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The saber rattling, a perhaps necessary step in the diplomacy game, continued today. At a meeting with King Abdullah of Jordan the President talked about the potential use of sarin by the Assad regime.

The President said, "Obviously, horrific as it is when mortars are being fired on civilians and people are being indiscriminately killed, to use potential weapons of mass destruction on civilian populations crosses another line with respect to international norms and international law. And that is going to be a game-changer."
Read the whole article at NBC News

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (5+ / 0-)

    Sorry conservatives, but Occam's Razor isn't a beard trimmer for jihadists. What it means is I don't have to accept your crazy-assed theories as an alternative to reality.

    by ontheleftcoast on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 02:56:26 PM PDT

  •  President Obama picks his words carefully (4+ / 0-)

    and that is not a criticism. He is the President of the US and has to do this and generally does it well.

    I do not believe that the US will become militarily involved in Syria.

    Lamb chop, we can quibble what to call it, but I think we can both agree it's creepy.

    by InAntalya on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 03:28:52 PM PDT

    •  You have a good grasp on that part of the world (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      InAntalya, mookins

      What is your take on the Russian involvement in Syria. From what I've read it appears Putin has his ego staked on it. He's made statements that Medvedev chose poorly in letting NATO intervene in Libya. How far do you think Russia will go to back Assad?

      Sorry conservatives, but Occam's Razor isn't a beard trimmer for jihadists. What it means is I don't have to accept your crazy-assed theories as an alternative to reality.

      by ontheleftcoast on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 03:55:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  If by saber rattling you mean making statements (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    InAntalya, mookins, Quicklund

    that show a great reluctance to taking military action, then saber rattling it is.

    The president has forced himself to take some kind of action should there be definitive proof of the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime (red line crossing and all that), but he appears to be trying to avoid jumping to conclusions (unlike others) that such clear proof already exists.

    Even if it is confirmed that chemical weapons have been deployed by Assad's forces, military engagement on our part will be as limited as possible (enforcement of no fly zone), and will certainly not include a direct boots on the ground deployment.

    Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense. Carl Sagan

    by sjburnman on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 03:33:30 PM PDT

    •  As I said, it is probably a necessary step (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sjburnman, mookins

      I can only hope it leads to a diplomatic solution. When people play "armchair President" they don't know what he knows about the situation. I can, however, hope for the best while worrying about it.

      Sorry conservatives, but Occam's Razor isn't a beard trimmer for jihadists. What it means is I don't have to accept your crazy-assed theories as an alternative to reality.

      by ontheleftcoast on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 03:53:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I too am worried and hoping for the best. (0+ / 0-)

        I'm just not sure the phrase 'saber rattling' applies here, that's all.

        Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense. Carl Sagan

        by sjburnman on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 04:07:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  "saber rattling"? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mickT

          That train left long ago, what with all the talk of red lines and the covert assistance we've been giving various rebel entities for the past several months.

          Now the question is what Obama will do.  Will he be able to take action sufficient to please the Republicans and the hawk wing of his own party? without full-scale war?

          Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

          by corvo on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 04:18:51 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  There's been no significant talk of intervention (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            sjburnman, mookins

            Either in the US or internationally. Until you see broad international support for intervention, especially from major local powers such as Turkey and Saudi Arabia, there won't be US forces getting involved.

            •  Turkey and (especially) SA (0+ / 0-)

              would rather pull it off by means of massive and no-longer-so-covert support.  And it's in the best interest of the international war industry to milk this conflict for everything it's worth.

              As for Obama, he's now having to walk that fine line (I daresay it isn't a red one) between warmonger and wimp.  We'll see how well he manages.

              Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

              by corvo on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 05:26:56 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  It doesn't matter what they want (0+ / 0-)

                It matters what they will accept. And they US will not fight inside Syria unless a large portion of the interntaional community accept that.

                The US will not suddenly surprise attack Syria. Everyone will see it coming, if it is indeed coming. It will be prefaced by a great deal of discussion and comment from the international community, as well as a lot of diplomatic pressure from the US directly towards Assad before any strikes.

                We are seeing none of that so far.

                •  The most important question (0+ / 0-)

                  regarding overt American "participation" in Syria is, of course, what Russia will accept.  That is no doubt the one consideration that has kept us out so far.

                  Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

                  by corvo on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 05:37:23 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Russia won't do squat (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Neuroptimalian

                    If there is international concensus to intervene in Syria, then the Russians will already be neutralized. Not that Syria is a critical interest of Russia worth fighting over in the first place.  

                    •  I believe that "international consensus" (0+ / 0-)

                      involves a UN Security Council vote, among other things.

                      Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

                      by corvo on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 07:16:02 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  That's the difference (0+ / 0-)

                        between legal status and the preponderance of opinion. I referred to world opinion. As for that legal point, itmakes US intervention even less likely, nicht wahr?

                        •  Overt intervention, maybe. (0+ / 0-)

                          The covert intervention has been going on for some time already.  

                          Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

                          by corvo on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 07:24:34 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Yes and we are talking about overt intervention (0+ / 0-)

                            Combined with, see below.

                          •  The dividing line between overt and covert blurs (0+ / 0-)

                            as our involvement becomes more and more apparent.

                            Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

                            by corvo on Sat Apr 27, 2013 at 04:59:28 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                        •  oh, and if you really think (0+ / 0-)

                          that "world opinion" demands that we "rescue" Syria, then you've been watching too much teevee.

                          Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

                          by corvo on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 07:25:49 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Obviously you did not process what I wrote (0+ / 0-)

                            If you had, this sentence would not have been typed by you.

                            if you really think that "world opinion" demands that we "rescue" Syria,
                            Instead of writing more, I suggest you re-read what is already written.
  •  Yeah. I don't get why Sarin is a game-changer (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Roadbed Guy

    What's the death toll now? They are shooting women and children, firing rockets into apartment buildings, assassinating whole groups of prisoners, bombing any visible groups of people in the street, but ooh! Sarin! Baaaaad!! Seriously, there is a huge crime underway in Syria, and I am not saying that military intervention is remotely a solution. But to let this hideous situation continue to deteriorate for so long and then suddenly voice shock - shock, I tells ya! - that Assad may be possibly kinda sorta using a nerve agent, is just a bit pathetic. If the President wants to take out Assad's air force, he could do that in an afternoon. Why he thinks he needs a fig-leaf is just continuing to damage my opinion of him.

    For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

    by Anne Elk on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 05:18:14 PM PDT

    •  What's the death toll now? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Anne Elk, indie17, Roadbed Guy

      The most often stated numbers are between 70,000 and 80,000. It could be a little less.

      - probably 20,000+ rebel fighters which would mean that 1 in 3, or 1 in 4, or 1 in 5 rebel fighters has been killed, depending on which estimate of total rebel forces you accept

      and probably a similar number of, but possibly a little less, government soldiers, militia, etc.

      and probably 30,000 to 40,000 civilians. From the information I have about 70% of civilian deaths are attributed to government forces and about 30% are attributed to rebel forces.

      Lamb chop, we can quibble what to call it, but I think we can both agree it's creepy.

      by InAntalya on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 06:40:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  What Hitto wants. (0+ / 0-)

    Ghassan Hitto was elected interim Prime Minister by Syrian opposition groups currently based outside the country.

    GHASSAN HITTO: What we need from the US is surgical strikes of all the launching pads of Scud missiles. These locations are known to the intelligence community. That's one. We need the establishment of a no-fly zone. We need safe passages to be established so we can deliver aid to the Syrian people more effectively and more regularly.

  •  Imagine if the Republicans were in the WH now. (0+ / 0-)

    Boy, aren't we glad we have in office Obama, Biden, Kerry & Hagel rather than W., Cheney, Rumsfeld & Rice? Obama should be commended for his reluctance to intervene in Syria. He at least seems to grasp the long-term implications of America's military footprint in the Middle East. At least with this team in charge, the Israeli tail won't be able to wag the American dog.

    That said, my fear is that gravity & inertia may eventually lead us to intervene anyway. Within America's foreign policy establishment - elected officials, think tanks & commentariat - the bias is always in favor of intervention, maybe not in sub-Saharan Africa but certainly in the Middle East. This holds true WHICHEVER PARTY IS IN POWER, reflected both in the "end of history" rhetoric coming from neoconservatives & the "indispensable nation" rhetoric from neoliberals. Too many people view events in that region exclusively through the lens of terrorism, or even more foolishly, as theaters of a proxy war with Iran. The temptation to do regime-change in Syria in order to hand Iran a strategic defeat may be too strong to resist, especially with Saudi Arabia & Qatar egging us on & expressing willingness to do the dirty work for us.

    My other fear is that the mainstream media all seem to be making the case for intervention in Syria, while no one is making the case against. I mean, the media still treat knee-jerk interventionists John McCain & Lindsey Graham as serious foreign policy sages, even though they've been wrong about practically everything. And since Dianne Feinstein has added her voice, the media will now surely slap the "bipartisan" label on the argument for intervention. From the standpoint of the domestic political argument, it's important the we on the left counter the the interventionists' case & not cede the antiwar argument to the right-wing "libertarian" types. We ought to be spelling out explicitly what intervention would entail, from the logistics of enforcing a no-fly zone to the chaos that would certainly ensue if the Assad regime is deposed. Unlike Libya, Syria is of huge strategic consequence - there would be no such thing as a "limited" intervention. Simply put, it means war - a long war with no easy exit. Intervention necessarily would mean reprising our role in Iraq circa 2006-07: refereeing (or choosing winners & losers in) a brutal sectarian war, one that presently shows signs of spreading into Lebanon & back into Iraq. There's no good outcome here, whether the U.S. & Europe choose to intervene or not. The best course is to keep our distance & let it play out.

    Syria will be a wellspring of sorrow for quite some time, for the Syrians themselves & for any outsider who dares to enter.

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