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Syrian Gov't Agrees To Russian Chem-Weapon Turnover Plan

timothy posted 1 year,12 days | from the put-some-dampers-on-those-sabers dept.

Government 362

CNN reports that at least for now we may be able to set aside the question of whether and under what authority the U.S. should intervene militarily in Syria, a question that's dominated the news for the last few weeks. From the report: "Facing the threat of a U.S. military strike, the country's leaders Tuesday reportedly accepted a Russian proposal to turn over its chemical weapons. ... The development, reported by Syrian state television and Russia's Interfax news agency, came a day after the idea bubbled up in the wake of what appeared to be a gaffe by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. It quickly changed the debate in Washington from 'Should the U.S. attack?' to 'Is there a diplomatic way out of this mess?' Syrian Foreign Minister Foreign Minister Walid Moallem said Tuesday his country had agreed to the Russian proposal after what Interfax quoted him as calling 'a very fruitful round of talks' with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Monday. Details of such a transfer have yet to be worked out, such as where the arms would go, who would safeguard them and how the world could be sure Syria had handed over its entire stockpile of chemical weapons."

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Fr0sty Bin laden p1ss (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44807981)

Al Quaida hahaha

Re:Fr0sty Bin laden p1ss (3, Interesting)

oztiks (921504) | 1 year,12 days | (#44808209)

Oh John Kerry you really botched that one didn't you LOL!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wUJTarxfZ6M [youtube.com]

Re:Fr0sty Bin laden p1ss (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44808719)

What are you on about? Obama is an international hero for getting Putan to agree to the plan by having Kerry pretend he was going rogue. Obama's a super genius!

Sounds promising (2)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | 1 year,12 days | (#44808001)

I wonder what Assad will get in return. I suppose more tanks is better than continued nerve gas attacks.

Re:Sounds promising (5, Interesting)

MightyYar (622222) | 1 year,12 days | (#44808055)

I wonder if this was his plan all along - a way to keep the West out of his civil war. Do something completely outrageous, seemingly capitulate to a demand that you didn't really want to violate anyway, and then be left off in a better position than you were before you used the chemical weapons. As a bonus, you no longer have to worry about guarding these things against the rebels.

Re:Sounds promising (5, Interesting)

Talderas (1212466) | 1 year,12 days | (#44808149)

On the other hand, the rebels could have pilfered chemical weapons when they took over a Syrian base in Sep 2012 then used the weapons in an attempt to provoke a western response in order to give them an advantage.

Re:Sounds promising (4, Insightful)

dbIII (701233) | 1 year,12 days | (#44808457)

Or some ruthless bastard that has the weapons could have just used them to win at all costs - no need to look for something complex when there's plenty of simple reasons.

Re:Sounds promising (1)

Culture20 (968837) | 1 year,12 days | (#44808785)

Or the rebels could have been trying to gas the Syrian military with the stolen chemicals but ended up gassing themselves. Never ascribe to mere malice what you can ascribe to malice and stupidity.

Re:Sounds promising (3, Interesting)

erikkemperman (252014) | 1 year,12 days | (#44808213)

I'm curious, why do you take this as a confession, on the part of Assad's regime, that they were responsible for the August attacks?

As far as I know, they have vehemently denied it. Which doesn't mean much, but then again the rebels seem a pretty nasty bunch as well.

Basically the only ones who claim to know for sure is the US govt -- and now they seem to be less sure of that as before (or maybe they honestly still expected anyone to take their word for it, before being disappointment to find themselves alone in the bomb-first-ask-questions-later camp).

Re:Sounds promising (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44808281)

I'm curious, why do you take this as a confession, on the part of Assad's regime, that they were responsible for the August attacks?

At the end of the day he's still a dumb American liberal that will believe whatever the government says. FYI, he bought the Iraq WMD story too and voted for Obama twice.

Re:Sounds promising (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44808393)

I'm curious, why do you take this as a confession, on the part of Assad's regime, that they were responsible for the August attacks?

At the end of the day he's still a dumb American liberal that will believe whatever the government says. FYI, he bought the Iraq WMD story too and voted for Obama twice.

Except the Iraq WMD story was a conservative brainchild, dipshit.

Re:Sounds promising (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44808501)

Irrelevant. The liberals still overwhelmingly bought into it despite their "anti-war" rhetoric.

Re: Sounds promising (2)

sumdumass (711423) | 1 year,12 days | (#44808503)

No, the iraq wmd story was a democtat stumping point just a few years before bush wad even elected. Being wrong doesn't make something a lie. Ignoring all the democrats who just years before iraq war who said wmds were or were likely to be in iraq in order to keep some ideology alive is.

Re: Sounds promising (1)

erikkemperman (252014) | 1 year,12 days | (#44808757)

Being wrong doesn't make something a lie.

Oh that's priceless!

Re:Sounds promising (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44808737)

Except the GP says that he bought it, not that he invented it, doubledipshit.

Re:Sounds promising (2)

TheCarp (96830) | 1 year,12 days | (#44808305)

> As far as I know, they have vehemently denied it. Which doesn't mean much, but then again
> the rebels seem a pretty nasty bunch as well

There is now even another report: http://rt.com/news/chemical-weapons-rebels-captives-632/?utm_source=browser&utm_medium=aplication_chrome&utm_campaign=chrome [rt.com]

Recently released hostages (reportedly) of the rebels claim to have overheard skype conversations where rebels talk about the attacks as a false flag provocation tactic.

Is it true? Dunno, did they really overhear conversations? If so, were they really held by the rebels or is this some sort of disinfo aimed at creating the perception of a false flag?

Beats me, anything is possible. The regime did it is a very simple answer but, we have no way yet to know if it is the right one.

Re:Sounds promising (2)

larry bagina (561269) | 1 year,12 days | (#44808375)

If it was skype, the NSA would know. Right? Maybe they're too busy monitoring my /. posts.

James Clapper: professional pervert.

Re:Sounds promising (5, Informative)

Antipater (2053064) | 1 year,12 days | (#44808329)

Human Rights Watch just posted the results [hrw.org] of their own analysis. They say it was Assad and not the rebels, mainly because the rebels are not known to have 140mm or 330mm rockets or their associated equipment.

Re:Sounds promising (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44808545)

I'll play the Devil's advocate here.

What does the report and the rebels not possessing certain rocket systems prove?

How about this: the rebels have obtained chemical weapons and are transporting them. The government troops see them doing something and open fire with rockets. Chemical weapons are triggered off unintentionally.

Re:Sounds promising (1)

Antipater (2053064) | 1 year,12 days | (#44808677)

Well, I'm no rocket expert. But there's a diagram in the linked report of the remnants of the 330mm rocket, and it makes a pretty convincing case that the rocket was loaded with chemical weapons and not with explosives.

Re: Sounds promising (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44808333)

Oh because the have tape of one of Syria 's generals authorizing the strike !

Re:Sounds promising (2, Interesting)

interkin3tic (1469267) | 1 year,12 days | (#44808663)

The first casualty in war is truth. We may never know for CERTAIN that Assad did it. However, it seems unlikely that this was rebels targeting themselves with chemical weapons. For one thing, the rebels are only known by independent groups to have had miniscule amounts of chemical weapons, they never were known to be armed with the attacks that occurred. For another, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to have killed thousands of their own just to try to paint it on Assad.

Honestly I forget the details that I did read about the attacks, and can't keep Sunni and Shiite apart, but I remember hearing someone explain it and explained why it was much more likely that the chem attacks were Assad rather than the rebels. Again, no certainty, but you're never going to get that even WITH a confession: whoever wins is going to wring a confession from the loser.

Re:Sounds promising (1, Informative)

Seumas (6865) | 1 year,12 days | (#44808249)

Let's not act like Russia and Syria couldn't have been together on this from the beginning. Russia has proven rather adept at making America come across as the fool we are, recently. Just think back to the fake story about the Brazilian president's plane being ordered to land because of Snowden, by the USA? . . . that never happened, if you listen to the actual audio (which, strangely, no news organization ever bothered to play).

As an American, I find it all rather amusing. Finally time for us to look as stupid and impotent as we actually are.

Re:Sounds promising (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44808537)

Let's not act like Russia and Syria couldn't have been together on this from the beginning. Russia has proven rather adept at making Obama come across as the fool he is, recently. Just think back to the fake story about the Brazilian president's plane being ordered to land because of Snowden, by the USA? . . . that never happened, if you listen to the actual audio (which, strangely, no news organization ever bothered to play).

As an American, I find it all rather amusing. Finally time for Obama to look as stupid and impotent as he actually is.

FTFY.

Who would have thought that a community organizer who spent 1/2 a term as a state legislator then 2 years as a US Senator couldn't be played the fool by dictators with decades of experience getting their way?

Seriously.

Contrast Obama's handling of Syria with either Bush's handling of either Iraq war. Both Bush administrations lined up international support from multiple countries (false childish cries of "unilateral" notwithstanding...), actually held a public debate, then got UN and Congressional approval.

Obama in Syria? One fumble after another. Issuing a "red line" that could not be enforced. When that red line was crossed, futz around for weeks. Have the UN, NATO, and everyone else pretty much tell Obama to pound sand. Be about to get his ass handed to him in Congress. Then get snookered by Putin/Assad.

Re:Sounds promising (1)

evilRhino (638506) | 1 year,12 days | (#44808761)

Both Bush administrations lined up international support from multiple countries (false childish cries of "unilateral" notwithstanding...), actually held a public debate, then got UN and Congressional approval.

Obama in Syria? One fumble after another. Issuing a "red line" that could not be enforced. When that red line was crossed, futz around for weeks. Have the UN, NATO, and everyone else pretty much tell Obama to pound sand. Be about to get his ass handed to him in Congress. Then get snookered by Putin/Assad.

Just because Obama probably isn't on the level here doesn't mean that going to war in Iraq based on obviously fake evidence was any better, no matter how many people fell for it.

Re:Sounds promising (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44808791)

Both you and the GP are fucking idiots. It was the BOLIVIAN President, not the BRAZILIAN President.

Re:Sounds promising (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44808555)

Russia and Syria together on this from the beginning? America makes itself look like a fool for doing nothing but the bidding of Saudi Arabia and Israel in their war against Arab secular states and/Shite Islam.....you should check your facts about that Snowden plane fiasco...first it was the Bolivian presidents plane and second it DID happen....

Re:Sounds promising (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44808673)

Let's not act like Russia and Syria couldn't have been together on this from the beginning. Russia has proven rather adept at making America come across as the fool we are, recently. Just think back to the fake story about the Brazilian president's plane being ordered to land because of Snowden, by the USA? . . . that never happened, if you listen to the actual audio (which, strangely, no news organization ever bothered to play).

As an American, I find it all rather amusing. Finally time for us to look as stupid and impotent as we actually are.

I love how casually people like you call the US stupid and impotent. You realize that Russia started all this back in the 50's and 60's by supplying Egypt with chemical weapons, right? And that Egypt, rather than keeping that shit under wraps, started selling that stuff to all the other crazy nations in the middle east in the 60's and 70's? The US (finally) got Russia mostly out of Afghanistan, and now the US is trying to do the same thing in Syria. The Russians don't want the US to attack Syria because the US would then prove that the Russian defense systems that have been sold to Syria aren't worth shit (i.e. the US would fire missiles into the country that the anti-missile systems can't stop).

Re:Sounds promising (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44808723)

... Just think back to the fake story about the Brazilian president's plane being ordered to land ...

That indeed never happened, because it wasn't Brazilian but Bolivian.
Thank you for the subtle humor in confirming the stereotype you protest in the very same post.

Re:Sounds promising (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44808099)

It does sound promising. But I'd want to see it actually happening, promptly. I'd also be demanding the person responsible for deploying the weapons in Damascus be turned over to the international criminal court if I knew who that person was, or who was in charge of the particular military unit responsible. If Assad himself didn't order it (as he is claiming), fine. Then turn over the person who did.

Re:Sounds promising (4, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | 1 year,12 days | (#44808165)

It is possible that no one in Assad's forces is responsible. This is a multiparty civil war in which it is quite possible that one group has gained access to these weapons to have a plausible way to strike their enemies and blame the attack on another enemy which is their enemy.

Re:Sounds promising (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44808175)

The one who ordered it is sitting in Israel or the Pentagon. How do you expect Assad to turn him/her over?

Re:Sounds promising (1)

Seumas (6865) | 1 year,12 days | (#44808229)

Agreed. It sounds promising. I mean, what could go wrong with giving the Russians chemical weapons when they have a history of not keeping track of anything else that is weaponized, as it is?

And, hey, getting whatever Assad may or may not have will totally be the solution if it turns out that it was actually the rebels who were using chemical weapons, as has been asserted.

So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44808005)

will the speech tonight still be more war propaganda?

Or loudly, works too. (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | 1 year,12 days | (#44808007)

"Speak softly and carry a big stick."

Re:Or loudly, works too. (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44808115)

Once again proving that the US plays checkers while the Russians play chess.

Re:Or loudly, works too. (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | 1 year,12 days | (#44808279)

Yes, but in Russian Chess, you do not capture your opponents pieces. You unload a light machine gun onto the chess board.

Re:Or loudly, works too. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44808557)

Once again proving that the US plays checkers while the Russians play chess.

The US plays football*, the Russians play chess. I'm sure you all know how the chess club stacks up against the football team.

*American football, not what "the world" calls football. We call that soccer. Deal with it.

Re:Or loudly, works too. (1)

sycodon (149926) | 1 year,12 days | (#44808459)

Seems the Rodeo Clown had it right the entire time.

I thought they denied having chemical weapons? (1)

Trepidity (597) | 1 year,12 days | (#44808011)

What are they negotiating the turn-over of, from their perspective?

Re:I thought they denied having chemical weapons? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44808095)

They denied USING chemical weapons.

Re:I thought they denied having chemical weapons? (3, Interesting)

h4rr4r (612664) | 1 year,12 days | (#44808129)

Nope, they admit to having them. They admit to having facilities to make them. They only deny having used them in this conflict.

Re:I thought they denied having chemical weapons? (3, Insightful)

Arker (91948) | 1 year,12 days | (#44808135)

You thought wrong.

Syria has chemical weapons, and has declined to sign the chemical weapons treaty, so they have every right to keep them. What they have denied (quite credibly) is having *used* them.

Re:I thought they denied having chemical weapons? (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | 1 year,12 days | (#44808487)

People throw the word "right" around too liberally. Rights are determined by others, or by a higher standard. At an international level, a country's "rights" are determined by others in the global playing field.

Re:I thought they denied having chemical weapons? (1)

idji (984038) | 1 year,12 days | (#44808243)

They have not denied having them, they have denied using them

Re:I thought they denied having chemical weapons? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44808465)

They have never denied having them. They just denied using them until recently. Just as the U.S. has them as well.

you have to kill people POLITELY (1, Troll)

Joining Yet Again (2992179) | 1 year,12 days | (#44808035)

This is Western rules of war! Pain and suffering must only be of a certain TYPE!

BUY LOCKHEED. BUY BOEING.

Re:you have to kill people POLITELY (1)

MightyYar (622222) | 1 year,12 days | (#44808079)

The aversion to poisoning is not a Western tendency. Poison is the tool of the bad guy in stories from all over the globe. We seem to have an innate distaste for it.

Re:you have to kill people POLITELY (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44808199)

What if the poison was orange-flavored, would we still have a distaste for it?

Re:you have to kill people POLITELY (1)

fliptout (9217) | 1 year,12 days | (#44808575)

No no- bacon flavor would make it palatable for Americans.

Re:you have to kill people POLITELY (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | 1 year,12 days | (#44808401)

I would have said, buy Raytheon, maker of the cruise missiles, but now, if this is settled, their stock will plummet. Peace is not good for their business.

Re:you have to kill people POLITELY (2)

LordLimecat (1103839) | 1 year,12 days | (#44808509)

The idea behind the chemical weapon aversion AFAIK is that unlike bullets-- which are great on a battlefield-- chemical weapons have a tendency to be at least as damaging to the civilian populations as they are to the military, and often moreso.

That is why many countries agreed to stop using them; waging war isnt going to stop, but we can try to prevent them from being Pyrrhic in all situations.

Re:you have to kill people POLITELY (0)

Joining Yet Again (2992179) | 1 year,12 days | (#44808797)

Nah, most weapons bans can be traced back to, "If we did it to them, they'd do it back to us... and that would really suck." This is probably why "not even Hitler" used chemical weapons (except that he did, once or twice, on the battlefield, and all the time with PoWs etc.).

So the traditional powers get to make nice rules for symmetric warfare which cripple asymmetric warfare by painting the strategies (e.g. terrorism) as somehow less moral.

Better then another war (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44808041)

First they protect a whistle-blower, then they work on getting chemical weapons out of Syria without causing hundreds of thousands of collateral casualties. Yet again Russia is working toward the moral high ground. If they just let up on homosexuals then my cold war anti-communism schooling will begin to unravel.

Re:Better then another war (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44808237)

While that seems to be the current spin on this, just a few days ago, everyone was reporting that it was Kerry that first mentioned this as an option -- Russia just ran with it once they had the chance. Not that it changes anything...I'm glad it seems to be working out in some sort of peaceful way.

Re:Better then another war (1)

adisakp (705706) | 1 year,12 days | (#44808341)

While that seems to be the current spin on this, just a few days ago, everyone was reporting that it was Kerry that first mentioned this as an option -- Russia just ran with it once they had the chance. Not that it changes anything...I'm glad it seems to be working out in some sort of peaceful way.

It's worth noting that Assad is basically in Putin's pocket since Russia supplies Syria with a large number of it's armaments. Syria is a good customer / proxy / puppet and it's in Putin's interest to have a peaceful resolution which leaves Assad in power.

Re:Better then another war (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44808409)

This cartoon [yalibnan.com] sums up the situation.

Re:Better then another war (1)

larry bagina (561269) | 1 year,12 days | (#44808493)

Kerry? The ass clown seems to be having a contest with Biden to see who can say the dumbest thing. Every time he or BH O'bama says something about Syria, the spinsters have to issue an update claiming they didn't say what they just said. Especially fun is when they contradict all their previous statements about Iraq.

Re:Better then another war (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44808787)

While that seems to be the current spin on this, just a few days ago, everyone was reporting that it was Kerry that first mentioned this as an option -- Russia just ran with it once they had the chance.

Kerry mentioned it as a joke: it was an off-hand answer to the question "What would stop a confrontation with Syria?" It was said in a "Yeah, right, like THAT'D happen!" way.

Russia ran with it because a) it actually helps the situation b) it makes Kerry and the US look particularly stupid.

The interesting thing is that the US apparently never considered diplomacy as a course of action. Shoot first, ask questions later?

Re:Better then another war (3, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | 1 year,12 days | (#44808733)

Keep in mind they vetoed any multilateral UN action to keep the peace in Syria. Russia's involvement is no more humanitarian than the US's involvement.

Good post on this subject from reddit yesterday [reddit.com] . And by "good post" I mean "I have ABSOLUTELY no idea if it's right or not, but it sounds convincing????"

Taken to school (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44808061)

It's hard to see how this isn't a huge win for Putin. Russia gains even more influence in Syria for stopping a US attack. Obama looks weak and indecisive.

Of course the biggest winner is Syria, which doesn't get bombed. And odds are, they'll get their chem weapons back once the story dies down.

Re:Taken to school (2)

Kartu (1490911) | 1 year,12 days | (#44808161)

US had 2 suggestions:

1) what Syria agreed to (initially Russians refused saying "it's Syria's right to have them"
2) To act together and guard these weapons in case of a bigger mess later

It's not such a big win for Putin, since giving up chemical weapons just not to get your ass beaten by US
IS a big deal and could later be applied to other countries, e.g. Iran.

Re:Taken to school (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | 1 year,12 days | (#44808301)

Look at the headlines. "Russia brokers a deal..." "Syrian Gov't Agrees to Russian Deal". Russian this, Russian that. It doesn't matter if Narnia was actually behind the deal, it only matters who gets all the headlines when it comes to who gets to claim the win.

Re:Taken to school (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | 1 year,12 days | (#44808715)

Realpolitik doesn't play out in headlines. Headlines are for the idiots who take things at face value.

This means the Syrian civil war will continue.

I think we and Russia are on the same side. We both want the Sunnis and Sheia to continue their 1300 year old war.

We just need to trick Iran into invading Iraq and we're golden.

Re:Taken to school (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44808381)

I disagree. After all of Obama's saber rattling, it is doubtful that he was going to get Congressional (or general public) approval. The Russian's move in, and make it look like all you had to do was ask nicely.

Re:Taken to school (1)

localman57 (1340533) | 1 year,12 days | (#44808619)

Plus, the Russians and the Chinese win because we don't set a precedent of having one country take unilateral action when a country decides it's anything-goes on protesters/rebels. Both the Russians and the Chinese want to keep their ability to pull a Tienamen Square without external interference, as long as they can bork things up in the Security council. Neither of them want to see more Kosovo type stuff.

"...for very small definitions of 'plan'" (1)

Shoten (260439) | 1 year,12 days | (#44808071)

I wouldn't say that they have agreed to a plan. A plan is something with details and some notion of how, in this case, they are going to effectively assert and trust that all weapons and precursors have been handed over (when most of it all is mobile, so that they can be moved around and hidden more easily). It would have details about how you either secure everything in place...in the middle of a war zone...or how you safely move them (again, through a war zone) to be destroyed elsewhere. It bears pointing out that the destruction of chemical weapon stockpiles at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal was a horrifically difficult and lengthy undertaking, and that was in the midst of a safe, secure and highly industrialized nation. There is no way anyone has come up with an acceptable plan in so short a timeframe as this; I've read that there has been some planning around how to seize and secure (with armed forces) some of the chemical warfare assets should the need and opportunity arise, but that's a very different animal than what is being discussed here, as that is predicated by a general cessation of the civil war currently under way.

What Syria has agreed to is a concept, not a plan. And even then they may only be banking on the idea that coming up with a true plan to accomplish the stated objectives will be next to impossible, just to buy themselves more time and perhaps even get the notion of military strikes to die out altogether.

So now what's the new conspiracy theory? (-1, Troll)

AcidPenguin9873 (911493) | 1 year,12 days | (#44808137)

A couple weeks ago, all the anti-U.S. people on Slashdot said that Syria had no chemical weapons, and that the evidence was made up by the U.S. government as some sort of conspiracy. Or maybe that the U.S. deliberately sold the chemical weapons to Syria, I forget why.

Now that there's yet more evidence of chemical weapons in Syria, what's the latest out of the anti-U.S. crowd? I don't think anyone predicted that Russia would ultimately end up with these weapons. Are they still fake? Is this still a set up by the U.S., even now that these U.S.-produced weapons are going to end up in Russia? I suppose the latter is plausible (Syria is really screwing the U.S. by sending our chemical weapons to Russia), but it all seems pretty far-fetched to me.

Re:So now what's the new conspiracy theory? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44808277)

You make too much sense. First there were no weapons, then the weapons were imported from the US and used by a false flag operation, then they were in the rebel's hands provided by Al Qaeda.

Realistically, part of what countries wage is psy-op wars. For the layman, that is press and ads, and it is working -- anti-Americanism is the in thing. Buy a car? Can't be an American car, although Ford holds its own. Want something made? China does it better for cheaper. Want tech service? Tata does it for 1/10 the price and 10 times as better.

There are some odd turns in this thing, internal to the US. Obama is now viewed as a hawk, and has not ordered a single shot fired in anger while the Republicans are now viewed as the flip-flopping anti-war guys.

The takeaway is that Obama scored a political victory. Putin scored a victory as the last minute savior of peace. The US is not sucked in to the Syrian civil war and can remain as a proxy.

Re:So now what's the new conspiracy theory? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44808327)

A couple weeks ago, all the anti-U.S. people on Slashdot said that Syria had no chemical weapons

They said no such thing. The fact that Syria has chemical weapons was never in doubt.

Re:So now what's the new conspiracy theory? (1)

GargamelSpaceman (992546) | 1 year,12 days | (#44808397)

Why is not wanting to go to war in Syria considered anti-US? More than half the house of representatives seem to not want to go to war in Syria.

Nobody knows what happened, for sure, or who used the weapons, Assad, or the Rebels, but I actually don't care. It shouldn't involve the US's military.

And because I don't think anyone who wasn't there knows who did what, and even if someone did, because I have no way of vetting their investigations/spin, I have to go with what was my first guess based on who stands to gain. I think likely some Syrian govt. CW depot was captured by the Rebels, or someone in the Syrian military with access to CW, defected to the Rebels, or a Rebel sympathizer in the Syrian military who had not defected officially fired the CW in order to get the US and pals to intervene on the Rebel's behalf.

It only makes sense that the Rebels bombed themselves.

The US shouldn't be anyone's tool.

Also - Syria under Assad is in the US's interest. Having Assad there as a threat gives the US leverage over Saudi Arabia and others in the area who open the oil spigots whenever the US calls because the US is important in protecting themselves from the Assad/Iraq/Iran axis. Assad/Iraq/Iran, aren't the buddies of the US, which means the US isn't liable in a P.R. way for any damage they do, but they could only do real damage with US complicity. This makes them the US's mafia muscle in the area. If the US got rid of Assad, it would be like icing it's own hitman.

Who will pay for protection without the muscle?

And Europe wants a pipeline from SA through Syria so it isn't as dependent on Russian oil. And SA wants the added customers in Europe which BTW would help it thumb it's nose at the US.

How is getting rid of Assad good for the US again?

Re:So now what's the new conspiracy theory? (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | 1 year,12 days | (#44808405)

A couple weeks ago, all the anti-U.S. people on Slashdot said that Syria had no chemical weapons

[citation needed]

From what I've seen, nobody's saying they don't have chemical weapons - the point of contention is whether or not it was the Syrian government who used chemical weapons in the attacks, because A) there's evidence that indicates it was actually some rebel group (probably Al Queda) who did it, and B) the US government is not a credible source in this regard, especially when they want to start the fight before evidence is process, all the while claiming that their rationale for war is classified Super Cereal Secret Squirrel.

Re:So now what's the new conspiracy theory? (2)

DeathToBill (601486) | 1 year,12 days | (#44808489)

I don't think anyone outside fruitcake-land (though God knows there are enough of them) seriously thought that Syria didn't have chemical weapons. What has been the subject of ferocious debate is whether Syria has used chemical weapons.

So far the evidence is unclear, IMO. There have been six alleged incidents. Five of them were relatively small and not very well documented and it would be very hard to say from the direct evidence presented who carried out the attacks, if they happened at all.

The sixth attack, in Ghouta, on 21 August, is rather a different matter. Video footage which can be fairly reliably linked to the attack shows a large scale rocket attack, hundreds of dead and injured people and the attack definitely happened in the course of a Syrian Army attack. So either someone sneaked into the Syrian Army lines with a rocket launcher (more likely a number of them) and fired a series of rockets into the same area the army was already bombarding, or the rockets were launched by the Syrian Army.

The first theory is not entirely incredible. The fighting seems to have been in urban areas with lots of civilians around, so it would perhaps be possible, with a bit of luck and a lot of planning, to get the necessary equipment to the right place for a rebel group to launch this sort of attack. The usual objection to this sort of 'false flag' attack is that it involves a group attacking their own people, but this is not necessarily the case in Syria - the rebels are very disparate and some groups probably hate each other as much as they hate the government. The motive could even be simple revenge on another rebel group, though if that were the case then it seems unlikely that they would try to make the army look responsible.

All in all, it seems pretty likely that the attack at Ghouta, at least, was real and was carried out by the Syrian Army. But how anyone can "know" the truth of that in this situation is beyond me.

Re:So now what's the new conspiracy theory? (1)

dbIII (701233) | 1 year,12 days | (#44808579)

Why do you think these people are the "anti-US" crowd?
It's in the best interests of the US to stay out since it's a loss both ways - a vile regime which the US and Israel dislike but the US has some history with and rebels that are most certainly no friends of the US and have connections with terrorist groups that have killed US Marines and others. Which dog to pick in the fight? That mad, bad and dangerous regime that was so handy with "extreme rendition" when US agencies wanted to pretend someone else was doing the torture, or a bunch that include people that chant "Death to America"?

Oh no! the US must find another reason to attack (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44808159)

But have no fear the PR machine of the US will find another reason, my bet is the next issue will involved SEX. The US viewer love this stuff, they watch it like soap opera or glatorian games.

Re:Oh no! the US must find another reason to attac (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | 1 year,12 days | (#44808321)

That's easy. Putin will be having sex with fully armed and operational chemical weapons. It's sort of what he does. No PR machine needed.

lol (-1, Redundant)

slashmydots (2189826) | 1 year,12 days | (#44808163)

Yeah, they're going to turn over those weapons that they claim they don't have that the rebels used to frame them. I find it quite comical that they got from "what weapons?" to "okay, u can haz dis. Looool we were lying," in like 4 days.

Re:lol (1)

Antipater (2053064) | 1 year,12 days | (#44808407)

Syria has never denied having chemical weapons. They have repeatedly and quite openly stated that they have them. What they denied was USING them on their own people.

Re:lol (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | 1 year,12 days | (#44808425)

Did I fall asleep for a week? When did the Syrian government claim they had no chemical weapons?

I think, perhaps, you're confusing the terms "have" and "used."

Re:lol (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44808435)

Yeah, they're going to turn over those weapons that they claim they don't have

lol

Try paying attention next time my dumb American friend!

lol

How to be sure (2)

booch (4157) | 1 year,12 days | (#44808167)

Have them agree to be bombed if they are found to have any remaining chemical weapons after the turn-over.

Re:How to be sure (0)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | 1 year,12 days | (#44808449)

Have them agree to be bombed if they are found to have any remaining chemical weapons after the turn-over.

Yea, sure, so when the CIA-funded Al Queda operatives in Syria unleash another chemical attack under a false flag, we can pretend our war-mongering is justified!

1) have [nation] turn over all chemical weapons
2) give chemical weapons to false flag operatives in [nation]
3) ????
4) Profit!

It's a Stalling Tactic (5, Insightful)

localman57 (1340533) | 1 year,12 days | (#44808187)

I think it's important to remember how Assad played Kofi Annan for a chump for weeks near the beginning of this conflict. The whole time, he kept everybody talking, dangling the bait of a peaceful solution- some compromise - while he was using tanks on protesters that were overwhelmingly peaceful, and at worst lightly armed and totally disorganized.

He may well be doing the same thing now. He has masterfully played the hand he was dealt with delays, and a gradual escalation of tactics and brutality, essentially boiling the frog of public opinion to avoid any one escalation that yields a response. Dictators for decades will study this. I watched the interview last night with Charlie Rose, and I'm pretty convinced that Putin is probably the only major world leader who'd have a chance against this guy in a poker game.

Re:It's a Stalling Tactic (4, Insightful)

sribe (304414) | 1 year,12 days | (#44808295)

He may well be doing the same thing now.

The same thing, maybe. But to Vladimir Putin, not Kofi Annan, so I would not expect the same result ;-)

Re:It's a Stalling Tactic (3, Insightful)

Peter Kingsbury (3046159) | 1 year,12 days | (#44808419)

Stalin had nothing to do with it. This was purely Putin's doing.

Re:It's a Stalling Tactic (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44808463)

That's probably because Tsar Putin isn't afraid of unilateral intervention in Syria.

That being said, I'm wondering how, and who, came up with the idea for Russia to do this. Putin or Obama? Hard for me to believe Obama did, since they're harboring Snowden, and Putin has the upper hand in that. '

Still, good to see some diplomacy going on when it really matters! Despite Snowden situation, Putin seems to be throwing Obama a bone here and helping US Politics out of a domestic nuclear football. The country, USA, really is divided on US intervention on Syria, and with just cause. The past 13 years of US foreign military deployments have really taxed with the American public with what it will put up with now. I don't blame Obama, anymore than I blame Bush, but it's apparent that public scrutiny of possible foreign US military operations is outright raging.

LOL (4, Insightful)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | 1 year,12 days | (#44808245)

I want to high five the reporter that asked that question. Holy shit. A single question be a single reporter possibly changing the course of an entire war. Not every day you see that.

Re:LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44808565)

I want to high five the reporter that asked that question. Holy shit. A single question be a single reporter possibly changing the course of an entire war. Not every day you see that.

I think it was Margaret Brennan who asked the question? Awesome.

Re:LOL (3, Informative)

Antipater (2053064) | 1 year,12 days | (#44808573)

The NBC article [nbcnews.com] on this includes this line, though:

In a further development, a spokesman for Vladimir Putin said the Russian president had discussed the weapons handover plan with Obama at last week’s G-20 summit.

So according to Russia, at least, this didn't come out of nowhere. It's been planned for a little bit. The reporter may have even been a planted question, a trial balloon for the official announcement.

no brainer (4, Insightful)

spirit_fingers (777604) | 1 year,12 days | (#44808263)

When considering a response to the use of poison gas in Syria, the U.S. has several choices available to it.

1. Do nothing. This is the least desirable option for most Americans, whether or not they believe we should bomb. A majority prefer some kind of response.

2. Assuming that gas was used on Assad's orders, punish him by dropping bombs on something important to him, but being careful not to hurt him so badly that his regime fails and Al Qaeda-backed forces assume power.

3. Resolve the situation diplomatically. Use third parties to pressure Assad to turn over his chemical weapons arsenal to international control.

A strong case can be made that options 1 and 2 are the least likely to achieve a desirable outcome. That leaves option 3, which as of last Monday has a real chance of happening. The most reasonable course of action appears to be laid out before us. The time is now for Obama to think out of the box, have the courage to reconsider his strategy and show the world that he really did deserve his Nobel Peace Prize.

Re:no brainer (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44808515)

Nothing happened. This was all a show.

I strongly believe that assad did not do it. HE had no reasons to use CW because he was already on the offensive in the Rural area of Damascus.

The US just doesn't want Assad to win. They would love to split Syria into two countries. Iraq scenario was being played again. Lybia was also an Iraqi scenario.

When the west wants to get rid of its puppet, they use the media to turn everyone against him.

a beautiful example: latest documents revealed to the public showed that CIA allowed Saddam to use Chemical Weapons against Iran in the past.

Missing Option (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44808539)

4. The rebels launched the attach to draw in the west?? In which case the rebels must be held to account.

This is the most plausible in my view, as the rebels are the only ones to gain from a chemical attack.

Re:Missing Option (1)

darkstar949 (697933) | 1 year,12 days | (#44808789)

Sure, except for the fact that nobody has been able to explain how the rebels managed to get their hands on chemical weapons in order to launch the attack. Short of manufacturing them they would have had to have gotten them from a Syrian storehouse that fell into their hands in which case it makes sense for the Syrian government to want to wash their hands free of them.

Re:no brainer (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44808599)

... The time is now for Obama to think out of the box, have the courage to reconsider his strategy and show the world that he really did deserve his Nobel Peace Prize.

Too late.

That horse left the barn with the way Obama fucked up Libya. Unless you really think dropping bombs on people isn't "hostilities".

Re:no brainer (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44808697)

Please, this is America we're talking about:

4 - Blow the shit out of everyone and everything, funnel massive amounts of tax money to defence contractors / mercenaries, solve nothing, get bogged down in an expensive, unwinnable quagmire for decades, declare victory. Easy.

A quick primer on US foreign policy can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6riY-103vbc

Re:no brainer (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44808741)

How about option 4. Justice.

Take the chemical weapons, capture Assad anyway, thow him in to a soccer field and let the families of the chemical weapons victims have at him for 15 minutes. Mail the bloody stumpy remains of the puppet to Iran and Russia and call it a day.

Mm, chemical weapon turnovers (1)

neminem (561346) | 1 year,12 days | (#44808415)

Sounds like the Whizzo Chocolate Company is expanding into pastries?

This'll be interesting: (2)

Hartree (191324) | 1 year,12 days | (#44808535)

Securing chemical weapons sites in a civil war zone where people shoot at UN inspectors.

Now, there's some interesting logistics.

Add to that the possibility that some has already been stolen and at least one of the sites is under regular rebel attack.

So, we have a "red line" comment that had unintended consequences. That's now followed by an offhand comment by the Secretary of State that had unintended consequences, and the two just might cancel the worst of each other's damage out.

Ike Eisenhower once said: "I'll take a lucky general over a smart general."

I think it goes double for national leaders and diplomats.

Why the U.S. wants to bomb syria (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44808751)

I've been reading through these comments, and I don't think any of them strike at the truth of the matter. I apologize if this seems blunt. Hereafter I will provide a detailed examination of US interest in Syria.
[1] Realpolitik
refers to politics or diplomacy based primarily on power and on practical and material factors and considerations, rather than ideological notions or moral or ethical premises. In this respect, it shares aspects of its philosophical approach with those of realism and pragmatism.
Chemical weapons aren't why the president is interested in Syria. The US has [2] actually been [3] interested in [4] helping the Syrian rebels for a long time. That last link is from the past few days, but they're all connected, which I'll get to.
The US has brought several motions to the UN. Things involving military force, military aid, or war in general are brought to the [5] UN Security Council, a 12 member group consisting of 5 permanent members: US, UK, France, China, and Russia. The permanent members of the council have a special privilege: if any one of them vetoes a motion, it fails automatically. As I said, the US has brought several motions to the UN, which I linked above. All of them have failed, and all of them have failed because Russia (and China) have vetoed them using their veto powers.
So the US has long been interested in helping the Syrian rebels-- why is Russia concerned with vetoing efforts to help them? This is what it's all about: the politics of power. Realpolitik.
Syria, ruled by Bashar al-Assad (who functions basically as a dictator) is Russia's only ally in the Middle East region. The Russians sell a lot of arms to the Syrian government, and importantly the Russian's only naval base in the Mediterranean is based in Tartus, Syria. So, for geostrategic reasons alone, we can see that Russia is interested in keeping the friendly Syrian government in power. Though this isn't the Cold War, Russia is a competitor, so to some extent the US is interested in seeing the Syrian government fall because it would reduce the influence of a competitor in the region.
Another ally of Syria is Iran. You see, al-Assad is an Alawite-- a sect of Shiite Islam. Iran is majority Shiite Islam. The history is too long to recount here, but basically: Islam is divided into two major branches, Sunni and Shiite, [6] which are not friends with each other. Iran and Syria are the only countries in the Middle East with Shiites in power, and Iran is the only country that actually has a majority of its citizens Shiites. It's in Iran's interest to keep the Syrian government in power, as they are the only other Shiite buddy in the region. This, too, is a reason why the US wants the Syrian government to fall; one of our longstanding goals is to remove the Iranian theocracy and prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Removing a friend of Iran reduces their power and influence. Recently to this end of stopping Iran, the US has [7] spent several years encouraging international adoption of economic sanctions against Iran.
Then, there is Israel to consider. Syria borders Israel to its north, and the two have had quite a lot of tension before; during the [8] Six-Day War, Israel occupied the Golan Heights and effectively annexed it, in contravention of international law. The two have not been on good terms. In 2006, Israel got into a short war with its other neighbor to the north, Lebanon, during which time [9] Syria threatened to join the war on Lebanon's side. Naturally, Israel would rather the Syrian government fall. As the US is an ally of Israel and Israel in turn provides an ally to us in the region, it's in our interest to help Israel's interest.
Looking more broadly, there are regional issues. As I mentioned earlier, Syria's government is Shiite, while the majority of the Middle East is Sunni. Another element is that the majority of Syria is also Sunni; [10] the Shiites comprise 10-20% of Syria's population, while Sunnis are 60-70%. However, Bashar al-Assad and his father before him (also a dictator) are Alawite Shiites, and so Shiites have reigned supreme in Syria, building up resentment among the Sunni citizens because of decades-long minority rule by a group that the Sunnis consider to be heretical. This tension in the Middle East as a whole, Sunni vs. Shia, and in the country of Syria specifically, have provided sectarian lines for the population to divide themselves among. And because people in other countries want to see their particular side win, this means that [11] foreign-based sectarian groups have rushed to help their side win the war, making it a regional proxy for the division between Sunni and Shia. Those groups, by the way, include [12] Hezbollah, a Shia paramilitary group who has long been an enemy of Israel, as well as the [13] Al-Nusra Front, a Sunni Islamist paramilitary group who are associates of Al-Qaeda. Obviously, this situation could easily cross borders outside of Syria and develop into a regional war. Since the US depends on the Middle East for oil, this would obviously be a bad situation for the US.
BUT WAIT! THERE'S MORE! And as always, it involves oil (and natural gas).
Qatar, a small country next to Saudi Arabia, (and coincidentally a good US ally) sought a few years ago [14] to build a natural gas pipeline from itself up to Turkey, and from there on to Europe. Turkey (also a good US ally) was also interested in this deal, as it would make Turkey a key player in Europe's energy sector by being the transit conduit for a large component of Europe's oil and gas, which would go through the proposed [15] Nabucco pipeline connecting Turkey to Europe. However, this all fell through. Instead, [16] Iran, Iraq, and Syria came to a deal to transport gas from the [17] South Pars gas field in Iran through Iraq and then to port in Syria, from where it could be sold to Europe, bypassing Turkey. The kicker? The South Pars gas field is shared between Iran and Qatar, so if Iran got a pipeline in place first, there would be no need for a pipeline from Qatar to Turkey, meaning both Qatar and Turkey don't get the money and influence they desire. So, obviously, Turkey and Qatar are interested in seeing the Syrian government change its mind, and unsurprisingly, [18] have both condemned the Syrian government and encouraged support for the rebels. So, being that Turkey and Qatar are both allies of the US, it is once again in US interests to help their allies. But the US is interested in the Turkish-Qatari gas line for an entirely separate reason as well.
Russia is a big natural gas exporter. In fact, [19] they supply much of Europe with its natural gas, to the point where they are a monopoly in most Eastern European countries, and double-digit percentages to France, Germany, and Italy. This dominance has also given them monopoly-pricing, which has caused friction between Russia and other European countries. In 2009, [20] this got so bad that Russia cut all gas deliveries to Europe for 13 days, creating an energy crisis in Europe that was only resolved after Ukraine (the main country Russia's pipelines go through) basically folded to Russian demands. Now, this is obviously terrible for our European allies, as they have little or no options when it comes to Russia's demands. So, [21] Europe has been trying to diversify its natural gas suppliers. Unfortunately, it has not done so successfully so far. Guess who was one potential supplier? That pipeline from Turkey. Europe badly needs another supplier of gas, though, so they'd likely be willing to accept gas from the Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline even though that would involve buying gas from Iran, helping its economy. This is bad for the US, precisely because we sought economic sanctions on Iran to stop Europe from buying oil and helping its economy. So, once again it is in the United States' interest for Syria to change its mind on the pipelines. Additionally, since Russia is a rival, reducing its control over European energy markets is a strategic goal for the US in and of itself, so helping our European counterparts also helps us. Helping them, of course, means overthrowing the Syrian government.
Tl;dr The US has strategic and geopolitical reasons for needing to overthrow the Syrian government. Inevitably, this also includes trade deals regarding oil.

Cold War II (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | 1 year,12 days | (#44808799)

Of course Syria agreed to the Russian proposal. Russia and Syria are huge allies, and Russia has had bases (not sure if they still do) there in the past. In all likelihood, Putin spoke to Assad and negotiated all of this out before he announced his plan, to make sure Assad would agree to it. Think about it: this agreement hurts the image of the US by making them look militaristic and warlike, makes Russia look good, and ensures that Assad stays in power (and makes him look reasonable). Assad doesn't care if he loses his chemical stockpile: he can kill the rebels just fine using guns, and if he keeps the issue murky enough it can never proved whether or not he actually used the chemical weapons. He loses the strategic protection afforded by possessing a stockpile of chemical weapons, but he has Russia as a strategic partner to back him up if things ever get bad. It is a win-win for both Russia and Syria, and a net loss for the US (though probably not as bad had the US taken unilateral action in Syria).

The Cold War really is ratcheting back up. Assad's just the tool, his ultimate goal is to stay in power: as long as that happens, he wins. Russia's goal is to make the US look bad as much as possible (this, Snowden, etc), which bolsters their image both domestically as well as internationally (this would lead to increased arms exports, economic opportunities, and of course political influence). This is all a game: the US uses Syria to divert attention away from domestic issues like the NSA spying while Russia uses the increased attention to basically play the US and make out like the good guy.

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