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The Middle East - nice and new and “smart!”

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Posts

  • HakkekageHakkekage Space Whore Academy summa cum laudeRegistered User regular
    TryCatcher wrote: »
    Is hard to get outraged by yet another Trump blunder when everybody is fine with Turkey being a NATO member aka being in a military alliance with the US. A lot of focus on optics instead of substance there.

    I thought everyone was ok with Turkey joining NATO pre-Erdogan, and NATO may be a factor in reigning in their bad impulses. Of course this was thrown out for he window when Erdogan took over and has been playing the dictator playbook ever since.

    Turkey has been a NATO member state since 1952...I don't know if there has ever been a state expelled from NATO in the history of the Alliance; someone who is more knowledgeable pls 2 confirm. What would be the procedure for initiating and following through? Does NATO have any strategic military assets based in Turkey (I would imagine they do, considering its geographic importance)?

    On another note:

    http://www.vox.com/world/2017/4/19/15355726/trump-iran-deal-remaining
    The Trump administration just quietly admitted that the Iran deal is working


    Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sent a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan that “certifies” Iran is complying with the terms of the deal, including the terms that place strict limits on its ability to develop a nuclear weapon. The deal, Tillerson said, was working.

    Tillerson was careful to note that Tehran was “a leading state sponsor of terror,” and announced that Trump was initiating a review that will “evaluate whether suspension of sanctions related to Iran pursuant to the [Iran deal] is vital to the national security interests of the United States.”

    I mean, no shit, right? The Iran deal had very narrow goals and very narrow requirements for both nations to adhere to, and frankly the genie is out of the bottle. And with lead Iran hawk/insane cheerleader Flynn unceremoniously booted out of the inner circle, the bellicose rhetoric toward Iran has died down (although perhaps because the administration is currently distracted by all the sabres rattling out of North Korea).

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  • descdesc bare man are locked in Registered User regular
    "All the beautiful babies"?

    discridernightmarennyForarHavelock2.0MegaMekRawkking Goodguy
  • daveNYCdaveNYC Why universe hate Waspinator? Registered User regular
    Oghulk wrote: »
    I wonder where isil is getting mustard gas from...

    It's easy enough to make, or they could have grabbed some from Syrian stockpiles.

    a5ehrenFencingsaxGiggles_FunsworthVishNubGONG-00FiendishrabbitMortal SkySkeithLoisLaneBlackDragon480
  • honoverehonovere Registered User regular
    Having a shitty government doesn't stop countries from being part of NATO.

    Coincidentally tomorrow is the 50 year anniversary of the military coup in Greece which used a CIA developed counterinsurgency plan for its execution.

    Synthesis
  • So It GoesSo It Goes We keep moving...Registered User, Moderator mod
    desc wrote: »
    "All the beautiful babies"?

    http://www.vox.com/world/2017/4/6/15214942/trump-syria-bombing-attack

    Trump:
    Assad choked out the lives of helpless men, women, and children. It was a slow and brutal death for so many — even beautiful babies were cruelly murdered in this very barbaric attack. No child of God should ever suffer such horror.

    Hakkekage
  • VishNubVishNub Registered User regular
    daveNYC wrote: »
    Oghulk wrote: »
    I wonder where isil is getting mustard gas from...

    It's easy enough to make, or they could have grabbed some from Syrian stockpiles.

    Doing it without killing yourself would be non-trivial, but the chemistry is very simple.

    Steam = VishnuOwnz
    Dota2 = Glitchmo
  • ElkiElki get busy Moderator, ClubPA mod
    In response to intial US attacks, and even though it doesn't appear that follow up attacks are imminent or even in the plans, the Syrian government takes a precaution.
    Syria has moved most of its remaining aircraft to a Russian base on the coast of the country, according to US officials.

    Speaking to ABC news, a US official said that "most" of Syria’s extant operational fixed wing military aircraft have been moved to the Hmeimim airbase near Latakia, which Russia recently signed a 49-year lease on.

    So, now the handwaving of the Russian question when it comes to destroying the Syrian air forces and taking control of Syrian air space is somehow even less adequate. I doubt there's a deconfliction hotline that's adequate for the task of destroying a Russian base.

    smCQ5WE.jpg
    KaputaDarkPrimusArdolRchanenSleepLoisLane
  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    Hakkekage wrote: »
    TryCatcher wrote: »
    Is hard to get outraged by yet another Trump blunder when everybody is fine with Turkey being a NATO member aka being in a military alliance with the US. A lot of focus on optics instead of substance there.

    I thought everyone was ok with Turkey joining NATO pre-Erdogan, and NATO may be a factor in reigning in their bad impulses. Of course this was thrown out for he window when Erdogan took over and has been playing the dictator playbook ever since.

    Turkey has been a NATO member state since 1952...I don't know if there has ever been a state expelled from NATO in the history of the Alliance; someone who is more knowledgeable pls 2 confirm. What would be the procedure for initiating and following through? Does NATO have any strategic military assets based in Turkey (I would imagine they do, considering its geographic importance)?

    On another note:

    http://www.vox.com/world/2017/4/19/15355726/trump-iran-deal-remaining
    The Trump administration just quietly admitted that the Iran deal is working


    Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sent a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan that “certifies” Iran is complying with the terms of the deal, including the terms that place strict limits on its ability to develop a nuclear weapon. The deal, Tillerson said, was working.

    Tillerson was careful to note that Tehran was “a leading state sponsor of terror,” and announced that Trump was initiating a review that will “evaluate whether suspension of sanctions related to Iran pursuant to the [Iran deal] is vital to the national security interests of the United States.”

    I mean, no shit, right? The Iran deal had very narrow goals and very narrow requirements for both nations to adhere to, and frankly the genie is out of the bottle. And with lead Iran hawk/insane cheerleader Flynn unceremoniously booted out of the inner circle, the bellicose rhetoric toward Iran has died down (although perhaps because the administration is currently distracted by all the sabres rattling out of North Korea).

    It's actually kind of comforting in a weird way to watch the US foreign policy establishment basically roll over Trump at every turn.

  • ElkiElki get busy Moderator, ClubPA mod
    When Khamenei told Ahmadinejad to abstain from running, he apparently really meant it. The former president didn't survive the vetting round, and is disqualified from running. Rouhani qualified and so did Raisi who now doesn't have to deal with Ahmadinejad further splitting the hardline vote.

    smCQ5WE.jpg
  • Commander ZoomCommander Zoom Registered User regular
    So It Goes wrote: »
    desc wrote: »
    "All the beautiful babies"?

    http://www.vox.com/world/2017/4/6/15214942/trump-syria-bombing-attack

    Trump:
    Assad choked out the lives of helpless men, women, and children. It was a slow and brutal death for so many — even beautiful babies were cruelly murdered in this very barbaric attack. No child of God should ever suffer such horror.

    "So are you going to let any of those people into this country?"
    "Oh hell no."

    Emerlmaster999GvzbgulFencingsaxshrykeXaquinMrVyngaardLoisLaneadejaanBlackDragon480Havelock2.0Rawkking GoodguyEcho
  • HandgimpHandgimp R+L=J Family PhotoRegistered User regular
    Hakkekage wrote: »
    Does NATO have any strategic military assets based in Turkey (I would imagine they do, considering its geographic importance)?

    Incirlik Air Base
    has nukes.

    PwH4Ipj.jpg
    Giggles_FunsworthArdolFencingsaxTryCatcher
  • KaputaKaputa Registered User regular
    Jeez, IS is now equipping SVBIEDs with rocket launchers mounted on top of the vehicles.

  • BlindPsychicBlindPsychic Registered User regular
    I was reading up on those Turkey based nukes, wikipedia says they're B61 unguided munitions that are launched via jets. They also have a crazy variability on how powerful they are, based on how the bomb is programmed. Anywhere between .3 and 340 (three hundred) kilotons. They're also basically the same design created in the early 60s with some updates since then.

  • ArbitraryDescriptorArbitraryDescriptor Registered User regular
    I was reading up on those Turkey based nukes, wikipedia says they're B61 unguided munitions that are launched via jets. They also have a crazy variability on how powerful they are, based on how the bomb is programmed. Anywhere between .3 and 340 (three hundred) kilotons. They're also basically the same design created in the early 60s with some updates since then.

    To be fair, this describes quite a lot of our military gear. Acquiring a new system is hard, so "some updates" has a very broad definition due to budget/funding games.

    Like the F-18D Hornet -> F-18E Super Hornet 'update' in which they replaced the airframe, fuel tanks, cockpit, and engines. They kept the avionics and I think that's about it. Just an update though, so they could use existing F-18 money to pay for it.

    HandgimpGvzbgul
  • PellaeonPellaeon Registered User regular
    honovere wrote: »
    Having a shitty government doesn't stop countries from being part of NATO.

    Stop? Hell, you can run the whole show.

  • NSDFRandNSDFRand FloridaRegistered User regular
    edited April 2017
    In the last thread I made a post about some writing I'm planning to do in the next few months.

    Wednesday I got to sit down for a luncheon with retired LTC Alfredo Anthony and a group of students and faculty (including ROTC Military Instructors who also had experience in Iraq) and essentially use them as a sound board for some of the analytical questions I will be using to push my writing. And so I've had the chance to sort of refine these questions and I'm going to combine the separate questions in my previous post into one body of writing and I'm interested in feed back from posters in this thread.

    My frame is going to be a European perception of Nizari Ismailis as a comparison to our misunderstanding of radical Islam today.

    The primary question is going to be "How do we misunderstand radical Islam and how does this drive bad policy?"

    Sub questions that will drive analysis
    • Why is it inaccurate to look at radicalization as a singular event and why is it better to look at radicalization as a scale for threshold of action?
    • What experiences can lower this threshold? (Qutb and Bin Laden experiences of the West to build a conceptual model)
    • What are comparisons to general group dynamics for events like protests and riots?
    • What comparisons can be drawn between radical Islam and cult recruitment and retention?
    • Can this understanding be applied generally? (Not just ideological, but political and economic influences of radicalization)
    • How do we apply this to domestic security policy AND foreign policy?
    • Has our view of radical Islam as an existential threat (potential vector of bias) led to bad foreign policy decisions? (ex. choice to support secular nationalist non democrat over Moslem brotherhood democrat)
    • What are the psychological (acknowledging biases) and political obstacles to addressing a flawed perspective of radical Islam and Jihadist groups/individuals?
    • Can the operationalization of this more accurate perspective be preventative in fighting radicalization or will it only be effective in driving counter terrorism/kinetic operations?
    • Even with an accurate understanding can our response to radical Islam be effective or will it only feed radicalization?

    NSDFRand on
    The 2nd Amendment is unarguably one of the most liberal, liberating and radical statements ever made in human history.
    ArbitraryDescriptorRchanenJoeUserOghulkLeitnerMrMister
  • ElkiElki get busy Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited April 2017
    Holy shit, the attack in Afghanistan has to be incredibly demoralizing to the ANA.
    As many 140 Afghan soldiers were killed on Friday by Taliban attackers apparently disguised in military uniforms in what would be the deadliest attack ever on an Afghan military base, officials said.

    One official in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif, where the attack occurred, said on Saturday at least 140 soldiers were killed and many others wounded. Other officials said the toll was likely to be even higher.

    The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because the government has yet to release official casualty figures.

    A U.S. official in Washington on Friday had put the toll at more than 50 killed and wounded.

    As many as 10 Taliban fighters, dressed in Afghan army uniforms and driving military vehicles, talked their way onto the base and opened fire on soldiers eating dinner and leaving a mosque after Friday prayers, according to officials. The attackers used rocket-propelled grenades and rifles, they said.

    And as many wounded as dead.

    http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSKBN17O04C

    Al Jazeera reports on some claims by the Taliban.
    The group also claimed that four of the attackers were soldiers who had served at the base and had knowledge of the facility.

    The repeatedly demonstrated ineptness of Afghanistan's security leadership looks it will continue. Like Iraq, the only competent units are the badly stretched special forces.


    Edit:
    "I asked my friend what was happening, and he said, relax, it must be one of us."

    It wasn't. It was the Taliban.

    Dressed in army uniforms, at least 10 Taliban attackers had breached the military headquarters in Mazar-i-Sharif, eventually killing more than 140 soldiers, according to the latest estimates by officials.

    "When they started hitting other soldiers, we understood that it was a terrorist attack," Zabihullah told Reuters from his hospital bed, wounded by an explosion. "The soldiers were dropping like sparrows hit by a shotgun."

    http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSKBN17O0CS

    Elki on
    smCQ5WE.jpg
  • KaputaKaputa Registered User regular
    Holy shit, that's a brutal attack. How ruthless.
    The base is the headquarters of the Afghan National Army's 209th Corps, responsible for much of northern Afghanistan, including Kunduz, a province which has seen heavy fighting.
    That strikes me as a bad sign for government forces in Kunduz, since the Taliban have briefly taken over most of Kunduz city twice in recent years, and are still in control of much of the province. I don't know enough about the ANSF's manpower in the north to speculate on just how disastrous this will be to their overall strength, but their forces are already thinly stretched, so this seems a dangerous start to the months of heavier fighting to come. I wonder if the Taliban are strong and well organized enough advantage of the chaos and follow this up by attacks on other ANSF positions in the area, while the threat of reinforcements is lessened.

    While I'm not one to vouch for the overall competence of the ANSF, it does sound like a very well planned attack. Army vehicles and uniforms and turncoat soldiers from the base itself sounds like it'd be hard to deal with. And based on the reporting, the soldiers did try to halt the Taliban's entrance, but the gunmen rushed through with RPGs and machine guns when their cover was being blown. Back when US soldiers were everywhere in Afghanistan, even they were frequently getting picked off by insider attacks, although not on anything approaching this scale.
    "At first there was a call on the radio not to shoot because they thought it could have been a misunderstanding," said the guard Saboor, who reported that some base officials initially thought it might have been a disagreement between soldiers.
    That does seem like it might be evidence of some organizational problems, though.

    RchanenSpoitElkiGvzbgul
  • SynthesisSynthesis Honda Today! Registered User regular
    edited April 2017
    TryCatcher wrote: »
    Is hard to get outraged by yet another Trump blunder when everybody is fine with Turkey being a NATO member aka being in a military alliance with the US. A lot of focus on optics instead of substance there.

    I thought everyone was ok with Turkey joining NATO pre-Erdogan, and NATO may be a factor in reigning in their bad impulses. Of course this was thrown out for he window when Erdogan took over and has been playing the dictator playbook ever since.

    The multiple military coups and juntas Turkey went through while a member of NATO would disagree.

    Unless we're substantially changing what "bad impulses" means.

    EDIT: At the same time, I don't want to commit to a false causality. The comfortable majority of Turkey's juntas have come to power during NATO's watch, because Turkey's been a member of NATO 63 out of the 94 years since the republic was declared. But the notion that NATO is somehow "helping with this" is incredibly optimistic--it'd be more accurate to say that NATO doesn't particularly care. It wasn't as though the juntas somehow impeded bulwark duties against the Warsaw Pact. And if we had to rule whether NATO supported or opposed those dictatorships, black-and-white...well, history certainly isn't painting a pretty picture.

    Synthesis on
    Orca wrote: »
    Synthesis wrote:
    Isn't "Your sarcasm makes me wet," the highest compliment an Abh can pay a human?

    Only if said Abh is a member of the nobility.
    TryCatcherElkirockrngerRchanenshrykeKaputaGvzbgulhonovereMrMisterGatorHarry Dresden
  • [Tycho?][Tycho?] Registered User regular
    Turkey is hitting YPG/SDF positions in Iraq and Syria with airstrikes and artillery. The US is not pleased with Turkey shelling its key ally, again.


    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-39708909
    US state department spokesman Mark Toner said: "We are very concerned, deeply concerned that Turkey conducted air strikes earlier today in northern Syria as well as northern Iraq without proper co-ordination either with the United States or the broader global coalition to defeat IS."


    This is a pretty good example of how complicated things will remain even once Islamic State is gone.

    mvaYcgc.jpg
    CptKemzikRchanen
  • FiendishrabbitFiendishrabbit Registered User regular
    Ugh. Turkey.
    Right now all their pluspoints have been flushed down the toilet (thanks Erdogan you almost too stereotypical middle-eastern dictator soon-to-be President-for-Life) while all of their ugly drawbacks (like their denial of the armenian genocide and their continued oppression of any significant ethnic minorities) are still there. Like turds in the sun.

    "The western world sips from a poisonous cocktail: Polarisation, populism, protectionism and post-truth"
    -Antje Jackelén, Archbishop of the Church of Sweden
    Commander ZoomSmrtnikHakkekageGiggles_Funsworth
  • SynthesisSynthesis Honda Today! Registered User regular
    We ought to remember those "pluses" and "negatives" aren't all that new; they were just much easier to overlook in that burst of happy-go-lucky NATO cheerleading under the Obama government in the early years of the Syrian Civil War, when the government was selling intervention--but, you know, not like the Bush government. The cool way, where there's always the option for another undeclared war, and if you don't want to think about it, why worry yourself?

    Turkey's had decades of military dictatorships (though the Erdogan government's fundamentalist agenda and politics are distinct) while a cornerstone of NATO's regional strategy, and you can't blame Erdogan for those in the least. They've had an on-and-off war with Kurdish militias for decades (even worse when the Kurds were heavily Soviet-backed). And actually, relations with Armenia improved in the early days of the AKP and after the Hrant Dink assassination, but the war with Azerbaijan and Armenian cooperation with NATO's literal worst enemy pretty much scrubbed all that.

    Hell, even that maneuver isn't new, just look back to when the Bush government was selling the case for a war in Iraq (and polishing up the public image of its allies in the Persian Gulf).

    I guess what I'm saying is that nothing is new ever.

    Orca wrote: »
    Synthesis wrote:
    Isn't "Your sarcasm makes me wet," the highest compliment an Abh can pay a human?

    Only if said Abh is a member of the nobility.
  • FiendishrabbitFiendishrabbit Registered User regular
    Calling Turkey a country with "decades of military dictatorships" is maybe a bit much.
    The militarys intervention into Turkey's political affairs in the past has pretty much been "You're going to stay Kemalist, you're going to stay stable. That's it. Otherwise you guys can do whatever you want". Everytime there has been a military coup the military has always returned the political power to the people once the crisis was over. Sometimes the military "adjustment" has been brutal (In fact the 1980s coup can't be described as anything BUT brutal), but it's always tried to maintain a secular and populist democracy that isn't dominated by authoritarian, totalitarian, fascist or fundamentalist ideologies.

    "The western world sips from a poisonous cocktail: Polarisation, populism, protectionism and post-truth"
    -Antje Jackelén, Archbishop of the Church of Sweden
    Commander ZoomKnuckle DraggerSmrtnikGiggles_FunsworthEncOneAngryPossum
  • DedwrekkaDedwrekka What Would Nyarlathotep Do? Registered User regular
    Elki wrote: »
    In response to intial US attacks, and even though it doesn't appear that follow up attacks are imminent or even in the plans, the Syrian government takes a precaution.
    Syria has moved most of its remaining aircraft to a Russian base on the coast of the country, according to US officials.

    Speaking to ABC news, a US official said that "most" of Syria’s extant operational fixed wing military aircraft have been moved to the Hmeimim airbase near Latakia, which Russia recently signed a 49-year lease on.

    So, now the handwaving of the Russian question when it comes to destroying the Syrian air forces and taking control of Syrian air space is somehow even less adequate. I doubt there's a deconfliction hotline that's adequate for the task of destroying a Russian base.

    Catching them in a no-fly-zone and shooting them on their bombing runs is about it. Which would probably lead to Russians providing fighter support for Syrian bombers.

  • BigJoeMBigJoeM Registered User regular
    Then we shoot down their fighters.

    Short of invasion of the country I am in favor of any and all aggressive action against Russia.

  • [Tycho?][Tycho?] Registered User regular
    BigJoeM wrote: »
    Then we shoot down their fighters.

    Short of invasion of the country I am in favor of any and all aggressive action against Russia.

    I too support blanket aggression against a nuclear power. What could go wrong?

    mvaYcgc.jpg
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  • ArbitraryDescriptorArbitraryDescriptor Registered User regular
    [Tycho?] wrote: »
    Turkey is hitting YPG/SDF positions in Iraq and Syria with airstrikes and artillery. The US is not pleased with Turkey shelling its key ally, again.


    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-39708909
    US state department spokesman Mark Toner said: "We are very concerned, deeply concerned that Turkey conducted air strikes earlier today in northern Syria as well as northern Iraq without proper co-ordination either with the United States or the broader global coalition to defeat IS."


    This is a pretty good example of how complicated things will remain even once Islamic State is gone.

    Is this the first time they've hit Iraq?
    [Tycho?] wrote: »
    BigJoeM wrote: »
    Then we shoot down their fighters.

    Short of invasion of the country I am in favor of any and all aggressive action against Russia.

    I too support blanket aggression against a nuclear power. What could go wrong?

    More to the point: What could actually go right?

    Sleep
  • BigJoeMBigJoeM Registered User regular
    The U.S. Could destroy Putin's strongman image and impose severe consequences for his actions by dealing him a conventional military defeat.

    Unless you believe Putin and the oligarchs are willing to get the lions share of Russians killed to save Assad, Putin's barking about nukes is an empty threat.

  • SynthesisSynthesis Honda Today! Registered User regular
    edited April 2017
    Sometimes the military "adjustment" has been brutal (In fact the 1980s coup can't be described as anything BUT brutal), but it's always tried to maintain a secular and populist democracy that isn't dominated by authoritarian, totalitarian, fascist or fundamentalist ideologies.

    It's true, they're not completely without any merit--but speaking as someone born in the twilight of a military dictatorship which, to its credit, was 1) completely secular 2) distinctly capitalist but not fascistically capitalistic and 3) not really fundamentalist in any nature, even Confucian nature, I still think it's worthwhile to call attention to the fact. I can accurate make the case that the last years of the Soviet one-party dictatorship (well, until the multi-party elections of 1990) was the only successful safeguard against centuries-old latent ethnic and religious rivalries and hatred because, well, it was--still a communist dictatorship to the main on the street in Talin. I take care when applying that same argument to the Syrian Ba'athist Party for the same reason: you can be the factual vanguard of ethnic and religious minority rights and still be a dictatorial clique (hence my use of the word "clique").

    Those are still "years" (or "decades") of military juntas and dictatorships. But I have an deeply rooted scorn towards the so-called "business-practical dictatorships", see above. I'm not going to hiss at Erodgan and give his bloodstained predecessors a pass across the board because they smiled more at NATO summits.
    BigJoeM wrote: »
    Then we shoot down their fighters.

    Short of invasion of the country I am in favor of any and all aggressive action against Russia.

    Well, they have one last overseas naval installation to target, if that's more your preference. We've been bombing the host country for several years now anyway, and god knows those 59 cruise missiles literally got some of the public hot and bothered.

    How the American public will respond to the first American aircraft shot down by a Syrian (or even Russian) air defense site is anyone's guess at this point.

    Synthesis on
    Orca wrote: »
    Synthesis wrote:
    Isn't "Your sarcasm makes me wet," the highest compliment an Abh can pay a human?

    Only if said Abh is a member of the nobility.
  • ArbitraryDescriptorArbitraryDescriptor Registered User regular
    BigJoeM wrote: »
    The U.S. Could destroy Putin's strongman image and impose severe consequences for his actions by dealing him a conventional military defeat.

    Unless you believe Putin and the oligarchs are willing to get the lions share of Russians killed to save Assad, Putin's barking about nukes is an empty threat.

    It's not the nukes, it's the general cost of conventional war against comparable foe. I can count on one hand the number of lives I'd be willing to spend to give Putin a bad PR day.

    It is zero. Why? Because I don't know what that gets us.
    Unless you believe Putin and the oligarchs are willing to get the lions share of Russians killed to save Assad,

    I don't. But I do believe he'd send thousands to die to defend their national pride; because it won't be about Assad at that point, if it ever was.

  • DedwrekkaDedwrekka What Would Nyarlathotep Do? Registered User regular
    BigJoeM wrote: »
    The U.S. Could destroy Putin's strongman image and impose severe consequences for his actions by dealing him a conventional military defeat.

    Unless you believe Putin and the oligarchs are willing to get the lions share of Russians killed to save Assad, Putin's barking about nukes is an empty threat.

    Fascists build up their reputations by saying that their country is strong and that they can do anything, but that their deprivation is brought about by some external greater force. Fighting the US would not make Putin seem weak, and we aren't going to fight Russia in a conventional war.

    Even if they aren't a superpower, they still have the trappings of power from when they were. Worldwide military allies, UN veto power, permanent seat at the UN security council, global strike capabilities, widespread military bases, and so many bombs and nukes that even the ones they haven't forgotten about are enough to cause massive casualties in any war.

  • SynthesisSynthesis Honda Today! Registered User regular
    edited April 2017
    Unless you believe Putin and the oligarchs are willing to get the lions share of Russians killed to save Assad,

    I don't. But I do believe he'd send thousands to die to defend their national pride; because it won't be about Assad at that point, if it ever was.

    I would offer it in a different light:

    Syria is literally the last Russian ally in a region of the world of considerable economic and strategic importance, and--unlike to the United States--direct geopolitcal security value in the aftermath of the multiple costly wars in the Caucauses and civil wars in Central Asia.

    (Remember, Russia is the literal military supplier and backer of almost every CIS country to its south--all of them with Muslim majority populations excluding Armenia, and almost all of them, including Armenia, part of integrated security and military alliances.)

    What would it mean to lose the country's last ally--a reliable ally that has honored its side of commitments to Moscow consistently for years--on the world stage? More than losing the last naval base on the Mediterranean, or a direct land link to Iran, or a counterweight to Armenia's regional rivals, I think.

    How far do you think America would go on Israel's behalf if Israel 1) neither hand nuclear weapons nor the region's strongest military and 2) was desperately holding onto sovereignty amid a brutal civil war and 3) was being bombed by a half-dozen other countries with impunity? A good bit further than Russia has gone for Syria, by virtue of both available means and political will. Of course, Russia does not account for half of the world's military expenditures--it's a poor country next to the United States. Which is why Moscow gave up on Egypt, on Iraq, on Palestine, on Lebanon, on Azerbaijan, and so forth.

    I don't think it can so easily give up a country that's been their ally and strategic partner longer than Russia has been an independent state. What kind of regional power are you when you have one reliable ally, and you can't even step in on its behalf?
    I think that's a worry that keeps multiple Russian leaders (including the ones Americans can't remember the names of) awake at night.

    Synthesis on
    Orca wrote: »
    Synthesis wrote:
    Isn't "Your sarcasm makes me wet," the highest compliment an Abh can pay a human?

    Only if said Abh is a member of the nobility.
    ArbitraryDescriptorBlackDragon480CptKemzikRchanenKaputa
  • KaputaKaputa Registered User regular
    edited April 2017
    BigJoeM wrote: »
    The U.S. Could destroy Putin's strongman image and impose severe consequences for his actions by dealing him a conventional military defeat.

    Unless you believe Putin and the oligarchs are willing to get the lions share of Russians killed to save Assad, Putin's barking about nukes is an empty threat.
    Even in the best case scenario where such an action doesn't escalate out of control, the idea that Putin's popularity would be undermined by the US shooting Russian planes down over Syria is questionable. Domestically speaking, I think it would be more likely to bolster the current government's position.

    And, you know, it could escalate out of control, obviously. There's a reason nuclear armed states tend not to directly confront each other; it's a really dangerous idea.

    Kaputa on
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  • [Tycho?][Tycho?] Registered User regular
    The YPG is getting hit hard by Turkey, all across the northern border. Their media center was blown up the other day, and they're taking losses today. YPG taking shots back across the border, I guess they've used TOWs to take out a few Turkish armored vehicles already.

    Reminder that the YPG(SDF) is the US's most reliable and most capable ally in Syria, and they've repeatedly asked Turkey to not bomb them.

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  • SolarSolar Registered User regular
    Blowing up Kurds means more to Turkey than US opinion does, and what exactly can Washington do, really? If they aren't prepared to intercept Turkish airstrikes (and that would be a big, crazy step) then saying "please don't" is basically the limit

  • ElkiElki get busy Moderator, ClubPA mod
    Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman.



    Shortly before that a YPG person was giving an interview threatening to pull of Raqqa and reposition their fighters because of the Turkish strikes. I wonder what changed for the Turkish government, because they seem to be exceptionally belligerent lately.

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  • TraceTrace GNU Terry Pratchett; GNU Gus; GNU Carrie Fisher; GNU Adam We Registered User regular
    Erdogan has a Trump Tower as a hostage.

    SleepTicaldfjamdiscrider
  • [Tycho?][Tycho?] Registered User regular
    Solar wrote: »
    Blowing up Kurds means more to Turkey than US opinion does, and what exactly can Washington do, really? If they aren't prepared to intercept Turkish airstrikes (and that would be a big, crazy step) then saying "please don't" is basically the limit

    The US has often stationed its troops, or allowed US flags to be flown at YPG positions.

    And didn't Russian forces do the same thing? As Turks were taking territory in northern Syria from the YPG, some group set up a buffer zone east of al-Bab, preventing Turkish forces and their militias from advancing further. I can't remember who did this though.

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  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    edited April 2017
    BigJoeM wrote: »
    The U.S. Could destroy Putin's strongman image and impose severe consequences for his actions by dealing him a conventional military defeat.

    Unless you believe Putin and the oligarchs are willing to get the lions share of Russians killed to save Assad, Putin's barking about nukes is an empty threat.

    This is straight up kookie-dooks.

    Russia's national image rests upon resisting western invasion. It's been the thing that most defines their entire foreign policy and national standpoint more than anything else (including the Bolshevik revolutions). If the US, and by consequence NATO, started attacking Russian targets it would be perceived nationally as a precursor to another invasion. If they didn't respond with all the weight of their military, it would stand to reason that it would only be a matter of time before western forces are rolling tanks towards Moscow and Kalingrad.

    Because of this, Russia has always had plans and capabilities to roll massive amounts of conventional weapons into western Europe. Far more than NATO can easily resist without fielding literally everything every nation has in the short term, and relying upon nuclear weapons in the long term as Russia simply has more hardware and manpower than we can mobilize in a timely fashion. If somehow we are able to stop a conventional advance, they will have to resort to Nuclear as once their convention host is broken there is nothing to stop (again) a march to Moscow.

    There is a reason the Cold War has stayed cold, because Russia generally is a sane nation state with sane foreign policy. They don't do overt invasions of territory they want because the outcome is always going to escalate to absolute (hence the "rebellions" in territories that are sympathetic). It's also the reason we haven't invaded the Iron Curtain nations and let their "rebellions" sometimes (generally most times) lead to self determination, because if we get involved it will, again, escalate to absolute. It can't not.

    We don't benefit enough from the Syrian conflict to warrant a war that will likely end the US and much of Western Europe as we know it. Maybe not as nation states, but definitely as the hegemonic world powers we hold now with NATO. Really, our only benefit in Syria is to keep things in the mix so that they aren't a strong actor in regional conflict. So long as the rebels are keeping ISIS and Assad from decisively winning, US interests in the rest of the middle east are essentially going the way we need them to.

    Enc on
  • Jealous DevaJealous Deva Registered User regular
    edited April 2017
    The russians have been allowing some pro government militias to do that, there was an article about how the YPG and them were basically having to parley before any kind of engagements to make sure they didn't accidently start WW3.

    And of course the point of both was to act as blockers to keep turkish militias from getting territory they didn't want them to have. Syria more and more is basically the new 30 years war.

    Jealous Deva on
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