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Source: (consider it) Thread: Aleppo
Sipech
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Man's inhumanity to humans is shown once again, in spite of cries of "never again" that are repeated at regular intervals. Srebrenica has been cited as a precedent for what is going on Syria at the moment. I couldn't help but think of Krakow, too.

There is much hand-wringing going on: What have we (not) done? What are we doing? What can we do?

As I watch the tv, thousands of miles away, there is a numbness to it all. Not unfeeling. But an overload of anger and sorrow for a place and people I do not know, but with whom I share a humanity. A humanity that is being cut down in a storm of a bullets and blasted apart by bombs.

This week's actions will echo for years, as a damning verdict on our species.

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mr cheesy
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Not very purgatorial, but I'm struggling to see the good today. And I'm giving up swearing for Advent.

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arse

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Barnabas62
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This link.

The "Mother Theresa" jibe tells you all you need to know about the ending of the Obama Presidency. I think the Russians are already anticipating a closer relationship with the Trump Presidency.

The human catastrophe is appalling and shows, again, the dreadful things which can happen when cities and countries become pawns in armed conflicts.

mr cheesy, I'm not as good as you. I've sworn a lot about this unholy mess, mixed up with "God, Do SOMETHING" prayers. But heaven seems closed off.

[ 14. December 2016, 12:39: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]

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Penny S
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I was shouting at Him in the car yesterday as I listened to reports. And many of the prayers offereed at the carol service were for the city.

What is so appalling is that, despite being supposedly in democracies, those in the top positions (I will not call them leaders, or rulers, or anything awarding them the status of monarchs. They are supposed to serve their people.) all behave as if the people do not exist and carry on regardless, or only listen to the voices that support them in their failure of concern. Carrying on referring to the Syrians as 'Assad's people' even when using the expression to show shock at his killing them implies some sort of justified ownership of individual souls he is supposed to care for, if being in charge of a state means anything. (Alfred the Great thought it did, anyway.)
The powers and principalities with their hands on the money and the materiel are out-barbarianing whichever historical monster it was who built a tower out of the bodies of the citizens of the beseiged city he sacked (Tamburlain?).
And God seems as powerless as we are to change things.

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
This link.

The policy over Syria has long been a mess; the West doesn't really seem to have a clear idea of who the players are, has provided just enough intervention to keep the conflict going without enough intervention to stop it, and adopted the approach of 'lobbing some bombs over there somewhere' as a tactic of direct intervention.

OTOH if the west had gone to war with Syria back in 2012 and it had ended up as a failed state, there would have been tons more suffering over the long term, but Aleppo wouldn't currently be in the news (in the same way that Libya isn't).

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Callan
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Something like 4000 people have died in the Second Libyan civil war, thus far. Something like 400,000 have died in Syria.

As it happens I opposed both interventions. I am not clear that I was right to do so.

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How easy it would be to live in England, if only one did not love her. - G.K. Chesterton

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Bishops Finger
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It is indeed distressing and frustrating not to be able to do anything - except, perhaps, to wholeheartedly welcome any Syrian refugees (Christian or not) who happen to find their way to comparative safety in Europe.

Not that I can see Nigel Garbage, his minions, or the Daily Heil etc. doing anything of the sort. [Disappointed]

IJ

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Our words are giants when they do us an injury, and dwarfs when they do us a service. (Wilkie Collins)

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Schroedinger's cat

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I struggle to know what to do practically. I do make my views known (mainly on twitter), because our leaders have - and are - assisting this massacre both by supplying weapons and by refusing to make real efforts to intervene.

Does anyone have a suggestion for a charity where the money will go to ease the suffering? I feel that this is something I could do - use what I have to assist others.

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by Schroedinger's cat:
I struggle to know what to do practically. I do make my views known (mainly on twitter), because our leaders have - and are - assisting this massacre both by supplying weapons and by refusing to make real efforts to intervene.

Does anyone have a suggestion for a charity where the money will go to ease the suffering? I feel that this is something I could do - use what I have to assist others.

Our family sent off a check yesterday to white helmets.org
Doctors without Borders is another very good option.

It's not enough. I, too, am shouting impolite things at the deity right now. I don't know what else to do. I just don't.

Come, Lord Jesus, come. [Votive]

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

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Bishops Finger
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Thanks for the link to White Helmets, cliffdweller. I, too, have made a donation (PayPal is my friend!).

I see that their target of $1 million has been well exceeded...

IJ

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Our words are giants when they do us an injury, and dwarfs when they do us a service. (Wilkie Collins)

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mr cheesy
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Sadly I've read that the white helmets have become targets themselves. It is hard to know what is happening because the media isn't there, but it seems likely they've taken heavy casualties.

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arse

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Penny S
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Given the way that Assad/Putin seem to process information, that the White Helmets are not government might mean they are construed as being against government and thus fair game.
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rolyn
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What can be said that hasn't already been said, on these boards and else, for 4 or 5 long years.
The West had ample opportunity to back the rebels and see off the Syrian regime, it chose not to. What we have done in Iraq, and have failed to do in Lybia leaves us in no position to criticise the Russians.

No one is using the phrase Arab Spring any more, too much bloodshed and suffering has occurred for the majority to feel anything positive about the whole Mid -East post 03 shambles. That isn't to say this ill wind has blown in the favour of some, tucked away in the cosy corridors of power.

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Change is the only certainty of existence

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Kwesi
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"Why do the nations rage?...and why do the people imagine a vain thing?"

What annoys me about the handwringing is the assumption that the West ought to be intervening in Syria. As far as I can see no convincing alternative strategy to non-intervention has been advanced. The hard reality is that until the Russians and Assad prevail the fighting will continue, so if you want peace the sooner that happens the better. If you want a just settlement, whatever that is, you should identify which side you approve of, arm it as well as possible, and continue the fighting until that side wins or is able to impose a political outcome favourable to itself. All the rest is a mixture of sincerely pious and cynical propaganda.

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mr cheesy
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Hard to see what "the West" could have done without a direct military confrontation with Russia.

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arse

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Schroedinger's cat

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We might stop selling arms to the regimes in the middle east.

As a whole, I am against intervention. But that means doing all we can to prevent confrontation happening - not supplying arms, and trying to enable negotiation. Of course there is no money in that.

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Gamaliel
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My Orthodox contacts are generally pro-Assad, or at least not anti-Assad - as they see him as someone who, for all his faults, has at least ensured a degree of religious freedom.

As the rebellion against Assad got underway they were warning me that some on the rebel side made Al Qaeda look like a suburban Sunday school ...

And that was before any of us over here had heard of ISIS.

The mileage does vary, though. I know Orthodox people who are fairly anti-Putin, others who think the sun shines out of his fundament ...

The impression I get from Orthodox sources it that whilst Assad is seen as far from perfect, he is regarded as the best option - they don't particularly have a problem with him. They are worried that if he is toppled then the way is open for radical jihadis to take out more Christians than they have already.

Of course, not all Syrian rebels are radical jihadis - and they know this too - but what they are worried about is that an Assad-less Syria would give scope for the hardline militants to take things out on the Christians and other religious minorities.

That doesn't mean that they aren't saddened and sickened by the violence - on either side. They just want it to stop and they see a Putin/Assad coalition as the best way to do that.

I'm not saying they are right or wrong, simply reporting the impression I get from Orthodox people who have links with Syria.

I'm not sure why we would need to support one side or the other - at least not when the rebellion started initially. What does it have to do with us?

Other than to protect Western interests (ie. Israel) which is presumably why the USA and the UK were anti-Assad in the first place. Sure, he's a dictator, but he's not the only one in the world. We don't go marching into Harare to depose Mugabe, do we?

I'm afraid I'm pretty cynical about Western real-politik in the Middle-East ... and equally cynical about what the Russians are up to.

Putin's very much pushing the line that he's supporting Assad in order to protect the Orthodox Christian and Jacobite Christian minorities that the nasty West clearly doesn't care about ...

The Christians in Iraq didn't want Saddam Hussein deposed for similar reasons. Not because they thought he was lovely but because they didn't want to see sectarian conflict after he was deposed.

Look what happened there ...

No easy answers, no obvious solutions. And it's always the poor and vulnerable who suffer the most.

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

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rolyn
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
Hard to see what "the West" could have done without a direct military confrontation with Russia.

There did seem to be a window early on in this war where Russia didn't look very interested and rebels desperately hoped and believed the West would do in Syria what had done in Libya. Sadly for them no Western oil workers in Syria meant no real desire to go for the hatrick following the fall of Saddam and Gadaffe.
That's if anyone wants to employ soccer terminology to describe what looks to most like the propagation of bloody chaos.

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Change is the only certainty of existence

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quetzalcoatl
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There was a vote in Parliament to bomb Assad's zones. But it lost. And some journalists argued that Obama also lost heart at this point, I don't know. But the UK presumably was fatigued by Iraq.

Yes, you can argue both ways, bombing Assad would have created the same amount of chaos and death, if the jihadists had taken over, or worse, or would have helped. Who can say.

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the main fear that flat-earthers face is sphere itself.

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quetzalcoatl
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I heard one MP talking of her great guilt that she had voted against the bombing of Assad. Too late, too late.

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the main fear that flat-earthers face is sphere itself.

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Enoch
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This sounds hard but I agree with Kwesi and Gamaliel.

This is a war where so far as one can see, there is no faction one would want to see win. Assad is no cuddly chum, and he appears to be in hock to some fairly nasty people. Lined up against him is a collection of people who range from the fairly nasty to the very nasty indeed. If there ever were some nice cuddly liberals with democratic aspirations, there wasn't much evidence for it, and so far as one can see, they've long since been eliminated, gone into exile, been neutered by people more vicious than themselves, or turned to viciousness as being the only way to survive.

The victims in this are the unfortunate inhabitants of Aleppo. They are being fought over. But nobody even seems to know or care what they think about this, who they'd like to be governed by, or what prospect there might be of their ever getting the sort of government that would give them even a semblance of a liveable, yet alone a good life.

And if an army with Russian and Iranian backing can't pacify the country, why should any delusionists imagine that the US, the French or ourselves could do so?

As has been pointed out, the sequence:-
- This is terrible.
- Something must be done.
- Therefore we must do something/anything,
Is only valid if there is 'something' one can do that has a good prospect of achieving a good result. Otherwise, it is just an 'anything' which will make things much, much, worse.

[ 14. December 2016, 19:50: Message edited by: Enoch ]

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Brexit wrexit - Sir Graham Watson

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rolyn
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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
There was a vote in Parliament to bomb Assad's zones. But it lost. And some journalists argued that Obama also lost heart at this point, I don't know. But the UK presumably was fatigued by Iraq.

There have been some attempts at painting Obama as an Ethelred the Unready but that's got to be a massive ruse. Pretty unlikely that Sam would have taken any more notice of little ol' England's stance on Syria any more that it would have if Blair had refused to help in Iraq.

I agree that the bloodbath would have been as bad, if not worse with Western intervention. The apparent heavy handed tactic of the Russian backed Assad force is looking like it will restore order, albeit at a terrible cost to fighters and innocents alike.
What the security map of this whole region will look like in years to come is anyone's guess. All depends if the trump/putin love affair is for real I suppose.

[ 14. December 2016, 22:52: Message edited by: rolyn ]

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Change is the only certainty of existence

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Bullfrog.

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I think one thing that gets overlooked is what would happen if we intervened?

Should we prop up Assad, as Russia has done? Should we hand-pick a successor regime? How are we to know that the successor would be any better? Folks talk like we could somehow fix this, like we tried to fix Iraq.

Seems that Bush had a great sin of commission, and now we may have a sin of omission.

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W Hyatt
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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
There was a vote in Parliament to bomb Assad's zones. But it lost. And some journalists argued that Obama also lost heart at this point, I don't know. But the UK presumably was fatigued by Iraq.

Yes, you can argue both ways, bombing Assad would have created the same amount of chaos and death, if the jihadists had taken over, or worse, or would have helped. Who can say.

I don't think Obama lost heart, I think he decided it would have been a bad idea, which is a conclusion I can sympathize with. The threshold for interceding in another country's internal affairs ought to be kept extremely high.

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A new church and a new earth, with Spiritual Insights for Everyday Life.

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Dave W.
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This NYTimes article from 2014 says Obama's reluctance to intervene was partly informed by a CIA study that "concluded that many past attempts by the agency to arm foreign forces covertly had a minimal impact on the long-term outcome of a conflict. They were even less effective, the report found, when the militias fought without any direct American support on the ground." (One significant exception was the CIA effort to arm and train mujahedeen rebels in Afghanistan in the 1980s; but even that seeming success turned out to be somewhat problematic.)
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Golden Key
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Re intervening or not:

Bill Clinton said his big regret about his presidency was not intervening in Rwanda.

Obama got several plateloads of trouble from Bush 43, including much war. I suspect he probably tried to avoid getting us stuck in yet another endless war.

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--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?" (Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon")
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Golden Key
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quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
quote:
Originally posted by Schroedinger's cat: Does anyone have a suggestion for a charity where the money will go to ease the suffering? I feel that this is something I could do - use what I have to assist others.
Our family sent off a check yesterday to white helmets.org Doctors without Borders is another very good option.

Another way is to shop through Amazon's Smile program. You shop as usual, and Amazon will make a donation to a charity you select. Doctors Without Borders is one of the options.

Also Google something like "Syria click-to-donate". Someone may have already set something up at one of the free click-to-donate sites.

Mercy Corps is another good organization, with a wider function than medical help.

I'll check and see if Kiva has anything in/for Syria.

BTW, wasn't Fr. Gregory working with Syrian refugees, years ago? Don't know if he still is, but he might have suggestions, FWIW.

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Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?" (Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon")
--"Oh, Peace Train, save this country!" (Yusuf/Cat Stevens, "Peace Train")

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mdijon
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quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
Bill Clinton said his big regret about his presidency was not intervening in Rwanda.

We discussed the comparison on the various pacifist threads. It seems to me that as well as needing a high threshold to intervene (i.e. really bad stuff going on) one also needs certain conditions to be met in order to have a better outcome than not intervening.

Some of those include having a partner on the ground in terms of the strength of the societal system that will be left. If one is going to destroy a government and leave a vacuum that is pretty disastrous. Whatever Kagame's faults in terms of human rights (many) he has led a competent and authoritarian government that is pretty far from a power vacuum.

I can't see what would take that place in Syria. It could easily be Isis, or a group of warring factions for the foreseeable future.

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mdijon nojidm uoɿıqɯ ɯqıɿou
ɯqıɿou uoɿıqɯ nojidm mdijon

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mr cheesy
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The UN is warning of genocide in South Sudan. Anyone think intervening there is on anyone's agenda?

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arse

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Schroedinger's cat

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"Intervening" shouldn't mean military force, except as a peacekeeping agency. It should mean working to negotiate a peaceful settlement.

Of course, given recent events, the UK should keep out of all negotiation. Especially our foreign minister.

Incidentally, I asked here for donation suggestions ( thank you - I have make a donation, but keep the suggestions coming as others may wish to) because I am so aware that some organisations can make use of this to garner donations which they then spend on advertising for more donations. I know I am rather cynical in this, but I want my money to be used there.

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Blog
Music for your enjoyment
Lord may all my hard times be healing times
take out this broken heart and renew my mind.

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Stetson
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
The UN is warning of genocide in South Sudan. Anyone think intervening there is on anyone's agenda?

Not to mention the west's favorite gas-tank Saudi Arabia, with its Yemeni intervention, which has claimed thousands of lives. To say nothing of the KSA's human-rights record generally.

No intervention there, either. In fact, Justin Trudeau, idol of the international liberal smart-set, has recently been pushing through arms-sales to the Kingdom.

[ 15. December 2016, 08:57: Message edited by: Stetson ]

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Gamaliel
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I am seeing Fr Gregory for lunch today. I'm in his area. His view is pretty much as I expressed it in my earlier post. I'm sure he'll say more about it when I see him.

So yes, Assad is nasty, so are the rebels, but some of the rebels are the nastiest

That seems to be the top and bottom of it.

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
I am seeing Fr Gregory for lunch today.

Hey, pass on greetings and try to lure him back on board!

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Let's remember that we are to build the Kingdom of God, not drive people away - pastor Frank Pomeroy

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by Callan:
Something like 4000 people have died in the Second Libyan civil war, thus far. Something like 400,000 have died in Syria.

As it happens I opposed both interventions. I am not clear that I was right to do so.

Yes, there are fewer casualties in Libya (not sure you can discount the first civil war so easily) because the conflicts tended to be in less densely populated areas and the sectarian groups were more or less divided geographically. A better comparison would be with Iraq.

In any case you don't get to support or oppose the best of all possible interventions, only the actual intervention on the table which consisted of 'lob some missiles over there and continue to provide somewhat half-arsed support to a bunch of militants some of whom may or may not be extremists'

[ 15. December 2016, 10:04: Message edited by: chris stiles ]

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Gamaliel
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# 812

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Hardly anyone in the West was aware of ISIS until they burst out across Iraq and took Mosul.

There was an assumption that everyone fighting Assad had to be the good guys - on the 'my enemy's enemy is my friend' argument.

My Orthodox contacts were warning me about ISIS long before they came to the attention of the western media.

That doesn't let Putin off the hook but it suggests to me that the Western powers were either turning a blind eye to the nature of some of the rebels or else getting the wrong end of the stick.

Assad is a bastard but some of those on the other side are even worse.

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Martin60
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Resonance all round, but especially with Kwesi.

The West couldn't stop the Asian Arab Sunnah fomenting the sectarian insurrection in Syria. Cautious Russian intervention was inevitable, once it was obvious to them that the West would do nothing, to protect their Shia buffer.

What made the Saudis think they could 'liberate' Syria?

The CIA inspired African Arab spring achieved worse than nothing apart from stimulate that somehow? The Saudis thought the West was in the naive mood for flowers blooming everywhere? Ah! They felt threatened by that proclivity to make vaccuums for democracy to expand in to that never works? So decided to get in on the back of that folly?

Stability at almost any repressive cost seems preferable to the violent pursuit of justice.

The place of Christianity? Bind the wounds. Feed the hungry. Never back an armed revolt in the first place with silence. Do promote justice by all other means.

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mr cheesy
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I didn't really want to bring this up, but I've been looking at a lot of what is being said about the White Helmets, and there are some things which range from "a bit worrying" all the way through to "extremely worrying".

Without wanting to publicise the crackpots, there is I think, at least some reason to wonder whether everything we think we know about Syria is wrong.

The chaos of the situation feeds into the conspiracy theories; the stuff coming out of Aleppo looks fake, I can understand the feeling in these fake-news and "fact-checking" obsessed days thinking that something is quite screwy when (for example) someone has a mobile phone or internet connection whilst under military bombardment. Note: that doesn't mean that any or all of these things are fake.

We then have this massive problem with misinformation. Are we dismissing a particular narrative because it is the one we're only hearing from Assad and Russia (perhaps because it is Assad and Russia)? Are we believing the twitter feed of a young girl because that grabs the attention? Are we on some level being hoodwinked by sophisticated hardline rebels masquerading as noble relief workers?

How do we know that monies raised by the White Helmet campaign isn't actually going to jihadists?

I don't know, my head is spinning. I think the most likely - awful - thing happening is a terrible Syrian government massacre. But it isn't beyond the realms of possibility that we're all being cleverly lied to.

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Gamaliel
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As ever, with my both/and proclivities, I think it's a bit of both.

Yes, it is a Syrian Government massacre of rebels and some innocents. No, I don't think we are being 'lied' to as such but I think we are being presented with a one-sided view of what's going on.

Assad is a bastard. So was his Dad. Yes, he has been guilty of war crimes.

But some of the rebels are equally bastardly and equally guilty of war crimes.

Both/and

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:


But some of the rebels are equally bastardly and equally guilty of war crimes.

Both/and

not actually what I was talking about. But hey, if you've only got a hammer, everything looks like nails.

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no prophet's flag is set so...

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A bit of history by Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Follow the money in a pipeline war which has been sold as a humanitarian war. Why not regional stability instead of regime change? Because it isn't profitable.

[ 15. December 2016, 15:01: Message edited by: no prophet's flag is set so... ]

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mr cheesy
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This seems to me to be a pretty clear explanation of the problem: there are competing narratives. They can't all be true.

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Callan
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# 525

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quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
quote:
Originally posted by Callan:
Something like 4000 people have died in the Second Libyan civil war, thus far. Something like 400,000 have died in Syria.

As it happens I opposed both interventions. I am not clear that I was right to do so.

Yes, there are fewer casualties in Libya (not sure you can discount the first civil war so easily) because the conflicts tended to be in less densely populated areas and the sectarian groups were more or less divided geographically. A better comparison would be with Iraq.

In any case you don't get to support or oppose the best of all possible interventions, only the actual intervention on the table which consisted of 'lob some missiles over there and continue to provide somewhat half-arsed support to a bunch of militants some of whom may or may not be extremists'

Well, if you put together the two civll wars you get something in the region of 20,000 casualties. However, I hardly think that all 20,000 can be blamed on Western intervention. The late Colonel Gaddafi ought to take at least some of the rap. But, whatever, casualties in Libya are something in the region of 5% of casualties in Syria. I don't think that Western Intervention in 2013 would have brought down the casualty rate by 95% But can we be sure it wouldn't have brought it down by 50% or 25%?. He who saves a single life, and all that.

Casualties in Iraq are harder to quantify. The ceiling is somewhere int the 500,000 range (worse than Syria) with a floor at somewhere in the region of 113,000 (not as bad, but admittedly still appalling). But bear in mind that the Syrian conflict, at least in its latest iteration, kicked off in 2011. So it has run up 400,000 casualties in five years as opposed to 500,000 (worst case) in thirteen. So that's 80,000 per annum as opposed to 38,000 per annum in Iraq.

As I say, I was opposed to all three interventions. My feeling is that the UK was definitely wrong to get involved in the invasion of Iraq. On balance, I think we were wiser to stay out of Syria. I honestly don't know whether we were right to intervene in Libya or not. Either choice had costs and benefits and the costs have, and will be, borne by the civilians of the Middle East. My gut instinct is to say that I thought the supporters of the Iraq war were too glib in their assumption that there was no problem that could not be solved by the exercise of western military might. I increasingly think that the non-interventionists are too glib in their assumption that the only thing we can do is stand on the sidelines and wring our hands.

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How easy it would be to live in England, if only one did not love her. - G.K. Chesterton

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Schroedinger's cat

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To get all philosophical here, the concept of hyperreality is vital here. This is a concept that argues that the truth is impossible to find, because all we ever see is the media (of all sorts) presentation of it. So yes, we only get the news from Aleppo through a variety of media. Those sources are all biased, and - crucially - it is not possible to avoid those biases. Or even to know what they are.

The Adam Curtis film Hypernormality gives some interesting insights of what this actually means. But in practical terms, it means that we cannot know the truth. We cannot act on "the truth". We can act on what we know, and the best we can do is act knowing that we are very limited in our knowledge.

I know I plug this a lot, but to understand the situation in the Middle East (especially), I think it is critical to grasp the principles of this, and understand how much we know and how much we don't know.

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
I am seeing Fr Gregory for lunch today. I'm in his area. His view is pretty much as I expressed it in my earlier post. I'm sure he'll say more about it when I see him.

So yes, Assad is nasty, so are the rebels, but some of the rebels are the nastiest

That seems to be the top and bottom of it.

So perhaps for now the best response, inadequate as it may seem, is to give to and support refugee resettlement?

And pray. Lots and lots of prayer
[Votive]

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quetzalcoatl
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Interesting opinion by some journalists, that the fall of Aleppo will produce a new embittered phase in the civil war, going on for years. I have no idea if this is true, but I would guess that Sunni and Kurdish areas are both afraid of Syrian/Russian forces, and also determined to resist.

It's possible that Assad will sweep all before him, but it sounds unlikely. Will the Russians or Hezbollah really want to root out all rebel groups from rural areas?

Hell is followed by hell.

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Gamaliel
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I'd suggest it's more a case of overlapping rather than competing narratives, mr cheesy.

Yes, I know I'm wielding a single hammer - but it's got two faces or heads to it. Both/and.

Anyhow, for those that remember him, Fr Gregory is active on a well-known social media site where he's coming under fire for putting forward a perspective that doesn't fit the Western one.

I tried to lure him back here and he laughed.

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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chris stiles
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# 12641

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quote:
Originally posted by Callan:

Casualties in Iraq are harder to quantify. The ceiling is somewhere int the 500,000 range (worse than Syria) with a floor at somewhere in the region of 113,000 (not as bad, but admittedly still appalling). But bear in mind that the Syrian conflict, at least in its latest iteration, kicked off in 2011. So it has run up 400,000 casualties in five years as opposed to 500,000 (worst case) in thirteen. So that's 80,000 per annum as opposed to 38,000 per annum in Iraq.

Comparing the most conservative estimate for Iraq with the least conservative estimate for Syria is possibly not the way to go.

In any case when an intervention is supposed to save 10s of thousands out of figures that are magnitudes greater it is probably employing a strategy that is equally subject to chance and Murphy's Law making things a lot worse.

Besides what's the lesson? That the better strategy is to fabricate evidence of Syria possessing WMD and an illegal invasion ? Or take the approach that we already have a 'model that works' - arm the regime to the teeth and allow them to put down nascent democratic movements (Bahrain).

quote:

I increasingly think that the non-interventionists are too glib in their assumption that the only thing we can do is stand on the sidelines and wring our hands.

Except that sitting on the sidelines and wringing our hands is exactly what the West has *not* done in this situation - until now.

I'm happy for intervention to be discussed in a context where the proponents describe which model of intervention in the past they would like to implement (and on this scale I'd give them Bosnia and Kosovo as 'successes' of sorts).

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Martin60
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# 368

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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
Interesting opinion by some journalists, that the fall of Aleppo will produce a new embittered phase in the civil war, going on for years. I have no idea if this is true, but I would guess that Sunni and Kurdish areas are both afraid of Syrian/Russian forces, and also determined to resist.

It's possible that Assad will sweep all before him, but it sounds unlikely. Will the Russians or Hezbollah really want to root out all rebel groups from rural areas?

Hell is followed by hell.

Never underestimate the lengths the Russians will go to. Never. They are smarter and more ruthless than us by a country mile. Since Daniel's day. As Churchill knew and as we are seeing, the bear is never as strong, or as weak as she looks. Like British cops (they're not called Plod for nothing), but without the charm. Slow as treacle and as inexorable. It took them centuries to conquer the Caucasus and most of Muslim Turkestan. Never come to their attention. As a possible threat. They have been players, incredible survivors for two and a half millenia, I can't think of another culture that has been burned to the ground, lost a game and risen from the ashes and learned from it, stronger, so often, to play again.

They play the long game. They know every possible move. They have no morality but Rodina. Mother Russia. They are bloody awesome dreadful people and they have won the war against truth that the Soviets lost. They never forget. And they never forgive; how badly the West treated them AFTER the fall of communism.

And now they have a partner in Washington.

The bear has licked its wounds. The bear is back. It will NOT allow the Sunnah to make any inroads. The Saudis threatened to export Islamism. That was most unwise. The post-liberal, post-multilateral, post-international West is utterly irrelevant, except as a bilateral business partner.

Count on Russian self interest for the rest of our lifetimes at least. I can't imagine any force that stop it, let alone reverse it.

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Posts: 17019 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Martin60
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Can, bugger.

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Posts: 17019 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Schroedinger's cat

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Martin - I think those comments count as racist.

However some of what you have said does apply to Putin. I think it is interesting how they lost the cold war to the US, but Putin seems now to be the prime world leader, with a pointless moron at his beck and call in the US. I don't know whether they actually did manipulate the election, but I feel sure that they could, and the Putin would have no qualms about it.

And under all of the global political manoeuvrings, it is people - the ordinary people - who suffer. We may be heading towards a single global power (or not), but unlike every SF trope, it is a Russian not US dominated one.

And, of course, a strong EU would be a force to reckon with, that might stand against such a threat. If we hadn't spent 10 years breaking it.

All hail Putin, our new overlord.

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Lord may all my hard times be healing times
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