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Discussion in 'OT (OFF Topic) Forums' started by MancMike, Jul 5, 2017.
Some things you may not have known.
I learned some things.
TG actually drove through Syria in 2010... if you want to see what it looked like before the war:
Thought provoking reading Mike. And to think just how many people worldwide seem to have little or no empathy.
I worked with a Syrian chap for a couple of years until recently in the same team.
There's no doubting what is going on and the impact it has had, and when I think of Syria, I think of the kind of pictures shown in the slideshow above as I know no different. In particular those little girls making their cloth dolls really struck a chord. I can't imagine what it must be like at any age to live in a war-torn country, but in particular at that age.
However, this portrayal of Syria both in the above and in news etc. really annoyed this guy mainly because most of Syria is not like that, even though it is made out to look like the majority, if not all of it is like that.
Not everything that is told to us is the truth. There are other agendas at work, we should always ask by double checking.
Read an amazing report about Syria recently.
It basically shows how the media is misreporting Assad as being the bad guy - especially regarding civilian casualties in places like Aleppo.
It showed that organisations like the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights are actually run and funded by the regime opposition and therefore exaggerate and misrepresent what is happening.
Many of the "civilian" casualties are simply the families of rebel fighters who choose (or are forced) to remain with their fighting husbands - rather than "normal" families and unarmed combatants - who have moved or fled to other areas of Syria or outside the country.
That's not to say civilian casualties from any sides are acceptable - simply that things are not all they sometimes seem.
Living in Abu Dhabi I interact with Syrians on a daily basis - and they are thoroughly decent bunch of people.
Well you'd know about some of those super smart Iranians too then Steve.
Frankly you will never get to the bottom of the truth in the middle east by getting your information from the press for it is nothing more than story telling to fill the advertisement gaps.
You tend to nut that out after about 6 months living away, then trying to convince your homebodies otherwise is a real eye opener to human ignorance.
Didn't the current conflict have a lot of it's roots in the Arab spring which Obama had happen on his watch - still, Trump is bad, Obama was good.
Lots of reasons for the Arab Spring which was indeed characterised to a large extent by a lack of direct inteference by the USA -for a change.
Numerous factors led to the protests, including issues such as dictatorship or absolute monarchy, human rights violations, political corruption, economic decline, unemployment, extreme poverty, and a number of demographic structural factors, such as a large percentage of educated but dissatisfied youth within the entire population. Catalysts for the revolts in all Northern African and Persian Gulf countries included the concentration of wealth in the hands of autocrats in power for decades, insufficient transparency of its redistribution, corruption, and especially the refusal of the youth to accept the status quo. Also attention has been focused on the role of social media and digital technologies in allowing citizens within areas affected by 'the Arab Uprisings' as a means for collective activism to circumvent state-operated media channels*.
While leadership changed and regimes were held accountable, power vacuums opened across the Arab world. Ultimately it came down to a contentious battle between a consolidation of power by religious elites and the growing support for democracy in many Muslim-majority states. The early hopes that these popular movements would end corruption, increase political participation, and bring about greater economic equity quickly collapsed in the wake of the counterrevolutionary moves of the deep state in Egypt, the regional and international interventions in Bahrain and Yemen, and the destructive civil wars in Syria and Libya.
The Western democracies role in all this remains questionable in so far as we seemed content to overlook the non democratic regimes in these countries for many years despite them often manifesting as the majority of the population being controlled by a powerfull minority based on tribal/religeous/ military elites --- stability by oppression was OK provided it was in our economic interest especially with respect to oil or trade.
* its useful to remember that that the Iranian revolution led by Ayatollah Khomeini is known as the cassette recorder revolution
I think that it would be fair to say that while Assad is no doubt a brutal dictator and responsible for many human rights abuses, he is no different in essence to most Arab regimes, including those with whom we have close ties.
Said that, what articles like the one in the OP are trying to say is not that Assad is a kind good man, but that the people living in countries under oppresive regimes are... just normal people.
Like many of you, I know socially and work with Syrians, both Suni and Shiites, and not surprisingly they are... just normal people. And they led a normal life in pre-war Syria...
The conflict in Syria has its roots in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. It de-stabilised the entire region and created the conditions that enabled ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) to flourish.
Bush and Blair are bad....
Frankly I think most are MJ my feeling is that a lot of this trouble is pushed by just a few, who tend to hide behind religion.
SF you could wind the clock back further than that endlessly to find a root cause but the Arab spring goes down in my mind as a new type of approach to the age old American problem of how do we wrestle control in the region as an alternative to the Iraq invasions.
In any case it is bad enough that places like Palmyra are damaged let alone having the people caught up in all this being in pain, day after day. Can you honestly imagine being permanently hungry, with half your leg missing, infected while most of your family have moved on - it's just awful to think of the cold hard reality these people are going through, year after year.
It's always our fault or the fault of the US.
Do nothing: 'you looked on while something bad happened ... your fault'
Do something: 'you interfered and caused something bad to happen ... your fault'.
The rule of law tends to work well in the west because people typically don't assume that there is an obligation to bend the rules or the representation of the truth on behalf of others of their family / clan / overseer / tribe / ethnic group / sect.
If you want an analogy then think about a car accident and road incidents and the way individuals will twist the perspective and truth and justify themselves.
My jaded observation is that the type of mindset that we see there works not just at individual level but in wider groups and communities. Self or group interest reaches a priority that subverts the objective rules and institutionalised decision making.
In 1997 Serbia was doing nasty things to Kosovans. If this had been in the ME then there would have been tacit support for one side or the other based on what community you related to by religion or ethnicity.
However it didn't happen in the ME. It happened in the west. The west bombed Serbia. There was no community identity used to subvert the rights and wrongs. People in the west generally didn't brush the ethnic cleansing under the carpet and go into denial about the crimes being committed. The UK was prepared to spill its own blood to end it.
The reality is that we get critically hammered in the west and yet it's just about the only cultural region of the world which will sometimes actually go against the type of self interests that other cultures and regions would naturally exploit.
Perfect we are certainly not. But we are not nearly as imperfect as some our critics make out.
^ Well said
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Blair pointed-out in his defence (on several occasions) that Arab dictatorial regimes have imploded all around the ME on their own accord and without any Western invasion.... Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, etc - and on balance this is what would have likely happened in Iraq if Saddam was still in power when the so-called Arab Spring broke out. And he does have a point.
Blair has many opponents, and him and Bush are regularity made scapegoats for the mess in the ME - but to the impartial observer it is not at all obvious that this is indeed the case.
This is not to say that the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq was justified or good.... just that it can't really be blamed for all of the ME's current maladies. Most of these would have happened anyway - the ME has always been a troubled region.
Personally I think that the role that the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq played in brining about the current instability is often exaggerated. The previous 'stability' was very fragile and countries were only held together by oppression.
I swear I could post a picture of a bunch of grapes on this forum and it'd only be 5 posts before we're talking about politicians. :bannana:
I blame Thatcher.
That's because they seem to be the root of all evil
Them and religious leaders!
Whilst the region may be inherently unstable, we can never know what would have happened had the 2003 invasion not taken place nor to what extent our role in the current conflict and resultant instability may be exaggerated.
However, we do know that the invasion was the catalyst for a whole host of problems in the region that allowed the likes of ISIS to flourish. They allied with al-Qaeda to fight Western forces in the post-invasion insurgency, grew in strength and were able to spread over the border into eastern Syria and have held Mosul in southern Iraq for over three years.
Under Saddam, life was predictable and if you didn't cause problems you'd probably be OK. Now, there are sectarian and tribal shootings and bombings on a daily basis that kill dozens indiscriminately. Sometimes, oppression is better than a brutal civil war that seems to have no end.
There are daily occurrences around the ME that go largely unreported in mainstream Western media, e.g. this is from earlier today:
It's a troubled region.... the 2003 invasion didn't help, but I don't think it made much difference to the long term outcome.