Friday 7 April 2017

Syria flip-flop

Nil points fro President Trump.

It is all very well wringing your hands and deciding now that you are President you can fire of a missile salvo....but to what end?

We can only hope in a limited sense that this is supposed to make Assad think again before he uses chemical weapons. The issue is that Assad was using chemical weapons on Al-Qaeda (Al-Nursa)controlled areas. Sadly for the civilians in Syria, nowhere is safe and each side happily uses hostages in this sick and brutal civil war.

Obama, made empty threats so I guess some might see Trump as at least improving on his predecessors utter uselessness when it came to foreign policy. However, realpolitik thinking would suggest the best thing in Syria is for the war to end, this means one side must win. Both sides are the bad guys hence the confusion in diplomatic circles about what to do.

At least the last strategy, of letting Russia fight the war with Assad could have led to a conclusion of sorts. Now, if Assad is to be held back by US Airpower, then the prospect to and end to the war and slaughter is further away.

There are no easy answers in a terrible situation that has been allowed to develop - a few missiles fired I doubt is going to be the answer.

Perhaps instead this is meant to impress the Chinese on the seriousness of the threat Trump has made re North Korea?


Steven_L said...

Won't 'they' (the Pentagon/CIA etc) want to keep the Islamists and Russians fighting indefinitely?

I tend to find US actions in the middle east make a lot more sense when you look at it through this prism.

Have you considered they may simply be pursuing the classic foreign policy strategy of keeping their potential enemies at each others' throats?

Professor Pizzle said...

I really didn't want to see Trump get involved. There are no good guys in these wars. There are only different shades of really bad guys; all of whom hate us.

Looking for a silver lining though at least it makes the MSM's 'Trump is a Russian Stooge' and 'Putin rigged the election for Trump' narratives look stupid.

Well, it would if we had a rational MSM.

hovis said...

Is it proved that Assad did this? Far too reminiscent of the last time there was an attempt to draw UK forces to fight for the Saudi Backed Islamists under Cameron.

It is not impossible that it was Assad/a memeber of hos forces but equally he has more to lose than gain by doing so. Therfore equally possible are the Russian claims this was a hit on a weapons production/storage unit - The ISlamists have been using such weapons in Iraq.

Btw why is it more morally repugnant to be gassed rather than machine gunned, blown to pieced by high explosive or torn apart by shrapnel?

The whiff of hypocrisy and media managed bullshit is strong on this one.

Nick Drew said...

he deserves a few more points than the round 'nil', CU

> as you say, it tells China (& everyone else) that Mr T ain't 100% isolationist; & he knows where the trigger is
> as Prof P says above, it kills the 'Mr T is Putin's bitch' meme (just like losing that Obamacare vote killed the 'Mr T is Hitler, tramples on everyone' meme
> gives him a bit of the benefit of the 'Israeli' factor, i.e. these guys might do anything, best take a step back
> given that the day before he was saying 'Assad has crossed the line in the sand', he's shown his words (for once) actually do mean something (China / Fat-Boy Kim again)

(beginning to sound like Scott Adams now. His own pre-Tomahawk views are here:

Note his analysis: "... right when things in Syria were heading in a positive direction.
o Interesting timing. [of the original chemical attack]
o Super-powerful visual persuasion designed for Trump in particular.
o Suspiciously well-documented event for a place with no real press.
o No motive for Assad to use gas to kill a few dozen people at the cost of his entire regime. It wouldn’t be a popular move with Putin either.
o The type of attack no U.S. president can ignore and come away intact.
o A setup that looks suspiciously similar to the false WMD stories that sparked the Iraq war.

I’m going to call bullshit on the gas attack. It’s too “on-the-nose,” as Hollywood script-writers sometimes say, meaning a little too perfect to be natural. This has the look of a manufactured event

Nick Drew said...

PS, guess which western base this all pivots on? Clue: it's ours, on a big island just a very few miles from Syria. Now, Mr Juncker, if you really want to go making an arse of yourself, just keep muttering about UK assets in the Med and see how the conversation develops

Bill Quango MP said...

Hovis : I'm like most of us here a cock up over conspiracy theory.
Could be anything. Wrong shells in the howitzer. wrong bombs on the aircraft.
Just because something isn't in someone's interest doesn't mean it doesn't occur.

Putin would have occupied Ukraine by now if one of his military commanders hadn't shot down a civilian airliner in error.

All the western intelligence agencies are agreed it was Assad forces.They all came out with that. Its unlikely they would all be in cahoots.

if I was to bet, I'd bet on either error or a fairly junior commander taking too many casualties on a stubborn strong point and wanting to remove it.

Steven_L said...

Can you imagine them presenting President Trump with his options?

"Well there's option one, the Secretary of State issues a statement ... blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah ... war room ... blah, blah, ... tomahawk cruise missiles".

"Whoa, run that last one by me again?"

Now let's see if he develops a taste for playing with his toys.

Blue Eyes said...

I didn't realise we had taken on Ed Miliband as a contributor.

Electro-Kevin said...

Nick - I'm going to visit said island in the Med soon and Assad (nor Juncker) have met the mother of mother-in-laws who controls it !

Elby the Beserk said...

"The issue is that Assad was using chemical weapons on Al-Qaeda (Al-Nursa)controlled areas. Sadly for the civilians in Syria, nowhere is safe and each side happily uses hostages in this sick and brutal civil war. "

Yet there is NO proof whatsoever that Assad did this, indeed, why would he in a war he is winning anyway? This is the BBC/MSM line - Assad is a horrible monster (which must be why he is still hugely popular amongst the 16 million Syrians still there). Remember - this horrible monster, before the (West instigated) war, presided over a country with a GDP growing faster than ours, with a superb primary education system, and a country in which minorities and women were protected. So he pulled toe nails out of Islamists? Good for him. As we know, the West has been doing this for years.

You've been suckered by a HUGE dose of fake news.

dearieme said...

The US Establishment has won. Trump is a flop. What a pity. It was worth the gamble though. The alternative was the vile Hellary.

Dick the Prick said...

I guess what's the point in having a CIA if you're not gonna use 'em?

It's a bloody (literally) shame though. As per Nick, yeah - never waste a good crisis, work off the front foot, new Sheriff in town etc etc. I guess being bullshitted to, as per Elby, is to be expected - let's be honest, if anyone believed the campaign rhetoric then you may as well have believed in Obama - at least that chap had better speech writers. And yes, the Cyprus angle aids our foreign policy objectives etc etc.

It's just so fucking tedious!

CityUnslicker said...

Ed Milliband - meow indeed.

Random cruise missile strikes top the list of most ineffective foreign policy interventions ever.

I recall Clinton started this in the 1990's, had no effect then either. Not much more effective than a stern lecture from Jeremy Corbyn.

hovis said...

BQ - I never said it wasnt, simply that on balance it is far from the slam dunk presented to us and if we are credulous enough to believe that it must've been Assad, then the opposite munutions factory story is equally possible.
Watch out next you'll be telling me the "White Helmets" are noble protectors of civilians?

I would have to disagree with you on Ukraine, I don't think Putin ever wanted all of the Ukraine; only to secure his bases is Crimea (hostorically part of Russia) and support the ethnic Russians in the East. Why spend blood and treasure on a bankrupt country that despises you? As for MH17 the Dutch still havent released the evidence despite it being "rock solid". So yes the narrative we recieved on this was solid, the evidence far less so (see case above).

Anonymous said...

It's odd that only a few days ago the Daily Mail deleted this story, dated January 2013 (i.e. 6 months or so before the last "chemical weapons attack", from its website.

Leaked emails have allegedly proved that the White House gave the green light to a chemical weapons attack in Syria that could be blamed on Assad's regime and in turn, spur international military action in the devastated country.

A report released on Monday contains an email exchange between two senior officials at British-based contractor Britam Defence where a scheme 'approved by Washington' is outlined explaining that Qatar would fund rebel forces in Syria to use chemical weapons.

'Qataris propose an attractive deal and swear that the idea is approved by Washington.

'We’ll have to deliver a CW to Homs, a Soviet origin g-shell from Libya similar to those that Assad should have.

'They want us to deploy our Ukrainian personnel that should speak Russian and make a video record.

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

Do you know any of these guys, ND? Or is it more fake news?

I don't like the smell of what happened recently at all, it seems

a) too good to be true for the anti-Assad brigade who failed to persuade us to fight for Aleppo
b) too stupid for Assad to do at a time when he's winning, given that it was only Ed Miliband's inspired instruction to Labour MPs (plus some principled Tory backbenchers) that saved Assad from being Gaddafi'd in 2013.

What's really worrying me is, if it's worked with Trump once, the temptation will be there to try it again. The people who funded ISIS (and remember that for years the US seemed "unable" to find targets the size of oil tankers and whole refineries, when elsewhere they were Predatoring guys on motorcycles) would consider a few more dead kids a cheap price to get Trump onto the regime change train.

Iraq, Libya, now Syria. Three times is enemy action.

Anonymous said...

" support the ethnic Russians in the East. "

Remember the Sudetenland ?

There are many Russian colonists in the Baltic States. Is Putin entitled to invade them ?

Don Cox

Anonymous said...

I am too young to remember the Sudetenland, but I remember all the WMDs in Iraq that didn't exist. I also remember from H.W. Bush days the tearful Kuwaiti nurse, describing how the evil Iraqis tore all the premature babies from the incubators and left them to die on the ward floors while the equipment was shipped to Baghdad. Her heartrending testimony made TV news around the world. Fool me once, shame on you...

Nick Drew said...

anon @ 9:12 pm - that's all news to me, but see also the assessment by Scott Adams I cited @ 11:16 above which is consistent with what you've copied for us

I guess we've all seen The Night Manager. Those mercenaries & arms dealers, eh?

Blue Eyes said...

Mocking Ed Miliband aside, what IS the right thing to do or not do? At least Russia's policy has some logic behind it: back Assad enough for peace to break out then put someone more sensible in.

Could the UN prove itself to be useful by creating safe zones or a protectorate of some sort?

I actually supported Miliband's non at the time, but I now think I was wrong and that if we had started doing something (still not sure what) then maybe things would be better by now.

PS I love the comments above which say "you shouldn't believe the BBC propaganda, but look at the pictures of thriving Damascus"!

Nick Drew said...

Adams has now opined on Trump's strike

(his list looks so much like my list @ 11:16, you're going to wonder ...

It's just that I've been reading him for so long - since he started predicting President T which was 18 (sic) months ago - I'm obviously starting to think like him)

Electro-Kevin said...

I feel much easier after reading that blog, Nick. It's now on my reading list.

Nick Drew said...

More on the 'false flag' hypothesis here:

(personally I have no view)

rwendland said...

I too have no view of where this gas came form - we simply don't have good evidence.

But I do note that the various eye-witness accounts say the gas smelt strongly. Military grade, professionally made, Sarin is "odorless and tasteless" according to the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Also the photo the on-site Guardian reporters say is "the site of the attack" shows a munition remnant that looks neither like a cluster bomblet nor like a full size bomb you'd stick on a Mig-21 or similar:

So I'd like to see a MSM article that explains in more detail how this was delivered by an aircraft.

Anonymous said...

I've observed over the last few years that when dead toddlers wash up on beaches, we all get to see the raw snaps - even when the body's been moved to get a more emotive picture. Similarly with dust-covered kids in Aleppo, or dead kids ion Syria.

Yet we never see the child victims in Nice, or Berlin, or Stockholm. Or Yemen or Mosul for that matter.


Dick the Prick said...

@Anon 11.11 - no and piss off

Anonymous said...

@ND - many an expensive IT hour has been wasted at a colleague's desk flicking through the Dilbert calendar - Scott Adams is a very clever man.