Islamic State - militarily weak?

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John F
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Islamic State - militarily weak?

Post by John F » Sat Dec 12, 2015 3:56 am

This morning's paper carries a story with the headline, "Iraqi Forces Advance in Campaign to Retake Ramadi From ISIS."

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/12/world ... gains.html

Back in November came another story that Kurdish forces in Iraq have taken back the strategically important city of Sinjar from its Islamic State occupiers, many of whom fled rather than fighting back. 73 of these have been executed by their Islamic State masters.

http://dailycaller.com/2015/11/17/isis- ... h-advance/

This brings to mind - to my mind anyway - that before withdrawing from Iraq, American ground forces came near to wiping out Al Quaida in Iraq, the predecessor of the Islamic State - not by bombing the s**t out of them but by smart counterinsurgency. In Joby Warrick's "Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS," he observes that the Islamic State "warriors" may have been effective in terrorizing an unarmed populace, with their grisly executions on video and their car bombs, but not in combat against a well-organized army.

Obviously the United States isn't going to provide that army, not again. Despite cheap, uninformed sabre-rattling by certain politicians (see http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/12/opini ... -cruz.html), President Obama well knows that most Americans won't stand for yet another Middle Eastern invasion, certainly not so soon after he managed with great effort to extricate our troops from Iraq and Afghanistan so many years after President Bush put them there. And until the civil war in Syria is resolved one way or the other, the Islamic State isn't likely to be met with the kind of military force that can defeat it. That's my guess, anyway.

Whether this may lessen the threat of ISIS-inspired terrorist acts in the rest of the world, like the shootings in San Bernardino, no one can say. Even if the Islamic State ceases to exist, its agenda and its legacy may live on indefinitely in the unknown number of radicalized followers abroad. But we can hope not. And meanwhile, of course, we have to deal with it as effectively and intelligently as we can.
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Re: Islamic State - militarily weak?

Post by John F » Tue Dec 15, 2015 7:06 am

There doesn't seem to be much interest here in the actual military situation in the Middle East. To my surprise, only 20 members other than me have read this thread until now. Instead there's been a lot of kvetching that President Obama hasn't waved some kind of magic wand to make the Islamic State go away, and "tough talk" (actually, stupid talk) from the right about sending American troops into Middle Eastern combat again despite the hard lessons we should have learned in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Now, at last, there's a chance that a coalition of genuine Islamic states will finally take on the so-called Islamic State, al Qaida, and other terrorist organizations and movements in the region. That, rather than another invasion of non-Muslim "crusaders," which would reinforce ISIL's anti-US propaganda and terrorism, is what the situation calls for. What this coalition will actually do remains to be seen; it's early days and so far it's just talk. But at least it's the right kind of talk.

Saudi Arabia forms Islamic counterterrorism coalition
Associated Press
By AYA BATRAWY

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Saudi Arabia said Tuesday that 34 nations have agreed to form a new "Islamic military alliance" to fight terrorism with a joint operations center based in the kingdom's capital, Riyadh. The announcement published by the state-run Saudi Press Agency said the alliance will be Saudi-led and is being established because terrorism "should be fought by all means and collaboration should be made to eliminate it."

The statement said Islam forbids "corruption and destruction in the world" and that terrorism constitutes "a serious violation of human dignity and rights, especially the right to life and the right to security."

The new counterterrorism coalition includes nations with large and established armies such as Pakistan, Turkey and Egypt as well as war-torn countries with embattled militaries such as Libya and Yemen. African nations that have suffered militant attacks such as Mali, Chad, Somalia and Nigeria are also members.

Saudi Arabia's regional rival, Shiite Iran, is not part of the coalition. Saudi Arabia and Iran support opposite sides of the wars raging in Syria and Yemen. Saudi Arabia is currently leading a military intervention in Yemen against Shiite Houthi rebels and is part of the U.S.-led coalition bombing the Sunni extremist Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.

Turkey, the only country in the alliance that is also a NATO member, welcomed the new coalition. Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu called it the "best response to those who are trying to associate terror and Islam." "We believe that this effort by Muslim countries is a step in the right direction," Davutoglu said.

At a rare news conference, Saudi Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman said the new Islamic military coalition will develop mechanisms for working with other countries and international bodies to support counterterrorism efforts. He said their efforts would not be limited to only countering the Islamic State group. "Currently, every Muslim country is fighting terrorism individually ... so coordinating efforts is very important," he said. He said the joint operations center will be established in Riyadh to "coordinate and support military operations to fight terrorism" across the Muslim world.

Smaller member-states included in the coalition are the archipelago of the Maldives and the Gulf Arab island-nation of Bahrain, which is home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet. Other Gulf Arab countries such as Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are also in the coalition, though notably absent from the list is Oman, a neighbor of Saudi Arabia. In recent years, Oman has maintained a neutral role and has emerged as a mediator in regional conflicts, serving as a conduit from the Gulf Arabs to Iran.

However, Iraq and Syria, whose forces are battling to regain territory taken by the Islamic State group and whose governments are allied with Iran, are not in the coalition.

A Jordanian government spokesman confirmed that the Hashemite kingdom is part of the coalition. Spokesman Mohammed Momani would not comment specifically on the alliance but said that "Jordan is always ready and actively participates in any effort to fight terrorism." Benin, while it does not have a majority Muslim population, is another member of this new counterterrorism coalition. All the group's members are also part of the larger Organization of Islamic Cooperation, which is headquartered in Saudi Arabia.

http://news.yahoo.com/saudi-arabia-form ... 14427.html
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Re: Islamic State - militarily weak?

Post by John F » Sat Dec 19, 2015 5:47 am

But the NY Times's editorial board is skeptical, and with good reasons.

Doubts About Saudi Arabia’s Antiterrorism Coalition
By THE EDITORIAL BOARD
DEC. 18, 2015

One of the greatest weaknesses in the American-led fight against the Islamic State is the lack of competent regional forces to join in defeating the militants, especially on the ground. Saudi Arabia’s plans to organize a military coalition of 34 Islamic nations against terrorism could be a breakthrough, though there are many reasons to doubt how effective the plan will be.

On Friday, the United Nations Security Council for the first time passed a resolution calling for a cease-fire and political talks to help end the civil war in Syria, but whether that can pave the way for an end to the conflict is also highly questionable.

As for the coalition, there is no clarity about what the group will actually do. Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom’s inexperienced defense minister, said the coalition’s efforts would not be limited to fighting the Islamic State, a Sunni Muslim group, but would include a joint operations center established in Riyadh to “coordinate and support military operations to fight terrorism” across the Muslim world. Just what that means is unclear, but it could be a license to find enemies everywhere.

In fact, it is hard to see Saudi Arabia, a Sunni-led state, as a serious partner against the Islamic State unless it stops financing the Wahhabi religious schools and clerics that are spreading the kind of extremist doctrine that is at the heart of the Islamic State’s ideology. Although the Islamic State has pledged to destroy Saudi Arabia, Saudi leaders have so far been more concerned with opposing Shia-led Iran, which they consider their greatest adversary.

It’s also not clear which nations will be involved in the coalition. When the deputy crown prince announced the initiative on Tuesday, he identified some states, like Pakistan and Malaysia, as members, though they said they were unaware of the plans. Yet several key Muslim countries have been excluded, namely Iran and Iraq, another Shia-majority country, which Saudi Arabia views as an Iranian puppet. Also absent are Oman, a neighbor of Saudi Arabia that brokered the shaky cease-fire in Yemen that started this week, and Algeria, the largest Muslim country in Africa. Indonesia, the largest Muslim-majority nation, is not on the list; neither is Afghanistan, which has been a focus of Western antiterrorism efforts for more than a decade.

Some coalition members, like Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Egypt, have substantial militaries, but many others do not. And while many of the countries are, in various ways, individually involved in the fight against terrorism, there are serious divisions among them, including which groups they consider terrorists. Whether the members will be able to harmonize their goals, much less their tactics, is unknown. There is also the matter of how this group will coordinate with the military coalition led by the United States.

Adel Al-Jubeir, the Saudi foreign minister, told reporters in Paris on Tuesday that “nothing is off the table” in the Saudi-led antiterrorist effort, including media and information campaigns to counter extremist ideology and the possibility that Gulf states will send special forces into Syria. The Sunni Arabs can be constructive if they help weak countries in North Africa that are battling extremists, like Tunisia and Mali, pay soldiers and security experts.

Saudi Arabia, with one of the most modern arsenals in the region, has not been seriously committed to fighting the Islamic State. The proposal is at least partly a response to pressure from President Obama, who has argued that it and other Sunni states have done far too little to defeat a force that threatens them more than anyone else.

It shouldn’t take long to see whether the proposal has substance or is just an attempt to divert attention from Saudi Arabia’s disastrous military intervention in Yemen and defer an overdue reckoning for its own role in spawning the kinds of extremists the coalition is supposed to counter.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/19/opini ... ition.html
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Re: Islamic State - militarily weak?

Post by Chalkperson » Sat Dec 19, 2015 11:40 pm

John F wrote:There doesn't seem to be much interest here in the actual military situation in the Middle East. To my surprise, only 20 members other than me have read this thread until now. Instead there's been a lot of kvetching that President Obama hasn't waved some kind of magic wand to make the Islamic State go away, and "tough talk" (actually, stupid talk) from the right about sending American troops into Middle Eastern combat again despite the hard lessons we should have learned in Iraq and Afghanistan.
There is little interest on this Board whenever real military Threads are posted.

Randall thinks 'Presidential Gossip" is important, and that 'Trumping Obama' beats all.

Sad but true.
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Re: Islamic State - militarily weak?

Post by lennygoran » Sun Dec 20, 2015 8:05 am

Chalkperson wrote:
Randall thinks 'Presidential Gossip" is important, and that 'Trumping Obama' beats all.

Sad but true.
Wonder what Randall thinks about these sad figures from our President--so much for Trump"s bombast? Regards, Len :(

WASHINGTON — President Obama, seeking to counter pressure for a military escalation in response to terrorist attacks, told a group of news columnists this week that sending significant ground forces back to the Middle East could conceivably result in the deaths of 100 American soldiers every month.

In a private session at the White House, Mr. Obama explained that his refusal to redeploy large numbers of troops to the region was rooted in the grim assumption that the casualties and costs would rival the worst of the Iraq war. In such a scenario, he said, a renewed commitment could take up to $10 billion a month and leave as many as 500 troops wounded every month in addition to those killed, a toll he deemed not commensurate to the threat.

Mr. Obama said that if he did send troops to Syria, as some Republicans have urged, he feared a slippery slope that would eventually require similar deployments to other terrorist strongholds like Libya and Yemen, effectively putting him in charge of governing much of the region. He told the columnists that he envisioned sending significant ground forces to the Middle East only in the case of a catastrophic terrorist attack that disrupted the normal functioning of the United States.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/18/world ... enter.html

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Re: Islamic State - militarily weak?

Post by Chalkperson » Sun Dec 20, 2015 7:19 pm

For John F and anyone interested...

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v38/n01/seymour-m- ... o-military
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Re: Islamic State - militarily weak?

Post by John F » Sun Dec 20, 2015 11:34 pm

Who can claim to really grasp and understand every aspect of the Syrian wars? But I'm dubious that Hersh is right. Military intelligence is not the only source of information and advice available to President Obama; there's also the CIA, which Hersh hardly mentions. As far as I can tell, the CIA has taken the line that a "moderate" opposition to Assad exists in Syria, that is, secular non-jihadist organizations such as the Free Syrian Army and the Free Officers Group, and has been supporting it with arms. Our military, on the other hand, appears to believe that there are no moderates, that the uprising against Assad has come entirely from jihadists. This is not plausible; it assumes the Assad regime, brutally repressive as it was and is, was completely ignorant of or ineffective against the jihadists within Syria's borders before the rebellion started. So I believe Hersh has got it wrong, for what that may be worth.
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Re: Islamic State - militarily weak?

Post by absinthe » Tue Dec 22, 2015 9:36 am

The problem is that this Islamic State is just one shade of Islamism. The "war" is between ideologies- Islamism and Christendom. One has to look to the history of Islam to appreciate really what's going on and, sad to say, while Christendom has moved on from its early days, Islam hasn't. It's still working to the same agenda.

As I understand it came into being as a result of the church refusing to accept the prophecies of its founder. So he wrote his holy book with the aim of wiping Christianity and Judaism out from the face of the earth; waged some terrible wars in Europe. The Crusades pushed it back but never annihilated it.

Now it's back. To me, all Muslims work from the same holy book in which instructions are very clear what they must do with/to non-Muslims. So they're all potential fighters against Christendom, call them what you will. This question of radicalisation is naïve. It's more a question of what it'll take to switch a "moderate" Muslim on to obeying those instructions. The west can do all the bombing it likes but that won't rid the world of the ideology. ISIS has its armies in every country now, some active, some latent. There's certainly a 5th column in the UK and it's known that Merkel the Mad has let them into Germany. Gothenburg in Sweden is a known recruitment centre but its leftard twits of a government seem happy to remain wilfully blind

So although he came in like a bull in a china shop, Trump was right in two respects: the problem is Islam; and politicians haven't a clue how to deal with it (especially allowing this alien culture into their midst). It's a fact that (in Europe at least) very few Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims.

So what do you do? You have a bag of sweets. You know a couple of them are poisoned. Do you feed them to your kids?

My question in common with many in Europe is: are we willing to trade the freedoms and emancipations gained through Christendom for the kind of lifestyle under Sharia law? It would be exceedingly bad for women.

So bomb all you/we like - make the politics as complicated as you like - but it won't rid the world of Islamism.

As I see it anyway.

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Re: Islamic State - militarily weak?

Post by absinthe » Tue Dec 22, 2015 9:50 am

John F wrote:Who can claim to really grasp and understand every aspect of the Syrian wars? But I'm dubious that Hersh is right. Military intelligence is not the only source of information and advice available to President Obama; there's also the CIA, which Hersh hardly mentions. As far as I can tell, the CIA has taken the line that a "moderate" opposition to Assad exists in Syria, that is, secular non-jihadist organizations such as the Free Syrian Army and the Free Officers Group, and has been supporting it with arms. Our military, on the other hand, appears to believe that there are no moderates, that the uprising against Assad has come entirely from jihadists. This is not plausible; it assumes the Assad regime, brutally repressive as it was and is, was completely ignorant of or ineffective against the jihadists within Syria's borders before the rebellion started. So I believe Hersh has got it wrong, for what that may be worth.
The general view in the UK follows your military - there are no moderates. Perhaps they were but if they had any sense under the pressures exerted by ISIS, many have gone over to it. Our Mr Cameron heard there were 70,000 moderate rebels who would aid France, the UK and Russia in wiping ISIS out. Then the intelligence came in and made a nonsense of that.

The problem with deposing Assad is what is one to replace him with? In those regions of tribal wars (Sunni/Shia) it takes a tough and pretty ruthless leader to keep the lid on trouble. Under his rule women at least can enjoy an amount of western-styled freedom: they can hold jobs, be educated, wear western fashions, be entertained western style. There was even an opera house in Damascus.

If Islamism takes over, all that's gone and new wars will start. So the hope of a unified government or democratic elections will likely have the same effect as in Iraq. Bush and Blair, knowing nothing of the culture and politics, couldn't foresee what would happen. Get rid of Hussein and...wow, all those Shia who had taken shelter in Iran started creeping back. So now you have those tribal conflicts... and a useless army to deal with it. Will Syria suffer the same fate?

So it would seem. Getting rid of Assad isn't the end of troubles, just the start of new ones. Unless the west, choosing leaders in its usual elephantine way, finds someone just as tough.

There's a great deal of suspicion about what the CIA is up to in the region.

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Re: Islamic State - militarily weak?

Post by John F » Tue Dec 22, 2015 11:40 pm

absinthe, your anti-Muslim propaganda is wrong, and it's potentially dangerous. The current wave of jihadism is a pretty recent development; it's been half a millennium since the Christians vs. Muslims holy wars during the Crusades, in which by the way Christians invaded Muslim lands rather than the other way around. Meanwhile, each religion has been largely at peace with the other, and many Islamic and Christian nations have not only coexisted but formed long-lasting and effective alliances with each other.

Today, Islam has some 1.6 billion followers worldwide. The current wave of terrorism is a recent development and its active adherents number perhaps in the thousands. And the jihad is not directed against Christians alone; the Islamic State attacks all Muslims who are not of its self-defined Sunni Muslim sect, and has killed far more Shiite Muslims than any other category of its victims. Even Sunni Muslims have been publicly executed for giving "wrong" answers to doctrinal questions by their captors. It's like the Roman Catholic Church in the old days, seeking out and burning heretics. (Indeed, Muslims were more tolerant than Christians when ruling Spain.) Blaming all of Islam and the whole religion itself for the bloody aberrations of a few, based on a personal interpretation of Islamic doctrine which has been authoritatively rejected by actual Muslim clerics, is religious bigotry, and dangerous bigotry at that. We can't have it here.

When rwetmore started his thread, "Dispelling the ‘Few Extremists’ Myth," I warned him to stop using Classical Music Guide as a platform from which to spread anti-Muslim propaganda, and now I'm warning you. Stop it, or I'll ask Lance to consider throwing you out.
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Re: Islamic State - militarily weak?

Post by jbuck919 » Wed Dec 23, 2015 2:16 am

John F wrote:absinthe, your anti-Muslim propaganda is wrong, and it's potentially dangerous. The current wave of jihadism is a pretty recent development; it's been half a millennium since the Christians vs. Muslims holy wars during the Crusades, in which by the way Christians invaded Muslim lands rather than the other way around. Meanwhile, each religion has been largely at peace with the other, and many Islamic and Christian nations have not only coexisted but formed long-lasting and effective alliances with each other.

Today, Islam has some 1.6 billion followers worldwide. The current wave of terrorism is a recent development and its active adherents number perhaps in the thousands. And the jihad is not directed against Christians alone; the Islamic State attacks all Muslims who are not of its self-defined Sunni Muslim sect, and has killed far more Shiite Muslims than any other category of its victims. Even Sunni Muslims have been publicly executed for giving "wrong" answers to doctrinal questions by their captors. It's like the Roman Catholic Church in the old days, seeking out and burning heretics. (Indeed, Muslims were more tolerant than Christians when ruling Spain.) Blaming all of Islam and the whole religion itself for the bloody aberrations of a few, based on a personal interpretation of Islamic doctrine which has been authoritatively rejected by actual Muslim clerics, is religious bigotry, and dangerous bigotry at that. We can't have it here.

When rwetmore started his thread, "Dispelling the ‘Few Extremists’ Myth," I warned him to stop using Classical Music Guide as a platform from which to spread anti-Muslim propaganda, and now I'm warning you. Stop it, or I'll ask Lance to consider throwing you out.
Stepping in here, quite reluctantly, we can stop short of that. John F is our greatest Anglophile short of those who are actually British, so he can probably remove the curtains from any ambiguous post from the other side of the pond. Nevertheless, I see nothing in absinthe's posting to recommend banning. God knows we've had too much of that over the years. John may not remember that we've had other Brit posters who would say flat-out something like "Islam is my enemy." Absinthe has not said such. What he has said is that there are aspects to fighting Islamism that defy the best US approach we currently have. If that is wishful reading on my part, then so be it, but I find nothing in his current posts to warrant such an extreme threat, one that I have had to make myself to other posters in the past.

Now, having said that, absinthe, please justify yourself with some posts on the music board. The pub was only ever set up because people can't resist posting politically no matter what the main topic might be.

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Re: Islamic State - militarily weak?

Post by absinthe » Wed Dec 23, 2015 4:18 am

John F wrote:absinthe, your anti-Muslim propaganda is wrong........

When rwetmore started his thread, "Dispelling the ‘Few Extremists’ Myth," I warned him to stop using Classical Music Guide as a platform from which to spread anti-Muslim propaganda, and now I'm warning you. Stop it, or I'll ask Lance to consider throwing you out.
So be it. Hardly propaganda as I simply want to protect the culture I grew up in. If this makes me a bigot then bigot I am. One has to raise questions and examine the answers for consistency and validity. All part of the dielectic principle.

Have me banned if you wish. Or you could be more gentlemanly and ask me to leave.
Last edited by absinthe on Wed Dec 23, 2015 4:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Islamic State - militarily weak?

Post by Chalkperson » Wed Dec 23, 2015 4:19 am

John F wrote:absinthe, your anti-Muslim propaganda is wrong, and it's potentially dangerous. The current wave of jihadism is a pretty recent development; it's been half a millennium since the Christians vs. Muslims holy wars during the Crusades, in which by the way Christians invaded Muslim lands rather than the other way around. Meanwhile, each religion has been largely at peace with the other, and many Islamic and Christian nations have not only coexisted but formed long-lasting and effective alliances with each other.

Today, Islam has some 1.6 billion followers worldwide. The current wave of terrorism is a recent development and its active adherents number perhaps in the thousands. And the jihad is not directed against Christians alone; the Islamic State attacks all Muslims who are not of its self-defined Sunni Muslim sect, and has killed far more Shiite Muslims than any other category of its victims. Even Sunni Muslims have been publicly executed for giving "wrong" answers to doctrinal questions by their captors. It's like the Roman Catholic Church in the old days, seeking out and burning heretics. (Indeed, Muslims were more tolerant than Christians when ruling Spain.) Blaming all of Islam and the whole religion itself for the bloody aberrations of a few, based on a personal interpretation of Islamic doctrine which has been authoritatively rejected by actual Muslim clerics, is religious bigotry, and dangerous bigotry at that. We can't have it here.

When rwetmore started his thread, "Dispelling the ‘Few Extremists’ Myth," I warned him to stop using Classical Music Guide as a platform from which to spread anti-Muslim propaganda, and now I'm warning you. Stop it, or I'll ask Lance to consider throwing you out.
Absinthe is not using it as a platform in the way Randall is/was.

He's trying to explain the European viewpoint to you, and there is no way that you can have him removed for stating his views.

This is a very different situation to Randall who starts Threads and then fills them with Trump's hate filled rhetoric.

Absinthe has every right to give his viewpoint, if you don't like it, then don't read it.

Europe is very different to the US in regard to the Middle East, (Palestine for example) and sometimes the cultural divide is greater than you think.

Remember that this Board fully supports free speech, unless its totally over the top, Absinthe is very welcome to present his own viewpoint, and Lance would never even consider Banning him for simply saying something you don't personally like.

Please do not threaten other members with expulsion, you are not a Moderator, if you have a problem that you think deserves banning a member send me a PM, if I agree I will send it to Lance.

I agreed that Randall was going over the top on this issue, and he objected strenuously to being silenced simply because he supports Trump and is a Conservative.

Absinthe is doing nothing of the sort.
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Re: Islamic State - militarily weak?

Post by John F » Wed Dec 23, 2015 4:20 am

I'm surprised that you don't get it, jbuck919, and your attempt to soften absinthe's hard message is also surprising. If absinthe and rwetmore engaged in the kind of blanket and false condemnation of Judaism and all Jews that they have with Islam and all Muslims, they'd be out of here in a flash, and you'd be one of those showing them the door - or I certainly hope you would.

That absinthe is British is neither here nor there. Nor can his posts on other topics justify religious or ethnic bigotry. I'm not going to argue with him or with you or Chalkie; I stand by what I've said. He must stop it, period. If he doesn't, I will do as I said.

Of course I can't exclude anybody from CMG. That rests with Lance Hill alone. If I bring a member's conduct to Lance's attention - as I almost never do - he won't take any action based on my say-so. I expect him to decide based on his judgment of the messages members have posted on his web site. That's as it should be.
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Re: Islamic State - militarily weak?

Post by Chalkperson » Wed Dec 23, 2015 4:22 am

absinthe wrote:
John F wrote:absinthe, your anti-Muslim propaganda is wrong........

When rwetmore started his thread, "Dispelling the ‘Few Extremists’ Myth," I warned him to stop using Classical Music Guide as a platform from which to spread anti-Muslim propaganda, and now I'm warning you. Stop it, or I'll ask Lance to consider throwing you out.
So be it. Hardly propaganda as I simply want to protect the culture I grew up in. One has to raise questions and examine the answers for consistency and validity. All part of the dielectic principle.

Have me banned if you wish. Or you could be more gentlemanly and ask me to leave.
It's not John's place to threaten you, and I will vigorously defend anyone who presents an argument in a plain and simple manner, no hysterical posts, no profanities, no name calling.

Feel free to post here, and especially on the Music Board.
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Re: Islamic State - militarily weak?

Post by Chalkperson » Wed Dec 23, 2015 4:27 am

John F wrote:I'm surprised that you don't get it, jbuck919, and your attempt to soften absinthe's hard message is also surprising. If absinthe and rwetmore engaged in the kind of blanket and false condemnation of Judaism and all Jews that they have with Islam and all Muslims, they'd be out of here in a flash, and you'd be one of those showing them the door - or I certainly hope you would.

That absinthe is British is neither here nor there. Nor can his posts on other topics justify religious or ethnic bigotry. I'm not going to argue with him or with you or Chalkie; I stand by what I've said. He must stop it, period. If he doesn't, I will do as I said.

Of course I can't exclude anybody from CMG. That rests with Lance Hill alone. If I bring a member's conduct to Lance's attention - as I almost never do - he won't take any action based on my say-so. I expect him to decide based on his judgment of the messages members have posted on his web site. That's as it should be.
I stand by what I said, Absinthe is not Randall.

If you want to write to Lance then he will ask me my opinion, and I say Absinthe has done nothing wrong.

People have been banned for abusing the Jewish Religion, but they have done so in a manner that's far more hateful, spiteful and incendiary than anything Absinthe has written.

For once I would say that it's you who are out of line by threatening other members publicly, not Absinthe.
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Re: Islamic State - militarily weak?

Post by absinthe » Wed Dec 23, 2015 4:36 am

Chalkperson wrote:
absinthe wrote:
John F wrote:absinthe, your anti-Muslim propaganda is wrong........

When rwetmore started his thread, "Dispelling the ‘Few Extremists’ Myth," I warned him to stop using Classical Music Guide as a platform from which to spread anti-Muslim propaganda, and now I'm warning you. Stop it, or I'll ask Lance to consider throwing you out.
So be it. Hardly propaganda as I simply want to protect the culture I grew up in. One has to raise questions and examine the answers for consistency and validity. All part of the dielectic principle.

Have me banned if you wish. Or you could be more gentlemanly and ask me to leave.
It's not John's place to threaten you, and I will vigorously defend anyone who presents an argument in a plain and simple manner, no hysterical posts, no profanities, no name calling.

Feel free to post here, and especially on the Music Board.
I do on occasion though I'm more interested in the music itself than its administration. I posted a couple at the same time as I wrote the comment that led to JohnF's ire. I suppose if I said what I felt about Vaughan Williams I'd get more threats of a ban.

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Re: Islamic State - militarily weak?

Post by Chalkperson » Wed Dec 23, 2015 4:41 am

absinthe wrote:
Chalkperson wrote:
absinthe wrote:
John F wrote:absinthe, your anti-Muslim propaganda is wrong........

When rwetmore started his thread, "Dispelling the ‘Few Extremists’ Myth," I warned him to stop using Classical Music Guide as a platform from which to spread anti-Muslim propaganda, and now I'm warning you. Stop it, or I'll ask Lance to consider throwing you out.
So be it. Hardly propaganda as I simply want to protect the culture I grew up in. One has to raise questions and examine the answers for consistency and validity. All part of the dielectic principle.

Have me banned if you wish. Or you could be more gentlemanly and ask me to leave.
It's not John's place to threaten you, and I will vigorously defend anyone who presents an argument in a plain and simple manner, no hysterical posts, no profanities, no name calling.

Feel free to post here, and especially on the Music Board.
I do on occasion though I'm more interested in the music itself than its administration. I posted a couple at the same time as I wrote the comment that led to JohnF's ire. I suppose if I said what I felt about Vaughan Williams I'd get more threats of a ban.
RVW is possibly the most over rated British composer IMHO.

I'd take Rutter anyday.
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Re: Islamic State - militarily weak?

Post by Chalkperson » Wed Dec 23, 2015 4:50 am

John F wrote:absinthe, your anti-Muslim propaganda is wrong, and it's potentially dangerous. The current wave of jihadism is a pretty recent development; it's been half a millennium since the Christians vs. Muslims holy wars during the Crusades, in which by the way Christians invaded Muslim lands rather than the other way around. Meanwhile, each religion has been largely at peace with the other, and many Islamic and Christian nations have not only coexisted but formed long-lasting and effective alliances with each other.

Today, Islam has some 1.6 billion followers worldwide. The current wave of terrorism is a recent development and its active adherents number perhaps in the thousands. And the jihad is not directed against Christians alone; the Islamic State attacks all Muslims who are not of its self-defined Sunni Muslim sect, and has killed far more Shiite Muslims than any other category of its victims. Even Sunni Muslims have been publicly executed for giving "wrong" answers to doctrinal questions by their captors. It's like the Roman Catholic Church in the old days, seeking out and burning heretics. (Indeed, Muslims were more tolerant than Christians when ruling Spain.) Blaming all of Islam and the whole religion itself for the bloody aberrations of a few, based on a personal interpretation of Islamic doctrine which has been authoritatively rejected by actual Muslim clerics, is religious bigotry, and dangerous bigotry at that. We can't have it here.
Posting as myself.

I agree, we do not want this attitude in the United States of America.

However, in the State of Texas, Muslims are being intimidated when they attend Mosques by armed gangs of far right extremists.

That is way more of a problem than a post on a Music Board, please put things into perspective.

America has a history of paranoid victimization of other Countries/Religions.

Who else interned both the Jews and the Japanese?

That's one of America's dark little secrets, and one best forgotten.

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/21/nyreg ... -camp.html
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Re: Islamic State - militarily weak?

Post by Chalkperson » Wed Dec 23, 2015 4:58 am

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Re: Islamic State - militarily weak?

Post by absinthe » Wed Dec 23, 2015 5:15 am

I'd better not comment further except to say that it's being overdone. They're even trying to get our Pusillanimous Prime Minister to step in. I don't know what he can do....except one should always be careful of what one steps into...

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Re: Islamic State - militarily weak?

Post by lennygoran » Wed Dec 23, 2015 6:23 am

absinthe wrote:
> Hardly propaganda as I simply want to protect the culture I grew up in.
Your messages got me thinking--I feel like President Obama and many that we never should have gone into Iraq-those WMD's were not a slam dunk. So if Sadam had remained in Iraq I guess things for the US would have turned out a lot differently-are you saying then that leaving Sadam in power and leaving Assad in power are sort of analagous? Right now ISIS is our big problem and in World War 2 we did work with Stalin. Also I sure hope many more Muslims want peace and are appalled at ISIS just as we are? Regards, Len

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Re: Islamic State - militarily weak?

Post by Chalkperson » Wed Dec 23, 2015 12:15 pm

lennygoran wrote:
absinthe wrote:
> Hardly propaganda as I simply want to protect the culture I grew up in.
Your messages got me thinking--I feel like President Obama and many that we never should have gone into Iraq-those WMD's were not a slam dunk. So if Sadam had remained in Iraq I guess things for the US would have turned out a lot differently-are you saying then that leaving Sadam in power and leaving Assad in power are sort of analagous? Right now ISIS is our big problem and in World War 2 we did work with Stalin. Also I sure hope many more Muslims want peace and are appalled at ISIS just as we are? Regards, Len
yup, i think so, but we want their oil, its always about oil.
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Re: Islamic State - militarily weak?

Post by jbuck919 » Wed Dec 23, 2015 6:02 pm

Chalkperson wrote:
lennygoran wrote:
absinthe wrote:
> Hardly propaganda as I simply want to protect the culture I grew up in.
Your messages got me thinking--I feel like President Obama and many that we never should have gone into Iraq-those WMD's were not a slam dunk. So if Sadam had remained in Iraq I guess things for the US would have turned out a lot differently-are you saying then that leaving Sadam in power and leaving Assad in power are sort of analagous? Right now ISIS is our big problem and in World War 2 we did work with Stalin. Also I sure hope many more Muslims want peace and are appalled at ISIS just as we are? Regards, Len
yup, i think so, but we want their oil, its always about oil.
It's about oil and the only country in the area that doesn't have any. We are coming closer to losing our dependency on the former. The political difficulties in detaching our interests from those of the latter will be much greater.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
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Re: Islamic State - militarily weak?

Post by lennygoran » Wed Dec 23, 2015 8:06 pm

jbuck919 wrote:
It's about oil
I have to admit I don't quite get it-for me it's a question of regime change-we cooperated with Stalin on World War 2--we chose to get rid of Sadam despite many who opposed ever going in-after all there were no WMD's-now should we allow Assad to stay and help us fight ISIS along with the Russians or should we get insist on getting rid of him at all costs--isn't that the question? Regards, Len

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Re: Islamic State - militarily weak?

Post by jbuck919 » Wed Dec 23, 2015 9:59 pm

lennygoran wrote:
jbuck919 wrote:
It's about oil
I have to admit I don't quite get it-for me it's a question of regime change-we cooperated with Stalin on World War 2--we chose to get rid of Sadam despite many who opposed ever going in-after all there were no WMD's-now should we allow Assad to stay and help us fight ISIS along with the Russians or should we get insist on getting rid of him at all costs--isn't that the question? Regards, Len
I was just agreeing with Chalkie's main point and adding another thought. If it weren't for oil and Israel, we would not have paid any attention to that part of the world any more than we do so in, for instance, Sub-Saharan Africa. Of course the situation in Syria, etc. is horrible, but so was the situation in Cambodia, Rwanda, and East Timor just for starters, and we ignored all of those.

I don't see how invoking our alliance with Stalinist Russia is to the point. There wasn't much choice but to get in bed with him if the goal was defeating Germany, and aside from that, even our top leadership was largely ignorant of what a monster he was. Harry Truman actually liked the guy.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
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Re: Islamic State - militarily weak?

Post by absinthe » Thu Dec 24, 2015 5:28 am

lennygoran wrote:
jbuck919 wrote:
It's about oil
I have to admit I don't quite get it-for me it's a question of regime change-we cooperated with Stalin on World War 2--we chose to get rid of Sadam despite many who opposed ever going in-after all there were no WMD's-now should we allow Assad to stay and help us fight ISIS along with the Russians or should we get insist on getting rid of him at all costs--isn't that the question? Regards, Len
Question is - who do you replace him with?

The chance of a democracy with two main warmongering factions is hardly going to work (as it hasn't in Iraq). So - you know the west: will whatever puppet leader it chooses replace Assad be able to contain trouble?

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Re: Islamic State - militarily weak?

Post by absinthe » Thu Dec 24, 2015 5:43 am

Chalkperson wrote:
absinthe wrote:
John F wrote:absinthe, your anti-Muslim propaganda is wrong........

When rwetmore started his thread, "Dispelling the ‘Few Extremists’ Myth," I warned him to stop using Classical Music Guide as a platform from which to spread anti-Muslim propaganda, and now I'm warning you. Stop it, or I'll ask Lance to consider throwing you out.
So be it. Hardly propaganda as I simply want to protect the culture I grew up in. One has to raise questions and examine the answers for consistency and validity. All part of the dielectic principle.

Have me banned if you wish. Or you could be more gentlemanly and ask me to leave.
It's not John's place to threaten you, and I will vigorously defend anyone who presents an argument in a plain and simple manner, no hysterical posts, no profanities, no name calling.

Feel free to post here, and especially on the Music Board.
I suspect a little ignorance in the US of what's happening on the ground. Regarding the UK, the government (perhaps unwittingly, I don't know) allowed Sharia courts to creep in but now seems to wonder if that was a mistake. Even the Law Society said it would partially support Sharia - something now withdrawn.

A parallel legal and justice system that sometimes flies in the face of UK law. I can't think of many nations let alone in Europe where that would be allowed. One example of Sharia law is that concerning multiple wives. Until recently a Muslim man could import up to 4 wives and have them on welfare.

Since that was exposed the UK government had to cover up its support of bigamy but still wanted to allow it so it changed the claimant rules so that these wives could be classed as "single people".

More recently these Sharia courts have asserted themselves and are now pushing for official recognition.

I'd better not mention the child brides issue....

But I'll leave this alone now.

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Re: Islamic State - militarily weak?

Post by jbuck919 » Thu Dec 24, 2015 5:51 am

I doubt very much that the UK government was "unwitting" in allowing this outrage. It was just plain a huge mistake, and there is sometimes no easy backing off from those.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
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Re: Islamic State - militarily weak?

Post by lennygoran » Thu Dec 24, 2015 8:03 am

jbuck919 wrote: I was just agreeing with Chalkie's main point and adding another thought. If it weren't for oil and Israel, we would not have paid any attention to that part of the world any more than we do so in, for instance, Sub-Saharan Africa. Of course the situation in Syria, etc. is horrible, but so was the situation in Cambodia, Rwanda, and East Timor just for starters, and we ignored all of those. ..

I don't see how invoking our alliance with Stalinist Russia is to the point. There wasn't much choice but to get in bed with him if the goal was defeating Germany,
Yes I see the point on oil to some extent-on Stalin I was trying to bring up the dilemma of when we play ball with monsters and when we decide not to-when to actively support regime change and when to stay out of it. If we had stayed out of Iraq would Sadam still be in power? Regards, Len

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Re: Islamic State - militarily weak?

Post by lennygoran » Thu Dec 24, 2015 8:06 am

absinthe wrote:
Question is - who do you replace him with?

The chance of a democracy with two main warmongering factions is hardly going to work (as it hasn't in Iraq). So - you know the west: will whatever puppet leader it chooses replace Assad be able to contain trouble?
I think these are very good questions-the whole Middle East situation makes me very pessimistic. Regards, Len :(

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Re: Islamic State - militarily weak?

Post by jbuck919 » Thu Dec 24, 2015 9:54 am

lennygoran wrote:
jbuck919 wrote: I was just agreeing with Chalkie's main point and adding another thought. If it weren't for oil and Israel, we would not have paid any attention to that part of the world any more than we do so in, for instance, Sub-Saharan Africa. Of course the situation in Syria, etc. is horrible, but so was the situation in Cambodia, Rwanda, and East Timor just for starters, and we ignored all of those. ..

I don't see how invoking our alliance with Stalinist Russia is to the point. There wasn't much choice but to get in bed with him if the goal was defeating Germany,
Yes I see the point on oil to some extent-on Stalin I was trying to bring up the dilemma of when we play ball with monsters and when we decide not to-when to actively support regime change and when to stay out of it. If we had stayed out of Iraq would Sadam still be in power? Regards, Len
We should have stayed out of Iraq the second time because we were there on false pretenses. I have always suspected that W got us into that because his father regretted following up in the first war by not taking out Saddam Hussein. H.W. probably made the right decision by stopping when Kuwait was rescued. We have created far more evil than we have prevented by our intervention. There is an old adage that I hesitate to repeat because it is often tossed off casually by the less informed, but we cannot be the world's policeman. Was it appropriate to get involved with Syria because of the use of chemical weapons? Possibly, but remember that it was actually Vladimir Putin who suggested the solution to that problem. Aside from defending our immediate interests, it is enough that we hold the nuclear trigger guaranteeing destruction to any unfriendly nation that should employ a nuclear weapon. It was not long ago that a Republican Secretary of Defense said that any president who engaged us in another land war in Asia should have his head examined.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
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Re: Islamic State - militarily weak?

Post by lennygoran » Thu Dec 24, 2015 10:27 am

jbuck919 wrote:
We should have stayed out of Iraq the second time because we were there on false pretenses. I have always suspected that W got us into that because his father regretted following up in the first war by not taking out Saddam Hussein. ... Was it appropriate to get involved with Syria because of the use of chemical weapons? Possibly, but remember that it was actually Vladimir Putin who suggested the solution to that problem.
I've seen a number of documentaries on Bush the father and I'm not sure he regretted staying out of Iraq-he comes off looking very good aamof? Also I'm surprised you give Putin that much credit for what happened-wasn't it just luck the Kerry made a statement that the Russians jumped on-saved a lot of friction that was getting ready to occur in our Congress.

"The chemical weapons agreements arose at a time when the U.S. and France headed a coalition of countries on the verge of carrying out air strikes on Syria in response to the 21 August 2013 Ghouta chemical-weapon attacks.[3] The impetus toward peaceful destruction of the chemical weapons began on 9 September 2013, when U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry — asked by a reporter if there was anything Assad could do avert attack — replied, "Sure, he could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons" in the next week. "But he isn’t about to do it, and it can’t be done".[4][5] But the suggestion received a positive response from Russia and Syria, and U.S.–Russian negotiations led to the 14 September 2013 "Framework for Elimination of Syrian Chemical Weapons," which called for the elimination of Syria's chemical weapon stockpiles by mid-2014."

But here's my point-if we didn't topple Sadam he might still be in power wielding power and control over his people, right? It seems this would benefit our own country greatly-all those lost and injured soldiers, the money spent. So by the same logic should we now just leave Assad the monster in there and concentrate strictly on destroying ISIS. How important then is regime change. It would seem that despite bad results in Libya Gaddafi was a madman and had to go although how much of a role the US played in that I don't know. However it appears Sadam and Assad are a different category-sane but real SOB's. Regards, Len [What a mess] :(

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Re: Islamic State - militarily weak?

Post by John F » Tue Dec 29, 2015 10:38 am

The Importance of Retaking Ramadi
By THE EDITORIAL BOARD
DEC. 28, 2015

Iraqis were celebrating on Monday and understandably so. After days of heavy fighting, their security troops, backed by American airstrikes, reportedly recaptured central Ramadi, a provincial capital 60 miles from Baghdad that was overrun by the Islamic State seven months ago.

There is still resistance in 20 to 25 percent of the Ramadi area, and efforts to fully secure it are expected to take more time, Iraqi and American officials said. But the fact that Iraqi forces could raise their country’s national flag above the main government complex is a substantial achievement and gives reason to hope that the barbaric terrorist group can eventually be defeated.

There are formidable obstacles ahead as well as questions about how President Obama’s strategy in Iraq relates to the fight against the Islamic State in Syria and about a deepening American involvement in the conflict. Still, the victory is the clearest sign yet that the Islamic State, after laying claim to huge parts of Iraq and Syria in 2014, is losing momentum and in retreat. In recent months, the group has been routed from Tikrit, Baiji, Hawija, the Tishrin Dam and Sinjar by Iraqi and Kurdish forces. It is estimated that the group’s control of Iraqi territory has shrunk by 40 percent since last year.

Recapturing Ramadi has special importance because it is the capital of Anbar Province, a Sunni Muslim stronghold, and will give Iraq’s government the means to cut off supply lines to Falluja, which is even closer to Baghdad, and weaken the Islamic State’s hold on that city. It will be harder to recapture Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, which the Islamic State seized in June 2014, stunning the world with its military strength.

The Ramadi battle was at least a partial vindication for Iraq’s army, which humiliated itself by abandoning Mosul as the Islamic State, a Sunni Muslim group, advanced. The Mosul loss exposed deep flaws in the Shiite-led government’s ability to fight the militants, including its unwillingness to arm or send reinforcements to help Sunni tribesmen who were fighting the terrorist group. Since then, President Obama has increased the level of American troops in Iraq to 3,500, some of whom have worked to retrain and reorganize the Iraqi forces.

The Americans and Iraqis put in place critical military changes for the Ramadi offensive. The Iraqi forces worked for months to surround the city and had the support of 630 airstrikes against Islamic State targets by the United States-led coalition since July as well as regular coordination with American military commanders. Most significantly, American and Iraqi officers excluded Iran-allied Shiite militias from the battle for Ramadi to avoid aggravating sectarian and ethnic tensions. Kurdish troops, who have performed well in other battles, were also excluded, presumably so the army could succeed without their assistance. Instead, American advisers helped train thousands of local Sunni tribal fighters, who oppose the Islamic State, to secure neighborhoods captured from the militants. If this alliance between the Shiite-dominated Iraqi Army and the Sunni tribes holds, it could undercut the Islamic State’s appeal to the Sunni minority.

No military victory by itself will be enough to defeat the Islamic State, also known as ISIS. Political reforms are also essential. The group exploits the anger of Iraq’s Sunni minority, which has been disenfranchised from Iraqi politics since Saddam Hussein was overthrown in 2003.

In addition to lifting the morale of Iraq’s security forces, the Ramadi victory should enhance the political standing of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, the Shiite leader who has been more moderate and reform-minded than his pro-Iran political rivals, who have fueled sectarian violence for years. The one most responsible was Mr. Abadi’s predecessor, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, who inflicted gross injustices upon the Sunnis and is still making trouble. To defeat ISIS in the long run, Mr. Abadi will have to convince Iraqi politicians to allow Sunni leaders more autonomy and a role in the government.

Mr. Abadi and other Iraqi authorities also have to ensure the safety of Sunni residents who fled the fighting and may now return home. The United States and its coalition allies have made an important contribution by pledging $50 million to rebuild the newly liberated city. Iraq’s leaders will need a political and military strategy for holding Ramadi permanently before they can move on to retake Mosul.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/29/opini ... amadi.html
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Re: Islamic State - militarily weak?

Post by John F » Tue Dec 29, 2015 11:38 am

lennygoran wrote:But here's my point-if we didn't topple Sadam he might still be in power wielding power and control over his people, right? It seems this would benefit our own country greatly-all those lost and injured soldiers, the money spent. So by the same logic should we now just leave Assad the monster in there and concentrate strictly on destroying ISIS. How important then is regime change.
Many fundamental differences. First, Assad has long since ceased to "wield power and control over his people"; cnrrently it's only about 30-40%. The revolution against his regime began during the Arab Spring in 2011 and grew before the U.S. became involved; indeed, we refrained from arming the rebels, yet they still would not be crushed. Also, Syria is a threat to Israel - it supports Hamas, which is based in Damascus, and the two countries have a common border; none of this was true of Iraq.

The Syrian military, which Assad controls, is focused on defending him and wiping out the Syrian opposition, and has done nothing to oppose the Islamic State. Indeed, its military action has actually helped the IS, since the Islamic State is itself mainly fighting the Syrian opposition. I should think it's in Assad's interest to sit back and let them fight each other.

All this is Realpolotik. But of course that isn't the beginning and end of it. The United States purports to be an active defender of human rights worldwide. The Assad regime's human rights record is among the worst in the world. To cease supporting the opposition for the reason you give, or for any reason, would be to abandon the moral high ground and in effect say that human rights don't matter and might makes right. I don't want to be ashamed of my country, or any more ashamed than I already am.
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Re: Islamic State - militarily weak?

Post by lennygoran » Tue Dec 29, 2015 5:02 pm

John F wrote:I don't want to be ashamed of my country, or any more ashamed than I already am.
Well I of course would love to see him out and ISIS also destroyed--otoh I just am lacking the confidence that this might all get done-we'll see. Regards, Len

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Re: Islamic State - militarily weak?

Post by John F » Wed Dec 30, 2015 3:47 am

None of it may get done. We're talking about the Middle East, where nothing is ever finally resolved. All we can do is try to figure out what is in the U.S.'s best interest and support it as far as the situation and American politics allow. Which currently is not very far.
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Re: Islamic State - militarily weak?

Post by Chalkperson » Thu Dec 31, 2015 5:01 pm

John F wrote:None of it may get done. We're talking about the Middle East, where nothing is ever finally resolved. All we can do is try to figure out what is in the U.S.'s best interest and support it as far as the situation and American politics allow. Which currently is not very far.
We will bomb them back to the Stone Age, and like a bad penny they will return, maybe not called IS but in some form.

There will be no Winner, no Victory, just slaughter, and more slaughter.

as John says, it's the Middle East.

Watch Lawrence of Arabia for an entertaining lesson, nothing has changed, they are still infighting, they are still crazier than ever.

They don't want peace, never have, never will.

I'm much more worried about the Russians, there are reports China is sending in some of their Special Forces.

Now, it's a total clusterf*ck.
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