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Thursday, 12 April 2018

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The west as a whole has put itself on the hook, over decades, and with the support of all right thinking people. We have signed, and induced others including Syria to sign, agreements banning the use of chemical weapons. Sounds really good doesn't it, after all the world would clearly be a better place if they were not used.
The trouble comes when someone ignores the agreement. Whoever does so is not likely to respond to a polite scolding, Military action was always going to be needed, with all the costs and risks that entails.
So there we have it, do we hold the Syrians to their agreement at potential great cost. Or do we effectively abandon the agreement?
And to be clear, whoever used chemical weapons contrary to the agreement it would involve military action to punish them. Maybe we'd be better off without the virtue signalling agreement?

As the Corporal rightlt says, Its all bollocks on stilts

Read Belingcat's investigation ...

http://abcnews.go.com/International/proof-syria-chemical-weapons-french-president-emmanuel-macron/story?id=54415655

"The thing is with this," he explained, "there have been constant chemical attacks this year. Five to six already this year. The only thing that's special about this one is that it got noticed.

"If it was dropped just a few meters to the other direction, those people in that building probably wouldn't have died," he added. "A matter of meters between a big news story or just another chemical attack."

Or the WHO with it's blood and urine samples showing chlorine and nerve agents present ...

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-usa-chemicals/blood-urine-samples-from-syria-attack-victims-test-positive-for-chemicals-msnbc-idUSKBN1HJ2XB

Not sure what more it takes to get you guys to THINK.

SoD

So why no pictures of the bodies? Who collected the samples? Who can verify they are what they claim to be? And who can verify that they were not interfered with?

They lie a lot, you know!

There have been chemical attacks by Assad reported since 2013, and Belingcat's evaluation is likely correct. Assad will do anything to hold on to power:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/08/world/middleeast/syria-chemical-attacks-assad.html

This one is explosive ...

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2018/04/12/leaked-eu-files-show-brussels-cover-up-collusion-putins-gazprom/

Sorry it's behind the DT payroll.

Here's some quotes ...

The report suggests that Germany has been enjoying a sweetheart deal with Gazprom, gaining a competitive advantage in gas costs at the expense of fellow EU economies and leaving front line states at the mercy of Moscow's strong-arm tactics.

Hundreds of pages leaked  from the European Commission paint an extraordinary picture of predatory behaviour, with Gazprom acting as an enforcement arm of Russian foreign policy. Bulgaria was treated almost like a colony, while Poland was forced to pay exorbitant prices for imported flows of pipeline gas from Siberia.

Investigators found that Gazprom was charging Poland $350 per 1000 cubic meters of gas, compared with $200 further down the Yamal pipeline in Germany, where the cost should logically have been higher. The apparent reason was to punish Poland for refusing to cede control over that section of the infrastructure to the Russians. Germany’s privileged pricing may help explain why it has been the chief champion of Gazprom’s interests in Brussels despite the Kremlin's assault on Western democracies.

And then my favourite, NS2 ...

The Social Democrats (SPD) in the German coalition are close to Moscow and back the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project owned and controlled by Gazprom. Former Chancellor Gerhard Schroder is on the project’s board and therefore on the Kremlin payroll. The Nord Stream 2 leadership is peppered with ex-KGB and ex-Stasi officers.

The new pipeline further concentrates Gazprom’s power and leverage by switching gas flows from the Brotherhood pipeline through Ukraine, serving a key goal of Kremlin geostrategy. The leaked Commission report suggests that it is scarcely in the interests of all EU members or consistent the EU’s energy goals.

And what can Blighty do about this and help her allies now that she's outside the framework in which huge pressure and leverage could be applied against the Jerries?

You gotta be in it to win it.

SoD

Non-paywall article ...

https://euobserver.com/foreign/141584

SoD

Here you go Gaffer, some pics for you ...

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=syria+chemical+photos&tbm=isch&source=lnms

SoD

You just don’t get it Loz. We don’t care about the Germans and Russians. We are leaving.

I suspect that President Trump doesn't care what certain people think of him. Being thought an idiot by the super intelligent lefties allowed him to clean their clocks in the last election.
Apparently the Assads may have fled to Iran and a lot of the planes have been retired. Perhaps this was his objective?

Just read a corking one liner from Dubya ...

"When I take action, I'm not going to fire a $2 million missile at a $10 empty tent and hit a camel in the butt. It's going to be decisive." - George Bush

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/04/12/donald-trump-not-going-start-world-war-iii-has-neither-patience/

Putin wouldn't have messed with him, that's for sure.

Dubya used to call him Puti-Poop, or something.

How times change when you get a wuss followed by an isolationist as Prez.

SoD

And I like the Wapo headline, even if I can't read the article behind the paywall ...

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/north-korea-will-be-watching-what-trump-does-in-syria/2018/04/12/28261f44-3e62-11e8-974f-aacd97698cef_story.html

"We need to go big in Syria, North Korea is watching."

SoD

Beneath the headline:

President Trump’s decision last year to launch 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at a Syrian air base was intended to send the Assad regime a message that its use of chemical weapons would no longer be tolerated. But the strikes also had a broader purpose: showing other regimes that the Obama era of U.S. weakness was over, and that America’s adversaries would have to adjust their calculations about our willingness to act in response to their provocations.

Now, a year later, the Assad regime has reportedly defied Trump by its apparent launch of another chemical weapons attack. Once again, how Trump responds will have consequences far beyond Syria. With a high-stakes summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un coming up, Trump needs to keep in mind how his next move in Syria will be seen not just in Damascus, Tehran and Moscow but also in Pyongyang. He should use his next strikes on Syria both to punish dictator Bashar al-Assad and to demonstrate to Kim what might happen to North Korea if it continues to pursue nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) that could destroy American cities.

Last year, Trump delivered a measured, proportionate response to Assad’s chemical attack, hoping this would deter the Syrian dictator. According to retired Gen. Jack Keane, former vice chief of staff of the U.S. Army, “What we shouldn’t do is another measured, proportionate response yet larger. That won’t deter him.” Instead, Keane says, “What we have to do is . . . destroy all his capabilities that deliver those weapons.” The United States should take out all of Assad’s rotary and fixed-wing aircraft, Keane says, and destroy all of his airfields, aviation fuel at those airfields, aviation maintenance equipment and aviation munitions. “If he still has artillery-delivered chemical weapons,” Keane says, “then we should take down his artillery as well.”

In other words, another “bloody nose” strike — even a bigger one — is not enough. We need to conduct large-scale operations that will destroy Assad’s weapons-of-mass-destruction capability. Such an attack would eliminate Assad’s ability to commit chemical weapons atrocities. Just as importantly, it would also provide an unspoken preview for Kim of what could happen to his nuclear and missile programs if he persists in developing and testing the capability to threaten the United States with nuclear destruction.

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) has suggested that Trump should also consider taking out Assad with a “decapitation” strike. “Assad and his inner circle should be considered war criminals, legitimate military targets,” Graham said this week. “If you have the opportunity to take him out, you should.”

Graham is absolutely right that Assad and his cronies are legitimate military targets, but Trump should hold off on such a strike — at least initially — and instead warn Assad that he reserves the right to hit leadership targets directly if he retaliates. Why? Because Trump wants Kim to see that a similar military operation against North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction would not necessarily result in regime destruction — as long as Kim does not retaliate.

By acting decisively in Syria, Trump also has an opportunity to send a message not just to North Korea but also to China that he is not bluffing when he threatens to act against Kim’s regime. Chinese President Xi Jinping was with Trump at Mar-a-Lago when he launched last year’s strikes against Assad, and the Chinese leader responded by stepping up economic pressure on Pyongyang. A large-scale operation to eliminate Assad’s capability to produce weapons of mass destruction would be a wake-up call to China that Trump is willing to take similar action against North Korea; it would also create an incentive for Xi to step up the pressure for denuclearization.

Trump also needs to stop talking about withdrawing U.S. forces from Syria. An American withdrawal would not only allow Assad to escalate his brutal campaign of atrocities in Syria, but also it would tell Pyongyang that Washington does not have the stomach to see its military campaigns through. If Trump can’t keep 2,000 U.S. troops in Syria, Kim would calculate, he would hardly have the fortitude to see through a much more difficult military intervention against North Korea.

Trump has an opportunity to end Syria’s ability to massacre innocent men, women and children with weapons of mass destruction. But he also has a chance to show Pyongyang before the summit meeting that his threats of military action are more than bluster.

The success or failure of that meeting depends on whether Kim believes Trump is serious about taking military action — which is why Kim will be carefully watching what Trump does next in Syria.

A pretty sound article there. Kim will be watching and so will the Mullahs in Tehran. The US has owed Tehran a major payback since 1979. At the moment I don't believe the US has enough assets in the Eastern Med to launch the level of strike General Keane is talking about. As for what our allies might have there, I don't know.

JK, if you are lurking about:

That "incident" a few weeks back where some of Assad's people along with some "Russian Mercenaries" took a notion to mount an attack on some US and coalition forces and managed to get themselves decimated for their efforts...I have a feeling there was more to it than was publicly admitted. It took SecDef Mattis to tell the "Noble Lie" in coordination with the Kremlin spokesmen. With Trump flapping his gums about Syria, the Russos can be well prepared and out of the way later. Make sense to you?

Cracking article, thanks Bob.

SoD

Lot's of piccies Loz, but not clear what they prove...

But sure if proper proof can be assembled and verified then of course action has to be taken. The trouble is that the assembled beauties of the "intelligence" community have not exactly covered themselves with glory to date, in the ME they've made every call wrong.

"The United States should take out all of Assad’s rotary and fixed-wing aircraft..."

A purely hypothetical question, but what happens if the Syrians park the aforementioned aircraft on the Russian Khmeimim air base in Syria? I'm no expert, but it would seem to me to be the best possible way for Assad to protect his shiny and expensive toys It should be noted that the Russians have already claimed that the US have been involved in at least one air attack on the base involving drones. If our American cousins went so far as to put in an attack on the base for real, the fertilizer would hit the windmill if a solitary Russian aircraft received so much as a scratch.

Comments please Lawrence!

And another thing...

Lest anyone was thinking of anything cute such as a special forces raid on the base, I think that we can safely assume that the Russians are competent enough to have identified that particular threat and guarded against it.

The russians are way ahead of us on this one. Any action we can take can only postpone the inevitable. The Russians not being handicapped by public opinion can adopt ruthless measures which are the only ones which will work.

Any prolonged intervention is pointless. And any punitive strike must be devastating and predicated on absolutely bombproof evidence which doesn't exist at the moment.

And for Christ sake forget about nation building.

The USA and partners have said from the beginning they want rid of Assad. The alleged chemical attack is likely to be proven as a 'fit up'. The USA never thought Assad would be victorious against the Sunni religious nutters so they have to use devious means themselves to do it.

If the "smart" cruise are able to dodge the S-400's, then it doesn't have to be a one shot affair.

BUSISAF (Britain, US, Israel, Saudi Arabia, France) can keep a steady barrage up all through the Summer until Xmas and beyond, every time any Syrian or Iranian kit leaves the Rooskie scratch zone.

BUSISAF should not be afraid of SRI (Syria, Russia, Iran). I lost count of how many times our firepower, GDP, etc., etc., outnumbers theirs. So there's nothing to worry about if Vlad's gear takes some collateral.

The Israelis need to get busy with their four Trophy equipped Merkava armoured brigades on the ground for when it kicks off. One Brigade in Gaza, one in Lebanon, one into the south Syrian corridor, and one in reserve. And call up the four reserve armoured Brigades.

US should send their only Trophy equipped Abrams brigade to land at Israel and move along the Syrian corridor held by Israel to take out the ISIS pocket there, cross the Euphrates, join up with Kurds, and take out the ISIS pocket in the southern end of the Kurd area. A perfect pretext for this bold action: We're merely finishing the ISIS because nobody else can because they're too busy defending against Assad.

Aggressive assaults against Assad should be made by air and land, avoiding the Rooskies where possible, but not being overly careful (just apologize if there's some collateral), but the Rooskie mercenaries are fair game.

Simultaneously sanctions on Russia should be raised to fever pitch.

Squeeze until Putin's pips squeak, and the Rooskie mafia will do regime change soon enough, as Whiters desires. Or ...

Putin won't press the nuclear button. He's a rational player. He'll sue for peace, keep the Alawite area, and retire a glorious Rooskie hero for getting the Rooskie bear's paw print in the ME, Crimea, and the kind of macho posturing on the world stage that the Rooskie people adore.

Give the Kurds some decent kit, and let them, the mild-Hairies and Saudi Arabia, and the Israelis deal with Iran and the Alawite remnants of Syria.

US armoured brigade home by Xmas 2019.

SoD

Bob (and to some extent Whitewall - but I've yet to read all the comments)

Anyway Bob, interesting you're depending (apparently) anything dependent on retired General Jack Keane. You do know what think-tank he's most associated with? *Hint - ISW. And what, if any, belief-system affiliation would the ISW be most identified with? The founders of the ISW might offer a clue I'd suggest - and who would they be?

Frederick and Kimberly Kagan (husband and wife), Donald Kagan (father of Fred, father-in-law to Kimberly) Robert Kagan (brother-in-law).

General Jack no relation by either blood or marriage however where a possible common ideology might be useful there is one and that philosophical ideology has its elected adherents - John McCain (Bomb bomb bomb Iran) Lindsey Graham being the two most prominent of who Pat Buchanan identifies as members of The War Party. Former Sec/States "Cambodia John" Kerry and yes even HillBilly Hillary could, reasonably, be identified as at least "disciples" of that same Church that's got us the US in its entirety] into its fiscal mess - plus "volunteered" a bunch of cannon fodder.

Of course Bob, Cable TV helped. "What you say JK?" I can hear you ask Bob, "Cable TV helped?"

Well yes Bob matter of fact cable TV did help. And so did a bunch of print media. You ever heard a girl goes by the name of Elizabeth O'Bagy (no relation to that other famous Irishman O'Bama)?

Interesting tale Bob of the path Miss O'Bagy trekked from college undergrad through major media, the halls of The Mighty & The Great only to fall onto the relatively lowly position of "Syria Adviser" on John McCain's personal Senate-Staff (at taxpayer expense):

https://www.politico.com/story/2013/09/wall-street-journal-elizabeth-obagy-fired-096637

That was an amazing trip wouldn't you agree Bob?

***

Moving on Whitewall,

As our individual email addresses are "sorta" known to each other and, in another of your guises you know (and as at least David I think "may recall") ol' JK it has been alleged, sometimes "operates behind the scenes" you at least Whitewall may've noticed me placing a link to somebody who - though I am somewhat older than she & she and I, attended the same school - is in a position to know "something" about chemicals.

https://gypsyscholarship.blogspot.com/2014/07/deva-hupaylo-nobel-prize-winner.html

And David - surely remembers (I know D&N commentor Michael absolutely does) there used to be a fairly frequent commentor on this here D&N site went by the moniker of Able. While I know Michael knows I don't know David does, by pure serendipity Able, Deva, and I shared "acquaintance" (whether Deva was aware of it at the time I do not know) but anyway, Able was on the security detail safe-keeping my high-school chum as one of her (UN) teams did the 2013-14 investigation into "what could be proved on actual Syrian ground" of the first-to-grab-the-headlines Syrian gas "event."

Unfortunately what ol' JK has been given to understand/believe is, "Not to be disseminated publicly" (and has penalties which, for doing so anyway I'd prefer not experiencing so, I shall not).

But in conclusion I declare, Trump is correct secondly, thirdly, and even fourthly re-considering.

Damn Typepad David, I know I closed my bolding after the punctuation mark id'ing Able.

Fix it for me will'ya?

Whitewall?

https://audioboom.com/posts/6803712-us-navy-assets-in-a-strike-against-the-assad-regime-jerryhendrixii-monicacrowley

Jerry's a retired US Navy Captain.

(The Cooke has had some "problems" you might recall it grounding?)

http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/20111/russia-blames-uk-for-faking-gas-attack-while-u-s-says-it-has-proof-assad-was-behind-it

Thanks SoD.

I see that my last comment has been overtaken by events. I was slightly out when I predicted the British contribution. It wasn't six wheezy Tornados held together with gaffer tape and bailer twine. It was four wheezy Tornados held together with gaffer tape and bailer twine - gesture warfare at its absolute finest.

All in all, it seems to have been quite a large and expensive firework display. God only knows how many of the latest American fireworks were shot down by the latest Russian anti-firework fireworks but I very much doubt the Russian claim of 71 downed out of 103 fired. However, I think it can be safely said that both the Russians and the Americans have learnt a lot about the other's capabilities.

The important thing is that no one from Russia, America, France or Britain got hurt so there's no need to hide under the table... YET!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nR0lOtdvqyg

Hold the front page...

There may even have been a British submarine involved. If the sub in question was the accident-prone HMS Ambush, then it can be safely said that a wheezy NEW submarine, held together with gaffer tape and bailer twine, was involved!

WWIII happened, and I slept through it.

The price gets knocked into the long grass. And therefore doubles.

SoD

JK,
if it was the USS Cook involved last night, then I would say that was a very fitting reply to the Black Sea problem. Surely somebody in Moscow can deal with that Mongoloid Russian strong man of theirs!

JK,

I'm not sure which comment you're responding to. In general, though, I agree the TV media always fall in line behind military action. They don't want to seem "anti-American" and they love showing video of flying bombs and things exploding, especially in night vision green. I've been aware of Kagan's ties to politicians of both parties, including Hillary. Do you have any concerns about John Bolton?

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