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Tunisia, Egypt, Libya... Arab Countries in Revolt

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"It is necessary to set aside geopolitical ambitions"

Yes, I'm sure Putin's involvement in Syria is motivated by nothing of the sort.

As opposed to ours????

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Well, of course. I just find it hilarious that he would say such a thing. At least he isn't pretending to give a **** about democracy or whatever, which is what the West tends to do when we all know the powers that be are quite happy to trade away democracy for a friendly strongman

Anyway if they take on Isis, good luck. Although I suspect the well-documented presence of Chechens among the Isis ranks is the main motivation here.

 

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Well that an maintaining/strengthening an important strategic partner in the region, while helping to ensure Russia is still a player on a global scale. Plus indirectly thumbing a nose at the West.

I'm not sure what he has said is all that different to statements from Western nations or indeed the motivations or actions.

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Assad and Isis are on even footing for me. Both as evil as can be. Certainly more have been tortured, killed and raped at the behest of Assad. Then again I am sure if ISIS had the same power or reach then it would be the same.

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General Austin the commander of US Central Command has had to confess to a Senate committee that their 9 month old, $500 million programme to train moderate Syrian rebels hasn't gone as well as hoped. By now the Pentagon wanted a trained force of 5000 men, but of the 60 or so graduates to date only "4 or 5" remain in the field. The rest were captured, killed or scattered to the wind by Al Qaeda as soon as they crossed over from Turkey.

This was supposed to be the big plan that delivered an alternative to US boots on the ground, but it's so farcical I don't even know how to make a joke about it.  It would be best if the Obama administration now shuts up, stays out of the way and the Russians get on with doing what's needed.  

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General Austin the commander of US Central Command has had to confess to a Senate committee that their 9 month old, $500 million programme to train moderate Syrian rebels hasn't gone as well as hoped. 

For context though, that's less than half of what the US military spends per day. It's a big programme, by any measure, but on the scale of US military spending it's a drop in the ocean. If you were really cynical (like me) you could say that it's been a complete success - $500m of public money has been given to contractors - the result might be less important in terms of how the US works.

Whichever, it's certainly not doing the region any good and I suspect might give a clue on how complicated the situation is in terms of trying to solve it with boots on the ground.

 

 

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General Austin the commander of US Central Command has had to confess to a Senate committee that their 9 month old, $500 million programme to train moderate Syrian rebels hasn't gone as well as hoped. 

Whichever, it's certainly not doing the region any good and I suspect might give a clue on how complicated the situation is in terms of trying to solve it with boots on the ground.

The only ultimate solution to this is political, but that solution cannot be reached without a military component.  IS, AQ etc are not going to jack it in and go home, they have to be physically dealt with. That in turn will create the space for reconciliation, governmental transition, the exit of Assad and bringing down the conflict to a manageable level.  IS is now an independent actor, AQ (JaN) under the banner of Jaish al Fateh (the army of conquest) are the direct proxies of Turkey, KSA and Qatar and Assad has direct support from Iran, Russia and Hezbollah.  

The idea that a few thousand US trained rebels were going to tip the balance in these circumstances is so misconceived it's unbelievable it ever got traction in policy circles, but western reluctance to really get involved simply means 'we' have no chance to shape the outcome despite being expected to deal with the fallout - the exodus.  

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I think the priority should be to contain ISIS to areas they already hold, then use a combination of sanction, financial pressure and where neccessary, military operations to weaken key areas - a sort of closing loop around them.

The problem with this plan is that first we need to have in idea of what we want to leave behind, a motivation to actually do it and importantly we need to be prepared to upset the Saudi's. Politically, ISIS fill an important role in US foreign and domestic policy as the bad guy now - Bin Laden was left alive until they arrived and until either Putin or China is ready to step up and terrify the tax dollar out of the folks back home, I don't think there's a political will from the US to really do much about it.

 

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The problem with this plan is that first we need to have in idea of what we want to leave behind, a motivation to actually do it and importantly we need to be prepared to upset the Saudi's.

Bingo. 

PS.  We are not.

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I think we should constantly drip feed insufficient millions of dollars of guns and ammunition into this region in the hope of having an influence but on a budget. I have no knowledge of the complex history, politics or various cultural groupings but if we could just give a small number of bombs and guns to groups that haven't already been outed as bad guys by the media, I think we'll be fine.

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I definitely need an update.

I thought the reason parliament voted against fighting in Syria was that we couldn't decide who the enemy was, Assad or IS.

I remember Assad being the bad guy and then he was less so but then Putin was bad for supporting him.

They are now saying that both IS and Assad are the bad guys but more importantly, if we destroy the bad guys, who are the good guys we then hand power to for some future peaceful resolution? 

Thanks!

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Duh, it's the Middle East. The good guys are all hiding behind the icebergs.

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The United Nations has been criticised for handing Saudi Arabia a key human rights role - despite the country having “arguably the worst record in the world” on freedoms for women, minorities and dissidents.

Independent

Er?

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The UN is on a par with the EU in my view.

You're broadly supportive but nobody is going to tell you to put mayonnaise on chips?

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Caught a bit on the radio driving back from VP last night about a Danish journalist who had been living amongst groups of ISIS fighters

(wasn't the whole show more of  teaser trailer)

 

his findings ( which we have to accept at face value)  were summarised in the trailer as

 

He saw few if any copies of the Quran and came to the opinion most of the fighters weren't practising muslims

Most were being paid $50 a month and  were fighting to buy women from the sex trade  ... these women change hands at $1500 and thus fighting was the only way they were likely to get the sums of money required

that was the gist of it , the $50 may be an error on my part

 

The show will be \was on radio 5 if anyone wants to track it down

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That was the gist of it but I thought the journo was German

Edited by bickster

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Its looking increasingly like Russia's significantly increased presence in Syria is going to prop up Assad and really put a dent in ISIS.

Not only are they putting a couple of thousand special forces on the ground by aircraft, ammunition, weapons and crucially aircraft including recon.

ISIS have taken a battering in the last 48 hours and its only going to intensify when they get the port and airport up to speed.

No longer will Syria and Raqqa be a safe haven for these scum bags.

With the coalition efforts in Iraq and Russia in Syria there aren't many hiding places left for them, well unless the Saudi's or Turk's welcome the foot soldiers of their proxy war.

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I think it serves Russia well too - they're saying to the US, we'll put a permanent base in the middle east unless....

and I'm guessing the unless will be unless you stop trying to take over Ukraine.

 

 

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