They just got a different tool to use than we do: They kill innocent lives to achieve objectives. That's what they do. And they're good. They get on the TV screens and they get people to ask questions about, well, you know, this, that or the other. I mean, they're able to kind of say to people: Don't come and bother us, because we will kill you. Bush - Joint News Conference with Blair - 28 July '06

Monday, June 24, 2013

First Assad, then the Alawites

After the defeat of Assad this FSA spokesman predicts a second 'sectarian' war with the Alawite minority in Syria.  One presumes  in this scenario that the FSA has both defeated Assad's relatively powerful military and also routed Hezbollah.  NYT is impressed with his 'disarming candor' . NYT goes on to point out that the spokesman preparing for a sectarian killing spree is in fact a believer in plurality, democracy, and free speech.  So not to worry. 

[...] In Istanbul, Fahed Awad, a spokesman for one major Free Syrian Army battalion, told me, with disarming candor, that it would probably take three wars to complete the Syrian revolution — one to defeat Assad; then a sectarian war within Islam between the Sunnis and Assad’s Shia sect, the Alawites; and finally a fight over just how Islamic the new Syria should be. (Like most of the opposition, he favors a more secular Islamic democracy, similar to Turkey’s.) Link

Monday, June 17, 2013

Iraq lesson amnesia

[...] The former head of the Army, Lord Dannatt, also cautioned that supplying arms to the Syrian opposition could turn into a “much larger intervention”.
He said: “I’m very much in the camp of those who would not wish to be involved and intervene in any shape or form.
“Goodness, if we’ve learned anything in the last few years, it is that we don’t get involved in another intervention without having a very clear idea of what we’re going to do, who we’re going to help, what the plan is, and what the exit strategy is. Surely we’ve not all forgotten those lessons of Iraq and Afghanistan so quickly?”  Link

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Blair Syria Wisdom

Tony Blair's pronouncement,  on behalf of the Gulf-US-UK-Fr interventionist coalition, must make at least a few believers in the notion that you can control the distribution of weaponry sent from the west with good intentions and careful profiling, pause for thought. If Blair truly believes imposing no-fly-zones and arming western approved  fighters - defined as the pluralist and democratic ones - is the correct choice, then clearly we need no further evidence that it would be a cataclysm. The special envoy of the Quartet points out that like in Iraq - staggering how often he willingly brings up Iraq - the majority will no longer tolerate being ruled by the minority. In Syria the conflict perhaps is not as sectarian as Blair would have us believe, given that 70% of the military are Sunni. And whilst he supports the right of a downtrodden majority Sunni population in Syria to rise up and violently oppose their minority oppressors, he will stay silent regarding the minority Sunni oppressors of a Shia majority in Bahrain. In Bahrain where a Saudi military force props up the oppressors. But then, bonus, Saudi Arabia along with Qatar is also bankrolling the Jihadist Wahhabi/Salafist extremists keen on establishing an Islamic caliphate in Syria. Note, this is the group who will not be receiving western arms.  I guess the plan is to leverage their indisputable fighting skills for the time being, avoid overtly supplying them with British, French or US arms, and later, when things have cooled down, we can slaughter them - drones of course - 'no boots on the ground in Syria' as the slogan goes..

In May 2013 over 1,000 people died in Iraq violence. That's another thing.

“There are those within the Syrian Opposition who want a pluralistic society and democracy coming out of all of this — and they are the one group of people who are not being armed.
“You don’t have to send in troops, but the international community should think about installing no-fly zones." Link

CNN Airbrushes Iraq War from Blair's CV

         For Blair 2003 was notable due to "suffering irregular heart rhythms" I am not kidding.