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This room is for the discussion of current events,cultural issues and politics especially in relation to Catholic values.

Saint Thomas More was martyred during the Protestant Reformation for standing firm in the Faith and not recognizing the King of England as the Supreme Head of the Church.
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May 20th 2013 new
No. I don't think our government should back Assad. Period. However what I don't understand is why Assad is a bigger threat to us, than lets say the Saudis. The point is we fund other dictatorships in the Middle East, like Saudi Arabia which is far worse than Assad was. And apparently that's okay. Or Qutar as well.... Now, I don't want to support any of them. But to me one of our biggest threat is Islamic extremism. Its the extremists who tore down our towers after all. And in Islam there are those who would seek to advance Islam by way of the sword. Say what you will about Assad-but he isn't one of those guys and is no fundamentalist. I feel financially backing Assad is wrong because he is cruel to his people. However, I fail to see why backing others who would eventually seek to attack us- is somehow a good idea too. We have rinse and repeat did this before. Backing and funding Al Queda back in the day. Then there's the eventual state of Libya. Do you think the people in Libya are better off right now, that they've "gotten freedom." Truth is that while its not talked about Libya's a mess. With all kinds of armed guns/militas now killing each other. Say what you will about life under Gaddhaffi but there was order. And our own ambassador ended up getting killed in the process. I'm sorry but if your going to arm someone-you better have a good understanding of their intentions. You don't arm someone just because they are the enemy of your enemy. And Assad at the very least didn't have ambitions of making war with the West that these fundamentalists-do. So no, I don't want to back Assad. He's evil, but I don't want to back the other guys either. I want to remain neutral and do our best to help the refugees and provide options for peace.
May 20th 2013 new
And of course I was over simplifying things. However what was to stop Israel from making a deal on the Golan Heights and ending that. I do think the Arab countries like the blame Israel game. But even if there was the same type of peace between Israel and Syria that there is between Egypt and Israel. The internal issues in Israel would still exist-and that is the main reason for the peace problems. After all nobody forced Israel to occupy the West Bank and Gaza. They didn't have to keep those areas. In fact I believe David Ben Gurion told them-bad idea. Keep Jerusalem, leave the rest. And probably a lot of the issues between Israel and its neighbors would have started stabilizing. As those who lived in 1948 died down. As for the Palestinians of course a bunch of Sunni Muslims coming into Lebanon that one time had a Christian majority was going to destabilize things. The whole thing was destabilizing for the entire region. That area was tribal, and all those tribes settled where they settled for a reason. And suddenly you have all of these tribes being moved out, and thrown out. And you have all the ethnic tensions that come with it. Not to mention the fact many were left for nothing. The Arabs are not monolithic. Of course many Arab countries love to "blame Israel".. But the fact of the matter is Israel is the one with the majority of power in the situation. And do you think the Syrians are the only ones funding those groups... And you realize to that Hamas was at one point funded by the Israelis. They wanted someone to go against the Secular Fatah and though if the Palestinians were kept in the mosques, they wouldn't be asking for things like rights, freedom, and their own state. And instead something far, far worse ended up happening. Once again funding your enemy's enemy isn't always the way to go. I will say this I do understand in Israel, in one way that I am not sure the Arabs will EVER accept Israel as a Jewish state. However I think a secularist like Assad is far more likely to than the fundamentalist ever will.
May 20th 2013 new
(quote) Rebecca-654746 said: ...understand is why Assad is a bigger threat to us, than lets say the Saudis. The point is we fund other dictatorships in the Middle East, ... Or Qutar as well........ We have rinse and repeat did this before. Backing and funding Al Queda back in the day. Then there's the eventual state of Libya. .... Say what you will about life under Gaddhaffi but there was order. ...I want to remain neutral and do our best to help the refugees and provide options for peace.
I don't understand why you think we are funding Saudi Arabia. I think you mean support. Another technical point is that Saudi Arabia is a monarchy, not a dictatorship. Likewise, Quatar, the UAE et als are run by sheiks, not dictators.

As for why Saudi Arabia is less of a threat than Syria, it is simple. The Saudis do not consider keeping the middle east violent and politically unstable to be a national policy objective. The same can not be said of Syria or Iran.

Terrorism needs two things; an ideology that justifies it and social unrest that makes it attractive.

It is certainly true that Saudi money is contributing to the ideology. But the fact is ideology doesn't actually need money. It just needs believers willing to spread the word. Yes, we'd all be better off if we cut the money supply off, but that alone will never completely work.

Syria and iran, on the other hand, are contributing to the social unrest. If you're going to launch a rocket into a shopping mall to kill civilians and provoke a counter attack, somebody has to give you the rocket. They don't grow on trees. And they are infinitely more attackable than an idea.

Syria is more of a problem than Saudi Arabia vis-avis terrorism because it is Syria that is supplying things that it would be impossible for the terrorists to get otherwise. Syria is maintaining the social unrest that makes the ideology attractive.


May 20th 2013 new
(quote) Rebecca-654746 said:  Say what you will about life under Gaddhaffi but there was order. ... I want to remain neutral and do our best to help the refugees and provide options for peace.

There was order in the concentration camps too. That didn't make them islands of peace.

Your claim that we supported and funded al-Queda is flatly wrong. I suppose it's not your fault; there were a lot of people very busy spreading that particular lie. I assume you heard it and believed it in good faith. But you were lied to and there is not a shred of truth to it.

Al-Queda was funded by bin Lauden and others like him. Remember that the U.S. did not fund every mujaheddin group in Afghanistan. Just because he was fighting the Soviets at the same time does not mean the U.S. was supplying him. There were actually only something like 7 groups that got U.S. support, and none of them were Arab groups.

I agree with you that we should not fund any Islamic extremist rebels in Syria. But I will once again ask you, what makes you think all rebels in Syria are extremists? What proof do you have of that rather extraordinary assumption? And should there prove to be moderates in the rebel camp, why should we not fund them?

You are again talking about "providing options for peace." Again, that's all nice and easy to say, but what does that mean in actual practice? Anybody can mouth platitudes. What meaningful steps are you proposing?

May 20th 2013 new
(quote) Rebecca-654746 said: .... However what was to stop Israel from making a deal on the Golan Heights and ending that. I...The internal issues in Israel would still exist-and that is the main reason for the peace problems. After all nobody forced Israel to occupy the West Bank and Gaza. ...  T And do you think the Syrians are the only ones funding those groups... ...However I think a secularist like Assad is far more likely to than the fundamentalist ever will.
What is to stop Israel from making a deal on the Golan Heights? You mean besides Syria? Israel offered to return them (multiple times) and was rejected. Incidently, if it's just Israel that's the problem here, how do you explain the Khartoum Resolution?

You do realize that from that territory (at least as claimed by the Syrians) the Syrians would basically be able to take out Israel's water supply don't you?

If you don't think anybody forced Israel to occupy the West Bank and Gaza, you desperately need to review the history of the Israeli-Arab wars. I will remind you that the West Bank was originally Israel's, taken by Jordan, taken back by Israel, and then Jordan renounced any interest in it. I will also remind you that Gaza is under Palestinian control and if they'd stop shooting rockets out of it, the Israelis would probably stop going in there.

Internal problems are indeed a problem. What evidence do you have to suggest that it is the main problem?

Seeing as how I have repeatedly named others (particularly Iran) as funding those groups, I have no clue in the universe why you would bother asking if I think they are the only ones.

I agree that a secularist is far more likely than a fundamentalist to accept a Jewish state in Israel but:
A) Given that one way or another Assad isn't likely to win this rebellion, it doesn't matter if he is likely to accept it or not
B) Yet again I ask: What makes you think there are no secular rebel groups?
May 20th 2013 new
I meant that no doubt groups in Saudi Arabia are also funding them. And I'm not sure how the West Bank was "originally Israels." Not unless your talking 2,000 years ago. The mandate of Palestine was divided and the West Bank was most certainly not part of the area allotted to Israel. After 1948 Jordan, Egypt etc took parts of those areas amongst themselves. Israel after the wars especially 1967 got them. However, Israel did have a choice there. Because there was the issue that the land came with a huge hostile population. Once again they could have chosen not to occupy because of the security risks that came with occupying that area. Huge ones.
May 20th 2013 new
But one of the biggest issues is the land was wanted just not the population that came with it. Look I get reluctant when I criticize Israel because were was the Jewish population to go when Western countries were refusing to allow many survivors to go elsewhere. And also the issue that is how Israel created any different from what we did to the Native Americans? But the fact of the matter is the Palestinians have always gotten the raw end of that stick. And it absolutely is the internal issues that are causing it. To remove some of the settlements would be a civil war in Israel. Not all of them but some if it... The situation is a cauldron and the fact is the United States by pretty much siding with Israel no matter what Israel does adds to this. Its in Israel's best interest to end the settlements etc. Because soon if they haven't already a two state solution will be impossible. And one of the problems is that it was easy to demilitarize the Sinai, but demilitarize Golan is something else. An obstacle with peace with Syria. However considering in the past Syria and Israel faced all out war-this isn't happened. And of course you have violent extremists on the Palestinian side including the ones in Gaza who attacked an Egyptian soldier... The situation is a mess and a powder cauldron.
May 20th 2013 new
"A) Given that one way or another Assad isn't likely to win this rebellion, it doesn't matter if he is likely to accept it or not" What do you mean isn't likely to win. Many including John McCain. Say Assad is actually winning. He has a very good shot at winning.
May 20th 2013 new
Although there are no winners in Syria. Once again if the rebels had a united front with leaders, control of their own miltants and documented goals. I'd support them because Assad is a brutal dictator. But right now the rebels are disunified with all kinds of militant and sectarian goals with conflicting interest. Some who express interest in killing Americans. I feel it would be irresponsible to support them at this time. And Assad doesn't need our military support in order to win in Syria, and no way would I give it to him.
May 20th 2013 new
(quote) John-336509 said: Okay, your understanding of what is going on in the middle east is badly over-simplified.

Egypt and Israel already have a formal peace treaty.

Jordan has renounced claims to the West Bank (which, incidentally, wasn't even its to begin with). This renunciation has a number of reasons, not least of which is the fact that the Arab populations in Israel are but pawns for their neighbors. The Jordanians do not actually want the "Palestinians" in their population.

In Jordan's defense, the Palestinians have quite a history of destabilizing whatever nation is hosting them. Lebanon used to be a peaceful neutral ground until they let them in. Jordan had their fair share of trouble with them as well.

The only international territorial dispute is the Golan Heights between Israel and Syria. And that is a major reason why Syria makes sure the PLO or Hezbollah or whoever else wants to lob rockets into civilian targets in Israel gets them.

You neglect to mention that Iran and Syria always reach out to extremist groups in the Palestinian population whenever it looks like the peace process might actually go somewhere and give them weapons to go blow something up and derail the talks.

Yes it's certainly true that Israel has made its fair share of moves that have angered the Arabs in the country. Not only the settlements, but other economic political issues as well.

But to simplify it all down to the settlements is just plain silly.
John:

When you say the Palistinians, are you referring to a different set of Arabs
than the Arabs living in and around Israel?
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