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OK, so we have been asked to take sides in this civil war. I have seen some reports but these were not from agencies I would link to or even take as approaching factual.

It's hard to know in a country wracked by civil war.

There is some debate as to who has committed the worse war crimes the government or the rebels.

We have two super-powers aligned against each other.

The war rhetoric is mounting and so is the mission creep.

We have the he must be stopped and we must help the rebels divisions.

Now who are we helping by helping the rebels? Who gains an advantage? Iran? USA? Russia? Saudi Arabia?

We seem to be making a lot of decisions based on what "we" want, and apparently many want to strike without asking a fundamental question.

What do the Syrians want? There are some vocal groups on both sides of the political and belligerent activists.

Nobody seems to have asked the Syrian people who they actually want to govern. My best guess after so much carnage would be; none of the above.

So we support the rebels, then what, I haven't seen any definitive answers as to what happens if they win.

So we support Assad, we know what has gone on before but probably followed by greater oppression.

We assume we know what the Syrian people want, or at least what we want we want them to want anyway.

Has anyone bothered to ask them, and that includes all sides in this war.

As with most wars the best historical information available would indicate that they just want it to stop.

For the moment [all] sides are being picked on the basis of what is in it for us, but this "us" has a gaping hole you could drive  an AUMF through:

What happens after and will the Syrian people actually have a say, and if we and they don't like the result what then?

You can talk about thin red lines, assign blame, bomb, train rebels and play geopolitical blood games all you want, however

What seems to be lacking is any clue as to what happens afterwards and if the Syrian people will get what they want, whatever that is.

9:35 AM PT: This is not a call for a poll.

This is a call to listen, and then the voices of the Syrians themselves might just be heard.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar. What then? (108+ / 0-)

    "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy

    by LaFeminista on Sat Sep 07, 2013 at 01:54:43 AM PDT

  •  Anyone who wants a war... (5+ / 0-)

    ...and is of age would surely be welcome to sign up and just bomb the hell out of them.  Best of luck in missing all the kids, many of whom when hit may end up in far more agony than the ones who were gassed.

    Warren/3-D Print of Warren in 2016!

    by dov12348 on Sat Sep 07, 2013 at 02:02:24 AM PDT

  •  1. we support the rebels (9+ / 0-)

    2. ?
    3. Profit!

    Same song, different dance hall.

    "Go well through life"-Me (As far as I know)
    This message will self-destruct upon arrival in the NSA archives in Utah.

    by MTmofo on Sat Sep 07, 2013 at 02:02:55 AM PDT

  •  can we just blow some stuff up? (21+ / 0-)

    it makes great television, and then we can swagger around.

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Sat Sep 07, 2013 at 02:32:36 AM PDT

  •  New Movie that will never be seen, or will it... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LaFeminista, caul

    Not coming soon...unless it does, but it needs approval, and a rating, and stuff...

    LA BOMBA

    In the end...Buddy 'Holy', The Big 'Bomber', and 'Rich' Valens go down in an aircraft?

    Wait, is this movie about bombing or a love story? Or...maybe it's only a limited engagement hookup? ...but the world will be better off once they've done it. At least that's what they tell us.

    La Bomba

    not coming to a theater near you - unless it does, but it'll be a long ways away, unless it's in the Middle East...

    because...Freedom

    -6.38, -6.21: Lamented and assured to the lights and towns below, Faster than the speed of sound, Faster than we thought we'd go, Beneath the sound of hope...

    by Vayle on Sat Sep 07, 2013 at 02:52:19 AM PDT

  •  Coopertive Syrians want what we want, of course, (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LaFeminista, Vayle, Euroliberal, caul

    Living the austerity dream.

    by jwinIL14 on Sat Sep 07, 2013 at 02:55:39 AM PDT

  •  thank you for this---I wanted to post something (9+ / 0-)

    on this myself but got side-tracked.

    This is probably the most important question to be asked--in many ways--and as we in the west get caught up in one political stance or another, most of us aren't really aware that Syrians actually exist, to be honest.

    I"m not an authority (although I follow events pretty closely)--basically Syrians are deeply conflicted.  I believe many on the anti-government side would have wanted some sort of assistance much, much earlier, but now there is a sentiment that the international community has completely abandoned them and something on the order of what Obama is proposing wouldn't help anything.  In other words 'Yes, we need help, but who/how?'

    Here's a synopsis of tweets and a good article that I'd been trying to track down for a few days:

    Global Post

    Also, one of the best writers/bloggers I have seen on the subject (I have followed him since the Libyan conflict) is a guy named Iyad el Baghadadi--based in the UAE.  He is perhaps what you would call an Islamic pragmatist--his take on the situations in all of these countries is unique, well structured, and really interesting.

    He is on the fence about intervention--he understands the anti-interventionist arguments but not the ones couched in conventional western anti-war rhetoric--

    His site is here:  Iyad el Baghdadi

    Also Josh Shahryar wrote an excellent piece here--
    The Syrian's Voice

    It's both fascinating and depressing reading, as you might expect...

    •  Thanks for the link, will have a read (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bevenro, mamamedusa, Onomastic

      "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy

      by LaFeminista on Sat Sep 07, 2013 at 03:36:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Last link says a lot (7+ / 0-)

      “Syrians have spoken a lot, but no one listens, Syrians feel that everyone benefits from their pain."

      "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy

      by LaFeminista on Sat Sep 07, 2013 at 03:38:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  exactly. (10+ / 0-)

        Also, one more outstanding post from this Iyad guy I keep talking up--if you get around to it.

        Position on Syria

        It's worth reading the whole thing (it gives perspective on the development of the conflict that you don't get from us westerners on DKos)

        8. So, now that the US has decided to act, do you support its action?

        I would have liked to see a Yemen-style revolution, one that "cracks the door open" for change, and avoids bloodshed. I would have liked to see the world take a stand against Assad when he started killing its own people, and use diplomatic pressure as well as the threat of military action to get him to deal.

        I would have liked the world to have come to their aid before the massacres, the atrocities, the snipers, the shelling, and gang rapes.

        Asking a Syrian now how he feels about American rockets hitting Assad targets is just too late. Too many bombs representing too many agendas has hit Syria, drawing more and more Syrian blood.

        (emphasis mine)
    •  Thanks for that link to Iyad el Baghdadi. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bevenro, mamamedusa, Onomastic

      This post of his is a great guideline, imo:

      Admissible and inadmissible reasons for opposing intervention in Syria
      Written by El-Baghdadi

      Some reasonable, admissible reasons to oppose intervention in Syria include...

      (1) We won't achieve anything and won't hurt Assad, only civilians will die.
      (2) We don't really have a plan in place for what to do afterwards.
      (3) Our attack will fail and demolish rather than establish deterrence.

      On the other hand, some BS, inadmissible reasons to oppose intervention in Syria include...
      (1) It's just Iraq/Afghanistan all over again.
      (2) It's none of our business, let them die for all we care, let Allah sort them out.
      (3) The rebels gassed themselves to frame Assad.

      "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

      by Lawrence on Sat Sep 07, 2013 at 04:03:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Syrians want to be left alone. (31+ / 0-)

    There is strong anti-Assad sentiment in Syria, just as there is strong anti-Obama sentiment in the US.

    But anti-Assad sentiment does NOT automatically translate to pro-rebel or pro-Western-recognized opposition sentiment.

    And there is also strong anti-rebel sentiment in Syria. Many people feel 'We are being put through all of this so that a worse system (Islamist, salafi, jihadi) can be imposed on us???'.

    Most people in Syria feel that much of what is happening in Syria is being caused by outside actors (the whole range on both sides), and the vast majority of Syrians just want to be left alone so they can work it out among themselves.

    'It's our country and our problems, not anyone else's.' I have heard often.

    Remember - all of the rebels, in total, are about half of one percent of the population of Syria.

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

    by InAntalya on Sat Sep 07, 2013 at 03:36:36 AM PDT

    •  you pretty much (9+ / 0-)

      give the most informed and sensible comments on this.

    •  I have been reaing a good deal and trying to (10+ / 0-)

      understand what the people there actually want, not what everyone else believes they want

      "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy

      by LaFeminista on Sat Sep 07, 2013 at 03:41:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  agree very much, and the sentiment (5+ / 0-)

      that "it's our own country and our problem, not anyone else's" is in my experience always the one that the general population has, but is mostly fearful to say in the face of powers (their own dictators or the foreign super powers, even the ones who want to "help" them) that don't need to care of any of those sentiments in the general population.

      This is a general reaction not only related to the Syrian conflict right now.

      Civil Men Are For Civil Rights

      by mimi on Sat Sep 07, 2013 at 04:25:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I expect, though it may be projection, that what (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      InAntalya

      most Syrians want is to be left alone to raise their families, do their work, and exercise their individual senses of culture. If they are like the largest chunk of humans everywhere, they don't give a fuck about politics and power and how the guy over the next hill spends his days and his nights.

      Whenever we talk about the political objectives of a large mass of humans, we need to remember that the majority of every large mass of humans simply want to avoid political conflict -- and war, in particular.

      The conflicts are foisted on "us"  by those who have a different agenda. The wars are not about fundamental differences between the majorities of two distinct masses of humans. Rather, they are about the fundamental similarities of particular minorities in each of the two or more distinct masses of humans. Those similarities are: Greed, thirst for power, vanity, arrogance, and contempt for the "sheep". The Cheneys of the world view the rest of us in the way that a child views a box full of toy soldiers or lego bricks.

      To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

      by UntimelyRippd on Sat Sep 07, 2013 at 08:29:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  How Do You Know? (0+ / 0-)

      I'm not disagreeing with you. I don't know what most Syrians want, other than to live without war like anyone else.

      How do you know what you say is true? Have you asked a lot of Syrians? Has someone else, who's told you? You say "I have heard often". What you say you've heard sounds plausible - I'd expect to hear it in my country, and in most others. But what is your method? How do you know what you're hearing isn't self selected, in a highly segregated tribal society deep into a civil war?

      "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

      by DocGonzo on Sat Sep 07, 2013 at 08:43:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I live in Turkey and have for a long time. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        YucatanMan, aliasalias

        For the past 14 months I've worked with Syrian refugees here in Turkey.

        Before that I had a lot of contact with them but couldn't spend as much time as I wanted to working with them because of an illness in my family.

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

        by InAntalya on Sat Sep 07, 2013 at 11:36:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Where We're Coming From (0+ / 0-)

          I'm not underestimating your generosity in working with the refugees, which I appreciate - and I'm sure they appreciate more than I do, of course. And clearly Syria's tribulations affect you more and more directly than they do me, posting from comfort about my point of view.

          But I'll respectfully point out that your sample of Syrians is not scientific, not at all necessarily representative. It's selected from refugees, who though numerous in this case are not representative. And I don't think you've gotten a sample of all the refugees, but just those who for whatever reason have come into contact with you. Also that your POV comes from your position in Turkey, which has its own vested interests in the matter. I don't take any exception with your honesty or ascribe any agenda to you, but knowing what "most Syrians" want, at least 11 million of the 21 million Syrians, is not possible even with your direct personal experience of some Syrians.

          So while yours is one of the best sources for stories about this hellish war, it's still not a way to know what most Syrians want. None of us actually knows.

          "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

          by DocGonzo on Sun Sep 08, 2013 at 07:02:21 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  No. They are not the issue. The issue is ASSAD! (6+ / 0-)

    He is a Dictator Diva, for crying out loud! This has nothing to do with the Syrian people - it is ASSAD that we are after.

    The whole reason for setting up a single name, Dictator Diva, is so we can safely ignore the will and intent of the people of that country.

    Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

    by k9disc on Sat Sep 07, 2013 at 04:13:31 AM PDT

  •  We cannot do a damned thing to help in Syria. (8+ / 0-)

    I am continually disturbed by people who think we can, and even more by people who think "we should".

    We have zero moral authority, even if there was a clear-cut path to a successful "military intervention" (ie: something to bomb).

    I "Assad" the issue? Really? Assassination team. Who cares if "assassination" is a bad word: WTF is bombing the shit out of civilians?

    I cannot wait for this prissy issue to fade away.

    We cannot help the Syrian people - Iran should do it.

    Spend the money (intervention costs LOTS of our money) on us.

  •  You ask "What then?" I'll tell you: Profits. (4+ / 0-)

    War is a very profitable scam.

    The Obama Administration, like its predecessors, is all about keeping the gravy train going for the military industrial complex. On that, there is no daylight between Obama and Bush.

    The military industrial complex wants to continue to suck 6% of GDP from the largest economy in the world. And Barack Obama is only too happy to oblige. I assume he will be richly rewarded for his troubles once he leaves office.

    Thanks to everyone, whether they agree with me or not, for making this such an outstanding community. I know we usually want to see the same things for the country even when we disagree over individual politicians.

    by expatjourno on Sat Sep 07, 2013 at 04:36:04 AM PDT

  •  According to election data admittedly not recent.. (5+ / 0-)

    ...99.99% of them want Assad to continue as President.

    You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

    by Rich in PA on Sat Sep 07, 2013 at 04:36:06 AM PDT

  •  Problem is there is no 'Syrian people' per se. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LaFeminista, johnny wurster, Onomastic, FG

    Syria is a lot more like Lebanon than the U.S., in that it's a complex mix of different religious/cultural groups that identify more with their group than the nation as a whole. So if you ask Syrians what the U.S. should do (if anything), the answer will depend to a great extent on which group you're asking.

    Ask a member of the Alawi who dominate Syria's ruling class, and you'll get a contemptuous dismissal of American interference in Syria's internal affairs. Ask a member of the abused Druze minority, and you'd likely get a different answer, at least off-camera.

    •  Like Us (0+ / 0-)
      it's a complex mix of different religious/cultural groups that identify more with their group than the nation as a whole.

      I agree that Syria is a tribal society run by a powerful minority.

      But I don't agree that what you describe is different from the US.

      "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

      by DocGonzo on Sat Sep 07, 2013 at 08:50:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Somewhat different (0+ / 0-)

        From a sociological perspective, the culture of ME nations are tribal societies.  Historically, their culture and social structure developed from tribal origins.  Due to geography, weather, harsh living conditions, etc., people lived in pockets, isolated from each other.  Their social structure, leadership and means of governing themselves were based on development of tribes each with its own social structure, rules, religion and a (male) leader.  

        Though things have changed dramatically in the last 100 yrs., ME people often still align themselves with a group or faction.  It's just an integral part of their culture.

        "The international world is wondering what happened to America's great heart and soul." Helen Thomas

        by Betty Pinson on Sat Sep 07, 2013 at 11:15:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Degrees (0+ / 0-)

          The US has devolved into a largely tribal collection of interests. It's largely "ideological" (or rather "propagandistic"), though the actual familiy basis is very strong in some regions (Midwest/South/Rockies). Americans vote, work and talk against our own interests but according to the conventional interest of the greater tribe all the time. Most of the changes in America are towards more tribalism, especially among the religious, "Conservative" and rural.

          Meanwhile, in the Mideast tribal extremism gets worse in effect as more money and technology (weapons, comms, transit) give the extremists more ability to act. But overall the same developments that saw the US and Europe become less tribal a century or two ago seem to be working on the majority of people there, at least among the less rural.

          So it's really a question of degree. And not just in the "everything is everything" sense that humans are tribal animals. But in the specific sense that "it's a complex mix of different religious/cultural groups that identify more with their group than the nation as a whole" aptly describes the US in the same way as it does Syria, though not quite as extreme. But give the US a few more generations of climate change, corrupt economics and degraded education - as Syria has going on - and the degree of difference will be a lot smaller. Especially if Syria's current crisis somehow marks a milestone in outgrowing tribalism into actual pluralism, even as the US cycles downwards further into tribalism.

          "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

          by DocGonzo on Sat Sep 07, 2013 at 11:42:29 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I would take a wild guess (12+ / 0-)

    Syrians want the war to stop. They want to be left alone as an autonomous nation. They probably want some sort of democratic government.

    One of the initial causes of this war was that they were starving to death. Reason: their farms pretty much died from massive drought. Reason, according to weather scientists, climate change. Yep their rainfall dropped off by like 80% in the last ten years.

    So, they have big problems, and there's a lot of work to do. This CW sideshow is really not the picture at all, just a smokescreen. I hope to God we don't create a proxy war with Iran leaving Syrians in the crossfire. That's so wrong.

    A true craftsman will meticulously construct the apparatus of his own demise.

    by onionjim on Sat Sep 07, 2013 at 04:49:04 AM PDT

    •  that's how it started for us in Afghanistan too. (5+ / 0-)

      Suddenly the Silk Road dried up to a dribble and while the Afghan people were begging for aid we ignored them for 20 years.
          Then when the 'taleban' as they were known at that time destroyed the Bamyian Buddhas this is what one of them said in an interview I heard on the radio:

      He said that the taleban was made up of 20-something students combined with the very old religious leaders. The young people mostly wanted food and other aid because they have been starving. The old people were the iconoclasts that wanted to bring down icons. Between the two, the student said, we have finally gotten the world's attention again! Help Us! Please!

      Then the world took up a collection to fix the broken statues and continued to ignore the needs of real people.

      We are all pupils in the eyes of God.

      by nuclear winter solstice on Sat Sep 07, 2013 at 05:21:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm always remind of the background checks vote (4+ / 0-)

    We have in place a government that cheerfully blows off even larger majority preferences than current opposition to Syria intervention.

    Why would such a government care about majorities in other countries, particularly those it wants to hurt badly?

  •  Hard to poll a war zone... (9+ / 0-)

    but I did ask the one Syrian-American I know, who does have family still in Damascus, who are about to flee the city and become part of the 2 million plus refugees.

    Her opinion was that the U.S. should stay the hell out of it, and let the Syrians handle it themselves.  She is NOT happy with Obama about this.  And she's NO conservative by any stretch, nor is she necessarily an isolationist.

    Now, having said that, she's also certain Assad DID use chemical weapons in that horrific attack two weeks ago, after talking to her cousin, who had to be very careful with what he said, because they all know the Syrian government is listening in to their phone calls.  Even those living in Damascus under Assad's grip don't believe it was the rebels that did the gassing, so fuck you, Ron Paul and Rush Limbaugh.

    And with the disturbing video of some rebels in Syria executing soldiers in cold blood taken from last year, the problem is there are no good actors here.  There are monsters on both sides willing to do horrific things to other humans.


    Anyway, after getting her opinion on matters, I'm now against intervening in Syria militarily, unless events on the ground change in an even more horrific way.

    But I also take heed with what Jim Wright said about this.

    Folks, there are no easy answers. I certainly don’t have one. It’s apparent that neither the President nor the US Congress have a clear and unambiguous answer. Nor does the International Community.  The Middle Eastern powers have no easy answers, nor does China, nor Russia.

    There is no right answer, only wrong ones.

    There are no good choices, only bad ones in varying degrees.

    We go in, people will die. We stay out, people will die.  There are moral choices, certainly, but they lead only to immoral consequences.

    If we go in, we should know the cost.

    If we stay out, we should know the cost.

    Syria is going to burn no matter what we do, it is burning right now. People are going to die, are dying right now. And the truth is that there’s not much we can do to stop it, even if we (however you define “we”) were willing to go all in, which we most certainly are not.

    I encourage everyone to go read his entire essay.  And if the situation there doesn't make your stomach churn, you may just be a sociopath like Sarah Palin with her demented "Let Allah sort it out" line.
    •  There are around 2 million extenal refugees (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mamamedusa, JesseCW, BruinKid, YucatanMan

      that would be a good place to start.

      Rather than our clowns [that includes China and Russia] sucking the air out of the room that we start listening to and thereby give voice to the people under fire.

      "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy

      by LaFeminista on Sat Sep 07, 2013 at 05:56:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Authoritarians (8+ / 0-)

    in all kinds of situations have a tough time wrapping their heads around the question of what the people most affected, actually want.

    Thanks for the diary.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Sat Sep 07, 2013 at 05:20:11 AM PDT

  •  Who cares what Syrians want.... (5+ / 0-)
    We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do

    When the reality is unpleasant and hard to believe, it's easiest to cloak it in the camouflage of CT.

    by kharma on Sat Sep 07, 2013 at 05:25:50 AM PDT

  •  Ask the Syrians what they want. (13+ / 0-)

    What a novel concept.
    And once we know what they want, can we, will we deliver?
    One thing I know they want is water in their farmland. And we could do something about that for the cost of one week's fighting in Afghanistan ($1Billion): Desalinization plants and freshwater pipelines from the Med to inland farms.
    Ya, I know, wimpy.
    We could negotiate an arms embargo if we weren't so bent on overturning Iran. We could rein in Saudi and UAR's flow of weapons and fighters if we weren't so beholden to them for oil.
    There are many non-bombing options if we put our minds to it, but right now, boom-boom-boom is on the brain.
    Maybe, after Congress rejects death and destruction this time, Obama and Kerry's successor will come up with one of these non-lethal solutions.

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Sat Sep 07, 2013 at 05:54:42 AM PDT

  •  No (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LaFeminista

    The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy;the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness

    by CTMET on Sat Sep 07, 2013 at 06:07:59 AM PDT

  •  Good diary topic (4+ / 0-)

    I had a long drive yesterday and spent some time thinking about the Syria issue and the same thing occurred to me:  What do most people in Syria actually want?  How much should that affect how the rest of the world views this issue?  Why, despite dozens of diaries on Syria, has this rarely come up?  

    I haven't commented and recced a whole lot on Syria.  I've seen some very good concerns raised by both sides (as well as enough absolutely ridiculous garbage to go all around).  But I'm reading.  I'll admit that I tended to lean hawkish immediately after the sarin attack because I want to see Assad's ability to use chemical weapons eliminated/deteriorated, but opponents have also put some important questions on the table that have given me pause about a full-throated support of intervention.  Certainly, if an intervention does occur, it wouldn't necessarily be conducted the way anyone here who supports intervention would have chosen--which would be sort of like betting your paycheck on the Dodgers in Game 7 of the WS to then see them go with Puig as their starting pitcher and put Kershaw in right and Grienke at short.  Except with actual consequences...

    In every poll on the issue, I have consistently selected the 'undecided' option.  If that makes me a wimp or ambiguous, or whatever, so be it...that's the difference between foreign and domestic policy issues:  The right thing to do is often easy to determine and generally obvious on domestic issues, foreign policy issues involve many more players, many more unintended consequences of action/inaction, and far more unknowns.  I'm pretty suspicious of the people who know it all on this issue.

    The good news is, my opinion (or inability to reach a solid one) will have exactly zero effect on the course of action in Syria.  

    Thanks for this diary.  

    Political compass: -8.75 / -4.72

    by Mark Mywurtz on Sat Sep 07, 2013 at 06:10:11 AM PDT

  •  Syrian opposition (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    native

    The Assads have had a well organized and effective opposition for decades.  The Muslim Brotherhood.

    The 1982 Hama massacre was to crush that opposition.

    They have taken a lower profile, but, if Assad falls, they are likely the best organized Syrian opposition faction to take power in any democratic style election scheme.

    •  They were, however, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      whizdom

      a militant opposition that conducted terrorism and came close to successfully assassinating Assad's father. Basically brutal tactics on both sides:

      From 1976 to 1982, Sunni Islamists fought the Ba'ath Party-controlled government of Syria in what has been called a "long campaign of terror". In 1979 the Brotherhood undertook guerrilla activities in multiple cities within the country targeting military officers and government officials. The resulting government repression included abusive tactics, torture, mass arrests, and a number of massacres. In July 1980, the ratification of Law No. 49 made membership in the Muslim Brotherhood a capital offense.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/...
  •  I will say that the majority of Syrians (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    moira977, Lawrence, Bisbonian, LaFeminista

    probably want the war to be over.  The majority want to go back to how their lives were before the war.  I think you would find that anywhere with a civil war.  

    "I'm a progressive man and I like progressive people" Peter Tosh

    by Texas Lefty on Sat Sep 07, 2013 at 06:32:08 AM PDT

  •  Excellent diary. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LaFeminista

    I remember during the Iraq war asking the question over and over, "Why do we never hear from Iraqis?" We were lucky here to have Riverbend (anyone know what happened to her?).

    "The next time everyone will pay for it equally, and there won't be any more Chosen Nations, or any Others. Poor bastards all." ~The Boomer Bible

    by just another vet on Sat Sep 07, 2013 at 06:44:14 AM PDT

  •  Hey Kos -- We Need a PPP Poll in Syria (n/t) (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    johnny wurster, LaFeminista
  •  I'm not interested in taking sides in anyone's (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bisbonian, LaFeminista, Betty Pinson

    civil war and stay the hell out of it.

  •  That is a meaningless question. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FG, ferg

    It's not HARD to know what the majority of Syrians want.
    It's IMPOSSIBLE to know what the majority of Syrians want.

    Everyone in this thread who has decided to speak for the majority of Syrians is just stating what they WANT to be true. There are, quite obviously, some Syrians who want intervention. And some who do not.

    And it should be just as obvious that there is ZERO way to come up with some sort of reliable statistic as to what the whole country thinks. Ignore the impossibility of getting a representative sample, even if you could, the responses couldn't be trusted because there is no freedom of speech in that country - and many people looking for traitors to demonize.

    Anyone who wants definitive answers and clear choices... too bad. No one but no one can offer them to you.

    •  its also irrelevant. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FG

      if we're striking to reinforce norms against chemical weapons, then it simply doesn't matter what Syrians want.

      •  You're both right, basically. (0+ / 0-)

        Except I wouldn't say that it doesn't matter, only that other concerns might be more important if that is the intent.  

        Political compass: -8.75 / -4.72

        by Mark Mywurtz on Sat Sep 07, 2013 at 07:46:38 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It really doesn't matter. (0+ / 0-)

          That is to say, it cannot affect our choice of actions, because we cannot know what the majority of Syrians want.

          What various important minority factions in Syria capable of acting in a civil or military capacity... far more important. This can sometimes be known.

      •  i guess that's true. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LaFeminista

        and if we're only involved in Syria because we're concerned about control of the region's oil supplies, then i suppose it also "simply doesn't matter what Syrians want."

        of course, both of those formulations represent "us" as self-aggrandizing narcissists, arrogant beyond measure, greedy beyond sating, and on the whole, rather disagreeable.

        To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

        by UntimelyRippd on Sat Sep 07, 2013 at 08:45:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The Convenient Excuse (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jackson L Haveck

        Yes, that's why it's such a convenient excuse for bombing. Nothing matters except the obvious value of stopping the use of chemical weapons.

        Except whatever the attack is "for", the actual consequences will in no way be bound by that premise. Just as in Iraq, the war was "for" preventing Saddam Hussein from using WMD, but nothing changed (except for the bigger and worse) once it was clear he couldn't use them, because he didn't have them. Iraq is only the most recent and most screamingly obvious example of what is the universal result of military intervention - the textbook case.

        Since the Syrians will absorb most of those consequences directly, it of course matters what they want. Unless what they want contradicts US interests that are also legitimate and legal (including avoiding mass murder), what they want must guide American action - or inaction. Or else it's just another American disaster in a widening armageddon centered on Baghdad.

        "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

        by DocGonzo on Sat Sep 07, 2013 at 08:57:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Then stay out of it as with any civil war. (0+ / 0-)

      Nobody has come up with a viable strategy nor knows what even the end game should look like.

      The only thing we have come up with is to bomb someone so that we feel good.

      "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy

      by LaFeminista on Sat Sep 07, 2013 at 08:59:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well that's fine. (0+ / 0-)

        But be clear that staying out of the war has nothing to do with knowing what Syria wants. That desired action is based on what Americans want to do, for a variety of reasons (pacifism, fear of helping Islamists to power, what have you).

  •  Franklin Lamb, currently residing in Damascus (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    claude, LaFeminista, jamesia, aliasalias

    provides this view of the situation there:

    http://www.counterpunch.org/...

    He says that Damascenes are alarmed about possibly immanent American strikes on their city, and are (quite naturally) opposed to them. They are defiant he says, and fiercely patriotic. There is a movement afoot to recruit American volunteers to form human shields at key infrastructural points around the city.

  •  Actually, they've given us a great indication (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LaFeminista, ferg, Lawrence

    A large chunk want Assad gone.  After all, they want it badly enough to risk their lives to bring that about.  And they want it in large enough numbers to have a major civil war.  I think we can safely say that there's a major component of Syrians that feel this way

    Some smaller number it appears want a caliphate.  HOwever, the first group is protesting against this group and fighting against them in some cases.

    And a number of people want Assad to stay, fr a variety of reasons.

    So, yes, people have been considering these questions for quite sometime now.  I'd invite you to look at a number of the analysts who have considered these questions.  Personally, I like Juan Cole's considerations and of course Kelly McEvers spent two years reporting in and around Syria.  There are a number of British journalists also you can find answers from as well.

    •  I have read a great deal and also a great deal of (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      YucatanMan, aliasalias

      conflicting ideas. As far as I can make out only a very small percentage want Western intervention.

      "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy

      by LaFeminista on Sat Sep 07, 2013 at 08:56:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well (0+ / 0-)

        I have also, especially coverage by NPR and
        Several foreign sources that suggest that there is significant support for protection and help.  

        •  For protection and help there will be many (0+ / 0-)

          and with seven million people on the move internally and externally that would seem to be an accurate assumption.

          Have we come up with anything close to protecting and helping yet?

          "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy

          by LaFeminista on Sat Sep 07, 2013 at 09:23:14 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  No, nor are we going to (0+ / 0-)

            I wish I could provide better links, but I think it is fairly certain that not intervening will greatly increase the number of refugees, simply because escalation in chemical weapons attacks will increase the danger to civilian populations.  

            And no, we aren't going to do anything to help them either.  Tha US is a notoriously stingy nation

      •  In trying to dig those out (0+ / 0-)

        To give you links

        Obviously the rebels would like help and have been asking for aid for years.
        http://abcnews.go.com/...

        Largely tracking those stories down again is tough since searches are swamped by polls of what Americans think

        I'll post when I find them and have time.

        •  What the "rebels" want and what the majority (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          aliasalias

          of the country want are not the same thing.

          Rebel militant groups don't even comprise 1% of the national population.

          "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

          by YucatanMan on Sat Sep 07, 2013 at 03:42:34 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  A Large Chunk? (4+ / 0-)

      How many Syrians have risked their lives to "make Assad gone"? There are 21 million Syrians. How large is that chunk?

      How many Syrians are supporting the jihadists among the rebels, or just the rebels overall but knowing they're likely to claim Syria for the jihad? Excluding the foreigners who entered the country for jihad.

      I'd like actual numbers and specific reliable sources for them, please.

      "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

      by DocGonzo on Sat Sep 07, 2013 at 09:00:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hilarious (0+ / 0-)

        Actually. If like you to present poll data showing support for the regime first.  Two can play that game.  

        •  How About Just One? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          YucatanMan

          I am simply asking for some actual numbers to back up the assertions I just read. I am not saying anything about any numbers for support for the regime. I am not saying anything except I want to see some backup for some assertions I read.

          You are reading your own agenda into my questions.

          "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

          by DocGonzo on Sat Sep 07, 2013 at 09:49:18 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Big enough to be a rebellion (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lawrence

        Taking up half the country.  

        But there were major protests ahead of the we and during the initial phases

        http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/...

        Which is considerable considering that the Shabiha were still active and disappearing people   http://www.haaretz.com/...

        I'm sure a little searching can get you more

        •  Large Chunk (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          YucatanMan

          I see a picture of several hundred people. I see ABC News telling me "tens of thousands across the country". I don't just believe ABC News, or any other broadcast news, when they tell me crowd counts that suit their own agenda. They no longer constitute a credible source without harder documentation, especially when every large demonstration I've ever been in that ABC or other broadcasters counted has been counted wrong, always in favor of the broadcaster's agenda.

          I cannot claim that there were not tens of thousands, and I do not make such a claim. But that ABC News source does not mean there were truly tens of thousands.

          But let's say there were. There are 21 million Syrians. Even 30 thousand of them across the country is only 0.1% of the country. I don't know if that's a "large chunk". Especially compared to literally millions of refugees, something like 10% of the country, or the 100,000 killed (a more or less reliable figure since it's been counted by several sources, including various humanitarian groups with longstanding credibility as well as multinational security orgs who agree).

          I don't think you can say that a meaningfully "large chunk" of Syrians stand one way or another on doing something to remove Assad. I do not think that lack of certainty is an argument for or against removing Assad. I do think it makes even more meaningful the question asked by this diary: "what do the majority of Syrians want?"

          I think we don't know. I don't know if anyone knows. I'm certain that a lot of people are talking as if they know but don't. And I think what the majority wants matters, crucially. And so talking and acting as if we know, when we don't know, is crucially mistaken.

          "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

          by DocGonzo on Sat Sep 07, 2013 at 09:57:45 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  We can place some bounds (0+ / 0-)

            You are clearly correct that we really sont know hard numbers and those numbers are essentially impossible to get in a war zone.  We don't know and we won't know, even though it would be correct

            Ill stand by my original statement.  Thwre is a aignificant chunk that supports the rebels.  It clearly isn't zero, since this kind of rebellion cannot be supported without significant civilian support.  Reporting from rebel controlled areas by Kelly McEvers and others shows/suggests significant popularity for te rebels.  The rebel fighters want support from outside, which may or may not tell us anything

            I think we also know that the regime has significant support

            There is no way to be sure which group is a majority, but the facts on the ground are pretty good support for both statements.  

            I have never seen any support for the proposition that there is majority opposition either.  I'm hoping LaF has more success digging stuff out than I have had.  (The links to the stories are proving hard to dig out

            Finally, I don't give much credence to your rejection of media sources, because it presumes they have any agenda and are engaged in as one kind of conspiracy.  Frankly, back in 2012 when the link is from no one in this country except maybe John McCain, gave a shit one way of the other. Certainly Obama was having none of this talk of getting involved in any way. Sorry, but when the twosomes to what evidence we have is to reject the messenger as a conspiracy, I start to feel the discussion isn't worth having.  Sorry, but that's my reaction

            •  Bounds of Credibility (0+ / 0-)

              I don't think your references for bounds are reliable, either. You're effectively saying "where there's smoke, there's fire". But a lot of the rebels, especially among the most effective fighting forces, are people groups that coerce civilian support, from the people they conquer along the way. Like the Taliban in Afghanistan did. I am not claiming the Taliban are in Syria, but those are the methods, and there are indeed consistencies among successful jihads, back to the earliest one, and indeed to Alexander's conquest, all among these same people now mostly Muslims. Just because the rebels are getting supplies from the locals doesn't mean the locals would support them given a choice.

              It doesn't mean the locals oppose them, either. The point is that there is no actual knowledge of popular support here. But that isn't stopping people from talking like they know there is - or isn't. The indeterminacy of the question is very important, especially when analyzing the massive actions and certainties going on without even addressing that question.

              As for the "media conspiracy", none is necessary. Except business as usual, which is corporate mass media's common interests with American military power. I don't think there was a star chamber running up to and throughout the Iraq War, or the Vietnam War, or any other American war, generating that day's scripts and itineraries. That's now how we do it in America. War is mediagenic, especially one with a "ragtag band of rebels" who "are secretly supported by the oppressed countryside". It's our standard story (except when they're "the insurgency" or "terrorists"). The DC momentum is for war, so the mass media sees support for war wherever it looks, except among America's old enemies like Russia/China/Iran, and among the American people so there's a horserace in Congress to cover.

              Again, none of that means there isn't support, perhaps majority support, for a US military strike in Syria, among Syrians or perhaps even among Americans. It just means media sources aren't reliable, unless they're very specific and almost entirely self consistent across reports, with few contradictions from non-media sources without common vested interests with the media organizations. In other words, overwhelmingly common facts, cross verified across a diverse (and probably competing) collection of reporting groups. The US broadcast media is essentially untrustworthy because it lacks that diversity and competition. And we do not even have a critical mass of facts that could be cross verified outside the corporate media.

              So, much as we'd like to think we know there's large support (or that there's not), we do not. This is the depths to which America's media and government have sunk. We don't even have what we'd need to know we should go in, even if the facts were on the side of going in.

              "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

              by DocGonzo on Sat Sep 07, 2013 at 11:33:53 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  links time (0+ / 0-)

                show my your links, because what you are claiming flies in the face of virtually all reporting out of Syria.  YOu do realize the "rebellion" started as peaceful protests until Assad started shooting at people, right?  That already tells you a great deal.  Also, the reporting does not indicate that support is coerced, so if you want to make claims that contradict reporting out of Syria, I'd like to see sources.

    •  The actual number of rebels isn't even (0+ / 0-)

      one half of one percent of the country's population.

      I'm not sure how math works, but...

      "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

      by YucatanMan on Sat Sep 07, 2013 at 03:41:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Plebescites have been passe for ages, ask the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bisbonian, LaFeminista

    Palestinians.

    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

    by enhydra lutris on Sat Sep 07, 2013 at 07:55:42 AM PDT

  •  Given that we're supposedly riding to their (4+ / 0-)

    rescue, it might be nice if we gave a shit what the answer to this question is.

    But the American government appears not to even care what the American people want, much less what the Syrians want.

    The party of Kennedy is also the party of Eastland. The party of Javits is also the party of Goldwater. Where is our party? Where is the political party that will make it unnecessary to march on Washington?

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sat Sep 07, 2013 at 08:02:24 AM PDT

  •  Increasingly, I don't understand (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    UntimelyRippd, DocGonzo, YucatanMan

    Why all these fucking people who have more money than God can't just hire mercenaries to settle their goddamned disputes over religion, or pipeline routes, or whatever the fuck else they want to kill about today.

    The party of Kennedy is also the party of Eastland. The party of Javits is also the party of Goldwater. Where is our party? Where is the political party that will make it unnecessary to march on Washington?

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sat Sep 07, 2013 at 08:03:41 AM PDT

    •  Because We're Cheaper (4+ / 0-)

      Why should, say, the Saud family dirty its hands defending itself from eventual chemical bombs from Syria or Iran on its borders? It's got a perfectly good American military, paid with taxes left after paying for its products, to do all that. And to take all the blowback.

      It's worked well in Iraq and elsewhere. Why change all that now, in exchange for paying the price?

      "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

      by DocGonzo on Sat Sep 07, 2013 at 09:02:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I don't want to diary hijack (7+ / 0-)

    but I just wanted to point out: for years everybody's been mocking the idea of POTUS using the bully pulpit. Well, he didn't use it to get a public option or a jobs program or anything like that, but he sure has found it now.

    The party of Kennedy is also the party of Eastland. The party of Javits is also the party of Goldwater. Where is our party? Where is the political party that will make it unnecessary to march on Washington?

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sat Sep 07, 2013 at 08:04:53 AM PDT

    •  Pretty Crazy (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      YucatanMan, SouthernLiberalinMD

      Yes, he's got as much an uphill battle over bombing Syria as he did over other major initiatives he had to make major concessions over. And even harder among his own party.

      Maybe he didn't really want a public option, or a bigger stimulus, or immigration reform, or debt ceiling. Maybe he wanted something much closer to what he got.

      Maybe he does really want a lot of military action, Iraq segueing into Syria. He certainly has had the maximum military action he could get, including a mushroomed global drone war, and Seal Team Six strikes on Binladen, and more.

      What Obama seems to want most is an "all of the above" strategy on everything. Getting past partisan battles to actually deliver mutually contradictory and highly destructive policies from across the spectrum. It's like policy Tourette syndrome or something. Not quite feckless or aimless, but more blunderbuss, indiscriminate, unfocused.

      "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

      by DocGonzo on Sat Sep 07, 2013 at 09:10:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  majority of Syrians want same but aren't same (5+ / 0-)

    A majority of Syrians want the same thing - stability, human rights, and the ability to decide their own fates - but there is no majority of Syrians who are the same thing.

    The Alawites, Druze, Christians, and Kurds are minorities, but collectively they're more than 1/3rd of the Syrian population, and they tend to be the wealthier, more educated, and more connected third.  Not a group to be dismissed lightly, and none of them want to be ruled by Sunni Arab hicks and fundies, and they don't care whether it's in a totalitarian theocracy or a majority-rule democracy.  The Alawites have been the core of the Syrian Army since the French were in charge; everybody hated them and still does, but the French made them strong, and they're not going back to the bad old days.  The Druze are similar; orthodox Muslims never liked them, which is also why the Druze embraced Israel, even serving in the IDF.

    The Sunni Arabs themselves are divided between tribes, neither of which wants to be dictated to by other tribes - tribalism does not respect commonalities - and also between hard and soft Islamists: do we go full Saudi or just kick the infidel Alawites out of power and maybe exterminate them?

    Nobody likes partition, but it's the most obvious solution to dealing with tribes that don't like each other and don't want to live together, especially when one of them is going to end up overwhelmingly in control.  When the French controlled what is now Syria and Lebanon, they divided their mandate up into five pieces: the Alawites and the Druze had their own territories which enjoyed local autonomy, and Lebanon was larger to include Christian-majority territories.  Even the Sunni region in the interior was divided up.  The Kurds already have a de facto state in northern Iraq to add their pockets in NE Syria to; it's Turkey that doesn't want to hand over its entire eastern third to the Kurds.

    These people take democracy seriously; none of that e pluribus unum "we're all the same on the inside" happy talk.  They know that the Sunni majority will monopolize the power and be strongly influenced by orthodox Sunni Islam; they see it happening in Iraq.

    Politics is the continuation of civil war by other means.

    by Visceral on Sat Sep 07, 2013 at 08:43:20 AM PDT

    •  Interesting, and in partioning I wonder (0+ / 0-)

      who gets the crappy bit, or perceives that have been dealt the crappy bit, and if there would good bits still in the crappy bit would the other side[s] be tempted to grab it.

      I'm thinking of Israel obviously.

      "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy

      by LaFeminista on Sat Sep 07, 2013 at 08:51:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Israel is not a good parallel, nor Iraq (0+ / 0-)

        Israel for example specifically asked for the Negev when they were partitioning British Palestine: a bone-dry desert region.  But then Israel is very much an exercise in settler colonialism, where they just wanted as much land as they could get, driven by a religious claim to a particular territory.  There's no equivalent to that among Syrian Arabs: they're indigenous (and unlike the Jews, they never left) and the only physical places that really matter in Islam are Mecca, Medina, and Jerusalem.   Unlike Iraq, Syria doesn't have any oil, so they're not going to be fighting over that.

        Historically, hills and mountains were full of weak tribes who'd been driven off the flat land good for farming.  That's true in Scotland, in Appalachia, and in Syria as well.  It's probably doubly true for Arabs who originated as desert nomads herding goats and sheep and raiding each other on horseback.  The Alawites live in the coastal hills not because that's the good land, but because it was the bad land once upon a time: land where the proper Arab lifestyle didn't work and thus land that proper Arabs didn't want, and only looked down more on the people who did live there.  The only virtues of highlands are remoteness and defensibility, but again, only weak tribes play defense.

        You can see this in how the big cities in Syria - Damascus, Aleppo, Homs, etc. - are all in the flat desert interior or at least on the "wrong" inland side of the hills.  Beirut has always been a port city; same with Tel Aviv way back when it was still called Jaffa.  They grew in their own rights as they grew away from the larger inland Arab sphere; Beirut as a center of Levantine Christians and Tel Aviv as Israel's New York to Jerusalem's DC.

        Besides, Sunnis in Syria with any larger territorial ambitions are going to look east towards Iraq's Sunni Triangle.  Already Iraqi tribal/sectarian fighters and jihadis have moved into Syria in the hope of establishing a secure base since Iraq itself is now run by Shia.

        Politics is the continuation of civil war by other means.

        by Visceral on Sat Sep 07, 2013 at 11:35:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Depends on who you ask (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    claude, Lawrence

    The anti-Assad forces, for the most part (exceptions being some anti-western Islamist groups) want us to strike.  The pro-Assad Syrians want us to stay out, if not join them.

    Bear in mind as well that people are not monolithic: sectarian and ethnic hatreds are often fostered by authoritarian governments seeking to hold onto power.  The various militias in Bosnia waged their wars in the 1990's by painting the struggle as "us versus them" on religious or ethnic terms and al-Assad and some of his opponents do the same.  In fact, in all these struggles you had voices objecting to this view, and you had people of different groups fighting for the supposedly "wrong" side: Serbs fighting with the Bosniaks, Alawites on the side of the anti-Assad rebels.  So take with a grain of salt who is claiming to speak for whom.

    All that said, polling people and using that for decisions related to war can be difficult.  For example:

    - in the American Revolution 1775-1783, reputable historians estimate that the US white population was divided about in thirds: one third for the loyalists, one third for the patriots, one third neutral.  If you polled in 1777 you might get a different result than 1775, and ditto for later years as the fortunes of war waxed and waned.  Bear in mind if you polled many black slaves back then, many would be pro-British due to their policy of recruiting freed slaves into anti-US military units (especially in the Chesapeake region).  And of course who knows what results if you polled Native American tribes - some were pro-rebel, some pro-British, some pro-themselves, and these loyalties also shifted and changed

    - as the Spielberg movie on Lincoln makes clear, many Americans, likely a majority, would have opposed emancipation of black slaves during the US Civil War if it wasn't advertised as a war making measure.  If Lincoln had drawn up a poll directly asking white union supporters if they favored black voting rights, he would likely not have been able to act...the result would have been no.

    - during WW2, until the death camps were discovered by advancing US forces, you would have had a hard time getting a majority of Americans to have agreed to fight a war with Hitler over the suppression of Jews.  We got into WW2 mainly because we were attacked by Japan and Germany and Italy obligingly followed up with declarations of war.  Barring that, it is conceivable that, even with evidence of Auschwitz, Maidennek and Dachau, Americans polled in 1941 a majority would still have been anti-war.  Many Americans were anti-Semites and even today some nasties argue that Hitler was right but maybe went too far.

    So beware of running policy, particular policy based on moral grounds, by using public opinion polls.

    "Hidden in the idea of radical openness is an allegiance to machines instead of people." - Jaron Lanier

    by FDRDemocrat on Sat Sep 07, 2013 at 09:05:16 AM PDT

    •  I'm not asking for a poll, I want them to have a (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jadt65, YucatanMan, aliasalias

      voice, and for them to have a voice we have to listen.

      Most of the policy being formed by our government[s] is based solely on what we [the government] want the government] and what we think we are justified in doing to make us [the government] feel like we are doing something.

      Bombing at this time makes absolutely no sense.

      "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy

      by LaFeminista on Sat Sep 07, 2013 at 09:10:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  What's the point of a poll from Syrians? (0+ / 0-)

    If 80 percent of Syrians wanted American intervention would it change alot of minds of people who don't want us to get involved? I don't think so

    Conversely, if our war aim is to enforce international norms restricting chemical weapons use then a public opinion poll from Syria is irrelevant to the discussion.

  •  I doubt what Syrians think would change our minds (0+ / 0-)

    FWIW, I'm pretty sure that even if there was a way to know what the majority of Syrians want, it wouldn't change people's minds back here (that is, either on Daily Kos specifically or in America more generally).

    We tested a petition about increasing aid to the refugees. It did terribly--our worst petition in like three months.

    Also, in our thrice-weekly "share" email, we tested a story by MB about the refugee crisis. It finished last by a long way, performing at a stunning 20% of the level of the story that finished second-to-last.

    My sense is that people don't really much care about the refugee crisis, the civil war, or really Syria. Not that they don't care at all, just that they don't care all that much.

    What they care a lot more about--after spending 12 years in Iraq and Afghanistan while the middle class crumbled back home--is not having anything to do with this stuff anymore. We're just tired of being involved in these conflicts, and don't want to wade into another one, even if it means just dipping our toes in.

    This is about us--America--and what we want. Right now, what we want is to not be involved in this stuff. What Syrians think, one way or another, wouldn't change our minds.

    This is not meant to be derogatory in any way--it's just my inference from the numbers I've seen. Also, I am opposed to intervention myself, mostly because I think it will probably increase, rather than decrease, violence in Syria and elsewhere, both in the short-term and long-term.

  •  Meaningless, unworthy stuff from good diarist (0+ / 0-)

    If you watch any decent news program, reporters are constantly asking the Syrian people these questions.

    The fact that the war drags on just means they continue to get different answers depending on where they ask the questions.

    There's plenty of listening going on.

    Either you're not paying any attention, or you just think it sounds really high-falluting and super-liberal to write a piece that suggests no one is listening to Syrians. Either way, it's rubbish.

    Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

    by FischFry on Sat Sep 07, 2013 at 10:27:03 AM PDT

  •  We took sides 2 years ago (0+ / 0-)

    When the Administration announced Assad must go.

    However, since there are no myriad sides in the civil war, we are not taking any one, just acting to protect most Syrians from the most powerful one.

    Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

    by FischFry on Sat Sep 07, 2013 at 10:30:17 AM PDT

  •  How (0+ / 0-)

    would we go about asking them?

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