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I can't believe he'd actually do that. Definitely looks very possible now though.
The State Department is also about to designate arguably the most effective Syrian rebel group a foreign terrorist organization, which should make any kind of response a lot messier.
In an apparent bid to isolate Islamist extremists and bolster a new Western-backed Syrian opposition alliance, the United States is moving to declare one of the most effective Syrian rebel groups a foreign terrorist organization because of its alleged ties to al Qaida.
That would be awful.
Oh this is going to suck. But using chemical weapons will force us to go in to some degree. Even if just to fuck Bashar's shit up so he can't do it on a large scale.
That's why this is is so surprising. There was no western interest in intervening, but now he's forcing us to. If he's actually about to use chemical weapons, it probably means that the regime is a lot closer to collapse than anybody realizes.
Yeah, there have been some articles in that direction recently.
In the State Department's defense, they are 100 billion% a terrorist group, so there's that.
"And I try to har-mo-nize with songs the lonesome sparrow sings...
There are no kings inside the Gates of Eden."
The trouble with Arab spring and all these uprisings is the rebel factions can be every bit as sleazy as the sleazeballs they are overthrowing. Not exactly the moral equivalent of our Founding Fathers.
Probably a calculation that status quo means a slow to bleed to death for Assad while escalation of tactics brings more parties in and assures some kind of survival from the resulting summitry.
This could be the act of a desperate dictator to use any means to stay in power, or this could be a bargaining chip for Assad to get asylum somewhere.
Trade the non-use of chemical weapons (and probably the security of them) for lack of charges and political asylum.
So the Admin was running guns to Syrian Jihadis from Libya. Which surely had nothing to do with the Benghazi debacle and the meeting with the Turk (which happens to be arming the resistance) our ambassador had shortly before his demise. Or the falling out we're apparently having with the resistance group. And this is the NYT account which we can be sure was leaked with the most Admin-favoring spin. Special counsel anyone?
The Obama administration secretly gave its blessing to arms shipments to Libyan rebels from Qatar, but American officials grew alarmed at evidence that Qatar was turning some of the weapons over to militants.
I doubt it. The first part is definitely true (he's falling eventually), but I don't see why he'd have any interest in bringing about western intervention, since that would almost certainly lead to his fall pretty quickly.
I'm still skeptical though. I could probably buy the theory that the stories are planted. Either to prepare the ground politically for intervention (probably less likely) or to press the case for intervention (probably more likely).
The stories were certainly leaked, which speaks more to where our government is right now (preparing for action) than any press statement they could release.
Unless the government is split on Syria and they were leaked by the faction pushing for intervention. I could probably buy either angle.
I don't know how you're surprised about this. Obama had essentially three choices regarding what to do in Syria: large scale military intervention, small scale intervention (arming the opposition and providing covert support), or do nothing. Each option had downsides. So far, he's gone with option number 2, the downside of which is you can't control where all of the weapons go (though you do the best you can).
You can attack him for it if you want. But he would have also been attacked for engaging in a full scale military campaign, as well as if he had the United States do nothing. But it is a little ridiculous to attack him for not being able to control where the weapons ended up. Half the damn Middle East has been armed by the United States. Do you have any idea how many weapons in Iraq and Afghanistan have been used against us? That's the hazard of arming countries you're engaged in. But there aren't any perfect policy options so you keep doing the best you can with what limited options you have.
That's a good point, though Obama has laid out chemical weapons as a clear red line. If they cross it, we're intervening either way.
Pretty sure it's in NATO's charter or whatever to intervene if chemical weapons are used. So we (and others) have no choice but to intervene.
Go away, KA!
Sounds like Hillary is off to Ireland to meet with the Ruskies to try to get them to back total UN sanctions/trade blockade that will cut off all the money Syria. Not sure if that will make things better or worse.
It's in NATO's charter to intervene if chemical weapons are used against a non NATO country? Not saying you're wrong, but I find that hard to believe. Would have to be a post Halabja thing too, so sometime after the late 80s.
With Libya, one option might have been that if you decide to exceed your "legal" mandate and actually topple a dictator, you might leave a real military presence there to soak up a couple of the weapons lying around. With Syria, another option might be to leave Syria alone, or create no-fly zones, or carve out havens a la Yugolsavia. But to to refuse to learn any lessons about blowback from arming Jihadis is just goofy. And for the party who dragged Reagan thru years of special prosecutors for arming Contras to turn around and secretly arm the enemy of our enemy, who also happens to be our enemy, is particularly galling.
Pretty sure a majority of Republicans was for arming the Libyan/Syrian opposition even earlier than Obama decided to. Not to mention this action is not illegal in any way, while military aid to the Contras was made illegal via the Boland Amendment. Reagan admin specifically and intentionally circumvented an act of Congress. Slight difference. [/sarcasm]
Thanks for driving me to Wiki to refresh on Boland. Those were good times. I was in school in Chicago in the 80s when Adolfo Calero came by to raise $ for Contras and my classmates threw pigs' blood on him. Anyway, even its defenders would have to acknowledge that Boland wasn't much of a law or restriction on exec action.
As to Libya and Syria and the rest of the ME, the US is the balance-tipper and it's intentions should be understood by everyone at home and abroad. I prefer to watch from the cheap seats but could live with decisive action. But Obama's views and halting zigzagging actions appear indecipherable to everyone at home and in the region and therefore raises the risk of miscalculation and bad results that come from that.
Ha. When the whole Contra thing was going down I was more concerned about my Legos than foreign policy! But I took a fantastic class on the Cold War taught by a hysterically conservative prof from the Naval Academy. He clearly had a bust of Reagan in his office or his bedroom, but he taught Iran-Contra straight, which must have been hard!
I too would prefer a rigid strategy in the ME but the nature of the region and the conflicts there make that tragically impossible. Too many moving parts to declare we will stand up to dictators when many of them still run our greatest allies, or to stand up for human rights when most Saudi women aren't even allowed outside without a male family member. It's a shit show that unfortunately requires some practicality and nimbleness when it comes to American policy.
Ah, so "specifically and intentionally circumvent[ing] an act of Congress" is a big deal, huh?
Then why is it not a big deal when President Obama violates other congressional acts with complete impunity such as immigration.
Gee, what other factor could possibly be involved...
The Federal government has the right to set immigration policy.
There was an act of Congress specifically forbidding Reagan from supporting the Contras financially..
Not sure if you're looking at this issue objectively, or if there's some other factor possibly involved.
Not at all saying the Feds cannot set immigration policy. That policy and the law says deportions are supposed to happen under certain circumstances. This current president has flat out said he will not follow the law. If Paul wants to chastise the Reagan administration for intentionally not following the law but overlook the Obama administration's intentionally not following the law then the philosophical inconsistency indicates another motive.
If he wants to say one is stupid and the other isn't, that's fine, we'll agree to disagree on that - I'll just point out that the Boland amendment was promptly repealed while immigration law is (relatively) unchallenged. I think that the failure to follow immigration law is more dangerous to the country than arming the contras and I believed that under Bush as well, so don't even go there.
This post was edited by sigman58 16 months ago
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