Join 3,363 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


"For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for President Assad to step aside."
August 18, 2011 8:40 AM   Subscribe

Obama calls on Assad to step down. The US and EU announce sanctions on Assad's regime. The New York Times looks at the resistence in Homs. Al Jazeera has an ongoing Syrian Live blog. Enduring America continues to cover the Arab Spring.
posted by empath (65 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
About bloody time.
posted by BobbyVan at 8:41 AM on August 18, 2011


Only half a century too late.
posted by bardic at 8:44 AM on August 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Here's hoping he gets a sendoff worthy of Ceaușescu.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 8:46 AM on August 18, 2011


Paper tiger. When you stop buying the oil, then your serious. The EU sanction link just says something about support, but emapth interepets that as a declaration of sanctions.

does anyone have a link to the newest sanctions, in some detail, imposed on Syria?
posted by clavdivs at 8:48 AM on August 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Call me when Obama calls on our own economic obstructionists to step off.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 8:51 AM on August 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


More eu sanctions news.
posted by empath at 8:52 AM on August 18, 2011


Actually Obama has just banned petroleum imports. It's unlikely that the new American sanctions will accomplish much, but it's probably good that their knee-jerk invasion instinct to seems to be under control.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 8:52 AM on August 18, 2011


Here's the announcement of some sanctions.
posted by mattbucher at 8:53 AM on August 18, 2011


It's unlikely that the new American sanctions will accomplish much, but it's probably good that their knee-jerk invasion instinct to seems to be under control.

Sanctions, tend to lead inevitably to war if they don't work, though, and they rarely work. (Have they ever accomplished anything?)
posted by empath at 8:56 AM on August 18, 2011


Call me when it's Bahrain.
posted by Trurl at 8:57 AM on August 18, 2011


Well, Libya is possibly entering the end phase, so if the Syrian rebels become better organized, maybe we will see another support campaign of airstrikes a while down the road?
posted by Jehan at 9:01 AM on August 18, 2011


(Have they ever accomplished anything?)

South Africa
posted by anastasiav at 9:09 AM on August 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


> South Africa

Can you clarify? From what I gather, the sanctions on South Africa mainly served to consolidate the ruling party's power while making resources more scarce for the masses. One side benefit of the sanctions there, I guess, was that the South African government was constrained to innovate within and develop its economy.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 9:12 AM on August 18, 2011


Call me when it's Bahrain.

Also, still no cure for cancer.
posted by empath at 9:19 AM on August 18, 2011 [6 favorites]


Sanctions, tend to lead inevitably to war if they don't work, though, and they rarely work. (Have they ever accomplished anything?)

What exactly are you saying they *should* accomplish? The idea that "you get no more of our money until you act right" beats the hell out of carpet-bombing. And ask Cuba, Iran, and North Korea if they think sanctions make any difference. We haven't been invading them, have we?

And what's the alternative? Do nothing? At least sanctioning is a way of saying something without shooting someone.
posted by eoden at 9:20 AM on August 18, 2011


Sanctions, tend to lead inevitably to war if they don't work, though, and they rarely work. (Have they ever accomplished anything?)

They've kept North Koreans starving. Yay?
posted by Sys Rq at 9:29 AM on August 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I call on Obama to step down.

See how easy that is?
posted by xmutex at 9:45 AM on August 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


Do I read this the right way? Obama is not really saying anything that means much at all, so instead we should show we are serious and invade or fully support with American arms and supplies, till comments on Metafilter say we ought not be doing that?
posted by Postroad at 9:49 AM on August 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


> Sanctions. . . Have they ever accomplished anything?

> > South Africa


Don't quote me, but I'm pretty sure it was actually Miami Steve Van Zandt's unwillingness to play Sun City and the ensuing national shortage of headscarves that did it.
 
posted by Herodios at 9:51 AM on August 18, 2011 [7 favorites]


See how easy that is?

Yeah but it lacks a certain gravitas when it's some anonymous guy on the internet.
posted by Hoopo at 9:54 AM on August 18, 2011


Four more wars!
posted by ryoshu at 9:57 AM on August 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


Canada (following the US's lead) also has called on Assad to step down, and Canada is also enforcing a trade embargo, including oil.

Unfortunately, Canada buys none of the oil and gas produced in Syria anyway (most of it is consumed domestically), so the embargo has little meaning. What is meaningful, however, is that Encana, one of Canada's largest companies (Encana chairmain Gwyn Morgan sits on the board of SNC-Lavalin, another of Canada's largest companies, is also on the board of trustees of the Fraser Institute, a Director for The Manning Centre for Building Democracy, and is a director of HSBC) provides all sorts of oilfield services in Syria in a deal worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

The Encana work in Syria is not affected by an embargo.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:59 AM on August 18, 2011 [13 favorites]


Don't quote me, but I'm pretty sure it was actually Miami Steve Van Zandt's unwillingness to play Sun City and the ensuing national shortage of headscarves that did it.

In all seriousness, I do believe that actually played a crucial role in getting the word out to the North American public about Apartheid.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:07 AM on August 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


KokuRyu, that is a burn.
posted by Hoopo at 10:12 AM on August 18, 2011


`In the service, Julie?'
`Hardly. Though I did see action.' Deane smiled his pink smile. `Wonderful what a war can do for one's markets.'
`Thanks, Julie. I owe you one.'
`Hardly, Case. And goodbye.'

posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:14 AM on August 18, 2011


With the Libyan rebels finally pulling it together, I have to think that the generals around Assad are going to start to get nervous soon. Perhaps we could just pull our troops out of Iraq via Syria. Send the Marines on a road trip via Damascas to the Med for pickup. No need to stay.
posted by humanfont at 10:19 AM on August 18, 2011


So... did is this more or less what Perle, Wolfowitz, et alia envisioned when they laid out their strategy to "drain the swamp"? Is Iran next? do they even want the Iranian regime to fall?
posted by specialk420 at 10:19 AM on August 18, 2011


Bashar is a cunt.
posted by dougrayrankin at 10:26 AM on August 18, 2011


Bashar is a cunt.

Isn't it his brother who is the power behind the throne? Anyway, from what I've read, the Assads have lost control of the situation anyway.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:29 AM on August 18, 2011


I think the US should keep their noses out of other countries' buttholes until they repair their own, festering, diseased butthole.
posted by weezy at 10:35 AM on August 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


KokoRyu, Bashar's older brother Basell was the one groomed for leadership; Bashar trained as an ophtalmologist, but after Basell died, entered the military and took over the successor role. The youngest brother, Maher, runs the Republican Guard protecting the Bashar regime. A brother in between them died as well.

Obviously sanctions by themselves are rarely particularly effective. These are notable because only a few months ago Secretary Clinton was defending Assad as a reformer, and are but one step in ratcheting pressure against the regime. This makes a UN Security Council enforced sanctions regime possible. In extreme cases assets of the Assad family and other top figures could be frozen. Still, these are punitive measures that only express disapproval and have little impact on the regime. They do, however, improve the morale of expatriates and exiles and possibly any internal opposition, and at least move us from the morally questionable zone of tacit support by inaction. Assessment, in a nutshell? Better than nothing. Not a lot better than nothing, but something.
posted by dhartung at 10:41 AM on August 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


No way. Stopping to pick the burr out of our own saddle would undermine the ethic that built this country.
posted by humanfont at 10:41 AM on August 18, 2011


I hope this leads to starting another war we can't afford against a nation that poses no threat to us.
posted by simms2k at 11:03 AM on August 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Hama’s Ghosts
posted by homunculus at 11:05 AM on August 18, 2011


Syria’s Rusting Navy Turns On Its Own People
posted by homunculus at 11:08 AM on August 18, 2011


Bashar trained as an ophtalmologist, but after Basell died, entered the military and took over the successor role.

Too bad he didn't correct his own short-sightedness.
posted by goethean at 11:14 AM on August 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


A child's killing freeze-frames Syria's tragedy
posted by homunculus at 11:22 AM on August 18, 2011


I hope this leads to starting another war we can't afford against a nation that poses no threat to us.

Bombing campaigns are cheap and the Assad regime threatens regional stability. If you want to avoid costly and ambiguous wars such as Iraq in the future, supporting the Syrian rebels now is the best option.
posted by Jehan at 11:43 AM on August 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sanctions appear to not work because only governments that are openly defiant of the wishes and opinions of the global democratic capitalist mainstream get sanctioned. The threat of sanctions does influence a lot of countries that don't wind up getting sanctioned, but might have otherwise done something the UN wouldn't approve of. Sanctions are bad for the citizens of sanctioned countries, but without actually sanctioning nations some of the time, the threat would be meaningless.

It's a (very) imperfect and blunt tool, but if we accept that the international community should have some influence over the conduct of individual governments, they're kind of necessary.
posted by keratacon at 11:54 AM on August 18, 2011


I think the US should keep their noses out of other countries' buttholes until they repair their own, festering, diseased butthole.

We're all in this human centipede together. The best we can hope for is to repair each other's buttholes.
posted by FJT at 11:55 AM on August 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


> Sanctions. . . Have they ever accomplished anything?

> > South Africa


The are other views on that. Just for argument's sake.
posted by IndigoJones at 12:02 PM on August 18, 2011


true, but those took awhile and only became effective when the ANC pointed out that the sanctions are basically making it worse for the people as well as the government and private sector. That interia helped crystallize apartheids demise as a "concept" and practise.
posted by clavdivs at 2:38 PM on August 18, 2011


Personally, I suspect that Syria is a bridge too far, though I am concerned that the Israelis will demand that the bridge be stormed nonetheless.
posted by markkraft at 4:24 PM on August 18, 2011


"We're all in this human centipede together. The best we can hope for is to repair each other's buttholes."

Yes, but some of us would prefer the vanilla paste over the cuttlefish and aparagus for a change.
posted by markkraft at 4:37 PM on August 18, 2011


Yeah, Obama? You and whose army?
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:29 PM on August 18, 2011


Civilians 'shot dead' at Syria protests: At least 22 people reportedly killed after UN claims government may be guilty of "crimes against humanity".
posted by homunculus at 1:25 PM on August 19, 2011


Yeah, Obama? You and whose army?

You act like he hasn't backed up his words with military action before.
posted by empath at 1:44 PM on August 19, 2011


The Isrealis should take this moment to cut Palestine loose. Simply declare the border, demolish all the settlements ouside of the Jerusalem suburbs. Stop the blockade of Gaza. Just pull back to a line. Golan too. Just offer it as a unilateral gesture to the democratic aspirations of the Arab world.
posted by humanfont at 1:47 PM on August 19, 2011


I think bebe could do that except the Golon, but that could be worked out. If...when Syria cracks and Lebanon stabilizing, it's possible, though the IDF will want to have the Golon as a buffer weither they totally control the area or not. I think that postion is set in stone.

But your right I think, the new "shrinkage" would allow contention to re-set itself, a line draw so to say. You re-deploy and tighten the perimeter without cutting off supply lines.

Same goes for germany, they are haggling over cash and checking thier accounts but what about the military expenses they have. If they are so strapped, why not save those billions paid to america and re invest the money.

oh, Germany can't afford an army...so thats why they rent ours.

perhaps someday we can have a technology that serves as a metric for one days fatalites due to conflict, civil or other. And have the reason, as best as can be determined, as to how and why they died. Like a big death kiosk staring at us.

who am i fooling.
posted by clavdivs at 2:08 PM on August 19, 2011


Hamas calls off truce as rocket fire continues from Gaza.


ah, good intentions, yes.
posted by clavdivs at 3:33 PM on August 19, 2011


Israel is either going to need to deal with hamas eventually, or just massacre everyone in gaza. I have a feeling that a deal isn't in the offing.
posted by empath at 3:48 PM on August 19, 2011


Unfortunately, Canada buys none of the oil and gas produced in Syria anyway (most of it is consumed domestically), so the embargo has little meaning. What is meaningful, however, is that Encana, one of Canada's largest companies (Encana chairmain Gwyn Morgan sits on the board of SNC-Lavalin, another of Canada's largest companies, is also on the board of trustees of the Fraser Institute, a Director for The Manning Centre for Building Democracy, and is a director of HSBC) provides all sorts of oilfield services in Syria in a deal worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

I totally screwed up my reference here. The company is not Encana, it's actually Suncor. I was MetaFiltering without a net, and I paid the price.
posted by KokuRyu at 5:21 PM on August 19, 2011


There is many an American that can't afford a German auto so they lease one. Ultimate driving machine for ultimate war machine. Tis a fair trade my roman friend.
posted by humanfont at 5:47 PM on August 19, 2011


Empath wrote: You act like he hasn't backed up his words with military action before.

Sure - but right now the US is fighting a war in Afghanistan, perhaps also in Pakistan, doing something-or-other in Iraq, plus actions in other hotspots. It was all he could do to get a joint force to take action against Libya. Do you think Obama is really in a position to make a credible threat of military force against Syria?
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:12 AM on August 20, 2011


I hate when you make sense.

( pesky treaties.)

Do you think Obama is really in a position to make a credible threat of military force against Syria?

oh my yes. the question is would he deploy it.

to be fair though, no, he i does not have casus belli. He does have the means.
posted by clavdivs at 10:03 AM on August 20, 2011


Libya is looking to wrap up August. The thing will be to see some sort of viable oppsotuon emerge. A split in the Syrian military. Or some nucleous of opposition held areas.
posted by humanfont at 10:19 AM on August 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


It looks as though tensions are rising in the whole area:

[Israeli] Gov't considers escalation in face of fire from Gaza
Israel’s government was considering on Saturday night the possibility of escalating its military response to the continued rocket fire from Gaza.
At least one man was killed and dozens of others were wounded by the more than 80 rockets that pounded southern Israel over the weekend.

I've also seen an unsourced claim that the Israeli navy is shelling Gaza.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:14 PM on August 20, 2011


Syria raises tension with Turkey in new border move: President Bashar al-Assad increases military patrols along frontier to dissuade Turkey from intervening in domestic unrest
posted by homunculus at 11:19 PM on August 20, 2011


Syria accused of covering up damage at Palestinian refugee camp: Syrian authorities are directing a massive cleanup at the Ramel camp ahead of a visit by U.N. inspectors, sources say. The camp was hit by gunfire and rockets during a crackdown on protesters.
posted by homunculus at 5:26 PM on August 21, 2011


I love the way the paper employs a passive voice ("the camp was hit by gunfire and rockets during a crackdown") instead of something arguably more accurate, like "the Syrian army shelled a refugee camp while soldiers shot at civilians inside."

In other news, my keyboard was heavily impacted by typing while the monitor was flecked by spittle and fists were observed waving in the air.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:24 PM on August 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Syrian Government's Internet Strategy
posted by jeffburdges at 11:04 AM on August 23, 2011


"Every drop of blood, every tear, every chant, every video, every tweet, every word, is the sound of another chain irreversibly breaking, one by one".
Amal Hanano has just finished her trip back to Aleppo writing The Opposite of Silence.
posted by adamvasco at 1:01 PM on August 23, 2011


Syrian forces beat up political cartoonist Ali Ferzat: Ferzat, who had become increasingly critical of Bashar al-Assad's regime, found bleeding at side of Damascus road
posted by homunculus at 11:31 AM on August 25, 2011


Iraq Adopts Iran’s Backing of Assad
posted by homunculus at 4:33 PM on August 25, 2011


If the Arab Spring Turns Ugly: The revolutions of hope could give way to a cascade of sectarian conflicts.
posted by homunculus at 5:28 PM on August 28, 2011


« Older How do you build a mouse Utopia?...  |  Keep on Walking, a supercut.... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments