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Situation in Syria

Situation in Syria

Postby Michaeljc on Wed Jun 13, 2012 6:54 am

Of all the Arab Spring revolutions this is by far the nastiest. Things are turning very ugly. It is now been referred to as a civil war. When divisions are based on ethnic and/or religious grounds civilians are targeted. This is already happening with no quarter given in respect of women or children.

Can neighboring countries Jordon, Turkey, and Lebanon avoid getting sucked in? What then?

What can/should the West do?

How will this end?

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Re: Situation in Syria

Postby Kojip on Wed Jun 13, 2012 8:29 pm

The western powers will be damned if they intervene and damned if they don't. Already the sense of optimism in the west over the Arab spring has been replaced by the realization that "they" are not western liberal democrats, and they have their own idea of democracy, that might not look like our way of doing things...

The situation in Syria is immeshed in a web of power struggles just waiting for a piece to fall. No one cared about Gaddafi... lots of people care about keeping Assad in there. This situation has the greatest chance of turning into a wider conflict.. either way.


....or so it looks from here.
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Re: Situation in Syria

Postby Carol on Fri Jun 15, 2012 4:07 am

You may find this article helpful ...

Between Imperialism and Repression
by Sami Ramadani, Samuel Grove

Sami Ramadani is a senior lecturer in sociology at London Metropolitan University and has been an active participant in campaign's against Saddam's regime and anti-imperialist struggles for many years. In an in-depth interview, he spoke to Samuel Grove about the dynamics of the conflict in Syria, arguing that democratic resistance to Assad's brutal regime has been eclipsed by reactionary forces, backed by Western and Gulf states, with potentially momentous implications for the Middle East.

The upheaval in Syria is an enormously difficult subject for Western outsiders to get a handle on. One of the reasons for this is the sheer number of different interests jostling for position and power, from both within and outside the country. Let us start with the regime itself. Can you give us a brief history of where the Al-Assad family came from and the direction they have taken the country since they came to power in 1970?

continued here
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Re: Situation in Syria

Postby Carol on Sat Apr 13, 2013 6:46 pm

Here is a new article I found elucidating. Much to think over in this complex situation.

Counterpunch: So Wrong on Syria by Clay Claiborne.

Excerpts:
There is a whole trend of the Left, perhaps the dominate trend, that views world politics as largely a struggle between two camps that more or less represent the two classes whose struggle dominates the modern era, the proletariat and the bourgeois. These two camps are the imperialist camp, headed by the US, with the UK & EU, among others, coming up the rear and militarily organized through NATO and the anti-imperialist camp, headed by the former Soviet Union and China, and including a number of other socialist or ex-socialist countries and a number of countries ruled by dictators that have found it useful, for domestic as well as international purposes, to mock socialism [as Hitler did with his "national socialism"] and feign opposition to the imperialist camp.

Libya's Mummar Qaddafi and Syria's Bashar al-Assad are prime examples of this later category and they have been darlings of this trend in the Left.

So what did these Leftist do when the people of those countries, buoyed by the general uprising that shook the whole region beginning in December 2010, rose up to demand an end to these twin 40 year old dictatorships?

They backed the fascist dictators against the people!

Because Libya and Syria were run by fascist dictators, the response to peaceful protests was the immediate application of military power. There was none of the milk toast stuff where police were used but not the army as in Tunisia and Egypt, where the regime was "overthrown" without ever using the army against the people, where the regime was "overthrown" with the old army still in place. That happened partly because certain Western powers, in positions of influence in those countries, encouraged the army to stand down. They saw that as the best way to salvage their position from a bad situation and I believe history will prove them right. The revolution in Libya is real, thoroughgoing, and far more advanced than the changes in Egypt or Tunisia. Syria will soon move ahead of them as well.

Because they were fascist dictators, Qaddafi and Assad had build armies with lots of weapons and a willingness to use them against their own people, or so they hoped. Because they had the backing of a major fascist dictator, Putin of Russia, they had support for this most violent suppression of the people's movements.

Fortunately, the people of both countries rose to the tasks history has handed them and met armed suppression with armed resistance. They fought back!

In Libya, the dictator and his army were overthrown, the state had to be recreated from scratch. Now that they were free to do so, the people quickly built a free press, political parties and held elections just about as free and fair as anywhere in the world. Oil production was quickly brought back up and the violence has been coming down. The murder rate in Libya was half what it was in Chicago and a tenth of what is was in Venezuela last year. NATO planes have long since flown home and they were never able to put an army on the ground. Nevertheless, many Leftist, like those who write for Counterpunch, are still in the "Libya, just like Iraq" mode. They continue to dis the Libyan Revolution and they refuse to learn from the Libyan people.

When it comes to Syria, they are blind to the world that is right in front of them. They see Assad as the victim of an imperialist plot, just like Qaddafi or Saddam Hussein, another fascist dictator that really was the victim of an imperialist plot and not an uprising of his own people.

In a disconnect with reality that rivals those that think atomic bombs don't explode and the moon landing never happened, they see the Syrian Revolution as "Obama's War" and they blame him, not Assad, for the murder of 70,000 Syrians. This position leads them to obfuscating the suffering of the Syrian people and attempting to discredit the heroic nature of their struggle to overthrow their ruling class.
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Re: Situation in Syria

Postby Samsaric Spiral on Sat Apr 13, 2013 7:47 pm

Guddafi did a lot of good things for his people. He wasn't the complete demon the West made him out to be.

Moreover, it's not our business to intervene. We have our own problems. If and when the American Empire collapses (i.e., due to the value of the dollar collapsing and causing a chain-effect leading to the fall of the euro), no other country will jump to the aid of America. Unemployment rates are steadily rising, and we have our own problems.

This is why globalization was a bad thing. We "think" we care about these people that live hundreds of miles away, so we invade their countries and impose our values onto them. Whenever this happened, it lead to bigger problems. For example, look at Cambodia, Vietnam, South Korea, Iran (1952 coup d' etat), Iraq, and etc. All of these countries are starting to have the same problems as us (e.g, deforestation for massive industrialization, consumerism & commercialization, overly bureaucratic and rigid institutions, etc.) Who are we to say our way of living is superior? Does an African know he is unhappy or in poverty until we tell them? Why can't we live in a self-sustaining way without relying on the oil reserves of other countries or whatever?

Sometimes not showing compassion is showing true compassion. When we go out of our way to help others reach our idealized vision of "what is best", in truth, we are perpetuating the cycle of Samsara. I do not care what is going on in Syria. I care more about all the homeless people I see everyday when walking in the city, and the callousness of school students as they walk by muttering, "Get a job."
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Re: Situation in Syria

Postby Possum on Sat Apr 13, 2013 7:56 pm

Kojip wrote:The western powers will be damned if they intervene and damned if they don't. Already the sense of optimism in the west over the Arab spring has been replaced by the realization that "they" are not western liberal democrats, and they have their own idea of democracy, that might not look like our way of doing things...

Yes, and it's very unlikely that the President would have enough support to wage war. The people are fed up with war and don't think much of him. The Republicans have abandoned the idea of a loyal opposition. In a war, they would snipe at him at every turn.
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Re: Situation in Syria

Postby chang zhao on Sat Jul 19, 2014 3:17 pm

Carol wrote:Here is a new article I found elucidating. Much to think over in this complex situation.

Counterpunch: So Wrong on Syria by Clay Claiborne.

Excerpts:
Because they were fascist dictators, Qaddafi and Assad had build armies with lots of weapons and a willingness to use them against their own people, or so they hoped. Because they had the backing of a major fascist dictator, Putin of Russia, they had support for this most violent suppression of the people's movements.


With all due respect, that's a lie.
Nothing more than creating the image of enemy.

Putin is called "major fascist dictator" with a reference to the article by Masha Gessen, who is well known as enemy image creator for Putin, totally sick with negativism.
Buddhists should not take such words as wise or accurate.

Main content of Gessen's article is saying that peaceful protesters against Putin, along with some random people, were arrested.
First, that's a lie; most people were detained - not "arrested". That was legal: police has a right to detain a person (for example, who has no documents) for some period (such as to learn that person's identity).
Second, I was arrested along with peaceful protesters in 1990 (Gorbachev times), and I was illegally thrown in "mental health" torturing facility in 1993 (Yeltsin times). Was Putin responsible for all that?
Therefore, all that is nothing more than false labels, creating the image of Russia as the enemy.

Likewise, USA government said "Vietnamese are communists" or something, justifying the invasions to Vietnam and killing over 3000000 Vietnamese.

Nowadays they say "Lybians, Syrians, Eastern-Ukrainians and Russians are fascists (or terrorists)" and attack Lybia, Syria, Eastern Ukraine and Russia, likely wanting to kill millions of innocent civilians again.

USA presidents, such as Nixon, violated their promises to stop the war, which means that their rule could be anything, but not democracy.
When USA people asked USA presidents to fulfill their promises, the National Guard shot to kill. This way, many peaceful students and random people were killed or wounded.
So who are "major fascist dictators"?

Isn't it USA government, having seized many territories and killed millions, both on contemporary USA territories and abroad?
Or "major fascist dictators" are people who tried to develop their countries, forced to defend against fascist dictators' agents on their land?

Buddhists should examine and reject false-labelling brainwashing such as that article, and base our views on true facts.

True facts are that these are the imperialist attacks from USA and their allies, along with USA-orchestrated riots and coups, that make hardly possible democratic processes all over the world. Because most such processes are used by US agents to incite unrest and destabilize countries, to create chaos. To make nations unable to oppose USA fascist seizure of the world, which is going during decades already and is yet planned for decades ahead.

Ain't that so?

For example, Libya was one of the most prosperous countries in all the Africa; with large social and communal projects. Now, after NATO "helped democracy", even UN withdraws their personnel from Libya to save their lives, as that country became the ground for murdering bandits. As everywhere where USA "helped with democracy".

They continue to dis the Libyan Revolution and they refuse to learn from the Libyan people.

Hmm?
I can only suppose what Libyan or Syrian people say. As Ukrainian and Russian people I say: NATO fascist dictators - Obama and others - I wish you all disappear with all your mendacious "democratic help"!

syria-ua-en.jpg
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Re: Situation in Syria

Postby chang zhao on Sat Jul 19, 2014 5:57 pm

BTW,
Turkey was reported killing more than 40,000 Kurds and using chemical weapons:
http://www.ekurd.net/mismas/articles/mi ... ey3640.htm

US aided Turkey killing civilians:
http://www.ekurd.net/mismas/articles/mi ... ey3930.htm

Yet Turkey is called US ally and member of NATO, not a "fascist dictatorship".
Why then justify attacks on Syria as "against fascist dictatorship"?

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Re: Situation in Syria

Postby christopher::: on Tue Jul 22, 2014 12:06 pm

From the reading I've done and one-to-one conversations with Syrians the first article that Carol shared did an excellent job of explaining the incredibly complicated situation with Syria. It's really much more like a Calder sculpture with layers of complexity than a simple struggle between left vs right, good vs. bad or imperialists vs totalitarians…

Calder.jpg


What's happened (as I understand it) is the situation became "militarized" by outside powers on all sides. It may have remained peaceful if the weapons and non-Syrians had not started pouring in…

Sami Ramadani explains this well...

Carol wrote:You may find this article helpful ...

Between Imperialism and Repression
by Sami Ramadani, Samuel Grove

Sami Ramadani is a senior lecturer in sociology at London Metropolitan University and has been an active participant in campaign's against Saddam's regime and anti-imperialist struggles for many years. In an in-depth interview, he spoke to Samuel Grove about the dynamics of the conflict in Syria, arguing that democratic resistance to Assad's brutal regime has been eclipsed by reactionary forces, backed by Western and Gulf states, with potentially momentous implications for the Middle East.

The upheaval in Syria is an enormously difficult subject for Western outsiders to get a handle on. One of the reasons for this is the sheer number of different interests jostling for position and power, from both within and outside the country. Let us start with the regime itself. Can you give us a brief history of where the Al-Assad family came from and the direction they have taken the country since they came to power in 1970?

continued here
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Re: Situation in Syria

Postby Samsaric Spiral on Tue Jul 22, 2014 5:08 pm

christopher::: wrote:It's really much more like a Calder sculpture with layers of complexity than a simple struggle between left vs right, good vs. bad or imperialists vs totalitarians…


That is practically like every situation in life!
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Re: Situation in Syria

Postby Michaeljc on Tue Jul 22, 2014 8:51 pm

For those that may have not been following this situation throughout: there was a point when direct military intervention by the US and European powers was a distinct possibility. Democratic people power, particularly in the US, prevented this. It is now clear that it was a wise choice, the problem being that opposition forces have now been severely contaminated by foreign extremists. Any stable solution looks to be decades away. There is little that the West can do, aside from providing aid for the displaced.
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Re: Situation in Syria

Postby Michaeljc on Tue Jul 22, 2014 10:23 pm

I do get very tired of idealistic solutions based on how left or right these ‘need to be’. Can someone here explain to me the difference between right and left wing dictatorships? I get vey irritated at how freely the words Fascism, globalism, and capitalism are being applied to any system that does not appeal to political ideals. The very medium we are using here to communicate is reliant on globalism. We are all capitalists. The moment that a caveman advanced the body of on animal to another on the understanding that it would be paid back in kind sometime in the future he became a capitalist. Bank notes are no different to any other article of value. Capitalism means credit and debit, nothing, more nothing less.

The best we can do is give examples of stable countries that demonstrate our pet theory. Practically every political experiment has occurred somewhere throughout history. Where are these countries that have enjoyed long term prosperity, individual justice and stability, without capitalism, democracy, and globalisation?

I feel that we could do worse than look at the Scandinavian countries. I do not see any better examples of workable systems, aside from Switzerland which happens to be almost artificially rich through its reputation as the most stable country on Earth and hence attracting foreign funds.

Real problems require realistic solutions. The middle path applies to much more than our practice.

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Re: Situation in Syria

Postby christopher::: on Wed Jul 23, 2014 12:21 am

Both so-called left and right seem to gravitate towards violence the more extreme they get. While one could say something similar in that communism/socialism and capitalism/democracy become more militaristic and totalitarian at the extremes. It seems then like differences in beliefs matter less than differences in behavior.

Much of the greatest suffering then from wars and extreme repression have little to do with political philosophy.

Syria is such a tragedy. Where's the peace talks, the efforts at reconciliation, putting down weapons, finding a nonviolent solution? None of the world leaders talk about that, this is a chess match for them, the Syrians being pawns.
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Re: Situation in Syria

Postby christopher::: on Wed Jul 23, 2014 12:30 am

Last year I had some conversations on Facebook with a woman from the city of Homs in Syria. I put together some of her comments, edited the English a bit and with her approval posted this summary of her perspective:

~The View from Inside Syria~

"In my city of Homs it was very beautiful peaceful city. We were Christians, Muslims from many religions living together. My best friend was Suni. And other one Allawi. Not time we thought about religion except when marriage. And now my peaceful city is almost dead.

All the old beautiful ancient Mosque and churchs was destroyed. My city had a great history, her name was Ammessa. And Roman emperor Karakala was born from a Homsi lady. Her name was Julia Doumna. Same story goes on other cites like Allepo. It is an old Roman city used to be her old name was Beroia.

The history of my beloved Syria goes back to 4000 BC. This heritage belongs to all Universe not only to us!!....

Excuse my language and my stress. My word is crying and screaming. But what to do alone? I am only one Syrian lady from 23 million Syrians. If I keep fighting with love for peace to spread peace again can I ?

No one is perfect..

I think we should take the opinion of those who's still there, inside Syria... My husband, my two brothers, my mom and dad, my cousins- all my family and my best friends still there…

Please help to bring peace to Syrian people, not more war. This is a word of one person but a feelings from thousands and thousands. You want to fight? Who will fight with us for a gunless world? To do this we need huge amount of humanity in the gun factory's heart..."

~A Citizen of Homs, Syria

Homs Dome.png

Photo of the Khalid bin Walid mosque domes in the al-Khalidiya neighbourhood of Homs, in central Syria
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Re: Situation in Syria

Postby chang zhao on Wed Jul 23, 2014 2:29 am

Michaeljc wrote:there was a point when direct military intervention by the US and European powers was a distinct possibility. Democratic people power, particularly in the US, prevented this.

You know nothing about Russian efforts, do you?

Nearly half of Americans were said to be convinced by Obama speech that they need to attack Syria:
http://edition.cnn.com/2013/09/10/polit ... index.html

Thus these were, first of all, the efforts of Russian politicians - of Putin in particular - that stopped NATO plans to escalate war and invade Syria:
(1) Russia blocked the militant resolutions in the UN Security Council, and promoted different solution: taking Syrian chemical weapons under international control.
(2) Putin directly addressed American people, the next day after Obama's war cries:
A plea for caution from Russia (11 September 2013)
What Vladimir Putin has to say to Americans about Syria
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfre ... utin-syria

Michaeljc wrote:the problem being that opposition forces have now been severely contaminated by foreign extremists

All that, and much more, was being explained by Putin in many of his talks, for a long time. E.g. see
Putin talks NSA, Syria, Iran, drones in RT interview (12 June 2013)
http://rt.com/news/putin-rt-interview-full-577/

christopher::: wrote:Syria is such a tragedy. Where's the peace talks, the efforts at reconciliation, putting down weapons, finding a nonviolent solution? None of the world leaders talk about that, this is a chess match for them, the Syrians being pawns.

That's how western media brainwash people.
Actually Russian politicians sequentially struggled for peace in Syria.

But western mass-media tried to present such efforts as a chess play (or Judo) striving for publicity:
http://edition.cnn.com/2013/09/12/polit ... index.html

This way people start to interpret peace-making as political games, and finally even don't remember that there was that peace-making at all.
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Re: Situation in Syria

Postby christopher::: on Wed Jul 23, 2014 4:51 am

chang zhao wrote:
christopher::: wrote:Syria is such a tragedy. Where's the peace talks, the efforts at reconciliation, putting down weapons, finding a nonviolent solution? None of the world leaders talk about that, this is a chess match for them, the Syrians being pawns.


That's how western media brainwash people.
Actually Russian politicians sequentially struggled for peace in Syria.

But western mass-media tried to present such efforts as a chess play (or Judo) striving for publicity:
http://edition.cnn.com/2013/09/12/polit ... index.html

This way people start to interpret peace-making as political games, and finally even don't remember that there was that peace-making at all.


Yes, I think you make good points. This article at Truthout, back in Dec, came to similar conclusions...

"Now, I’m told, Obama’s thinking has evolved into a vision of a new strategic order in the Middle East, with Iran and Russia joining with the United States to tamp down the violence across the region and forcing the Israelis to choose between Saudi Arabia (and its jihadist clients) or Obama’s diplomatic initiative to address longstanding problems, including the Palestinian issue. One source familiar with the Obama administration’s approach said the recent shifts put Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a tough – and possibly untenable – spot, either abandoning his hard-line attitudes or facing a political challenge from more moderate Israelis."


Sadly though we hear little of these peace efforts, probably because pressures both within the US and internationally are not likely to accept closer ties with Iran and Russia while moving away from Israel and Saudi Arabia. Obama could even put his life in danger (think Kennedy) if he were to do so.

But I also feel doubtful that any of the big players really care that much. Yes, Putkin is acting more the diplomat in this situation, but does he really care about the people dying, the cities destroyed? This is all about oil and power, likewise I think the chess game metaphor still holds true.

And with chess the Russians are masterful... Though they seemed to have fumbled with the plane in the Ukraine. There Putkin is supporting the forces aligned against the government. In Syria the US supports the forces aligned against the government. In both cases the approach is through weapons, killing and violence.

Peacemaking is one "strategy" they use at times, but sadly its not really the main game for any of the players....
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Re: Situation in Syria

Postby Michaeljc on Wed Jul 23, 2014 5:10 am

At the same time, Obama said he ordered the U.S. military to maintain its "current posture to keep the pressure on Assad and to be in a position to respond if diplomacy fails."

Kerry made the same argument at a congressional hearing Tuesday, telling legislators that "nothing focuses the mind like the prospect of a hanging."

However, congressional support for military action reflected public opposition. A CNN/ORC International poll released Monday said 59% of respondents opposed congressional authorization of military action, while 72% said American strikes would achieve no significant goals.

In an instant poll of people who watched the speech Tuesday night, 61% favored Obama's approach compared to 37% who opposed it.

The CNN/ORC International survey showed almost two-thirds of respondents thought the Syria situation would be resolved through diplomatic efforts, while 47% said Obama made a convincing case for military action compared to 50% who said he didn't.


There are some pretty convincing stats here. When a clear signal from the proportion of the population of a democratic country approaches 50%, politicians sit up and take notice. A similar situation occurred in the UK. This result occurred in spite of the subtle propaganda present in any country. The result was a victory for democracy. It was also probably a result of the now common belief that the invasion of a Iraq was a mistake. The invasion of Afghanistan remains questionable. The invasion of Afghanistan by Russia was most certainly a mistake - as was the support by the US for the Taliban, at that time .

It is important to consider that at the point at which the above polls were taken, Assad had not agreed to having his chemical weapon arsenal removed. Why was he harbouring illegal chemical weapons anyway?

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Re: Situation in Syria

Postby Michaeljc on Wed Jul 23, 2014 5:21 am

Peacemaking is one "strategy" they use at times, but sadly its not really the main game for any of the players


Christopher - I agree totally. Putin and his colleagues are hell-bent on staying in power for as long as possible. Since the Ukraine crisis Putin's popularity is back up to it's peak. Prior to this it was slipping badly.

An important issue is that the more dictatorial a country's leadership becomes the more dangerous it is for them should they lose power. They have made too many enemies.
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Re: Situation in Syria

Postby chang zhao on Wed Jul 23, 2014 6:18 am

christopher::: wrote:But I also feel doubtful that any of the big players really care that much. Yes, Putkin is acting more the diplomat in this situation, but does he really care about the people dying, the cities destroyed? This is all about oil and power, likewise I think the chess game metaphor still holds true.

And with chess the Russians are masterful... Though they seemed to have fumbled with the plane in the Ukraine. There Putkin is supporting the forces aligned against the government. In Syria the US supports the forces aligned against the government. In both cases the approach is through weapons, killing and violence.

Peacemaking is one "strategy" they use at times, but sadly its not really the main game for any of the players....

First, please do not distort people's names.
Russian president is called Putin.
If you do not respect others, others do not respect you.

Second, denying people's efforts saying you doubt their intentions is nothing more than aspersion.

Buddhism - and Zen in particular - teaches to see the reality, not substituting it with deceitful interpretations.
The symmetry of "supporting the forces aligned against the government" is that kind of deceitful interpretation.

In reality, Novorossian (East Ukrainian) people are not aligned against the government. When the government in Kiev was overthrown and fascist regime took power, Novorossian people formed their own government for their own land.
If Kiev's coup was legal, then Novorossian coup was legal. So Kiev government attacks sovereign state.
If Kiev's coup was illegal, then Novorossians have a right to defend themselves against discriminations and unpredictable government that they never elected.

Therefore, there is no symmetry of Novorossian resistance and Syrian mutiny. First is legal, second - I don't know.

And there is no symmetry of USA and Russia positions in these conflicts.
In both cases, USA supports attacks, which means more killing.
In both cases, Russia pleads for peace and negotiations.
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Re: Situation in Syria

Postby chang zhao on Wed Jul 23, 2014 6:20 am

Michaeljc wrote:
Peacemaking is one "strategy" they use at times, but sadly its not really the main game for any of the players


Christopher - I agree totally. Putin and his colleagues are hell-bent on staying in power for as long as possible. Since the Ukraine crisis Putin's popularity is back up to it's peak. Prior to this it was slipping badly.

An important issue is that the more dictatorial a country's leadership becomes the more dangerous it is for them should they lose power. They have made too many enemies.

As I said in the previous post, these are unfounded aspersions.
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