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Possible Chemical Weapons Use In Syria 164

Posted by Soulskill
from the one-of-the-not-OK-ways-to-murder-people dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Mike Hoffman reports that Syria's Assad regime has accused the rebels of launching a chemical weapons attack in Aleppo that killed 25 people — an accusation the rebel fighters have strongly rebuked. A Reuters photographer said victims he had visited in Aleppo hospitals were suffering breathing problems and that people had said they could smell chlorine after the attack. The Russian foreign ministry says it has enough information to confirm the rebels launched a chemical attack while U.S. government leaders say they have not found any evidence of a chemical attack. White House spokesman Jay Carney says the accusations made by Assad could be an attempt to cover up his own potential attacks. 'We've seen reports from the Assad regime alleging that the opposition has been responsible for use. Let me just say that we have no reason to believe these allegations represent anything more than the regime's continued attempts to discredit the legitimate opposition and distract from its own atrocities committed against the Syrian people,' said State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland. 'We don't have any evidence to substantiate the regime's charge that the opposition even has CW (chemical weapons) capability.' President Obama has said the 'red line' to which the U.S. would send forces to Syria would be the use of chemical weapons. However, it was assumed the Assad regime would be the ones using their chemical weapons stockpile, not the rebels."
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Possible Chemical Weapons Use In Syria

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  • Re:Possible? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by supertrooper (2073218) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @08:26AM (#43222523)
    Nerds like chemistry. In any case, seems like the end game is near. Whoever used the chemical weapons, the regime will be blamed and swiftly removed. What will follow is the usual chaos, fighting between factions, terrorist attacks, etc. Why do we still think that democracy is better for these countries when dictatorships obviously work better. Or maybe we just want to bring democracy whenever some regime doesn't like us. Places like Saudi Arabia and Bahrain are great.
  • Re:Possible? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Electricity Likes Me (1098643) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @08:56AM (#43222755)

    Just because we can't fix all the problems at once, doesn't mean we shouldn't try and help with the ones we can.

    I think a good place to start is the problems that exist within our own borders. Once we got those figured out, King O and start working on policing the world.

    Unless you want to deploy the US military on US soil to do...something, then it is also worth noting that we can solve more then one problem at a time, and have different types of resources for different tasks.

    The US is currently spending 10x the next ten countries on it's military and can intervene to stop the blunt massacre of civilians and rise of a new dictatorship in Syria. If the US defunded most of it's military and put that money into say, trying to address domestic poverty, then that would be laudable too.

    We might also recognize that most problems are inter-related and can't be fixed one at a time anyway, and it takes a collective effort on many fronts to make progress on any of them.

  • Re:WOMD again... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @09:19AM (#43222921)

    The invasion was a success. The cleanup has been a long waste of resources. Unfortunately, if we didn't waste those resources on the cleanup, we would've probably seen Iran invade.

  • Re:Finally (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheRaven64 (641858) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @09:33AM (#43223033) Journal
    Why would you want low oil prices? You want high oil prices, and to own the wells. And, by 'you', I mean the friends of the ruling party who get the contracts for rebuilding Iraq...
  • by jafiwam (310805) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @10:34AM (#43223655) Homepage Journal

    Only 25 people. Chlorine, used for a wide variety of civilian and industry purposes, all legit and reasonable uses.

    Guys trusting in allah to let their bullets find their targets are very likely to hit and puncture a lot of stuff that could leak.

    That equals ho hum big deal, someone hit a tank of something, or some refrigeration unit, or whatever.

    Wake me up when it's several hundred people and there's evidence it was a military deployment of some kind not just hearsay from two sides who are both obviously lying through their teeth about everything and anything.

  • Re:Finally (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @11:46AM (#43224427)

    Whether you're happy with it or not is irrelevant. It's a true answer. There's a reason they're always referred to as the "rebels in Syria" and not by some official name. There is no official name, because they're not organized. And unfortunately the best organized, most effective groups in the rebels are islamist, anti-western militants, generally foreign fighters of some sort, who are interested in the extreme side if middle eastern politics, namely impose Sharia and burn Israel to the ground. There is no good guys and bad guys in this fight.

    Unfortunately this is true throughout a lot of the Middle East. Look what's happened in the past 5 years.

    Iran - the Green movement which was lauded in Western media as a popular uprising against an oppressive regime and a "stolen election" in 2009. Unfortunately, turns out the Green movement was an extreme minority of educated urban youth, and it's difficult to claim a stolen election when the President won in a 62-33 and no evidence could be found of any voting irregularity. So the people of Iran voted back in the oppressive regime that the West didn't like.

    Egypt - protests rise up over the oppressive regime of Hosni Mubarek. Mubarek responds with violence from the police force (which he controls); the military stays put. Eventually the military moves in and removes him and... sets up a military junta to take over the government. The military delays setting up elections mainly because the leading candidate is one they don't like, but he gets elected anyways. The elected candidate is: the head of the Muslim Brotherhood, the parent organization of Hamas and a heavy anti-Israeli, anti-Western islamist/Sharia kind of group. Since then the newly elected President has indicated that the peace treaty with Israel will need some serious reconsideration (suggesting yet another Egypt-Israeli war is in the future), he has pushed islamist policies,and at least one point attempted to gain a rule-by-decree power when the Egyptian Parliament wouldn't do what he wanted.

    Libya - The Arab spring leads to protests, and Ghadafi responds with force. The west supports the rebels, mainly at Europe's instigation but the primary command and control and a good half the forces involved were American despite not wanting to get involved (thanks NATO). Ghadafi is assassinated, and suddenly we realize there is no organized resistance, their only common ground was their hatred of Ghadafi, but now they're totally disintegrating. Meanwhile our ambassador there is killed and the place is becoming more hotly contested. Meanwhile, the mercenaries Ghadafi hired (Tuareg nomads from the desert) returned to their home country (Mali) and started a rebellion there, nearly overthrowing the whole country until France sent in troops to help. This is ongoing.

    The reality is that there is no group of good guys who want to overthrow the oppressive regime, if only they had the support. The good guys who were organized were all killed. The Syrian situation is just as complex; there's a reason we're not supporting the rebels. Who do you support? Who do you give weapons too? How do they not end up in the hands of militants who might use them later against Western forces? How do you keep things stable there? If Assad falls, who's there to rein in Hezbollah from attacking Israel and starting yet another invasion of Lebanon by Israel (three in the past 25 years)? If Assad falls, what's to stop the different groups of rebels from fighting each other? How do you keep that from spilling over into Jordan, which is barely maintaining control of it's own militant Palestinian population? All of those are valid questions with no answers.

  • Re:Finally (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Kupfernigk (1190345) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @12:16PM (#43224653)
    It seems that, just as when Russia was fighting in Afghanistan, the US is supporting the guys who include the Islamic fundamentalists against the people who believe in a more or less secular State. Assad may be unpleasant, but like Saddam he is trying to keep the lid on Shiite/Sunni warring.

    If the US arms the rebels, they will be supplying equipment to units of the Taliban who will, as sure as day, subsequently use them against the West. It is hard not to be cynical and think this is all about arms dealers staying in business.

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