Wednesday, September 04, 2013

The Syrian war

According to a new Rand study, getting rid of Assad's CW stockpile will be nigh-impossible without the proverbial "boots on the ground."
The study warns of “substantial” collateral damage if the U.S. attempts to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons, arguing that locating and striking the relevant facilities would require “very precise and detailed intelligence.” It concludes that the prospects for scrapping Syria’s chemical weapons via air strikes alone “do not appear promising” and “would require ground forces” in order to have a realistic chance at success.
I live not too far from Edgewood, where I understand that 1625 tons of chemical weapons are stored. If an air strike "took out" that facility, what would happen to the environment in my area?

The Rand report makes clear that war in Syria means war. This isn't going to be like what happened in the former Yugoslavia.

Meanwhile, AIPAC is pushing for American troops to do what Israelis don't want the IDF to do...
The word “Israel” appears nowhere in the text of the statement, underscoring by omission the worry pro-Israel groups in the United States have about framing retaliatory strikes in a way that makes it look like Israel is pushing for an attack on Syria for its own interests.
Which is, in fact, precisely what is going on.
“America’s allies and adversaries are closely watching the outcome of this momentous vote. This critical decision comes at a time when Iran is racing toward obtaining nuclear capability,” AIPAC wrote.
AIPAC seems more concerned about Iran than about Syria. But, as I've said for a while now, Iran is the real target here.

And when I say that this is really all about Iran, I mean it's really really all about Hezbollah, funded by Iran. (Oddly, Israel itself unwittingly created Hezbollah when it first invaded Lebanon. Actions have consequences. Invasion creates militarism -- and the threat of invasion creates military alliances.)

And when I say that this is really all about Hezbollah, I mean that this is really, really, really all about Lebanon. That's where the Israelis got their asses kicked by Hezbollah forces during the 2006 invasion. I don't think the Israelis want to go up against Hezbollah again.

And when I say that this is about Lebanon, I'm not really talking about the territory of that country. What this really, really, really, really comes down to is water.

Water.

Israel needs it to survive. But Israel does not have its own reliable supply. Lebanon does.

I explain the situation in this earlier post...
Few Americans understand this, because few Americans can imagine living in a region where the demand for water exceeds supply. But this natural resource has long been at the real root of Israeli/Lebanese conflict. As this report notes:
Almost half of the water currently used in Israel is captured, diverted or preempted from its neighbors." This is understandable, given water can be described as "Israel's vulnerable and fragile source of life.
Moreover:
Today, in 2006, Israel lives with increasing water shortages and a rapidly decreasing supply of fresh water. The river Jordan may run dry within the next two years, because of the vast amount of water being drawn from the river by the people living in the area.
(Emphasis added.) From a brief -- yet monumentally important -- 2002 New York Times story:
Senior officials from the United States Embassy in Beirut met Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri to try to defuse a dispute with Israel over Lebanon's plans to use water both countries say they need. Israel has said it takes a "grave view" of Lebanon's plan to pipe water to southern villages from the Wazzani Springs, three miles north of the Israeli border. The springs feed the Hasbani River, a tributary of the Jordan River, which is a major source of Israel's fresh water. Lebanon says that it is within its rights under international law and that it plans to open a pumping station soon.
Few in the West now recalls that in 2002, Uri Saguy -- head of the Israeli water suppply, as well as the former head of Israeli military intelligence -- warned that "war or forceful confrontation" would result if Lebanon continued to access its own water. (This, despite the fact that the Lebanese had already allowed the bully to the south to install pumps at the Springs.) See also this story in the Christian Science Monitor.
I would thus argue that, in a very roundabout way, Israel's upcoming proxy war with Syria (with us as the proxies) may be considered the first of the great water wars. The IDF can't steal Lebanon's water unless the Hezbollah/Iran/Syria alliance has first been broken.

There will be many such wars in the future, all over the globe. There will be all sorts of ginned-up rationales for these conflicts, because no-one will want to come right out and say that they are going to war in order to grab someone else's water. I don't believe that Israel differs from other countries -- I just happen to have a very cynical view of people and nations in general. So don't go accusing me of anti-Semitism for offering this analysis.

By the way, let's look at another section from that earlier Cannonfire post. This excerpt illustrates the hypocrisy of the current allegations that Assad has used chemical weapons:
Worse still: We have growing indications of Israeli chemical warfare. Bachir Cham, a Belgian/Lebanese doctor who runs a hospital in Lebanon, offers this report:
"The bodies don't look like they normally do. After an explosion there were no traces of blood loss or subcutaneous haemorrhages [bruises]," Cham said via mobile phone direct from Beirut.

"The hair and sometimes the beard and the moustache remained intact. I found no traces of the pressure wave by the explosion. The colour of the skin was black like a shoe, but the skin was not carbonised or burnt."
Let me guess. Cham must be an anti-Semite, right? Here is more information about Dr. Cham, and here is his YouTube channel. He seems like a reasonable person to me.

Of course, it's pretty hypocritical for us to criticize Assad for storing chemical weapons. I mentioned Edgewood earlier, didn't I? Although the U.S. has a "no first use" policy, how long would that policy last if the government faced a threat to its existence?
Comments:
Water, of course.

The Bushes and the Moons already purchased huge retreats in South America near one of the world's largest aquifers....
 
It's interesting that you brought up the water issue. I recall reading a study a good 5 years ago [think it was written by one of the military branches] that the time would come--sooner rather than later--when water would replace oil in the coming global scramble. Looks as if that day is approaching.

Climate change is definitely going to have an effect in all this. I understand in the ME Turkey is the best situated and that Israel has gone to lengths to conserve, desalinate and use sewage purification to address some of the issues. Also read that the areas in Syria that were the first to come under 'rebel' control and sympathies were the areas with water shortages. There's also the population explosion in the ME to consider, making these shortages all the more critical.

The US certainly isn't immune. There are several small Texas towns left high and dry by fracking companies. Even farmers and ranchers in places like Kansas and Nebraska admit that aquifer levels are low and will be depleted in another generation.

It's a mess made no better with the ongoing reports of transnationals buying up what water is left. That's been going on for a number of years.

I guess the only thing we can be sure of is that there is no end of problems.

The other troubling thing I find about the current plan is our own military opposes it. Dempsey has made himself clear about the dangers of intervention and VetsVote.org has come out formally in opposition.

It's a mess and the unintended consequences could pitch us and the Middle East into a nightmare.

Peggysue
 
"I live not too far from Edgewood, where I understand that 1625 tons of chemical weapons are stored"

Joseph: The deadline (UN) for eliminating all CW was April 2012. As of last counting, the US had only destroyed 90% of stockpile. If your numbers are correct currently, you need to call.

Ben
 
Ben, I got my number from a website controlled by the Federation of American Scientists. Now that I've looked into the mater more carefully, they may have gotten their number from a GAO report that is not up to date.

But they still do research into CBW at Edgewood. (Defensive research, of course.) So I still think that an air strike on that facility would make life uncomfortable for those living nearby.

I mention this to illustrate the point that the same principle would apply in Syria.


 
"I mention this to illustrate the point that the same principle would apply in Syria."

Hence the insidious nature of CW whose imprecise range and unpredictability makes it less acceptable than the precision of conventional ordnance. It always sounds better that way, and gives some optimistic spins on filed stories. :)

Ben

 
Joseph. I warned my friends in Massachusetts they needed to call their reps. I think they imagine they're immune from bad war votes.

Behold Markey, voting "present" like his mentor Obomba!

The Senate, dominated by Dems, is rushing behind closed doors to OK the war plans ahead of congress!

it's all on Daily Beast. What fresh hell is this?

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/09/04/senate-breaks-own-rules-in-rush-to-vote-on-syria-war.html

 
Mr. Cannon,

I fear you have moved from merely paranoid into outright insanity. The link you provided says that Dr. Cham thought Israel used chemical weapons and sent samples to be tested. I have found no results of those samples. If Israel had used chemical weapons in 2006, there is a pretty good chance that somebody, somewhere would have found actual evidence of those chemical weapons. Apparently in Cannonland the absence of evidence is proof of guilt, but in the real world absence of evidence is an indication of innocence. In 2006, there were various opinions of who won the the Israeli-Hizbollah war. The general consensus was that it was a draw. In retrospect, it is clear that Israel achieved its goal of a quiet front with Lebanon. If Hizbollah had won, you might expect its leader, Nasrollah, to appear IN PUBLIC and say he won. Nasrollah has lived in hiding since the war and rarely appears in public. When Israel launched its Operation Cast Lead, Hizbollah did nothing. That is not the action of actual winners of a war. In fact, Hizbollah lost more fighters, lost more material and lost more territory to Israel. The only reason Israel pulled back was international pressure, which included leaving international peacekeepers in Lebanon. And the worthless piece of shit that is Nasrollah calls this a victory? Say what you will about Custer, but he LED his soldiers into battle. His cry at Gettysburg was, “Let’s go, you Wolverines,” not “You go, you Wolverines.” Nasrollah is fully prepared to send his foolish, young fighters into battle to kill all the Jews, but his gutlessness is afraid to live a public life. By the way, you are absolutely right that water is the real coin of the realm. We can live without oil, we can only go about three days without water. I’m sure you know that Israel is one of the leading countries in proper water usage and desalination technology.
 
small j -- that's your name here -- YOU'RE the one who has gone nuts.

There's a lot of evidence that Israel has used chemical weaponry. There's this thing called Google you might want to look into. Just type in the words "Has Israel used chemical weapons?" And get out of the mentality that the accusation is baseless unless the accused cop to it.

And let's not even talk about phosporous munitions. Frankly, I'd rather face sarin. Every sane person agrees that Israel uses these weapons intentionally against human beings. If you cannot bring yourself to admit that proven fact, you are forevermore forbidden from speaking here.

Pretty much everyone agrees that the IDF got a hiding in 2006. Christ, even the wildly pro-Israel cyber rag World Net Daily admitted it. If you can't, you're wacky. Even the Winograd Commission pretty much admitted a loss. Even Dubya, whose prnouncements were downright hallucinatory, nevertheless complained of the IDF' "shakey" performance.

On the other hand, loons like Dennis Prager do say that Israel didn't lose. He also says that America "won" the Iraq war, which he thinks was justified.

Nice company you keep, small j.

And I notice that even you can say nothing to contradict my main thesis that these wars are all about Israel's designs on Lebanon's water. Once you understand that Israel needs water and Lebanon controls the spigot, many mysteries stop being mysterious.

Desalination will probably one day provide much of the water for that part of the world but there are plenty of attendant problems -- cost, pollution, environmental damage. Also, it occurs to me that a desalination plant is a greater security risk than is a river or a lake. You can sabotage an industrial facility.

Anyways, small j, you may not yet be aware of my policy: Every time I receive a bullshit comment from an Israel Firster, I make an effort to publish an unwelcome truth about Israel. I was GOING to write something about a matter unrelated to the Middle East -- but you forced my hand!

(That policy went into effect when the "megaphone" crew targeted this humble blog some years back. Solved the problem!)
 
Actually, Joseph, it's looking a lot more like our "friends" Saudi Arabia and Qatar are up to their eyeballs in this:

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/earth-insight/2013/aug/30/syria-chemical-attack-war-intervention-oil-gas-energy-pipelines

And Kerry did say in his testimony yesterday that "friendly Arab" regimes offered to foot the entire bill for the attack.
 
Post a Comment

<< Home


This page is 

powered by Blogger. 

Isn't yours?






























FeedWind












FeedWind