Coalition of the Confused

Hosted by Jenifer (Zarknorph)

Confused malcontents swilling Chardonnay while awaiting the Zombie Apocalypse.

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Syria   Africa and the Middle East

Started 10/18/17 by Jenifer (Zarknorph); 80757 views.
In reply toRe: msg 22
Jenifer (Zarknorph)

From: Jenifer (Zarknorph)


Lack of food and medicines

In their report covering the six months to January this year, the investigators tracked the Syrian Government's tightening siege of the rebel-held region of Ghouta, east of Damascus.

Even before the intense bombardment and ground attack which is now underway, the lack of food and medicine had led to acute malnutrition with several children dying of preventable diseases, including organ failure made worse by malnutrition.

The report documents cluster bomb attacks hitting schools and kindergartens.

Some of those injured in regular bombardments died because the few hospitals and clinics could not cope.

\In May, the Government all but banned medical evacuations.

Prior to that, the rebels imposed hardline Islamic rules, requiring women and girls who needed treatment to be accompanied by a male guardian.

Hundreds of people have been killed in air strikes in Ghouta since the UN Security Council, including Russia, which is the Syrian Government's most powerful ally, demanded a ceasefire more than a week ago.

Nearly 400,000 people have been besieged there for four years.

Government officials barred medical kits from a shipment of food and other supplies for 27,500 people on Monday.

Another shipment is scheduled for tomorrow.

But how much of it will get through to the victims and how much will be "confiscated"?


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Jenifer (Zarknorph)

From: Jenifer (Zarknorph)


Another chemical attack

A Syrian rebel group has accused Government forces of launching a deadly chemical attack on civilians in a rebel-held town in Eastern Ghouta, and a medical relief organisation said 35 people had been killed in the area.

Key points:

  • Syrian American Medical Society says 35 people were killed in attacks
  • The US says Russia should be blamed if chemicals were used in an attack in Eastern Ghouta
  • Thousands of fighters and civilians are fleeing Douma for northern Syria

Syrian state media denied Government forces had launched any chemical attack and said rebels in the Eastern Ghouta town of Douma were in a state of collapse and spreading false news.

The US State Department said it was monitoring the situation and that Russia should be blamed if chemicals were used.

Reuters could not independently verify reports of a chemical attack.

The Syrian Government has recaptured nearly all of Eastern Ghouta from rebels in an offensive that began in February, leaving just Douma in the hands of an insurgent group, Jaish al-Islam.

Russian-backed Syrian government forces resumed the assault on Friday afternoon with heavy air strikes after days of calm.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 11 people had died in Douma as a result of suffocation caused by the smoke from conventional weapons being dropped by the Government. It said a total of 70 people suffered breathing difficulties.

Rami Abdulrahman, the Observatory director, said he could not confirm if chemical weapons had been used.

Medical relief organisation Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) said a chlorine bomb hit Douma hospital, killing six people, and a second attack with "mixed agents" including nerve agents had hit a nearby building.

Basel Termanini, the US-based vice president of SAMS, said the total death toll in the chemical attacks was 35.

"We are contacting the UN and the US Government and the European governments," he said by telephone.

The political official of Jaish al-Islam said the chemical attack had killed 100 people.

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Jenifer (Zarknorph)

From: Jenifer (Zarknorph)


Syria Chemical attack

A medical worker gives a toddler oxygen. Someone is laying in a bed beside him. There are patients on the floor, one is a child.

US President Donald Trump says there will be a "big price to pay" for a suspected chemical attack against a besieged rebel-held town in Syria where medical aid groups reported dozens of people were killed by poison gas.

Key points:

  • Syria has denied government forces launched any chemical attack
  • Last year, the US attacked a Syrian air base in response to a gas attack
  • A top Trump adviser said the US would not rule out another missile attack

The Syrian state denied government forces had launched any chemical attack and Russia, President Bashar al-Assad's most powerful ally, called the reports bogus.

A joint statement by the medical relief organisation Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) and the civil defence service, which operates in rebel-held areas, said 49 people had died in the attack late on Saturday in the town of Douma. Others put the toll even higher.

The United Nations Security Council is likely to meet on Monday afternoon over the chemical attack at the request of the United States and several other members, diplomats said.

Writing on Twitter, Mr Trump hit out at Russia and Iran for their support of Mr Assad's Government.

The Russian Foreign Ministry warned against any military action on the basis of "invented and fabricated excuses", saying this could lead to severe consequences.

One of Mr Trump's top homeland security advisers said the United States would not rule out launching another missile attack.

"I wouldn't take anything off the table," White House homeland security and counterterrorism adviser Thomas Bossert said in a television interview.

"We are looking into the attack at this point," he said, adding that the photos of the incident were "horrible".

In one video shared by activists, the lifeless bodies of about a dozen children, women and men, some of them with foam at the mouth, were seen.

"Douma city, April 7 … there is a strong smell here," a voice can be heard saying.

Reuters could not independently verify the reports.

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Jenifer (Zarknorph)

From: Jenifer (Zarknorph)


Why it looks like Israel was behind strike on a Syrian airbase


There is every reason to believe that Israel was behind Monday's airstrike on a Syrian military base, and not the United States, as Syria at first claimed.

Syria's state-run news agency SANA reported an early morning missile attack on the Tiyas (T-4) air base at Homs, about 100 kilometres north-east of Damascus.

It immediately blamed "likely" US aggression — understandable given the US condemnation of a suspected chemical attack days before on a rebel enclave at Douma outside Damascus.

US President Donald Trump had even warned of a "big price to pay" for the chemical attack, which killed at least 49 people.

Officials in Washington were working to verify claims by non-government organisations and Syrian opposition activists that the Assad regime was behind the poison attack.

However, the Pentagon denied responsibility for attacking the T-4 base, despite striking similarities to another air strike a year ago, when the US targeted Syria's Shayrat military base — also in Homs province — after another chemical attack in Idlib.

Denying the US was behind the T-4 airstrike, the Pentagon said the US supported diplomatic efforts to hold those who use chemical weapons accountable.

Hours later Russia and Syria both said Israeli warplanes had launched the attack. An Israeli spokesperson offered no comment.

And indeed all the evidence for the airstrike points to Israel, which launched a similar bombing raid at Tiyas earlier this year.

In February Israel accused the Syrian regime of allowing Iran to operate the Tiyas base to supply advanced weaponry to Shiite militia groups in the region, including the Lebanese-based Hezbollah, which has long waged war against Israel.

It was from this same airbase that Israel says Iran launched a military drone that flew into Israeli airspace in mid-February.

Israeli warplanes shot the drone down and launched raids against Iranian drone installations at Tiyas.

But an Israeli F-16 fighter plane was in turn shot down by Syrian forces.

US is considering its own response in Syria

Whether or not Israel was behind the Tiyas airbase attack, the US is considering its own response in Syria.

Only last week Mr Trump said he wanted to bring home the 2,000 US troops still on the ground in Syria after the fight against Islamic State militants.

But a senior White House official would not rule out another US missile attack, s
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Jenifer (Zarknorph)

From: Jenifer (Zarknorph)


Russia warns of 'grave repercussions' if US retaliates against Syria

Russia's Ambassador to the United Nations says Moscow has warned the US of "grave repercussions" if it carries out an attack against Syrian government forces over reports of a deadly gas attack.

Key points:

  • Russia's Ambassador to the UN denies there was a chemical attack in Douma
  • US Ambassador to the UN says Washington will respond regardless of Security Council decision
  • US President Donald Trump says those responsible for Syria attack will 'pay a price'

Speaking at an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council, Vassily Nebenzia reiterated Russia's claim that there was no chemical attack over the weekend in the town of Douma near the Syrian capital Damascus.

Medical workers and rebel fighters in the area have said around 50 people died in the rebel-held town when a helicopter dropped a container of poison gas.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said Washington would respond to the attack on Douma, a rebel-held town in Syria, regardless of whether the Council acted or not.

But Mr Nebenzia accused the US of moving the world towards a "dangerous threshold".

And he accused Britain, France and others of "blindly" following the US line on Syria, using "slander, insults, hawkish rhetoric, blackmail, sanctions and threats to use force against a sovereign state".

Mr Nebenzia said a fact-finding mission from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) should go to Damascus, and would be protected by Russian and Syrian soldiers.

"There was no chemical weapons attack," Mr Nebenzia said.

"Through the relevant channels we already conveyed to the US that armed force under a mendacious pretext against Syria where — at the request of the legitimate government of a country, Russian troops have been deployed — could lead to grave repercussions.

The OPCW has opened an investigation to determine what exactly happened in Douma.

"We have reached the moment when the world must see justice done," Ms Haley told the Council.

"History will record this as the moment when the Security Council either discharged its duty or demonstrated its utter and complete failure to protect the people of Syria.

"Either way, the
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Jenifer (Zarknorph)

From: Jenifer (Zarknorph)


To put it bluntly...

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Jenifer (Zarknorph)

From: Jenifer (Zarknorph)


Three scenarios for the Syrian conflict.


Fears of full-scale war are spreading on Twitter, in the wake of Donald Trump's taunts to Russia to "get ready" for missiles to be fired at its ally Syria.

Meanwhile, Britain has begun moving submarineswithin missile range of Syria, in readiness for a potential strike. And British Prime Minister Theresa May has called a cabinet meeting widely expected to result in the UK joining a military response against Syria.

The White House says President Trump has not set down any timetable for a military strike, and that all options remain on the table.

But what are Donald Trump's options, and what would happen next?

1. A symbolic air strike

The easiest, most likely option for the US is to launch a short-term, symbolic air attack, as it did a year ago following a chemical weapons attack at Khan Sheikhoun that killed 90 people.

About 60 US Tomahawk missiles targeted the Shayrat airbase where the Syrian warplanes that dropped the chemicals had taken off.

It was the first direct US assault against the Syrian regime, and destroyed an airstrip, aircraft and fuelling stations. For a brief time there was speculation the US might enter the war on a bigger scale and change the war's direction.

But the impact of that strike was short lived. The damage was mostly confined to a single airbase. A year on, the Assad regime remains in power, in an even stronger position than before. Syrian forces have tightened their control over the country and ousted rebel fighters from key strangleholds.

There's no reason to believe another token strike this time would be any different.

With Russian forces continuing to prop up the Assad regime and Iranian-backed militias on the ground, it would take far more than a single barrage of US missiles to have any impact on the war.


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Jenifer (Zarknorph)

From: Jenifer (Zarknorph)


2. A sustained assault, risking Russian retaliation

A broader and more sustained assault would cause greater damage to the Assad regime by destroying key military and government infrastructure. It might finally force the regime to stop its sporadic chemical attacks on civilians in rebel held areas, albeit even as those areas shrink and rebel fighters are ousted.

But such a move risks bringing the US and Russia into direct warfare, which could lead to an escalation of the conflict outside Syria's borders.

And given the US reliance on Kurdish fighters, it would further inflame the conflict between Kurdish groups and Turkey, which has already sent troops into northern Syria to fight Kurdish forces.

"Any strike large enough to carry substantial costs for Assad risks undermining the only remaining semblance of state in Syria and creating more chaos," tweeted Emma Ashford, a research fellow at the Cato Institute in Washington.

"You'll solve 'chem' weapons attacks, but likely prolong civil war."

"Assad's actions are abhorrent, but there is no practical military option here unless you are willing to effectively collapse the Syrian state and re-escalate the civil war."

Without a doubt such a scenario would cause even greater bloodshed on the ground, where Syrian civilians have paid the highest price for the war. Those Syrians saved from gassing might simply die by other means. The loss of lives, homes, hospitals and schools would continue indefinitely.


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Jenifer (Zarknorph)

From: Jenifer (Zarknorph)


3. All-out war

A worst-case-scenario could see the war spill beyond Syria's borders and embroil many of the world's key military powers. Britain and France have indicated support for US air strikes. And with Russian and Iranian forces against them, it's not so far fetched to think an escalation in the war could be a precursor to world war three.

Previous world wars have been triggered by less. Throw Israel into the mix — in the wake of its recent air strikes on Iranian drones in Syria — and who knows what could happen.

Many question why the US doesn't simply assassinate Bashar al Assad. But even with the demise of the Islamic State group, there are enough jihadist and rebel groups still active in Syria to fill the gap.

Witness the aftermath of similar intervention in Libya, where the US and its allies succeeded in ousting the dictator Muammar Gaddafi, only to see an upsurge in jihadist violence, tribal fighting and ongoing political instability in the years since.

"The power vacuum that would follow the sudden removal of Assad could be worse than the current warfare, and nourish the already fertile conditions for violent extremist and paramilitary actors," wrote David Alpher, adjunct professor at the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University.

"Assad shouldn't remain in power. He's been proving that for seven years. But my experience tells me his removal should be political and legal. That process must come from the Syrians themselves, not from the outside."

As paradoxical and heinous as it seems, the most likely way to end the bloodshed in Syria — at least in the short term — might well be for the rebel forces to cede control of opposition-held areas and effectively accept defeat.

But for many Syrians who've fought so long and lost so much — they'd surely die before contemplating such a possibility.

What a clusterfuck!

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Jenifer (Zarknorph)

From: Jenifer (Zarknorph)


Looks like it's Door Number 1.

Missiles seen flying over Damascus

US, British and French forces have pounded chemical weapons sites in Syria with air strikes in response to an alleged poison gas attack that killed dozens in the rebel-held town of Douma last week.

In a televised address to the nation, US President Donald Trump said the three nations had "marshalled their righteous power against barbarism and brutality".

The strikes were the biggest intervention by Western powers against President Bashar al-Assad in the country's seven-year-old civil war, which has pitted the US and its allies against Russia.

The Pentagon said the strikes targeted a research centre in greater Damascus and a chemical weapons storage facility and a command post west of Homs.

Russia's Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov said in a statement that Russia had warned that "such actions will not be left without consequences".

US Defence Secretary James Mattis said the strikes were a "one-time shot" to send a clear message to Assad and his "murderous lieutenants".

"Clearly the Assad regime did not get the message last year," Mr Mattis said.

"We did everything we could in our intelligence assessment and our planning to minimise to the maximum degree … any chance of civilian casualties."

He said the US did not co-ordinate with Russia on the strike nor did it pre-notify the Russians.

"We specifically identified these targets to mitigate the risk of Russian forces being involved," Mr Mattis said.