Wrong Tree, Wrong Foe

Saturday, September 14, 2013
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The U.S. is barking up the wrong tree in Syria. Why are we not trying to get the Muslim terrorists who are fighting in Syria to stop fighting? Then maybe Assad will stop killing them. They started the fighting; Assad did not. Assad is defending the homeland from the radical Muslims who are killing other Muslims and Christians and Jews.

Can’t the U.S. negotiate a cease-fire with the Muslims? And go from there?


Independent Discussion Guidelines

Human Rights Watch tells a different story:

Anyway, UN should lead, as USA is well-known to be a dishonest (= Zionist) broker over there.

Do Qatar and Saudi have no surface-to-air missiles for the rebs? (They currently supply light arms and anti-tank weapons.)

A Sunni (ergo majority) dictatorship would be stabler than the current dictatorship, but then, who loves us most, al Qaeda or Hizbullah?

Adonis_Tate (anonymous profile)
September 14, 2013 at 8:48 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Assad isn't "defending the homeland from the radical Muslims"...

DrDan (anonymous profile)
September 14, 2013 at 10:33 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Let them all kill each other.

Botany (anonymous profile)
September 14, 2013 at 11:44 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Assad's Alawite sect believes Muhammed's son-in-law Ali is the true successor (and his descendents), and unlike the other Shia they revere Ali and successors as divine... so it's pretty weird in Islam, even. However, the issues are political in Syria, more than religious. Assad's sect is only 12% of the population; most members of the opponents Free Syrian Army are from the once-dominant Sunni groups, though a very mixed bag. see
"Can't the US negotiate a cease-fire with the Muslims"? Mr. Ruhge plaintively asks. It isn't that simple, and as most sources indicate the key issues are the old ones of power, control, taxation, with religious dogma and differences the WAY the opposing sides express their differences. The conflict will not just go away because we wish it.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
September 14, 2013 at 12:34 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Well said DD.

If JFK were in power now and in conflict with the Christian Coalition, it might be tempting for foreign media to brand it as a struggle between Catholic vs Evangelist sectarians when in fact it might be the typical liberal vs conservative mashup.

When the IRA was in conflict with the British, the media often portrayed it as a relgious beef between Catholics vs Protestants when in fact it was more about separating from the UK.

That is the danger of using labels without understanding. In this post-9/11 era, I still think the word "terrorist" is pretty much meaningless.

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
September 14, 2013 at 1:25 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I believe it's best not to use Wiki-type (or "about") references to try to delve too deeply into such matters. Of course, there's a political element to the conflict, but its source is the religious one, not the other way around.

And, for what it's worth, I don't see a parallel here (as do some) to early Christianity, the turmoil of the Reformation etc. etc. The situation in the Middle East, the problems of sectarian strife and violence there, are unique to the local cultures and already centuries' old.

zappa (anonymous profile)
September 14, 2013 at 2:09 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The most concise primer on the Syrian cival war I've found:

At the heart of today's conflict is a secular dictatorship run by a smaller minority who happens to mostly belong to a different sect of Islam than the majority. Throw away that distinction and you might still have the same result. According to the last PBS Frontline special, the two sects lived in relative peace in villages throughout Syria ... until people started taking sides as the confict escalated (that I suspect is partly a survival mechanism).

That's not to say there isn't a religious element, as the link above explains. Where you have conflict and power in the balance, different parties with opportunistic agendas will enter the fray, as is the case with Al Quada. But my reading indicates they're more secondary in nature.

This is where Ruhge paints too simplistic a picture.

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
September 14, 2013 at 2:53 p.m. (Suggest removal)

OK zappa, then give us some better webrefs! Robt. Fisk, THE GREAT WAR FOR CIVILISATION, various books by Karen Armstrong... these are the best I can do. I think if used cautiously some wikis can be useful, esp. if the reader then follows to some other more substantial refs.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
September 14, 2013 at 3:18 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I remember when Americans were celebrating the "Arab Spring" not realizing what was happening.

I think DrDan has a good grasp on the overall picture.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
September 14, 2013 at 11:14 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Am not all that big on "webrefs" in general as I don't think complex issues are easily distilled in a URL or two. I do agree that such things used (very) cautiously and following sources can be okay, but as we all know, one can find a citation to support any view on the Internet. I read the Fisk book. It's an interesting, if highly polemical and often factually inaccurate, journalistic account of his experiences in the Middle East. I do not take Karen Armstrong's writing on religious history very seriously.
I stand by my main point: Although the Assad regime is(was?) inherently secular in most of its outward political/social polices, the present conflict has now become primarily a sectarian-religious one. Fisk, by the way, covered this aspect of Middle East strife at least somewhat better in his earlier (and equally, if not more, polemical) book on Lebanon, "Pity the Nation."

zappa (anonymous profile)
September 15, 2013 at 9:05 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Contrary to Mr.Rughe's statement , everything that I have read about the Syrian conflict points to Assad's forces being the first to resort to violence against what had been peaceful demonstrations until then . Do I have that wrong ?

geeber (anonymous profile)
September 15, 2013 at 9:23 p.m. (Suggest removal)

And Assad's Shi'ite regime is Ba'athist, like Saddam's former Sunni regime in Iraq. Whichever or whatever, let Israel bare its many nukes toward any sarin weilders, and leave us out of it. Find and contact your easily influenced reps via:

Adonis_Tate (anonymous profile)
September 16, 2013 at 7:43 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Did any of you see Charlie Rose's interview of Assad last night on 60 Minutes? As Assad pointed out, it was another case of the "Arab Spring" rising up in his country.

We can go back and forth on this, but there are plenty of human rights violations around the world, but the U.S. always seems to be drawn to those that happen in the Middle East.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
September 16, 2013 at 2:18 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Actually Bill, Charlie was the one pushing the CIA funded Arab Spring nonsense, Assad was pointing out that it is not in fact a popular revolution that is rising up against him but a violent group of extremists funded by Saudi Arabia, there are proxy wars taking place inside of Syria between Saudi Arabia and Iranian funded forces and Assad is simply trying to keep the peace and protect the Syrian population. geeber, I have no idea where you got the idea that he is going up against peaceful demonstrators.

The other really interesting thing was that Obama was interviewed afterward and he admitted that they are only "almost certain" that Assad used the chemical weapons, in other words, there is zero proof other than the incidentals that Assad's forces carried out the chemical weapons attack.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
September 16, 2013 at 5:55 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Loon - read more type less. What I said in case you misplaced your readers was - Assads forces were the first to resort to violence upon protests that had been peaceful up until that point.

geeber (anonymous profile)
September 16, 2013 at 6:19 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Yes Loonpt, that was my point. Looking at it from a neutral "who won the debate" standpoint without any other input, Assad danced circles around Rose.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
September 16, 2013 at 8:28 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The Syrian conflict started when Assad jailed and tortured kids who wrote anti-Assad slogans on a wall. There were hundreds and hundreds of peaceful protests every Friday, asking for reform to allow greater freedom. One of the outcomes of the oil dollars earned by Arab countries is a population explosion and there are many unemployed youngsters, many of whom are more in tune with Western ways. (If you follow some of the Libyan, Egyptian, Syrian blogs and tweets many of them write better English than some of our people in the south.)

However, there are religious fanatics who like to hijack the revolutions of the mostly secular peaceful protesters. This was done in Egypt by the Muslim Brotherhood, by the Islamists in Libya, the Islamists in Mali, and by Al Qaeda factions in Syria. To paint all of the revolutions as Muslim terrorists shows complete ignorance as echoed by a great deal of American who see all Muslims as terrorists.

The Assad clan, including many relatives have hijacked the profit-making industries for themselves in Syria, much like Gaddafi did in Libya. Hence some of the reasons for the Arab Spring are economic - as was shown by the seller in Tunisia who set himself on fire.

Assad is also being propped up by Iran, and would have lost if a large number of Iranians and Hezbollah had not helped his military. Assad is a member of the Alawite (Shia) clan that is a minority in Syria, ruling over mostly Sunni. A large number of the military forces are Sunni and they have in many instances been forced to fight under the threat of death, while most of the military leaders are Alawite. Another reason why the Iranians and Hezebollah have helped.

The other power player in Syria is Russia. Syria has one of the largest stockpiles of chemical weapons in the world, and had not signed the CW treaty, while Russia had. Thus Russia was doing illegal CW development in Syria - and about 10 new strains were developed.

"... talks about Kolokol-1 as being used also in the CW attacks, and that the UN inspector's reports mentions other constituents in addition to sarin gas found in the residue of the August 21 attacks. Kolokol-1 is that opoid gas that was used against the Chechnyan terrorists who took hostages in a Moscow Theater a few years back. The gas used to subdue them was a new chemical formulation. At the time the Russians would not reveal what the gas's chemical make up was. We all know that the Russian's hands are all over Assad's Chemical Weapons' program. It is no surprise that the North Koreans were key advisers in Assad's development of his CW program. And it is no surprise that the Russians were also, although they like to keep their international image more benign than NK so they have been more secretive about it."

This OP is at the level of a kindergartner with respect to Syria. To learn more about Syria, follow this blog

tabatha (anonymous profile)
September 17, 2013 at 1:06 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Why aren't we going into North Korea to stop the human rights abuses there?

billclausen (anonymous profile)
September 17, 2013 at 5:59 a.m. (Suggest removal)

There have been ongoing human-rights abuses in Syria for two years, but there was no interest in interfering or supplying weapons to the rebels.

According to pundits, if use in was Syria accepted then others like North Korea, Al Qaeda terrorists, etc would have no compunction in using CW.

Also, Syria has enough CW to wipe out Europe and a large part of Asia. It was assumed up until August that CW were under control in Syria and would not be used.

tabatha (anonymous profile)
September 17, 2013 at 7:40 a.m. (Suggest removal)

…"those weapons are fired by large, conspicuous launchers. For rebels to have carried out the attack, they would have had to organize an operation with weapons they are not known to have and of considerable scale, sophistication and secrecy — moving the launchers undetected into position in areas under strong government influence or control, keeping them in place unmolested for a sustained attack that would have generated extensive light and noise, and then successfully withdrawing them — all without being detected in any way."

Put simply, viewed through a common-sense understanding of the limits and conditions of the battlefield, the rebels could not have done this. Claims of rebel culpability are now specious; technically and tactically implausible, they are too outlandish for even a sci-fi script."

‏@cjchivers "The Crux of the Weakness of Claims that Rebels Were Responsible for the Sarin Nerve Agent Attack in #Damascus."

tabatha (anonymous profile)
September 17, 2013 at 7:52 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Tip of the hat to tabatha for taking the time to inject some well-rounded info to consider.

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
September 17, 2013 at 9:46 a.m. (Suggest removal)

yes, thanks for injecting some real data and info, tabatha, and YES, this OP is at the pre-kindergarten level!

DrDan (anonymous profile)
September 17, 2013 at 10:59 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Tabatha's quote is based entirely on speculation that's inconsistent with statements made by senior UN officials, former DOD officials, classified US intelligence, Turkish media, interviews with Ghouta residents and medical workers,etc - disinformation that's good to go with the sheeple. It's also based on the assumption that Assad has a motive to incite a US attack.
The US "Government Assessment" issued on Aug 30 states “Our intelligence sources in the Damascus area did not detect any indications in the days prior to the attack that opposition affiliates were planning to use chemical weapons. " The US government has been silent on whether some rebels have these weapons. After all, why would the US intelligence agencies employ this narrow phrasing discounting the likelihood of a rebel attack on this one occasion if they could simply assert that the rebel forces could not have been responsible because they have no chemical weapons, period? The likely explanation is that US intelligence agencies have indications that at least some rebel groups possess CW and may have used it in the past. That is a view that was expressed last May by Carla Del Ponte, a senior United Nations official responsible for Syrian investigations.

Del Ponte told a Swiss-Italian TV station, “Our investigators have been in neighboring countries interviewing victims, doctors and field hospitals and, according to their report … which I have seen, there are strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof of the use of sarin gas, from the way the victims were treated.”

Del Ponte added, “This was used on the part of the opposition, the rebels, not by the government authorities.”

World Net Daily obtained a classified US document in which “the US military confirms that sarin was confiscated earlier this year from members of the Jabhat al-Nusra Front, the most influential of the rebel Islamists fighting in Syria.”

Though former DOD official Michael Maloof has a checkered reputation for accuracy – having been part of President George W. Bush’s propaganda campaign for invading Iraq – he cites specific information from what he describes as a document classified “Secret/Noforn” produced by the US intelligence community’s National Ground Intelligence Center, or NGIC.

14noscams (anonymous profile)
September 17, 2013 at 5:23 p.m. (Suggest removal)

According to Maloof, “The document says sarin from al-Qaida in Iraq made its way into Turkey and that while some was seized, more could have been used in an attack last March on civilians and Syrian military soldiers in Aleppo. … It revealed that AQI had produced a ‘bench-scale’ form of sarin in Iraq and then transferred it to Turkey.”
Last week, prosecutors in southern Turkey obtained an indictment alleging that two Syrian rebel groups were seeking to buy precursor chemicals for the production of sarin gas, Turkish media reported. The indictment named six defendants, including Syrian national Hytham Qassap, and accused them of seeking the chemicals for Islamist rebels in Al Nusra Front and the Ahrar al-Sham Brigades.

The Turkish prosecutors said they found no actual sarin during the May arrests that led to the indictment, but the case provided further evidence that some Syrian rebel groups have tried to arm themselves with chemical weapons.
Other on-scene reports have raised doubts about the certainty of the US “Government Assessment” blaming the Syrian government. For instance, an article by MintPress News – based on interviews with people in Damascus and Ghouta – presented evidence that “the US and its allies may be targeting the wrong culprit. …

“[F]rom numerous interviews with doctors, Ghouta residents, rebel fighters and their families, … many believe that certain rebels received chemical weapons via the Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, and were responsible for carrying out the … gas attack.”

14noscams (anonymous profile)
September 17, 2013 at 5:24 p.m. (Suggest removal)

it's fantasy, 14noscams, and the latest UN statement on their inspectors gives scant support to your "the rebels did it" conspiracy theory. I maintain it was never good to send missiles in.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
September 17, 2013 at 6:37 p.m. (Suggest removal)

DrDan: Not a chance - if this was fantasy, you'd believe it, along with all the other false flags. But since you believe UN investigators report fantasy, there's no point in them reporting a conclusion re sarin use. Stick to simplistic fabrications with no basis in fact and buy every Gulf of Tonkin, WMD, CW and 9/11 they sell you. Of course Assad wanted to start a war, and people like you are responsible for the civilian casualties.

14noscams (anonymous profile)
September 17, 2013 at 7:22 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I didn't buy Gulf of Tonkin (!), and slandering me with that, based on ZERO information, displays your lack of research and background on 9/11 and all the other nutty conspiracy theses you may follow. Your earlier posts are unconvincing, on the fringe, and you offer no references anyone can check. Try joining reality.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
September 18, 2013 at 5:12 a.m. (Suggest removal)

DrDan: You're not able to see links to ref's, according to your statement, but data contained in the torrents obtained through FOIA from FBI, NSA, FAA, FEMA, NTSB and NYC by the International Center on 9-11 Studies contradicts the 9-11 Commission Report.
I'm pretty sure that if you check ref's for comments, the ref's I include would be at least equal to those given by all other commenters combined.


Veteran Intelligence Professionals Warn Obama on Syrian Intel
Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, September 06, 2013

Despite the Obama administration’s supposedly “high confidence” regarding Syrian government guilt over the Aug. 21 chemical attack near Damascus, a dozen former U.S. military and intelligence officials are telling President Obama that they are picking up information that undercuts the Official Story.

FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)
SUBJECT: Is Syria a Trap?
Precedence: IMMEDIATE

(our sources) tell us that CIA Director John Brennan is perpetrating a pre-Iraq-War-type fraud on members of Congress, the media, the public – and perhaps even you.

"We have observed John Brennan closely over recent years and, sadly, we find what our former colleagues are now telling us easy to believe. Sadder still, this goes in spades for those of us who have worked with him personally; we give him zero credence. And that goes, as well, for his titular boss, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who has admitted he gave “clearly erroneous” sworn testimony to Congress denying NSA eavesdropping on Americans."

UN Official, Syrian Rebels Used Sarin Nerve Gas, Not Assad’s ArmyPosted by: : Paul Ebeling Posted on: August 27, 2013

14noscams (anonymous profile)
September 18, 2013 at 5:49 p.m. (Suggest removal)

UN Official, Syrian Rebels Used Sarin Nerve Gas, Not Assad’s Army
Paul Ebeling Posted on: August 27, 2013

(posted on 2 sites)

14noscams (anonymous profile)
September 18, 2013 at 6:09 p.m. (Suggest removal)

already debunked your "Paul Ebeling" ref at Syria Vote Looms article, 14:
This webref is very weak, 14noscams [ Paul Ebeling is best known as a financial markets expert, not someone with any in depth knowledge of the Syrian situation or history.
Another sidebar on this webref has this thoughtful comment from Rush Limbaugh (hurrah!): "Rush Limbaugh said Tuesday that it is likely the Obama regime’s al-Qaeda rebels were the ones who gassed 1429 civilians on 21 August, and not Syrian President Bashar al-Assad."
Get real; this is nutty; no citations of any worth.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
September 18, 2013 at 6:47 p.m. (Suggest removal)

If the rules of engagment restricted warfare to the realm of ideas, I wonder who would triumph, or would there be a sudden a frightful mass mortality in the world due to the all-around lack of moral ammunition?

dolphinpod14 (anonymous profile)
September 18, 2013 at 7:57 p.m. (Suggest removal)

supposedly the spiritual combat in the 'realm of ideas' is as horrific as the Civil War battlefields...

DrDan (anonymous profile)
September 19, 2013 at 5:04 a.m. (Suggest removal)

May 31, 2013: NATO says data acquired over the last month shows 70% support Assad:

NATO data: Assad winning the war for Syrians’ hearts and minds

14noscams (anonymous profile)
September 25, 2013 at 1:24 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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