Posts Tagged ‘syria’

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Previous AJC articles on Syria can be found here.

By @anarchyroll

The most powerful man in the free world.

That label is just as much a gift as it is a curse. Its like being born genetically blessed. Yes it has its advantages, that open doors others can only live vicariously through works of fiction. But the hate and judgement that comes with it is at a level that morphs the blessings into curses through the eyes of what becomes a scarred mind.

Heavy is the head that wears the crown.

To have the power to solve any, one, individual problem is a blessing. To have that power in a world of 7 billion and a country of 300 million where the majority publicly expound their expectations of the use of that power in the most malicious echo chamber known to mankind, is quite the head weight.

Military intervention in the Middle East, after the last thirty years, tends to fall on deaf ears to the majority of people outside of the Military Industrial Complex, justifiably so. After both Gulf Wars, who can honestly be blamed for being completely apathetic towards anything and everything in the Middle East?

Syria distinguished its case for US military intervention in the way most important…body count.

I proudly voted for Barack Obama twice. His voluntary attachment to the word hope has been as much a detriment to his legacy as it was to his ascendance. He stepped into the expectation of the largest, most diverse, and most demanding populace in the history of the world.

Economic depression, gender inequality, student loan debt, global warming,  clean up from two wars, racial injustice, the subprime mortgage crisis, the potential collapse of the American auto industry. That’s all before tackling the healthcare industry. Few presidents before have had so many pressing issues that were pressing the red button at the time of initial inauguration.

Many people think he should have used the leverage and power of the bully pulpit for causes other than what his administration chose to put their focus one during his two terms. Syria’s body count separates it from other issues such as equal pay, net neutrality, redistricting, and marijuana legalization.

The military industrial complex being up and running and forever open for business also seemed to dictate that action in Syria be taken drastically sooner than it inevitably was. Fuck, Syria is so messed up that it is the one issue that Russia and the US seem to agree on even with the shady Russian arms sales connection to the region.

Anyone who has been paying attention to the Syrian Civil War for any length of time is happy to hear that President Obama admits feeling responsibility for the ongoing girth in body county in the conflict. He should. The unchecked, unbalanced, rubber stamped budgeted, defense department dictates to any sitting president that; any issue or conflict that would involve or require the military, have action taken as if it were an urgent priority not because it’s a priority but because of the automatically alloted resources that the MIT has at its disposal at all times, for all time, until the end of time.

It always has been and always will be the body count that draws and keeps my attention about Syria. I suppose if I was older I would have the same attachment to Rwanda, AIDS, Vietnam, Auschwitz, and so on. I suppose if I were older I would have expected more from Clinton, Carter, Kennedy, and so on.

President Obama made healthcare his number one priority in office, for better and for worse, because of the issue’s direct ability to effect life and death.

One can be the most anti Obamacare person in the world, take away all the economic implications and political allegiance, and any human being can empathize with a person in power leveraging that power to help directly save lives.

At the end of the day, at the end of the issue, is the value of human life.

It is hard to make the case every life is precious when the global population exceeds 7,000,000,000. The body count of the Syrian Civil War greatly exceeds and overshadows the body count that die in America due to lack of health insurance. But what is the value of human life? Are we a global village? Or do Americans come first?

When one wins the right to be called the most powerful man in the free world, the greatest of all power comes with the greatest of all responsibility. After years and years and hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of casualties in the Syrian Civil War that have all occurred during the Presidency of Barack Obama; the man, the myth, the legend finally admitted in public his feeling of responsibility on the issue.

The death, destruction, desolation, and dehumanization that has taken place over the past half decade makes Syria either a turning point, a sticking point, a flash point, or a new normal for global society. Will we stand up for hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women, and children being shot, tortured, gassed, and butchered or will we use our own personal drama as an excuse to stay silently complacent in mass executions and mass graves?

Barack Obama has publicly admitted his responsibility, will we ever admit ours?

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by @anarchyroll
10/2/2014

So is the US at war with Syria or what?

This question and the “counter terrorism campaign” that the United States is engaging in with ISIS/ISIL is a teaching lesson for both entire world. The lesson is that the definition of war is different than it was before the year 2000. War is now, predominately, airstrikes and bombings from remote-controlled, unmanned, flying drones.

The reason President Obama and the media have been using the term “boots on the ground” so early and often recently, is because boots on the ground is how most people think of war. People think of war as ground troops, trenches, tanks, hummers and so on. Men fighting men, or person fighting person on the ground with swords, guns, etc is what people envision when a war is being fought since the beginning of time. That is no longer the case, or perhaps a better way to put it is, ground troops are no longer required for America to be at war.

How/Why? Because America’s wars are now fought with drones.

A formal declaration of war is no longer required to go to war. We have learned that over the past half century with America’s involvement with North Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq. What we are learning over the past decade is that human soldiers or boots on the ground, are also no longer required to go to war. We now send unmanned, weaponized, flying drones.

But war is war no matter what we or the government may like to call it. 30 dead school children is not a by-product of an airstrike gone awry, it is collateral damage of a war.

We’ve also learned in the last decade that we don’t need a country to go to war with. That’s not liberal sarcasm. Al-Qaeda is not a country and neither is ISIS. Remember in 2001 when George W. Bush declared a “War on Terror”? Well that wasn’t a metaphor. We were at war in Afghanistan before the end of 2001 and by mid 2003 we were at war in Iraq. Under Obama we have been at war in Yemen and Somalia. The difference between Bush and Obama’s wars? Bush’s involved human soldiers, Obama’s involve drones.

So now in addition to our drone wars in Yemen and Somalia, we are carrying out additional drone wars in Syria and Iraq.

Although those drones are physically unmanned aircrafts, they are still piloted by humans via remote control. Did you know that remote control drone operators suffer from post traumatic stress disorder just like ground troops do? Why wouldn’t they? They’re soldiers engaging in the hell that is war.

Let us not be fooled or fool ourselves, America is at war. America is perpetually at war. America is constantly at war. Why? Well there are those in the world that if left unchecked would commit a 9/11 style attack on our country every hour on the hour. That fact can’t be denied. Pandora’s box has been opened in regards to the militarized, religious radicals of the middle east trying to jihad America until the country is nothing more than rubble and ashes. The other reason we are perpetually at war however, is the Military Industrial Complex.

Make not mistake and don’t let yourself be fooled. There are real threats to America’s safety in the world AND the Military Industrial Complex is in the business of keeping America engaged in military action for the same reason McDonald’s wants as many people to eat hamburgers as humanly possible. Drones help keep the body count down, and keeps the money coming in. Until the latter somehow changes, America will always be perpetually at war regardless of the size or severity of any and all threats against us.

 

by @anarchyroll
5/16/2014

There has been another development in Syria this week and, as has become standard, it is not a positive one.

Lakhdar Brahimi; the man tasked with trying to broker a peace treaty or at least a long-standing ceasefire in Syria has resigned. He resigned due to the current Syrian regime not giving an inch, as well as the international community basically not giving a damn about what is going on in Syria as long as chemical weapons aren’t involved. What has been happening and continues to happen in Syria represents everything wrong with the human race.

150,000 dead and counting, with no end in sight, no hope in sight, for the people of Syria. The situation between Russia and Ukraine has shifted all focus away from Syria. The fatigue of the international community has felt from the constant flow of horrifying news coming out of Syria is palpable. No one is even putting up a front of enthusiasm towards of humanitarian solution in that country. When politicians can’t even put on a veil of political correctness on an issue, you know the shit is hitting the fan.

Unfortunately in Syria, it is not shit hitting the fan, it is the blood of women and children by the thousand. Civilians are killed every day and everyone looks away. I had the pleasure of meeting someone who volunteered in the region, at one of the refugee camps. I gave them my respect and attempted to stay in contact with them as they were in the process of trying to go back. That area needs all the help they can get. It is such a vast war zone, one wonders if there is anything that can actually, tangibly, help.

Frequenters of this site know I keep an eye and an ear one what is going on in Syria and have written about it often. I will continue to do so. It is important to know about what is going on there. Remember, the whole situation started with the government opening fire on protesters. Consider what is also happening in Egypt, Ukraine, Greece, and Spain. It seems opening fire on protesters is becoming the norm. It is important to be aware of things like this so a disease of government versus civilian violence do not spread to our side of the ocean.

 

by @anarchyroll
3/15/2014

The Syrian conflict recently turned three years old. The anniversary has been marked around the world with #StandwithSyria gatherings and candlelight vigils. The anniversary has been marked in Syria with continued genocide against the civilian population by the military of Bashar Al-Asaad. The conflict in Syria is one in which the numbers speak for themselves.

When did the conflict begin? March 6th, 2011.

How did this situation start? The government/military opened fire on peaceful protestors. It is as if Obama/Bloomberg sent the army into Occupy Wall Street with shoot to kill orders.

What caused the protests in the first place? A gathering protesting the release of political prisoners in Deraa, Syria. Military/security personnel opened fire and killed 15 people. Both the protesting and the executing of civilian, peaceful protesters continued to escalate.

Where is the conflict at now? Civil war with each sides allies propping up each side with military and economic aide. Asaad’s allies are Iran and Russia. The resistance’s allies would be the US and EU.

Why hasn’t the US, EU, or UN intervened directly? That is the big question. There is no answer that doesn’t involve bias, cynicism, skepticism, or posturing. With those numbers it is hard to fathom the some western power getting in there. The closest any western power has gotten is the US threatening to go in if Asaad didn’t turn over all of his chemical weapons. He presently is, so the US has stayed on the sidelines. Reasons commonly cited are a lack of oil, direct US interests, threat of a proxy war with Russia and/or Iran, and the vast size of the country making a ground war even more of a rabbit hole than Iraq or Afghanistan.

I am for a military intervention for the first time in my life. I really do believe that with those numbers the US should send in troops. Just my opinion, I wouldn’t argue it. I just know that we have gone in other places for far less. I read a news story about Syria usually every day. Because every day there is something just gut wrenching to report. There have been multiple chemical weapon attacks against civilians, though the US will only acknowledge one. Those numbers at the very least grab anyone’s attention more often than not followed by sympathy for those in the trenches.

Save the Children is a good charity to give to if you are able to. Islamic Relief USA is a good charity for a variety of reasons.

Syria is one of the few news events in my lifetime that always makes me stop and think whenever I see something about it. Something like that going on in the world I live in at the same time as social media and Starbucks. Bosnia, Iraq, 9/11, Obama becoming president…none of those grabbed my attention as much as the first time I heard about it three years later. Syria does, I’m not sure why. I’ll still pay attention and try to help in the little way(s) I can, and I hope you will too.

by @anarchyroll
2/16/2014

Peace talks were held in Switzerland to try and bring an end to the conflict in Syria that has claimed the lives of 130,000 people and counting since March of 2011. The talks that took place in Geneva, reached an impasse when representatives of Bashar Al-Assad refused to entertain the idea, let alone negotiate, the concept of a transition to a new regime/government.

The victory was in the fact that peace talks took place at all. Even if they were a facade, with a body count like the one in Syria, anything that could possibly trigger a placebo effect to end the violence is welcomed at this point. With 6.5 million people turned into refugees by the conflict, any signs of light will do, even if it’s a cheap florescent.

I find the situation in Syria fascinating and disturbing. I have been following the story via The Guardian website since the body count three digits. The reason I care about the situation, read, and write about it is that it just amazes me that a conflict like this can exist in the world I live in. So many dead women, children, and civilians; executed by gunfire, bombs, and chemical weapon attacks. The first Gulf War was started for far less, not to mention the second one, and the US involvement in Libya.

I don’t think I’m better than people who don’t follow the Syria story. I don’t think people that don’t pay attention to Syria are bad people or ignorant. Syria is so far away. They don’t have nuclear weapons and we don’t trade with them, so why should we care? That’s not a sarcastic or rhetorical question. It’s something about the numbers of people.  Six figures dead, seven figures worth turned into refugees. That just…..grabs me…

So I’m going to keep reading about Syria and blogging about it. Because I care. Because I think other people should at least be aware of what is happening there. What does the fact that this is allowed to happen mean about we as humans? I don’t know, I’m not asking sarcastically like I have a superior answer or opinion. That is a question I keep coming back to. In the same world of hotel suites underwater, nightclubs carved out of ice, iPhones, and the Super Bowl a government has been killing hundreds of thousands of its civilians and turning millions more into refugees.

Something about Syria makes me stop and think. I hope it makes you think too.

by @anarchyroll
2/5/2014

In case you missed it, the United States is NOT going to war with Syria. No planes, boats, or ground troops. Why? Because Secretary of State John Kerry accidently stated at a press conference that Syria could avoid military intervention by the US if they handed over every single chemical weapon they have.  So Syria took him up on the offer. This way they keep the US military off their backs and get to continue committing genocide against innocent civilians and protesters who took up arms when the military opened fire on them three years ago.

What is the news here? Syria missed their second consecutive deadline to hand over chemical weapons to the OPCW.  Shocker, the gruesome civil war is making it hard to transport chemical weapons safely. Not to mention the military personnel that would be doing the transporting are busy bombing civilians and adding to the already massive refugee crisis in the Middle East.

Less than 5% of the weapons have been handed over. According to the original agreement, by the February 5th deadline, the total should be around 90%.  There are only two more deadlines, with the last one in June essentially meant to be a time to light up victory cigars. If deadlines continue to be missed, something else involving Syria and the US may get lit up instead.

Russia is the key piece here, as they always have been. They are Syria’s largest trading partner and have been providing arms to Syria since the civil war began. Russia was a key player in getting Syria to ship their chemical weapons to Hague. It is Russia that must administer the pressure to abide by the deadlines, since Syria won’t listen to anyone else, especially the screams of the women and children the military is slaughtering daily.

Just don’t expect Russia to do anything about this anytime soon, after all, they have an Olympics to host and from what I’ve read, they need to divert as many resources as possible to get the piss out of the drinking water.

by @anarchyroll

I first started paying attention to the civil war in Syria when the body count was 3,000. Back then it wasn’t yet a civil war, there was no Free Syrian Army to begin with, so it hadn’t yet splintered off into seven separate factions. I had heard that essentially the Syrian people were trying to do what the people of Egypt did during the Arab Spring of 2011. The difference in this case was, the president of Syria, Bashar al-Assad ordered his military to open fire and execute all of the protesting civilians. I noticed each day the body count went up by the hundreds, not by the dozens. I noticed when the body count exceeded that of 9/11/01.

I never stopped paying attention to Syria, anyone who frequents my Twitter account would certainly agree with me. The sheer numbers of dead, wounded, and refugees has never ceased to boggle my mind. What happened in Libya and Egypt definitely led to me focusing even more on Syria. I think, without judgment, those two had the opposite effect on most people. I understand completely the fatigue of the American public after over a full decade of seeing wars in the Middle East. Afghanistan and Iraq, each day a new bombing, another dozen or more dead, more money spent (or missing) abroad, more fear mongering at home. I empathize rather than demonize the public who just seem to not care about Syria, after all there is no oil there.

The American public’s desire to not care about Syria was only aided by the fact that the main stream media didn’t focus on the country’s civil war, despite the staggering body count, until after the sarin gas attack last month. If you get your news from the internet, then you can’t not know about Syria for at least a full year. Even the websites of NBC, CBS, FOX News, and CNN have had regular stories about the conflict, the television stations they are subsidiaries of however, did not. If you get your news from newspapers or magazines, you’ve known about Syria since maybe the beginning of this year. TIME magazine, the New York Times, and Chicago Tribune have all had front page stories on Syria that I have seen with my own eyes.

Now, in September of 2013 only the young and the ignorant don’t know about the situation in Syria. It is the lead story online, in print, and on television. Local news, national news, cable news are all leading with Syria. I am happy that the light is finally getting shined on this very bleak and black news story. The death and destruction match any conflict in recent memory. Syria’s civil war is not an indie band that  just got signed to a major label, I’m not proud that I was calling for US intervention before it was cool. But I am a supporter of US intervention.

I was not a supporter of Operation Desert Storm or it’s much less successful sequel. I was a supporter of  intervention in Kosovo. I was not a supporter of invading Afghanistan after 9/11 since it was not a country that attacked the United States. I was a supporter of the small scale, special operation, tactical assassination of Osama bin Laden which I believe should be the blueprint for all of the military presence of the United States in the Middle East for the last decade should have been. I was not a supporter of our involvement in Libya. I am a supporter of the intervention in Syria.

I wish I had a year and a half backlog of blogs and articles to show the consistency of my stance on this issue, but I don’t. I wish all of my writings on the topic would give me some credibility with anyone who reads this article, but I don’t. I haven’t been writing for anything other than academic purposes for the last two years. Syria is a major factor in changing that. I thought the United States military should have intervened over a year ago. We have after all, along with the United Nations, been arming the rebels. That is going half pregnant, either we support the rebels or we don’t. Since Obama has proven to be just as much a supporter of the Military Industrial Complex as his predecessors, then let’s put that machine to use when literally hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians are being slaughtered.

I long for the day we as a country are officially isolationist, with an eye on the military operations of other countries akin to what is happening in outer space. The money we need to pump into our schools, bridges, roads, and social safety net programs is being spent on a rubber stamped military industrial complex budget every year. I will be the first to say spend that money at home and not abroad. I’d love to have an embassy in every country and not a military base. Until that day comes, and by day I mean peaceful upheaval of basically everyone in power in national office, America is the World Police. If we are going to play World Police so we can control the price of oil, then we can play world police for thousands of innocent civilians being slaughtered every day.

What should be and what is, believe it or not aren’t always the same thing. I think it is the right thing to do to get the chemical weapons from being used against civilians, and we should do something to help all of the refugees. I’ll have much more to write on Syria, so I won’t write a novel’s worth of material in this one post. I am happy to be in a position where I both want to and can go on writing for a long period of time. It was a long trip to get to this point. I needed to reignite the fire within me that had dimmed to a searing hot coal. I needed flames, the situations involving Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden applied the gasoline after Syria stoked the ambers…