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  1. #1 U.S. Closes Its Embassy In Syria 
    Senior Member txradioguy's Avatar
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    BEIRUT (AP) — The U.S. closed its embassy in the Syrian capital of Damascus on Monday in a dramatic escalation of pressure on President Bashar Assad to give up power, just days after diplomatic efforts to end nearly 11 months of bloodshed collapsed at the United Nations.

    The U.S. evacuated all its diplomats from the country as Syrian forces intensified a shelling assault on the restive city of Homs. The offensive began Saturday, the same day Syria’s allies in Russia and China vetoed a Western- and Arab-backed resolution aimed at trying to end the brutal crackdown on dissent.

    The onslaught on Homs has reinforced opposition fears that Assad will unleash even greater violence to crush dissent, now that protection from China and Russia against any U.N.-sanctioned action appears assured.

    Already, more than 5,400 people have been killed since the Arab Spring-inspired uprising that began in March, according to the U.N.

    “We have been relentless in sending a message that it is time for Assad to go,” President Barack Obama said during an interview with NBC. “This is not going to be a matter of if, it’s going to be a matter of when.”

    The decision to close the embassy is the most dramatic U.S. move so far after 11 months of a violent crackdown by Assad’s regime.
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  2. #2  
    Super Moderator BadCat's Avatar
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    Yet another stunning triumph for the united nations.

    rm -rf obama*
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  3. #3  
    Senior Member Bailey's Avatar
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    I wish we could've closed it with a nuke.
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    Did the Ditherer in Chief make that decision himself or was it made for him?
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  5. #5  
    LTC Member Odysseus's Avatar
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    Sounds like a purely symbolic gesture. According to KGS Nightwatch, the situation in Syria is much more fluid than we've come to believe. Here's their analysis:

    Syria: Special comment. Readers are rightly perplexed about conditions in Syria. Syrian press restrictions inhibit any neutral or balanced coverage. Everything reported from opposition sources and activists is biased and some reports of massacres include manufactured images, according to eyewitnesses. International news descriptions of a worsening crisis receive no offsetting coverage of testimony from non-Sunni and non-opposition sources that little is occurring. The massacres are not taking place, occurring to sources that receive messages from Orthodox Christians living in Homs, for example. Life goes on in all of the towns and ports. Skirmishes at checkpoints are the most common form of clash. That means four or five people fire a few rounds at four or five soldiers or policemen. Defectors are Sunni conscripts. The Syrian Army is about 60% conscript. Desertion is common in conscript armies. Defectors from the professional, full-time, non-conscript core of the force, most of whom are Alawites, have not been reported. The point is that western media present one side of the struggle -- that of the exiled Sunni politicians and activists with cell phones. Clips from social networking media are heavily one-sided and some are not authentic. Limited communications from people caught in the middle, non-Muslims, suggest there is a lot less fighting and fewer deaths. Reports of carnage and massacres of hundreds do not seem to be accurate, except in opposition propaganda media. The truth of the security situation is difficult to deduce from open source materials. Nevertheless, Readers should know that Russia and China have first rate intelligence services. The Russians in particular have deep roots in Syria. They apparently have advised their leaders that the situation in Syria is not as described by the US at the UN, reflected in the Russian and Chinese veto of the UN resolution over the weekend. NightWatch has seen this situation before, in Afghanistan in 1989. The Soviets withdrew the 40th Army, judging that the Najibullah government would survive. The US policy elite were convinced the pro-Soviet Afghan government would collapse in violence within months after Soviet combat forces withdrew. In fact it lasted three years. Two important rules of intelligence analysis are never underestimate the intelligence capabilities of the opposition and always question critically the influence of bias in US information channels. The other guys always know things the US cannot know. The situation in Syria is not yet as dramatic and dire as US nightly news reports. The end game for the Asad regime has begun, but that does not mean its end will be swift. The opposition apparently actually "controls" very little and is much less robust than the UN debate suggested. The actual security situation in Syria is unknown, based on open source reporting. What is clear, however, is that the US media presentation of the Syrian security situation is grossly distorted.

    Russia-US: For the record. Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov described as "nearly hysterical" the US Ambassador's and the US Secretary of State's reactions to the Russian veto of the UN resolution on Syria. Lavrov is to visit Damascus this week. Comment: The US closed its embassy in Damascus, but not because of security conditions or a dangerous security situation in Damascus. There have been no reports of violence there in days. Normal diplomacy and air travel continues. Even the Syrian road safety advisory network is working and reportedly told travelers over the weekend that the route to Homs was safe. And it was. A US spokesperson said the Syrian regime is isolated, but such remarks are inane when Russia and China both back the Syrian regime. Holding more than a $ trillion in US sovereign debt, China is in no danger of isolation by anyone, especially the US.
    So, what are our interests? First, the upside: Regime change in Syria would be devastating to Iran. Syria is the conduit to Hezbollah and Hamas for Iranian support. Without Syria, Iran loses the first Persian enclave on the Mediterranean Sea in 2,500 years (they last held the region before Alexander the Great drove them out). They also lose the means to undermine Israel in the West Bank and Gaza and they will be set back in their goal of achieving a Shiite corridor from the Persian Gulf to the Med. The loss of Syria would also damage their standing as a regional power, and encourage Iraq to resist further encroachments. The downside is that we risk putting another Muslim Brotherhood state in place. The rebels are Sunnis, and they have the backing of the Saudis and Egypt. They would also have access to Syria's WMD stockpiles, which includes lots of Saddam's stockpiles, which were shipped to Syria during the run-up to our invasion. An al Qaeda affiliate with chemical or biological weapons is a significant threat to western Europe, Israel and the US.

    So, regime change that results in a Salafist or Ikwan regime is not in our interest, and the status quo is not in our interest. What does that leave?
    --Odysseus
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    Senior Member Arroyo_Doble's Avatar
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    Holding more than a $ trillion in US sovereign debt, China is in no danger of isolation by anyone, especially the US.

    Those golden handcuffs hold China, not the United States.
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  7. #7  
    LTC Member Odysseus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arroyo_Doble View Post
    Holding more than a $ trillion in US sovereign debt, China is in no danger of isolation by anyone, especially the US.
    Those golden handcuffs hold China, not the United States.
    No, they handcuff us together. China holds our debt and can call it in, which would trash the dollar. We can default, but that would also trash the dollar. It's the economic version of Mutually Assured Destruction.
    --Odysseus
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    Before you can do things for people, you must be the kind of man who can get things done. But to get things done, you must love the doing, not the people!
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  8. #8  
    Senior Member Arroyo_Doble's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Odysseus View Post
    No, they handcuff us together. China holds our debt and can call it in, which would trash the dollar. We can default, but that would also trash the dollar. It's the economic version of Mutually Assured Destruction.
    It was an interesting piece, though. I am always suspect of the Media and do not put it past them to play the US propaganda card on us citizens.

    Although it looks like, if true (or near true), the US is tightening its vice on Iran.
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  9. #9  
    Power CUer noonwitch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Odysseus View Post
    Sounds like a purely symbolic gesture. According to KGS Nightwatch, the situation in Syria is much more fluid than we've come to believe. Here's their analysis:

    Syria: Special comment. Readers are rightly perplexed about conditions in Syria. Syrian press restrictions inhibit any neutral or balanced coverage. Everything reported from opposition sources and activists is biased and some reports of massacres include manufactured images, according to eyewitnesses. International news descriptions of a worsening crisis receive no offsetting coverage of testimony from non-Sunni and non-opposition sources that little is occurring. The massacres are not taking place, occurring to sources that receive messages from Orthodox Christians living in Homs, for example. Life goes on in all of the towns and ports. Skirmishes at checkpoints are the most common form of clash. That means four or five people fire a few rounds at four or five soldiers or policemen. Defectors are Sunni conscripts. The Syrian Army is about 60% conscript. Desertion is common in conscript armies. Defectors from the professional, full-time, non-conscript core of the force, most of whom are Alawites, have not been reported. The point is that western media present one side of the struggle -- that of the exiled Sunni politicians and activists with cell phones. Clips from social networking media are heavily one-sided and some are not authentic. Limited communications from people caught in the middle, non-Muslims, suggest there is a lot less fighting and fewer deaths. Reports of carnage and massacres of hundreds do not seem to be accurate, except in opposition propaganda media. The truth of the security situation is difficult to deduce from open source materials. Nevertheless, Readers should know that Russia and China have first rate intelligence services. The Russians in particular have deep roots in Syria. They apparently have advised their leaders that the situation in Syria is not as described by the US at the UN, reflected in the Russian and Chinese veto of the UN resolution over the weekend. NightWatch has seen this situation before, in Afghanistan in 1989. The Soviets withdrew the 40th Army, judging that the Najibullah government would survive. The US policy elite were convinced the pro-Soviet Afghan government would collapse in violence within months after Soviet combat forces withdrew. In fact it lasted three years. Two important rules of intelligence analysis are never underestimate the intelligence capabilities of the opposition and always question critically the influence of bias in US information channels. The other guys always know things the US cannot know. The situation in Syria is not yet as dramatic and dire as US nightly news reports. The end game for the Asad regime has begun, but that does not mean its end will be swift. The opposition apparently actually "controls" very little and is much less robust than the UN debate suggested. The actual security situation in Syria is unknown, based on open source reporting. What is clear, however, is that the US media presentation of the Syrian security situation is grossly distorted.

    Russia-US: For the record. Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov described as "nearly hysterical" the US Ambassador's and the US Secretary of State's reactions to the Russian veto of the UN resolution on Syria. Lavrov is to visit Damascus this week. Comment: The US closed its embassy in Damascus, but not because of security conditions or a dangerous security situation in Damascus. There have been no reports of violence there in days. Normal diplomacy and air travel continues. Even the Syrian road safety advisory network is working and reportedly told travelers over the weekend that the route to Homs was safe. And it was. A US spokesperson said the Syrian regime is isolated, but such remarks are inane when Russia and China both back the Syrian regime. Holding more than a $ trillion in US sovereign debt, China is in no danger of isolation by anyone, especially the US.
    So, what are our interests? First, the upside: Regime change in Syria would be devastating to Iran. Syria is the conduit to Hezbollah and Hamas for Iranian support. Without Syria, Iran loses the first Persian enclave on the Mediterranean Sea in 2,500 years (they last held the region before Alexander the Great drove them out). They also lose the means to undermine Israel in the West Bank and Gaza and they will be set back in their goal of achieving a Shiite corridor from the Persian Gulf to the Med. The loss of Syria would also damage their standing as a regional power, and encourage Iraq to resist further encroachments. The downside is that we risk putting another Muslim Brotherhood state in place. The rebels are Sunnis, and they have the backing of the Saudis and Egypt. They would also have access to Syria's WMD stockpiles, which includes lots of Saddam's stockpiles, which were shipped to Syria during the run-up to our invasion. An al Qaeda affiliate with chemical or biological weapons is a significant threat to western Europe, Israel and the US.

    So, regime change that results in a Salafist or Ikwan regime is not in our interest, and the status quo is not in our interest. What does that leave?
    It isn't exactly a great choice for anyone-the US, Israel or the average Syrian citizen.
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  10. #10  
    Super Moderator BadCat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Odysseus View Post
    No, they handcuff us together. China holds our debt and can call it in, which would trash the dollar. We can default, but that would also trash the dollar. It's the economic version of Mutually Assured Destruction.
    Why would we think the big zero doesn't want to trash the dollar?

    After all, it doesn't have his picture on it.

    rm -rf obama*
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