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Thread: Prospect of Invasion of Syria

  1. #2146
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    Default Re: Prospect of Invasion of Syria

    Quote Originally Posted by Sam Lord View Post
    Hersh demonstrated absolutely nothing but an outstanding capacity for conjecture. I have no idea what consortium news is but from what I have read about the matter it is highly unlikely that they could have demonstrated that the gas did not come from Assad. All the real evidence point in this direction. German intelligence taped stuff going back to Iran confirming this, apart from anything else. But then you will no doubt say they made it up ...

    There is video of the spring being bombed from the air, bty, if you are in any doubt about the "unbiased" UN report. And why would this UN report be biased anyway? It's not like it's a report of the Security Council or anything. It's a commission of the UN Human Rights Council which involves mant different nationalities and not just the big powers.
    And who pays the bills for the UN in general, and the Human Rights Commission in particular? About a quarter from USA of course, and most of the rest from other "western" powers. He who pays the piper calls the tune-and determines who the staff are who write the reports.

    Not familiar with Robert Parry, also one of America's greatest journalists, and his Consortium News?

    Here's his Wikipedia entry.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Parry_(journalist)

    Here's Consortium News on the Sarin gas frameup of Assad almost used as a war pretext.

    https://consortiumnews.com/2016/12/1...e-flag-lesson/

    Author Ray McGovern is another interesting fellow, here's his Wikipedia page.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ray_McGovern

    And here's what Consortium News had to say about the recent chlorine gas accusations vs. Assad.

    https://consortiumnews.com/2016/09/0...mical-attacks/

    -AMH-
    Last edited by A Marxist Historian; 17-03-2017 at 11:16 PM. Reason: Bad URLs fixed

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    Default Re: Prospect of Invasion of Syria

    Quote Originally Posted by C. Flower View Post

    The rise of ISIS is consequent on very heavy funding by the Saudi Government, more than any other single factor. The US by the skin of its teeth avoided having to confront a joint Sunni-Shia rising against the US occupation - mainly as a result of the Al Q in Iraq bombing campaign against Shia civilian targets.
    Money and guns are important of course, but without a propitious political situation, they are useless. As is demonstrated by the comic opera attempts of the US to manufacture 100% US loyal jihadist groups in Syria, a contradiction in terms, which Obama had to pull the plug on.

    It was the sectarian atrocities and extreme corruption of the Shi'ite Iraqi regime and the dictatorial atrocities of Assad that made the rise of ISIS possible. Money and guns helped a lot, but were ultimately a secondary consideration.

    [QUOTE=C. Flower;462696]
    It was a point that you asserted in your previous post.
    Looking back at the previous post, yes I did, like I said a sloppy formulation, which now I have corrected. One of the reasons I like arguing with you, despite your occasional bursts of ... well, let's not go there ... is that by focusing on weak spots in my arguments, I learn things and clean up my own polemics.

    Quote Originally Posted by C. Flower View Post

    I've no idea on what you base your opinion of what Sunnis see and think. The vast majority of terror attacks in the last few years in Iraq were the serious of massive ISIS/Al Q anti Shia bombings that killed thousands of people.

    These bombings of soft civilian targets - Shia pilgrimages and Shia visiting mosques - have been going on since 2004.
    And sectarian atrocities vs. Sunnis have been going on just as long. The Shi'ite signature atrocity--torture with power drills--also goes back to 2004.

    Here's, almost randomly chosen, a UPI report on the return of this stuff recently from 2014. I could post lots more links on this.

    http://www.upi.com/Iraq-Execution-st...4901392242380/

    -amh-
    Last edited by C. Flower; 19-03-2017 at 06:25 PM.

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    Default Re: Prospect of Invasion of Syria

    Quote Originally Posted by Sam Lord View Post
    The Yanks have joined the Russians in bombing the west Aleppo countryside and one or the other struck a mosque, during evening prayers no less!, killing dozens. Missile fragments would suggest that it is the US. Assad says that not only is he happy with the US support but he is delighted that the effectiveness of his and Putin's methods has been recognised by them.

    Meanwhile the US backed YPD has shut down the offices in North Syria of some 44 political and civil organisations in the last week alone. Many offices were sacked and torched. Also savage video footage circulating on the web of YPD soldiers torturing a prisoner in the Raqqah area. The YPD says that 5 men involved have been arrested ... their crime possibly allowing their efforts to be filmed as it all looked pretty routine judging by the attitude of other onlooking soldiers.
    This demonstrates that there really is no such thing as "progressive" nationalism these days. The much ballyhooed anarcho-Stalinists of the YPG are just Kurdish nationalists in disguise, and Rojava is definitely no latterday Paris Commune if you aren't Kurdish-or if you are for that matter.

    and now that the Syrian rebels who sold their souls to US imperialism have failed and are seen as losers by their American owners--they get the same treatment that the Kurds always get when they are no longer useful, and that the YPG can look forward to.

    -AMH-

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    Default Re: Prospect of Invasion of Syria

    Quote Originally Posted by A Marxist Historian View Post

    Here's Consortium News on the Sarin gas frameup of Assad almost used as a war pretext.

    https://consortiumnews.com/2016/12/1...e-flag-lesson/
    Thousands of words and not one fact. Apart from a Turkish MP claiming that the Turkish state was monitoring individuals trying to obtain Sarin precursors but did not prosecute them. Such great journalism. Outstanding really. From that snippet of information you spin a whole narrative about the rebels somehow manufacturing Sarin in no time at all, weaponising it, and firing it in rockets they did not even possess. Oh look .. another "false flag". Such marvelous "journalism" .. such a way with words.

    All this utter bunkum was totally demolished in the following article. The author also rightly points out, something which I have noted for some years now, that much of the so called "left" has entirely abandoned Marxism and degenerated into some sort of crude conspiracy theorists.

    The points he makes about the utter bunkum being peddled by the likes of Hersh and Consortium News are:

    Firstly, sarin is difficult to make. Anyone who claims otherwise is oblivious to both history and chemical engineering. Germany, the US and the former Soviet Union took years to perfect the process. Its production requires a number of complex steps and the ability to handle highly dangerous chemicals at very closely controlled high temperatures and pressures. There is no evidence anyone has come up with any sort of streamlined method to manipulate the molecules to make sarin.

    Second, quantity. Perfecting the process isn’t enough – there is a difference between making a spoonful and enough for the August attacks, which would have needed about half a ton. This assumes a scale only reached by big state production programmes. To put it in perspective, the one verified example of non-state production of sarin was the Aum Shinrikyo cult in Japan. Their many millions of dollars, very large purpose-built manufacturing facility and highly qualified staff got them the ability to make single batches of perhaps 8 litres of short shelf life Sarin. The alleged Aleppo plant wouldn’t need to be the size of the Rocky Mountain Arsenal in the US, but it would have needed to be closer to that than the size of a house.

    Third is the choice of weapon. Of the panoply of chemical warfare agents available to modern science and engineering, sarin is one of the hardest to make. So why was this one chosen? Even its nerve agent kin, Tabun and VX, are arguably easier to produce; mustard or lewisite are easier and use less technology. Numerous toxic industrial chemicals which might “fly under the radar” of non-proliferation regimes could be used as weapons. So why pick the hardest?

    Fourth, economics. To make this operation work it is going to take a lot of highly trained people, raw materials, and specialised equipment, as well as a facility. It would cost many tens of millions of dollars. When the rebel factions are so stretched for resources, does it make any sense to spend, say, $50m on a weapon of limited utility? Lavish expenditure must raise a paper trail somewhere; there would be order books and receipts. Let’s see them.

    Fifth is logistics. You don’t turn precursor material magically into sarin: you need about 9kg to end up with 1kg of sarin. This stuff has to come from somewhere, but where? Hersh omits these details, as do most of the alternative narratives. It is simply assumed that things like phosphorus trichloride and thionyl chloride just get summoned up in vast quantities without someone noticing. Most commentators on this issue have also forgotten about something called conservation of mass. If you use 9kg of material to synthesize 1kg of sarin you end up with 8kg of waste, rather a lot of which is very dangerous, smelly and corrosive. This waste stream has to go somewhere, and someone will notice. There are also the logistics of getting a lot of sarin into rockets and getting those rockets from Aleppo to Damascus.

    Sixth, concealment. How do you hide all of this? The building, the supply chain, the people, the money, and the very smelly waste stream. Where are they? They need to be concealed not just from the Syrian regime but from other rebel factions, western intelligence agencies, the Russians, and perhaps even your own people who might desert, get captured or say silly things on YouTube videos. There is deathly silence from Aleppo and we only find out about it from Hersh?

    Lastly is the specificity of the product. There are important physical clues found in the traces of sarin at the impact sites of the 21 August rocket attack. One of these is the presence of hexamine, a chemical with no history of use in nerve agent production. But hexamine can be used as an acid scavenger, and thus its presence could be explained due to its use as an additive to the sarin. This idea has been reinforced by both the admission of the Syrian regime that they used hexamine as part of their formula, and by Syria’s declaration to the OPCW of an inventory of 80 tonnes of hexamine, specifically as part of their chemical weapons program. Surely, as an uncontrolled substance, they could have omitted it from their declarations. But they didn’t. Hexamine in field samples plus hexamine in Syrian inventories, plus an admission that hexamine was in their recipe, seems a compelling case for tying the Sarin in the field to the Syrian regime. How would an Aleppo-based rebel factory somehow come up with the same exact idea?

    Taken cumulatively, all these points add up to a very high degree of improbability. Isn’t it more probable that the Sarin came from the people who confessed to having a Sarin factory, fired from areas controlled by the government 2km away from the impact sites, in munitions the government had been using since 2012?


    https://louisproyect.org/2015/10/26/...ck-not-really/



    Quote Originally Posted by A Marxist Historian View Post
    And here's what Consortium News had to say about the recent chlorine gas accusations vs. Assad.

    https://consortiumnews.com/2016/09/0...mical-attacks/


    I can only shake my head in wonder. Do you guys ever read the utter nonsense you spread about? In your article the UN report is lambasted because it:

    ... dismissed out of hand the possibility that jihadist rebels who had overrun some air bases and thus had operational helicopters at their disposal might have used them as part of a staged event designed to incriminate the Damascus regime and thus justify U.S. or other outside military intervention.
    Oh sweet mother of divine ... save me please. The world is descending into utter insanity.
    Do not rejoice in his defeat, you men. For though the world has stood up and stopped the bastard, the (female dog) that bore him is in heat again. Bertolt Brecht

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    Default Re: Prospect of Invasion of Syria

    Quote Originally Posted by Sam Lord View Post
    Thousands of words and not one fact. Apart from a Turkish MP claiming that the Turkish state was monitoring individuals trying to obtain Sarin precursors but did not prosecute them. Such great journalism. Outstanding really. From that snippet of information you spin a whole narrative about the rebels somehow manufacturing Sarin in no time at all, weaponising it, and firing it in rockets they did not even possess. Oh look .. another "false flag". Such marvelous "journalism" .. such a way with words.

    All this utter bunkum was totally demolished in the following article. The author also rightly points out, something which I have noted for some years now, that much of the so called "left" has entirely abandoned Marxism and degenerated into some sort of crude conspiracy theorists.

    The points he makes about the utter bunkum being peddled by the likes of Hersh and Consortium News are:





    https://louisproyect.org/2015/10/26/...ck-not-really/







    I can only shake my head in wonder. Do you guys ever read the utter nonsense you spread about? In your article the UN report is lambasted because it:

    Oh sweet mother of divine ... save me please. The world is descending into utter insanity.
    No use calling for divine assistance.
    “ We cannot withdraw our cards from the game. Were we as silent and mute as stones, our very passivity would be an act. ”
    — Jean-Paul Sartre

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    Default Re: Prospect of Invasion of Syria

    Quote Originally Posted by A Marxist Historian View Post
    ... and now that the Syrian rebels who sold their souls to US imperialism have failed and are seen as losers by their American owners--they get the same treatment that the Kurds always get when they are no longer useful, and that the YPG can look forward to.
    I'm not sure who these rebels who have "sold their soul to US imperialism are". Ahrar al Sham? You should take our nose out of trotty publications sometime and try looking at the real world.

    And the so called losers (having recently take a fairly big chunk of Daara city) in the last few days launched a big offensive in Eastern Damascus. This is probably causing Assad a few sleepless night as they they have been targeting his palace with rockets, amongst other stuff.

    And they have just launched a second major offensive north of Homs city. Going well so far. It's all a bit like that mole game you used to see in fairgrounds .. hit one with a hammer and another pops up right away. A lot of mole banging to be done by Putin and the As_sadists at the moment. Hope the hammer doesn't wear out.

    Oh .. and the rebels have in the last week taken pretty much all of East Qalmoun from ISIS.

    The fact is that the rebels have survived one and a half years of Russian intervention and God knows how long of Iranian, Syrian, Lebanese, etc. intervention. I'm reasonably optimistic that they will survive US/Russian/Iranian etc. intervention.

    Bty, the situation with the YPG is not as simple as you think. They have just signed some big deal with Putin involving, it is said, Russian military bases in the North and training, etc. for the YPG. They are describing it as an alliance against "terrorism" which is a bit rich coming from both the PKK (sorry YPG) and and Putin. I can't say exactly what the deal entails but I do know that there are now Ruskies all over Afrin Canton. That such a deal could be made shows that Putin and not Assad is now in charge of Syria.

    In the old days the Yanks would be very concerned about developments like this but everyone seems all cosy cosy at the moment ... at least when it comes to putting down the Syrian revolution.

    Things are getting interesting with Israel which is having it's way with Hezbollah in Syria .. with the latter paying a heavy price for venturing out of it's bunkers in southern Lebanon. Twice in recent weeks the Russians have called in the Israeli ambassador and warned that the strikes against Hezbollah (wait . aren't they a terrorist organisation?) would have to stop. Twice the Israelis have to them to go take a flying ... Now Assad is saying he is depending on Putin to put manners on the ISraelis. Haha. I doubt Vlad would be that stupid but you just never know ...
    Do not rejoice in his defeat, you men. For though the world has stood up and stopped the bastard, the (female dog) that bore him is in heat again. Bertolt Brecht

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    Default Re: Prospect of Invasion of Syria

    So much going on it's hard to keep track of....

    In East Damascus the battle continues to rage.

    North/north west of Hama the rebels have punched a huge hole in the As-sadists territory and are now within 4km of the city. But I'm not sure that the city is the objective. It would be a huge move to push past Hama in an effort to link with the north Homs pocket. The Tigers who have been having a free ride in north Aleppo recently, "capturing" huge areas vacated by ISIS are now being pulled out and redeployed to Hama to hold the line. This will provide opportunities to someone in North Aleppo ... hopefully the FSA.

    Meanwhile rebels in the Homs pocket have managed to cut the Homs - Salamiyah road. The route seems to me to be hugely important to the regime in terms of keeping its Aleppo forces resupplied.

    In the north east YPG held Efrin canton it is being reported the Ruskies wearing YPG patches have deployed to border towns. It is also being reported that they are being heavily shelled by the Turks. This would be a huge development if true.
    Do not rejoice in his defeat, you men. For though the world has stood up and stopped the bastard, the (female dog) that bore him is in heat again. Bertolt Brecht

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    Default Re: Prospect of Invasion of Syria

    US Special Forces and YPG have been airdropped west of Lake Assad (puke) to cut the main Raqqa Aleppo and put pressure on ISIS in Tabqa from the south as well. Lets hope that ISIS don't blow the dam.
    Do not rejoice in his defeat, you men. For though the world has stood up and stopped the bastard, the (female dog) that bore him is in heat again. Bertolt Brecht

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    Default Re: Prospect of Invasion of Syria

    Quote Originally Posted by Sam Lord View Post
    Thousands of words and not one fact. Apart from a Turkish MP claiming that the Turkish state was monitoring individuals trying to obtain Sarin precursors but did not prosecute them. Such great journalism. Outstanding really. From that snippet of information you spin a whole narrative about the rebels somehow manufacturing Sarin in no time at all, weaponising it, and firing it in rockets they did not even possess. Oh look .. another "false flag". Such marvelous "journalism" .. such a way with words.

    All this utter bunkum was totally demolished in the following article. The author also rightly points out, something which I have noted for some years now, that much of the so called "left" has entirely abandoned Marxism and degenerated into some sort of crude conspiracy theorists.

    The points he makes about the utter bunkum being peddled by the likes of Hersh and Consortium News are:

    https://louisproyect.org/2015/10/26/...ck-not-really/
    Demolished? As is usual for screeds from Louis Proyect, who earned the monicker Louis Proyectile Vomit in left Internet discourse decades ago for his habit of personal invective (of which him calling Hersh a "doddering old fool" in one of his pieces is a lot milder than the obscenity-littered stuff that used to be his hallmark), this is deceptive bait and switch.

    Hersh and Consortium make a case that the Turks gave Sarin to al-Nusra, nowadays called either ISIS or al-Sham (a name which is truly a sham to cover up that they are still basically an al-Q'aida franchise), and so Proyect says that ... ISIS/al-Sham couldn't manufacture their own Sarin? Besides the point and irrelevant.

    Denouncing Hersh is a favorite sport for Proyect. Jealousy, Hersh because of his Watergate etc. rep has access to people who'd never talk to Proyect. Combined with his desire to be a "left" tail for Hillary and Obama with respect to Syria and everything else too. The line he used to peddle was that Hersh needs to be rejected because his sources are anonymous.

    https://louisproyect.org/2013/12/18/...named-sources/

    That did not sit well with his public, all too aware that sources in high places known to have spilled the beans to Hersh would, at very best, no longer be in high places anymore. Especially now that Donald Trump has borrowed from Proyect his campaign against the media using anonymous sources. So he has to come up with this kind of bait and switch stuff instead.

    Hersh does at times drift into conspiratorialism a bit, understandable for someone who has spent much of his journalistic career exposing genuine ruling class conspiracies. Nobody's perfect. But pigmies like Proyect do not deserve even to drool over Hersh's journalistic shoes.

    -AMH-

  10. #2155
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    Default Re: Prospect of Invasion of Syria

    Quote Originally Posted by Sam Lord View Post
    I'm not sure who these rebels who have "sold their soul to US imperialism are". Ahrar al Sham? You should take our nose out of trotty publications sometime and try looking at the real world.

    And the so called losers (having recently take a fairly big chunk of Daara city) in the last few days launched a big offensive in Eastern Damascus. This is probably causing Assad a few sleepless night as they they have been targeting his palace with rockets, amongst other stuff.

    And they have just launched a second major offensive north of Homs city. Going well so far. It's all a bit like that mole game you used to see in fairgrounds .. hit one with a hammer and another pops up right away. A lot of mole banging to be done by Putin and the As_sadists at the moment. Hope the hammer doesn't wear out.

    Oh .. and the rebels have in the last week taken pretty much all of East Qalmoun from ISIS.

    The fact is that the rebels have survived one and a half years of Russian intervention and God knows how long of Iranian, Syrian, Lebanese, etc. intervention. I'm reasonably optimistic that they will survive US/Russian/Iranian etc. intervention.

    Bty, the situation with the YPG is not as simple as you think. They have just signed some big deal with Putin involving, it is said, Russian military bases in the North and training, etc. for the YPG. They are describing it as an alliance against "terrorism" which is a bit rich coming from both the PKK (sorry YPG) and and Putin. I can't say exactly what the deal entails but I do know that there are now Ruskies all over Afrin Canton. That such a deal could be made shows that Putin and not Assad is now in charge of Syria.

    In the old days the Yanks would be very concerned about developments like this but everyone seems all cosy cosy at the moment ... at least when it comes to putting down the Syrian revolution.

    Things are getting interesting with Israel which is having it's way with Hezbollah in Syria .. with the latter paying a heavy price for venturing out of it's bunkers in southern Lebanon. Twice in recent weeks the Russians have called in the Israeli ambassador and warned that the strikes against Hezbollah (wait . aren't they a terrorist organisation?) would have to stop. Twice the Israelis have to them to go take a flying ... Now Assad is saying he is depending on Putin to put manners on the ISraelis. Haha. I doubt Vlad would be that stupid but you just never know ...
    No, one can't exactly say that al Q'aida the Syrian Sham has sold its soul to US imperialism. That would be the FSA. Not the sham FSA in the Turkish occupation zone, but the more or less real one you are in love with. Who however have, for lack of any better alternative, pretty much subordinated themselves to The Sham in the Idlib area, the last serious bastion of the "Syrian rebels," thereby making it possible for an offensive from Idlib towards Hama that made some serious gains before it was halted, which it seems has happened now.

    How? By breaking the months-long ceasefire agreed on in negotiations which al-Sham had not participated in, now that the FSA is taking their orders from al-Sham instead of the Pentagon, and catching the Syrian army off guard while it was focusing on an offensive vs. ISIS scoring some serious successes.

    More importantly than taking Palmyra itself, the oilfields around Palmyra, oil being in the last analysis always the underlying issue in the Middle East. And surrounding and bypassing Deir Hafer on the way towards Raqqah. A key base, one of the very few Syrian cities other than Raqqah ISIS still held. (See linked map). Creating the possibility that the Syrian army could reach the vicinity of Raqqah before it falls, in which case whatever is left of Raqqah after it is bombed into the stone age and the overwhelmingly non-Kurdish population is subjected to whatever the US and its Kurdish tools have in mind, after the Ramallah/Fallujah/Mosul model. After all, the Turks are blocked from the area by Assad, Putin and the US army detachment in Manjib, and Kurdish control of the ruins of Raqqah is a nonstarter. So by default Assad would get the ruins, and therefore pretty much the whole of ISIS Syrian territory once the dust settles, mostly vast empty spaces except around Raqqah and Palmyra.

    So al-Sham decided to take advantage of this with one last throw, kind of like the Battle of the Bulge in WWII, and sure enough if you look at the war maps you see a bulge in the battle line pointing towards Hama. Southfront usually has the best maps, but all the others agree.

    https://maps.southfront.org/military...17-map-update/

    Some sort of desperate move like this was necessary for them as well as possible, once the FSA in the Idlib megapocket fully cried uncle to al-Sham, whatever its Western backers felt about it. During the general ceasefire, one by one the pockets of Syrian rebels still there in major cities were evacuating into the Idlib megapocket, either by negotiation, or because they were in bed with al-Sham allowing the Syrian government to attack them without violating the ceasefire. Indeed, just a couple days before the offensive, the last Syrian rebel pocket in Homs, the "cradle of the Syrian Revolution," was evacuated.

    The main effect of this offensive, combined with the US forces crossing the river to try to seize the Tabqa dam, is to prevent the Syrian army from getting a crack at Raqqah, as obviously some if not all of the Syrian forces advancing past Deir Hafer towards Raqqah will have to be redeployed, some of which has already happened.

    A tactical victory for al-Sham which will likely turn out to be a strategic disaster. Especially since it was combined with an offensive from Eastern Ghouta towards Damascus itself, which will allow the government forces to beat it back, continue on, and liquidate the Syrian rebels forces in the eastern suburbs of Damascus, al-Sham and FSA both, without violating the ceasefire itself under the terms it is written. A major strategic victory, would mean that effectively all major Syrian cities are fully in the hands of the government, except for Raqqah and Idlib (and Deraa in the extreme south, where you have the main forces *directly* backed and controlled by the US and the Saudis. Whenever the Assad regime settles the hash of the rebels in the much more important areas the rather feeble foreign backed forces and their al-Sham, ISIS and FSA tactical allies will get driven out).

    The Battle of the Bulge analogy is pretty precise. With control of the rest of Syria, except for the Kurdish area and the Turkish occupation zone, the Idlib megapocket now solidly controlled by al-Sham could be next, and then the Syria Civil War would be essentially over, setting the stage for Civil War #2 vs. the Kurds, followed by a war between Syria and Turkey.

    All this, of course, at the cost of huge human suffering, when it is all over there would be very little left of Syria.

    -AMH-

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    Default Re: Prospect of Invasion of Syria

    Quote Originally Posted by Sam Lord View Post
    So much going on it's hard to keep track of....

    In East Damascus the battle continues to rage.

    North/north west of Hama the rebels have punched a huge hole in the As-sadists territory and are now within 4km of the city. But I'm not sure that the city is the objective. It would be a huge move to push past Hama in an effort to link with the north Homs pocket. The Tigers who have been having a free ride in north Aleppo recently, "capturing" huge areas vacated by ISIS are now being pulled out and redeployed to Hama to hold the line. This will provide opportunities to someone in North Aleppo ... hopefully the FSA.

    Meanwhile rebels in the Homs pocket have managed to cut the Homs - Salamiyah road. The route seems to me to be hugely important to the regime in terms of keeping its Aleppo forces resupplied.

    In the north east YPG held Efrin canton it is being reported the Ruskies wearing YPG patches have deployed to border towns. It is also being reported that they are being heavily shelled by the Turks. This would be a huge development if true.
    Accuracy. There is no "Homs pocket," rather there is a big pocket halfway in between Homs and Hama, in the countryside. Indeed the intelligent objective for al-Sham and their FSA subordinates would be to break through from Idlib to said pocket, rather than trying to retake Hama. Their chance of doing that is very much like Hitler's dream for the Bulge of breaking through to the coast and cutting off Allied forces in the Netherlands. Very unlikely then, very unlikely now, and will likely turn out to be a strategic disaster, hastening Assad victory.

    If the al-Sham/FSA forces in the pocket between Homs and Hama have broken the ceasefire too, that will likely backfire as well, even if they cut off a major highway for a day or two.

    -AMH-

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    Default Re: Prospect of Invasion of Syria

    oil being in the last analysis always the underlying issue in the Middle East
    Oil and water.
    “ We cannot withdraw our cards from the game. Were we as silent and mute as stones, our very passivity would be an act. ”
    — Jean-Paul Sartre

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    Default Re: Prospect of Invasion of Syria

    Quote Originally Posted by A Marxist Historian View Post
    Demolished?
    Yes. Thoroughly demolished. You just refuse to look at the facts.

    Quote Originally Posted by A Marxist Historian View Post
    As is usual for screeds from Louis Proyect, who earned the monicker Louis Proyectile Vomit in left Internet discourse decades ago for his habit of personal invective (of which him calling Hersh a "doddering old fool" in one of his pieces is a lot milder than the obscenity-littered stuff that used to be his hallmark), this is deceptive bait and switch.
    Your abuse of Proyect is pointless as it was not he who demolished the nonsense that Hersh was peddling to the gullible. This was done in an article in the Guardian newspaper that he simply quoted.

    https://www.theguardian.com/commenti...l-attack-syria

    If attacking the messenger is your way of refuting the news then you should attack the two writers of that piece. Proyect is irrelevant. It was the Guardian article which pointed out the following:

    Firstly, sarin is difficult to make. Anyone who claims otherwise is oblivious to both history and chemical engineering. Germany, the US and the former Soviet Union took years to perfect the process. Its production requires a number of complex steps and the ability to handle highly dangerous chemicals at very closely controlled high temperatures and pressures. There is no evidence anyone has come up with any sort of streamlined method to manipulate the molecules to make sarin.

    Second, quantity. Perfecting the process isn't enough – there is a difference between making a spoonful and enough for the August attacks, which would have needed about half a ton. This assumes a scale only reached by big state production programmes. To put it in perspective, the one verified example of non-state production of sarin was the Aum Shinrikyo cult in Japan. Their many millions of dollars, very large purpose-built manufacturing facility and highly qualified staff got them the ability to make single batches of perhaps 8 litres of short shelf life Sarin. The alleged Aleppo plant wouldn't need to be the size of the Rocky Mountain Arsenal in the US, but it would have needed to be closer to that than the size of a house.
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    Third is the choice of weapon. Of the panoply of chemical warfare agents available to modern science and engineering, sarin is one of the hardest to make. So why was this one chosen? Even its nerve agent kin, Tabun and VX, are arguably easier to produce; mustard or lewisite are easier and use less technology. Numerous toxic industrial chemicals which might "fly under the radar" of non-proliferation regimes could be used as weapons. So why pick the hardest?

    Fourth, economics. To make this operation work it is going to take a lot of highly trained people, raw materials, and specialised equipment, as well as a facility. It would cost many tens of millions of dollars. When the rebel factions are so stretched for resources, does it make any sense to spend, say, $50m on a weapon of limited utility? Lavish expenditure must raise a paper trail somewhere; there would be order books and receipts. Let's see them.

    Fifth is logistics. You don't turn precursor material magically into sarin: you need about 9kg to end up with 1kg of sarin. This stuff has to come from somewhere, but where? Hersh omits these details, as do most of the alternative narratives. It is simply assumed that things like phosphorus trichloride and thionyl chloride just get summoned up in vast quantities without someone noticing. Most commentators on this issue have also forgotten about something called conservation of mass. If you use 9kg of material to synthesize 1kg of sarin you end up with 8kg of waste, rather a lot of which is very dangerous, smelly and corrosive. This waste stream has to go somewhere, and someone will notice. There are also the logistics of getting a lot of sarin into rockets and getting those rockets from Aleppo to Damascus.

    Sixth, concealment. How do you hide all of this? The building, the supply chain, the people, the money, and the very smelly waste stream. Where are they? They need to be concealed not just from the Syrian regime but from other rebel factions, western intelligence agencies, the Russians, and perhaps even your own people who might desert, get captured or say silly things on YouTube videos. There is deathly silence from Aleppo and we only find out about it from Hersh?

    Lastly is the specificity of the product. There are important physical clues found in the traces of sarin at the impact sites of the 21 August rocket attack. One of these is the presence of hexamine, a chemical with no history of use in nerve agent production. But hexamine can be used as an acid scavenger, and thus its presence could be explained due to its use as an additive to the sarin. This idea has been reinforced by both the admission of the Syrian regime that they used hexamine as part of their formula, and by Syria's declaration to the OPCW of an inventory of 80 tonnes of hexamine, specifically as part of their chemical weapons program. Surely, as an uncontrolled substance, they could have omitted it from their declarations. But they didn't. Hexamine in field samples plus hexamine in Syrian inventories, plus an admission that hexamine was in their recipe, seems a compelling case for tying the Sarin in the field to the Syrian regime. How would an Aleppo-based rebel factory somehow come up with the same exact idea?

    Taken cumulatively, all these points add up to a very high degree of improbability. Isn't it more probable that the Sarin came from the people who confessed to having a Sarin factory, fired from areas controlled by the government 2km away from the impact sites, in munitions the government had been using since 2012?
    Maybe you could try addressing those points.


    Quote Originally Posted by A Marxist Historian View Post
    Hersh and Consortium make a case that the Turks gave Sarin to al-Nusra, nowadays called either ISIS or al-Sham (a name which is truly a sham to cover up that they are still basically an al-Q'aida franchise), and so Proyect says that ... ISIS/al-Sham couldn't manufacture their own Sarin? Besides the point and irrelevant.
    Well, the inability of any opposition group in Syria to manufacture Sarin is of course highly relevant. In the LRB in December 2013 Hersh claimed that based on classified reports of US Intelligence Agencies (which he apparently had access to .. I guess we just have to take his word for that) the Nusra Front was capable of manufacturing Sarin "in quantities". This was very important indeed to Hersch at the time. It was the only "evidence" he could throw up to get Assad off the hook.

    In the months before the attack, the American intelligence agencies produced a series of highly classified reports, culminating in a formal Operations Order – a planning document that precedes a ground invasion – citing evidence that the al-Nusra Front, a jihadi group affiliated with al-Qaida, had mastered the mechanics of creating sarin and was capable of manufacturing it in quantity. When the attack occurred al-Nusra should have been a suspect, but the administration cherry-picked intelligence to justify a strike against Assad.
    The hilarity of Hersh making a case based on US intelligence documents (if they in fact exist .. we have to take his word for it) preparing the case for a ground invasion of Syria is of course apparent. He seems to have forgotten all the US intelligence evidence of Saddams weapons of mass destruction. The technical ludicrousness of this claim is, of course, fully exposed in the Guardian article.

    With regard to Turkey giving Sarin to the Nusra Front there is not one shred of evidence of this. None. And even if Turkey had there was still the problem of weaponising it and firing it in rockets which the rebels did not possess.

    Incidentally, in your posts I notice you have started referring to "al Sham" or "Sham" and it is not at all clear which group you mean. Sham seems to refer to the geographical area of Syria and there are probably a dozen or more rebel groups which would have this word in their title. You do not appear to be aware of this. The largest of these groups would be Ahrar al-Sham followed by Tahrir al-Sham .. but there are many others.
    Do not rejoice in his defeat, you men. For though the world has stood up and stopped the bastard, the (female dog) that bore him is in heat again. Bertolt Brecht

  14. #2159
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    Default Re: Prospect of Invasion of Syria

    Quote Originally Posted by A Marxist Historian View Post
    Accuracy. There is no "Homs pocket," rather there is a big pocket halfway in between Homs and Hama, in the countryside.
    Accuracy? Why don't you look at a map before repeatedly making an ass of yourself. The pocket is in north Homs governate and touches the northern outskirts of Homs city itself. I would say that just about all of it is south of the half way line between Homs and Hama. And I didn't invent the name. The pocket is routinely referred to as the "Homs pocket" or the "North Homs pocket". I have never seen it referred to as anything else. If you don't believe me try typing "Homs pocket" into google and see what comes up.
    Do not rejoice in his defeat, you men. For though the world has stood up and stopped the bastard, the (female dog) that bore him is in heat again. Bertolt Brecht

  15. #2160
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    Default Re: Prospect of Invasion of Syria

    The wikipage on the Ghouta chemical attack is worth reading. It shows how politicised the discussion is, and also shows that there is not a clear answer at this stage as to who was responsible.

    Given that the attack happened just as a UN investigation team arrived who had been asked in by the Syrian Government to investigate alleged sarin attacks against Syrian-Gov held territory in previous months, it seems unlikely that it had government authorisation, but of course, not impossible.

    There is also a possibility that the Ghouta attack was carried out by the Syrian army without approval from Assad, as reportedly they had been refused permission in the previous months.
    It doesn't seem to be disputed that the UN team was sniped at and shelled by 'rebels' causing them to truncate their visit.

    For all the numerous reports and scenarios, there is nothing that I've read that provides conclusive evidence of who carried out the attack/s. Even David Cameron had to admit that. And much less has been said about the apparent sarin attack in the spring that had killed a number of Syrian troops and civilians.

    All in all, I don't know who did it.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghouta_chemical_attack
    “ We cannot withdraw our cards from the game. Were we as silent and mute as stones, our very passivity would be an act. ”
    — Jean-Paul Sartre

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