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Bombing IS?

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Zou, Sep 24, 2014.

  1. 0lybacker

    0lybacker In the Stop Bath

    When 'Dave' was having his daft moment over Syria last year, I was amazed at the fact that no-one, absolutely no-one including SoS for Defence and military contributors (some high ranking ones, too), on R4 News mentioned the fact that war is made up of all sorts of skirmishes that are won ... and lost. In those defeats, the victors often pick up bits of kit (even if their opponents can retreat or escape) and they go on to utilise them. This obviously had not occurred to Cameron at all.

    Are we losing the ability to think critically? Puzzledly, Oly
  2. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    I do fear that we seem to be only able to think of one thing at a time - and I don't mean multi-tasking. The ability to study a system of interlinked causes and effects is critical especially in the middle East. As you say, skirmishes won (and we supplied the losing side) resulting in arms moving over to areas we never envisaged or would have sold to. I think there are many blinkered MoD bods around, only concentrating on budgets and targets and frankly are not interested in the global picture. Our lack of speed in this area is also abysmal (remembering my hubby's involvement in MoD contracts whilst in London).
    PS I also read recently that we sell arms to 23 out of the 28 dangerous areas (as listed by the Foreign Office). http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/british-arms-dealers-sell-weapons-3425990
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2014
  3. KeithLeslie

    KeithLeslie Well-Known Member

    It has been stated clearly in the press in Cyprus (TRNC) and Turkey that IS are receiving Russian arms brought through Turkey with the Turkish government's approval. IS are clearly using Russian T55 tanks. They are also clearly using AK-47 (Kalashnikovs) which are made in China and some ex-Warsaw Pact countries under licence, too. It's not known as "the terrorist's weapon of choice" for nothing! IS took several Syrian barracks including their stocks of arms; and Syria was supplied by Russia - legitimately, of course. The kit that IS 'acquired' needs parts and ammunition in order to use it - and where else do you think you get ammo for Russian weapons from?

    More than 100 million AK-47 and its variants have been made and supplied, and, from Wikipedia:
    "Even after six decades the model and its variants remain the most popular and widely used assault rifles in the world because of their substantial reliability even under harsh conditions, low production costs compared to contemporary Western weapons, availability in virtually every geographic region and ease of use. The AK-47 has been manufactured in many countries and has seen service with armed forces as well as irregular forces worldwide, and was the basis for developing many other types of individual and crew-served firearms. More AK-type rifles have been produced than all other assault rifles combined.[SUP][3]"

    [/SUP]The point is, for irregulars such as IS, Russian and Chinese arms are cheap and reliable; and also readily available - that's why people like IS want them. A lot of bang per buck. Likewise weapons such as the Russian DshK 12.7mm heavy machine gun; you think IS don't use Russian weapons? From Wiki: "In the 2012 Syrian civil war, the Syrian government said rebels used the gun mounted on cars. It claimed to have destroyed, on the same day, 40 such cars on a highway in Aleppo and six in Dael.[SUP][4]" [/SUP] It is a serious weapon, capable of downing a helicopter, and effective at over a mile.

    Russia and China sell far more value of arms than anyone else in the world - and with their low prices, that also means far more quantity of arms. You don't need expensive, sophisticated weapons such as we and the Yanks sell in order to cause the mayhem that Is are causing - and that we and the Yanks are readily showing aren't too effective in the conditions under which IS are fighting!
  4. willie45

    willie45 Well-Known Member

    Arms deals aside, we can all find fault with everyone involved ( as well as virtually every country's foreign policy anywhere ). It surely doesn't mean when we see an issue that needs to be addressed we shrug and say "We're none of us perfect" This seems to me to be a grossly immoral abrogation of responsibility. Meantime ISIS will carry on doing it's thing.

    It's odd, because this is the first time I ever recall being in favour or military intervention and I cannot see how there can be a clearer case. The country seems to be in this mindset at the moment that we best do nothing because we messed up before. We get told by those who claim to have superior wisdom that we are foolish if we believe there's anything to be done; that its far too complex for any action to work and we go along with it. We buy into that and justify inaction with any number of reasons.

    Blair/Bush made a mess of things and lied about it. We've done some stuff we should be ashamed of in the past - so has everyone else. We are where we are. Does it make it better if we shirk helping when we can or will we all give up and die?

    Bombing ISIS isn't the answer. A full frontal attack is what is required. Army and airforce. I'm afraid guns fighting, and blood is what is needed here. Not some guys sitting behind desks and computers playing with drones or a sever bout of navel gazing by the rest of us
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2014
  5. KeithLeslie

    KeithLeslie Well-Known Member

    Yes, well, I had to do two years' research on military matters up to my retirement, since my employer was looking for MoD research money. One of my tasks was to devise ways of improving mine/IED clearance for convoys in Afghanistan.

    Many countries make landmines. The West generally makes sophisticated ones. E.g. Italy makes a plastic one (so undetectable) which is anti-personnel, but is designed to only go off if an adult steps on it; it won't if either a child or vehicle goes over it. There are plenty of cheap mines out there. Anti-tank mines using 17kg of TNT are readily on sale for less than $3 each! Do you think we - or the Yanks could make them for that money? They are so cheap (again mostly of Russian and some 3rd world manufacture) that e.g. the Taliban use them in stacks of 5 or 6 at a time - as was the case in Iraq, too. Using such methods, insurgents in Iraq were able to take out main battle tanks - Challengers, Abrams and Leopards. You don't need Western sophistication to do a great deal of damage.

    And another point is, the IRA's "Green Book" on bomb and IED making has been translated into Middle Eastern languages and distributed widely there. Asymmetric warfare is damned effective these days.
  6. KeithLeslie

    KeithLeslie Well-Known Member

    Willie - hear, hear! At last someone making some commonsense comment! Well done, sir!
  7. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    Real critical thinking here in action.

    Escalating this particular skirmish into a full blown war - now that's the answer. Let everyone around get in there too. Let UAE (2nd largest importer) or Saudi Arabia, the 4th largest importer of our arms get in there, and of course all the neighbours until we pull in the big powers too? That will teach them eh?

    But of course, this (my view) isn't the commonsense of warmongers is it.
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2014
  8. Footloose

    Footloose Well-Known Member

    One of the things that puzzles me is how soon we forget the lessons of history ... Me too; Politicians want to see grand, structured plans, whilst the military's 'top brass' seem to suffer from selective amnesia when it comes to certain types of warfare which have turned the tables, but presumably they are wary of or steer clear of because significant levels of prior planning aren't involved and rapid 'on the hoof' decisions have to be made. I'm of course referring to using guerilla-style methods, as used during the Boer wars, TE Lawrence's use of Bedouin tribes and David Stirling's free-ranging LRDC group. It's not as if such methods aren't intensively studied, as one of the greatest proponents of this form of warfare, was Alexander the Great, whose military tactics are definitely taught and studied. I suppose the the fundamental thing is that he, was definitely out in the thick of battle, not relying on 2nd or 3rd-hand information.
  9. Sejanus.Aelianus

    Sejanus.Aelianus In the Stop Bath

    The point here is that there's a bunch of fanatics allied with a bunch of gangsters that has got control over sufficient weapons and territory to be a threat to a lot of people and has, indeed, already killed, tortured, raped and maimed a lot of people.

    I rather think that giving them a stern talking to is no longer a viable option.
  10. willie45

    willie45 Well-Known Member

    I'm not sure if you're saying I'm a warmonger, Kate. I'm sad if so, but I suspect you are. It seems people have entrenched views and simply respond to anyone else's by dismissing it as ill-informed or naive. It isn't really going anywhere andI don't want to fall out with anyone so, as there's nothing to be gained, I will leave it alone now.
  11. KeithLeslie

    KeithLeslie Well-Known Member

    I presume that Kate is also branding me a warmonger. Sorry, I'm NOT! But I also believe that we have to deal with IS; not by bombing them alone, but either we back Peshmerga properly with the means to defend themselves and fight IS, or we should go in and do the job properly ourselves, with the US, France etc. BUT we MUST handle the consequences properly, not "do a Bush/Blair" beat 'em up and scarper. As things stand, we're not doing anyone any good.

    But what Kate seems to be saying is:
    a) the English are warmongering arms sellers, whilst Russia and China are paragons of virtue; and
    b) we should abandon any principles that involve taking up arms.

    I hope that I've shown that Russia and China are most definitely not paragons of virtue; both have armed all sorts of pretty evil insurgents all around the world, largely to further their own aim of spreading their aims of political domination, often with the strategy of destabilizing a region (as, currently, Ukraine). We have not done that. We sell to legitimate states who are seen as our allies, whereas IS and many other receivers of Russian/Chinese arms are neither states nor legitimate anything.

    Based on (b) above, I guess that Kate would argue that we were wrong to declare war on Germany in 39 and N Korea in 1950. Hitler didn't threaten us in '39; but we 'did the decent thing' and tried to at least alleviate the invasion of Poland. Likewise the Korean war. If we don't stand for seeking to defend those attacked by rogue states or organisations like IS, then we should not subscribe to the UN. To stand by and watch the rape, torture, and killing perpetrated by IS and wring our hands and do nothing would be both hypocritical and immoral, especially when we are accused by Kate and others on this forum of causing the conditions that spawned IS (Assad, of course, being a nice chap, had nothing to do with it).

    I don't want anyone to go to war; but there is a real world out there where undesirable people do just that, and we can't and mustn't just ignore it. We were one of the main players in getting the League of Nations set up after WW1 and the United Nations after WW2; and such organisations can only function with a commitment to defend those who are attacked by others. If we deny that, we lose the moral compass and integrity that we have prided ourselves on for all those intervening years. And if we were attacked by another rogue state, we would not then be able to call on the UN to help defend us.
  12. Sejanus.Aelianus

    Sejanus.Aelianus In the Stop Bath

    There is a bit of a problem, when we try to explain events in the present by reference to events in the past. In 1939, we had specific treaties in place which obliged us to provide military assistance to Poland and France. There are no such treaties, so far as I'm aware, that affect events in Syria.

    The world is a very different place now. Then, we were the single most important military and economic power, now, largely as a result of WWII, we are a small country, with limited resources and a very limited ability to project military power.

    However, our allies have made a judgement that "Islamic State" is very bad news, a judgement our government agrees with (and, for what it's worth, so do I) and we are making a symbolic contribution to what will be a multinational response. I still say that it's essential to get local governments to take up the slack but they seem reluctant so to do. Turkey is deeply ambiguous towards IS; Iran is inherently cautious about how this could play out, despite the reports of IS attacks inside Iran, while Israel is laughing up its collective sleave at the pain searing through its old enemy and probably biding its time until it is clear whether IS will wipe out the Ba'athists or vice versa.

    Leaving aside the very real tragedy affecting the innocents in Syria, it seems that there's still a vehement debate as to the best approach, with the UN paralysed by the Security Council deadlock.

    This isn't 1939 again, nor is it 1950. It's something very new and needs to be handled in that light, lest, "letting go of nurse, we find ourselves with something worse".
  13. KeithLeslie

    KeithLeslie Well-Known Member

    In 1939, it wasn't a treaty, but an Agreement of Mutual Assistance pending negotiations, made on April 6, 1939. It came about largely because the League of Nations was effectively defunct. We joined the war in Korea under a UN banner. Interestingly, in 1939, we were viewed as having betrayed Poland. There was, however, a Franco-Polish Military Alliance pact signed in 1921.

    The UN is just as paralysed now over IS as the League of Nations was in the late 1930s; consequently, I contend that the situation was not as different as you say. Either way, the point I made in my previous post is still valid.

    "Then, we were the single most important military and economic power" is also not true. The USA was then the most powerful country in the world, due to its huge military and industrial capacity. we only thought we were important.
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2014
  14. Sejanus.Aelianus

    Sejanus.Aelianus In the Stop Bath

    We'll agree to disagree on that, shall we?

  15. KeithLeslie

    KeithLeslie Well-Known Member

    Quite honestly, I'm pretty much past caring......:rolleyes:
  16. KeithLeslie

    KeithLeslie Well-Known Member

  17. KeithLeslie

    KeithLeslie Well-Known Member

  18. KeithLeslie

    KeithLeslie Well-Known Member

  19. Trannifan

    Trannifan Well-Known Member

    Given that Erdgan and the AKP do not like critical journalism- if I remember rightly, no country in the world imprisons more journalists that Turkey and publishers have unpleasant visits from the taxman- read news reports from turkish sources with a salt cellar handy.

    The problem with IS/Syria/Iraq is that there are too many parties following their own agendas. Turkey for a start- she wants Assad out of the way and, as for the Kurds, well, as any Armenian will tell you, turkish politicians have no problems with genocide. Indeed, a high-ranking turkish officer is on record as saying, in connection with Kobane,"Two terrorist groups fighting each other is a tragedy?" As far as Erdogan is concerned, "I can see no difference between IS and the PKK." Which doesn't stop IS volunteers moving freely without let or hindrance in Turkey. Only time will tell whether Erdogan's Turkey is painting itself into a corner over IS and the PKK.

    Like it or not, any solution will require the involvement of the Syrian government as well as a reassessment of which groups are defined as terrorist. Which western government is going to wllingly let itself be accused of tacitly condoning genocide because otherwise they'd have to arm and support a group like the PKK?

    The meddling of the west in the region goes back to the end of WWI. The Treaty of Sevres foresaw a kurdish autonomous region or state. Unfortunately, the treaty was worked out with the Sultan of Turkey. Shortly afterwards, Atatürk overthrew the sultanate and the treaty was dead. In the replacement Treaty of Lausanne there was no mention of Kurdistan. Then there were the arbitrary colonial borders drawn up by France and the UK for syria and Iraq, to say nothing of the Balfour Declaration. If ever there was a region typifying "Fools rush in where angels fear to tread" it's the middle east. As to whether the various private agendas in the region can produce a concensus over how to deal with IS....again, only time will tell.
  20. Sejanus.Aelianus

    Sejanus.Aelianus In the Stop Bath

    Plus, of course, the two jokers in the pack: Iran and Israel. I'm wondering just how long it will be before someone drops an almighty clanger labeled "Israeli/Iranian involvement in the Syrian Civil War".

    I'd like to be a long way away before that happens.


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