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Syrian civil war


Walsingham

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Militants with ties to al Qaeda's branch in Iraq and the Levant killed a senior Free Syrian Army commander, Reuters reported July 12. Rebels with the Free Syrian Army said the killing of Kamal Hamami, also known as Abu Bassir al-Ladkani, is tantamount to a declaration of war. Clashes have broken out previously between members of the Free Syrian Army and Islamist fighters in Syria, the Observatory for Human Rights said.

 

 

Thought this was interesting to underscore the complexity of the situation for the anti-Assad groups.

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In other words they're fragmenting. That's a good thing as it will probably lead to a quicker ending of the conflict.

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Седамдесет и седам иљада;
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И миломе Богу приступачно.

 

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On the other hand, the new leadership of the FSA is reported to have good ties with SA. If we buy in to the hypothesis that these AQ-aligned fighters are financed by Saudis (but of course not directly by the SA government), maybe what's really happening - or what's really important - is the internal conflict in SA over which rebels to fund. Maybe this new conflict between the rebels is really about who can lay claim to these supplies.

 

Here's another interesting article.

Edited by Rostere

"Well, overkill is my middle name. And my last name. And all of my other names as well!"

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I always see these things through the prism of the Spanish civil war. With the jifs spending as much time hunting for heresy as fighting anyone else. I suppose it's understandable. Must be a lot more fun pushing civilians around than taking on government tanks.

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BBC article discussing the dilemma facing the rebels.

 

Although I have to say, as is depressingly typical for the BBC it's barely A-level grade analysis.

"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

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On the other hand, the new leadership of the FSA is reported to have good ties with SA. If we buy in to the hypothesis that these AQ-aligned fighters are financed by Saudis (but of course not directly by the SA government), maybe what's really happening - or what's really important - is the internal conflict in SA over which rebels to fund. Maybe this new conflict between the rebels is really about who can lay claim to these supplies.

 

Here's another interesting article.

 

There seems to be some stuff going down between Saudi and Qatar as well- the Saudi candidate won in the FSA/ SNC and the Saudis immediately supported the coup in Egypt while Qatar (more friendly with the Brotherhood) has been... tepid. In both cases the displaced groups/ candidates largely supported by Qatar, and in the case of Egypt it's one they've historically been antagonistic towards. Saudi has always seen themselves as champions of the islamic and arab cause, and dislike anyone challenging that. I suspect that their recent changes have a lot more to do with putting that upstart Qatar with their World Cups and annoyingly assertive foreign policy in their place than any Road to Damascus enlightened change of thinking on Saudi's part.

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  • 1 month later...

http://rt.com/news/syria-chemical-weapons-un-775/

 

Supposed gas attack, death toll is varying though. Hm..UN observers arriving to watch for this very same thing today, apparently.

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http://rt.com/news/syria-chemical-weapons-un-775/

 

Supposed gas attack, death toll is varying though. Hm..UN observers arriving to watch for this very same thing today, apparently.

 

This is a very serious development if its true. If Assad has used Chemical weapons this should be ample reason for direct Western military involvement and it can't come soon enough.

"Abashed the devil stood and felt how awful goodness is and saw Virtue in her shape how lovely: and pined his loss”

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"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” -  George Bernard Shaw

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There's a bigger chance it's the al Qaeda backed rebels who did it. They're getting their asses kicked and becoming desperate.

 

Even though that is possible I doubt it as the  Assad government is already denying that they used Chemical weapons but are admitting to killing people in the area

"Abashed the devil stood and felt how awful goodness is and saw Virtue in her shape how lovely: and pined his loss”

John Milton 

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” -  George Bernard Shaw

"What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead" - Nelson Mandela

 

 

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Except 'the West' currently has its hands full. It's not as if there's an expeditionary force parked offshore.

 

It doesn't make sense for either side to use these weapons. Assad must know that his only existential threat right now is from foreign intervention. Why use a weapon that can only hurt your interests? Unless it's simply to show he can, which I don't see fitting his profile. the rebels using the weapons en masse doesn't seem logical except to provoke foreign intervention, but then that isn't very likely...

 

...unless you remember that the rebels aren't unitary. If a hardline element among the rebels did use these weapons then the result is that the rebels lose all credibility. That isolates the moderates from Western support.

 

In my opinion it's the most credible option.

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Or maybe everyone realizes that the side which starts to use chemical weapons will be immediately rejected by the international community, and these last months with allegations of chemical warfare has all been both sides trying to frame the other.

"Well, overkill is my middle name. And my last name. And all of my other names as well!"

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Yeah, foreign elements of the rebels seem most likely. Using chemical weapons with inspectors in the country would be utter madness, let alone that the place where they are supposed to have used them is completely unsuitable for their military use- relatively close front lines, and close to areas you hold yourself including absolutely crucial areas; not vs human wave attacks like Iran v Iraq or trenches like WW1, it's certainly not some outright terror/ extermination attempt like Anfal, and the Syrian army is winning without needing to resort to chemical weapons. Either desperate use as a last resort, or calculated use by the rebels seems likely. It wouldn't have to be deliberate though, chemical weapons have always been prone to own goals if weather conditions change and it is likely that any chems used by the rebels would not be... reliable, but there are certainly groups that wouldn't care even slightly about killing some civilians for The Greater Good (the greater good).

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You mean like, where was it Messines - from memory to see iirc - when canisters of gas were blown back onto British or German lines?

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Pretty much SFW video of attack victims:

 

 

 

A few things strike me.

 

1) It would be extremely challenging to fake up such a scene without a first rate film crew and good extras

 

I therefore rate it the scenes on arrival as genuine. But they are curious. I'm no CBRN guru, but I know a bit, combined with what I was told in training, and having sat down and read through the Chemical Weapons Convention webpages back when we were debating WMD in Iraq.

 

2) Why are people handling the bodies seemingly unaffected?

 

3) Why would Assad choose to utilise a large scale attack when a pre-scheduled visit from UN weapons inspectors is under way in the same area*? And why bother when his forces - combined with Hezbollah - seem to be winning?

 

4) Japanese cult Aum Shinrikyo was able to make home-made sarin, and affected thousands by simply letting it evaporate in subway tunnels. Presumably sarin could be manufactured in equivalent quantities by the rebels, and could kill hundreds if dispersed only slightly more effectively.

 

~

 

Points 2 and 4 suggest a hypothesis that this could have been a false flag operation by jihadis. They are more than willing to kill their own 'civilians' to further their aims. And what possible harm can it do their reputation even if they are found out? Their supporters would never believe it was them, and they are already hunted worldwide. And they potentially get a huge win if the scam works. Draw the West into a confrontation with Assad who is aligned with the apostates <sic> of Iran.

 

I like this hypothesis for obvious reasons, but also because it would account for rescuers being able to handle the bodies. A poor quality dispersal, concentrated in a few areas, and leaking outwards from those.

 

Treating it as a hypothesis, what would disprove it, though?

 

*Although Assad is baulking at letting the inspectors go to the affected site, which also seems weird.

"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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4) Japanese cult Aum Shinrikyo was able to make home-made sarin, and affected thousands by simply letting it evaporate in subway tunnels. Presumably sarin could be manufactured in equivalent quantities by the rebels, and could kill hundreds if dispersed only slightly more effectively.

If chemical weapons were easy to make we would see plenty of terrorists use them.

Nerve gas is especially tricky to produce and even that cult couldn't get good quality despite access to stupid amounts of money and some of the brightest students in Japan.

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4) Japanese cult Aum Shinrikyo was able to make home-made sarin, and affected thousands by simply letting it evaporate in subway tunnels. Presumably sarin could be manufactured in equivalent quantities by the rebels, and could kill hundreds if dispersed only slightly more effectively.

If chemical weapons were easy to make we would see plenty of terrorists use them.

Nerve gas is especially tricky to produce and even that cult couldn't get good quality despite access to stupid amounts of money and some of the brightest students in Japan.

 

 

Fair. It's not easy easy, like ammonia based explosives. But it's hardly a stretch to suggest that a Qaeda franchise _in the middle east_ could do it if it had a good enough reason to want it.

 

The reason more terrorists don't use chemical weapons is - according to Al Qaeda's literature - is that they take so much effort to make compared with an equivalent effort towards explosives. Last time I checked, Qaeda still wanted them, but wasn't encouraging anyone to pick them first.

"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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4) Japanese cult Aum Shinrikyo was able to make home-made sarin, and affected thousands by simply letting it evaporate in subway tunnels. Presumably sarin could be manufactured in equivalent quantities by the rebels, and could kill hundreds if dispersed only slightly more effectively.

If chemical weapons were easy to make we would see plenty of terrorists use them.

Nerve gas is especially tricky to produce and even that cult couldn't get good quality despite access to stupid amounts of money and some of the brightest students in Japan.

 

 

Fair. It's not easy easy, like ammonia based explosives. But it's hardly a stretch to suggest that a Qaeda franchise _in the middle east_ could do it if it had a good enough reason to want it.

 

The reason more terrorists don't use chemical weapons is - according to Al Qaeda's literature - is that they take so much effort to make compared with an equivalent effort towards explosives. Last time I checked, Qaeda still wanted them, but wasn't encouraging anyone to pick them first.

 

 

Chemical weapons experts who evaluated the Tokyo attacks and the chemicals have asserted that the sarin produced by the cult was capable of killing tens of thousands of people.  It was the delivery system that was the real problem.  As it was, their extremely simple dispersion system affected over 5000 people.  Had that system been more effective, the death toll would have been substantially higher.  One expert said that the terrorist should have used something comparable to a backpack garden pesticide sprayer to aerosolize the gas. 

 

http://www.fas.org/irp/congress/1995_rpt/aum/part05.htm

 

I wonder if it's chemical component controls that makes them difficult to make in quantities and the inability to have access to portable and reliable delivery systems?  

 

I also wonder if Assad's stockpiles of binary chemical weapons are really as secure as his government has maintained they are. 

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4) Japanese cult Aum Shinrikyo was able to make home-made sarin, and affected thousands by simply letting it evaporate in subway tunnels. Presumably sarin could be manufactured in equivalent quantities by the rebels, and could kill hundreds if dispersed only slightly more effectively.

If chemical weapons were easy to make we would see plenty of terrorists use them.

Nerve gas is especially tricky to produce and even that cult couldn't get good quality despite access to stupid amounts of money and some of the brightest students in Japan.

 

 

Fair. It's not easy easy, like ammonia based explosives. But it's hardly a stretch to suggest that a Qaeda franchise _in the middle east_ could do it if it had a good enough reason to want it.

 

The reason more terrorists don't use chemical weapons is - according to Al Qaeda's literature - is that they take so much effort to make compared with an equivalent effort towards explosives. Last time I checked, Qaeda still wanted them, but wasn't encouraging anyone to pick them first.

 

 

Chemical weapons experts who evaluated the Tokyo attacks and the chemicals have asserted that the sarin produced by the cult was capable of killing tens of thousands of people.  It was the delivery system that was the real problem.  As it was, their extremely simple dispersion system affected over 5000 people.  

Oh but they have used a very simple system months earlier and killed 9 people.

In fact they even produced something akin to VX gas and used is for assassination.

The reason the casualties from those incidents are not counted in the hundreds or thousands were exactly because the quality of gas was terrible.

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Links?

"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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3) Why would Assad choose to utilise a large scale attack when a pre-scheduled visit from UN weapons inspectors is under way in the same area*? And why bother when his forces - combined with Hezbollah - seem to be winning?

 

 

 

Points 2 and 4 suggest a hypothesis that this could have been a false flag operation by jihadis. They are more than willing to kill their own 'civilians' to further their aims. And what possible harm can it do their reputation even if they are found out? Their supporters would never believe it was them, and they are already hunted worldwide. And they potentially get a huge win if the scam works. Draw the West into a confrontation with Assad who is aligned with the apostates <sic> of Iran.

 

I like this hypothesis for obvious reasons, but also because it would account for rescuers being able to handle the bodies. A poor quality dispersal, concentrated in a few areas, and leaking outwards from those.

 

Treating it as a hypothesis, what would disprove it, though?

 

*Although Assad is baulking at letting the inspectors go to the affected site, which also seems weird.

 

Great points Wals. 

 

Couple of thoughts:

 

3) If the success of the rebel campaign depends on foreign intervention, why would they do the one thing that would kill any chance of that occurring?  Is their situation so untenable that this was a last ditch "WTF!  Let's roll the dice and see if we can fool everyone." moment?  Or is this just one more BS attempt to demonize Assad?  (although it looks like the US is going to by this hook line and sinker ..... )

 

Assad's government has been accused of  multiple prior incidents (possibly as many as 13 by some count).  If that's true, why would this one be any different?  Was there insufficient intel to prove who was at fault then?   Does the proof exist now?  Or is this simply a matter of looking for a pretext to kick Assad out?

*I don't understand Assad's reluctance to let the UN inspectors into the area either.  Proving that the attack was rebel initiated would give him a huge I told you so moment - " I told you that these guys were terrorists!" and could go a long way to making the US rethink intervention.   The Russians are urging him to co-operate.  Assad should take their advice.

An analysis of the sarin itself might yield some clues as to its manufacture and origin.  Syria uses a binary delivery system where the final stages of synthesis of sarin are carried out during delivery.  That means the two component chemicals are (reasonably) pre-measured so little contamination would be present.  The terrorists are more likely to have produced a contaminated version.  Finding a sample is going to be tough. This isn't like Tokyo where samples of the sarin were recovered intact.

 

I really don't like where Obama seems to be headling here and perhaps in Egypt. 

Edited by kgambit
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Links?

http://www.opcw.org/news/article/the-sarin-gas-attack-in-japan-and-the-related-forensic-investigation/

Too many details but the essentials are somewhere in the forensics section.

 

 

*nods*

Much obliged. No sense my reading them tonight, but will look over them on Sunday.

 

~

 

EDIT: @Kgambit:

 

I don't believe there's the stomach in the West for intervention. I don't believe Turkey in particular is up for it, given they could be shelled, and have their aircraft targeted with state of the art SAMs. Therefore what could the rebels really lose? Only the logistic support they currently (appear to ) enjoy. And that would only isolate the moderates, not the extremists.

Edited by Walsingham

"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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