon Lottery”:

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Just who are we supposed to arm, exactly? And to what end? The President was elected to keep the country out of these hellish, unwinnable sectarian wars and now, he’s more or less declared that the United States is involved. President Obama didn’t just cave to the neocons, to McCain and Graham and, yes, even to ex-President Bill Clinton (whose war criminal record is one to truly behold) — President Obama betrayed all those who voted him into office on the promises of pragmatism, humanism and common sense.

And to follow the advice of McCain — who, let’s not forget, traveled to Syria recently and took photographs with rebel leaders who happened to also be vicious criminal scum — is the most perplexing of all of this. McCain has been begging for another war since Iraq started coming to an end. Does he give a shit about the history of sectarian violence in Syria? Of course not! He comes from the same school of lunatics that believe that no matter how complex a conflict, all you need are some bombs. It’s a disgrace.

What do we really have before us? We have before us a regional, sectarian war that has been brewing since the Iraq debacle severed the region’s fragile stability – further severed by the barrage of change unleashed by the Arab Spring. Beneath the Iran-Israel stand-off, we also have a Shia-Sunni struggle, in which Assad and Khamenei and Hezbollah and Maliki are fighting off Sunni Jihadists and democrats trying to depose Assad. The point is that this cannot be our problem to solve. It cannot become our fight. There are no good options when it comes to Syria, but the least worst option is to surely stand aside and let the conflict resolve itself.

But forget that now, because we have a president that cowers under the weight of his office and betrays even his most basic principles. Take 5 minutes and listen to Fareed Zakaria explain in detail why intervention in Syria will be a bloody disaster for the United States.

Andrew Sullivan captures the anger and frustration we should all be feeling:

We are damn lucky to have gotten every GI out of Iraq, and the notion of being sucked back into that region again – and to join sides in a sectarian conflict – is a betrayal of everything this president has said and stood for. It’s a slap in the face for everyone who backed him because he said he wouldn’t be another Bush or McCain or Clinton. If he intervenes in Syria, he will have no credibility left with those of us who have supported his largely sane and prudent foreign policy so far. Libya was bad enough – and look at the consequences. But Syria? And the entire Middle East? Is he out of his mind?

And can you think of a dumber war than this one?

The man who said he would never engage in a dumb war is apparently preparing to join the dumbest war since … well, Iraq. And by the way: who would you rather have in control of chemical weapons – Assad or the al Nusra brigades? Because it will be the al Nusra brigades who would seize the country if Assad falls. And you think those fanatics have the slightest loyalty to us?

US involvement in Syria will likely only deepen. Once you’ve set the precedent that you’re willing to give arms to rebels (some whom have proven to be as cruel and barbaric as Assad’s thugs), you’ve more or less declared yourself a part of the war. So, stay tuned for Obama’s capitulation to the hawks when they ask for more advanced weaponry. Then buckle your seat belts as he folds again when they demand a no-fly zone.

And should the day ever come where Americans are once again ordered to fight a war they have no business dying for, you’ll know the president that sent them there.

(Photo by Greg Elin)

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Telling the good guys from the bad guys

070827-A-3715G-275Sen. John McCain (cc photo by Jim Greenhill)

Seantor John McCain has been adamant for years that we know very well who to arm and support in the ongoing Syrian civil war – that the good guys are clearly the rebels, and they need our help. The old school Senator went to the warn torn country recently and met with a number of rebel leaders, and accidentally or not, posed for a photograph with rebels who had committed terrible crimes, like kidnapping 11 Lebanese Shiite pilgrims:

The photo, released by McCain’s office, shows McCain with a group of rebels. Among them are two men identified in the Lebanese press as Mohamed Nour and Abu Ibrahim, two of the kidnappers of the group from Lebanon.

A McCain spokesman said that no one who met with McCain identified themselves by either of those names.

“In coordination with the Syrian Emergency Task Force, Senator John McCain traveled to and from Syria with General Salim Idris, the chief of staff of the Supreme Military Council of the Syrian opposition, to meet with two senior Free Syrian Army commanders,” said McCain spokesman Brian Rogers on Wednesday in an email to BuzzFeed. “None of the individuals the senator planned to meet with was named Mohamad Nour or Abu Ibrahim. A number of other Syrian commanders joined the meeting, but none of them identified himself as Mohamad Nour or Abu Ibrahim.”

Rogers goes on to call the situation “regrettable” if indeed it turns out to be verified – which it has.

Joe Klein has the right perspective on this, I think:

I don’t blame McCain for this. It’s hard to advance a trip into rebel territory….The point is: We just don’t know these places well enough to go over and draw grand conclusions about policy. In a way, McCain’s trip is a perfect metaphor for the problem of involving ourselves with the Syrian rebels. We may be siding with the greater evil. We may be throwing fuel on a fire that could consume the region. Our track record when it comes to such things is dismal.

I don’t think McCain knowingly posed for a photo and subsequently exchanged pleasantries with Nour or Ibrahim, but that’s not the real point here. We simply can’t codify this conflict the way McCain claims we can, where the good guys are clear as day and eagerly awaiting our help to take over the country. This is a perfect example of why.

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Just who are we supposed to arm in Syria, exactly?

This handy graphic from the Economist illustrates the problem:
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For Western governments pondering whether to arm them, Jabhat al-Nusra (Victory Front) is the biggest worry. Its global jihadist ideology justifies violence to bring about a nation where all Muslims unite. It enjoys murky sources of private funding, including regular payments from al-Qaeda in Iraq. Ahrar al-Sham has more local aims, but its comrades are also vehemently Islamist. Other umbrella groups, such as Liwa al-Tawhid in Aleppo, Syria’s embattled second city, are harder to classify, in part because they serve as franchises or bring together smaller groups with a range of ideas. The Farouq Battalions, whose territorial reach goes from Homs to Hasaka in the north-east, is another mixed bag, ranging from Islamists to people with no particular ideology. The Supreme Military Command, led by General Salim Idriss, a Sunni defector from President Assad’s army, includes some able commanders but still lacks the cash and arms to match either the regime’s forces or Jabhat al-Nusra, which ignores the military command. Ominously, rebels from more secular-minded or more moderately Islamist groups speak openly of a second war to come—against Jabhat al-Nusra.

Thankfully, some commentators previously itching for another US entry into a Middle East sectarian conflict have taken note of this and have relaxed their positions. Yeah, I’m looking at you Jeffrey Goldberg:
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Syria descending into madness and barbarism

“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.”

― Friedrich Nietzsche

The New York Times describes the sad, horrible video above:

This graphic video posted online shows 20 members of one family, including nine children, said to have been killed by government forces in al-Bayda, a village in the Baniyas district. Rebels said the government killed at least 322 Sunnis in Baniyas last week, and hundreds are missing. This video shows dead women and children in a darkened room. One woman’s body is surrounded by five children, while another woman’s head slumps back, a baby on her shoulder. The cameraman repeats, “Oh God, oh God.”

There’s another video making the rounds today, but because it’s so incredibly horrifying and graphic, i’ll just make reference to it here so you can decide whether or not you feel up to watching it. For those of you who wish to skip it, the video shows one of the rebel commanders – the other side of the conflict that the GOP wants us to arm and support – eating the heart of his enemy. You read that correctly. Human Rights Watch describes it more fully:

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Syria is not our fight

The Syrian civil war is an intensely complex conflict in an insanely fractured and splintering region. We like to believe – for some reason – that we can codify conflicts like this in such a way where the enemy is clear, the objective sound and the outcome guaranteed. There’s an obvious dictatorial force that needs to be removed in order to save the poor and repressed revolutionaries fighting for their freedom; we must intervene. Syria is not so easily codified. Instead, we have before us a regional, sectarian war that has been brewing since the Iraq debacle severed the region’s fragile stability – further severed by the barrage of change unleashed by the Arab Spring. Beneath the Iran-Israel stand-off, we also have a Shia-Sunni struggle, in which Assad and Khamenei and Hezbollah and Maliki are fighting off Sunni Jihadists and democrats trying to depose Assad. The point is that this cannot be our problem to solve. It cannot become our fight. There are no good options when it comes to Syria, but the least worst option is to surely stand aside and let the conflict resolve itself.

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Daily roundup – March 20, 2013

Hello readers! Today on BaddiesBoogie I began with a scathing opinion about the Senate and their inability to fulfill their office as it regards gun control, then shared some thoughts on whether Assad has finally done enough to provoke the US to intervene in the massacres in Syria. Elsewhere I regarded some critical reviews of CNN’s coverage of the Steubenville rape ordeal, and finished with an excited look at Ricky Gervais’ resurrection of David Brent.

More tomorrow!

– Publius

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Has Assad finally crossed the Rubicon?

Here’s the HuffPost with a good summary of the developing situation:

President Barack Obama said Wednesday that the United States is investigating whether chemical weapons have been deployed in Syria, but he’s “deeply skeptical” of claims by Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime that rebel forces were behind such an attack.

Both the Assad regime and Syrian rebels have accused each other of using chemical weapons in an attack on Tuesday that the government says killed 31 and wounded more than 100. But Obama suggested it’s more likely that if the weapons were used, the Syrian government was behind the attack.

“We know the Syrian government has the capacity to carry out chemical weapon attacks,” Obama said. “We know that there are those are in the Syrian government who have expressed a willingness to use chemical weapons if necessary to protect themselves. I am deeply skeptical of any claim that in fact it was the opposition that used chemical weapons. Everybody who knows the facts of the chemical weapons stockpiles inside of Syria as well as the Syrian government capabilities, I think, would question those claims. Once we establish the facts, I have made clear that the use of chemical weapons is a game changer.”.

The President has said on more than one occasion that the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime would be the red line, causing him to strongly consider military intervention to stop the gross atrocities carried out by Assad’s thugs daily. Here is the president on his reasoning for not intervening as it is:

Obama said the U.S. policy not to intervene militarily thus far is based on his desire to solve the problem as a global community. “It’s a world problem … when tens of thousands of people are being slaughtered, including innocent women and children,” Obama said.

– Publius

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