/ Syria (cont.2)
They could blacklist them if they want but as it won't stop them encouraging and helping them at the same time it doesn't much matter. All the yanks want is mayhem and weak broken states, or client dictatorships like in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain etc., in the area.
They don't give a damn about the interests of the people themselves - Libya was proof enough for those who didn't get the message from Iraq, Afghanistan and so on... as long as the oil keeps flowing and no one opposes them or their bridgehead in Palestine that's all they want.
why not? if it's true. Al Qaeda is more evil (but only marginally) than the Assad regime.
but since the USA seems to have no idea what it wants to happen in Syria, I don't suppose it makes much difference
I'm not sure you've ever come up with a convincing argument as to why weak chaotic states benefit the USA in any way, or why the yanks preferred the disruption caused to world oil supplies that the Libyan fighting involved, as opposed to the stable flow of oil they had before he went - can you elaborate? As far as I can see narrow self interest would have required keeping gadaffi in place to ensure stable oil flows, and avoiding failed states on the basis that their experience with Somalia, pre-9/11 Afghanistan and so on hasn't been entirely positive.
I'm not sure on past experience a convincing argument is likely to be forthcoming, but go on, as a Christmas present, care to have a go?
> I'm not sure you've ever come up with a convincing argument as to why weak chaotic states benefit the USA in any way,
On another forum I once asked a similar question. In that case it was apparently the US/Zionists who were the cause of all the world's miseries. The answer was that US/Zionists couldn't be expected to be rational.
Does this help?
now they have recognized them as a proper organization its legit (or easy to justify) to send in 'special advisors', who also have interests in bringing down the assad govt.
its a standard format: national uprisings need an international threat to get the US involved beyond 'advisory' level. in this case this is it. US advisors have been on the ground all along (and brits), now they can alter their applications since a direct threat has been identified.
its noticeable even in the news footage: in the space of a month the articulation of the fighters interviewed, their strategies and the weaponry they are using to nail more decisive targets has upscaled.
it makes sense to divide and manipulate the rebels after the lessons of afghanistan and to a lesser extend iraq. it further compartmentalizes the rebel groups and helps with elements like foreign fighters. it would also make a difference with the sectarian issues amongst turkish-backed and islamist 'jihadist' groups.
i believe the US/UK is playng a long game, trying to hedge their bets for when assad is out and its a shit fight amongst the sects over who takes over (with corresponding shifts in population/refugees from the unfavoured groups). it makes sense to undermine the nusra front now rather than if they get into government.
as for the US valuing crippled regional states?
show us an example. the US openly values powerful regional states - even if they are in a state of conflict. places like afghanistan, iraq, syria, el salvador are not tin pot local dictatorships, they are powerful regional players that manipulate vital world resources and alliances.
the US doesnt bother with true crappy regional states - they dont do much in western sahara or angola...
if there is any conspiracy its that the media portrays the places the US is involved in as marginal and tin pot. dysfunctional in some ways yes, but very stable when viewed as markets for the sort of things that circulate the sort of cash countries are built upon.
With Gaddafi in power the oil companies were obliged to triple what they paid for Libyan oil, a particularly sought after kind, pretty well overnight. The foreign military bases were kicked out and then the oil companies were taken over... do you think the US companies and military enjoyed this? This led directly to other oil producers doing similar things and cheap oil was just a dream of the past. And so on... do you really see no reason why they should prefer going back to the pre-Gaddafi days, with the more compliant Eastern Libyans in power, more or less, and no trouble from independently minded Libyans?
For each state, take a look, you'll find reasons... look on a map of US bases throughout the world, you may notice a certain concentration around the Middle East. Do you think it's for the climate?
So your argument is that they decided to wait what, 30 years, 40 years or whatever, went through a politically difficult period of normalizing relations with someone who they had nor long before accused of bombing their civilians, funding domestic terrorism in their countries and so on, and then decided to act? I guess you've got a logic for why they waited so long? Some multi-decade Machiavellian ploy to trick him into establishing a perfectly normal working relationship with them to lure him into a false sense of security maybe.
Well the list is so long & varied that it's hard to know where to start. For example:
Iran (under the Shah)
Anyway, look like we'll find out soon. The Israeli news analysis is that it's the beginning of the end for Assad. He's estimated to control only 25% of Syria and his forces are demoralized. Russia is backing away fast and is talking with the US about an orderly transfer of power
I think it is likely part of the increased flow propagandizing for the coming 'intervention'.
Add to tales of chemical weapons being made ready, scud like weapons being fired, 'Jehadists' & Al Qaeda getting in on the action in Syria will only increase the U.S. public's appetite for 'something' to be done.
Too bad the U.S. couldn't mallet em in Iraq boys, they will need another go...
agreed, reeks of it. not to forget the shadows of iranian involvement - which is in itself quite disparate right now.
an election due soon, ahmedinajhad wandering from the ayatollahs influence and the ayatollah in waiting being a popular choice from the Khatami (president before ahmedinajhad) era we are seeing some odd factions emerging.
It's more than propaganda. The Assad regime really is killing its own people to stay in power. 45,000 dead and 500,000 refugees to date is one estimate I've seen.
What would you suggest?
1. Intervention against Assad
2. Intervention for Assad
3. Do nothing
The U.S. & U.K. have not been doing nothing; highly probable that Israel has many assets within Syria making a special contribution to that 'not doing nothing'.
Its that straightforward is it?
In every case so far the result is even more mayhem than they enjoyed before the uprising.
I sometimes think Arabs need Gaddafis, Assads and Saddams to keep them in some sort of order. I cannot imagine they are ever going to be a suitable case for democracy in any shape.
Whatever happens we should keep well out of it.
> In every case so far the result is even more mayhem than they enjoyed before the uprising.
> I sometimes think Arabs need Gaddafis, Assads and Saddams to keep them in some sort of order. I cannot imagine they are ever going to be a suitable case for democracy in any shape.
> Whatever happens we should keep well out of it.
The whole Arab world is in mayhem, all of their own making, they decided to rebel without anybody in the West helping them.
Read a few history books before commenting - unless this is the troll of the century?
I assume Israel is monitoring it closely.
But there really is no good outcome for Israel.
> Its that straightforward is it?
Well, there logically is no fourth option!
> Well, there logically is no fourth option!
what happened to 4)all of the above?!
come on mike, youre a smart guy, of course there is - its just very complex, takes a lot of risk and a long term view.
no conflict fits neatly into the 'for, against, no comment' boxes. in a way logically theres in only the fourth option, because the three 'logical' options are not realistic.
i think i get what you mean if youre outlining an armchair response, but the on-the-ground response is going to be a mix of the three - in what proportions is the interesting part and where it usually goes off track.
There is always an opportunistic side to foreign policy, priorities and so on... it's not special to recent decades nor to US foreign policy. In this case there seems to have been a change of policy, from accommodating Gaddafi, inviting him to Paris where he planted his tent on the lawns of the Elysee - he refused a hotel room - and elsewhere. Then policy changed, unless it was to put him off his guard, I don't know.
Either the so called "Arab Spring" offered an opportunity that was too good to refuse or other aspects were at work - Gaddafi's increasing influence in Africa, the communications satellite system, the plans to switch away from the dollar for oil trading, something that would be a serious blow to the US economy, may have decided the decision to support the long existing rivalry between East Libya and Tripoli, making use of islamic militants and the Senoussis behind the old flag of King Idriss to destabilise the country and provide the pretext for military intervention and regime change...
There also seems to have been a double US policy working in parallel, one relying on using Arab nationalism, a moderate manipulable variety like Sadate or Mubarak in Egypt or the traditional monarchies of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain etc to defend US interests while at the same time the temptation of islamic extremism - such as in Afghanistan against the USSR, Kosovo or Chechnya. It worked there, with a few unfortunate side effects like 9/11, which put it on hold, but has been revived in Libya, as mentioned, even more openly in Syria... I've no idea if this corresponds to different schools of thought within the US military or political command or just two tactics being used as events presented themselves.
Such things are not rare, for example within the British Empire during WW1, the command of the Indian Raj had different ideas about dealing with the Middle East and the Arab Rebellion to that proposed by the command in Egypt, according to T. E. Lawrence's book anyway.
There are several possible explanations, history isn't a long calm river, whose story is etched on copper sheets in letters of gold.
I sometimes wonder why Assad bothers, you boys would have doen it for free :-)
Alas, it's too late, "we" are already deeply involved, and not just in Libya and Syria.
> I sometimes wonder why Assad bothers, you boys would have doen it for free :-)
Again, since they could have and didn't, this is just yet another slander.
It's like your argument about Libya. How can you argue that a country is guilty of something when, for 40/60 whatever years, (in that case the USA) they chose not to do it?
I also noticed that you didn't get upset enough to post when Assad's forces killed scores of Palestinians in a missile attack on a mosque last week. This is called double standards and hypocrisy.
> what happened to 4)all of the above?!
> come on mike, youre a smart guy, of course there is - its just very complex, takes a lot of risk and a long term view.
Ok, well let's think about any combination of the above. For example, both doing nothing and helping the anti-Assad forces would be a rather hard thing to do!
So, what then do you all out there propose? There are a lot of posters attacking (imagined?) UK and USA policies here, but not suggesting anything to help the Syrian people.
The other day you said you were very interested in history... it's a pity that doesn't stretch as far as reading any! Concerning Libya and the numerous NATO come western military interventions of late, you might consider what major change took place a few years ago which gave the USA a free hand for such collective crimes? Think a little and you may find why they can do it now and they couldn't a few decades ago.
In case you are struggling, they had a particularly bright coloured flag.. and they helped your parents take over Palestine just after WW2.
It's more what they shouldn't have done - training and encouraging those who set off the recent armed rebellion, plus what they, and their allies like Qatar, are doing today throwing oil on the flames.
If the Sunni islamists do take over Syria the ensuing bloodbath of minorities - Chias, Christians etc will lead to a flood of crocodile tears which could make the sea level rise more than global warning... but by then it will be too late and anyway as the crewcut criminals will have moved on to Iran, the slavish media will be too occupied justifying this.
When Libya was under attack, I said Syria was next and most scoffed, I hope I'm not right again, but I fear I am.
The Palestinian "camps" in Damascus have been quite heavily attacked by loyalist forces in the last few months with many Palestinians killed, but Bruce does seem only to know about- or be interested in Palestinians killed by Israelis. The limits of his attention are rather clear I'd say.
Because you said US troops would be there within weeks. It's over a year later and the US is still scared to even send some rifles. Meanwhiles tens of thousands of Syrians have died in fighting armed by Russia, Iran and Gulf States. You seem to be unwilling to ever accept any of that.
I am amazed that on this thread all I hear is snide remarks about UK and USA policies. Am I the only person on this thread that has expresses sympathy for the Syrians?
'it's the beginning of the end for Assad. He's estimated to control only 25% of Syria and his forces are demoralized'
'The Assad regime really is killing its own people to stay in power.'
I am amazed that you don't see the rebels as terrorists using the general population as human shields. Suicide bombs, poorly aimed munitions and basing themselves in major towns and cities. Do you see any parallels with other conflicts you choose to take the opposite position?
It seems to me you eat up all you are spoon-fed by your chosen media whilst feeling pretty high-and-mighty about it. You know as much as the rest of us - (and that is very little) whilst you believe you have some sort of valuable insight.
“ My colleagues, every statement I make today is backed up by sources, solid sources. These are not assertions. What we’re giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence …”
The Syrian opposition are peaceful protesters.
The Syrian people do not want the Assad regime.
The Syrian people support the rebel fighters.
The Syrian people want to be represented by a group of people whom they most likely do not know, are not present in the country and have very little control over any of the fighting forces.
As it was I believe those in the general population who did not agree with the regime were scared to speak out. I believe those who do not support the rebels are now scared to speak out. In this climate of fear do we really believe anyone can judge what the majority of the Syrian people actually want?
Most of us just believe what we are told.
The Syrian army are doing what they can to minimise casualties but if the opposition are held up next to a school or shopping centre then what do you expect them to do?
Not bomb the school or shopping centre?
Now, now Toby, no blatant fibs please, I said it was next on the list, and it was. I never mentioned direct overt ground intervention of US troops, as in Panama, Grenada, Iraq, Afghanistan, NE Africa, Indochina etc etc, the list is too long but they have, at last, realised the harm this did politically, both at home when the body bags came back and for their Arab dictator allies as in Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf States.
It's pretty clear that if China and Russia hadn't vetoed it there would have been air intervention as in Libya, we all remember the fury of Mrs Clinton that her plan got blocked, so they just kept supporting the Sunnite militias, and used their puppies in Qatar etc to keep the civil war on the boil, trusting the media and propagandists to make sure the public was pumped full of stories of government "crimes" while covering the numerous bomb attacks by their groupies on the ground.
The present nonsense about "chemical weapons" is a perfect example... as if Saddam's arms of mass destruction had been forgotten. I'm not saying they haven't got any, the USA has loads too, but it's obvious that Assad is not going to use them in a civil war situation.
As for the bombardment of a Palestinian refugee camp, why would I comment about that? Why do you think I would be in favour of bombarding Palestinians, whether by Israel, as happens on a near daily basis, or by anyone else?
PS. Remind us why Palestinians are in refugee camps in the first place, and why they cannot return to their homes... it might be more important than telling fairy stories.
Are you really unaware of the many massive car bombs targeting civilians that have been detonated by anti-government militants in Syria since the present fighting started? Or the numerous massacres, some even shown on video? If you are maybe you should change you pseudo to "darknessfromthenorth" or, if you are aware but choose to hide it, "liesfromthenorth"?
Just a suggestion.
1. Do not construe me as taking sides. I'm sure that there are bad guys in the rebels. I'll believe that there are Al Qaeda on the rebels' side, and as I said in the post, they are more evil than the Assad regime.
2. Are you seriously arguing that the regime is not evil? Google the Homs massacre of 1982?
3. Are you arguing that that Assad's regime is not killing people?
4. I quoted an estimate of 25%. You have a better source, pls tell me. But it doesn't make any difference if it's 50% or 75%, he's still losing control.
5. Where is the indignation on this thread that was so strong on previous ME conflict threads? or do you all believe since it's only Arabs killing Arabs, then this doesn't matter?
> 5. Where is the indignation on this thread that was so strong on previous ME conflict threads? or do you all believe since it's only Arabs killing Arabs, then this doesn't matter?
Have a Happy Christmas!
Is it surprising that many would have this view? If Western lives aren't worth more than others then why do car bombs and suicide bombings in Iraq, drone strikes killing children in Pakistan etc etc get only a passing mention on the news while relatively small events in the US or Europe are given hours of news time? Where are most people getting opinions from? More telly time = more important.
We take these things on board without even noticing. It's incredibly sad but all of us are shaped by this in some way whether we like to believe it or not. If I'm incredibly honest I'm appalled sometimes with my own lack of emotional response to things I hear about happening in the ME. Until I give these things real thought and consideration it's just another bit of news - 'oh another 200 dead in Syria, 20 innocent people in an Afghani market blown up'. I don't like to think of myself as that kind of person, I want to think I value all life the same, but this response has come from somewhere and is a very difficult thing to change.
> Ok, well let's think about any combination of the above. For example, both doing nothing and helping the anti-Assad forces would be a rather hard thing to do!
theres 'do nothing' as in ignore it all, and theres 'do nothing' as in waiting.
and whilst elements are waited for, theres plenty of options that dont infringe on syrias territorial demarcations - the refugee issue, the foreign fighter issue, the foreign assistance issue, the UN ambit, the secular and sectarian ambits - all of which make sense to bring towards a better state of alignment before 'going in', and all of which require patience and a stood back approach.
if their are elements within the assad regime that can be worked with it may reduce costs on the ground, just as there IS elements within the rebels that cannot be allowed to get out of hand. there are also tinder box elements across the board that need to be left out of the focus right now.
> So, what then do you all out there propose? There are a lot of posters attacking (imagined?) UK and USA policies here, but not suggesting anything to help the Syrian people.
for a start, stop assuming i am anti-US/UK on this - nowhere have i implied that, you dont know my political leaning on this. i do understand it tho, when others are US-bashing its easy to see any perspective thats not black and white as being opposite to your own.
what do i propose? something not dissimilar to whats actually going on: a huge amount of fact-finding and confidence building combined with surgical applications of assistance to whatever group is needed to avoid a power vacuum that will only cause more casualties.
assads regime pushed too far into the red will only lead to more massacres as they use national armaments to fight their way out of the hole and scare the rebels, along with weakening elements within the govt that potentially cordial. syria has a complex ruling system, more so by connections to lebanon, with empowered groups that shelter behind assads position - they are not in alignment but are not rebels either and include christian and minority militias who dont want a salafist solution.
in black and white world, these groups are govt - in reality they are vital windows of opportunity stuck between a rock and a hard place.
there is nothing more atrocious than a withdrawing dictatorship.
id also put a lot of effort into securing alliances within the rebel groups, much of it from their out-of-country bases. afghanistan, egypt and iraq showed how important that is. id 'reduce' elements like jihadist groups and bolster secular ones. but id play the long game - the team best geared to take on the govt is not the best one to take over the country. id want security of that built into the plan.
to help the syrian people? id do pretty much the world is doing, helping them to help themselves with a good old hearts-and-minds campaign. aerial bombing by nato will only kill more and turn many against foreign intervention, so id use skilled ground forces to foster friendlies and secure them from nasty rebel groups like the nusra front. in the name of modern warfare id probably recommend private and assistance groups to lead this.
id also be working heavily with the refugee and expat populations in neighbouring countries - mostly iran. twice now 'we' have ignored irans potential input for a common goal (both times in theatres iran has much more influence in than the nitwits we chose to go with...).
this could be the window to build positive relations with iran, but would require extensive negotiation - would it be worth it? with iran now at a tipping point i think so - 8 years ago we were so, so close (i was there).
basically id avoid a vacuum with the regime, but create one within the rebels. id endeavour to take down the assad element, but not the govt structure which id want to replace with friendlies. id not let the rebels over-run the governing structure because they are not the best people to run the country and the period between overthrowing the old and estabishing the new is too much a gamble somewhere like syria - better to surgically remove elements and give them a way out than to back them against a wall with threats of obliteration.
id be looking well into the future and trying to see what a syria with assad either dead, on trial saddam-style or in exile/the hague would look like. and id be loooking at what different rebel groups or a 'coalition' would do. thats what the syrian population has to deal with, and having hundreds of thousands unable or unwilling to return only creates future issues.
You'd have to do quite a lot of bolstering I think, the choice is fairly clear, a Sunnite takeover with a near certainty of a very hard time for the minorities which support Assad out of fear of precisely such a takeover, or the present secular, independent regime and a continuation of the progressive, if much ignored in the Western press, moves towards more democracy.
Given that Syria is just a step for the USA and Israel towards destabilising Iran this altogether laudable notion is not likely to be taken up. I think that the problem with taking a reasonable view of the situation is that the main force present in this part of the world, and the world as a whole at present, is the USA and they have no other concern than their own national interests... like most countries except they have the means of imposing it.
There's a very simple way of proving this, look at a map of military bases and deployment in the world - only one country stands out: the USA.
To give just a few. The world is at the mercy of the one and only global superpower at the moment, we are all just disposables as far as those who rule the USA are concerned.
oof glad i brought that mess up,yuk!
I appreciate that you have thought and posted at length. Actually, on most of what you say I basically agree with you.
Don't you feel dirty after writing things like that? Assad Jr. had ten years to make changes in Syria after inheriting the dictatorship from his dad. Instead he just continued the rentier state system of giving his family and military supporters all the valuable assets of the country. Only when other Arab dictatorships started falling to revolutionary movements and Syrians took to the streets, did he make a few cosmetic changes (but was still happily imprisoning liberals, Islamists, communists and free-trade unionists who could form the core of a real opposition). But as soon as it looked like it would be street protests that threatened his rule, he ordered his security forces to start shooting unarmed protestors. It was a revolutionary uprising, violently suppressed before it became the civil war we see today. Perhaps your youthful self would have had a bit more time for the people and less for the authoritarian dictators?
Don't you feel queasy posting stuff that would be better in the Daily Mail, although even they might have a more sophisticated turn of phrase?
Don't the tens of thousands dead up to date in this butchery make you think a bit, just a little bit? Probably not as you have never expressed any regret for those thousand who died in Libya, destroying the country... more in the first few days of NATO bombing than in 40 years of Gaddafi. It's not as if you have the excuse of ignorance, you know what's going on, I don't think I'm being too kind.
If Assad's regime does fall brutally and the massacres of the Syrian minorities makes the present strife look like a picnic in Hyde Park, which is what people who know the area fear, will you come to this forum and apologise?
On the bits you dont agree with what do you propose?
> theres 'do nothing' as in ignore it all, and theres 'do nothing' as in waiting.
> and whilst elements are waited for, theres plenty of options that dont infringe on syrias territorial demarcations .....
I don't see that these exist: Assad and his people have boxed themselves in. Turkey was the best option as an intermediary, but now they are too pissed off.
OK, sorry. So I generalised: anti US is a pretty automatic reaction in UKC political debates.
This sounds like supporting the rebels?
Again, I think that Assad is past the point of no return. If he's given a get out of jail card, then there are still plenty of Alawites and others who can only see violence as their best option. Also, this means giving them a free pass, when the prevailing western position seems to be to bring them to court for crimes. Possibly western support for an Alawite mini-state?
??? don't seem them open now?
> id also put a lot of effort into securing alliances within the rebel groups,
Do more, esp for refugees
I don't see Iran in this light
with iran now at a tipping point i think so - 8 years ago we were so, so close (i was there).
Interesting. In a way Syria and Iran are the same problem: unpopular regimes that are hard to work with, change or effect replacement to a more liberal position.
This requires a lot of work. I can't really see how it could be done, although admirable
> id be looking well into the future
Of course. But all the futures to me look more like Lebanon: communities in perpetual conflict.
Redrawing the map - including Lebanon - (like post-Yugoslavia) would be interesting. Create smaller countries based upon religious/cultural bonds? (Druse, Shiite, Sunni, Alawite etc). But that option probably went a long time ago when the French drew the lines on the map.
In truth, I think outside parties can do very little except for palliative care. Since Assad is going down, then it should be accelerated to ease the pain. And the West should be building as many bridges to the rebels as possible.
I don't make stuff up like you do to whitewash fascist dictatorships.
What do you mean "think"? Tens of thousands of Syrians have died in the last two years, and those numbers will continue to rise it looks like, in a war caused by the dictator of their country stealing the country's resources and then using military power to oppress the people who stood against him.
Go on you Yankies!
Talking between the two sides is the only solution and ironically the one favoured by Syrians before NATO,its Arab dictators and their rent-a-mob Islamist Jihadis got involved.
Popular movements in the Arab region fought and continue to fight against completely pro-Western Dictatorships and are violently suppressed with Western support.Whereas the Assad regime officially supports resistance movements,taking a strong anti-imperialist stance in the region along with Iran.
Not to difficult to see why the Western imperialists and Arab Dictatorships want him out.
> the Assad regime officially supports resistance movements,taking a strong anti-imperialist stance in the region along with Iran.
This is b"llsh*t
The only ideology the Assad regime supports is to enrich and empower itself.
Assad's pro-Palestinian and pro-Iran position is solely so it can fight Israel to the last Lebanese. When it didn't work he turned on the Palestinians with missiles and expelling Hamas leadership.
The regime itself has ambitions to be an imperialist power by continually trying to claim and annex Lebanon. The Black September movement was a result of Syria attacking Jordan (which it also claimed)
of course there are elements within the assad govt that can be worked with. just yesterday a general 'defected'. the minority leaders and centrists that syrias govt has long been an example of. if anything now is the time to foster them separating from the dominant core that they hid behind. some of these govt factions go back to alliances formed under duress in the 80s, former rebel groups themselves.
turkey has simply taken a side now that the US is more openly involved. from playing proxy they now play host.
i dont agreee with supporting THE rebels, rather supporting SOME rebels - including rebellious elements within the govt. there will be grroups within both happy to flip sides rather than be obliterated. to see both govt and rebels as homogenous groups is both wasted opportunity and ignorance of the lessons of the last 20 years.
this go to iran as well. as you say, iran and syria share much of the same problem - other than iran is not so factionalized as to crumble internally.
iran has changed a lot during ahmedinajhads second term, its foolish of the world to not recognize that. and with interesting choices in the next election and following ayatollah NOW is the time to build foundations for regional change.
you dont see iran this way and nor does most of the world - but some do. as a center for regional refugees from every direction its long been an incubator for groups that take on unwanted govts. again good (masoouds tajiks) and bad (hezbollah) versions - but a better bet than any other state in the region than perhaps turkey.
like any conflict in the region, its better to work with iran than against them.
note that 'iran' is a complex term than can mean all sorts of groups, but thats another subject and probably not for this site at all.
your final paragraphs are the most interesting in this thread: what can a future map of the region look like?
personally id look more towards recent states for examples of good and bad (tho the balkans also has examples of both). religious/sectarian states wouldnt be my choice, but it hard to see other options without the sort of diplomacy that the world currently has little of (tho thank f*ck they got that idiot kofu annan out of the picture).
and i agree with 'building bridges to rebels' but its vital WHICH rebels.
> of course there are elements within the assad govt that can be worked with. just yesterday a general 'defected'.
I saw this. But the only way out for such people is to defect, not to turn the regime around as far as I can see.
I meant that.
More broadly, this could be the creation of a Kurdish state, where the Syrian Kurds join the Iraqi quasi state. This brings Iraq, Iran and Turkey borders into play!
i think here we need to make distinctions between 'regime' and 'govt'. the former needs to be destroyed, the latter modified to function without it.
defecting generals/colonals is a great way to do this as it brings inner govt workings to the opposing rebels.
also, such events dont happen lightly. no doubt theres been involvement from other agencies and deals brokered. the defecting officer will have his own friends and enemies to bring to the table.
a kurdish state is such a huge thing its hard to see all the factors, but agreed, noo doubt this has huge implications with syria. amalgamating with other kurdish groups...i dont know. they are not all that unified in themselves unless against a common enemy, and the formation of a state just for them could be the worst idea of the century.
another topic for another time.
I think this is the exactly the key but fear it might actually be rather too late. Because the US and European countries have been so reticent to get mixed up in supplying arms and picking militias to support they've quasi outsourced that to the Gulf countries. Qatar and Saudi Arabia a) have sympathy for the salafist militias for various domestic reasons and b) are interested more in sticking one to Iran (via deposing their semi-client regime in Syria) than they are in the freedom of the Syrian people. The FSA aligned groups that were more overtly secular and at least spoke about being anti-sectarian are militarily less important now than the more salafi oriented groups that have been getting arms from the Gulf. Even if Assad does fall, it seems likely there will be more fighting between the militias that have fought him like has happened in Libya but quite possibly worse because of the bigger difference between the groups.
I don't see why this is a bad idea. A non-Islamic state in the area would in principle be a good counter-weight.
There are 25-30 million estimated Kurds who unlike many other groups didn't get a country when the Brits and the French carved up the Ottoman empire.
for sure. and it will only get more complicated when assad falls. similar to saddam, its the regime nastiness that held much of the rebel groups in check for 30 years.
agreed totally on the possibility of insane levels of sectarian violence when the coomon enemy is gone and its back to ethnic stuff - mikets's use of the balkans to illustrate this is appropriate in many ways. iraq will seem black and white by comparison.
syria left with a salafist regime is hard to see as being any better than the assad one. tho somehow i feel lebanon will not let that happen, whatever it takes, and maybe not turkey either - that however could more likely be a decades long process of unnoficial war rather than a face off.
youre rght in that its not a bad idea - but it has all the makings to be a bad reality.
that said, kurdish groups within syria have had successes with securing their own regions in NE syria. how turkey will feel about that in the future is anyones guess, but im sure they are keeping an eye on it.
another time tho, another time. jesus, dont get me started on the kurds...
Agree, it's going to be nasty for many many years. Though I don't see what Lebanon could do. After all, it hardly exists as a coherent country itself.
Turkey will defend its borders strongly since it could spill over. And Israel wants nothing to do with it all except to keep the Golan heights as a cordon sanitaire and if possible to weaken Hizbullah. Iran could also get sucked in if sees an advantage.
(I know you have more hopes for Iran than me. I lived there for 3 years, time of the Shah, so I'm not speaking from bias or ignorance I think. Suggest we check in after the next election when Ahmadinejad is replaced?)
It would certainly bring a strong reaction from some very potent regional players who have a lot of reasons to dislike it very much. Also, Kurds are not remotely media-friendly in the way that Palestinians have been made to be, so they would get almost as little outside sympathy as the Tamils did when the Sri-Lankan government was massacaring them in thousands or tens of thousands. Kurds are very much one of the "invisible" victimised minorities (though they do not seem averse to a fair bit of victimising themselves).
That looks largely like a mischief-making ploy by the Assad regime, given that they would probably have lost control of that region anyway they did not have a lot to lose, while ceeding de-facto control of the regions to the Kurds was a pretty effective no-cost (to them), way of winding up the Turks.
Well given that you seem to be one of the more informed and less predictable knee-jerk comentators (almost all of those who respond, invariably vehemently and aggressively to opposing views, their opinion is entirely predictable before they give it), perhaps we SHOULD get you started on it. You might have something interesting and original to say.
Me too. Let's talk about Kurds and Iran.
You can't be so naive as to believe that, surely? If you followed events as closely as you pretend you would know how the present problems started, internet and "peaceful" demonstrations turned to violence, provocation and counter provocation, breaking the fragile equilibrium that kept Syria just beyond the brink, as in Lebanon.
Can't you learn at all from Iraq and Afghanistan? Or the civil war in Lebanon? How many thousands have to die before you and many other get over your simplistic notion that what works in Western Europe, after centuries of bloody strife, can't be transposed overnight to countries with a very different history and culture with just a wave of a magic wand? That it has to come from within, especially as many of those pretending to bring democracy are more interested in their own gain than real democracy... if not why would they defend and prop up some of the most undemocratic regimes in the world?
The Kurds are a bit of a loose canon in the area, but one that is not necessarily positive in reality. A single Kurdish state, taking part of Turkey, Iran and Iraq might seem interesting thousands of miles away but would only be another factor of instability in reality - ask any Armenian what they think of the Kurds, they have not always been the goodies they are sometimes cracked up to be.
The same is true for solutions based on ethnic or religious categories, ethnic nationalism is a pretty archaic notion and hardly seems to have worked well up to now - the creation of Israel, the "ethnic nationalist" state par excellence is hardly a success story. In the Middle East as elsewhere the only long term solution is one based on secular states providing space for all - in some ways the Ottoman empire wasn't totally bad... Historically such a tradition exists, it is the basis of the present regime in Lebanon, it held Syria away from civil war until recently..
The problem is that outside forces prefer to divide to conquer... a patchwork of impotent mini-states, in a state of permanent conflict suits the Western world perfectly, even if they shed a few crocodile tears and send a few "peace missions" from time to time as a sap to the consciences of the the naive and the hypocritical... it provides a nice little earner for the arms industry too.
Yes, when the Syrian security forces started shooting protestors. There is nothing new about the "present problems". Syria has been a dictatorial regime for many decades where those who stood against the leadership were suppressed. Dictatorships are always ultimately unstable, eventually too many people have nothing lose. The regime's life span is generally dependent on how much violence they are willing to direct against their own people.
Millions of people protesting on the streets from Morocco to Yemen is hardly a magic wand is it? The odd thing is, you've been consistently so anti-Islamist, we seems to suggest that you can't see that at least a significant minority in many Arab societies want something quite different from "European" politics. Ultimately you just seem to think Arabs should live in dictatorships with minimal rights because that is stable.
Again, you don't seem think much of Arabs, as you seem to think them incapable of wanting to live better lives or changing their political systems. What exactly was the Arab spring if it wasn't change from within? Well, ok, that doesn't really need an answer as we see you need to think it's all a devilish US/Zionist plot because otherwise you'd see that you're supporting the "counter-revolutionaries"...
In your last post you said we couldn't go imposing western European notions of political organisation on the Middle East, so what is the above?
> This is b"llsh*t
No this is 'b"llsh*t'-
Such blatant Israeli lies are what they are ....lies,nothing more and nothing less.
Would you like me to say Israelis want kill or drive out all Palestinians from the occupied territories.
Because two can play at your game.
What? Are you refering to Yarmouk?
That's a tricky use of word choice,which cannot actually be backed up by facts.'Imperialist power'? Eh?
And if Syrian presence in Lebanon equates as'Imperialist power'and 'claim and annex[ation]' then what of the many Israeli occupations of Lebanon which lasted for years as well as interference in their government and military?
This would make Israel an'Imperialist power' solely on your dealing with Lebanon.Hmmm?
Are you aware that the Syrians were given a mandate(whether you agree with it or not) by the then Arab league as well as an agreement with the Lebanese government to stay in Lebanon?
Somewhere further up you replied that-
You are having a laf aren't you?
You must be loving this.
Oh and yeah the Turks are going to give up the south to the Kurds ?
both lebanon and turkey are wary of having wahabist/salafist neighbours and like the buffer zones of states that dont question their own brand of religious politics. even tho things have soured, turkey remains a very liberal nation of muslims (their version of islamists in govt are not a patch on islamists in most other countries).
lebanon likewise, with its strong christian, druze etc presences will not quietly tolerate its only near-friendly neighbour becoming over-islamicised.
and yes, until iran clears the next elections AND installation of new ayatollah its hard to see where things will go - iran is no stranger to surprises.
kurds in the context of all this: i concurr with what bruce is saying. they are not unified, 'kurdish' being almost more of a linguistic term than an ethnic one. the demarcation of a state as a kurdish homeland would austricize so many (both kurds and non-kurds) its hard to see it as the best option.
as pointed out, the withdrawal of european annexation caused problems - as did the withdrawal of the ottomans, as did the to-ing and fro-ing of 2000 years of tribal population shifts.
i semi-agree with simons point re kurdish land grabs in the NE, but i think theres a big element of assad jettisoning what he could to consolidate forces where they have more leverage, signs of a regime in damage control.
if assads team somehow prevails it will be a significant problem to have a renegade state (amongst whatever else that scenario could contain), not that diffferent to what occurred in iraq. indeed, foreign intervention to protect it - 'vulnerable peoples' type stuff, with a nato or UN resolution on it - could make it the in-country staging base for continued rebel resistance.
i willl be the first to admit i have limited working knowledge of the kurdish issue, only peripheral to other stuff ive been involved with, so am hesitant to opine too far on the subject.
You have no idea do you? You haven't produced anything except abuse to contradict what i said.
I would think that the Turks would be even less keen on having a Kurdish semi or fully independent statelet as a neighbour than an extreme islamist one, while what Lebanon would want (or rather what the Christians or Druze would want), is largely academic - unless the Israeli cavalry come galloping to their rescue. But Israel is highly unlikely to have much appetite for a foreign adventure in the North, which will almost certainly turn into a very-hard-to-escape quagmire, with no very great reward for the sacrifices that it must entail.
Probably a good deal more than most of the contributors to this site, (you even recognise that the question exists), especially those who see their morality and history in terms of black and white hats, clear villains and noble high-minded victims, i.e. fairy tales for children, mostly spiteful and silly left-wing children,holding forth on the evils of capitalism from their comfortable, protected Western democratic existence. There is no magic solution in this area of the world, never has been, if relatively stable co-existence can be achieved for a time, that is a substantial improvement on the current state.
The traditional method of resolving any dispute in the Middle East has been who has had the biggest stick, this is nothing new and it certainly did not start with the creation of the state of Israel. If the existing civilian populations of all kinds can be relatively protected from the consequences of violent conflicts, that would be an amazing advance.
its a complex call on turkey having an autonomous kurdish region next door: they done so with kurdish iraq for a fair while now and its been a mixed issue (as it only could be). on one hand its blamed as the fountian of kurdish resistance, on another a valve allowing a degree of kurdish anguish an outlet, and another again as the even more complex ambit of american bases that protect it and the deals that go with that.
whether syrian kurdish groups would align with what goes on amongst kurds in iraq or turkey i have no idea. theres many kurds in turkey that see themselves as turkish and have no interest in a kurdish state, so that may go for syria too. obviously its very devisive in many ways.
as you say - theres no ultimate solution. teams can be based on nation, citizenship, ethnicity, religion, social status, history etc etc etc, and any blend in any order. as nasty as the refugee matter is - its the history of the region. last centurys refugees as this centurys politicians.
tho many will disagree, im encouraged with brahimi at the helm. a good choice i believe and a guy who can change the UN to fit the issue (whereas his predecessors often just used the UN as a platform to view atrocities from). brahimis efforts with disparate groups in afghanistan/tajikistan/uzbekistan (and iraq), whilst not always perfect, give him a pedigree for negotiation amongst complex populations compressed under politics or geography few others have.
totally. if the territorial grabs in syria can blossom one day into an autonomy along the lines of whats in iraq its about the best deal on the table.
as you point out, the minorities within all that (and there are many, both ethnic and minority kurdish groups) will be the indicators.
for the formerly oppressed to become the new oppressors is not without precedent sadly....
Indeed, it is very much the rule rather than the exception. Former oppression does not in fact enoble, rather it mostly inspires a burning desire to get ones own back, not necessarily or even mostly on those who were (or were perceived to be), one's original oppressors. Any group that is ill-equipped to retaliate effectively will do, as it did for the original oppressors.
you know all this agreeing and lack of side-taking is gonna kill the thread
> I don't see why this is a bad idea. A non-Islamic state in the area would in principle be a good counter-weight.
A 'non-Islamic state'??? The Kurds?
As has been said many times before ' You can't make an omelette without breaking eggs'.
> A 'non-Islamic state'??? The Kurds?
I didn't mean a state without Muslims. I meant a state that not run on Islamic principles.
> you know all this agreeing and lack of side-taking is gonna kill the thread
I disagree with this statement.
Syria as a local expansionist imperialist power.
1. Lebanon. The Syrian occupation of Lebanon began in 1976 when it's existing entry into Lebanon was legitimised by the Arab League. But in 1986 it was asked to leave by the Lebanese government and didn't. Eventually, following the its involvement in the assassination ofRafik Hariri in 2005, and theCedar Revolution, it left.
2. Jordan. In 1970 the Palestinians attempted a coup d'etat against King Hussein. This was supported by Syria invading Jordan. This failed and the PLO moved to Lebanon
3. Israel. In 1949, 67 and 73 Syria invaded Israel. In 49 it captured territory that was in the British mandate, but then lost the Golan heights in 67.
I assume that Gudrun and Bruce suffer from the delusion that since the Assads run the Baathists (Syrian Branch) and Baathists call themselves socialists, that Assad wants to create socialist heaven in Syrian and its neighbours,
BTW, Gudrun Ensslin was a founder of the Red Army Faction and supposedly hanged herself in 1977.
But it seems she didn't and has become a UK Climber.
At the risk of provoking further thread-killing agreement, to me the most striking thing about the Syrian situation, as it slipped from widespread and violently suppressed civil-disobedience into outright and bloody civil-war, is how little visibility it has had.
This is a civil war in the epicentre of a very volatile and dangerous region, quite close to Europe and fairly easy of access for journalists. Tens of thousands of people have already been killed (doesn't the UN estimate about 40,000 deaths so far?), at least hundreds of thousands of refugees have been forced out of their homes, either internally within Syria or to neighbouring countries that conspicuously do not have the spare infrastructural capacity to accomodate them even if they wanted to, which, for various reasons they often don't. Yet the reporting of this conflict has been cursory at best, at times almost non-existent.
It is pretty clear why (to take my favorite example of the violent suppression of the Tamil seperatists), the Sri Lanka situation was largely unreported. First and probably most importantly, the government was as utterly ruthless about preventing outside access as it was in the actual task of repression. Secondly the Tamil Tigers, with their record of indiscriminate terrorist violence against the majority sinhalese civilian population weren't exactly a likeable or sympathetic group to outsiders. Finally the situation involved dark-skinned people being brutal to other, even more dark-skinned people, so there was no anti-western hook for the normally indignant to hang their empathy and proxy victimhood on, so there was little Western interest (making the easily justifiable assumption that there is in reality little reaction against or interest in human rights abuses per se, they have to be human rights abuses that fit into a tidy pattern to be thought important or newsworthy, or else help to grind particular axes).
None, or not much of this explains why there has been so little coverage or angst about the Syrian conflict. This dog that did not bark is very intriguing.
> BTW, Gudrun Ensslin .....r.
Action Directe might be the climb for her
well I see in through the lens of the Israel- Arab conflict. In numbers, it's about the same number of deaths (on all sides) and refugees. But in less than 2 years, compared to nearly 70.
What is interesting is that the day after the regime's missile strike in Syria killing Palestinians in a mosque, the UN was passing 9 motions condemning Israel for planning house building.
Err, haven't you looked around the Middle East lately? Do you see many calm democracies, or even tense ones? Iran could count as one but I don't get the impression you'd agree there.
You and MikeTS seem to go through life with blinkers on, I haven't answered all your trollish provocations, it's Christmas and all, but it's a pity Santa didn't buy you some kind of magic gadget which would enable you to see the world as it is...
When is an Arab not an Arab? When he's a Palestinian for you apparently. You are so dishonest to pretend you care for Arabs given your permanent support for the zionist occupation of Palestine. The liberation of Palestine, the return of those millions to their homes would do an awful lot to reduce tension in the area but you oppose that vehemently, double talk of the worst kind.
So as for your straw man, "you don't respect Arabs" bollocks you might care to take the beam out of your own eye rather than go on about the speck of dust you imagine in mine. Talking about respecting Arabs while supporting their worst enemy - Israel - just doesn't wash, outside the USA anyway.
It might help if you spoke to people who know the area better rather than web sites and pro US think tanks you appear to count on.
As for my dislike of reactionary Islam, I don't deny this, I dislike all religion as I've made clear, but I know that many people from the so called islamic world think the same. Alas over the last few decades progressive people, or modernising muslims have been forced on the defensive, when not oppressed or murdered.. unlike you, apparently, I think Arabs deserve better than the Sharia, and women deserve better than the burqa. One of the most unpleasant aspects of the occupation of Palestine has been the way it has pushed them towards religious extremism and away for secular nationalism. In such suffering religion seems to be the way they survive... If your pals stopped killing them and pinning them into open air concentration camps like Gaza they might be able to move forward. Your crocodile tears while supporting the main cause of oppression do you no credit at all.
By a weird coincidence I picked up my paper and saw an article about the Kurds. It explains that the KRG (the Kurdish government in N Iraq) is doing well with oil and is making peace with Turkey who want to buy their oil and for the KRG to be an ally against Baghdad and Iran.
Meanwhile the PKK, which hates the KRG and is fighting a bloody guerilla war for Kurdish independence from Turkey from the mountains of N Iraq, are aligned with the KYD who have have set up an autonomous Kurdish area in Syria. But the KYD is also allied with the KRG.
I think I've got that now.
Well, two articles in the Grauniad today, the second a rather dismal view of the way the opposition is shaping up.
Let's hope that when the Assad Governament finally falls, as I expect it eventually will, we don't end up with a situation like the post Soviet Afghanistan with a weak central government unable to control a host of feuding war lords and their private armies.
Unfortunately it is all too likely.
The omens thus far after the 'Arab Spring' are not promising, for stability, prosperity and certainly not for tolerance toward ethnic or religious minorities. The recently rushed-through Egyptian constitution is a very disquieting development, though not remotely surprising.
"Nothing could be worse than what we have at present" seems to be a challenge rather than a warning for oppositional groups in the Arab world, rather as it is for politicians in Europe.
the future is too complex to call right now i think. on one hand the syrians have the potential to form a decent govt if they dont allow the power collapse within the decent elements of their current govt AND get the right international support.
OR it could all go bad where they choose simply the guy with the biggest voice.
it wont go post-soviet afghan style: that was a scenario very different in almost every way.
but a post-soviet tajik or algerian model is a certain possibility - a long grinding war between large factions and a govt with no power beyond its alliances.
and actually, i dispute the notion that syria has been under-reported or under-served in the international area. it hasnt been the super-star conflict like iraq or afghanistan or libya, but its been somewhere in the middle. most conflicts get little attention: western sahara, myanmar, nagorno-karabakh, tajikistan etc are similar in many ways, with huge international presence, but little prime time media coverage.
syria has been well served with on-the-ground assistance and advisors as its so strategic, but after 10 years of intervention elsewhere the big players have been wise to 'keep it local'. for many players its more useful to have syria in turmoil than stable right now. its a slow boil conflict, that is unique in its parameters (part of why it took so long to be condsidered a civil war, rather than a series of regional uprisings).
personally, i think the best thing to happen is for it to be viewed as its own thing, not an extrapolation of the arab spring and especially not as an extension of afghanistan and iraq, nor iran really.
Who are you thinking of?
theres many. ranging from the small groups wanting a greater state of chaos to carve out there hold, to more organized groups within the govt wanting assad neutralized but not being seen to do it themselves. then there will be proxy groups backed by foreign supporters ranging from islamists to those protecting industrial interests.
anyone with an eye on the kurds, or marionites, or ahlevis etc will have their reasons for entertaining a certain level of chaos in order to get what they want.
on the ground everyone will be doing what they think is the fastest way to bring about their idea of resolution, but inversely that will mean a waiting game for those less well equipped to fight - standad guerrilla action, using the exhaustion of conflict to make vulnerable their objectives. this also works with galvanizing displaced people/refugees into active forces.
syria is too outside the blueprint for a 'normal' state in the region to have the usual interested parties in the usual ratios.
its also notable that syria lacks much of the interest in stabilization that many other regional states have: without an overwhelming majority in ethnicity, religion, sect or foreign support - even foreign opposition - the elements to enforce agreements between opposing forces is lacking.
> and actually, i dispute the notion that syria has been under-reported or under-served in the international area.
Well compared to the international reaction to the last Gaza crisis, under-reported.
Compared to the ongoing Central African War (3 million dead so far?), over reported.
An interesting piece I read today on Assad's strategic use of sectarianism in the Syrian civil war and the failure to adequately respond to it. http://www.acus.org/viewpoint/syria-2013-will-poison-pill-sectarianism-work
Interestingly Hof's arguments reminded me of the words of Elias Khoury on Assad Sr.'s role in doing the same for Lebanon over 30 years ago. http://www.radioopensource.org/elias-khoury-an-upheaval-in-souls-bodies-imaginations/ (comments at about 24:45). Khoury argues that Assad's intervention in Lebanon ended the rise of the secular leftist nationalist trend in that country. His son's sectarianism is obviously aimed at stopping something of that type existing in Syria.
Hmm... so Sunni militants, the Muslim Brotherhood or al qaeda style mercenary jihadists financed by Qatar and Saudi Arabia are "secular leftist nationalists"? Some might believe you, most won't!
No, that's the whole point of the Hof article which you seem to have completely missed.
Having read both somewhat less than impartial articles I still don't see what point you are trying to make... the "secular leftist nationalists" would be who in your mind?
As for Hof himself to quote the article:
"Frederic C. Hof is a senior fellow of the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East at the Atlantic Council and the former Special Advisor for Transition in Syria at the US Department of State."
Going to the Atlantic Council home and clicking on "about" tells enough not to take what they say too seriously, and clicking on their list of "supporters", which include numerous multinational corporations and US military departments says the rest: Boeing, Coca Cola, Lockheed, Shell, Exxon Mobil, Northrop Grumman et al doubtless have the best interests of the Syrian people at heart!
Nothing like quoting from such an obviously altruistic web site to inspire confidence, is there?
But why don't you actually engage with what he says - as you seem to know so much better.
And I would have thought you'd likely be a a Khoury fan, after all he is a secular Palestinian nationalist. Why would you expect him to be impartial in his comments? Does he become politically "suspicious" for commenting negatively on the Assad family's role in Lebanese strife?
No, but he does for writing for the likes of the "Atlantic Council" given who they are fronting for! Somehow I don't see Exxon or the U.S. Department of Defense etc. striving for the happiness of suppressed peoples throughout the world.
It looks as though the Nato and their group of countries and assorted dictatorships have been intending to remove Assad for a while now according to Wesley Clark
That was the "axis of evil" time. Can't you remember all the bollocks the hawks were saying about whether to "turn left to Damascus" or "right to Tehran" when they got to Baghdad? Not quite in the words of Sarah Palin - "how's that regimey changey thing work out for ya' neo-cons?"
This, from the site you linked to and already posted just above:
"Frederic C. Hof is a senior fellow of the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East at the Atlantic Council and the former Special Advisor for Transition in Syria at the US Department of State."
Oops! Very sorry Sir for not saying it the way you want me to.
Ok Toby...i will-
General WC -I said, “Are we still going to war with Iraq?” And he said, “Oh, it’s worse than that.” He reached over on his desk. He picked up a piece of paper. And he said, “I just got this down from upstairs” — meaning the Secretary of Defense’s office — “today.” And he said, “This is a memo that describes how we’re going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran.” I said, “Is it classified?” He said, “Yes, sir.” I said, “Well, don’t show it to me.” And I saw him a year or so ago, and I said, “You remember that?” He said, “Sir, I didn’t show you that memo! I didn’t show it to you!”
Note: Syria isn't way down the list but 2ND in importance.Now some more-
General WC-And the administration has stubbornly refused to talk with Iran about their perception, in part because they don’t want to pay the price with their domestic — our US domestic political base, the rightwing base, but also because they don’t want to legitimate a government that they’ve been trying to overthrow. If you were Iran, you’d probably believe that you were mostly already at war with the United States anyway, since we’ve asserted that their government needs regime change, and we’ve asked congress to appropriate $75 million to do it, and we are supporting terrorist groups, apparently, who are infiltrating and blowing up things inside Iraq — Iran. And if we’re not doing it, let’s put it this way: we’re probably cognizant of it and encouraging it. So it’s not surprising that we’re moving to a point of confrontation and crisis with Iran.
Note: 'and we are supporting terrorist groups, apparently, who are infiltrating and blowing up things inside Iraq — Iran.'
Amy Goodman- I wanted to get your response to Seymour Hersh’s piece in The New Yorker to two key points this week, reporting the Pentagon’s established a special planning group within the office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to plan a bombing attack on Iran, that this is coming as the Bush administration and Saudi Arabia are pumping money for covert operations into many areas of the Middle East, including Lebanon, Syria, and Iran, in an effort to strengthen Saudi-supported Sunni Islam groups and weaken Iranian-backed Shias — some of the covert money has been given to jihadist groups in Lebanon with ties to al-Qaeda — fighting the Shias by funding with Prince Bandar and then with US money not approved by Congress, funding the Sunnis connected to al-Qaeda.
Ahem!This was in March 2007.
so as i originally said-
It looks as though the Nato and their group of countries and assorted dictatorships have been intending to remove Assad for a while now according to Wesley Clark
Ps.Not knowing your Quote by that rabid nutter i had to google it and all i got was - Hows That Hope-y, Change-y Thing Working Out for You ?
Which was a question she aimed at Obama and not neo-cons as you said.
Would you show me a wee link to your version of this quote please Toby? Ta.
And yes before anyone mentions the General WC is put there in purpose.
First Hof (covered) then Khoury, who's a different kettle of fish, but what point are you making? His reference to Assad is a minor point at the end of a long rather romantic interview.
I would say it was debatable that the Assad family invented the use of sectarian or ethnic tension in the area, this had been going on long before they came along. When Syria intervened in Lebanon it may have been in their interests but at least it put an end to a particularly evil ethnic civil war in the country.
Which is why I clearly wrote "Not quite in the words of Sarah Palin..." because it wasn't quite what she said, was it? You seem to be having the same reading comprehensions issues that are afflicting Bruce today. You have the excuse of being dead for 35 years though, so I guess you can't be expected to keep up with the news (or reading skills).
You are the artist formerly known as Naedanger, and I claim my five quid. dek will be glad to have you back though I'm sure! :-)
What? They invaded in 1976 to attack the PLO and the Lebanese leftist forces. The war went on another 20 something years! Again I find it a bit odd that you of all people are justifying Assad Sr.'s policies in Lebanon. Very odd.
Yeah Toby and you are missing my point by about half a mile.
Which is that irrespective of whether these plans were or were not carried out on time,they were still laid out as the countries in which the US/Nato military will actively seek to "Take out".
In 2007 deary me i hate having to spell things out as if i am talking to a child but ok if i have to, in 2007 as is shown in the link Amy Goodman says quote-
I wanted to get your response to Seymour Hersh’s piece in The New Yorker to two key points this week, reporting the Pentagon’s established a special planning group within the office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to plan a bombing attack on Iran, that this is coming as the Bush administration and Saudi Arabia are pumping money for covert operations into many areas of the Middle East, including Lebanon, Syria, and Iran, in an effort to strengthen Saudi-supported Sunni Islam groups and weaken Iranian-backed Shias — some of the covert money has been given to jihadist groups in Lebanon with ties to al-Qaeda — fighting the Shias by funding with Prince Bandar and then with US money not approved by Congress, funding the Sunnis connected to al-Qaeda.
So for the third time-
It looks as though the Nato and their group of countries and assorted dictatorships have been intending to remove Assad for a while now according to Wesley Clark
Hey take it easy pardner!
It looked to me as though you were quoting Palin rather than going into some strange impersonation of something she might or might not say.
Deary me this wore thin about two weeks ago,i have no knowledge of this person whatsoever.
I meant the civil war which ended in 1990, with about 200 000 dead. They occupied parts of the country before. You seem to have an enormous desire to simplify one of the most complex areas of the world... black hats and white hats don't really fit the bill.
Deary me this wore thin about two weeks ago,i have no knowledge of this person whatsoever.
You're naedanger, workingclasslass, shona m, shona menzies, janiejonesworld and a big fat liar.
Andy why hasn't the US done anything about Sudan as one other example on the list? Surely the call for intervention in Darfur in about 8 years ago would have been the perfect cover?
You also don't seem to be able to distinguish between NATO and the US, although you should. Perhaps you're such a wee slip of a lass (or have been dead for 35 years) that you don't remember the run up to the Iraq war and Turkey's attempt to invoke art. 4 of the North Atlantic Treaty? It's very hard to say what NATO wants when members within it have such different policies, but its not always in line with US policy.
If you didn't read what I wrote it might look like that.
I am totally baffled why you (like Bruce)seem to be so hostile to opposition to the regimes of Hussein, Gadafi, Assad, the Ayatollah, and the like.
What ethical standard and evidence (or even ideology) apply here? or is it that the populations (being Arab and/or Muslim)) deserve what they get?
Did you also oppose NATO intervention in Bosnia (on behalf primarily of Muslims)?
In 2001 they want him "Take[n] out"
In 2007 they were "pumping money for covert ops..into Syria" against Assad
In 2011 they say "Assad must go."
Now you thunk that there were "Vacillations" between these times hmm?
You previously acknowledged that -
"Which means the supposed 5 year plan would have had to have been implemented by 2007."
Which is 3 years after the *end* of Bush's first term in office,the term in which this objective is laid out.Now how and why would the Bush Admin issue a classified memo stating an objective that has a duration which extends 3 years over the end of their time in office if -
I'll tell you,when very important memos like that are issued they are because of national security concerns which transcend party politics and move into the direct sphere of the DoD.It can't be Iraq again but if the same regimes are still in power in these target states even after a change of colour in the Whitehouse then they will actively be "Taken out" if the opportunity arises or is *created*.
A hint from the above transcript states quote-
fighting the Shias by funding with Prince Bandar and then with US money not approved by Congress, funding the Sunnis connected to al-Qaeda.
The Pentagon DIA and CIA have much previous in the field of defying congressional or presidential decrees or even violating US human rights policies.In the past they have shown blatant disregard for certain orders from above which they don't agree with?
Of course after much exposure the Pentagon's way around this is as well as many other methods privately contracted mercenaries whose exploits they don't have to classify thereby remaining secret,but i digress.
IMO the yanks were caught out in Tunisia,Bahrain and Egypt especially since they were *Their* dictators.In Libya and Syria they seen their opportunity to "Take out",those who have never been removed from their list.
Its quite a simple strategy which they have used since well..Chile and many times since,sometimes without success and other times with success.
Answer me this,has any NATO member succeeded in stopping any US action?
Come on Mike you must try harder than that,see that thing between your ears...try using it.
A wee hint-
I stand against all Western Imperialism.
Why only western imperialism? Is it because thy is white?
Would it not be better to stand against all forms of imperialism?
Anyhow, you can't distill Syria to fit dogma.
Even taking out the influence of the US and USSR, possibly the greatest schism is due to tribal rivalries allied to sectarianism, add to that patronage and control of Lebanese politics by the Assads father and son making Syria far more pivotal than Libya and possibly even the power balance that is Egypt. Then add Alawites on the make, ascendant fanatical Islam - more Qtub than Muslim Botherhood (from whence he came) and Iran's malign influence.
In other words, it's a clusterf*ck which is why it is not Libya mk 2 and there are no NATO planes flying overhead.
Excellent. Now for your more difficult challenge - find someone who disagrees.
I don't think you are in a very good position to accuse others of being anti-Arab, being an Israeli yourself. Your whole life is based on the genocide of Palestinian Arabs, driving them out, killing them, destroying even their villages and renaming them in a attempt to wipe Palestine off the face of the Earth.
You've got a bit of a nerve posting on the subject as if butter wouldn't melt in your mouth.
Sorry comput=r freeeezing,un;res]ponsive ...
(in reply to naedanger)
I think in shona's use of the term, the 'western' bit is redundant. 'imperialism' is what 'western' powers do, and everything they do is 'imperialism'; and 'non-western' nations can't by definition engage in 'imperialism', because they are not 'western'....
Of course but wake up a bit to the world you live in, look at maps of military bases, troops positions and naval fleets outside the home zone of each country - loads to be found on internet... How many do you see that aren't Western?
Then look at the remaining actual colonies, whatever name they may be given now, islands and territories colonised over the last centuries and still occupied today... again how many belong to other than Western nations?
PS. There are no NATO planes because China and Russia said no, once bitten twice shy. Clinton "We came, we saw he died!" was furious. RIP.
<cough> Tibet <cough>
And the whole concept of colonialism involving military bases or installing puppet regimes strikes me as terribly dated.
America worked put you didn't need to do that years ago. With a few well placed infrastructure grants here, and some friendly consultants there, you can ensure your nations companies are in pole position to develop the natural resources of a whole range of countries, in a way that ensures almost all of the wealth that results leaves the host country. And all without having to bother with anything as crude as military force
It doesn't look like colonialism as it was practiced in the 19th century, but it still results in asset stripping on a prodigious scale
The US have been experts at it for decades, And from what I can see china have learned the process and are now taking it to the next level
Fair play, sauce for the goose etc. but makes it harder to see the moral difference between the players,
> (in reply to naedanger)
> I think in shona's use of the term, the 'western' bit is redundant. 'imperialism' is what 'western' powers do, and everything they do is 'imperialism'; and 'non-western' nations can't by definition engage in 'imperialism', because they are not 'western'....
Yes, silly me. Four legs good, two legs bad.....
I don't like the company or the brand.
I find it violent,elitist,exploitative,manipulative,1 dimensional,cruel,secretive and after a while it chafes a bit and gives ye a right sore un.
> I don't like the company or the brand.
> I find it violent,elitist,exploitative,manipulative,1 dimensional,cruel,secretive and after a while it chafes a bit and gives ye a right sore un.
And other imperialists don't? Or don't they exist?
> And other imperialists don't?
Of course they do the difference is some other forms of imperialism or perhaps internationalism aim to rectify these violent,destructive,divisive ,exploitative and selfish qualities.
ah, so they say "please" while asset stripping the country?
> Of course they do the difference is some other forms of imperialism or perhaps internationalism aim to rectify these violent,destructive,divisive ,exploitative and selfish qualities.
Do they really?
> <cough> Tibet <cough>
If you want, although I would suggest that a bordering territory which has been part of China on and off for millennia may be a little different to territories with absolutely no cultural links on the other side of the planet, but that makes a grand total of one with a population of a few million. Wouldn't you accept that one compared to the hundreds - I saw a figure of 90%ish of the world which had been taken over by various Western empires over the last few centuries - does rather prove my point?
> I don't think you are in a very good position to accuse others of being anti-Arab,
I've explained so many times that this is not true. And you've admitted that your solution is racial cleansing of Palestine/Israel of non-whites.
Now you tell me why you are not consistent when the issue of Assad killing Palestinians in Syria comes up.
> I saw a figure of 90%ish of the world which had been taken over by various Western empires over the last few centuries - does rather prove my point?
So it's not just Israel. In 90% of the world there should be a large scale population shift.
But what is the reset date? 200 BC (Greek empire reset) 400 AD (Roman empire reset). 1000 AD (what's left of the Crusaders go home) 1500 (evacuation of N and S America) 1700 (Aussies and Kiwis return to Europe)
What exactly is your point?
Also, what happens to migrated Indians and Pakistanis, for example. Are they allowed to stay in USA, UK and Australia because they are not Western?
its also badly wrong.
I like how he starts by biasing the results by using the "bordering terrority" argument since, of course, the western empires were based around more efficient maritime technology and hence would be wider spread. However you would have to be a moron to think if the Mongols had had any sea faring tendancies they wouldnt have done the same thing.
Looking at one defines an empire and its size then gets interesting.
Physical size is so so in usefulness. After all large areas could be claimed without impacting on the locals at all.
Population again is limited since it is biased for the more recent ones.
Percentage of world population could be a better measure since that shows how people really were under control.
Needless to say though that doesnt support the claims made by Bruce.
saw a figure of 90%ish of the world which had been taken over by various Western empires over the last few centuries
That is an interesting statistic, any idea where you saw it? I was just doing some sketchy maths and it seems high, probably well into the 80s though.
However you would have to be a moron to think if the Mongols had had any sea faring tendancies they wouldnt have done the same thing.
The Mongols generally stopped before they hit water though didn't they (except around Korea)? I thought the main expansion stopper was due to a dispute when their Western reach was somewhere around Austria?
The USSR was an empire, and now Russia is organising its relations with the CIS states in neo-imperial manner. Their client state relations with the ICS states are probably stronger than the US's with the Gulf States for example.
She gets unpersoned.
> If you want, although I would suggest that a bordering territory which has been part of China on and off for millennia may be a little different to territories with absolutely no cultural links on the other side of the planet, but that makes a grand total of one with a population of a few million. Wouldn't you accept that one compared to the hundreds - I saw a figure of 90%ish of the world which had been taken over by various Western empires over the last few centuries - does rather prove my point?
you seem to be suggesting that annexing countries that are next door is ok, while doing this further afield is wrong. and that is a little dismissive of the "few million" tibetans- how many millions have to be subject to oppressive foreign rule before it becomes a problem...?
as others have pointed out, the greater reach of western imperialism is almost certainly a function of the greater technology available when european nations had their period of ascendancy- specifically means of intercontinental travel, and weaponised gunpowder. i see no reason to assume that had these been available to any other expansionist power at any other point in human history, the results would have been any different.
so, if your point is that europeans and their descendants are uniquely wicked and vicious in their treatment of other peoples, and more inclined to take control of the territory of others, then no, it doesnt prove your point.
i think all races are equal- both in their innate aptitudes and strengths, and in their potential for cruelty and wickedness. the differences are in the tools they have at their disposal to carry out benificence or malevolence
what do you make of the suggestion that imperialism in the 21st century is economic rather than military. powerful nations have become so adept at using the tools of capitalism, and rigging the rules of the game to suit them, that they can accomplish the goals of colonialism- the large scale transfer of wealth from colonised countries to the coloniser- without the inconvenience of having to put soldiers on the ground.
i suspect this is not entirely new, and that the romans were actually in the forefront of it. but the US and now china have refined the tactic so that you dont have to actually invade the colonised country first, which is much more efficient, and also has better PR, allowing them to pretend they are not actually colonial powers at all....
> Of course but wake up a bit to the world you live in, look at maps of military bases, troops positions and naval fleets outside the home zone of each country - loads to be found on internet... How many do you see that aren't Western?
> Then look at the remaining actual colonies, whatever name they may be given now, islands and territories colonised over the last centuries and still occupied today... again how many belong to other than Western nations?
> PS. There are no NATO planes because China and Russia said no, once bitten twice shy. Clinton "We came, we saw he died!" was furious. RIP.
but that supports my assertion that the issue should be imperialism. there is nothing vuirtuosu about socialist states and or the east. Imperialsim arose as the western nations industrialised. it is a function of industrialisation, be it a capitalist system or a socialsit system. the need for eraw materials, trade routes and military alliences and strategic positioning is what industrialising nations with a military capability do.
Has Russia industrialised at the same rate as Europe it may well have had an empire in the classical sense as you would term it
They attempted to, but cam too late to the [Great] game.
I suppose that's why they had "client states".
Infact, what was Poland, Hungary, Czechloslovakia and Afghanistan if not Soviet politcal imperialism?
My point being, imperialsit, like fascist is a word all to often thrown around, whoever shouts the word thinks it wins them the argument. In reality when you deconstruct it, the meaning is well, meaningless and the interpretations of it, legion.
Russia had a huge empire, maybe as big as the British one in land area (not sure of this) but it was land based and contiguous with Russia. One of the motives was, as for the Brits, trade monopolies in the areas disputed between the two empires of central Asia... at that time Russia was just another Western industrial power trying to expand, albeit a rather primitive one socially.
After the revolution the empire was transformed into Soviet Republics - nominally independent at first but not in reality, then as a result of WW2, and the enormous price payed by the Soviet people in winning this war - 20 million dead - it was able to "liberate" countries like Poland and set up communist regimes. Not theoretically colonies but I wouldn't argue if you want to say they were much the same... There are differences that African anti-colonial militants will point out, there wasn't quite the same racist element but that's a long discussion.
However that's all finished now, what remaining colonies have Asian countries got (Tibet has already been covered)? How many military bases do they have... compare any Chinese presence to the USA - there's absolutely no comparison. Commercial activities and a desire to have fair access to raw materials is not colonialism, it is right covered by numerous international treaties.
If the Chinese are getting better at it than we are it's not a reason for war - although this is what happened in Libya - it's for us to get our act together and treat countries with a little more respect - here S America is a good example of what not to do, we've given it to the Chinese on a plate.
? Are you on acid or something? When have I ever said that? I am for Palestinians recovering their land, all of them, whether Arab, descendants of the Jews who lived there before the zionist settlements started, Druzes, Christians whatever... black or white doesn't come into it. Jews and Arabs are both white Semitic races according to those who like to categorise human being. You'll find black Africans in most Arab countries, racism exists, as in Libya at present, but it's not the general situation.
Lots of fair points in there, Bruce. Id broadly agree with much of that
On a couple of specifics- the relationship of Russia to neighbouring former soviet republics- has Russia not exerted undue influence at times, threatening to cut supplies of gas, and actually invading Georgia? Not sure enough about the details, would be happy to hear your perspective on it
And re China, indeed, if they are playing fairly in their dealings with developing countries, and are just better at it than the west, then fair play to them. They could hardly be worse than the rest in many respects, it seems that natural resources have failed to bring prosperity to so many nations. Though the governance of the countries concerned hasnt helped
And I guess your last point is a passing reference to the falklands... Yes, I agree, its been poor PR for the UK in Latin America, and some sort of resolution to the issue would clearly be better for the UKs interests...
It's a pity you don't read threads before posting, the question was whether Gudrun should have said "any imperialism" instead of "Western Imperialism". She confirmed that she would condemn all imperialism, as I do - unlike many ukcers alas who still cling like fetid limpets to the dregs of the British Empire! - but I pointed out that the "Age of Empires" was essentially that of European Empires and mentioned the figure of 90% of the world's surface that had been colonised at one time or other during this period...
I said I wasn't sure of the exact figure, it may have been 80 something (I realised a dreary pedant would likely pop up). This includes all of the Americas, even though many later became independent or even started their own empires, all of Africa, except Abyssinia, all of Australasia and Asia except Japan and a few small countries perhaps, but even the Japanese had the status of "honorary Westerners".. It was just anecdotal figure given by a historian to impress on the reader the sheer scale of the domination by modern industrial nations leading up to the demise of most colonies and colonial adventures in the 20th century.
The second point that today anyone speaking of imperialism we need hardly add Western either as the vast majority of remaining colonies, if not all, are Western ones and the nature of imperialism as a system of world domination has changed. They no longer actually hold countries but dominate them by military force, in which case again a glance at a few maps show that the vast majority of bases are Western, mostly US, as are troop concentrations and Naval concentrations. Neither Russia (if you don't want to see Russia as Western, which is another debate) nor China have significant military bases far from them - Russia has the use of one port in Syria, not even a real base... that's it! China? Does it have any? The USA has around 1000 bases outside the USA, although no one is quite sure, and has troops posted in 150 countries.
None of these are claims, they are simple facts - which ones would you like to contest? Specifically, not your usual generalisations such as "You're speaking rubbish!"... maybe you are aware of hundreds of Yellow Peril bases hidden under the Serpentine or in Loch Ness? In which case feel free to let us all in on the secret.
It's a pity but I couldn't find it again last time I looked, I thought it was on wikipedia in the general article on colonialism, but I fear it may have been in one of those antiquated devices call a "book" so I have no google of CTRL-F to help me :-)
As said above only of anecdotal interest, but striking all the same, and I assume the wording was in such a way as to include the colonial nations themselves... I don't know how Antarctica would have dealt with either. The scale of industrial domination of the globe is not something that is evident today as we tend to take independence for granted.
That's a persuasive case you make Bruce. Though Im still not entirely convinced that chinas massive infrastructure investments are not paving the way to a 21st century form of imperialism... I guess time will tell, if the invested-in countries have seen a fair share of the profits of the resources they are being assisted to develop, then my concerns will prove to have been unfounded
It does seem that the US in particular, in recent decades, can be characterised as having a negative impact foreign policy wise, with china and (maybe) russia having had a less interventionist foreign policy, so arguably less negative. Nonetheless for the citizens of the country, there are clearly more personal freedoms in the west, with fewer restrictions on what we can do or say, and less chance of being persecuted for drawing attention to the shortcomings of our leaders, either by imprisonment, or even by bizarre methods such as polonium poisoning
How do you square the restrictions in personal freedom in china and Russia with your preference for their style of foreign policy? Do you see the current situation as part of an evolving process towards western style personal liberty in these countries?
Maybe that was one of the points the figure is supposed to illustrate?
Why look for an argument when there isn't one to be had?
When have I said this, again if you want to put words in my mouth to argue against them then I would suggest going into the bathroom and shouting at your reflection - blue tits do it all the same, but they then peck the window which you shouldn't do as it would hurt your nose.
lol, that was quite funny actually...
i *could* point out the 'if' in my statement, and that the point you were making wasn't entirely clear, so i was trying to make a best guess based on your previous contributions...
but instead i will just apologise for putting words in your mouth... and ask for clarification of what point you were making when you kept pointing out the extent of the world that was under the sway of western powers, contrasting it to non-western ones
and also draw attention to my last few posts where i've been largely agreeing with you! so not sure why you're aiming your (admittedly very funny...) barbed comments at me..!
Barbed comments come when I answered posts as I came to them on the thread before reading later ones... This sometimes makes them seem a bit inappropriate..
In answer to this question, I wasn't really contrasting Western and non-Western imperialisms, just pointing out during the period know by many as the Age of Imperialism, when the industrial revolution resulted in enormously increased output, hence the scrabble for markets and the need for raw materials, hence the scrabble for these, there were practically only Western Imperialists - plus Japan... they took over the world in a century or a little more.
Scroll down to "Age of Imerialism".
> In answer to this question, I wasn't really contrasting Western and non-Western imperialisms, just pointing out during the period know by many as the Age of Imperialism, when the industrial revolution resulted in enormously increased output, hence the scrabble for markets and the need for raw materials, hence the scrabble for these, there were practically only Western Imperialists - plus Japan... they took over the world in a century or a little more.
No problem, I think we're in agreement about much of this, will check out the link tomorrow
and thats in surface area not percentage of the worlds population under control. Helped in part that the various empires had room to expand, by going to the other continents, rather than running straight into another peak empire borders which helped limit any individual Euro-Asian empire.
The "age of imperialism" is a very western thought. Would have thought Bruce would think on a more global scale than us colonel blimps.
> The "age of imperialism" is a very western thought. Would have thought Bruce would think on a more global scale than us colonel blimps.
Yes, because he lives "abroad" so he understands how Johnny Foreigner thinks :-)
Why does distance make a difference? Are UK bases in Germany less bad than ones in Oman because they are closer? Russia has troops in about a dozen other countries, and flexes it's military might by continually contravening the airspace of many of its neighbours.
Obviously Russia and China have expanded and colonised on land. So their model of an empire was a contiguous empire of different cultures, religions and languages. The history of Russia was expansion to the East, and at one time it included Alaska of course.
Pointing out the scope of this period of colonialism is not in itself a value judgement.... It was considered normal at the time by those who lead the countries involved. Fortunately it isn't nowadays, openly at least.
Some countries have apologised for their colonial past but amazingly it is still controversial. I think there is a court action on at present for compensation. Three individuals (IIRC) were given leave by the House of Lords to make a compensation claim of some sort, I can't remember the details. The fear of more such actions could be why governments refuse to go the whole hog on the moral issues at stake.
Your obsession with launching barbs lead you to say the silliest things! Of course the rest of the world were aware of this epoch - they were it's victims!
And now who has Alaska? Does some expansion count more than others?
> Pointing out the scope of this period of colonialism is not in itself a value judgement.... It was considered normal at the time by those who lead the countries involved. Fortunately it isn't nowadays, openly at least.
> And now who has Alaska? Does some expansion count more than others?
Your point is? The USA bought Alsaka: is peaceful acquisition of territory OK maybe? Or should it be given back to the native Indians?
> Your point is? The USA bought Alsaka: is peaceful acquisition of territory OK maybe? Or should it be given back to the native Indians?
You may want to rethink your western imperialistic relationship with your newsagent :)
Just as the Jewish colonists bought Palestine in your warped view of history? It's still taking over land, the richer and stronger from the poorer and weaker... The colonisation of China by Western nations was accomplished by the so called "unequal treaties", backed by the odd gunboat, and for nearly every colonial intervention there was a good pretext, an "invitation" to help in a local conflict, the need to protect ravished nuns.
Luckily such things are a thing of the past.. or are they?
as opposed to those times when their empires where booming and invading other countries. As the postie points out there really wasnt anything special about those empires.
Well yes, there was - their size, their economic, philosophical and scientific advances, their role with respect to cultures concerned, etc. etc. There have been many empires but never such an enormous, explosive and total colonial period as this one. The colossal world population explosion that accompanied them and the state of the world today even after the demise of the empires is quite unique. After the fall of the Roman Empire the world slipped back a bit at first but then carried on much as before, Chinese empires came and went but the world only changed slowly.
The colonial age provided the quantum leap which has changed the world far more than a period historical periods - saying so is a commonplace platitude, any school boy is aware of this, how come it seems to pose a problem for you?
But don't believe me read a few history books. Penguin used to do a fat "History of the World", but if it's out of print you could certainly find something similar.
> There have been many empires but never such an enormous, explosive and total colonial period as this one.
Lets try again: So you're agreed: there is nothing particularly unusual about western imperialism except, coming at a time when its technology was transformational and its technological advantages enormous, its extent was larger than most previous empires?
again, depends on the measure used. Surface area yes, percentage people controlled no.
Possibly the most significant difference was there was a set of large empires from the same small area. Since they no longer had that conflict previous empires had of being immediately fighting for land it meant they could easily grow. That and, for the other continents, a chance advantage when it came to disease immunity.
oh? So what was the difference compared to say how other cultures were treated by the Mongol, Sassanid or Aztec empires?
Philosophical, maybe. Although the non greek empires and some of the Arabia ones had massive philosophical advances.
a quick check of history says otherwise. Explosive maybe but even that isnt clear.
what population growth would that be? The increase was fairly steady before and during those empires. The actual explosion came in the 1950s-70s
which Roman empire would that be? Majority of the world didnt notice the fall of either particularly.
because you seem to be considering these empires as something particularly unusual in the way they dominated areas. Other than the obvious seafaring capability which allowed it to go more easily to other continents they dont stand out.
Perhaps you might want to read a few more detailed histories of the various empires?
This is an Arab view of Assad's pretensions to be a cause that should be supported by Western left wing. (Spoiler: they think it's nonsense)
I don't get this either. The population growth was caused by reduction in child deaths and increase in longevity. You prefer empires where children and mothers die at birth and people die young?
Actually of course your chronology is wrong. The increase occurred during de-colonisation.
You should write a history book, it would be pretty original!
You could write a chapter in disso's history book.
um... should he include this graph...?
I wasn't quite sure who they were speaking about, I see most of the interest in Syria from what they call the "populist left" as completely reactive to the possibility of US intervention. I wasn't sold on the idea that lots of this populist left dropped the Palestinian cause after the Oslo agreement, nor that the left is anti-Islamist. At least in the UK case, Respect and Stop the War Coalition seems to suggest the opposite.
> I wasn't quite sure who they were speaking about,
I agree that the article seemed to be a little off target. But it was a different perspective that was good to hear.
I never got this left wing anti-Israel/anti-semitic thing (as an ex radical myself), since this involves supporting views of women as second class, hating gays, embracing a death cult etc.
We can see that! I'll give you a hint; left wing people, on the whole, are not favourable to people going to another country, settling there and when they are strong enough killing the locals, driving them out and then setting up a racist state which continues the slow job of destroying the semitic people concerned and all traces of it's existence.
(I add the last phrase to remind you, again, the Arabs are as semitic as the Jews are so your accusation of anti-semitism against those who support the Palestinians and not Israel is just ridiculous.
Why not, it shows a population increase of about 2 1/2 times over the period... although the surge after WW2, before most decolonisation, is perhaps due to the invention of penicillin and antibiotics.
You do realise that most of what I've said about the "Age of Empires" is seen as the positive consequences of the process by those who defended colonialism, don't you? I can't quite see what point there is in denying the historical importance, and unique character of the period... empires have come and gone but never the same global scale as then and with such universal awareness, for good or for bad.
> We can see that! I'll give you a hint; left wing people, on the whole, are not favourable to people going to another country, settling there and when they are strong enough killing the locals, driving them out and then setting up a racist state which continues the slow job of destroying the semitic people concerned and all traces of it's existence.
We can see that! I'll give you a hint; left wing people, on the whole, are not favourable to "western" people going to another country, settling there and when they are strong enough killing the locals, driving them out and then setting up a racist state which continues the slow job of destroying the semitic people concerned and all traces of it's existence.
And excepting, of course, the Brtish Labour party which supported the creation of Israel.
There, fixed that for you.
I just did.. I think I agree with BC1's comment just below - they refer to the "the Western left" without ever saying who or what they mean, a device a bit like the "silent majority" whose opinions are any-one's guess as they remain silent :-)
So did the Soviet Union, what is your point?
> So did the Soviet Union, what is your point?
Th British Labour party was favourable to people going to another country, settling there and when they are strong enough killing the locals, driving them out and then setting up a racist state......
You replied! For a while there, I thought you were ignoring me on the other thread
What you say is true on one level, the global reach of the European powers over the last few centuries is clearly something new.
Aside from that, I'm not convince there was anything unique. My guess would be that the mongols had a similar proportionate military superiority over contemporaries, for example. I think others such as the Muslim caliphate have had similar cultural legacies, giving the world a more or less universal system of numbers and arithmetic. You could argue that early empires in the middle east had the biggest impact of all, disseminating techniques for the domestication of animals, growing food crops and developing written languages.
If you pick certain characteristics, such as geographical spread, and measure empires using that metric, yes the European ones are significant. But it could be argued that that is a form of cultural imperialism in its own right...!
And as to the way European empires treated conquered nations, I think there is nothing unique in that. They varied between nations, but I don't think its the case that they behaved any worse than the mongols did to the cities of central Asia, the aztecs did to their neighbours or any of a long list of horrific acts humans have carried out over the millennia. Conquering, stealing wealth, bettering kin at the expense of others, that's just what people do, sadly. And the ones that end up on charge tend to have got there due to traits that make it more likely they will inflict harm on rivals .
Maybe we'll develop past that, and indeed things like the universal declaration on human rights, and the ECHR, are perhaps a sign of that. I think great powers do constrain themselves in ways now that they have never done in the past. But as long as human beings continue to make decisions about who has access to resources and power, unpleasant and cruel acts will follow...
because it doesnt support your claims.
Perhaps this one will make it clearer? See the fairly standard curve until it goes completely haywire, which is the 60s onwards.
http://www.cpgb-ml.org/index.php?secName=proletarian&subName=display&art=796 (making many of the arguments you were last year about the Arab League mission)
I think though most far-left support for Assad is pretty conditional and comes from their anti-Americanism, rather than a great love for Assad. Standard operating procedure now seems to be skate over the crimes committed by the Syrian regime, call it a civil war and blame the West (or western proxies) for staring it.
Galloway for example http://rt.com/news/dictatorship-assad-syria-western-conspiracy-371/ or even better from Milne (who has been predicting intervention for well over a year it seems): http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/dec/19/intervention-syria-al-qaida-blowback Or the morning star http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/news/content/view/full/127970
Divisions in the Arab left
I'm using of course the word in its normal, not technical, meaning
In fact, the west (UK, USA et al) were pretty reluctant. The founding of Israel was enabled by the Soviet Union who drummed all its allies into line.
Why is one of history's mysteries. Some even say it was a genuine emotion by Stalin when he heard about the death camps. Others that Israel looked at the time like it might become socialist/communist and so a Soviet Union ally.
Then (as the article said) long after the supposed crimes against Palestinians left wingers turned. It started, as far as I can tell, with violent left wing groups like the RAF (Gudrun, are you out there?) who allied with terrorists and then it became more fashionable in the 1970s for the left wing to support murderers of Israelis.
More their anti-Israeli/anti-semitic (Jews are evil zionists / capitalists) position IMHO
i really, really know i shouldnt but...
anyone else got thoughts on the kurdish killings in france?
I didn't say they were any worse, just more universal. Some of the raiders from central Asia had the charming habit of killing all the inhabitants of towns they overrun then building pyramids of their severed heads on the roads to and from the sacked city... although as the information was handed down by their opponents there may be some exaggeration.
But even the Mongol invasions were limited to Eurasia, they didn't reach Africa even, let alone the Americas, Australasia and so on. The world wide European domination went far beyond previous empires, mainly because the industrial power of the age went far beyond that of any previous age.
One consequence was that when war finally broke out between the industrial blocks this lead to the First and Second World Wars, global Empires, Global war.... global numbers of dead.
> I didn't say they were any worse, just more universal.
> But even the Mongol invasions were limited to Eurasia, they didn't reach Africa even, let alone the Americas, Australasia and so on. The world wide European domination went far beyond previous empires, mainly because the industrial power of the age went far beyond that of any previous age.
The version I read was that the USSR saw a socialist Israel as a counter balance to the reactionary feudal sheiks with British support in the ME. But, despite what many think, Stalin made efforts to move Jewish Soviet citizens in priority out of the way of the advancing nazi armies as he knew what would happen to them if they fell into German hands. He also set up a "Jewish Soviet State" in the East of the USSR to receive displaced Jews. It was not a success though and the last Jewish inhabitant left a few years ago, or died, I can't remember. All that remains are a few rotting wooden houses, and the graveyards.
Quite a few Communist Jews went to Israel in the 30's with idealistic notions of setting up a secular socialist state for Jews and Arabs alike. One such was Leopold Trepper, from Poland originally, he wrote a book of his experiences called "Great Game: Story of the Red Orchestra". He had problems in Poland, itself pretty well fascist at the time, then in Israel he found himself in trouble with the British as a revolutionary trouble maker, but also with the Zionists for militating in a party of both Arabs and Jews, The Palestine Communist Party... he had to leave ending up in France in time for the Nazi invasion.
There he set up the spy network called the "Red Orchestra". Many were tortured and executed by the Germans but he survived to escape to the Soviet Union... where he was arrested as a "counter revolutionary" or something of the kind. He spent years in prison but never renounced his Communism. IIRC, he was eventually released and went back to Poland where again he fell foul of the authorities, many returning Jews were murdered by Poles at the time, and it took a political campaign to get his release and he came to London for medical treatment. I think he ended his days in Palestine
Your record seems to be stuck in a groove... you keep asking the same pointless question that has already been answered.
It's funny the way you don't seem to understand why people hate Israel. There is no need to look for complicated pseudo political complexities, it's simply because of what you, and others before you have done in Palestine... to quote someone "Killing people's not nice." and you are still doing it today, time after time. It's the blood on your hand we object to whether we're Arabs or anyone else.
You said the other day that your parents were left wingers, how did they feel about Israel? Did they live there? In which case how did they fit that in with their political and philosophical views? I'm genuinely interested, although I would understand if you didn't want to discuss the matter with someone like me.
it was also handed down by those not in direct conflict plus allied chroniclers. That it was specifically applied in certain cases would support the likelihood of it being true (those cases being in response to resistance particularly after capitulating once).
and the British empire didnt get to Russia. So now we have established that one empire had ships and another didnt.
Speaking of Russia, random fact time, the Mongols are the only group who not only were not put off by the Russian winter but benefited from it (using the rivers as roads).
well a lot of the global war for WWII was down to a non western empire, or attempted empire.
Plus again if you look at the percentages of world population other wars were more destructive.
> Your record seems to be stuck in a groove... you keep asking the same pointless question that has already been answered.
Yes, in several several either irrelevant or contradictory ways. From your last answer it answer would appear to be "yes" but don't be embarrassed it took you so long to get there.
But when did anyone every put a value judgement on the notion of the "Age of Empires"? Historians have described it as I did, in reply to something or other, but you really should try to stop reading what you want people to say rather than what they do.
Like postman you insist on reading what you want people to say rather than what they do... The figure was the total percentage of the world that had been included in the Empires of essentially Western Europe over the historical age under consideration, whether surface area or population makes little difference, in fact I should think in population terms it would have been higher as the few un-colonised lands would probably remote countries with low populations.
So, that Britain didn't colonise Russia is absolutely nothing to do with the point in hand. The Russian empire would be included in the figure, of course. Also I think we are all aware that the ships were used, how is this relevant? The development of shipping is one of the means by which empires were built but the means of achieving the result is not really in question - I've given my opinion - the enormous increase of industrial power - but that is a different discussion for which the facts are so obvious that I can't see how an argument would be possible... although....
To end this tedious sideline, if you are simple saying there had been previous large empires before those of the Age of Empires, than you'll find no one on this thread who has or would deny that. You are pushing an open door.
> But when did anyone every put a value judgement on the notion of the "Age of Empires"? Historians have described it as I did, in reply to something or other, but you really should try to stop reading what you want people to say rather than what they do.
Come on colonel. Chap asks a straight question, expects a straight answer. Dont wxnt get the wrong end of stick, eh?
I don't know about all these value judgements and these historian fellows.
What do you think? Yes? No? Why? No need to obfuscate. Just tell us like it is.
well you would be wrong. In terms of percentage of population the British empire (depending on which stats you use) gets into the top 5 at best.
Percentage of population being useful since the population was steadily climbing the entire time (although not as per your claim astronomical during the colonial period, that came afterwards).
for the rather obvious reason thats how they got to the other continents.
Previous empires didnt have that capability (aside from the Chinese for a period).
It also helped by allowing the empires to avoid conflict to a degree, unlike the landmass ones which had no option but to clash.
I like this wording. its not in question since you have your opinion.
You might want to look at other factors, eg immunity to diseases. It would have been a far more difficult time without that in America.
no I am pointing out your claim of the "age of Empires" as something unique really misses the fact there have been extremely influencial empires before and after and it is lazy to treat those as anything particularly special.
Its the sort of approach that cheerleads colonisation today since it isnt by the west.
Is there no end to this misery! THE BRITISH EMPIRE WASN'T THE SUBJECT!
What on earth does this phrase mean?
Just as the 20 - 40 million killed by Mao, 20 million+ by Stalin, don't count because ... it wasn't us.
> Is there no end to this misery! THE BRITISH EMPIRE WASN'T THE SUBJECT!
You don't get any better, do you? Straight out of the Daily Mail, or some extreme right newsrag. This is a thread about Syria, there's another one about the Malvinas, three in fact.
Saying I'm happy about millions who died in the USSR and China is just so childish, it's beneath you... Why would I be glad of people dying? What justification have you for such a bit of nonsense? By coincidence the 20 million figure corresponds to the number of Soviet citizens who died to defeat fascism in WW2, without them we wouldn't be posting here, your beloved Israel wouldn't exist... and quite probably there wouldn't be many Jews left in the world outside the USA, assuming they themselves were not invaded once Eurasia had been overrun by the Axis powers, but none of this inspires you to ever show the slightest respect for those 20 million from the Soviet Union who died to save our bacon.
PS. Britain is the colonial power in the "Falkland Islands (Malvinas)" to use their official title... which is why the UN decolonisation committee is discussing them. It is not an independent country. The point of the debate is whether it was part of Argentina when Britain "colonized" it in the mid 19th century - the word "colonized" was used in the British documents of the time... It's funny you should refuse the idea when the British government was quite open about it at the time... Why not just read a few historical facts?
Bruce, I'm afraid that you (and Gudrun the wee scottish lass) have fallen into the trap identified by George Orwell all those years ago. Your fierce opposition to the West, US, Israel has clouded your judgement.
Better to stand back and take a more reasoned approach. As a left-winger, every day I read about things the US and Israel have done that leave me incoherent with rage. But that doesn't mean that everything their enemies does is right.
> You don't get any better, do you? Straight out of the Daily Mail, or some extreme right newsrag. This is a thread about Syria, there's another one about the Malvinas, three in fact
Yes, but they've all gone quiet. And with so many questions yet to be answered...
"PS. Britain is the colonial power in the "Falkland Islands (Malvinas)" to use their official title... which is why the UN decolonisation committee is discussing them. It is not an independent country. The point of the debate is whether it was part of Argentina when Britain "colonized" it in the mid 19th century - the word "colonized" was used in the British documents of the time... It's funny you should refuse the idea when the British government was quite open about it at the time... Why not just read a few historical facts"
Oh good, this thread is turning into one about the falklands too...!
It depends what you mean by colonized. It can mean both taking control of already occupied land, and setting up settlements on unoccupied territory.
If we ever establish a base on mars, we will have colonized it, but that doesn't mean there are martians who can appeal to the galactic committee on decolonisation...
If the contemporary British documents do use the word (link.. ?), the interpretation is not as clear cut as you appear to suggest,
I'm impressed! You've managed to combine comparing Bruce to one of the greatest philosophers of all time, with a mild rebuke of him!
That's the classiest put down I've seen on here for a while...
In fact, probably since the one Bruce used on me the other day about blue tits....
More likely 'Bruce Almighty' circa ...2003?!
You've a bit of a cheek lecturing me about the Falklands all these years if you haven't even bothered to read about them! I should just say "look yourself" but here's one to spare you the effort... it's on that virtually unknown web site, wikipedia:
"1839: Lt Lowcay is replaced by Lt Robinson, in December Robinson is relieved by Lt Tyssen. Vernet is refused permission to return to the islands. G.T.Whittington forms a company to exploit fishery and agriculture, petitions the British Government to colonise the islands.
1840: The British approve the formation of a colony on the islands.
1841: General Rosas offers to relinquish any claim to sovereignty over the Falkland Islands in return for the relief of the Argentine debt to City of London interests. The British decline the offer. Lt Governor Moody is appointed as the first British Governor of the Islands, a Letters Patent establishes the legal framework for the colony."
The timeline has one or two dubious slants, but most English language web sites do so you can' t accuse it of being Argentinian propaganda. I'm sure you could find more detailed references if you used your fingers a bit more.
No, surely not :-)
> It's funny the way you don't seem to understand why people hate Israel.
I know why you hate Israel. Because 80% of them are Jews.
Yes.... But if Bruce thinks that wikipedia counts as a contemporary historical document, it might explain a lot...!
Well, since the thread seems to have well and truely derailed onto the falkands now (not sure why you didn't just keep posting on the other thread), i'll have another go at picking up one of the points you've been strangely slow to answer....
On the other thread I provided a link to a legal journal, found via Wikipedia but with access to the source text, which explicitly stated that Argentina invokes the treaty of tordesillas in establishing a legal claim to the islands.
I think this is self evident, as no other credible explanation for the French surrendering their settlement exists; and entirely undermines the Argentinian claim- as it is clearly absurd to support a claim for decolonisation with a document by which a 15th century pope divided the world and all its resources between two colonial powers.
So: do you accept this is indeed the basis of the Argentinian sovereignty claim? And if not, can you cite some evidence (not Wikipedia!) That rebuts the article I provided?
(Access via Wikipedia, treaty of tordesillas, modern claims, clickable link to the journal article cited, to save you the trouble of going back to the other thread.. )
> I know why you hate Israel. Because 80% of them are Jews.
Why do you think I hate Jews? Apart from it easing your conscience of course. Did you watch the Channel 4 documentary above? It shows quite well how even the slightest criticism of Israel - Hague's for example, is immediately denounced as anti-semitic, it makes life easier and avoids examining your acts objectively. Just as the German nazis blamed everything on the Jews Israelis and their supporters blame everything on anti-semitism. It's the same mental attitude.
See other thread.
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