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Wed Sep 4, 2013, 12:32 PM

Watch President Obama Meet Congressional Leaders to Discuss Syria

Published on Sep 3, 2013

On Tuesday, President Obama continued his administration's push to convince Congress to vote in support of his plan to launch a limited military strike in Syria. The president met with congressional leaders and cabinet members at the White House. Obama stressed that taking action would fit into a broader strategy of strengthening the opposition forces in Syria.

The beginning of debate with Congress. Speaks of the concerns for Turkey, Jordan and Israel.

If Turkey loses patience and attacks Syria, NATO will be forced to do much more, possibly put boots on the ground. A limited strike just as has been done in the past without longer commitments is what I believe Obama is suggesting here, no more.

This will be difficult in a highly populated area with many interests at play in Syria. I wish that a long debate in the UN with Russia making their case, as the Assad family, father and son have both relied on them to stay in power, would be spoken.

Russia could speak of their true interests and why they supported the Assad family for so long. It would let people really come to understand more than, one side is all bad and one side is all good. What global concern is ever served by allowing or facilitaing a Saddam or an Assad?

BTW, just based on my own logic, and with this map here, and knowing that Damascus itself, the capitol of Syria is now partly in rebel hands, I agree with Kerry. Assad will NOT stop using chemical weapons, so that capacity must be taken from him:

Assad apparently is losing the ground war in Syria. He will become more desperate and dangerous. IMO, he is making his last stand and only by PR in the West will he not fall soon.

The problem for us is that it may not be possible to do so without boots in Syria. Because Assad's actions since the Arab Spring will never allow him to rule Syria as he had before, without his commiting genocide to silence his opposition.

The people have turned against him in sufficient numbers. I would like to know, other than its own strategic interest in having a warm water port, why does Russia support Assad?

Allegedly, they supported the secular regime in Afghanistan that fell due to the religious one that Reagan created with his support of rebels. The Russians felt they had an ally and then things got out of hand trying to keep it going.

It was called 'the Russian Vietnam' and I have a feeling that Syria is the same thing, but with almost 50,000 of Assad's forces dead, and Russians who have already been in country as they have been in Iran, it is much less open and costly than our involvement in Vietnam.

Any thoughts on those things, fellow BOGers?

More to follow.








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Reply Watch President Obama Meet Congressional Leaders to Discuss Syria (Original post)
freshwest Sep 2013 OP
DevonRex Sep 2013 #1
Isoldeblue Sep 2013 #2
freshwest Sep 2013 #7
Isoldeblue Sep 2013 #8
DevonRex Sep 2013 #3
IrishAyes Sep 2013 #4
freshwest Nov 2013 #11
Cha Sep 2013 #5
sheshe2 Sep 2013 #6
DevonRex Sep 2013 #9
freshwest Sep 2013 #10
IrishAyes Nov 2013 #12

Response to freshwest (Original post)

Wed Sep 4, 2013, 02:41 PM

1. I love this post. It is my foreign policy class for today. Link for you.

I don't want to be the only one studying. Just kidding. But I have found (again) the most fantastic site. It is just what I love to study.


Anyway, if you go to home it's the Woodrow Wilson Center. Wonderful place to learn. I just downloaded a long PDF on Soviet-Syrian relations that'll get me up to 85.

I've already learned from another article that the USSR had a hand in the beginning of the 6-Day War. This was a recent find from Polish intelligence files.

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Response to freshwest (Original post)

Wed Sep 4, 2013, 02:52 PM

2. No one said that this was an

easy decision. It is a grave decision, that I believe our President Obama wishes he didn't have to make. But he will rise to the occasion, as he always does, with deep gravity and prayer.

I also listened to the arguments, pro and con, to make my own personal evaluation, as best I could. Based on them, I can see why action need's to be taken against Assad.

I have faith in President Obama in taking the right, moral action. Thank God we have him as POTUS, instead of Romney or McCain or Palin. The thought of them in the WH today, makes me shudder.......................


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Response to Isoldeblue (Reply #2)

Wed Sep 4, 2013, 07:54 PM

7. I feel the same and wish those blithely repeating our sixties mantra of 'give peace a chance,'

could grasp that millions of Syrians are not enjoying peace, freedom or justice at this time. And have not for a long time.

Those who passionately supported the Arab Spring don't seem to care about the people who were in the Arab Spring. They have thrown their heroes under the bus. Those are exactly the people Assad is killing now. Those left alive that are maimed or without a place to live, are not getting a chance at peace.

Not taking action always supports the status quo. Where would we be if slave holders were left alone in peace to decide to grant freedom and justice to those they had in bondage? Did giving 'peace a chance' liberate the slaves?

If you read the writings of Confederate philosophy at the time, no, it would have never happened:


Any more than Rand Paul or others would see the injustice of personhood laws on women, denying them birth control, equal pay, education, the right of unions to exist and people to be protected from environmental and social disasters commited by corporations on them.

No, giving them peace has not led to peace for minorities, women or the world in general.

It's a mind boggling concept for those of us want to have people work out differences peacefully at the ballot box and quite unexpected, isn't it?

I read some time back, that the vociferous voices for peace send out the same energy as those who really, really love war. I've found that to be true when I examine it.

You can't escape what you radiate. You create hate with hate. I read a post saying the USA should be bombed with chemical weapons because of what was done in Vietnam. That was a war crime, which Kerry spoke out about.

There is no hypocrisy in his being against it now, He is not trying to get the power to use those, nor free fire zones, search and destroy missions, and all the things he spoke out against in 1971. He is consistent, and after that is denied by the bashers, they have little reason to use in their screeds.

The desire for Americans to be killed denies the work we have done to eliminate these weapons, and many others, from our own stockpiles and to stop their being used.

Because both the USA and Russia are signatories to the Chemical Weapons Convention and have reduced their stockpiles as shown here:

The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) is an arms control agreement which outlaws the production, stockpiling, and use of chemical weapons. Its full name is the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction. The agreement is administered by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which is an independent organization based in the Hague, in the Netherlands.

The main obligation under the convention is the prohibition of use and production of chemical weapons, as well as the destruction of all chemical weapons. The destruction activities are verified by the OPCW. As of January 2013, around 78% of the (declared) stockpile of chemical weapons has thus been destroyed.[5][6] The convention also has provisions for systematic evaluation of chemical and military plants, as well as for investigations of allegations of use and production of chemical weapons based on intelligence of other state parties.

As of June 2013, 189 states are party to the CWC, and another two countries (Israel and Myanmar) have signed but not yet ratified the convention.[1]

And those are not just chemical weapons. And the group does cover not producing more of any of the WMD listed. Member states who are working on this span the globe:

More at link:


Syria is not a member to this organization and this is not the first time that Assad has used chemical weapons on his people.

The only bright spot that I can see, is Obama's calls to Putin to put pressure on Assad regarding this.

Anyone with sense knows when they hear public statements showing bravado or enemity that it is not the case. Obama in particular is not doing so and never has. Those media blurbs saying such and such president or minister is a tough guy is for the edification of the school yard crowd.

They demand red meat, and are not capable of running anything but their mouths. Which they do continously. War-like peace warriors don't find reason viscerally satisfying enough. They are as simplistic as the hawks after September 11th.


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Response to freshwest (Reply #7)

Wed Sep 4, 2013, 08:18 PM

8. You've expressed in words, so much better than

I'm able to, exactly how I feel.
The extreme sarcasm made in jest about this entire horrible, unimaginable situation astounds me.

Just to get a cheap shot in at Obama and those they disagree with.

Maybe I'm getting too old for this crowd. My values are the same from the '60s, but tempered with experience and tolerance. I hope.

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Response to freshwest (Original post)

Wed Sep 4, 2013, 04:54 PM

3. Here goes. You can't figure it out without going back a bit.

The Russia-Syria relationship was rocky. Syria wasn't always a good friend to Russia. In the 70s they taxed Russia's patience with getting involved in Lebanon. But Russia was persistent.

Why? The location. The 2 deep ports. One is their naval base the other a commercial supply route. Syria had many terrorist training camps and Soviet personnel trained there. (!!!!!!) That should make many ears perk up.

Russia needs the location for access to oil and the transport of oil. And for access to the Middle East which it sees as their territory to stop the United States and Israel from taking over.

They believe now, as they have always done, that the US and Israel have militaristic intentions in the region and it is their responsibility to stop them. In the Soviet days antizionism was part of Communist Party Soviet Union official training in schools. Zionism was racism and anticommunism to CPSU. They thought Syria was weak and would be one of the first Israel would strike. Plus, it would give them the ports. They forgave Syria's debt, supplied Syria with weapons and they had access to the Middle East.

Before the Six Day War the Soviets told Egypt, Jordan and Syria that Israel was going to attack and had amassed troops along their borders. So those countries amassed their troops along their Israeli borders. And Egypt blocked the strait. So Israel thought they were going to be attacked. Moreover, there were Russian warships and subs in the area. So Israel launched a preemptive strike which Russia never believed they could win, much less in 6 days.

Some think Russia did it to start the war:

Wednesday, September 10, 2003
Excerpt - How The USSR Planned To Destroy Israel in 1967

This new find casts doubt on that, but personally I think it's typical Soviet CYA. I've seen it too many times not to recognize it for what it is.

By Uri Bar-Noi
Author: Uri Bar-Noi is Lecturer of Soviet history and diplomacy at the Open University of Israel

The Soviet Union And The Six-Day War:
Revelations From The Polish Archives.[*]


Thirty-six years have passed since the June 1967 war between the State of Israel and its Arab neighbors. Despite the passage of time, the role played by the Kremlin in the events which led to this armed conflict and during the war, remains to this day an enigma. Scholars have debated the question of the extent to which the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) was responsible for the outbreak of hostilities in the Middle East on 5 June 1967. Some researchers have argued that Moscow instigated the war in order to increase Arab dependence on Soviet aid, as well as to unify progressive forces in the Middle East and to further consolidate its position in the region.[1] According to one historian, Soviet leaders sought a limited Arab-Israeli war and had no desire to bring about the destruction of Israel. They saw no major risk in a limited armed conflict between Israel and Arab countries, and thought that "…it would be useful to shake up their Arab clients a bit…." Their conception was that the Arab armed forces were well-quipped and sufficiently prepared for any armed conflict with the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF).[2] snip

America's own political and economic interests.
"Russia's backing of (Syrian President Bashar) al-Assad is not only driven by the need to preserve its naval presence in the Mediterranean, secure its energy contracts, or counter the West on 'regime change,'" said Anna Neistat, an associate program director at Human Rights Watch.
"It also stems from (Russian President Vladimir) Putin's existential fear for his own survival and the survival of the repressive system that he and al-Assad represent. In Putin's universe, al-Assad cannot lose because it means that one day he, Putin, might as well."snip

That last one is the best.

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Response to freshwest (Original post)

Wed Sep 4, 2013, 05:58 PM

4. Great OP and posts

We might also remember that President Obama earned the Peace Prize, not some pacifist award.

His presidency spans one of the most critical turning points of civilization. Not one person on the planet could handle things better, and precious few even approach the same level. He is the man of the hour, for the hour.

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Response to IrishAyes (Reply #4)

Wed Nov 13, 2013, 01:18 AM

11. +1,000

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Response to freshwest (Original post)

Wed Sep 4, 2013, 06:10 PM

5. Thank you, fresh!

Will read this later when I'm not so out the door!

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Response to freshwest (Original post)

Wed Sep 4, 2013, 07:29 PM

6. I agree Assad will not stop

and the terrified citizens are hemorrhaging from their country.

More than 2 million refugees have fled Syria's violence in an exodus that shows no sign of letting up and could destabilize neighboring countries, the U.N. refugee agency said Tuesday.

Antonio Guterres, head of the Office for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, said an average of almost 5,000 citizens a day are flowing out of Syria, many of them with little more than the clothes they are wearing.

What's particularly alarming, Guterres said, is that number of refugees has surged by 1.8 million in just 12 months — up from almost 231,000 a year ago.


I will read both your posts further. I am off tomorrow and can give it the consideration it desearves. I am exhausted from work.

I however given both thy 5th rec!

Both excellent threads, Thank you fresh~

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Response to freshwest (Original post)

Wed Sep 4, 2013, 08:32 PM

9. OMG. New information: Russia-Iran-Syria.

Can't believe I'm gonna use this reference here. But it also explains some of our 'friends' opinions on Putin and Syria.

There's a pact. They regard Syria falling the same as Iran and Russia falling.

"While Iran, which has been isolated on all sides by the United States, is seeking to build an alliance with Russia to keep control of the situation in Syria and arm itself in preparation for a threatened attack by the US and Israel, the Kremlin is attempting to avoid a conflagration across the region. Although there are sharp differences within the Russian ruling elite over closer alliances with China and Iran, the Kremlin’s foreign policy is currently determined by the fear of an explosion of the military and ethnic conflicts in the Middle East and the Caucasus.
Russian defence minister Dmitri Rogozin warned in January, “Should anything happen to Iran, should Iran be drawn into any sort of political or military difficulties, it would be a direct threat to Russia’s national security.”
Andrei Arashev, the deputy director of the influential think tank Strategic Culture Foundation, wrote at the end of June that the intervention of US imperialism in central Asia and the Middle East endangered the territorial integrity of Russia, China and Iran.
Arashev therefore appealed for a “strategic alliance” between Iran and Russia: “The destruction of Arab states in the immediate vicinity of Iran and on the distant periphery of Russia and China, the perspective of a military intervention and the collapse of the (Syrian) state and the fall of Syria into chaos will have a direct impact on the national security of our countries. To put it another way, in order to prevent combat on the streets of Iran and then on Russian streets, we must stand on the side of our ally Syria.”

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Response to DevonRex (Reply #9)

Wed Sep 4, 2013, 08:40 PM

10. Thanks for the add. I will note, and think I've posted here already, of the Lebanese Civil War.

When it was over and Hezbollah took over, Iran set up a military base in Lebanon which is still open and operating.

This is where all the hate on Iran comes in. Also, among the weapons that have been noted being transported through the region, guess who?

North Korea. I always wondered where the hate came from. Iran, Russia and North Korea have put their money where their mouths are.

This does have global implications. I hate this.

I have posted all of these in the BOG, or they may be easier to access by looking through my DU journal.

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Response to freshwest (Original post)

Wed Nov 13, 2013, 08:27 AM

12. Fine, informative OP - thanks. It will keep me thinking all day. Not easily forgotten.

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