“Red Lines and False Choices,” by Sarah Shields

Sarah SyriaSyria Red Lines and False Choices
by Sarah Shields

US President Barak Obama will ask Congress to support a military response to the horrific killing of civilians in Syria last week, an apparent chemical weapons attack that most likely originated with the Assad regime in Damascus.  Obama drew a red line months ago, warning Bashar al-Assad that any use of weapons of mass destruction would evoke an American response.

Having recently spent more than five months in the country talking with Sunnis, Alawites, and Christians who were part of an opposition to their autocratic regime, as well as with human rights proponents with creative ideas for changing the face of their government and society, I want to suggest that there are other, more effective, solutions than the military option that Obama proposes.  Obama’s red lines will do nothing to resolve the unspeakable suffering of millions of Syrians, more than a hundred thousand of whom have died over the course of this bloody conflict. The map of Syria is already strewn with red lines that threaten to destroy the state and have already shattered the lives of most of the people within it.

It is not at all clear yet who set off the chemical attack outside Damascus last week, but it is well known that all parties to this conflict have engaged in the indiscriminate killing of combatants and non-combatants alike. These are the war crimes that matter, all of them outlawed at the close of World War II when it became clear that civilians had suffered unspeakable crimes. Obama’s proposed intervention would do nothing to end these crimes; rather it would encourage further warfare, further rivers of blood.  The US President has acknowledged that the blood to be spilled has no further goal: he does not aspire to change the balance in this ongoing warfare, intends no resolution of the bloodshed, and expects no larger resolution from the projected strike. An American strike will only escalate an already horrific conflict, not only creating more hardship, death and destruction, but moving all the countries of the Middle East closer to widespread regional conflagration.

This imminent flood of new red lines reflects the false dichotomies intrinsic to US foreign policy in the Middle East.  The US toolbox has been so limited that it has suggested only three alternatives since the CIA involvement in Iran exactly sixty years ago: regime change by internal subversion, military engagement, or complete inaction.  For more than half a century, US interventions have fanned the flames of civil conflict (from Iran in 1953 to Iraq 2003), shored up unpopular regimes (from 1958 Lebanon to Mubarak’s Egypt to 2013 Bahrain), and destroyed civilian lives through death or displacement (Iraq and Afghanistan). The false dichotomies produced by our existing tool box to date have resulted in nothing but tragedy, exacerbating tensions and making resolutions infinitely more difficult.

There are more than two options in Syria today.  Inactivity has been unsuccessful in staunching the flow of blood; airstrikes will only increase it.  Instead of the false choice we have been offered between doing nothing and engaging in deadly force, the United States could take the lead in beginning to restore Syria to Syrian control, engaging in the kind of negotiations that could lead back to what former president Woodrow Wilson insisted on: the consent of the governed.

Instead of creating more rivers of blood, the Obama administration has a remarkable opportunity right now, at a pivotal moment. In the face of a horrific ongoing war in one of the most important countries of the Middle East, they could choose to imagine a long-term resolution. All, including President Obama, have recognized that the only solution to the situation will be a political settlement. The Nobel Peace Prize-winner could begin negotiations toward actually making peace.

Negotiations could begin this week, with an effort to bring to the negotiating table Syrians of all faiths and classes.  Today’s “sides” have become entrenched in large part with the assistance of foreign fighters and foreign military aid, whose interests are in no way identical to the goals of the Syrian population.  Military “solutions” would only reinforce the participation of these regional players whose participation does not aid Syrians in any way.  Local groups are far too under-resourced to be able to compete in an increasingly militarized conflict.  More militarization can only further undermine their voices.  By demanding an international conference that would include ONLY Syrian participants, and include representatives of ALL Syrian interest groups, the US could begin the demilitarization and embark on the creation of a new consensus among diverse Syrians ready for an end to their overwhelming suffering.  Needless to say, the current regime, despite its humanitarian abuses, must be included in those negotiations.

At the same time, this project would have to be accompanied by talks with neighboring countries who have cynically tied their interests to the blood of Syrians. There might be no better time for the Obama administration to begin talks with the new Iranian government, which has made quite clear its desire to engage in diplomacy from its first days. While pundits have disagreed on the response of the new Iranian regime to an American military strike, it is clear that the situation in Syria offers the US an opportunity to find a way to work with an important regional power whose interests seem increasingly compatible with our own. Iran and its allies (including Hizbullah) could be induced to end weapons deliveries to the Syrian regime, while the US must rein in our “allies” in the region (especially the Saudis) to end its export of foreign fighters and cease its deliveries of arms to the “rebels.”

A military solution cannot enhance American credibility. Our invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan did nothing to create “credibility,” while our drone strikes have further eroded any respect in the region. Cruise missiles will get Syrians no closer to the peace they so desperately need.  At the same time, US military strikes put the US in a state of war that will compromise American interests abroad and render all of our installations legitimate targets for the Syrian regime.  Most importantly for Syria’s children, military escalation serves to marginalize the groups within Syria who have long been working for peaceful change.  It works to the advantage only of armed fighters, whose goal is a victory for their own side at whatever cost.

If President Obama wants to develop credibility in the region, he must act like the statesman he purports to be.  He has said that he does not intend for this intervention to shift the balance of power or change the outcome of the conflict. But the outcome must be changed. Right now, the outcome has been rampant death, destruction and displacement, and the promise of  more of the same indefinitely.  History shows in tragic clarity that US military strikes have never resolved Middle East conflicts.  The “credibility” of the United States in the region–and the survival of Syria’s children– lies in altering this trajectory, a solution that can be achieved only through political and diplomatic means.

* Sarah Shields is Bowman and Gordon Gray Distinguished Term Professor in the History Department at the University of North Carolina. Her new book, Fezzes in the River: Identity Politics and European Diplomacy in the Middle East on the Eve of World War II (Oxford University Press, 2011) is a social and diplomatic history of the contest between France and Turkey over the Sanjak of Alexandretta (1936–1940).  She is currently researching the long-term impact of the League of Nations on the Middle East.

Comments (61)

zoo said:

Isn’t what Obama is doing?
By allowing Kerry to make all sorts mistakes, emitting lies and contradicting himself, by changing the scope to be even more ‘limited’ hasn’t Obama tried to torpedo the whole strikes plan in order to allow the Congress to say NO and to request an alternative strategy of negotiations.
Except for a few hysterical countries like France, Turkey, Israel Qatar and Saudi Arabia, the whole world is against any military attack on Syria, punitive or regime change.
The Islamic organization is against it, the Pope is against it, Europe( except France) is against it, all the Arab countries except the above are against it, China, Russia, Iran are against it.
Will Obama seriously push for an action that non only the American but the whole world do not want? Is he that blinded and stupid?

I don’t think so. Even if the Congress say YES, Obama may call it off and call for negotiations, but deep inside he certainly prefer the Congress to say NO as he would have a more honorable reason to push for the Geneva conference instead..

September 5th, 2013, 5:39 pm


Rancher said:

Here is someone who makes the case Assad didn’t launch the attack. I for one never understood why he would be so stupid with nothing to gain and now we are given a credible reason for the rebels to attack this region.

“Meanwhile, on August 19, 2013, in Ghouta, more than 50 local opposition fighters and their commanders laid down their arms and switched sides. A few prominent local leaders widely associated with the opposition went on Syrian TV. They denounced the jihadists and their crimes against the local population, and stressed that the Assad Administration was the real guardian of the people and their interests. More than a dozen ex-rebels joined the Syrian Government forces. Hence, the last thing the Assad Administration would do is commit atrocities against the Ghouta area and the local population which had just changed sides so dramatically. For the opposition, fiercely avenging such a betrayal and petrifying other would-be traitors is a must.

Could the Chemical Attack in Ghouta be the Markale of the Syrian War

What I would like to see is some support for the Kurds in Syria who are fighting the Al Qaeda backed Jabhat al-Nusra and are also no friend to Assad. If nothing else we should be aiding the tens of thousands of refugees flooding into Kurdish Iraq.

September 5th, 2013, 5:47 pm


Heads-up said:

Just so you may know, our well informed and highly reliable benefactors took a look at the current post and made the following extremely important heads up available for release.

It is the same old same old from the owner of the site.

In effect, it is an attempt to corroborate beating around the bush by so-called ‘experts’. Nothing more, nothing less. The corroboration part here is important for future retractment by the owner to continue in his game of falsification that’s been going on for quite a while as we understand.

Such pretenders to expertise have no idea whatsoever what they are dealing with, or they intentionally ignore what they’re dealing with. Negotiating with Hitlerian despots is nothing but outright capitulation a al Chamberlain. It is highly doubtful that such Historians pretenders to expertise, including the ever beater around the bush of this site, ever read history, or if they did, then undoubtedly no lessons have been learnt.

What common goals do we have with the mulocracy of Iran or its tail of Hezbollah? None whatsoever. However, this has been a constant theme for beating around the bush that has been going on since this site was created for the express purpose of convoluting facts and truths and presenting an agenda completely alien to US national interests and values. Yet you find some so-called left-handed liberals willing to buy into it like sheep going to a slaughter house and provide corroborating side-kicks.

Our experts are at a loss to comprehend how such suggestion as getting Syrians and ONLY Syrians to sit around a table and tell all those so-called outsiders to quit alleged meddling in Syrian affairs. If we accept the premise, what enforcement mechanism can the so-called expert author of the main post suggest? None whatsoever! It is just the empty promises of invested parties who are willing to fight tooth and nail to protect their interests? Our experts are at a loss to explain the flagrant intervention of the Iranian tail of Hezbollah in the Homs area as anything other than fighting to the death, almost suicidally, in order to safeguard unjustified so-called interests. And yet the supposed expert has the audacious gullibility to suggest negotiations even to the point of sleeping with avowed enemies of Syria and Syrians first, and the US and its allies second. The author is suggesting nothing short of capitulation to every thing the US stands, even to the point of abandoning allies and making the US’s stand on the world stage as nothing more than a banana republic by playing on egotistic urges of so-called Noble Peace Prize winners.

September 5th, 2013, 6:07 pm


sf94123 said:

YES.. YES.. “Solution that can be achieved only through political and diplomatic means. “ War brings more death and distraction.

Opposition figures have become accustomed to five star hotels, first class accommodations, private jets and hallal wine and scotch- They have no time to sit down and talk. No! This is the last thing in their minds. Thowrat khra!

September 5th, 2013, 6:21 pm


revenire said:

Assad has already won. He is standing up to the US and beating them. Iran wins. Hezbollah wins. Syria wins. Russia wins. China wins. The world wins.

The evil ones lose.

Huge stores in the US media today about “rebel” (I call them ____*) atrocities.

*censored to spare the feelings of cannibals

September 5th, 2013, 6:26 pm


From-faraway said:

If the US stand by democracy, why don´t they attack theocratic regimes like the saudi arabian or bahraini ones? Can the majority of the population of Bahrein do choice their goverment, don´t they? Are the House of Saud elected in fair and competitive elections?, are the saudi rulers accountable to their people? Does the rule of law impere in Saudia Arabia or the other sheikhdoms, or is the whims and capricces of their antidemocratic and autocratic rulers?
Who the US is helping here? Are the antidemocratic, antiliberal saudi rulers helping the Syrians to achieve democracy, and a liberal state and the rule of law? Or are they supporting armed jihadists gangs who want to impose the Shariah on the multi-religious, multi-ethnic and mostly secular Syrians? The same ones who behead non muslim and non salafi women and men, who impose dress codes abhorrent to most of the urban population of Syria, who kill without trial unarmed surrendered Syrian soldiers.
The author of the article suggest that in Syrian there are other actors, other opposition to the present Syrian Government, the liberal and civilian ones who are not supported by the antidemocratic gulf sheikhdoms, who demand from the start that the conflict not to be militarized, that demand dialogue between syrians.
The alternative, is to support a jihadist victory in the war, which will only create more suffering and horror to the syrian people, and more millions of displaced non salafi syrian, who will flee the imposition of a theocratic shariah regime. If the US attack Syria, this will be the end result.

September 5th, 2013, 6:39 pm


don said:

“To the leaders present, to each and every one, I make a heartfelt appeal for them to help find ways to overcome the conflicting positions and to lay aside the futile pursuit of a military solution.”

– Pope Francis

Pope Francis To G20: Syria Military Solution ‘Futile,’ Should Be Abandoned

n a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Pope Francis urged the Group of 20 leaders on Thursday to abandon the “futile pursuit” of a military solution in Syria as the Vatican laid out its case for a negotiated settlement that guarantees rights for all Syrians, including minority Christians.

In the letter to Putin, the G20 host, Francis lamented that “one-sided interests” had prevailed in Syria, preventing a diplomatic end to the conflict and allowing the continued “senseless massacre” of innocents.

“To the leaders present, to each and every one, I make a heartfelt appeal for them to help find ways to overcome the conflicting positions and to lay aside the futile pursuit of a military solution,” Francis wrote as the G-20 meeting got under way in St. Petersburg.


September 5th, 2013, 7:07 pm


Tara said:

It is funny that when  a non -Syrian reads that the speaker of the Syrian assembly sent a letter to his American counterpart, the House speaker, one might think that MPs, ministers, etc can or would do anything on their own.  No one except a Syrian understands how irrelevant big wigs in “Syria al Assad” are and how a low life Mukhabarat shabeeh can order all these “big wigs” around using his pinky finger.  It really is hard to describe and hard to comprehend.  One must live in Syria to know what that means.  When I read the word “counterpart”,  I feel pain sadness, and utter disgust.  There is no comparison…whatsoever.   

The speaker of the Syrian assembly has written a letter to US speaker John Boehner to ask him to oppose US strikes. It worked with the British parliament, speaker Mohammad Jihad al-Lahham asserts:

It is important to note that we have sent an explanatory letter regarding the situation in Syria to our colleagues at the British Parliament who took the responsibility to exhaust all avenues of diplomacy before involving their nation into war.

The letter invokes 9/11 to argue that the Assad regime is a natural ally of the United States. A section titled “Common facts” begins:

 “The main factor of 9/11 attacks was the hatred Wahhabi Jihadist Ideology adopted and financed by Saudis.”

It goes from there. Read it here.

On Tuesday, Boehner made a statement outside the White House calling for strikes.

“The use of these weapons has to be responded to, and only the U.S. has the capability,” he said. “I’m going to support the president’s call for action and I believe my colleagues should support this call for action.”

September 5th, 2013, 7:11 pm


revenire said:

Tara we can only have one queen at SC. Sorry.

September 5th, 2013, 7:21 pm


Ali said:


You’re a joke

Ali is Ameera
Ali is Rev
Ali is True
Ali is Amjad
Ali is Ghufran
Ali is Jad
Ali is Amjad
Ali is Don
Ali is Ziad
Ali is Joshua Landis
Ali is Imad Mustafa
Ali is Buthaina Shabaan
Ali is nightmare
Ali is God

September 5th, 2013, 7:27 pm


Tara said:


You and I know the truth. I just want you to think how could I possibly know?

September 5th, 2013, 7:30 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

Mr. Boehner refused to meet the Russian parliamentary team, we know what he will do with that letter.

Ali what are you going to study?

September 5th, 2013, 7:34 pm


Ali said:


“Ali what are you going to study?”

It’s a job interview for tutoring job for politics and international relation.

September 5th, 2013, 7:39 pm


Ali said:


“You and I know the truth”

C’mon don’t tell me he’s my son, I thought you were prepared!!

September 5th, 2013, 7:41 pm


Ali said:

Where are the Alawi kids who have been kidnapped by the terrorists from the mountain of Latakia?

September 5th, 2013, 7:45 pm


Tara said:


In reference to:


Brilliant! Love it.

Can you envisage a regular segment for Zoo on this show? I think he is an asset
that should be put to work,

September 5th, 2013, 7:58 pm


sf94123 said:

A branch of al-Qaeda fighting in the Syrian civil war has seized one of the few remaining villages where the original language of Christ is still spoken, residents say.

September 5th, 2013, 8:01 pm



it is not at all clear yet who set off the chemical attack outside Damascus last week,

Stopped reading after this B.S., which made all the rest a rotten pretzel. If one wants to be against military intervention so be it. One can motivate it by love for peace, can sing kumbayaa, or whatever, but to “sew” such an irresponsible, propagandist confusion of reality blows away the weave.

September 5th, 2013, 8:07 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

Feisal Miqdad said
هناك ملايين الأميركيين من أصول عربية بما فيها السورية ولا نريد حروبا مع الولايات المتحدة». وقال: «إذا ما اندلعت الحرب فإن أحدا لا يستطيع التحكم بما سيحصل»،
This is a threat, he is basically saying that Reverin and Zoo,and the other loyalists will cause trouble in USA,

September 5th, 2013, 8:08 pm


revenire said:

Majed I was told today that many names are on government lists for concentration camps. They said it was in the mountains and those arrested would be forced to watch Assad speeches over and over – like water-boarding but worse. I have no idea if it is true or not.

It’s probably just a rumor.

September 5th, 2013, 8:14 pm


zoo said:

Obama’s plan A is loosing momentum. Something dramatic must happen before 9th September, otherwise Obama must look for his plan B: Force the parties to negotiations without conditions
News Analysis: Sluggish support in U.S. Congress for Syria strike spells trouble for Obama
Sep 06,2013

WASHINGTON, Sept. 5 (Xinhua) — Support for authorizing a military strike against Syria didn’t pick up in U.S. Congress Thursday, which could mean trouble for the Obama administration as it would need to spend more time and precious political capital to cajole the undecided lawmakers, as well as the American public, to its side, experts say.

The problem even began to emerge on Wednesday, as the Senate Foreign Relations Committee delayed their public mark up of the authorization resolution for over three hours, and passed it 10-7 only after it satisfied Sen. John McCain by adding language to change momentum on the ground. But the vote tally showed bipartisan support as well as bipartisan opposition, indicating Congress’ fractured state of opinion on the Syria issue.

Vote counts made by the press testifies to the point. CNN said the Senate, which is expected to vote on the resolution next week, has 24 yes votes, including the Democratic leadership and most committee chairs, and 17 no votes, with 59 still undecided. It is believed that if opponents resort to filibuster, Majority Leader Harry Reid may need to muster a supermajority of 60 votes to overcome them.

In the House, where all seats are to be contested in the election next year, there are only 26 yes votes, including both parties’ leadership. There are 102 no votes, 284 undecideds and 21 unknown as of Thursday afternoon, according to the CNN. A vote count by The Washington Post yields similar results.

September 5th, 2013, 8:30 pm



We should start a campaign to condemn the letter and its content not only by Syrian Americans but by all Arab Americans. This irresponsible criminal is placing all Arab Americans as suspects and potentially disloyal to their country. If ADC does not take action to condemn this letter, it would be high time to fully shun them and castigate them and to start forming a new organization that has no connection, whatsoever, to Arab Dictators. Time for us to grow up beyond these bozos.

But it is a good thing. I hope that this threat gets read during the house deliberation. Bullies like that elicit so much “contempt” to their cause since we Americans really detest and despise those threatening us like that.

September 5th, 2013, 8:32 pm


Afram said:

Test,,,, Fish >>>)))))0>

September 5th, 2013, 8:34 pm


zoo said:


You seem to share with some the ‘american sense of humor’.
I have not lived enough in the USA to become unable to differentiate humor from ridicule.

September 5th, 2013, 8:36 pm


revenire said:

Hamster there are already American terrorists in jail for going to Syria to fight with your Al-Qaeda friends.

September 5th, 2013, 8:37 pm



someone throw a stick for the troll to chase after, better a rotten stick.

September 5th, 2013, 8:40 pm


Afram said:

Finding a true democrat in the “Syrian Opposition” is like finding a needle in a hay stack. I long for the days when the USA was the backbone of the fight against tyranny and fascism. The Arsenal of Democracy, in the days of FDR, has lost its vision it seems, Now we see the US administration becoming the guardian of the backwardness and midieval barbarity in the middle east, simply to ensure its energy investments. If one wants to rid someone of a ” lung infection” , it is stupid to offer “lung Cancer” as a cure.

Who voted for the Cannibals,the people who are on the menu?

September 5th, 2013, 8:42 pm


zoo said:

McCain Faces Opposition to Syria Intervention at Arizona Town Halls

The individual heard applause from the crowd when he suggested the U.S. should wait until after United Nations weapons inspectors complete their report.

“Who stood to gain by this chemical weapons attack? It wasn’t Syria, they were winning the war. It was the rebels or the United States that supported them,” the constituent said. “So, I think we should wait for the United Nations to come back with their report on that.”

In Phoenix
McCain faced an emotional plea from an attendee who was from Syria, a woman KTAR radio identified as Jumana Hadeed. She said she considered herself a longtime McCain supporter.
“I have a cousin who is 18 years old, just was killed 10 days ago by the so-called rebels and Al Qaeda, and they’re not Syrian. They’re coming to Syria from all over the world to fight this. We cannot afford to do that. We cannot afford to turn Syria into another Iraq or Afghanistan. I beg you,” Hadeed said.

“It is not a nation that will embrace these foreign fighters, but to say that Bashar Assad is anything but a merciless butcher, then we have a strong disagreement.”

September 5th, 2013, 9:08 pm


Afram said:

In Iraq, it was the coalition of the willing. Now, The coalition of the BANKRUPT? Wake up, no westerner is going to approve sending his kids in harm’s way for the sake of establishing BEARD STAN in Syria. The beards can depend only on Kharadawi and those who followhim. PS I hear syrian defenses can shoot flying carpets too!!!!!

Bad news for the GCC, the Syrian People, and a growing tide of arabs all over, ARE NOT NOSTALGIC about the DARK AGES

Good riddance to bad rubbish. the world is watching the demise of Beard-stan. Come join the syrian Shave – in. Long live Gillette.

September 5th, 2013, 9:14 pm


zoo said:

24. revenire said:

“There are already American terrorists in jail for going to Syria to fight with your Al-Qaeda friends.”

I doubt the US cares about Americans who are openly Bashar al Assad sympathizers, they don’t represent a threat to national security.
But the USA does not kid with more discreet Islamist terrorists sympathizers. They are been certainly watched. The USA won’t take any chance if they want to avoid another 9/11.

September 5th, 2013, 9:15 pm


Ghufran said:

The clearest blow to U.S. coalition-building at the summit came from the leaders of the European Union. In a briefing on Thursday afternoon, the chairman of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, said the Syrian conflict was a “stain on the world’s conscience,” but stressed that the EU believes in a “political solution” to the crisis. Standing beside him, EU President Herman van Rompuy drove this point home. “There is no military solution to the Syrian conflict. Only a political solution can end the terrible bloodshed,” he said. Of all EU members, he added, “only France is ready to cooperate” with the U.S. on a military strike. So Europe’s joint statement at the G20 would urge the U.N. Security Council to deal with the crisis politically, he said, echoing a point that Putin has long been making. (The U.S. insists that its proposed military action is not aimed at ending the war, but, rather, aimed at undermining Assad’s ability to deploy chemical weapons.)

Read more: http://world.time.com/2013/09/05/at-the-g20-obamas-syria-efforts-take-a-hit-as-putin-gains-support/#ixzz2e4Sk3NIr

September 5th, 2013, 9:17 pm


Tara said:

When I read that a Syrian American called Senator McCain and argued against the strike, I develop an overwhelming feeling of guilt and inadequacy that I am not doing enough. I feel that I wasting my life and my ability on non-sense..

America must stop the dictator killing and gassing his people. For life, For children, For humanity, and for God. ..

September 5th, 2013, 9:19 pm


zoo said:

Ban Ki Moon: “There is no military solution”
UN Chief Speaks at G20 Dinner for Peaceful Syria Solution

[ 06 September 2013 05:42 ]

Baku-APA. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon reiterated addressing the participants of the G20 summit in St. Petersburg that the ongoing conflict in Syria must be settled diplomatically and weapons must not be supplied to any conflict side, APA reports quoting RIA Novosti.

“Providing more arms to either side is not the answer. There is no military solution,” the UN chief said at a working dinner that capped the first day of the summit.
Ban Ki-moon once again said that any outside military intervention in the Syrian conflict is impossible without the consent of the UN Security Council and stressed the need for holding Geneva-2 talks initiated by Russia and the United States.

September 5th, 2013, 9:23 pm


zoo said:

Congressman Dennis Kucinich from Ohio has compiled this exhaustive and detailed list of claims that form the base for requesting military actions

Top 10 Unproven Claims for War Against Syria


Claim #1. The administration claims a chemical weapon was used.

The UN inspectors are still completing their independent evaluation.
Claim #2: The administration claims the opposition has not used chemical weapons.

Which opposition?

Claim #3: The administration claims chemical weapons were used because the regime’s conventional weapons were insufficient

Who is responsible for the conjecture that the reason chemical weapons were used against the Damascus suburbs is that Assad’s conventional weapons were insufficient to secure “large portions of Damascus”?

Claim #4: The administration claims to have intelligence relating to the mixing of chemical weapons by regime elements

Who saw the chemical weapons being mixed from August 18th on?

Claim #5: The administration claims intelligence that Assad’s brother ordered the attack

What is the type of and source of intelligence which alleges that Assad’s brother personally ordered the attack?

Claim #6: The administration claims poison gas was released in a rocket attack

Who was tracking the rocket and the artillery attack which preceded the poison gas release?

Claim #7: The administration claims 1,429 people died in the attack

Secretary Kerry claimed 1,429 deaths, including 426 children. From whom did that number first originate?

Claim #8: The administration has made repeated references to videos and photos of the attack as a basis for military action against Syria

When and where were the videos taken of the aftermath of the poison gas attack?

Claim #9: The administration claims a key intercept proves the Assad regime’s complicity in the chemical weapons attack
Will you release the original transcripts in the language in which it was recorded as well as the translations relied upon to determine the nature of the conversation allegedly intercepted?

Claim #10: The administration claims that sustained shelling occurred after the chemical weapons attack in order to cover up the traces of the attack

Please release all intelligence and military assessments as to the reason for the sustained shelling, which is reported to have occurred after the chemical weapons attack.

September 5th, 2013, 9:35 pm


Tara said:

Ban isياأهبل يا عم بيستهبل

The political solution can not happen without Assad stepping down. Assad is stuck to the chair and he ain’t gonna step down. It logically follows that Assad must be forced to negotiate his exit. Assad will only be forced to do so when the US and allies use sheer military force to change the balance of power on the ground. Assad stepping down will then pave the way to political solution. Where is the difficulty understanding this?

September 5th, 2013, 9:41 pm


Rancher said:

“The Arsenal of Democracy, in the days of FDR”

We ignored Spain, Italy, Germany, and Japan until Pearl Harbor…

September 5th, 2013, 9:43 pm


Ghufran said:

The Telegraph:

The US Congress could take another two weeks before voting on whether to authorise the use of force in Syria, senior members and White House officials now say, further delaying possible US military action.

September 5th, 2013, 9:44 pm


zoo said:


Whatever the Congress vote is, and I think it will be a NO, Obama will send back the issue to the UNSC. He just can’t do it only with France and Turkey and against the will of the americans, that would be “obscene”.

There will be a vote on a resolution binding all countries to stop any military support and to bring the two parties at the negotiating table, without any conditions. A time frame will be set up to follow up weekly the progress.
China and Russia will go along with it. The resolution will be voted despite France.

September 5th, 2013, 9:47 pm


Rancher said:


If the majority of the radical anti-west Jihadists are foreigners how likely are they to dominate a post Assad government?

September 5th, 2013, 9:49 pm


zoo said:

38. Rancher said:

“If the majority of the radical anti-west Jihadists are foreigners how likely are they to dominate a post Assad government?”

The jihadists want a Islamic Caliphate embracing Iraq and Syria and all Moslems, Arabs or foreigners.

September 5th, 2013, 9:55 pm


Ghufran said:

We can not put the word Islamists ( radical) and government in one sentence , and that is exactly the problem, those Talibani thugs do not recognize elections or governments.
Those who let them in, especially turkey, and who financed them, the GCC, have one objective in mind: domination of Syria by armed militias and Takfiri sheikhs who pledge allegiance to their foreign masters. The opposition shot itself in the foot and the main beneficiary is the regime which is now telling Syrians and the world it is either us or them.
That leaves millions of Syrians without a vote, most Syrians are not happy with either choice but if they have to choose, and I hope they are not forced to make that choice, they will choose the regime with or without Assad.

September 5th, 2013, 10:15 pm


Rancher said:

Zoo, Syria isn’t as Islamist as Egypt and even Egypt rejected a Muslim Brotherhood takeover, even after electing them! The jihadist may want what they want but they can’t impose their will on 23 million Syrians.

September 5th, 2013, 10:20 pm


Rancher said:

GHUFRAN has touched on something that might be negotiable. Are there elements among the ‘Alawis that could lead a transitional government that might overthrow Assad? That would set up the ‘Alawis for something other than total destruction. Would Syrians accept Assad being allowed exile?

September 5th, 2013, 10:27 pm


Rancher said:

“But the USA does not kid with more discreet Islamist terrorists sympathizers. They are been certainly watched.”

Yeah, like the Tsarnaev brothers were watched?

September 5th, 2013, 10:36 pm


zoo said:

42. Rancher

Unless there is a strong military force to prevent the Islamists from taking full power of the country, they may very well take it. Then they will impose their version of Islam like they did in Al Raqqa by the force of their weapons.

This is why the USA has a problem because they want to preserve the SAA capability to fight the expansion of Al Qaeda as they know that the FSA is heavily polluted by Islamist sympathizers and is too weak to oppose any resistance to AlQaeda, with or without foreign weapons.

Of course like in Egypt, on medium term, the Syrians will resist and revolt against the Islamists but without a solid army (the Syrian army would have collapsed with the fall of the Syrian government), it may take years of internal fights to get rid of them. ( Algeria with a strong army took two decades to get rid of them)
As the West does no want to send ‘boots’ in Syria, they have no solution to prevent Al Qaeda to take over the region other than supporting the Syrian army and therefore tolerating and containing the Syrian regime… That’s my opinion.

September 5th, 2013, 10:39 pm


zoo said:

44 Rancher

Maybe… who knows?

September 5th, 2013, 10:42 pm


Ghufran said:

43. RANCHER said:

GHUFRAN has touched on something that might be negotiable. Are there elements among the ‘Alawis that could lead a transitional government that might overthrow Assad? That would set up the ‘Alawis for something other than total destruction. Would Syrians accept Assad being allowed exile?

Assad and his dad put every dissident in prison or forced him/ her out of the country, the ruling junta did that to make sure that the only available alternative to them is the Islamists knowing very well that most Syrians are moderate and do not want an Islamist state. This is why drug dealers and thugs have a better chance of receiving a presidential pardon than political prisoners. scores of alawites were sent to prison since 1970, the latest is dr AA Alkhayyer. However, Assad- Makhlouf dynasty has no future, Syrians had enough.

September 5th, 2013, 10:56 pm


revenire said:

At the G20, Obama’s Syria Efforts Take a Hit as Putin Gains Support

A great victory for President Assad and Syria is coming.

Death to the enemies of Syria! Long live the heroes of the SAA!

September 5th, 2013, 10:56 pm


Heads-up said:

This is a special heads up for Rancher. It will be the one and only such heads up and then the Rancher can take carr of the Ranch.

Listen pal, you’re dealing with the most duplicitous bunch of online fabricators who are well trained in the ‘art’ of telling half truths and distorting facts. They can make you see black as white and white as black with complete sheepish nods from your side. On top of that these are unabashed supporters apologists of the most criminal pervert individual and regime of recent times. They will hestitate at nothing to justify murders of the worst kind, the like of which the world never witnessed since 1930-1945. The so-called terrorists you refer to pale in comparison to what these would do. If they actually live in the US,they are the greatest danger to the security of the country and all that it stands for.

Unless you have deeper understanding of the area in question, I suggest you take care of the ranch until you acquire the necessary tools.

This is a one time advice as pointed above, as we do ‘t usually pay attention to idle pursuits.

September 5th, 2013, 10:57 pm


Syrian said:

As Tara said there will be no political solution with chemical Assad around.strike or no strike, Putin and the pope can spin all they want, after 200 thousands killed, the Syrian majority will not accept power sharing arrangement that will give them the ministry of agriculture and tourism while the minorities keeps the defense ministry and the presidency.
Same as Russia sold out the slavic serbian slobodan milosevicl to the Huage after he became useless Chemical Assad will end up at the Hague no matter how much time it take, the sooner the minorities realize that no peace will ever come as long as chemical Assad around the sooner this war will end.

September 5th, 2013, 10:58 pm


revenire said:

Rancher most Syrians support President Assad. Don’t believe the lies your American media tells you!

September 5th, 2013, 11:00 pm


revenire said:

I love how the Pope, Putin, the Chinese, most of the population of America and the UK are for Syria and against Obama.

I knew things would go Syria’s way. God is with Syria.

Only devils want to murder Syrian babies with missiles.

September 5th, 2013, 11:11 pm


sf94123 said:

What Should The US Do On Syria? – Analysis
September 6, 2013

For the US to act as part of the international community and through the UN, it must commit itself in this particular case – and in general – to a diplomatic strategy of building common perceptions and sharing understandings. Read more:

September 5th, 2013, 11:22 pm


Ghufran said:

Jodi Rudoren- NY Times is 2,5 years late in discovering this ” fact”:

Israeli officials have consistently made the case that enforcing Mr. Obama’s narrow “red line” on Syria is essential to halting the nuclear ambitions of Israel’s archenemy, Iran. More quietly, Israelis have increasingly argued that the best outcome for Syria’s two-and-a-half-year-old civil war, at least for the moment, is no outcome.
For Jerusalem, the status quo, horrific as it may be from a humanitarian perspective, seems preferable to either a victory by Mr. Assad’s government and his Iranian backers or a strengthening of rebel groups, increasingly dominated by Sunni jihadis.

September 5th, 2013, 11:37 pm


sf94123 said:

A graveyard shift is already started! Someone is very desperate playing with the thump up and thump down.. SH is working hard on SC-He manages an army of savvy Sunni jihadis in Turkey and Qatar. Good paying job!

September 5th, 2013, 11:41 pm


Ghufran said:

It is amazing that some of you are disappointed that Syria may either evade a US led war or at least not receive the destruction GCC lovers want, one poster is back at his favorite sport playing with thumbs up and thumbs down since there is not much left to say.
Since the will of most Syrians does not matter nowadays, we should spend our energy in finding ways to help the victims of this war instead of defending Assad or the rebels.

September 6th, 2013, 12:14 am


majedkhaldoun said:

Zoo said
“I doubt the US cares about Americans who are openly Bashar al Assad sympathizers, they don’t represent a threat to national security”
Not after miqdad statement.
I see that Assad lovers here on SC are extremely entheusiastic about Assad, they are willing to sacrifice their blood for Assad sake.
They must be watched carefully

September 6th, 2013, 12:39 am


ghufran said:

This is really strange:
قامت “كتائب الفاروق” مؤخرا بطباعة صورة الرئيس العراقي السابق صدام حسين على كافة سياراتها القتالية، مع إضافة عبارتي ” زعيم العرب ..القائد صدام حسين”. وشوهدت سيارات المجموعة المشار إليها، وهي أقدم مجموعة مسلحة تأسست تحت اسم “الجيش الحر”، تجوب مناطق ريف حمص
so, it is either Bashar’s picture, Saddam’s or the black Nusra flag ?

September 6th, 2013, 12:47 am


apple_mini said:

It seems a quiet day. No major news or development. But underneath current is reversing.

Just several days ago Obama and Kerry made a momentum to push for military strike with the help of those top brass law makers. It is dissipating fast. Overwhelmingly people express their repulsion for another war no matter how the administration has been tailoring it. Congressman who supports the resolution is facing warning from their constituents.

As we have guessed Obama is still not liked on the other side of political arena. I have confidence to predict the house will NOT pass it.

Whether Obama will still go for the strike without congressional approval, it is his call.

Those Syrian expats who are calling for strike. I challenge you to put a sign in your front yard to express your support for military operation as a Syrian.

September 6th, 2013, 11:43 am


mangish said:

I love how the Pope, Putin, the Chinese, most of the population of America and the UK are for Syria and against Obama.

I knew things would go Syria’s way. God is with Syria.

Only devils want to murder Syrian babies with missiles.

September 8th, 2013, 12:48 pm


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