The people of the city were incredibly supportive of us -- their guests -- in the aftermath of JFK's murder. Strangers on the street came up to us to express condolences.
There was violence back then; the pan-Arab movement of Egyptian president Gamal abdel-Nasser was stirring up nationalist fervor, pro and con. He was frightening and annoying Hafez al-Assad, the father of the present ruler, so government forces were cracking down on Nasser supporters.
But nothing like this.
A family of Syrian refugees lives in my town, and I'm proud to call them friends. Their eldest daughter is pulling straight As in high school. They get hassled sometimes by 'murican yahoos, which is stupid, but still better than being in the Jordanian refugee camp they came from.
* The pepole were surprisingly westernised
* Most younger people spoke great English
* Alcohol was available, but limited because *most* people didn't drink (instead people socialised in tea halls)
* Cheap oil meant that the taxi to the burger joint cost less than the burger did
* The people were extremely friendly
* I never felt unsafe
* The city was extremely clean
* ...however, the air was polluted
* Bakdash pistachio ice-cream was AMAZINGLY good https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bakdash_(ice_cream_parlor)
* The old city was beautiful and packed with history...
* One day we rented a van to see some surrounding areas. The driver was extremely friendly. He showed us around and told us about the history of the places. I still have very fond memories of that desert trip
The signs of the Assad regime were everywhere: posters of Bashar al-Assad were everywhere and armed police on most street corners. Beyond that, it felt very normal (from a westerners perspective) and I never felt like I was in (what the US calls) a "rogue state".
As far as the people go, your odds of being hustled in Syria were pretty high (but not any worse than, say, Thailand) -
other than that I totally agree wrt the westernization and general pleasantness.
I don't think it's really possible to argue the country is in any way better off than it was before the insurrection. I don't want to trivialize the experience of living in a police state, but there are worse things in this world.
 I lived in Bulgaria 2003-2006. Sorry to generalize so broadly.
I don't think it's really possible to argue the
country is in any way better off than it was
before the insurrection.
Also, even support for Syria is based to a great degree on the Western nations' own interests and not those of the Syrian people. Most of the West's involvement is to destroy ISIL and to contain Iran and Russia.
There was no credible possibility that the Saudi Arabian government, for example, would be overthrown; there was nobody for the Western nations to support. If there was a credible possibility, of course the Western nations might have decided supporting the Saudi rulers was more important, as they have many times in the past, and portrayed the rebels as terrorists.
Finally, it all begs the question: Revolutions are very risky; often the outcome is worse than the starting point, with many dead, a generation in ruin, and no improvement in government. When are they worthwhile? How can they be made more likely to obtain worthwhile outcomes?
as long as Assad was ruling
Western foreign policy.
And in many ways extending back well into the time of European Colonial powers carving out territory and promoting the interests of more friendly tribes/ethnicities to maintain stability and keep the money flowing.
What's really surreal is so many people in the (still relatively free) West denying basic agency to their fellow human beings in the Middle East.
Because there's a lot of cynicism with charities and foreign aid. There is an active campaign here in Britain to reduce the latter and anecdotally, I have friends and relatives who refuse to donate to aid agencies because they believe that the whole thing is a sham.
Sure there's bureaucracy, but most of them are genuinely hardworking and already operating on shoestring budgets...
The short of it is that one can donate to Oxfam, Save the Children or Medecins san Frontieres and remain confident that >95% of funds raised go to direct relief efforts.
For example the view professed here by you and the GP, that Arabs should have quietly suffered in their dictatorship without right to dissent, is denying the agency.
(I'm a Brit, so my knowledge of the American Revolution is cobbled together from popular media, Sid Meier's Colonization, Wikipedia, anti-colonialist literature, and a trip to Boston. The latter led me to believe it was mostly about lobsters. This may or may not be more accurate than what's taught in US schools)
As far as I am aware this was discussed. I'm not sure (please correct me if I'm wrong) but I seem to remember that it was not Assad who rejected this scheme.
And what would be the consequence of him not complying after the fact?
People tend to forget that Middle-Eastern countries are all pretty young from an institutional perspective. Before the mid-XX century they did not exist in forms resembling the current ones. Ottoman collapse, Arab consolidation and general decolonisation were fluid processes that sprung (or were forced to spring) very complex entities with all sorts of growing pains.
Yeah that's not what happened in Franco's case. He appointed Juan Carlos to succeed him as King of Spain. Juan Carlos was crowned after Franco's death, and decided to turn the country into a democracy. So we got lucky in that sense.
I disagree. As evidenced in the 23-F coup, the armed forces were either opposed to democracy, or loyal to the king. If Juan Carlos had wanted to remain an absolute monarch, all the machinery of the state would have kept turning as usual. The same way it did during 30 years of dictatorship during the Cold War.
It seems quite possible to me that all this turmoil will lead to another local maximum that isn't much better, and perhaps even worse, than the previous one.
It hasn't recovered for over 40 years.
Iraq doesn't seem like it will recover any time soon.
I would break down the comments into several types:
1) conspiracy theorists who believe in some secret cult that is unilaterally organizing everything
2) trolls - state sponsored or otherwise pushing an anti-humanitarian cause. They are throwing chaff into the discussion to confuse and disorient and to detract from the real issues.
3) people with experience in these events trying desperately to be heard - these are the people meant to be drowned out by the trolls
4) alarmists - people with relatively little knowledge of the actual goings-on who insist that every minor event is the end of the world (or Syria). I'm not saying that Syria hasn't been decimated, but that it was (and is) a process not an event
5) the rest of everyone who is trying to make heads or tails of things and seems to fall into one of those camps.
So, to one of the brighter communities on the internet (that's you HN) I ask: how do we (humanity) convey a full, factual picture to one another so that we may use those facts in conjunction with our values to agree or disagree with one another?
In the context of Education, the goal is self-reflexive when employed properly - as in, discussion and growth and learning for their own sake, not because some asshole in the Federal Government wants every kid from Baton Rouge and Seattle and San Diego to be able to pass a highly sterile, multiple-choice "NCLB" type test. There's a lot of stuff to un-screw up.
A person like Betsy DeVos is akin to Emperor Nero's Horse.
Since economic elites are usually also leaders of establishment, it is easy for ire for one camp, to bleed over to the other. Especially since talk of economic inequality rarely finds its way into (American) public discourse.
Once you adopt that mindset, it is easy to become jaded. At that point, anything elitist or intellectual starts sounding suspect and untrustworthy.
I swear, 99% of the issues in this country (us) boil back to wealth inequality one way or another.
1 - https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/perspectives-on-poli...
I think this is an essential question, and one that people often dismiss as having no solution. IMHO it's an excellent, highly valuable problem for someone to solve. In my very humble thinking, I've come up with or collected these ideas:
1) You are entitled to your own opinion but not to your own facts. Facts are can be common ground on which all good faith people can stand, and in which they all share an interest - whatever your opinion, you want it to be true and consistent with the facts. Of course, that's trickier in practice than in theory; see the note on propaganda.
2) Some fields have methods for separating fact from fiction, such as science and law. Some parts of those methods can be applied here, though of course people in Internet forums don't have the resources (especially time) to utilize those methods completely.
3) We must decide to trust some people and sources to a greater degree than others. As someone said, there is no art, no judgment, in trusting nobody. I trust the NY Times more than (some random conspiracy site), for example.
4) Propagandists try to disrupt all of the above; keep an eye out for their tactics. A/the fundamental tactic of professional propaganda (and seemingly adopted by amateurs, maybe unwittingly) is not to persuade but to create uncertainty: Portray all fact as equivalent opinions and discredit any trust in anything, from science to government to news media. Consider climate change, where false uncertainty has brought U.S. federal government action to a standstill; that is exactly the means and outcome of propaganda (as I understand it). Another tactic is to drown signal with noise using a barrage of baseless allegations.
5) As a way to both filter out propagandists and greatly improve the content of forums, focus on input that are based on sound factual foundations and which contributes value - which significantly adds to the reader's knowledge. The propagandists generally reduce knowledge or create uncertainty; they raise endless questions without basis. (Other people do this too; they aren't all intentional propagandists, but it has a similar effect.)
How open-minded of you.
You can spot them easily because they use labels like "trolls", "conspiracist", "tin foil hat", etc to label their enemies.
I've seen this idea brought up a few times here in our community, and have been accused of it at least once for expressing an unpopular opinion.
I have such a hard time believing there's state sponsored posters who troll hacker news. It seems extremely tinfoil hat to me. Honestly folks we're not that important.
Establishing any particular account as a paid troll is almost impossible, although the moderators might be able to infer things from the login IP addresses if their opsec is bad.
Generally I agree, but in this case it's very easily found.
pm24601 to shitgoose: why!?
shitgoose to pm24601: go google it yourself!
pm24601 to shitgoose: why should i google why i suck?
shitgoose to pm24601: if you choose to silently disbelieve that is fine. Expecting anyone else to spend their time and energy on "proving" some thing to someone else, should only happen if there is a pay off.
Occam's razor doesn't really apply to determining an individual account, as there's no model difference in a particular account being either, given many accounts and each being some.
You should respond based on considering it a superposition of both (and more exotic states, like a non-shill blindly repeating shill points), based on the distribution of likelihood given their speech patterns, background prevalence, etc.
That's really the simplest model which lets you incorporate all the information you know in crafting a response -- not a false dichotomy of making assumptions you know will sometimes be erroneous. (...Which is not what Occam's Razor is about.)
Attempts to simplify it run into the exact issues you've noticed above. You're bias comes into play which conflicts with various other peoples PoV, and it all devolves into a shouting match.
Also the pipeline/Syke-Picot people will interject themselves into any conversation about the middle east because "this one simple event explains everything" is appealing to a ton of folks.
Do the "Sykes-Picot people" attribute everything to that agreement or just view it as a logical starting point for many of the current political problems seen in the Middle East that can not be attributed to other factors (geography, sectarian conflict, control of natural resources, migrant populations that defy modern borders, a history of historical conflicts/slavery, and/or pressure from environmental, political, and cultural changes)?
Sykes-Picot isn't exactly a fringe internet theory.... any textbook on the modern Middle East is going to devote substantial time to it.
The map of the modern day middle east has more in common with Ottoman Provinces then it does with the Lines of Control that Sykes-Picot proposed. Now I am not trying to absolve the west of all it's guilt, it did a number of shitty and horrific things, but I think the narrative that the West screwed up the Middle East ignores both a significant history of conflict in the area over land and resources, as well as the political situation on the ground being influenced more by locals then outsiders. I am also not saying that colonialism is not a horrific thing, I think that efforts elsewhere(Africa, Asia) started earlier and were more heavy handed.
The reason why Sykes-Picot appeals to so many people is that it provides a simplistic political narrative for why the region is so messed up, and allows blame to be shifted on a politically convenient scapegoat. Hopefully as we shift away from the "Great Man"(and I think Westerners trying to impose their will on the Middle East were bad folks) theory of history we will come to view these simple theories as useless and try to understand the nuance of how the modern Middle East came to be as not something that two Westerners in 1917 could ever hope to dictate.
What's the anti-humanitarian cause? Throwing enough resources at the fight to keep it going for years instead of weeks/months, but not enough to actually end it, for what I hope are callous realpolitik reasons and not simple incompetence?
The alternative is that we've been too dumb, for years on end, to just stop, or else that we've done it because we made a (huge) mistake initially and are trying to save face, both of which I judge to be somewhat worse.
Iraq may have been more expensive but this is shaping up to be a much bigger strategic blunder, if there's not some really smart hidden agenda driving it. It's certainly a massive humanitarian disaster. I've found it utterly bizarre that in all the partisan bickering this didn't take central stage in the "Obama (and Hillary) aren't fit leaders" narrative, since on the surface the whole thing looks like a gigantic policy disaster on the part of the US—and I feel that way as someone who almost always supports Democrats over Republicans, and protested Iraq II. I don't get how more blame for the situation isn't publicly falling on the US and the Obama administration.
I agree with you that people are far too quick to cry 'troll' and that it's not a legit move unless there's evidence. But that doesn't mean you can personally attack people and expect not to get banned here.
So the question I have for the parent is as follows: how far do things have to deteriorate before military intervention is the only viable and recommended solution?
It is 100% within the means of the United States to end this situation.
Maybe US (and other powerful nations) can stealthily fund the locals and arm them to face the radicals, so that the change comes from within rather than outside. Again the problem lies in identifying the innocent locals from the radicals.
At this stage, I'm not even sure if there is a solution for syrian crisis.
That sort of activity usually ends with local radicals having externally find arms. Also, it hardly counts as change from inside when you armed one fraction of the conflict giving it advantage.
Innocent locals tend to be the ones who don't want guns, sadly. Or are not experienced with them.
Sadly, those institutions aren't "failing" - its just that those tools are working for people that want to stay in power.
edit: I'm not advocating doing nothing. But just that thinking getting boots on the ground will easily solve this.
1) western and sunni middle eastern press: it's all Assad's (government's) fault. People want democracy. Specifically this is supposed to be a response to violent repression of pro-democracy protests from March 2011.
Problem: very hard to believe. The attitude of the government against the people of Syria has not changed, and the "protesters" do not seem very pro-democracy at all.
Second problem: the middle eastern press (al Jazeera) is owned by a government that would stand to benefit substantially from the pipeline issue. Even aside from the pipeline, that government is involved in funding the exremists in Syria.
2) shi'a middle eastern press
Coordinated Sunni attack against one of the two last multicultural/tolerant middle eastern Countries (the other one being Iran, and while Israel is multicultural/tolerant Iran doesn't see it that way). It's an attack to massacre the last vestiges of tolerance in the middle east.
Problem: obviously this is state propaganda. That doesn't mean it's not true, of course, but there are military interests at stake by the same people who own these press.
3) Russian press (there were/are hundreds of thousands of Russians from the Soviet union who lived in Syria)
This is a coordinated assault against the last Russian ally on the mediterranean. They note the same as the Shi'a press does (attack on tolerance for non-Sunnis), and also note the pipeline project that would deliver oil from.
Problem: of course this too is state propaganda.
4) Catholic information sources (there is/was no shortage of Monasteries in Syria)
Well-funded Sunni extremists attacking (and killing) everyone in sight, with no identifiable cause. Ethnic cleansing, including even of Sunni's that don't want to fight for them. They seem to disagree with the notions that the fighters care about either Russian interests, or the pipeline (though the funding parties might think differently)
Problem: They're not very willing to come forward with information, and the few times they do they say they really fear retaliation. The ones that come forward are refugees.
I think it started as a demonstration against the corrupt Assad that turned violent when his army started shooting. The "rebels" picked up arms and probably brutally kills pro-government soldiers/citizens, so they are not saints either. Meanwhile ISIS takes advantage of the chaos to try to win control of regions. The Kurds are fighting them because there's probably a Kurdish area in Syria? But Erdogan doesn't like a Kurdish rise, so he's probably quietly looking the other way as European ISIS sympathisers travel via Turkey in and out of Syria. Russia wants Assad to stay in power because he's a puppet, so he's bombing "rebels" and ISIS.
We haven't even mentioned Iran and the USA. As this report https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/10/16/world/middlee... says, in one side of the conflict USA (at least Obama's USA) is working with Russia, in another side they're backing opposing sides.
started as a demonstration
against the corrupt Assad
There is a long history of engineering 'grassroots movements' toward overthrowing governments. All powers have been engaging in this practise, and you can find how-to manuals -- I recommend reading some, it's highly enlightening. For example many of the de-colonialisation movements in the second part of the 20th century were actively run by the Soviet Union, leading to such absurdities as Cabo Verde becoming an independent state.
Clearly various powers had strategic interests in destabilisation of Assad.  is an interesting document in this direction.
If it were written with more than public knowledge, it would actually proof that the US and Clinton did not organise any sorts of fake-grassroots protests, considering the document is arguing for US engagement against Assad a full year after the war started,
doesn't prove anything.
Your counterevidence is not going to be a proof in ZFC set theory either ...
- Lenin famously had to ride a train through half of Europe to get back into Russia and stir up trouble. The involved countries knew very well who he was and what he was going to do (he was under surveillance, like most activists before and since), but they let him pass in order to help destabilise a neighbouring power.
- Italian unification was aided by the British, which controlled most of the Mediterranean at the time. Whenever this or that bunch of "united Italy" guerrilla left a port directed to the country, the British would help them by providing cover and supplies. This was done in order to create new headaches for France and Austria, then the dominant powers in fractured Italy.
- The Spanish civil war was heavily influenced by foreign powers, with Germany and Italy instigating and materially supporting Franco, the USSR helping the Republic, and everyone else providing covert support for this or that faction.
There's a pretty high jump from "Hitler helped the rebels during the war" to "the Civil War was orchestrated and triggered by foreign powers".
It's not semantics, sometimes people happen to rebel without it being the machinations of a foreign power.
I would strongly disagree regardless of that factor. If there's a realistic chance it'll make a difference, I would say you're orchestrating things. Even if not, it still is.
There are always people looking to rebel. For all sorts of reasons. Injustice. Ethnic alliances (esp. popular in Africa). Regional alliances (e.g. Catalonia, and the Balkans in general: the cities want to secede from their countries). Religious differences (esp. one particular religion, but not exclusively). And some want to purely for personal gain (famously in South America).
Even when there is no chance of making a difference. You could say yesterday's attack in Manchester was carried out as a rebel act, to get the UK to govern itself according to the islamic religion. That is certainly a true statement, even if very unpopular. Providing material support for such things is definitely orchestrating, even though it has essentially zero chance for success.
Both Hitler and the British intelligence offered logistical help to the rebels. The coup was already planned for months by the generals, and they were just waiting for the appropriate time to strike. The moment came when the police murdered Calvo Sotelo, not when the Nazis and British encouraged them.
It began when Assad's security forces tortured children for spray painting anti government graffiti in Deraa. Protests, in the spirit of the Arab Spring which had spontaneously consumed the region, then followed. Assad met these protests with total violence, including shooting unarmed civilians.
Assad's security service continued to kill and torture unarmed civilians until eventually people started shooting back. Thus began the civil war. Had Assad merely stepped down, as Mubarak did in Egypt, then Syria today would likely be as peaceful as Egypt is.
Here's an excellent documentary, filled with primary sources and not made by some conspiracy nut in their basement, on how the conflict started: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njKuK3tw8PQ
"tortured children for spray painting graffiti"
(which resulted in the sudden sprouting somehow of heavily armed and trained jihadists, many of whom were foreign).
You don't have to be much of a cynic to see the deep influences of foreign powers in this conflict. It's so deep that media takes (such as the view you present) don't do much to cover it up.
- The supposed Qatar->Europe would have to cross Saudi Arabia, which is a much larger obstacle to any pipeline project.
- Same for Turkey
- Dependence on Russian gas isn't so much a "European" problem, as a Eastern-European problem, from Germany to Greece. These are countries that aren't really known for 007-style false flag operations in the middle east
- There doesn't seem to be a pipeline being build anywhere near Syria. This outcome wasn't that surprising, considering almost every other conflict in the region also turned into a decades-long quagmire
- The further destabilisation of the middle east creates risks that dominate any supposed gains from lower energy dependence: the migrant crisis was among the worst in the European Union's history, at least in terms of its potential to unravel the union. The power vacuum that was created gave rise to ISIS, which the west will have to grapple with for decades in some form or other
- The supposed perpetrators in the west are democratically elected politicians, not actually psychopaths trying to amass natural resources.
- Even if they were so inclined, they'd have a really hard time profiting from it because
(a) elected politicians think in much shorter timeframes
than what would be required for this pipeline
to start making money,
(b) they would never be able to actually do anything
with any money they made, being constantly in the
public eye even after their terms are up,
(c) they'd be dead by then anyway,
(d) most politicians have actually proven that
they have below-average interest in monetary
riches compared to public admiration, and
(e) they could never get that, either, because
they'd be prosecuted and ostracised if it
ever came to light.
Some of the opposition may have democratic ideas, some may be communists, or fascists, or islamists, or hairdressers. There's no easy way to label the opposition because Assad really managed to get a lot of people rather angry, for all sorts of different reasons (but mostly for killing people other people liked)
As another point: if you take a really good look at Iran, you'll find they are a lot less bad than one might think. They are without any doubt the second-best democracy in the region–behind Israel, but quite certainly ahead of today's Turkey. And while that democracy is incredibly flawed, Iran is so much better than Saudi Arabia, it isn't even funny. With the added knowledge that all the islamic terror against the west since 2001 has been Sunni, it's really strange to see who's an ally and who is in line to get bombed when the US President next has a bad day.
You also presume that the short-term interests of politicians is not heavily tied to the long term interests of their major constituents.. See also: think tanks
As for brutality: Try to create a 'peaceful and inclusive' society when a significant enough minority to overthrow a weaker regime is always present and agitating to do so (e.g. jihadi sympathizers).. it might be more difficult than you imagine, which is not to say that conflict never exacerbates extreme positions. You might find that some normal people would prefer a harsh regieme keeping those people out than a week democracy which they expect will likely fail (see also: egypt)
Nothing is simple in that area of the world.
There are a lot of forces at play. One of which is upset Syrian citizens. Another of which are interested foreign powers.
The whole evening was enchanting, and reading up on their story, then seeing footage of Aleppo, I realised how completely gone all that old beauty is. Daesh hates them too, no doubt, but then that's their thing.
example of final product:
* One neat generator I know is Jack Qiao's Expose which he mainly uses in his travel photography website . Check out those sweet cinemagraphs ! Unfortunately it is a command-line program which may be a bit obtuse to non-developer (especially on Windows), and the text placement has to be set manually
* Shameless plug: as a side project, I made a clone of Expose in Python  (demo ) with no video support but explicit Markdown support (so you can embed maps, youtube videos and others ). It's still a command line app, but I'm working on a second version that uses Electron and has a more WYSIWYG approach. It is still very much a side project though.
* You could look at some web-based presentation framework. Slid.es  is an WYSIWYG builder for the reveal.js library . It's mainly used for Powerpoint-ish presentation (ex. ), but with a touch of creativity you can do neat thing, like this portfolio .
EDIT: Whoa, paradite mentionned Pageflow. This seems really neat !
That's when I learnt about Pageflow.
Pardon the late reply, I have set up fairly aggressive noprocrast settings which means that I am not always in a position to reply immediately.
Pageflow is especially neat: the pages load fast, the pricing is friendly, and the company can self-host the page. Thank you for taking the time to reply- will be checking this out with my buddy over the weekend.
PetitPrince also provides appealing options, some more noob friendly than the others... I will take the time to download the git repos and see just how successful I can be installing/deploying the code.
All in all, thank you guys for reaching with helpful suggestions.
3.6 Women and Children
God, I hate stats like these, why is it so hard to break up men, women and children separately to give more insight. Women are not the same as children.
Or is google trying to tell us that woman are basically, well, children?
If you draw the line at age 18: Roughly, 27% male adults, 25.5% female adults, 47% children.
Men are much more likely to be warriors historically.
The source stats aren't lumped together. That's the journalist's decision.
I am currently in Syria, tried opening it, it gave me 403 response (As all sites based on Google cloud services do)
It's like the movie Wag the Dog. Sad to exploit a child like this.
> Why would they bomb us and kill innocent people everyday? > - Bana
So I doubt that being "exploited" by the evil UN anti-warmongerers is of particular concern to her. I'd even guess she would want to help to stop this, and prevent further atrocities of this magnitude.
You've really gotten away with the wrong lessons from Wag the Dog if you consider this exploitative. The problem in WtD was that it was intended to rouse nationalistic furore justifying a military intervention. This is intended to produce goodwill for refugees.
And, of course, the problem in Wag the Dog was that the girl was an actress in California, and there was no war.
Are you doubting that there is a war in Syria?
> Observers have questioned whether Bana understands the concepts that she tweets about. She is a seven-year-old child who does not speak English. A journalist for The New Yorker noted that her "video statements often have a scripted quality, as if she is being coached by her mother to communicate her thoughts in a language that she is only beginning to learn."
> In a now deleted tweet, Bana said it is "better to start 3rd world war instead of letting Russia & assad commit #HolocaustAleppo".
> In a separate incident, Bana appeared on Turkish television program Channel TV, where she was asked what her favorite food was, and she replied, "Save the children of Syria".
"Bana" is a media campaign.
>The problem in WtD was that it was intended to rouse nationalistic furore justifying a military intervention.
I simply must put on my white helmet to keep out the radiation..
I read an interview of a female architect still living in Syria. If anyone has a source, I would appreciate it.
If I recall correctly, she said what follows. I hope I am not putting words into her mouth.
She had been urged to get out of the country. She chose to stay as she wanted to be involved in rebuilding her city.
She criticised those who wanted to go back to what it was like before the uprising. She said that all was not nice in the past.
She pointed to the corruption in the exam system. She pointed to the fact that people could not travel freely throughout the city, as different parts of the city were controlled by different factions.
The only peaceful end during the Arab spring was in Tunisia as their former president escaped in the beginning. A coalition of western countries took over their country to "establish democracy", and now Tunisian people are letting Europe teach them how to be a democracy. It's not free of course. I met bunch of Danish people getting paid really well for working for Tunisian government, as a part of the transition.
Syria was a failure for whoever organized Arab spring. Assad gave a CNN interview in the beginning of the war, saying that he'll lead the transition to democracy. But, he'll fight whoever choose violence. Whoever organized those protests already wanted a war, so it didn't matter what Assad said. Please go back to 2011 editions of your favorite western papers and look at the news about Syria, reporters based in London were hysterically telling people about how peaceful protesters in Syria are being killed by a demon, Assad. Same propaganda machine most recently made campaigns about a group called White Helmets, founded by James Le Mesurier, a well known MI6 agent.
I traveled three times during the war to the Turkey - Syrian border, volunteered in the refugee camps there. There was not even one UN tent although every year they make big promises such as water pipeline, schools, etc. If you look at UNCHR website, you'll see they are asking money for regions where they don't even report from because they got no volunteers there at all. Later, I traveled to other middle eastern countries around Syria and met chance to meet UN volunteers, told them my observation about their operation. They explained me how they basically count victims and collect money. They bring an NBA or Hollywood star to one of the camps in either Iraq or Lebanon, take some photos and fill the pockets with millions of money that will be spent in 5 star hotels, business class flight tickets, western bars and restaurants in the wealthy neighborhoods of poor middle eastern towns.
If you're looking for truth, don't expect these corrupt organizations to tell you, do some research. Who was the US foreign minister during arab spring, who has been backing his/her political campaigns ? If you find this name, all you need is to research that person and find out what he has been organizing "peaceful protests that turn to violent" all over the world, from Ukraina to Egypt, from Libya to Syria.
Whether Clinton got involved before the Sunni generals defected or after, I can't say for sure. The US has no qualms supporting potential coups but Sunni's rising up against an Alawite leader isn't surprising either. Blaming her for the protests seems like a stretch. Acting like she's some lone agent in the US pushing this kind of stuff requires ignoring centuries of history.
>If you're looking for truth, don't expect these corrupt organizations to tell you, do some research.
Here's the data, from the horses' mouth: http://data.unhcr.org/syrianrefugees/regional.php. UNHCR runs accommodation for half a million refugees. More importantly, they have changed tactics in the last decades, and are trying to get refugees to live among the normal population, instead of tent cities.
If you doubt their numbers, a simple search on youtube will give you hundreds of videos from UNHCR camps. Are they all fake? Here's one of many: https://youtu.be/04sN1xn5tTQ?t=3m17s
> Who was the US foreign minister during arab spring, who has been backing his/her political campaigns ? If you find this name, all you need is to research that person and find out what he has been organizing "peaceful protests that turn to violent" all over the world, from Ukraina to Egypt, from Libya to Syria.
Ohh, now I get it! It's the evil zionist George Soros, isn't it? Yes, I'm sure it's Hilary Clinton's jewish conspiracy that started all this.
Cmmon, no need to yell "tinfoil hat Zionist Clinton Soros conspiracy theorist"! in an attempt to discredit. That doesn't help the "story".
It's plainly obvious there are a number of interested parties who are participating by proxy. Or openly even. There is nothing conspiratorial about that. It's pretty obvious.
Tunisia is not a kingdom, never had a king.
> A coalition of western countries took over their country to "establish democracy"
Again, this shows your lack of knowledge, there was no take over or any coalition that went to Tunisia.
> letting Europe teach them how to be a democracy
Working for someone and "Teaching them" are two different things.
> Syria was a failure for whoever organized Arab spring
If you don't know who initiated the Arab spring, you should probably not talk about it as if you were an expert.
> Assad gave a CNN interview in the beginning of the war, saying that he'll lead the transition to democracy
Ohhh, Thank you. Let's all believe the guy who is and was using violance before the arab spring even happened and is a dictator.
> Please go back to 2011 editions of your favorite western papers and look at the news about Syria, reporters based in London were hysterically telling people about how peaceful protesters in Syria are being killed by a demon, Assad.
That is actually true. Other parties/nations got involved in the conflict with different interests. Situation escalated and became what it is today; a nightmate.
The conflict in Syria is complex
It dates back to March 2011, when several teenagers
were arrested for painting anti-government graffiti
in the southern town of Daraa.
Public demonstrations calling for democratic reforms
spread across the country, meeting swift government
opposition. Peaceful uprisings gave way to violent
clashes, and ultimately a brutal civil war.
Here are some photos I posted a while ago from a similar thread:
The author has some great personal stories of what it was like to visit family in Syria under the Assad regime.
In this instance, much of the material is not about what Syria was like before, but about the horrors of war.
And that Syrians are great refugees to have...
a) they do not really want to leave Syria and live in first world countries
b) they are more educated than Americans...
With a strange 'inference and comparasing'
" .. 18 in 100 Syrians* have advanced degree
vs 11 in 100 Americans ..."
*Based on Syrian immigrants living in the US
What does it even mean?
Syrian refugees have a projected higher contribution to US economy than Americans?
Overall, the article should have been in Arabic, English, Spanish and Chinese.
The article should have been labeled: "50 great reasons why you should want displaced Syrian refugees to immigrate into your country..."
Just a pro-Assad post
Although it is a very complicated conflict, I would argue that most Syrians like Assad and not "just speak good because their afraid of the secret police".
Just by looking at the videos   which capture refugees voting, we can see genuinely excited people going to vote in someone they always believed. Even mainstream outlets had difficulty to capture otherwise. You can see in several places people talking like few would do of their own presidents.
Obviously it was not the perfect country like every other, and there was people dissatisfied. But what the rebels want is not democracy, is Assad out. And Islamic law.
 Massive turnout for Syrian vote in Lebanon
 Syrians abroad begin casting votes in presidential election
Syrian to BBC Reporter: "You Are Not Telling the Truth About Syria"
Most Syrians back President Assad, but you'd never know from western media
Syria: Damascus celebrates as Assad wins re-election
Dr. Bashar Hafez al-Assad wins post of President of Syria with sweeping majority of votes at 88.7%
Syria Election Celebrations 2014/06/05 إحتفالات سوريا بفوز الرئيس بشار الأسد بالإنتخابات
Video Pro-Assad used mistakenly by anti-Assad
Pro Assad Rally - 03a - Aleppo, 19-10-2011
Pro Assad Rally Damascus, Syria
Millions attend pro-Assad rally
The death of Hamza Khateeb comes to mind. Political and civil unrest was already underway, but the open violence against civilians including children sent Syria down a path. The government butchered that child among others caught for demonstrations or showing dissent.
"The attitude of the government against the people of Syria has not changed"
Laughable commentary in the face of regular chemical weapons attacks by the regime and it's paramilitary forces/Hezbollah allies.
This is a government that besieges and pummels civilian areas with indiscriminate weapons until they accept forced displacement under the 'reconciliation' campaign. To say it's attitude has not changed since before the protests is absurd.
Same with the current gas-bombs. What is the rationale behind this besides being pure evil? Assad made great progress in Syria and is pushing back ISIS and Al-Nusra. There was no strategical need for dropping gas but still, he apparently did... why would he?
Doesn't make sense to me...
Then suddenly the narrative we're being offered starts making more sense. And I stress the word narrative, as in "story".
You think some greenhorn administration comes in and says how things are done? No, the deep state makes the rules. They know the game, they have played it forever, they make the rules. What changes every four years is just a facade.
Which people on the ground? You sound like you're getting your talking points from CNN.
How about a reporter who has personally visited Syria and Aleppo herself?
You do not seem to be aware that there are terrorists operating in Syria that are funded by the west. Let's just start with that.
The obvious possible motive is to send a signal that that's what happens if you oppose the regime. Your kid disappearing isn't as strong a message as receiving his corpse in pieces.
> There was no strategical need for dropping gas but still, he apparently did... why would he?
There was strategical need to drop bombs, even Assad and Putin acknowledged that. Why not gas? The lesson from the previous gas attack a few years ago, whether or not he did it, was that he could get away with it.
And there's been ethnical cleansing going on on both sides in that region. So it isn't the most surprising thing either.
Ok, but how do you go from that to islamic state ? And frankly, how does a protest like that get organised in the first place by the locals ?
> regular chemical weapons attacks by the regime
Maybe I'm misinformed, but I seem to only recall that the government was accused of doing this once. This is neither regular, nor was it the cause of the conflict.
Northern Iraq was similarly weak, and there was a lot of frustration against the Iraqi government, plus many unemployed former members of Saddam Hussein's military with some experience.
So they thought "fuck it, lets start our own country. With blackflags and dead hookers". A bit like these sovereign citizens, but with better social media.
Through two years of civil war, causing unrest, instability, and dissatisfaction with both sides of the conflict. Add in the fighters who had been in the same situation for the past decade in neighboring Iraq, and you end up with a large group of armed people that want nothing to do with Russia or the US.
How did Trump win the election?
More generally, he's been even more disastrous than people campaigning against him expected, up to the point of letting Russian intelligence wander around the Oval Office and take pictures.
Not accused, found culpable by OPCW along with ISIS. The chlorine attacks have been on-going, including the siege of Aleppo, on Hama and north Homs, and in the Damascus area. Method of delivery has been air dropped or IRAM type.
" And frankly, how does a protest like that get organised in the first place by the locals"
I'm hoping this is not a joke. Local coordination committees have long been involved in organizing demonstrations and media exposure. People voted on the weekly theme for Friday protests even. When you see logos of Syrian media on CNN and other outlets it is often bearing the logos of these groups.
Yes, locals and organize protests among themselves and others in their nation.
Months later a massacre was committed there by government forces.
Yea, I have an agenda.
"It looks like you're using an older device or web browser. Please update your browser or visit on a newer device."
A bit of an odd thing to see when I'm on the latest version of Chrome on a Mac and it says "In partnership with Google" right under that. What gives?
Whitelisting that JS solved the problem.
I prefer migrating to FF rather than restarting chrome at this very moment. They lost a user.
I don't think this is how the internet is supposed to work.
Working on my phone, I think it's mobile only?
Also, it does work on Chrome, Chromium, Firefox.
Edit: updated to 58, still get the message. What a joke
Edit2: Worked under FF on Mac
Nature abhors vacuum and radical Islam is filling in.
P.S. I don't care about down votes.
For instance, the CIA couldn't care less about BP. Now, MI6 surely did. Rather, the CIA influenced action against Mossadegh because it thought he was a Communist.
Whether MI5 convinced the CIA that he was a communist threat is the more critical question. Some have thought that MI5 simply convinced the CIA of such a story to take out their own bogeyman while keeping their hands clean. It certainly wouldn't be the first time.
Of course, whether or not he actually was one is less notable than his association and support for those who were, as well as his nationalization of the oilfields (technically not the nationalization of BP, but close enough).
1. Minus Israel....not that it fits my description.
1764 America was a subjugated colony of a monarch, I'd hate to live there. 1863 America was embroiled in Civil War, I'd hate to live there. 2017 America? Democratic global superpower, lots of room for improvement but I still love living here.
What about Germany? 1944 Germany was a fascist racist shithole. 2017 Germany is one of the leaders of the free world.
We don't control the past... shit happened, get over it. We learn, mature, and build the future.
From someone who would be really happy with a Pinochet-style dictatorship instead of their current gov
By democracy I mean a system where basic human rights are protected and cannot be voted out. Would most Saudis, in a fair vote, allow for Catholic Churches to be open here? If the answer is no (and I think it is) then democracy is bad. Same for women rights, criticizing their faith, gay rights etc.
Gay rights in the USA is a fairly recent thing in the scheme of things, and it's still not evenly distributed or enforced across states.
And if you think you can get into any public office in a large number of states if you criticize Christianity or even support a women's right to abortion, let alone gay rights, you must be joking.
All I'm saying is America isn't a basition of equal rights by a lot of measures, some in name more than in practice. The last lynching was in 1981 for Christ's sake. So lambasting other countries for not being so tolerant is not a great point to make, IMO.
Fascism and fanaticism are primitive modes of society, a stable society with extensive trade inevitably learns and matures towards liberal democracy.
The Middle East was making progress before the west destroyed stability in the name of exploitative exports and proxy wars. We are directly and exclusively responsible for the return of fascism and fanaticism. Violence only begets more violence; ISIS is just another head on the hydra, murder everyone and 3 more organizations will take their place.
The path to peace is deep and sustained economic aid, funding native education centers, rebuilding national identities, and facilitating mutual demilitarization... in addition to weening the west off of oil through deep investments in modern energy sources.
Have you ever been on an ops-heavy software team? Change never happens until the right level of management feels pain. Politics of all forms is the art of managing pain. It's never perfect, and will never be perfect.
If you really care about this stuff, focus on the second derivative. The status quo doesn't matter, the present is too short to fix. The direction we're headed matters a little bit, but 300 million people take ages to change so that's a very laggy metric. What's important is how we are changing the direction we are moving in.
America has flaws, we feel pain, and now we're self-correcting :) Lots of change in the pipeline, Trump is a symptom of how bad it got and now good it's about to become.