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Old 09-03-2014, 06:53 PM   #211
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As the people of Kafranbel, a town in Syria that for the past three years has become known the world over for producing public messages and cartoons against Assad, already warned in February 2012:
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Old 09-03-2014, 07:48 PM   #212
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As the people of Kafranbel, a town in Syria that for the past three years has become known the world over for producing public messages and cartoons against Assad, already warned in February 2012:
I think the concern in Syria is that it almost seems like a choice between ISIS (or something like them) and Assad.

Which one is worse?
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Old 09-03-2014, 08:52 PM   #213
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I think the concern in Syria is that it almost seems like a choice between ISIS (or something like them) and Assad.

Which one is worse?
I think that is a more legitimate question than people will give you credit for.

If we're all being honest, the "best" party to deal with in this mess is probably Iran. If you think the west can't stomach ISIS, take that and multiply by 100. Then you start to approximate how the Iranians view them.
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Old 09-03-2014, 08:57 PM   #214
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As the people of Kafranbel, a town in Syria that for the past three years has become known the world over for producing public messages and cartoons against Assad, already warned in February 2012
OK, but at the same time, what is it that "we"/the west should be doing? Invading country after country? Arming conflicts we don't understand?

The Iraq was was a fuck up of immense magnitude as many of us here predicted but it's also become painfully obvious that we have no idea who is who in the Middle East.
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Old 09-04-2014, 12:28 AM   #215
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OK, but at the same time, what is it that "we"/the west should be doing? Invading country after country? Arming conflicts we don't understand?



The Iraq was was a fuck up of immense magnitude as many of us here predicted but it's also become painfully obvious that we have no idea who is who in the Middle East.


This is absolutely correct. The place cannot be understood in Western terms.

There's not much "we" can do.

I'm glad Obama doesn't yet have a strategy. It means he's actually thinking about it.


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Old 09-04-2014, 02:22 AM   #216
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This is absolutely correct. The place cannot be understood in Western terms.

There's not much "we" can do.

I'm glad Obama doesn't yet have a strategy. It means he's actually thinking about it.


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I wish I could give him that much credit. He comes across as a clueless buffoon.

If the situation is complex - explain it. A leader should never look or admit to being clueless.
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Old 09-04-2014, 03:15 AM   #217
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I think the concern in Syria is that it almost seems like a choice between ISIS (or something like them) and Assad.

Which one is worse?
It became kinda like that, or so it seems. But it would be a fallacy to act like that and promote Assad back to ally status.
I think this cartoon sums it up quite well: http://unfetteredfreedom.files.wordp...ad-0.jpg?w=556

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OK, but at the same time, what is it that "we"/the west should be doing? Invading country after country? Arming conflicts we don't understand?

The Iraq was was a fuck up of immense magnitude as many of us here predicted but it's also become painfully obvious that we have no idea who is who in the Middle East.
I know, we are facing a dilemma. At the same time, I'm also critical of people who criticise "the West". It kinda lets countries like Russia, Turkey, Iran, Saudi-Arabia, Qatar etc. off the hook. This quagmire of interests and proxy war playing paralysed all countries, and none actor, neither states nor the UN, was strong or willing enough to put an end to this.

At the same time, we should also not ignore two facts: In the beginning, in 2011, there were basically no jihadists in the Syrian opposition to speak of. The Syrian society, until then, was extremely secular.
What Assad did was two things: Warning everyone that if he is not being supported, Islamists will take over, and releasing Islamist prisoners on a large scale from the Syrian prisons. This way, he just had to fend off the secular, loosely organised opposition long enough until his warnings would become a self-fulfilling prophecy. It's a very cynical game he plays.

It wasn't that difficult in the beginning, and instead of invading more meaningful support to the opposition would at least have given the people in Syria the feeling they are not forgotten or ignored. After all, they could see that e.g. the uprising in Lybia got air support, and the French went into Mali, and later the CAR, but Assad kept bombing them, up to using chemical weapons, and almost nothing happened. This resulted in Nusra and then ISIS having no problem recruiting a big chunk of disillusioned fighters to become jihadists. They simply had to tell them "You are the victims and the world doesn't care about you. But we do."

But also other routes were not taken. Besides some harmless "We don't like that Turkey isn't doing more to prevent extremists to entering into Syria", there were no consequences to be feared by Erdogan. Neither was there a threat to the Gulf states when they started supporting Jabhat al-Nusra and other Islamic groups. It's short-sighted politics. We only do what is not going to risk any trade deals. Hoping other problems would just go away.
And the Gulf states also hoped that it would somehow get solved by itself. Now they themselves are scared of what they have created.

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I wish I could give him that much credit. He comes across as a clueless buffoon.

If the situation is complex - explain it. A leader should never look or admit to being clueless.
At this stage he is right. It has become very complex, and we do not have a strategy against the underlying problem of fundamentalism in that region. I think it's a stronger statement to admit that, than to say, "We know what we are doing, we have it all figured out.", then invading a country and wondering why the people are not roaming the streets with flowers.
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Old 09-04-2014, 09:02 AM   #218
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If the situation is complex - explain it.
This is absolutely a failing of Obama's. He has made short statements about the situation, but it would be nice if he would address the nation and give a thorough account of the intricacies involved and why we aren't going in guns blazing as so many on the right would like. Treat us like adults and tell it to us straight.

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A leader should never look or admit to being clueless.
This however, I think entirely depends on your media sources. I know there are plenty of right wing sources that delight in portraying him as a clueless buffoon because it's a cheap and easy shot to take, and those same media sources likely wouldn't be swayed at all by Obama explaining his position in a speech like mentioned above.

Anyone interested in an objective view of the situation surely realizes that these are complex problems that don't have an immediate quick fix that can be easily implemented without significant downsides. Treading carefully, while not as gutturally satisfying as sending in the armed forces to teach the bad guys a lesson once and for all, is the more prudent choice, especially given our history of military involvement in the region.
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Old 09-04-2014, 10:59 AM   #219
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Right wing media:

"Obama should be out there and lay out a plan for the American people."

"Why is Obama telegraphing our strategy to the enemy?"


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Old 09-04-2014, 12:40 PM   #220
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This however, I think entirely depends on your media sources.
He's starting to get flack on both sides now.

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I know there are plenty of right wing sources that delight in portraying him as a clueless buffoon because it's a cheap and easy shot to take, and those same media sources likely wouldn't be swayed at all by Obama explaining his position in a speech like mentioned above.
The left wing did the same to Bush. I'm not saying they should - but both "sides" play this silly game.

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Anyone interested in an objective view of the situation surely realizes that these are complex problems that don't have an immediate quick fix that can be easily implemented without significant downsides. Treading carefully, while not as gutturally satisfying as sending in the armed forces to teach the bad guys a lesson once and for all, is the more prudent choice, especially given our history of military involvement in the region.
I expect our leader to be able to explain our overall plan in the region. No, we don't need the details - but we need to know that he's in charge. On ISIS: "We will not allow an "Islamic State" to become a reality - no matter what. We will use all available resources to accomplish this, which may include additional troops and new American bases in Iraq. Why? Because the long term consequences of them setting up an actual country are unacceptable." On Syria: "We cannot support Assad's regime, neither can we support the terrorists that are fighting him. We will continue to look for a valid group to support."

However, I think it is obvious that the problems with Fundamentalist Islam will not go away any time soon. The only real hope is regional containment and surgically removing threats as soon as they develop.
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Old 09-04-2014, 01:39 PM   #221
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As the people of Kafranbel, a town in Syria that for the past three years has become known the world over for producing public messages and cartoons against Assad, already warned in February 2012:
So intervention in their part of the world creates the "Bin Ladens" originally and lack of intervention in their world will create more of them...

"The West" (let's be real, in these contexts that's just a euphemism for U.S. and U.K.) is damned if we do and damned if we don't. Of course that's been true for a long time.
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Old 09-04-2014, 02:36 PM   #222
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"The main and principal goal of the Islamic State that they tell their new members is to establish an Islamic state that will encompass the Arab world," the man said in Turkey. "And after that, we go to other countries."
Inside the mind of an ISIS fighter - CNN.com

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"Philosophy is prohibited; they canceled it as a kind of blasphemy," he said. "Many subjects have been canceled, like music and even sometimes sports. All of them have been canceled from the school curriculum."
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Old 09-08-2014, 05:05 PM   #223
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I wonder what Pres. Obama's plan will be...
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Old 09-11-2014, 10:03 AM   #224
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It was a mistake to go there. It was a mistake to leave without a residual force. Hopefully we can stop making more mistakes going forward.

I'm not holding my breath.

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Old 09-11-2014, 12:03 PM   #225
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So intervention in their part of the world creates the "Bin Ladens" originally and lack of intervention in their world will create more of them.
Their world? As far as I know we all live in the same world.
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