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About Morch

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  1. I guess you haven't read the New York Times article linked in the post above (by @ilostmypassword).
  2. This link actually highlights the opposite. It details that significant amounts of chemical weapons were around and that troops were exposed to chemical weapons without prior warnings. And this is but a part a partial story - no indication given of how many similar operations were conducted (and if such were carried out by other nations).
  3. Ritter was both over-confident of the inspection regime, and as things went on, increasingly involved with the anti-war movement. I think you'll find, even in the link provided, another quote by Ritter - which acknowledges Iraq's capability of reinstating it's chemical weapons program in a matter of "weeks". If I remember correctly (been a while...) the actual estimate was on the (very) lower side on this one. Considering 5%-10% as a non-threat is a a choice (and again, that over-confidence). If bearing in mind that the 5%-10% figure referred to a rather large stock, it may sound a bit more serious than presented. I would agree, though, that it was not enough of a threat to merit the war.
  4. As for chemical weapons, that program had been abandoned long before 2003 and while there were still old weapons left over, they weren't in a condition to be used. I don't see that you provided anything supporting this statement. And manufacturing chemical weapons (not all, granted) is not that complicated once the know-how exists.
  5. Can't recall Iraq officially disarming itself from chemical weapons. WMD is a general term, chemical weapons is more specific. I doubt anyone claims Iraq did not have the latter. The WMD "thing" was more related to nuclear weapons - which weren't there. Not a bad idea to keep things clear as possible.
  6. Unless I missed it, Syria did not exactly receive it's S-300. Rather, the Russians deployed the system to the airbase where it's forces are stationed, and the system is operated by Russian personnel. A second, naval element, of the same was advanced to the area on a later date. There are other reports though, suggesting certain components are operated by Syrian forces. Since the deployment, Israel and Russia maintain a certain level of coordination with regard to air operations, in order to avoid an unnecessary conflagration as occurred vs. Turkey. There was at least one incident which almost came to "something" (a Russian drone entering Israeli airspace). On the other hand, there were Israeli attacks (mostly against arms convoys to Hezbollah) which were, for the most part, weren't acted upon or even challenged by the Russians. Most of the arms convoys from Syria to Hezbollah would pass at a range which would allow Israel to use standoff weapons, whether launched from ground-based or airborne platforms. That's pretty much the case with almost all related attacks. The flying directly overhead and dropping bombs thing is a bit passe.
  7. Iraq indeed had chemical weapons, and made use of such. Both against Iran and the Kurds. The basic question is why assume leaders, politicians and dictators to always act rationally or calculate their moves with precision.
  8. The "help" Iran "may" be providing to fellow Shiites is often at the expanse, or to the disadvantage of others (read Sunni). That you may prefer one over the other if fine, but doubt it makes much of an argument for Iran's ambitions being benign. Iran repopulates Syria with Shia Muslims to help tighten regime's control Shiite Proselytizing in Northeastern Syria Will Destabilize a Post-Assad Syria With regard to US policy, not exactly news. And not really up to the "It's clear that this is all part of an anti-Iranian campaign headed by MacMaster and Mattis." comment. Grasping at straws there.
  9. How do you mean Iran doesn't play these games? Like it doesn't use religious affiliation, economic and military support to further its regional aims? Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen are obvious examples. This does not happen in a vacuum, nor necessarily in a peaceful manner. Wouldn't know that seeing Iran as a relative newcomer to this was mentioned enough times to be considered a "meme", or to merit the demand to "give it a rest". Iran's regional ambitions took a while to mature, pending consolidation of domestic power and the war with Iraq. And yet you brought it up, while offering nothing of substance as support.
  10. So it's downgraded from being "part of an anti-Iranian campaign" to "distaste for Iran" and " "willingness to work with the Saudis". Not much provided to back either, or to show how this is parting with long-term established US policy. If it wasn't clear, I'm not suggesting that SA is a force for good or anything of the sort. Just making the point that Iran plays these games too, simply a relative newcomer on this stage.
  11. ISIS is pretty much militarily done with. The Caliphate bid is over, at least for now. Insurgency and terrorism will continue, but that's not a new phenomenon in the ME. As for Al-Nusra (or whatever it's called this season...), same future. Perhaps a while longer. They do not offer a real alternative to government of any kind. Removing Assad at this point, and without a clear successor and without international support for such a successor would be a mistake. Things could indeed fall apart, and get much worse. Not necessarily to do with current Islamist players, though. Enough fault lines an divisions regardless. But Assad himself, at the helm, is not a requirement for a post-war Syria. More of a hindrance even, if the country is to survive this ordeal. Dictators are useful if they can keep a lead on things, and Assad failed. There's only so much respect and prestige on offer for a dictator reliant on two foreign powers to barely prop him up. The current situation does not offer a choice. Or not much of one. The choice part comes later. And Assad is not an essential part of it.
  12. Which still doesn't offer much by way of support for - "It's clear that this is all part of an anti-Iranian campaign headed by MacMaster and Mattis." Iran, under current management, is relatively a new player (compared to the practices of Saudi Arabia and the like). Meanwhile, it exports and promotes the brand (and it's political or violent offshoots) where it can. Good luck trying to market it as benign.
  13. Thanks for making the point - things are a wee bit more complicated than presented by the supposed Assad or ISIS choice.
  14. It's clear that you believe this.
  15. Last I checked Kurds weren't supportive of either Assad or Sunni extremists. But even if you wish to over-simply things, there this: Assad himself is not a necessity. He's a failure even as a brutal dictator. An alternative strongmen could be supported instead, perhaps with less baggage.